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There is absolutely nothing "natural way" in private property or more generally in property laws and the current expropriation of the public by privatisations is horrifying.
by Katrin on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 04:59:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
current expropriation of the public by privatisations is horrifying.
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Now we've found one point where we agree. But I am not going to dismiss private property as such because of these crooks.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 11:19:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am dismissing private property (at least largely) because it leads inevitably to the crooks.
by Katrin on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 02:13:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh...Crooks too are "natural"...You simply cannot imagine how many crooks we had during socialism...Tito being one of the biggest...and supposedly they did not OWN too much (formally)...or they did...it's just that we were not told...
As I said it was a nice dream...reality was so much different. Instead of capitalists we had "political class" enjoying same benefits as capitalists in capitalism. No matter how you call them crooks are still crooks.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 09:40:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Parasites and crooks gravitate to the easiest location to "do their thing."  Under Yugoslavian "Socialism" it was the Commissars and functionaries in the Zveza komunistov Jugoslavije.  Under "Free Market Capitalism" it's banks and financial institutions.

Different advertising, same scumbags.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 11:30:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's becoming obvious that for you there is a dichotomy between the property laws in dictatorships of the communist East Europe on the one hand and those allowing private property. Forms of collective property don't interest you, you summarily dismiss them as unrealistic (how come that so many of them work satisfactorily to this day?). I am really fed up with attempts to stop every debate of putting property under democratic control by a whine of how things were run in the dictatorships of Eastern Europe. I am talking of something else.
by Katrin on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 04:20:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Forms of collective property don't interest you, you summarily dismiss them as unrealistic (how come that so many of them work satisfactorily to this day?).
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Hoh...Can you please give me one good example that I can get a picture what your dream is all about?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 02:12:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The classic example is shared pastures. This form of collective property survived especially in ecologically vulnerable areas (the Alps, for instance). Another example is (loosely) wikipedia, which actually has an article on commons. So, "dream" isn't the best choice of words. It's a fairly common (ahem) form of property. Not comparable to self-referential forms of property, which is very exotic (but exists).
by Katrin on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 06:39:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you...but I am not convinced...
Do not get me wrong, I like the idea but I don't think it's a solution or even possible, bearing in mind human nature. Then again I am realist/pessimist...maybe because I am old and full of experience.
I like to see tho that someone has ideals... where would we be without them...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue May 1st, 2012 at 08:02:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like the idea but I don't think it's a solution or even possible

For "proof" that it's not possible, take the fact that they used to exist until they were legislated out of existance in order to force people to emigrate to the cities to work in factories for the industrial revolution.

You think Katrin has no experience and/or is full of ideals. Maybe she knows history.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 1st, 2012 at 08:07:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo:
because I am old and full of experience

Forgive me, but I think I am probably no younger than you. Yet I have lived and worked (as a shepherd) with common pastures in the Pyrenees, and I know farmers today who use them. They are generally organized by local pastoral associations.

Not only that, but I live in a small hamlet (and I know others like it) where the buildings are individual property but the surrounding ground common. This is not in fact so different from people owning an apartment but not the stairs and hall, which are common, or owning a house in town but not the street in front, which is public. Common and public spaces are organized by different bodies and rules, and have existed for centuries.

There used to be more commons, but they were enclosed and privatised by the wealthy, to the detriment of the poor who could no longer use them. If this had been due to human "nature", it would surely have happened long before, yet it is a relatively recent phenomenon, dating back over the last couple of centuries. The rise of capitalism transformed the old hierarchies (where power through rank came with corresponding obligations to subordinates) into power through concentration of wealth with no obligations to subordinates. The notion of individual freedom (of thought and speech, of romantic involvement, of political and economic action) was developed in the Enlightenment, and became the basis of economic theory alleging that the greatest good of the greatest number came about "naturally" as the result of the sum of the acts of individuals seeking their own material betterment. This economic theory, still the standard account today, explains why power through concentration of wealth does not need to come with corresponding obligations, rather conveniently for the concentrators.

Today individualism is on display everywhere in the developed world, with the insistence on the private house surrounded by its private garden, the private jamjar in which to seal oneself off as one travels public streets and roads, the portable entertainment channelled through earphones or the mobile phone obsession by which individuals behave privately when not sealed off in cars or private dwellings. The more wealth is concentrated in a small number of hands, the more the mass of people are convinced the individual life is what matters. The very idea of organising common goods, of sharing, becomes less and less conceivable. But this is the result of an historical shift in economic power and the narrative that is advanced to explain it. It's not human "nature", it's history.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 03:40:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said I like the idea but unfortunately it looks more and more like real HISTORY to me.
Of course again unfortunately (for the reasons you mentioned up there and I agree it's so) we have lost this ability to share (not all of us but those are minority).
And obviously I do not disagree that there are good examples even today but I am just not convinced that it could be done on a large scale (highly industrialised society)...not because it's not possible (there are examples there too) but because there is no will on a larger scale. Common thing today is greed and it took epidemic proportions.
Human nature...I do not want to start on this...so complex...But looking at history seems like private property prevailed. That tells me something about human nature...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 03:59:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Private property "prevailed", because it is enforced, and extremely brutally at that! You have been shown several examples of collective forms of property working perfectly well, so how can you claim they were against "human nature"?! If greed was a "common thing" and what human nature normally is about, how come that wikipedia exists?

