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Richard Epstein on “The Structural Unity of Real and Intellectual Property” (Mises 2006)

From the Mises Blog, Oct. 4, 2006:

Richard Epstein on “The Structural Unity of Real and Intellectual Property”

New from Law professor Richard Epstein: The Structural Unity of Real and Intellectual Property (video). Epstein argues that there are many similarities between physical property and “non-physical” property (i.e, intellectual property). Epstein identifies four principles that create a basic framework for understanding physical property law. He concluded in his speech that all four can be applied to intellectual property with the main difference being transfer of such property is only absolute in the case of physical property.

I think Epstein confuses positive law with justification. Of course IP “can” be enforced. But recognzing crucial role of scarcity in specifying property rights makes it clear that any enforcement of IP is always done in the physical realm—enFORCEment, get it? Enforcing IP in the physical realm in effect means a claim to IP is a claim to physical property. Property that is already owned. Property whose ownership is justified—in libertarian terms—by the first possession of that piece of property by the owner or an ancestor in title—the homesteader or someone who contracts with him. Granting a right to control that resource to an IP creator simply means transferring rights in an already-owned thing to a non-homesteader, non-contractor. We libertarians call this theft, trespass, confiscation, socialism, or redistribution of wealth. Showing that modern positivistic legal systems can “deal with” IP does not show it is justified.

Archived comments:

Comments (269)

  • David C
  • p>The thing that kills me about the IP debate, is that it’s not that hard to see how fraudulent it is. It doesn’t take that much observation to figure out that bits floating around on the Internet are a lot different than physical objects like houses and cars. If I was the first to make a mud pie, that clearly doesn’t give me a God given right to monopolize mud pies. If I was the first to identify the color orange, that clearly doesn’t give me a God given right to extract royalties from anyone who has an oranges paint in their house. If the government gave someone a monopoly over growing wheat, and then called that monopoly a property right because he could buy or sell shares of that monopoly – it would clearly be a government regulation and not a property right. However, people use this kind of logic all the time with IP. Also, if it’s a natural law right – then how come IP doesn’t scale? For example if I write 5 notes, do I suddenly have the right to use to coercive power of government to extract royalties, even in other states, countries, nations, cultures, and even other planets and galaxies. What about 4 notes? Do I suddenly have that right throughout all known space and time. What if my terms are that I have a right torture, rape, and murder anyone who uses those 5 notes? After all, if they use it they are voluntairly agreeing to my terms, right? With IP, it clearly doesn’t work out well. Isn’t the point of natural law that nature and truth coincide to form law about what’s just regarding human interaction? The free to copy nature of information is pretty obvious if you ask me.
  • Published: October 5, 2006 12:08 AM

  • Artisan
  • David C,
    I suppose you’re one of those libertarians who doesn’t accept “homesteading” either…

    Isn’t it outrageous too, that under homesteading, I have the right to own a piece of land and enforce property rights with my gun just because I’m the one who SAW it first?

    So, do you really think homesteading “sounds” so much better than copyright?

    The torture-for-5-notes idea shows in what paranoid state you are ready to push the argumentation however…

  • Published: October 5, 2006 3:46 AM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – The scarcity argument falls down because the market itself pays a price for strategic knowledge (CEOs are paid a positive price, no?). I trust you can see that “ideas are non-scarce” simply is not true.

    I find it ironic the arguement ends up at some sort of “economic communism” of ideas: absolutely no property rights at all.

    The issue for IP is the practical impossibility of exclusion – but then you make a pragmatic argument, not a “axiomatic” based argument.

    But then again, the “axiom” of “self-ownership” as a moral ethic – in my view – is not at all clear. It elevates a physical reality to a universal moral ethic. In fact, the real problem is that, using physical reality as a criteria, a person that offers no argument but hits you over the head with a crowbar, is justified because it physically is that way.

    So in fact, the bare-bones libertarian starting point (if it can be agreed that self-ownership is that) is the opposite of morality. It’s a nice starting point for theoretical discussions about “limiting the state”, but that is all it is, it is not anything more – and how contractual societies with disaggregated force users could exist, I think, is the critical issue.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 7:22 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • David C: good points.

    Artisan: no idea why you attribute to David an anti-homesteading position. Ownership of patterns, recipes, information is indeed “unnatural,” while basing ownership on possession of a scarce resource is very natural. Even dogs can recognize it.

    JimB: No, of course I don’t agree that knowledge is scarce in the economic sense–rivalrous–just because it has a market value. Why would something having a market value imply it is a scarce (rivalrous) resource?

  • Published: October 5, 2006 7:44 AM

  • Person
  • The same kind of scarcity exists in IP as in physical property: there exists a conflict over usage. No justification for different treatment of the two can logically hinge on a difference in this respect.

    Like I said about thirty times before.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 9:29 AM

  • David C
  • Artisan. If the nature of the universe was that you could make a copy of my homestead without locking me out of it, then sure – I’d be against homesteading too. But that isn’t the nature of the universe with homesteading, but it is with bits flowing over the Internet.

    JIMB, the scarcity is not in the nature of the Idea, it is in the time and resources used to think about it, discover it, study it, and apply it. All of those have natural limits in supply and demand that have a scarce value. In fact, IP distorts those limits because it artificially forces the market to center around information controls rather than information services, it forces the market to center around fencing off ideas instead of applying them. In fact, a quick look at the current market as it is now shows how overt the problem is.

     

  • Published: October 5, 2006 9:32 AM

  • David C
  • Person,

    The same kind of scarcity exists in IP as in physical property: there exists a conflict over usage….

     

    No there isn’t. If I have a copy of a book, there is nothing in this universe stopping you from doing what ever the heck you want with your copy and nothing in the universe stopping me from doing whatever the heck I want with my copy even if what I do is totally different than what you would do. Me trying to sell it, doesn’t stop you from trying to sell it. Me burning it, doesn’t stop you from putting it upon a high alter and worshiping it. Where’s the conflict?

  • Published: October 5, 2006 9:45 AM

  • Person
  • David_C: The conflict is that (hypothetically), I don’t want you to do those things with your copy.
  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:02 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person: “The conflict is that (hypothetically), I don’t want you to do those things with your copy.”

    Right. Quite right. AS we said. The conflict is over material things–scarce resources. The real fight is over who owns the physical thing–A, the novelist, claims a right to own the material paper and ink owned by B.

    So that is what the dispute is about: who owns the property that is currently in B’s possession. Now, we libertarians say that you come to own unowned resources by homesteading them. By presumption B or his ancestor in title did this already. So the property already has an owner.

    A wants to assert a co-ownership claim in B’s property, even though it’s already owned, and not by virtue of A’s homesteading the property at issue, or even having acquired it by contract from an owner–but because A thought of a way to use that piece of property.

    It’s akin to me walking up to you and saying, “Hey, I just thought of an innovative sexual move that I could perform on your body–so hand it over.”

  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:10 AM

  • Person
  • So, Stephan, do you then concede that “non-scarcity of ideas” does not support your argument against IP, and is therefore irrelevant?
  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:17 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person the Persistent Pest: “So, Stephan, do you then concede that “non-scarcity of ideas” does not support your argument against IP, and is therefore irrelevant?”

    No, not at all. I argued exactly the same way in my lengthy paper on IP. Ideas are not scarce. They are not property. Waht this means is IF you try to protect property rights in these non-scarce things, you can ONLY do so by in effect granting rights in actually scarce things–which amounts to redistribution of wealth. It amounts to assigning ownership in an already owned thing to some other person, which is a type of theft.

    This has been my problem with it all along. If ideas were actually scarce, assigning property rights in them would not imply assigning property rights in others’ things. Since ideas are not scarce, the only way to assign rights in them is *through real things* that already have owners.

    Get it now? Jesus, how explicit do I need to be for you people. Sheesh.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:24 AM

  • Brian Drum
  • Yee hah, another IP thread…

    The term ‘scarcity’ is inappropriate unless everyone agrees to its defintion. This is because in one way ideas ARE scarce and in other way they are NOT scarce.

    v1: Person A is the only one in the universe that is in ‘possession’ of idea X. (Actually I’m sure possess is the right word since an idea is not really something you can hold on to or see….). In this sense we can say idea X is scarce. This is the ‘not everyone knows it’ idea of scarcity.

    v2: Person B comes into possession of idea X (independent discovery, imitation of A, etc.) Now two individuals have idea X. However both have completely independent instances of X. By obtaining idea X, B has not diminished A’s copy of X, since it resides in A’s mind and can never actually leave (unless forgotten). In this sense idea X is NOT scarce since it can be replicated into the mind of every individual w/o diminishing its existence in any previous “knower’s” mind.

    It is not the scarcity that matters. It is whether or not an individual can make use of something and leave it undiminished and fully available for someone else to use @ the same time. If this can be done then the good is non-rivalrous and thus cannot be homesteaded (i.e. become property) under liberatrian homesteading theory.

     

     

     

  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:34 AM

  • Person
  • No, not at all. I argued exactly the same way in my lengthy paper on IP. Ideas are not scarce. They are not property. Waht this means is IF you try to protect property rights in these non-scarce things, you can ONLY do so by in effect granting rights in actually scarce things–which amounts to redistribution of wealth. It amounts to assigning ownership in an already owned thing to some other person, which is a type of theft.

    Then your argument is that you believe enforcement of IP conflicts with the homesteading principle, and is therefore unjustified. Non-scarcity has nothing to do with your position, and to mention it is irrelevant. Do you now concede this?

    (I would also like to note that the entire line of argumentation based on non-scarcity is a category error. What would such a point be trying to establish? “It doesn’t bother you, so you have no right to object.” ? Obviously, some people do support IP, so they are bothered. It’s unclear in what context pointing out non-scarcity would resolve a conflict.)

  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:35 AM

  • Vince Daliessio
  • Person;

    “The same kind of scarcity exists in IP as in physical property: there exists a conflict over usage.”

    …and if I apply your reasoning on IP back against conflicts over physical property (PP), what emerges is this – if you use your own justly-aquired property in such a way that causes “conflict” with me and my justly-aquired property (e.g., you paint your house an ugly color that offends me and possibly lowers my property’s value incrementally), then rather than just resorting to a friendly discussion about the conflict, I have a right to enlist a government authority to come and take your property and imprison you.

    In short, we can have either PP, or we can have IP, but not both in the full sense. They are like matter and antimatter – the two cannot coexist. One annihilates the other.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:41 AM

  • Brian Drum
  • Person says: “Then your argument is that you believe enforcement of IP conflicts with the homesteading principle, and is therefore unjustified. Non-scarcity has nothing to do with your position, and to mention it is irrelevant.”

    Claiming and enforcing a ‘property right’ in something that is not rivalrously scarce is what brings IP into conflict with the homesteading principle. So no, the non-scarcity of ideas is not irrelevant to the arguement; it is fundamental to it.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:42 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person the Persistent Pest:

    Then your argument is that you believe enforcement of IP conflicts with the homesteading principle, and is therefore unjustified. Non-scarcity has nothing to do with your position, and to mention it is irrelevant. Do you now concede this?

    Absolutely not. I don’t “now concede” anything; this has been my view all along. 

    First. Scarcity is ultra-relevant to the idea of property; things that are scarce (rivalrous) can be fought over; for these things property rules assign an owner so that conflict over the use of that thing can be avoided. What is the rule? There are any number of rules. Only libertarians choose the rule that is really designed to make conflict avoidance possible: that is the basis for the homesteading rule. Any other rule is some kind of violation of the homesteading rule, which is tantamount to a later-user gets to take it away from a prior-user for some arbitrary reason: socialism, criminal, I am bigger than you, I don’t care, a particularistic rule–whatever.

    Now. IP advocates are the ones who say they just believe in property rights in IP. To them, it’s just another “thing” out there in the universe that can be created, has value, so “why can’t” it “be property”? This is their mentality. They do not realize what I pointed out above: that property rules are specifically aimed at establishing an owner of a scarce (rivalrous) thing so as to make it possible for these resources to be employed in a conflict-free way (and therefore, the rule has to be based on the homesteading principle and the prior-later distinction). They do not realize how crucial *scarcity* is to the whole enterprise of property rights. Therefore, they do not realize that in advocating property rules in IP they are really advocating for a change in property rules for scarce things. Adn this is exactly the problem with advocating rights in non-scarce things.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:43 AM

  • iceberg
  • Information is an abstraction which describes some arrangement of matter into forms recognizable by the human mind, and apart from the mind of the person discerning it, it is ultimately and universally meaningless.

    Those arrangements could be the magnetic polar orientation of an iron atom, dark-colored ink molecules weaved into paper fibers, electrically-charged phosphor molecules in a bed of silicon, etc.

    To say you have ownership over such things can only be in a physical term- in that specific arragement pattern.

    To say you can control others from making similar arrangements is making a metaphysical leap from objects of nature, to things our minds think about nature.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:44 AM

  • Person
  • Brian_Drum: I think you’re forgetting another sense in which the use of the term “scarcity” is ambiguous, and I think you fell prety to it to. I would call this the “value scarcity” vs. the “physical scarcity” distinction (corresponding to the distinction between value productivity and physical productivity). A good is value-scarce to the extent that it cannot simultaneously satisfy the ends of more than one person. A good is physically-scarce to the extent that it cannot be put to more than one use.

    The justification for the libertarian homesteading principle clearly stems from value scarcity. But then when discussing IP, Stephan shifts into meaning physical scarcity. An idea is value-scarce, but not physically scarce. It can be used in different ways (physical non-scarcity) that conflict between the desires of different actors (value scarcity). This is why Stephan’s constant appeal to how “everyone knows” ideas are “non-rivalrous” is unhelpful because the same authors fail to make the distinction.

    Stephan: after I started typing this, your post appeared. I think it still applies to what you said — you’re shifting between different kinds of scarcity. And even if your argument does hinge on the concept of scarcity, it does not hinge on ideas specifically being non-scarce, just that property-rights assignment in all relevant objects obviates any IP rights assignment. Your discussion of idea non-scarcity is still irrelevant.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:54 AM

  • Lee
  • What the heck is ‘value scarcity’?

    Stephan – rightfully – owns this area of libertarian law and if you’re gonna challenge his analysis, define your terms. (Or, to invoke the ghost of Rand, state your premises…)

  • Published: October 5, 2006 11:21 AM

  • Person
  • Lee: I just explained what “value scarcity” is: ” good is value-scarce to the extent that it cannot simultaneously satisfy the ends of more than one person.” Come back when you want to read my posts. And considering that it’s my intellectual opponents here who are carelessly shifting between the meanings of a term … I’m the last one here who needs to “check his premises”.

    Vince: like I said thirty times in the last thirty discussions someone tried your gambit in: Just because I believe a conflict exists doesn’t mean I favor its resolution in a certain way.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 11:29 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person the Pesky Pest:

    Lee: I just explained what “value scarcity” is: ” good is value-scarce to the extent that it cannot simultaneously satisfy the ends of more than one person.” Come back when you want to read my posts. And considering that it’s my intellectual opponents here who are carelessly shifting between the meanings of a term … I’m the last one here who needs to “check his premises”.

     

    I have been consistent from the get-go. Your understanding is evolving, however, which is gooooood. And Lee is right: I *own* this area. I mean literally. By your IP theory, I hereby claim ownership of this entire argument. And as owner, I hereby decree that I have won.

    Vince: like I said thirty times in the last thirty discussions someone tried your gambit in: Just because I believe a conflict exists doesn’t mean I favor its resolution in a certain way.

    But now you are seeing how this has to be argued. Either you do, or do not, favor property rules that allow resources to be used in a conflict-free manner. If you do not, then I believe you are contradicting your peaceful stance here; but in any event, I for one don’t care to engage in civilized discourse with someone who refuses to acknowledge the importance of having conflict-avoiding rules.And if you do admit this: then the question is simply: what kind of rules satisfy this function? We have an argument for why homesteading is the only rule, and for why any other rule is tantamount to theft. Hoppe in particular has explained this in detail in showing how the first user rule is the only one that can really serve to avoid conflict. If you want to debate this, fine, but then we are debating what property rules are compatible with the admitted goal of reducing conflict. And this has been my goal all along: for once this is admitted, we’ve won, since, you know, John Locke was basically right. GOTCHA SUCKA!

  • Published: October 5, 2006 11:37 AM

  • Person
  • Stephan: What does your last post have to do with the specific relevance of idea non-scarcity to IP? And do you agree you use scarcity in more than one sense? If not, which sense do you believe your are using it in?
  • Published: October 5, 2006 11:53 AM

  • andy
  • A good is value-scarce to the extent that it cannot simultaneously satisfy the ends of more than one person. A good is physically-scarce to the extent that it cannot be put to more than one use.

    The justification for the libertarian homesteading principle clearly stems from value scarcity.

    Person, why do you think ideas are not ‘value-scarce’? It seems to me that ideas definitely can simultanously satisfy ends of more then one person. Can you provide a counter-example?

  • Published: October 5, 2006 12:19 PM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – To demand something implies scarcity which also means one does not possess the thing demanded. So the fact that “idea people” command a positive price necessarily implies lack of ownership of the ideas in the first place.

    So it seems to me – perhaps wrongly – the line of argument presented to be confusing and tactically deficient.

    I note you’ve not responded to the disagreement on self-ownership; are you framing a response? Given the defense of Hoppe’s formulation, I am very interested in your reply.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 12:25 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Interesting note: someone asked me if I thought it odd Epstein’s paper does not cite or link to any prominent anti-IP libertarian publications, such as my Against Intellectual Property. Could it be, my correspondent wondered, Epstein is engaging in the typical Cato-ish habit of not-naming or citing to a Rothbardian or Hoppeian, even when it would be appropriate? After alll, Epstein is a Cato Institute Adjunct Scholar, and Epstein’s piece does seem addressed at some growing groundswell of opposition to the legitimacy of IP. Doesn’t it? But I am loathe to think this of Epstein, who has always been a genuine scholar and someone I greatly respect and admire.

    But just a couple of observations: First, some of us have criticized Epstein’s and Cato’s pro-patent views in print in the past. See, e.g. Epstein and Patents; also Cato Tugs Stray Back Onto Reservation; Jude Blanchette’s The Reimportation ControversyProtectionist Cato?Drug Patents and Welfare.

    Second, it is interesting to note that James DeLong introduced Epstein’s paper and talk–the same DeLong that I debated on the issue of “Do patents and copyrights undermine private property?” a few years back in a symposium in Insight Magazine.

    But I’m not saying nuttin’.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 12:28 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • JImB:

    Stephan – To demand something implies scarcity which also means one does not possess the thing demanded. So the fact that “idea people” command a positive price necessarily implies lack of ownership of the ideas in the first place.

    Why do you say this? I have specified umpteen times that “scarcity” in the property rights sense is rivalrousness. It is this very capacity which makes it possible for there to be conflict over the use of this thing. Now, you are trying to say that if you demand something, this means it is a type of thing that is rivalrous. This is just an assertion. I want, or demand, my wife’s love; world peace; my fond memories of the way my grandpa smelled; beauty in the world; profundity; fun; relaxation. Are these things scarce resources now? 

    I note you’ve not responded to the disagreement on self-ownership; are you framing a response? Given the defense of Hoppe’s formulation, I am very interested in your reply.

    Not sure what you are talking about, but I’ve recently written in some detail about self-ownership: How We Come To Own OUrselves.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 12:42 PM

  • Person
  • andy: Person, why do you think ideas are not ‘value-scarce’? It seems to me that ideas definitely can simultanously satisfy ends of more then one person. Can you provide a counter-example?

    Okay, I think I phrased that poorly. I meant that for a value-scarce good, there exists a set of actors such that for one to use the idea comes at the cost of the other’s ends. It is true that all ideas can conceivably satisfy more than one person’s ends, but some ideas (the ideas people today assert IP protection over) must oppose one actor’s ends to satisfy another’s. That is, for one actor, he meets his goal of e.g. listening to the music, but in doing so impedes another actor’s goal that it not be listened to.

    Your comment was more fruitful than anything Stephan has yet offered in this thread.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 12:50 PM

  • Vince Daliessio
  • Person;

    “I meant that for a value-scarce good, there exists a set of actors such that for one to use the idea comes at the cost of the other’s ends. It is true that all ideas can conceivably satisfy more than one person’s ends, but some ideas (the ideas people today assert IP protection over) must oppose one actor’s ends to satisfy another’s.”

    In other words, you are saying that all uses of one’s PP must always satisfy any other persons ends involving his IP. You are saying that in all conflicts between IP and PP, IP must rule.

    This doesn’t make logical sense, and in any event does not justify IP. There are no guarantees in life. One’s ends are not bound to be automatically satisfied.

    More to the point, one’s ends are not always just. Wherefrom originates the dictum that the IP users ends must be fulfilled, even at the expense of infinite others ends of their PP?

  • Published: October 5, 2006 1:39 PM

  • Person
  • Vince: Please, please tell me you’re not being serious.
  • Published: October 5, 2006 1:45 PM

  • Artisan
  • Stephan Kinsella says:
    “Artisan: no idea why you attribute to David an anti-homesteading position.”

    David C says then:
    “If the nature of the universe was that you could make a copy of my homestead without locking me out of it, then sure – I’d be against homesteading too.” (not an easy sentence, I’m not sure what it means as such either, please someone tell me…)

    This odd remark leads me anyway to think Dr. Kinsella, that David C is not quite aware of what homesteading means nor implies… even though this is part of the core definition of property as used by Hoppe and Rothbard along with the other “scarcity” part, and even though this is the core concept that resembles the most copyright, the later apparently considered by David C nonetheless not worthy of his intelligence.

    Just one question to David C. thus please, so I can go further with my analogy: can you make up a new example of how actual homesteading of property rights might happen in your actual everyday life, as libertarians (you) pledge to respect and defend them?

  • Published: October 5, 2006 3:15 PM

  • Vince Daliessio
  • No, I AM being serious. I am honestly trying to understand where you are coming from. I am seriously trying to understand the argument you are making for IP, and how it can be squared with PP.
  • Published: October 5, 2006 3:15 PM

  • averros
  • Pretty please, with sugar on top [(c)] stop using the absolutely misleading term “Intellectual Property”.

    It is NOT, repeat: NOT, property — it is temporary monopoly granted by the government on some particular form of expression. Any real property is presumed to be permanent. And there’s nothing intellectual in most of the “IP” – insert your favourite rap lyrics here.

    “Intellectual Property” is blatant newspeak, nothing more.

    If you take any pro-IP argument and replace “IP” with “Temoporary Government-granted Monopoly”, it will bring the inconsistency, if not outright stupidity of that argument into stark contrast.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 4:17 PM

  • Person
  • Vince, I don’t know how you’re serious, since I keep explaining this. Just because I believe there’s a conflict, doesn’t mean I favor the absurd side. If Bob doesn’t like being looked at, there is a *conflict* between Bob and people who want to look at him. That doesn’t mean Bob’s desire supercedes the others. In fact, I don’t believe that at all.

    In exactly the same sense, there is conflict (and thus, depending on Stephan’s mood, scarcity) between an artist who doesn’t want people to enjoy his work without paying him, and people who want to enjoy his work without paying him. That holds even despite the non-scarcity of the underlying intellectual work. Again, that doesn’t (by itself) imply that the artist’s desire ought to be respected, is justified, etc. It just means that’s Stephan’s trite attempt to invoke idea non-scarcity to refute any and all claims to intellectual property is invalid. Whether or not IP is justified has nothing to do with non-scarcity of ideas, and for Stephan to include it in his paper, or in any discussion, is a red herring.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 4:32 PM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – All those things are scarce relative to your demand for them (how could it be otherwise?), i.e. to have them (provided they are not impossible), you would need to give something else up to get them, at the least time in reflection, etc.

    If ever an economic actor gives up “money for ideas” obviously he or she, by their actions, admits they do not own the quantity or quality of them they wish. Hence the market, by placing a positive price on ideas, is confirming ownership.

    So, it’s my contention that the argument presented is probably weak as it contradicts the actions of the market (and of you, if you’ve ever demanded any “ideas” by giving up an alternative good: money or time or otherwise). Clearly ideas are scarce. Ideas do not exist in infinitude floating in the ether, which – like breathing non-scarce air (which commands no positive market price under normal circumstances) – we can seize at will.

    re: “I want, or demand, my wife’s love; world peace; my fond memories of the way my grandpa smelled; beauty in the world; profundity; fun; relaxation.”

  • Published: October 5, 2006 5:02 PM

  • iceberg
  • Person,

    You still have not addressed how information or ideas about property transcend to a metaphysical class of ‘intellectual’ property. Without that, there is no possible comparison to real property and talk of rights or enforcement.

    Agreed though that scarcity is irrelevant to the topic, because scarcity is only a fact in the nature of real property making encroachment matter to the people who are trying to reduce conflict.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 5:07 PM

  • Person
  • iceberg: I never attempted to prove such a transcendence. All I’m saying is, don’t claim that the non-scarcity of ideas is somehow relevant, and I think I’ve established that by noting the subtle equivocation regarding scarcity and rivalry that people make.
  • Published: October 5, 2006 5:20 PM

  • Artisan
  • Sorry Vince, Averros, Iceberg: reading your concern, it seems the question to David C in my previous post goes to you too…

    Ever heard of homesteading as a part of libertarian property definition? Care to give an example which proves you understand and accept what it means in every day life?

  • Published: October 5, 2006 5:21 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • PErson:

    In exactly the same sense, there is conflict (and thus, depending on Stephan’s mood, scarcity) between an artist who doesn’t want people to enjoy his work without paying him, and people who want to enjoy his work without paying him. That holds even despite the non-scarcity of the underlying intellectual work. Again, that doesn’t (by itself) imply that the artist’s desire ought to be respected, is justified, etc. It just means that’s Stephan’s trite attempt to invoke idea non-scarcity to refute any and all claims to intellectual property is invalid. Whether or not IP is justified has nothing to do with non-scarcity of ideas, and for Stephan to include it in his paper, or in any discussion, is a red herring.

    Nonsense. I’ve maintained many times in writing, and consistently throughout, that what makes libertarianism different from all other political theories or views is our particular rule for assigning property title to scarce resources. To recognize this and how we are different, one must realize that all political systems have some explicit or implicit theory of assigning title to these types of resources. Once one realizes this, it is clear how libertarianism is different–and why we are superior. 

    This way of viewing it requires one recognize that it is really only scarce (rivalrous) resources that can be owned at all. This means ideas are never ownable. The problem is that IP-socialists want to protect ideas as if they are property; this requires them to swoop down into the mundane physical realm to enFORCE their IP laws with FORCE against REAL things. IT’s always about real things. Of course. This is tantamount to their adopting a non-libertarian rule for assigning title to scarce resources.

    AS I have said many times: for A to have a right to an idea, means he has partial property rights in B’s property. But if B previously owned that resource, and now A has partial rights in it, that means B has been robbed. This is very very simple. I think this is why IP advocates don’t like it. It makes it impossible from them to squirm out of acknowledging the essentially criminal or socialist aspect of their IP advocacy. Nooooo they say, we don’t advocate theft of real property–we only want to protect rights in another kind of property–IP. That this requires us to use (realy, physical) force against (real, physical) things to get any traction is just a coincidence.

  • Published: October 5, 2006 9:09 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • JimB:

    Stephan – All those things are scarce relative to your demand for them (how could it be otherwise?), i.e. to have them (provided they are not impossible), you would need to give something else up to get them, at the least time in reflection, etc…. So, it’s my contention that the argument presented is probably weak as it contradicts the actions of the market (and of you, if you’ve ever demanded any “ideas” by giving up an alternative good: money or time or otherwise). Clearly ideas are scarce.

    Jim: I grant you that the word “scarce” is potentially misleading as it has at least two different meanings. One–which you seem to be relying on here–is less plentiful; etc. The other is more strict and basically means a rivalrous good. But I have been so explicit about which meaning is meant here that I fail to see how you can be confused and why you keep switching to the other use. 

    Do you understand what rivalrous means? See this explanation, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivalrous. To avoid confusion let’s use “rivalrous”. Now: how does something one desires become rivalrous just because of this? This is just ridiculous. Waht is it to be valued? It is to be the goal one seeks when one acts. That goal is valued, and demanded–it is not necessarily a rivalrous good!!

  • Published: October 5, 2006 9:40 PM

  • David C
  • Artisan,

    (not an easy sentence, I’m not sure what it means as such either, please someone tell me…)

     

    Not an easy sentence, perhaps, but an easy concept. Two people can’t homstead the same physical property, but can use the same piece of information.

    can you make up a new example of how actual homesteading of property rights might happen

    Sure, I find some virgin land, put some stakes up on four courners, and now no one else can claim it without excluding me from my claim and violating my rights.

     

     

     

  • Published: October 5, 2006 10:26 PM

  • Person
  • Stephan: Nonsense. I’ve maintained many times in writing, and consistently throughout, that what makes libertarianism different from all other political theories or views is our particular rule for assigning property title to scarce resources.

    That doesn’t contradict or respond to anything I said in the passage you quoted.

    This way of viewing it requires one recognize that it is really only scarce (rivalrous) resources that can be owned at all. This means ideas are never ownable.

    Again, you’re making a careless shift between meanings. If you consistently carry your meanings through, you see that nobody claims to own ideas. Rather, they claim to own the use-rights regarding that idea in physical objects (scarce things!). Again (I keep saying that), your entire attempt to quash IP claims through the invocation of rivalry is a category error. At no point, ever, can you justify one claim over another through rivalry — at least, not “value rivalry” (the counterpart of “value scarcity”), which you start from in justifying the homesteading principle. The very fact that there is a debate proves that there is “value scarcity” and “value rivalry”. If there weren’t, there wouldn’t be a debate. (Hey, I’m starting to like argumentation ethics!)

    Certainly, you can set up a philosophy based on the principle of “physical scarcity” and “physical rivalry”, but only if you stayed with that kind of scarcity, and didn’t shift over to “value scarcity”.

    AS I have said many times: for A to have a right to an idea, means he has partial property rights in B’s property.

    Sure, just as for you to have property rights in anything (not just ideas), you have partial property rights in everyone else’s property to the extent that you may prevent them from using it in a way invasive of yours. Of course, you could define that problem away, but it’s unclear exactly what that would prove…

  • Published: October 5, 2006 11:49 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person: it’s not that you have property rights in something “except you can’t use it to harm others”. I indeed have a negative obligation not to trespass–not to use others’ property without their consent; not to invade their property borders.

    This obligation is not tied to any particular property I have. This obligation does not “burden” or “limit” my property rights in a given thing. It’s just a general obligation I have. I cannot use any efficacious means to invade your property borders. Whether it’s my “property” I’m using as my means, or something else. The limit is on what actions I can take; it’s not a limitation on my property rights in my property.

    Again, you’re making a careless shift between meanings. If you consistently carry your meanings through, you see that nobody claims to own ideas.

    Sure they do. THey claim to own IP. They way they enforce it is to try to control how others use their scarce resources.

    Rather, they claim to own the use-rights regarding that idea in physical objects (scarce things!).

    Which means: they claim to own part of others’ property. Right. As I’ve said.

    …your entire attempt to quash IP claims through the invocation of rivalry is a category error.

    See, Daddy doesn’t agree. It’s crucially relevant. Scarcity–rivalrousness–is what defines the category of “things” that can be the subject of conflict; that can be the subject of ownership claims; that can be subject to the use of enFORCEment actions. If you are in favor of having a way individuals can use such resources in a conflict-free way, you are necessarily in favor of some ownership rules–property title assignment. And we libertarians go further and say you are in favor of the specific rules that are compatible wtih this. And we say that if you look at it, you see that the rule is obviously the first use first own principle.Now. Any criminal, statist, tyrant, theocrat, thug, whatever, has a property view, but his property title assignment rule is different than the libertarian’s. His rule is not a rule based on the goal of avoiding conflict. His rule is based on some other goal, like “getting what I want” or “making people more equal” etc.

    It’s the same with IP advocates. They, too, want to abandon the title assignment rules that are essential to establishing a conflict-free, just order–namely, the first-use, first-own principle, and the prior-later distinction, etc.–and use a different rule: the rule that if someone dreams up a way to use resources, he now has a veto-claim over others’ already-owned property.

    NOw, if you want to try to justify this, go ahead. BUt the endeavor is: what property title rule can solve the social problem of the possibility of conflict in the use of scarce resources? If you think your arbitrary and never-specifically-stated IP rules do this–by all means, let’s hear how.

    Sure, just as for you to have property rights in anything (not just ideas), you have partial property rights in everyone else’s property to the extent that you may prevent them from using it in a way invasive of yours.

    I don’t have property rights in their property; as noted above: they are not permitted to trespass against me by any means. IT’s not tied to their “property”.Let’s be very clear here. The very basis for the libertarian property assignment rule is that it is the only rule that satisfies the desire to permit conflict-free use of scarce resources. The rule is not undercut by its own implications, as you insinunate. A may not use his knife–or fist, or his neighbor’s gun–to murder me, just because of this rule. If this is viewed as a “limitation” or “restriction” on his own rights, it is strictly negative, and flows from the fact that I do alreayd own my own body and other (scarce) property.

    YOu cannot make an analogous claim in the case of IP. You cannot say that our right to own scarce resources can be built on to say there is an obligation not to use this resource to violate others’ IP rights–this is mere question begging. The presupposition of the ownership of property is that conflict is avoided by assigning title in a certain (basically Lockean) way. So this presupposition of course implies that one may not trespass on others’ property. That is in fact how conflict is avoided: by people respecting the publicly ascertainable boundaries of property.

    So in adhering to a property rights system it is implicit that one recognize the negative obligation not to invade the borders of others’ property.

    A similar thing cannot be said in the case of IP. How does my adhering to and participating in a property system that allocates property title to scarce resourceds for the very purpose of allowing these resources to be freely and productively used without conflict — how does this imply I cannot use this property if it is in a way that someone else has described? It just does not follow. My use of “your” method to fine tune my carbureutor to get better petrol mileage does not invade any of your owned scarce resources. It does not trespass.

    You have a choice, Person, if you want to be taken seriously and not be dismissed as a pest or gadfly: make your case plainly for what you believe. Do you agree that property rights realy only pertain to scarce resources? Do you agree that we have to favor a set of rules that permit conflict-free use of such resources?–or are you an advocate of conflict? Assuming the former–do you agree that assigning title has to be done to avoid conflict… but more than this: it cannot be done just arbitrarily, since such rules would not be seen as fair and would not be respected, and thus would not serve their function. So the rules have to assign owners, but which owner? by which criteria? It has to be based on some objective, intersubjectively ascertainable link between the person and thing claimed; and temporal priority has to be presumed as having importance too. If the rules do not embody the prior-later distinction then no conflict -free use is possible; B can just take property from A, and now B is the current “owner”. A merely came first after all. So unless “coming first” is a trump, you can have no property system. Instead you have a system of mere possession and might makes right.

    What this means is that first users of property have a better claim than any other, ceteris paribus. YOu can see how this leads to the Lockean rule.

    Now. NOw. YOu want to swoop down and declare some other property assignemnt rule. Fine; go ahead. Try to show how it is compatible with all the presuppositions that are part of this civilized debate.

    But that is your burden, man. And you won’t succeed, because you are wrong. Took me years to finally admit that.

  • Published: October 6, 2006 1:09 AM

  • Artisan
  • See, David C. the triteness of your example only shows you have no idea why homesteading could even be important. You prefer always and always repeat throughout all the IP blogs, the same elements of the property definition you have managed to grasp…

    When I ask what element of homesteading would apply to YOU in every day life, you mention discovering some virgin land… Come on pal, stop dreaming, this is 2006 and you live in the US! I think you can do better than that.

    So you do mean homesteading is irrelevant for the libertarian today. (But do you think there was more “virgin land” to to put “stakes on” when Rothbard was around then?)

  • Published: October 6, 2006 3:29 AM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – But we are talking conflict over goods and the market says so. This, If I’m not mistaken, is the third time it has been presented as a contradiction with your position.

    I quote myself:

    If ever an economic actor gives up “money for ideas” obviously he or she, by their actions, admits they do not own the quantity or quality of them they wish. Hence the market, by placing a positive price on ideas, is confirming ownership.

  • Published: October 6, 2006 5:52 AM

  • tarran
  • JIMB, it is not a confirmation that ideas or “ownable” but rather to save man-hours of effort.

    Given a few thousand years of spare time, I could write a nice operating system to run on my computer.

    I don’t want to spend that time, so I pay someone to write it for me. This does not mean that somehow they “own” the ideas and patterns that produced that operating system.

    The scarcity is time, not in some good. Now the producer of the pattern can demand that in exchange for their service, I don’t share the pattern with anyone, and that would be fine. But the pattern itself is unownable. The expression of a pattern on one piece of matter in no way precludes or interfers with that pattern being present in anothe piece of matter. If I write my own clone of Windows, Microsoft does not suddenly find their warehouses empty. If I sneak into Microsoft’s property and copy their software, they still don’t find their vaults empty (I would however be guilty of trespass and owe them fines). If, on the other hand, I sneak into the local bakery and take their donuts then the bakery will find its vaults empty. Physical objects are scarce an ownable. The patterns for organizing them, no matter how unobvious or difficult to invent, are not.

  • Published: October 6, 2006 7:29 AM

  • Marcel Popescu
  • Incidentally, after reading through this discussion, I moved on to the next tab, where I was reading http://www.boyet.com/Articles/NotesOnLulu1.html — check out about the middle of the page, where he says “The Caslon font (…) was invented by William Caslon in the 18th century”. Now click on the http://www.boyet.com/Images/Caslon.jpg link and check out the copyright – exactly *why* is Adobe entitled to copyright that font? Worse, what makes it a *right*, such that me using that font without their permission would violate it?
  • Published: October 6, 2006 7:43 AM

  • David Mello
  • JIMB wrote:

    If ever an economic actor gives up “money for ideas” obviously he or she, by their actions, admits they do not own the quantity or quality of them they wish. Hence the market, by placing a positive price on ideas, is confirming ownership.

    I don’t think that the nature of the exchange is one of “money for ideas” at all. Let’s say that I have an idea. This idea is stored as a pattern in my brain. I communicate the nature of my idea to you & let’s say that you want me to convey the idea in full to you (for whatever reason – perhaps you see the potential to further act on the idea to your benefit). We arrange a trade: you’ll give me a sum of money and I’ll communicate my idea to you in its fullness. There is no property title exchanged in this transaction – you are paying me to act. I am providing a labor service in exchange for money. I still have a record of my idea, and now you do as well. Even if we agree to a contract that stipulates that I may not further act upon this information, it does not change the fact that we both now have the information. As I still have the information, I cannot, by definition, have exchanged it for anything. I have, however, lost the time & energy required to convey the information to you. Money for labor – not “money for ideas”. 

  • Published: October 6, 2006 7:51 AM

  • JIMB
  • David – But how does your argument indicate the idea is not property?

    You bring up another point – the entire libertarian “concrete” justification of property isn’t valid. Title to property is an preagreed definitional “idea” … i.e. by agreement of the parties, it gives a person a “right to act” in regards to the subject of trade, but the right to act goes from person to person. The right is not concrete.

    Neither are agreements concrete, even if the evidence of them is. Words are nothing but scribbles unless they refer to mental processes. Now – where does the reality lie – in the concrete thing or the agreement?

    I say it lies in the agreement, which is by necessity non-concrete. You see the problems with this ‘axiomatic’ approach?

    I think most people (this includes learned libertarians) have a much better argument in better / worse (and natural moral law) than logical-chain-from-an-axiom approach.

  • Published: October 6, 2006 8:50 AM

  • JIMB
  • Tarran – The same argument could be made for any concrete good. You could (given enough intelligence, knowledge, and long life) “make your own car”, but we do not say the car is not property, do we? I also refer you to the post in response to David.
  • Published: October 6, 2006 8:55 AM

  • tarran
  • JIMB said,

    “You could (given enough intelligence, knowledge, and long life) ‘make your own car’, but we do not say the car is not property, do we? I also refer you to the post in response to David.”

     

    “OK, let’s do a simple experiment. I just copied the patterns of your words above. Let’s scroll up and see if there is a hole in your argument (literal not figurative). Gasp! There’s no hole there! there are your words, your sentences all right were you put them! Yet they are also here, in this post!

    Now, let’s do the same to your car. If you like, I’ll be happy to swing by your garage with a hammer and a screwdriver, and drive off with your car. Tomorrow morning, when you go to use your car, will it be there for you to use?

    Ownership is essentially a system of assigning who has the right to control something. To be meaningful, there has to be a scarcity. Only one person can drive your car at a time. If someone else is driving it, you cannot be driving it at the same time. If you are holding a rock in your hand and deciding whether to lob it into the water or to try to skip it accross the water, another person cannot be holding the rock at the same time.

    But, if I get the idea that varying the diameter of a steam nozzle in a certain way will increase the efficiency of my turbine, it in no way automatically and inherently precludes you from designing your nozzles in an identical way.

    You can replicate patterns. Physical matter cannot be replicated. If I want a gold ring just like the one on your finger, I have to acquire some other bit of gold. If I want a car just like yours, I have to find some other steel, fabric, plastic to arrange in the right configuration. That is true scarcity.

    In the end, as Stephan has repeatedly pointed out, the proponents of IP are claiming that the claim to have originated a pattern provides a superior claim to the onwership of the matter. In other words, if you were to buy a few reams of paper, some ink and a typewriter and type out a copy of the latest Harry Potter novel, your suddenly cease to own the paper, and they instead become Ms. Rowling’s property because the pattern on them makes them hers. I argue that you retain your ownership of the paper and ink continuosly form the point you acquired them (assuming you didn’t steal them) through the writing process and indefinitely to the future until you decide to give or sell the property to someone else or destroy it.

    Again, a particular drop of ink can be owned by someone. If we both want to use drops of ink for different purposes, we each have to get our own. The word written by a drop of ink is unownable separately from the ownership of the drop itself. If we both have our own drops of ink, we can write the same word simultaneously. There is literally no legitimate conflict. If I own the ink I can write whatever I want with it, and you cannot stop me without violating my property rights to that drop of ink. And unless you shared a work that you had invented with me, eliciting beforehand my promise not to write it down without your permission, I have no obligation to use my drop of ink only in a manner that suits you.

