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Property is theft contradictory?

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Wheylous Posted: Fri, Apr 27 2012 9:33 PM

Theft presupposes valid property. Yet property is theft and invalid. Hence, there was no theft, as there was no property, so property is fine. But it's also theft.

Am I just stupid?

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gotlucky replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 10:24 PM

Theft presupposes valid property. Yet property is theft and invalid. Hence, there was no theft, as there was no property, so property is fine. But it's also theft.

Nice.

Am I just stupid?

Ah, the false humility of someone who points out the contradictions of Marxism.  wink

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ThatOldGuy replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 10:25 PM

 

Wheylous:

Am I just stupid?

No. This follows the Austrian critique of Proudhon's statement. He later dropped it and stated, "Property is the only power that can act as a counterweight to the State."

From my understanding though, Proudhon apparently meant property, in the former phrase, in the sense of property given to one by the political means (by the state; by theft). Of course, such isn't de jure property, but stolen goods. The phrase would better make Proudhon's point, if what I have found is his true intent behind the statement, that "Stolen goods are theft."
 
 

 

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Ya know, I think that is brilliant.

 

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John James replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 11:20 PM

Wheylous:
Theft presupposes valid property. Yet property is theft and invalid. Hence, there was no theft, as there was no property, so property is fine. But it's also theft.

Am I just stupid?

John James as The Marxist:

Um.  Maybe not "stupid", just ignorant.  I never said "property is theft".  Private property is exploitative.  And even if someone did say it's theft, it would be because private property is invalid.  Obviously property exists.  But the idea that you can have a better claim to something that ultimately came from the Earth is just ridiculous.  The Earth doesn't belong to anyone.  We are merely inhabitants.  You can't claim to "own" the Earth.  Everyone is equally free to utilize the resources of the Earth.  Having a bunch of money doesn't make you better than anyone else.  And it doesn't give you the right to commandeer the resources that "belong" to everyone.

 

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Clayton replied on Fri, Apr 27 2012 11:23 PM

Theft presupposes valid property. Yet property is theft and invalid. Hence, there was no theft, as there was no property, so property is fine. But it's also theft.

Reductio ad absurdum.

Quod et demonstratum.

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bloomj31 replied on Sat, Apr 28 2012 6:43 AM

Found this thought you might like it or find it interesting:

"But in spite of all his apparent iconoclasm one already finds in Qu’est-ce que la propriété’? the contradiction that Proudhon is criticising society, on the one hand, from the standpoint and with the eyes of a French small-holding peasant (later petit bourgeois) and, on the other, that he measures it with the standards he inherited from the socialists.

The deficiency of the book is indicated by its very title. The question is so badly formulated that it cannot be answered correctly. Ancient “property relations” were superseded by feudal property relations and these by “bourgeois” property relations. Thus history itself had expressed its criticism upon past property relations. What Proudhon was actually dealing with was modern bourgeois property as it exists today. The question of what this is could have only been answered by a critical analysis of “political economy,” embracing the totality of these property relations, considering not their legal aspect as relations of volition but their real form, that is, as relations of production. But as Proudhon entangled the whole of these economic relations in the general legal concept of “property,” “la propriété,” he could not get beyond the answer which, in a similar work published before 1789, Brissot had already given in the same words: “La propriété’ c’est le vol.

The upshot is at best that the bourgeois legal conceptions of “theft” apply equally well to the “honest” gains of the bourgeois himself. On the other hand, since “theft” as a forcible violation of property presupposes the existence of property, Proudhon entangled himself in all sorts of fantasies, obscure even to himself, about true bourgeois property." - Karl Marx

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Its not a quote from a Marxist, its from Proudhon, a mutualist.  And in the context, it's referring to state sanctioned property.

And Marx actually criticised that quote, as well as Proudhon in general.

EDIT:  Didn't realize That Old Guy already addressed this.  Sorry.

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Wheylous replied on Sat, Apr 28 2012 8:58 AM

Goes to show I shouldn't take quotes out of context.

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Its okay.  Its been sloganized by so many 16 year old anarcho-punks that most people who say it are unaware of the original meaning anyway.

they said we would have an unfair fun advantage

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tunk replied on Sat, Apr 28 2012 3:20 PM

John James:
The Earth doesn't belong to anyone.  We are merely inhabitants.  You can't claim to "own" the Earth.

Isn't the person who says this himself claiming to own the entire earth and to have the right to dictate on what terms other people may access it?

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mikachusetts:
EDIT:  Didn't realize That Old Guy already addressed this.  Sorry.

Well! You better be!

 

 

Just Kidding. Or am I?

 

If I had a cake and ate it, it can be concluded that I do not have it anymore. HHH

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tunk:
John James as The Marxist:
The Earth doesn't belong to anyone.  We are merely inhabitants.  You can't claim to "own" the Earth.
Isn't the person who says this himself claiming to own the entire earth and to have the right to dictate on what terms other people may access it?

John James as The Marxist:

I am not saying I can dictate on what terms other people may access it.  Nice try at twisting my words.  That's actually the exact opposite of what I said.  "the idea that you can have a better claim to something that ultimately came from the Earth is just ridiculous."  So quite ironically, I'm the one who is alleging other people cannot dictate on what terms anyone else can access it.

That was even worse than a straw man.  Not only did I not say anything like what you claimed I did, you actually claimed I said the exact opposite of what I actually did.

