Human consequences of climate change – is private property the solution or part of the problem?

Guest Post by Dr Paul Babie. Paul is is Associate Dean of Law (Research), Adelaide Law School. He holds a BA in sociology and politics from the University of Calgary, a BThSt from Flinders University, a LLB from the University of Alberta, a LLM from the University of Melbourne, and a DPhil in law from the University of Oxford. He has also worked as a barrister and solicitor.

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I. What Private Property Is

Climate change is private property problem. That may seem a little esoteric—let me explain what I mean. We begin with liberal theory, from which the dominant contemporary concept of private property emerges. Liberalism concerns itself with the establishment and maintenance of a political and legal order which, among other things, secures individual freedom in choosing a ‘life project’—the values and ends of a preferred way of life. In order for life to have meaning, some control over the use of goods and resources is necessary; private property is liberalism’s means of ensuring that individuals enjoy choice over goods and resources so as to allow them to fulfil their life project.

Within this framework, the liberal conception of private property is, in simple terms, a ‘bundle’ of legal relations (or rights) created, conferred and enforced by the state (law), between people in relation to the control of goods and resources (1). At a minimum, these rights typically include use, exclusivity, and disposition. One can use one’s car (or, with few exceptions, any other tangible or intangible good, resource, or item of social wealth), for example, to the exclusion of all others, and may dispose of it. And the holder may exercise these rights in any way they see fit, to suit personal preferences and desires. Or, we might put this in a way that comports more with the language of liberal theory—rights are the shorthand way of saying that individuals enjoy choice about the control and use of goods and resources in accordance with and to give meaning to a chosen life project.

Notice, though, that in my definition, such rights exist only as a product of relationship between individuals. This is significant, for it focuses our attention on the fact that where there is a right (choice) to do something, there is a corresponding duty (a lack of choice) to refrain from interfering with the interest protected by the right (2). Rights would clearly be meaningless if this were not so. The liberal individual holds choice, then, while all others (the community, society) are burdened with a lack of it as concerns that good or resource. C Edwin Baker summarised the idea of rights and relationship this way:

…[private] property [i]s a claim that other people ought to accede to the will of the owner, which can be a person, a group, or some other entity. A specific property right amounts to the decisionmaking authority of the holder of that right. (3)

Private property, then, is not merely about the control and use of goods and resources, but also, significantly, about controlling the lives of others. Identifying the importance of relationship reveals the fact that private property and non-property rights overlap; choices made by those with the former have the potential to create negative outcomes—consequences, or what economists call ‘externalities’—for those with the latter. Every legal system acknowledges this problem and, in doing so, accepts that with rights come obligations towards others (4). The state, through law, creates private property just as through that same law (what is more commonly known as regulation) mediates the socially contingent boundary between private property and non-property holders. This is, in fact, the essence of private property—state conferral of self-serving rights that come with obligations towards others (5).

This brings us full circle to the broader liberal theory with which we began, for the importance of relationship in understanding private property reveals an important, yet paradoxical, dimension of choice. It is simply this: the freedom that liberalism secures to the individual to choose a life project means that in the course of doing that, the individual also chooses the laws, relationships, communities, and so forth that constitute the political and legal order. In other words, in the province of politics people choose their contexts (through electing representatives, who enact laws and appoint judges who interpret those laws), which in turn defines the scope of one’s rights—choice, decisionmaking authority—and the institutions that confer, protect and enforce it. Individuals as much choose the regulation of property as they do the control and use of goods and resources (6).

II. How Private Property Facilitates the Human Consequences of Climate Change

When we focus on relationship as central to private property and the political-regulatory contexts we choose, we begin to see something else. It was always there, but it was hidden. The externalities of private property create many other types of relationship in which the lives of many are controlled by the choices of a few. Anthropogenic climate change is a stark example.

While the science is complex, it is clear enough that humans, through their choices, produce the gasses that enhance the natural greenhouse effect which heats the earth’s surface. Among other effects, this enhancement results in drought and desertification, increased extreme weather events, and the melting of polar ice (especially in the north) and so rising seas levels. We might call this ‘climate change relationship.’ And private property facilitates choice (both human and corporate) about the use of goods and resources in such a way that emits greenhouse gasses. Our choices about goods and resources cover the gamut of our chosen life projects: where we live, what we do there, how we travel from place to place and so forth. Corporate choices are equally important, for they structure the range of choice available to individuals in setting their own agendas, thus giving corporations the power to broaden or restrict the meaning of private property in the hands of individuals. Green energy (solar or wind power), for instance, remains unavailable to the individual consumer if no corporate energy provider is willing to produce it.

Once we choose, others are affected. Externalities do not end at the borders, physical or legal, of a good or resource; choices occur within a web of relationships, not only legal and social, but also physical and spatial. Who is affected? Everyone, the world over, with the poor and disadvantaged of the developing world disproportionately bearing the brunt of the human consequences of climate change (7) —decreasing security, shortages of food, increased health problems, and greater stress on available water supplies.

Consider human security. This will decrease both within countries affected directly by climate change, and in those indirectly affected through the movement of large numbers of people displaced by the direct effects of climate change in their own countries. In the case of rising sea levels, for instance, sixty percent of the human population lives within 100 km of the ocean, with the majority in small- and medium-sized settlements on land no more than 5 m above sea level. Even the modest sea level rises predicted for these places will result in a massive displacement of ‘climate’ or ‘environmental refugees’. And private property, through securing choice about the use of goods and resources to those in the developed world, makes all of this possible.

III. Is it the Solution?

Yet private property and the commodification it depends upon seems to be in vogue at the moment as a solution to anthropogenic climate change. Creating a proprietary interest in carbon that can be bought and sold is the answer, is the political choice, it is claimed and we believe, to the climate crisis. Is it really? We could just as easily say that the concept of private property is the primary culprit. Is it wise to entrust the solution to the concept that put us here? Or might it be more appropriate, as Mike Hulme suggests, to ‘…see how we can use the idea of climate change—the matrix of ecological functions, power relationships, cultural discourses and material flows that climate change reveals—to rethink how we take forward our political, social, economic and personal projects over the decades to come.’ (8)   Before we pin our hopes on it as a cure-all, we might ask first whether the liberal concept of private property is ripe for just such a reappraisal.

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Footnotes

1. See Joseph William Singer, Introduction to Property (2nd ed 2005) 2.

2. Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld, ‘Some Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning’ (1913) 23 Yale Law Journal 16; Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld, ‘Some Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning’ (1917) 26 Yale Law Journal 710.

