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Benoit
Uniting the Left and the Right

 

Benoit

I think implementing the Lockean proviso would unit the Left and the Right.

In the Second Treatise of Government (1690), John Locke puts forward his account of how a man may legitimately appropriate goods from the state of nature for his private use by mixing his labour with them: Whatsoever then he removes out of the State that Nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his Labour with, and joyned to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his Property. It being by him removed from the common state Nature placed it in, hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other Men. For this Labour being the unquestionable Property of the Labourer, no Man but he can have a right to what that is once joyned to, at least where there is enough, and as good left in common for other.

"At least where" means something like "certainly where". To Locke, it's so easy for a worker to make sure he doesn’t make the life of anyone worse off because of his work that he writes his "proviso" as if it was a no brainer and almost a (involuntary) matter of fact. For Locke, implementing the condition seems automatic because he conceives private appropriation as a reduction of the pressure that those living out of the common encounter.

Locke wrote: He who appropriates land to himself by his labour, does not lessen but increase the common stock of mankind. For the provisions serving to the support of humane life, produced by one acre of inclosed and cultivated land are... ten times more, than those, which are yeilded by an acre of Land, of an equal richnesse, lyeing wast in common. And therefor he, that incloses Land and has a greater plenty of the conveniencys of life from ten acres, than he could have from an hundred left to Nature, may truly be said, to give ninety acres to Mankind.

Basically, Locke was trying to be a good Christian. A Christian in possession of a surplus has a duty to help the needy, whatever the origin of his surplus (hard work, thriftiness, etc.) and whatever the cause of the vital need (laziness, parasitism, etc.). Implementing this duty is favourable to economic growth and development through international stability and cooperation; in other words, implementing this duty is keeping at bay the law of the jungle where killing to survive is the utmost natural right. Where and when there is not enough for others, stealing a property and parasitism of workers can become a natural right to take what one needs to self-preservation.

Hobbes wrote: Similarly, if individual subjects make private judgments of right and wrong based on conscience, succomb to religious enthisiasm, or acquire excessive private property, the state will suffer. Even a well-designed commonwealth may, over time, cease to function and will be dissolved.

And Plato wrote: In fact, Plato held that guardians should own no private property, should live and eat together at government expense, and should earn no salary greater than necessary to supply their most basic needs. Under this regime, no one will have any venal motive for seeking a position of leadership, and those who are chosen to be guardians will govern solely from a concern to seek the welfare of the state in what is best for all of its citizens.

And also in Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas insisted: ... whatever some have in super-abundance is due, by natural law, for the purpose of succouring the poor... Each is entrusted with the stewardship of his own things so that out of them he may come to the aid of those in need. But if the need be so manifest and it is evident that the present need must be remedied by whatever means are at hand ... then it is lawful for a man to meet his own needs by means of another's property, by taking it either openly or secretly, nor is this theft or robbery.

We also find a closely related proposition in Agrarian Justice, written by Thomas Paine (Published in 1797). This work was based on the contention that in the state of nature, "the earth, in its natural uncultivated state... was the common property of the human race." Yet to better cultivate the land, private ownership was established. Thus Paine views private property as necessary, but that the basic needs of all humanity must be somehow provided for by those with property. This is in some sense is their "payment" to non-property holders for the right to hold private property. Paine proposes a detailed plan to tax property owners to pay for the needs of the poor, what could be considered as the precursor of the modern idea of citizens or basic income.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Uniting the left and right was also ideologically thematic in the fascist organizations of the early 20th century. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

Fidel

Ya, and political liberals from the west advised Kerensky not to permit Bolsheviks political representation in the Duma.

"He ruled the russian land and never mind the czar

But the kasachok he danced really wunderbar

ra ra Rasputin lover of the Russian queen

There was a cat that really was gone" Boney M

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]Uniting the left and right was also ideologically thematic in the fascist organizations of the early 20th century. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] [/b]

What is tarnished is not necessarily bad.

RosaL

I doubt very much that the left would be prepared to unite around Lockean principles. Why don't we all unite around [i]The Communist Manifesto[/i] instead? [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

Cueball Cueball's picture

[img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


Basically, Locke was trying to be a good Christian.

y
Oh, yes, that is what he was trying to do wasn't it? Jesus did say fence the loaves and fishes, didn't he?

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by RosaL:
[b]I doubt very much that the left would be prepared to unite around Lockean principles. Why don't we all unite around [i]The Communist Manifesto[/i] instead? [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] [/b]

Exterminating capitalists can hardly be unifying unless you believe that, once dead, they will be venerated as gods.

Cueball Cueball's picture

How does changing someones relationship to the social order [i]necessarily[/i] equate with "exterminating" them?

On second thought, please don't answer that.

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]How does changing someones relationship to the social order [i]necessarily[/i] equate with "exterminating" them?

