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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 }

adam knott August 8, 2006 at 1:19 pm

Why not post a brief summary of his arguments, and why they are wrong, as opposed to the immediate name calling?

Constance Walsh April 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I concur with Adam Knott one hundred percent.

Regardless of the interest of the writer’s comments,
his attitude loses me immediately. It is regretful when
brain-intelligence is divorced from human understanding.
It is crucial to place Mr Galambos’ ideas in context, including
the history of the times and his own extremely challenged life.
Derogatory terms addressed to any human do not speak
well of the person using them.

Thank you for expressing your thought, Adam Knott, I’m glad it’s
first on the comments page.

Stephan Kinsella August 8, 2006 at 1:33 pm

It’s not “immediate”; I’ve seen this for years. And I have several links to more info. I address it, as I mention, in AGainst Intellectual PRoperty:

It is difficult to find published discussions of Galambos’s idea, apparently because his own theories bizarrely restrict the ability of his supporters to disseminate them. See, e.g., Jerome Tuccille, It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand (San Francisco: Cobden Press, 1971), pp. 69–71. Scattered references to and discussions of Galambos’s theories may be found, however, in David Friedman, “In Defense of Private Orderings: Comments on Julie Cohen’s ‘Copyright and the Jurisprudence of Self-Help’,” Berkeley Technology Law Journal 13, no. 3 (Fall 1998), n. 52; and in Stephen Foerster, “The Basics of Economic Government,” http://www.economic.net/articles/ar0001.html

The most radical of all IP proponents is Andrew Joseph Galambos, whose ideas, to the extent that I understand them, border on the absurd.49 Galambos believed that man has property rights in his own life (primordial property) and in all “non-procreative derivatives of his life.”50 Since the “first derivatives” of a man’s life are his thoughts and ideas, thoughts and ideas are “primary property.” Since action is based on primary property (ideas), actions are owned as well; this is referred to as “liberty.” Secondary derivatives, such as land, televisions, and other tangible goods, are produced by ideas and action. Thus, property rights in tangible items are relegated to lowly secondary status, as compared with the “primary” status of property rights in ideas. (Even Rand once elevated patents over mere property rights in tangible goods, in her bizarre notion that “patents are the heart and core of property rights.”51

Galambos reportedly took his own ideas to ridiculous lengths, claiming a property right in his own ideas and requiring his students not to repeat them;52 dropping a nickel in a fund box every time he used the word “liberty,” as a royalty to the descendants of Thomas Paine, the alleged “inventor” of the word “liberty”; and changing his original name from Joseph Andrew Galambos (Jr., presumably) to Andrew Joseph Galambos, to avoid infringing his identically-named father’s rights to the name.53

49 See Galambos, The Theory of Volition, vol. 1. Evan R. Soulé, Jr., “What Is Volitional Science?” http://www.tuspco.com/html/what_is_v-50_.html. I have read only sketchy accounts of Galambos’s theories. I also met a real, live Galambosian once, much to my surprise (I had supposed that they were fictional creations of Tuccille [It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand, pp. 69–71]), at a Mises Institute conference a few years ago. My criticism of Galambos’s ideas in what follows only applies to the extent that I am properly describing his views.

53Tuccille, It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand, p. 70. Of course, I suppose that any Galambosian other than Galambos himself, having the same type of dilemma, would be unable to change his name as a solution to the problem, because this solution was Galambos’s inalienable, “absolute” idea.

Angry Person August 8, 2006 at 1:39 pm

LOL!!!!! So, first Stephan reaches a new low by impersonating (ha, ha) me by posting under the name “Person”, then strongly condemns this, saying that he’s warned the poster, then comes back to post in this thread, but OOPS, he forgot to switch back to his regular name after impersonating me because he used the ever convenient “Remember Me” feature of the blog! Now, he’s made a post that is identifiably his, but with the handle Person, showing that he was the one he just condemned and “warned” by email!!!

This is too rich.

Dan Colema August 8, 2006 at 1:41 pm

Absurd. (Forget about bordering; it’s simply absurd). Why not drop $20 in the box for every use of the word “Liberty” and give it to the descendents of the Sumerians, who used cuneiform to inscribe the first instance of the word?

And why only a nickel to Paine’s descendents? You would think that, being on a moral high horse, he wouldn’t be so stingy.

Tim Swanson August 8, 2006 at 2:44 pm

How can one objectively define these arbitrary royalty amounts? Why only 5 cents? Wasn’t every word invented by someone? If so, how much should each word be worth? How much is this sentence worth? Is there a time frame in which IPed words are allowed to become “common,” “generic,” and end up in the public domain?

From a utility perspective, merely saying a purportedly IPed word or idea does in no form or fashion degrade its existence or ability to function. It does not lose any attribute. Whereas, physical property has the ability to erode and break down with time – it can depreciate. So what is the economic justification for extracting “rents” on an ever-abundant, non-scarce entity?

How do you meter the unmeterable?

Paul Edwards August 8, 2006 at 3:08 pm

I like this one the best,

“Galambos reportedly took his own ideas to ridiculous lengths, claiming a property right in his own ideas and requiring his students not to repeat them”

Ha Ha! That’s perfect. For some philosophies, it is a great relief to suppose that its adherents have the character and courage of their convictions which requires them to keep their wacky little ideas to themselves.

nskinsella August 8, 2006 at 3:13 pm

Wikipedia (presumably Galambos would have hated the open-source nature of Wikipedia) says Galambos “spread his message about absolute property rights through a series of paid lectures, notable for requiring attendees to sign a non-disclosure agreement, releasable only after publication of his theory, which he called “volitional science”.” Who knows if it’s right.

Tim Swanson August 8, 2006 at 3:37 pm

“Galambos reportedly took his own ideas to ridiculous lengths, claiming a property right in his own ideas and requiring his students not to repeat them”

Interestingly enough, many software programmers are essentially faced with the same quagmire.

For instance, if you worked on key portions of proprietary software, you may have a hard time finding a job at a competing firm, due to the fact that previous knowledge of how the software runs, might influence the way you code and it would then become a legal liability.

Hence this is one of the reasons why Compaq used engineers that had not worked on BIOS code to create a reverse-engineered workaround using a “black box.”

