Private property

Discussion in 'Economy' started by dblack, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. dblack
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    dblack Gold Member

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    I'd like to discuss the core issue underlying the capitalism/socialism debate: the issue of property 'ownership'.

    Up front, in the interest of full disclosure, I've always leaned strongly libertarian, strongly free-market. And while I have issues with a few of the fundamental rules framing corporate capitalism (limited liability, etc..), I see private control over resources and the 'means of production' as preferable to control by a compulsive state government.

    That said, unlike many of my libertarian/free-market friends, I don't see the concept of some alternative to private property 'unthinkable'. We already handle many other aspects of our environment communally and it doesn't seem crazy to us. In fact, the alternative might seem worse; do we really want to treat the air we breath as an ownable property? We've agreed to hold significant swaths of real estate and resources (roads, parks, etc) as 'public' property and this seems to work ok. So, why not the 'means of production'?

    I'd like to avoid the usual partisan vitriol here, and actual discuss the issue in good faith. Even if you are adamantly opposed to socialism, I'll ask that you work with the assumption that it might work.

    The other thing I'd like to avoid, from both 'sides' of the argument, is the reliance on historical data. The problem with using historical examples is always the lack of complete information and the lack of any possible counterfactuals to understand the situation. Did socialism fail in the USSR because it was implemented by a totalitarian government, or did it become totalitarian as a logical progression of socialism? Are modern socialists states succeeding because of socialism, or in spite of it? We can't really know the answers to these kind of questions. In any case, the contexts of these other nations are all different than ours. I'd like to discuss how we might work without private property here, in the U.S., with our situation, and our values as a people.
     
  2. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    A very thoughtful post/thread; I'm not surprised no one has responded. The questions you asked suggest (at least to me) that capitalism and socialism are pure and in reality they are not. Markets exist in socialist countries too, sometimes underground (black markets) as some do here, and here markets are not free, there are always controls (controls, but not controlled).

    Given human nature and our culture I cannot foresee how "we might work without private property".

    Consider however:

    QUOTE: "From the late fourteenth to the eighteenth century vast areas of land held in common by local communities and used by villagers on a shared basis were enclosed by landlords and turned into private property. Fences were erected and the courts were given the function of issuing title deeds. This was the first large-scale and systemic abolition of social security.

    The tradition of the commons was as old as humanity itself, and was not done away with with an instant wave of the economic wand. All that is solid melts away over a very long period of time. The original forced enclosures were succeeded by "Parliamentary enclosure," when acts of Parliament formally reconstituted common resources as private property. Indeed, the history of enclosure in England from the late fourteenth to the late eighteenth century might be termed the "primitive privatization," the historical progenitor of the contemporary neoliberal project to privatize and deregulate everything.

    Parliamentary enclosures transformed what had originated as a wave of coerced expulsions into a political process, the legally sanctioned removal of any obstacles to the ongoing and limitless accumulation of capitalist wealth.

    This secular tendency of capital to universally privatize was temporarily offset toward the middle of the twentieth century by the emergence of the New Deal in the United States and Social Democracy in Europe. But even these meager provisions of non-market benefits proved to be too radical for capital. Born-again capitalism is now the order of the day, and social security is once again, as it was way back then, perceived as a principal obstacle to profitability. The struggle of large English landowners to privatize historically common land finds a contemporary counterpart in the campaign of big banks and Wall Street brokerage houses to put to private, profitable use resources currently earmarked for workers in need. Just as the social costs of the transition to capitalism were borne by the working population, so will the attempted transition back to pre-Keynesian capitalism be borne by the same class."

    Alan Nasser is Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

    LINK: Theft of the Commons - A Tradition | Thom Hartmann - News & info from the #1 progressive radio show
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  3. Nemo
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    Nemo VIP Member

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    Property rights, as with all rights, exist only by law; which is to say that they are not unlimited, much less absolute. That's the way it is; that's the way of the world. Get used to it.
     
  4. Toronado3800
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    I do not see a need to overhaul the current system. Just tweak it.

    IMHO present human nature is best served with a level of private ownership which provides obvious rewards for success and obvious pitfalls for failures. It just keeps ppl working.

    We need safeguards to keep private or public entities from.ruining "the public environment" and evem to some extent polluting their own private property. I am amazed at what ppl will do for a buck!

    The level of rewards and failures need to be....constrained....taimed.... No one can be allowed to build a private army or control the internet for example. Also we need to keep folks from starving and we SHOULD provide some glimmer of hope for a better future after things hit the fan for individuals. Folks with no glimmer of hope resort to crime, or have socialist or other revolutions.
     
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  5. Skull Pilot
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    Skull Pilot Platinum Member

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    Property rights will be a thing of the past if some people get their way.

    In IA a town is attempting to require that all businesses and apartments with more than 3 units produce copies of all keys to the property for use by fire and police departments.

    Opposition organizes to beat key box ordinance

    Pretty soon your home or business won't be yours and forget about being "secure in your person, houses, papers and effects"
     
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  6. expat_panama
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    expat_panama Silver Member

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    We're proposing anyone who produces say, a new song, will find the state seizing the 'means of production' and his guitar becomes a public park. Off hand, I'd point out how that approach has been so disastrous in the past but the idea here is to ignore what's happened in the past.

    Figures.
     
  7. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Yep I am sure all the private property advocates are against zoning regs which keep the pig farm or junk yard out of the lot next door?

    Are waterways/streams private property?
    In KY if navigable they are not, if not navigable the water is public but do not let your feet touch the bottom it is private ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  8. Two Thumbs
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    Two Thumbs Platinum Member

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    W/o private property you have no right to refuse entry to anyone.

    You can't claim your home as yours, even if you paid for it.


    The idea of no private property is utterly insane
     
  9. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    Paranoid much? Fact is, if some get their way everything will be privatized and a first responser will have more control over you than a key to your apt. He'll decide on the spot if you live or die - if your illness or injury is too expenisve to treat - bye bye.
     
  10. Skull Pilot
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    Skull Pilot Platinum Member

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    Sorry but I ain't handing my key over to some fucking government hack.

    You can if you want to.
     

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