On second thought, please don't answer that.[/b]


I know your own "answer" to your question: what if capitalists don't want to change their relationship to the social order.

Cueball Cueball's picture

It's really a matter of accounting, mostly. Shouldn't be a big issue.

[ 08 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]It's really a matter of accounting, mostly. Shouldn't be a big issue.[/b]

It's a justice matter rather.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Right. Change the formulation of some adminstrative procedures, add some legal blocks to the massive accumlation of personal wealth and so on and so forth. Don't see that there is much they could do about it frankly.

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]Right. Change the formulation of some adminstrative procedures, add some legal blocks to the massive accumlation of personal wealth and so on and so forth. Don't see that there is much they could do about it frankly.[/b]

After having write "and so on and so forth" of course you don't see what they could do!

[ 08 November 2008: Message edited by: Benoit ]

Cueball Cueball's picture

Any ideas?

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]Any ideas?[/b]

Implementing the lockean proviso the way Thomas Paine has proposed in Agrarian Justice(Published in 1797). This work was based on the contention that in the state of nature, "the earth, in its natural uncultivated state... was the common property of the human race." Yet to better cultivate the land, private ownership was established. Thus Paine views private property as necessary, but that the basic needs of all humanity must be somehow provided for by those with property. This is in some sense is their "payment" to non-property holders for the right to hold private property. Paine proposes a detailed plan to tax property owners to pay for the needs of the poor, what could be considered as the precursor of the modern idea of citizens or basic income.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I was going to add, "any ideas" that are not solely based on resucitating archival material from the "enlightenment".

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Yes, except, in nature, everyone ate unless there was a disaster. Under private ownership people didn't eat because they refused and what's more, the property of the commons was confiscated without compensation. How does that fit with the property rights ideology?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Besides most wealth is actually not associated with actual physical property, as such, in the post-enlightenment period, it is mostly imaginary and reified by the social institution of the stock exchange and commodities markets, etc. It would be simple enough just to trim some zeros off at the end of some figures in some bank accounts, and do a lot of good.

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
[b]Yes, except, in nature, everyone ate unless there was a disaster. Under private ownership people didn't eat because they refused and what's more, the property of the commons was confiscated without compensation. How does that fit with the property rights ideology?[/b]

Paine views private property as necessary, but that the basic needs of all humanity must be somehow provided for by those with property. This in some sense is property-owners' "payment" to non-property holders for the right to hold private property.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I suppose if you were a property owner who wanted to maintain your status, yet feel that you were a useful member of the human community, you might want to look at it that way.

[ 08 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]Besides most wealth is actually not associated with actual physical property, as such, in the post-enlightenment period, it is mostly imaginary and reified by the social institution of the stock exchange and commodities markets, etc. It would be simple enough just to trim some zeros off at the end of some figures in some bank accounts, and do a lot of good.[/b]

Seignorage applies just as well for natural wealth than for financial wealth:

[url=http://economics.about.com/od/economicsglossary/g/seignorage.htm]http://...

Cueball Cueball's picture

My point is that no one has to be tossed out of their houses and into the streets, so that they can be occupied by the downtrodden. Farmlands do not have to be siezed either, since the consortiums that already manage the farms siezed that property long ago. This in itself is already very much already a centralized communalizing organization, where the property has been communalized and centralized, and the work also communalized and centralized. What has not happened is that ownership, and the wealth that is accured has been distributed.

There is no need for an agrarian reform, since it has already been done.

[ 08 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

genstrike

Is private property really that necessary? I can point to a few examples of societies or times when there was no private ownership of land, yet people continued to survive and produce (for example, some communities in the Spanish Revolution)

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


Paine views private property as necessary, but that the basic needs of all humanity must be somehow provided for by those with property.

Quite the convenient philosophy. How has it worked out?

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]My point is that no one has to be tossed out of their houses and into the streets, so that they can be occupied by the downtrodden. Farmlands do not have to be siezed either, since the consortiums that already manage the farms siezed that property long ago. This in itself is already very much already a centralized communalizing organization, where the property has been communalized and centralized, and the work also communalized and centralized. What has not happened is that ownership, and the wealth that is accured has been distributed.

There is no need for an agrarian reform, since it has already been done.

[ 08 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ][/b]


The sub-prime mortgage mess is the product of a centralized organization communalizing only the losses.

Cueball Cueball's picture

What does Paine say about the sub-prime corporate cash grab?

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]What does Paine say about the sub-prime corporate cash grab?[/b]

Prevention

Cueball Cueball's picture

Wrong. Paine says nothing about that. In fact the present order was completely beyond his imaginings.

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]Wrong. Paine says nothing about that. In fact the present order was completely beyond his imaginings.[/b]

Of course! Paine was imagining the order that would come out of the application of his plan.