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Agrarian Justice

dylancatlow
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5/12/2013 10:24:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I recently came across Agrarian Justice, a thought-provoking treatise written by Thomas Paine that outlines the moral side of the estate tax. Very interesting stuff. Link if you're interested (it's not too long): http://geolib.com...

The quotes below are essentially the points he's trying to make.

Opinions? (especially libertarians)

" In taking the matter upon this ground, the first principle of civilization ought to have been, and ought still to be, that the condition of every person born into the world, after a state of civilization commences, ought not to be worse than if he had been born before that period."

"[15] There could be no such thing as landed property originally. Man did not make the earth, and, though he had a natural right to occupy it, he had no right to locate as his property in perpetuity any part of it; neither did the Creator of the earth open a land-office, from whence the first title-deeds should issue. Whence then, arose the idea of landed property? I answer as before, that when cultivation began the idea of landed property began with it, from the impossibility of separating the improvement made by cultivation from the earth itself, upon which that improvement was made."
dylancatlow
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5/12/2013 10:26:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Another telling excerpt: "To create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property:"
Skepsikyma
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5/12/2013 10:51:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This is something that I usually clash with libertarians over, as I find Paine's arguments for the estate tax to be very convincing.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
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5/12/2013 10:56:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/12/2013 10:51:00 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
This is something that I usually clash with libertarians over, as I find Paine's arguments for the estate tax to be very convincing.

Do you support the estate tax in all regards, or only when wealth is made via land that is de facto 'taken' away from someone else?
dylancatlow
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5/12/2013 10:59:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/12/2013 10:51:00 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
This is something that I usually clash with libertarians over, as I find Paine's arguments for the estate tax to be very convincing.

Ha! It's funny that you list this essay in your big issue comments.
Skepsikyma
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5/12/2013 11:02:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/12/2013 10:56:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:51:00 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
This is something that I usually clash with libertarians over, as I find Paine's arguments for the estate tax to be very convincing.

Do you support the estate tax in all regards, or only when wealth is made via land that is de facto 'taken' away from someone else?

In all cases. The idea is that humans in the state of nature have access to land for many creative purposes, but as soon as agriculture and property rights set in all future generations are derived of that access and ought to be reimbursed for it by those who profit from the system of land ownership. Otherwise you run the risk of eventually ending up with landed gentry and the nasty power structure that comes along with it as we run out of land.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
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5/12/2013 11:05:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/12/2013 11:02:24 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:56:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:51:00 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
This is something that I usually clash with libertarians over, as I find Paine's arguments for the estate tax to be very convincing.

Do you support the estate tax in all regards, or only when wealth is made via land that is de facto 'taken' away from someone else?

In all cases. The idea is that humans in the state of nature have access to land for many creative purposes, but as soon as agriculture and property rights set in all future generations are derived of that access and ought to be reimbursed for it by those who profit from the system of land ownership. Otherwise you run the risk of eventually ending up with landed gentry and the nasty power structure that comes along with it as we run out of land.

But what if I live in the city and obtained my money by writing novels? How could an estate tax in that instance be properly justified under the umbrella of that rationale?
Skepsikyma
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5/12/2013 11:32:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/12/2013 11:05:52 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 11:02:24 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:56:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:51:00 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
This is something that I usually clash with libertarians over, as I find Paine's arguments for the estate tax to be very convincing.

Do you support the estate tax in all regards, or only when wealth is made via land that is de facto 'taken' away from someone else?

In all cases. The idea is that humans in the state of nature have access to land for many creative purposes, but as soon as agriculture and property rights set in all future generations are derived of that access and ought to be reimbursed for it by those who profit from the system of land ownership. Otherwise you run the risk of eventually ending up with landed gentry and the nasty power structure that comes along with it as we run out of land.

But what if I live in the city and obtained my money by writing novels? How could an estate tax in that instance be properly justified under the umbrella of that rationale?

The justification which I was relying on was or the real land value estate tax proposed by Paine. He offered a different defense for a flat-rate personal property estate tax which is more politically practical: basically, people who live in poverty will resent the accumulation of wealth less if it is seen that the wealthier the individual is, the more the public trust benefits when they shuffle off this mortal coil. It settles class tension while offering a sort of leg up for the rest of society.

