Peter Surda April 21, 2010 at 2:35 am
However, it is still a person’s asset, regardless of price, because people ACT as if it is an asset, and that asset has material value to individuals, which we can determine by surveying the ACTIONS that people take, businesses take, regarding their reputation
But this is valid with regard to anything, not only reputation. This does not help define property, it confuses. Any change has a negative effect on someone. Does that mean that any action whatsoever is a property right violation?
This is one of the reasons why I reject the notion of immaterial trespass. Instead, I humbly propose that only those immaterial negative effects that are defined in contracts are to be prosecuted (i.e. contract violations).
Property is a claim on an opportunity to make use of any object, material or abstract, upon which men can act.
It is not necessary to own immaterial goods to make use of them, therefore from the existence of an opportunity you cannot imply ownership. As I said before, with immaterial goods, anything causally related is “making use of”.
We can create representations of abstracts, can’t we? We’ve created plenty of them. I can stake a claim on land. I can form an abstract entity called a joint stock corporation, and then sell shares. I can marry someone and get a marriage certificate. I can get a receipt for a deposit. I can sign a contract. I can buy an option. I can wager a bet.
Why can’t I stake a claim on a formulae? Or a brand or trademark? Or a design or patent? Simply because they require uniqueness against a broader pool of people, because are treated as first-come first-serve exclusivity, rather than an auction model, and because the market cannot expand to provide better and more accurate service than does the state.
These registries try to prevent copying and bypassing investment (theft) rather than parallel innovation, which is in the market interest.
Under the Hoppian property scheme land registries are maintained and protected by insurance companies and private firms instead of the state. But to limit the scope of property is to limit the competitive ability of groups to compete against other groups. The problem is that the government owns the registry and terms by which abstracts are registered, while denying the purpose for which we enact the registry: to encourage capital investment so that goods and services can be rapidly brought to market at lower risk rather than through direct subsidy. But in turn these devices can be used to prevent products and services from entering the market, and in particular, products and services that do not require capitalization, and that they too often endure long enough to create artificial monopolies. Book protections that persist beyond one generation of offspring of the author.
Banks regulate their own ‘market’ of loans. Each stock market has regulations. Why can’t we have markets for other claims? Why can’t we auction off uses of a design, rather than simply deny competitors to the market. it’s the state monopoly that’s the problem.
Material trespass and immaterial trespass are simply conventions driven by the ease of registry. In a man’s mind he can know his physical property, and know that any other object is not his physical property. If we could catalog ideas just as easily, would we not treat them as such? We do. We create ‘pointers’ to externally reference memories. They’re real world representations of abstractions.
Is the purpose of the libertarian program to create a platform for cooperation and trade, to minimize the potential for government corruption, interference, theft, bureaucracy, waste, violence, class warfare, and exploitation using the evidence of how men actually act? Or is to create another silly religion that is contrary to the behavior of human beings, or is it just another absurd metaphysics like Marxism?
A libertarian society must be one by consent – or we need to abandon the principle of non violence and implement it by force. And if it’s to be a society of consent, then it must reflect human behavior in order to gain consent. Human behavior, and the evolution of our knowledge, dictates that we leave the system for definition of property and the registry thereof open to innovation. Not closed, and limited to material constructs.
The general body of arguments on this topic are reductio and illusory because of it. The real issue at hand is that in the division of labor, specialized knowledge is required to in order to innovate, and innovation in all but the black swan areas requires capital concentration, and markets are best served by their own division of labor in the act of policing fraud and theft, or even of registrations of claims against property. Government is not an innovative organ, and it is a corrupt and slow moving one.
The issue instead, is to adopt a Hoppian division of labor and competition rather than a Rothbardian Luddite program, or a government-run monopoly program that by it’s very nature is expressly counter to the innovation, division of labor and specialization of knowledge needed to keep pace with our innovations, almost all of which, are currently ABSTRACTIONS. In this EXPANDING WORLD, the Hoppian model of privatization and risk management using insurance schemes rather than the monopoly of government is a superior answer than that of the Rothbardian Luddite model, which artificially Harrison-Bergeron’s” the civilization – to a man.
If we can protect several property so that it can be invested in. We can protect abstract property so that it can be invested in. The institutional problem is registration and regulation. Not Rothbardian abstinence. And not to get a population to adhere to an absurd metaphysics. But to create institutions wherein real human beings can interact using real human innovations, almost all of which are abstractions, and most of which are now beyond individual comprehension. ( Property requires memory. Institutions are a form of social memory. Institutions educate indirectly. Memory becomes behavior. Behavior becomes normative.) Our problem is institutions, not beliefs. Actions not words.
And any libertarian, and anarchic program that would simply force people to prefer to resort to violence to resolve differences, or which would impoverish the greater body of people by making them less competitive against other groups (which Rothbardian property would do) is simply to exchange the prosperity of the market for abstract registry of opportunities for the poverty of the bazaar society. It is regression. It is to limit man to the industrial age. It’s a Luddite philosophy.
The anarchic research program’s undermining of the historic legitimacy of the state is separate from the use of non-state (insurance) institutions to maintain both real and abstract property.
Focus on the right problem. Private, competitive, market institutions that divide knowledge and labor and provide service over government monopoly institutions that provide corruption, theft and incompetence.