3. C Edwin Baker, ‘Property and its Relation to Constitutionally Protected Liberty’ (1986) 134 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 741, 742-3 (emphasis added).

4. Joseph William Singer, ‘How Property Norms Construct the Externalities of Ownership’, (2008) Harvard Law School Public Law Research Papers, 2008-No 08-06 <http://ssrn.com/abstract=1093341> at 14 January 2009, 3 (emphasis in the original).

5. Joseph William Singer, Entitlement: The Paradoxes of Property (2000) 204 (emphasis added).

6. I am most grateful to Joseph William Singer for bringing this crucial point to my attention.

7. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2007 – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Working Group II Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report (2007) <http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg2.htm> at 14 January 2010, 7.

8. Mike Hulme, Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity (2009) 362.

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54 Comments

  1. I see any attempt to commodify pollution as little more than the modern equivalent of the trafficking in indulgences that that was at least partially responsible for the backlash that split the Church, and gave rise to the Protestant movement. In other words if governments are foolish enough to put any system of this nature in place, they will be creating an incubus for a major backlash down the road.

    As`for the role of property rights – it is my observation that concept itself is ill-defined, and subject to far too much local interpretation, to provide any sort of foundation for laws to protect the environment. Certainly, as the author of the leading post shows, there is far to much tension between competing rights and obligations, to make any effort to apply property rights in this context problematic at best.

    However as poor as property rights are in this regard, it may be premature to call for wholesale changes in the concept. Property rights have been adjusted in the past in relation to environmental obligations and can be again as the need arises, without a full renegotiation of the social contract that creates them. I would think that would be the better path to take.

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  2. yeah:

    there’s no non arbitrary way to price carbon; which means it comes down to a power struggle over its price and there’s no way competing capitals on a global scale (especially in a global economic crisis) are ever going to agree on a carbon price that would actually set the changes we like in motion.

    If there could ever be under capitalism the required global price regulation, then there could be global industrial policy. Might as well just skip to that and ignore the pricing focus whose only point is to make it seem like “the market” is doing it.

    But I don’t think competing global capitals will agree on a global industrial policy either. Because they’re competing.

    better stop featuring geoff russel and guys like this, barry, or you’ll lose the neoliberal moniker peter wishes to pin on you (smile).

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  3. Interesting questions. Only solutions are missing.
    When peopel have to buy energy from a company that does not invest in green energy this is because the price is to low.
    One way to counteract is to give more money to the people.
    That would take economic pressure and free creativity. Everybody could now enjoys the liberties that are described in the posting. Now we have to work for income.
    If anybody would have a right to (insert any currency…about 1500€) a unconditional basic income from birth on we could pursue real path of happiness. That would actually also raise creativity, education level, free ressources,…

    It would then make it possible for the people to think about their lifestyle. If you don`t change the system you wont change the mindset, right? If you have the freedom to think about it you could invest in more intelligent ideas. Buy yourself some communal power plant, built energy autarc green communitys and industries. You also have time to do more for the community. All the work that has been done before but has never been financially rewarded could still be done but without the need to get support from somewhere else.

    That would make great competition for power companys. Money would stay in the communitys, they could export power. It is always better to run your own little plant. We got gravity vortex hydro plant here. It was half the cost of a conventional micro hydro. It serves 20 people and is cheaper than buying from the grid. But people need money and a high degree of personal freedom to take such choices.

    Also property is not the same all over the world. The idea of preoperty may is.
    But if I compare the housing market of the US where people are forced to take credit because there is not a real choice to not do so (no community built rent…). The have property but are also bound by an asymetric system where there work is not really valued hight enough.

    Everybody likes to own proerty but most people are not bright enough to understand that it would help if they produced their own power.

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  4. This article is a long winded and convoluted way of saying that,with rights,come obligations.Most,but not all, children learn this.The ones that don’t often end up in prison or as a chief ececutive in industry or government.

    Trying to tie this theory in with carbon trading is a dog which won’t hunt.The carbon “market” is a scam designed to allow business as usual to continue.Of course it won’t be successful but it will put some money in the hands of the smooth operators.

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  5. If everybody on Earth is entitled to the same CO2 emissions then I don’t see a happy outcome. While emissions in the West have eased a little China population 1.3 bn and India 1.2 bn are hellbent on increasing theirs. The unspoken dialogue seems to be
    Chindia: we are entitled to Western levels of emissions
    the West: you have too many people

    Mother Nature may eventually solve this problem in a harsh way through hardship and conflict. I think the way to solve this is to decarbonise not in a hair shirt kind of way but by finding alternatives. As an example of conflict there will soon be cries that Australia’s coal and LNG exports are free of carbon tax while those same commodities will be penalised at home.

    One way to break the property rights conundrum is to set an example by doing well while using less, CO2 that is. This is what Australia should be doing now.

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  6. I think the author is quite confused in asserting that private property is something created by the state. Historically speaking private property is a creation of civil society and predates the creation of government (which was usually produced by tyrants in the first instance). To be sure governments have played a subsequent role in protecting property rifts but also in subverting them. Witness the various state legislation on native vegetation that drove land owner Peter Spencer to go on a hunger strike in protest at his loss of land rights. And dig into the background behind the political party called The Climate Sceptics and it is clearly a reactionary movement driven by property right injustices perpetrated by the state.

    The solution to climate change will be technological more than institutional. However unless we protect the innovative and creative and wealth generating sector of the economy (ie the private sector) then we delay the commercialisation of new technologies. The AGW movement has led governments to violate and undermine private property and whilst it may be driven by good intentions it is a dangereous movement that needs to be opposed and / or seriously reformed.

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  7. This is not very helpful. First of all, a re-thinking of property rights is never going to happen. Given the choice, I think society would choose catastrophic climate change over a loss of property rights, should such a choice ever be possible. Second, countries where there are no property rights do not show any improvement in managing “common” areas such as the atmosphere, rivers etc. Thirdly, the solution proposed is general and vague and adds little to the debate. A poor contribution to what is otherwise a very good blog.

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  8. “I think the author is quite confused in asserting that private property is something created by the state. Historically speaking private property is a creation of civil society and predates the creation of government “

    Only in the crude sense that the exercise of private property is essentially the denial of use of others in respect to that property. Before the creation of governments to regulate this process, the ‘rights’ to any property were established only by the projection of might. In these circumstances, the relative obligations of property owners, to others was not nuanced in any way.