And this is also seen in the SCO vs IBM debate regarding UNIX: who owns “derivative” works.

sic itur ad astra August 8, 2006 at 5:01 pm

I took Dr. Galambos’ classes from 1974 – 1978, taking every live course he offered. During the last two years, I served in a voluntary capacity as his assistant at the podium, so I knew him well.

He combined at least three rare characteristics: a photographic memory, the intellectual integrity of a scientist and a genius level intellect. Nevertheless, he was unbelievably difficult to work for and he repelled people who disagreed with him like water off a duck’s back.

Those who would quibble with his ideas today only need to read the one book that his estate has allowed to be published: Sic Itur Ad Astra (This is the way to the stars).

As difficult as it was to work for him, I relished that time and wish I had taken more notes. He was brilliant. Those who criticize parts of his Theory of Volition do so regularly by taking things out of context.

To the question of, “How can human beings live together peacefully and explore the universe?, he delivered a societal system to accomplish it. What a great man.

The crime being committed today is by the attorney of his estate whom Dr. Galambos trusted, but has subsequently blocked publishing any of the hundreds of audio tapes I recorded for him of every lecture he delivered.

Like Nicola Tesla, he worried to his grave that others would steal his ideas and profit from them without his permission. And like Tesla, because we do not have access to his ideas today, our civilization is less well off.

Mathew Moore May 22, 2011 at 6:56 pm

To the question of, “How can human beings live together peacefully and explore the universe?, he delivered a societal system to accomplish it. What a great man.

——————

But HE couldn’t find a way to live peacefully with his subordinates and own wife.

sic itur ad astra August 8, 2006 at 5:20 pm

Tim,

The first question you must ask is, “Are ideas property?” If you answer “Yes” then a market exists to protect them. Galambos created a technology to handle this.

The answer to your questions about paying royalties for ideas can be reduced to simply this: Is the idea you received valuable to you? If it is and you offer a royalty, you can have more. If the owner declines your offer, you give up access to more. If Galambos’ estate were operating according to his principles, certain people would have access to his ideas. To my knowledge, they are locked up.

The WWW is a technology that Dr. Galambos did not predict, but which would have handled the protection of primary property (ideas) perfectly.

Have you ever wondered how many great ideas died in the brains of innovators because they became so frustrated by shysters who sneered, “Ideas are a dime a dozen…”

Vince Daliessio August 8, 2006 at 5:31 pm

Sic Itur said Re: Galambos;

“Like Nicola Tesla, he worried to his grave that others would steal his ideas and profit from them without his permission. And like Tesla, because we do not have access to his ideas today, our civilization is less well off.”

Having had a basic science education, I can usually read books that are somewhat technical in nature, even if they deal with a discipline with which I am unfamiliar.

So I picked up a book on Tesla’s work in the bargain bin at my local megabooks, and I cracked it open, and WOW – it’s unreadable! The man was a genius in his own way, no doubt, but his ability to explicate his ideas for a moderately technical audience approached zero.

This, I fear, is often the case with pure scientists. The ability to present ideas with clarity to a broad audience is often the deciding factor in whether ideas succeed.

quincunx August 8, 2006 at 7:22 pm

Galambos was a niche market advocate. His ideas could never be popular by his own methodology.

“Is the idea you received valuable to you? If it is and you offer a royalty, you can have more. If the owner declines your offer, you give up access to more. ”

That’s fine and all except the majority of humans are social creatures who dispense their ideas ad naseaum at no cost. Galambos was a fringe. He himself no doubt could not really ASSESS all the information that he borrowed.

In fact I don’t see how when can even communicate (orally or in writing/typing) if one to apply the Galambos doctrine to the extreme.

“The man was a genius in his own way, no doubt, but his ability to explicate his ideas for a moderately technical audience approached zero.”

If I recall, he never really finished anything he started. He preferred the act of thinking to the act of seeing anything through to the end.

Not deride his talents, but he needed people to support him, because he had no self discipline.

IIRC, he died in extreme poverty.

In fact he was awfully like Marx, except he didn’t create an ideology that blamed the system.

Brett Celinski August 9, 2006 at 8:54 pm

IP is just nationalization of language.

Oh, we already have that.

Brian Gladish August 11, 2006 at 12:34 am

Mr. Kinsella,

A number of points:

  • I offer you some time next year at ASC 2007 (assuming we are both alive, WWIII hasn’t come to pass, etc.) to discuss Galambos’s ideas and what he did and did not do. Mr. Tuccille’s book was, if memory serves me, wrong on almost all counts (your footnotes in “Against Intellectual Property” are my source), and I assume you are interested in the truth.
  • I find it surprising that in a group of “cranks” (as the mainstream sees anarcho-capitalists, libertarians of any ilk and misesian liberals) you wish to invest so much effort discrediting someone that you seem to think is already completely discredited.
  • Galambos never advocated a state- or legally-imposed system of intellectual property protection (copyright or patent). He advocated a market system and was quite clear that he viewed the current state-sanctioned system with disdain. You have indicated to me privately that you would not argue against such a market-based system (e-mail of 4/10/2005).
  • Rothbard, in The Ethics of Liberty (pages 123-124) advocates contractual copyright and ownership of copyrighted material in perpetuity.
  • You might explain why it is good scholarship to try to prove that Adam Smith acquired all of his correct ideas from Cantillon and others, while a mention of the Tannehills’ connection (direct or indirect) with Galambos is labelled as “dark hinting that the Tannehills plagiarized Galambos.”

I have learned from LeFevre, Rothbard, Karl Hess, Galambos, von Mises, Hayek and others. All of them had something to say that was worth hearing and each appeared to many or most of their contemporaries as “cranks” or “extremists.”

Stephan Kinsella August 11, 2006 at 1:07 am

Thanks Brian! We’ll see, about your offer re ASC 2007. These posts should not be “about me”. :)

Rothbard was quite explicit about the pedigree of Smith’s ideas. What I have seen so far re Tannehills/Galambos are vague mutterings. Out with it, I say! Or let’s drop it, and move on.

Anyway–so, is it your view that G was not a crank? If so, is it because there *are* no cranks; or, there are cranks, but G was just not one of them? If I could clarify your position, it would maybe save me a plane ticket.

