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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5442/galambos-and-other-nuts/

Galambos and Other Nuts

August 8, 2006 by

It’s predictable. Just like if you criticize a scientologist you are going to get a ton of replies from kooks, so if you criticize Galambos (see links below). So let me be clear: from what I have seen Galambos was some minor cult California hippie figure, who was smart but who not only adopted a kind of bizarre, flaky scientism, but a crankish and absurd view of intellectual property.

(I must say I view as similarly crankish Georgists. And if someone uses the word “allodial,” my crankdar also goes off. See more on libertarian cranks and nutjobs–the income tax protestors/Irwin Schiff nuts, common law court types, militia nuts, etc.) ((Update: See Egads, I hate Georgism; Natural, Positive Law, Tax Evasion, Rituals and Incantations; Rothbard on Conspiratoids.))

Am I wrong here? Are there serious thinkers–libertarians, Austrians–who actually view Galambos as more than some kooky, marginal figure, and have profited from his thought?Some Galambos mentions:

{ 235 comments }

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Procreation is mating, i.e. sexual reproduction, having children. I assume you are familiar with this and will omit the biological details.

A derivative is conscious creation (Human Action’s description of “action” functions perfectly fine in this context)

One own’s his own life, and cannot own another volitional being. All forms of human ownership are therefore illegitimate. Animal ownership, such as the raising of livestock, would be subject to their volitional capacity. Galambos would often joke about how you cannot own a cat, because the cat is so fickle and will never consent. You can physically overpower and control a cat, you can trick a cat into doing what you want, or you can create a situation where the cat chooses to be your pet. This is a moral contract.

The individual is logically antecedent to the Soviet Union. You can take the Union away from the individuals but you cannot take the individuals out of the Union. Again, I defer you to Mises’ Human Action, society is composed of individuals, group action is simply individual action under a shared conception and label, but the individual is always first.

One obviously cannot create new energy, every physical human action merely consists of rearranging the energy which composes the universe. However, he cannot consciously arrange this energy into the form of a hammer without first having an idea of what a hammer is and how to rationally go about mining the metal and forging it and such and such. This simple tool requires a huge amount of scientific knowledge that was not available to our cavemen ancestors. All that knowledge came from human innovators and is their intellectual (“primary” as Galambos puts it) property.

Yes, people are affected by the actions of their neighbors. I am not going to argue that, it falls under the nature of existing in a physical universe. I am taking about individual incentive to produce which is a part of praxeology. I am not going to sit here and give a physics course, I was assuming we already had some common intellectual ground with the established laws of physics, biology, and praxeology.

Can you clarify this definition for me?
intellectual property: “the expropriation of property”
I have given Galambos’ precise definition for property, I would like to hear the one you are using.

Stephan Kinsella August 28, 2011 at 5:19 pm

A derivative is conscious creation (Human Action’s description of “action” functions perfectly fine in this context)

Mystical, metaphorical nonsense.

One own’s his own life, and cannot own another volitional being.

You do not own your life. A “life” is not ownable. This is a ridiculous concept. You don’t own your memories, your love, your passions, or the fact-that-you-exist. This is what you get when scientistic engineers like Galambos attempt to delve into philosophy and ethics with a crude, uninformed, empirical approach.

Galambos would often joke about how you cannot own a cat, because the cat is so fickle and will never consent.

Ridiculous. You have the right to use force against an aggressor, even though he does not “consent” to it.

The individual is logically antecedent to the Soviet Union.

Or is it chronologically.

You can take the Union away from the individuals but you cannot take the individuals out of the Union. Again, I defer you to Mises’ Human Action, society is composed of individuals, group action is simply individual action under a shared conception and label, but the individual is always first.

None of this meandering new age Califorina BS justifies state grants of monopoly privilege or the insane IP views of Galambosian space cadets.

One obviously cannot create new energy,

Oh? Is it obvious? To a California engineer-cum-cultist I guess it is. IN any case, it’s utterly irrelevant. More scientism–nonsense masquerading as rigorous thought.

every physical human action merely consists of rearranging the energy which composes the universe.

Rearranging “energy”. Wow, man, pass me a California doobie.

However, he cannot consciously arrange this energy into the form of a hammer without first having an idea of what a hammer is and how to rationally go about mining the metal and forging it and such and such. This simple tool requires a huge amount of scientific knowledge that was not available to our cavemen ancestors. All that knowledge came from human innovators and is their intellectual (“primary” as Galambos puts it) property.

It’s not property. You IP guys cannot help begging the question. I guess you have no choice, since your arguments are so bankrupt and you have no coherence to your ideas at all.

I am taking about individual incentive to produce which is a part of praxeology.

hahaha a faux-natural rightser is not turning to “incentives” as a basis for rights. hahhah. Morons. I don’t know why engineers feel compelled to mouth off on ethical issues. It’s embarrassing.

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Conservation of Energy is new age California scientism? Wow, Kinsella.

Reasonable1 August 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Energy is an abstract concept. Only matter (e.g. atoms, tables, planets) exists. “Energy” is just used interchangeably and vaguely as an explain-it-all-word by people don’t have an actual argument or theory (like Georgism!). At best it has relevance in mathematics and also ordinary speech (I felt tired because I “lost my energy” — i.e. coloquial/spiritual nonsense).

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Energy is a physical system’s capacity for work. I told you, I assumed that the readers of this blog had at least some basic education on the principles of reality, I am not going to sit here and give a physics course.

David August 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I hate to break it to you (Reason1 and Stephan), but “matter” really is “energy” – this was actually one of Albert Einstein’s major breakthroughs – you must surely have heard of the famous equation E=mc^2? Energy = mass times speed of light squared. Matter = mass, and there on the other side of the equation, “energy”. Fundamental particles are not in fact solid; they are tiny fuzzy “clouds” of, and there is no other word to use for it, “energy”. At the quantum level they no longer behave as solid particles, and this can and has been proven.

This is not voodoo. It’s not “abstract”. It’s not “new-age”. It’s plain old physics. Very old. It’s facts. Everything is made up of energy. Not “energy” in the new-age spiritual woo-woo sense, but really there is no other better and more accurate and simpler way to state this fact of physics, it’s exactly how a physicist would state it.

“One obviously cannot create new energy” and “every physical human action merely consists of rearranging the energy which composes the universe” => Also correct according to physics. Not only correct, but mundane. It’s not “new-age”, and it’s not “California”, it’s the plain old facts of physics that are taught in every university in the world. I don’t really agree with Vahram’s overall point of view or structure of ‘reasoning’, but Stephan’s arrogant hand-wave dismissal of plain old facts as “new-age California scientism” and “doobie” smoking, is so bad it’s incredibly embarrassing, I feel embarrassed on Stephan’s behalf.

Stephan Kinsella August 29, 2011 at 1:11 am

Actually it’s inaccurate to say that matter “is” energy. That is a dimensional absurdity. That’s like saying weight is length. Everything is not literally “made of energy”. Metaphors run amok! The modern concept was not even known to Newton.

Mass does not “convert into” energy, or vice-versa, as is often claimed, nor are they “equivalent”. Mass and energy are attributes that increase or decrease in proportion. Kinetic energy “converts” into potential energy–that’s an actual conversion. But with inertial mass and energy, if one goes up so does the other. As Ralph Baierlein notes in Newton to Einstein, there is a difference between a conversion, and a parallel change: “Changes in mass and energy occur in parallel, as Einstein pointed out in his first paper [the title of which was "Does the inertia of a body depend on its energy content?"] … There is no conversion of one to another.” (p. 266)

Also, the E=mc^2 formula is not what is behind the fissile release of energy in atomic bombs — that’s just conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy. This is another common misunderstanding.

In any case, none of this demonstrates the validity of Galambos’ ideas about property. It’s just a scientistic smokescreen–the attempt to use the language of physics to add a veneer of “scientificness” to Galambos’s ideas about property.

David August 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Stephan, respectfully, you are just revealing more and more how little you know about physics. I know you’re trying hard to Wikipedia up a few things, but it shows. You are out of your depth, and so blatantly wrong, it’s embarrassingly obvious. Just like engineers doing armchair philosophy look amateurish to you, your armchair physics is sad. You mention things “not being known to Newton”. Well “duh” – that’s classical physics, that’s the whole thing. And matter “is” energy. Particles of matter are not particles, they are fuzzy clouds that contain measurable properties, one of which is energy, and they can be converted into other forms of energy. You’re way out of your depth. The comments on here try to explain it better in layman’s terms: http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=254886

e.g.:

“I always think it’s a funny one this one. Energy is in a sense ‘just’ a conserved quantity in any closed system, and is hence something we can think of as stuff, because it persists just as our notion of substance is basically just the notion of persistence. But of course what stuff ‘really is’ is quantum field. But if you want to make sense of anything then that thing is just whatever properties it has, one of the most salient being possession of energy”

“hmm.. indeed energy can be converted in mass and vice versa ! x-ray can be broken into electron-positron pair! this is largely seen in the bubble chamber.
positron is the positive counterpart of electron. also annihilation of this pair gives out energy in the form of radiation! annihilation and nuclear fusion are the other examples of conversion of mass into energy”

Stephan Kinsella August 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm

David, I don’t agree that E=mc^2 means matter “is” energy. You say “And matter “is” energy. Particles of matter are not particles, they are fuzzy clouds that contain measurable properties, one of which is energy, and they can be converted into other forms of energy.” — well there are many measurable properties of objects or bodies–I have a height and a momentum; that does not mean I “am” momentum or height.

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Kinsella, I would love to hear your response to the rebuttal I posted about your Against IP essay, but please just stick to actually addressing arguments and not diffusing attention away from logical fallacies and ignorance of science with mockery. Otherwise save your breath.

Jayant August 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Vahram: You are in error if you think that you can expect a logical rebuttal from a person who thinks he is omniscient because he claims to know about IP.

Stephan: I don’t know if we can ever know everything about the universe, but based on so far known understanding of physics, it is indeed true that you cannot create new energy. If you have been doing some deep work in Physics, please let everyone know, unless you want to keep it as your IP!

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I think he might just be busy keeping his feline aggressors at bay without their consent, if I understand his rabble correctly. And his connection to states granting monopoly rights over IP with Galambos clearly shows he doesn’t have faintest idea about what Galambos actually taught. Easy to comment, Kinsella, but slightly more effort is required to comprehend. Newton was a hippie, and so am I.

Stephan Kinsella August 28, 2011 at 10:58 pm

This is ridiculous, Jayant. I don’t claim to be omnisicient, not least because I happen to see through the fallacies of IP.

Not sure why you Capitalize Physics.

Whether people can “create” energy, much less “new” energy, whatever that is–is irrelevant to the ridiculous Galambosian crankish claims about “primary” and “procreative” property.

Stephan Kinsella August 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm

You have no “rebuttal”–just prepackaged Galambosian crankish nonsense.

Jayant August 28, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Stephan:

Only a few lines earlier you talk about “energy”. I was merely responding to what you had then thought was important.

Mr Kinsella, in an your earlier post, you mentioned that you had hardly read anything about Galambos, “as not much is available.” But you still decide to judge a person despite that you know little about him. The truth is that you have to pay to access his works. It is indeed available.

As is obvious your understanding of Sciences (as in Physics, Chemistry, etc.) is negligible. I prefer not to call you a nut-case, because I understand that your calling is IP and it is alright for you to focus on that subject. By the same logic, it is stupid to call Galambos (and so many other people above) nutcases simply because they do not make much sense to you from your apparent higher understanding of IP.

Stephan, you consistently come across as pompous and arrogant, passing sweeping judgements on others.

Stephan Kinsella August 29, 2011 at 12:40 am

Jayant,

Only a few lines earlier you talk about “energy”. I was merely responding to what you had then thought was important.

I was responding to the silly irrelevant faux-scientific observation “One obviously cannot create new energy, every physical human action merely consists of rearranging the energy which composes the universe.”

what is “new” energy, compared to regular energy? And what is the relevance of this? It is just trotting out scientific jargon to try to add a patina of scientific sounding legitimacy onto crankish political ideas.

As is obvious your understanding of Sciences (as in Physics, Chemistry, etc.) is negligible.

Why do you Capitalize Sciences? It it an Important Word?

Stephan, you consistently come across as pompous and arrogant, passing sweeping judgements on others.

So… this means Galambos’s ideas are not actually nutty?

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 12:59 am

Did you actually read a word I wrote? Thanks for addressing arguments.

If you ever want to put your money where your mouth is and invest the time and effort it takes to understand the arguments you are attempting to rebuke, you can buy Sic Itur Ad Astra here: http://www.amazon.com/Sic-Itur-Ad-Astra-Volition/dp/0880780045/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314597439&sr=8-1

As a certified Galambosian nutball, I can tell you that like with physics, you do not know what you are talking about on the subject.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 1:22 am

Your rebuttal shows that you did not actually comprehend the essay in the first place.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 2:53 am

Care to address arguments or elaborate on my lack of comprehension? Try to make it too boring, I know how much of a problem that can be.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 3:57 am

You fail to address the main point, that IP contradicts physical property, as well as the second one, which is the gap in the reasoning. Instead you go on a long tirade of non-sequiturs and metaphors.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 4:04 am

How does IP contradict PP? PP is a physical extension of IP. I am genuinely eager to learn your conception of this, I’ve asked multiple times now for an explanation.

I don’t think I am using a disproportionately high amount of metaphors. I think I am actually being very direct and literal most of the time, which might be why you find it boring.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 5:05 am

Vahram,

How does IP contradict PP?

I already explained it several times.

PP is a physical extension of IP.

If it was, it would be possible to interact with IP without interacting with PP. Absetnt that, IP is merely another way of interpreting the physical world.

I am genuinely eager to learn your conception of this, I’ve asked multiple times now for an explanation.

I’m willing to cut you some slack here, because it took me some time to get it too, but I did not have anyone hammering it onto me.

I don’t think I am using a disproportionately high amount of metaphors.

Well then, is causality + intent a sufficient condition for a rights claim? Because that’s the basis of your argument in a formal fashion.

I think I am actually being very direct and literal most of the time, which might be why you find it boring.

I’ve heard the argument from causality so many times, and IP proponents never address it. I am merely attempting to extract the formal form of your claims and confront you with it.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 1:20 am

Vahram,

Procreation is mating, i.e. sexual reproduction, having children.

What about having children by asexual reproduction?

A derivative is conscious creation (Human Action’s description of “action” functions perfectly fine in this context)

In other words, it’s causality plus intent. This brings up the question whether unintended consequences are relevant, and leaves the question open why/to what extent is it relevant in the first place.

One own’s his own life, and cannot own another volitional being. All forms of human ownership are therefore illegitimate.

These two sentences contradict each other. Either you cannot own yourself, or human ownership is legitimate. Maybe you should learn how to argue coherently first. Also, as Stephan said, “owning one’s own life” is a meaningless metaphor.

Animal ownership, such as the raising of livestock, would be subject to their volitional capacity.

Again, what does this mean? Does it mean that you cannot force animals to do anything, including walking onto / eating / damaging your property?

Galambos would often joke about how you cannot own a cat, because the cat is so fickle and will never consent.

Again what does “own” mean?

You can physically overpower and control a cat, you can trick a cat into doing what you want, or you can create a situation where the cat chooses to be your pet. This is a moral contract.

Before the question of morality comes into debate, there is the question of logic.

The individual is logically antecedent to the Soviet Union.

Exactly. Just like matter is logically antecedent to ideas.

You can take the Union away from the individuals…

What does this mean?

but you cannot take the individuals out of the Union.

Sure you can. You just grab them and drive out of the country (had it existed yet).

Again, I defer you to Mises’ Human Action, society is composed of individuals, group action is simply individual action under a shared conception and label, but the individual is always first.

What is the relevance of this? Obviously, whatever the concept of “ownership” of “property” means, it determines whether actions of individuals are legitimate or not.

However, he cannot consciously arrange this energy into the form of a hammer without first having an idea of what a hammer is and how to rationally go about mining the metal and forging it and such and such.

Why is this relevant in any way? In order for your claim to make sense, you need to prove that a causal relationship between two actions is relevant, not that a person has an idea before they act. These are two separate issues.

All that knowledge came from human innovators and is their intellectual (“primary” as Galambos puts it) property.

So stop using language and stop referencing historical examples including Galambos. Just like Anthony said, you’re either a thief or hypocrite or both.

I am not going to argue that, it falls under the nature of existing in a physical universe.

It also refutes your claim.

Can you clarify this definition for me?intellectual property: “the expropriation of property”

I already did several times and you ignored it.

You’re boring me. Start arguing.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 2:52 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procreation

I forgot the word “other”. Everyone is automatically the owner (retains full control) of their own life, all other forms of human ownership (i.e. slavery, and some styles of parenting) are not true ownership. It is a physical impossibility to fully control the life, thoughts, and actions of another independent organism.

How you defend your physical property against animals is up to you. Many people like fences.

Individuals can exist independently of a collective concept (like the Soviet Union or any state), but these ideas cannot exist without people to compose them.

Are you asking me a demonstrate a causal relationship between conceiving of a hammer and then creating one?

I am not interfering with Galambos’ intellectual property by speaking in terms he has approved of. Giving you the full course would be theft of his property, hence the non-disclosure agreement he required all his students to sign before taking his courses.

Physics does not refute my claim. If it did, I would eagerly seek a demonstration of such refutation. If I want to prove that gravity is still in effect, all I have to do is drop something with mass and watch it fall down (not sideways, or up, or remain motionless).

I still do no see how retaining control of original ideas equates to expropriation of physical property created from those ideas.

Sorry to bore you, best of luck with that.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 4:19 am

Vahram,

(wiki reference)

Why are you quoting wikipedia? I asked you for the meaning of your claims. Can one, according to Galambos, own asexual reproductions of him/herself? Are human clones ownable (by someone else than themselves) or not?

I forgot the word “other”.

Great, you have demonstrated that you are capable of recognising logical fallacies and fix them. Now, if you could apply this to the rest of your arguments, that would be even greater.

Everyone is automatically the owner (retains full control) of their own life…

What does this mean?

It is a physical impossibility to fully control the life, thoughts, and actions of another independent organism.

It is also impossible to fully control your own life. You can only control your actions.

How you defend your physical property against animals is up to you. Many people like fences.

You miss the point of my argument.

Individuals can exist independently of a collective concept (like the Soviet Union or any state), but these ideas cannot exist without people to compose them.

Ideas not only cannot “exist” without someone thinking of it, they also cannot exist without a material representation (of which a brain is just one example). The material representations, due to being material, are covered by material property rights. There is nothing left for IP to address. It can only redistribute material.

Are you asking me a demonstrate a causal relationship between conceiving of a hammer and then creating one?

No, I am asking for the relevance of causality to rights. As I said before, causality extends to infinity.

I am not interfering with Galambos’ intellectual property by speaking in terms he has approved of.

He approved of you defending his arguments and of quoting him or referencing his life any way? Furthermore, if he did not, would mentioning him or his life violate his property rights?

Giving you the full course would be theft of his property, hence the non-disclosure agreement he required all his students to sign before taking his courses.

I did not enter into an agreement with him. Can I criticise him nevertheless?

Physics does not refute my claim.

It shows that you contradict yourself.

If it did, I would eagerly seek a demonstration of such refutation.

I provided it several times already.

If I want to prove that gravity is still in effect, all I have to do is drop something with mass and watch it fall down (not sideways, or up, or remain motionless).

If you claimed that, say, a cat can be simultaneously alive and dead, you would be contradicting yourself. You could make a Schroedinger and claim that the cat can be in a superposition of both, but you would still need to admit that at the moment of acting it would only be in one of them. Similarly, you cannot claim that physical property and IP are simultaneously valid. Whenever you are evaluating the legal status of an act, you can only choose for one of them to take precedence over the other.

I still do no see how retaining control of original ideas equates to expropriation of physical property created from those ideas.

Property is not “created”. You cannot create matter (and energy, if you insist). You can only transform it. When you say “retaining control of original ideas”, this means expropriating other people’s physical property. IP is a redistributive concept, it’s not a property right.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 6:07 am

I already stipulated that one organism cannot own (control through consent of the producer) the life of another. How that organism came to be is irrelevant. Galambos uses the term “procreative” because at the time human asexual reproduction was not a common enough subject of discussion to warrant a stipulation for it. If in the future we happen upon even more ways of creating volitional beings, the same will apply to them as well. Sex is not the determining factor here, volition is.

I would not disclose original works of people who had explicitly stated that they wished me not to do so. What you do is on your conscious.

Legality has no relevance to my stance. My stance is a series of definitions that interrelate and provide a logical framework for conceiving of the creation of goods in a society and how those goods are exchanged. Words like “morality” are just terms to aid in comprehension. Whether or not you agree with any of them, the fact remains that you cannot build a hammer without first knowing what a hammer is. I’ll prove it. I just invented a schnooperpath. Build one.

Again, you cannot redistribute manifestations of energy which do not exist. Nothing is being redistributed, only new options for arrangement are being made available through education of ideas.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

Vahram,

How that organism came to be is irrelevant.

So why do you mention sexual reproduction when it’s irrelevant?

Sex is not the determining factor here, volition is.

Then why did you mention it in the first place?

I would not disclose original works of people who had explicitly stated that they wished me not to do so. What you do is on your conscious.

Unless you are very very careful and drastically limit your activities, it is impossible to avoid acting in a way that does not allow people to deduce your influences. You’re making an arbitrary qualitative distinction where there is only a quantitative one.

Again, you cannot redistribute manifestations of energy which do not exist.

You are using “manifestations of energy” to denote causality.

Nothing is being redistributed,

So show me an example where there is no redistribution.

only new options for arrangement are being made available through education of ideas.

New options are being made available by any action whatsoever. This has nothing to do with ideas or education. It brings us back to the question: why is causality relevant in any way whatsoever to the debate?

Stephan Kinsella August 29, 2011 at 9:28 am

hah, yet another–and different–use of “stipulate” in the same thread. Below it was used as if it’s some kind of contractual or property “notice”: “None of the innovators of the products you mention above have stipulated that I should pay them for use of their property. If they did, I would find words I could use for free.” Here, it’s used this way: “I already stipulated that one organism cannot own (control through consent of the producer) the life of another.” — as if one is agreeing not to dispute certain facts. I’ll stipulate that I find this amusing.

I would not disclose original works of people who had explicitly stated that they wished me not to do so. What you do is on your conscious.