"The superstitious awe, the enslaving reverence, that formerly Surrounded affluence, is passing away in all countries, and leaving the possessor of property to the convulsion of accidents. When wealth and splendor, instead of fascinating the multitude, excite emotions of disgust; when, instead of drawing forth admiration, it is beheld as an insult on wretchedness; when the ostentatious appearance it makes serves call the right of it in question, the case of property becomes critical, and it is only in a system of justice that the possessor can contemplate security.

To remove the danger, it is necessary to remove the antipathies, and this can only be done by making property productive of a national bless, extending to every individual. When the riches of one man above other shall increase the national fund in the same proportion; when it shall be seen that the prosperity of that fund depends on the prosperity of individuals; when the more riches a man acquires, the better it shall for the general mass; it is then that antipathies will cease, and property be placed on the permanent basis of national interest and protection. "
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
wrichcirw
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5/13/2013 12:09:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
[4] Poverty, therefore, is a thing created by that which is called civilized life. It exists not in the natural state.

I find this to be incorrect and misleading. It suggests an idealized version of Native American life.

Hunter gatherer societies are able to sustain themselves only as long as there are things to hunt and gather. A drought or some sort of other natural calamity that would affect the environment to such a degree as to cut off these supplies of sustenance would indeed lead to an impoverished state.

Paine concedes in [6] that agrarian societies are 10x more productive than hunter-gatherer societies, ceteris paribus.

Therefore, I find good reason to contest the notion of [9], that "the condition of millions, in every country in Europe, is far worse than if they had been born before civilization begin, had been born among the Indians of North America at the present." This claim is totally unsubstantiated, and I would say it is prima facie false. It compares the state of impoverishment of the disenfranchised in Europe to native Americans in an idealized state.

---

This entire essay kind of deals with the concept of property rights. I do not agree with Paine "that it is the value of the improvement, only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property." Yes, man only adds upon nature and this is man's contribution to nature, but you cannot divorce man's improvement from that which is improved. It is from here that we get the origin of property rights, whether that property is recognized as land, labor, or capital.

Pastoral societies, his "flocks and herds", had no concept of land as property because the land was neither developed nor improved. However, the flocks and herds most definitely were developed and improved, so there were property rights associated with them.

Apply this to hunter-gatherer societies. They did not have flocks and herds...they merely hunted what nature provided. There was no possession of these herds because they did not possess neither the tools nor the know-how to to domesticate them. However, they did have hunting tools (ancestral axe) and the products of the hunt (animal skins), and these did have property rights associated with them and were passed through the generations.

Apply to the modern world. We assign property rights to things we can't even see, like radio waves. People in the 1700s would have thought this absolutely absurd, but the fact is we can improve upon the radio spectrum to suit our needs, just like how an agrarian society could improve upon the land to suit their needs, just like how a pastoral society could improve upon a herd of animals to suit their needs by domesticating the herd, and just like how a hunter-gatherer society could improve upon their tools and methods through inheritance.

---

When it comes to the estate tax, I don't understand Paine's contention. You cannot separate the improvement from the actual thing. If you improve upon computing code, you cannot separate that improvement from the code and pass possession of only that improvement...it would be meaningless and you would have non-functional code. Rather, you must take the entire code into consideration.

Should there be a tax? Sure, but I find that Paine's arguments here do not justify why there should be one. Rather I would point towards concepts like societal obligation, as opposed to some sort of natural non-rights to property.

I stopped after point #23 when Paine talked about implementing his plan. I found the logical foundations of his plan to be erroneous.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Skepsikyma
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5/13/2013 12:39:45 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 12:09:33 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
[4] Poverty, therefore, is a thing created by that which is called civilized life. It exists not in the natural state.

I find this to be incorrect and misleading. It suggests an idealized version of Native American life.

Hunter gatherer societies are able to sustain themselves only as long as there are things to hunt and gather. A drought or some sort of other natural calamity that would affect the environment to such a degree as to cut off these supplies of sustenance would indeed lead to an impoverished state.

Paine concedes in [6] that agrarian societies are 10x more productive than hunter-gatherer societies, ceteris paribus.