Brian Gladish August 11, 2006 at 10:20 am

Mr. Swanson,

There is no way to objectively define royalty amounts, just as there is no way to objectively define the price of a car – it’s all about subjectivity. Market forces, given the chance, will determine it.

If good ideas are not scarce, what idea have you had which produced as much value as the idea of the pin? I certainly can claim no such idea myself.

Stephan Kinsella August 11, 2006 at 10:26 am

Brian, ideas–whether good or not–are not rivalrous. That is what we mean by scarce.

BTW the definition of crank is of use here: “An eccentric person, especially one who is unduly zealous.”

Or, “a whimsically eccentric person [syn: crackpot, nut, nut case, nutcase, fruitcake, screwball]“.

Do you think these definitions are reasonable? If so, do you think there are any cranks? And if so, would you say Galambos was not one of them?

Brian Gladish August 11, 2006 at 10:49 am

Stephen,

I thought you were a regular attendee (saw you at ASC 2005, but not this year), and meeting would not be problematic in the financial or temporal sense.

I also thought I was rather explicit in my connecting of the Tannehills through Skye D’Aureous/Durk Pearson (who is credited in their acknowlegements, worked with Alvin Lowi and took Galambos’s classes early in the history of the Free Enterprise Institute) to Galambos. Whether or not they actually took Galambos’s classes has been indicated as “unlikely” by one source. Another, more definitive source, has not responded. I would say that there is little doubt of some influence and only the magnitude is in question.

So, It appears you would like to label me as “crank” or “non-crank” based upon whether I think Galambos was a crank among cranks or in a class by himself. I guess I would not classify him with the people I think of as cranks – flat earthers, PETA, ELF, Democrats, Republicans, etc. Maybe that makes me a crank in your view. If so, I guess I’ll have to live with that.

Stephan Kinsella August 11, 2006 at 11:11 am

Brian,

I thought you were a regular attendee (saw you at ASC 2005, but not this year), and meeting would not be problematic in the financial or temporal sense.

Yes. I was sort of joking.

I also thought I was rather explicit in my connecting of the Tannehills through Skye D’Aureous/Durk Pearson (who is credited in their acknowlegements, worked with Alvin Lowi and took Galambos’s classes early in the history of the Free Enterprise Institute) to Galambos. Whether or not they actually took Galambos’s classes has been indicated as “unlikely” by one source. Another, more definitive source, has not responded. I would say that there is little doubt of some influence and only the magnitude is in question.

I am still not sure exactly waht is being contended. You guys seem not to want to be explicit. Oh well.

And I must confess, when I am reading and I see someone mention someone purpotedly named “Skye D’Aureous” my California hippie-weirdo crank-dar goes off and my eyes automatically glaze over and I find it difficult to continue. Probably it’s just “me”>

“So, It appears you would like to label me as “crank” or “non-crank” based upon whether I think Galambos was a crank among cranks or in a class by himself.”

No–but do I catch a whiff of the California-ish derision of “labels”, i.e. principled, conceptual thinking?–I am just confronting the issue head on. Galambosians critique me for calling Galambos a crank, yet none of them seem to want to deny it. I just wanted a denial, or an affirmance.

“I guess I would not classify him with the people I think of as cranks – flat earthers, PETA, ELF, Democrats, Republicans, etc.”

Oh, I would not say dems and repubs are cranks. Just semi-socialists. And I would include income tax protestors, common law court nuts, UFO nuts, etc.

Brian Gladish August 11, 2006 at 12:20 pm

Stephen,

Given your referenced definition of “crank” (eccentric, esp. unduly zealous) I would definitely fit as would Galambos, Rothbard, Block and yourself – all people proposing strong, unorthodox positions and defending them, which is eccentric in and of itself.

What is being contended is that there was (and is) some value in the ideas of someone you dismiss out of hand as a crank – nothing more. If Adam Smith was influenced by Cantillon it enhances Cantillon’s standing and encourages us to read him. If the Tannehills (who are highly regarded in this venue) were influenced by Galambos it gives him some credibility that you have not, so far, accorded him. That may lead to people reading volume 1 of his book (based upon lectures given in 1967 as I remember) and finding that the ideas therein have some merit.

If you wish to label someone you should know that it does not necessarily capture the essence of what they are. Although all of the mainstream people I know would call me a libertarian, I am definitely not a blockian, “plumb-line” libertarian or even a rothbardian libertarian (maybe the two are the same). Having said that you do not know where it is that I diverge from those individuals (which is irrelevant to the mainstream – they know I’m crazy). So label if you must, but you might not get it right.

Stephan Kinsella August 11, 2006 at 12:27 pm

Brian, let me be clear. I would not say Galambos was bad, or did nothing to help the movement, or that his ideas are worthless. That he was apparently somewhat of a libertarian in his conclusions puts him way above most people in my eyes. Yet I think his ideas are essentially nutty and also wrong, insofar as they rest on his scientism, and especially his incorrect (and, yes, crankish) views of “primary property” etc. That there seems to have been an almost amusing aspect to his little movement seems undeniable; the reported bizarre habits of changing his name, banning his followers from spreading his views, dropping nickels in boxes for use of the word “Liberty”–is all self-evidently eccentric, bizarre, crankish, and ridiculous. And his followers never even deny these accusations, or even try to defend them.

Brian Gladish August 11, 2006 at 2:34 pm

Stephen, let me (also) be clear.

Galambos changed his name to his father’s to honor his father after the latter’s death (Galambos’s name was previously Andrew Joseph Galambos). He realized that having the same name might obscure his father’s achievements as an architect and cause confusion, so he changed it back. Tuccille does not describe the events accurately.

His ideas were disclosed contractually as outlined in Rothbard’s Ethics of Liberty which I referenced in an earlier comment. If this was a poor strategy (as it almost certainly was with no timely publication forthcoming) he has and will suffer the consequences.

In all of the years I took courses (1975-1982) from Galambos I never saw nor heard about him dropping nickels in any can for the use of the word “Liberty.”

So, consider the statements denied and or defended by someone who is a follower of Galambos as he is a follower of LeFevre, von Mises et al.

