Ritchie\’s interesting idea

Most especially, right now, you tackle it by sending back to developing countries the money that is theirs that’s hidden in tax havens.

Money belongs to countries now.

There is no such thing as private property.

24 thoughts on “Ritchie\’s interesting idea”

  1. Well… can sort of see his point here, since money sent for development and aid (to all the people) seems to end up in the private bank accounts of corrupt officials; more proceeds of crime than private property.

  2. I suppose it depends on whether you regard the mineral assets of a country being the private property of the dictator who took over power in a coup.

  3. All legal tender in the UK comprises debts owing to individuals by the government (in the guise of the Bank of England). So to say that money belongs to governments is the exact opposite of the truth.

  4. “There is no such thing as private property.”

    Er, there isn’t, here in the UK. You only ‘own’ something in this country if the government says you do, now squatters’ rights have been abolished.

    That really was one of the worst day’s work any government we’ve had has ever done.

  5. Dennis The Peasant

    There shouldn’t be any surprise in what he said. He’s said in a million times: There is no such thing as private property. Ritchie has always been, first and foremost, a statist.

  6. “‘There is no such thing as private property.’

    Er, there isn’t, here in the UK. You only ‘own’ something in this country if the government says you do, now squatters’ rights have been abolished.”

    I’m not convinced by this argument. Just because you can’t acquire property by adverse possession as you used to be able to, you still depend just as much on government for the enforcement of property ownership as you did before.

  7. James James (Morrison Morrison W G du Pre?)>

    Read Locke on property rights. If you can’t lose something, you can’t own it. You can no longer lose property, so you can’t own it, simple as that. If you fail to maintain your claim to a piece of property it now reverts to the government.

  8. “If you fail to maintain your claim to a piece of property it now reverts to the government.”

    I don’t find this any more horrible than the previous state of affairs: why should I care who gets my property if I don’t maintain my claim to it?

    I’m not convinced by any moral arguments about what property is; Locke’s or otherwise.

    “There have been various attempts to derive private property rights absolutely from some kind of first principles. I have not been impressed by them. It’s not that arguments like this are obviously wrong, it’s just that equally persuasive arguments could be made for almost any basic political position, including many that I want no part of.

    No, I am prepared to accept that the law that you can’t take my stuff the moment I turn my back on it is just another government regulation, not fundamentally different from the many that I howl against.”

    http://anomalyuk.blogspot.com/2007/03/property.html (read the rest, it’s very insightful)

    “If you can’t lose something, you can’t own it.”

    That’s clearly not true. Property is control. If I have absolute control over a piece of land, I own it absolutely. If the state can regulate what I can and cannot do with it, then they at least part-own it. (I would say they own it absolutely, and as a matter of fact, I only have as much control as they let me. They have the guns, after all. State is first order, freehold is second order, leasehold, sublease or tenancy is third order, fourth order etc.)

    I would be very happy if I couldn’t lose something I owned. Wouldn’t mean I didn’t own it.

    (N.B. I’m not talking about what you or I would like to be the case, but what actually is the case.)

  9. “If I have absolute control over a piece of land”

    How?

    BTW, love the way you quote an arch-Lockeian to support your point that Locke was wrong. That first paragraph you chose is an almost perfect precis of Locke.

  10. How about this:

    The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.

    Of course, Rand is stating the moral case, not necessarily what actually holds, thus indicating that in most instances, Government (along with Ritchie et al) is immoral.

    Property rights, like any other, are not the gift of Government, although Government may be necessary to enforce them. This enforcement is, in fact, one of the (few) legitimate functions of Government.

  11. “The right to life is the source of all rights”

    But do we have this right? It’s easy to think of lots of other possibilities.

    Here’s an example of how easy it is to think of lots of other possibilities:

    “2. The claim that there are “only two alternatives” to denying the thesis of self-ownership is just obviously false. Here are some further alternatives…: (a) no one owns anyone, including himself; (b) God owns all of us; (c) one class of people has a right to only partial ownership of another class (e.g. the former class has a right to the labor of the latter class, but may not kill members of the latter class, or refuse to provide for their sustenance, or forbid them from marrying, etc.); (d) everyone has partial and/or unequal ownership of everyone else (e.g. everyone has an absolute right to bodily integrity, but not to the fruits of his labor, which are commonly owned; or everyone has an absolute right to bodily integrity, and an absolute right only to some percentage of the fruits of his labor, with the rest being commonly owned; or everyone has a presumptive right to bodily integrity, which might be overridden in extreme cases, with a right to a percentage of the fruits of his labor; or the weak and untalented have an absolute right to bodily integrity and to a large percentage of, though not all of, the fruits of their labor while the strong and talented have an absolute right to bodily integrity and to a much smaller percentage of the fruits of their labor; or the strong and talented, unlike the weak and untalented, have only a presumptive right to bodily integrity, which might be overridden if someone desperately needs an organ transplant; and so on and so forth).” edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/…/rothbard-as-philosopher.html

  12. Because:

    Minarchism isn’t de facto correct. There are other valid political philosophies.

    You’ll notice I put it in italics. If I was following internet anti-politesse, I would have followed it with “corrected that for you”. But I thought that the readers here, except for Arnald, of course, would be smart enough to realise what was going on.

    Apologies.

  13. So if you were “correcting” me, should it not read “arguably”? Or is it your perception that I believe it not to be open to debate, and you then felt it necessary to correct my (alleged) belief?

    I thought that the readers here, except for Arnald of course, would be courteous enough not to jump to unwarranted conclusions.

  14. My genuine question seems to have been missed: how? For me, theories about real, practical, physical items must be practical themselves. The question to keep asking all the way through this debate is ‘how?’ What does asserting ownership of something actually mean in practice?

    To start with the most basic point, by default things are not owned. We have to do something to bring them into ownership. What is that something? That’s the real basis of ‘property’ – ‘property rights’ is a tautology – right there.

  15. So if you were “correcting” me, should it not read “arguably”?

    Inarguably (except for the insane) legitimate.

    Arguably few.

    I thought that the readers here, except for Arnald of course, would be courteous enough not to jump to unwarranted conclusions.

    Courtesy? Here? You must be confusing Tim with Guido.

    And, it has to be said, the comments here are often a masterclass in “unwarranted conclusions” 😀

  16. That’s the real basis of ‘property’ – ‘property rights’ is a tautology – right there.

    I don’t think so. Your correct premise may be deluding you. Once the magic “something” has happened (regardless of what it is), is there then a ‘property right’. Whether it is a fundamental ‘right’ (but, then, what is? Life certainly isn’t. We are all going to lose it at some point in time) or a derived one, it is still a ‘right’.

    And, to a limited extent, enforceable without the government. Although not, practically, while retaining Ian’s postulated civility (which, frankly, is what competent government, if there is such a thing, should give us. The enforcement of basic {not the same as fundamental} rights with a pragmatic minimum – which is not the same as the absolute minimum – of societal incivility.)

  17. SE>

    You seem a little confused, having picked up on my minor pedantry rather than the real point. Property and property rights are essentially the same thing; both concepts mean the same thing.

    As I said, ask ‘how?’ at all times. Give me a specific ‘property right’, not an abstract one. What does it actually mean? Property, by definition, is real, not abstract, so theoretical discussions are, if not pointless, at least harder to make relevant.

  18. Glad to see you are not suggesting that my compatriots would have any moral right at all to the fabulous sums I’ve managed (even now) to conceal in Swiss banks and US real estate and elsewhere.
    Mr Romney thinks offshore is fine too. Indeed, so does anyone who’s anyone.

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