Monday, March 14, 2016

Do We Need the Rich?, VI: How to Circumvent Existing Wealth


Last week we noted that, while we need a rich child, woman, or man as much as we need any other human being — there is nothing specially good or exceptionally wicked about being rich that makes any rich individual better or worse as a human being — we can get along very easily without their money.

You don't preserve anything by destroying it.
In fact, we’re better off if we don’t rely on the rich to finance new capital formation.  Once we do that, there’s no way to establish and maintain a state of society in which most people can — and do — own productive capital except by changing what “ownership” means.  And if you do that, you might as well stop where you are.
You can’t restore property for some by destroying it for others.  Not only is it politically unfeasible to do so, it’s irrational.  It violates the first principle of reason, the principle of (non) contradiction: nothing can both “be” and “not be” at the same time under the same conditions; truth is an “intellectual unity.”  What is true for you must be true for me in the same way at the same time.
Now, let’s not be deliberately stupid.  To take an obvious example, if it’s true that I have red hair, it is not necessarily true that your hair is red, too.  That’s not what the “unity of the intellect” means.  It means that if it is objectively determined that I have red hair, you cannot insist that my hair is, on the contrary, at the same time and under the same conditions, green.
Noah Webster: define something so you know what you're talking about.
Thus, if “property” means 1) the natural, unlimited right inherent in every child, woman, and man to own, and 2) the socially determined and necessarily limited bundle of rights that define how an owner may exercise that right under specified conditions, you cannot at the same time insist that “property” really means the thing owned (the popular misconception), that the natural right to own is limited to a few (capitalism), or that the natural right to own is as socially determined as the rights of ownership (socialism).  That is why we say that capitalism is mostly wrong because it mostly abolishes private property, and socialism is totally wrong because it completely abolishes private property.
That’s also why it’s not up to us to punish the rich for the presumed crime of being rich.  First of all, it’s not our place to accuse others and act as judge, jury, and executioner, especially when we have no evidence or even logical argument — an argument based on false premises is not logical, by the way.  It doesn’t prove someone else is guilty.  It only proves you’re stupid.
Sound money creation for Capital Homesteading.
Second, it’s not even expedient to punish the rich for being rich.  Given the established fact that it is possible — even preferable — to finance new capital formation by using future savings to which we all potentially have access, instead of past savings to which only the rich have access, the rich are only hurting themselves by not enjoying what they have, or using it (of their own volition) to help others.
The bottom line is that being rich is their problem.  We don’t need to make it ours as well by insisting that they use their wealth to benefit us when we have the potential to benefit ourselves without having to take anything from them.  The only question that remains is how to do it.
Frankly, the “how” ordinary people can become owners of productive capital is the easiest part of the whole program; it’s child’s play compared to convincing people that past savings are not essential to the financing of new capital formation.  The necessary institutions are already in place to do most of it, and whatever else is needed can be passed into law in a matter of days.  We’ll just give a bare outline in tomorrow’s posting.  (We’ll also ignore, for the time being, reform of the tax system, although that has to go along with reform of the monetary system.  One thing at a time, though.)
#30#

No comments: