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RE: [LeftLibertarian2] Re: Georgists and justice

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  • Harry Pollard
    Richard I think you are struggling. I said: The meaning of rights in the phrase Natural Rights is that of entitlement. I have these Natural Rights
    Message 1 of 326 , Sep 1, 2008
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      Richard

       

      I think you are struggling. I said:

       

      "The meaning of  'rights' in the phrase "Natural Rights" is that of entitlement. I have these Natural Rights because I'm human. As I put it, they come with the body. Or, as someone on the list suggested, they come with the mind."

       

      "There is no payment for them, though some demand 'duties'. There is nothing reciprocal about them. They are part of the baggage you bring into the world."

       

      "I would argue you are *initially* entitled to nothing." (My emphasis added.)

       

      You said: " If we start of as not entitled to anything then you are not entitled to your radio."

       

      Perhaps you think we leave the womb with a radio clutched in one hot little hand?

       

      Harry

       

      From: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Richard Garner
      Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2008 12:13 PM
      To: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [LeftLibertarian2] Re: Georgists and justice

       

      "I would argue you are initially entitled to nothing. Any entitlement occurs when you contract. If we agree that I will give you my radio for your bicycle, then at that moment, as a result of our 'contract' you are entitled to my radio while I am entitled you your bike."

       

      If we start of as not entitled to anything then you are not entitled to your radio. In that case, why would I offer you my bike rather than just taking the radio? Being able to contract implies that we are already entitled to what we offer in exchange.

       

      Richard

       

       

       

      ----- Original Message -----

      Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2008 7:41 PM

      Subject: RE: [LeftLibertarian2] Re: Georgists and justice

       

      Jason,

      I think that Roderick said it succinctly when he remarked:

      "...if there are no rights prior to the contract, how do rights arise as a result of the contract?"

      There are maybe 40-50 meanings attached to 'right'.

      In any discussion of rights one should know which meaning is being used.

      The meaning of  'rights' in the phrase "Natural Rights" is that of entitlement. I have these Natural Rights because I'm human. As I put it, they come with the body. Or, as someone on the list suggested, they come with the mind.

      There is no payment for them, though some demand 'duties'. There is nothing reciprocal about them. They are part of the baggage you bring into the world..

      I would argue you are initially entitled to nothing. Any entitlement occurs when you contract. If we agree that I will give you my radio for your bicycle, then at that moment, as a result of our 'contract' you are entitled to my radio while I am entitled you your bike.

      So, where do we get the "right" to contract? We simply don't have one because entitlement to contract isn't needed. If I had an entitlement to contract, you couldn't stop me from contracting with you. But, don't worry. I have no entitlement to contract.

      We might contract if the result looks good to both of us.

      I've said that contracts may be decided by a recorded 17 page document full of fine print, a handshake, or an understanding. I also said that contracts are enforced in the minds of the contractors.

      I would further say that contract is at the heart of a free society.

      "Natural Rights" aren't.

      Harry

      From: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jason
      Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2008 8:33 AM
      To: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [LeftLibertarian2] Re: Georgists and justice

      After taking a brief glance at Rule Utilitarianism on Wikipedia, (and assuming it's at least a fairly accurate description), I think there's at least some merit to it. However, I don't believe in "the ends justifies the means", since "the means" are as important and as relevant as "the ends". If "the means" are unjust, does that not detract from the greater good? And contributing "to the greater good" only begs the question, "What is the greater good?" 


       --- In LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com, Niccolò Adami <niccolo_adami@...> wrote:
      >
      > I.E. Rule utilitarianism.
      >
      >
      > --- In LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com, "Jason" nysa71@ wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > Roderick: ...if there are no rights prior to the contract, how do rights
      > > arise as a result of the contract?
      > >
      > > Jason: Perhaps one could argue that the notion of rights is simply a
      > > practical matter involving a basic framework of universal principles for
      > > a society to abide by so that you can have a functioning society.
      > >
      > > --- In LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com, Roderick Long <berserkrl@>
      > > wrote:
      > > >
      > > > But again, if there are no rights prior to the contract, how do rights
      > > arise as a result of the contract? It seems like an ex nihilo creation
      > > in that case. (Unless Harry is using the language of contract to
      > > describe what is actually a Humean-conventionalist, non-contractarian
      > > view.)