Therefore, I find good reason to contest the notion of [9], that "the condition of millions, in every country in Europe, is far worse than if they had been born before civilization begin, had been born among the Indians of North America at the present." This claim is totally unsubstantiated, and I would say it is prima facie false. It compares the state of impoverishment of the disenfranchised in Europe to native Americans in an idealized state.

---

This entire essay kind of deals with the concept of property rights. I do not agree with Paine "that it is the value of the improvement, only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property." Yes, man only adds upon nature and this is man's contribution to nature, but you cannot divorce man's improvement from that which is improved. It is from here that we get the origin of property rights, whether that property is recognized as land, labor, or capital.

Pastoral societies, his "flocks and herds", had no concept of land as property because the land was neither developed nor improved. However, the flocks and herds most definitely were developed and improved, so there were property rights associated with them.

Apply this to hunter-gatherer societies. They did not have flocks and herds...they merely hunted what nature provided. There was no possession of these herds because they did not possess neither the tools nor the know-how to to domesticate them. However, they did have hunting tools (ancestral axe) and the products of the hunt (animal skins), and these did have property rights associated with them and were passed through the generations.

Apply to the modern world. We assign property rights to things we can't even see, like radio waves. People in the 1700s would have thought this absolutely absurd, but the fact is we can improve upon the radio spectrum to suit our needs, just like how an agrarian society could improve upon the land to suit their needs, just like how a pastoral society could improve upon a herd of animals to suit their needs by domesticating the herd, and just like how a hunter-gatherer society could improve upon their tools and methods through inheritance.

---

When it comes to the estate tax, I don't understand Paine's contention. You cannot separate the improvement from the actual thing. If you improve upon computing code, you cannot separate that improvement from the code and pass possession of only that improvement...it would be meaningless and you would have non-functional code. Rather, you must take the entire code into consideration.

Should there be a tax? Sure, but I find that Paine's arguments here do not justify why there should be one. Rather I would point towards concepts like societal obligation, as opposed to some sort of natural non-rights to property.

I stopped after point #23 when Paine talked about implementing his plan. I found the logical foundations of his plan to be erroneous.

The idea is that poverty as a condition characterized by having no access to any means of production, including land, is created by land property rights. He's not using the word in a way synonymous with hardship. He's saying that without property rights every person would have the ability to earn their living in nature, but that with them many are deprived of this possibility, and the enormous productivity of the society is funneled upwards while the impoverished are left disenfranchised, with no way out. The estate tax doesn't rest on his argument concerning property rights and the state of nature, his system whereby people are universally reimbursed for the situation in which they are born into through no choice of their own is. An estate tax is then proposed to pay for this program, which would also manage to assuage class tensions by allowing the destitute to benefit from the creation of wealth.

As to property rights, Paine is saying that land became property once we became capable of improving on it, that we had no reason to own land until the advent of cultivation. He is talking only in regards to the ownership of land, not all property in general. So his argument and yours are perfectly aligned: we had no reason to own airwaves until we could improve them, just like we had no reason to own land until we could cultivate it. He is pointing out that things become property only once we are capable of permanently improving them in some way, and that property rights are grounded in that capability for improvement.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
wrichcirw
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5/13/2013 12:52:04 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 12:39:45 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/13/2013 12:09:33 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

The idea is that poverty as a condition characterized by having no access to any means of production, including land, is created by land property rights. He's not using the word in a way synonymous with hardship. He's saying that without property rights every person would have the ability to earn their living in nature, but that with them many are deprived of this possibility, and the enormous productivity of the society is funneled upwards while the impoverished are left disenfranchised, with no way out. The estate tax doesn't rest on his argument concerning property rights and the state of nature, his system whereby people are universally reimbursed for the situation in which they are born into through no choice of their own is. An estate tax is then proposed to pay for this program, which would also manage to assuage class tensions by allowing the destitute to benefit from the creation of wealth.

This belies the true power of property rights. The argument would be that those who do not have property were those who did not deserve to have property in the first place. In a world with scarcity, we compete for scarce resources like anything and everything we assign property rights to, whether it be land, labor, or capital. Someone with large amounts of property deserves to have it because they are more productive with it, and thus increase overall production for society. This is regardless of who owns the fruits of labor, because in the end, a rich man is as much part of society as a pauper. So, if the rich man benefits, society benefits.