By the way, to address quincunx’s comment that he died in extreme poverty, I believe he is quite wrong in that regard. Galambos owned a large home in Orange, California, had a number of people in his employ and left enough money in his estate (even after a trusted associate embezzled a reported $1 million) to fund the publication of the first volume of his book. Although California is expensive, I believe that his situation hardly qualified as extreme poverty.

Stephan Kinsella August 11, 2006 at 2:50 pm

Gladish:

Galambos changed his name to his father’s to honor his father after the latter’s death (Galambos’s name was previously Andrew Joseph Galambos). He realized that having the same name might obscure his father’s achievements as an architect and cause confusion, so he changed it back. Tuccille does not describe the events accurately.

Even if it’s the way you describe it, this is just weird. Normal people don’t do this. See, remember the part about “eccentric” in the definition of crank?

His ideas were disclosed contractually as outlined in Rothbard’s Ethics of Liberty which I referenced in an earlier comment. If this was a poor strategy (as it almost certainly was with no timely publication forthcoming) he has and will suffer the consequences.

It’s still kooky, bizarre, weird, and abnormal.

In all of the years I took courses (1975-1982) from Galambos I never saw nor heard about him dropping nickels in any can for the use of the word “Liberty.”

That’s not a denial of the report.

(even after a trusted associate embezzled a reported $1 million)

Stories of embezzlement often surround kooks and eccentrics, don’t they?

Brian Gladish August 11, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Stephen,

Sure, he was different.

Virgil Speriosu December 24, 2007 at 10:14 am

“Galambos and Other Nuts

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.”

Mr. Kinsella,

a pronouncement as above, about someone you admit to know little about, doesn’t recommend your other writings.

I took many of Galambos’ courses on tape and I attended a couple of live lectures. I met Professor Galambos. He has had a profoundly positive effect on my life.

His ideas on liberty, capitalism, morality, property (especially primary property) form a revolutionary framework that shows the path towards freedom. One of his main points was that freedom can’t be brought about by a political mechanism. Freedom is a technology, its products are created by the few but accepted and used by the many.

Galambos argued that the respect for other people’s primary property (i.e., ideas and intellectual and creative work) is a prerequisite for the building of what he called the bridge to freedom.

Though he worked out much of the detail of how this respect for primary property was to be implemented, regrettably Professor Galambos was not able to publish his work. Certainly he didn’t have much good to say about the current patent and copyright system.

Beth Kirkland August 11, 2008 at 12:09 pm

I was an atttendee of many of Galambos courses, V-50 three times, (first with Jay Snelson), V-201, V-282, V-76, (favorite with V-50), and the Open Ended course for one year.

I did find him, “eccentric, and his thinking muddled,” beyond V-50 and V-76.

I had a close friend who worked for him for several years and she found him difficult, with unrealistic expectations.

He lacked a clear cut goal, with implementation, (sound business plan to bring his ideas into effect), and this was obvious with V-201.

IMO his place in history will be relegated as a minor figure in Modernism and no more.

Beth Kirkland August 11, 2008 at 12:09 pm

I was an atttendee of many of Galambos courses, V-50 three times, (first with Jay Snelson), V-201, V-282, V-76, (favorite with V-50), and the Open Ended course for one year.

I did find him, “eccentric, and his thinking muddled,” beyond V-50 and V-76.

I had a close friend who worked for him for several years and she found him difficult, with unrealistic expectations.

He lacked a clear cut goal, with implementation, (sound business plan to bring his ideas into effect), and this was obvious with V-201.

IMO his place in history will be relegated as a minor figure in Modernism and no more.

Beth Kirkland August 11, 2008 at 12:10 pm

I was an atttendee of many of Galambos courses, V-50 three times, (first with Jay Snelson), V-201, V-282, V-76, (favorite with V-50), and the Open Ended course for one year.

I did find him, “eccentric, and his thinking muddled,” beyond V-50 and V-76.

I had a close friend who worked for him for several years and she found him difficult, with unrealistic expectations.

He lacked a clear cut goal, with implementation, (sound business plan to bring his ideas into effect), and this was obvious with V-201.

IMO his place in history will be relegated as a minor figure in Modernism and no more.

Beth Kirkland August 11, 2008 at 12:11 pm

I was an atttendee of many of Galambos courses, V-50 three times, (first with Jay Snelson), V-201, V-282, V-76, (favorite with V-50), and the Open Ended course for one year.

I did find him, “eccentric, and his thinking muddled,” beyond V-50 and V-76.

I had a close friend who worked for him for several years and she found him difficult, with unrealistic expectations.

He lacked a clear cut goal, with implementation, (sound business plan to bring his ideas into effect), and this was obvious with V-201.

IMO his place in history will be relegated as a minor figure in Modernism and no more.

tom smith October 3, 2008 at 2:04 pm

A. Einstein described you perfectly; “”Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.”
Apparently Galambos’ idea was to use his intelligence to pursue his ideals. And your idea consists of dismissive namecalling. Not the best way to disagree with someone in my opinion.

Arthur Ogawa October 7, 2008 at 1:54 pm

I wish to comment from the standpoint of someone who came to his ideas through reading V-50 at a time when Dr. Galambos was still living.

Simply stated, I think that there is a great deal of benefit to be earned by an ernest and open-minded study of his ideas, and the great tragedy of his life is that his extensive legacy is less accessible to people than it ought to be.

Perhaps the most powerful of his ideas is the acknowledgement of volition as a supremely important aspect of people’s life. To put it in my own terms (what else can I do?), the extent to which volition characterizes my experience and my interactions with others, is an indicator of how appropriately my life is ordered, and the degree to which I am in a beneficial environment. In this regard, Ayn Rand’s own discussions of what is man’s nature (“a volitional being”) and, I believe, the ideas of Dr von Mises, intersect well with those of Dr Galambos.

I can only encourage those who have a genuine interest in Dr Galambos’ ideas to seek out those of his works that have been published, and to in turn encourage those in charge of his intellectual estate to disseminate them further.

I also encourage those who are tempted go along with this dismissal Dr Galambos as a crank to consider the basis upon which he, his ideas, and his life are being criticized: someone who has no first-hand experience with the man’s ideas nor of himself. How disappointing: it’s is no more than a bunch of second-hand tales. I can get that quality of “information” on a blog. Oh, that’s right: this is a blog, is it not?