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    • Harry Pollard
      Good! In Classical Political Economy, Land is the label affixed to natural resources. So the natural resource - the electro-magnetic spectrum - fits into that
      Message 326 of 326 , Oct 10, 2008
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        Good!

         

        In Classical Political Economy, Land is the label affixed to natural resources. So the natural resource - the electro-magnetic spectrum - fits into that label.

         

        The problem with using the label "Land" is that the natural resource we most often are concerned with is the dirt under our feet. In other words 'land'. So, there can be confusion between the two uses of the word.

         

        In my economic courses, I prefer to use the label "Natural Resources" for natural resources. In the discussion of urban land I use the term 'Land' for the urban locations to which rent attaches. I haven't made the corrections yet, but I intend to use the label "Economic Rent" for the value that attaches to a location. (However, Economic Rent is a label used by the neo-Classicals for something not quite the same, so that might be a problem.)

         

        You'll note that the 'defined concepts' remain the same. It is just the 'labels' that may change. Although much discussion is of the order of "What do you mean by (some label)?", in fact, the label is the least important part of the process of definition. First comes the concept, then the concept is defined (a fence is erected around it). Defining is the most difficult part of the process. Properly done, only the concept is within the 'fence', nothing of the concept is outside the fence.

         

        The strength of Classical analysis rested on the close attention to definition. There can be little profitable discussion if two people are discussing (say) Capital while each views Capital in a different way. Thinking is not so effective if one is unclear in the mind about what exactly one is thinking about.

         

        I enjoyed your points, but the fact is the spectrum is carved up and a particular frequency in a particular place is pretty expensive to buy. As these frequencies tend to be passed out by the government, for a politician to give a frequency is tantamount to making someone an instant millionaire. As I have mentioned, LBJ couldn't own one but his wife could and as I recall, the frequency license she got was worth $15 million or so (now much more).

         

        I've seen a report that an FM station sold for $200 million. We have one 'clear channel' station in Los Angeles - KFI. Can't imagine how much its "land" is worth.

         

        Harry

         

        *******************************

        Harry Pollard

        Henry George School of Los Angeles

        Box 655  

        Tujunga  CA 91042

        (818) 352-4141

        *******************************

         

         

        From: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of il-young son
        Sent: Friday, October 10, 2008 7:49 AM
        To: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [LeftLibertarian2] Re: Rights arise only from contracts?

         

        On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 1:20 PM, Harry Pollard
        <henrygeorgeschool@...> wrote:

        > This is the sort of commentary you are good at though you can't resist the
        > little 'nasty' at the end.
        >
        >
        >
        > Entitlements (rights) can grow as contracts concern more and more areas.
        You
        > said:
        >
        >
        >
        > "For instance, there's little meaning to having rights to air waves
        until
        > the technology is available to exploit such and the social conditions
        exist
        > where conflicts arise."
        >
        >
        >
        > The electromagnetic spectrum is Land in the Classical terminology. When we
        > find we can use it, it is cut up into frequencies, rather like lots are
        > written on to the map of a piece of the earth.
        >
        >
        >
        > These frequencies are valuable depending on the number of people they can
        > reach.
        >
        >
        >
        > Obviously this is a place for contractual entitlements. "You can have
        sole
        > use of X frequency if you pay us $1 million a year."
        >

        actually thinking of the EM-spectrum as land is the problem. the
        reason for giving exclusivity to a chunk of spectrum is the old
        technology AM/FM. which are extremely prone to interference and thus
        extremely inefficient. there's no inherent "landness" of the
        EM-spectra and there's no fundamental "interference" character in
        using EM as a communication medium. there're key emerging
        technologies (and also technologies that exists and in broad use NOW,
        (like the spread-spectrum used in cellular and wireless) that will
        enable a much more efficient use of the spectra. look into
        software-defined radio (or just go to the gnuradio site) and cognitive
        radio which is built on top of the SDR technology. but efficient use
        of the spectra requires that you stop looking at the spectrum through
        the lens of old technology that should be outdated except for all the
        special interest in maintaining it. because then you won't be limited
        by the land metaphor used to carve up the spectrum.. basically DON'T
        carve up the spectrum.. there's no need to. there's no such thing as
        interference.