    Now, let us turn to your argument that since property rights are, in the end, an agreement as to who gets to control things, and, that we who claim that the ownership of matter takes precendence over the ownership of a pattern is arbitrary. First, it is absolutely true that property rights are a form of agreement. Robinson Crusoe living on the desert island does not have to worry about who owns what. Whatever his eye sees, his hand can grasp without fear of conflict. Then you kind of veer of course and crash, arguing that since a property right is an abstraction that therefore it is unreal and thus our system has no better claim to usage than yours.

    The reason for your accident is that you ignore the details of how the conflict settled by the property right arises. If I copy Ms. Rowling’s book, does the book magically pop into existence in my hand? No. I have to have a pattern in my mind, paper, ink, glue and cardboard needed to make the book. Let us assume that I have acquired everything but the pattern trough trade. In other words, the paper-maker transferred his ownership of the paper to me, the cardboard maker that of the cardboard and so on, the inkmaker that of the ink, and the glue-maker that of the glue. Now, who owns the material? I do. When do I stop being the owner of the material? when I agree to give it to someone else or decide to destroy it. At this point is there some conflict between me and Ms Rowling? Does she have any reason to confront me or to shout out to all thsoe who know me, “that tarran, he has deprived me of my property?”.

    Of course not. Now, I write some words down on the paper, and use the glue and cardboard to bind it into a really spiffy looking book. Does she now have a claim on it?

    You would argue that it depends on how the ink is organized, which shapes appear in what order on the paper. That if they are organized in one way then the object is Ms Rowlings, and that if they are organized another way, that the object remains mine. I argue that in the absence of my agreeing to give the book to someone, the particular arrangement of the ink, paper, glue and cardboard in no way affects who owns it. That stuff remains my property no matter how I arrange it.

    If everyone in my town holds to the view that the book has become Ms Rowling’s and assists her in taking it from me, obviously there is no agreement that the book is my property. Hell, if everyone I know decides to string me up from the nearest lampost, you could argue that there is no agreement that I have a right to live.

    But the howling of a mob in no way forms a system of morality. Tomorrow the village could decide that they agree that I own Ms Rowling’s house and assist me in evicting her. To make things predictable, to establish a system wherein people can predict which actions will put them in conflict with their fellows and which will not, one has to develop a set of rules.

    In the end, all of our interactions are physical. I consume and excrete matter. My senses consist of matter that is stimulated by energy produced by other types of matter. Thus any conflict must have physical dimension. I must be manipulating matter and energy in someway that conflicts with your attempts to manipulate matter and energy.

    Since the potential conflicts are over how physical matter or energy is used, any system for preventing conflicts must dictate who can use which pieces of matter or energy and in what ways they are permitted to use them.

    The Lockean notion is pretty complete. Whomever acquires control of some physical piece of matter that is not previously controlled by another can claim it for himself as something he “owns”. Whomever acquires something already “owned” by convincing the “owner” to cede control of it becomes the new “owner” of it.

    Those who argue for IP claim that this is insufficient, that they have an alternate system wherein the “ownership” can transfer from one person to another based on how the original “owner” manipulates the object, or that somehow the first person who organizes some matter or energy in a particular way should be permitted to prevent others from simmilarly ordering other bits of matter or energy.

    However, this sytem is actually far from providing guidence on how to avoid conflict. For example, if I build myself a shelter with a peaked roof for keeping the rain off and preventing snow build-up, am I going to come in conflict with the owner of the pattern known as a “peaked roof”? If I write the word “The” am I violating the porperty right of some owner of the word “the”? If I write “Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris, littorae…” at which word do I begin to violate the right of the person who owns the pattern called “Virgil’s Aeneid”?

    In short, the weaknesses you argue for our system are not weaknesses at all. A moral code is, by definition that of ideas. Our moral code has a simple, yet comprehensive system that, if followed, will prevent people from ever coming into conflict. On the other hand, the pro IP argument is neither simple, nor comprehensive, and cannot be followed in a conflict free manner. There is no rule for identifying which patterns are free to be used and which are not. Two people can independently express the same pattern for organizing matter, and each will have an equally weighty claim to all the expressions of the pattern.

    Since “intellectual property” makes conflict inevitable rather than precluding it, it really does not describe property at all. It in no way provides a framework for agreeing who owns what. In short, it is a failure.

  • Published: October 6, 2006 7:15 PM

  • David C
  • Artisan

    You asked for an example so you “can go further with” your analogy. I gave you a simple one to work with, and now I get called “trite”, and am told I have “no idea”. and get critized for commenting in IP blogs, and am told that I am a “dreamer” and “can do better than that”.

    Perhaps you should take those unique insights and focus them at yourself! But I do see your problem now. The problem is that Rothbard is plain outright wrong when it comes to non scarse properties. If you take his philosophies about non scarse properties to its logical conclusion – it would boil down to property rights being about feelings.

     

     

  • Published: October 6, 2006 9:38 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • JimB:

    Stephan – But we are talking conflict over goods and the
    market says so. This, If I’m not mistaken, is the third time it has been presented as a contradiction with your position.

     

    I quote myself:

    If ever an economic actor gives up “money for ideas” obviously he or she, by their actions, admits they do not own the quantity or quality of them they wish. Hence the market, by placing a positive price on ideas, is confirming ownership. I think this is just confused. You seem to want to conflate valuing with ownership or property. Something’s being valued does not make it rivalrous, of course. I think Tarran fielded your parry admirably.

  • Published: October 6, 2006 11:26 PM

  • Fred Mann
  • Person writes:
    “The same kind of scarcity exists in IP as in physical property: there exists a conflict over usage.”
    Person, I already COMPLETELY debunked your definition of “scarcity” (i.e. conflict over usage) in this blog:
    http://blog.mises.org/archives/005196.asp
    … yet you are STILL using it.
    Please reread my posts from the last half of that blog.
  • Published: October 7, 2006 4:07 AM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – It’s either (a) a free good (like air) or (b) not a free good. Trade only falls into category b. The “good” of course is the whole good – distribution, packaging, delivery … so “free” goods like 10 cubic yards of dirt still are “scarce” (rivalrous) because delivery and organization, etc. matters.

    Ideas are not like air (at least not the ideas we are talking about). They are not free.

  • Published: October 7, 2006 8:59 AM

  • greg
  • Tarran — very nice post! Thanks.
  • Published: October 7, 2006 10:51 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • BTW, I suspect that (and from what I hear) various free market think tanks around the world acquire pharmaceutical companeis as “supporters” provided, of course, that they support IP. Hmm, I wonder, does this explain Cato’s schizophrenic reaction to patents?

    In this regard I recalled my post Palmer on Patents.

  • Published: October 7, 2006 11:47 PM

  • Artisan
  • Dear David C.

    However, I thoroughly regret that some pretty clear issues here take so much blog space, while others, leading to profound ideological division within the libertarian founding thoughts are barely mentioned. Look for yourself a few posts above: Dr. Kinsella asks “Artisan: no idea why you attribute to David an anti-homesteading position?” Maybe Dr. Kinsella has somewhat of a “blind spot” here?

    Forgive me though if this sounded too personal, yet it seems to me I had to be somewhat irritating in order to get attention in this huge soup of general “IP-opponent correctness”. Don’t misunderstand me, your personal intervention in the Blog is most profitable I’m convinced, especially if you manage at some point to “see the problem” that I mention.

    And yet David C., you are still wrong when you think you can single out the specific property rights definition beyond the concept of scarcity within Rothbard’s thinking… I’d be curious what ideas of Rothbard or von Mises, leading to “feelings of property rights” you are mentioning in fact.

    Eventually your own restrictive approach of Rothbard is a pure annihilation of the libertarian logic (or at least the Rothbardian / Misean) in its “boiled down” consequences. Why is that good?

  • Published: October 8, 2006 9:13 AM

  • JIMB
  • Tarran – The sentence was freely released to the public domain, so it is hardly an example of your position.

    Ownership is not control, but the right to control, and rights are abstract.

    If I mix my labor with unclaimed material in nature, it becomes mine. But what is labor but the activity of the will through my body. So in fact, ownership boils down to mixing “conscious acts” and transforming material through the physical motions of my body.

    So at root, the theory Stephan presents is false because it presumes that “ownership” is “concrete” when in fact we are talking “rights of action” which implies the “will” which is not concrete, and “rights” imply “just property” and “justice” is also not concrete but originates in understanding (consciousness) of a natural moral order.

    So the accusation that it is reprehensible to take physical action against unjust distribution of an idea, is in the last end, no criticism at all (in and of itself, without further appeal to justice) – because concretes are attached to non-concrete reality.

    After all, what we want to stop in an aggressive person is not the actions of his body (which could at the right time be appropriate), but a change in the understanding and the will which controls the body. So the “concretes are all that there need be” is spectacularly false.

    And more, the original theory fails to account for how ideas are justly acquired.

    The criticisms could go on and on. For instance, trademarks are illegitimate – after all they are simply an arrangement of ink, etc.

    You example of a peaked roof is especially appropriate (since it is so nonsensical as there is no one anywhere advocating restricing information in this manner, so it is a straw man argument…) In the case of the house, unless it is built on private land out of sight, the designer cannot help but release a good portion of the design to the public (and may want to do so to obtain clients).

    In your example of the Harry Potter book, you must specifically DENY that the words have any “meaning” apart from (or labor “mixed with”) the physical scribbles, print, ink, paper, and binding – but surely you cannot ravage the nature of man (and consciousness) and thus of freedom so completely and expect to have a cohesive theory of rights!

  • Published: October 8, 2006 11:52 AM

  • Artisan
  • JIMB, I like the way you explain things here!
  • Published: October 8, 2006 1:44 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • JimB:

    Stephan – It’s either (a) a free good (like air) or (b) not a free good. Trade only falls into category b. The “good” of course is the whole good – distribution, packaging, delivery … so “free” goods like 10 cubic yards of dirt still are “scarce” (rivalrous) because delivery and organization, etc. matters.

    You seem to be implying all non-free goods are necessarily rivalrous. 

    Artisan: I don’t really know what you are trying to say.

    However, I thoroughly regret that some pretty clear issues here take so much blog space, while others, leading to profound ideological division within the libertarian founding thoughts are barely mentioned. Look for yourself a few posts above: Dr. Kinsella asks “Artisan: no idea why you attribute to David an anti-homesteading position?” Maybe Dr. Kinsella has somewhat of a “blind spot” here?

     

    I don’t really know what you are trying to say.

    Forgive me though if this sounded too personal, yet it seems to me I had to be somewhat irritating in order to get attention in this huge soup of general “IP-opponent correctness”. Don’t misunderstand me, your personal intervention in the Blog is most profitable I’m convinced, especially if you manage at some point to “see the problem” that I mention.

    I have no idea what you are talking about or trying to say.

    Ownership is not control, but the right to control, and rights are abstract.

    What do you mean, they are abstract–and what’s the relevance? 

    If I mix my labor with unclaimed material in nature, it becomes mine. But what is labor but the activity of the will through my body. So in fact, ownership boils down to mixing “conscious acts” and transforming material through the physical motions of my body.

    Uh, however you want to undersatnd it, okay. The reason mixing labor with unclaimed property homesteads it is not because you own your labor–you don’t; but because by doing this you emborder it and thereby set up observable borders that evidence *that you were* the first to use it–this serves to establish you have a better claim to it than anyone else who in comparison is necessarily a latecomer. See, you don’t have to get all metaphorical and poetical.

    So at root, the theory Stephan presents is false because it presumes that “ownership” is “concrete” when in fact we are talking “rights of action” which implies the “will” which is not concrete, and “rights” imply “just property” and “justice” is also not concrete but originates in understanding (consciousness) of a natural moral order.

    Uh, whatever. Anyhoo–the point is that the first user of a scarce resource has a better claim to it than latecomers. Simple.

    After all, what we want to stop in an aggressive person is not the actions of his body (which could at the right time be appropriate), but a change in the understanding and the will which controls the body. So the “concretes are all that there need be” is spectacularly false.

    Uhhhhhhhh .. hunh? (picture of dog cocking his head sideways when hearing a confusing sound)

    The criticisms could go on and on. For instance, trademarks are illegitimate – after all they are simply an arrangement of ink, etc.

    JIm, are you even *aware* of what has already been written on this? I addressed this explicitly in my Against IP article; and again, in my reply to Frank Van Dun on this trademark issue in a recent JLS.

  • Published: October 8, 2006 2:55 PM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – I’ve read a number of articles written by you, but unfortunately, at least to me, each seem to offer significant problems in logic – the arguments against IP are not exempt. There are big problems with IP, but your arguments do not do those problems justice.

    The fact that people will pay for ideas means they are scarce in the senses we normally attach to the acquisition and sale of property.

    Sellable ideas are:

    1 – generatively scarce because they rely on resources that are scarce

    2 – rivalrous because the buyer does not have the ideas and wants them – hence it is no different than denying another person your goods before they pay for them

    3 – rivalrous in the sense that the seller can legitimately restrict distribution to those willing to pay for the idea, provided the idea is not already in the public domain. Those that have the same idea independently are clearly also owners.

    Perhaps you can enlighten? I see no functional difference between paying a doctor for his “experiential knowledge” and paying for ideas, both of which are owned by the seller and of which the seller can demand non-disclosure (thus non-replicability by the buyer). It’s the same for non-competition clauses in private contracts for employment.

  • Published: October 8, 2006 9:38 PM

  • Scott D
  • I think that it is very telling that neither side in this debate quite “gets” where the other side is coming from. Frankly, I don’t get the arguments of the pro-IP crowd, but not for lack of trying. Stephan has laid it out his theories quite persuasively and elegantly in “Against Intellectual Property”. Any defense of IP needs to start with a systematic refutation of the points laid down in this article. Trying to categorically deny the validity of Kinsella’s arguments on the basis of observed actions in the marketplace or by quibbling over what homesteading “really” means is missing the point. The real meat of his argument is that IP and “real” property rights must necessarily come into conflict, which I think is self-evident.

    JimB:

    “If ever an economic actor gives up “money for ideas” obviously he or she, by their actions, admits they do not own the quantity or quality of them they wish. Hence the market, by placing a positive price on ideas, is confirming ownership.”

    That ideas are valuable and are routinely exchanged for money is a given, but does that make them property? If I hire someone to mow my grass, have I acquired any property? If I pay for piano lessons, have I bought property? Can I sell my lessons back to the piano teacher later on when I get tired of them? Just because there is a market in a good does not mean that the good is workable as a property right.

    In my mind, what has happened is that we have been with patents and copyrights for so long, treating them as property, that many people cannot conceive of them being anything else. Rather than wrestling with the difficult implications (and there are some potentially thorny ones) of abolishing IP law, these people cling to it tenaciously and justify it to the point of absurdity.

    The internet has changed everything. Music, movies, books, software, none of these can hide behind the relative safety of being tied to a medium anymore. And I think that it is as it should be. It is no more productive to cling to the old model of distributing music, for example, than it is to decry the loss of jobs when a factory automates its production line.

    So how would we get by in a world without IP? Patents are the biggest issue, causing the most harm because of their multiple diversions of productivity. Abolishing patents would basically make ventures that are currently based upon them just as profitable and risky as other types of entrepreneurial ventures. The first firm to market with the idea has a good chance of earning an economic profit, with that profit steadily decreasing as competitors implement the idea and enter the market.

    Would this stifle creativity and stagnate these markets? I argue quite to the contrary. No, I see the problem of ongoing competition sparking an explosion of innovation in which competing firms attempt to differentiate their own products by ongoing research and development.

    In a world without IP law, why would anyone write books, make music or movies? As a not-so-serious writer, I can tell you that the answer is that they will continue doing so for the same reason they always have: personal enjoyment. Publishing a book now requires nothing more than a computer and storage space on a webserver, and music needs much the same, with some specialized hardware and software.

    Those particularly talented individuals who really think that their offerings are worth some cash would find a solution. Writers could offer their work as an encryption-secured, paid subscription service. For musicians, the answer is live music, which much better represents the realities of a free-market system than CDs. That would make music filesharing their medium of advertising.

    Movies have a bit of a hurdle to overcome with the high production costs involved. One observation I have concerning that is that those costs are a direct result of the monopoly power of ideas. Movies cost so much to make because it is profitable to do so at this time. Pull the monopoly rug out from under the industry and observe all that productivity diverted elsewhere.

    Seriously, though, I think that the movie industry would continue to survive and thrive, but with a very different business model. Whether the result would be jealous restrictions on how someone gains access to the content or a particularly clever sales scheme is something I’d rather leave up to the free market to devise.

    Software is a rather interesting case, because open-source licensing points to just the opposite of what IP lay proponents predict about failing to incentivize. Open source projects are the source of some of the liveliest and most valuable software development occurring today. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that open source software debunks the myth of the free rider, but that is a topic for another thread.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 12:16 AM

  • Artisan
  • Dr. Kinsella
    ”I don’t really know what you are trying to say.”

    Oh, that’s nothing new to you, Dr. Kinsella, as you made it relatively clear that you understand the flaw of the “Lockean proviso”… Perhaps you remember how I begged you to have Prof. Hermann Hoppe to occasionally express his views on the following idea as a conclusion? “If identity could be considered a part of the integrity of someone’s property, then it would be unethical to mess up this identity by any mean… according to the definition Prof. Hoppe makes of property in “Four Critical Replies “ ,,. In this case thus, plagiarism would be unethical, which justifies some copyright on the other hand.
    By the way, my proposition with the bottles of champagne is still going…

    My intervention in this blog concerns just the fact that some of your disciples (well maybe it’s only David C.) don’t seem to accept that key concept of homesteading explained by Rothbard .
    I wonder if it’s more important to you they be anti-IP or that they understand the flawed “Lockean proviso” and the full extent of homesteading thus. But – please excuse this presumptuous suggestion – in case it’s more important to you to be anti-IP, maybe you/they should consider a secessionist non-Rothbardian libertarian movement?

  • Published: October 9, 2006 5:37 AM

  • Artisan
  • Scott D.

    “Those particularly talented individuals who really think that their offerings are worth some cash would find a solution. Writers could offer their work as an encryption-secured, paid subscription service.”

    you do understand how this is not a solution to secure them a living from their individual art, if all copies are legal, don’t you?

  • Published: October 9, 2006 5:46 AM

  • Scott D
  • Artisan: “you do understand how this is not a solution to secure them a living from their individual art, if all copies are legal, don’t you?”

    Technology taketh away, and technology giveth a solution.

    What I’m saying is that it is perfectly acceptable to control the means of distribution. Consumers who want access to the content will have to agree to receive it through a medium that limits their ability to copy it.

    Now, that doesn’t prevent someone from potentially cracking the software (not likely, if size of the encryption key is up to standards and the source code is kept out of the public eye) or simply typing out a copy word-for-word.

    Two observations here: Current publishing tacks a lot onto the cost of a book. Really, though, the only service that a writer needs for publishing over the internet is an editor. If the price of a book sold this way is adjusted to a reasonable value by the market, say, two dollars, a writer who makes 50,000 book sales would have a tidy sum to split with the editor. If the author released a book as a serial, one chapter a month, the cost per chapter could be as low as oh, let’s say 25 cents per month. Would this really put the incentive out there for people to copy and redistribute it?

    My second observation is that books still work best when they are books. Books are more portable and less strain on the eyes than a computer screen. There is the danger of rogue publishing houses running off their own copies of the book, but this can be largely solved by contracting with book distributors to only carry official, authorized copies (ie. copies that pay the author’s royalties). I would suggest that consumers would prefer to make sure some of their money goes to the original author.

    I think that the overall money flowing into this sector would be lower, but that’s the nature of a leaner, more efficient non-IP law economy.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 8:25 AM

  • JIMB
  • Scott D – Ideas would be traded even in the presence of zero IP — because ideas are the basis for purposeful human action.

    I don’t think you’ve been reading the posts carefully – The argument that “it is unjust because one must infringe on concrete property to enforce IP property” is nonsense. Trading concrete property is as “abstract” as trading ownership in ideas because what is changing hands is “rightful use” (physical property may not even change hands) – so concrete property is in fact tied to abstracts.

    If you pay someone for an idea, certainly something changes hands — what? You say there is no “ownership” but I assert the simple direct observable brute fact that market behavior indicates at least some ideas are owned and exchanged and they would be even if there were not IP law.

    I think where we disagree is not whether IP can be fair or just (it cannot help but be partly arbitrary), but whether it should be dispensed with completely and writers, programmers, chemists, pharmaceuticals, etc. be continuously aggressed upon by allowing unjust and unauthorized distribution of their “goods”. What we’ve got might be bad, but what Stephan proposes is far worse – and also illogical at root.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 8:31 AM

  • Scott D
  • I’ve thought about this subject a lot, since one of these days I’d like to get around to publishing. How about this:

    “Author J.K. Rowling announced this morning that she is already hard at work on the next installment of the the highly-successful “Harry Potter” series of books. The new book is projected for an October 2010 release, with a sponsor goal of 8.5 million dollars. Rowling has promised that patrons who give a donation in excess of two thousand dollars will be invited to an exclusive meet-and-greet and book reading and will receive an autographed, leather-bound special edition of the new book. Donations of two-hundred dollars or more will receive an autographed copy of the book’s standard edition, following down to the paperback release at eight dollars.

    Analysts are already predicting that the sponsor goal will be surpassed by a wide margin, and speculations are running rampant that this time around, Rowling is planning a world tour to satisfy the demands of her fans who will pay the premium to meet her in person. Rowling’s book will be available for free download from the author’s website one month after the its official printed release.”

    Of course, all of these distribution methods could coexist, with bestsellers taking the rockstar route outlined above, and unknowns choosing secure internet distribution or conventional publishing.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 9:34 AM

  • Person
  • I just wanted to point out here, so no one thinks I’m chickening out, why it’s impossible to discuss anything with Stephan. I know, this is meta-talk, but Stephan uses his exact same tactic each and every time I try to make my case on this blog.

    1) I explain that the non-scarcity of ideas (to the extent it’s true doesn’t help his case and is irrelevant.

    2) Stephan tries to distract readers by acting like I have to prove his conclusion wrong to establish 1), which is false.

    3) Stephan then says scarcity really is relevant because it forms the basis for his property theory.

    3) is, of course, missing the point, as I’ve said over and over. While scarcity might form the basis of his property theory, the specific non-scarcity of ideas has no relevance. In this latest thread, I explain that Stephan’s confusion arises due to his careless sliding from one definition of scarcity to another. Of course, I’ve made the same point in different ways on several other threads by asking such over-Stephan’s-heads questions such as:

    Can a socialist claim the right to sleep in a farmer’s field because “the farmer isn’t using it” and therefore “there’s no scarcity”?

    Are radio frequencies really scarce if more than one person can transmit along one in the same region?

    And others I can’t remember. Stephan deliberately dodges this critique of his case. You can see it now in how he REFUSES to specify which definition of “scarcity” he’s using. Is he talking about “value scarcity” (impossibility of satsifying coincident desires) or is he talking about “physical scarcity” (impossibility of satisfying coincident uses) when he forms his libertarian theory? Does he even know?

    I have made this challenge again, and again, and Stephan will never respond without changing the subject. In his mind, everyone is either agreeing with him or saying stupid stuff, so he will never seriously consider any objection to his arguments whatsoever. His entire JLS article is an exercise in preaching to the choir. Until he answers this objection, he is a crank, pure and simple.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 10:03 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Artisan:

    Dr. Kinsella: ”I don’t really know what you are trying to say.”Oh, that’s nothing new to you, Dr. Kinsella, as you made it relatively clear that you understand the flaw of the “Lockean proviso”… Perhaps you remember how I begged you to have Prof. Hermann Hoppe to occasionally express his views on the following idea as a conclusion? “If identity could be considered a part of the integrity of someone’s property, then it would be unethical to mess up this identity by any mean… according to the definition Prof. Hoppe makes of property in “Four Critical Replies ” ,,. In this case thus, plagiarism would be unethical, which justifies some copyright on the other hand.
    By the way, my proposition with the bottles of champagne is still going…

     

    I vaguely recall this (and btw HOppe did confirm for me in private that I am correct about his view). but what I meant is, I find your langauge or wording so bizarre and obscure I am really not sure what you are asking.

    As for the Lockean proviso, both Hoppe and I reject it. Hoppe mentions this in his replies; and I mention it in my review of de Jasay’s book Against Order (see p. 91 and footnote 5).

    My intervention in this blog concerns just the fact that some of your disciples (well maybe it’s only David C.) don’t seem to accept that key concept of homesteading explained by Rothbard .

    I really don’t know what you are trying to say or what your question is. You are not being clear, at least not to me. I have no disciples. There are just lots of people who see IP for the crock it is.

    I wonder if it’s more important to you they be anti-IP or that they understand the flawed “Lockean proviso” and the full extent of homesteading thus.

    I don’t know how the Lockean proviso got brough up or its relevance. My view on IP is just an application of or consequence of my libertarian conception of the nature of property rights.

    But – please excuse this presumptuous suggestion – in case it’s more important to you to be anti-IP,

    no; IP is just derivative; a secondary topic.

    maybe you/they should consider a secessionist non-Rothbardian libertarian movement?

    As far as I know my IP views are perfectly compatible with Rothbard’s conception of property rights. I think this is why my IP views are agreed with by various ultra-Rothbardians, such as Block, HOppe, and Salerno.
    Scott D:

    My second observation is that books still work best when they are books. Books are more portable and less strain on the eyes than a computer screen. There is the danger of rogue publishing houses running off their own copies of the book, but this can be largely solved by contracting with book distributors to only carry official, authorized copies (ie. copies that pay the author’s royalties).

    Scott, I suspect that this is only temporarily true: it seems inevitable that something like an e-book reader (an iPod for books) will eventually largely supplant books. It might take 10 or 20 years, but I think it will happen. What do you think would happen then? It seems to me that NOW if an author publishes his book for free on the Internet, in most cases it does increase book sales, for the reason you gave. But this is because there is no e-reader substitute for books yet. When that does become a reality, I think publishing an e-copy of the book for free will have greater costs. What do you imagine publishers/authors will do when this happens…. some kind of cartel agreement etc.? Curious as to your thoughts. 

    I don’t think you’ve been reading the posts carefully – The argument that “it is unjust because one must infringe on concrete property to enforce IP property” is nonsense.

    No; this actually happens. Companies and people get injunctions to force them not to use their own property in certain ways. Or have to pay money damages if they do so. Trust me, this happens all the time.

    Trading concrete property is as “abstract” as trading ownership in ideas because what is changing hands is “rightful use” (physical property may not even change hands) – so concrete property is in fact tied to abstracts.

    Uh, okay. Anywhoo: IP still means recipe-thinkers gain control over others’ property. It just ain’t right.

    I think where we disagree is not whether IP can be fair or just (it cannot help but be partly arbitrary),

    It’s completely arbitry, and a creature of statute.

    but whether it should be dispensed with completely and writers, programmers, chemists, pharmaceuticals, etc. be continuously aggressed upon by allowing unjust and unauthorized distribution of their “goods”.

    Aggression is the unconsented-to invasion of the borders of others property (owned scarce resources–thins that have borders). What you are describing is not aggression.

    What we’ve got might be bad, but what Stephan proposes is far worse – and also illogical at root.

    No, it’s not.Person the pest:

    I just wanted to point out here, so no one thinks I’m chickening out, why it’s impossible to discuss anything with Stephan.

    You stand contradicted.

    I know, this is meta-talk,

    yes, and, sigh, here we go again.

    but Stephan uses his exact same tactic each and every time I try to make my case on this blog.

    tactic? I have certain ideas and principles. 

    1) I explain that the non-scarcity of ideas (to the extent it’s true doesn’t help his case and is irrelevant.

    You do not explain it–you argue it; and you do so unpersuasively. I have pointed out many times why I disagree. Let it go. Take a breath. Realize we don’t all agree w/ your nattering, confused views.

    2) Stephan tries to distract readers by acting like I have to prove his conclusion wrong to establish 1), which is false.

    Wait, what is false?

    3) Stephan then says scarcity really is relevant because it forms the basis for his property theory.

    Right. Bingo. Got it. The whole debate is whether IP is really property. Our view is that only scarce resources are property. IP is not scarce; therefore it’s not property. In fact the non-rivalrousness of IP means that if you try to make it property, you end up infringing on property rights in material things. This has always been my point.

    3) is, of course, missing the point, as I’ve said over and over. While scarcity might form the basis of his property theory, the specific non-scarcity of ideas has no relevance.

    Oh, I don’t know about that.

    In this latest thread, I explain that Stephan’s confusion arises due to his careless sliding from one definition of scarcity to another.

    I always use scarcity in the “rivalrous” sense. It is you poeple who say, “Aw, shucks, golleee, I shore know good ideas is sure scarce! We need more of ’em, huh-yuk!” That is using “scarcity” in the casual, “not-plentiful” sense, instead of in its strictly “rivalrous” meaning. It’s sneaky.

    Of course, I’ve made the same point in different ways on several other threads by asking such over-Stephan’s-heads questions such as:Can a socialist claim the right to sleep in a farmer’s field because “the farmer isn’t using it” and therefore “there’s no scarcity”?

    The farmer owns the field because he was the first to use it. The field is rivalrous–the farmer wants it used in one way, the vagrant another. The farmer is the owner, so his decision is the one that matters.

    Are radio frequencies really scarce if more than one person can transmit along one in the same region?

    See David Kelley, Laissez-Parler, on this.

    And others I can’t remember. Stephan deliberately dodges this critique of his case.

    What critique? How do your ad hoc queries change the fact that assigning rights in ideas is a way of assigning proprty rights in real things in contravention of the first-use-first-own principle?

    You can see it now in how he REFUSES to specify which definition of “scarcity” he’s using.

    I always use it in the economic sense of rivalrousness. Are you not familiar with it?

    Is he talking about “value scarcity” (impossibility of satsifying coincident desires) or is he talking about “physical scarcity” (impossibility of satisfying coincident uses) when he forms his libertarian theory? Does he even know?

    I don’t know what value scarcity is, it sounds like something you dreamed up.

    I have made this challenge again, and again, and Stephan will never respond without changing the subject. In his mind, everyone is either agreeing with him or saying stupid stuff,

    Of course not–but it is rare to have a coherent, intelligent objection to IP. I actually think the utilitarian case is probably the best.

    Until he answers this objection, he is a crank, pure and simple.

    I think that’s a first! haha.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 10:33 AM

  • Person
  • 2) Stephan tries to distract readers by acting like I have to prove his conclusion wrong to establish 1), which is false.

    Wait, what is false?


    It is false that I must justify IP in order to show that the non-scarcity of ideas is irrelevant to your attempted refutation of IP. Like you would have seen if your attention span were longer. [insert 1000th apology from Stephan about short attention span and promise to improve]

    3) Stephan then says scarcity really is relevant because it forms the basis for his property theory.
    Right. Bingo. Got it. The whole debate is whether IP is really property.

    No. The whole debate is whether IP claims regarding the use of scarce resources should be respected and enforced. It’s not just a semantic shift; this distinction underlies your careless treatment of the topic.

    Our view is that only scarce resources are property. IP is not scarce; therefore it’s not property. In fact the non-rivalrousness of IP means that if you try to make it property, you end up infringing on property rights in material things. This has always been my point.

    No. Your claim is that IP claims infringe on property rights you believe to be superior. This has nothing to do with ideas being non-scarce.

    me:3) is, of course, missing the point, as I’ve said over and over. While scarcity might form the basis of his property theory, the specific non-scarcity of ideas has no relevance.

    you: Oh, I don’t know about that.

    Unfortunately, I *do* know about that. And I know that you are in error. You do not know that you are in error because “everyone who says anything is either agreeing with you or saying stupid stuff”.

    me:In this latest thread, I explain that Stephan’s confusion arises due to his careless sliding from one definition of scarcity to another.

    you:I always use scarcity in the “rivalrous” sense.

    And you never bother to actually look up what that means in the context of my objections to your use of it. You “pass the buck” to economists who handle the concept of rivalry and think no further. However, as I have explained here and elsewhere (thought not always in these terms) there can be “value rivalry” and there can be “physical rivalry”. Normally, no one bothers to distinguish them, but here, when you clearly slide between them, the distinction is vital. In the farmer’s field example, there is value rivalry but not physical rivalry. There is not physical rivalry because it is *physically* possible for both the trespasser to sleep in the field, and for crops to grow. There is value rivalry because the trespasser wants to sleep in the field, while the farmer does not want him to sleep in the field. Again, Stephan, what kind of rivalry are you talking about?

    It is you poeple who say, “Aw, shucks, golleee, I shore know good ideas is sure scarce! We need more of ’em, huh-yuk!” That is using “scarcity” in the casual, “not-plentiful” sense, instead of in its strictly “rivalrous” meaning. It’s sneaky.

    No, Stephan, I have never used it in this sense, and for you to claim I have, you are perpetrating a fraud on all readers of this thread. You are lying to prove a point. Shame on you. Go back and read what I actually posted for once in your life.

    me:Can a socialist claim the right to sleep in a farmer’s field because “the farmer isn’t using it” and therefore “there’s no scarcity”?

    you: The farmer owns the field because he was the first to use it. The field is rivalrous–the farmer wants it used in one way, the vagrant another. The farmer is the owner, so his decision is the one that matters.

    And there you go again. You start from using the concept of value scarcity (mutually exclusive desires on how to use something) to justify your property theory, but you switch to complaining about physical (non-)scarcity of ideas for IP. IP is precisely as scarce as it is in the sense you are using it right here — Neil Diamond wants his ideas used one way, Bobby wants that idea used a different way. Physical non-scarcity of the idea has nothing to do with it.

    me:Are radio frequencies really scarce if more than one person can transmit along one in the same region?

    you:See David Kelley, Laissez-Parler, on this.

    NO. You explain, in your own words. Don’t let others do your heavy lifting. You’re a grown-up. You can make your own arguments.

    How do your ad hoc queries change the fact that assigning rights in ideas is a way of assigning proprty rights in real things in contravention of the first-use-first-own principle?

    I am not trying to claim that. My claim all along, you know, the one you keep distorting, is that the non-(physical)-scarcity of ideas has nothing to do with your case against IP. For the reasons above you probably already forgot.

    me:You can see it now in how he REFUSES to specify which definition of “scarcity” he’s using.

    you:I always use it in the economic sense of rivalrousness. Are you not familiar with it?

    *I* am familiar with it. *You* are not. You carelessly slide between two definitions that are important to distinguish in this case. See above for why, which you have by now probably already “forgotten”.

    me:Is he talking about “value scarcity” (impossibility of satsifying coincident desires) or is he talking about “physical scarcity” (impossibility of satisfying coincident uses) when he forms his libertarian theory? Does he even know?

    you: I don’t know what value scarcity is, it sounds like something you dreamed up.

    You don’t know? Maybe you could have read the several times I defined it. You know, like how I defined it in the part you were just responding to before you fraudulently claimed not to know what it is. I didn’t “dream it up”. I certainly didn’t dream up the concept of desires conflicting (which is what value scarcity ultimately is). I certainly didn’t dream up the value/physical distinction that economists — you know, the ones you fraudently lean on to lend an artificial aura of credibility to you arguments — make, such as in the context of “value productivity” vs. “physical productivity”.

    me:I have made this challenge again, and again, and Stephan will never respond without changing the subject. In his mind, everyone is either agreeing with him or saying stupid stuff,

    you: Of course not–but it is rare to have a coherent, intelligent objection to IP.

    Of course. OH! You mean, it’s rare to have a coherent, intelligent defense of IP! Well, if you had been reading my posts (I can dream), you would have noticed that I’m not objecting (yet) to your conclusion (the unjustifiability of IP), but to your pretence that idea “non-scarcity” matters. Once you grow up and concede that error in your paper, then we can get to that. But not until.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 11:23 AM

  • Scott D
  • Okay. Let’s look at “value” scarcity. I contest that it is irrelevant because it is ONLY valid as a separate concept from “physical” scarcity if we are talking about IP. I see this as a circular argument. IP is justified through a concept which could not exist without IP. To illustrate an example of “impossibility of satisfying coincident desires” let’s say we have two people who each purchase a banana cream pie in a restaurant. Person A loves banana cream pie, but becomes nauseous at the thought of someone else eating one. Seeing Person B buying the same pie, Person A becomes violently ill and is unable to eat his own pie. The system has failed to satisfy both person’s desires to eat their pie. Obviously, the answer is to prohibit B from purchasing a pie, right?

    I would challenge you to come up with a counterexample of “scarcity of values” that is reasonable and is not a case of IP.

    Now let’s look at scarcity of ideas. Yes, ideas are scarce in the sense that you can’t just get any idea you want whenever you want. They are scarce in the same way that piano lessons are scarce. See where I’m going with this? In fact, what is scarce is the SOURCE of ideas and piano lessons, the people who come up with them. This is the fundamental error that you are making, Person. It is not the ideas themselves that are scarce, but the cognitive processes which produced those ideas.

    Person: “Can a socialist claim the right to sleep in a farmer’s field because “the farmer isn’t using it” and therefore “there’s no scarcity”?”

    The land is scarce because it can only be put to use by one owner for production, in fact or in potential. Just because the farmer is not using that spot for production at that moment does not mean that he gives up his rights to that land. I fail to see how this is relevant to IP law.

    I’ve listed above some examples of where ideas could still be traded, but again, it is not the ideas themselves that are being purchased. It is access to those ideas. This is the epiphany that I had several years ago with regard to the music industry, when all the hysteria over free downloading was just starting. CDs are a physical medium that gives access to music, in the same way as buying a concert ticket.

    As long as the access is restricted, there is money to be made on ideas. That access either means direct contact with the originator of the idea (the true scarce resource) or technological solutions which extend the inventor’s/artist’s presence and hide those ideas from common view.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 11:43 AM

  • Person
  • Scott_D:

    Okay. Let’s look at “value” scarcity. I contest that it is irrelevant because it is ONLY valid as a separate concept from “physical” scarcity if we are talking about IP. I see this as a circular argument. IP is justified through a concept which could not exist without IP. … I would challenge you to come up with a counterexample of “scarcity of values” that is reasonable and is not a case of IP.


    You just gave an example (quoted below) of value scarcity that had nothing to do with IP. (though the part about A wanting to eat his own pie is an unnecessary addition — all that’s necessary for value scarcity is that A want no one to eat a pie, and for B to want to eat a pie. You just confuse the example by predicating that A also wants to eat a pie.)

    To illustrate an example of “impossibility of satisfying coincident desires” let’s say we have two people who each purchase a banana cream pie in a restaurant. Person A loves banana cream pie, but becomes nauseous at the thought of someone else eating one. Seeing Person B buying the same pie, Person A becomes violently ill and is unable to eat his own pie. The system has failed to satisfy both person’s desires to eat their pie. Obviously, the answer is to prohibit B from purchasing a pie, right?

    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. From the fact that there is value scarcity it does not follow that the dispute should be resolve in A’s favor (or in B’s favor)! Where do people keep getting this idea? The question of whether there is scarcity is a separate one from whose claim is better.

    Now let’s look at scarcity of ideas. Yes, ideas are scarce in the sense that you can’t just get any idea you want whenever you want. They are scarce in the same way that piano lessons are scarce. See where I’m going with this? …

    No. While that’s an interesting kind of scarcity, it has nothing to do with any argument I’ve made on this thread. It is not the kind of scarcity I’m referring to (either in the value or physical sense). It has nothing to do with any argument I’ve advanced here.

    me: “Can a socialist claim the right to sleep in a farmer’s field because “the farmer isn’t using it” and therefore “there’s no scarcity”?”
    you:The land is scarce because it can only be put to use by one owner for production, in fact or in potential. Just because the farmer is not using that spot for production at that moment does not mean that he gives up his rights to that land. I fail to see how this is relevant to IP law.

    It’s unfortunate that you can’t see it, so I’ll explain (again). I’m not currently asserting any conclusion about rights (again). My point is that the use of the land for growing is not mutually exclusive with using the land for sleeping. That means there’s no PHYSICAL scarcity. The desire to sleep on the land is, however, mutually exclusive with the farmer’s desire that no one (else) sleep on the land. That means there is VALUE scarcity.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 12:01 PM

  • Scott D
  • Person: “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. From the fact that there is value scarcity it does not follow that the dispute should be resolve in A’s favor (or in B’s favor)! Where do people keep getting this idea? The question of whether there is scarcity is a separate one from whose claim is better.”

    My point was to illustrate that A’s desire is spurious and irrelevant to the issue of scarcity. The fact that we have satisfied the desire for pie for both A and B is as far as we should go. To even consider what A thinks about B’s use of a pie is to invite coercion into the picture (which IP law does). It confuses and dilutes the issue. Which puts us back to considering whether or not IP is actually “property” in the sense of a “physical” resource.

    Person: “The desire to sleep on the land is, however, mutually exclusive with the farmer’s desire that no one (else) sleep on the land. That means there is VALUE scarcity.”

    You are defining this in terms that seem overly convoluted. Why do we need to know how the farmer values the land at all? We could just as easily say that the farmer values no airplanes flying over his land. Does that make his value reasonable or enforceable? The right to exclusive physical access to the land is not a separate concept from owning it. It’s part and parcel, contained within the definition of property itself. You cannot have “value scarcity” as you define it without “physical scarcity”.

    Stephen Kinsella: “What do you imagine publishers/authors will do when this happens…. some kind of cartel agreement etc.? Curious as to your thoughts.”

    Find a new way to limit access. Publishers sell an e-book reader with a proprietary embedded OS that establishes a secure connection to the publisher’s webserver. An encrypted copy of the book is downloaded to the e-book reader. We might store the decryption key in the reader from the outset, but the problem with that kind of arrangement is that eventually, someone will leak the source code for the decryption key and then all future e-book sales to that reader are compromised. I would want to develop a secure mechanism for determining valid e-books to distribute the decryption code to.