 

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Papirius replied on Wed, Jul 4 2012 12:25 PM

I consider myself a mutualist, so I think I should give a short response.

Theft does presuppose valid property. With the slogan "property is theft" Proudhon wants to say that what capitalists define as property is theft, that "private property" is breach of what Proudhon thought that what the correct view of property is. He also had another slogan "property is liberty" in refering to his view of property. 

To a mutualist "everyone has the right to property" firstly means "everyone has the right to the full product of his labor", and every income that is not a product of one's labor is theft (because it comes by taking a part of some else's product of labor).

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Autolykos replied on Wed, Jul 4 2012 12:45 PM

What does Proudhon think capitalists define as "property"?

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...everyone has the right to the full product of his labor...

I think everyone agrees with that. How do you determine what the full product is when there are many people involved in making one product?

If you have an opera, how much should go to the singers, to the ones who make the costumes, to the guy who looks for the hall, to the one putting up the money in advance, etc?

In fact, who is to decide this question? One of the singers, etc? A third party? What qualifications does whoever makes this decision have to make this decision?

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Papirius replied on Thu, Jul 5 2012 10:16 AM

Autolykos:
What does Proudhon think capitalists define as "property"?

He concentrated on pointing out what he thought as illegitimate, but is concidered fine by capitalists, like employment, land ownership, rent and interest.

Smiling Dave:
How do you determine what the full product is when there are many people involved in making one product?

A business would run as a workers' cooperative. All workers would democratically determine how big a cut of the earnings would go to each of the working positions existing in the business.

.

The basics come from the difference in the view of property by Locke and Rousseau.

"In his Second Treatise on Government, the philosopher John Locke asked by what right an individual can claim to own one part of the world, when, according to the Bible, God gave the world to all humanity in common. He answered that persons own themselves and therefore their own labor. When a person works, that labor enters into the object. Thus, the object becomes the property of that person.

Locke argued in support of individual property rights as "natural rights". Following the argument the fruits of one's labor are one's own because one worked for it. Furthermore the laborer must also hold a natural property right in the resource itself because - as Locke believes - exclusive ownership was immediately necessary for production.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau later criticized this second step in Discourse on Inequality, where he effectively argues that the natural right argument does not extend to resources that one did not create."

This explanation, with Lockean side admiting something as property even though it isn't a product of labor, and the Rousseauan side denying it - can be said to be an an explanation of different views of property between capitalists and mutualists.

So, land is the first major difference, according to mutualism, since you haven't made land, it cannot be your property, you can only "occupy-and-use" it, and you thus cannot buy or sell land, only use or abandon it. When you abandon a field, it is free to be used by someone else.

The notion that you cannot legitimately treat as property something that is not a product of labor is also present in the mutualist thinking that rent and employment are too illegitimate.

To a mutualist "everyone has the right to the full product of his labor" (and this is where the Proudhons slogan we're talking about comes from) means that eg. in a factory- all earnings made by selling the products belong to the workers. No one can be an owner of someone else or someone else's labor and thus no business that is composed of more that a single person can have an owner, but must be a cooperation of workers.

When workers produce something- and when it's sold, as I said, according to mutualism- all the money that it's sold for belongs to the workers. If there was an investor- someone who bought the machines and built the factory- he is only entitled to a one-time payment for that. Once he has been payed, he can only earn by labor. If after his machines and factory have been payed to him, he still takes part of the money made by selling the products and is not a worker, according to mutualism- that's theft. So mutualism sees capitalist owners of businesses as thieves in that regard, and thus the slogan "propety is theft".

 

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Jul 5 2012 11:16 AM

Papirius:
He concentrated on pointing out what he thought as illegitimate, but is concidered fine by capitalists, like employment, land ownership, rent and interest.

Okay, so what does Proudhon think capitalists define as "property"? In other words, could you please actually answer my question?

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Proudhon, Pierre Joseph . What is Property? An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government.

CHAPTER II. PROPERTY CONSIDERED AS A NATURAL RIGHT. -- OCCUPATION AND CIVIL LAW AS EFFICIENT BASES OF PROPERTY. DEFINITIONS.

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Thanks, I'll look into that.

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jodiphour replied on Fri, Jul 6 2012 10:19 AM

This is the ultimate contradiction of life. Life requires property, yet that property must be denied from other lives. Property is not originally property, and therefore it has to be acquired.

The original taking of property was theft from humans though. And if you do not recognize the rights of non-humans to resource access, then property comes before theft, and theft only comes once humans have acquired the property from non-humans.

However, nowadays it is difficult to obtain property that does not have a history of theft from humans associated with it. This is a fundamental problem. What is the proper way to deal with stolen property? What if it was stolen yesterday? What if it was stolen 100 years ago? How about 1000 years ago? How do Austrians deal with inheritance of property rights to stolen property?

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This is the ultimate contradiction of life. Life requires property, yet that property must be denied from other lives.

Its not a contradiction, its reality. Luckily, my excluding you from my property, doesn't also exclude you from your property, and vice versa.

they said we would have an unfair fun advantage

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Wheylous replied on Mon, Jul 9 2012 12:44 PM

What is the proper way to deal with stolen property? What if it was stolen yesterday? What if it was stolen 100 years ago? How about 1000 years ago?

Both parties are long gone. Dead people don't have titles to property.

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