        >
        >
        > As it is, frequencies are awarded politically, making some lucky
        privileged
        > people rich. Thus LBJ couldn't have a frequency because he was connected
        > with government, so Ladybird got the frequency worth many millions of
        > dollars.
        >
        >
        >
        > A clear channel frequency is worth umpteen millions of dollars.
        >
        >
        >
        > But the right (entitlement) to the bonanza is politically coercive and not
        > voluntarily contractual.
        >
        >
        >
        > Harry
        >
        >
        >
        > *******************************
        >
        > Harry Pollard
        >
        > Henry George School of Los Angeles
        >
        > Box 655
        >
        > Tujunga CA 91042
        >
        > (818) 352-4141
        >
        > *******************************
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > From: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com]
        On Behalf Of Dan Ust
        > Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2008 7:30 PM
        > To: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [LeftLibertarian2] Re: Rights arise only from contracts?
        >
        >
        >
        > For my part, and in my limited way, I've been trying to read or reread
        Hume
        > and commentary on him. I'm hoping to get a better handle on his form of
        > conventionalism as applied to law and rights.
        >
        >
        >
        > If I'm understanding Hume correctly, I'm not sure he would take the human
        > nature or human condition approach. I think it's more an approach that
        > property rights grow out of the social conditions. I'm not sure how he
        > separates the social condition from human nature -- as I believe the
        social
        > part of it would be determined by human nature, even if in some sort of
        > dialectical fashion. (Even dialectical determination can have one side
        > setting the initial conditions or having more sway, no?)
        >
        >
        >
        > I don't the rights position amounts to a static one, where you just have a
        > unchanging list of rights. Instead, there's the fundamental form that gets
        > applied to ever more areas. For instance, there's little meaning to having
        > rights to air waves until the technology is available to exploit such and
        > the social conditions exist where conflicts arise. This makes it sound
        like
        > rights are cummulative -- as more forms of property are needed older ones
        > don't go away, such as your right to own your body doesn't get nullified
        > once you start using air waves property rights.
        >
        >
        >
        > I also had a discussion several years ago about expanding property rights.
        > My interlocutor at the time feared that you'd have rights all over the
        place
        > and this would hem everyone in. I responded by pointing out that there are
        > discovery, persuasion, and enforcement costs. By the middle term, I mean
        > you have to persuade others to respect those rights. In most cases, I
        think
        > these costs keep a lid on rights from mushrooming to the point that no one
        > can move without getting everyone else's consent.
        >
        >
        >
        > Anyhow, I look forward to your elaborations.
        >
        >
        >
        > As for Harry, for me, he's kind of one of those "I can't look on,yet
        I can't
        > turn away" people. I just wonder what snide yet inane comment he'll
        make
        > next. I do think my exchanges with him are adding little value at this
        > point for me. And they're probably unadulterated noise for everyone else.
        >
        >
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        >
        >
        > Dan
        >
        > --- On Sun, 9/28/08, shawn wilbur <
        href="mailto:akabookish%40yahoo.com">akabookish@...> wrote:
        >
        > I've just kill-filed Harry, but the point seems worth clarifying. The
        > recognition I'm talking about need not be "agreed" upon, and is
        more likely
        > to be conventional than contractual. The position I'm taking right now is
        > very close to the natural rights approach, since I think our basic
        > expectations about the limits of our interactions, about what constitutes
        > invasion, etc., grow out of "the human condition" or "human
        nature." In my
        > not-so-terse blog post, all I'm suggesting, in that regard, is that
        > self-ownership might just be half of a more comprehensive "natural
        right."
        > But I think those expectations develop, and that rights remain
        "potential"
        > until we find the means to realize them. That puts me in the camp
        concerned
        > with improving the conditions for liberty, a perfectionist or
        revolutionary
        > progressive of the very old school, rather than, say, just being concerned