Galambosians seem almost as dour and Serioso as Randroids.

Again, you cannot redistribute manifestations of energy which do not exist.

Again, E=mc^2 does not mean matter “is” energy.

Stephan Kinsella August 29, 2011 at 10:32 am

Everyone is automatically the owner (retains full control) of their own life

Surda is right: this is nonsensical. You do not own your life. It is not an ownable thing, any more than your activity-of-running, the fact of the date of your birth, or your memories are ownable things. You own your body, not your “life”. This is typical of scientistic engineer types to overuse metaphors and to stumble when they try to dabble outside the natural sciences and crudely apply the methodology of the natural sciences to ethical and normative reasoning.

I am not interfering with Galambos’ intellectual property by speaking in terms he has approved of. Giving you the full course would be theft of his property, hence the non-disclosure agreement he required all his students to sign before taking his courses.

You people are self-walking reductios. Tuccille’s spoof was so spot-on. haha

If I want to prove that gravity is still in effect, all I have to do is drop something with mass and watch it fall down (not sideways, or up, or remain motionless).

More simplistic scientism. Such an experiment does not prove or even confirm gravity. You guys fail to even understand the nature of your own natural science field or the empirical method, so it’s no surprise you stumble even worse when you try to extend your stunted understanding of it to cover ethics. Even a more sophisticated understanding of positivism-monism-empiricism would be doomed to failure when used in normative analysis; a crude, ignorant one has no hope at all.

I still do no see how retaining control of original ideas equates to expropriation of physical property created from those ideas.

First, suppose you invent the lightbulb. You sell the lightbulb. The world learns about how lighbtulbs work because you are revealing this information to people. THey learn from it and naturally incorporate this knowledge into the knowledge they arleady have ,and then use this knowledge to guide their ideas–say, making their own lightbulbs using their own property. The fact that they learned about it from observing your activity is irrelevant. If you don’t want people to learn from you, don’t make your ideas public. BUt there is nothing wrong with learning: from formal education, from friends, from parents, from the culture, from books, from observing others in the market, whatever–there is nothing wrong with emulation, competition, copying, remixing, etc. So if you can stop me from using my own property to make a lightbulb just b/c you told me how to do it that means you now have a property right in my property–because YOU decided to reveal information to me!

And an even worse case is that under patent law you invent a lightbult and patent it, and I independently invent it too, and you still get to stop me from using my own property with my own ideas, even though I never even copied or learned from you. Now, let me guess, you will come up with some BS that “well that is not the type of IP we promote.” How convenient–you IP socialists OPPOSE the abolition even of modern mainstream patent law, under the assumption it is some kind of close approximation of your insane ideal IP system, yet you have the temerity to hide and say you don’t support every unjust aspectof it we point to–which are numerous–… yet you don’t want it abolished. Convenient! Hypocritical! dishonest!

Inquisitor August 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Why should something non-scarce, i.e ideas, be property?

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 10:02 pm

The short answer is: good ideas are incredibly scarce, especially immediately after innovation. Ideas are all around us, but good ideas require rational minds, which are also scarce. There is a huge time lag between the conception of new ideas and the actual mass acceptance and implementation.

A good example is to think of how many people own TVs. Now think of how many fewer people know how to fix TVs. Now think of how many fewer people know how to build a TV from spare parts. Now think of how many fewer people actually understand Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetic wave propagation upon which the TV is designed and operates. Now think of how many people came up with those equations. Just one: James Clerk Maxwell.

So while tangible TVs are commonplace, the idea that makes them possible is exceedingly rare. This is an important point, it emphasizes the power of ideas and the primary importance of intellectual innovators. Without that one innovator, none of us would have a television, or many of the other electronic gadgets of the modern age. If the intellectual innovators of the world are not able to retain full property rights over their ideas in the same way we all agree I should be able to retain full property rights over the money I earn or tables I build, they are going to have very little incentive to produce new ideas and disclose them to people who might not respect them. Intellectual communism works exactly like physical communism. Why should I make a table that belongs equally to everyone? Let someone else do it. Why should I cure cancer (aside from my obvious desire for cancer to be cured)? Let someone else do it, I have to make a living.

I am always happy to discuss this with honest inquirers, thanks for being earnest. Let me know if that makes sense to you.

Stephan Kinsella August 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm

The short answer is: good ideas are incredibly scarce, especially immediately after innovation.

Pure equivocation. You cannot fail to know by now that we use “scarce” in the economic sense to mean rivalrous. Would you seriously maintain that “good ideas” are rivalrous, but bad ideas are not?

This is an important point, it emphasizes the power of ideas and the primary importance of intellectual innovators.

It emphasizes the power of comma splices! Throw in a few Capitalized Terms and you’re off and rolling!

Without that one innovator, none of us would have a television, or many of the other electronic gadgets of the modern age.

Unless, you know, someone else would have invented it later.

If the intellectual innovators of the world are not able to retain full property rights over their ideas in the same way we all agree I should be able to retain full property rights over the money I earn or tables I build, they are going to have very little incentive to produce new ideas and disclose them to people who might not respect them.

Ha ha ha. So the Galambosian argument about rights now devolves into some hackneyed guesses about “incentives”? hahahah Wow.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 12:56 am

Ideas are rivalrous, and good ideas are mutually exclusive with bad ideas. Every human has a finite amount of time with which to invest in the learning of ideas. This is why more people know how to change a part in a car than who understand all the physical properties upon which a car operates. Time and effort are economic scarcities. Instead of learning to play piano, you chose to respond to this comment.

It took some 2,000 years since Eratosthenes for someone else to figure out the Earth was round. Let us hope the same does not happen with cures for cancer or new understandings of electromagnetism.

Also, since apparently science is not your forte, I feel obliged to mention it is common to capitalize the names of different branches of science. Also, we occasionally use commas. Glad you are staying on topic.

Stephan Kinsella August 29, 2011 at 1:17 am

Ideas are rivalrous

hahaha! This is amazing. Economists everywhere acknowledge they are not–even the ones that favor IP; that is why they favor IP law, to *make* ideas scarce.

You do realize that a rivalrous good is one whose consumption by one consumer prevents simultaneous consumption by other consumers, right? And that this is NOT the case with ideas–such as knowledge of how to make a television. A and B can do this at the same time with the same recipe; and it is not consumed in the act of using it.

, and good ideas are mutually exclusive with bad ideas. Every human has a finite amount of time with which to invest in the learning of ideas. This is why more people know how to change a part in a car than who understand all the physical properties upon which a car operates. Time and effort are economic scarcities. Instead of learning to play piano, you chose to respond to this comment.

Yes, we all know about opportunity cost. That does not mean ideas are rivalrous. This is a very confused comment–but one would expect that from a defender of Galambos. The question is: does Galambos attract, or generate, confused people?

Also, since apparently science is not your forte, I feel obliged to mention it is common to capitalize the names of different branches of science. Also, we occasionally use commas.

Yes, it’s Very Important to Capitalize all the Important Words. There’s nothing Crankish about that at All. And you might want to look up “comma splice,” if you don’t know what they are.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 2:41 am

I do not favor IP law, or any law, except naturally occurring ones like the conservation of energy.

The human brain is finite, and the therefore so is its storage capacity for information. Taking the effort to learn one idea necessitates a decrease in time and energy (oops, there’s that hippie word again) available to learn another. It is counterproductive to learn the wrong ideas. If there were unlimited time and space with which to continually learn ideas, then this would not matter. Just as if you had unlimited resources, it would not matter how you spent them in consumption.

I am not sure what the use of comma splices has to do with intellectual property rights.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 4:57 am

Vahram,

Ideas are rivalrous, and good ideas are mutually exclusive with bad ideas.

Evidently, this is not the case. Your bad ideas coexist with my good ideas and the world is not falling apart. What is mutually exclusive is acting upon those ideas, i.e. physically affecting the world.

For example, a paper that belongs to a “pirate” cannot simultaneously exist in states that an overprotective author and the “pirate” prefer. The paper is the scarce resource, not the ideas expressed on it. If the author wants to “protect” his ideas, that’s just a euphemism for exercising control over the “pirate’s” paper, i.e. theft.

Every human has a finite amount of time with which to invest in the learning of ideas.

This shows that time required for learning is a scarce resource, not that ideas are.

Time and effort are economic scarcities.

You said it yourself now.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 5:58 am

Within a rational mind, contradictory ideas cannot be subscribed to. This is the definition of rationality, consistent categorical reasoning. True statements are mutually exclusive with false statement. The speed of light is either constant in a vacuum or it is not.

The pirate could only produce his paper with the options granted to him by knowledge of the author’s IP. He has been given greater choice, not had any taken away.

Rational minds are scarce, and right ideas cannot exist without rational minds. It is like saying organisms are scarce, and accordingly so if life. Life cannot exist outside of organisms. Ideas cannot exist without minds. If all organisms cease existing, so does all life. If all minds cease functioning, so too do all ideas.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

Vahram,

Within a rational mind, contradictory ideas cannot be subscribed to.

This only means that holding contradictory ideas is irrational. It does not mean it’s impossible.

This is the definition of rationality, consistent categorical reasoning.

Exactly.

True statements are mutually exclusive with false statement.

Within a consistent framework, yes.

The pirate could only produce his paper with the options granted to him by knowledge of the author’s IP.

This does not negate the point that I made. This just points out which of those options, in your opinion, is the ethical one. You did not object to me pointing out that the paper, rather than the ideas, are the source of the conflict. You did not show an example of immaterial conflict.

He has been given greater choice, not had any taken away.

You are merely attempting to justify your choice. You are not addressing the objection.

Rational minds are scarce, and right ideas cannot exist without rational minds.

They also cannot exist without media in general. And media are covered by physical property rights, in your framework as well. So either you expropriate media due to IP, or you ignore IP to uphold physical property rights. There is no third option which would lead to the conclusion that IP amends PP.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 1:34 am

Varham,

good ideas are incredibly scarce, especially immediately after innovation.

What does this mean? Doesn’t this mean that, for example, not many people know about it, or that there are not many copies? That’s not what scarcity means.

Without that one innovator, none of us would have a television, or many of the other electronic gadgets of the modern age.

Again argument from causality. Yawn.

If the intellectual innovators of the world are not able to retain full property rights over their ideas in the same way we all agree I should be able to retain full property rights over the money I earn or tables I build, they are going to have very little incentive to produce new ideas and disclose them to people who might not respect them.

What does “full property rights” mean? Unless one person owns everything, it is logically impossible for anyone to “own” the full causal effects of his actions, because causality extends to infinity.

Intellectual communism works exactly like physical communism.

I’ve heard this a lot, but no IP proponent can provide a coherent explanation of their position, they continue to contradict themselves. Physical property rights cover all actions, so there is nothing left to be “communal”. Your argument lacks foundation.

Why should I make a table that belongs equally to everyone?

Again, if you oppose theft of physical property, then you must also oppose IP, since that’s what it is.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 2:36 am

Bordem, incidentally, has nothing to do with the accuracy of a statement. Ask most of the teachers of the most important concepts of all time.

Full property rights as I am using the term means full control over the use of the idea. This is finite and within the realm of possibility to control. It is called discretion.

Physical communism is a system which grants equal access to and use of all physical products among all members. Everything belongs to everybody. Intellectual communism is a system where all ideas are used equally among all members.

I have not yet heard a rational deliberation on how protection of ideas equates to physical property theft.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 4:37 am

Vahram,

Bordem, incidentally, has nothing to do with the accuracy of a statement.

You are right. What I wanted to show is that you fail to provide coherent arguments and that bores me. I enjoy an intellectual challenge.

Full property rights as I am using the term means full control over the use of the idea.

What does this mean? You only used two conditions for this: causality and intent. None of those you can control fully.

This is finite and within the realm of possibility to control.

This is circular reasoning.

It is called discretion.

Begging the question.

Intellectual communism is a system where all ideas are used equally among all members.

This is not, however, an accurate representation of an opponent of IP like Stephan (or me). According to our position, ideas are “used” by those that own the material the ideas are manifested in. All of those instances are private. There is no “equality” or “communism”. More importantly though, since you agree with physical property rights, you contradict yourself.

I have not yet heard a rational deliberation on how protection of ideas equates to physical property theft.

I already explained it to you several times, but you never address it. Stephan also explains it in the essay, e.g. here:

For me to have an effective patent right—a right in an idea or pattern, not in a scarce resource—means that I have some control over everyone else’s scarce resources.

If you think we’re wrong, then show me an example of “protection of ideas” that does not involve either
- using your own (physical) property, thereby being redundant
- using other people’s (physical )property, thereby contradicting it

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 5:52 am

I already addressed that in my rebuttal to “Against IP”. If I am the only inventor of a TV, no one else can build a TV without either making use of my intellectual property or independently innovating it. How have I limited their choices? How have I infringed on their property? They could not have built one before I invented it, and they still can’t after unless I tell them how to. Can you eat a pie that has not been baked? Can you have a conversation using words that have no established meaning? They still have just as much option to invent one for themselves as they did before I was born.

I told you, I don’t support patents or any state run coercive action.

Control is physical action derived from an idea. Singing a song I wrote, building a car I invented, etc. etc.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 8:29 am

Vahram,

I already addressed that in my rebuttal to “Against IP”.

No, you did not. You avoid confronting the self-contradiction in your claim. Your position is based on a fundamental logical error.

If I am the only inventor of a TV, no one else can build a TV without either making use of my intellectual property or independently innovating it.

What is the principle behind this reasoning, and what does this even mean? I already asked you many times, but you have not provided a coherent reply.

They could not have built one before I invented it, and they still can’t after unless I tell them how to.

So, is causality a sufficient condition for a rights claim or not? Otherplaces, you also mentioned intent as a necessary condition, and also excluded human bodies out of this. This not only does not sound principled, it looks like you’re making it up on the fly whenever you are confronted with a problem.

Can you eat a pie that has not been baked? Can you have a conversation using words that have no established meaning?

Once again: is causality a sufficient condition for a rights claim or not?

They still have just as much option to invent one for themselves as they did before I was born.

Causality cannot “double occur”. Once you know how TVs are made, you cannot invent it again. This is just an auxiliary problem of your claim, that causal effects irreversibly, and to a large extent, unavoidably, give some people rights over other people’s property.

Paul Edwards September 1, 2011 at 2:17 am

“I have not yet heard a rational deliberation on how protection of ideas equates to physical property theft.”

Property is instituted to overcome the problem of conflict over scarce and rivalrous physical goods. We do not need property to deal with things like air or sunshine, because one person’s breathing or standing in the sun does not reduce another’s ability to breath or stand in the sun. Generally. These are two examples where the idea of ownership does not make much sense. Generally. OTOH, starting with one’s body, and working outwards from there, we notice that one person’s use of a kind of physical good makes use of it by another, at the same time, conflict prone. If I sustain myself with a banana, for instance, you cannot, as well, sustain yourself with that same banana, or at least, not with the same parts of the banana i use. This is what the anti-IP school refers to as a scarce, and more precisely, rivalrous material.

Now, your brain is a scarce and rivalrous physical good, and we claim that it therefore can be usefully and justifiably considered property. My attempt to use it for my own purposes would cause conflict. Therefore, we attempt to determine rules of ownership over things like it. We rely on actions that take place at specific times and places that give us all a clear idea of when and why something becomes property of A rather than B. Meaning that A has a superior claim to rightful possession and use of the good.

This is the fundamental nature of property. Now enter IP. The question is not are good ideas hard to come by, the question is only, are good ideas rivalrous? Can my using a good idea the way i wanted to, cause conditions to be such that you cannot use that same good idea the way you wanted to? Just like my using your body the way i might want to use it, could cause conditions to be such that you too could not use it the way you want to. And the short and obvious answer is no. There is no sort of rivalrous element to ideas. Just as there is no rivalrous element to air or sunshine.

So what do IP laws attempt to do? They attempt to make ideas physically rivalrous, by attaching claims on physical property against those who make use of ideas claimed by others. So a claim on the non-rivalrous idea turns into a claim against a rivalrous physical good. And this is where protection of ideas equates to physical property theft. Your IP claim turns into a claim against my physical property, where without IP, you had none. With IP, if you thought of the log cabin first, you now have a partial claim on my trees, my saw, my land, my hammer, and me. To the extent that i wish to build a log cabin with my property, you now claim a right to prevent use of that property.

So property, which is designed to allow us to avoid physical conflict over physical, scarce, and rivalrous goods, is dismantled by this imposter: IP. IP is then shown to be a sophisticated means of property theft. Much like the state itself is.

Vahram Diehl September 1, 2011 at 2:28 am

I invent “A” (in this case being a log cabin). You try to build A, but it turns out you can’t because I have not yet told you what A is. Am I stealing your physical property?

Now, I agree to tell you what A is and let you build one (because I like you, or you are paying me, or whatever) so long as you promise that you won’t tell anyone else. Am I stealing your physical property?

A was scarce (i.e. nonexistent) before I invented it. Now it becomes as abundant as the people I choose to tell about it, so long as they all agree not to pass it on (I’m kind of a crankish weirdo and like to have my secrets). Am I stealing physical property from anyone?

Someone else who has never heard of my A, also independently invents A. He puts it out on youtube for the world to see for free. Is he stealing anyone’s physical property?

Neither I nor Galambos ever advocated the use of political laws. This is why critics like Kinsella need to actually read the material they are criticizing, we have been talking about two different things the whole time and this conversation will go nowhere until he has familiarized himself with what he is talking about.

I like your explanation, and thank you for being rational and on-topic.

Peter Surda September 1, 2011 at 3:09 am

Vahram,

you are still trying to shift the question from the one of logic into the one of ethics. That does not address the logical problem of IP conflicting with PP, you merely explain that in your opinion, IP should take precedence over PP. You show no case where IP amends PP. Taking a specific ethical stance does not fix the logical errors in one’s arguments.

It’s like saying that taxes are not theft, because there is a “social contract”. Regardless of whether you agree with this normative statement, there are only two options: the property remains with the person who earned it, or it is transferred to the state. There is no third option which allows one to conclude that taxes “amend” property. Taxation is a redistributive policy, because it is logically impossible to avoid this. The question of legitimacy does not address the problem.

Similarly, IP cannot “amend” PP. It can only transfer PP (e.g. copy or damages) from the copier to the author. Whether this is legitimate or not does not create a third option.

Furthermore, you also do not address the second objection, which is the lack of definition. You base your claims on causality, but fail to present the argument in a formal manner. Is causality a sufficient condition for a rights claim or not?

So, to summarise:
- you claim that IP amends PP, but fail to present an example
- you fail to provide a formal, coherent explanation of your position

Vahram Diehl September 1, 2011 at 3:25 am

Paul Surda,

There is no differentiation in my mind between the logical course of action and the moral (non-coercive) course of action. That is one of the topics covered more in depth in V-50, that in the long run the sum total of moral action is also the most logical.

Read my post again but replace the word “steal” with “redistribute” if that clarifies it better for you. Am I redistributing or expropriating or attacking or imposing my will or coercing anyone’s physical property by only telling them about A if they agree not to share it? The answer to this question settles the entire debate.

V-50 is quite full of precise definitions for terms. You can find them in Sic Itur Ad Astra. Be warned though, it is about 1,000 pages long. That is slightly more than I am willing to type.

Peter Surda September 1, 2011 at 4:46 am

Vahram,

There is no differentiation in my mind between the logical course of action and the moral (non-coercive) course of action.

Clearly, there is such a distinction. Immoral actions are logically possible to occur (indeed, they do quite often), they are merely immoral. By deciding which of two available options is the moral one you cannot create a third option.

That is one of the topics covered more in depth in V-50, that in the long run the sum total of moral action is also the most logical.

If this is what “V-50″ claims, than it’s plainly wrong. By declaring an action immoral it does not become impossible.

Read my post again but replace the word “steal” with “redistribute” if that clarifies it better for you.

You fail to address the logical error in your claim. If you claim that out of two alternatives, one is morally acceptable and the other not, you do not create a third option.

Am I redistributing or expropriating or attacking or imposing my will or coercing anyone’s physical property by only telling them about A if they agree not to share it?

You avoid the problem, which is the lack of a third option. There are only two: the decision whether a material can be rearranged into a copy needs to be morally sanctioned either by the author, or the owner of the material (or some sort of a mix of those two, which for simplicity I’ll omit). By claiming that the author, rather than the owner of the material, is the morally privileged one, you do not expand the scope of property rights, you merely shift it. This invalidates the whole metaphysical premise of IP, as presented by you.

Address the logical contradiction. Stop talking about ethics. Ethics does not fix logical errors.

Vahram Diehl September 1, 2011 at 4:59 am

Peter Surda, I am afraid I am genuinely not following your argument. Where is there a logical contradiction in formulation and adherence to contracts? All this talk of being “morally privileged” has me confused. I never claimed anyone has or should have privilege over another… quite the opposite. I am saying that by entering into a mutually voluntary contract that both are equals. The completion of the terms of that contract would then be labeled as “moral” as I am using the term. The labels are arbitrary. I never stated immoral action is impossible, only that I am an advocate of moral action. My entire position and the position presented in V-50 can essentially be summarized as people voluntarily and completely fulfilling 100% of contracts they enter into with other people. How does this put intellectual innovators in a morally privileged position above others?

We are using the same words to talk about two totally different things, this is why we keep going in circles. The difference is, this is a thread on Galambos, and oddly I seem to be the only one besides Jayant who actually understands the topic of discussion.

Peter Surda September 1, 2011 at 6:03 am

Varham,

I am afraid I am genuinely not following your argument. Where is there a logical contradiction in formulation and adherence to contracts?

That’s not where the logical contradiction is. The logical contradiction is in your claim that IP amends PP. It does not. Once that is clear, the rest of your position falls apart.

I am saying that by entering into a mutually voluntary contract that both are equals.

As I said before, contracts cannot bind people who are not a party to the contract. Furthermore, you can put into a contract whatever restrictions you want, that does not imply ownership of anything the restrictions refer to.

Vahram Diehl September 1, 2011 at 6:10 am

Can you use a different verb than “amend” when you say “IP does not amend PP”? I might understand what you mean better then. Are you saying that thoughts do not affect physical systems?

I am not advocating putting any party into a contract who does not agree to it. I am not advocating bringing any property into the agreement that is not owned by those consenting to the contract. I thought this was clear when I said mutually voluntary and non-coercive.

Peter Surda September 1, 2011 at 6:33 am

Vahram,

Can you use a different verb than “amend” when you say “IP does not amend PP”?