As to property rights, Paine is saying that land became property once we became capable of improving on it, that we had no reason to own land until the advent of cultivation. He is talking only in regards to the ownership of land, not all property in general. So his argument and yours are perfectly aligned: we had no reason to own airwaves until we could improve them, just like we had no reason to own land until we could cultivate it. He is pointing out that things become property only once we are capable of permanently improving them in some way, and that property rights are grounded in that capability for improvement.

My disagreement with Paine dealt with how he separated the improvement from what was being improved. Paine saw it fit to deprive people of the latter while somehow maintaining ownership of the former via the estate tax. I contend that it simply does not work that way.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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5/13/2013 12:59:07 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 12:39:45 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/13/2013 12:09:33 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

The idea is that poverty as a condition characterized by having no access to any means of production, including land, is created by land property rights. He's not using the word in a way synonymous with hardship. He's saying that without property rights every person would have the ability to earn their living in nature, but that with them many are deprived of this possibility, and the enormous productivity of the society is funneled upwards while the impoverished are left disenfranchised, with no way out. The estate tax doesn't rest on his argument concerning property rights and the state of nature, his system whereby people are universally reimbursed for the situation in which they are born into through no choice of their own is. An estate tax is then proposed to pay for this program, which would also manage to assuage class tensions by allowing the destitute to benefit from the creation of wealth.

I do believe I have already fully explained exactly why I disagree with the bolded:

[4] Poverty, therefore, is a thing created by that which is called civilized life. It exists not in the natural state.

I find this to be incorrect and misleading. It suggests an idealized version of Native American life.

Hunter gatherer societies are able to sustain themselves only as long as there are things to hunt and gather. A drought or some sort of other natural calamity that would affect the environment to such a degree as to cut off these supplies of sustenance would indeed lead to an impoverished state.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
royalpaladin
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5/13/2013 5:49:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Wrichcriw, have you read Jared Diamond's "The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race"? He did a few case studies that suggested that life deteriorated significantly for most people after the transition to agrarian societies was made-a lot of people died in the transition.
Eitan_Zohar
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5/13/2013 7:23:21 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 5:49:52 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
Wrichcriw, have you read Jared Diamond's "The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race"? He did a few case studies that suggested that life deteriorated significantly for most people after the transition to agrarian societies was made-a lot of people died in the transition.

Will that be part of your case for anarchism?
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
ConservativeAmerican
Posts: 1,676
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5/13/2013 7:52:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/12/2013 10:24:01 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I recently came across Agrarian Justice, a thought-provoking treatise written by Thomas Paine that outlines the moral side of the estate tax. Very interesting stuff. Link if you're interested (it's not too long): http://geolib.com...

The quotes below are essentially the points he's trying to make.

Opinions? (especially libertarians)


" In taking the matter upon this ground, the first principle of civilization ought to have been, and ought still to be, that the condition of every person born into the world, after a state of civilization commences, ought not to be worse than if he had been born before that period."

"[15] There could be no such thing as landed property originally. Man did not make the earth, and, though he had a natural right to occupy it, he had no right to locate as his property in perpetuity any part of it; neither did the Creator of the earth open a land-office, from whence the first title-deeds should issue. Whence then, arose the idea of landed property? I answer as before, that when cultivation began the idea of landed property began with it, from the impossibility of separating the improvement made by cultivation from the earth itself, upon which that improvement was made."

This is great and all, but it doesn't refute any anarchist points. The government does protect our property, but they also decrease the value of it and sometimes steal it for their own purposes. I.e Imminent Domain Act

I still uphold the argument that the government caused the housing crash that preceded the 2008 market crash (housing market was one of the first markets to crash), so obviously due to the housing market crashing, this caused home values to plummet. I do repairs on my home yearly and my home is still worth $30,000 less then when I bought it.
I bought my home for $180,000 in 2006, it was only 15 years old, it is now worth $150,000, even after a brand new kitchen, fresh paint in every room and a two car garage installed.
wrichcirw
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5/13/2013 11:10:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 5:49:52 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
Wrichcriw, have you read Jared Diamond's "The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race"? He did a few case studies that suggested that life deteriorated significantly for most people after the transition to agrarian societies was made-a lot of people died in the transition.