        > about a certain number of negative liberties. Fortunately, I'm also a
        > decentralist and an experimentalist when it comes to social
        monkeying-about,
        > which theoretically ought to spare me and my neighbors any grand social
        > engineering projects. ;)
        >
        > -shawn
        >
        > --- On Sun, 9/28/08, Dan Ust <dan_ust@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > From: Dan Ust <dan_ust@...>
        > Subject: Rights arise only from contracts?/was RE: [LeftLibertarian2] Re:
        > Natural Rights
        > To: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com
        > Date: Sunday, September 28, 2008, 5:53 PM
        >
        > That doesn't seem to be exactly what Shawn meant. In a subsequent post, he
        > elaborated:
        >
        >
        >
        > "Dan, remember that the context for this was my discussion with
        Jeremy about
        > rights emerging from a "performative" step, so that
        acknowledgment might be
        > fairly close to creation. But I agree that the rights I was talking about
        > are not contractual in nature, though the reasons why would take a bit of
        > elaboration."
        >
        >
        >
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LeftLibertarian2/message/24405
        >
        >
        >
        > Now, Shawn can explain what he means, but I don't believe acknowledgment
        is
        > contractual. Harry could acknowledge, e.g., that he is wrong. In what
        > sense would that be a contract -- especially one that creates rights yet
        > doesn't presuppose any rights?
        >
        >
        >
        > Later!
        >
        >
        >
        > Dan
        >
        > --- On Sun, 9/28/08, Harry Pollard <
        href="mailto:henrygeorgeschool%40ca.rr.com">henrygeorgeschool@...> wrote:
        >
        > "Mutual acknowledgment" is an agreed understanding between
        people - in other
        > words contractual.
        >
        >
        >
        > Harry
        >
        >
        >
        > *******************************
        >
        > Harry Pollard
        >
        > Henry George School of Los Angeles
        >
        > Box 655
        >
        > Tujunga CA 91042
        >
        > (818) 352-4141
        >
        > *******************************
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > From: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com]
        On Behalf Of Dan Ust
        > Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 2:55 PM
        > To: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [LeftLibertarian2] Re: Natural Rights
        >
        >
        >
        > Note the Shawn wrote that -- "The mutual acknowledgment of rights is
        > probably one of those things that makes "society" possible, and
        "commerce,"
        > and the person who simply denies the possibility of rights opts to
        function
        > on some other field of play." -- and not that people contract to
        create
        > these rights. Acknowledgment is not creation -- it's recognition.
        >
        >
        >
        > Does Harry agree that these rights that Shawn is discussing are
        > non-contractual?
        >
        >
        >
        > Later!
        >
        >
        >
        > Dan
        >
        > --- On Fri, 9/26/08, Harry Pollard <
        href="mailto:henrygeorgeschool%40ca.rr.com">henrygeorgeschool@...> wrote:
        >
        > Shawn,
        >
        >
        >
        > You said:
        >
        >
        >
        > "The mutual acknowledgment of rights is probably one of those things
        that
        > makes "society" possible . ."
        >
        >
        >
        > How right you are.
        >
        >
        >
        > Harry
        >
        >
        >
        > *******************************
        >
        > Harry Pollard
        >
        > Henry George School of Los Angeles
        >
        > Box 655
        >
        > Tujunga CA 91042
        >
        > (818) 352-4141
        >
        > *******************************
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > From: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com]
        On Behalf Of shawn wilbur
        > Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 8:46 PM
        > To: LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [LeftLibertarian2] Re: Natural Rights (was Georgists and justice)
        >
        >
        >
        > --- On Thu, 9/25/08, Jeremy <jeremy@...>
        wrote:
        >> --- In LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com,
        shawn wilbur
        >> <akabookish@...> wrote:
        >>
        >> > Ethical actors either encounter others as
        >> fellow-beings or as something radically other -
        >> > or as stuff, outside the realm of ethical
        >> consideration, except as it belongs or pertains
        >> > to other ethical actors that we recognize. And if we
