Tag Archives | Property

The Free Market: Means or End?

Picture: Elembis (PD)

Jason Bernard Claxton writes at Counterpunch:

Free market advocates sometimes champion the free market as a means to an end, sometimes as an end in itself.  Sometimes the free market is better at achieving certain goals than any alternative, sometimes there is no alternative.  Sometimes the free market is the best way of achieving prosperity, security, and a good life for a people, sometimes the free market is “the only moral system.”  If it were clear at any given moment which justification were being offered, a lot of confusion might be avoided.  But free market advocates often take both positions within the same argument – a strategy that is rhetorically effective, but logically dubious.

When an owner’s right to dispose of property exactly as that owner desires is considered morally ultimate, then the free market becomes an end in itself.  And if individual property rights are so sacred that no state of affairs that market intervention could possibly bring about would justify the rights violations that market intervention implies, then it simply wouldn’t matter whether more market regulated economies are more productive than free market economies.

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Against Self-Ownership

Picture: CGS (CC)

Rajiv Shah writes at the Social Rationalist:

I. Introduction

I first read Rothbard (For a New Liberty and The Ethics of Liberty) sometime in 2008. I was quickly persuaded by the gist of the arguments offered. At the core was the idea of Self-Ownership (SO), which I found very persuasive and from which I gained considerable intellectual confidence. I knew I could deal with whatever issues of public policy (e.g. drug prohibition) by invoking SO. Of course people could deny SO but such a position appeared to me to be quite implausible.

I have since abandoned those views. I actually stopped believing in SO over a year ago but it has taken me quite some time to articulate why. What follows is my attempt at doing so.

I have three main arguments against SO. The first one is a claim that the concept itself is incoherent.

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Boy Convicted Of Theft For Stealing Virtual Items Within Video Game

videoWell, if the stock market is regarded as real in the eyes of the law, why not an invisible amulet? Via the Chronicle Herald:

The amulet and mask were a 13-year-old boy’s virtual possessions in an online fantasy game. In the real world, he was beaten and threaten with a knife to give them up.

The Dutch Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the theft conviction of a youth who stole another boy’s possessions in the popular online fantasy game RuneScape. Judges ordered the offender to perform 144 hours of community service.

Only a handful of such cases have been heard in the world, and they have reached varying conclusions about the legal status of “virtual goods” — and whether stealing them is real-world theft.

The suspect’s lawyer had argued the amulet and mask “were neither tangible nor material and, unlike for example electricity, had no economic value.” But the Netherlands’ highest court said the virtual objects had an intrinsic value to the 13-year-old gamer because of “the time and energy he invested” in winning them while playing the game.

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Remember Rousseau: Property Rights And Human Rights Are Still At War

File:Jean-Jacques_Rousseau_(painted_portrait)The conflict between property rights and human rights has entered a new chapter. It is a debate that goes back to the challenge by landowners and merchants behind the American Revolution’s war on British control over the colonial economy.

Only today, as those speaking in the name of the 99% challenge the super wealthy of the 1% (actually the .001 %) there is a new battleground in what’s known as the housing market with as many as 14 million Americans in or facing foreclosure.

The defense of property rights is the holy of the holies for the propertied classes with a whole industry set up to enforce their claims of ownership.

We have seen how this plays out with the courts, run by often bought off and complicit judges rubberstamping claims by banks and realty interests even when laws are disregarded amidst fraudulent filings, biased contracts, and phony robot signings. They control the marshals who seize your property, and constantly denigrate the real victims as “irresponsible.”

It’s not surprising any more to read about banks foreclosing on properties they don’t even own.… Read the rest

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Occupy Wall Street Electronics Destroyed By NYPD

compsVia Motherboard, the police apparently took baseball bats to all of the property they confiscated in their Zuccotti Park raid a couple weeks ago. Was the goal to destroy devices that might contain documentation of the protests, or simply to punish the protests by breaking their possessions?

Don’t let the media have you fooled. This is what really happened to the protesters property after the OWS raid last week.

The NYPD smashed/broke laptops, camera’s, tents, all electronics, bikes, etc. and took $5,000 of cash from a man’s backpack. That was all the money he had left to get by. The cops are now facing legal charges for violating their own rules and not giving protesters receipts for materials “confiscated”.

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Florida Homeowners Association Vs. Jesus (Sign)

Via First Coast News:

Four years ago Sarah Phillips moved into her Sutton Lakes home and said she has never had a problem, until now. “We’ve had it out about a month. We haven’t had any complaints from the neighbors…, said Phillips.

Phillips has posted a Jesus sign in her yard and there was no reaction from anyone until she received a letter from the Sutton Lakes Homeowners Association telling her having it in her yard is a violation of the covenant. “It is basically telling us to remove the sign, under the bylaws,” she said. Phillips said she did sign the Covenant, Conditions and Restrictions, or CCR, but never agreed to allow the free exercise of her religion to be prohibited.

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Britain’s Assault On Squatters

squatter-rights-5There are hundreds of thousands of empty properties in the UK – 650,000 in England alone. We should be seizing empty properties and giving them to people who need them, not locking up people for wanting a place to live.

People are broke and evicted. Meanwhile, countless homes sit unused and empty, or abandoned…some people take matters into their own hands and live as squatters. But now the outraged authorities are fighting back against the squatter scourge, the UK’s New Left Project writes:

The traditional view that the Tories are the party of the landed classes was built on solid bedrock. The last time they were in power they orchestrated the largest land-grab in living memory – the ‘right to buy’ – through which council housing passed to property magnates and buy-to-let landlords. This time around, spurred on by misleading articles in the right-wing media, they’ve announced plans to make squatting illegal and to allow landlords to forcibly evict people – whether squatters or tenant – backed up by the iron fist of the law.

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Spanish Woman Claims Ownership of the Sun

SunReports the AFP via Google News:

MADRID— After billions of years the Sun finally has an owner — a woman from Spain’s soggy region of Galicia said Friday she had registered the star at a local notary public as being her property.

Angeles Duran, 49, told the online edition of daily El Mundo she took the step in September after reading about an American man who had registered himself as the owner of the moon and most planets in our Solar System.

There is an international agreement which states that no country may claim ownership of a planet or star, but it says nothing about individuals, she added.

“There was no snag, I backed my claim legally, I am not stupid, I know the law. I did it but anyone else could have done it, it simply occurred to me first.”

The document issued by the notary public declares Duran to be the “owner of the Sun, a star of spectral type G2, located in the centre of the solar system, located at an average distance from Earth of about 149,600,000 kilometres”.

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