There is a lot I have not read, and this book fits that description, as did this Thomas Paine essay before I stumbled upon it.

Just looking at your comment, I would say he's right in the short run, but not necessarily right in the long run. Life was a LOT worse for African Americans shortly after emancipation because the livelihood that sustained their existence, slavery, was not replaced with something "better". Many became fully disenfranchised - the food, clothing and shelter provided by the slavemasters was not replaced with anything, and former slaves suffered immensely. Then, there was the whole issue of Jim Crow laws that did not fully recognize African Americans as human beings.

However, looking at African Americans today with a long history of slavery, I would say that emancipation benefited them in the long run. This logic doesn't hold for Barack Obama, a second generation African immigrant, but it holds extremely well for Michelle Obama, who did indeed come from a long history of enslaved peoples.

This short run/long run argument also holds for the industrial revolution. Assuming Marx is correct with his argument about disenfranchisement through the seizure of the commons, this unquestionably led to deteriorated living conditions for people that formerly depended on the commons for their sustenance. However, in the long run, IMHO there's no question that industrialism and wage labor/slavery led to improved living conditions for just about everyone.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
dylancatlow
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5/13/2013 11:21:12 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
"This belies the true power of property rights. The argument would be that those who do not have property were those who did not deserve to have property in the first place. In a world with scarcity, we compete for scarce resources like anything and everything we assign property rights to, whether it be land, labor, or capital. Someone with large amounts of property deserves to have it because they are more productive with it, and thus increase overall production for society. This is regardless of who owns the fruits of labor, because in the end, a rich man is as much part of society as a pauper. So, if the rich man benefits, society benefits."

The idea is that the original acquisition of land was completely arbitrary (right place, right time), and the people who own it today do so because of arbitrary reasons.
dylancatlow
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5/13/2013 11:24:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 11:21:12 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
"This belies the true power of property rights. The argument would be that those who do not have property were those who did not deserve to have property in the first place. In a world with scarcity, we compete for scarce resources like anything and everything we assign property rights to, whether it be land, labor, or capital. Someone with large amounts of property deserves to have it because they are more productive with it, and thus increase overall production for society. This is regardless of who owns the fruits of labor, because in the end, a rich man is as much part of society as a pauper. So, if the rich man benefits, society benefits."

The idea is that the original acquisition of land was completely arbitrary (right place, right time), and the people who own it today do so because of arbitrary reasons.


Well, not necessarily.
wrichcirw
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5/13/2013 11:31:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 11:24:27 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/13/2013 11:21:12 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
"This belies the true power of property rights. The argument would be that those who do not have property were those who did not deserve to have property in the first place. In a world with scarcity, we compete for scarce resources like anything and everything we assign property rights to, whether it be land, labor, or capital. Someone with large amounts of property deserves to have it because they are more productive with it, and thus increase overall production for society. This is regardless of who owns the fruits of labor, because in the end, a rich man is as much part of society as a pauper. So, if the rich man benefits, society benefits."

The idea is that the original acquisition of land was completely arbitrary (right place, right time), and the people who own it today do so because of arbitrary reasons.


Well, not necessarily.

Exactly.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
dylancatlow
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5/13/2013 11:32:46 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
So basically, he's saying that the arbitrary reasons for the original acquisition of wealth doesn't constitute a valid justification for why someone should own land at the expense of someone else who thus cannot.
dylancatlow
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5/13/2013 11:39:46 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 11:32:46 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
So basically, he's saying that the arbitrary reasons for the original acquisition of wealth doesn't constitute a valid justification for why someone should own land at the expense of someone else who thus cannot.

It's sort of like patent rights. Say you would have invented the telephone if the pesky little Graham Bell didn't get there first. You are not at fault for the place of your birth, but then again, he did invent it and you didn't. He should get patent rights for some time (parallel to only the 10% redistribution), but these rights cannot exist in perpetuity, because that would violate the rights of people who cannot have access to telephones without his permission, even though they might have invented it without him (parallel to the 10% redistribution).
wrichcirw
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5/13/2013 11:45:38 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 11:32:46 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
So basically, he's saying that the arbitrary reasons for the original acquisition of wealth doesn't constitute a valid justification for why someone should own land at the expense of someone else who thus cannot.