    Of course, it won’t be bullet-proof. Modern decryption, when done properly and to a high number of bits, is extremely hard to get through, with absurd amounts of computing power and centuries of time required to crack. People are the weak link, and that is how the software will be cracked, but hopefully not right away. The book would then naturally enter what we now call “public domain”.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 12:37 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • It is false that I must justify IP in order to show that the non-scarcity of ideas is irrelevant to your attempted refutation of IP. Like you would have seen if your attention span were longer. [insert 1000th apology from Stephan about short attention span and promise to improve]

    Uh,… okay? And then… and soooo….?

    3) Stephan then says scarcity really is relevant because it forms the basis for his property theory. SK: Right. Bingo. Got it. The whole debate is whether IP is really property.P: No. The whole debate is whether IP claims regarding the use of scarce resources should be respected and enforced. It’s not just a semantic shift; this distinction underlies your careless treatment of the topic.

    I don’t know what debate you are having, but “the” debate I’m talking about is whether IP is property.

    SK: Our view is that only scarce resources are property. IP is not scarce; therefore it’s not property. In fact the non-rivalrousness of IP means that if you try to make it property, you end up infringing on property rights in material things. This has always been my point.No. Your claim is that IP claims infringe on property rights you believe to be superior.

    NOt at all. IP claims don’t infringe on anything. Rather, it is IP laws, which are really laws transfering control rights from the owner to others. These laws are *based on* the notion that IP is “really” property, but it’s not, since it’s not rivalrous. Get it now?

    This has nothing to do with ideas being non-scarce.

    What has nothing to do with it?

    me:3) is, of course, missing the point, as I’ve said over and over. While scarcity might form the basis of his property theory, the specific non-scarcity of ideas has no relevance.you: Oh, I don’t know about that.

    Unfortunately, I *do* know about that. And I know that you are in error. You do not know that you are in error because “everyone who says anything is either agreeing with you or saying stupid stuff”.

    Really? Is that what you think?

    you:I always use scarcity in the “rivalrous” sense.And you never bother to actually look up what that means in the context of my objections to your use of it. You “pass the buck” to economists who handle the concept of rivalry and think no further.

    you disagree w/ the economic concept of rivalry now? Interesting. You should write a paper on it. See if you can go anywhere w/ it.

    There is value rivalry because the trespasser wants to sleep in the field, while the farmer does not want him to sleep in the field. Again, Stephan, what kind of rivalry are you talking about?

    You know, where the use by one excludes the use by the other.

    No, Stephan, I have never used it in this sense, and for you to claim I have, you are perpetrating a fraud on all readers of this thread. You are lying to prove a point. Shame on you. Go back and read what I actually posted for once in your life.

    I said “you people” in general, I can’t remember which if you bozos said it. IT’s not a “fraud”; what are you, a Randian now? Sheesh. B/c that sounds awfully dimwit-Serioso to me.

    IP is precisely as scarce as it is in the sense you are using it right here — Neil Diamond wants his ideas used one way, Bobby wants that idea used a different way. Physical non-scarcity of the idea has nothing to do with it.

    Yeah, I think it does.

    NO. You explain, in your own words. Don’t let others do your heavy lifting. You’re a grown-up. You can make your own arguments.

    What.

    SK: How do your ad hoc queries change the fact that assigning rights in ideas is a way of assigning proprty rights in real things in contravention of the first-use-first-own principle?I am not trying to claim that.

    Good. Can we go home now?

    My claim all along, you know, the one you keep distorting, is that the non-(physical)-scarcity of ideas has nothing to do with your case against IP. For the reasons above you probably already forgot.

    Forgot what.

    you:I always use it in the economic sense of rivalrousness. Are you not familiar with it?*I* am familiar with it. *You* are not. You carelessly slide between two definitions that are important to distinguish in this case. See above for why, which you have by now probably already “forgotten”.

    So are you saying you have some new theory of how rivalrous should be defined? Interesting. Let me hear it.

    you: I don’t know what value scarcity is, it sounds like something you dreamed up.You don’t know? Maybe you could have read the several times I defined it.

    I thought you were sort of thinking out loud, sort of you know, doodling. When you get it sorted out, let me know.

    Once you grow up and concede that error in your paper, then we can get to that. But not until.

    I concede the error. I concede that everything I ever wrote was false. Including this concession.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 1:00 PM

  • Person
  • If anyone needs further proof about why Stephan is incapable of rational discussion of this issue, please read his last post. Scott D, I will reply to you later today.
  • Published: October 9, 2006 1:09 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Even though I believe that Stephen is essentially correct in his attitude towards the so called “intellectual property”, he stated something that seems inconsistent with the principle of self-ownership.

    Stephan said:

    [quote]”The reason mixing labor with unclaimed property homesteads it is not because you own your labor–you don’t; but because by doing this you emborder it and thereby set up observable borders that evidence *that you were* the first to use it”[/quote]

    A person does not own his/her labor? Who owns it than? Nobody? Everybody (society/community)? How can we sell our services/labor in the market if we have no property rights over it?

    The answer is simple: if a person owns his/her body, that implies that person’s ownership of the body’s energy, not only its matter (without combination of two, objective phenomena does not exist). Energy is manifested when some physical force is setting matter in motion (“ability to work”). Physical work is simply defined as a force acting upon an object to cause a transformation. Therefore, if we own our bodies (our matter and energy that shaped us) – this implies that we own our own work/labor. This fact allows people to exchange their services/labor for money in the marketplace (markets are not limited to tangible good).

    Property is established when physical work is applied to some matter that does not belong to someone else. When you fence a piece of unclaimed property and you take care of its protection, you apply labor (the act of building the fence, clearing the pathways in wilderness, and land surveillance represent labor). Notice that you can loose your property claim, if you claim property that you are not able to maintain or defend. A person who takes first steps on Mars cannot claim the property over the entire planet and he could not prevent hypothetical colonization from Earth in centuries to come. But even fencing might not be enough. In common law, a person can establish an adverse possession on a land that is abandoned for practical purposes. You can’t simply find 1,000 miles of an unclaimed beach line and expect that you will be able to maintain and defend your possession, especially when great numbers of people settle right next to it.

    You certainly can sell your services – advice, knowledge, or ideas – to anyone who is willing to pay for them. This market exchange occurs because of employers’ purposeful pursuit of valued ends with scarce human resources (means of production). HOWEVER, this does not imply that Michael Jordan could prevent others from using his recognizable slam-dunk or dribble technique. No one has a “right” to control what other people do with their own labor and resources. You have a right to sell your scarce ideas (services) to someone who wants to take advantage of first-comer to a particular market and to establish success patterns in production that competitors will not be able to copy at lower cost. But this does not imply that you have a right to use government’s force on someone else’s private property. Instead of seeking government’s coercion on someone else’s private property, artists should do what they did before the invention of recording devices – go out and perform. For example, the music will have better quality when market eliminates all “Milli Vanillis” of this world that cannot perform live.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 3:22 PM

  • TGGP
  • Person is the only person I have ever come across who uses the concept of “value scarcity”. It smacks of utilitarianism, but it isn’t scarcity. Furthermore, he seems to be deny that the inability to reconcile the contradictory desires of different people is any reason for the law to step in. So who cares? Ditch that silly “value scarcity” nonsense. Let’s just keep property rights where they belong, in physically scarce things.

    I agree with Person and against Rothbard on the radio spectrum though. It isn’t property.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 5:48 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Person is using logical lapses of his opponents to argue about something that is irrelevant to the “intellectual property” discussion.

    TGGP, scarcity applies to ALL MEANS OF PRODUCTION, including labor – not just material object. This is how an anarcho-capitalist can simply explain why services have value in the marketplace – and how we have a legal right to exchange these intangibles for money.

    The problem is that Stephan is starting with the premise that self-ownership applies only to physical matter, but not to the energy that creates our existence. No matter how original and different, this assumption is simply wrong and illogical. Person exploits this, without providing any justification for his illogical anti-private-property attitude, that seeks violation of some else’s private property, based on the nonsensical “first-bureaucratic-registration-of-certain-use-of-physical-matter” principle.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 6:25 PM

  • Paul Edwards
  • Sasha,

    “Stephan said:

    [quote]”The reason mixing labor with unclaimed property homesteads it is not because you own your labor–you don’t; but because by doing this you emborder it and thereby set up observable borders that evidence *that you were* the first to use it”[/quote]

    S: “A person does not own his/her labor? Who owns it than? Nobody? Everybody (society/community)? How can we sell our services/labor in the market if we have no property rights over it?”

    No one owns labor. Ownership is restricted to scarce physical resources. You can sell your labor because you own your scarce physical body.

    S: “The answer is simple: if a person owns his/her body, that implies that person’s ownership of the body’s energy, not only its matter (without combination of two, objective phenomena does not exist). Energy is manifested when some physical force is setting matter in motion (“ability to work”). Physical work is simply defined as a force acting upon an object to cause a transformation. Therefore, if we own our bodies (our matter and energy that shaped us) – this implies that we own our own work/labor. This fact allows people to exchange their services/labor for money in the marketplace (markets are not limited to tangible good).”

    It is an unnecessary and tangential tack to focus on energy, force or work in respect to property. If one simply remembers that without scarcity of physical resources, there would be no use or meaning to the concept property. If there were a super-abundance of all physical goods, including personal bodies, what could the concept of property add to life? Nothing.

    S: “Property is established when physical work is applied to some matter that does not belong to someone else. When you fence a piece of unclaimed property and you take care of its protection, you apply labor (the act of building the fence, clearing the pathways in wilderness, and land surveillance represent labor).”

    True, but it is the act of appropriating, of demonstrating having put to use in some fashion, this previously unowned material that turned it into a scarce resource and also gave you a demonstrated better right to control this resource than any late-comer. It is not that you own your labor; it is that you have used your labor to emborder the property and to demonstrate a better claim to the property than anyone else.

    S: “Notice that you can loose your property claim, if you claim property that you are not able to maintain or defend. A person who takes first steps on Mars cannot claim the property over the entire planet and he could not prevent hypothetical colonization from Earth in centuries to come. But even fencing might not be enough. In common law, a person can establish an adverse possession on a land that is abandoned for practical purposes. You can’t simply find 1,000 miles of an unclaimed beach line and expect that you will be able to maintain and defend your possession, especially when great numbers of people settle right next to it.”

    Property ownership does not boil down to being able to maintain or defend it. If you homestead the property by putting it to use first, you own it. If someone stronger than you kills you and confiscates the property, you were unable to defend it, this is true. But it is still your property, which is to say, you maintained a right to exclusive control of it. That you could not defend it is unfortunate, but not relevant to the question of property ownership.

    S: “You certainly can sell your services – advice, knowledge, or ideas – to anyone who is willing to pay for them. This market exchange occurs because of employers’ purposeful pursuit of valued ends with scarce human resources (means of production).”

    Yes. People are scarce, and therefore they are valued for their labor.

    S: “HOWEVER, this does not imply that Michael Jordan could prevent others from using his recognizable slam-dunk or dribble technique. No one has a “right” to control what other people do with their own labor and resources.”

    Correct. This is simply because MJ can only own scarce physical resources such as himself, his sneakers and his basketball. But he can’t own an idea or a move because to do so would give him a partial claim on the scarce physical resources of some other property owner’s property.

    S: “You have a right to sell your scarce ideas (services) to someone who wants to take advantage of first-comer to a particular market and to establish success patterns in production that competitors will not be able to copy at lower cost. But this does not imply that you have a right to use government’s force on someone else’s private property.”

    Correct. Because only scarce physical resources can be owned. Once an idea has been shared and it is in the minds of others, or written down or on some readable or copiable media, it is no longer scarce at all. It is only scarce so long as it remains in the minds or strictly in the possession of those few who are wishing to keep it a secret. It remains scarce in this way because those keeping the secret are scarce and are not sharing the information.

    S: “Instead of seeking government’s coercion on someone else’s private property, artists should do what they did before the invention of recording devices – go out and perform. For example, the music will have better quality when market eliminates all “Milli Vanillis” of this world that cannot perform live.”

    Excellent idea.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 7:25 PM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – I think the bottom line is your argument says “concrete property excludes other people from use while ideas do not, therefore ideas can’t be property”. I think you need to support that claim, rather than go in a huge logical loop.

    Idea “property” excludes everyone who hasn’t got the idea – there is no difference with concrete property. Just like you can acquire concrete property by making it yourself or buying it, you can make “ideational” property by generating it yourself or by buying it. A book is copywriteable because the probability of developing it independently (zero) means that copying it without permission is in essentials stealing. Hello – common sense! But you would say that is invalid …

    So support the essentials of the core claim rather than make the chain of argument from an unproved assertion and acting as if the argument is clinched.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 7:36 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    Even though I believe that Stephen is essentially correct in his attitude towards the so called “intellectual property”, he stated something that seems inconsistent with the principle of self-ownership.

     

    Stephan said:

    [quote]”The reason mixing labor with unclaimed property homesteads it is not because you own your labor–you don’t; but because by doing this you emborder it and thereby set up observable borders that evidence *that you were* the first to use it”[/quote]

    A person does not own his/her labor? Who owns it than? Nobody? Everybody (society/community)? How can we sell our services/labor in the market if we have no property rights over it? This is covered in Thoughts on Intellectual Property, Scarcity, Labor-ownership, Metaphors, and Lockean Homesteading. As for selling it see A Libertarian Theory of Contract. The idea is that you “sell a service” by having the buyer agree to transfer title to money if you do X. The service is just a condition that triggers the title transfer to a real thing.

    The answer is simple: if a person owns his/her body, that implies that person’s ownership of the body’s energy,

    Nonsense. This is the problem with overly metaphorical, poetical, non-rigorous, liberal-arts type thinking. It’s also a bit scientistic.

    The problem is that Stephan is starting with the premise that self-ownership applies only to physical matter, but not to the energy that creates our existence.

    I find this metaphorical, vague, New Agey type language to be obfuscating. As Paul pointed out, “No one owns labor. Ownership is restricted to scarce physical resources. You can sell your labor because you own your scarce physical body.”What Sasha seems not to recognize is that “ownerhsip of labor” is really just a consequence of owning your body and other resources you have homesteaded. As Rothbard notes the right to property is all that you really need to establish the “right to free speech,” and other “human rights.” These are not really primary; they are just consequences of, or derivative of, the right to property. Likewise, the property right in one’s body implies the right to “sell” your labor. You don’t need an extra right to your labor. It’s redundant. It’s already implied in the right to self-ownership.

    JimB:

    Stephan – I think the bottom line is your argument says “concrete property excludes other people from use while ideas do not, therefore ideas can’t be property”. I think you need to support that claim, rather than go in a huge logical loop.

     

    Idea “property” excludes everyone who hasn’t got the idea – there is no difference with concrete property. Just like you can acquire concrete property by making it yourself or buying it, you can make “ideational” property by generating it yourself or by buying it. A book is copywriteable because the probability of developing it independently (zero) means that copying it without permission is in essentials stealing. Yet again, I think apparent ignorance of copyright leads people to fail to realize what they are defending. Copyright is a bundle of rights including not only the exclusive right to reproduce a literal work–it also extends to “substantially similar” works; and it extends not only to the literal work, but to more abstract things like the plot (say, of Star Wars), and even to things like the “derivative rights”–the right to make new works that are somehow derivative of the first. For example, the genreal plot of Snow White, or Lady & the Tramp, or Star Wars, is generally known. I can dream up a new story, Kinsella’s further Adventures of han Solo–but that violates copyright too–even though it is not a copy of the original screenplay. So how do you defend this with your “probability” reasoning? You can’t; so you would I guess say, “well, er, ahem, I’m not supporting derivative rights.” Of course all the coprygiht advocates would go apesh*t if you pluck derivative rights out of the bundle. You denude it. You move towrad my position.

    and I point out often the injustice of the independent inventor issue–so you guys crawfish and say, well, uh, we don’t defend THAT. so if I say, well just waht do you favor, you say, well, I’m not an IP expert. How convenient.

    So support the essentials of the core claim rather than make the chain of argument from an unproved assertion and acting as if the argument is clinched.

    The argument is clinched. It is rather obvious, I believe, and it’s becoming more and more obvious to more and more people as the injustices of a system of IP become more and more manifest with our increasingly networked and digital world.I frankly don’t care if people like Person and others here are not persuaded. The idea is so obvious to people who have open eyes and no agenda, and not utilitarian leanings. I debate this hear out of amusement and so lurkers can see how vacuous and confused are the attempts to defend IP.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 8:54 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Paul,

    Ownership of matter without its energy can only be called PARTIAL (self) ownership. Our physical body and existence is composed of BOTH matter and energy. That is an irrefutable scientific fact.

    This lapse leads you to serious errors when you try to explain what employers actually pay for when they hire a person to perform some kind of SERVICE.

    To say that you sell only your physical matter in the marketplace would be completely wrong even in cases of prostitution. Employers do not lease your physical properties to do something with it – but they pay you for your body’s energy (especially mental) that will be mixed with some of their matter, as a mean of production (labor).

    If self-ownership did not apply to both matter and energy that form our physical existence, we would have no legal claim over our labor and its fruits. If you own just your physical body and not your energy, you have no way of establishing property rights. If you don’t own your energy and means of production provided by nature or your employer – what right do you have to ask for a wage? If you don’t own your energy, its activity can be claimed by someone else, without ever violating your body’s matter.

    ————————————————–

    Paul said: “No one owns labor. Ownership is restricted to scarce physical resources. You can sell your labor because you own your scarce physical body.”

    Incorrect. Physical body consists of both matter and energy. In the marketplace, I don’t sell my physical body. My physical body is not evaluated and valued in the marketplace (even though it is highly desirable : ). It is my skills and labor that is valued and traded for money. Concretely, my knowledge (teaching) is being evaluated and employed as the mean of production.

    ————————————————–

    Paul said: “If one simply remembers that without scarcity of physical resources, there would be no use or meaning to the concept property. If there were a super-abundance of all physical goods, including personal bodies, what could the concept of property add to life? Nothing.”

    Incorrect. There is no scarcity of dead human bodies, without any energy, skills, and abilities. There is scarcity of human organs due to government’s intervention (ban on organ sales) and the scarcity of labor that able humans can provide. Employers do not pay you for physical presence during some

    ————————————————–

    Paul said: “It is not that you own your labor; it is that you have used your labor to emborder the property and to demonstrate a better claim to the property than anyone else.”

    Incorrect. In order to fence a property and to demonstrate claim to the property (by transforming it somehow) you must apply labor. So there you go: you must mix your labor with non-owned matter in order to establish property. Human action is irrefutable.

    ————————————————–

    Paul said: “Property ownership does not boil down to being able to maintain or defend it. If you homestead the property by putting it to use first, you own it. If someone stronger than you kills you and confiscates the property, you were unable to defend it, this is true. But it is still your property, which is to say, you maintained a right to exclusive control of it. That you could not defend it is unfortunate, but not relevant to the question of property ownership.”

    Incorrect. There is no way a person can claim entire continent or a planet for himself, even if he/she discovers it first, simply because that person will not be able to demonstrate that land claim by defending it and maintaining it. A “land grab” is based on the ability to defend and take care of acquired property. Perhaps this seems crude to you, but that is reality, proved by history and logic.

    ————————————————–

    Paul: “Yes. People are scarce, and therefore they are valued for their labor.”

    Not all people are scarce. Markets do not have huge demand for quadriplegics or people in vegetative states. However, there is a (different) demand for skills that able people possess.

    ————————————————–

    Paul: “Correct. This is simply because MJ can only own scarce physical resources such as himself, his sneakers and his basketball. But he can’t own an idea or a move because to do so would give him a partial claim on the scarce physical resources of some other property owner’s property.”

    You agree with me for the wrong reason. Michael Jordan indeed OWNED his skills and energy that were used to produce his basketball output. Demand for his services was not due to his body – but his unique abilities. If someone found the way to impair his ability, without harming him physically, his market value would have sunk completely.

    ————————————————–

    Paul said: “Correct. Because only scarce physical resources can be owned. Once an idea has been shared and it is in the minds of others, or written down or on some readable or copiable media, it is no longer scarce at all. It is only scarce so long as it remains in the minds or strictly in the possession of those few who are wishing to keep it a secret. It remains scarce in this way because those keeping the secret are scarce and are not sharing the information.”

    Incorrect. Secret ideas are scarce and valued, because they can be employed as means of production. But that does not mean that a person does not own those ideas, as long as they are written down on our own property or inside our memory. In cases of theft of a written idea, a thief would not be liable for the cost of paper – but for the economic loss he caused to that person.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 9:31 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    Ownership of matter without its energy can only be called PARTIAL (self) ownership. Our physical body and existence is composed of BOTH matter and energy. That is an irrefutable scientific fact.

    I believe this is just meaningless, sidetracking scientism. Matter of course is correlated w/ a certain amount of energy via E = mc^2 but so what.

    To say that you sell only your physical matter in the marketplace would be completely wrong even in cases of prostitution.

    This is confused. No one maintains this. We just maintain that to “sell” something does not mean you “own” it–the term “sell” is just metaphorical; it’s okay to use it so long as it’s understand what is really being done her is making an agreement to transfer title to money upon the fulfilment of a given condition (namely, “that B perform X service”).

    Not all people are scarce.

    Human bodies are scarce in the economic sense, of course. 

  • Published: October 9, 2006 9:38 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephen said:

    QUOTE:
    _________________________________________________

    “I find this metaphorical, vague, New Agey type language to be obfuscating. As Paul pointed out, “No one owns labor. Ownership is restricted to scarce physical resources. You can sell your labor because you own your scarce physical body.”
    __________________________________________________

    ME AND NEW AGE!?

    LOL!

    WELL YOU SAID IT – You can sell your labor because you own your scarce physical body.

    Physical body is not only consisted of matter, but also of energy. Please, oh please, find a high school textbook in physics and check that out. Also, please see how any work, including human one, is produced.

    As I said, you try to be different and to reinvent the wheel, but you accomplished to produce the chance for Person to refute your quasi-arguments. Look at your claim: “This is because in one way ideas ARE scarce and in other way they are NOT scarce.”

    In way they are scarce…
    In other way they are not scarce…
    Ideas are scarce, becuse people’s demand exceeds supply when their price is zero – , but they are not “rivalrous”…

    Nonsense.

    Every single body in nature possesses both matter and energy. Those two components create objective phenomena in nature. That is the irrefutable scientific fact, and there is no discussion about this. If you claim that person owns his/her body, than you in fact claim that they own both matter and energy that create us. Since we own energy, we own its work, when it is mixed with some other matter. That is a simple logic.

    It would be a completely illogical and incorrect to claim that employers pay for physical presence of someone’s body matter (per hour) – and not for the amount and quality of work that our body exerts through energy – work that is valuable and sold in the marketplace (because we own it).

    You keep stating that we sell our physical body in the market-place. True – but which part: matter or energy? The sale of our matter (human organs) is currently banned. Hence, you can only logically claim that we sell the use of energy that we own for some kind of production. Scientifically, that use of energy is called work.

    EOD!

  • Published: October 9, 2006 10:02 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • STEPHAN: “I believe this is just meaningless, sidetracking scientism. Matter of course is correlated w/ a certain amount of energy via E = mc^2 but so what.”

    So what? So you don’t understand the fundamental phenomena that create any physical body, including human beings. You don’t understand the relation between energy and work that is produced. Yet, you keep on blabbing about it.’

    STEPHAN: “This is confused. No one maintains this. We just maintain that to “sell” something does not mean you “own” it–the term “sell” is just metaphorical; it’s okay to use it so long as it’s understand what is really being done her is making an agreement to transfer title to money upon the fulfillment of a given condition (namely, “that B perform X service”).”

    Hold on one second!!!! DO YOU ACTUALLY CLAIM THAT MARKET EXCHANGE IS NOT THE PROCESS OF “EXCHANGE OF THE OWNERSHIP TITLES”, to use Rothbard’s terminology. Are you actually serious in a claim that you can acquire someone else’s wealth (gold, whatever) by providing something to that person that does not belong to you? Nonsense!

    STEPHAN: “Human bodies are scarce in the economic sense, of course”

    TRUE! But human bodies are composed of matter and energy. People without energy (or ability for purposeful action) are not scarce in labor market. Our matter is very scarce because market supply of our organs is now illegal. But what is scarce in labor markets is the work – not matter. This work is produced by energy THAT IS PART OF OUR PHYSICAL BODY (that we own in its entirety).

  • Published: October 9, 2006 10:15 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • STEPHAN SAYS: We just maintain that to “sell” something DOES NOT MEAN you “own” it–the term “sell” is just metaphorical;

    ROTHBARD SAYS in “The Ethics of Liberty”: The free market is a society of voluntary and consequently mutually beneficial exchanges of OWNERSHIP TITLES between specialized producers.

    http://www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/seven.asp

    Do you now realize how hippie and “New Age” your silly argument is? They would most likely say: “Market is metaphorical. Why can we just do services for each other” (this is actually from an episode of South Park). To paraphrase Stan Marsh:
    – We already do that. It’s called town.

    LOL!

  • Published: October 9, 2006 10:27 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    “I find this metaphorical, vague, New Agey type language to be obfuscating. As Paul pointed out, “No one owns labor. Ownership is restricted to scarce physical resources. You can sell your labor because you own your scarce physical body.”
    __________________________________________________

     

    ME AND NEW AGE!?

    LOL!Yeah–this use of “energy” reminds me of the New Age California hippies who go on about the “energy” of crystals and people’s “auras,” and the off-putting, pseudo-scienfic use of “energy circuits” etc. in Rose Wilder Lane (or was that Isabel Paterson?).

    Physical body is not only consisted of matter, but also of energy. Please, oh please, find a high school textbook in physics and check that out. Also, please see how any work, including human one, is produced.

    I am of course familiar with basic physics, scientific, and engineering concepts but am not sure what you are saying here makes any sense. What exactly do you mean when you say bodies consist of energy *and* matter…? And what is the relevance? Even if you show our bodies are partially “energy” … how does this show that there is… intellectual property? Hunh? 

    As I said, you try to be different and to reinvent the wheel, but you accomplished to produce the chance for Person to refute your quasi-arguments. Look at your claim: “This is because in one way ideas ARE scarce and in other way they are NOT scarce.”

    I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel; trying to simplify and clarify some matters and focus on fundamentals to address an issue that gives a lot of people trouble.

    In way they are scarce… In other way they are not scarce… Ideas are scarce, becuse people’s demand exceeds supply when their price is zero – , but they are not “rivalrous”…Nonsense.

    Yes, whether you like it or not, the English language is ambiguous–sometimes one word has multiple meanings. If you use “scarce” in a casual, layman, non-rigorous, way to refer to the relative lack of plentifulness of a thing, that is different than the technical use which means rivalrous. I’ve been careful to define what I mean by the term I’m using all along.

    Every single body in nature possesses both matter and energy.

    Yeah, you are really hung up on that, I can see.

    Those two components create objective phenomena in nature. That is the irrefutable scientific fact, and there is no discussion about this.

    HO-kay, then.

    If you claim that person owns his/her body, than you in fact claim that they own both matter and energy that create us. Since we own energy, we own its work,

    That does not follow at all, Sasha.

    when it is mixed with some other matter. That is a simple logic.

    simple, maybe; simplistic, perhaps; but obviously true–no.

    It would be a completely illogical and incorrect to claim that employers pay for physical presence of someone’s body matter (per hour) – and not for the amount and quality of work that our body exerts through energy – work that is valuable and sold in the marketplace (because we own it).

    This is confused. I’ve addressed why already.

    You keep stating that we sell our physical body in the market-place.

    Really? I don’t recall that.

    True – but which part: matter or energy?

    I don’t mean to be inappropriate here… but you should realize these kind of comments come across to some people as crankish.

    STEPHAN: “I believe this is just meaningless, sidetracking scientism. Matter of course is correlated w/ a certain amount of energy via E = mc^2 but so what.”So what? So you don’t understand the fundamental phenomena that create any physical body, including human beings. You don’t understand the relation between energy and work that is produced. Yet, you keep on blabbing about it.’

    see above my hortation about crankism.

    STEPHAN: “This is confused. No one maintains this. We just maintain that to “sell” something does not mean you “own” it–the term “sell” is just metaphorical; it’s okay to use it so long as it’s understand what is really being done her is making an agreement to transfer title to money upon the fulfillment of a given condition (namely, “that B perform X service”).”Hold on one second!!!! DO YOU ACTUALLY CLAIM THAT MARKET EXCHANGE IS NOT THE PROCESS OF “EXCHANGE OF THE OWNERSHIP TITLES”, to use Rothbard’s terminology.

    Of course it is. But not every title transfer is an “exchange” in this sense. Sometimes it’s one way. I give you $10 for a gift. I give you $100 if the ship arrives tomorrow; you give me $100 if it does not (is this an “exchange”? or just two related and conditional transfers of title?); I give you $100 if you paint my house (a one-way title-transfer).

    Are you actually serious in a claim that you can acquire someone else’s wealth (gold, whatever) by providing something to that person that does not belong to you? Nonsense!

    Yes, I do, and no, it’s not nonsense at all. Suppose I agree to give you $100 if it rains tomorrow. When it does indeed rain, and I have to pay you the $100, does this imply the rain “belonged” to you? What if I promise to pay you $100 if I like the way you look in your finest suit? Does that mean the “way you look in your finest suit” is something that “belongs” to you? And so on.Likewise: I can agree to transfer money based on any condition I want–including the condition that you perform some action. If you perform the action and thereby fulfil the condition, thereby triggering the title transfer, this does not show that you “owned” the action. To maintain this is just metaphorical, pseudoscientific nonsense.

    STEPHAN: “Human bodies are scarce in the economic sense, of course”TRUE! But human bodies are composed of matter and energy.

    Er… yes. I think the readers get the point by now that you are wedded somehow to the purported Grand Significance of this incantation.

    People without energy (or ability for purposeful action) are not scarce in labor market.

    but by your definition energy is “bound up” with matter by some “scientific law,” implying that every person necessarily “has energy”; yet now you imply there are people “without energy”. Are you now using an even more pseudo-scientific meaning of “energy”? Do you envisage human bodies as some kind of vessel “filled” with the “energy” of “human action”? That’s, like, wow, man.

    Our matter is very scarce because market supply of our organs is now illegal. But what is scarce in labor markets is the work – not matter.

    you now mean to say that matter is not scarce in the technical sense of being rivalrous…? HO-kay….

    This work is produced by energy THAT IS PART OF OUR PHYSICAL BODY (that we own in its entirety).

    Well, if you say it, it must be so.

    ROTHBARD SAYS in “The Ethics of Liberty”: The free market is a society of voluntary and consequently mutually beneficial exchanges of OWNERSHIP TITLES between specialized producers.

    Yep. Usually if you give a merchant money for a given good, there is an exchange of property titles. But if you pay someone money for performing an action, technically it is not an exchange of title, but just a one-way transfer of title.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 10:56 PM

  • Person
  • Scott_D:

    My point was to illustrate that A’s desire is spurious and irrelevant to the issue of scarcity.

    A’s desire *is* spurious (though only in the sense of being ridiculous), but it is 100% relevant to the issue of scarcity. His desires conflict with the desires of others. That is itself scarcity, in exactly the sense Stephan uses it in forming his homesteading theory of property, BEFORE he hopes we’re not looking so he can switch to a different kind of scarcity.

    The fact that we have satisfied the desire for pie for both A and B is as far as we should go. …

    No, no, no, no, no. You’re not listening, Scott_D. Let’s go through this one more time, so that you and maybe even Stephan can understand this. There are two SEPARATE issues here: a) whether scarcity exists (and in which sense), and b), if there is scarcity, whose claim is justifiable? We can go both “as far as” recognizing that a) there is scarcity (both A and B cannot simultaneously be satisfied), and that b) B’s claim is superior to A’s. If you can’t understand this very basic concept, I have lost whatever hope I had for you. Please, try to think it over for at least six hours before responding.

    me: “The desire to sleep on the land is, however, mutually exclusive with the farmer’s desire that no one (else) sleep on the land. That means there is VALUE scarcity.”

    you: You are defining this in terms that seem overly convoluted. Why do we need to know how the farmer values the land at all? We could just as easily say that the farmer values no airplanes flying over his land.

    The reason I bring this up (14th time I’ve said this) is that someone (named Stephan Kinsella) carelessly shifts between different kinds of scarcity. He starts from “value scarcity” (conflicting desires) and when he gets to IP, dismisses it on grounds of “non-scarcity”, but in that case, he’s clearly talking about physical scarcity. Ideas are not physically scarce, but they are value scarce — some uses satsify one person and not another. Get it?

    TGGP:

    Person is the only person I have ever come across who uses the concept of “value scarcity”.

    Then you haven’t come across many people. “Value scarcity” simply refers to the impossibily of satisfying conflicting parties. Virtually everone refers to this concept. I only use the term to succinctly delineate the multiple ways Stephan uses the term “scarcity” (and to show the parallel to value vs. physical productivity). In Robert P. Murphy’s PhD thesis, he argued that Austrians used the concept of “time preference” in multiple senses, and called these “time preference (I)” and “time preference (II)”. Would you make the same objection to that terminology you just made here? No, because in that case, unlike this one, you’d realize how stupid that would sound.

    Furthermore, he seems to be deny that the inability to reconcile the contradictory desires of different people is any reason for the law to step in.

    No, liar, I didn’t. Go ahead and embarass yourself by quoting the passage in which you mistakenly read a false meaning into what I wrote.

    Let’s just keep property rights where they belong, in physically scarce things.

    I’ve got a better idea: never respond to my posts unless you have a clue what you’re talking about.

    Sasha_Radeta:

    Person is using logical lapses of his opponents to argue about something that is irrelevant to the “intellectual property” discussion.

    ??? What the hell are you talking about? Virtually everyone who argues on this topic claims that non-(physical)-scarcity of ideas “proves” that IP rights are invalid. How can it not be relevant that this argument is wrong, and what better person to take that to than its main exponent, Stephan Kinsella, who throws more and more of his credibility behind that invalid argument each time he posts on the matter?

    Think about it.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 10:56 PM

  • Peter
  • Scott_DModern decryption, when done properly and to a high number of bits, is extremely hard to get through, with absurd amounts of computing power and centuries of time required to crack.

    This may be true for someone who doesn’t know the key, but for the ebook reader to decrypt the thing it has to know the key – and then it’s not secure (i.e., it takes much less effort to extract the key – or the decrypted content – from the hardware than to recover the key through brute force or cryptanalytic means, and then very little compute power or time)

  • Published: October 9, 2006 11:23 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,

    Now, seriously. Any economic hypothesis (even yours) is invalid if it conflicts with scientific facts or logic. That’s why I felt the need to explain where the basic prerequisites of any action come from, before I focus on human action.

    Just to clarify my position (since there is misunderstanding of basic physics from which we derive our knowledge about the properties of physical bodies) – I don’t claim that we own physical energy separate from our body’s matter. Without stable energy pattern, a matter would not manifest itself. Two are inseparable. Hence, the ownership of any physical body (including human) can never be applied only to matter.

    Human beings realized and established as the scientific fact that physical bodies consist of matter and energy (ability to work) and we can safely deduct that self-ownership implies the ownership rights to both aspects of our physical existence. Hence, ownership of energy results in ownership of its transformations and work it produces.

    That fact by itself suggests that we legally established the property right of labor/work of our bodies. As Rothbard pointed out, when we sell anything in the free market – we actually exchange ownership titles. That goes for human labor, which is used to produce something for our employer – from different form of matter.

    We sell our body’s labor services in the market– not just mere material presence of our body’s molecules and our heat energy. There is no market demand for physical presence of people in vegetative state, while complete quadriplegics can still sell their services either by acting (Christopher Reeve) or by dictating their ideas to others. This brings me to the major difference that establishes the order that produced property rights – HUMANS ACT. As Hoppe explained: “Human action is an actor’s purposeful pursuit of valued ends with scarce means. No one can purposefully not act. Every action is aimed at improving the actor’s subjective well-being above what it otherwise would have been.” http://www.mises.org/hoppeintro.asp

    So it is this purposeful action that is valued in the labor market. This action is initiated by the energy in out grey cerebral matter and it is realized through work by transformation of our caloric energy. Whether you claim that people own their total physical body – or (for some silly reason) you claim we own just matter of our body – it really makes no difference, since matter is inseparable from energy, and energy is inseparable from work.

  • Published: October 9, 2006 11:47 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • “Yes, I do, and no, it’s not nonsense at all. Suppose I agree to give you $100 if it rains tomorrow. When it does indeed rain, and I have to pay you the $100, does this imply the rain “belonged” to you? What if I promise to pay you $100 if I like the way you look in your finest suit? Does that mean the “way you look in your finest suit” is something that “belongs” to you? And so on.”

    HERE IS YOUR CONFUSION STEPHAN. You can give away your money to a bum on the street, but that is not a market exchange. You forget what this concept actually means. It means “voluntary and consequently mutually beneficial exchanges of OWNERSHIP TITLES between specialized producers.” that’s Rothbard’s definition – not a metaphor. Go back to it.

    And when I said that some people don’t have energy, that was a “lapsus calami”. I meant to write – mental energy, and I explained in the context of human action in my previous post.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 12:02 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Hopefully, I clarified why ownership of a body (including self-ownership of human beings) implies ownership over its matter and energy and consequently, transformations of energy and its work.

    With this in mind, we can clearly see how people from their self-ownership obtain the right to own their labor and to acquire their property by applying their property (labor) to unused property. If that labor is no longer applied (fencing, protection, land-care, etc.), an adverse possession can take place and establish someone else’s property right over that piece of land.

    Now, how does that translate to Person’s claim that human have a right to dictate how someone else will use their own body, labor, and material resources – based on bureaucratic registration of particular use of his own material goods??? That claim is simply nonsensical. The fact that Stephan is incorrect regarding his claim that “sales are metaphorical” does not provide any argument to Person’s silly claims that deny the principle of self-ownership to non-patent-holders.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 12:15 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • CORRECTION:

    With this in mind, we can clearly see how people from their self-ownership obtain the right to own their labor and to acquire new property by applying their existing property (labor) to unused matter.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 12:24 AM

  • Person
  • Sasha: Now, how does that translate to Person’s claim that human have a right to dictate how someone else will use their own body, labor, and material resources – based on bureaucratic registration of particular use of his own material goods???

    Okay, I want you to do something not a lot of people here do: that is, read my posts. It’s not hard. It’s like reading, except … of my posts. Here goes: I’m not trying to justify IP in this thread. I’m simply pointing out that whether “ideas are scarce” is irrelevant to arguments for and against. That’s it. Please, try to show some semblance of understanding that concept next time you post. I don’t think I’m asking very much of you, but, in all fairness, this is the Mises blog, and specifically, a topic posted on by Stephan Kinsella and a bunch of “me-too’s”, so I’m really not setting my expectations incredibly high here.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 12:38 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Well Person, I suggest you read your own posts.

    You said this (in this thread, although we all now what you advocate from previous ones):

    ___________________________________________________

    David_C: The conflict is that (hypothetically), I don’t want you to do those things with your copy.

    Posted by: Person at October 5, 2006 10:02 AM

    __________________________________________________

    Let’s talk about this. I understand that you don’t want your competition to behave in a way that would threaten you position established by government’s (patent protection) force. But that is directly aimed against someone else’s self-ownership. You violate basic principle of non-slavery and non-violence with this kind of attitude.

    The fact that Stephan made a mistake in his views regarding the origin of property and its types, and his misunderstanding of market exchanges (in which you can’t sell property not owned by you – i.e. owned by someone else) – does not abolish your extreme nonsense in this discussion.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 12:56 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • …If I have a copy of a book, there is nothing in this universe stopping you from doing what ever the heck you want with your copy and nothing in the universe stopping me from doing whatever the heck I want with my copy even if what I do is totally different than what you would do. Me trying to sell it, doesn’t stop you from trying to sell it. Me burning it, doesn’t stop you from putting it upon a high alter and worshiping it. Where’s the conflict?

    Posted by David C at October 5, 2006 9:45 AM

    __________________________________________________

    David_C: The conflict is that (hypothetically), I don’t want you to do those things with your copy.

    Posted by Person at October 5, 2006 10:02 AM

    __________________________________________________

    .
    .
    .

    Instead of pointing to the real issue here, Stephan wasted so much space by trying to prove that scarce services are only scarce in one sense, but not the other, whatever that meant (in that imaginary world, property can be established without any application of labor – enough said).

    But the real issue here is:
    – Person (hypothetically) wants to commit aggression on someone David C’s property, including the violation of self-ownership, in order to artificially promote his market position, at the expense of everyone else. Conflict in this case is created by Person’s hypothetical trespassing. That’s all there’s to it. No need for couple of hundred posts.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 1:18 AM

  • Artisan
  • Dr Kinsella
    “I really don’t know what you are trying to say or what your question is.”

     

    But since you ask, Dr. Kinsella, would you please care to explain if you understand this other Rothbardian example of libertarian resource allocation. Here, as in most homesteading examples, the link between property rights and scarcity is at best very loose:
    If Mister A had a two square feet ground, from which he could tap a 100.000 sq. feet oil field that would stretch to 100 % under his neighbor’s ground, his purchase price of the property on the free market would stand in no relation to the price he paid according to the SCARCITY of the 2 square feet ground on the estate market before discovering the resource.
    In this case, scarcity and property and market value have not (necessarily) a tight relation. Property is mostly defined through the idea of “first discovery” of the resource

    Dr Kinsella
    “Hoppe did confirm for me in private that I am correct about his view”

     

    As much as I’d like to support Mises.org, I can’t say your justification enlightens very much the debate since I’ve no idea which of your views exactly you discussed.

    In fact I’m only interested in Hoppe elaborating on the question weather messing up identity of an author who produces some unmistakeably unique work cannot be considered as an infringement on his homesteading rights. This would justify copyright in the case of plagiarism.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 2:53 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • OK, Artisan inspired me to take the next step. After I proved that Dr. Kinsella went too far-out in comparison to Rothbard, now I need to criticize some of Rothbard’s views on property:

    ** – Rothbard says: “If one homesteads and uses the soil, in what sense is he also using all the sky above him up into heaven? Clearly, he isn’t.” (Law, property rights and the air pollution).

