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Inalienability of land

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Malachi Posted: Tue, Oct 30 2012 8:39 AM
Land cannot be alienated, therefore land cannot be owned. Therefore people may not take parts of the land for themselves, as this constitutes alienation of land, which is impossible. So no raw materials guys. This will not be a problem as soon as we expropriate the bourgeosie.
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Autolykos replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 8:46 AM

What definition of "alienate" are you using?

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stsoc replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 8:54 AM

Land cannot be owned, and therefore it cannot be alienated (tranfered into ownership of another).

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Autolykos replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 8:58 AM

What definition of "own" are you using?

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Groucho replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 8:58 AM

And after we expropriate them, the proletariat gets to occupy the land because, well, someone's got to and it might as well be the poor unsung workers who will soon be starving to death.

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Malachi replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 11:11 AM
Whichever definition fits my argument at the time, just like I learned at left-wing militant camp.
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Autolykos replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 11:36 AM

Well played.

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Socialists and propertarians are using very different definitions of "land." To us "land" means natural resources: one comes to own them when/if one is the first to mix one's labor with them: i.e. homesteading. But to them, "land" means area in the abstract: i.e. not the dirt, rocks, trees, etc, but the actual area in an abstract geometrical sense. Their argument is that area is not a product of labor, and cannot be owned, and since area cannot be owned, it is a commons, and since use of anything in that area necessarily involves use of the area, whoever uses something in an area (which of course is anyone doing anything anywhere) is violating other persons rights to use the commons, and this creates a positive obligation, such as a tax that has to be paid to "the community." Note that, to be consistent, they have to make the same argument with respect to volume that they made with respect to area, so you end up with everyone paying a tax for everything they do, including a tax for literally taking up space. Aside from the absurd consequences (or not so absurd if your goal is totalitarian socialism?), there are massive problems with the argument itself at every level, but that horse has been beaten to death, butchered, and shipped off to the glue factory. See the following threads:

http://mises.org/community/forums/t/29977.aspx?PageIndex=5

http://mises.org/community/forums/t/31194.aspx

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Theoretically everyone has the right to everything on the planet equally where the ownership of the object has not already been claimed. But as we live in a real economy and have real conflicts, we have to make use of what we have (the planet) in order to survive and ultimately for civilisation to prosper. Ownership of land becomes an essential concept for a civilisation to develop, even ownership the concept in general. As ownership of land is not much different than ownership of an iphone for example. The whole world before and after labour has made use of it, is own-able and usable by all. Just because a natural resource has been combined with labour and has value, does not mean that raw materials can not be owned or traded in of themselves without labour.

But as the government's of the world have claimed ownership of the majority of the land at some point in history and in some cases called it public ownership. This has made land more scarce and distorted the market significantly. Public ownership is not technically ownership as it is essentialy sharing. Sharing and ownership are different non compatible terms. How to say the public do not realy own the public land, but that should go without saying.

Ownership of raw materials and land then becomes a mechanism for civilisation to develop whilst minimizing conflict. Mankind would be far more primitive if they were still arguing over who should own the land around a specific lake. Ownership then becomes a pragmatic mechanism to avoid conflicts and to create incentives.

I do think though that there are some land owners that probably own more than than they can make use of or more land than they can physically protect. Whether in a stateless society people would have more opportunities with regards to homesteading is definitely debatable but for one without the regulations on informal settlements, at the so called public land would see far more homesteading taking place.

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stsoc replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 4:36 PM

Socialists and propertarians are using very different definitions of "land." To us "land" means natural resources: one comes to own them when/if one is the first to mix one's labor with them: i.e. homesteading. But to them, "land" means area in the abstract: i.e. not the dirt, rocks, trees, etc, but the actual area in an abstract geometrical sense.

That's why I sometimes use times use "area of land", but we still include the natural recourses that are on that area.

Their argument is that area is not a product of labor, and cannot be owned, and since area cannot be owned, it is a commons, and since use of anything in that area necessarily involves use of the area, whoever uses something in an area (which of course is anyone doing anything anywhere) is violating other persons rights to use the commons, and this creates a positive obligation, such as a tax that has to be paid to "the community."

Woah, wait at a little.