To my understanding that is not what Paine is arguing here. I agree with your sentiment here, and that's what I would consider to be a societal obligation.

What Paine seems to be arguing is that there is some sort of natural reason to institute the estate tax, that property rights somehow erroneously convey rights of ownership of the property, and not just the improvements of the property, onto an individual, and that such conveyance is wrong. If Paine's logic holds, the estate tax is justified in order to somehow rectify this "unnatural" state of affairs.

My point is that this "natural reasoning" is absolutely false. You cannot separate the thing from the improvements made upon the thing.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Skepsikyma
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5/13/2013 5:29:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 11:45:38 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 5/13/2013 11:32:46 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
So basically, he's saying that the arbitrary reasons for the original acquisition of wealth doesn't constitute a valid justification for why someone should own land at the expense of someone else who thus cannot.

To my understanding that is not what Paine is arguing here. I agree with your sentiment here, and that's what I would consider to be a societal obligation.

What Paine seems to be arguing is that there is some sort of natural reason to institute the estate tax, that property rights somehow erroneously convey rights of ownership of the property, and not just the improvements of the property, onto an individual, and that such conveyance is wrong. If Paine's logic holds, the estate tax is justified in order to somehow rectify this "unnatural" state of affairs.

My point is that this "natural reasoning" is absolutely false. You cannot separate the thing from the improvements made upon the thing.

Could you quote where exactly you're getting this from? Because Paine argues that you cannot separate the improvements upon the thing from the thing, but its state as property is dependent upon the improvements and not upon the thing itself, as is evidenced by the fact that property rights in regards for land were adopted after the development of cultivation and agrarian society. In fact, your main sticking point is the crux of his argument: our inability to separate the land from the improvements made upon it presents a conundrum, because property rights are based on the improvements, but cannot be implemented without also giving granting ownership of the commons to private individuals. This is why Paine calls his tax ground-rent: he holds that in order to justify this ownership, which is a necessity, the owners ought to pay rent on the part which they ought not to own but must because it cannot be separated from the fruit of their labor.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
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5/13/2013 6:06:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/12/2013 11:32:20 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/12/2013 11:05:52 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 11:02:24 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:56:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:51:00 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
This is something that I usually clash with libertarians over, as I find Paine's arguments for the estate tax to be very convincing.

Do you support the estate tax in all regards, or only when wealth is made via land that is de facto 'taken' away from someone else?

In all cases. The idea is that humans in the state of nature have access to land for many creative purposes, but as soon as agriculture and property rights set in all future generations are derived of that access and ought to be reimbursed for it by those who profit from the system of land ownership. Otherwise you run the risk of eventually ending up with landed gentry and the nasty power structure that comes along with it as we run out of land.

But what if I live in the city and obtained my money by writing novels? How could an estate tax in that instance be properly justified under the umbrella of that rationale?

The justification which I was relying on was or the real land value estate tax proposed by Paine. He offered a different defense for a flat-rate personal property estate tax which is more politically practical: basically, people who live in poverty will resent the accumulation of wealth less if it is seen that the wealthier the individual is, the more the public trust benefits when they shuffle off this mortal coil. It settles class tension while offering a sort of leg up for the rest of society.

"The superstitious awe, the enslaving reverence, that formerly Surrounded affluence, is passing away in all countries, and leaving the possessor of property to the convulsion of accidents. When wealth and splendor, instead of fascinating the multitude, excite emotions of disgust; when, instead of drawing forth admiration, it is beheld as an insult on wretchedness; when the ostentatious appearance it makes serves call the right of it in question, the case of property becomes critical, and it is only in a system of justice that the possessor can contemplate security.