As Virgil Speriosu previously blogged, Dr Galambos “has had a profoundly positive effect on my life.” I concur.

Finally, a comment on Mr Kinsella’s writings. It is altogether too easy to criticize, to ridicule. Such statements reflect poorly on yourself and by extension on the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Perhaps one’s goal was to evoke comments, to stir up controversy? If so, you have succeeded only at the expense of your own credibility and that of the institution that hosts your writings. Ludwig von Mises was an intellectual giant, as was Andrew Galambos; you come off as mean-spirited and lacking in intelligence. For you to be in their (virtual) company in this forum strikes me as rather incongruous. How do you justify your presence here, may I inquire?

This post CC: contact@mises.org, with hardcopy to LvMI under separate cover.

CarlD January 6, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Galambos articulated several key ideas, including

1) the concept of a for-profit college level education,
2) the concept that freedom is a valuable product that can be produced in the same sense that the Wright Brothers manufactured lift,
3) the long-term perspective, meaning changes that could easily take more than 1,000 years.

For reference, the phrase “this way to the stars” forecasts the need for a rational government for the human species to survive and ultimately populate the galaxy.

I recently heard some political pundit spooning over the brilliance of calling government spending “an investment”.

How much obfuscation and deceit can the society endure? Except for Galambos’ level of accurate terminology, who or what has any chance to solve this problem?

William B. Hergonson February 24, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Anyone who has read this blog thread to this point deserves to know that the Jay Snelson version of the V-50 lectures, recorded live in 1977, has finally been released on CD (and MPEG downloads) to the public through Charles Holloway’s “Mapping Feedom” Project.

See http://www.v-50.org

Judge for yourself the validity of Andrew Galambos’ ideas. This guy “Kinsella” is the true “crank” (as in Andy Rooney “cranky”) in this discussion. He is just a name-calling wacko who knows not from which he speaks. He is an embarssment to the good name of Von Mises.

Stephan Kinsella February 24, 2009 at 3:43 pm

A Galambosian sighting, everyone! There’s a live one, over there!

Jon Christiansen April 6, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Thanks William for the info on V-50. I’m sure there are many members of the Von Mises Institute who went to the lectures. Many of us first heard of Von Mises because of Galambos 30 years ago. I don’t know who that guy is either but I hope he is not part of the Institute.

Eric May 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm

I find it difficult to understand why Galambos is portrayed like this. I just finished the v-50 lectures as presented by Jay Snelson. Von Mises is mentioned more than a few times. If I remember correctly, Snelson calls Von Mises the greatest economist of the 20th century. I think there should be more positive things about Galambos on this website.

Tom May 20, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Regarding the Galambos-Durk Pearson-Tannehill connection:

Morris Tannehill indirectly learned of Andrew J. Galambos’ ideas. Those ideas were “amended” in some cases by Morris and Linda Tannehill and subsequently published in their book, THE MARKET FOR LIBERTY.

I do not believe that Morris — or “Tanny” (as he liked to be called) — intentionally sought to intellectually plunder anyone including Galambos, of whom he had no direct knowledge.

Having been in communication with Morris Tannehill in the early 70s I was informed by Tanny that he and Linda learned a number of “revolutionary” ideas regarding free market technological alternatives to statism from Walter Block who had previously visited with Durk Pearson (a.k.a. Skye’d Aureous, co-publisher with Sandy Shaw of the LIBERTARIAN CONNECTION) in the late 1960s in California. Tanny communicated to me that after meeting with Durk Pearson, Walter subsequently traveled across the U.S. and met/talked with Tanny and Linda en route.

See: http://solohq.org/Forum/ArticleDiscussions/1303.shtml regarding Pearson & Shaw.

I do not for one moment believe that Walter intentionally sought to plunder Galambos’ ideas — some of which he learned from discussions with Durk Pearson in California. Like many of us at that time, Walter (and, no doubt Tanny and Linda) were truly excited about the possibility of free market justice alternatives to statism.

The only individual who COULD be accused of intellectual plunder would be Durk Pearson who did directly hear some of the ideas presented in Course V-50 in the 1960s in Los Angeles and who DID receive a notice that the ideas presented in the Course were proprietary to Andrew J. Galambos. It is Mr. Pearson’s apparent insensitivity to intellectual property in the free market that led to his subsequent communication of those ideas to Walter. No doubt Mr. Pearson was also excited about the new ideas. While Walter was a subsequent conduit to Morris (and Linda) Tannehill in the Midwest, I certainly place no blame whatsoever upon Walter — I believe he was as excited as many of us were about the power and potency of such ideas.

As expressed in THE MARKET FOR LIBERTY, however, the ideas — especially those relating to free market justice technologies — remain a pale, somewhat-diluted imitation of the ORIGINAL ideas of free market justice developed by Andrew J. Galambos … as presented in his basic course (V-50) and more extensively in his advanced course (V-201) called by him “the most important course of The Free Enterprise Institute”.

Having read THE MARKET FOR LIBERTY in 1970 and subsequently and enthusiastically applied the label of “anarcho-capitalist” to myself, it was not until I personally met Andrew Galambos in 1973 that I realized that the true source of many of the ideas presented in THE MARKET FOR LIBERTY came from Galambos. I learned from Galambos that a more accurate label to apply to myself would be the term “liberal”.

I even presented Galambos with a copy of THE MARKET FOR LIBERTY when I met with him in 1973 thinking that he would enjoy reading it. After reviewing it, he handed it back to me saying that “the book represented a plunder of his ideas.” I then handed the book right back to him saying, “If that is the case, then I don’t want that copy of the book: since you are the rightful innovator of many of the ideas in the book, I am returning your property.” He accepted the book and sincerely thanked me.

I subsequently invested the time to directly study Galambos’ ideas for myself rather than only rely upon 2nd- 3rd- or 4th-hand communications from others. For many additional reasons not relevant to the above discussion, I have great respect for Andrew J. Galambos. I consider him one of the intellectual giants of our species.

Joe Jackson May 29, 2009 at 3:26 am

Hi Everyone

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?