It only means that once you stop using some area of land and abandon it, it is free to be used by someone else. You can't homestead the area e.g. by tilling soil, and then you stop tilling it and go away and still have exclusive use over that area although it has returned to it's state of natue, and someone else comes there to start tilling it and you pull out a paper that says how that area of land and all on it is yours and he can't do anything there unless you give him the permission.

See the following threads:

Georgism doesn't exactly fall under socialism.

Ownership of land becomes an essential concept for a civilisation to develop

We socialists disagree.

Just because a natural resource has been combined with labour and has value, does not mean that raw materials can not be owned or traded in of themselves without labour.

Labor theory of property actually means that.

 

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Malachi replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 4:59 PM
It only means that once you stop using some area of land and abandon it, it is free to be used by someone else.
thats what everyone believes, you guys just equate "going to the grocery store" with "abandonment."
We socialists disagree.
socialists are anti-civilization so this means very little.
Labor theory of property actually means that.
good luck getting people who own property, or aspire to own, to agree, rather than simply those who covet the property of others.
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Autolykos replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 5:03 PM

Stsoc, let's say I build a fence around an area of land that no one (else) has ever set foot on. Then I sit in a chair and admire what I see as its exquisite natural beauty. Would you say I'm using that land? Why or why not?

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gotlucky replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 5:04 PM

+1 Malachi

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stsoc replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 5:43 PM

thats what everyone believes, you guys just equate "going to the grocery store" with "abandonment."

That's either an idiotic misunderstanding or a malevolent lie to misrepresent our views.

good luck getting people who own property, or aspire to own, to agree, rather than simply those who covet the property of others.

Just like the slaveowners didn't have to agree to not owning slaves, capitlaist will not have to either.

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Malachi replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 5:51 PM
That's either an idiotic misunderstanding or a malevolent lie to misrepresent our views.
well if its a misunderstanding its your fault because you refuse to define your terms. And if theres a malevolent lie anywhere, its you telling us you are against hierarchy when you think you are in a position to approve or deny the voluntary relationship of two people who dont care what what you think. regardless you need to define "abandonment" as I'm not using my house when I go to the grocery store any more than my boss is using his tools that he lets me use at work.
Just like the slaveowners didn't have to agree to not owning slaves, capitlaist will not have to either.
you cant bear to think about this subject without equivocating can you? The fallacy is so daunting and immense that even you cannot bear to think about it without telling yourself that a welder who likes his job and makes $30/hr is "basically the same" as an aboriginal man from sub-saharan africa who was abducted across sea and traded for 2 barrels of whiskey.
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Just like the slaveowners didn't have to agree to not owning slaves, capitlaist will not have to either.

I don't think you can seriously compare the use of slaves in history and an individual in modern times owning a small business that has employees.

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Anenome replied on Wed, Oct 31 2012 1:00 AM

'Land can't be owned, only occupied'

Hey! Get off that land I been occupying! That's mine! I got there first!

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stsoc replied on Wed, Oct 31 2012 7:38 AM

I don't think you can seriously compare the use of slaves in history and an individual in modern times owning a small business that has employees.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wage_slavery

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excel replied on Wed, Oct 31 2012 8:26 AM

 

I don't think you can seriously compare the use of slaves in history and an individual in modern times owning a small business that has employees.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wage_slavery

Your concession is accepted. 

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All theories of abandonment undermine property rights, not just the socialist theories. They also serve no useful purpose, as the fear of property sitting around unused is irrational.

Suppose Jones abandons some property, just walks away, never to return. Bob would like to homestead the property, but in the absence of abandonment as a principle in the law, the property remains Jones', and so the property goes unused.  This is what we're afraid of, but it makes no sense. If Bob would like to use the property, then the property has market value: i.e. it could be sold to Bob for something. And Jones would of course prefer getting something to getting nothing. It makes sense for Jones to abandon the property only if it has no market value, which means no one wants to use it , in which case it will sit unused regardless of whether there is a legal provision for abandonment.

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Eugene replied on Thu, Nov 1 2012 3:16 PM

Land is not a product of one's labor and its limited. Therefore I believe you cannot forbid others to use land which you do not use yourself. So if you abandoned a field you previously owned, you can't claim ownership over the piece of land beneath that field. Originally you gained ownership of the land because you used it for the field, but now the field is gone, so your ownership of the land is gone with it.