    It was only the development of government that gave the process structure via a social contract, wherein all agreed to respect others property in reciprocity, and promised to act collectively to enforce these terms.

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  9. DV82XL – I don’t think you’re correct. It is hard to be sure because government is such an ancient institution but there are examples of it being absent and property rights being broadly (although obviously not universally) respected. The Icelandic period of anarchy and the wild west of the American frontier being examples. The existance of security services doesn’t prove a failure of property rights, merely that there are alternatives to government.

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  10. During periods of true anarchy what I wrote above generally applies. The American Wild West – to the extent that this historic period existed at all, outside of the fevered imaginations of those who wrote for for the Eastern Yellow Press – was typified ( in fact almost defined) as a might is right society.

    Indeed the Commonwealth period in Iceland was a decentralized social structure, based mostly on voluntary cooperation, but it did operate within a fixed ‘constitutional’ tradition, that developed via some sort of collective agreement. While perhaps an Anarchy by definition it was not without rules, and I am wiling to bet that there was some organized enforcement when it was required. At any rate it developed from some form of tribal governance, and was able to draw on Scandinavian Common Law for most of its precedents.

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  11. Thanks for an interesting post, Paul. I hope to add some thoughts to expand the relevance of private ownership.

    As a conservationist I gave a great concern about the view of landholders who think that they have a right to do what they like with their property. While some obtain land in order to protect it from irresponsible management, others are unconcerned about loss of natural habitat and contributing to extinction of species. This is parallel to the carbon emissions problem. I have another example that may be helpful to consider:

    Feral olives have been recognised as the most significant weed problem in South Australia. Currently olive growers externalise the cost of weed management. Harvesting olives from groves and feral trees may reduce but essentially the olive industry externalises is not made responsible for their ongoing contribution to the problem. Options for the state are to prevent growing of this Proclaimed Plant, or some means of making olive growers responsible for an area within at least five kilometres from the margins of their orchards. This is the range of a fox, one of the main vectors for spreading olive seeds. Olive growers could be required by the state to control feral olives near them, or be charged the cost of their removal. For some areas this would cost many thousands of dollars and it take several years treat all of the larger trees and more years to kill regrowth and remove seedlings.

    The above is an example of how the relationship between a landowner and the state could be modified and work within the current framework.

    Think even broader, we could consider old growth forests, some of which are in undeveloped countries. In the interests of reducing carbon emissions and preserving biodiversity, there should be incentives and even an income stream to those responsible for maintaining these areas. This is an international issue, so the concept of a state is more difficult to apply. Areas of remnant vegetation should be seen as an asset to the whole global community, not merely as private land under a sovereign state.

    The problem of carbon emissions is also a global issue. There has to be some way of linking the cost of potential damage of the emissions with price paid for the privilege. What is the cost of displacing 60% of the world’s population into areas with less capacity to produce food? It is a price the global community clearly cannot afford. We should take measures proportionate to the problem. Claims that the economy cannot afford a carbon tax of any form completely miss context of the problem.

    We need a global economic framework that values the health of the environment and ecosystems, while still providing incentives for producing humanity’s essential needs.

    The kind of solution I envisage is one in which there is a revolution in information and decision making, largely involving the Internet, in a way that makes the current system (of political leaders and their partnership with a media driven by topical issues) irrelevant. We need to start asking questions about what the most important issues are to address and engage in discussion to find the best solutions.

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  12. DV82XL – you seem to imply that anarchy entails a society without rules. Typically we call that chaos. However anarchy, properly used in terms of political philosophy, does not mean an absents of rules. It means an absence of government. I doubt any society with more than one person has ever been without rules. In fact even societies with only one person no doubt had rules. However many societies in history have been without government.

    To get back to the article in question there was a suggestion that government is the origin of property rights. I think such thinking is fundamentally flawed. Government can certainly have an influence on the nature and distribution on property rights and can be used to transfer rights by force. However it is largerly irrelevant to the existance of property or property rights. Property is merely something that somebody controls and property rights is merely a social construct that says that the control of property should not be transfered by force. In fact “might makes right” is the exact opposite of “property rights”. The former says that the mighty are free to take what they want. Not merely in a positive sense but in a normative sense. We have a mountain of fables and stories from almost every culture that reviles the idea that the mighty should feel free to take as they please.

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  13. Robert,

    I grew up on a farm. We had neighbours called the state government. We constantly had to deal with weeds that were seeded by our neighbours unkept land. I’m not convinced that governments are better custodians of land. Like over grown children they frequently lack the necessary responsibility. Governments create more negative externalities from their actions than almost any other sector of society. Whether it is the dead weight costs of taxation, the perverse anti-social incentives of the welfare system or the toxic effect of the many daft forms of prohibition (including nuclear energy prohibition).

    Many farmers today will not allow native vegetation to grow on their land because under current laws it basically means the land is no longer theirs if this happens. Just a couple of weeks ago I had dinner with some land owners who made clear that they slash their land to avoid losing effective ownership. We have created a very perverse incentive that ensures farmers keep their land clear. We would be better off guaranteeing farmers that if they grow native vegetation they can clear it in the future. In short we ought to protect property rights. However we seem determined to pay the price and learn the hard way.

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  14. “you seem to imply that anarchy entails a society without rules. Typically we call that chaos. However anarchy, properly used in terms of political philosophy, does not mean an absents of rules. It means an absence of government.”

    I know what a classic Anarchy is, and I also know there is little evidence such a state ever existed that was not rooted in a previous more centralized one. In the case of Iceland, the Alþing was formed through a collective effort on the part of local chieftains, and drew on the Norwegian laws from which it sprung, in other words evolving away from an organized government. The American Wild West, to the extent that it existed was a consequence of the American Civil War and Washington’s inability to exercise sovereignty in in the Western Territories, due to a lack of resources while fighting the South.

    Nether case supports your contention that: “Historically speaking private property is a creation of civil society and predates the creation of government “

    Now if you wish to limit yourself to personal property, (in the Marxian sense) instead of the idea of private property which includes real immovables, like land, and usage rights, I will grant that these might have developed from a nongovernmental state. However within the context of the original article, it is the broader concept that being used.

    That definition of property rights that includes the more complex concepts of ownership is indeed a construct of government and evidence of this goes back to the earliest civilizations, in fact much of what we know of some of these cultures is from the extensive transaction records they left.