You used amend. I did provide an alternative: IP redistributes PP.

Or to put this in other terms: IP only determines who owns physical property. There you have it. Can’t think of putting it any clearer than that.

Vahram Diehl September 1, 2011 at 6:49 am

If we are using the V-50 version of semantics, then it is production which determines the owner of physical property. Intellectual property is the owned by whoever innovates it or who he transfers that ownership to.

I think it is important that we remember that all definitions are arbitrary. I believe the greatest source of misunderstanding in this thread (besides certain individuals not caring to admit or relinquish their ignorance on subjects they pretend to be experts on) is that we are using words that we both feel we are already very familiar with. However, what you call IP appears to be very different than what I call IP. This is made evident by the fact that you all also still seem to be under the impression that I am endorsing state intervention.

Does everyone in this thread agree that mutually voluntary contracts should be fulfilled by all parties involved?

Stephan Kinsella September 1, 2011 at 7:16 am

Vahram:

I like your explanation, and thank you for being rational and on-topic.

there is a wealth of material here elaborating on this similar to Edwards’ explanation; you barge in here and demand explanations that we have given in detail already (e.g. see my many articles here), clearly without reading any of it.

I invent “A” (in this case being a log cabin). You try to build A, but it turns out you can’t because I have not yet told you what A is. Am I stealing your physical property?

No. You are not attempting to interfere with my use of my property.

It is not clear how I could attempt to build A–the log cabin–unless I already knew that you had a log cabin. And if I know about a log cabin, why would my attempt to build it fail? Are you saying there is some kind of trade secret in the process that you figured out, that I can’t replicate unless you tell me? Like some kind of special mortar or hoisting or log-interlocking technique?

Now, I agree to tell you what A is and let you build one (because I like you, or you are paying me, or whatever) so long as you promise that you won’t tell anyone else. Am I stealing your physical property?

No, but now you simply have a contract with me where I have contractually obligated myself not to “tell others” … how to build the house? what it looks like? If the house is in public view then it makes no sense for me to promise people not to reveal THAT it exists, or WHAT it looks like; such a clause is void ab initio since it conflicts with a central purpose of the agreement which is to permit me to build the cabin, which will obviously be in plain view of third parties (as yours is, presumably). It’s not clear what you have “told” me–how to build it? blue prints? the very idea of building a log cabin?

In any case, at most, what you have is a situation where IF I reveal certain information to third parties, then I am in breach of contract, ie I owe monetary damages to you. But notice the third parties (and fourth parties who then learn of it from them, and so on, until the information is public) are NOT bound by this contract. That is why there is no such thing as IP in the state sense or in the Galambosian sense: there is no way to bind third parties. You cannot build it from contract.

A was scarce (i.e. nonexistent) before I invented it.

this is not what scarcity means. It does not mean nonexistent. It means it’s a resource that only one person can use without excluding others; it means a resource that people can have violent conflict over. It means rivalrous. A nonexistent cabin is not scarce or rivalrous.

What happens is you homestead logs and other material, and a plot of land. THESE are the scarce resources. You homestead them by appropriation. THEN you use ideas you have as to the best way to use them, to shape them into the log cabin. You own the cabin because you already owned the factors that go into it. No new proprty hs been created; you have just rearranged what you already owned. The new arrangement is more valuable to you, but that does not mean you have created new property rights.

Now it becomes as abundant as the people I choose to tell about it, so long as they all agree not to pass it on (I’m kind of a crankish weirdo and like to have my secrets). Am I stealing physical property from anyone?

No, but you are foolish if you think the information might not eventually leak out.

Someone else who has never heard of my A, also independently invents A. He puts it out on youtube for the world to see for free. Is he stealing anyone’s physical property?

No.

Neither I nor Galambos ever advocated the use of political laws.

Either you are in favor of a type of IP right, or you are not. You are all over the map. Crawfishing, ducking and weaving, equivocating left and right (with the sloppy use of “scarce” and not being clear on waht “A” is or the “information” you are revealing). Surely you think murder is a violation of the victim’s rights. The question is: if I do tell your secret cabin techniques to the world on Youtube, and a third party T later learns this, if HE builds the cabin does THIS violate YOUR rights? This is the question. You Galambosians say yes. So you are evading by dismissing ‘political laws’ (whatever that is).

Stephan Kinsella September 1, 2011 at 7:19 am

Surda:

“That is one of the topics covered more in depth in V-50, that in the long run the sum total of moral action is also the most logical.”

If this is what “V-50″ claims, than it’s plainly wrong. By declaring an action immoral it does not become impossible.

Peter, it sounds like Galambos has a view of morality akin to that of Rand: Rand thought that the moral IS the practical (and rational), etc. Now Galambos’s use of “sum” here seems indicative of his overall monism-positivism, but by “most logical” I gather what is meant is the most rational; that is, it is logical or rational to choose th moral.

Or something.

Stephan Kinsella September 1, 2011 at 7:28 am

Vahram:

Does everyone in this thread agree that mutually voluntary contracts should be fulfilled by all parties involved?

No. You are apparently not only unfamiliar with the libertarian critique of IP, but you are unfamiliar with the libertrian (Rothbardian) conception of contract. Contract is just transfer of title to property. IT is not a binding promise, and there is no should involved. For example if I promise to play my guitar for your party, for $1000, then it’s outside the real of political ethics to say that this means I “should” play my guitar. That is a question of private moraltiy–you are free to think it’s “immoral’ or “wrong” of me NOT to perform–to go back on my promise–but technically the promise is not the contract. The contract is the transfer of $1000 conditional on my playing. IF I play the guitar, THEN I get $1000. If I do not, then I don’t get the money.

If you don’t think you are comfortable relying on my promise, you can try to negotiate a penalty fee with me to induce me not to bail. So you might persuade me to agree to pay you $3000 in “damages” IF I don’t show up. You figure that’s enough to “guarantee” it. Now this makes it a riskier and less attractive gig for me–what if I am delayed by some emergency and can’t show up–now I will owe $3000. So, I might agree to this penalty clause, but only if you pay me $1200 instead, now. In essence I am charging you $200 for an insurance or indemnification provision. In any case, STILL, if we do this (or if a damages payment is held to be “implicit” in the nature of the arrangement), all this means is that my failure to perform triggers a title transfer of $3000 to you; just as my performing triggers a $1200 title transfer from you to me. None of this has to do with morality or promises. (For more on this see the efficient breach theory of contract, which has similar reasoning).

Vahram Diehl September 1, 2011 at 11:16 am

Kinsella,

Am I to understand you now believe people should not critique, mock, or critically discuss things they do not fully (or even moderately) understand?

Oh, wait.

nate-m September 1, 2011 at 11:30 am

Am I to understand you now believe people should not critique, mock, or critically discuss things they do not fully (or even moderately) understand?

It’s ok to mock people that are extremely silly, take themselves way to seriously, and on top of it are smug, arrogant, and purposely condescending.

You are defending a position your not even allow to discuss by your own philosophy and then proudly exclaim that it’s _physics_ that prevent you from doing so… then go around chastising anybody that disagrees with your position as being too dumb to understand science.

This is crackpot behavior taken to the max.

Vahram Diehl September 1, 2011 at 11:44 am

Understanding laws of physics as New Age hippyism really is just dumb and ignorant, no matter how you feel about Galambos. Though I have to admit, it’s not quite as sophisticated a technique for dodging attention to ignorance as outing people on their choice of punctuation and capitalization and constant name-calling.

Stephan Kinsella September 1, 2011 at 11:58 am

“Vahram”:

Understanding laws of physics as New Age hippyism really is just dumb and ignorant, no matter how you feel about Galambos. Though I have to admit, it’s not quite as sophisticated a technique for dodging attention to ignorance as outing people on their choice of punctuation and capitalization and constant name-calling.

You cannot really understand scientific methodology while mired in scientism, monism, and empirism.

It is not science I am mocking but its inappropriate, nonrigorous, scientistic extension to other fields–much like New Agers talk about one’s “energy” etc., in an attempt to gain a patina of “scientific” validity; the Galambosians ramble about “energy” when talking about ethics and property rights, in an attempt to put a scientific veneer on their crankish nonsense.

Peter Surda September 2, 2011 at 7:35 am

Stephan,

(re. Vahram) You are apparently not only unfamiliar with the libertarian critique of IP, but you are unfamiliar with the libertrian (Rothbardian) conception of contract.

I don’t think it’s necessary. You can build a coherent argument against IP without agreeing with TTTC. TTTC just allows you to create an alternative system.

Stephan Kinsella September 2, 2011 at 7:48 am

PEter: “I don’t think it’s necessary. You can build a coherent argument against IP without agreeing with TTTC. TTTC just allows you to create an alternative system.”

this is probably right–but Rothbard seemed to contradict his own contract theory with his “contractual copyright” notions.

Peter Surda September 2, 2011 at 7:51 am

Vahram,

you have not addressed anything that I said and have not fixed any of the problems I accuse you of creating.

If we are using the V-50 version of semantics, then it is production which determines the owner of physical property.

This only explains which out of mutually exclusive options is the moral one. Again you are diverting.

Intellectual property is the owned by whoever innovates it or who he transfers that ownership to.
This sentence contradict the previous one. If the ownership of physical property is determined by some rule, the ownership of intellectual property can only affirm or contradict that rule, because there is no other way for this rule to manifest itself. There is no third option which addresses something which is not physical property.

I think it is important that we remember that all definitions are arbitrary.

While I agree, you still can’t have contradictory assumptions within one system. And that is what you have.

I believe the greatest source of misunderstanding in this thread (besides certain individuals not caring to admit or relinquish their ignorance on subjects they pretend to be experts on) is that we are using words that we both feel we are already very familiar with.

You might be onto something. However, that is why I challenged you to provide a coherent definition of your position. This has not happened yet.

However, what you call IP appears to be very different than what I call IP.

You use the term to refer to all kinds of situations without a clear premise. You use it to refer to violations of contracts as well as all kinds of causal relationships which you do not explain with sufficient precision.

This is made evident by the fact that you all also still seem to be under the impression that I am endorsing state intervention.

If it makes you feel a bit easier, I don’t claim that. I’m merely claiming that you’re contradicting yourself and that you do not have a coherent definition of your position.

Does everyone in this thread agree that mutually voluntary contracts should be fulfilled by all parties involved?

IP has nothing to do with contracts, but about limiting actions of people outside of scope of property rights as well as contract. Just like the ability to refrain from serving a customer in a restaurant who is not dressed appropriately does not mean there is a “clothes wearing property”, the ability not to sell someone a book unless he promises not to copy it does not mean there is a “book copying property”.

Paul Edwards September 6, 2011 at 2:37 am

“I invent “A” (in this case being a log cabin). You try to build A, but it turns out you can’t because I have not yet told you what A is. Am I stealing your physical property?”

Nope.

“Now, I agree to tell you what A is and let you build one (because I like you, or you are paying me, or whatever) so long as you promise that you won’t tell anyone else. Am I stealing your physical property?”

Nope. A contract to keep a trade secret is what you are talking about, and this is fine. A breach can lead to a claim against X’s property. But if Y sees your cabin and infers and learns of its design in this way with no contract to not share, or to infer and learn from this exposure, there is no IP violation and no contract violation if he attempts to replicate your ideas and designs.

“A was scarce (i.e. nonexistent) before I invented it. Now it becomes as abundant as the people I choose to tell about it, so long as they all agree not to pass it on (I’m kind of a crankish weirdo and like to have my secrets). Am I stealing physical property from anyone?”

As long as you lay no claims against those who do not contract with you to not make use of information they can infer from seeing a log cabin built based on your design, then you are not stealing physical property. But IP is very much about this sort of thing.

“Someone else who has never heard of my A, also independently invents A. He puts it out on youtube for the world to see for free. Is he stealing anyone’s physical property?”

IP laws certainly would bend this guy over a barrel, since he did not presumably have the patent, and was thus infringing on your patent. IP law would entitle you to steal from this guy in a big way – certainly on anyone making money from using this independently invented A.

“Neither I nor Galambos ever advocated the use of political laws. This is why critics like Kinsella need to actually read the material they are criticizing,”

Do you think that this is simply the case of individuals talking past each other, and that if the dust were to settle we would find that we all basically agree? This seems unlikely to me, but if this were so, I assume, you would dismantle our current IP laws due their perverse and criminal nature, then?

“we have been talking about two different things the whole time and this conversation will go nowhere until he has familiarized himself with what he is talking about.”

“I like your explanation, and thank you for being rational and on-topic.”

I am glad, and you are welcome. But i think you will find a great deal has been written before me, which elaborates much better and in much more detail the thrust of what i said.

Vahram Diehl September 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Paul Edwards,

Within the limited context we have been able to discuss and elaborate, it appears that we are in agreement and that you do support the Galambosian notion of intellectual property protected through superior contractual means, not IP laws. Good to know we are on the same page, finally. I’ve tried to have this conversation dozens of times in person and it rarely evolves beyond the other party immediately telling me I am wrong without evening to listening to the way I am using the terms they profess themselves to be experts on (sort of like the difference between the new age hippy use of the word “energy” and the physics use. Conversations between hippies and physicists rarely get anywhere.).

I think that you and I would probably agree when the dust settled… frankly I think Kinsella has gone a little too far off his rocker with some of his absurd pseudo-scientific comments and I have little confidence in his opinion on anything now. All Galambos does is take these basic principles of the voluntary protection of all new ideas and physical goods to their furthest logical conclusion and describes how prosperous and innovative a society which functioned like that would be. V-50 is a fascinating course, I have never met anyone who went through it and didn’t find it astounding. Galambos may have been a cranky weirdo with severe social problems, but that has nothing to do with the soundness of his ideas or the intellectual content of his courses. Sic Itur Ad Astra has without a doubt been one of the most important and valuable aspects of my continuing education to date.

I am happy to discuss this further if you wish, either here or privately.

Paul Edwards September 6, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Hi Vahram

“Within the limited context we have been able to discuss and elaborate, it appears that we are in agreement and that you do support the Galambosian notion of intellectual property protected through superior contractual means, not IP laws. Good to know we are on the same page, finally…

“I think that you and I would probably agree when the dust settled…”

This is awesome. I am about as Kinsellaian on IP as one can get without being the man himself. So if we in fact do agree on what the correct treatment of ideas is, then we are all one big happy family … personalities aside.

Of the material that Stephan has put out on IP, are there any aspects in particular that you take exception to, disagree with or find objectionable? If so, those are the points i’d enjoy hashing out right here. Otherwise, i think we can claim success in arriving at a meeting of minds on the subject.

Vahram Diehl September 7, 2011 at 3:08 am

The only piece by Kinsella I have read (besides the the quite profound and well argued six lines of this blog post) is Against IP, and I have already posted the response I wrote to it after I read it. I would have to read it again to see if there is anything else worth bringing up. If I recall, most of it was concerning the irrationality and immorality of IP laws (which is redundant to even state, as all political laws are irrational and immoral). My disagreement lies in the belief that new ideas should made available to whoever can get their hands on them, irrespective of the intentions of the innovator. When one disregards the satisfaction of the innovator, he kills innovation.

Nice to be a part of the family, thanks.

Paul Edwards September 7, 2011 at 11:52 am

“The only piece by Kinsella I have read (besides the the quite profound and well argued six lines of this blog post) is Against IP, and I have already posted the response I wrote to it after I read it.”

Can you send me a link to this? I couldn’t find it.

“I would have to read it again to see if there is anything else worth bringing up. If I recall, most of it was concerning the irrationality and immorality of IP laws (which is redundant to even state, as all political laws are irrational and immoral).”

Excellent.

“My disagreement lies in the belief that new ideas should made available to whoever can get their hands on them, irrespective of the intentions of the innovator.”

I would argue that rather than strictly what the intentions of the innovator are, the central question is simply, “what agreement did the innovator have with the one who got his hands on it?” If there was no agreement to not use the idea, then the idea is available to use without any ethical question, and that only criminal state fiat can impose a penalty on such a user of ideas / non-contract violator.

“When one disregards the satisfaction of the innovator, he kills innovation.”

And of course we would argue that when regards the satisfaction of the innovator, at the expense of property, one acts non-ethically and kills liberty.

Peter Surda September 7, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Vahram,

I have to insist and bug you a little more, because you still have not addressed my objections. I still don’t think I managed to explain my point to you. Let me try to reformulate once more.

I’ll approximate and simplify a bit, here my point is not the exactness of the individual components, but the juxtaposition of them.

The concept of physical property poses the question “who is allowed to alter the integrity or momentum of physical objects”, and answers “those who alter them first”.

The concept of intellectual property asks “who is allowed to alter the integrity or momentum of physical objects”, and answers “those who causally precede the alteration”.

Kindly note that they both ask the same question, but provide a different answer. In some cases, the answers overlap, for example if you use your own material in “independent discovery”, they both say the resulting object belongs to you. So that’s not where the problem is. The core of my argument is that it is logically impossible to ask a different question. So necessarily the argument for IP becomes a redistributive one.

This is what you need to address.

When one disregards the satisfaction of the innovator, he kills innovation.

You neglect the problem of IP being necessarily a redistributive process. There is no apriori reason why it should satisfy an innovator (by increasing his revenue), it just just as well discourage him (by increasing his costs).

it appears that we are in agreement and that you do support the Galambosian notion of intellectual property protected through superior contractual means, not IP laws.

This is a misunderstanding of the argument (assuming Paul made the same one as I did). You can put almost anything into a contract, it does not presuppose that one of the parties has property rights in the concepts the restrictions refer to, or that they are ownable at all. To call this “IP” is misleading. If we make an agreement that you refrain from climbing a particular tree for an hour, it does not require that either of us is the owner of the tree, or that “climbing” or “an hour” are ownable. Anyway, contracts are not what IP refers to.

All Galambos does is take these basic principles of the voluntary protection of all new ideas and physical goods to their furthest logical conclusion and describes how prosperous and innovative a society which functioned like that would be.

You can’t argue that a logically self-contradictory position would be beneficial.

Stephan Kinsella September 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Vahram Diehl:

The only piece by Kinsella I have read (besides the the quite profound and well argued six lines of this blog post) is Against IP, and I have already posted the response I wrote to it after I read it. I would have to read it again to see if there is anything else worth bringing up. If I recall, most of it was concerning the irrationality and immorality of IP laws (which is redundant to even state, as all political laws are irrational and immoral). My disagreement lies in the belief that new ideas should made available to whoever can get their hands on them, irrespective of the intentions of the innovator. When one disregards the satisfaction of the innovator, he kills innovation.

This is confused nonsense. The libertarian case against IP–my case–is not based on empirical examples of abuse. Anyone who actually read my Against IP would know this. Comments like “When one disregards the satisfaction of the innovator, he kills innovation” are complete nonsense.

Vahram Diehl September 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Paul Edwards,

Here is the link to what I wrote in response to Against IP when I read it some months ago: http://blog.mises.org/5442/galambos-and-other-nuts/comment-page-1/#comment-798729

I have no intentions of reading it again or anything else by Kinsella, principally on account of him being a dick who likes to argue subjects he is grossly ignorant on with name-calling and grammar critiques. Though, if it’s any consolation, I also won’t be posting anything on my blog about what a crankish weirdo Kinsella is and that everyone should disavow anything good they hear about him even if they have never read his material.

I concur with your statements about the importance of agreements made between the innovator and the people his discloses to (like the non-disclosure agreement Galambos required all his students to sign! A perfect example of “Kinsellian” thought in action! Too bad the two never got to meet.)

Jayant September 8, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Vahram:

I warned you much earlier that when dealing with Kinsella, you are dealing with someone omniscient. It does not matter that this omniscient has not clue about basic physics, knows no other language apart from English and has never lived outside the area he grew up in. Now, in today’s world that is considered extreme ignorance. But of course, that does not stop Kinsella from passing judgements about people, quantum physics, etc.

Vahram, you have been wasting your time.

Anthony August 28, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Vahram,

How can you possibly expect anyone to respect what you have to say when with every word you write you violate the principles you are arguing for. I would wager that when posting here you did not pay for the use of so much as a single word you typed, nor did you pay the person who invented blogs, or the internet, or English, or language in general.

And don’t think that you are excused just because you don’t know who to pay… just because you don’t know who owns a car doesn’t mean you can use it without permission; similarly just because you don’t know who owns an idea doesn’t give you the right to use it without permission. Either all ideas are ownable and you are both a thief and a hypocrite, or ideas cannot be owned and your argument is silly.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 1:01 am

None of the innovators of the products you mention above have stipulated that I should pay them for use of their property. If they did, I would find words I could use for free.

Stephan Kinsella August 29, 2011 at 1:21 am

hahahah Galambosians are walking reductios!

And note the lay use of “stipulate”. How does one go about “stipulating” that you “should pay them” for something?

Are you just making all this up as you go along?

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 2:31 am

Words seem to be a favored choice among the educated.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 4:50 am

Vahram,

all words were invented, and as long as you interact socially, there is probably nothing in your thoughts that was not influenced by someone else’s work. What you paid for consists of a minuscule proportion of the totality of your knowledge. Even assuming that IP is a valid ethical norm and you would fix the contradictions in your position, the quasi-economic justification you provided is plainly contradicted by empirical evidence.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 5:46 am

Right, I am mostly using the same words and concepts that everyone else is. I can invent new words anytime I want, but it is unlikely anyone will understand me, so I choose to stick to conventional ones. I am also thinking many of the same thoughts as others, watching the same movies, reading the same books, etc. Those innovators who have asked me to pay in order to make use of their ideas have been compensated monetarily. Others may let me use them without money, but might request I follow certain guidelines with their use (e.g. I am a writer and freely encourage anyone to reproduce my work so long as they credit me as the author). Many won’t care at all and simply let their work loose on the world for free. That is their discretion.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 8:20 am

Vahram,

Right, I am mostly using the same words and concepts that everyone else is.

I have not encountered a word that you invented yet. And even if you actually contributed somewhat to knowledge, it is extremely unlikely that this was not a consequence of an influence by someone else.

I can invent new words anytime I want, but it is unlikely anyone will understand me, so I choose to stick to conventional ones.

In other words, your goal is not to create words, but to communicate, right? To affect other people, right? And if there are unintended or undesired consequences of this attempt to affect other people, this does not necessarily mean that other people are violating your rights, right?

Those innovators who have asked me to pay in order to make use of their ideas have been compensated monetarily.