Shamefull plug –> Quinces [old Red Rooster], in Jerome AZ. New owner is Vlad.

jj

BFU Rector June 29, 2009 at 11:13 am

If you fully accept the ideas of anyone – you are unnecessary.

I’ve read a bit of Galambos and found his thoughts interesting and provocative. You don’t have to slog through Sic Itur Ad Astra to develop your own view, his Thrust For Freedom is available on Amazon for $15.00. You can then make up your own mind.

Simple people seek simple answers from authorities. Expounding “knowledgeably,” trusting a one line quote within a blog as your authority, is both lazy and incompetent.

BFU Rector June 29, 2009 at 11:14 am

If you fully accept the ideas of anyone – you are unnecessary.

I’ve read a bit of Galambos and found his thoughts interesting and provocative. You don’t have to slog through Sic Itur Ad Astra to develop your own view, his Thrust For Freedom is available on Amazon for $15.00. You can then make up your own mind.

Simple people seek simple answers from authorities. Expounding “knowledgeably,” trusting a one line quote within a blog as your authority, is both lazy and incompetent.

Tom July 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Galambos was a hypocrite. He ate volitional beings and he stole from people who paid for books and coins that were never produced. Nothing more than a fraud.

Mathew Moore May 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Books and coins? Please tell me more.

Andrew J. Galambos July 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I would like to acknowledge that I was a fraud and a criminal who knowingly violated my own principles. I was constantly amazed at the number of troubled souls who were so hungry for a “leader” that they let me manipulate them to the point of ruining their marriages and emotionally scarring their children. I was a hypocrite. A special thank you to all of you who pre-paid for that book on my dad and those coins. Don’t hold your breath. Those of you who idolize me need to get a life.

Mathew Moore May 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

YES! This is EXACTLY what I experienced with Galamblos. How was he a criminal? I’d love to know. I grew up in a Galambosian family, and I’d love to hear as much as possible about the dark side beyond what I’ve all ready experienced.

Richard Boren August 21, 2009 at 1:18 pm

The July 8, 2009 post from “Andrew J. Galambos” is a phony, as Galambos died in 1997.

All of those who criticize Galambos without having taken his courses deserve no more attention than a film critic who hasn’t seen the movie. Period.

I first heard the ideas of Galambos in 1975 when I took Jay Snelson’s course V-50. I went on to take every available course over the next several years. I spent as much time in classes delivered personally by Galambos as I did in earning my college degree. I would say with no hesitation that the education I received from Galambos far surpassed what I received at university. In fact, Galambos obsoleted some of it, and showed that most of the rest was wrong. Although the “hard science” college courses were OK, Galambos’ physics class made that subject come alive. My life was greatly enriched in many ways by Galambos, and I use the things I learned from him every day.

Galambos wasn’t easy to deal with, and I won’t say that he was 100% correct in his teachings. Who is?
Galambos taught his students that science is a process of building on the work of antecedents, and others are already building on what he did.

Sadly, Galambos’ life was cut short by Alzheimer’s disease. His estate is controlled by persons who seem to me to be violating the very principles he lived by and taught. It is inconceivable to me that he would have wanted his lectures, every one of which was recorded, to be locked away and unavailable for hearing. But that’s the situation today,
with one exception.

Fortunately, The V-50 Lectures, based on Galambos’ ideas and created by Jay Stuart Snelson,
are now available for purchase as MP3 files, along with a very handsome booklet containing a large amount of information that has never been published before. By way of full disclosure, I played a small role in bringing this to market, but have no financial interest in it.

V-50 is an introduction to the work of Galambos, and in the 60+ hours of lecture material (beautifully and entertainingly delivered by Jay Snelson) you will find an eye-opening storehouse of powerful new ideas that are especially applicable today. It’s even sold with a money-back guarantee–try getting one of those at your local institute of higher learning!

I encouraged a friend to buy it, and once a week we listen to one of the 16 lecture sessions. He’s almost ready to “graduate” and he loves it. Me too.

Andrew J Galambos August 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Richard, you and others are guilty of stealing my primary property. You are a primary property thief. Will you come after my secondary or primordial property? I am very unhappy with Jay, and he knows it. Maybe my estate is locking away my garbage because it stinks. And another thing….When you blindly dismiss legitimate criticism of me and attempt to throw in preconditions like not being “worthy” of criticizing me unless you’ve taken V-50, you make the Free Enterprise Institute sound like a cult. Which it is. Thanks again for the money. Did you like the book on my dad?

Mathew Moore May 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Who ever is writting these is hilarious! Way to go! Especially the comments about “More Lasting Than Bronze”.

Daniel Shapiro March 16, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Steve Kinsella is a very ignorant as evidenced by what he writes. Of course he would refer to Galambos as a nut. I can see two reasons why. 1) He is a strict adherent of praxiology and rejects ipso facto and labels as “flaky scientism” any scientific ideas that provide a more complete and deeper comprehension of human action. 2) He wrote a paper called “Against Intellectual Property” that is adverse to Galambos’ precise and all-encompassing definition of property which is the basis of his theories of property and volitional science.

Steve Kinsella (much like Karl Marx) does not comprehend the nature and source of property (except maybe the tangible touchy-feely kind – but only superficially) and so like Marx he rejects the sanctity of its natural proprietary linkage, its importance, and significance and concludes that intellectual property is up for grabs – to each according to need. Good luck in reconciling your contradiction Steve Kinsella.

Perhaps publishing provocative gossip column like hearsay gets him some attention. Anyone that has read his anti-intellectual property fluff will recognized that Kinsella has nothing original to say and like the article above he hides behind other peoples opinions. His anti-IP paper is a first for me. I’ve never read a paper where the quantity of footnotes and references rivals the quantity of actual text. He rehashes a bunch of legal opinions and fact-fits other peoples ideas to create the illusion that he is scholarly.

Apparently intellectual property is too fuzzy for Steve Kinsella’s rather shallow and narrow legal mentality to grasp so he rejects it – what a pompous and ignorant fool. Hey Stevie! Wake up! – maybe it’s not IP which is problematic but the irrational patent/legal system that is hopelessly flawed. I’m just amazed that the Mises Institute would associate themselves with such an obvious pseudo-intellectual.