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  15. Sometimes it is necessary to take the land and property from people that do have accumulated too much of it.
    In my country the governemt took lots of land and now there are laws that prohibitit the former owners of certain political funktions so that they cant reclaim their former property.

    Cororations do not have conscience. How would they inflict a climate agenda on their own if it is not good for profit? There are just some who feel the consequences…like Münchner-Rück which is a driving force behind Desertec.

    Better think about moving somewhere higher in the next 10-40 years.
    Even when you are higher you are effected by climate change. Some places mosquitos rise higher every year and you just can`t stay there…

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  16. Look guys , this is all very well and perhaps even interesting, but the purpose of this blog is acceptance of nuke power.
    I realize i am ot here, but why would anyone designing a npp use sodium as a coolant??
    I understand it has great properties, but being explosive when coming in contact with water is surely not one of them? This has probably been discussed in another thread somewhere , sorry.

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  17. Look guys , this is all very well and perhaps even interesting, but the purpose of this blog is acceptance of nuke power.

    I thought the purpose of this blog was to discuss issues surrounding climate change. It has evolved in the direction of pro-nuclear advocacy because of Barry’s recognition of the overwhelming case for nuclear power.

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  18. The “origin” of private property started when a guy put up a fence around some common land and convinced everyone on the outside of the fence that what was on the inside of the fence “was his”. Then he created “The State” to enforce same.

    David

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  19. The earliest mention of private property were in the body of law decreed by Urukagina, king of the Sumerian city-state Lagash.

    A king is the head of a form of government known as a monarchy.

    Government came first.

    QED

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  20. “…why would anyone designing a npp use sodium as a coolant?? I understand it has great properties, but being explosive when coming in contact with water is surely not one of them?”

    The short answer is that at the temperatures in question, just about anything is explosive if it comes in contact with water, so it’s not a unique problem for liquid Na

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  21. Was there ever a lengthy period in history when private property did not exist? Communist states have not been around very long, and communism no longer exists in Russia. What is private property and what are the alternatives?

    Presumably during Medieval times the land belonged to the nobility, or possibly the King, and the peasants had the use of it in return for certain obligations. There may have been a period in Egyptian history when land belonged to the Pharoh. In traditonal societies land tends to belong to families and tribes (or in aborignal societies they belong to the land). Which of rhe above constitutes private property?

    Large scale capitalism is clearly a problem, and the Government should rein in the power of large corporations. The Government also rightly has the power to make rules on the use of private property and to use taxation to redistribute wealth and provide services for the population.

    A useful reform would be to cap the level of political donations so that large corporations and organisations cannot hold the elected Government to ransom if they do not like their policies.

    True democracy cannot exist if the elected government and other political parties can be threatened with loss of campaign funds if they do not please those with the money. There is a similar problem with the media.

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  22. David – yes. Property came first and government was invented to protect it. However government pretty soon was being used to take property off other people.

    DV82XL – did the King have property? If so where did it come from? What is a monarchy except a form of privately owned government?

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  23. That is why I made the distinction between concepts of personal property (perhaps a social construct, however that remains conjectural at this point) and private property, which is something different at least within the context of the leading article, which to remind everyone, was questioning if currently the understood idea of property rights can survive the developing tension between it and the impacts of climate change.

    When looking at that question I hardly see how we can avoid the fact that current property rights are a creation of, and managed by the State through governments. And by the same token, I cannot see how knowing when some group of hominids began to have glimmering of the concept of possession of something external to itself, is germane.

    “David – yes. Property came first and government was invented to protect it. However government pretty soon was being used to take property off other people.”

    Prove it.

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  24. Uncle pete some of us may have been metres away from liquid sodium without realising it. Zebra batteries as used in Adelaide’s Tindo bus have 250C molten sodium adjoining the negative plates. If that bus was T-boned by a semi trailer surely the outcome would not be good since the sodium fire would then start a fuel fire.

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  25. “- what is your distinction between personal property and private property?

    In its most general definition, personal property is any asset other than real estate, or any right of usage that pertains to real estate. In simple terms it is the difference between movable possessions and immovable ones. There are more subtle distinctions, mostly involving intangible property that have developed in both Common and Civil law, but for the sake of this discussion, the simpler one will do.

    Now concepts of simple ownership of things, (personal property) probably evolved fairly early in human history, and did not require any more than simple social rules, and private enforcement. Members of hunting and gathering cultures, for example owned only what they could carry. However some of these cultures developed fairly complex leadership structures, that were not linked directly with property per se and I think it is justifiable to refer to these as nascent governments. These leaders were not elevated because of what they owned, but because they could manage the group effectively, to reach common goals.

    Complex ideas of private property was a consequence of settlement and the development of agriculture, and naturally this required a different and more complex set of rules, and a more complex apparatus to administer it. But it is an error to assert that prior to this, there were no laws and no leaders to make and enforce them. Both the historical record and modern anthropological evidence suggest otherwise.

    Now I happen to believe that Dr. Babie has brought up a very important point in the lead article – that the issue of climate change may have a significant impact on property rights in general, and that it is a topic worth examining in some detail.

    I am having a hard time grasping how pettifogging arguments of the historical origins of the idea of the concept of property and property rights relates to this larger issue, of where these concepts are going. This is particularly true since it will be legal changes and policy changes that will impact these rights the most, and these will come through government action.

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  26. I am having a hard time grasping how pettifogging arguments of the historical origins of the idea of the concept of property and property rights relates to this larger issue, of where these concepts are going.

    The author of the article introduced the discussion of the historical origin of property rights. I merely commented on it. Perhaps it’s relevance is low but why then did the author mention it? I suspect it was mentioned as justification for taking away property rights. As in the argument to Ceasar what is Ceasars. I’m not personally a fan of either Ceasar or the argument that Ceasar owns whatever he damn well wants to.

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  27. “The author of the article introduced the discussion of the historical origin of property rights. I merely commented on it. Perhaps it’s relevance is low but why then did the author mention it? I suspect it was mentioned as justification for taking away property rights.”

    Well that’s the whole point isn’t it? One of the impacts of climate change will be to change the (utilitarian) value of existing real property. This being the case, current owners are stake holders in the debate on what steps might be taken to prevent this from happening. It is also a good bet that these steps may well have an impact on the rights of others over the property that they own. The social mechanism available to negotiate and effect these changes in law, are governments – it’s just the way it works now, and has worked in the past.