    This seems incorrect. The person is using the sky above him as an airspace that sustains his and his flora and/or fauna. Is he able to defend it? Well, if we respect right to bear arms, a person may defend his airspace with machine guns, as well as stinger surface-to-air missiles. To say that a person does not use his airspace in everyday life, implies that the air he breathes on his land does not belong to him (he has no say in the quality of that air, unless it creates him a measurable harm to his body or other property).

    What’s the alternative? To claim that he does not own the air that he breathes or the sky that provides him with life’s energy? Obviously, such notion is absurd. Common law principle firmly holds that: “Cujus est solum ejus est usque ad coelum; that is, he who owns the soil owns upward unto heaven, and, by analogy, downward to Hades.” This principles clearly defines any polluter as the trespaser.

    ** – According to the Rothbard’s principle of property rights: “My land property isn’t violated by radio transmissions crossing its borders, nor by airplanes passing overhead, so long as neither one affects my use of my land.”
    (For a New Liberty).

    So it is the use of my land (labor applied to it) that determines property rights? Well, imagine the scenario in which your next-door neighbor deposits large amounts of cow manure, right next to your property line, in close proximity to your house. If I don’t rent my property or use it for service purposes, I have no claim that stench of manure violate my use my land (I can’t claim that I lost customers because of this nuisance). Same goes for a loud noise. Claims against these inconveniences, according to Rothbard’s principle, would be no more valid than a claim against the way your neighbor looks. A person can claim that anything disturbs than, even the way their neighbor’s house is painted. Rothbard does not offer a solution for the invasion of our airspaces by someone else.

    Imagine the case in which you acquire some bare land (just soil) property. Right after the purchase your neighbors an overpass above your property, only 10 feet high. This prevents you from your planned home-construction and it even prevents you from planting trees or other plants underneath it. But according to Rothbard there is no private property violation, since they did not violate any of your current land use (none).

    The way in which we can decide whether this claim has any legal consequence is in the potential violation of private property. Therefore, ad coelum rule is the only one that makes sense and provides a clearly just solution in this case (removal of that overpass).

    ** – OK. What about your rights under your property (underground)? According to Rothbard, you have no such rights. He states: “If my neighbor drills for oil in his back yard and finds an untapped pool that extends under my land, I have no claim to the oil, so long as his drilling doesn’t disrupt my use of my property. If I tap into that same oil deposit, I am violating his property. But I can drill down into non-contiguous deposits next to his and they become my property even if they extend beneath his land.”

    This is the argument that Saddam Hussein used when he invaded Kuwait. It lacks the basic principle of property rights – which is the ability to fence the unclaimed property, before you even claim it or do anything with it. The absurdity of Rothbard’s notion is evident in Florida’s aquifer. As you can see from this map, it occupies almost entire Florida and it even creeps into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina http://capp.water.usgs.gov/aquiferBasics/ext_floridan.html Does that mean that the firs person who dug the first well in Florida and reached the access to the water – now has property rights over water supply in the entire state of Florida and even farther? Based on the Rothbard’s premise, anyone who digs a well on his/her own property and accesses to that water is actually commiting the theft. How to ensure that the first exploiter of this aquifer gets a legal monopoly over this water reserve? You would have to organize the secret police to watch over every single square yard of this vast region. Rothbard’s theory requires something much more malicious than Soviet KGB, NKVD and “the internal army” to enforce that nonsense.

    Et cetera…

  • Published: October 10, 2006 4:27 AM

  • Peter
  • If Mister A had a two square feet ground, from which he could tap a 100.000 sq. feet oil field that would stretch to 100 % under his neighbor’s ground, his purchase price of the property on the free market would stand in no relation to the price he paid according to the SCARCITY of the 2 square feet ground on the estate market before discovering the resource.

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, but I think you’re just saying he’d pay more for 2 sq ft of land with an oil well than for 2 sq ft of land without an oil well. Quel surprise! How that’s relevant, or what the supposed relevance of the oil field extending under his neighbor’s property is, I can’t follow. [And presumably the field would be 100,000 cubic feet]

    In fact I’m only interested in Hoppe elaborating on the question […]

    Why? If Hoppe says “Doh! Artisan is right!”, does that mean anything at all? It’d just be his opinion. OK, I admit I’d look a lot harder at an opinion from Hoppe, whom I respect immensely, than from some pseudonymous blog-commenter whose position I can’t even understand (you appear to have some mystical new-agey definition of “identity”, like people who find out they’re adopted and go all nuts about “not knowing who they are”), but Hoppe’s opinion isn’t very interesting to me per se. If there was some sort of logic behind your position, it makes no difference at all whether Hoppe presents that logic or you do; it’s convincing (or not) on it’s own merit, not because of who it comes from.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 5:18 AM

  • Peter
  • The person is using the sky above him as an airspace that sustains his and his flora and/or fauna

    You mean, the space up to a few feet above the ground, and the ability for sunlight to fall on the property, etc.? Sure. Then he has homesteaded an easement for the sunlight. He certainly doesn’t own the airspace in such a way that he can prevent planes flying overhead, or satellites. He doesn’t own the stars that are in the cone extending from the center of the earth through his property boundary, and out to infinity. Or any portion of the earth’s core, etc.

    Is he able to defend it? Well, if we respect right to bear arms, a person may defend his airspace with machine guns, as well as stinger surface-to-air missiles.

    What does that have to do with anything? This idea that you have to “defend” your property in order to own it is ridiculous.

    Common law principle firmly holds that: “Cujus est solum ejus est usque ad coelum”

    That’s clearly insane.

    This principles clearly defines any polluter as the trespaser.

    It’s unrelated to whether a polluter is a trespasser. It’s not necessary to own distant stars in order for a polluter to be a trespasser, nor does owning distant stars make a polluter a trespasser.

    Claims against these inconveniences, according to Rothbard’s principle, would be no more valid than a claim against the way your neighbor looks

    False. Rothbard in fact argues exactly the opposite.

    But according to Rothbard there is no private property violation, since they did not violate any of your current land use

    If they build the overpass before you consider building a house, that’s perfectly true. It’s like people who buy houses next door to an airport or a concert venue and then try to get the airport shut down because they don’t like the noise. The airport was there first: they have no valid complaint.

    Does that mean that the firs person who dug the first well in Florida and reached the access to the water – now has property rights over water supply in the entire state of Florida and even farther?

    Nobody could use that much water, so it doesn’t matter. The first person can do what they want with the water they have access to; no latecomer can then take water if it interferes with his existing use, which is what matters.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 5:38 AM

  • Person
  • Sasha:

    Well Person, I suggest you read your own posts.

    I do read my posts — when I write them. However, nothing you quoted from my posts in any way contradicted anything I said or supported any point you made. So drop the condescension.

    You said this (in this thread, although we all now what you advocate from previous ones):

    No, liar, tell me what I advocate from previous ones. I want to see you slip up again.

    [I said earlier:]David_C: The conflict is that (hypothetically), I don’t want you to do those things with your copy.

    [quoted in full]:Let’s talk about this. I understand that you don’t want your competition to behave in a way that would threaten you position established by government’s (patent protection) force. But that is directly aimed against someone else’s self-ownership. You violate basic principle of non-slavery and non-violence with this kind of attitude.

    …But the real issue here is:
    – Person (hypothetically) wants to commit aggression on someone David C’s property, including the violation of self-ownership, in order to artificially promote his market position, at the expense of everyone else. Conflict in this case is created by Person’s hypothetical trespassing. That’s all there’s to it. No need for couple of hundred posts.

    No, no, no, no, no. You’re still not listening. All I was establishing is that there is a scarcity — a conflict of desires. Not that I want to agress against others, even hypothetically. Valuing X does not mean being willing to use force to achieve X. Do you have difficulty understanding this concept? If so, just say that. You are still confusing separate issues, despite my repeated attempts to spell out the difference for you. From the fact that there *is* conflict, it doesn’t follow that I favor its resolution in favor of any party. How many times do I have to explain this?

    By calling one side “aggression”, you are making a circular argument. If I accept that IP is invalid, then A has no right to interfere with B’s listening to the music, and to do so is aggression. But er, that’s exactly what was in dispute in the first place.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 8:32 AM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – Focus like a laser – You need to start with a true core proposition and go from there. The “hopping rabbit” method of argumentation is not productive – so live up to your own standard: [quote] “open eyes and no agenda, and not utilitarian leanings.”

    Now, if you’ve a unique idea, it is exclusionary by definition (such ideas do exist so the definition is not an evasion) until you release the idea under terms agreeable to yourself. Ditto for unique concrete property.

    Follow this closely:

    If person A has non-unique concrete property, that “property” (i.e. the same in form and function) can be acquired by other people in their efforts outside of person A: the same as ideas. But surely that is making the argument in our favor by switching the definition of “property” from concrete exclusion to non-concrete inclusiveness.. isn’t it? After all, the new “owner” still doesn’t have the original … and we’ve prevented physical conflict over the item in question …

    But notice if we’ve switched the definition of property in the argument above, then it must be true that you (or libertarianism) has defined property in your favor ahead of time. So I think you need to start with a well argued definition of property and ownership.

    One way or another you are being asked to support the extraordinarily illogical claim that “property” is logically limited to concrete things – and therefore what is traded when concretes change ownership is only concrete.

    However, what is traded in concrete property is not only the property itself but the right to use it. The physical property may not even switch hands (such as purchasing a house that will be immediately rented by the former owner). The “right to use” is non-concrete! It becomes concrete only when any action at variance with the status-quo is taken.

    It’s accurate to say that “thoughts are as real as things” because there ARE no “things” without “thoughts”! Consciousness is inseparable from knowledge about reality.

    We should agree that there is no such thing as a pure “concrete” thing associated with human action, except those things outside of awareness.

    So in my view – the argument against ownership of any IP is false.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 8:37 AM

  • Scott D
  • I only have a moment to post, so I wanted to address a small issue.

    Scott_D: “Modern decryption, when done properly and to a high number of bits, is extremely hard to get through, with absurd amounts of computing power and centuries of time required to crack.”

    Peter: “This may be true for someone who doesn’t know the key, but for the ebook reader to decrypt the thing it has to know the key – and then it’s not secure (i.e., it takes much less effort to extract the key – or the decrypted content – from the hardware than to recover the key through brute force or cryptanalytic means, and then very little compute power or time)”

    Having physical access to the hardware does not implicitly give you access to the information contained within it. Ever hear of secure cryptoprocessors?

    http://www-03.ibm.com/security/cryptocards/pcicc/overproduct.shtml

    Again, no method for security can ever be completely secure, just make it so impossibly difficult to penetrate that it’s not worth trying.

    I would also point out that the encryption that is carried by DVDs is decrypted by a mechanism embedded in the hardware of DVD players. It was a leak of the source code and not some hacker dissecting a DVD player that gave us the decryption code.

    I’ll be back to field Person’s comments.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 9:10 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Jim: with respect, I think you, Sasha, and Person are all talking varieties of incoherent nonsense: from Person’s insistence on “value scarcity” or whatever that was; to Sasha’s scientistic, new age-ish focus on “mental energy”; to your confused, meandering musings on “concrete” property (whatever that is) and the “uniqueness” and “scarcity” of an “idea”.
  • Published: October 10, 2006 10:14 AM

  • Person
  • Stephan, the problem is you’re not actually reading my posts. I clearly explained what value scarcity refers to — an instance when two people’s goals cannot simultaneously be satisfied. I don’t have to use that term; I can refer to it in other ways, but I have to in order to highlight your careless use of the concept of scarcity. You also start out referring to scarcity in a way that can only refer to “value scarcity”, but then in discussions of IP, you switch to “physical scarcity”. You literally refuse even to read my explanation of the distinction. You’re not even maintaining a pretense of trying to look like you’re making an attempt of pretending to understand my point before responding to it.

    That is why discussion with you is impossible, and why you are a fraud. I don’t like to make personal attacks, but there’s just no other way to put it. I have clearly and precisely explained my position several times over several months, and you refuse to give it a serious response.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 10:36 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Dr. Kinsella,

    With all due respect, if your economic hypothesis conflict with the scientific realities – your claims are invalid. You cannot claim that at the same time we own our physical body – but that we don’t own its energy/labor. I proved you scientifically why ownership over a physical body empirically implies ownership over its energy (ability to work) and conversions of that energy in labor.

    You built your theory around the principle of self-ownership of our physical body, but you lack the knowledge of basic physics to understand what all that implies. That’s why you got into a trap in which you didn’t know how to explain why services are scarce, have economic value, and why we have a legal title over their exchange.

    Also, your attempt to prove that property is not formed when you mix your labor with an unclaimed matter was also futile. Everything involves human action (force), which mixed by some matter constitutes work (physical definition). Property is indeed acquired when you employ your labor to fence it, clear it, defend it, supervise it, etc. You cannot logically provide the rebuttal of this challenge – even this constitutes work.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 10:55 AM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – What’s the point if you are going to assert by diktat what is “real”? You make the claim yet again, and again unsupported, that ideas are not ever property and that we are essentially fools for believing otherwise. Was Lysander Spooner talking nonsense? You can read his work on intellectual property here: http://www.lysanderspooner.org/intellect/contents.htm

    Good luck.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 11:11 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • PERSON SAID: “No, no, no, no, no. You’re still not listening. All I was establishing is that there is a scarcity — a conflict of desires. Not that I want to agress against others, even hypothetically.”

    ____________________________________________________

    .
    .
    .

    Obviously, you have no idea what you actually said. When you say that someone’s use of “copyrighted” material is scarce in a sense that there is a conflict of desires – you forget how we solve that issue in the free market economy. You have a right to offer your money to anyone – in exchange for the fulfillment of your desire. You have no right to trespass against their property and force them to act the way you want.

    If you have a desire to interfere with someone else’s property and how that person uses his own copy of book about Harry Potter – you expressed the desire for aggression. And if you advocate that government should intervene on Rowling’s behalf and enforce “copyright” – you advocate aggression.

    On the other hand, when advocate that a person has a right to do whatever he/she wants with his book and other resources – I advocate non-aggression, based on the fact that the use of my own purchased books never violated your private property.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 11:11 AM

  • Person
  • Sasha: I’d respond, but I wouldn’t be saying anything I haven’t already. You’re not reading my posts, or if you are, you’re not thinking about them. I’m giving up on you. If someone else wants to explain my point to Sasha differently, go ahead, but it’s pointless to try to explain something if the first five times didn’t work.
  • Published: October 10, 2006 11:17 AM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – I’ll whet your appetite: “Inasmuch as any given thing is wealth, because, and solely because, it may contribute to, or constitute, the happiness or [*11] well-being of man, it follows that every thing, that can contribute to, or constitute, his happiness or well-being, is necessarily wealth.

    The question whither a given thing he, or be not wealth, does not therefore depend at all upon its being tangible or perceptible by our physical organs; because its capacity to contribute to, or constitute, the happiness of man, does not depend at all upon its king thus tangible or perceptible. Things intangible and imperceptible by our physical organs, as liberty, reputation, love, and truth, for example, have as clearly a capacity to contribute to, and constitute, the happiness and well-being of man, as have any of those things that are thus tangible and perceptible. ”

    — Lysander Spooner.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 11:20 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sure, I actually think Spooner was talking mystical nonsense in his support of IP. I think Spooner was in many ways a crankish nut, as is anyone who flirts to any degree with Georgism.
  • Published: October 10, 2006 12:02 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • PETER SAID: “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, but I think you’re just saying he’d pay more for 2 sq ft of land with an oil well than for 2 sq ft of land without an oil well. Quel surprise! How that’s relevant, or what the supposed relevance of the oil field extending under his neighbor’s property is, I can’t follow. [And presumably the field would be 100,000 cubic feet]”

    S:

    Well, the relevance is that you cannot acquire the property right over an oil reserve that goes underneath someone else’s property. Of course that you paid more for a property with an existing well and that you start to enjoy economic benefits that are not available to your neighbor – but you cannot claim that the whole underground oil reserve is yours. There is no possible way that by tapping into a pool of oil, you established the property rights over it, since you have no way of fencing it, maintaining your possession, defending the parts that are under someone else’s property, etc.
    ————————————————–

     

     

    PETER: “This idea that you have to “defend” your property in order to own it is ridiculous.”

    S:

    It is not ridiculous. Defending previously unclaimed property against the trespassers is one of the ways in which you acquire property in the first place. If you don’t defend it, some may establish an adverse possession.

    ————————————————————————————————————

     

     

    PETER: “He certainly doesn’t own the airspace in such a way that he can prevent planes flying overhead, or satellites. He doesn’t own the stars that are in the cone extending from the center of the earth through his property boundary, and out to infinity. Or any portion of the earth’s core, etc.”

    S:

    No sir, I did not say that a person has the ownership of the galaxy that extends “above” him – but that he owns the airspace that sustains his life. He established the use of the airspace, by consuming the air above his property – and he is able to defend it if someone decides to annoy him by building an overpass above his land – thus preventing any possibility for construction.
    ———————————————————————————————————-

     

     

    PETER: “It’s unrelated to whether a polluter is a trespasser. It’s not necessary to own distant stars in order for a polluter to be a trespasser, nor does owning distant stars make a polluter a trespasser.”

    S:

    That is simply insane Again; I have not claimed that person has an ownership of the stars. However, a person has an ownership over airspace above him – otherwise, if you follow Rothbard’s logic, you could not claim that your neighbor’s cow manure violates your air. According to Rothbard, you can only have a legal claim against a trespasser if he/she prevents you from your current use of the property. That is nonsense. Like I said, claims against these inconveniences, according to Rothbard’s principle, would be no more valid than a claim against the way your neighbor looks – because neither interferes with your current property use.

    __________________________________________________

     

    PETER: “If they build the overpass before you consider building a house, that’s perfectly true. It’s like people who buy houses next door to an airport or a concert venue and then try to get the airport shut down because they don’t like the noise. The airport was there first: they have no valid complaint.”

    S:

    THAT IS ALSO INSANE! Like I said, you buy a peace of bare land BEFORE anyone builds anything above it. But before you get the chance to construct your home – your neighbors construct an overpass that prevents you from any construction, and even from planting trees. ROTHBARD SAYS – THEY DID IT FIRST, THEY DON”T VIOLATE YOU CURRENT LAND USE… TOUGH LUCK! That is simply crazy!!!!!

    Or imagine this scenario: right before you get chance to build your home, a neighboring factory starts polluting your air with asbestos fibers. According to Rothbard – you have no legal claim against them! They did not violate your current use of land.

    If your neighbor builds an underground tunnel under your property before you get chance to construct your home, you are simply prevented from any construction, because of the danger of sinkholes. And you don’t see a problem with this????

    And according to Rothbard, if a railroad creates sparks that create fire and prevent you from using your land for wheat production – you have no way of asking them to find a solution to prevent those fires – or to purchase that piece of your land and to burn it all they want.

    YOU DON”T SEE ANY PROBLEM IN ROTHBARD’S PRINCIPLE WHEN IT IS APPLIED TO THESE CASES?!?!
    ———————————————————————————————————-

     

     

    PETER: Nobody could use that much water, so it doesn’t matter. The first person can do what they want with the water they have access to; no latecomer can then take water if it interferes with his existing use, which is what matters.

    S:

    Hold on a second… Some people say that Florida will face shortages of drinking water due to a large increase in population. But that is not my point. According to Rothbard – if you built the first well in Florida’s aquifer – the entire water reserve is your property. You have a right to be a sole supplier of this limited resource – and if someone builds a well on their property, according to Rothbard, he is stealing from you!?
    According to Rothbard, if Ali Baba in Iraq dug a first oil well near Basra – he becomes an owner of the entire Southern Iraq’s oil pool that extends even to Kuwait and small part of Saudi Arabia. According to Rothbard, he would have a legal right to prevent anyone in that vast land to dig for oil on their own property.
    Insane.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 12:22 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • PERSON SAID: “Sasha: I’d respond, but I wouldn’t be saying anything I haven’t already. You’re not reading my posts, or if you are, you’re not thinking about them. I’m giving up on you. If someone else wants to explain my point to Sasha differently, go ahead, but it’s pointless to try to explain something if the first five times didn’t work.”

    S:

    WOW! What a load of…

    It’s not my fault that you don’t understand how issue of conflicting desires is solved in the market economy and why patent protection is the violation of these principles.

    If you stated that you desire to force a person to act according to your desire (to prevent the ways in which someone would use the book they purchased) – THAT IS IT. You said everything!

    There are two ways in which you can obtain control over the use of someone else’s private property:
    – by compensating them with money
    – by using force/aggression

    So called “intellectual property” implies the latter.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 12:35 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • The abovementioned scenario applies to the case of conflicting desires (Person vs. David C.), in which neither side agrees to give them up.
  • Published: October 10, 2006 12:56 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Just to clarify and summarize my critique of Rothbard (summarized here: http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx?Id=1662#_ftnref29 ):

    Based on Rothbard’s principles, in case that your property is surrounded by vacant, bare land owned by someone else – you can successfully prevent any construction in that area.

    – According to Rothbard’s “first use of common airspace” principle, you will be allowed to impose air pollution above that land– as long as you start polluting before any construction takes place there.
    – You can also prevent any plant growing near your property by creating sparks that would burn any newly planted vegetation, because you established the fact that your machines were there before those plants.
    – Furthermore, you can build a tunnel right below the surface of your neighbor’s property, making it dangerously impossible for your neighbor to construct anything (according to Rothbard’s idea, this tunnel will be your property and you neighbor will be liable if the surface collapses as the result of your neighbor’s activity on his property)
    – Finally, you and your other second neighbor can build an overpass right above the land that would even theoretically prevent any possibility for construction of any construction.

    In other words, Rothbard implies that you can successfully prevent any use of your neighbor’s land, under the condition that you started your malicious and insane tasks before he got chance to start any development there.

    Of course, this principle seems completely insane, almost like Dr. Kinsella’s attempt to separate energy/labor from the physical body, or his claim that market exchange is not exchange of the ownership title. These dangerous Rothbard’s loopholes can be completely avoided if we respect common law principle of ad coelum. If a person owns the matter that manifests itself as a soil – based on the principle of the first use, you also established “the first use” property right of the air that you breathe there – the same air that you have to move through and in order to exist there. The same principle implies that you also establish the ownership over the earth that supports you on the surface.

    This would successfully prevent every single problem with the Rothbard’s hypothesis. It even makes senses when it denies Rothbard’s strange suggestion that you become the owner of entire underground oil supply (under the entire state perhaps) when you first reach its first cubic inch on your property. Ad coelum eliminated this insane and unenforceable proposition by stating that you own the underground soil and anything on it –including oil – but not the entire oil reservoir that extends to other people’s property. You have a right to exploit oil that occupies your property, but you cannot go on someone else’s property to prevent any oil-well construction there. If an earthquake happened, and the underground crevices shifted in a way that spills your entire oil supply to someone else’s land – it would be insane to advocate that you now have the legal right to build your new oil-well on his/her private property. If you own the land with a river on it, in cases that water changes its path and goes into someone else’s property , you can’t just invade that land based on the notion that you are the owner of that water supply.

    Austrians should not try to reinvent the wheel, or to conflict with logic and scientific reality (we call this Keynesianism :-). Usque ad coelum principle simply works, just like free market exchanges of ownership titles (yes Dr. Kinsella, including the ownership of our energy/labor) work.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 3:33 PM

  • TGGP
  • Person, you say that Kinsella is switching between “value scarcity” and “physical scarcity” but it looks to me like he only references physical scarcity. Where does he refer to value scarcity?

    Here is the quote that indicates to me your beliefs about the relevance of value scarcity to government intervention: “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. From the fact that there is value scarcity it does not follow that the dispute should be resolve in A’s favor (or in B’s favor)! Where do people keep getting this idea? The question of whether there is scarcity is a separate one from whose claim is better.” So you’ve introduced the idea of value scarcity (I’m sure someone else thought of it earlier, but I just hadn’t heard it from them), say it doesn’t do something, and then I wonder why bother bringing up the concept in the first place.

    Sasha Radeta: Calm down for a second. All the typing in caps and exclamation points are not helping your argument get across, it just results in Kinsella and others not taking you seriously. I like (or “liked” I suppose, as I don’t watch television anymore) South Park as much as the next person, but it just seems extraneous to bring it up and your “LOL” could mislead people away from the fact that The Internet Is Serious Business.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 3:46 PM

  • Person
  • TGGP:Person, you say that Kinsella is switching between “value scarcity” and “physical scarcity” but it looks to me like he only references physical scarcity. Where does he refer to value scarcity?

    He invokes value scarcity as the basis for property theory, claiming that because (value) scarcity exists (i.e., people’s desires inevitably conflict), there must be assignment of property rights, which are, in essense, some algorithm for ranking the justifiability of the various conflicting claims, which would make judgments like e.g., “Bob’s desire to use this item for this task supercedes Joe’s desire to use this item for this other task.”

    Of course, since he refuses to specify, we can’t know for sure, but it’s the only one that fits the context.

    Here is the quote that indicates to me your beliefs about the relevance of value scarcity to government intervention: “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. From the fact that there is value scarcity it does not follow that the dispute should be resolve in A’s favor (or in B’s favor)! Where do people keep getting this idea? The question of whether there is scarcity is a separate one from whose claim is better.” So you’ve introduced the idea of value scarcity (I’m sure someone else thought of it earlier, but I just hadn’t heard it from them), say it doesn’t do something, and then I wonder why bother bringing up the concept in the first place.

    You’re a little slow at this, aren’t you? Recognition of the existence of value scarcity is relevant in establishing the need to assign property rights. (And I consistently bring up this “value scarcity” to show how it is parallel with the value scarcity that occurs in intellectual property so as to establish the irrelevance of Stephan’s popular but fraudulent “but ideas aren’t scarce!” diatribe to the topic of whether IP is justified.) But merely recognizing a value scarcity cannot suffice to tell us whose claim is superior — you would need to know the specifics of the case and form a property theory for that. And I know the previous statement is obvious. And I know you already have a property theory in your mind. Nevertheless, ~15 times in this thread, and about as often in every IP topic that comes up, whenever I point out conflicting desires, everyone immediately leaps to the conclusion that I’m trying to justify the absurd party’s claim. I have no clue why they do that, but every time I have to go to great lengths to point out why that’s not the case.

    Am I going to have to do that with you again?

  • Published: October 10, 2006 4:06 PM

  • ison
  • i think there are some confusion about physical concepts being tossed around here.

    1) “matter” is most rigorously defined as those objects obeying the Pauli’s exclusion principle… in other words things made out of fermions. it’s a separate concept from that of energy.

    2) E=mc^2 relates relativistic mass to energy (or rest mass to rest energy) it has nothing to do with matter directly.

    3) i don’t know what self-ownership has to do with all this in any case. the concept of self (which is needed to even begin to discuss “self-ownership” and which is hardly well-defined) is absent from science as far as i know. it is more or less limited to sociological/philosophical domains. the only way in which it enters into scientific domain is to hypothesize about and to explain what biological process(es) enables or at least correlates with “self-awareness” (e.g., Crick-Koch hypothesis). when one is discussing Lockean Natural Laws and discussing actions which are consistent with them, one is far beyond physics already…

    for example, what does it mean to “own one’s energy or conversion of that energy” exactly? let me ask this then: when i take a walk and “convert MY energy” and displace some dirt on the ground then does that mean i own that particular disturbance of the dirt? and if someone else comes along and further disturbs that same dirt is that person infringing on my property rights? afterall, in the context of physics “energy” is merely the “work” (or force integrated along a path) required for displacement.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 4:20 PM

  • Artisan
  • Sasha
    OK, Artisan inspired me to take the next step: now I need to criticize some of Rothbard’s views on property.

    Quite a literate Rothbard critic too I would say, great. Yet I take this unperfection in a different sense than you perhaps (maybe not?). Even though this ownership of an oil well example is disturbing in its consequences, I think it goes in the right direction. (The opposite direction being copyright denial, but also pollution denial, if you follow). Even though the homesteading principle defining trespassing on a property seems to have a flaw, because it presupposes the use of a specific resource in order to claim any property over it, I think that rule goes in the right direction.

    Let me briefly explain: I think Rothbard gives a hint to the basic legislation structure of social life w/o government. Realistically, you don’t expect people in every community around the first libertarian society, to suddenly give up every idea they pushed through the former democratic system, do you? Some communities (many) will want to stay residential and not allow a new owner to build any ugly building for instance… they will agree to make new dwellers sign some contracts, perhaps even force them so to submit request for specific building projects to be accepted by the board of residents.

    If a neighbour suddenly builds a roof that reaches out over half the naked property next to him, I think you could agree it restricts so many aspects of the use of the other property, that it should be considered an infringement, without really being in opposition to Rothbard thus.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 5:04 PM

  • Artisan
  • Peter
    I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, but I think you’re just saying he’d pay more for 2 sq ft of land with an oil well than for 2 sq ft of land without an oil well. Quel surprise!

    Not quite, I’m saying the estate price varies according to the moment of discovery of the well on it… It’s “to first know something” that is valued, something completely immaterial, according to Rothbardian homesteading. Hence, the relation to copyright, which is also a protection of the first discovery to some extent.

    [And presumably the field would be 100,000 cubic feet]
    I’m opposing 2sq. feet with 100,000sq. feet, because your well stands on a 2 dimensional surface, you understand?
    Beside, you wiseass, presumably the gender of surprise would be feminine

     

    Peter.
    Why? If Hoppe says “Doh! Artisan is right!”, does that mean anything at all? It’d just be his opinion. OK, I admit I’d look a lot harder at an opinion from Hoppe, whom I respect immensely, than from some pseudonymous blog-commenter whose position I can’t even understand (you appear to have some mystical new-agey definition of “identity”, like people who find out they’re adopted and go all nuts about “not knowing who they are”)

    Speaking about the poor orphan looking for his parents, when Dr Kinsella says “I really don’t know what you are trying to say or what your question is.” and I reply “In fact I’m only interested in Hoppe elaborating on the question […]”, that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in hearing anybody else giving his opinion about that sentence, on the contrary Peter, so please don’t you feel rejected too much!

    But since I love to prove that my knowledge of the English language reaches high school level: it means “if you can’t understand the rest, try this similar concept at least, it would help me very much.”
    Besides, I find interesting that Hoppe never bothered to write about the IP-subject, indeed.

    On the other hand, I don’t know, nor am interested to read, what new-age is. But if you think about it, a strictly materialistic conception of artistic matter (to be copyrighted, or not) has never brought much good in fine arts… there’s more to it indeed, call it mystical, call it magic, whatever, you sarcastic person. I don’t necessarily expect you to agree with that of course. Many people seeing a Picasso hanging in the museum pretend their 3 years old kid does the same at home and they probably are good libertarians still …

    This being said, I loved when you said

    Peter
    This idea that you have to “defend” your property in order to own it is ridiculous.

     

    Thank you. At last!

  • Published: October 10, 2006 5:09 PM

  • Vince Daliessio
  • “No sir, I did not say that a person has the ownership of the galaxy that extends “above” him – but that he owns the airspace that sustains his life. He established the use of the airspace, by consuming the air above his property – and he is able to defend it if someone decides to annoy him by building an overpass above his land – thus preventing any possibility for construction.”

    Apropos of this, today’s Phila Inquirer;

    Owns land, building, but not air?

    http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct;=us/0-0&fp;=452c91b65f9b8d52&ei;=tR8sRcfGIcqmHcfwrewM&url;=http%3A//www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/15719527.htm&cid;=0

    Welcome to land development in 21st-century Philadelphia. As developer Joe Federman has learned, the “air rights” above a property do not necessarily become yours when you buy the land and buildings.

    Federman’s Nette Properties L.L.C. in Holland, Bucks County, bought an old, dowdy, three-story commercial building at 1822 Spring Garden – the southeast corner of 19th and Spring Garden – for $1.8 million. That was in September 2004.

    A month ago, he stunned Spring Garden residents – already fighting the proposed 47-story “Barnes Tower” – by posting a notice that he intended to raze the building and put up a 40-story condominium tower on the 10,244-square-foot lot.

    Now, Federman is the surprised party. Someone else claims to own the rights to the air atop his building.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 5:35 PM

  • Vince Daliessio
  • Better link;

    http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/15719527.htm

  • Published: October 10, 2006 5:38 PM

  • Sione
  • Gentlemen and Lady

    Given the positive contention is that IP is property, then the burden for proving it falls directly upon those who assert that approach.

    What is the proof?

    On this string there have been ideas presented such as:

    -value scarcity (which means what precisely & how does that justify a partial ownership of my resources, time, values and property?)

    -there are no “things” without “thoughts” (how can that be? There can be no “thoughts” without a brain to think with and that brain is a “thing” which belongs to somebody; another “thing”.)

    -ideas are scarce (needs to be proved, more likely to be false; being in the business of commercialising research and development I have to admit that ideas are common, even the “good ideas”, hear about them all day every working day- as is said “talk is cheap”)

    -analogy of “homesteading” applied to ideas (how can someone own the content of another individual’s mind without enslaving that individual?)

    And so on…

    All of which require proof of their own and none of which makes a case for IP.

    What is necessary is to demonstrate a proof for the contention that IP is property. Then it is necessary to show how that property is to be allocated (complete with justification for that particular method of allocation).

    Stephan Kinsella indicates that the case for IP is arbitrary and unjustified. Over many months (years?) he’s supplied formidable evidence for his position. Further he’s gone ahead and presented some proofs for that position. He is not required to do this. BUT WE ARE. If any of us accept the notion that IP is property, then it the burden of proof is upon us since we are asserting the positive.

    Despite having worked with patents for years, I have not discovered a justification for them. They do not consistently encourage useful innovation, so I can’t use that justification. They absolutely require the imposition of an arbitrary and frequently unjust govt operated system of priveledge. That does not bode well. So the pro-IP position argument appears weak.

    Can anyone on this thread provide a proof?

    Sione

  • Published: October 10, 2006 5:45 PM

  • JIMB
  • Stephan – Ad hominem already? Come now. You’re smarter than that.

    “It will be said there can be no right of property in ideas, for the reason that an idea has no corporeal substance.

    This is an ancient argument, but it obviously has no intrinsic weight or soundness; for corporeal substances are not the only things that have value; they are not the only things that contribute to the welfare of man; they are not the only things that can he possessed by one man, and not by another; they are not the only things that can be imparted by one man to another; nor are they the only things that are the products of labor. Indeed, correctly speaking, corporeal substances are never the products, (that is, the creations,) of human labor. Human labor cannot create corporeal substances. It can only change their forms, qualities, adaptations, and values. These forms, qualities, adaptations, and values ate all incorporeal things. Hence, as will be more fully shown hereafter, all the products- that is, all the creations- of human labor, are incorporeal.

    To deny the right of property in incorporeal timings, is equivalent to denying the right of property in labor itself; in the products of labor; and even in those corporeal substances, that are acquired by labor; as will now be shown.”

    — Lysander Spooner, here: http://www.lysanderspooner.org/intellect/ch2s1-s5.html

  • Published: October 10, 2006 6:12 PM

  • Person
  • -value scarcity (which means what precisely & how does that justify a partial ownership of my resources, time, values and property?)

    Wow, Sione, you’ve outdone even yourself. Given that I’ve answered each more than twice in this thread, I’ll leave you to find the answers to those questions.

    Stephan Kinsella indicates that the case for IP is arbitrary and unjustified. Over many months (years?) he’s supplied formidable evidence for his position. Further he’s gone ahead and presented some proofs for that position.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! You’re kidding, right? Stephan’s tactic is to pic on the worst arguments he can find, and anytime anyone presents anything coherent, he parses it down into meaninglessness and mocks it, like he’s done to me many, many times. He won’t even answer the challenge I’ve given him REPEATEDLY since April or March (about the relevance of idea non-scarcity), without changing the topic.

    Please, cure your naivete, and stay out of topics you don’t understand.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 6:33 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • TGGP,

    I can see that everyone uses caps – and the Mises Institute has had many references to South Park in past. I appreciate your advice on how to be taken more seriously, but you could lead me by example by finally making a coherent argument. By the way, I do not care if Person or Dr. Kinsella take me seriously. Former advocates aggression against private property rights, while latter denies that we own our energy/labor – and thinks that market exchanges of property titles are only a metaphor.

    ————————————————–

    ISON SAID: “for example, what does it mean to “own one’s energy or conversion of that energy” exactly? let me ask this then: when i take a walk and “convert MY energy” and displace some dirt on the ground then does that mean i own that particular disturbance of the dirt?”

    ABSOLUTELY! And if your dirt-displacemt becomes valuable in some pursuit of an economic end – you will get paid for it.

    We call that labor. You own it and you can exchange it for someone else’s property (money).

  • Published: October 10, 2006 7:40 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Jim:

    Stephan – Ad hominem already? Come now. You’re smarter than that.

    Am I not entitled to think of some views as crankish? Don’t you? Am I not entitled to admit this, when asked?

    “To deny the right of property in incorporeal timings, is equivalent to denying the right of property in labor itself; in the products of labor; and even in those corporeal substances, that are acquired by labor; as will now be shown.”

    But I have in fact denied the right of property in labor. I also deny a right to “free speech,” since this right, to the extent it exists, is fully derivative of the right to private property.

    Sione: Stephan Kinsella indicates that the case for IP is arbitrary and unjustified. Over many months (years?) he’s supplied formidable evidence for his position. Further he’s gone ahead and presented some proofs for that position.

     

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! You’re kidding, right? Stephan’s tactic is to pic on the worst arguments he can find, and anytime anyone presents anything coherent, he parses it down into meaninglessness and mocks it, like he’s done to me many, many times. I don’t treat everyone like I treat you; I respond to gadflies, and also to cranks, differently than I do to others.

    He won’t even answer the challenge I’ve given him REPEATEDLY since April or March (about the relevance of idea non-scarcity), without changing the topic.

    I have answered you directly you twit. You cannot accept that we disagree. Your concept of value-scarcity is rubbish. Your denial of the “relevance” of scarcity (rivalrousness) to whether IP should be a right is laughable. Listen: my view and that of any consistent, thoughtful libertarian is this: conflict can occur, just because there are scarce (rivalrous) resources; we libertarians abjure conflict, and therefore endorse and value rules and systems that make it possible to use rivalrous (conflict-possible) resources while avoiding conflict. This means we favor property rights assigned in a manner compatible with this end. This means we favor property assignment rules based on objective links between the claimant and the resource. And this means we favor the first use first own principle.Now, I do not mean to defend this here. I’ve done so and others have done so elsewhere. The point is this is what libertarianism is. What does it imply? It implies that each and every scarce (rivalrous) resource is potentially property. It also implies that assigning “rights” in anything but a scarce resource according to the first-use rule simply means, in effect, assigning rights to scarce resources in accordance with some rule other than first use!

    For example: a recipe is not a rivalrous good. Assigning a right in it in effect means proscribing certain actions with rivalrous goods already owned by particular owners. This proscription is in conflict with the onwership principle giving cetris paribus priority to the first user of a parituclar scarce resource. In other words, if you want to assign rights to a non-rivalrous thing, the right-assigning is always put into effect in the real world of material or scarce goods. So it is in effect a way of transferring partial or complete ownership of existing, already-owned material things from the natural owner to some outside third party who becomes coowner not by virtue of first use of the thing, but by virtue of some outside action not connected with the particular (and already-owned!) resource in question–akin to those who want to own things by mere verbal decree instead of by homesteading.

    So the problem with IP is that if you make it property, you are making a non-scarce thing property, which is done only by violating the first-use homesteading rule of property assignment. This is just why we oppose IP being property, and just why it is so baffling when you continue to scratch your head about why it’s relevant that IP is scarce!

  • Published: October 10, 2006 7:51 PM

  • Sione Vatu
  • Person

    It’s all very well to make up a concept and give it a title but you need to go much further than that to make your case.

    You need to validate your concept by referring it to reality (in effect proving it is a valid identification of an existant aspect of reality).

    Then you need to show how the concept PROVES that IP is property (is the concept “value scarcity” even relevant to the argument “IP is property”?).

    Finally, should you have demonstrated IP is property, you need to derive a method for the allocation of that property and justify the method (how would your concept assist with this task & what are the consequences?).

    Ad hominem is not proof.

    In other words you have yet to make the case. You have work to do.

    Sione

    PS just through interest, what do you do for a job?

     

  • Published: October 10, 2006 8:04 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    I do not care if Person or Dr. Kinsella take me seriously. Former advocates aggression against private property rights, while latter denies that we own our energy/labor – and thinks that market exchanges of property titles are only a metaphor.

    I will not say this is a lie–I’ll reserve the hyperventilating hyperbole to the Person’s, Tim Starr’s, of the world–but it is incorrect. I said that it is a metaphor to speak of sale of labor or services. 

    Earlier Sasha questioned my scientific competence. I despise credentials dropping but let me just say my background is highly technical. So let’s stick to substance. I am aware of your scientism and reject it still. I am aware of it from inside out; scientists are among the worst offenders, as I’d noted before: see here and here.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 8:09 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • To make matter and energy clearer to Ison:

    http://www.aip.org/history/einstein/voice1.htm

    So basically, whenever someone says that we own our physical body – based on science we can deduct that this applies to both our matter and energy/work. The fact that we own our labor is consistent with our economic reality and logic.

    ————————————————–

    Vince,

    I didn’t say that common law principles are still applied everywhere, especially not in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Philadelphia. But usque ad coelum still makes perfect sense and it provides a solution from problems that arise from Rothbard’s theory.

    ————————————————–

    Now back to the topic of so-called intellectual property:

    The problem with IP is in the fact that it violates private property rights on the basis anti-market solution to the issue of conflicting desires. Indeed, the authors of copyrighted material want to take control over the use of your own property when it pertains to their ideas. Such conflicts of desires are resolved in the marketplace every day – but producers know that it would be expensive to use their own property/money to gain control over someone else’s activity/property. It is less expensive to use government’s coercion, whatever the consequences may be.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 8:24 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Dr Kinsella,

    I regret that you still deny scientific facts of physical existence in which human action takes place – and that you base your interesting theory on completely invalid premise that physical body (which we own) does not include its energy/work.