And what about all those influences for which you either do not know of the monetary flow back to the author, or which have influenced you against the wishes of the authors?

Others may let me use them without money, but might request I follow certain guidelines with their use (e.g. I am a writer and freely encourage anyone to reproduce my work so long as they credit me as the author).

The question is, why is a violation of such guidelines relevant for a rights claim?

Many won’t care at all and simply let their work loose on the world for free.

What does “let one’s work loose on the world for free” mean?

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 10:08 am

I have reached the dreary feeling that if I continue this conversation I am essentially going to end up having to repeat the entirety of Sic Itur Ad Astra from page 1. You seem to think I am making all this up on the fly, yet there is no logical inconsistency in anything I have said, and all of it corroborates with the material innovated by Galambos some 40 years ago. Either it is an incredible fluke that my instantaneous principles should match his by chance, or you are not following my statements. Also, Kinsella seems too preoccupied fidgeting nervously over punctuation and pretending to understand physics while toking California doobies to be paying attention.

Try as you might, you cannot escape the observable fact that all human progress has rested on the innovation and disclosure of new ideas. The moment people lose incentive to innovate and disclose new ideas, progress for humanity comes to a halt.
Unauthorized use of original ideas begets anti-incentive to disclose. This blog post started as a criticism of a nut, yet it is obvious the critic himself has no actual knowledge of the purported nuttiness. You would rather carry on a lengthy argument over semantics with me than actually analyze the concepts you are attempting to refute. I’ve never met a single critic of Galambos who actually read his book or attended his courses. Likewise, almost everyone I have ever heard condemn Ayn Rand never actually read her works, they just listened to the gossip and tagged along. I have little respect for men who cannot come to conclusions independently.

I will give you the convenience again of the links to SIAA on Amazon and to the Free Enterprise Institute. I do suggest you familiarize yourself with your enemy, Kinsella. To people who actually understand what Galambos taught, you come across as an arrogant ignoramus eager to condemn what he does not understand. Take his course, and then come talk to me about what is wrong with it. You claim V-50 is as nutty as Scientology. The reason I don’t condemn Scientology is because I have almost no idea about what they actually preach and practice. The most I know is that they have a reputation for nuttiness. So did Galileo, Newton, Tesla, Edison, and now Galambos. That’s really the amazing thing about empirical facts, anyone is free to corroborate them. You are a man of strong opinions, Kinsella. I suggest you corroborate them sometime.

http://www.amazon.com/Sic-Itur-Ad-Astra-Volition/dp/0880780045/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314597439&sr=8-1

http://www.fei-ajg.com/

Stephan Kinsella August 29, 2011 at 10:41 am

” Many won’t care at all and simply let their work loose on the world for free.”

What does “let one’s work loose on the world for free” mean?

Exactly. He assumes you have a choice, to reveal information publicly and to keep ownership in the information, or to somehow “let it loose for free” to the world–I guess there is some Galambosian form you fill out. Maybe they can put the registry in Salt Lake City next to that Mormon tabernacle with the lists of all the saved souls.

As Benjamin Tucker said: if you want your idea to yourself–keep it to yourself.

What I must admit gives me great pleasure is knowing that the IP socialists will never be able to fully control and enforce copyright and patent; that over time, as humanity expands and technology improves, there will every greater systematic IP “infringements” that the idea-cops won’t be able to police.

Of course the sad thing is they don’t need 100% enforcement. Like a mafia they only need to be able to cow enough of the population with threats of theft and violence and jail, to extort enough tribute and ransom from them to make their IP extortion racket worthwhile.

Stephan Kinsella August 29, 2011 at 10:48 am

Vahram:

“I have reached the dreary feeling that if I continue this conversation I am essentially going to end up having to repeat the entirety of Sic Itur Ad Astra from page 1. ”

haha, but we know you can’t do that, since that would violate the dead Andrew J — or is it Joseph A–Galambos’s “property”. hahahahah HAHAHAH . You guys are really walking spoofs. This is so like Tuccille’s description (see http://blog.mises.org/11574/authors-dont-make-the-buddy-holly-mistake/#comment-661139): From It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand (Amazon):

Around this time I met the Galambosian.
“I am a Galambosian,” he said. [...]
“What the hell is a Galambosian?”
There was this individual, it seems, named Joseph Andrew Galambos who evolved a theory of “primary property rights”. Apparently, as soon as someone came up with a new idea – whether an invention or an original philosophical concept – the prototype belonged irrevocably to him and was to be regarded forevermore as his primary property. Somewhere along the line Galambos picked up the notion that Thomas Paine had invented the word “liberty,” whereupon he established the Thomas Paine Royalty Fund, and every time he gave a lecture and used the word “liberty” he dropped a nickel into his fund box as a royalty payment to Tom. How he determined that a nickel was the proper measure of homage to Mr. Paine, I have no idea. Legend even had it that Galambos was still diligently searching for Thomas Paine’s descendants so he could turn over moneys due their famous ancestor.

Sometime in the early or middle 1960′s, Galambos decided that his name, Joseph Andrew, was actually the primary property of his father. In order to avoid giving his father a royalty payment every time he spoke the name, Galambos reversed the order and sent out notices to all his friends that henceforth his name was Andrew Joseph, and that he was to be addressed as Andy, instead of Joe.

“There are five legitimate functions of government,” said the Galambosian.
“No kidding. What are they?”
“I am not at liberty to say. The theory was originated by Andy Galambos and it is his primary property.”
The Galambosian also informed me that Andy had been introduced to Ayn Rand several years before, and that after five minutes of conversation they had pronounced each other insane.
“Of course, it is Miss Rand who is really insane,” said the Galambosian.
“Why is that?”
“I’m afraid I cannot tell you. The reasoning behind that theory belongs to Andy.”
The most peculiar thing about the whole Galambosian concept was the impossibility of finding out anything about it. Galambos’ disciples were not at liberty to disseminate his philosophy without paying a royalty to their leader–who could not even waive payment, since primary property was an absolute good and could not be given away. You were stuck with it whether you wanted it or not, throughout eternity. Consequently, all the converts were those proselytized by Galambos himself–a time-consuming and self-restricting process, it being physically impossible to convert more than a handful of people at a time.
If the rest of us were free to discuss his ideas,” said the Galambosian, “there is no question in my mind that Galambosianism would spread throughout the world like wildfire.”

I LOVE this line: “If the rest of us were free to discuss his ideas,” said the Galambosian, “there is no question in my mind that Galambosianism would spread throughout the world like wildfire.” hahah. Darwin awards alert! hahah. Morons.

Stephan Kinsella August 29, 2011 at 10:54 am

Re the comemnts about Tesla et al; it is amusing to see you cultish sycophants of this California dude comparing him to great and real scientists.

FYI I have a copy of Thrust for Freedom–bought in in 2000 and read it then. It is obviously confused nonsense. He starts out with his confused property thoery, and the whole thing is interlaced with his crude, homespun monism-positivism-scientism. It is wrong from the get-go. I mean from the very first page of chapter 1 (p. 3), it starts w/ this crankish, confused stuff about property being ownership of “man’s life” and “all non-procreative derivatives of man’s life.”

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 11:45 am

This is funny:

“There are five legitimate functions of government,” said the Galambosian.
“No kidding. What are they?”
“I am not at liberty to say. The theory was originated by Andy Galambos and it is his primary property.”

By saying that there are five legitimate function of government, and that Galambos came up with this, the Galambosian is already disclosing Galambos’ theory to a certain extent. The Galambosians are obviously not familiar with the information theory. Maybe they should watch Death Note.

Like you imply Stephan, the logical conclusion of Galambosianism is that noone should ever know about him or his work, and if nevertheless you become aware of it and are, for whatever reason, persuaded by it, you should shut up forever in order to remain consistent. That does not sound so objectionable after all.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 11:54 am

Also, Vahram, you have not addressed my points. You continue to divert the flow of debate into all kinds of directions. Regardless of whether IP promotes progress or not, whether Galambos was a genius or not, it does not fix the self-contradiction in your claims.

My two original points remain ignored. 1. IP and PP contradict each other. 2. You have not provided a coherent definition of IP.

Jayant August 29, 2011 at 1:27 am

Stephan:

You keep commenting on my English to escape from giving straight responses. You are quite right. My English MIGHT not be as good as yours. I grew up in India and learned English in my University. I understand and speak several languages, with a problem that I might not be (and I am not sure if that is at all the case) as good in any as you MIGHT be in English.

How many languages do YOU understand?

When I call you arrogant, this of course does not prove that Galambos was not nutty. You have got to have serious handicaps with the use of logic and understanding others.

Stephan your research on Galambos runs into exactly six lines. You quickly call people stupid if they don’t understand IP as well as you might. We are not yet at the stage in this discussion to talk about whether he was nutty or not. You have put forth no analysis. I am still asking to prove he was nutty. This is why I call you arrogant.

I am actually horrified that you understand nothing about basic sciences. I am truly, truly embarrassed for you. You should stop talking about things that you don’t have a clue about.

This research piece of yours on Galambos should win some kind of international award for the shortest analysis of anything, anywhere in the world.

Vahram Diehl August 29, 2011 at 2:57 am

Galambos’ ideas are derived from physics. To have such a gross misunderstanding of physics leaves little hope of coming to understand his ideas, especially when one has not even read them. Generally, when I criticize something I try to at least understand it first.

nate-m August 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm

When I call you arrogant

Forgive my slight correction to your English then.

His behavior would be better described as ‘Condescending’.
As in
“showing or implying condescension by stooping to the level of one’s inferiors, esp in a patronizing way”.

Like this:

“Procreation is mating, i.e. sexual reproduction, having children. I assume you are familiar with this and will omit the biological details.”

or

“To have such a gross misunderstanding of physics leaves little hope of coming to understand his ideas, especially when one has not even read them.”

The guy is a goober. Probably is a far bigger goober then Galambos was.

His attitude shows a predilection to assuming he knows far more then he actually does. That is he thinks he understands the audience he is writing too, when it is obvious to everybody else that he has made a huge miscalculation.

Not that he will ever admit his mistakes to himself. That would create cracks in his mental armor built from decades of self-delusion.

Stephan Kinsella August 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm

You keep commenting on my English to escape from giving straight responses.

Untrue; it’s just lagniappe. It’s not the grammar, it’s the crankish tendency to use Capital Letters. This is a tell-tale sign of Crankishness. Mayhap you picked it up from Galambos (and imitating him is another violation of his IP).

How many languages do YOU understand?

Well, as a Southerner I’d say about 60% of “English.” But does Pascal count?

When I call you arrogant, this of course does not prove that Galambos was not nutty. You have got to have serious handicaps with the use of logic and understanding others.

Well that is unavoidable, since Andrew J. Joseph Andrew Galambos Sr. was the Master of All Logic, and as it is his Inalienable Primary Property, and now He is Dead, He cannot consent to my having Access to His Truths, so … what you gonna do?

I am actually horrified that you understand nothing about basic sciences. I am truly, truly embarrassed for you. You should stop talking about things that you don’t have a clue about.

Hey, that “should” is a normative comment–shouldn’t you mere empiricists stick to the facts? :)

This research piece of yours on Galambos should win some kind of international award for the shortest analysis of anything, anywhere in the world.

Some things do not deserve a longer analysis–I would hope you reject out of hand flat-earth theories, fake-moon landing conspiracies, and Larouchies.

Peter Surda August 29, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Well that is unavoidable, since Andrew J. Joseph Andrew Galambos Sr. was the Master of All Logic, and as it is his Inalienable Primary Property, and now He is Dead, He cannot consent to my having Access to His Truths, so … what you gonna do?

Let me quote some Pratchett:

‘Look, if I’m, er, too early, then can’t you-’

EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS STAYS HAPPENED.

‘What kind of philosophy is that?’

THE ONLY ONE THAT WORKS.

Scott D August 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I’ve yet to see anyone honestly and competently answer your question, Peter. Responses boil down to:

1. Ignore the question and it will go away. Continue as before.
2. Admit that, “Yes, all that’s required to define property is causality.” Ignore/deny the fatal problems with this.
3. Redirect, thusly: “No, no. You see, the author CREATED the work, so it’s more than just causality. Property rights are derived from creation. That’s why all property rights are intellectual property rights. Besides, if we didn’t have IP, we wouldn’t have Avatar or penicillin or the internet or electricity or gunpowder. Without the properly-formulated government-granted monopoly incentives to innovate, no one would ever do anything.”
4. Scream in fury, “YOU CAN’T HAVE MY PROPERTY FILTHY PIRATE!”

It would be nice if the IP proponents would admit that they are wrong, concede that they have no logical answer, or make a real attempt at addressing your question. In the absence of any of these, it’s pretty evident that they are simply trying to paper over the big, gaping hole has been shot in their arguments.

Peter Surda August 30, 2011 at 5:19 am

Maybe the IP proponents should watch this too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz2p4EQtEXs

Kid Salami September 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm

That video would have been a lot longer if before even communicating they had been obliged to thrash out some pre-contract rules about exactly what kind of “pie” it was from scratch, using only objective non-human-action-related unambiguous defintions.

Maybe Teller would have said it was a Sara Lee, then Penn could have asked if he meant the “real” Sara Lee. Teller could have said yes – but as this means essentially nothing, Penn could have asked something specific like “is this made by the company that is registered at….[he goes to his laptop]…[10 mins later]….13 TransactionCosts Street, County ThisIsAWasteOfTime” and then Teller says yes.

When Penn complains what a pain the ass this is and says that “if pressed to their logical conclusion, [this] would make the very idea of a contractual order and therefore of a free market incoherent”, Teller says “Don’t worry, in the real world, big companies would have a lot to lose by selling fake Sara Lee products pretending to be real Sara Lee products so you’d be fine”.

Then Penn might pull a face at the camera, like the one Troy McClure pulled when the kid asks him what DNA stands for.

This video wouldn’t have been as illustrative of your point though would it.

Craig Townsend September 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Kinsella’s Against Intellectual Property reads like an old socialist diatribe against the idea of patent rights. The fact that the LVMI has adopted this old left wing attack on patents is one of the things that disturbs me greatly about the intellectual heirs of the Austrian school. I am a Misean through and through but the degenerating libertarian infection in Austrian Thought is troublesome. The fact that Libertarians never seem to notice when they have strayed off their classical liberal foundations into socialist epistemology is a disturbing trend in modern libertarian thought.

Galambo’s ideas are interesting and when coupled with Emergence and Complexity theory, ie if you have an evolutionary view of change, then one can see where his ideas can take us if science and technology is allowed to fully evolve without the interventionism of government and the green neo-communists. Like all highly intelligent individuals they have their wild ideas, but wild ideas are what brings change to the world. Going to the moon was a wild idea, so was classical liberal thought a revolutionary idea in its time. The idea of economic government is also a wild idea, but is it an impossible idea?

If social cooperation uncontaminated by government intervention was allowed to evolve and emerge into a complex system on its own, can we say that a form of social cooperative economic government could not emerge in time? The great work Boundaries of Order, sold by the LVMI points us in that direction. Fast forward 200 years and what have today’s mutual funds evolved into? What has the internet become? What has production become with printers that can print what you want in every home?

Science and technology is moving in the direction where individuals can and will have more and more control over their own property, production and a mutual ownership of all other business enterprises (That is if we are nto forced into collectivism). Is then Galambo’s a crack pot or a visionary? Time will decide that one. Our goal is to dismantle the welfare-warfare state and then let the free social cooperative evolutionary synergistic “market” evolve to the next stage.

Kinsella’s and others trite ad hominem attacks are infantile and are unworthy of the great patrimony of the Austrian school. One day maybe the Libertarians will take off their intellectual short pants and put on long grown up ones.

Wildberry September 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Craig,
Late to the party but your sentiments are accurate and welcome.

Stephan Kinsella September 27, 2011 at 1:44 pm

None of this makes a single substantive claim about my arguments, nor does it show Galambos is anything more than a joke (at least when it comes to IP).

I’m not a leftist, nor are my arguments. In fact the left suffers from the same problem that Galambos, Rand, and even Locke and some classical liberals do: the labor theory of value, which is pure unadulterated nonsense and utter confusion.

I do note the generous use of Crankish Initial Caps in this post: calling us Libertarians (really? are we members of the LP?), Austrian Thought, Emergence, Complexity.

BTW I am pretty sure Butler Shaffer, the author of the book you commend, who is on the board of my journal, is anti IP too.

Daniel Shapiro September 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Once again Kinsella puts his foot in his mouth and displays his ignorance regarding Galambos and the ideas of volitional science. V-50 explicitly acknowleges and includes Meger’s subjective theory of value in contradistintion to the false labor hypothesis of value per Locke, Adam Smith, Marx, et al. Galambos later derived ther labor theory of value from scientific epistemology which he termed the subjective theory of knowledge per intellectual property inputs of Arthur Eddington. If you think about it a bit “value” is a form of knowledge.

Stephan Kinsella September 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Galambos might say he is in favor of Menger’s subjective theory of value but his IP views contradict that. It’s not my fault that he’s confused and inconsistent. And you say that he later derives the labor theory of value anyway! That is contrary to Austrian value theory, you do realize. Further, he was scientistic and his views on “deriving” were monist and crankish.

Vahram Diehl September 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm

No, Galambos was definitely subscribed to the subjective theory of value. Here’s an idea: try reading his book sometime. It would probably only take about as much time as you have already devoted to writing this post and fiercely defending it in comments. It might also give you stronger arguments than using one’s preference for proper noun capitalization as evidence for their crankishness. Oh, sorry, I don’t think “crankishness” is officially considered a word by the Oxford English Dictionary… I admit defeat and surrender to your intellectual superiority, Kinsella.

Daniel Shapiro September 28, 2011 at 2:59 am

Once again Kinsella you’ve demonstrated your ignorance regaring Galambos’ ideas. Who died and made you the dogmatic Pope of Menger, Bohm Bawerk, and Mises’ intellectual property. “Scientistic” seems to be your convenient receptacle for anything you don’t understand and which doesn’t fit with your Austrian Economic Bible and your praxilogical philosophic method. Your mental masturbations bore me. I’m done here. Good luck!

Craig Townsend September 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Kinsella is a funny person. How in the heck do you jump from intellectual property rights to the labor theory of value? How is the idea that a mystical quality infusing anything with value a determiner or underwriter for the basic idea of intellectual property rights? If anything it is Kinsella et al who show a penchant for the idea of the labor theory or mystical ideas of value as they cannot seem to comprehend that any property right can exist as an “ephemeral” product. They thus insist that property rights must be physical and adhere only to physical substances and materials, a truly materialist idea.

So I have to ask, does the artist have a right to his art? A writer to his novel/work? A musical composer to his original music? And if not why does a person have a right to any property at all? If mixing my labor, talent etc in physical property gives me a right per Locke, to physical property, why does not the same apply to any other work that I do? Did I or did I not create it? Did I or did I not make something useful to the human race? And if I did what reason do you have to say I have no right to the work of my mind if you do not reject that I have a right to the work of my hands as well. Your argument against intellectual property can be expanded to include all property. You are on a slippery slope with a burlap sack under you and a long way down to tyranny/collectivism ahead of you.

The slippery slope the anti-intellectualist’s have is a long fall into socialism. Did Galambo’s go a bit to far in his “protection” of intellectual property, probably so, is going too far the other direction going to solve the problem, no it will not. The long hoary ages of backwardness and lack of scientific and technological innovation owes itself to the utter lack of any property right to knowledge. Going back to this Dark Age is not the answer.

So I read your book and found it so much in concert with older socialist works, even making the same arguments at times, that I threw it aside as trash. How do you stop the destruction of all property rights since all ideas of property and values are subjective in Austrian economic theory? Praxeology is all about the full gambit of what humans do. All ideas in their infancy are intellectual ideas, period! Even Rothbard begins to make many of the same arguments that Galambos does in the book of his collected essays called Economic Controversies. Shall you now rip Rothbard a new one as well? Or are you willing to look at the unintended consequences of your ideas and the full philosophical assumptions you are making without the ad hominem and sophomoric attitude?

Craig Townsend September 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm

So let us begin Socratically, and Ill ask you some simple questions.

What do you define as rights in/to property? what sort of property does an individual have a right to?

Once we have your difinitive answer we can then examine it fully.

Vahram Diehl September 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm

No, Galambos was definitely subscribed to the subjective theory of value. Here’s an idea: try reading his book sometime. It would probably only take about as much time as you have already devoted to writing this post and fiercely defending it through response to comments.

Craig Townsend September 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Ok, No repsonse so Ill dive in. As I worte a friend;

I find Kinsella et al confused people, he says in his book Against Intellectual Property that Ayn Rand is contradictory in that she advocates patent protection for innovation but not knowledge. Yet when Galambo’s solves this contradiction by extending property rights to all “non-procreative” creations of an individual, he is then to them a nut case? He solves the problem entirely by etxending property rights across the board with no exceptions.

Yet they, the anti-IPers, do not see their inner contradiction in that they state they want protection for Property, which they describe in materialists terms (very labor theory of value) but deny it to all non-material labor creations of people. Thus they totally ignore their own contradiction here. what a person makes with their hands is property, what they make with their minds is not, an entirely Kautskian neo-Marxian definition.

If you can deny property rights to some part of what a person does why not all? For instance they use utilitarianism to deny rights on IP because it slows down the rate of growth in progress, but doesn’t property rights in houses, physical land etc also not do the same thing?

If I as an owner of a property that is in the way of “progress” refuse to sell it and fight eminent domain, am I not then doing the very same thing that a patent holder does if they refuse to license their patent? They decry the slow down of progress that the various patent holders of the steam engine did by arguing and fighting each other over their patent rights, yet is this not the same issue when I as a land holder fight the coerced progress against my land? The same thing happened over the various patent holders of the sewing machine, but they finally woke up and pooled their patents and began production and they all became wealthy. The argument here isn’t against patents, the argument here is that social cooperation is far more effective and enriching then non-cooperation, but shall I turn to the State to force people by coercion to be more socially cooperative?

If I deny rights to the inventor, why dont I deny equally the rights of the “physical” property owner? Wouldn’t anyone then who stands in the way of progress and the greatest happiness for the greatest number also not have any right to their property as well? Of course they wouldn’t. The anti-IPers fetish neo-Marxian mind set only sees a physical thing as having properties and non-physical things as not, but isn’t this the very idea behind things such as unearned income taxes? What you make with your hands physically is earned, what you make with your intellect is not. This fetish totem minded collectivism only sees physical labor as having value and denounces and ridicules any and every concept of intellectual labor, which is actually the very same ideological position of the anti-IP set infesting the LVMI and turning ASE on its head creating a rapprochement with collectivist epistemology since society can now make a claim on one portion of our life, our very intellectual creativity and imagination.