    And the beginnings of this are upon us. I was appalled to learn that in some places in the South Western US, the practice of suburban home-owners keeping rain barrels to water their gardens between rainfalls, is now illegal, because ever drop of water that falls on these properties, technically belongs to someone else, and has been spoken for.

    We can safely assume that this came as an unpleasant revelation to those that had bought houses in these subdivisions, especially those that had gone to the expense to put in cisterns, and now were under court order to fill them in.

    There are going to be other examples coming to the fore. In the example I gave above, this was the result of laws that existed prior, but were never enforced against small homeowners, but as the situation worsens, there is a good chance that new legislation will be tabled of similar effect.

    What I took away from what Dr. Babie wrote, is that we need to start talking about it now.

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  28. Water from the sky?
    stupid idea.
    What is the difference between using it in the garden via collecting or using it directly?

    Who owns the water? Thats unbelievable and plain stupid.
    What about collectionng sunshine…or breathing air…

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  29. That is correct, there is a difference between “personal” and “private” property.

    “Personal” property is that which is related to you as an individual and no social-consequence beyond your own ownership: the shirt on your back, your car, you home, etc.

    “Private” property, often as Marx used it, mean “productive” property that was used to increase value…that is it had a certain dynamic beyond personal use.

    Thus, in Cuba, one actually has title to your house…it’s private, so to speak. Productive property is socialized.

    Tj is correct: governments can seize “private” property and, often enough, “personal” property as well. But it does not do so abstractly…the government under capitalism has very limited rights to do so. The US government cannot sized ‘healthy’ private property *except* under eminent domain. The US government could not, under current circumstances, “seize” Ford Motor Company. It is a healthy enterprise there is exists, under US capitalism, absolutely no ‘mechanism’ for the state to do this. An unhealthy company, like GM, for example, can be ‘siezed’ albeit within a certain amount of limitation, precisely because it can effect the health of capitalism generally.

    The capitalist class in any capitalist country will do anything to protect property relations even if it means sacrificing a section of that class to maintain class rule. Thus you have “pro-free enterprise” suppression of democracy through out Latin America by capitalist Oligarchs bent on maintaining their rule, democracy be damned.

    At the end of the day the ruling class of any society does what it wants, even when “law exists above man” as most western capitalist countries are generally known for.

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  30. Actually it seems to me that the question of “private property” is fundamental to the issue of how we respond to climate change.

    On one level, individuals currently have the (implicit) “right” to emit CO2 into the atmosphere, and the proponents of climate change action say that we need to restrict those emissions – in other words the “government” has to impose some restrictions on individuals’ rights to emit freely.

    On another level, the most commonly proposed mechanism for imposing these restrictions is by way of resalable “emission quotas” – in other words, private rights to emit. This is based on the idea that if you “privatise the commons” then the market will allocate the resource to the most efficient consumers.

    As others have pointed out here, this privatisation requires explicit action by the state to allocate and enforce the property rights. However, since CO2 is a global commons, this inevitably leads to the need for a global authority to ensure that the property rights are honoured. It seems to me that this is one of the key points on which many opponents of carbon trading schemes find problematic – logically, it involves at minimum some abrogation of national authority to a “world government” authority…

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  31. There is a further step that needs to be taken in this argument.

    This relates to the notion of national sovereignty. National sovereignty is an extension of the private property argument to the nartional sphere. A nation state by dint of its sovereignty has an unfettered right to do as it is wishes. The only limitations on that sovereignty are the various bilateral and multilateral agreements that have been entered into.

    As we are becoming more aware of the impact that national decisions can have on the global environment there is a growing awareness that the world community has a vested interest in ‘interfering’ in the exercise of that sovereignty. For example can countries with rainforests simply cut those down? Or can a country build a nuclear power station irrespective of what the rest of the world thinks? Even if we leave aside the usual arguments that are posed agaist Iran namely that they will use it to build nuclear weapons, we would still jhave to be concerned that the safety standards are adequate – if they do not build to the requisite safety standards they could easily pose a threat to the whole world.

    As the article rightly points out the liberal conception of private property may be part of the problem not helped by the iseads of the likes of
    Rousseau, Locke and Hume:
    Hume saw the idea of private property as a manifestation of natural law; he acknowledges that property law is artificial, but because the notion of private property is such a sensible arrangement we can regard it as being a product of our natural inclinations:
    “Tis a quality, which I have already observ’d in human nature, that when two objects appear in close relation to each other, the mind is apt to ascribe to them any additional relation, in order to compleat the union…Thus for instance we never fail, in our arrangement of bodies, to place those which are resembling in continguity to each other, or at least in correspondent points of view; because we feel a satisfaction in joining the relation of contiguity to that of resemblance of situation to that of qualities…As property forms a relation betwixt a person and an object, t’is natural to found on it some preceding relation; and as property is nothing but a constant possession, secur’d by the laws of society, ‘tis natural to add it to the present possession, which is a relation that resembles it.(1740, Book3 Part 2 Section 3)

    -Like wise Locke stated:
    “Though the Water running in the Fountain be every ones, yet who can doubt, but that in the Pitcher is his only who drew it out? His Labour hath taken it out of the hands of Nature, where is was common, and belong’d equally to all her Children, and hath thereby appropriated it to himself.” (1690 Second Treatise Chapter5; )

    Rousseau asserted something very similar when he argued that in the absence of legal ownership a person claimed a piece of land …. “not by an idle ceremony, but by actually working and cultivating the soil” (book1 chapter 9) then that person owned that piece of land.
    The examples put forward by Hume, Locke and Rousseau are all social/political constructs – when they work they can be useful in organizing society but we need to acknowledge that there may be situations when private property or national sovereignty have outlived their usefulness.

    One can readily see that the idea of ownership is far more important in settled communities then nomadic communities. In the former there needs to be someway of marking the territory so that even when one is absent one can still exercise legitimate ownership. In nomadic societies there is no such need – the things that the group owns are generally owned in common and carried with them. The very nature of nomadic society is such that survival depends on managing their territory so that it satisfies their needs. In such a society the notion of the ownership of land is redundant – strangers wandering in will, unless they become settlers, not make an impact.

    The key element to note is that Locke’s notion of ownership would apply to both nomadic and settled societies. On the other hand the notion of actually owning the land does not – indeed the history of colonization of nomadic societies highlights this problem only too well. Nomadic communities tended to see themselves as custodians of the land rather than the owners. Maybe we need to get back to that notion of private property.

