From the Department of We're All In It Together...

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Re: From the Department of We're All In It Together...

#181  Postby mrjonno » Apr 07, 2014 9:51 am

All property "rights" are based on force.

I think they are based on laws which themselves are enforced by laws.

There is no intrinsic reason if you are paid £/$100 and are taxed £20/$20 you should keep the other 80, as a society we think its a good idea and well it makes us more productive
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Re: From the Department of We're All In It Together...

#182  Postby Beatsong » Apr 07, 2014 3:36 pm

laklak wrote:All property "rights" are based on force. Either individual force, in the form of a shotgun or spear or bow and arrow, or social force in the form of the police, courts, lawyers, deeds, titles of ownership and the entire apparatus of modern governance.

Of course society tells us what to do, what we can own, what we owe to fund the collective good, what we can expect in return from the collective. The only people I've ever seen arguing your strawman position are living in compounds out in the woods, waiting for the asteroid strike or Yellowstone eruption.

And Seth. :lol:

The points of contention are who decides what comprises the collective good and at what point the good of the many override the rights of the one. You draw your lines differently than I do. You think inherited wealth is bad, or if not actually "bad" than at least not so "good" as to insure it stays with the people it's willed to.

Yes. I certainly wouldn't say inherited wealth is "bad" per se. If living according to the shared values that lead us to become a society in the first place suggests that that's the best thing to do with the property of the dead, then so be it.

My only point really was that there is no "default" or "automatic" valid assumption about who the "rightful" owner of something is. We collectively decide what is "rightful" and then - hey presto, somebody becomes the rightful owner. In most modern western societies that collective decision consists of a combination of acknowledging people's right to work and keep the fruits of their labour; acknowledging their right to pass those fruits on to their descendents; and acknowledging the need for some collectively pooled wealth and redistribution to run the kind of society we want. And various other things to do with how the government tries to tweak the money supply, encourage investment etc. to keep the financial side of society running effectively.

Sometimes these things come into conflict with each other and both sides of the conflict have to be compromised.

I think for me, the most striking difference relevant to this thread (and one that I'm surprised many people either don't see, or don't interpret the same way) is the difference between personal, earned income and inherited, unearned wealth.

If you look at how we conceive of property rights purely pragmatically, you can't help reaching very different conclusions about the two. One of the best arguments for capitalist economics is that when people are allowed to keep what they personally work for, they work harder for it and are more likely to look after it. There is also the moral argument that someone who is prepared to put themselves out and accept some pain to go to work every day, shouldn't have to support someone who doesn't.

Neither of these arguments apply directly to inherited wealth. It doesn't reward the recipient for hard work, or preserve people from having to support those who aren't prepared to work as hard as them (since it accrues to people with no regard to how hard they personally work). There IS an indirect argument whereby inheritance can be seen as an extension of reward for personal labour, in that it gives the person who worked for it the satisfaction of knowing their kids will be OK. I can see that, and it's why I'm not absolutely against inheritance per se.

But that's a much weaker argument, and needs to be balanced against competing ones like the need of the state to collect taxes for everybody's benefit, the disadvantages of long-term ultra-concentration of wealth in very few hands, and the damage to the link between labour and reward caused over society as a whole when wealth outcomes start being based more on whom you were born to than what you've personally done.

That's why inheritance tax makes far more sense than income tax, to me. And if making the first high allows the second to be lower, then that's better than the opposite.

You believe the collective has a better moral and ethical claim on that wealth than the hereditary beneficiaries.

Not really. I don't see that anybody's got much of a claim over it, TBH.
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