        >> encounter other people as fellows,
        >> > as similar to us (even if in unknown or unknowable
        >> ways), then isn't something like the
        >> > Golden Rule or the NAP or recognition of
        >> self-ownership simply a logical outcome of
        >> > that?
        >>
        >> Yes. But who's to say, in a given situation, on what
        >> terms another sees me: as a fellow or
        >> an alien? I have far less of a problem constructing a code
        >> for myself than constructing a
        >> code that I expect others to live by.
        >
        > Well, under what circumstances would it appear logical to you to think of
        > the other guy as stuff? And since this is specifically a discussion of
        > ethical or moral responses, when would that seem like any kind of adequate
        > ethical or moral response? Any kind?
        >
        > For difficult characters like you and me, probably the closest we can come
        > to the question of "what are our natural rights?" is something
        like "if
        > there are rights, what are they?" or "if there were rights, what
        would they
        > be?" The person who simply acknowledges no rights inherent in human
        being
        > takes himself out of consideration here. The mutual acknowledgment of
        rights
        > is probably one of those things that makes "society" possible,
        and
        > "commerce," and the person who simply denies the possibility of
        rights opts
        > to function on some other field of play. Personally, "the possibility
        of
        > rights" is where I have to work, for a variety of reasons, some of
        which
        > seem philosophically "deep" to me and some of which are probably
        just
        > personal, constitutional issues, general cussedness.
        >
        > I think, though, that if you can frame the question of rights in one of
        > those condition ways, you're likely to come pretty close to the one thing
        > Roderick will insist on without caveats, the right to self-ownership,
        which
        > he presents in an admirably clear and simple manner, I think.
        >
        >> > There probably is some weird performative step in the
        >> middle of all this, where we *step
        >> > up* as ethical actors and claim a place in the human
        >> race (or in some
        >> > broader ethical field, depending on our commitments).
        >> I suspect that rights are among
        >> > the few things we can give one another in that rather
        >> pure sense that the "gift economy"
        >> > proponents are aiming for. (It's
        >> "performative" in that academic theory sense,
        >> since the
        >> > rights would be something we come to have by
        >> "giving" something we couldn't have
        >> > owned in the first place.) Real natural rights
        >> advocates probably just see that "weird"
        >> > step as implied and not weird, but I'm wondering
        >> if that isn't what's holding you up in
        >> > the discussion.
        >>
        >> Perhaps. I've been chewing on this idea today and
        >> still haven't made up my mind on it.
        >> But I like the gifting idea, precisely because it's
        >> chosen and not compulsory. I'm inclined
        >> to see any "implied" step as a way to gloss over
        >> a lack of explanation, but maybe I'm being
        >> obtuse there.
        >
        > Well, it seems to be a fact that different people engage with these
        > questions in fundamentally different ways, which would be an argument
        > against the natural rights position, if it didn't also seem to be the case
        > that us cussed rights-agnostics and apostates tend to come to similar
        > conclusions about the expectations we should be able to have of one
        another.
        >
        > I'm trying to find time tonight to write up something more complete about
        > property, self-ownership and the issue of gift economy. I don't expect to
        > convince either the praxeologists or the commies, but you may find it
        > interesting anyway.
        >
        >> The biggest issue, for me, is the expectation on the part
        >> of one that another should act in
        >> a given way, or the person falls into the category of
        >> "bad" and "wrong".
        >
        > Well, when you bring things down to the level of whether or not
        individuals
        > will simply acknowledge their fellows as fellows, which is the core thing
        > that most of us seem to agree on, whether you want to say "bad"
        or "wrong"
        > tout court, it certainly seems "bad" or "wrong" for
        any sort of libertarian
        > *society* or equitable commerce. I'm completely down with the essentially
        > Nietzschean "bad for what or whom?" question, but in this case
        it seems like
        > the answer to that question would cover a lot of ground.
        >
        > -shawn
        >
        >
        >
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