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Thanks for your reply here & on Pieria, Frances. We're already quite a way from Chris's topic of redistribution and I don't think we're going to work out our differences in a comment's section, so maybe we should agree to disagree for the moment? But thanks anyway.
Toggle Commented Oct 9, 2013 on Redistribution at Stumbling and Mumbling
"property rights in the absence of a state are merely matters of opinion and force." Property rights with the state are pretty much the same (albeit the force is generally financial/legal rather than muscular) Frances did a post on Pieria yesterday too 'The Problem of Ownership' claiming that; "The real problem with individual property ownership is that it does not really exist. You only own property if others agree that you do - and that is the case whatever system of law and governance is in place." I don't buy it because simply put, property rights are an extension of the conception of ownership. IMO ownership/possession develop from sexual rights (a la Freud). I don't deny that they develop in a reflexive way with social structures. But that's a long way from 'state's creating property rights'. This stuff is embedded in our psyche - its to do with what it is to be human. I think Economics gets itself confused between definitions and descriptions. Property rights describe how the conception of ownership is mediated between the individual and the state at the moment. A definition might be needed for the purposes of Law, but that is not creation, it a response to something extant.
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2013 on Redistribution at Stumbling and Mumbling
I read Frances' piece but I'm still not buying the "governments don't defend property rights but create them" idea. Puts me in mind of the State Theory of Money - kinda similar way of thinking. And its not only between whom and how, but also 'How much' redistribution - Until absolute equality? Until a "just" balance between equality & freedom? And who says what's "just" anyway? I guess I don't buy the whole 'property rights ain't real' argument as it just seems like a spin on an old debate; redistribution for Equality Vs property rights for Freedom. Whereas traditionally the debate runs - redistribution makes Equality which is real Freedom (& property is theft), on the one side - and property rights make Freedom which is real Equality (& redistribution is theft), on the other. This particular spun version (the Dillow-Coppola or Coppola-Dillow spin, you can fight that out) affirms the reality of redistribution and negates the reality of property rights. I have no doubt that there are libertarian commentators doing the exact opposite. Sorry, but I don't think any of it really gets us anywhere.
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2013 on Redistribution at Stumbling and Mumbling
There is a point in poker where mutual trust is rewarding. Near the end of the game (in tournament poker), where all players are cashing, an 'all-in' from a short-stack (a player with only a few chips left) is often called by many other players 'behind' (acting after) the short-stack. These players then often check through their hands - i.e they make no aggressive moves to win the pot. The point of this is to increase the chances of the short-stack being knocked out resulting in the remaining players being ranked one place higher in the final results. The reason co-operative behaviour occurs at these late stages of the game stems from the large increase in prizes in line with ranking. There's a life changing difference in earnings between finishing 8th and 4th out of a few thousand players. Sorry for the poker terminology but the basic point is that where trust leads to a significant increase in real cash returns poker players will co-operate. (What I describe here is not classified as collusion). Poker players will trust when it pays. I think businesses operate in a similar way. That is they co-operate to ensure the demise of minor competitors whilst competing for the larger share of the market. I've only played poker against Victoria Coren once. She was extremely well stacked and she beat me. :o|
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Nov 20, 2012