    Perhaps it is my failure to explain this simple truth – or it is just your stubbornness. Either way, it is your loss and of the LvM Institute to which you contribute.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 8:37 PM

  • Person
  • Sione: please, just read my posts on this thread. I have answered all of your questions many, many times. As for what I do for a living? It doesn’t matter, and I’m not going to let you use Stephan’s “let’s pry into your life as substitute for real argument” tactic. All that matters is that I have arguments. I’ve presented them clearly, and no one seems to actually read them before responding. Note that Stephan’s entire response to me is to call me a crank and gadfly and then re-state his position. I should have ditched this place a long time ago, as Stephan’s arguments could never come close to responding to mine, but for some reason, people actually care what he says. And as long as that’s the case I will continue to rip up his arguments, and he will continue to embarass himself with his responses, and I will continue to stockpile an archive of Stephan responding like a child to serious criticism.

    Did I say “child”? I meant “stalker”.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 8:57 PM

  • Sione Vatu
  • person

    No. You have not addressed the question of proof at all. I am asking you for the proofs for your contentions. Those, you have yet to supply.

    Why is it that whenever you are requested to answer a specific request or to supply particular information you evade? Remember it is you who asserts the positive in this matter. The burden of proof falls on you mate.

    Is it because you do not know what a proof is and how to go about the process of supplying one?

    Sione

    PS re the job- I was just interested, that’s all. Are you ashamed of your work?

  • Published: October 10, 2006 9:41 PM

  • Vince Daliessio
  • Sasha, I didn’t post that article to refute your statement, only rather as a real-world problem of the theory under discussion. Of course the City of Philthy-Hell-Phia (of which I am a native, and currently an exile)is a statist zoo, the problem in the case arose directly out of “urban renewal”, code words for massive government abrogation of private-property rights.

    On the subject of IP and property, I look at it two ways.

    1) I think that the person who creates an intellectual work (rearranges matter, whatever, not relevant to the point) deserves recognition as the person who caused that particular arrangement of matter to come to be. And indeed, this condition is satisfied in the case of, say, Mozart’s musical compositions, since there is no doubt he wrote them, and no one could be taken seriously who claimed to have done so after. I am unsure what the extent (if any) of IP in Europe at the end of the 18th century was, but it can’t have been anywhere close to as tight as the current regime being perpetrated on the world via the US and WIPO. Yet Mozart’s authorship of his work endures. So IP isn’t necessary to preserve authorship, at least with regard to famous works.

    2)There is a great deal of effort expended, as I have pointed out here and elsewhere, on activities for which IP is unavailable or not applicable. Yet the persons and companies undertaking that effort continue to work without IP protection, and they continue to be compensated for their labor on the market, mostly in a marginal, rather than an iterative fashion.

    Indeed, the idea of iterative profits (e.g. profits made where the cost of production of an iteration of an item is declining or minimal, as it is in producing music CDs), seems to lend itself only to situations where a large market exists for a standardized product, and are largely unavailable for individualized or custom products.

    Further, not all copyright redounds to increasing marginal profitability. My favorite band, Guided By Voices (RIP) http://www.gbv.com/sounds/motorawayaussie.mp3

    only ever sold about 50K copies of any of their releases, all of which were copyrighted.

    Clearly then, copyright (or IP in general) are neither necessary nor sufficient to create economic profits.

    Something else has to happen – the interaction of an intellectual work with wide appeal AND the threat of force against anyone who would dare copy it.

    I am by this rambling screed not trying to prove or disprove the validity of IP, simply talking out some of the areas where IP’s effects are neutral or negative.

    I guess what I would like to see is a world where creators of intellectual work are accorded just recognition for their contribution, while still not using the Federal Leviathan to crush people for using their own PHYSICAL property as they, the owners see fit.

    But to be libertarian about it, I must leave out the argument from utility, if it harms others right to enjoy their property.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 9:50 PM

  • Person
  • Sione: No. You have not addressed the question of proof at all. I am asking you for the proofs for your contentions. Those, you have yet to supply.

    Actually, that’s a complete lie. I delineated specifically what I was trying to demonstrate in this thread: that Stephan’s “ideas aren’t scarce argument” is completely irrelevant to his case against IP, and that I have demonstrated several times over. You would know this if you had taken the time to actually read my posts instead of telling a transparent lie to everyone here. Now, go back, and this time, actually read my posts. I am evading nothing at all.

    I will gladly explain my position once on a thread. I will gladly explain my position twice on a thread. I will gladly explain my position thrice on a thread. I will not explain my position 15 times, just to satisfy someone too lazy to read it the first three times, but not too lazy to formulate condescending posts.

    I have zero burden to “prove IP is property” because I have never claimed to be making a case for that. Get it?

    PS re the job- I was just interested, that’s all. Are you ashamed of your work?

    No, I’m ashamed I have to hide my identity when making arguments on this board because the moderators are not above stalking those whose arguments they can’t refute. Now, get back to reading my posts. You know — the ones you just lied about reading.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 10:08 PM

  • Person
  • Vince — do you have a response to my last post to you, or were you planning on apologizing for wasting my time?
  • Published: October 10, 2006 10:13 PM

  • Peter
  • Having physical access to the hardware does not implicitly give you access to the information contained within it.

    Sure it does.

    Ever hear of secure cryptoprocessors?

    Yes; but I’ve never heard of one that was actually secure. Obviously, if you have unrestricted access to the processor, it’s not possible to really secure it. If it’s doing something for which an attempt at a brute-force attack is worthwhile, it’s certainly worthwhile to attack the device.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 11:17 PM

  • Peter
  • YOU DON”T SEE ANY PROBLEM IN ROTHBARD’S PRINCIPLE WHEN IT IS APPLIED TO THESE CASES?!?!

    I don’t see much of a problem with Rothbard’s actual principle, no; but what you’re calling “Rothbard’s principle” is actually your own misinterpretation, as would perfectly clear if you actually read Rothbard – he talks about cases very like your sparks setting your wheat on fire, and cow manure stinking up your air examples, and does not arrive at the conclusions you claim he does.

  • Published: October 10, 2006 11:22 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Peter,

    the purpose of any theory is to be applied on any imaginable scenario. I only did that.

    Rothbard arrives to a conclusion that the railroad company has the right to prevent wheat farming nearby – by producing sparks and fire – just because their tracks were there before the wheat was planted. All I said is that this kind of attitude can be used to prevent any land development in your neighborhood. You can legally destroy your neighbor’s life if you apply Rothbard’s proposition.

    I naturally disagree. I think that the railroad company must find a way to prevent sparks from invading someone else’s property, or to purchase that land and spark on it all it wants.

    My example with cow manure was just an extension of Rothbards attitude that anything that crosses over your property is not trespassing, as long as that invasion of airspace does not change the way in which we currently use our property. In my example with manure and asbestos pollution you could see why this proposition is absurd and unjust. In common law, these problems would be prevented by the fact that you own the air that “falls” on your property (not the parts that extend elsewhere), just like you own the water that runs through it or falls on it.

    Finally, my example with overpass and underground tunnel demonstrated how dangerous the denail of ad coelum principle may be. Rothbard’s principles could prevent these abuses.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 12:12 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Correction in the last sentence:
    Rothbard’s principles could not prevent these abuses.
  • Published: October 11, 2006 12:25 AM

  • Peter
  • Person: “read my posts”, “read my posts”, “read my posts!!!”, “read my posts!!!!!!!!!!” (imagine Dalek-like screeching voice; “exterminate!!”)

    Did it ever occur to you that people are reading your posts, and nevertheless not picking up on whatever it is you think is so obvious? And that that might be your fault, not theirs? I’ve read your posts, and you come off as a rather unintelligent child trying desperately to convince people he’s the smartest one in the room (“Stephan’s arguments could never come close to responding to mine!”, etc. – though you never actually seem to make any!)

  • Published: October 11, 2006 12:25 AM

  • Sione Vatu
  • person

    Such emotion! Such spite! Now do try to control yourself. Wipe your chin and calm down. Don’t torment yourself so.

    It is clear that Stephan Kinsella’s position can be summarised thus, “IP is not property.” He produces evidence and a logical argument to back his position. Fair enough.

    As unsettling as it is, he’s done more than required to undermine the pro-IP position. Remember though, he does not have to do anything. Since he is not asserting the positive (IP is property etc.) he does not have to present an argument at all. It is sufficient for him to request that pro-IP supporters prove their arguments (& that includes you whether you admit it or not). He does not have to disprove the pro-IP case.

    To rebut Stephan Kinsella’s position requires a robust proof in favour of IP. That is, you need to prove IP is property. Yes, that does mean YOU. Hence my first post on this thread today.

    Concluding: What is required to defend the pro-IP position is a series of proofs. In the absence of the proofs the entire position can be dismissed without further consideration. So the proofs are required now.

    Moving on. Moving on. When you claim to have “zero burden to prove IP is property” you should realise what you are confirming is that you do not have a position at all.

    It is clear you do not support Stephan’s position. That is, you are not anti-IP. One would conclude that you must be pro-IP. If you are neither (as you are now indicating) then you have nothing of worth to contribute on the topic. What then would you be doing other than demonstrating a rather half-witted ability to demand attention? There is no value in that behaviour (indeed a real example of value scarcity!).

    Sione

    PS I wasn’t interested in what a moderator thinks or does. That’s irrelevant to me. I was interested in knowing about what it is you actually do. I thought perhaps you might be an attorney or perhaps an inventor and so have interest in and experience with IP. I work to commercialise R&D; product, hence my interest.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 3:28 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person: “Stephan’s “ideas aren’t scarce argument” is completely irrelevant to his case against IP, and that I have demonstrated several times over.” I have explained in detail, recently just above, why scarcity is “relevant”. Property is scarce; we assign rights to scarce resources (those that can be conflicted over) to permit conflict to be avoided. If you assign rights in non-scarce things this is always done in effect through scarce things, thus in effect transfering control (ownership) rights in scarce things to non-homesteaders. IP is one such non-scarce thing; therefore, that’s why we don’t assign property in it.

    Now you may disagree with this argument but it is clear that it turns on identifying IP as non-scarce. If IP were scarce then assigning rights to it would not amount to re-assigning rights to already-owned property owned by others.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 7:47 AM

  • TGGP
  • Sione: Person is right about what the burden of proof is. I do not know his position on I.P, but he has always claimed that he is not trying to argue about the legitimacy of I.P but the relevance of scarcity to it.
  • Published: October 11, 2006 8:20 AM

  • Person
  • Peter:Did it ever occur to you that people are reading your posts, and nevertheless not picking up on whatever it is you think is so obvious? And that that might be your fault, not theirs?

    Sure, I thought that at first. Absolutely. But the more times I repeat the same thing, and the more times people attribute something to me I specifically reject and never claimed, the harder it is to believe that. Take Sione for example. I’m going to give you a list of the things I posted that he claims to have read, where I delineate what I’m trying to establsih, and what positions I’m not taking. Remember, these are things he claims he read.

    Stephan: How do your ad hoc queries change the fact that assigning rights in ideas is a way of assigning proprty rights in real things in contravention of the first-use-first-own principle?

    me: I am not trying to claim that. My claim all along, you know, the one you keep distorting, is that the non-(physical)-scarcity of ideas has nothing to do with your case against IP.

     

    ***

    Here goes: I’m not trying to justify IP in this thread. I’m simply pointing out that whether “ideas are scarce” is irrelevant to arguments for and against. That’s it.

    ***

    In exactly the same sense, there is conflict (and thus, depending on Stephan’s mood, scarcity) between an artist who doesn’t want people to enjoy his work without paying him, and people who want to enjoy his work without paying him. That holds even despite the non-scarcity of the underlying intellectual work. Again, that doesn’t (by itself) imply that the artist’s desire ought to be respected, is justified, etc. It just means that’s Stephan’s trite attempt to invoke idea non-scarcity to refute any and all claims to intellectual property is invalid. Whether or not IP is justified has nothing to do with non-scarcity of ideas, and for Stephan to include it in his paper, or in any discussion, is a red herring.

    ***

    So, Stephan, do you then concede that “non-scarcity of ideas” does not support your argument against IP, and is therefore irrelevant?

    ***

    Then your argument is that you believe enforcement of IP conflicts with the homesteading principle, and is therefore unjustified. Non-scarcity has nothing to do with your position, and to mention it is irrelevant. Do you now concede this?

    ***

    And even if your argument does hinge on the concept of scarcity, it does not hinge on ideas specifically being non-scarce, just that property-rights assignment in all relevant objects obviates any IP rights assignment. Your discussion of idea non-scarcity is still irrelevant.

    See? That was just a minute sample of what I’ve said on this thread, found from a very brief perusal. And after all that, Sione still says to me:

    You need to validate your concept by referring it to reality (in effect proving it is a valid identification of an existant aspect of reality).

    Then you need to show how the concept PROVES that IP is property (is the concept “value scarcity” even relevant to the argument “IP is property”?).

    ***

    You have not addressed the question of proof at all. I am asking you for the proofs for your contentions. Those, you have yet to supply.

    ***

    To rebut Stephan Kinsella’s position requires a robust proof in favour of IP. That is, you need to prove IP is property. Yes, that does mean YOU. Hence my first post on this thread today.

    Concluding: What is required to defend the pro-IP position is a series of proofs. In the absence of the proofs the entire position can be dismissed without further consideration. So the proofs are required now.

    Moving on. Moving on. When you claim to have “zero burden to prove IP is property” you should realise what you are confirming is that you do not have a position at all.

    Do you see? I’ve made it very explicit what I’m trying to prove and what my position is. And STILL Sione asks me to prove things I’ve NEVER asserted. How can I be any clearer? How can it be more obvious that Sione isn’t actually reading my posts? That’s not a rhetorical question — tell me what I should be doing differently.

    But you do bring up a good point. When two people (A and B) are arguing, and A makes well-formed arguments, while B just ignores everything A says, and essentially makes up A’s position out of thin air, responding to something A never said, A will get frustrated. And when this happens again, and again, and A keeps pointing out that B (and C and D and E) are doing the same thing, A might start to complain vehemently that people aren’t actually reading A’s argument. When the observer’s themselves don’t know any better, A will start to look frantic.

    So what should A do?

    Luckily, I’m at least getting through to someone. TGGP said:

    Sione: Person is right about what the burden of proof is. I do not know his position on I.P, but he has always claimed that he is not trying to argue about the legitimacy of I.P but the relevance of scarcity to it.

    That’s basically right, but a bit imprecise. I’m not referring to the general “legitimacy of IP”, but rather, Stephan’s case against it, and I don’t dispute the relevance of scarcity to his case (he specifically formulates his basic property theory with reference to this principle), but rather, I dispute the relevance of “ideas (specifically) not being scarce” to his case. (Elaborated below.)

    Stephan said:

    I have explained in detail, recently just above, why scarcity is “relevant”. Property is scarce; we assign rights to scarce resources (those that can be conflicted over) to permit conflict to be avoided. If you assign rights in non-scarce things this is always done in effect through scarce things, thus in effect transfering control (ownership) rights in scarce things to non-homesteaders. IP is one such non-scarce thing; therefore, that’s why we don’t assign property in it.

    Wrong, like I’ve explained a hundred times. From the fact that ideas (what you casually refer to as IP here) are non-(physically)-scarce, it does not follow that “we don’t assign property in it. The IP advocate does not need to phrase his case as being one of assigning rights to ideas. Rather, he merely needs to phrase it as assigning rights in scarce objects that use the idea, without ever referring to ownership of an idea.If you break up my response at this point, you’re just using your tried-and-true parse-into-meaningless tactic that obscures serious debate. Now, I understand that in your case, you would reject the assignment of rights as he specified. But you’re not rejecting that assignment because “ideas aren’t scarce”. You’re rejecting it because those rights have already been assigned through a higher principle, i.e., the homesteading principle. Ergo, “ideas aren’t scarce” doesn’t help your case. Like I’ve explained a hundred times.

    Now you may disagree with this argument but it is clear that it turns on identifying IP as non-scarce. If IP were scarce then assigning rights to it would not amount to re-assigning rights to already-owned property owned by others.

    This is a non-sequitur that proves my point. If IP were scarce, the rights to it could still have already been assigned through a higher principle, and thus be superceded by the fact that they contradict the property rights others already have. In other words, “If IP were scarce then assigning rights to it could amount to re-assigning rights to already-owned property owned by others.” And in fact, IP is scarce in the same sense you use the term when starting your case. Since you don’t like the perfectly valid, well-defined, precedented term “value scarcity”, I’ll say it a different way. Just as people conflict over how a tree is used, they can conflict over how an idea is used. The fact that rights in all objects that would be used in the implementation of this idea have already been assigned is irrelevant.

    Therefore, 1) ideas are scarce in the same way that physical objects are scarce, and 2) no one needs to claim to “own ideas” in order to assert claims we recognize as IP. This is why “idea non-scarcity” does not help you establish your case. Like I said a hundred times. 

  • Published: October 11, 2006 9:15 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person:

    So, Stephan, do you then concede that “non-scarcity of ideas” does not support your argument against IP, and is therefore irrelevant?

    The reason IP is not property is because it is not scarce. Only scarce things are property. Assigning property rights in non-scarce things like IP can be done only by really re-assigning rights in already-existing scarce resource property. So, no, I don’t concede this. The non-scarcity of ideas is why they are not property. If they were rivalrous, they could be homesteaded. 

    Then your argument is that you believe enforcement of IP conflicts with the homesteading principle, and is therefore unjustified. Non-scarcity has nothing to do with your position, and to mention it is irrelevant. Do you now concede this?

    No. It is *because* ideas are not scarce, that rights in ideas necessarily violates real rights in real things. If ideas were really rivalrous, assigning rights in them would not do this.As an example. Imagine two unowned apples in the wild. You pick one up and homestead it. I pick up the other and homestead it. My homesteading of the second apple does not do anything to your control of your own apple.

    Now. You pick up an apple and homestead it. I do the same, and then I think of a way to make apple juice by squeezing the apple in a press. If I now have a right to that idea, it means I in effect have a right to tell you what you can do with your apple. The reason is because when you grant rights in non-scarce things, this always necessarily means a reassignment of rights in already-owned scarce things. That is just why it’s a problem. See?

    And even if your argument does hinge on the concept of scarcity, it does not hinge on ideas specifically being non-scarce, just that property-rights assignment in all relevant objects obviates any IP rights assignment. Your discussion of idea non-scarcity is still irrelevant.

    My argument is that property rihgts are rights in scarce things, necessarily. The only question is what property assignment rule you are going to use. We libertarians use the first-use first-own rule, since we actually favor rules that make conflict avoidance possible.

    Stephan said:

    I have explained in detail, recently just above, why scarcity is “relevant”. Property is scarce; we assign rights to scarce resources (those that can be conflicted over) to permit conflict to be avoided. If you assign rights in non-scarce things this is always done in effect through scarce things, thus in effect transfering control (ownership) rights in scarce things to non-homesteaders. IP is one such non-scarce thing; therefore, that’s why we don’t assign property in it.

    Wrong, like I’ve explained a hundred times. From the fact that ideas (what you casually refer to as IP here) are non-(physically)-scarce, it does not follow that “we don’t assign property in it. The IP advocate does not need to phrase his case as being one of assigning rights to ideas. Rather, he merely needs to phrase it as assigning rights in scarce objects that use the idea, without ever referring to ownership of an idea.If you break up my response at this point, you’re just using your tried-and-true parse-into-meaningless tactic that obscures serious debate. Now, I understand that in your case, you would reject the assignment of rights as he specified. But you’re not rejecting that assignment because “ideas aren’t scarce”. You’re rejecting it because those rights have already been assigned through a higher principle, i.e., the homesteading principle. Ergo, “ideas aren’t scarce” doesn’t help your case. Like I’ve explained a hundred times.

    What’s your point?

    SK: Now you may disagree with this argument but it is clear that it turns on identifying IP as non-scarce. If IP were scarce then assigning rights to it would not amount to re-assigning rights to already-owned property owned by others.This is a non-sequitur that proves my point. If IP were scarce,

    but it’t not. this is the point.

    the rights to it could still have already been assigned through a higher principle, and thus be superceded by the fact that they contradict the property rights others already have.

    No. see my example above about apples and apple juice.

    Just as people conflict over how a tree is used, they can conflict over how an idea is used. The fact that rights in all objects that would be used in the implementation of this idea have already been assigned is irrelevant.

    I don’t think you get it. Scarcity means possibility of conflict; possibility of conflict means one person’s use of the thing excludes others’ use. That is what it means to be scarce, or rivalrous. An idea, by contrast, is just knowledge; it can be used by many people at once. As Jefferson said, “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” See?

    Therefore, 1) ideas are scarce in the same way that physical objects are scarce,

    no, because I can “possess” and “use” (be guided by; take into account) an “idea” without preventing you from doing the same thing. See?

    and 2) no one needs to claim to “own ideas” in order to assert claims we recognize as IP.

    Yeah, they do–that’s their justification. The way it’s implemented is by giving idea-creators partial control (ownership) rights over the already-owned property of others–i.e., re-assigning property titles, i.e. theft.

    This is why “idea non-scarcity” does not help you establish your case. Like I said a hundred times.

    Yeah. I think it’s pretty clear you’re wrong here.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 9:46 AM

  • Person
  • Who here considers Stephan’s last post to be responsive to mine? That is, did he say anything that actually indicated he understood what I said?

    Btw, Stephan, most of what you were responding to was just me quoting myself saying the same thing before. You didn’t need to respond to them, since you were just saying the same thing over and over. (You would know that I was just quoting myself if you had actually put effort into reading my post.)

  • Published: October 11, 2006 9:54 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • PERSON: “Therefore, 1) ideas are scarce in the same way that physical objects are scarce,”

    STEPHAN: “no, because I can “possess” and “use” (be guided by; take into account) an “idea” without preventing you from doing the same thing. See?”

    PERSON: “The IP advocate does not need to phrase his case as being one of assigning rights to ideas. Rather, he merely needs to phrase it as assigning rights in scarce objects that use the idea, without ever referring to ownership of an idea.”

    —————————————————-

    Surely you can possess and use an idea – and you can prevent someone from getting it WITHOUT the “intellectual property” statism – as long as you keep that idea to yourself (like Chinese secrete inventions).

    The definition of the “idea” is: “the content of cognition”. As long as you own your grey cerebral matter, you own its content. Your knowledge is scarce and valuable in the marketplace – in the same way physical objects are scarce. Once the other people observe your idea, they can also generate the same content in their brain and they establish the possession over that content of THEIR cerebral matter. That means that once they become widely available, “ideas” are less scarce and less valuable.

    As I explained, there are ways to protect the value of your ideas in the free market: brand recognition, trade secrets, paying to other people to restrict the use of that idea. We successfully solve the issue of conflicting desires with market exchanges.

    On the other hand, so-called “intellectual property” laws are transferring control (user rights) of your own body and resources to non-owners. That is nothing but an act of aggression and enslavement.

    So back to the basics:
    – Ideas are nothing but a content of your cognition. If you own your brain – you own its content regardless of its originality – AND YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE IT. An “intellectual property” advocate cannot assume rights over the use of our body and other property, since this constitutes enslavement.

    So there really has to be a conscience about the ownership over the energy of the grey cerebral matter, just like we have a consciousness about the ownership of our labor (well, expect to Stephan, who subscribe to the idea that you don’t own your energy/labor. Following that logic, your employer does not owe you anything for your past labor output – since you don’t own that labor. Your employer did not take away any of your body parts and he would not owe you anything in Stephan’s world. That is similar to anarcho-communists like Cafeiro, who do not recognize ownership rights over labor – and suggest that you should be compensated based on your body’s needs).

  • Published: October 11, 2006 11:29 AM

  • Person
  • Sasha, could you explain what your last post has to do with anything that I actually said, please?
  • Published: October 11, 2006 11:32 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Not a problem Person, I will be glad to do it. I am aware of your cognitive abilities.

    – I confirmed your statement that the ideas are scarce in the same way that physical objects are scarce

    I explained why “assigning rights in scarce objects that use the idea, without ever referring to ownership of an idea” – is simply moronic and contradictory.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 12:01 PM

  • Person
  • I explained why “assigning rights in scarce objects that use the idea, without ever referring to ownership of an idea” – is simply moronic and contradictory.

    Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.

    How did your post establish that assigning rights in scarce objects without reference to idea ownership is moronic? And, likewise, what contradiciton did your post assert arises therein? I just didn’t see it. It’s the “without …” part that’s throwing me off.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 12:10 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Not a problem Person, like I said, I know your capabilities.

    My post explained that by assigning “rights” in the use of objects that use the idea – including a human body – you assign the ownership over that user’s brain and its content (ideas).

    That equals to enslavement, but it contradicts your statement that IP advocate does not have to refer to idea-ownership.

    Regards.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 12:30 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • PERSON: “The IP advocate does not need to phrase his case as being one of assigning rights to ideas. Rather, he merely needs to phrase it as assigning rights in scarce objects that use the idea, without ever referring to ownership of an idea.”

    Sure, this is fine, if you want to do this. In other words, you say, here is the property assignment rule I favor for who gets to control scarce resources: “the first user or his transferee has the primary right to control; but any third person who thinks of a sufficiently novel or creative way to use or pattern property of that type has a co-ownership right over property already owned by others.” Sure, you can put it this way, if you want–it still suffers from the same set of objections I mounted against it in my paper. For one, the rules are arbitrary; for another, the justification if it is based on creation is also flawed (indeed cannot even be advanced if one refuses to say IP is property). Etc. And of course the main problem is that it conflics with property rights since it undercuts them by basing the property assignment rule not on the objective link of first use, but on some arbitrary, latecomer ethic–just like all socialist and criminal rules.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 12:44 PM

  • Person
  • Sasha:My post explained that by assigning “rights” in the use of objects that use the idea – including a human body – you assign the ownership over that user’s brain and its content (ideas).

    That equals to enslavement, but it contradicts your statement that IP advocate does not have to refer to idea-ownership.

    Well, I’m going to have to agree with Stephan on this RED ALERT, RED ALERT, PERSON AGRESS WITH STEPHAN to the extent that you’re using very loose language and muddled terminolgy. To the extent that you own a person’s brain, you just own the matter making it up. Referring to “owning the things the brain thinks” is shifting what is meant by ownership. My point (which I believe has eluded you) is that any IP claim can be equivalently expressed as a claim on a specific use of a specific object, so you do not need to refer to the concept of “idea ownership”, whatever that means. Therefore, no argument against IP can be predicated on any alleged problem inhering in “idea ownership”, such as “idea non-scarcity”. Understood?

  • Published: October 11, 2006 12:47 PM

  • Person
  • me:”The IP advocate does not need to phrase his case as being one of assigning rights to ideas. Rather, he merely needs to phrase it as assigning rights in scarce objects that use the idea, without ever referring to ownership of an idea.”

    Stephan: Sure, this is fine, if you want to do this. In other words, you say, here is the property assignment rule I favor for who gets to control scarce resources: “the first user or his transferee has the primary right to control; but any third person who thinks of a sufficiently novel or creative way to use or pattern property of that type has a co-ownership right over property already owned by others.” Sure, you can put it this way, if you want–it still suffers from the same set of objections I mounted against it in my paper.[emphasis added — P] For one, the rules are arbitrary; for another, the justification if it is based on creation is also flawed (indeed cannot even be advanced if one refuses to say IP is property). Etc. And of course the main problem is that it conflics with property rights since it undercuts them by basing the property assignment rule not on the objective link of first use, but on some arbitrary, latecomer ethic–just like all socialist and criminal rules.

    Thank you, Stephan. You may not have realized it, but you have just conceded the argument I have made since April. My point was that the non-scarcity of ideas does not support, and is irrelevant to, your case against IP. In the bolded passage above, you concede this. That is, when someone asserts IP, they are really making claims about the use of (undebatably) scarce objects, so you must appeal to some other principle (than non-scarcity) to reject the claim. That was my point, and I’m glad you now accept it. I eagerly awat your next journal article on the topic of IP, in which you will point out that non-scarcity of ideas cannot support a case against IP. I also assume you will, in the future, correct those who attempt to use idea non-scarcity as a reason to reject the validity of IP.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 12:56 PM

  • Person
  • Dangit, the formatting on this blog is really screwy. In my previous post, the “you:” and “Stephan:” paragraphs (the first two paragraphs) should all be in italics except for my note about the emphasis added. It seems the preview appearance doesn’t match the final post appearance. Someone ought to check that out. Even an admin can’t seem to tame it.
  • Published: October 11, 2006 1:10 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • PERSON: “to the extent that you own a person’s brain, you just own the matter making it up.”

    —————————————————-

    That absolutely makes no sense.

    As you well know, each material body consists primarily of a stable energy pattern, which is the cause of the manifestation we call matter. If you say that own the matter of your body – but not the energy – that is absolutely nonsensical. It is simply not true in our universe. Such theory would never be taken seriously by anyone who had at least a science class in high school.

    Now, of course we own our energy/work , since we exchange it as our property (using contracts) for someone else’s property (money). If you say you don’t own your labor, your employer would be obligated to pay you only if he takes one of you body parts.

    BUT…

    The major issue with the “intellectual property” is that is assigns control over THE ENTIRE BODY and resources of other users of an idea. The IP advocate wants enslave others when it pertains to the idea that he “registered” with the polit-bureau.

    That is simply criminal.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 1:21 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person:

    Stephan: “Sure, this is fine, if you want to do this. In other words, you say, here is the property assignment rule I favor for who gets to control scarce resources: “the first user or his transferee has the primary right to control; but any third person who thinks of a sufficiently novel or creative way to use or pattern property of that type has a co-ownership right over property already owned by others.” Sure, you can put it this way, if you want–it still suffers from the same set of objections I mounted against it in my paper.[emphasis added — P] For one, the rules are arbitrary; for another, the justification if it is based on creation is also flawed (indeed cannot even be advanced if one refuses to say IP is property). Etc. And of course the main problem is that it conflics with property rights since it undercuts them by basing the property assignment rule not on the objective link of first use, but on some arbitrary, latecomer ethic–just like all socialist and criminal rules.”

     

    Thank you, Stephan. You may not have realized it, but you have just conceded the argument I have made since April. My point was that the non-scarcity of ideas does not support, and is irrelevant to, your case against IP. No, I concede nothing. I have made this argument above from the beginning. In my Against IP paper I specifically say the problem with IP being protected by law is that it gives innovators/idea creators property rights over others’ property. See, e.g., p. 33 of my Against IP:

    It is plain that the innovator in these examples becomes a partial owner of the tangible property (e.g., land and logs) of others, due not to first occupation and use of that property (for it is already owned), but due to his coming up with an idea. Clearly, this rule flies in the face of the first-user homesteading rule, arbitrarily and groundlessly overriding the very homesteading rule that is at the foundation of all property rights.

    See also pp. 31-32:

    The problem is that if property rights are recognized in non-scarce resources, this necessarily means that property rights in tangible resources are correspondingly diminished. This is because the only way to recognize ideal rights, in our real, scarce world, is to allocate rights in tangible goods. For me to have an effective patent right—a right in an idea or pattern, not in a scarce resource—means that I have some control over everyone else’s scarce resources. … In fact, we can see that IP rights imply a new rule for acquiring rights in scarce resources, which undercuts the libertarian homesteading
    principle.

    Also: p. 8:

    IP rights, at least for patents and copyrights, may be considered rights in ideal objects. It is important to point out that ownership of an idea, or ideal object, effectively gives the IP owners a property right in every physical embodiment of that work or invention.

    and

    A’s ownership of ideal rights gives him some degree of control—own-ership—over the tangible property of innumerable others. Patent and copyright invariably transfer partial ownership of tangible property from its natural owner to innovators, inventors, and artists.

    And, on p. 42:

    As should be apparent, copyright and patent seek to prevent the owners of tangible property—scarce resources—from using their own property as they see fit.

    How much more explicit do I need to be? I concede nothing. I have been arguing this all along. If anything, I think the true meaning of my argument is finally beginning to dawn on you. Congratulations! 

  • Published: October 11, 2006 1:34 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Just to explain: ideas are the result of the energy patterns in grey cerebral matter. The ownership over a person’s brain implies the ownership over a person’s brain content. If someone was able to hypnotize you without your consent – and extracted some information from you – he/she is still a trespasser, even though that person never harmed your brain’s matter.
  • Published: October 11, 2006 1:40 PM

  • Person
  • No, I concede nothing. I have made this argument above from the beginning. In my Against IP paper I specifically say the problem with IP being protected by law is that it gives innovators/idea creators property rights over others’ property.

    know you have claimed that. I never denied that. But you have repeatedly claimed that the non-scarcity of ideas SPECIFICALLY is relevant to your case. This is from pp. 22-23:

    Like the magically-reproducible lawnmower, ideas are not scarce. If I invent a technique for harvesting cotton, your harvesting cotton in this way would not take away the technique from me. I still have my technique (as well as my cotton). Your use does not exclude my use; we could both use my technique to harvest cotton. There is no economic scarcity, and no possibility of conflict over the use of a scarce resource. Thus, there is no need for exclusivity.

    Similarly, if you copy a book I have written, I still have the original
    (tangible) book, and I also still “have” the pattern of words that constitute the book. Thus, authored works are not scarce in the same sense that a piece of land or a car are scarce. If you take my car, I no longer have it. But if you “take” a book-pattern and use it to make your own physical book, I still have my own copy. The same holds true for inventions and, indeed, for any “pattern” or information one generates or has. As Thomas Jefferson—himself an inventor, as well as the first Patent Examiner in the U.S.—wrote, “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” Since use of another’s idea does not deprive him of its use, no conflict over its use is possible; ideas, therefore, are not candidates
    for property rights. Even Rand acknowledged that “intelle ctual
    property cannot be consumed.”

    I have proven that this point is irrelevant to your case, and you have just admitted as much by showing how you would have to shift to other principles to object to an IP advocate’s claim to his “intellectual property”. You lose. 

  • Published: October 11, 2006 1:43 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • By the same token, once someone uses their brain to learn some of your ideas – you have no right to trespass against them and to regulate how they will use their body and their resources.

    You can pay them not to do it, or you could establish brand recognition to diminish the effects of copycats, or you can continue to be more innovative.

    But you cannot justify the criminal aggression and call it “intellectual property protection”.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 1:46 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • O kay, I’ll let two of you argue about nothing and base your premises on denial of physical reality.

    🙂

  • Published: October 11, 2006 1:48 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person “I have proven that this point is irrelevant to your case, and you have just admitted as much by showing how you would have to shift to other principles to object to an IP advocate’s claim to his “intellectual property”.”

    Well IP advocates are vague, confused, and shifty. They are ot quite clear on waht htey are advocating. And they shift ground when called on it. So I cover all my bases. I point out that you cannot protect IP directly since it is not scarce–not property; what is really going on is asserting control of alreayd-owned property, which is contrary to the *libertarian* idea. REmember, my article was in a *libertarian* periodical. I was showing how IP rules are incompatible with the libertarian principle of property ownership. See?

  • Published: October 11, 2006 1:53 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • STEPHAN SAID:

    “I point out that you cannot protect IP directly since it is not scarce–not property; what is really going on is asserting control of alreayd-owned property, which is contrary to the *libertarian* idea.”

    ————————————————–

    True.

    “Intellectual property” is a concept that basically aims to force someone to act according to the inventor’s desire – when it comes to use of some idea he registered with polit-bureau.

    The fact that there is a conflict of desires between two parties – the inventor and the copycat – implies that there is the issue of scarcity (between the amount of control the author has and the amount he wishes to have). The solution for scarcity is provided by market. In the free market the inventor would be forced to pay some price in order to gain the control over the way in which someone’s property is used. This transaction would be a transfer of partial ownership over the copyrighted material.

    Instead of these free-market exchanges, we have government’s intervention and the perversion of the term “property”.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 2:33 PM

  • Brian Drum
  • Stephan,

    One quick question: If valid contracts are defined as an exchange of property titles, and labor/work is not property, how can any labor/service contract be justifiably enforced?

    As an example: A agrees to pay B $100 dollars for painting A’s fence, and A will supply all materials. B paints the fence but then A refuses to pay. Is there a valid contract that B can enforce?

     

     

  • Published: October 11, 2006 2:36 PM

  • Person
  • Brian_Drum: I’m guessing Stephan would say that if people knew in advance that only property-transferring titles were enforcible, the contract would actually say, “If B paint’s A’s fence according to Standard X, the title to 100 of A’s dollars transfer to B.” At which point B is the true owner of those dollars (if they exist), and he is not aggressing by taking them.

    Stephan:

    I point out that you cannot protect IP directly since it is not scarce–not property;

    Again, false, it is scarce, but only the same sense that you use the term when forming your theory.

    what is really going on is asserting control of alreayd-owned property, which is contrary to the *libertarian* idea. REmember, my article was in a *libertarian* periodical. I was showing how IP rules are incompatible with the libertarian principle of property ownership. See?

    And my point, which you haven’t contested this time, is that non-scarcity of ideas does not help you to refute justifications of IP because an IP proponent need not literally assert ownership of any idea, as all of his demands can be equivalently expressed as claims on the use of (undebatably) scarce resources. It doesn’t even matter if IP conflicts with libertarianism, in order for me to establish this. All I’m showing is that non-scarcity of ideas cannot help your case because they aren’t relevant, even according to your own framework. You haven’t disputed that this time around. Do you now concede this point?

  • Published: October 11, 2006 2:47 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Brian,

    Stephan will say that your labor contract is not the sale of your labor – but simply a “fulfillment of a condition” that was stipulated by the contract.

    He misses the fact that this “fulfillment of a condition” is nothing but a labor. With such contract you imply that you own your energy (the ability to “fulfill a condition”) – and you promise to employ it in exchange for someone else’s property (money). You cannot contractually bind yourself to provide something that you don’t own.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 3:01 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Person,

    “If B paint’s A’s fence according to Standard X, the title to 100 of A’s dollars transfer to B” – he is providing his labor in exchange for money. That a simple exchange of the ownership titles.

    If a person B did not own his labor, person A would not have to pay anything, in spite of the contract. Why? You cannot provide something that doesn’t belong to you in exchange for someone’s property title. Such contract is void.

    You repeat that “intellectual property” is scarce, but that is nonsense. “Intellectual property” is not really a property. It is a political term for forcing someone to act according to the inventor’s desire – when it comes to use of some idea he registered with polit-bureau.

    You can only say that the ideas are scarce.

    By the way, IP advocate must assert the ownership over an idea, since he seeks to assert partial ownership over other person’s body, including brain that contains that idea. If you could find a way to permanently erase that idea form someone’s brain, you would avoid that problem. Your statement that we own only a physical matter is nonsense – since each material body consists primarily of a stable energy pattern. This energy pattern produces grey cerebral mass, and ideas that are produce and stored. You cannot separate energy from matter in a physical body (this applies to brain, as well).

  • Published: October 11, 2006 3:20 PM

  • Person
  • Sasha:If a person B did not own his labor, person A would not have to pay anything, in spite of the contract. Why? You cannot provide something that doesn’t belong to you in exchange for someone’s property title. Such contract is void.

    No, not at all. The contract did not require any specific “labor ownership”, and it only required cession of things the parties had rights to in Stephan’s framework. “A” ceded money to “B”, with the title transfer conditional on an event (the painting of the house). That is, the event triggered a title transfer. Never did anyone need to posit “labor ownership”.

    You repeat that “intellectual property” is scarce, but that is nonsense. … You can only say that the ideas are scarce.

    Er, yeah, I kinda think that’s why if you read through this thread (sorta like an anti-Sione), you’ll see that I’ve been pretty meticulous about only saying “ideas” rather than “IP” are scarce. (With the notable exception of when I’ve temporarily adopted Stephan’s wording to highlight where a contradiction arises.) Of course, here you have a bizarre idea of your about what it means for an idea to be scarce, so that’s neither here nor there.

    By the way, IP advocate must assert the ownership over an idea, since he seeks to assert partial ownership over other person’s body, including brain that contains that idea.

    Again, that’s just a loose, imprecise use of terminology. You can phrase an IP claim purely with reference to physical objects. That’s all that matters.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 3:34 PM

  • Brian Drum
  • Sasha,

    The only problem I see with labor being property is that, while intuitive, it is in a way inalienable. You can’t really exchange the labor per se. It isn’t possible to transfer control of your labor to another individual in such a way that they would have complete control over it.

    Thoughts?

     

     

  • Published: October 11, 2006 3:41 PM

  • Scott D
  • Me: Having physical access to the hardware does not implicitly give you access to the information contained within it.

    Peter: “Sure it does.”

    But it can be extremely difficult to extract that information. So difficult that few people or organizations would bother to expend the time and effort to even try. I think it’s a bit unsporting and combative to keep shooting down my arguments because I don’t take the time to carefully qualify each statement with, “Now, when I say secure, what I really mean is…” I’d like to go beyond this one-upmanship and look at how the market might actually respond to an absence of IP law.

    Me: Ever hear of secure cryptoprocessors?

    Peter: “Yes; but I’ve never heard of one that was actually secure.”

    Secure in what sense? Completely, utterly secure, or secure to a high degree of confidence? The former is an impossibility, the second is attainable. The IBM 4758 I linked to above is an example of the latter.

    Peter: “Obviously, if you have unrestricted access to the processor, it’s not possible to really secure it. If it’s doing something for which an attempt at a brute-force attack is worthwhile, it’s certainly worthwhile to attack the device.”

    Why are we arguing about this? I am not asserting that ANY computer security ever invented or that will be invented is truly secure. If I have, I concede the point wholeheartedly, because I know better. I am only arguing that limiting access to information is a practical alternative to IP law.

