Pages

Jump to bottom

4 comments

1 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Sun, Nov 27, 2011 11:09:29am
So where’s the problem? The problem is that it’s all lip service on the right! Those who most-loudly proclaim Faith In Blind Markets (FIBM) are generally also those proclaiming idolatry of private property as a pure, platonic essence, a tenet to be clutched with religious tenacity, as it was in feudal societies. Obdurate, they refuse to see that they are conflating two very different things.

Private property - as Adam Smith made clear - is a means for encouraging the thing he really wanted: fair and open competition.  Indeed, the propertarian reforms that Peru instituted under the guidance of Hernando de Soto, vesting the poor in the land they had always farmed, resulted in a boom that delighted both libertarians and socialists.  Safe and secure property rights are a boon... up to a point.

But anyone who actually reads Adam Smith also knows that he went on and on about that "fair and open" part! Especially how excessive disparities of wealth and income destroy competition. Unlike today's conservatives, who grew up in a post-WWII flattened social order without major wealth-castes, Smith lived immersed in class-rooted oligarchy, of the kind that ruined markets, freedom and science across nearly 99% of human history. He knew the real enemy, first hand and denounced it in terms that he never used for mere bureaucrats.

When today's libertarians praise the creative power of competition, then ignore the unlimited propertarianism that poisoned it across the ages, we are witnessing historical myopia and dogmatic illogic, of staggering magnitude.

I don't think that there is an "idolatry of property" on the Right, as Brin suggests in the headline. It's more an idolatry of the "private" part of the "private property" notion (and an implicit understanding that this privation shall only be legimitately held by a group that they prefer).

(By the by: The reference to feudalism is misleading, since the existence of property was extremely limited in feudal society, and the various questions of wealth distribution were very much not a matter of faith back then – more one of philosophical debate, like with Huguccio, William of Ockham, Thomas of Aquinus, Hostiensis, Bonagratia of Bergamo etc. even though the debate is often sketchy at best)
(Another by the by: Brin's charge of "essentialism" is ridiculous, given that his own argument is essentialist)

The article of faith is the dichotomy of good private individual versus evil collectivist state (or, in the extreme Paulian version the sovereign citizen against the corporatist New World Order). The economic notion of property is reduced to this political dichotomy and thereby almost completely misunderstood. I fear, btw, that Brin is also susceptible to this because he seems to reduce economic activity to any kind of decision-making.

The only grain of truth in this right-wing paradigm is that from a very limited point of view, any sort of welfare or social safety net will neccessarily include a wealth transfer from the wealthier to the poorer, will neccessarily somehow have to be deducted from the available net property. Of course, this view conveniently ignores that the installation, implementation and maintenance of a reasonable safety net is a prudent way of preventing the state from eventually collapsing under the weight of poverty or from taking over completely to avoid its own collapse. And in this I agree with Brin, namely that wealth disparity is a bad because it tends to make things worse, while a periodic economic egalitarianism tends to make things better.

On a related note, "safe and secure property rights" are not just a "boon", they are absolutely essential. Markets do not exist without prior establishment of property (i.e. that which is traded on markets); markets are a secondary phenomenon, macro-economically speaking. (By the by, I think it's of limited use to try and claim Adam Smith for neoclassical thought circling around markets and optimal allocation)

2 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Sun, Nov 27, 2011 11:16:49am

Just another comment:

the unlimited propertarianism that poisoned [competition] across the ages

I don't get what Brin means by "propertarianism". If he wanted to, for instance, refer to feudalism: Again, there was very little property at all then, if any, simply because very few people could be considered to have been free enough to have been actual proprietors, having been able to make use of the full scope of economic operations in relation to property (sell, buy, borrow, lease, rent, encumber, etc.). Strong property rights under a law that applies equally to all instead of a sovereign commanding arbitrarily and interacting with other sovereigns anarchically are a very recent development.