Humans are unable to survive on their own (and I mean that literally), let alone to produce efficiently. Everything we produce is the result of collective efforts. It is completely against human nature to have private property. Collective property ought to be the norm, private property the exotic exception.

by Katrin on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 08:26:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Private property may be enforced (long long time ago) but as we live in so called democracy it must be that a lot of people are brainwashed cause at the time of great need of majority of the people (financial crises that we are going trough) as we can witness now most of the people are voting conservatives in many countries. This puzzles me. Seems like they do not want to share. In a time of unprecedented prosperity (historically talking) in developed countries, people seem to be selfish and are voting right (and even extreme right). This too telling me something about human nature...or are they eating some strange mushrooms?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 05:45:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It may be human nature, and it may be human culture. Or do you think people vote from the tabula rasa of the mind of a newborn baby?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 06:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo:
As I said I like the idea but unfortunately it looks more and more like real HISTORY to me.
Of course again unfortunately (for the reasons you mentioned up there and I agree it's so) we have lost this ability to share (not all of us but those are minority).
So it's nurture, not nature, isn't it?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 06:08:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a "long long time ago". It's an ongoing process . It's not about sharing either: it's about collective property and acknowledging that we produce in collectives. You needn't be unselfish for that (although I doubt that most people are as selfish as you claim--selfishness depends on the situation one is in). These things aren't exactly over-emphasised in our education-systems, which is a better explanation than your mushrooms, I think.
by Katrin on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 06:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't that the case that "tax money" that we pay to government is a kind of collective property (to be shared)? We expect our governments to organize services for us individually and as a "nation"/state. Governments collected this money from the beginning of the time. And they did spend (at least some of the money) for those services in the past (electricity, roads, hospitals, universities etc.) Now we are in democracies (some of us) right? We have a chance to vote for one of the options: left or right. No matter how badly "left" has betrayed us by privatising some of those services,  with them we still have at least something resembling those services. I remember how quite a few working people used to be angry that their tax money is going to those "unemployed tugs"...now that they are losing their jobs as we speak I hope they know better. But it is in human nature not to be able to have empathy for others until they "walk in their shoes"...
On the other hand "right" openly promise to privatise as much as possible and people are voting for them in masses. We all know what privatisation of those services means...less jobs, higher prices, less service, lower wages...
Do you have an explanation other ten we are all brainwashed trough education system?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 10:50:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I'd agree that tax money in a democracy is collective property. It's a sign for our flawed democracies that taxation is seen as some sort of theft: we have too little democratic control or else we would see taxation differently. In local contexts, where we can see that we pay for something we really need and want, citizens often feel perfectly content with the expense.

The commons is interesting where it concerns productive capital. Private property of means of production for a collective process of production with the result of private ownership of the produce actually is the most far-fetched legislation I can think of and not a matter of "human nature".

It is crucial that the users of the commons feel their responsibility toward the common property and act accordingly. Democratic control of the rules helps. So does the knowledge that the common good is vital. On the local level you can see and grasp that easily. This is why the commons work fairly well in the Alpine landscape with few users and therefore easy communication, and where ecological mistakes mean more avalanches. It does not work well with keeping the air clean or leaving enough fish in the oceans. I don't agree with you that we simply give up attempting to solve the problems of the commons with the excuse that "human nature" doesn't allow it.

Private property is an invention that was legislated into existence and that is at the root of most of our problems. The sooner we legislate it out of existence the better.