Kinsella et al are just as inconstant as he says Ayn Rand is being. He just doesn’t see it because of his own ideological rigidity. If human evolution and progress can be increased by eliminating the idea of property rights in one area of human achievement, then all areas can equally be denied as well. You open the door to collectivism pure and simple. This argument isn’t about Galambo’s, Rand and Libertarianism, this argument is about rights to ones property both tangible and intangible. As human beings are tangible beings making intangible value judgments, the logical extension of the Austrian School MUST be in the direction of securing property rights to all areas of human praxeology/endeavor. That and that alone is the ONLY consistent, non contradictory position. If you do what the present crop of pseudo Austrians are doing, you turn back to the creator of force, coercion and fraud and make them by law split humanity into two beings, a private being that owns physical property and a social being whose mind is owned by society/The STATE.

This is pure and simple a form of collectivism, as you have now forcibly collectivized every human beings intuition, dreams and ingenuity. You have collectivized the Mind! That ladies and gentleman is the real error of the present crop of ASE non-scholars. They have become “third way” collectivists and are too ideologically retarded to notice it.

Mises and Hayek must be spinning in their graves!

Michael A. Clem September 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Not really sure I understand your argument. What Kinsella and others are saying is that the state has created property rights where ‘property’ does not exist, and thus these are not legitimate property rights. Exactly how is it ‘collectivization’ if the copying of ideas are not restricted? Where is the coercion that enforces this freedom of copying?

Peter Surda September 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Craig,

Yet they, the anti-IPers, do not see their inner contradiction in that they state they want protection for Property, which they describe in materialists terms (very labor theory of value) but deny it to all non-material labor creations of people.

Kindly show me an example of immaterial creation that does not involve an alteration of physical objects. Absent that, IP contradicts physical property rights.

Craig T September 29, 2011 at 10:55 am

” IP contradicts physical property rights.”

Really? Why? because it isn’t physical? Concrete? You can’t touch it? You are an immanentist in the line of Locke, Smith and Marx. In the line of every Neanderthal and tribalist who because they cannot hit something physical with a club deny its existence.

I have a deed on the land I own, how is that any different then a patent? Is not a deed a patent in land? Weren’t they once called land patents? Yes they were!!! The idea of land ownership is an invention of the human mind. The boundaries of my land are purely arbitrary, created by human ingenuity and passed down by an ephemeral document that we legally uphold as a way to end all chaos in society. If ownership of my land is created by a document which is the complete and entire creation of human invention, why is it valid and gives me property rights and a patent on something I invent not able to have the same rights? How does this differ in any way? You are all inconstant and contradictory.

As for the dire and idiotic position of utilitarianism, does not my title in land stop the spinning wheels of progress if I refuse to let someone take it from me for a “public work?” Cannot every single argument you make against patents and copy write be extended to every physical property right as well? Yes it can, the socialists do so as they do not stop along the road to contradiction which you have and end up ending all property rights entirely.

If it is the creation of the human mind, then no property right exists, that IS the argument you are all basically making at heart. With that basic argument all property rights are defeated and we are back to a state of nature. The fact that you cannot see that means that you are blinded by your ideology.

To eliminate all contradiction then we have only two choices

1. End ALL property rights as the collectivists claim as they are all fictions of human creation and don’t exist in nature or natural society, or…
2. Extend all property rights to everything that human ingenuity and inventiveness creates.

Those are the only two choices left; your third way doesn’t work as it leaves us teeter tottering between two choices which societal forces will pull toward collectivism eventually. You leave us not solving any problems you leave us where every conservative notion does, laying the rail road tracks for coming despotism.

Michael A. Clem September 29, 2011 at 11:23 am

The idea of land ownership is an invention of the human mind. The boundaries of my land are purely arbitrary, created by human ingenuity and passed down by an ephemeral document that we legally uphold as a way to end all chaos in society.
Yes, the idea of land ownership is an invention of the human mind. Yet no one has “ownership” over the idea of land ownership, just over the land itself. Similarly, no one can have ownership of an idea for a song, a novel, an invention, a computer program, etc., either. One might be said to own the actual song, novel, invention, program, etc., but once copies are made, as they can so easily be made nowadays, does the original person actually “own’ the copies, or are they in fact owned by whoever made or received the copies? Does this original owner get to dictate what other people can do with their property, and thus violate their property rights, or are we forced to admit that the original owner’s rights cannot violate other people’s rights? That in fact, everyone is equal in regard to rights?

J. Giles September 29, 2011 at 11:35 am

The argument you’re making here is, unfortunately, off the mark. You are beginning with the idea that people have physical property rights in something because they create it, or ‘mix their labor’ with a physical object. This isn’t true, and it isn’t the position held by Surda, Kinsella, and most others here on the site. I’ll try to explain; if someone who’s more immersed in the theory sees an inaccuracy, feel free to correct me.

Now;

Property rights come from homesteading; that is, in order to gain an original claim to a piece of land, or a rock, or a river, or whatever, you have to fulfill certain conditions. Namely;
1. You are the first to use it. That is, you cannot ‘take over’ something someone else has already claimed; it has to be virgin, unused territory.
2. You are using what you claim. You cannot simply fence off a hundred square miles, declare it all your property, and then leave it alone. You must do something with it.
3. Nobody else can use it simultaneously. That is to say, what you are claiming is rivalrous, or scarce. Two people can’t farm the same plot; two people can’t cut the same tree for wood; two people can’t sleep in the same place. Property rights are a way of allocating control over resources, and so it makes no sense to apply them to things that everyone can have simultaneously.

Once you have claimed a piece of property, then anything produced from it is also yours. The raw materials belonged to you; thus the product belongs to you as well. Your rock remains your rock even if someone else sneaks onto your land at night and carves it into an Easter Island head. Notice that this principal contradicts the Lockean theory; the carver has indisputably ‘mixed his labor’ with the rock by carving it, whereas the land owner may simply be using the rock as a boundary marker, and not expending labor on it at all.

With the homesteading theory laid out, it’s blindingly obvious how it contradicts IP. If someone has an IP ‘right’ to some idea (let’s take the log cabin example from earlier), then that allows them to control someone else’s use of their physical property. If Joe ‘owns’ the idea of ‘building a log cabin out of oak logs’, and Brown cuts down some of his own oak trees on his own land, using his own axe, and begins to build a cabin using his own hammer and nails, Joe can apparently tell him to stop. THIS is the contradiction that Peter Surda is talking about; and it’s what you need to resolve in order to defend IP. So far, no-one has done that.

Stephan Kinsella September 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm

” IP contradicts physical property rights.”

Really? Why? because it isn’t physical? Concrete? You can’t touch it?

Because you guys want IP enFORCEable. That means you use physical force of the law/state, against the physical property of the victims of IP law–for example, you want to use these IP rights to forcefully take my physical property (say, my money) from me, or to use physical force to compel me not to use my physical body and/or physical property in certain ways. So asserting an IP right is ALWAYS just the assertion of some property right in a scarce, material resource. But ownership rights in these material resources is already determined in accordance with Lockean first-use principles, i.e. they are already owned, and if you announce a new control right over my own resources, then you are transferring my rights of control over my property, to some third party.

Wildberry September 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm

If enFORCEablilty was the criteria for illegitimacy, wouldn’t all laws be illegitimate, and consequently all rights?

Stephan Kinsella September 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm

No, it just explains why IP contradicts or undermines existing property rights. Legitimate property rights may be enforced by force. But if you invent a new enforceable rights that has to come at the expense of existing rights, just as printing more money dilutes the purchasing power of existing money, just as legislating new positive rights (like the right to education) has to come at the expense of negative rights. TAANSTAFL. and, no offense, you.

Wildberry October 4, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Stephan,

Yes, I know you think this particular right, IP, undermines other rights; I’m familiar with your position here.

What I don’t know is why this particular concept is different than other concepts of property? Since all rights, property or otherwise, are limited by the rights of others, (as evidenced by their right to take certain actions, if you want to be picky about it)
it appears to me that what you are saying could be said of any right; that it undermines the rights of others in some specific way, and cannot be limited to the concept of IP. IP is just one example of how this operates.

I think the question you avoi, is the big one; why is any particular right legitimate? It can’t be because it undermines other rights, since that is true generally of all rights, and not just in the case of IP.

As far as a free lunch, I agree. No offense taken.

Peter Surda September 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Craig,

Really? Why?

I already explained it. Rather then addressing my claim, you divert the debate and start raving.

because it isn’t physical?

No, because it is. It is a different way of interpreting the physical world. Giving it a new name is double counting. If physical objects are covered by property rights, there is nothing left for IP to address, other than redistribute physical goods.

Either show a counterexample, or admit that IP contradicts property rights in physical objects.

You are all inconstant and contradictory.

No, you are. I did not claim any of those things you talk about. Furthermore, it is not necessary to accept an anti-IP position in order to address my claim. My claim is that IP and physical property contradict each other. It is irrelevant how exactly you fix this. For all I care you can reject physical property rights altogether, that’s also a logically valid approach.

Last but not least a methodological consideration. All human action is just an alteration of physical objects. There is no immaterial action. To call some of these actions “creation” and derive different rights from them than from other actions (which presumably are not creation) requires a fundamentally new theory, one that IP proponents completely fail to explain.

pauled October 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Hi Peter,

You may be making a narrow point which i am not catching becuase i have filtered some context, but your comment “My claim is that IP and physical property contradict each other. It is irrelevant how exactly you fix this. For all I care you can reject physical property rights altogether, that’s also a logically valid approach.” strikes me as incorrect. The rejection of property rights (libertarianism) itself is a contradiction, and therefore logically invalid. And, of course, any other set of rules (such as say those associate with IP) that conflicts with the rules implicit in property rights, is also logically invalid.

Stephan Kinsella October 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm

“The rejection of property rights (libertarianism) itself is a contradiction, and therefore logically invalid.” Libertarians do not reject property rights. In fact, no one does. We all have some view of property–who owns what. What distinguishes us is our theory of how property rights should be assigned.

Peter Surda October 4, 2011 at 1:29 am

Pauled,

The rejection of property rights (libertarianism) itself is a contradiction, and therefore logically invalid.

Since property rights in physical objects and IP contradict each other, rejecting one of them is a valid approach to fixing the logical fallacy. Which one is up to the one making the argument.

And, of course, any other set of rules (such as say those associate with IP) that conflicts with the rules implicit in property rights, is also logically invalid.

There are infinite number of ways to assemble logically consistent arguments with respect to property rights.

Wildberry October 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm

@Stephan Kinsella October 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Libertarians do not reject property rights. In fact, no one does. We all have some view of property–who owns what. What distinguishes us is our theory of how property rights should be assigned.

I think this is correct; you are an advocate of one possible system of property rights.

It comes down to an arguement of the merits and demerits of a given system. That ultimately is a utilitarian arguement, and to some extent an economic argument, at least as it pertains to means and ends. This is one way to understand the statemetn by Mises, “Property is a human device”.

I just happen to disagree with you that your system is a superior means to achieve the ends of cooperation and peaceful adjudication of conflicting claims to property.

Wildberry October 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm

@Peter Surda October 4, 2011 at 1:29 am

Since property rights in physical objects and IP contradict each other,

You have never been able to demonstrate this with an argument. You simply make the unsupported claim that all property rights pre-exist a claim of IP rights. If you do not assume your conclusion, you cannot support this claim. If you assume IP exists within a system of property rights, you statement is absurd.

Peter Surda October 5, 2011 at 2:05 am

Wildberry,

You have never been able to demonstrate this with an argument.

My claim is a negative, falsificationist claim. It cannot be proved, it can only be disproved. I challenged you many times to do that, however you avoid a response.

You simply make the unsupported claim that all property rights pre-exist a claim of IP rights.

I do not make such a claim.

If you do not assume your conclusion, you cannot support this claim.

It is you who assumes your conclusion, that IP and property rights in physical objects do not contradict each other. Yet not only you provide no examples of it, you go as far as on multiple occasions deny the methodological basis of the question and continue that imagination takes precedence over logic.

If you assume IP exists within a system of property rights, you statement is absurd.

If you assume that IP rights exist, this logically means that some rights in the physical objects cannot. You skip over this error by making the assertion that the approach is just, but never address the contradiction.

Peter Surda October 5, 2011 at 2:14 am

Wildberry,

If you apply this principle to IP, you will find that you cannot use your own paper and ink to copy a book, because such a use of the original book violates pre-existing rights in the owner of that physical good. The copier’s use of your own property is limited by the rights of the owner of the physical object you are copying from.

In other words, you admit that IP is a redistributive policy. It denies rights to the copier and grants them to the author instead.

Your statement that “there is nothing left for IP to address” is wrong on its face.

Yet in your own examples, you confirm the statement.

There is no need to define a “gap” that can only be filled by IP.

On the contrary. Without a gap, a lot of the arguments of IP proponents vanish, for example the alleged similarity with public property and communism. Furthermore, the utilitarian approach is also significantly hampered, because the absence of a gap explains that you need to compare the costs with the benefits.

In the rest of your comment, you are trying to justify IP morally, but fail to address the methodological fallacies in your position. Moral stances do not fix logical errors

Wildberry October 5, 2011 at 11:22 am

Surda,

Your premise is stupid; IP displaces “real” property rights.

All rights, property or otherwise, must coexist with other rights. Any time a right is defined or acknowledged, it changes the matrix of competing rights. To observe that this is true is tautology.

Also, failing to understand the legal doctrine of property, you don’t grasp that the fundamental distinction between property and contracts is in its operation; property as a concept simply means that its effect is felt by the world, not just those in privity of contact. If you understood this, you would understand why Mises says that property is a human device; a means to attainable ends.

Follow Kinsella’s reference to the David Friedman law article to get a clue, as if you are interested…
Since I know you are not, I’ll quote for you the relevant part in support of what I’m saying:

The essential feature of a property right -such as copyright- is that it is good against the world. A contract is good only against the party that signed the contract. [page 5, n20]

Your argument, which is even more ignorant than Kinsella’s is superficial, is that the homesteading principle “locks up” all possible manifestations of the concept of property, and so if you “add” IP to the mix, all other rights have to move over, as if this is the final word on whether they do or should.

This can be said of any rights. If we say that all rights to ones’ self existed before the emancipation proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment, the creation of rights to former slaves meant that the rights of slave-owners had to “make room” for these “new” rights.

We could have made the issue of whether slaves are free or not a matter of contract; that only slaves who signed a contract to make themselves slaves could legitimately be called “slaves”. Instead, we implemented it as a property right; all people are owners of themselves. That right is good against the world, i.e. is a property right.

If you could grasp that distinction, you wouldn’t make this stupid argument anymore.

Wildberry October 5, 2011 at 11:37 am

@Peter Surda October 5, 2011 at 2:14 am

In other words, you admit that IP is a redistributive policy. It denies rights to the copier and grants them to the author instead.

No, I admit they are DISTRIBUTIVE, as are all manifestations of rights. Your use of “re” simply assumes a priori that the copier had rights at some point, which are LATER reallocated. This is false.

IP rights, specifically copyright, arise at the moment of expression and fixation by an original author. At that point in time, the copier has no rights to claim. Do you make a contrary claim?

Yet in your own examples, you confirm the statement.

The only contradiction is the ones in your head.

Without a gap, a lot of the arguments of IP proponents vanish, for example the alleged similarity with public property and communism. Furthermore, the utilitarian approach is also significantly hampered, because the absence of a gap explains that you need to compare the costs with the benefits.

I said there is no gap, yet you claim that it is the keystone of a pro-IP argument. What gap? How you leap to “public property and communism” is astounding, but please explain.

You understand utilitarianism less than you understand legal concepts. See Danny Sanchez’s recent excellent articles for a clue. Your fallacy is treated specifically, as I recall.

In the rest of your comment, you are trying to justify IP morally, but fail to address the methodological fallacies in your position. Moral stances do not fix logical errors

I have concluded that you know nothing of which you speak, which explains your approach to discourse. You employ your own ignorance to construct a false interpretation of the arguments you then refute with even greater ignorance.

Have you ever considered that not all inferiority complexes are a complex? Some arguments, and the people to make them, just suck.

Wildberry October 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm

@Stephan Kinsella October 5, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Of course. Before B imprints pattern X on his property, owner A has the right to imprint pattern X onto his own property too. Q.E.D.

Are you even trying to make sense? At the moment in time I reference, how do you assume B has access to the pattern X he is about to imprint? What limitations, if any might legitimately exist regarding his rights of ownership and use to X? How are conflicting claims to these rights between A and B resolved? You assume rather a lot, yes?

Q.E.D?????? Hardly.

Why don’t you ask Sanchez what he thinks about IP

I didn’t reference Danny’s article for his position on IP, but his analysis of Mises and utilitarianism. I don’t require him to pass a litmus test for being a “real libertarian”.

, you gadfly.

If you mean I’m someone who persistently challenges people in positions of power, the status quo or a popular position, then thank you, although again you assume much about your power and position.

Given that you have a habit of equivocation, and the word may be uttered in a pejorative sense, while at the same time be accepted as a description of honorable work or civic duty, though I understand you probably intended the former, I choose to believe the latter.

Stephan Kinsella October 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Wildberry:

Of course. Before B imprints pattern X on his property, owner A has the right to imprint pattern X onto his own property too. Q.E.D.

Are you even trying to make sense?

Yes. In fact, I just checked with Der Hoppe. He confirmed it. QED.

At the moment in time I reference, how do you assume B has access to the pattern X he is about to imprint?

I don’t. I said he has the right to. NOt the “access to” the information.

Let’s take a simple example, to expose your mental shenanigans.

Let’s suppose up until the year 100 all houses were made of wooden logs. In 200 someone comes up with the idea of using bricks to make a house. Let’s also assume this idea is “patentable” in your arbitrary statutory sense. Now in the year 150, let’s say there is A, who has land, a log house, and a pile of bricks. Does he, or does he not, have the right to use these bricks to replace the log walls of his house? I say he does. This is true even if he does not yet have this idea.

See how you are confusing causation with rights?

What limitations, if any might legitimately exist regarding his rights of ownership and use to X? How are conflicting claims to these rights between A and B resolved? You assume rather a lot, yes?

If A uses his bricks to build a brick house on his own land, there is no conflict. If B claims he can stop him he is claiming a property right in A’s body, bricks, or land, contrary to the assumption that A is a self-owners and owns the bricks and land. See?

I choose to believe the latter.

You can choose what you believe? Wow. Impressive feat, that.

Peter Surda October 6, 2011 at 6:32 am

Wildberry,

No, I admit they are DISTRIBUTIVE, as are all manifestations of rights.

Aha, but what do they distribute? The social status of manipulating physical objects.

your use of “re” simply assumes a priori that the copier had rights at some point, which are LATER reallocated.

I do not assume this. It follows from the concept of property rights in physical objects that IP proponents subscribe to. Most of the IP proponents make the claim that in the absence of IP, there are unallocated rights. Just off the top of my head, Stranger and Schulman. Stranger paradoxically refutes himself right away and is merely oblivious to it.

You are a different case. You mix two types of claims: that in the absence of IP, rights are misallocated, and that in the absence of IP, rights are unallocated. You rapidly shift between those two in the hope that your opponents will miss it.

This is false.

It is not false. It merely does not correspond to your preferences. But that’s not an argument, on the contrary, it underscores that you deny that the copier has rights in the first place, and that the author has them instead.

IP rights, specifically copyright, arise at the moment of expression and fixation by an original author.

As I explained and Stephan too, the only way this can have any effect whatsoever if this simultaneously means that at the moment of fixation, other people lose some rights. There is no way around this. You yourself admit that there is no gap.

At that point in time, the copier has no rights to claim.

So where does IP come from then since you admit that there is no gap for it to address? It need to come by sacrificing other people’s rights. You contradict yourself.

The only contradiction is the ones in your head.

See above.

I said there is no gap, yet you claim that it is the keystone of a pro-IP argument. What gap?

You make a claim and then immediately wonder what is it about. How quaint.

How you leap to “public property and communism” is astounding, but please explain.

I have been explaining this, also to you, over the course of almost a year, and you’ve been ignoring it. Suddenly it’s a surprise to you.

You understand utilitarianism less than you understand legal concepts.

You provide no evidence for your claims.

See Danny Sanchez’s recent excellent articles for a clue.

The topic of Danny’s articles is unrelated to my arguments.

Your fallacy is treated specifically, as I recall.

You have failed to explain what the fallacy is.

Again, you present no arguments and no responses. Instead you present cheap tricks and assert the moral high ground.

Peter Surda October 6, 2011 at 6:52 am

Wildberry,

Your premise is stupid…

… which is another way of saying that instead of confronting arguments, you prefer to distract.

All rights, property or otherwise, must coexist with other rights.

You mix two issues: the rhetorical and the logical. It is possible to say a sentence that contains a contradiction, just like it is possible to write laws that contradict each other. However, when attempting to act upon them, contradictions are impossible.

you don’t grasp that the fundamental distinction between property and contracts is in its operation; property as a concept simply means that its effect is felt by the world, not just those in privity of contact.

You provide no evidence that this bears any resemblance whatsoever to any of my arguments.

Your argument, which is even more ignorant than Kinsella’s is superficial, is that the homesteading principle “locks up” all possible manifestations of the concept of property, and so if you “add” IP to the mix, all other rights have to move over, as if this is the final word on whether they do or should.

You misrepresent my argument. My argument isn’t that such an allocation is just or necessary, merely that it consistently addresses all conflicts. Furthermore, I cannot recall an IP proponent that denies that the act of homesteading grants at least some rights.

This can be said of any rights.

No, it cannot. I already explained several times why and you ignored it.

If you could grasp that distinction, you wouldn’t make this stupid argument anymore.

Since you do not actually argue but rather attempt to build a facade of faux erudity, I wonder why you are bothered by your opponents’ arguments being “stupid”. To you, the arguments others make are in general irrelevant, you just talk about whatever you want anyway.

Wildberry October 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm

@Peter Surda September 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm

If physical objects are covered by property rights, there is nothing left for IP to address, other than redistribute physical goods.