3 windsagio  Sun, Nov 27, 2011 1:00:55pm

by the way juante, I think it was you who linked to Brin's blog a few weeks back, with his Miller rebuttal.

Thanks for reminding me that blog exists, its always a really good read :D

4 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Thu, Dec 1, 2011 3:18:10am

This major premise by Brin is fundamentaly flawed btw:

That something is the most creative force in the universe. The principle that propels evolution, in nature, and that brought humanity into existence. It is --

Competition.

And what is the most competitive enterprise humans can engage in?

War


This page has been archived.
Comments are closed.

Jump to top

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST

LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!

Recent Pages
thecommodore
Glenn Beck: Support Ted Cruz, “This is Your Last Call America.”
Last night, Glenn Beck appeared with Ted Cruz at a campaign rally held at Rick Joyner's MorningStar Fellowship Church in South Carolina, where the conspiracy theorist radio host spent a good half hour weeping and shouting as he called ...

1 hour, 44 minutes ago
Views: 72 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Rocky-in-Connecticut
Soft Porn actress on Ted Cruz ad- Pulled
I'm all for a woman earning a living. But something is not right in her head if she expected anything else but scorn and morally-superior rejection and derision from those she aligns herself politically with. yahoo.com The actress said that ...

2 hours, 24 minutes ago
Views: 60 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
HappyWarrior
A Photo Depository For Lizards Interested in Family History
So some of us were talking and decided it would be a neat idea to have a thread filled with old photos of family history. I'll post a photo as well an accompanying article about my great grandfather's blacksmtih shop. ...

3 hours, 54 minutes ago
Views: 103 • Comments: 16 • Rating: 5
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
Laws Written by Men to Protect Women Deserve Scrutiny, Supreme Court Told
History holds a lesson for the Supreme Court, the brief warns: Be skeptical of laws protecting women that are written by men. The nation’s past is littered with such statutes, say the historians who filed the friend-of-the-court brief, and ...

5 hours, 47 minutes ago
Views: 126 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 1
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 1
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
All-Male Utah Panel Votes to Keep Tampon Sales Tax
A Utah committee of all-male lawmakers has voted to keep the sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products despite an international push to remove it. The members of a taxation forum on Wednesday evening voted 8-3 against ...

6 hours, 9 minutes ago
Views: 109 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Great White Snark
Canadians Learn Arabic to Give Syrian Refugees a Warm Welcome
A timely reminder some real angels walk among us. Simple human angels of mercy for the distressed. Canadian David Foster developed a passion for Arabic ten years ago, while he was working for an international company in Sudan. Now, he ...

18 hours, 18 minutes ago
Views: 292 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 21 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
mishuga
Ted Nugent: Jew(ish Politician)s = Nazis
Ted Nugent singled out 12 Jewish-American politicians, complete with a graphic depicting each of the politicians alongside an Israeli flag, for supporting gun control and other crimes. The post, which has been shared more than 4,000 times and liked more ...

1 day, 22 hours ago
Views: 331 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
Why We Need to Think Beyond Roe v. Wade - Pacific Standard
For the immigrant mothers—Dolores Madrigal, the lead plaintiff, and the nine others named in the suit, and countless others whose names we will not know—the story was more complex, the culpable more numerous. First, there were the doctors and ...

2 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 328 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
Are Pets Really Good for Us? - Pacific Standard
We just adopted a dog, meaning I'm now a pet owner, meaning I'm now responsible for another living creature. It's weird. Her name is Bella. She's a pit bull mixed with something that is not a pit bull, and ...

2 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 305 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 1
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 1
Thanos
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War - Big Game Spot
Choose your side with the latest preview for Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War," in theaters May 6! ► Subscribe to Marvel: bit.ly Watch more from Marvel's Captain America: Civil War now: bit.ly Follow Marvel on Twitter: ‪twitter.comLike Marvel on ...

3 days, 19 hours ago
Views: 510 • Comments: 3 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0