by Katrin on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 08:04:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Private property was legislated into existence a long time ago. "Western" concepts of property can trace their origin partly to the Roman Dominium
Dominium properly signifies the right of dealing with a corporeal thing as a person (dominus) pleases; this, of course, implies the right to exclude all others from meddling with it. The dominus has the right to possess, and is distinguished in that respect from the bare possessor, who has only the right of possession. He who has the ususfructus of a thing, is never considered as owner; and proprietas is the name for that which remains after the ususfructus is deducted from the ownership. Ownership may be either absolute, that is, as complete as the law any ownership to be, or it may be limited. The distinction between bare ownership and ownership united with the beneficial interest, is explained in another place. [Bona.] A person who has no ownership of a thing, may have rights in or to a thing which, as far as they extend, limit the owner's power over his property, as hereafter explained. Ownership, being in its nature single, can only be conceived as belonging to one person; consequently there cannot be several owners of one thing, but several persons may own undivided shares or parts of a thing.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 08:55:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But even the romans didn't allow abolute ownership (Dominium) of anything and everything
Res is the general name for anything which is the object of a legal act. The chief division of res is into res divini juris, and res humani juris. Res divini juris are those which are appropriated to religious purposes, namely, res sacrae, sanctae, religiosae; and so long as they have this character, they cannot be the objects of property. Res humani juris are all other things that can be the objects of property; and they are either res publicae or res privatae. Res publicae belong to the state, and can only become private property by being deprived of this public character [Agrariae Leges]. Res universitatis are the property of a universitas, and are not the property of any individual. The phrase res nullius is ambiguous; it sometimes means that the thing cannot be the property of any individual, which is affirmed of things divini juris; when applied to things humani juris, it sometimes means that they are not the property of an individual but of a universitas; yet such things may become the property of an individual; res hereditariae are res nullius until there is a heres. Res communes are those which cannot be the objects of property, and therefore are res nullius, as the sea.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 08:59:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hammurabi's code is fun, too:
9. If a man has lost property and some of it be detected in the possession of another, and the holder has said, "A man sold it to me, I bought it in the presence of witnesses"; and if the claimant has said, "I can bring witnesses who know it to be property lost by me"; then the alleged buyer on his part shall produce the man who sold it to him and the witnesses before whom he bought it; the claimant shall on his part produce the witnesses who know it to be his lost property. The judge shall examine their pleas. The witnesses to the sale and the witnesses who identify the lost property shall state on oath what they know. Such a seller is the thief and shall be put to death. The owner of the lost property shall recover his lost property. The buyer shall recoup himself from the seller's estate.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 09:15:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In short, only the owner can sell property and the "buyer" of stolen goods has no claim against the owner. Sounds familiar. So, that's where our legislators found that. How very convenient for them that nobody has the copyright for Hammurabi's ideas, and that they are commons, isn't it?

If you want real fun, you don't restrict yourself to natural persons. Hamburg, although the home of greedy merchants, still has some pre-German self-referential property: a company owns itself. It's pretty unusual, I believe. A nightmare for neoliberals who want to privatise it, of course. There were two of these left, a fire insurance and a savings bank. Our mayor managed to sell the insurance that he didn't own, but the bank, now the last company of that sort, watches out.

by Katrin on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 09:59:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The dominance of private property and the marginalisation of all other forms of property is fairly new. It's a feature of capitalism.
by Katrin on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 10:02:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read this:
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=CxA8AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=samoupravljanje+/+s elf+governing&source=bl&ots=YmloX92FgG&sig=bDNrLQ5s5fBtcLT-ijW3h2jNZdM&hl=en&sa= X&ei=0EWjT6z7KYTBiQfqgoCvDw&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=samoupravljanje%20%2F%20self%20g overning&f=false

It failed...
We can call it dictatorship because, while we had chance to VOTE for our representatives being all from one single party ,we had no chance to vote out our leader Tito (it was clearly said that he is a leader for life).
Still it seemed like a good idea. In reality it did not work for many reasons...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 11:53:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not surprised that dictatorship failed, and I recommend democracy. You however recommend the most undemocratic form of property rights and expect what? Democracy?
by Katrin on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 06:28:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is private property "undemocratic"?
In my opinion there are other ways to share wealth of one society rather than to nationalise and confiscate...It did not work in past, it does not work now and will not work in the future...for many reasons...the most important would be that people feel about "common property" as it is nobodies property so they do not care that much and probably the other most important reason is that there will be (more) crooks to take an advantage from this situation. And we are not talking about shared pastures or Wikipedia here...we are talking multibillion global corporations...Who and how FCS is going to control it?
If (ever) human conscientiousness  is elevated to that level we would be able to have communism all around the globe (cause that's brilliant idea) but I sincerely doubt that it will be on that level EVER...If anything we are going backwards on this matter.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 09:02:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In my opinion there are other ways to share wealth of one society rather than to nationalise and confiscate...

How is private property created, if not by confiscation? I want to take it back from the thieves. If you think owners have a justified claim: where does it derive from?

there will be (more) crooks to take an advantage from this situation.

Even more crooks than now? How, since property would be under democratic control? Why is a collective worse than Mr Blankfein?

people feel about "common property" as it is nobodies property so they do not care that much

The "tragedy of the commons", yes. If you followed Mig's and my links, you must have seen that there is a heap of literature on the topic, suggesting that this behaviour occurs less often than thought. This is in accordance with my experience in protecting the environment: thousands and millions of us were and are prepared to be active in order to protect this commons against pollution by privately run business.

With respect, but aren't you a bit naïve in your defence of private property?

by Katrin on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 12:51:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
one of you should write a diary on this most important issue. the discussion deserves better than a more-than-a-week-old salon, imo.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 01:35:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
one wonders how/why the whole private property thing was born.

privacy?

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 01:36:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're about to invent multi-party dictatorship here in Europe.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 02:43:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]

(also at INET)

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 06:03:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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