IP, a class of property rights defined by positive law (if you want to know what they are), cover physical objects. All physical objects are subject to certain types of uses. All property defines, by its very existence, what uses are lawful, and which uses are unlawful, based on whether such a use violates another’s rights.

For example, use of your land, your private property, to burn toxic waste and release it into the air above your property, might be a violation of other people’s right to breath clean air. Such a use of your private property might be considered aggression. Your use of your own property is limited by the extent to which your use of it interferes with superior and/or pre-existing rights.

If you apply this principle to IP, you will find that you cannot use your own paper and ink to copy a book, because such a use of the original book violates pre-existing rights in the owner of that physical good. The copier’s use of your own property is limited by the rights of the owner of the physical object you are copying from.

Since physical things are limited, as is the uses that they can be put to (even if that list is very large), property rights doctrine can and do assign the rights to those uses in a ways that result in more, not less, lawfulness. That is the nature of all property rights.

But unlike you and Kinsella, I do not hold that property rights are something that exists outside the will of humans, as a “natural right” that is beyond the reach of human-made laws, but is something invented by humans as means to those ends they (we?) hold as desirable in some justifiable and acceptable way. In this respect, property is a human device; it is a means to specific ends.

Your statement that “there is nothing left for IP to address” is wrong on its face.

Property rights, taken as a whole, cover all rights in property. There is no need to define a “gap” that can only be filled by IP. Property rights arise by operation of law, no matter what system of codification or enforcement you assume.

In our legal system, if there is a particular set of facts for which this system of rights does not specifically address, a refinement to the law will emerge, often through the common law application of existing legal doctrine. Likewise, such refinements or codifications may arise through legislative action. Like all human endeavors, they are not flawless, and tend to evolve over time. This is a good thing; otherwise we would still have slavery and be burning witches at the stake.

If there is ambiguity in the relevant facts, reasonable people are capable of deciding how much importance and credibility can be afforded to them, considering the totality of the circumstances. This is the way we deal with the adjudication of competing claims to rights and justice. It is not all bad. Like it or not, such a system is a blend of objective doctrine and subjective judgment on the facts.

Computers and their software masters operate on command and control doctrine. Humans have the ability to make subjective judgments, and have, or at least attempt to employ both objective and subjective thinking. Humans (at not least all humans) are not computers or software, and so are not limited to objective doctrine only. This, also, is not a bad thing.

In the law, what you and Kinsella propose is a doctrine limited to the application of strict liability. In case you don’t know, in common law, this is a very, very limited doctrine. Most liability doctrine is based on factual causation and a system of duties and obligations, both of which are carefully defined as rights and liabilities. I think if you knew more about this, you would be embarrassed to claim much of what you do here.

Then again, computers and software do not feel embarrassed.

Stephan Kinsella October 5, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Wildbery:

I admit they are DISTRIBUTIVE, as are all manifestations of rights. Your use of “re” simply assumes a priori that the copier had rights at some point, which are LATER reallocated. This is false.

IP rights, specifically copyright, arise at the moment of expression and fixation by an original author. At that point in time, the copier has no rights to claim. Do you make a contrary claim?

Of course. Before B imprints pattern X on his property, owner A has the right to imprint pattern X onto his own property too. Q.E.D.

See Danny Sanchez’s recent excellent articles for a clue. Your fallacy is treated specifically, as I recall.

Why don’t you ask Sanchez what he thinks about IP, you gadfly.

pauled October 4, 2011 at 2:47 am

Stephan:


“The rejection of property rights (libertarianism) itself is a contradiction, and therefore logically invalid.” Libertarians do not reject property rights. In fact, no one does. We all have some view of property–who owns what. What distinguishes us is our theory of how property rights should be assigned.

Yes, what distinguishes us is that our theory is coherent, consistent and correct. When you say that socialists do not reject property rights, you are taking, not an incorrect meaning to “property rights”, but i think it is fair to say, your own very specific innovation to the term. I think libertarians generally use the term “property rights” to be libertarian property rights, and all other kinds of conflicting “property rights” more as the violation of or absence of “property rights”. But i get your meaning.

In this context, i am saying that only the libertarian view of property rights are consistent with the necessary assumptions of justification, and therefore, only that view can be justified.

Peter:
“There are infinite number of ways to assemble logically consistent arguments with respect to property rights.”

If you are saying there are an infinite number of logically valid and consistent systems of property rights, including those ethics that are inconsistent with the libertarian ethic, you are mistaken. Hans Hoppe has shown, via his Argumentation Ethics thesis, that only one single ethic can be justified: i.e. is consistent with the necessary preconditions to the act of justification: the libertarian ethic.

Peter Surda October 4, 2011 at 4:03 am

Pauled,

I know about Argumentation Ethics and I am still unconvinced by it. I continue to hold the opinion that it’s mixing normative and positive statements. But I admit that maybe I just don’t get the argument.

pauled October 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Peter,

“I know about Argumentation Ethics and I am still unconvinced by it.”

You are not alone.

” I continue to hold the opinion that it’s mixing normative and positive statements. But I admit that maybe I just don’t get the argument.”

It does, yes. AE observes that there are logically necessary normative preconditions connected with the act of argumentative justification. These preconditions are just as much “is” kinds of facts, as are the facts that one must exist, in the first place, to engage in argumentative justification. Originating from the purpose of justification – to cooperatively come to agreement on what is true – comes the normative (libertarian) preconditions that AE speaks of.

Since these normative preconditions can be shown to be the libertarian rules of interaction, and since one must presuppose them to justify anything, the libertarian ethic is shown to be ultimately justified, and contradictory ethics are shown unjustifiable. Of course to elaborate it thoroughly takes a few more paragraphs.

The upshot is, if your intuition ever suggested to you that only libertarianism is logical, and any form of socialism or tyranny, violates some kind of fundamental logic, that intuition is shown correct. Finally intuition and logic meet, and on a very important matter. And to that I say “ain’t that something?”

Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2011 at 6:29 am

“The rejection of property rights (libertarianism) itself is a contradiction, and therefore logically invalid.” Libertarians do not reject property rights. In fact, no one does. We all have some view of property–who owns what. What distinguishes us is our theory of how property rights should be assigned.

Yes, what distinguishes us is that our theory is coherent, consistent and correct.

If by “our” you mean libertarians–yes. If you are including libertarians who think IP is property–no.

When you say that socialists do not reject property rights, you are taking, not an incorrect meaning to “property rights”, but i think it is fair to say, your own very specific innovation to the term. I think libertarians generally use the term “property rights” to be libertarian property rights, and all other kinds of conflicting “property rights” more as the violation of or absence of “property rights”. But i get your meaning.

Right. I think libertarians use “property” as a proxy or stand-in for “private property rights,” which is itself a proxy for the view that a libertarian-Lockean style origin of property is legitimate. The problem is this dual-use of property can lead to confusion and equivocation. Property sometimes means the object owned. Sometimes it means a relationship between owner and resource. Sometimes, as you note, it means the theoretical origins of property. In my view it is better to analytically separate out the fact of ownership: that is, the legal right to control a given resource–that would be the second meaning I just laid out. Property is thus a relationship between a given actor, and a given scarce resource: the legal right to control. But since we know legal systems in the real world are not always just, the question then is: is this ownership just? Is the owner the *right* owner? And that depends on how property titles are assigned. And that depends on what kind of social system we are talking about: socialist, social-democratic, or libertarian-capitalist. That is why I say what makes us different from other theories is not property–ownership–itself, but a particular view of how property titles ought to be assigned and allocated.

pauled October 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm

“If by “our” you mean libertarians–yes. If you are including libertarians who think IP is property–no.”

But of course. :)

“Right. I think libertarians use “property” as a proxy or stand-in for “private property rights,” which is itself a proxy for the view that a libertarian-Lockean style origin of property is legitimate. The problem is this dual-use of property can lead to confusion and equivocation. Property sometimes means the object owned. Sometimes it means a relationship between owner and resource. Sometimes, as you note, it means the theoretical origins of property. In my view it is better to analytically separate out the fact of ownership: that is, the legal right to control a given resource–that would be the second meaning I just laid out. Property is thus a relationship between a given actor, and a given scarce resource: the legal right to control. But since we know legal systems in the real world are not always just, the question then is: is this ownership just? Is the owner the *right* owner? And that depends on how property titles are assigned. And that depends on what kind of social system we are talking about: socialist, social-democratic, or libertarian-capitalist. That is why I say what makes us different from other theories is not property–ownership–itself, but a particular view of how property titles ought to be assigned and allocated.”

I agree. In a libertarian world, there is no problem with confusion of the meaning of the word property – context should take care of it. But in a world of institutionalized criminality, legislation that passes for justice, and arbitrary rules of accepted possession that pass for property rights, confusion reigns supreme. Socialists have their ideas of how resource possession can “legitimately” be assigned to an actor – and this is called property. But only the libertarian approach to the allocation of resources as property to “property owners”, can be morally and logically justified, as I think we agree.

Wildberry October 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

@pauled October 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm

In a libertarian world, there is no problem with confusion of the meaning of the word property – context should take care of it.

Even Kinsella admits above that there are “libertarians” who hold IP to be legitimate, yet claims that therefore they are not “real” libertarians, so I don’t know how you can assume that “context shoud take care fo it”. What you are saying is that the context is defined by that system of thought that already agrees with any and all of your assumptions.

nate-m October 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Or maybe it’s just logic.

IP supposes that it is correct and moral that documenting the thoughts of one man should directly lead to controlling the actions of all other men through threat of violence from a organized authority.

This is not only a violation of private property rights on external physical objects, but fundamentally contradicts self-ownership. The only way that a person can figure that libertarianism and IP are compatible would be along the lines of:
1. They believe that libertarianism does not consider self ownership and property rights as very important.
2. They have not thought about it very deeply.
3. They are delusional about the whole reality of IP and instead choose to focus on mumbo jumbo.
or
4. Or some sort of mixture of the all of the above.

Wildberry October 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm

nate-m October 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm

IP supposes that it is correct and moral that documenting the thoughts of one man should directly lead to controlling the actions of all other men through threat of violence from a organized authority.

Like I said, as long as you assume this premise, you can construct a logical argument that is consistent with it.

There is nothing in IP law that “supposes” anything about “documenting the thoughts of one man” leading to anything.

It has already been conceded by IP’s most vocal opponent, Mr. Kinsella, that an origianl manuscript, which is a “document” recording the expression originated by its author, (the subject matter of copyright law) is unequivically owned by the author.

If you agree with Kinsella, how is this ownership of private property a “violation of private property rights”? How does it conflict with your theories of “self-ownership”.

Just to show you how stupid your logical “conclusions” are:

1. I believe that self-ownership and prperty rights as very important.
2. I have thought about it, studied it, and written about it “very deeply”.
3. I am not delusional and am using simple, plain English.
4. Yes, a mixture of all above are involved in my analysis.

Yet I come to the opposite conclusion. So, let me ask you, have YOU really thought about what I’ve said, or are you just knee-jerking your foregone conclusions?

nate-m October 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

It has already been conceded by IP’s most vocal opponent, Mr. Kinsella, that an origianl manuscript, which is a “document” recording the expression originated by its author, (the subject matter of copyright law) is unequivically owned by the author.

I was talking about patent IP law.

You document your invention, register it with the government, and then pay the proper fees to the proper government official and then that gives you the right to sue anybody else for their actions if the government decides those actions infringe on what you documented.

1. I believe that self-ownership and prperty rights as very important.

Except that IP laws directly contradict self-ownership. If you patent a novel way to use a shovel then that gives you the right to use the government’s guns to control the actions of anybody else that happens to use their own shovel in that novel manner.

With patents when you document your idea that gives you the right to control the actions of other people who happen to have the same idea. It does not matter if they copied your idea, know about your idea, any of your products, your patent, or even the patent system. If they use that idea you have documented then that gives you the right to do such things as extract payments or get injunctions against them. IP has been used to remove products from store shelves and close factories.

2. I have thought about it, studied it, and written about it “very deeply”.

One would of hoped you would of seen this contradiction a very long time ago.

But you still refuse to acknowledge it. So that leaves….

3. I am not delusional and am using simple, plain English.

Hrmm….

Yet I come to the opposite conclusion. So, let me ask you, have YOU really thought about what I’ve said, or are you just knee-jerking your foregone conclusions?

Yawn.

Wildberry October 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm

@nate-m October 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I was talking about patent IP law.

Well, since you didn’t use the word patent anywhere, how am I supposed to know what you are thinking?

You document your invention, register it with the government, and then pay the proper fees to the proper government official and then that gives you the right to sue anybody else for their actions if the government decides those actions infringe on what you documented.

You document your title to land, register it with the government, pay the proper fees to the government official, and then that gives you the right to sue anybody else for their actions if the government decides those actions infringe on what you documented.

This is horrible and must be stopped!!!

Except that IP laws directly contradict self-ownership. If you patent a novel way to use a shovel then that gives you the right to use the government’s guns to control the actions of anybody else that happens to use their own shovel in that novel manner.

Your ignorance of patent law is showing. This is the way you want to suppose things are so you can easily oppose such a ridiculous concept. Your assumptions smuggled into your language, like “use their own shovel” and “happens to use” belie the reality of patent law.

With patents when you document your idea that gives you the right to control the actions of other people who happen to have the same idea.

In all but the limited case of independent co-invention, this is irrelevant. This kind of problem exists in other areas of social institutions, like contracts as well. When things happen, or are claimed to have happened simultaneously in a way that affects the assignment of rights and liabilities, rules arise to address them. The problems of offer/acceptance/revocation in contracts law is one simple example. Copying in copyright law is another. What about simultaneous claims of homesteading to the same resource? Couldn’t ever happen?

It does not matter if they copied your idea, know about your idea, any of your products, your patent, or even the patent system. If they use that idea you have documented then that gives you the right to do such things as extract payments or get injunctions against them. IP has been used to remove products from store shelves and close factories.

Yes, and product liability laws have also been used to remove products from the shelves. Do you really think you are making some kind of anti-IP argument here? Bombs have been used to vaporize entire factories. Do facts matter at all to you?

One would of hoped you would of seen this contradiction a very long time ago.

And now comes the ideological slogans. Don’t bother that you have not made a case. You know the answer because your conclusion is informed by your ideology. Have you heard of Reverend Moon? You two would get along fine. How about Stalin? He didn’t care about facts either.

But you still refuse to acknowledge it. So that leaves….

Yes, this must be it. Have you heard of the witch trials? If you admit you are a witch, you get burned at the stake. If you deny it, you get burned at the stake. It was a handy tool in the hands of ideologues, I’m sure. There is no chance that an accused would unfairly escape “justice”.

“So, let me ask you, have YOU really thought about what I’ve said, or are you just knee-jerking your foregone conclusions?”

Yawn.

Thought so.

pauled October 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Wildberry October 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

“Even Kinsella admits above that there are “libertarians” who hold IP to be legitimate, yet claims that therefore they are not “real” libertarians, so I don’t know how you can assume that “context shoud take care fo it”. What you are saying is that the context is defined by that system of thought that already agrees with any and all of your assumptions.”

What i mean, i guess, is that it seems to me that confusion over semantics related to property should be far less severe in a culture where people are libertarian and have a libertarian understanding of what property is, why it was instituted, and what function it serves.

I guess, therefore, I think libertarians, for starters, really do need to get a firm theoretical grip on just exactly what problem the libertarian concept of property solves and how. This would hugely simplify the analysis of the validity of IP.

Wildberry October 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm

@pauled October 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm

What i mean, i guess, is that it seems to me that confusion over semantics related to property should be far less severe in a culture where people are libertarian and have a libertarian understanding of what property is, why it was instituted, and what function it serves.

Nothing personal, but you seem confused about what the debate is about. It is not semantics, although it is true that some posters here use language to mean whatever suits them.

Property “is” a human device. It is a concept. The concept is manifest in rules of law. I say law because “lawful” means that the effected parties for the most part, have agreed that the rule is just. It is justified by the common values and ends that are shared by those people. It is “common sense”. Having a common awareness of rules of conduct fundamentally is a system of ethics, also a human device. The fundamental end of such rules is that of peaceful cooperation in the service of a division-of-labor society.

Since not all legal systems produce the expected or desired results, it is possible to argue whether a given means of achieving specific ends are “better” or “worse” than other means. This is one point of departure for economic analysis. There is a branch of knowledge described as the economics of law. This kind of analysis, and the conclusions of such an analysis, is what are at issue here.

You cannot discuss a mathematic formula by relying of poetry. Likewise, you cannot discuss the economics of law by avoiding both legal doctrine and economic analysis. Avoiding that discussion in the terms of that knowledge system, is a full-time job for Kinsella. My hobby is to try to encourage him back into the ring.

I guess, therefore, I think libertarians, for starters, really do need to get a firm theoretical grip on just exactly what problem the libertarian concept of property solves and how.

You are right about this, but few have been successful in this regard. For example, a long discussion ensued regarding how the homesteading rule was adapted to the rules of easements and servitudes. Kinsella eventually just gave up when confronted with the contradictions the homesteading theory creates. He invented, ad hoc, a new concept of “co-ownership” to explain it away, and then left town.

Have you seen “The Music Man”? There is a parallel.

This would hugely simplify the analysis of the validity of IP.

Think about this; IP has a history of several hundred years, at least back to the 1400s in Vienna. It has over 200 years of history and court cases in the US alone. Despite the more recent legislative tampering with the terms, the fundamental issues of IP have been debated by some pretty smart people. I don’t think we can be so arrogant as to just claim that nothing useful or truthful could have come from this well documented history, or that we can only understand it if we exclusively start with a blank piece of paper, or limit the debate on one logical framework.

It is only when Kinsella and his fellow ancap adherents try to incorporate IP into the theories of their personal brand of “libertarianism” (i.e. “true” libertarians), combined with a failure to honestly address things about that theory which are clearly at issue, that the perception that the analysis needs to be “simplified” can arise in people like you, who are, no offense, simply skimming the surface and trying to make it all fit together.

Truth is, it doesn’t. But that in itself is an inconvenient truth.

Wildberry October 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm

@ Stephan Kinsella October 4, 2011 at 6:29 am

Property is thus a relationship between a given actor, and a given scarce resource: the legal right to control.

I think this illustrates why your system of property doctrine is limited and flawed, and why you reject the very notion of IP as a legitimate form of private property right.

The relationship between an single actor and a resource is not a very useful definition, since the exercise of the rights to title assigned to him, as you say, is defined by the relationship he and his property must observe in relation to other actors, their property and the extent of their own freedom to act.

I think you should re-read (did you?) Touchstone. You base your conclusions on an analyses of Crusoe economics, which is a model of man alone. In such a model, you would be correct; it is about the man and the object. But when you include the assumption that man is not alone, and that the very concept of liberty is circumscribed by the liberty of others, you end up with a complex system of interactions that reach well beyond a theory of property that is based on just the two factors, man and object. In such a model, conflict is all that is addressed.

If you assume the imperative for cooperation, however, then you must presume that all rights and all liberties are circumscribed by the right and liberties of others. Avoidance of conflict is not sufficient, it is also required that property serve as a means to satisfy the ends of cooperation. Therefore, economic theory becomes relevant.

Since economic theory is a form of utilitarian argument, one must define means and ends, and define the consequences inherent in selecting one means over another.

As I have said to you before, what you call “libertarian-Lockean” ethics of origin of property rights and title are not adequate to define the theory upon which the balance between competing rights to property use can be distinguished in a context of not just conflict avoidance, but in a context of cooperation.

Therefore, you do not feel a need to address the possibility that your theory of property assignment ignores problems of externalities, for example.

As Van Dun argues, your theory of property attempts to impose a “strict liability” theory on all property conflicts. That is not the state of the art of our legal doctrine for some very good reasons. Your theory of property simply assumes away those issues.

pauled October 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

@Wildberry

“Nothing personal, but you seem confused about what the debate is about. It is not semantics, although it is true that some posters here use language to mean whatever suits them.”

I’ll be glad to comment on the points of the conversation you think are relevant.

“Property “is” a human device. It is a concept. The concept is manifest in rules of law. I say law because “lawful” means that the effected parties for the most part, have agreed that the rule is just. It is justified by the common values and ends that are shared by those people. It is “common sense”. Having a common awareness of rules of conduct fundamentally is a system of ethics, also a human device. The fundamental end of such rules is that of peaceful cooperation in the service of a division-of-labor society.”

I don’t know if i am following you or not. Today we live in a popular social democracy, where people vote and people legislate. Most people seem to buy in to this system, even if they tend to balk at the particular results that personally affect them adversely. In any case, via this process, a powerful minority gain control over the majority mainly through what a libertarian (a distinct minority) would claim is an entirely criminal means and institution – the state. If this is the case, is it still true that “the affected parties for the most part, have agreed that the rule is just. It is justified by the common values and ends that are shared by those people”? Is this system just because it is popular? If not, how do you know? What is the logic that gets you to the understanding that what is popular is not necessarily just? Or do you ever get there?

” Since not all legal systems produce the expected or desired results,”

Isn’t it a matter of perspective whether this is true or not? Do you really know that our legislators or those who pull their strings do not intend those things which we the voter or subjects, view to be merely some “unintended consequence”, or random act of stupidity by that legislator?

” it is possible to argue whether a given means of achieving specific ends are “better” or “worse” than other means.”

Assuming those who orchestrate the ends had the same intentions as the supposed ones on behalf of whom they orchestrated the ends for. Right?

” This is one point of departure for economic analysis. There is a branch of knowledge described as the economics of law. This kind of analysis, and the conclusions of such an analysis, is what are at issue here.

” You cannot discuss a mathematic formula by relying of poetry. Likewise, you cannot discuss the economics of law by avoiding both legal doctrine and economic analysis. Avoiding that discussion in the terms of that knowledge system, is a full-time job for Kinsella. My hobby is to try to encourage him back into the ring.”

Heh!

Me: ” I guess, therefore, I think libertarians, for starters, really do need to get a firm theoretical grip on just exactly what problem the libertarian concept of property solves and how.”

“You are right about this, but few have been successful in this regard.”

Fair to say. But i still take them over their criminally minded statist counterparts, any day.

” For example, a long discussion ensued regarding how the homesteading rule was adapted to the rules of easements and servitudes. Kinsella eventually just gave up when confronted with the contradictions the homesteading theory creates. He invented, ad hoc, a new concept of “co-ownership” to explain it away, and then left town.”