To remove the danger, it is necessary to remove the antipathies, and this can only be done by making property productive of a national bless, extending to every individual. When the riches of one man above other shall increase the national fund in the same proportion; when it shall be seen that the prosperity of that fund depends on the prosperity of individuals; when the more riches a man acquires, the better it shall for the general mass; it is then that antipathies will cease, and property be placed on the permanent basis of national interest and protection. "

How is this not just a justification for taxes in general? Why does it specifically apply to the estate tax?
Skepsikyma
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5/13/2013 6:26:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:06:12 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 11:32:20 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/12/2013 11:05:52 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 11:02:24 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:56:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:51:00 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
This is something that I usually clash with libertarians over, as I find Paine's arguments for the estate tax to be very convincing.

Do you support the estate tax in all regards, or only when wealth is made via land that is de facto 'taken' away from someone else?

In all cases. The idea is that humans in the state of nature have access to land for many creative purposes, but as soon as agriculture and property rights set in all future generations are derived of that access and ought to be reimbursed for it by those who profit from the system of land ownership. Otherwise you run the risk of eventually ending up with landed gentry and the nasty power structure that comes along with it as we run out of land.

But what if I live in the city and obtained my money by writing novels? How could an estate tax in that instance be properly justified under the umbrella of that rationale?

The justification which I was relying on was or the real land value estate tax proposed by Paine. He offered a different defense for a flat-rate personal property estate tax which is more politically practical: basically, people who live in poverty will resent the accumulation of wealth less if it is seen that the wealthier the individual is, the more the public trust benefits when they shuffle off this mortal coil. It settles class tension while offering a sort of leg up for the rest of society.

"The superstitious awe, the enslaving reverence, that formerly Surrounded affluence, is passing away in all countries, and leaving the possessor of property to the convulsion of accidents. When wealth and splendor, instead of fascinating the multitude, excite emotions of disgust; when, instead of drawing forth admiration, it is beheld as an insult on wretchedness; when the ostentatious appearance it makes serves call the right of it in question, the case of property becomes critical, and it is only in a system of justice that the possessor can contemplate security.

To remove the danger, it is necessary to remove the antipathies, and this can only be done by making property productive of a national bless, extending to every individual. When the riches of one man above other shall increase the national fund in the same proportion; when it shall be seen that the prosperity of that fund depends on the prosperity of individuals; when the more riches a man acquires, the better it shall for the general mass; it is then that antipathies will cease, and property be placed on the permanent basis of national interest and protection. "

How is this not just a justification for taxes in general? Why does it specifically apply to the estate tax?

He only really hints at it, writing that "Various methods may be proposed for this purpose, but that which appears to be the best (not only because it will operate without deranging any present possessors, or without interfering with the collection of taxes or emprunts necessary for the purposes of government and the Revolution, but because it will be the least troublesome and the most effectual, and also because the subtraction will be made at a time that best admits it) is at the moment that property is passing by the death of one person to the possession of another. In this case, the bequeather gives nothing: the receiver pays nothing. The only matter to him is that the monopoly of natural inheritance, to which there never was a right, begins to cease in his person. A generous man would not wish it to continue, and a just man will rejoice to see it abolished."

The crucial idea, I think, is that all of the justifications for property rights cease to apply once you are dead, (the right to life as the basis of all rights) so this is the point at which taxes ought to be levied: on the property left behind by the deceased which, upon his passing, belongs to nobody.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
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5/13/2013 6:43:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:26:36 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/13/2013 6:06:12 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 11:32:20 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/12/2013 11:05:52 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 11:02:24 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:56:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/12/2013 10:51:00 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
This is something that I usually clash with libertarians over, as I find Paine's arguments for the estate tax to be very convincing.

Do you support the estate tax in all regards, or only when wealth is made via land that is de facto 'taken' away from someone else?

In all cases. The idea is that humans in the state of nature have access to land for many creative purposes, but as soon as agriculture and property rights set in all future generations are derived of that access and ought to be reimbursed for it by those who profit from the system of land ownership. Otherwise you run the risk of eventually ending up with landed gentry and the nasty power structure that comes along with it as we run out of land.

But what if I live in the city and obtained my money by writing novels? How could an estate tax in that instance be properly justified under the umbrella of that rationale?

The justification which I was relying on was or the real land value estate tax proposed by Paine. He offered a different defense for a flat-rate personal property estate tax which is more politically practical: basically, people who live in poverty will resent the accumulation of wealth less if it is seen that the wealthier the individual is, the more the public trust benefits when they shuffle off this mortal coil. It settles class tension while offering a sort of leg up for the rest of society.