The specious ideas that Kinsella promotes against the sanctity of intellectual property highlight the major error of omission in traditional capitalism and goes far in explaining why socialism is so popular with innovative and creative people. Capitalism is impotent without the necessary recognition and payment to the individuals who are the source of intellectual capital. It is upon this rational structure of accumulated knowledge, discovered and made available by the efforts of real individuals, that makes possible mankind’s progress.

Some people have commented that Kinsella should take the time to listen to V-50 before categorizing Galambos as a nut. I don’t agree. It would be a total waste of his time to study volitional science because he clearly lacks the prerequisites, namely: curiosity, rationality, and intellectual honesty. He’s seems very happily ensconced in his closed system of philosophical praxiology and contrived ad hoc political law where he can mentally masturbate in an attempt to re-synthesize other peoples ideas a priori ad nauseum.

The fact that the fundamental principles of Austrian capitalism economics can be logically deduced from the more general and observable volitional science postulates would mean nothing to him. A scientist, however would recognize the significance of this achievement.

Sione March 16, 2011 at 5:01 am

Daniel

That’s a whole shit pile of ad hominem and bad will you’ve been rolling ’round in. Nothing to be learned from it.

How about doing something different instead? Dr Galambos seems interesting. It would be worthwhile to find out more. Trouble is that his theories appear to be difficult to get a handle on (since their are either locked up by his trustees or can’t seem to be clearly described and accurately explained by many of those who attended his courses). That is a problem. Contrast this situation with that of, say, Von Mises, Rothbard or Reisman. It is conveniently possible for people to gain understanding of their theories, as their books and papers are readily available and also there are plenty of people about who can (and do) clearly explain them.

So, why not explain exactly Dr Galambos view and why it is valid? Start from first principles. A good summary should be fine for a stater. It would help a great deal if you (or someone else familiar with Dr Galambos’ work) could attend to this.

Thanks in anticipation.

Sione

Stephan Kinsella March 16, 2011 at 9:18 am

You sound like an amateur, newbish, incoherent, uneducated, mediocre cultist.

Vahram Diehl September 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Is this really the only arguing tactic you have up your sleeve for dealing with situations when your errors are pointed out, Kinsella? I would expect more.

mama February 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm

+1!

sad attacks blogwriter. Everybody’s eccentric when compared to a particular paradigm. most ppl would be considered abnormal to the blogwriter who’s a von mises advocate. it shows little intelligence to call Galambos not normal

mama February 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm

i haven’t even read galambos but it makes me want to read him more! so i guess good job for the publicity, blogdude!

Jesse Thomas March 16, 2011 at 1:50 am

A friend of mine gave me all v-50 lectures on one of my weekly Monday Mises events. Currently I’m on session 5. So far I have really enjoyed these lectures but I really have serious trouble getting through the unjustifiable support for minimal government, like what I hear from mushy libertarians who believe the state is necessary to protect ones’ property.

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Finish the course, Jesse. You will see that the way he uses the word “government” has nothing to with the libertarian concept of minimal coercive state interference.

Mathew Moore May 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Free Enterprise Institute = Cult

Many Galambosians try to brainwash their children with his all-or-nothing nonsense. Having been one of those children, I’m looking for others who may have experienced the same.

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm

My understanding of a cult is that it generally requires the worship or belief of a human as a deity or somehow super-human, e.g. Jesus Christ in Christianity. How does that apply to FEI? I would love to hear your experiences.

Vahram Diehl August 27, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Greetings, I am 23 and perhaps one of the youngest “Galambosians” currently living. Reading Sic Itur Ad Astra is like getting a college education, and The Free Enterprise Institute is currently operational and in the process of making making of Galambos’ courses available, you can get on the waiting list at http://www.fei-ajg.com

I am happy to talk about my experience with V-50, SIAA, Mapping Freedom, FEI, Jay Snelson (who I know personally), and anything else associated with Galambos.

Also, I read your article “Against Intellectual Property” when a friend mentioned it to me as the reason they can’t buy into the protection of ideas. I composed a formal rebuttal that I now share with others who have been influenced by it, I am happy to share it here if anyone would like to read. Suffice to say, the moment you stop respecting original ideas, all of society crumbles at its foundations. Tesla and now Galambos are excellent examples of this for having been plundered.

Anthony August 28, 2011 at 12:50 am

If your rebuttal has more substance to it then the baseless hyperbole in your comment above then post it… keep in mind that asserting something does not make it true.

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 12:52 am

No, but observing it as an absolute does. The foundation of society is ideas, everything tangible comes from them. You can not remove respect for ideas without crumbling society anymore than you can remove the integrity of cells without crumbling the body. I will locate and post it soon.

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 1:46 am

“It appears to me that the bulk of Kinsella’s paper is dedicated to legal reform of coercive government monopoly “services” like patent, copyright, trademark, etc. As I am not a libertarian but an anarcho-capitalist (It’s redundant, I know. I wish I could just say “anarchist” or “capitalist”, but either without the other is subject to gross misinterpretation.), I have no interest in any kind of government or legal reform. My goal is the replacement of these means with superior free market functions. I do not necessarily disagree with the problems he points out in the inefficiencies and immoralities of our current system of enforcement.

The next issue is the sanctity of physical property, of which we are all clearly in agreement. Using the Galambos V-50 definition of property (‘the non-procreative derivatives of an individual’s life’) which is the most concise and consistent definition of property I have ever come across, we can state more simply albeit roughly that an individual’s property is that which would not exist without his conscious interference with reality.

This means that the car belongs to the car manufacturer, but in the creation of this physical property he makes use of the intellectual property of the first person to invent a car. You see, Ford cars obviously do not exist until Ford makes them, so they are the property of Ford since they could not exist without Ford’s conscious effort. However, Ford could not make Ford cars without the idea innovated by the man (Daimler?) who came up with the internal combustion engine. However, Daimler could not invent the engine without first making use of Newton’s laws of physics, and although obviously he did not create the physical universe he created an understanding of them in words and symbols which was non-existent before him. So you have all these people using the property of those before them to create new property. By making use of cumulative achievements across generations, it saves us the trouble of having to start back in the Stone Age with every new child that is born.

