I'm a philosophy student that tends to post about really serious things unseriously and about really unserious things seriously.
I was once described as a "beautiful, intelligent iguana".
Jacques Rancière, Ten Thesis on Politics, Thesis 1.1
Oh, yes, this is going to be good
What exactly is the issue a lot of the Walmart protestors are protesting about right now?
Trying to look up news articles about it, I could only figure out that they’re protesting against labor and wage abuse (which, obviously, is something that should be protested about, especially at Walmart). But I couldn’t figure out what generated these exact protests.
I have a grandmother that works at a Walmart - a self-parodying tea-partier, anti-union grandmother - and when I asked her what the strikes were about she just said “Lazy people just don’t want to work on Thanksgiving.” She also tacked on that “a lot of silly people are going to be losing their jobs over this”.
Considering that that characterization almost certainlyisn’tthe case, I thought I’d ask to see if anyone here new about it (even if some of you could just point me to some articles to read, I’d appreciate it).
Property rights come from the principle of self-ownership. You can’t coherently deny you own yourself (Hoppe proves this). If we have property in ourselves, then it follows that we have property in the products of our labor, a la homesteading and production.
I don’t think that actually follows. Self-ownership does not inevitably lead to the idea that someone owns what they create. I think the idea that someone should own what they create is fundamental to the human condition but it doesn’t “logically follow” from self-ownership.
It does logically follow. If there is pure, unowned nature and a man begins tilling the soil and erecting a fence and a foundation for his house, then he has justly appropriated that land and the products he makes on that land. There is nobody else who can lay a claim to those products, is there?
But what if someone erects a fence, builds a house, doesn’t make any use of it whatsoever, then someone else comes along and says “Hey look, nobody is using this house, I’m going to use it!” and then the builder comes back and says “Sorry, but only if you give me regular payments of $x.” How does that logically follow? Further, how do you even enforce that without the use of violence of some form, or more particularly a state?
And by that logic, is not intellectual property justified? I created a particular piece of music that has been uploaded to the internet. I have property in that product. But the only way you can enforce IP is to have a state that enforces it for you.
And, if we assume the principle of self-ownership as you describe it, then doesn’t that actually imply that I own allof the things with which I imbue my labor? For example, say I work at a Widget Factory. A “Widget Investor” provides me with all the tools, but I imbue my labor with it. If property-in-self implies property-in-creation then don’t I own what I created?
Property has its roots in violent extortion. And property is upheld by violent extortion. If someone occupies a vacant building that is not being made use of, please explain how you plan to somehow charge that person rent without backing it up by threat of violence.
Property ‘rights’ are only rights insofar as you have an enforcement mechanism external to yourself.
The bolded part above is enough to show where this argument went awry.
People need to learn better what ‘it logically follows that…’ means. Like, you would have to prove so much after ‘self-ownership’ to show that what you make belongs to you. Like, do we only own ourselves because we have autonomy? Is that what’s going on here? Because autonomy is such a confused notion that I sincerely believe that “we” are not the only ones that have it, which would mean we’d need to extend property rights way beyond the realm of what libertarians would like to.