"The superstitious awe, the enslaving reverence, that formerly Surrounded affluence, is passing away in all countries, and leaving the possessor of property to the convulsion of accidents. When wealth and splendor, instead of fascinating the multitude, excite emotions of disgust; when, instead of drawing forth admiration, it is beheld as an insult on wretchedness; when the ostentatious appearance it makes serves call the right of it in question, the case of property becomes critical, and it is only in a system of justice that the possessor can contemplate security.

To remove the danger, it is necessary to remove the antipathies, and this can only be done by making property productive of a national bless, extending to every individual. When the riches of one man above other shall increase the national fund in the same proportion; when it shall be seen that the prosperity of that fund depends on the prosperity of individuals; when the more riches a man acquires, the better it shall for the general mass; it is then that antipathies will cease, and property be placed on the permanent basis of national interest and protection. "

How is this not just a justification for taxes in general? Why does it specifically apply to the estate tax?

He only really hints at it, writing that "Various methods may be proposed for this purpose, but that which appears to be the best (not only because it will operate without deranging any present possessors, or without interfering with the collection of taxes or emprunts necessary for the purposes of government and the Revolution, but because it will be the least troublesome and the most effectual, and also because the subtraction will be made at a time that best admits it) is at the moment that property is passing by the death of one person to the possession of another. In this case, the bequeather gives nothing: the receiver pays nothing. The only matter to him is that the monopoly of natural inheritance, to which there never was a right, begins to cease in his person. A generous man would not wish it to continue, and a just man will rejoice to see it abolished."

The crucial idea, I think, is that all of the justifications for property rights cease to apply once you are dead, (the right to life as the basis of all rights) so this is the point at which taxes ought to be levied: on the property left behind by the deceased which, upon his passing, belongs to nobody.

My view is that one should have the right to the unfettered pursuit of the obtainment one's values, and this entails the right to work with the assumption that one's children will be better off as a result.
dylancatlow
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5/13/2013 7:08:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
For the same reasons I'm guessing you are opposed to a 100% inheritance tax are the same reasons I'm against it all together. Supporting a 10% estate tax over a 100% estate tax is an admission that the latter is a violation of individual rights, and thus the former follows suit.
Skepsikyma
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5/13/2013 7:28:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 7:08:09 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
For the same reasons I'm guessing you are opposed to a 100% inheritance tax are the same reasons I'm against it all together. Supporting a 10% estate tax over a 100% estate tax is an admission that the latter is a violation of individual rights, and thus the former follows suit.

I don't oppose it on moral grounds, but on practical grounds. A political system which adopted such a policy would be making a terrible decision by depriving the great mediocre masses of a large reason for working. Idle minds breed ire, and mediocre minds steeped in ire tend to precipitate in violent, shoddy, and ill-fated revolution. Personally, once I'm dead my property is of no concern to me. If I haven't bequeathed to my loved ones the wisdom and integrity required to deal with all that life has to offer then I have already failed them, and no amount of trinkets can ameliorate that failure.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
dylancatlow
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5/13/2013 7:45:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 7:28:57 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 5/13/2013 7:08:09 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
For the same reasons I'm guessing you are opposed to a 100% inheritance tax are the same reasons I'm against it all together. Supporting a 10% estate tax over a 100% estate tax is an admission that the latter is a violation of individual rights, and thus the former follows suit.

I don't oppose it on moral grounds, but on practical grounds. A political system which adopted such a policy would be making a terrible decision by depriving the great mediocre masses of a large reason for working. Idle minds breed ire, and mediocre minds steeped in ire tend to precipitate in violent, shoddy, and ill-fated revolution. Personally, once I'm dead my property is of no concern to me. If I haven't bequeathed to my loved ones the wisdom and integrity required to deal with all that life has to offer then I have already failed them, and no amount of trinkets can ameliorate that failure.

"A political system which adopted such a policy would be making a terrible decision by depriving the great mediocre masses of a large reason for working."

Do you mean because of the money provided to them from the estate tax revenue, or the money that will be taken from them after they're dead?