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  32. This paper appears to be missing the in-text references to the footnotes.

    Very insightful article, though I feel it’s more philosophical than useful. The human population almost certainly won’t relinquish or re-evaluate property rights in any meaningul fashion within the catastrophe avoiding time scale, we’ve more or less been given, to mitigate anthropogenic climate change.

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  33. When we suggest taking away property rights, and then even go a step further John Tons and attack national sovereignty, well then you make actually make Monckton’s points about installing a global facist/communist government seem almost plausible.

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  34. Well, the issue of ‘globalization’ is quite real as is the question of national sovereignty. There tends to be an NGO, mostly EU based belief that national sovereignty needs to go away. Anyone that pushes this is cruz’n for a bruis’n as we say in the US. It is simply not the way to do anything. Treaties are, of course, but ones that are voluntary. Once you enter into coercion of on group of countries against another individual country, you get a mess on your hands. Like with Iran today.

    The idea of a planetary enforcement agency is downright scary (as any country trying to deal with the U.S. and you’ll see why). Until we have, as a people, achieved the sort of enlightenment and…end of scarcity…as promised in fictional accounts like Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets, any such discussion about ‘global gov’t’ is going to be opposed.

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  35. Democratic nation states have a moral advantage over corporations. That is, that their leaders were elected by the people. Following the lead of their people, these states can then enter into agreements with other nations, which, it is to be hoped, benefit the world at large.

    Of course this sometimes has the opposite effect, for example trade agreements that damage third world farmers, local cultures etc.

    An overiding body might be a good idea, but only insofar as it protected the planet and its inhabitants and allowed local cultures to flourish. This is what the United Nations is supposed to be doing, although it does not always succeed.

    I am quite happy for Australia to enter into global agreements to cut greenhouse emissions, ban torture and slavery etc.

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  36. A world government is inevitable. Hwo would you otherwise protect the now poor and small countries from suffering?
    Wealth needs to be shared between everybody.
    Even in a democratic enviroment things go very wrong. Some countries are just not up to real democracy. Take Swizerland. There are billions of European tax money hidden and they won`t understand that this money belongs to the people.
    There will be other countries that will never accept rules regarding carbon emissions.
    The way it goes nothing will work out.
    No pessimism…just realism.

    You have to get radical at some point. Uncondidional basic income is one way to go. Poverty keeps us from developement and poverty is real in every country on earth.
    Germany is a good example. East Germany would still suffer if it where not for German reunification.
    Why not unite the whole world under one government?

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  37. “A world government is inevitable. Hwo would you otherwise protect the now poor and small countries from suffering?”

    Countries are poor because of government, not in spite of it.

    See Hong Kong. No natural resources to speak of, no arable land to speak of. All they have is economic freedom and a small and unobtrusive government that doesn’t squander too much of their wealth.

    “Wealth needs to be shared between everybody.”

    Apart from the obvious moral problem(it’s not yours to take and redistribute as you see fit), this is extremely counter-productive. ‘Share’ enough wealth at the point of a gun and it just evaporates into nothing.

    Under a fully communist society 100% of my production goes to the common pool, and the pool is then shared out according to the needs of recipients. Since I am only one of millions my individual contribution has negligible effect on the size of the pool. It doesn’t hurt me personally to produce as little as I can get away with. I consider it unjust for you to take the product of my labour, hence I’m going to slack off or work on personal projects while pretending to work on whatever it is the beaurocrats have assigned me to, I’m going to withhold resources from the commons whenever I can get away with it and I’m going to trade on the black market whenever the incompetent beaurocrats fail to anticipate my wants and needs(e.g. chocolate, a faster computer, whatever). This is a variation on the tragedy of the commons.

    What was the Soviet solution? They tried to enforce production quotas workers cheated(if a factory had to make x meters of wood planks you made them ridiculously thin), if you still couldn’t meet the quotas the factory would often hire workers on the black market or bribe workers(you’ll get x planks of wood that you can trade on the black market if you work over night). Whenever such offending citizens where cought they were executed or sent off to slave labour camps in Siberia where many of them succombed to starvation.

    Who would ever choose to work garbage pick-up if there was no financial incentive? Who would go off and mine iron ore in Siberia? Beaurocrats will pick people they for one reason or another dislike; people who are politically inconvenient or break the arbitrary dictates of the state.

    What if I believe that I’m really good at designing computer games or playing the piano; I go tell the beaurocrat that I want to be reassigned from garbage pick-up or whatever; how do they determine what I should do? In a market economy all I have to do is meet the test of the market by subjecting myself to the free choice of individual consumers; it is not necessary to suck up to, bribe or otherwise convince some government beaurocrat or committee.

    Even if I you succeeded in totally crushing the human spirit of the population and make them into “new socialist man”, who is willing to work as hard as it is humanly possible in favour of the collective interest; how do they know what to produce without a market and market prices? If you take commodities and turn them into a trabant, how do you know whether you’ve created or destroyed wealth when you don’t have prices for either? What does GDP even mean when it is the arbitrary prices paid by government for arbitrary goods rather than a product of consumer choices?

    Even Lenin wanted to keep one little small country capitalist when the whole world had converted to socialism just so they could see what their prices looked like.

    It is an embarassing fact that the 3% of the Soviet unions arable land that had limited property rights produced a third of the entire food production of the Soviet Union.

    If fullblown communism is a terrible solution; why do you believe communism-light will help? Yes, you can get a population to pay 50% taxes, have some government monopolies, have thousands of pages of unecessary and counter-productive regulation; but it’s not going to help anyone.

    Why should I work hard if you’re going to steal 70% of my wages if I earn above a certain amount? No, I’m going to reduce the amount of work I perform in order to not get into the 70% bracket.

    Why should I bother to accept a job that doesn’t pay as well as I’d like or isn’t as enjoyable as my last job? I’m way more likely to stay unemployed and live off of the government while I keep looking for my dream job.

    If you apply unreasonable, punitive taxes on alcohol, why would I buy it on the legal market? This is pure extortion and I’d rather assume the slight risk and buy it on the black market; it is made extra tempting because it sends the government a message to reduce taxes on alcohol, or else forgo revenue.

    If you make it almost impossible to fire people for incompetence, you know what’s going to happen? Businesses won’t give young people a chance; they’ll hire people with years of prior experience because they cannot afford to make a mistake when you take away the ability to correct it.

    “There will be other countries that will never accept rules regarding carbon emissions.”

