Re: Godwin Likes Unrestricted Free Markets
- 2009/5/31 Elliot Temple <curi@...>:
> Would you say this passage is typical of the entire book, or untypical?The passage is absolutely typical. Book VIII of PJ, "Of Property",
repeatedly states how unjust, even evil, the accumulation of property
by the rich is. But Godwin goes on to say that violent redistribution
of property would be even worse. His solution is to educate people so
that they will want to behave more fairly and live in a state of
equality. This makes him a utopian, in contrast to the revolutionaries
who had the same ultimate vision of the good society but had no qualms
about bringing it about by violent means, or in the case of social
democrats by working within the existing political system.
- It has happened so often in human history that it doesn't seem impossible.
2009/6/17 Elliot Temple <curi@...>:
> On Jun 17, 2009, at 4:12 AM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>> 2009/6/16 Elliot Temple <curi@...>
>>>> I think he means something like your definition, but that is what
>>>> wealth is: a right to property which is enforceable by law.
>>> Wealth does not give you a right to property.
>>> Example: you want my computer. No matter how much money you have or
>>> offer, the Government will defend my right to keep it.
>>> Wealth only lets you get someone else's property via voluntary
>> I think everyone understands that with great wealth comes great power.
>> If I really want your computer and offering you money doesn't work,
>> there are a vast number of options available to me to get it if I am
>> rich enough. For example, I can make life difficult for you unless you
>> give it to me: buy the company you work for and have you sacked, pay
>> every other prospective employer to blacklist you. There isn't
>> anything illegal in this unless an interfering government has passed a
>> law preventing it, and if that's the case I can either bribe corrupt
>> officials to ignore the law, or use my wealth to have the law changed
>> by legitimate means, lobbying politicians or installing my friends as
>> politicians. If I'm extremely rich and there is no government powerful
>> enough to oppose me I can employ a private army and enslave or
>> summarily punish anyone I want. This is why traditional anarchists are
>> opposed to capitalism: superficially it it looks like everyone is free
>> to do what they please in a free market system, but over time it can
>> lead to large wealth inequalities, with commensurately large power
> How often does this actually happen? Can anyone gives examples of when
> this happened to a similar or greater extent as described above?
> It doesn't even make sense. Apple will sell you your own computer. Why
> harass me?
> In any case, the ability to harass someone is not a right to harass
> someone. And being able to harass someone does not automatically
> translate into getting their property. It's not equivalent. In
> addition to the complications where they might not give in to your
> threats, there is the serious possibility that the community will take
> their side, and they will enlist a lot of support. No doubt you will
> suggest that a sufficiently rich person could threaten an entire
> community. But that could offend a whole country or the whole world!
> It's not so easy to get what you want, against people's will, with
> nasty threats.
> -- Elliot Temple
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.