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  • Land is not a product of one's labor and its limited. Therefore I believe you cannot forbid others to use land which you do not use yourself. So if you abandoned a field you previously owned, you can't claim ownership over the piece of land beneath that field. Originally you gained ownership of the land because you used it for the field, but now the field is gone, so your ownership of the land is gone with it.

Define "use yourself", and abandonment.  What about stuff like game/nature preserves, letting a field lie fallow to recover for future crops, or a stand of trees that might take 25 years to grow to be harvested for lumber?

The problem with "only can occupy what you use" logic is that it seems that it's supporters have a very limited view of what is "use", and never define what true abandonment is.  I can imagine that such a system would create all sorts of fake makework "projects" that allow people to retain ownership over the land to use for more long term projects.  It would also have the effect of some of the more short-sighted occupants overworking the soil or resources so as to grab as much as they can in the present, for fear of loosing the title later.

Wild, unused land is of no economic value.  Once you have acted upon it and put it into use, be it for a game preserve, strip mine, or housing, then it becomes economically valuable and owned.  Ownership is not derived from creating something whole cloth but putting something into use.  If you pick a peach off of a wild and unowned tree, that peach is certainly yours.  Yet it is not a product of your labor.

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Eugene replied on Thu, Nov 1 2012 4:10 PM

I don't think economic value has anything to do with it. We shouldn't base rights on economic value or what other people see as valuable. Otherwise it sounds like we are trying to encourage economic activity or something of that sort. That I believe is statist thinking.

I believe you can't own land, you can only "lease it". Its not yours to own. To paraphrase Obama, you did not build that.

You gave good examples which I can't answer easily. However we should remember that land is valuable, and it wouldn't be fair to prevent someone from using it if they don't use it themselves.

 

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  • I believe you can't own land, you can only "lease it". Its not yours to own.

This begs the question though, if YOU can't own it, then who are you leasing it from? Not to put words in your mouth, but the standard answer to this is "society collectively".  Again, begs the question: if individuals can't own it, then how did all individuals, when amassed into a nebulous society, come to own it?  Furthermore, this usually leads to arguments that end up conflating the "state" with "society" and leads to a de facto ownership of all land by a political elite.

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How familiar are you with David Schmidtz's writings on the topic ?

http://www.davidschmidtz.com/sites/default/files/articles/PropertyKlosko2012_0.pdf

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

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Eugene replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 3:54 AM

That's right, you lease the land from society, that is from anyone else who wants to use the land. After all what gives you the right to exclude other people from using valuable natural resources? You gain this right only if you were the first one to use the resource yourself. But if you stopped using the resource you lose the right to exclude others from using it. I think it makes sense, don't you think?

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Anenome replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 4:33 AM

Stopped use of is not the same as abandoned. Abandoned I'd say yes, it returns to unowned state.

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Eugene replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 5:07 AM

If you stop using the land for anything, but just hold it to wait until it increases in value, that should be illegal. You acquired the right to exclude others from using the land because you used it for growing vegetables, but if you stopped growing vegetables on the land, you lose this right, which was given to you in the first place on the condition that you use the land.

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Eugene, you're still talking about how an individual is "taking away" unowned lands from others, or that society "gives it to the individual to use".  I mentioned this position in my last post:

  • Again, begs the question: if individuals can't own it, then how did all individuals, when amassed into a nebulous society, come to own it?

Thoughts on that?

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stsoc replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 6:30 AM

Land is not a product of one's labor and its limited. Therefore I believe you cannot forbid others to use land which you do not use yourself.


That's what socialism advocates.

The problem with "only can occupy what you use" logic is that it seems that it's supporters have a very limited view of what is "use", and never define what true abandonment is.


Because the details of the definition of abandonment will be agreed upon the people in question, e.g. the commune where the land is, and the definition surely cannot fuction in a mechanical way- e.g. they agree on 6 months non-use to constitute abandonment, and then someone comes one day every 5 months and 28 days to till the soil or similar for a day, and goes on to does so for years just to troll the people. It's reasonable to assume that that kind of person will get perma banned by the commune.

It would also have the effect of some of the more short-sighted occupants overworking the soil or resources so as to grab as much as they can in the present, for fear of loosing the title later.