    You are aware that the Soviet union was one of the most polluting, most energy inefficient countries on the planet, yes?

    “Poverty keeps us from developement and poverty is real in every country on earth.
    Germany is a good example. East Germany would still suffer if it where not for German reunification.”

    You haven’t the slightest clue what poverty is if you think say Sweden or some other random western country has a serious problem with poverty.

    Germany is indeed a very good example. It was not the reunification that brought East Germany out of crushing poverty. After all, west Germany did not suffer similarly and East Germany was part of the USSR; it both spanned an entire continent and had a very strong central government.

    It was being freed from communist slavery and the reestablishment of property rights that brought East Germany back to prosperity. Just like the baltic states, just like Hong Kong and a dozen others.

    “Why not unite the whole world under one government?”

    You mean besides plunging the world into social and political chaos; perhaps even world war III?

    Government beaurocrats are not gods. They have imperfect knowledge, they are fallible and to varying degrees corrupt institutions. The further away they get from the people who elect them the more unaccountable they become. And again, there were plenty of so-called western intellectuals and economists that insisted right up until the USSR collapsed that this communist slavery was a more equitable, more human system and that a little bit of political oppression(tens of millions starved to death) was a small price to pay for the glorious growth rates of the USSR(what does GDP even mean in the USSR?).

    It is especially instructive to look at why Europe succeeded when everyone else failed. It was not that Europeans were any smarter or more technologically sophisticated. It was that Europe consisted of tiny little fiefdoms that all competed for subjects. If the local government was too oppressive, all you had to do was move some short distance to another region with the same language and culture but very different rules. Governments that stifle innovation and scare away subjects wither away; they must copy the rules that seem to work in other places and experiment to find rules that work better than their competitors.

    The reason Europe succeeded is exactly the same reason you now want to abolish sovereignty, personal as well as local as well as national. You do not want there to be any way to escape the edicts of the central government because of the political expedience in curbing CO2, problem is, there’s also no way to escape the arbitrary edicts in any other field. You’ve built an unaccountable Frankenstein and withing a decade or two of mission creep and building its power-base it will issue all sorts of other edicts and there is no way out short of armed conflict.

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  38. I did not write about communism at all.

    You should read about unconditional basic income.

    The idea is to have a secure income for everybody.
    Today a family of 5 would depend on the income of one person. The rest of the family only has income through that person. While the person staying at home is also doing work she has no income appart from what she gets from the working party.
    OTOH a single person that has no family to support has much more time and money left over.
    If anybody would get (insert amount which can well support a person) about 1500€ (proposed for Germany/Swizerland/Austria/France/Italy) you could pursue your interests. You could get proper education…infact everybody could get have a fullfilling live. When you enter a career you would earn more…although not as much as before.
    That would make more money for the family of five than for the single person in the end.
    For work…it would be cheaper for the employer (no taxes on work, no taxes on income) to hire. People would work less but more of them would work.
    Jobs that payed bad would have to be payed better to find somebody that would be willing to do it.

    Where does the money come from? First…the basic income offsets all sozial benefits up to its amount. If you get 2000€/month for a kid now you still would get the reamaining 500€.
    Taxes should be compensated by taxes on consumption. That way you also tax automated production. 50% consumpion tax (which is essentialy a cummulation of all other taxation that is in place now on various levels). Products without taxes would be cheap on foreign markets (until everybody has adopted the system).
    In Europe there are various taxes that are too low. Capital tax is only 0.3% in Austria. Inheritage tax was abolished. Essentialy if you have money this money is protected…if you have to earn money it gets taxed away via income tax.

    Sharing is basic. Thats what children do. They practice unconditional sharing…
    The UBI is no gift economy but a system to distribute money in a fair way.
    There is nothing communitic about it.
    Advocats of such system are the chief economic officer of UBS or the founder of Dm Drogeriemarkt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6tz_Werner
    he`s one of the richest German. It is sad that the wiki article is not translated. He runs his company in a way that people working for him are happy.
    You may find an article on him in englisch.
    Most of the information on UBI is in German.
    It has also been tried in some regions showing that all your fears connected with communist systems (people that dont work and live off the state) are unfound.
    It acctually strengthens the community. It honors work that is normaly done without some kind of reward (nursing relatives, looking after children, running charity,….)
    People that work hard are still rewarded.

    Redistributiong wealth and property would also work here since everybody is financialy secured from the moment he is born.
    If you die the money goes to the state to be redistributet via UBI and your property is resold to the people.
    Whats the problem with that? You can`t take anything with you and your children have their own live.
    It helps children to mature more quickly and free them from decisions done by their parents. They can pursue their own carreer without having any worries about unemployment or poverty.

    Poverty IS real even in Europe. There are people freezing to death every year. Children starving in Germany. Socialy neglected Children. Ill and poor people that have fallen through the social grid,…
    Thats something that does not have to exist in the most wealthiest countries of the world.

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  39. Marcus

    Thought provoking ideas. However, I think your proposal cuts against the grain of human nature – we, like other animals, are almost hard wired to perpetuate our genes.

    Please address the following consequences of your recommendations:
    1) How would you address overpopulation? If the state gives a basic living wage to every member of a family of five, a family of ten would, as a unit, be much better off, while a family of three would be disadvantaged. To some extent, this happens with the current UK welfare state and results in benefit to, for example, the immigrant Muslim population at the expense of its more slowly breeding indigenous stock. I suppose you could limit your largesse to smaller families up to a certain size but I doubt that you’d be prepared to allow the surplus to suffer in consequence.
    2) Why would I not be hugely disincentivised if I knew that all my possessions would be confiscated at my death with nothing to pass on to my children?

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  40. 1. Its not my proposal. It is the logical developement of the social democratic state.
    http://bit.ly/ak9n3W
    All data is pointing to such solutions. A more leveled society is a happier one (even the richter that have less then) and a more productive one…less teenage pregnancy, healthier even more patents.
    The money is for every person. If a family joins together in their actions they will have more money. But thats better than now when poor families are just that…poor and deprived of chances and outlook.
    You can always join together with any number of other people. Just like today.
    Every member of the society has his/her place so there is nothing such as overpopulation.
    You can not compare income with wellfare. Wellfare is something the poor get. It is just too little to live, to much to die. It gives no perspective.
    By definition everybody is born with the same rights.