Do you subscribe to the idea that first use generally represents best claim to use?

” Have you seen “The Music Man”? There is a parallel.”

Nope.

Me: ” This would hugely simplify the analysis of the validity of IP.”

” Think about this; IP has a history of several hundred years, at least back to the 1400s in Vienna. It has over 200 years of history and court cases in the US alone. Despite the more recent legislative tampering with the terms, the fundamental issues of IP have been debated by some pretty smart people. I don’t think we can be so arrogant as to just claim that nothing useful or truthful could have come from this well documented history, or that we can only understand it if we exclusively start with a blank piece of paper, or limit the debate on one logical framework.”

This is why I think libertarians really do need to get a firm theoretical grip on just exactly what problem the libertarian concept of property solves and how. In so doing, they could more easily distinguish between legislation that is just, and that which perpetuates injustice. And they could evaluate IP based on a first principles understanding of justice, rather than by blindly assuming that brighter minds have already prevailed on the subject in the past.

” It is only when Kinsella and his fellow ancap adherents try to incorporate IP into the theories of their personal brand of “libertarianism” (i.e. “true” libertarians), combined with a failure to honestly address things about that theory which are clearly at issue, that the perception that the analysis needs to be “simplified” can arise in people like you, who are, no offense, simply skimming the surface and trying to make it all fit together.”

Whatever problems you have with Kinsella’s brand of libertarianism, and his take on IP, you will have the same with me. Our views are very similar, even if we have a different style of expressing them.

Truth is, it doesn’t. But that in itself is an inconvenient truth.

Wildberry October 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm

@pauled October 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I don’t know if i am following you or not. Today we live in a popular social democracy, where people vote and people legislate.

If this represents your understanding of our form of government in the U.S., then probably not. We live in a republic; a constitutional representative democracy.

In any case, via this process, a powerful minority gain control over the majority mainly through what a libertarian (a distinct minority) would claim is an entirely criminal means and institution – the state.

Sloganeering worthy of the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters.

If this is the case, is it still true that “the affected parties for the most part, have agreed that the rule is just. It is justified by the common values and ends that are shared by those people”?

I’ll try to help you; “rule” like in a specific law or moral code, not “rule” like a dictator.

Is this system just because it is popular? If not, how do you know? What is the logic that gets you to the understanding that what is popular is not necessarily just? Or do you ever get there?

“System” of laws, not “system” of rule. But I have no idea what you are saying. You tell me why justice and “popularity” and “justice” tend to converge? Someone famous said something like “No minority can rule over the majority for long, if their rule was not fundamentally popular.” Rules that provide justice to most people in most circumstances are perceived as mostly “just”, don’t you agree?

” Since not all legal systems produce the expected or desired results,”

Isn’t it a matter of perspective whether this is true or not?

Depending on what you mean by “perspective” but yes. Results are a matter of interpretation.

Do you really know that our legislators or those who pull their strings do not intend those things which we the voter or subjects, view to be merely some “unintended consequence”, or random act of stupidity by that legislator?

Yes, I think this is true. Laws happen not because legislators don’t have a clue. They happen because it satisfies their constituents, who give them what they want: power and privilege. To the extent “we the people” are not the constituents of the legislators, we will get screwed. That is a statement of the problem, not of the solution.

“it is possible to argue whether a given means of achieving specific ends are “better” or “worse” than other means.”

Assuming those who orchestrate the ends had the same intentions as the supposed ones on behalf of whom they orchestrated the ends for. Right?

I know what you mean, but let me try to clean this up a bit. A law is popular because it is promoted by the ends it is meant to achieve. However, the law itself may designate means that do not actually result in the accomplishment of those ends. Whether that is because legislators collude with special interests who understand what ends the means will achieve, or instead the means were believed to be the way to get the desired ends, doesn’t matter as to results. It may matter as to remedy. Different medicine for different ailments is called for.

“You cannot discuss a mathematic formula by relying of poetry. Likewise, you cannot discuss the economics of law by avoiding both legal doctrine and economic analysis. Avoiding that discussion in the terms of that knowledge system, is a full-time job for Kinsella. My hobby is to try to encourage him back into the ring.”

Heh!

You liked that? Poetic, wasn’t it?

Me: ” I guess, therefore, I think libertarians, for starters, really do need to get a firm theoretical grip on just exactly what problem the libertarian concept of property solves and how.”

“You are right about this, but few have been successful in this regard.”

Fair to say. But i still take them over their criminally minded statist counterparts, any day.

Ideological sloganeering.

Do you subscribe to the idea that first use generally represents best claim to use?

Yes. It is the Rule of Capture in standard property law. It is the first property rule you learn in law school. It is like addition is the first rule of arithmetic. It is not calculus. There are certain problems that cannot be solved with addition only.

Nope.

You are deprived. The main character sells musical instruments to the town, collects their money, and then disappears. That is, he does not entertain customer complaints.

This is why I think libertarians really do need to get a firm theoretical grip on just exactly what problem the libertarian concept of property solves and how. In so doing, they could more easily distinguish between legislation that is just, and that which perpetuates injustice. And they could evaluate IP based on a first principles understanding of justice, rather than by blindly assuming that brighter minds have already prevailed on the subject in the past.

You are making valid point, but then muck it up at the end. You are confusing “justice” with “means that accomplish desired ends”. Justice is a system that rests on ethics. Utilitarian analysis is an economic problem, and the economics of law looks at how the given law serves as means to specified ends.

I am not saying that brighter minds have already thought about this so not to bother thinking it over. That is dumb. I am saying that brighter minds have already thought about this and are present analysis should at least comprehend the knowledge that already exists on the subject. This is how the scientific method operates; past knowledge is incorporated with new methods and facts, and the science advances. This is also a way to describe the history of common law. It is an evolution in the accumulation of knowledge. The longer the history, the more knowledge we have to incorporate into our analysis, and the more sophisticated our analysis should be.

Whatever problems you have with Kinsella’s brand of libertarianism, and his take on IP, you will have the same with me. Our views are very similar, even if we have a different style of expressing them.

I respect your loyalty, but lemmings are very loyal, too. There is a downside. Think for yourself, it won’t hurt you.

pauled October 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Me: I don’t know if i am following you or not. Today we live in a popular social democracy, where people vote and people legislate.

“If this represents your understanding of our form of government in the U.S., then probably not. We live in a republic; a constitutional representative democracy.”

I’ve actually heard about this. We have a constitution, and because of it, we are free, because it limits the authority of the central government in Washington. And also we have the checks and balances of three distinct branches of the federal government. This limits the executive severely. Some believe all of this. Not me, much. I think the US is essentially a democracy with a high sounding, but impotent label of “republic”.

Me: “In any case, via this process, a powerful minority gain control over the majority mainly through what a libertarian (a distinct minority) would claim is an entirely criminal means and institution – the state.”

“Sloganeering worthy of the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters.”

You must think what I am saying is quite absurd. We are very far apart then.

Me: “If this is the case, is it still true that “the affected parties for the most part, have agreed that the rule is just. It is justified by the common values and ends that are shared by those people”? ”

“I’ll try to help you; “rule” like in a specific law or moral code, not “rule” like a dictator.”

Thanks. Let’s be specific: We have a federal “rule” that the selling of dope to voluntary buyers, is a bad thing and justly punishable by fines or imprisonment. I claim this “law” or legislation is unjust, and immoral. What do you think?

Me: “Is this system just because it is popular? If not, how do you know? What is the logic that gets you to the understanding that what is popular is not necessarily just? Or do you ever get there?”

“System” of laws, not “system” of rule. But I have no idea what you are saying.” You tell me why justice and “popularity” and “justice” tend to converge?”

To answer, I’ll continue with my example: Do you think drug laws are popular? Do you think they are just? I think they are popular. I don’t think they are just. They are criminal. Perhaps you can think of laws you think are both unjust and popular. Why do such laws prevail? Because they are popular or because they are just? How do we know if they are unjust, if they are popular? I presume you agree some popular laws are unjust.


Someone famous said something like “No minority can rule over the majority for long, if their rule was not fundamentally popular.”

I subscribe to this as well.

” Rules that provide justice to most people in most circumstances are perceived as mostly “just”, don’t you agree?”

I think this is question begging. I would agree that rules that are popular may well be popularly perceived to be just. But I am saying they are often, in reality unjust. That is my point. Popular legislation does not imply justice. Do you agree?

” Since not all legal systems produce the expected or desired results,”
Me: Isn’t it a matter of perspective whether this is true or not?

“Depending on what you mean by “perspective” but yes. Results are a matter of interpretation.”

So if a person does time for selling drugs to a voluntary buyer, the question is, can this be correctly viewed as a just result, or merely a result that is popularly but incorrectly viewed as just. Is justice merely in the eye of the majority of beholders.

Me: “Do you really know that our legislators or those who pull their strings do not intend those things which we the voter or subjects, view to be merely some “unintended consequence”, or random act of stupidity by that legislator?”

“Yes, I think this is true. Laws happen not because legislators don’t have a clue. They happen because it satisfies their constituents, who give them what they want: power and privilege. To the extent “we the people” are not the constituents of the legislators, we will get screwed. That is a statement of the problem, not of the solution.”

It’s the inevitable outcome of statism. The privileged and elite minority will always control the state. It is poetic justice when the greedy and envious majority, who look to the state to initiate violence on their behalf against some minority, then get skewered when the state turns around and bites them.

“it is possible to argue whether a given means of achieving specific ends are “better” or “worse” than other means.”

Me: Assuming those who orchestrate the ends had the same intentions as the supposed ones on behalf of whom they orchestrated the ends for. Right?

“I know what you mean, but let me try to clean this up a bit. A law is popular because it is promoted by the ends it is meant to achieve. However, the law itself may designate means that do not actually result in the accomplishment of those ends. Whether that is because legislators collude with special interests who understand what ends the means will achieve, or instead the means were believed to be the way to get the desired ends, doesn’t matter as to results. It may matter as to remedy. Different medicine for different ailments is called for.”

In the above paragraph, is there a concession that some popular legislation may be unjust?

“You cannot discuss a mathematic formula by relying of poetry. Likewise, you cannot discuss the economics of law by avoiding both legal doctrine and economic analysis. Avoiding that discussion in the terms of that knowledge system, is a full-time job for Kinsella. My hobby is to try to encourage him back into the ring.”

Me: Heh!

“You liked that? Poetic, wasn’t it?”

Me: ” I guess, therefore, I think libertarians, for starters, really do need to get a firm theoretical grip on just exactly what problem the libertarian concept of property solves and how.”

“You are right about this, but few have been successful in this regard.”

Me again: Fair to say. But i still take them over their criminally minded statist counterparts, any day.

“Ideological sloganeering.”

Them’s a pair of intellectual sounding words, mister.

Me: Do you subscribe to the idea that first use generally represents best claim to use?

“Yes. It is the Rule of Capture in standard property law. It is the first property rule you learn in law school. It is like addition is the first rule of arithmetic. It is not calculus. There are certain problems that cannot be solved with addition only.”

Yes will do. The rest sounds like …. ” and no.”

Me: Nope.

“You are deprived. The main character sells musical instruments to the town, collects their money, and then disappears. That is, he does not entertain customer complaints.”

Sounds like market failure. Was the moral of the story that they needed a state to get justice.

Me: This is why I think libertarians really do need to get a firm theoretical grip on just exactly what problem the libertarian concept of property solves and how. In so doing, they could more easily distinguish between legislation that is just, and that which perpetuates injustice. And they could evaluate IP based on a first principles understanding of justice, rather than by blindly assuming that brighter minds have already prevailed on the subject in the past.”

“You are making valid point, but then muck it up at the end. You are confusing “justice” with “means that accomplish desired ends”. Justice is a system that rests on ethics. Utilitarian analysis is an economic problem, and the economics of law looks at how the given law serves as means to specified ends.”

I don’t think i am confusing anything. Justice in practice may only be man’s crude attempt at achieving the ideal we think of as justice, but at the base of it, there is ideal justice. And that justice is arrived at via theory that we both are able to grapple with. Should we both intend to.

“I am not saying that brighter minds have already thought about this so not to bother thinking it over. That is dumb.”

Good.

” I am saying that brighter minds have already thought about this and are present analysis should at least comprehend the knowledge that already exists on the subject.”

It is sometimes necessary, and perhaps often interesting to see how ideas in the past got muddled up. But it is not always a necessary exercise to correct these ideas. IP is like that. We can work with first principles to establish a correct theory of property, which encompasses a correct view on IP.

” This is how the scientific method operates; past knowledge is incorporated with new methods and facts, and the science advances. This is also a way to describe the history of common law. It is an evolution in the accumulation of knowledge. The longer the history, the more knowledge we have to incorporate into our analysis, and the more sophisticated our analysis should be.”

I think we can always learn more about the past, and therefore, our knowledge of it can never be complete. But when we understand enough of the theory surrounding a theoretical topic such as property, we can come down on one side or the other of the issue, without withholding judgment until we read another volume covering more of the history of the subject.

Me: Whatever problems you have with Kinsella’s brand of libertarianism, and his take on IP, you will have the same with me. Our views are very similar, even if we have a different style of expressing them.”

“I respect your loyalty, but lemmings are very loyal, too. There is a downside. Think for yourself, it won’t hurt you.”

I will have to ask Stephan if thinking for myself will hurt me or not. But seriously, do you feel a need to disagree with everyone, even those you agree with – to avoid that loyal-lemming-like feeling?

Wildberry October 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm

@pauled October 4, 2011 at 2:47 am

In this context, i am saying that only the libertarian view of property rights are consistent with the necessary assumptions of justification, and therefore, only that view can be justified.

What is the “necessary assmption of justification” and why is it either necessary or justified?

If you succeed in explaining that, then you can explain why they are the “only” ones that can be justified.

I think you are reading too much into Hoppe, but I’m not much of an expert on this. I understood him to say that certain things cannot be argued without confirming an a priori assumption of truth. I don’t think even his arguments can be construed to mean that only a “libertarin ethic” can be true, whatever he might mean by that ethic.

pauled October 4, 2011 at 8:44 pm

@Wildberry

[Me: In this context, i am saying that only the libertarian view of property rights are consistent with the necessary assumptions of justification, and therefore, only that view can be justified.]

“What is the “necessary assmption of justification” and why is it either necessary or justified?”

There are several. Two are that the justifier exists and has the purpose of justifying. There are others.

“If you succeed in explaining that, then you can explain why they are the “only” ones that can be justified.”

I did not bring my lunch, so i think i will not. But i will say this: whatever norms you must assume in order to attempt to justify, you cannot dispute in the act of such a justification without what HHH refers to as a performative contradiction. To take a most simple example proposal: “I do not exist.” is demonstrated false by the actor who makes it. The making of the proposal denies the content of the proposal. There are normative assumptions associated with proposition making that similarly cannot be disputed without contradiction.

“I think you are reading too much into Hoppe, but I’m not much of an expert on this. I understood him to say that certain things cannot be argued without confirming an a priori assumption of truth.”

Well, i would have to agree with this. The purpose of justificatory argumentation would be to come to a cooperative agreement on what is true. That certainly does imply an assumption that there is truth to come to agreement on.

“I don’t think even his arguments can be construed to mean that only a “libertarin ethic” can be true, whatever he might mean by that ethic.”

Argumentation ethics is quite explicit about what the libertarian ethic is, and that it provides an exclusive justification and proof for its validity. I recommend you give it a study – it is as fun and interesting as it is controversial.

Wildberry October 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm

@Stephan Kinsella October 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm
“Are you even trying to make sense?”

Yes. In fact, I just checked with Der Hoppe. He confirmed it. QED.

Imagine the difficulty if you weren’t trying! Thank you for making the effort, but any chance of upping the game some?

“At the moment in time I reference, how do you assume B has access to the pattern X he is about to imprint?”

I don’t. I said he has the right to. NOt the “access to” the information.

He has a right to imprint something to which he has no access, i.e. no knowledge or awareness? Is this like saying someone has the right to go to mars, just not the means? What is a moot right good for?

Don’t you really mean that one has a right to do anything as long as it doesn’t infringe the rights of others? If I assume copying an original work does not infringe on any rights of others, naturally I could assume I have the right to do so. That is simply the assumption that assumes the conclusion.

Not to appeal to authority, but it might have been Dr. Seuss who said, “If we had some ham we could have some ham and eggs if we had some eggs.” I’m still hungry.

Let’s take a simple example, to expose your mental shenanigans.

I’m looking forward to it with great anticipation… Is it possible to expose shenanigans in shenanigans?

Let’s suppose up until the year 100 all houses were made of wooden logs. In 200 someone comes up with the idea of using bricks to make a house. Let’s also assume this idea is “patentable” in your arbitrary statutory sense. Now in the year 150, let’s say there is A, who has land, a log house, and a pile of bricks. Does he, or does he not, have the right to use these bricks to replace the log walls of his house? I say he does. This is true even if he does not yet have this idea.

Of course he does. Is this meant to be a trick question?

See how you are confusing causation with rights?

No sorry, I don’t. There is no causal link between A and B in your example. In fact, there is no relationship at all between the rights of A and B. There is no need to define rights when there is no conflict. To say they exist or don’t is meaningless outside of the context of conflicting claims to rights. Whose rights would be infringed by such a use if there are no others with rights?

Since (all) rights are circumscribed by the rights of others, in the theoretical absence of others, all rights are only limited by natural laws (like gravity and thermodynamics). In such a context rights are a meaningless concept, and would be reduced to a list of things that A is capable of, including those things he is capable but unaware of. By eliminating the assumption of others, you are merely restating the Crusoe condition (which is theoretically impossible by any realistic measure of what it means to be human). Humans cannot exist alone, but why should that upset a perfectly useful tool for arriving at a foregone conclusion?

If A uses his bricks to build a brick house on his own land, there is no conflict. If B claims he can stop him he is claiming a property right in A’s body, bricks, or land, contrary to the assumption that A is a self-owners and owns the bricks and land. See?

Yes, I see. You have carefully selected a premise that leads to a logical conclusion consistent with that premise. Let me restate it for you:

“If B claims rights that he doesn’t have, and tries to make A accept them, B is violating NAP by aggressing on A”.

This is quite beside the point of whether B in fact has these rights in any legalistic sense. If we assume he doesn’t, then we can apply NAP in strict liability. If we assume he does, then we can assign liability for aggression to A. As you know, the doctrine of strict liability is very limited in its application in our world. If it could be used in every situation, I agree, we wouldn’t need judges (as long as everyone was either well-armed or unarmed).

This is why cases are decided by the application of facts to the law; facts matter. It also explains why strict liability is so limited in its utility; statutory rape, some product liability, and dangerous activities, like using dynamite and keeping lions, tigers and bears in your garage.

If we change the facts so that A is burning toxic waste, which he owns, on his own land with his own gasoline, and B claims a right to breathe without being subjected to toxic fumes drifting into his airspace, who is violating who’s rights, based on homesteading and NAP? Let’s make it interesting, and assume that A is burning the waste while on a legally conveyed easement that is actually located on B’s land. Shall I keep adding facts? See?

This is in general, a case of conflicting claims to the right to use private property in a particular way. This kind of conflict may arise at the boundaries of each person’s claim to property. On Van Dun’s Quasi-Earth, he assumes everyone would already know the libertarian property rules and NAP and voluntarily follow them. Van Dun uses encirclement to demonstrate the point. Van Dun does a brilliant job of dismantling this entire system of thought, in my humble opinion, by explaining the whole “homesteading/NAP as the foundation for liberty” thing is just an attempt to apply strict liability rules to questions of conflicting claims to rights based on NAP and your brand of private property rules.

Your idea is to use strict liability rules to resolve the conflict in every case, regardless of the facts; i.e. there can only be liability for violating NAP, and it is always possible to know precisely who the violator is and who is the victim. (In a long discussion about easements and servitudes with Kid Salami and me, this turned out not to be the case; you had to invent the ad hoc concept of “co-ownership” to make it work. That is just one example.)

In your view, contestants would only need to look up the rule, see the obvious answer, and shake hands and go on their merry way. In the real world, B would have to stop A from doing what A wants to do. Might will make right, and in the absence of actual might, a credible threat might do.

The only other alternative is to presuppose some ethical or legal framework that could be backed up by coercion. By consensus people follow the rules and agree not to fight over re-inventing the wheel as each conflict that arises. Since the rule is so clear and perfect, conflict disappears and Peace and Justice naturally prevails. Do I have it about right?

I think Mises talks about property rights as being a factor in economic calculations for actors. Whatever preexisting property rules exist, actors will figure that in, as one of the data points used to select available means to achieve desired ends.

You are simply positing a property system based on certain assumptions. What you fail to address are the economic justifications that tend to support your system as being superior means to the ends you seem to favor. This is Danny’s explanation for Mises type of utilitarianism. The utilitarian question is, “What makes any particular means superior to others as the most reliable and efficient way to achieve selected ends?”

In a complex, division of labor society, say a highly technological one like ours, we might find it useful to have adequately complex and sophisticated systems of contract and property doctrine, for example. Such a system might have worked out rules for easements, servitudes, and rights in intangible works, executory interests and the like, perhaps even the way property rights are attached to certain works and inventions.

Free people are also free to work out such things, try them out, and evolve them over time. That process has a 200 year history in the US, but according to you, it was all just horribly wrong. Since the fact that something exists does not mean that it should exist, you are free to believe it should not exist. Since you can say that horrible things exist, and IP also exists, you can say that horrible things exist because of IP. Since horrible things exist, IP must be horrible. See? Got it.

You can choose what you believe? Wow. Impressive feat, that.

Are you suggesting your beliefs arise any other way? I thought you were a “free-will” kind of guy…

Stephan Kinsella October 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm

He has a right to imprint something to which he has no access, i.e. no knowledge or awareness? Is this like saying someone has the right to go to mars, just not the means? What is a moot right good for?

Oh, I dunno, so that he can prevent you from later telling him what not to do with his property?

Don’t you really mean that one has a right to do anything as long as it doesn’t infringe the rights of others?

Which means: the right to do anyting that does not invade the borders of others’ owned scarce resources (“property”).

If I assume copying an original work does not infringe on any rights of others, naturally I could assume I have the right to do so. That is simply the assumption that assumes the conclusion.

Except that the burden of infringing on how I can use my property is on you–you don’t get there by sneaking in a change in the presumption or burden of proof.