So why only respect physical innovations and not the mental innovations that are just as important and often more important to technological progress? The only real argument I read coming from Kinsella is that just seems too damned impractical and farfetched for all the sources of original ideas to actually retain control over the use of their ideas. His claim that control of intellectual property unfairly limits others from using their own physical property is erroneous. If I never had the option of building a log cabin on my land because no one had invented it, then that possibility only comes from me observing and being educated about someone else’s original idea for a log cabin. No new possibilities are taken away by the cabin innovator, as I could never have built one in the first place without the innovator’s effort! I have only been granted more possibilities by being aware that such a thing can exist, even if he chose to disclose this idea under strict stipulations of how it can be used. I have not been enslaved by his disclosure, I still have more knowledge and possibilities than I did when I lived in a world where log cabins did not exist. I can choose not to participate in his disclosure and make painstaking efforts to independently innovate the cabin for myself.

The only answer I can provide for this argument (which in our present world is entirely understandable) is that over time more efficient mechanisms and intuitive cultural codes of morality will evolve. Natural selection will favor the more honest and respectful of individuals, and those highest caliber individuals will seek only to associate with others of comparable caliber. In the future, when I invent something that could change the world, or compose a musical masterpiece, or whatever contribution I make through my intellect to society, you can bet that I will learn from the mistakes of geniuses of the past and be very very very very particular about who I disclose it to.

Just like with the lawnmower example Kinsella gives, I would not let someone I did not trust borrow or use something of value that belonged to me. The higher I evaluate the property in question, the greater amount of trust I will require in the person I am contracting with. In the case of some revolutionary idea that will change the world, I might value it so highly that there may only be one or two other people in the world I would entrust it with not to be abused. Almost no one listened to Newton’s ideas during his life, except fortunately for us his friend Edmond Halley (as in Halley’s Comet) insisted that he publish his ideas. If it were not for this one high quality individual who did not abuse Newton’s ideas we might be centuries behind on our technology.

In spite of all the good points Kinsella makes, I still am left asking this question. At what point do you consider it acceptable to stop respecting the sanctity of original ideas of other people? Respect all ideas? Respect no ideas? Or pick and choose which ones are convenient for you? You can be sure that I will do everything I can to make sure that all my close associates fall into the first category, and that they are the only ones I will share my original ideas and innovations with. As an artist or innovator, why would you want it any other way?”

Peter Surda August 28, 2011 at 3:40 am

Vahram,

the main point, in my opinion, of Kinsella’s paper, is that IP contradicts physical property. It is impossible to interact with immaterial goods without the use of material goods (e.g. a medium). Therefore, all that IP can do is redistribute media. Almost all IP proponents do not get this.

The second main issue is that IP proponents cannot coherently define their position, so it is impossible to evaluate their claims from either an economic or ethical point of view.

You see, Ford cars obviously do not exist until Ford makes them, so they are the property of Ford since they could not exist without Ford’s conscious effort.

This is one of the typical IP arguments: the argument from causality. It alleges that causality is a sufficient condition for a rights claim. Unless you make this claim in a formal fashion (which typical IP proponents, when met with the consequences of such a claim, refuse to do), the argument is a non-sequitur. Galambos went quite far in this respect so maybe you will make this claim despite the obvious weird conclusions it would lead to (e.g. children belonging to their parents, Atlas Shrugged belonging to Soviet Union and so on).

At what point do you consider it acceptable to stop respecting the sanctity of original ideas of other people?

This is a normative question, so the answer might not satisfy you: at the point where “respecting” starts meaning violating other peoples property rights.

Vahram Diehl August 28, 2011 at 4:38 am

I should clarify, Galambos defines property as the “non-procreative” derivatives of an individual’s life. This excludes children as property, or any other form of human ownership. “The Soviet Union” cannot own anything, for it is not an individual, it is a concept. It is itself the property of whoever conceived it and adheres to it with the consent of its innovator. He also stipulates every individual as the owner of their own “primordial property”, their own life.

The chain of causality begins with every individual human endeavor and the ideas he makes use of as well as the physical tools he possesses. No physical tool can come into existence without someone first thinking of it. If the inventor of the hammer immediately sees his idea stolen, used in ways he finds disagreeable, and he is not compensated, he is not likely to keep inventing and disclosing his tools to the world. Ditto books, movies, music, laws of nature, airplanes, etc. If you can understand the anti-incentive to produce that comes with physical plunder and coercion, shouldn’t it be just as obvious that the same applies to an even larger scale to intellectual innovations from which the physical ones come?

Peter Surda August 28, 2011 at 10:57 am

Vahram,

I should clarify, Galambos defines property as the “non-procreative” derivatives of an individual’s life.

What is derivative if not causality? And what is non-procreative?

This excludes children as property, or any other form of human ownership.

Does that not exclude also animals and plants? And of course, oneself?

“The Soviet Union” cannot own anything, for it is not an individual, it is a concept.

Soviet Union has a physical manifestation, which includes individuals.

It is itself the property of whoever conceived it and adheres to it with the consent of its innovator.

What does this mean?

He also stipulates every individual as the owner of their own “primordial property”, their own life.

So can people be owned or not?

The chain of causality begins with every individual human endeavor and the ideas he makes use of as well as the physical tools he possesses.

This omits the necessity of the physical matter existing prior to using it.

No physical tool can come into existence without someone first thinking of it.

The material of the tool is already there. All you can do is just transform existing material.

If the inventor of the hammer immediately sees his idea stolen, used in ways he finds disagreeable, and he is not compensated, he is not likely to keep inventing and disclosing his tools to the world.

You are now making a big jump in argument, in claiming that when other people modify their property, in a way that is causally related to other people modifying their property, this somehow represents a reasonable basis for an argument.

Any time you act, other people can observe it an react to it. Even if they do not observe it, they might be affected indirectly, for example through the market prices. You’re claiming that this has detrimental effect on the original actor.

Ditto books, movies, music, laws of nature, airplanes, etc.

Ditto any other action whatsoever.

If you can understand the anti-incentive to produce that comes with physical plunder and coercion, shouldn’t it be just as obvious that the same applies to an even larger scale to intellectual innovations from which the physical ones come?

If you can think that physical plunder and coercion causes a disincentive to produce, then you must reject intellectual property, since this is precisely what it is, by definition: it is the expropriation of physical property.

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