    You will also find that people want to work/learn/fullfill their dreams. You ask a person what the next one would do…they tell you 50% would not work at all. If you ask what they woul do only a small portion of them will tell you that they will do nothing for some time, then do something. But when given the chance everybody will finally be in a way usefull to the society. Some will leave their job and go for something else. Some will work less, giving others the opportunity to work. Some will spend time learning….
    self perception vs. outside perseption (can`t find the professional translation).

    Brazil even has this ideas anchored in their constitution…so they are going to put that into practice some day.
    It also saves hell of administration.

    Sorry, I may be not the right one to defend or explain everything in English language ;)

    2. redistributing is a complete different idea an not conected to the UBI.
    There are people that have no children…they still work hard every day. For what purpose?
    Or we tax away 30-50% when someone dies.
    Money belongs to the people. It was never ment to be accumulated.

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  41. To say that money “belongs to the people,” and that it doesn’t belong to the individuals who earn it, is to say that an individual’s life belongs to the State, and can be confiscated at the whim of the State. And of course, the State is run by petty bureaucrats; those are the people who will have the power to confiscate a major part of your life, with no compensation, for THEIR latest, greatest ideas. Of course, YOUR ideas do not matter. Your work product is the property of the State in the minds of those reprobates.

    “From each according to his ability; to each according to his need” has failed in every country it’s been tried in. It has never worked anywhere. No exceptions. That theft-based Marxist philosophy ALWAYS results in failure. Look at North vs South Korea. Same culture, same people, same geography, same history. But one is an abject communist failure, with millions starving year after year and the rest living in total poverty, while the other is an immensely prosperous and well fed capitalist economy, with plenty for all. There are numerous similar examples: the erstwhile East/West Germany, Taiwan vs mainland China [until China wisely turned capitalist], etc.

    In a free society, an individual willingly trades a major part of his/her life by working for their money. It’s called pay for work. But if someone else confiscates that money, whether it’s an individual or the State, then that is theft, pure and simple [I’m not referring to normal taxation for municipal utilities, national defense, etc., in which the electorate decides the appropriate level of taxation in free elections.]

    So we have established the fact that those who would confiscate a major part of our lives are themselves thieves, not one bit different than the thieves sitting in prison where they belong. That is an undeniable fact. But are they also liars?

    As a matter of fact, they are liars, too. The same people who would steal a major part of your life, with no compensation, know that society would never, ever agree to the enormous new level of taxation being currently discussed to “mitigate” the harmless and beneficial trace gas carbon dioxide [“carbon” to the scientific illiterati]. That is exactly why the carbon scam was invented. The preposterous notion that a tiny component comprising only 0.00038 of the atmosphere will cause climate catastrophe has been repeatedly debunked.

    The fact that there is zero empirical evidence showing that a rise in CO2 causes a rise in global temperature means nothing to the Statist thieves of this world. They know that not a single climate model has predicted the flat to cooling temperatures over the past decade, even as CO2 continues to rise. Therefore, climate models are completely wrong. The same people also know that there is not a shred of empirical [ie: real world, testable, falsifiable] evidence showing that CO2 causes global warming. None. [If they don’t know that, they are simply ignorant thieves.]

    Since CO2 is not the demon that it is claimed to be, then there is no reason to spend another penny on “carbon credits,” or anything related. The CO2=Catastrophic AGW conjecture has been repeatedly falsified. In fact, planet Earth has been falsifying the conjecture, by refusing to warm as directed by the climate alarmist crowd.

    So carbon alarmists are also liars, in addition to being thieves. I wonder, what kind of a mother would raise her child to be a liar and a thief? Fortunately, there can not be all that many mothers like that.

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  42. Smokey – No one has said it better:

    “There isn’t a nation on the planet where the evidence of the impacts of climate change isn’t mounting. Frankly, those who look for any excuse to continue challenging the science have a fundamental responsibility which they have never fulfilled: Prove us wrong or stand down. Prove that the pollution we put in the atmosphere is not having the harmful effect we know it is. Tell us where the gases go and what they do. Pony up one single, cogent, legitimate, scholarly analysis. Prove that the ocean isn’t actually rising; prove that the ice caps aren’t melting, that deserts aren’t expanding. And prove that human beings have nothing to do with any of it.” – John Kerry

    Bellicose assertions, backed with nothing but a simplistic political ideology, are not arguments, and are unlikely to be seen as such by any thinking person.

    While I happen to agree that any country that has moved to far to Collectivism has suffered, I am afraid the lessons of history say exactly the same for those that have have let the doctrine of laissez-faire, run unchecked.

    I also agree that carbon taxation is a bad idea, but only because it will fail to mitigate the production of CO2 in any useful way.

    However I take umbrage at being called a liar, and a thief by someone that obviously lacks the education to analyze the situation on his own, and parrots those who he believes in without questioning their motives also.

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  43. Smokey…
    Did I miss the moment where North Korea adapted some unconditional income model?

    This is not a communist idea but a sozial democratic one backed by econoists and economic leaders including billionairs.
    It is a small adaption of todays system.
    You still work. You still earn money. Nobody takes anything from your money until you spent it. Taxation is the same only at the point of spending and part of your income is unconditional.
    There is less government control in that system.

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  44. “private property is liberalism’s means of ensuring that individuals enjoy choice over goods and resources so as to allow them to fulfil their life project.”

    This redefinition of property rights as liberally legislated for some societal purpose is unacceptable.
    I think even Mr. Winston Smith would be counting to 10.

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  45. I’d have to agree with TerjeP on one thing: The state was an inevitable result of private property. Again, what is a state? Isn’t it simply a ruling power with it’s own private control over resources? The Marxist view is that states grew out of private property. The anarchist view is that the state created capital, but I can’t see how this can be the case. If there was no private property before the state, then what was the state? A small group of officials with no assets? What would their role have been? When property was collectively owned, there was no need for a state.

    The purpose of the state was to protect property, mostly it’s own. Remember, however, that the state was merely (and still is) the legal body of the wealthiest individuals. The state and the wealthy go hand in hand. It began depriving individuals of property rights, but only individuals who were not part of the state I.E. the poor.

    As for communism, Marxist theory originally agreed that the State was a private entity that had to be abolished because of it’s authoritarian nature over property. The Anarchists helped to misconstrue this basic fact in an attempt to support their own argument: that the State protects capital, and that the abolishment of the state would destroy capitalism, not the other way around.

    This marx-buchanin split is quite discouraging, especially since both individuals sought similar outcomes.

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