    I can’t tell the future. I don’t know what the market will decide if IP law is abolished. We do know that the studios and labels have tried securing content and botched it, leading them to lobby for ever more strict IP protection. We also know that some goods, such as books, do not lend themselves well to live performances (my answer to selling music). My concern is how the market might possibly offer a solution to keep authors from working for free.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 3:46 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan tried to support his view with the example of gambling contracts, but that has nothing to do with our topic.

    Although they are usually non-enforceable, the gambling contracts are one-sided obligations regarding the transfer of property title. You can make such obligations without any conditions or gambling… you can simply state that you give your money away to somebody.

    Labor contract are not like gambling contracts. It is not a one-sided obligation based on a condition that fulfills itself. If someone else paints that fence by mistake – you will not be legally entitled for transfer of money. Here we have two sides that exchange something they claim as their property: labor vs. money.

    By the way, my idea of scarcity is “bizarre”. Ideas are scarce because demand for them exceeds the supply if we set the price to zero.

    And like said – you cannot phrase an IP claim purely with reference to matter. If you reffer to brain as the physical objects, you inevitably refer both to matter and its energy that creates ideas stored in the grey cerebral mass. Ideas in scientific sense are not abstract and non-physical.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 3:50 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Brian said:

    “The only problem I see with labor being property is that, while intuitive, it is in a way inalienable. You can’t really exchange the labor per se.”

    You actually can do this. You convert your energy from one form to another. You spend your work to transform some matter (means of production). Your work/energy is transfered to that matter. You do this in exchange for someone else’s property.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 3:54 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha et al, re the idea that we own our labor, and that Rothbard’s contract theory rests on it: Note what Rothbard says here:

    Suppose that Smith, when making his agreement for lifelong voluntary obedience to the Jones Corporation, receives in exchange $1,000,000 in payment for these expected future services. Clearly, then, the Jones Corporation had transferred title to the $1,000,000 not absolutely, but conditionally on his performance of lifelong service. Smith has the absolute right to change his mind, but he no longer has the right to keep the $1,000,000. If he does so, he is a thief of the Jones Corporation’s property; he must, therefore, be forced to return the $1,000,000 plus interest. For, of course, the title to the money was, and remains, alienable.

    Note here that Rothbard speaks of title to the money as transferring IF the condition (performance of a service) is fulfilled. He nowhere implies that Smith has “title” to his “service” or “labor”. In fact, he implies that he does NOT have it–because, if he did have it, why is Smith entitled to “change his mind”? If he really had “title” to his “labor,” why can he “change his mind”? After all, if I agree to transfer $1,000,000 to you upon a certain condition being fulfilled, I cannot just change my mind later on… the title to the money *transfers*, whether I want it to or not. Why? Because I *own* it. If I owned my labor, it would also transfer whether I want it to or not; I would not have the right to change my mind. That Rothbard says you have the right to change your mind implies he did not think you had a title to your labor. (In another chapter he does have dicta about owning your body and “therefore” your labor, but this is not meant rigorously: he only means that if you transform an unowned resource then you are the natural owner because you are its first user; you have a natural connection with it; but this does not strictly require the claim that you “own” your labor. The idea that we own our labor is neither necessary nor sufficient for homesteading claims; just as “creation” is not–as we have discussed already in this thread.) 

    Rothbard goes on,

    Let us take a seemingly more difficult case. Suppose that a celebrated movie actor agrees to appear at a certain theater at a certain date. For whatever reason, he fails to appear. Should he be forced to appear at that or at some future date? Certainly not, for that would be compulsory slavery.

    Why not, if he “owns” the “title” to his “services”? If he sold it already, how can he “refuse” to hand it over (i.e., perform)? 

    Suppose, however, that the original statement of the grandfather was not a simple promise, but a conditional exchange: e.g., that the grandfather agreed to pay the grandson’s full college tuition provided that the grandson made weekly progress reports to the grandfather. In that case, according to our title transfer theory, the grandfather has made a conditional transfer of title: agreeing to transfer title in the future provided that the grandson performed certain services. If the grandson in fact performed such services, and continues to perform them, then the tuition payment is his property and he should be legally entitled to collect from the grandfather.

    Notice here Rothbard calls this an “exchange” because, in economic terms, each side is getting something they want. But notice this does NOT imply that the grandson actually owned the title to his services. In fact, as Rothbard explicitly says, the services are merely the *condition* of the only transfer of title at issue here.Sasha:

    Brian,

     

    Stephan will say that your labor contract is not the sale of your labor – but simply a “fulfillment of a condition” that was stipulated by the contract. You can call it the sale of labor if you want, if you want to be loose with language, so long as you keep in mind that you don’t have title to your labor. It’s not an ownable thing. Labor is just some action of your body. It’s a description of what your body is doing. It’s a happening. You can’t own those.

    He misses the fact that this “fulfillment of a condition” is nothing but a labor. With such contract you imply that you own your energy (the ability to “fulfill a condition”) – and you promise to employ it in exchange for someone else’s property (money). You cannot contractually bind yourself to provide something that you don’t own.

    See above: in fact, as Rothbard sayd, you are NOT bound to provide it!!! In fact, the fact that you cannot be bound to do it, is directly correlated with the fact that you do not own it–and vice-versa. So you are right, here, in your basic correlation, but you fail to realize that one is NOT bound to perform the service!! As Rothbard says, you can change your mind and not perform!! BAM, GOTCHA!!

    “If B paint’s A’s fence according to Standard X, the title to 100 of A’s dollars transfer to B” – he is providing his labor in exchange for money. That a simple exchange of the ownership titles.”If a person B did not own his labor, person A would not have to pay anything, in spite of the contract. Why? You cannot provide something that doesn’t belong to you in exchange for someone’s property title. Such contract is void.

    What are you blabbering about? If I own property–money–I have the power to trasnfer title to someone else–to sell or give it away. It can be unilateral or bilateral; onerous or gratuituous. It can be unconditional or conditional; and in the latter case, the condition can be anything I dream up. I can give you $100 tomorrow IF the ship comes in; or if it rains; or if you paint my fence. The conditioning of payment of money does not imply the condition is an owned thing. The performance of something that serves to satisfy a condition also does not imply the service or labor or action is “owned”–it just means I am acting.

    Brian:

    The only problem I see with labor being property is that, while intuitive, it is in a way inalienable. You can’t really exchange the labor per se.

    Precisely. It is for exaclty this reason that Rothbard says above thatif you have a contract to buy someone’s service they can always back out of it… in this case the money is simply not owed since the condition was not fulfilled. This of course implies there is no “ownership of labor”. In fact labor is just something you do with your body. It’s just a form of acting in the world. We don’t own action; or acting; or processes; or happenings; or feelings, emotions, locations, memories, relationships, etc. 

    It isn’t possible to transfer control of your labor to another individual in such a way that they would have complete control over it.

    Only if you did it in some zombifying way.Sasha:

    Stephan tried to support his view with the example of gambling contracts, but that has nothing to do with our topic.

     

    Although they are usually non-enforceable, the gambling contracts are one-sided obligations regarding the transfer of property title. You can make such obligations without any conditions or gambling… you can simply state that you give your money away to somebody.

    Labor contract are not like gambling contracts. It is not a one-sided obligation based on a condition that fulfills itself.

    actually, this is wrong. It is one-sided, unless the promissor himself makes a conditional transfer of title to money damages in the event he does NOT perform. There is only one transfer of title in a typical, simple service contract: the service-receiver pays money to the service provider. That is the only title transferred.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 4:25 PM

  • Brian Dum
  • Stephan,

    Thanks for your response. I understand the case where the studio pays the actor to perform a role, and the actor then backs out. The studio can then legitimately force the actor to return the advance, since this is simply theft.

    But what about the reverse scenario in which the money is not paid in advance? Say the studio agrees to pay X dollars after the actor performs the role. The actor then performs the role and the studio refuses to pay. Is the actor’s claim to X dollars enforceable?

    If so it must be for some property right violation, however the X dollars is the only property involved in the scenario. When does the title transfer to the actor? As soon as the condition is met? Up to what point can the studio back out of the transfer?

     

     

     

  • Published: October 11, 2006 5:01 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Brian:

    Thanks for your response. I understand the case where the studio pays the actor to perform a role, and the actor then backs out. The studio can then legitimately force the actor to return the advance, since this is simply theft.

    Actually, I don’t think it’s theft. I think this is a subtle misunderstanding on Rothbard’s part, which I’ve explained in the section Theft and Debtor’s Prison starting on p. 32 of my contract theory article

    Presumably, if the actor is paid ahead of time, then it’s on the understanding he has to return the money IF he does not return. But if he has spent it in the meantime, he has no money left to return. There is no “theft” involved. You cannot make the original receipt of money theft “retroactively” since it was NOT theft–it was given to him voluntarily by the studio.

    But what about the reverse scenario in which the money is not paid in advance? Say the studio agrees to pay X dollars after the actor performs the role. The actor then performs the role and the studio refuses to pay. Is the actor’s claim to X dollars enforceable?

    Yes; because they have already transferred title to the money–conditioned on the performance. If he performs, title transfers, and now the studio is in possession of his money; if they refuse to hand it over, it is trespass or theft.

    If so it must be for some property right violation,

    It is only a rights violation when the studio refuses to pay money it has, that has had its title transfer to another who demands it.

    When does the title transfer to the actor? As soon as the condition is met?

    Yes.

    Up to what point can the studio back out of the transfer?

    They cannot. This is all dealt with in more detail in the above-linked contract theory piece.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 5:11 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Brian,

    Stephan is really confused and that’s why he spend so many sentences, without actually refuting anything I said.

    As he stated, Rothbard does have dicta about owning your body and “therefore” your labor…

    If you get paid in advance for a service – but you failed to perform it – you commited a theft. Why? Because you obtained an ownership title over money – without actually providing the compensation to other side with your work (for which you have an ownership title). Just like a shop-owner can’t take someone’s money and not hand him/her requested merchandise. No difference.

    Rothbard says:

    “Suppose that a celebrated movie actor agrees to appear at a certain theater at a certain date. For whatever reason, he fails to appear. Should he be forced to appear at that or at some future date? Certainly not, for that would be compulsory slavery.”

    The actor is not forced to appear, simply because no one is forced to engage in market exchanges of property titles. The actor cannot be forced to provide HIS labor (from the energy that he OWNS) for the studio’s money – if he decides to do so.

    And what’s the problem with this in my theory??????????????

    – Rothbard claimed that we own our labor (work is not an abstract term; it is a real physical phenomenon. If we can own matter, we can own its energy/work). If a person is “fulfilling a condition” for his employer
    – Rothbard defined markets as “voluntary and consequently mutually beneficial exchanges of OWNERSHIP TITLES between specialized producers.” that’s Rothbard’s definition – not a metaphor.

    I don’t understand why Stephan is yelling: “BAM!!! GOTCHA!!!”. That’s really sad.

    You have a right to transfer your property unilaterally, with or without any conditions. But labor contracts imply bilateral transfers of ownership. Just like any other market exchange (like gold for oil), both sides in labor market need to relinquish their property (money for labor) – or market exchange does not take place.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 5:47 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Suma Sumarum:

    If a person is “fulfilling a condition” for his employer – that person is actually providing some WORK (energy applied to some matter). Unlike gambling contracts – market contracts are CONDITIONED with the exchange of the ownership title (Rothbard said this).

    From the self-ownership principle, we derive that we own our physical matter – and energy (ability to WORK). So labor contract are fundamentally the same like a barter exchange between two farmers – who exchange wheat for potatoes.

    – Just like in any other exchange of property titles, you cannot be forced to give-up you property just based on a promise that you going to do so. Just like an actor can decide not to show up in a studio, wheat farmer can decide not to pay a visit to a potato farmer. No harm done – and no one can force them to do that
    – Just like in a barter exchange, if you take someone’s money (property) and you don’t provide your property in return (labor) as it was agreed – you committed a theft. Likewise, a cashier cannot just take the money without handing out the purchased product. Wheat farmer cannot take potatoes, without providing his product to the other side.

    It is sad that Stephan did not understand that these examples only affirm what I said.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 6:09 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    As he stated, Rothbard does have dicta about owning your body and “therefore” your labor…

    THis is part of his Lockean theory of homesteading. As I have shown this is an unnecessary (indeed unhelpful) assumption. In any event it has nothing to do with the contract situation, and Rothbard himself repeatedly refuses to refer to any “title” of labor services when he gives examples of contracts in payment of services–he always refers to the title of the property given in payment. Hmm, I wonder why that is?

    If you get paid in advance for a service – but you failed to perform it – you commited a theft.

    See the section in my paper that I linked to alreayd. I dispose of this issue. An easy way to see this is to simply ask: when was the theft commmitted? ON the day the payment was given to him, or on the day he does not perform?

    Why? Because you obtained an ownership title over money – without actually providing the compensation to other side with your work (for which you have an ownership title).

    But the payer pays the money before the services are rendered. Are you saying he is giving the money to the promisor only for safekeeping? Or is he conveying title to it? Which is it?

    Just like a shop-owner can’t take someone’s money and not hand him/her requested merchandise. No difference.

    There is a huge difference. REad the section in my contract paper on theft and debtor’s prison if you still don’t understand.

    The actor is not forced to appear, simply because no one is forced to engage in market exchanges of property titles.

    Wrong. Rothbard would say that if one agrees to transfer title to PROPERTY then he canNOT back out.For example: A agrees to pay $10,000 TOMORROW for B’s CAR.

    When the next day arrives, the title to B’s car trasnfers to A, and the title to A’s money transfers to B. B can insist on the money from A–because it is his now. A canNOT back out of it.

    The actor cannot be forced to provide HIS labor (from the energy that he OWNS) for the studio’s money – if he decides to do so.

    IF it was labor he had “title” to, and “owned,” then why can’t he transfer it like he could money? GOTCHA!

    If a person is “fulfilling a condition” for his employer – that person is actually providing some WORK (energy applied to some matter). Unlike gambling contracts – market contracts are CONDITIONED with the exchange of the ownership title (Rothbard said this).

    Where? Show me exactly. Then we can pick apart the errors in your ignorance of this area of law.

    From the self-ownership principle, we derive that we own our physical matter – and energy (ability to WORK).

    Wow, man, pass the bong, like, wow.

    So labor contract are fundamentally the same like a barter exchange between two farmers – who exchange wheat for potatoes.- Just like in any other exchange of property titles, you cannot be forced to give-up you property just based on a promise that you going to do so.

    WRONG. The potatoes’ title DOES TRANSFER in such a contract, and you CAN be forced to give it up.

    Just like an actor can decide not to show up in a studio, wheat farmer can decide not to pay a visit to a potato farmer. No harm done – and no one can force them to do that

    YOu are obviously clueless about contract law.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 6:30 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • STEPHAN SAID: “Wrong. Rothbard would say that if one agrees to transfer title to PROPERTY then he canNOT back out.”

    Stephan, read Rothbard one more time:

    “Let us take a seemingly more difficult case. Suppose that a celebrated movie actor agrees to appear at a certain theater at a certain date. For whatever reason, he fails to appear. Should he be forced to appear at that or at some future date? Certainly not, for that would be compulsory slavery.”

    Why is this different than when a wheat farmer makes an appointment with potato farmer – but he fails to show up.

    You claim that wheat farmer will be forced to exchange his property? That is simply insane.

    Just like an actor can be sued for a broken written contract, a wheat farmer can be sued as well. No fundamental difference.

    So how did you prove that labor contracts are not similar to any other marhet exchanges?????????????? Buy making stupid “pass me the bong” remarks?

    Whether you like it or not, Rothbard said that we own our labor. If you own your physical body – you own matter and energy that makes it up. As simple as that.

    And also Rothbard defined markets (THIS INCLUDES MARKETS FOR LABOR) as “voluntary and consequently mutually beneficial exchanges of OWNERSHIP TITLES between specialized producers.” Basically these contracts are conditioned by bilateral exchanges in property. The same applies to labor markets – and you cannot prove that it does not, simply by rejecting the physical reality.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 6:47 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • STEPHAN SAID: “IF it was labor he had “title” to, and “owned,” then why can’t he transfer it like he could money? GOTCHA!”

    Are you insane? A worker can transfer his labor to means of production – if he chooses to do so. If he doesn’t want to do that, no one can force him. But if he signed a contract that he will perform his labor but he backs out – he can be sued for damages, just like a wheat-seller can be sued when he backs out of a barter with the potato grower and spends his wheat elsewhere.

    ————————————————–

    Stephan said: “An easy way to see this is to simply ask: when was the theft committed? ON the day the payment was given to him, or on the day he does not perform?”

    On the day he does not perform, of course. Market exchanges are conditioned by the property title exchanges. Since the actor failed to transfer his property (labor) after receiving the money, he committed the theft.

     

    Still no difference between labor markets and other types of markets in respect to propery exchange (except for the fact that Stephan denies this without any basis).

  • Published: October 11, 2006 7:02 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha baron cohen:

    STEPHAN SAID: “Wrong. Rothbard would say that if one agrees to transfer title to PROPERTY then he canNOT back out.”

     

    Stephan, read Rothbard one more time:

    “Let us take a seemingly more difficult case. Suppose that a celebrated movie actor agrees to appear at a certain theater at a certain date. For whatever reason, he fails to appear. Should he be forced to appear at that or at some future date? Certainly not, for that would be compulsory slavery.”

    Why is this different than when a wheat farmer makes an appointment with potato farmer – but he fails to show up.hahahaha, you don’t get it! it’s different because it’s a service, which Rothbard believes is inalienable, which means it’s different from things we own!

    Rothbard would most certainly NOT say it is “slavery” to force someone to hand over a good that he had previously agreed to transfer title to –in fact by his title transfer theory of contract this is exactly what is implied. In fact that is just why Rothbard goes so far as to say a debtor who is bankrupt and unable to pay an amount of money owed technically could be put in debtors’ prison: as he says:

    In the pre-modern era, the defaulting debtor was generally treated as a thief and forced to pay as he acquired income. Doubtless the penalty of imprisonment went far beyond proportional punishment and hence was excessive, but at least the old legal ways placed responsibility where it belonged: on the debtor to fulfill his contractual obligations and to make the transfer of the property owed to the creditor-owner.

    Sasha, you simply don’t even understand what contract law is, or should be, or what Rothbard really argued, yet you appeal to an understanding of both to buttress your confused points. 

    And notice in fn. 1 to Rothbard’s contract chapter he says:

    Williamson M. Evers, “Toward A Reformulation of the Law of Contracts,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 1 (Winter 1977): 3-13. I am indebted in this section of the book to this excellent paper, particularly for its critique of existing and past laws and theories of enforceable contracts.

    And what does Evers say? He notes (e.g. p. 7) that you have to distguish between alienable and inalienable property; and that homesteaded goos are the former and the will and services one performs are the latter. Thus, you cannot compel a service, but you of course CAN COMPEL the agreement to sell or trasnfer title to an alienable thing–that is what it means to be alienable!! 

    And–this is so delicious, I feel almost guilty for taking pleasure in this, Sasha–Rothbard endorses this: he says:

    The basic reason is that the only valid transfer of title of ownership in the free society is the case where the property is, in fact and in the nature of man, alienable by man. All physical property owned by a person is alienable, i.e., in natural fact it can be given or transferred to the ownership and control of another party. I can give away or sell to another person my shoes, my house, my car, my money, etc. But there are certain vital things which, in natural fact and in the nature of man, are inalienable, i.e., they cannot in fact be alienated, even voluntarily.

     

    Get that, Sasha? Rothbard says only alienable property can be the subject of a VALID TRANSFER OF TITLE–such as property owned by a person. But not one’s will, labor, or services. Oh man, this is delicious. ZING!!

    You claim that wheat farmer will be forced to exchange his property? That is simply insane.

    IT is not his property any more. HE transferred title to it.

    Just like an actor can be sued for a broken written contract, a wheat farmer can be sued as well. No fundamental difference.

    Yes, there is: the wheat is alienable, honey, but one’s will and services are not. Oh, man, you just keep digging the hole of your ignorance deeper. I’d cut my losses now, if I were you. But let me guess: you won’t!

    Whether you like it or not, Rothbard said that we own our labor.

    NO, man, he said that only alienable things–homestaeded property–is subject to title transfer! GOTCHA! NAILED YA! NOTHIN’ BUT NET, BABY!!

    If you own your physical body – you own matter and energy that makes it up. As simple as that.

    that is very simple, I’ll grant you that.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 7:07 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha baron cohen:

    STEPHAN SAID: “IF it was labor he had “title” to, and “owned,” then why can’t he transfer it like he could money? GOTCHA!”

     

    Are you insane? A worker can transfer his labor to means of production – if he chooses to do so. If he doesn’t want to do that, no one can force him. But if he signed a contract that he will perform his labor but he backs out – he can be sued for damages, just like a wheat-seller can be sued when he backs out of a barter with the potato grower and spends his wheat elsewhere.Under libertarian theory, the wheat becomes the property of the potatoe dude automatically. Your idea is utter nonsense. Waht you are saying is that the wheat seller can be sued for damages–i.e. he can be forced to give up MONEY. What is the difference? Money, wheat–both are just alienable things owned by the seller. To be consistent you’d have to eschew damages here. MAN DINGED YOU AGAIN! This is so darned EASY!! I almost apologize.

    Stephan said: “An easy way to see this is to simply ask: when was the theft committed? ON the day the payment was given to him, or on the day he does not perform?”On the day he does not perform, of course.

    So. If I am supposed to pay you $100 on that day, but I don’t have any money–what, exactly, have I stolen? what money have I stolen? non-existent money?? You are very confused. What I don’t get is why don’t people figure this stuff out and do some research before they start weighing in on these fora as if they are experts. Just lurk like a good newbie.

    Market exchanges are conditioned by the property title exchanges. Since the actor failed to transfer his property (labor) after receiving the money, he committed the theft.

    So, I wake up on day X, when the money is due… but I don’t have any money. Exactly when was this act of theft? What is the act of theft? The not-having is an act of theft?

  • Published: October 11, 2006 7:14 PM

  • ison
  • to sasha:
    this is getting a bit off topic so i’ll try to limit myself to this one reply. per your link to einstein explaining his famous equation, i never denied the equivalency of mass and energy — look at my point number 2 (actually, strictly speaking it’s really only valid in reference frame for which velocity is zero (thus relating “rest mass” to “rest energy” or when “m” implies the so-called “relativistic mass” although i believe that concept is somewhat out of favor now. the more general equation would be E=mc^2-pc — if my memory serves me correctly). but to reiterate my point number 1, this doesn’t imply an equivalency of MATTER and energy. for example, elementary particle corresponding to EM radiation, photon, is a cannonical example of a boson and certainly does not obey pauli’s exclusion principle (or we wouldn’t have lasers) — it also has zero rest mass. but it certainly has energy or we wouldn’t have all the wonderful technologies we have today.
  • Published: October 11, 2006 7:36 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,

    You are obviously a very disturbed. You need to calm down a bit. This blog says: “Post an intelligent and civil comment”. So far, you failed to do this.

    You have not proved that labor is not a property. You just called it inalienable PROPERTY. I don’t alway’s agree with Rothbard, as I demonstrated by showing how absurd his homesteading principle is. But he DID state that we OWN our labor – and that market exchanges involve exchanges in property titles. Enough said. Wha

    – When a wheat farmer decides not to show up for an apointment with a potato farmer he will not be forced to give up his property. If someone forced him to do that, that would be enslavement.

    – If on the other wheat farmer has a written contract – but he decides to spend his wheat elsewhere, he will owe a compensation IN MONEY. Just like an actor that spends his labor somewhere else and breaks his/her contract will be forced to pay MONEY for damages. You cannot force a wheat producer to farm and harvest more wheat to fulfill this contract, since that would amount to slavery – so he has to pay with MONEY.

    STEPHAN SAID: “So. If I am supposed to pay you $100 on that day, but I don’t have any money–what, exactly, have I stolen?”

    YOU STOLE MY LABOR THAT WAS INVESTED IN TRANSFORMATION OF YOUR MEANS OF PRODUCTION. If you don’t have money that you owe me (and you agreed to pay it in this exchange), you should pay in something else, or go to prison – like any other thief.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 7:51 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha Baron cohen: so failing-to-pay, i.e., “being penniless,” is an act of stealing labor. Interesting. I didn’t know “being in a state” is an action.

    CHA-CHING!! SWISH! Three points babyyyyy!

  • Published: October 11, 2006 7:55 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Ison,

    Human beings are not elementary particles. We do have mass. Each material body consists primarily of a stable energy pattern, which is the cause of the manifestation we call matter. If you say that own the matter of your body – but not the energy – that is absolutely nonsensical.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 7:56 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • STEPHAN THE BARON: “so failing-to-pay, i.e., “being penniless,” is an act of stealing labor. Interesting. I didn’t know “being in a state” is an action.”

    NO!

    It is the theft when you agree to pay someone for their labor services – but you don’t have that money.

    You have to pay – in order to complete that ownership title exchange. Or you are a crook. As simple as that.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 8:01 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • So…. when I make a deal with you on day 1 to pay you $100 to sing at my kid’s party on day 10, I am committing theft… on day 1.. (and theft not of $100, but of your “labor,” which you have not yet expended..?)…. but we don’t konw, until day 10, that it was theft, back on day 1? wow. Cool. Almost like time travel.

    So now: making an *agreement* is theft. But it’s theft of labor… … future labor … and we don’t know that it was theft, until even later, when I fail-to-have-money. Cooooolll.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 8:05 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Why are you misinterpreting me?

    You became a theft on the day that you don’t pay me – the day that you agreed to pay.

    Only if you knew that you won’t have any money from the day 1 – you committed a fraud from the first day. Why is this even an issue? I didn’t say anything about the first day. You are hallucinating from that bong.

    If you refuse to pay for someone’s services that were provided to you – you committed a theft. You have to transfer your ownership of money to complete this transaction or suffer the consequences.=

  • Published: October 11, 2006 8:12 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha Baron Cohen:

    Why are you misinterpreting me?

    ‘Cause I’m the misinterprenator.

    You became a theft on the day that you don’t pay me – the day that you agreed to pay.

    Ah. But on that day, if I am penniless, I am not committing any theft-action. Suppose I’m in a coma. I’m committing theft in my sleep? 

    Only if you knew that you won’t have any money from the day 1 – you committed a fraud from the first day.

    I sort of agree. Finally, you say something coherent and almost correct.

    If you refuse to pay for someone’s services that were provided to you – you committed a theft.

    almost correct again: if you REFUSE to pay, you are indeed committing theft: of the money you refuse to turn over. Because if you own money on that day, title to it transfers to the other party, and you are now in possession of money owned by another; if you REFUSE to turn it over, you are commmittin theft. Yes.But if you are penniless, you are NOT REFUSING to turn anything over–there is no “thing” to refuse to turn over. It’s not within your ability to pay; you have nothing to pay with. There is nothing to steal.

    OOOOOOOO! THAT’S gotta hurt!

  • Published: October 11, 2006 8:17 PM

  • ison
  • to sasha:

    my point is, is that there is really NO need to invoke physical concepts when talking about things such as “self-ownership” or “property rights” as basis for ethical precepts. the logical conclusion of what you say is that everyone is violating everyone’s property rights all the time, it’s just that we don’t care about most of those violations – which isn’t invalid but it more or less makes the concept of property useless (and btw where do you draw the line between where YOUR energy ends and MINE begins?) my point is that these are all high concepts that are not suitable for physics (i would add here the distinction between description and prescription). you don’t even need to invoke physics to recognize the difference between “physical objects” and ideas/information. one is a tangible thing you see, feel, touch, smell, etc. the other is abstract, they are akin to mathematical objects – not stricly “physical” although physical media encodes them (and this is i think crux of kinsella’s point about the enforcement of IP — that is the enforcement can only occur through what encodes them).

    to stephan kinsella:

    are you familiar with jorge cortell?

  • Published: October 11, 2006 8:26 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • STEPHAN SAID: “Ah. But on that day, if I am penniless, I am not committing any theft-action. Suppose I’m in a coma. I’m committing theft in my sleep?”

    Well, suppose exactly the same thing happens if a wheat producer falls into a coma – BEFORE HE PAYS ANYTHING FOR POTATOES HE GOT 7 day earlier. Is he committing theft – of course not, because there is no intention to steal – but he still owes money to potato farmer.

    THAT IS EXACTLY THE SAME THING AS OUR LABOR EXAMPLE!!! If you refuse to pay in any kind of market exchange – including labor transactions – you are committing a theft. You simply steal someone else’s property – either labor that was provided to you, or some goods. No differrence. That’s all I am saying.

    To quote you: “OOOOOOOO! THAT’S gotta hurt!”

  • Published: October 11, 2006 8:40 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • To Ison:

    When you speak of ownership over a PHYSICAL body, it is extremely important to understand what this ownership includes (if we want to define what constitutes a trespass against our body). It includes energy of that body – and that’s a fact. We cannot do that by denying the physical reality.

    You ask: “where do you draw the line between where YOUR energy ends and MINE begins?”

    Well, where does your matter ends if you crap on someone’s car. It can go anywhere. Just kidding.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 8:44 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • On a serious note…

    Ison,

    even ideas that are products of energy in grey cerebral matter are physical phenomenon and part of our body. If someone hypnothise you and extracts information without your consent – even though he never penetrated your body.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 8:51 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Correction:

    If someone hypnotizes you and extracts information without your consent – even though he never penetrated your body – he is trespassing. I hope you agree.

    If someone refuses to pay for your energy’s work – he is committing a theft.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 8:56 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    STEPHAN SAID: “Ah. But on that day, if I am penniless, I am not committing any theft-action. Suppose I’m in a coma. I’m committing theft in my sleep?”

     

    Well, suppose exactly the same thing happens if a wheat producer falls into a coma – BEFORE HE PAYS ANYTHING FOR POTATOES HE GOT 7 day earlier. Is he committing theft – of course not, because there is no intention to steal – but he still owes money to potato farmer.Actually, if the comatose wheat producer owns wheat on that day, its title transfers to Mr. Potatoe. Mr. Potatoe now owns the wheat–and can get it, if it’s accessible. The only way Mr. Wheat could commit “theft” would be if he *refused* to turn it over. That would require an active action.

    Float like a butterfly, sting like bee, baby!

    THAT IS EXACTLY THE SAME THING AS OUR LABOR EXAMPLE!!! If you refuse to pay in any kind of market exchange – including labor transactions – you are committing a theft. You simply steal someone else’s property – either labor that was provided to you, or some goods. No difference. That’s all I am saying.

    But you’re wrong. See above.

  • Published: October 11, 2006 9:09 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,

    If wheat producer falls into a coma – his title transfers to Mr. Potato. BUT HE IS NOT COMMITTING A THEFT.

    If you fall into a coma before you pay me for my labor, your title still transfers to me – because I performed service you, and you promised to pay for it. BUT YOU ARE NOT COMMITTING A THEFT.

    THAT IS EXACTLY THE SAME THING!!!

    “Float like a butterfly, sting like bee, baby!”

    ————————————————-

    Your examples are so silly and they do not deny that both labor and wheat are PROPERTY. Of course, they are different types of property, but that still does not change the way we treat those exchanges in property titles.

    Please Stephan, stop humiliating yourself.

  • Published: October 12, 2006 1:19 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  •  

    Now, different example – that poor Stephan was not able to think of (I have to argue with myself, since Stephan has no capability to think of a good argument):

    What if I am a worker that got paid in advance, but I fall into a come before I am able to perform my service (compensation)? Am I committing a theft? Of course not, because I did not refuse to work.

    This coma is an o interference with my body that prevents me to use my energy/work. The same thing would happen if an outside interference created a fire in a stockroom, and destroyed the wheat before it could be exchanged for potatoes.

    Both circumstances pertain to the elimination of property. EXACTLY THE SAME THING!

  • Published: October 12, 2006 1:33 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • We can compare labor to wheat – in our examples.

    A coma may prevent me to deliver my labor, just like fire can prevent the fatmer to deliver his wheat.

    ——

    The coma of a worker, who depends on his body (labor) to pay his debt, – IS NOT analogical to a coma of someone whose debt is not related to his body.

    Likewise, the fire in my stockroom would not prevent me from performing labor for Stephan – but the fire in farmer’s stockroom would destroy his end of the contract.

    I know that this might be too complicated for Stephan, but I had to explain it.

  • Published: October 12, 2006 2:18 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha: I’m reaching the point of boredom/exasperation having to explain this to you. You need not agree with me and Rothbard, but our position is really not that hard to understand. Give it a try.

    Only alienable property is subject to a title transfer in a contract. This means homesteaded objects; and it does not mean your labor. The consequence is that if Mr. Potatoe agrees to give Mr. Wheat his potatoes when they come in, and Mr. Wheat agrees to give Mr. Potatoe his potatoes when the crop comes in, they *are exchanging titles to property*. When the potatoes are available, they become Mr. Wheat’s potatoes automatically. It does not matter if Mr. Potatoe is in a coma or not on tht day: some of his potatoes *become owned by* Mr. Wheat. The coma is irrelevant in this case. If Mr. Potatoe is awake and refuses to let Mr. Wheat take the potatoes that are now his, that would be an act of trespass. BUt he is not doing this, even if he is in a coma. Being in a coma is not active; is it not “refusing” to do anything.

    On the other hand, suppose Mr. Wheaat has already paid his wheatto Mr. Potatoe; and later one, for some resaon, Mr. Potatoe’s crop is destroyed. He has no potatoes on the due date. In this case, Mr. Potatoe is not refusing to pay–he has nothing to pay with. He is not stealing anything–there are no potatoes to steal. He is not stealing the wheat that was previously given to him and already consumed. He is not stealing it becuase there is no stealing-action. Failing-to-have-potateos is not an action, it is a condition or state or status, not an action. Moreoever, the act of theft purportely happens on the due date for the potatoes: on that day, there are no potatoes, and no wheat left–so it is not even conceivable to say he stolet he potatoes which never came into existence; northt he stole wheat which no longer exists.

    To say he stole something, you have to say that he stole the wheat back on the day he received it. But on the day he received it, Mr.Wheat gave it to him free and clear. Property always has to have title. You cannot wait for a year and then decide whether the transfer was theft or nto–that would mean the proprty has no clear owner for the interim. This is ridiculous. (Hoppe goes into this in some of his writing, why proprty always has to have an owner.)

    The point is, title to things is alienable; once you transfer it, you cannot change your mind, since it’s already been done. but if the thing to be transfered does not exist on the due date, there is not theft, since there is noting to steal.

    But in a contract where you pay someone for a service the money to be paid is alienable and title to it transfers when the labor-condition is satisfied. There is no title to the labor since it is inalienable (according to Rothbard). If you are in a coma on the day of promised service, having already been paid, you would hav to say not-performing is an act of theft (of the money previously paid?)–but not-performing is not an act, so it cannot be theft; and anywya you can’ steal something in the past–actions are always future-oriented.

    If you can try to understand the basic implicataions of my, Rothbard’s, and Evers title transfer theory of contract, I think you’ll have a better appreciation of what I’m saying. But please make a sincere effort since I am gettint weary of explaining things that are realy not that high-level difficult.

  • Published: October 12, 2006 8:02 AM

  • Peter
  • Stephan: here’s another “IP” debate: http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2006/October/HeadToHead.asp
  • Published: October 12, 2006 9:50 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  •  

    The fact that Stephan thinks he made a good argument is really troubling.

    I’ll try to explain my position one more time, using SAT type analogy.

    —————————————————————————————–

    In a MARKET EXCHANGE:
    Labor to a worker is like wheat to a wheat-farmer.

    —————————————————————————————–

    – A worker exchanges his labor for someone else’s property (money) – JUST LIKE a farmer exchanges his wheat for someone’s money

    – In case that the worker refuses to deliver his labor that someone already paid for, he is committing a theft – JUST LIKE the wheat farmer is committing a theft if he refuses to deliver wheat that someone paid for.

    – If the worker fails to fulfill a work contract by spending his labor somewhere else, he owes damages to his employer – JUST LIKE the farmer who decides to sell or spend his wheat elsewhere in spite of the contract, owes to his purchaser. (Note that worker and wheat-farmer will not be forced to produce their additional labor or additional wheat, since this would constitute enslavement)

    – If the worker’s energy (ability to work) get’s impaired by an outside force, he is not committing a theft – just like a wheat farmer is not committing a theft if his wheat gets destroyed by an outside force.

    CONCLUSION:

    All of Stephan’s attempts didn’t produce anything but some ugly and childish noise. In spite of the fact that goods and services are different in their physical properties, in market exchange context – exchanges of the ownership titles – they are fundamentally treated in same manner. You own your labor – simply because you own your entire inseparable physical body (both matter and its energy).

    PS

    To go back to Stephan’s example about fence-painting (this is from “business law I”):
    – Imagine that a painter makes a mistake and instead of your neighbor’s house comes to you and start painting your fence. You see him before he start his work, but you decide that your fence needs painting too – so you allow him complete the work.

    Will you owe him compensation IN SPITE of the fact that you did not have any “conditional” contract with him? Absolutely! The fact that you decided to consume his labor makes you his debtor and you owe him compensation in order to complete this market exchange of PROPERTY.

  • Published: October 12, 2006 12:26 PM

  • quasibill
  • Sasha,

    You make some decent points, but you need to be more careful in your vituperative statements. Your painting scenario is WRONG, by business law I standards. There is no LEGAL remedy there – there is an equitable remedy, which permits the court to “even out” the scenario by rewarding the painter any “unjust enrichment” given to the fence owner. However, that value awarded (if any) is based upon the value bestowed upon the fence owner, NOT the value of the painter’s labor to the painter. Hence, it is highly unlikely the painter will get compensated according to his wage rate.

    And note, that it is absolutely necessary in your scenario that the fence owner be aware of the mistake – if he isn’t aware of the painter’s actions until after the painter is finished, there will generally be no “unjust enrichment” and the painter gets no compensation for his labor. This all severely weakens the contention that “theft” is involved in the scenario at all.

    Second,

    You need to go back and re-visit business law I and re-learn the concept of “efficient breach”. It totally negates most of your bulleted points. Also of interest will be the nexus between “theft by fraud” and “contractual breach”. These are different concepts that have traditionally been kept scrupulously distinct (although crusading prosecutors have recently been blurring the lines with their partners on the bench). The timing of the intent to not perform is of utmost importance in determining whether a theft has occurred.

    These are all very fundamental concepts developed through the common law (the closest thing we have to a free-market legal code). It is extremely important to have a clear distinction between failure to perform and theft – they are not, and should not be, treated the same way.

  • Published: October 12, 2006 12:47 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Quasibill,

    WHO SAID THAT THERE IS A LEGAL REMEDY IN MY PAINTING SCENARIO? There is no contract, but that is not my point.

    Of course that there will be equitable remedy to EVEN OUT the exchange in this market transaction.

    Second,

    My bullet points are based on Rothbard’s and Stephan’s arguments. I am not talking about current legal parctices – but ethical issues.

    Neither you, nor Stephan, were able to prove that in market exchanges labor is treated any differently than regular merchandise.

  • Published: October 12, 2006 1:06 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • I revisited my bullet points and I will be happy to discuss them, quoting Stephan and Rothbard. It will be good to see if the sale of labor implies anything different than sale of ordinary merchandise (in cases that purchased good or service is not delivered, in case it is prevented by an outside force – or if the seller decides to back-out of a contract).

    Name at least one example, which would illustrate this alleged difference. Please use the following analogy: “In terms of market exchange of end-products: Labor to a worker is like wheat to a wheat-farmer” – and illustrate your points.

  • Published: October 12, 2006 1:15 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    In a MARKET EXCHANGE:
    Labor to a worker is like wheat to a wheat-farmer.

     

    —————————————————————————————–

    – A worker exchanges his labor for someone else’s property (money) – JUST LIKE a farmer exchanges his wheat for someone’s moneyYeah, they are similar, except the farmer has title to, and owns, his wheat, while the worker does not have title to his labor.

    – In case that the worker refuses to deliver his labor that someone already paid for, he is committing a theft – JUST LIKE the wheat farmer is committing a theft if he refuses to deliver wheat that someone paid for.

    No, you continue to misunderstand. If a worker is paid ahead of time and then refuses to work, he is not committing theft. There is nothing to steal. NOw I grant you that most such agreements would provide for subsidiary title transfers–that IF you get paid ahead of time and do not do the work, THEN you owe money back to me. If that happened, and the lazy worker refused to hand over money that is owned by the emploeyr ,then he is a thief. Sure. A thief of the employe’s money.If the wheat farmer is paid ahead of time then the buyer now owns the wheat he produces. When it is produced the buyer owns it. The wheat producer cannot refuse to hadn it over. HE does not owe merely monetary damages: he ows the wheat.

    Sasha you also fail to understand the more normal case where the farmer, and laborer, is NOT paid ahead of time. Rather, the understanding is that when you provide the wheat, or when you perform the service, then you are paid. In this case, if you refuse to perform you have not committed any theft at all. However, the wheat seller MUST turn over the wheat (and take money in payment) when he produces it. THe difference here is becuase the wheat seller has title to wheat and therefore can transfer it–and when this happens, the new owner can insist on his property. BUt you do not own your labor, and therefore, the “buyer” can’t insist you perform it.

    You own your labor – simply because you own your entire inseparable physical body (both matter and its energy).

    Like, hey, wow, man, do you, like, own your “aura” too? 

    Sasha: why don’t you explain what you think it means to “own” your labor? What does this claim mean over and above the proposition that one owns one’s body?

  • Published: October 12, 2006 1:26 PM

  • quasibill
  • “WHO SAID THAT THERE IS A LEGAL REMEDY IN MY PAINTING SCENARIO?”

    Well, for starters :

    Sasha: “In case that the worker refuses to deliver his labor that someone already paid for, he is committing a theft”

    Wrong. Theft, as noted, requires more facts than what you have laid out. What you have laid out is nothing more than a contractual breach, which allows for compensation to the extent of expectations, or, to the extent allowed by the contract.