There is not title, only "occupancy-and-use" that gives you exlusive use. Occupancy-and-use doesn't neccessitates overworking the soil, it requalires only sanity; there would be no need for fear or stress. If your do agriculture- you till the soil normally, like you would if you had the title of ownership over the land, and no one will take that land from you.

Once you have acted upon it and put it into use, be it for a game preserve, strip mine, or housing, then it becomes economically valuable and owned.


Areas of land cannot be owned.

Ownership is not derived from creating something whole cloth but putting something into use.


Putting something into use gives you exclusive use. That's what "occupancy-and-use" principle is- exclusive use during the continous use.

Yet it is not a product of your labor.


It is. You have produced a "plucked peach". You can never produce something out of nothing, every creation (of property) is mixing effort with something, with that effert removing it from the state of nature.

if individuals can't own it, then how did all individuals, when amassed into a nebulous society, come to own it?


I'd say it's clear that it cannot, areas of land cannot be owned at all.

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h.k. replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 6:40 AM

Malachi:
That's either an idiotic misunderstanding or a malevolent lie to misrepresent our views.
well if its a misunderstanding its your fault because you refuse to define your terms. And if theres a malevolent lie anywhere, its you telling us you are against hierarchy when you think you are in a position to approve or deny the voluntary relationship of two people who dont care what what you think. regardless you need to define "abandonment" as I'm not using my house when I go to the grocery store any more than my boss is using his tools that he lets me use at work.
Just like the slaveowners didn't have to agree to not owning slaves, capitlaist will not have to either.
you cant bear to think about this subject without equivocating can you? The fallacy is so daunting and immense that even you cannot bear to think about it without telling yourself that a welder who likes his job and makes $30/hr is "basically the same" as an aboriginal man from sub-saharan africa who was abducted across sea and traded for 2 barrels of whiskey.

 

 

This discussion is certainly entertaining me though. I've read his posts about the USSR and he's just a typical Soviet apologist that prefers them over us, so you're just wasting your time Malachi.

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stsoc replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 7:20 AM

I've read his posts about the USSR and he's just a typical Soviet apologist

What's with the idiotic statements? You're trying to troll, what?

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Eugene replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 7:27 AM

Individuals "own" the right to use any land just through pure physics. If you want to exclude others from using a piece of land, its a positive right. Its the right to use physical force against other people. This should not be given lightly, and I believe it is preserved only as long as you continue to use the land in question.

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stsoc replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 7:49 AM

I don't agree with the wording, but the principle is one that is a part of genuine socialism.

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Stsoc, I'd like an answer to my question. I see no valid reason for you to be afraid of answering it.

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Malachi replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 11:32 AM
Because the details of the definition of abandonment will be agreed upon the people in question, e.g. the commune where the land is, and the definition surely cannot fuction in a mechanical way- e.g. they agree on 6 months non-use to constitute abandonment, and then someone comes one day every 5 months and 28 days to till the soil or similar for a day, and goes on to does so for years just to troll the people. It's reasonable to assume that that kind of person will get perma banned by the commune.
how come those individuals get to decide who actually gets to own land, but they cant decide to sell/buy labor?
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Groucho replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 11:47 AM

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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stsoc replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 12:18 PM

how come those individuals get to decide who actually gets to own land

They don't decide that.

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Malachi replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 1:07 PM
Yes they do. You said "Because the details of the definition of abandonment will be agreed upon the people in question" meaning that as long as the rest of the coop agrees, then the individual has not abandoned the land and continues to "use" it. You explicitly made it clear that possession of land is a social construct and therefore the domain of the individuals concerned. Why are voluntary relationships different? Why does a service contract have to meet your approval when possession/use of land is not subject to your dictates?

@Groucho

exactly! What a routine! This is precious!

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stsoc replied on Fri, Nov 2 2012 1:14 PM

I have said multiple times that areas of land cannot be owned, so they surely wouldn't decide who will own the land.

You explicitly made it clear that possession of land is a social construct and therefore the domain of the individuals concerned.

I have said nothing of the sort. I have said, multiple times, exactly the opposite, that the possession (right to exclusive use) of land can only legitimately be determined by the de facto use itself. The details of what constitutes abandonment, is it a few weeks or a few months, are to be decided by the community in which the area of land in question is, and that is not anywhere near saying that possession of land is a social contruct.

Why does a service contract

There is nothing wrong with service contracts.

 

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