There is no causal link between A and B in your example. In fact, there is no relationship at all between the rights of A and B. There is no need to define rights when there is no conflict. To say they exist or don’t is meaningless outside of the context of conflicting claims to rights. Whose rights would be infringed by such a use if there are no others with rights?

If B comes up with a way to use bricks to build his house, and then later A also learns of this technique, it does not violate B’s property rights. And this is true whether A learned of it by independently inventing it, or by copying B. Copying means emulating, observing, learning from, competing. I know you neo-mercantalists despise the idea of “unbridled” market competition, but, hey, some of us are statist planners, some are not.

Since (all) rights are circumscribed by the rights of others

This is not true at all. My rights never include the right to trespass against you in the first place. It includes the right to *act*, to *use* my body and other scarce means, so long as I do not impede your own use of your body or owned scarce resources.

You have carefully selected a premise that leads to a logical conclusion consistent with that premise.

Thanks! QED!!

Wildberry October 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm

@Stephan Kinsella October 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm

“What is a moot right good for?”

Oh, I dunno, so that he can prevent you from later telling him what not to do with his property?

Let me try again; MOOT.

“Don’t you really mean that one has a right to do anything as long as it doesn’t infringe the rights of others?”

Which means: the right to do anyting that does not invade the borders of others’ owned scarce resources (“property”).

See Van Dun. Strict liability rules are inadequate as a libertarian definition of liberty.

“If I assume copying an original work does not infringe on any rights of others, naturally I could assume I have the right to do so. That is simply the assumption that assumes the conclusion.”

Except that the burden of infringing on how I can use my property is on you–you don’t get there by sneaking in a change in the presumption or burden of proof.

That is simply the assumption that assumes the conclusion. Is there an echo in here?

Is “you can’t argue by changing presumptions” a new rule? Once you make a presumption, it is fixed and legitimate forever, and you no longer have a burden for your arguments? That is a pretty good legal definition for presumptive evidence, right? It’s certainly a good trick, if it works. Sorry, it doesn’t. I challenge your presumption by showing that your logic is circular, allowing you to assume your conclusion.

If you want to have a legitimate argument, we should be arguing about WHY one presumption is valid and another is not. That will lead to a utilitarian debate on means and ends, and lead to external economies, but you want to avoid that like the plague. I get it.

If B comes up with a way to use bricks to build his house, and then later A also learns of this technique, it does not violate B’s property rights. And this is true whether A learned of it by independently inventing it, or by copying B.

In your example, A was acting 50 years before B. How was he copying again? This is a Back To The Future premise?

Copying means emulating, observing, learning from, competing. I know you neo-mercantalists despise the idea of “unbridled” market competition, but, hey, some of us are statist planners, some are not.

That is one way to define copying, but not the only way, and certainly not the way it is defined in copyright law. But then you are presuming that you can just redefine terms as you wish, and then use them to defeat your own creations. I’m sure there is a name for that. A man made from straw comes to mind.

Might-makes-right is a form of “unbridled competition”. Does that work for you?

“Since (all) rights are circumscribed by the rights of others”

This is not true at all. My rights never include the right to trespass against you in the first place.

That’s what I said; your right to trespass is circumscribed by my right to prevent you from doing so. They conflict at the boundary, or margins of our respective rights.

It includes the right to *act*, to *use* my body and other scarce means, so long as I do not impede your own use of your body or owned scarce resources.

Yes, but is that all? If your right to act is not circumscribed by mine, then you would have the right to bash my head in with your bat. Is this really that interesting to you, to go back and forth on the most fundamental of points, which are obvious common sense for a 4-year old?

“You have carefully selected a premise that leads to a logical conclusion consistent with that premise.”

Thanks! QED!!

It wasn’t meant to be a compliment. Let me restate: circular arguments are logical because they are circular. That is why it is called “assuming your conclusion” under the heading “fallacy”. A=B=A. True but meaningless. Q.E.D.

Kid Salami October 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm

“…the right to do anyting that does not invade the borders of …”

Yes, this covers all scenarios – everything. Except, erm, for those properties which you “co-own” with people, where you share the same border – you know, the “E” word. Are they just edge cases? According to this guy for example

“The law relating to covenants, easements and ‘profits à prendre’ over land is a relatively complex area given that such rights are common – the Land Registry has suggested that nearly two thirds of properties have some sort of easement over them and nearly 80 per cent have a covenant of some sort.”

Never mind, just keep trotting out the same tired mantras and everything will be fine eh? Maybe I should try it.

Stephan Kinsella October 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Wildb:

See Van Dun. Strict liability rules are inadequate as a libertarian definition of liberty.

I have never assumed “strict liability.” I don’t think this term means what you think it menas.

If you want to have a legitimate argument

Sure, I do, but have no reason to think it’s possible with the likes of you.

In your example, A was acting 50 years before B. How was he copying again? This is a Back To The Future premise?

He was not. Do you realize the patent law you support does NOT REQUIRE COPYING? HELLOOOOOOO

Wildberry October 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Kins:

Well, we have Van Dun who thinks you do. And you’re both lawyers, so I think you should both know what it means. Is he wrong?

I think it means liability without a defense; it is a rule based assignment of liability that is presumed under a qualifying fact. It does not require a finding of culpability by intent, etc.

For example, statutory rape applies if one of the parties to sex is of minority age, despite the existence of any other facts; even if she lied about her age for example.

Your NAP principle imposes strict liability on trespassers, and likewise assumes that the fact that a trespass has occurred is absolutely ascertainable in all situations, regardless of any other facts. It assumes a perfectly obvious and ascertainable definition of property to the exclusion of all others, while ignoring problems that arise when it is applied to the real world complexities. Proponents make up ad hoc patches, like co-ownership, to shore things up. Is that about it?

You are the one who used the definition of copying in this thread; you know the one you made up? http://blog.mises.org/5442/galambos-and-other-nuts/comment-page-2/#comment-803730

And now you want to lecture me about the details of patent law as if you scored some death blow?

You are right; you have no reason to believe that you are capable of any form of rational discourse with the likes of me. There certainly is no evidence of such a thing here…

Stephan Kinsella October 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Well, we have Van Dun who thinks you do. And you’re both lawyers, so I think you should both know what it means. Is he wrong?

I have already laid out where I disagree with my friend Frank, in http://mises.org/journals/jls/18_2/18_2_3.pdf

And I laid out my views on strict liability in http://blog.mises.org/10572/the-libertarian-approach-to-negligence-tort-and-strict-liability-wergeld-and-partial-wergeld/

You are free to read them.

I think it means liability without a defense; it is a rule based assignment of liability that is presumed under a qualifying fact. It does not require a finding of culpability by intent, etc.

Anyone who read my cAusation piece will not say this of me. http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae7_4_7.pdf

For example, statutory rape applies if one of the parties to sex is of minority age, despite the existence of any other facts; even if she lied about her age for example.

It is only you statists who believe in statutes at all.

Your NAP principle imposes strict liability on trespassers, and likewise assumes that the fact that a trespass has occurred is absolutely ascertainable in all situations, regardless of any other facts.

Point out where I said this please. In my right theory I explicitly advert to the relevance of intent and proportionality. http://mises.org/journals/jls/12_1/12_1_3.pdf

Proponents make up ad hoc patches, like co-ownership, to shore things up. Is that about it?

Co-ownership is not ad hoc but is a result of the right of contract and the fact of cooperative (joint) action.

In your post you talk about A copying B, but blithely ignoring that patent law doe snot require copying for A to be liable. You are so confused.

Wildberry October 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Stephan,

I’m not surprised you have written on the subject already. You are nothing if not prolific. I will check them out.

It is only you statists who believe in statutes at all.

You are splitting hairs. What does “A common of code of laws” mean in Rothbard’s words?

Point out where I said this please.

Which means: the right to do anyting that does not invade the borders of others’ owned scarce resources (“property”).

http://blog.mises.org/5442/galambos-and-other-nuts/comment-page-2/#comment-803852

Do I misunderstand you? Isn’t this the grand simplifying rule of strict liability?

Co-ownership is not ad hoc but is a result of the right of contract and the fact of cooperative (joint) action.

Co-ownership is something you made up to deal withthe problems of easements and servitudes with homesteading. Did you invent it before using it here?

http://blog.mises.org/17398/intellectual-property-rights-as-negative-servitudes/comment-page-1/#comment-789526

Stephan Kinsella October 5, 2011 at 7:52 pm

“You can choose what you believe? Wow. Impressive feat, that.”

Are you suggesting your beliefs arise any other way? I thought you were a “free-will” kind of guy…

Free will means you choose your actions. Not your beliefs. For example if Bill Gates offers you $10M to raise your right arm, you could choose to do this. If he offers you $10M to believe the moon is made of cheese, could you choose to believe this, in order to get the money? (this is rhetorical)

Wildberry October 6, 2011 at 12:29 pm

You are saying that the fact that Bill Gates cannot make me believe the moon is made of cheese means that that I must have free will about what I choose to believe?

Isn’t that what I said? You choose what you believe, and then you choose to act this way or that. Right? Is it so hard to acknowledge such an obvious truth? Or do you really think this is a teaching moment?

Stephan Kinsella October 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I think, honestly, that you are an unfortunate combination of naif, moron, and dissembler.

Wildberry October 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Yes, I know what you think. Meh.

pauled October 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm

“You are saying that the fact that Bill Gates cannot make me believe the moon is made of cheese means that that I must have free will about what I choose to believe?”

No. He is saying that even if you wanted to take Bill’s money, in exchange for your believing the moon is made of cheese, you could not do it honestly, because, after you took the money, you would still continue not to believe the moon was made of cheese. Ergo, your belief about the cheese content of the moon is not completely in your control. You cannot simply will yourself to believe anything.

This is unlike the raising of your arm, where you could will your arm to be raised, and then legitimately take his money for doing so.

Wildberry October 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Honestly Pauled, do you really think I’m an idiot?
Willing ourselves to believe stuff is not like willing ourselves to raise our arm? Thank you!
We believe things because we become convinced that certain perceptions are true and consistent with our other perceptions of truth. We integrate our perceptions into beliefs that we hold to be true. This is not an act of destiny, but a function of what we choose to perceive and what we do with those perceptions, rationally and emotionally.
If our beliefs are not a product of our own free will, how do we come to hold them? And how is it that we change our minds? And why would $10,000 from Gates not be enough to do the trick?
And why do you think this is worthy of debate? Do you admire Kensella’s witty and sarcastic style of ridicule?

Wildberry October 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm

@Peter Surda October 6, 2011 at 6:32 am

Peter, I have no expectations that this exchange has much meaning for either of us, or that you will be coherent about much said here. For example, what does this mean, and why the Sherlock Holmes, “Aha!” ?

Aha, but what do they distribute? The social status of manipulating physical objects.

“your use of “re” simply assumes a priori that the copier had rights at some point, which are LATER reallocated.”

I do not assume this.

Did you use the words “reallocates rights”?

It follows from the concept of property rights in physical objects that IP proponents subscribe to. Most of the IP proponents make the claim that in the absence of IP, there are unallocated rights. Just off the top of my head, Stranger and Schulman. Stranger paradoxically refutes himself right away and is merely oblivious to it.

Before a child is born, are there unallocated rights? After she is born, are rights re-allocated?

You are a different case. You mix two types of claims: that in the absence of IP, rights are misallocated, and that in the absence of IP, rights are unallocated. You rapidly shift between those two in the hope that your opponents will miss it.

My claim is this, not that you are paying attention: In the absence of IP, rights are not allocated to IP. Since they cannot be misallocated if they are not allocated, they are unallocated. Follow? I wouldn’t want you to miss anything.

It is not false. It merely does not correspond to your preferences. But that’s not an argument, on the contrary, it underscores that you deny that the copier has rights in the first place, and that the author has them instead.

OK, let’s try this. Assumption 1: NO IP; Assumption 2: IP.

Under Assumption 1 (A1), the copier has rights to copy anything and everything, no exceptions. Under A2, he does not. The number and nature of uses has not changed. In A1 no rights of use are allocated to IP. Under A2, some are.

Are you denying that A2 is a possibility? I don’t think so. Do you fail to understand what A2 is? Yes, I think so. Therefore, you cannot engage in a discussion about the consequences of A2 as a means to some specific ends. Instead you are fascinated with turning A1 and A2 over in your mouth and trying to “falsify” them. You are in a time sink. Maybe a time warp, too.

“IP rights, specifically copyright, arise at the moment of expression and fixation by an original author.”

As I explained and Stephan too, the only way this can have any effect whatsoever if this simultaneously means that at the moment of fixation, other people lose some rights. There is no way around this. You yourself admit that there is no gap.

Let me be charitable. At the moment a baby is born, do other people lose some rights? By your logic, there is no way around this. Yet there is no gap in rights before she is born, and there is no gap afterwards. How is this possible? Wheeee!

“At that point in time, the copier has no rights to claim.”

So where does IP come from then since you admit that there is no gap for it to address? It need to come by sacrificing other people’s rights. You contradict yourself.

You are a contradiction. Why ask me when you already know it comes from “sacrifice”? Is that why the Aztecs sacrificed virgins, to create IP?

I have been explaining this, also to you, over the course of almost a year, and you’ve been ignoring it. Suddenly it’s a surprise to you.

I said “astounded”. Nothing you say surprises me anymore.

“You understand utilitarianism less than you understand legal concepts.”

You provide no evidence for your claims.

I don’t need to. You provide all the evidence needed.

The topic of Danny’s articles is unrelated to my arguments.

Yes, this is true, especially when you use the word “utilitarian”.

You have failed to explain what the fallacy is.

Oh, sorry. You seem to think that the argument is about cost/benefit, which should be determined on the bases of some kind of empirical data that no one has or can get. You think it is a matter of “more” benefit is better at “less” cost. This is stupid.

Economic utilitarianism is about means and ends. That requires a different argument; one that includes the problem of external economies. Better?

Again, you present no arguments and no responses. Instead you present cheap tricks and assert the moral high ground.

How do things look to you from your low moral vantage point?

Peter Surda October 7, 2011 at 4:13 am

Wildberry,

Peter, I have no expectations that this exchange has much meaning for either of us, or that you will be coherent about much said here. For example, what does this mean, and why the Sherlock Holmes, “Aha!” ?

I am not expecting you to approach the debate seriously, I’m just participating out of habit and to expose your nonsense to others.

Did you use the words “reallocates rights”?

You are again mixing two aspects of the problem. From the perspective of an IP opponent, you are reallocating rights. Although in a different framework, it is not necessary that the rights are reallocated, but you or any IP proponent have yet to formulate such a framework in a coherent manner.

Before a child is born, are there unallocated rights? After she is born, are rights re-allocated?

There is no logical reason why the birth of the child should signify any unallocated rights. Rights cover transformations of physical objects and assign them to actors. A newborn child does not act, nor does the birth create a new physical object. In fact, all the matter and energy in universe is given: throughout the lifetime of the universe, nothing is “created”, as eloquently pointed out by Carl Sagan: If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

The baby evolves from the body parts of their parents, at no point is there a scarce resource which did not exist before. It is merely a transformation of preexisting scarce resources. So there is no new unallocated scarce resource. Most babies (apart from sick etc) at some stage begin to act, and at some stage it becomes apparent that they are in control of their body. At that time, rights can be assigned to them. Please note that I did not say must, only can.

There is no particular reason why any of the situations or actions prior to the baby starting to act should have any effect on property rights. Most people put some time between the conception and the birth as the moment when the baby is assigned rights, but there is no logical reason for this. Furthermore, as elaborated above, the first rights that can be assigned to the baby (the rights to its own body) need to be transferred from the parents.

The attempted analogy with IP fails because there is no new rights assignee: there is always only the author and the copier. The invention itself does not act. Furthermore, similarly with the baby, there is no reason why the act of invention and/or, your favourite, the act of disclosure, should have any effect on rights in the first place. Both of these acts are merely alterations of physical objects.

In the absence of IP, rights are not allocated to IP.

This description is misleading. It’s just a new word to describe a specific assignment of rights in physical objects. Again, there is no particular reason why IP should be considered relevant and an infinite number of other interpretations of physical objects not.

Since they cannot be misallocated if they are not allocated, they are unallocated.

I already explained to you that reinterpreting a phenomenon from a different perspective does not create a new phenomenon. You went as far as denying the very basics of logic.

You’re doing the very thing you denied doing, rapidly shifting between “misallocated” and “unallocated”.

Do you fail to understand what A2 is? Yes, I think so.

On the contrary, you try to constantly muddle what A2 is. You’re using metaphors, double entendres and if all else fails, rejection of logic and finally ridicule and ignorance.

At the moment a baby is born, do other people lose some rights?

See above.

Wheeee!

I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself. Although I would prefer you debated rather than played with yourself, I guess you prefer it the way it is.

You are a contradiction.

An empty assertion without a reference.

Why ask me when you already know it comes from “sacrifice”?

You are making contradictory claims. I’m asking you to clarify it. Instead of doing this, you deflect.

You provide all the evidence needed.

In other words, you don’t have it. You imagined it, just like the fast majority of your claims.

Economic utilitarianism is about means and ends. That requires a different argument; one that includes the problem of external economies.

First of all, the alleged connection is simply not there, it’s another one of your imaginations. Furthermore, I already refuted your invocation of external economies, and you ignored it.

How do things look to you from your low moral vantage point?

I take an amoral stance. Unlike many other people, I do not hold the opinion that dogmatism and appeal to emotions is a suitable method of scientific discourse.

Wildberry October 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

@Peter Surda October 6, 2011 at 6:52 am

Let’s see…Blah, blah, blah…then…
“Your argument, which is even more ignorant than Kinsella’s is superficial, is that the homesteading principle “locks up” all possible manifestations of the concept of property, and so if you “add” IP to the mix, all other rights have to
move over, as if this is the final word on whether they do or should.”

You misrepresent my argument. My argument isn’t that such an allocation is just or necessary, merely that it consistently addresses all conflicts. Furthermore, I cannot recall an IP proponent that denies that the act of homesteading grants at least some rights.

Your assertion that it “consistently addresses all conflicts” was demolished by Kid Salami. What a hoot that you would still be clinging to such a ridiculous position.

Your use of language is so sloppy and ambiguous, who knows what you are really trying to say sometimes? Who “grants” these rights? Now homesteading only grants “at least some rights”? I thought it was the ONLY way to allocate rights? Homesteading and birth. That’s all you need to “address all conflicts”.

“Then again, an atom bomb could be used to address all conflicts. Not that I am saying that is the best way, but it certainly addresses them.” That is your argument…??!

Peter Surda October 7, 2011 at 3:07 am

Wildberry,

Your assertion that it “consistently addresses all conflicts” was demolished by Kid Salami.

Kid Salami pointed out that more than one possible solution exists and I agreed with him.

Your use of language is so sloppy and ambiguous, who knows what you are really trying to say sometimes?

Apparently, you’re the only one having this problem. You “solve” it by not taking it seriously.

Who “grants” these rights?

According to you, the state. According to me, noone.

Now homesteading only grants “at least some rights”?

I clearly specified that this is the position of IP proponents.

I thought it was the ONLY way to allocate rights?

You somehow arrive to the position that when I explain what IP proponents think, their thinking represents my position.

“Then again, an atom bomb could be used to address all conflicts. Not that I am saying that is the best way, but it certainly addresses them.” That is your argument…??!

Fail one: An atomic bomb is not a methodological framework. It’s an object.
Fail two: An explosion does not explain which of mutually exclusive situations is in accordance with the framework. It merely makes one of them impossible and therefore addresses an entirely different question.
Fail three: Even if we accepted the explosion as a valid approach, it still does not explain which last man standing is the “correct” one.
Fail four: The approach ignores the possibility of existence of beings immune to nuclear blasts.

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book series, there is a character that intends to kill everyone in the universe, in alphabetical order. Might I suggest that he be a more appropriate conversation partner than me?

Cheers.

Stephan Kinsella October 7, 2011 at 11:51 am

Some of you may find of interest Harry Browne’s comments on Galambos from a few years back– in particular, see the discussion of Galambos’s insane views on IP, starting in the middle column of p. 55 of this issue of Liberty, http://www.libertyunbound.com/node/363, and continuing for a few columns. Very eye opening how poisonous and nonsensical the idea of IP is.

Stephan Kinsella October 7, 2011 at 11:53 am

See also Alvin Lowi’s comments on Galambos’s nutty, inconsistent attitude towards patent attorneys in http://www.above-the-garage.com/rblts/primary_property_lowi_1.htm ; and also Lowi’s reminiscenses about the batty Galambos in his chapter in Block’s book of libertarian I chose liberty, http://mises.org/resources/6073

Joe Jackson November 19, 2011 at 3:22 am

Well, its been 2-3 years since I posted the <> on this blog. Apple Inc. is still what I recognized it to be — a company lead by by a man who knows the hurt of intellectual property theft and fixed it at least for the engineers under his protection. Ya might have thought Steve Jobs took V-50. A couple of years later — I’m now twice as well off. And the world is learning about the consequences of intellectual property theft from the ‘Steve Jobs’ biographies. AM I RIGHT? ARE WE OF THIS NEW PARADIGM VINDICATED??!! So the Wright Flyer just flew over your head, again — Stephen Kinsella. Still think the brothers are idiots trying to fly. Ah, you probably were so busy being stupid that you missed the first fly over. Galambos’s ideas are right. Recognition of successful application of these right ideas by others (even if independent) can make you rich. I recognized. I’m rich. And I’ve now told you twice. Defense Rests.

By the way, Steve Jobs is gone now. Tim Cook may or may not have picked up on Steve’s V-50 type incites, so don’t just go jumping into Apple stock.

< Quinces [old Red Rooster], in Jerome AZ. New owner is Vlad.>>

Joe Jackson November 19, 2011 at 3:29 am

Repeat — Quick comments that may start a new thread here. Did you know that Galambos also taught a course in investments? V30T. I took this course at night while working as a geophysicist for Texaco Oil. V50T and V201T prompted me to eventually leave oil exploration and start my own sole proprietorship but during this time I was impressed by the technical fit between this investment course and the idea-logical ones. I kept my eyes open for companies that fit as well, at least a little bit, of the criteria taught in these courses. I found one! I started buying Apple Computer when Steve Jobs came back based on his ability to produce ideas and his concern for keeping them secret. Galambos talked about keeping an eye out for visionaries w/companies attached. I’m 56 and financially independent with 3 houses and I just sold a restaurant. Courses anybody? — Repeat

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