    Sasha: “Will you owe him compensation IN SPITE of the fact that you did not have any “conditional” contract with him? Absolutely! ”

    Wrong. The correct answer is – possibly! You might, under the specific scenario you point out (foreknowledge on the part of the owner), but the compensation is NOT based upon the value of the painter’s labor! It is entirely based upon the value of the “unjust enrichment” accruing to the owner. There is no theft of the painter’s labor. Hence, at best, your argument is irrelevant to the question of whether a person owns his labor.

    Sasha: “The fact that you decided to consume his labor makes you his debtor and you owe him compensation in order to complete this market exchange”

    Wrong. That fact that you unjustly allowed him to enrich you MAY (depending on circumstances such as his own negligence in painting the wrong fence) entitle him to some damages from you. But again, it is not based upon his labor, it is based upon the fact that you gained a benefit you do not deserve. Again, the fact that you don’t owe anything if you’re unaware of the painter’s actions cuts deeply into your contention that the proper paradigm is theft of labor.

    “I am not talking about current legal parctices – but ethical issues.”

    Then perhaps leaving out the snarky comments about Business Law I would be a good path to clarifying for others what you are talking about.

    And, as I noted, there is a certain presumption that attaches to common law precepts – they arose from a nearly free market process. And the distinctions made in the common law are very precise, and foundationally sound. You’ve been very sloppy with the concept of theft, and have ignored the substantial difference between the concept of theft and the concept of breach of contract.

    All of this detracts mightily from whatever point(s) it is that you are trying to make with Stephan. I might actually agree with some of them, but as I’ve noted, your snarkiness has only demonstrated the sloppiness of some of your thinking.

    As far as how labor is treated differently from other property in market exchanges, it’s pretty clear, at least in American law, that you can’t get specific performance in a labor contract. In other words, if you promise to sing at my concert hall, then back out that morning, I can’t go to court to get an order that requires you to sing. On the other hand, if I contract with you to build a custom jet, and you build it but at the last second decide to renege on our deal, I CAN go to a court to get an order requiring that you give me that jet. In this instance, labor is treated VERY differently from any other form of marketable property.

    Stephan:

    “NOw I grant you that most such agreements would provide for subsidiary title transfers–that IF you get paid ahead of time and do not do the work, THEN you owe money back to me. If that happened, and the lazy worker refused to hand over money that is owned by the emploeyr ,then he is a thief. Sure. A thief of the employe’s money. ”

    Wouldn’t that require the contract to have as a duty for the employee to hold the pre-paid wages in trust for the employer? Merely pre-paying the wages, without more, generally means the employer assumes the risk of loss due to non-performance.

    Again, it is important to differentiate between a party that, at the time of contracting, does not intend to perform, and a party that, while intending to perform at the time of contracting, later changes his mind. One is a thief, who may be liable (under Rothbard) for essentially punitive damages, while the other is merely in breach of contract, and only is liable to the extent of the contract.

  • Published: October 12, 2006 1:59 PM

  • Sione Vatu
  • TGGP

    There’s a little history here. In large part Person’s anger stems from a previous occasion where based on evidence I concluded he was a liar. He’d been caught dead-to-rights claiming he’d already answered questions he hadn’t addressed at all. Anyway he’s quite unpleasant, the sort of person who needs to be taken outside to the car-park to receive the right good hiding his mother should have given him some years ago.

    With regards to Person this time around, its a case of “the lady doth protest too much”. He needs to calm down and take his own advice. That is, he should try to avoid being the perfect hypocrite.

    Here is what I posted:

    *

    Gentlemen and Lady
    Given the positive contention is that IP is property, then the burden for proving it falls directly upon those who assert that approach.

    What is the proof?

    On this string there have been ideas presented such as:

    -value scarcity (which means what precisely & how does that justify a partial ownership of my resources, time, values and property?)

    -there are no “things” without “thoughts” (how can that be? There can be no “thoughts” without a brain to think with and that brain is a “thing” which belongs to somebody; another “thing”.)

    -ideas are scarce (needs to be proved, more likely to be false; being in the business of commercialising research and development I have to admit that ideas are common, even the “good ideas”, hear about them all day every working day- as is said “talk is cheap”)

    -analogy of “homesteading” applied to ideas (how can someone own the content of another individual’s mind without enslaving that individual?)

    And so on…

    All of which require proof of their own and none of which makes a case for IP.

    What is necessary is to demonstrate a proof for the contention that IP is property. Then it is necessary to show how that property is to be allocated (complete with justification for that particular method of allocation).

    Stephan Kinsella indicates that the case for IP is arbitrary and unjustified. Over many months (years?) he’s supplied formidable evidence for his position. Further he’s gone ahead and presented some proofs for that position. He is not required to do this. BUT WE ARE. If any of us accept the notion that IP is property, then it the burden of proof is upon us since we are asserting the positive.

    Despite having worked with patents for years, I have not discovered a justification for them. They do not consistently encourage useful innovation, so I can’t use that justification. They absolutely require the imposition of an arbitrary and frequently unjust govt operated system of priveledge. That does not bode well. So the pro-IP position argument appears weak.

    Can anyone on this thread provide a proof?

    *

    That’s self-explanatory, surely. It wasn’t an attack on Person. I was seeking a pro-IP validation should there be one available and provable. Perhaps if he’d wiped the spit from his chin and read some (probably needed to put his finger on the words and sound them out one at a time) he’d not have been so quick to respond thus:

    *

    -value scarcity (which means what precisely & how does that justify a partial ownership of my resources, time, values and property?)

    Wow, Sione, you’ve outdone even yourself. Given that I’ve answered each more than twice in this thread, I’ll leave you to find the answers to those questions.

    Stephan Kinsella indicates that the case for IP is arbitrary and unjustified. Over many months (years?) he’s supplied formidable evidence for his position. Further he’s gone ahead and presented some proofs for that position.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! You’re kidding, right? Stephan’s tactic is to pic on the worst arguments he can find, and anytime anyone presents anything coherent, he parses it down into meaninglessness and mocks it, like he’s done to me many, many times. He won’t even answer the challenge I’ve given him REPEATEDLY since April or March (about the relevance of idea non-scarcity), without changing the topic.

    Please, cure your naivete, and stay out of topics you don’t understand.

    *

    What was asked for was not what he presented. Is there a validation? It has not been provided. Certainly not by him.

    Regarding Stephan Kinsella’s arguments, those are discoverable from an extensive web site, some papers, contributions to the VMI site etc. It’s solid stuff and readable. Person is being quite dishonest. BTW regarding how he evaded answering questions I addressed to him on a previous thread- interesting how he applies one standard to himself and another to other people.

    So what was requested was not what he presented. Why do you suppose that might have been? Was it because he does not read what is provided to him? Or does he not understand? Or is it because his position relies on pro-IP premise and in the end he can’t defend it adequately?

    Given the context, his response and the material he’s posted on previous threads the understanding is that his is a pro-IP position. Fair enough. But it is insufficient to defend that position by playing around at the edges of Stephan Kinsella’s critique or by evading what was asked. It certainly is not sufficient to dish out abuse. A proof of the positive is what was (and still is) required and that is what was requested. What did person produce?

    -ad hominem

    -abuse

    -argument by insistence

    -argument by personal incredulity

    -bad manners

    He evaded the point (and not for the first time). And how he responded demonstrates what sort of a person he is! His behaviour isn’t helpful and goes some way to explaining why he’s so frustrated. Such thunderous emotion. Irrational.

    What could he have done? He could have directly addressed the question. He could have admitted he was unable to produce proof but was sympathetic to the IP cause, stating reasons. He could have said he did not support it and state reasons for that. He could have explained why his concepts were valid and useful in dealing with the question at issue, justifying them with the formal proofs as necessary to make a case. He could even have attempted the equivocation or tried to support a notion that IP was not property but it justified a property ownership restriction. He’d still need to demonstrate formal proofs for that though. He didn’t do those things. He dished out abuse. What a dud. The conclusion is that he won’t respond sensibly since he realises his premise and conclusions regarding IP are likely untenable. Notice how he avoids dealing with the substantive altogether; provision of proof or even an indication of where it is to be found. He is unable to perform. And that’s what happened last time he was challenged. Could not provide specific performance.

    Concluding: The core problem for the pro-IP position is the validation or proof. It is insufficient to rely on attempts to undermine critiques of IP. What’s required is direct validation. Is it available?

    Sione

  • Published: October 12, 2006 3:03 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • STEPHAN SAID: “No, you continue to misunderstand. If a worker is paid ahead of time and then refuses to work, he is not committing theft. There is nothing to steal.”

    ROTHBARD SAID: “Smith has the absolute right to change his mind, but he no longer has the right to keep the $1,000,000. If he does so, he is a thief of the Jones Corporation’s property; he must, therefore, be forced to return the $1,000,000 plus interest.”

    ———————————–

    According to Rothbard, I am correct. If you take your client’s money, but you don’t deliver your service – you are a thief. You stole his/her money. I really don’t see why Stephan is insisting on such silly replies.

    .
    .
    .

    STEPHAN SAID: “If the wheat farmer is paid ahead of time then the buyer now owns the wheat he produces. When it is produced the buyer owns it. The wheat producer cannot refuse to hadn it over. HE does not owe merely monetary damages: he ows the wheat.”

    Nonsense. If that wheat farmer spends his wheat somewhere else and he no longer has it – he will not be forced to go out on a field and start producing it – because that would be an enslavement. He may buy wheat somewhere else or pay damages in a monetary equivalent – but he will not be forced into slavery. Likewise, an actor who doesn’t show up in studio for a movie that he already got paid for will not be forced to act – but he will have to provide either his service or monetary damages. No difference.

    .
    .
    .

    By the way, energy has real physical property that builds our physical body. When we apply it to an unclaimed property, we transform it and we are able to claim that product of our energy (that belongs to us) is now our property. Essentially, that is completely in accord with Locke when he says that by mixing OUR labor with an unclaimed property – it becomes our property.

  • Published: October 12, 2006 9:31 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    STEPHAN SAID: “No, you continue to misunderstand. If a worker is paid ahead of time and then refuses to work, he is not committing theft. There is nothing to steal.”

     

    ROTHBARD SAID: “Smith has the absolute right to change his mind, but he no longer has the right to keep the $1,000,000. If he does so, he is a thief of the Jones Corporation’s property; he must, therefore, be forced to return the $1,000,000 plus interest.”

    ———————————–

    According to Rothbard, I am correct. If you take your client’s money, but you don’t deliver your service – you are a thief. You stole his/her money. I really don’t see why Stephan is insisting on such silly replies.Yes. I have explained in detail in my lengthy contract piece why Rothbard is confused and incorrect here (in the section Theft and Debtors’ Prison starting on p. 32 of this article. If you had taken the time to familiarize yourself with the literature instead of trying to reinvent the wheel like all too many newbies do, you would realize this.

    STEPHAN SAID: “If the wheat farmer is paid ahead of time then the buyer now owns the wheat he produces. When it is produced the buyer owns it. The wheat producer cannot refuse to hadn it over. HE does not owe merely monetary damages: he ows the wheat.”Nonsense. If that wheat farmer spends his wheat somewhere else and he no longer has it – he will not be forced to go out on a field and start producing it – because that would be an enslavement.

    I believe your reply is dishonest and disingenuous. I have given this example several times and each time you dodge the issue and change the hypothetical so you do not have to face up to this issue. I am not talking about where the wheat is already spent. I am talking about when he still has the wheat, but refuses to turn it over. In that case, it is theft. You don’t want to admit this, because it shows the clear difference between labor, which there is no ownership of, and homesteaded things, which there is.Let me give a clearer example that you cannot worm out of. We agree that I will buy your hunk of cheese for a dollar. The agreement is that if and when I tender my dollar, the cheese becomes mine. Now, I lay down my dollar. According to your theory, you can at this point change your mind, keep your cheese, and tell me to take my dollar back. According to Rothbard and me, the cheese is now mine, wehther you like it or not. Title to it has already shifted to me. So if you refuse to hand it over, you are now in possession of my property without my consent–that’s trespass.

    You don’t like this example becuase it shows there is no analogue for labor–because labor is not owned.

    By the way, energy has real physical property that builds our physical body.

    Oh for God’s sake here we go with the pseudo-science again. 

  • Published: October 12, 2006 9:44 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • quasibill, point by point

    SASHA: “In case that the worker refuses to deliver his labor that someone already paid for, he is committing a theft”

    QUASIBILL: “Wrong. Theft, as noted, requires more facts than what you have laid out. What you have laid out is nothing more than a contractual breach, which allows for compensation to the extent of expectations, or, to the extent allowed by the contract.”

    ROTHBARD: “Suppose that Smith, when making his agreement for lifelong voluntary obedience to the Jones Corporation, receives in exchange $1,000,000 in payment for these expected future services. Clearly, then, the Jones Corporation had transferred title to the $1,000,000 not absolutely, but conditionally on his performance of lifelong service. Smith has the absolute right to change his mind, but he no longer has the right to keep the $1,000,000. If he does so, he is a THIEF of the Jones Corporation’s property; he must, therefore, be forced to return the $1,000,000 plus interest. For, of course, the title to the money was, and remains, alienable.”

    S:

    With all due respect, I agree with Rothbard and I think he makes a lot more sense than you do.

    ————————————————–

    Sasha: “Will you owe him compensation IN SPITE of the fact that you did not have any “conditional” contract with him? Absolutely! ”

    QUASIBILL: Wrong. The correct answer is – possibly! You might, under the specific scenario you point out (foreknowledge on the part of the owner), but the compensation is NOT based upon the value of the painter’s labor! It is entirely based upon the value of the “unjust enrichment” accruing to the owner. There is no theft of the painter’s labor. Hence, at best, your argument is irrelevant to the question of whether a person owns his labor.”

    S:

    At best, your response is irrelevant. First of all, if your fence was in a good shape prior to painting you were only marginally enriched. But that does not mean that you will pay couple of bucks to a painter. If you are “unjustly enriched” by service of painting – you were served with someone’s labor and material. You don’t just own for the paint that is now on your fence – you own more. The fact that you didn’t ordered that service may give you a discount – but you will still have to pay an equitable remedy TO BALANCE out the market exchange. You consumed someone’s labor (property of a body) and you will have to pay some of your property (money).

    ————————————————-

    QUASIBILL: “Then perhaps leaving out the snarky comments about Business Law I would be a good path to clarifying for others what you are talking about.”

    I am talking about real example from a Business Law I class. That is not a snarky comment.

    ————————————————-

    QUASIBILL: You’ve been very sloppy with the concept of theft, and have ignored the substantial difference between the concept of theft and the concept of breach of contract.

    S:

    I was not sloppy. For heaven sake, I was just paraphrasing Rothbard. He said that a worker who take his owner’s money – but refuses to deliver his/her services – is a thief. That’s all. Rothbard said it.

    ————————————————-

    QUASIBILL: “if you promise to sing at my concert hall, then back out that morning, I can’t go to court to get an order that requires you to sing. On the other hand, if I contract with you to build a custom jet, and you build it but at the last second decide to renege on our deal, I CAN go to a court to get an order requiring that you give me that jet.”

    Well, court cannot do anything before the breach/injury happens. If I spend my labor somewhere else – I cannot be enslaved and forced to deliver it on another day. Likewise, if I gave that jet to someone else – I cannot be enslaved to construct another one, if I don’t want to be in jet business anymore.

    ————————————————–

    QUASIBILL: “Again, it is important to differentiate between a party that, at the time of contracting, does not intend to perform, and a party that, while intending to perform at the time of contracting, later changes his mind. One is a thief, who may be liable (under Rothbard) for essentially punitive damages, while the other is merely in breach of contract, and only is liable to the extent of the contract.”

    S:

    Incorrect. Rothbard states that even if you change your mind later – but you keep the money – You are a thief. That is explicitly stated by Rothbard. Stephan is looking for a way out of that one, but he can’t do anything about it.

  • Published: October 12, 2006 10:04 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • STEPHAN: “Yes. I have explained in detail in my lengthy contract piece why Rothbard is confused and incorrect here.”

    I think you are confused and incorrect. Rothbard was only being consistent with his correct attitude that you own your own labor.

    ————————————————–

    STEPHAN: “. I am not talking about where the wheat is already spent. I am talking about when he still has the wheat, but refuses to turn it over. In that case, it is theft.”

    I AM TALKING ABOUT WHEAT THAT IS ALREADY SPENT – just because you talk about my labor that was spent elsewhere when the breach of contract occurs. You refuse to respect a correct analogy.

    ————————————————–

    STEPHAN “Let me give a clearer example that you cannot worm out of. We agree that I will buy your hunk of cheese for a dollar. The agreement is that if and when I tender my dollar, the cheese becomes mine. Now, I lay down my dollar. According to your theory, you can at this point change your mind, keep your cheese, and tell me to take my dollar back. According to Rothbard and me, the cheese is now mine, whether you like it or not. Title to it has already shifted to me. So if you refuse to hand it over, you are now in possession of my property without my consent–that’s trespass.”

    See how silly you are. Even though I may disagree with the abovementioned – I will say that I agree with you and Rothbard on this one – just to show you how inferior your arguments are.

    So you put your dollar on the table, but I decide not to take it. Instead I decide to eat that cheat. Yes, I am trespassing. Yes, I will be ordered to compensate you. BUT I WILL NOT BE FORCED INTO MILKING COWS AND MAKING MORE CHEESE. Just like an actor that backs-out of a contract and decides to spend his energy elsewhere will not be enslaved and forced to act. So what’s the difference?

  • Published: October 12, 2006 10:19 PM

  • Person
  • SIONE VATU: I’m waiting for your profuse apology.

    Stephan: do you now finally concede the point I’ve been arguing all along: that non-scarcity of ideas does not support your case against IP? You’ve all but admitted it at this point.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 12:01 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    STEPHAN: “Yes. I have explained in detail in my lengthy contract piece why Rothbard is confused and incorrect here.”

     

    I think you are confused and incorrect. Rothbard was only being consistent with his correct attitude that you own your own labor.Okay then! That’s settled!

    STEPHAN: “. I am not talking about where the wheat is already spent. I am talking about when he still has the wheat, but refuses to turn it over. In that case, it is theft.”I AM TALKING ABOUT WHEAT THAT IS ALREADY SPENT – just because you talk about my labor that was spent elsewhere when the breach of contract occurs. You refuse to respect a correct analogy.

    And, everyone knows, one “must” “respect” a “correct analogy.”

    So you put your dollar on the table, but I decide not to take it. Instead I decide to eat that cheat. Yes, I am trespassing. Yes, I will be ordered to compensate you. BUT I WILL NOT BE FORCED INTO MILKING COWS AND MAKING MORE CHEESE.

    Tell us more about your cheese-eating views, Sasha. More.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 1:28 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Person, grow-up…

    ————————————————–

    Just to preempt some possible responses:

    quasibill,

    Imagine that you have a brand-new green fence. Getting a wrong address, a painter shows-up at your place with some blue paint. You say to yourself: “hmmm, this would look nicer” and you just let the guy complete his job.
    – Now, your fence was new and painting did not enrich you in terms of improvement in its value. Do you owe anything to a painter? Of course you do – and don’t say “yes” because you won’t help Stephan by killing your integrity. You were served by someone’s labor and you owe the money.

    Stephan,

    Notice that when we make the analogies between undelivered labor and undelivered merchandise, labor is always spent – because our physical body with its matter and energy/work is tied to a time component. You can’t go back in time and deliver your service to a yesterday’s show. That’s why the only fair comparison is one in which merchandise is also spent and no longer available. Yes, the difference between labor and other goods is that you can preserve undelivered merchandise and give it back – while your body’s energy/work is spent every second. Duh… But that has nothing to do with the ownership title issue.

    You can’t say that the merchandise that is not durable is not a property – just because you can’t preserve it and deliver it by the time you get a court order. Instead of cheese example, why didn’t use a warm hamburger? By the time you get a court order to deliver that particular hamburger – it is already spoiled. Would the court order you to deliver a spoiled hamburger, expecting that you didn’t eat it? Of course not… But I wouldn’t be obligated to make you another one if I no longer make them. Forcing me to work would represent enslavement, according to you and Rothbard.

    So what’s the difference? I am still waiting to hear. Don’t rush…. take your time.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 1:34 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • I’ll help you. The difference is in durability – between stable forms of energy (matter) and less stable ones. But it still does not affect the property issue od physical body in its entirety.

    Stephan, it is a good thing that you gave up a career in engineering and that you write pseudo-law jokes instead. What a great move.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 1:56 AM

  • banker
  • For those wondering what would happen if patents and intellectual property were to disappear, look no further.

    http://www.ft.com/markets/wizardry
    (articles are free to read)

    The finance industry enjoys no such patent protection aparatus. Yet that hasn’t stopped banks from devising ever more sophisticated products. I think this casts doubt on the notion that patents encourage innovation.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 5:38 AM

  • quasibill
  • Sasha-

    You’ll have to point to explict references, because while Rothbard may have at certain times referred sloppily to someone as a “thief”, I think when he actually discussed remedies and such, he was fairly accurate and consistent. I’ll admit that I may be missing something, so I’ll give a mea culpa if you can show me where, when he talks about remedies, he confuses contractual breaches with theft.

    My understanding is such:

    Theft was an unjustified aggressive taking of another’s property (aggressive including truly fraudulent action). Thieves were subject to not only repaying the value of the property taken, but actually 2x that as a form of punitive property.

    In contrast, a mere contract breacher is liable only pursuant to the contract. Punitive damages, as such, are not available against a contract breacher.

    Therefore, it is extremely important to distinguish between the two categories of transgressors.

    As for particulars:

    “First of all, if your fence was in a good shape prior to painting you were only marginally enriched. But that does not mean that you will pay couple of bucks to a painter”

    Actually, under the common law as it developed and mostly exists, in fact that IS all you will pay the painter. You in fact have NO contract with him, so his only hope is to prove you have unjustly benefitted from his efforts. YOU DO NOT OWE HIM HIS LABOR WAGE THAT HE WAS CHARGING YOUR NEIGHBOR. You never contracted for that. And, as I noted, it is in fact entirely possible that the equity judge will decide it’s the painter’s own fault for making the mistake and award him nothing! That’s why it’s important to understand the difference between equity and law.

    “I am talking about real example from a Business Law I class. That is not a snarky comment.”

    I thought you just claimed that you weren’t talking about law, but ethics? Oh that’s right, that’s exactly what you said. So which is it? And again, if you came to the conclusion you did from something taught to you in business law, you need to get a refund, because your conclusion was dead wrong on the law.

    “Well, court cannot do anything before the breach/injury happens. If I spend my labor somewhere else – I cannot be enslaved and forced to deliver it on another day. Likewise, if I gave that jet to someone else – I cannot be enslaved to construct another one, if I don’t want to be in jet business anymore”

    Exactly. Your labor is not a piece of property. It is a derivative right flowing from the ownership of your own body. This example shows how granting property rights in your labor actually negates property rights in your own body. This is related to a point Stephan repeatedly makes that granting property rights in non-rivalrous goods by necessity means taking already existing property rights in rivalrous goods.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 7:58 AM

  • TGGP
  • Sione Vatu: Person may be as bad as you claim. In his free time he might rape puppies, steal candy from babies and force-feed it to diabetics. I don’t know and right now I don’t care. What he most certainly has NOT done anywhere I’ve read is advocate I.P. What he has done before and continues to do is argue about scarcity. I think he’s wrong about it. If you do as well, then start attacking his arguments on scarcity rather than insist he prove a case he has never advocated.

    Sasha Radeta: Your argument about the painted fence is ridiculous. There was never any agreement or contract between us. If I only valued having a painted fence about half a cent, that’s going to be less than labor and materials cost which is why I hadn’t hired the painter in the first place. It’s the painter’s own fault he painted the wrong fence and it’s not my responsibility to stop him from screwing up. Just like how I don’t have to pay one of those squeegee people on the street that work on your car without being asked and then demand money.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 7:58 AM

  • Person
  • Sione:

    In large part Person’s anger stems from a previous occasion where based on evidence I concluded he was a liar. He’d been caught dead-to-rights claiming he’d already answered questions he hadn’t addressed at all.

    You never did such a thing. On the thread you’re referring to, I did the same thing I did here: I state a proposition I was trying to prove, and I proved it. I answered every clarifying question you asked about it. What I did not do was answer questions about matters unrelated to my post and which I never asserted an opinion on. What I did not do was dig up extensive research for you, when my opponent in that debate (Stephan) already accepted the essential parts.

    Here, the exact same thing has happened again! Sione again and again asked me to prove things I never tried to, and again and again asked me to explain things that I already explained. This time I even posted a history of WHERE I explained all those things, which he clearly had not read (else he would already know the answer), even though he lied and claimed he had.

    Sione: do you understand what I’m trying to demonstrate here? Do you understand what arguments I have advanced to that end? If not, state specifically what you missed. At this point, I will probably only need to give you the time and date of the post for you to find it, but of course, even then you’ll probably ignore it.

    Your posts on this thread and the other have been little more than ignorance disguised as indignation. Cut it out, and read my posts before responding.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 8:40 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • quasibill,

    You may say that under common law you are not going to pay anything to a painter that painted your brand-new fence and changed its color (didn’t improve its value) – but that’s a nonsense. Like I said, you don’t help Stephan like that.

    I said its an example from Business law I, but implications don’t have to be reflected in current law practices. There are ethical issues (I am not referring to your dishonesty here) – again, even if you say that courts will decide that you don’t owe anything to painter – it is evident that such nonsense is unjust.

    When it comes to the treatment of labor in cases in which we don’t fulfill our contract – you didn’t prove that labor is not treated just like any other property.

    You can’t say that the merchandise that is not durable is not a property – just because you can’t preserve it and deliver it by the time you get a court order. Instead of airplane example, why didn’t use a warm hamburger? By the time you get a court order to deliver that particular hamburger – it is already spoiled. Would the court order you to deliver a spoiled hamburger, expecting that you didn’t eat it? Of course not… But I wouldn’t be obligated to make you another one if I no longer make them. Forcing me to work would represent enslavement.

    When it comes to cases in which you don’t deliver your labor for the money – Rothbard explicitly said it is a theft. I gave you the quote from him. What else do you need?

  • Published: October 13, 2006 10:13 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person: Are you dodging Sione’s questions.

    Person: “Stephan: do you now finally concede the point I’ve been arguing all along: that non-scarcity of ideas does not support your case against IP? You’ve all but admitted it at this point.”

    Okay. I “concede” it. Now what?

    Sasha:

    STEPHAN “Let me give a clearer example that you cannot worm out of. We agree that I will buy your hunk of cheese for a dollar. The agreement is that if and when I tender my dollar, the cheese becomes mine. Now, I lay down my dollar. According to your theory, you can at this point change your mind, keep your cheese, and tell me to take my dollar back. According to Rothbard and me, the cheese is now mine, whether you like it or not. Title to it has already shifted to me. So if you refuse to hand it over, you are now in possession of my property without my consent–that’s trespass.”

     

    See how silly you are. Even though I may disagree with the abovementioned – I will say that I agree with you and Rothbard on this one – just to show you how inferior your arguments are.You agree with it even though you disagree with it? I am not sure what you are saying.

    But if you agree here, you have switched ground, because earlier you said that in such a case, you could refuse to hand over the cheese and just pay money damages instead. I guess you are trying to figure out just what your position is here.

    So you put your dollar on the table, but I decide not to take it. Instead I decide to eat that cheat. Yes, I am trespassing. Yes, I will be ordered to compensate you. BUT I WILL NOT BE FORCED INTO MILKING COWS AND MAKING MORE CHEESE.

    Actually, in the example you just gave, you are literally stealing my cheese. This is an act of theft. In libertarian theory, theft may be punished. Don’t you agree? It’s legitimate to jail, punish, etc, aggressors. One thing you could do is force the prisoner to milk cows and make cheese. Why not?

    I think you are confused and incorrect. Rothbard was only being consistent with his correct attitude that you own your own labor. Okay then! That’s settled!

    No, I’m a frayed knot. He was actually not being consistent. He totally drops the confused notion that you own your labor, when it comes to talking about real contracts. Each time he gives an example where someone pays money for another to provide a service, the only title he speaks of is title to the payment transferring.

    Notice that when we make the analogies between undelivered labor and undelivered merchandise, labor is always spent – because our physical body with its matter and energy/work is tied to a time component. You can’t go back in time and deliver your service to a yesterday’s show.

    Labor is not “spent”. It is in the past. It is an event, a happening, a “thing you do” with your body–it is just an action. Actions are not ownable. Processes, happenings are not ownable. They are what-happens-to-things.

    You can’t say that the merchandise that is not durable is not a property – just because you can’t preserve it and deliver it by the time you get a court order. Instead of cheese example, why didn’t use a warm hamburger? By the time you get a court order to deliver that particular hamburger – it is already spoiled. Would the court order you to deliver a spoiled hamburger, expecting that you didn’t eat it? Of course not… But I wouldn’t be obligated to make you another one if I no longer make them. Forcing me to work would represent enslavement, according to you and Rothbard.

    In such cases the other party would not want the spoiled hamburger anyway; he would in that case *ask* for monetary damages. But in the case where you contract to sell a car, you have to give up the car when the buyer pays for it. You have no choice. Why? Because cars are alienable objects that the seller owns. Title to such acquired scarce resources can be transferred to someone else based on conditions.

    I’ll help you. The difference is in durability – between stable forms of energy (matter) and less stable ones.

    So now you are saying a body is made of matter, which is a stable form of energy? But I thought before you said a body was made of energy AND matter? Which is it? And what does this have to do with “mental energy”?

  • Published: October 13, 2006 10:20 AM

  • Person
  • ATTENTION ALL READERS OF THIS BLOG. Stephan Kinsella has just conceded the point I have been arguing since April, and which he has fighting tooth and nail since then by changing the topic, parsing my posts into meaninglessness, and generally being condescending. See the quotation of his post below:

    Person: “Stephan: do you now finally concede the point I’ve been arguing all along: that non-scarcity of ideas does not support your case against IP? You’ve all but admitted it at this point.”

    Okay. I “concede” it. Now what?

    Now what? Here’s what: You agree that the arguments you present on pp. 22-31 of your seminal work are in error. The arguments you make there do not help your case at all. The argument there, that non-scarcity of ideas proves the invalidity of IP, you now concede to be in error. This doensn’t by itself refute your conclusion, but it means that from this point forward, any time you try to use idea non-scarcity to attack IP, you are making a willful deception of others through an irrelevant argument. You can no longer in good faith invoke idea non-scarcity to support your position, and you should correct anyone else who tries to do so.

    That is “what”.

    Person: Are you dodging Sione’s questions.

    No. I’ve answered every question he’s asked, or explained why it’s irrelevant. I even quoted the posts where those answers were given mutliple times, proving that he lied when claiming he read my posts.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 10:34 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Person: just kidding. I don’t really concede it. I just wanted to see you get all giddy.
  • Published: October 13, 2006 10:42 AM

  • Person
  • Stephan: then reply to my arguments above that establish its irrelevance to your case, without changing the topic, please. Concede or refute, your choice.
  • Published: October 13, 2006 10:50 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • TGGP, please search in google for “unjust enrichment” and learn what it is. Even though you get a discount for the fact that you didn’t have a contract and you didn’t request the service (so that answers the quasibill’s quasi-argument) – you still allowed someone to enrich you with their service. You will pay – even if your fence was new and its value did not improve at all.

    ————————————————–

    Stephan, grow-up.

    I repeat again – nondurable merchandise is still a property. Go back to my fresh hamburger example and you will see that there is no difference in treatment of undelivered labor (service) and undelivered hamburger (nondurable good) under the same legal circumstances. In both cases, THE DAMAGED SIDE WILL SEEK MONETARY COMPENSATION – BECAUSE YOU CANNOT FORCE SOMEONE TO WORK OR MAKE HAMBURGERS. That would constitute enslavement – and this is why Rothbard is consistent when it comes to his definition of theft (in which he included the undelivered labor). There is no difference in that sense – between nondurable property (that spoil in time) and your work (which is tied to a time component).

    ————————————————-

    Btw. quasibill,

    You own your labor/work because it is derived from ownership over your physical body (energy patterns). If you say you own your body – based on physics – you basically say that you own your energy and work. If you deny scientific facts in economic theory, your theory is invalid.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 10:50 AM

  • quasibill
  • “There are ethical issues (I am not referring to your dishonesty here) – again, even if you say that courts will decide that you don’t owe anything to painter – it is evident that such nonsense is unjust. ”

    Well, not referring to your dishonesty here, but stating that something is evidently unjust is not proof that it is. It isn’t nonsense, it is a logically thought through application of principles of justice – Judeo-Christian justice, at that.

    It is not evidently unjust at all. In fact, as I’ve repeatedly noted, the question decided by a court is exactly the “justice” of the “enrichment”.

    You have failed to refute any aspect of the argument.

    “When it comes to the treatment of labor in cases in which we don’t fulfill our contract – you didn’t prove that labor is not treated just like any other property.”

    Um, yes. I pointed to how I can’t force you to labor. You conceded that I can’t, and that it would be unjust if I could. You then said that I would be unlikely to ask for a cold hamburger – but once again, your sloppiness shows through – I COULD ask for a court order for it and get it. That I choose some other form of remuneration is irrelevant – I do have a legal (and under our paradigm) “just” right to that specific hamburger, should I so choose it.

    Now, foreseeing your next step, I’ll admit that if you in fact destroy the hamburger by ingesting it, I have no right to it, because “it” doesn’t exist anymore. I can only get some form of compensation for your destruction of the property.

    This does not apply to your labor – I can never force you to labor – I can only ask for compensation.

    So yes, I have demonstrated, and you have conceded, that labor IS treated differently from other goods traded in the market:

    “But I wouldn’t be obligated to make you another one if I no longer make them. Forcing me to work would represent enslavement.”

    Actually the court wouldn’t order you to make me one even if you still made them. It would only order compensation equivalent, which you would probably trade for a hamburger IF I ACCEPTED THE SUBSTITUTE. And, as you concede in the last sentence – granting property rights in labor would represent a negation in your property rights in your body – i.e. “enslavement”.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 10:56 AM

  • greg
  • NSK> Labor is not “spent“.

    Well maybe so. But opportunity cost makes it sound that way.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 11:02 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • One more time:

    http://www.aip.org/history/einstein/voice1.htm

    The same goes for the physical object we call brain, which creates and contains ideas. But brain is not formed only of matter:

    http://www.fi.edu/brain/carbs.htm

  • Published: October 13, 2006 11:04 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Quasibill,

    like I said, if someone paints your brand-new fence – it doesn’t improve its market value – but you still owe the compensation to the painter.

    The only thing you proved is that labor is tied to a time component. It is not identical to a warm hamburger that spoils in time – but the analogy is still close enough to realize that you are completely wrong.

    Go back to our undelivered labor and hamburger example. In both cases THE DAMAGED SIDE WILL SEEK MONETARY COMPENSATION – BECAUSE YOU CANNOT FORCE SOMEONE TO WORK OR MAKE HAMBURGERS. You may be an idiot that seeks a spoiled hamburger – but likewise, you may me an idiot that seeks an apology (another form of labor).

    It still does not prove your point and your attempts seem more and more absurd.

    Labor is “spent”, because you can’t go back in time and use it for your next best alternative. Greg – right on the money!

  • Published: October 13, 2006 11:18 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • If you are intelligent enough to understand my point – instead of undelivered hamburger – you may think of even a closer analogy to undelivered labor. Imagine that I am an insect seller. In spite of our contract – I refuse to hand you an insect called lania americana the shortest lived among the Ephemeroptera with females typically living for less than five minutes.

    Even if you are stupid enough to seek a dead fly – and courts are stupid to hear your case – by the time you get the court order the insect will completely dissolve.

    So how can I deliver you the nonexistent merchandise? I didn’t destroy it, but that’s irrelevant. The merchandise is not there – just like my past labor is not there anymore. You can’t force me to go to nature and get you another one (enslavement issue). So how is that different from undelivered labor (property) for which you cannot seek compensation in the same type of labor?

    ————————————————–

    “Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.”

    George Orwell

  • Published: October 13, 2006 11:38 AM

  • quasibill
  • Sasha:

    “like I said, if someone paints your brand-new fence – it doesn’t improve its market value – but you still owe the compensation to the painter.”

    Me:

    Yes, you said it, but it’s wrong, ethically AND legally. You seem to think assumption and assertion is the same thing as proof. They’re not.

    You actually do NOT owe compensation to the painter, under the law, and since you’re stipulating no enrichment, not even under equity! Otherwise, as TGGP pointed out, those beggars on the street would be making a killing in equity court by washing your windows. If the painter can prove that it is, in fact, unjust that you retain some benefit (note that this benefit IS required for the remedy), then you owe him some form of compensation. But as I have repeatedly pointed out, and you have dodged, it is NOT based upon how much labor he put into it. It could be 1 hour or 500 – his compensation will be entirely based upon how much you were “enriched” – which is most often going to be determined by change in market value of the fence (or perhaps in the attached realty in some cases). The remedy has NOTHING to do with compensating the painter for his labor, and everything to do with encouraging you to act reasonably and inform the painter of his mistake when you recognize it.

    It’s really quite a simple concept.

    “The only thing you proved is that labor is tied to a time component. It is not identical to a warm hamburger that spoils in time – but the analogy is still close enough to realize that you are completely wrong.”

    No, it is so different as to show that it has no relevance. Find another analogy – after all, it was your challenge to find how labor is treated differently. I showed you how it was – I have distinguished every example you have given. LABOR IS TREATED DIFFERENTLY. The onus is now on you to find another good that is treated like labor. But note that even if you do, at this point, I have shown that it is treated differently than the vast majority of goods.

    And again (and again, and again) – you have not addressed your own concession that granting property rights in labor by necessity requires granting others property rights in your body.

    “You may be an idiot that seeks a spoiled hamburger – but likewise, you may me an idiot that seeks an apology (another form of labor).”

    But I can’t get a court order requiring an apology, while I can get one requiring the hamburger. Try again.

    “Even if you are stupid enough to seek a dead fly – and courts are stupid to hear your case – by the time you get the court order the insect will completely dissolve.”

    The point is not that you did or didn’t destroy it. The point is that it doesn’t exist, and therefore no property rights can in fact exist with respect to it.

    And here you get to the crux of your flawed argument:

    “just like my past labor is not there anymore”

    Your past labor no longer exists – therefore no property right. Your future labor does not yet exist, therefore, no property right. So by your admission here, there are no property rights in labor.

    Now, if you want to parse all the way down, I’ll grant you that in every instant, it is plausible (though flawed for other reasons) to argue that you “own” property rights in your current labor. But that property right is so fleeting as to be essentially meaningless.

    Let me quote you as a response:

    “It still does not prove your point and your attempts seem more and more absurd.”

    That sentence is a fair assessment of yourself. And the Orwell quote applies pretty well too, except 180 degrees from the way you meant it. Once again, your snarkiness scores you no points, and in most cases, does nothing more than indicate your sloppy thinking.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 12:46 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • quasiball,

    You do owe compensation if you allow a person to paint your fence. Bums who wash your windshields can never “make a killing”- because they do not have a significant claim to get the court to hear their case – but the painter does have it. If someone delivers tobacco products to you by mistake and you consume them – you can’t say they didn’t enrich you if they hypothetically caused you an illness and healthcare costs. You didn’t benefit from tobacco in monetary terms, but it did enrich you by providing you the pleasure of consumption at the seller’s cost – just like a change in fence enriched you at the painter’s cost.

    YOU SIAD – “Your past labor no longer exists – therefore no property right.”

    A DISSOLVED/DECOMPOSED INSECT DOES NOT EXIST ANY MORE (some maybe valuable if they are rare)- BUT THERE IS A PROPERTY RIGHT. The fact that it doesn’t exist anymore, does not change the fact that you did not deliver what was mine based on the contract (property title exchange). Otherwise – if you own such non-durable fauna, you could just grab someone’s money, run, and than wait for nature to kill and decompose the merchandise you owe. That is nonsense and you know it.

    You are trying to help Stephan at all costs, but you are sinking lower and lower.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 1:22 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • QUASIBILL SAID: “Now, if you want to parse all the way down, I’ll grant you that in every instant, it is plausible (though flawed for other reasons) to argue that you “own” property rights in your current labor.”

    Of course that you have to grant it – because you understand that I am correct. The fact that work/labor is property of our physical body’s energy (instead of stable matter, which is also a manifestation of energy) – makes it tied to time component. We irreversibly spend our labor every second and we cannot go back in time to spend our labor on our next-best alternative. We may find a close analogy in labor in extreme examples of nondurable property (just because courts are too slow to react to theft of the short-living insect that I mentioned). But just like you can own a rare short-living insect – you own your body’s energy/work.

    PS
    No, you cannot steal someone’s lania americana and wait for nature to dissolve it, without providing a compensation. You didn’t destroy the insect – but you made other side poorer by stealing it. You have to pay for it.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 1:39 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • QUASIBILL SAID: “But I can’t get a court order requiring an apology, while I can get one requiring the hamburger. Try again.”

    I’ll try again…

    Even with more durable property, analogy (labor-hamburger) still works…
    – If I fail to deliver you a warm hamburger, you may be insane enough to ask for a decomposed matter that used to be a hamburger after couple of months. You will get a different form of matter as compensation.
    – If an actor fails to fulfill his contract, the film studio can ask for the court-ordered apology. You would get a different type of labor as compensation.

    Court-ordered apologies are not any more unusual than a request for decomposed ex-hamburger.

    http://www.ecoenquirer.com/eagle-apology.htm

  • Published: October 13, 2006 1:52 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Quasibill knows that the courts CAN order you an apology – especially if you ask for it as the only mean of compensation – but he chooses to say an obvious lie and humiliate himself in order to help Stephan… How touching and cute.

    Reports abound in the media of judges requiring defendants to apologize as a condition of receiving probation rather than incarceration.

    Examples range from:
    – judges ordering drunk drivers to take out newspaper ads with an apology to the community (See Daniel W. Shuman, The Role of Apology in Tort Law, 83 JUDICATURE 180, 187 (2000).),
    – to requiring batterers to apologize to their spouses before women’s groups (See, e.g., Haya El Nasser, Paying for Crime with Shame: Judges Say “Scarlet Letter” Angle Works, USA TODAY, June 25, 1996, at A1; see also Thomas M. Antkowiak, Note, Truth as Right and Remedy in International Human Rights Experience, 23 MICH. J. INT’L L. 977, 1009–12 (2002) (noting several instances of judge-ordered apology in the context of a discussion of the benefits of systematically incorporating restorative principles in the U.S. criminal justice system),
    -to ordering corporate polluters to write letters of apology for their environmental crimes and pay for newspaper advertisements detailing their conduct. See Kahan & Posner, supra note 29, at 367 (citing Richard Phillips, Shame as a Deterrent, CHI. TRIB., July 27, 1988, at C20).

    When defendants refuse to cooperate in such coerced expressions of remorse they risk the wrath of the court. For example, a federal judge in Hawaii recently sent a former city council–member back to prison, rather than to a halfway house, after the former city council–member refused to apologize to the community for misusing taxpayer funds. See KITV News, The Hawaii Channel (ABC television broadcast May 16, 2005).

    And a court in New Hampshire recently ordered a man to undergo “empathy training” after he failed to apologize as a condition of probation. Alan J. Keays, Court: Man Must Work on Empathy Issues, RUTLAND HERALD, May 17, 2005, at B1.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 2:23 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • TGGP SAID: “Just like how I don’t have to pay one of those squeegee people on the street that work on your car without being asked and then demand money.”

    ——–

    MY SUGGESTION: Instead of conveniently choosing an example in which service cost is so low that it cannot yield a court-hearing – try to run away from dry-cleaning or car-wash without paying – and then have a nerve to tell me that you don’t owe them their money. (No, they won’t charge you based on their costs of their machines and material – because many of them already paid those off and that is not how they form the price of their SERVICE, but you still owe them their money).

  • Published: October 13, 2006 2:57 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha:

    Instead of conveniently choosing an example in which service cost is so low that it cannot yield a court-hearing – try to run away from dry-cleaning or car-wash without paying – and then have a nerve to tell me that you don’t owe them their money. (No, they won’t charge you based on their costs of their machines and material – because many of them already paid those off and that is not how they form the price of their SERVICE, but you still owe them their money).

    Only if the money’s title was transferred subject to a condition. That does not mean the service that is the condition is property. It’s an activity, an action, a doing. Mmmm kay?

    A DISSOLVED/DECOMPOSED INSECT DOES NOT EXIST ANY MORE (some maybe valuable if they are rare)- BUT THERE IS A PROPERTY RIGHT.

    What about decomposed cheese? Does it have more, or less, “energy” than edible cheese?

    No, you cannot steal someone’s lania americana and wait for nature to dissolve it,

    Please. This is a family forum. 

    Sasha: why do you refuse to answer the simple question: if you maintain that inability to repay a debt on the day due is theft, when was the theft, and what was it that was stolen? Was it a non-existent thing? Or are you time traveling?

    Person: what do you think, hmm?

  • Published: October 13, 2006 3:15 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • STEPHAN “Only if the money’s title was transferred subject to a condition. That does not mean the service that is the condition is property. It’s an activity, an action, a doing. Mmmm kay?”

    I’ll try to guess what you tried to say with this:
    The bum example is not a good one, because you can run away from them even if you had a verbal contract and the courts won’t even hear such insignificant claim. On the other hand – if a car-wash takes your car by mistake and you give them keys and let them finish the job – you won’t be able to claim that your car was clean and that you don’t owe them any money. If a painter changers the color of your fence – you still owe him for that service, even if it didn’t enrich you. Likewise, if a tobacco product causes you health damages that annul the value of merchandise you received – you will still owe them the money.

    Not according to quasibill – but he is dishonest person, who claimed that courts cannot order you to apologize just like they can order you to return a spoiled hamburger.

    STEPHAN: “What about decomposed cheese? Does it have more, or less, “energy” than edible cheese?” That would take us away from our topic. What is significant here is the following:
    – If I fail to deliver you a fresh cheese that you already purchased, you may be insane enough to ask for a decomposed matter that used to be cheese after couple of months. You will get a different form of matter as your compensation.
    – If an actor fails to fulfill his contract, the film studio can ask for the court-ordered apology. You would get a different type of labor as compensation.

    So what’s the difference between two cases? You cannot explain this because you are too stubborn to revisit your theory and realize what the ownership of any physical body includes.

    STEPHAN: “Sasha: why do you refuse to answer the simple question: if you maintain that inability to repay a debt on the day due is theft, when was the theft, and what was it that was stolen? Was it a non-existent thing? Or are you time traveling?”

    I don’t refuse to answer – I just don’t think it is appropriate to expose you to even more humiliation after so many failed attempts with your examples. But since ask for this one, mmm kay:

    I said that I don’t maintain that INABILITY to repay the monetary debt is a theft – any more than I maintain that INABILITY to deliver a work is a theft.

    If you refused to pay your debt on it due date – either the debt of labor or money (or merchandise) – you committed the theft on that particular day ACCORDING TO ROTHBARD.

    I JUST MAINTAIN THAT THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LABOR AND MERCHANDISE IN THIS ANALOGY. That is a simple point that, sadly, you still didn’t get.

    Mmmm kay?

  • Published: October 13, 2006 3:53 PM

  • Person
  • Stephan: What I think, hmm, is that it’s finally dawned on you that I’m right, that the non-scarcity of ideas doesn’t help your case (and invalidates most of your posturing on this issue), but you’ve invested so much rhetorical capital here denying it all, so as much as you recognize the truth of what I’ve said, you damn well aren’t going to admit it where everyone can see, but rather, will keep your practices the same as before in hopes that people will forget about this exchange on this thread and that I won’t follow your future discussions and link to it.

    Does that sound about right?

  • Published: October 13, 2006 3:55 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan…

    Quasibill stated that a rare insect – that dies and completely decomposes before the court can order its delivery to its owner – is not a property and that the damaged owner cannot get compensated.

    Quasibill basically claims that some physical bodies cannot be claimed as property – if they are not durable enough to be recovered by our “efficient” courts.

    What’s your take on this? By the way, it indirectly relates to spoiled cheese’s stability of energy compared to less durable matter – and its analogy to physical work/labor.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 4:12 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • STEPHAN “Only if the money’s title was transferred subject to a condition. That does not mean the service that is the condition is property. It’s an activity, an action, a doing. Mmmm kay?”I’ll try to guess what you tried to say with this:
    The bum example is not a good one, because you can run away from them even if you had a verbal contract and the courts won’t even hear such insignificant claim.

    Aren’t all contracts verbal? Or do you mean oral? What’s your contract theory say about oral vs. written contracts?

    On the other hand – if a car-wash takes your car by mistake and you give them keys and let them finish the job – you won’t be able to claim that your car was clean and that you don’t owe them any money. If a painter changers the color of your fence – you still owe him for that service, even if it didn’t enrich you. Likewise, if a tobacco product causes you health damages that annul the value of merchandise you received – you will still owe them the money.Not according to quasibill – but he is dishonest person, who claimed that courts cannot order you to apologize just like they can order you to return a spoiled hamburger.

    What about ordering you to apologize to a spoiled brat?

    STEPHAN: “What about decomposed cheese? Does it have more, or less, “energy” than edible cheese?” That would take us away from our topic. What is significant here is the following: – If I fail to deliver you a fresh cheese that you already purchased, you may be insane enough to ask for a decomposed matter that used to be cheese after couple of months. You will get a different form of matter as your compensation. – If an actor fails to fulfill his contract, the film studio can ask for the court-ordered apology. You would get a different type of labor as compensation.

    Interesting. Tell us more about your authoritative and coherent grand theory of contract!

    So what’s the difference between two cases? You cannot explain this because you are too stubborn to revisit your theory and realize what the ownership of any physical body includes.

    It includes the right to control its use, of course, silly goose! 🙂

    STEPHAN: “Sasha: why do you refuse to answer the simple question: if you maintain that inability to repay a debt on the day due is theft, when was the theft, and what was it that was stolen? Was it a non-existent thing? Or are you time traveling?”I don’t refuse to answer – I just don’t think it is appropriate to expose you to even more humiliation after so many failed attempts with your examples. But since ask for this one, mmm kay:

    I said that I don’t maintain that INABILITY to repay the monetary debt is a theft

    Oh, inteersting. You are changing your story once again. Glad you are learning. So let’s go with this, then: if A pays B $100 to paint A’s house next week, and B spends the money and is broke, and then B for some reasons refuses to paint A’s house (or: if A loans $100 to B, to be repaid with interest in one year, and B is insolvent on the due date), didn’t you maintain that you agree with Rothbard that this failure-to-pay is implicit theft?

    And now, you are saying inability-to-pay is NOT theft. Why don’t you figure out what you believe, then we can argue about it? Howzat sound?

    Above you said:

    STEPHAN SAID: “So. If I am supposed to pay you $100 on that day, but I don’t have any money–what, exactly, have I stolen?”

     

    YOU STOLE MY LABOR THAT WAS INVESTED IN TRANSFORMATION OF YOUR MEANS OF PRODUCTION. If you don’t have money that you owe me (and you agreed to pay it in this exchange), you should pay in something else, or go to prison – like any other thief. […]

    Stephan said: “An easy way to see this is to simply ask: when was the theft committed? ON the day the payment was given to him, or on the day he does not perform?”

    On the day he does not perform, of course.

    So, above you say that if the due date for a debt comes and you do not have the money, then you have committed theft–on that day–of LABOR. Now, several problems here. First, it contradicts your apparently new theory that says you do NOT commit theft by being unable to pay. Second, there is NO ACTION being done by the “thief” on the due date that can be referred to as an action of stealing–he is just existing, and in a state of poverty. How is that stealing? Third, … the labor was performed some time in the past: how can he steal something done in the past, today? Moreover, the labor was performed voluntarily, was it not? If so, how can it be said to have been stolen? How can labor done voluntarily today, be “stolen” a week later? Even if you somehow maintain labor is property, it seems the only way to steal it would be to coerce you to do it; but in this example, the impoverished debtor never coerced the service provider to do anything.

    So, Sasha, how does your ever-evolving contract theory explain or handle these uncomfortable difficulties?

    I said that I don’t maintain that INABILITY to repay the monetary debt is a theft – any more than I maintain that INABILITY to deliver a work is a theft.

    But, er, yes you do maintain this: Remember, above I asked: “So. If I am supposed to pay you $100 on that day, but I don’t have any money–what, exactly, have I stolen?”: your reply was: YOU STOLE MY LABOR THAT WAS INVESTED IN TRANSFORMATION OF YOUR MEANS OF PRODUCTION.Now, so you there said that being UNABLE to pay (that is what it means to not have any money), it is theft of labor. But now you say that “I don’t maintain that INABILITY to repay the monetary debt is a theft”.

    You are very confused, Sasha, aren’t you? Why don’t you sort all this out, figure out what incorrect view you really have, then we can sort it out, mmm kay?

    If you refused to pay your debt on it due date – either the debt of labor or money (or merchandise) – you committed the theft on that particular day ACCORDING TO ROTHBARD.If you REFUSE to pay a debt, you are indeed a thief–because refusing implies you choose not to do it, which implies you have it in your ability to do it but choose not ot. It implies you have property, title to which has transferred by virtue of a previous contract, to another person, and you refuse to turn over this property to its new rightful owner. That is a type of theft.

    I JUST MAINTAIN THAT THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LABOR AND MERCHANDISE IN THIS ANALOGY. That is a simple point that, sadly, you still didn’t get.Of course there is a difference in unowned, external, scarce objects that one acquires and claims ownership of; and “things-that-one-does-using-his-body”. How can you think there is no difference between external objects, and actions we perform?

    Person, help me out here, kay? Splain it to Sasha.

    Person: What I think, hmm, is that it’s finally dawned on you that I’m right, that the non-scarcity of ideas doesn’t help your case (and invalidates most of your posturing on this issue), but you’ve invested so much rhetorical capital here denying it all, so as much as you recognize the truth of what I’ve said, you damn well aren’t going to admit it where everyone can see, but rather, will keep your practices the same as before in hopes that people will forget about this exchange on this thread and that I won’t follow your future discussions and link to it.

    Does that sound about right? Uhh, yeah.

    No, wait. Just kidding.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 4:25 PM

  • Person
  • Stephan: So what’s your story? Do you or do you not agree with my argument? (That non-scarcity of ideas is irrelevant to your case against IP.) If not, why not?

    Person, help me out here, kay? Splain it to Sasha. Well, at least you recognize I understand your contract theory, but … If you think I’m going to help you out of this mess after all the stuff you’ve put me through (conveniently “forgetting” what you or I said previously, parsing my posts into meaninglessness, calling me obscene names via email, threatening to release my personal information, changing the topic whenever backed into a corner, etc etc etc), you’re gravely mistaken.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 4:39 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan,

    I hold that Rothbard was correct when he stated that if you don’t deliver your merchandise/labor to someone who already purchased it – that is a property theft.

    There is no contradiction there if you understand that we own our physical body in its entirety (energy). EVEN IF YOU MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN “INABILITY” AND “REFUSAL” – LABOR AND MERCHANDISE ARE TREATED IN THE SAME MANNER.

    Camon, you can do it – think about it.

    Even if you deny that extremely nondurable goods are not property, based on our courts’ efficiency (not so strange for a pseudo-libertarian)- you still haven’t proved that labor is treated any differently in cases where there is a wrong delivery – but there is no “enrichment” in terms of value (tobacco example vs. car-wash & painting).

    I am still waiting for you to explain me the difference between labor and merchandise in a dispute about undelivered services vs. undelivered goods.

    – If I fail to deliver you a fresh cheese that you already purchased, you may be insane enough to ask for a decomposed matter that used to be cheese after couple of months. You will get a different form of matter as your compensation.
    – If an actor fails to fulfill his contract, the film studio can ask for the court-ordered apology. You would get a different type of labor as compensation.

    So what’s the difference between two cases? TELL ME, PLEASE!

    And don’t seek help from Person, that’s really low.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 4:43 PM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Stephan…

    Actually, quasibill already admitted that you can treat your current labor as your property – just like you can treat any nondurable product that will dissolve before court orders you to deliver it. Both cases are cases property exchange. He just doesn’t realize that ownership of the body’s energy (that creates matter) is present in both cases.

    End of discussion.

  • Published: October 13, 2006 4:51 PM

  • TGGP
  • Sasha, I’m not going to bother googling whatever you’re talking about. It’s a stupid idea and just because some people other than yourself have accepted it doesn’t make it any less stupid. A kid has been court-ordered to apologize to a tree he chained his bike to in the past.

    Driving off from a car-wash is different. I deliberately went to the car-wash to get my car washed. I knew what I was doing when I handed over my keys (they usually have the price displayed). I entered into a contract then. A painter painting my fence is different. It requires action from me prevent him from painting my fence. Under libertarian theory you cannot have positive obligations unless you act to bring them upon yourself. Where do I do such a thing here? If I endeavored to make the painter think I was my neighbor that could be considered fraud. If I attempted to sue the painter for vandalizing my property the court might not take me seriously if there is evidence that I could have easily stopped him but chose not to, but I have a better case than the painter does suing me for his own screw-up.

  • Published: October 14, 2006 12:06 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Actually, I’ll have more fun with Stephan. Sorry – I didn’t read his response carefully. It was actually really funny. I can’t miss this opportunity…

    ================================================
    STEPHAN: “First, it contradicts your apparently new theory that says you do NOT commit theft by being unable to pay.”
    ================================================

    No, since I talked about parallels between labor and merchandise. There is no contradiction. Even if you call a theft “a mere breach of contract” – it EQUALLY applies to BOTH LABOR AND MERCHANDISE. So failed to prove your point.

    But let’s go back to Rothbard’s definition of theft…

    – If take your customer’s money, but you refuse to deliver the ordered merchandise – you committed the theft. Why? Under the contract, your merchandise legally transfers to your customer. If you unlawfully hold their merchandise, that is nothing but a theft.

    Rothbard says that if you take your employer’s money for a labor contract, but you decide not to deliver the services to them – you committed the theft. You refused to deliver services that BELONG to your employer who paid for them. You would have to pay damages to your employer, but not with labor (since you can’t go back in time). Similarly, if you don’t deliver a valuable insect with an extreme short life-spam, you will have to compensate your customer with something else (since you can’t go back in time, when this merchandise still existed).

    Perfect analogy that proves that labor is your property. You don’t even need physics and common sense to understand this- so there are no excuses for you Stephan.

    So there is no contradiction and no rebuttal from you.

    ==================================================
    STEPHAN: “Second, there is NO ACTION being done by the “thief” on the due date that can be referred to as an action of stealing–he is just existing, and in a state of poverty. How is that stealing?”
    =================================================

    The Theft Act 1968 Section1 states that a person is guilty of theft if: he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

    Theft can occur when one side fails to deliver SOMEONE ELSE’S newly purchased property. Imagine this scenario: you come to a gas station and you pre-pay your gasoline at the counter. The Clerk takes your money – BUT THAN HE DOESN’ TAKE ANY ACTION. He doesn’t give you your gasoline. That is still a theft. Even if a 7 day period passes between the payment for goods&/services and the refusal of seller to deliver it – it still doesn’t change the basic definition of theft in both cases.

    “Failure to fulfill conditions required by contract” – still doesn’t change the fact that in both cases one side is deprived of his/her property…

    AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: even your nonsense denial of theft applies to BOTH: labor and merchandise – equally. You failed to prove the difference between two cases.

    ==================================================
    STEPHAAN: Third, … the labor was performed some time in the past: how can he steal something done in the past, today?
    ==================================================

    – Question: How can a gas-station clerk steal your money that you handed prior to fueling?
    – Answer: Easily… if he wants to be a stupid thief.

    This clerk is committing a theft, because “he dishonestly appropriated property belonging to you with the intention of permanently depriving you of it”

    Obviously, you didn’t learn this at the law-school. God bless America.

    ==================================================
    STEPHAN: Moreover, the labor was performed voluntarily, was it not? If so, how can it be said to have been stolen? How can labor done voluntarily today, be “stolen” a week later?
    ==================================================

    Well – wouldn’t you hand your money to the stealing clerk voluntarily? If so, how can you not say it has been stolen?

    Of course that service or a good can be stolen if it was prepaid for a future delivery. By prepaying and stipulating the contract term, you arrange a transfer of ownership at the certain time. If at that exact moment your merchandise happens to be in someone else’s hands without your permission – that is the theft.

    BUT GUESS WHAT – the same principle applies to labor. No difference whatsoever – because you own your labor, as you own your physical body with its energy. If you fail to deliver your labor, you are committing a theft. You can’t take someone’s money and run.

    ==================================================
    STEPHAN: Even if you somehow maintain labor is property, it seems the only way to steal it would be to coerce you to do it; but in this example, the impoverished debtor never coerced the service provider to do anything.
    ==================================================

    South Park reference:
    Stephan, did you smoke maridjuana? Maridjuana is bad for you, mmm-kay?

    If you don’t pay for someone’s last-week’s labor – you didn’t steal their voluntary service. You stole their money by keeping it unlawfully, mmm-kay? You mistakenly choose the example in which labor is delivered.

    If you want to prove that YOUR labor is not YOUR property, you have analyze the case in which the purchased service is undelivered – and prove me that this case is legally any different than the case of undelivered nondurable merchandise.

    I proved that there is no difference – by denying every possible attempt to prove the opposite – while providing scientific explanation of origin of work (from our own energy/physical body that we own).

    ==================================================
    STEPHAN: So, Sasha, how does your ever-evolving contract theory explain or handle these uncomfortable difficulties?
    ==================================================

    Uncomfortable difficulties?!?!?! You make me laugh!

    Yes, I am an ever-evolving person, while you other hand are an example of opposite (trying not to insult you). You started by criticizing Richard Epstein, you unsuccessfully tried to criticize Rothbard (I had to show you how to criticize the maestro) – and you ended by not knowing a basic definition of theft…. (…or not knowing how to apply it to simple market exchanges, whatever may be the case.)

    Bye, bye miss American pie…

  • Published: October 14, 2006 1:29 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • TGGP,

    read my last response to Steven and everything will be lot clearer to you.

    By the way, your examples are wrong:

    – I already explained that even if you agree to have your windshield cleaned by a bum – you can still run away from him just because his claim is not significant enough for the court hearing. But you cannot run like that from a car-wash. Therefore, you cannot use bums in “unjust enrichment” example, because they don’t prove a thing without a serious claim. Use a different example.

    – Even if you didn’t order a painting service – you were aware that it was delivering, but you didn’t say a thing. I dare to say that you practically made an implicit contract with the other side (that’s different from an expressed, verbal contract, but don’t expect Stephan to know anything about it since he still struggles with the definition of theft). So you were unjustly enriched by their service – and you will have to pay for it. You will get a discount – to account for the responsibility of the painter – but you will pay.
    – Even if your fence was brand new and you only wanted to change its color, that doesn’t mean you were not enriched by this service. You’re not going to get away with that, because you consumed someone’s service. NOW MY POINT: same thing applies if you get a large amount of tobacco products by mistake and you just go-ahead and consume it. You can’t claim that these products didn’t enrich you if your healthcare cost canceled the value of the merchandise that you received. You will still have to pay for the fact that you consumed merchandise at someone’s cost.

    EVEN IF YOU DISSAGREE WITH COURTS AND THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF “UNJUST ENRICHMENT” – TELL ME HOW DOES THAT DISAPROVE MY ANALOGY BETWEEN TWO TYPES OF PROPERTY: LABOR (product of our energy) AND GOODS (products of stable energy patterns)? Is labor in your non-physical world treated any differently compared to merchandise, when it comes to market exchanges? How and why?

  • Published: October 14, 2006 2:09 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  •  

    TGGP,

    I only mentioned court-ordered apologies (they are mostly ordered to satisfy other people), just to prove to Quasibill that they exist. He denied that the film studio can get an apology if an actor refuses to provide his services that were assigned by the contract. He said that the courts can order the delivery of a spoiled hamburger to enforce a contract between a burger joint and a customer-)). So what’s the difference between two forms of stupidity?

    On the other hand, we both agreed that courts cannot force this actor to act, just like they can’t force burger joint to make a hamburger (that would be enslavement).

    Analogy between two different types of property perfectly holds. Just like past labor no longer exists when the dispute gets to court – nondurable goods can also disappear by that time (my extreme example with a rare insect). Still, property is a property.

  • Published: October 14, 2006 2:33 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Just to correct my gas-station clerk example before Stephan starts to scream…

    ————————————————–
    Stephan says: “there is NO ACTION being done by the “thief” on the due date that can be referred to as an action of stealing–he is just existing… how can he steal something done in the past, today? Moreover, the labor was performed voluntarily, was it not? If so, how can it be said to have been stolen?”
    ————————————————–

    Imagine that you are paying $20 gasoline with a $100 bill. The clerk can steal your “voluntarily handed money” by “non-action” – when he is supposed to provide your change.
    If he just takes the exact amount for gasoline – but refuses to act, he is stealing your gasoline. I had to clarify this in order to prevent any confusion and sidetracking of our discussion from the labor property issue to my errors in writing.

  • Published: October 14, 2006 4:05 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Without further ado, it is now time to completely debunk Stephan Kinsella’s []. I hope that this does not [].

    STEPHAN SAID:: “there is NO ACTION being done by the “thief” on the due date that can be referred to as an action of stealing–he is just existing…”
    ===============================================================

    Dear Mr. Kinsella,

    * First of foremost, HUMANS CANNOT “NOT ACT – AND JUST EXIST” – but I guess they didn’t tech you that at Mises Institute. Even if you attempt to deny this basic axiom of praxeology, you will conduct an action – automatically confirming this action-axiom.

    * Secondly, acting against the contract in order to gain possession of someone else’s property (refusing to complete the market transaction by doing something else) constitutes the theft par excellence. Theft is never constricted to a direct physical act. Theft is committed if a person “dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.” But I guess they didn’t teach you that at the law school

    * Thirdly, from the axiom that “humans act” Rothbard derived the conclusion that even a person who did not originally conspire to break the contract – but after receiving advanced payment later changed his/her mind – is still committing a theft. You cannot call this person just “a contract breaker.” Quasibill didn’t understand Rothbard’s argument and how it relates to the “action-axiom.” A premeditated conspiracy before the contract is signed is not necessary to constitute a theft. Even after you lawfully receive the money for your property – you cannot say that you just “did not act” when you unlawfully gained control of someone else’s newly purchased. Ludwig von Mises brilliantly proved that human inaction (the absence of purposeful action) is impossible.

    ———————

    So it comes down to this… Allow me to summarize the major arguments:

    SASHA SAYS: Stephan, my arguments evolved, but yours didn’t. I say this: in market exchanges, refusal to deliver an already purchased labor is a theft. If you dishonestly withhold services belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it – you are committing a theft. That is perfectly consistent with any definition of theft.

    STEPHAN SAYS: Well, you cannot say that, since we don’t own our labor. Labor is just something we do.

    SASHA SAYS: How do you conclude that? By denying physics? You say that we own our physical body – but how would you remove the ownership of our matter (stable form of energy) from labor (the product of our energy – with real physical properties)? Prove that your statement is more than a word-play and a denial of the physical reality in which human action takes place – without any evidence.

    STEPHAN SAYS: To heck with physics and reality. I can prove that you can’t treat undelivered labor as a theft – therefore proving it is not treated as a property but as a “failure to fulfill a contract’s conditions”. The proof is this: if someone does not deliver his/her labor assigned by their contracts – the court cannot force them to deliver it. It is not alienable and that’s why it is not a property.

    SASHA SAYS: First of all, any kind of theft in market exchanges (including durable goods) is a “failure to fulfill a contract’s conditions”. If you didn’t fail to fulfill those conditions there would be no theft. You don’t prove anything by using that phrase.
    Secondly, labor/energy is tied to time and it is spent every second. Only close analogy must involve merchandise like a rare insect that dies and completely dissolves by the time the court can order its delivery. The owner will have to be compensated with money, but the trespassers will not be forced to work in order to fulfill their contractual obligations. If you use this analogy – you can see that labor is not treated any differently than extremely non-durable goods.
    Finally, even in the cases of more durable goods, like food products, there is an proprietary analogy between undelivered goods and services. For example, the damaged customer can ask for money – or to act stupidly and request the court-ordered return of his/her decomposed food (different form of merchandise). Likewise, the damaged employer can ask for monetary compensation – or to act stupidly and ask for an apology (different form of labor.
    Neither one of these different scenarios can deny scientific fact that if we own our physical body – we consequently own its energy/work.

    STEPHAN SAYS: Like, hey, wow, man, do you, like, own your “aura” too? You are very confused, Sasha, aren’t you?

    SASHA SAYS: Well, I am confused by the fact that you are:
    – a lawyer who apparently does not know the definition of theft,
    – an engineer who doesn’t know that our body’s energy is not an “aura” – but something that even builds our matter (physical body)
    – an Austrian who is clueless about the “action axiom” on which the entire praxeology rests
    – an “intellectual” who can’t think of an example if which you had in your property voluntarily to someone – but it gets stolen (a crook-clerk who refuses to give you a change for your $100).
    Most of all, I am confused that you are [].

  • Published: October 14, 2006 7:23 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Sasha: You have said almost nothing coherent and correct during this entire exchange, and you remain utterly confused–and what’s worse, you seem to take a bizarre pride and gleefulness in your stubborn, incoherent wrongheadedness. This shall be my last reply to you.

    First of foremost, HUMANS CANNOT “NOT ACT – AND JUST EXIST” – but I guess they didn’t tech you that at Mises Institute. Even if you attempt to deny this basic axiom of praxeology, you will conduct an action – automatically confirming this action-axiom.

    Of course. But simply being unable to pay is not an action. You cannot point to any action of the bankrupt debtor that is an act of theft. 

    BTW your examples above re the gasoline clerk etc. are just so confused it’s not worth setting you straight on. You obviously need to figure out what you believe.

    Your constant appeals to pseudoscience and your dabbling with scientism, your changing ground, your disingenuousness, etc., make it clear you are not worth wasting further time with. TTFN.

  • Published: October 14, 2006 9:25 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Dear Mr. Kinsella,

    Your statement that:

    “there is NO ACTION being done by the “thief” on the due date that can be referred to as an action of stealing–he is just existing…”

    …is simply wrong based on the basic human action axiom.

    This fact is self-evident to any Austrian who is not blinded by conceit. Everyone can see what you said in your final example with “NO ACTION”… but even your clumsy explanation makes no sense – as proven by action axiom.

    I am sorry that you still contend that scientific fact of physical existence in which human action takes place is “scientism.” I also regret that you didn’t recognize “my changing ground” as the attempt to test different ideas (I am not afraid to be wrong and correct myself – because we all learn as long as we live). After probing your argumentation, I am a little bit disappointed to find that it is mostly baseless. But I still thank you for your time (and energy :-).

    Regards,

  • Published: October 14, 2006 10:21 AM

  • Sasha Radeta
  • Since we are setting the record straight (not that it has anything to do with Mr. Kinsella’s neglect of basic principles of human action, science and logic – I just want to respond to some repeated observations about my disregard for those who are “not able” to pay.):

    Generalized “non-ability to pay” principle when it pertains to unpaid debts smells too much like bolshevism. If someone had any evident reason to doubt whether he will able to complete the contract but that person took the debt anyway (based on his/her financial situation), that person was negligent and should be held responsible for that default. If a person is hungry, he should not seek debt but a mercy of his fellow citizens (there is no shame in asking – shame on those who steal). If we reward financial irresponsibility, we will in fact subsidize financial recklessness – and consequently see more of it. In cases of dire emergencies even regular transactions can be cancelled so that is really not an issue.

    To repeat Murray Rothbard:

    “In the pre-modern era, the defaulting debtor was generally treated as a thief and forced to pay as he acquired income. Doubtless the penalty of imprisonment went far beyond proportional punishment and hence was excessive, but at least the old legal ways placed responsibility where it belonged: on the debtor to fulfill his contractual obligations and to make the transfer of the property owed to the creditor-owner.”

  • Published: October 14, 2006 11:35 AM

  • Person
  • Most of all, I am confused that you [Stephan Kinsella] [].

    Well, []

  • Published: October 16, 2006 4:29 PM

  • Sione Vatu
  • Is it possible that TGGP and Person one and the same?

    Sione

  • Published: October 17, 2006 12:27 AM

  • Person
  • Is it possible that “Sione” and “the jerk who jumps into threads late without reading anything previous and makes clueless comments to other posters while lying that he read the discussion” are one and the same?
  • Published: October 17, 2006 1:11 AM

  • Sione Vatu
  • Person

    Answer the question.

    Sione

  • Published: October 17, 2006 7:17 AM

  • Person
  • Are you serious, Sione? I don’t even know what about my posts and TGGP’s are similar enough to even lead you to that accusation. If you read through the thread (for the first time in your life), you’ll see that TGGP and I argued over a point or two. No, I’m not TGPP, but yes, you did manage to reach a new low this time.
  • Published: October 17, 2006 8:09 AM

  • Fred Mann
  • Person,
    Now that you’ve come up with a name for the concept that I already debunked – “value scarcity” – let me RE-refer you to the full debunking of this concept. As I wrote above in this very thread (please try reading my posts for once):

    “Person, I already COMPLETELY debunked your definition of “scarcity” (i.e. conflict over usage) in this blog:
    http://blog.mises.org/archives/005196.asp
    … yet you are STILL using it.
    Please reread my posts from the last half of that blog.”

    It won’t take long. Just read the posts with my name on them … can’t be much more than a page. And you can rest assured that I have irrefutably debunked your “value-scarcity” concept, and that *ALL* of your arguments above are invalid (as are all of your arguments over the past several months).
    I will gladly expand on why this is so, but you have to invest about 10 minutes of your time first. (actual times may vary)

    … and no, Kinsella is not employing anything like “value scarcity” in his arguments. Not even close.

  • Published: October 17, 2006 4:15 PM

  • Person
  • Fred, do we have to go through this again? What exactly would you be debunking? If I recall from last time, all you did was say, “Oh yeah? Well then, the whole universe would be scarce!” So?

    You’d still be making the same strawman argument I dismissed more times that I should have had to, above.

    JUST BECAUSE I BELIEVE THERE IS SCARCITY IN A SITUATION DOES NOT MEAN I BELIEVE ANY ONE PARTY’S CLAIM SHOULD BE RESPECTED.

    How many times do I have to say it?

    When Bob wants to look at Bill, and Bill wants no one to look at him, there is scarcity because BOTH desires cannot simultaneously be satisfied. That doesn’t mean I think Bill’s desire is justifiable, just that it conflicts with Bob’s. Is it really that hard to understand?

    That is value scarcity — the impossibility of simultaneous satisfaction of two desires. That occurrence forms the basis of Stephan’s property theory. So he certainly does reference it — only to change to physical scarcity when it comes to IP. Of course, we’ll never know because he refuses to say which kind of scarcity he means — he thinks referencing those really bright economists counts as “enough thinking” for this issue. So like with all cranks, we have to interpret their work the best we can.

    Now, tell me what relevant claim of yours do you think I didn’t address several hundred times before?

  • Published: October 17, 2006 4:35 PM

  • Person
  • Btw, just a heads up: Stephan Kinsella has already conceded the argument I have made in this thread and every other IP one (about) since April: Please see his post at October 11, 2006 12:44 PM and my follow-up at 12:56 PM of the same day. I pointed out very specifically how in his response, he conceded my point. He has not dug himself out of that hole as of yet, despite a 2,000+ word exchange with Sasha. His only responses to me after that were to make trite little jokes. So, just a heads-up, guys: It’s kind of pointless right now to claim I’m wrong in what I’ve asserted. Big Boy himself has admitted it. I’ve already asked two neutral non-participating parties to save this thread on their computers in case Stephan decides to delete his concession.
  • Published: October 17, 2006 4:45 PM

  • Peter
  • Person-moron, please STFU and go away!
  • Published: October 17, 2006 8:20 PM

  • Fred Mann
  • “Fred, do we have to go through this again? What exactly would you be debunking? If I recall from last time, all you did was say, ‘Oh yeah? Well then, the whole universe would be scarce!’ So?”

    Not what I said. Try reading my posts for once. It’s just like reading , … except it’s of my posts.
    Anyway, what I said was that everything in the universe, both imaginary and real, both unique and infinite, would be … are you ready? … *EQUALLY* scarce. That is, using your definition, the Mona Lisa and an imaginary sphere would be equally scarce. Equally scarce. Equally scarce. Equally scarce.
    Obviously, this is ridiculous on the face of it.
    The word “scarce” is an adjective, and as such, modifies/qualifies/quantifies a noun. Yet in your “value-scarcity” concept, the word “scarce” does not provide one iota of modification. The “scarce” thing can not be differentiated in any way (not even theoretically) from the non-scarce thing. Does your use of “scarce” even qualify it as an adjective? Probably not – since nothing is “not scarce” or more or less scarce than anything else ever ever ever ever in any way imaginable. Can it have any ramifications in the real world or the world of economics? No.
    Obviously, you are attempting to use your incorrect definition of scarcity to throw a wrench in Kinsella’s argument, but it’s just not going to work. One has to wonder why you chose to attach the name “scarcity” to your concept, since it clearly has no resemblance to the dictionary definition of “scarcity”. Answer — it is obviously a very lame attempt to confound the issue — invent a new (and useless) definition for a word, and then throw it around and mix it in with the ACTUAL definition of “scarcity”, using the two radically different definitions interchangeably, as if they mean the same thing — thereby appearing to cast doubt on Kinsella’s conclusion.
    Cute though.

    “JUST BECAUSE I BELIEVE THERE IS SCARCITY IN A SITUATION DOES NOT MEAN I BELIEVE ANY ONE PARTY’S CLAIM SHOULD BE RESPECTED.”

    I also never said anything of the sort. Try actually reading my posts for once.

  • Published: October 17, 2006 8:20 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Fred: Superb point.

    Person: do you concede he is right?

  • Published: October 17, 2006 9:28 PM

  • Fred Mann
  • “Fred: Superb point.”

    I agree.

  • Published: October 17, 2006 9:51 PM

  • Person
  • Oh geez…

    me:”Fred, do we have to go through this again? What exactly would you be debunking? If I recall from last time, all you did was say, ‘Oh yeah? Well then, the whole universe would be scarce!’ So?”

    you:Not what I said. Try reading my posts for once. It’s just like reading , … except it’s of my posts.
    Anyway, what I said was that everything in the universe, both imaginary and real, both unique and infinite, would be … are you ready? … *EQUALLY* scarceEmphasis added –P.

    Um … right … you didn’t say what I claimed you did.

    It’s a complete joke reading your posts when you screw up like that.

    Obviously, this is ridiculous on the face of it.
    The word “scarce” is an adjective, and as such, modifies/qualifies/quantifies a noun. Yet in your “value-scarcity” concept,

    Why do people have such a problem with this? “Value scarcity” simply refers to the condition in which a good necessarily cannot satisfy two disputants. Obviously, this can happen. I’m not even sure if you know what you’re trying to accomplish by “debunking” it. I can easily make any argument I’ve made here without using the term; it would just be more verbose. I try to simplify things by putting labels on them, and … I get petty little attacks from showoffs who want to make a career out of “debunking” concepts that they obviously agree exist.

    Can [Person’s use of “scarce”] have any ramifications in the real world or the world of economics? No.

    Of course it can, and I use it in exctly the same way Stephan “never admit when you’re wrong” Kinsella uses it: to highlight the cases where property rights need to be assigned.

    Obviously, you are attempting to use your incorrect definition of scarcity to throw a wrench in Kinsella’s argument, but it’s just not going to work. One has to wonder why you chose to attach the name “scarcity” to your concept, since it clearly has no resemblance to the dictionary definition of “scarcity”. Answer — it is obviously a very lame attempt to confound the issue — invent a new (and useless) definition for a word, and then throw it around and mix it in with the ACTUAL definition of “scarcity”, using the two radically different definitions interchangeably, as if they mean the same thing — thereby appearing to cast doubt on Kinsella’s conclusion.

    No. Stephan is the one who chose to use “scarce” carelessly. Under his exact terminology, ideas can be scarce: it’s possible for conflict to arise over how an idea is used. Bob wants idea X to be used in manner Y, Bill wants idea X to be used in manner “not Y”. Furthermore, all IP claims can be equivalently expressed as a claim on scarce goods. While you may be able to apply to other principles to refute such a claim “idea non-scarcity” wouldn’t be one of them.

    me:”JUST BECAUSE I BELIEVE THERE IS SCARCITY IN A SITUATION DOES NOT MEAN I BELIEVE ANY ONE PARTY’S CLAIM SHOULD BE RESPECTED.”

    I also never said anything of the sort.

    Of course not! You did, however, feel the need (June 20, 2006 2:23 PM post) to point out that “Note that your view provides no way to tell who should be compensated (a key feature of owning and transferring property).” In other words, you completely missed the point of the argument I was brining up, which was NOT to justify any kind of property system, but to show that Stephan’s use of a specific argument to argue against one is in error — a point you still don’t seem to grasp.

    Stephan:Person: do you concede he is right?

    No, for the reasons above. Do you concede that I’m right? Oh wait, you already did.

  • Published: October 17, 2006 10:34 PM

  • Fred Mann
  • Person quoting me:

    ” ‘Anyway, what I said was that everything in the universe, both imaginary and real, both unique and infinite, would be … are you ready? … *EQUALLY* scarce.’ Emphasis added –P.”

    I don’t know if my first experiment with italics and bold text will work, but regardless, your tag should read DE-emphasis added. Obviously the key word was *EQUALLY*, which is why I highlighted it. I then expanded on the meaning and importance of this distinction. All very clear. I would think a child could understand it at this point. But you ignored it. Very predictable at this point.
    It is obvious that you don’t or won’t understand this not-so-subtle distinction, which is why your response lacks any substance. If you DID comprehend the distinction and its implications, it would be very clear to you why everything you have said is incorrect.
    Allow me to preempt you…
    You did NOT address this distinction hundreds of times or even once.
    Another symptom of your inability to understand this is illustrated in the following comment:

    “Under his exact terminology, ideas can be scarce: it’s possible for conflict to arise over how an idea is used.”

    Here, you conflate the definitions of the terms “conflict” and “scarcity”. They are NOT the same thing. Does this need to be explained to you?
    I’m sure it does …
    First of all, the definitions are clearly different. Just check the dictionary. That should be your first clue.
    Both of these conditions can exist independently of each other, so there is no logical connection between the two, as implied by your statement above.
    An object can be scarce, yet not the object of conflict (i.e. some resource we have not yet discovered how to utilize).
    There can also be conflict without scarcity. For example we can have a heated argument over the goodness of the color blue. There is no scarcity here, yet there is clearly a conflict.
    Now, I gleaned from earlier blog posts that you disagree with this second statement. You think that conflict necessarily implies scarcity. But of course it does not. When you claim that there is ” ‘scarcity’ in the ability to simultaneously satisfy two conflicting desires”, you are simply using the term “scarcity” incorrectly, as I outlined above and in the blog post that I linked to above. Again, using the term “scarce” in this way is simply incorrect, and renders the term useless — it becomes a non-modifying adjective, if there can be such a thing. Literally, this usage of the term is nonsensical.

    “I get petty little attacks from showoffs who want to make a career out of “debunking” concepts that they obviously agree exist.”

    Clearly, I can agree that your nonsensical concepts exist without validating them, right? You are conflating (again) the definitions of two words/concepts — this time it’s aknowledgement and agreement. You need a dictionary.

    “You did, however, feel the need (June 20, 2006 2:23 PM post) to point out that ‘Note that your view provides no way to tell who should be compensated (a key feature of owning and transferring property).’ In other words, you completely missed the point of the argument I was brining up, which was NOT to justify any kind of property system…”

    Where in that sentence do I say what *you believe*? Nowhere. I’m simply pointing out that your concept is necessarily purely academic (aside from being nonsensical). Again, try actually reading my posts for once.

  • Published: October 17, 2006 11:55 PM

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