Free markets: the true proletarian revolution


#1

LiberaLaw: Libertarians for Redistribution
Quote:

Markets undermine privilege. Without the protection afforded by monopoly privileges (including patents and copyrights), subsidies, tariffs, restrictions on union organizing, protections for long-term ownership of uncultivated property, and so forth, members of the power elite, forced to participate along with everyone else in the process of voluntary cooperation that is the freed market, will tend to lose ill-gotten gains. They will retain wealth only if they actually serve the needs of other market participants. And they will be unable to use the legal system to protect their wealth from squatters (by enabling them to maintain uncultivated land indefinitely) or to limit vigorous bargaining by workers (both because workers will be freer to organize without statist restrictions and because the absence of such restrictions will give workers options other than paid employment that will improve their negotiating positions).

While unfettered competition obviously will not create mathematical equality, it will make it much harder for vast disparities of wealth to persist than at present. The state props up the power elite, using the threat of aggression to shift wealth to the politically favored. Removing the privileges of the power elite will lead, through the operation of the market, to the widespread dispersion of wealth members of the power elite are able to retain at present in virtue of the protection they receive from the political order.


#2

So not having the Liberty of ownership of your own creations…
And not having the Liberty to own and control your own Land…
And not having the Liberty to market your own talents to whoever you want without forced collectivism…
And not having ownership of your own writing and intellectual/artistic creations…

Is now being openly touted as “Libertarian”?

This does not surprise me, I have seen not a nickles worth of difference between the Communist ideal and what most Libertarians argue for in spite of them offering different “reasons” for these opinions but it is refreshing to hear that at least some are not hiding from the truth.


Ron Paul asks the UN to steal RonPaul.com from the paulbots
#3

For obvious reasons, I’ll pass over the more gross and obvious strawmen in RETs post and provide some links to why many libertarians are skeptical about patents and copyrights:
Owning Ideas Means Owning People | Roderick T. Long | Cato Unbound

The objects of ownership in the case of intellectual property are supposed to be abstract objects; but what does ownership over an abstract object amount to? Ownership is supposed to solve conflicts over use, but there cannot literally be conflicts over the use of abstract objects; I don’t have to wait until you’re done thinking the Pythagorean theorem before I can start thinking it. Putative conflicts over the use of abstract objects are always really conflicts over the concrete items in which those abstract objects are embodied. . .

An abstract object, such as a design for a new kind of mousetrap, gets its foothold in concrete reality only by being embodied in, say, a mind that is thinking of it, or a sheet of paper that describes it, or an actual mousetrap built in accordance with it. But if those concrete objects are already owned – the mind by the person whose mind it is, the paper and the mousetrap by whoever made or bought them – then the question of who has rights over those things is already settled, and there can be no further question of who owns the design itself. If the originator of the design were to claim exclusive rights over it, he or she would thereby be claiming, in practice, the right to control someone else’s property – someone else’s individual mind or individual sheet of paper or individual mousetrap. Intellectual property is thus essentially a claim of ownership over other people and the products of other people’s labor, and so is necessarily illegitimate; in forbidding the free circulation of ideas it constitutes a form of censorship as well.

Roderick Long’s original (but slightly more technical) case against intellectual property can be found here: The Libertarian Case Against Intellectual Property Rights
The cato-unbound article is a brisker read.


#4

If Long had ever penned a thought worth repeating or stealing he would not be so cavalier about intellectual property rights, there is no better way to insure monopolistic totalitarianism than to abolish intellectual property rights.

No small author, musician, song writer, software writer, inventor or chemist would ever have a shot to capitalize on their creation if the well established existing entities could simply snatch them the moment they become known and mass produce/mass market them as their own.

Absolutely no faith could ever be established in the public market if no consumer could ever tell if the “Pepsi” he is buying at the store is an actual “Pepsi” or just some awful knockoff in an identical can if copyright and patent infringement protection were abolished.

Favorite Authors could never build a faithful following if the media could be flooded with fake writings under their name by those attempting to profit off their reputation.

Like all of Longs opinions, even fleeting scrutiny reveals how shallow his capacity is as a thinker.

He attempts to compare today’s electronic age where ideas can be simultaneously introduced to the whole world by an entity with enough capital to previous centuries where even simple copies were an enormous undertaking in order to make his juvenile case that theft and monopolizing are not valid concerns.

Long is a perfect example of why someone who has never actually done anything in the real world is woefully unqualified to comment on matters regarding genuine market realities. Ridiculous offerings like this are the reason why sayings like "Those who can do, those who can’t teach" are coined and become timeless axioms


#5

And the net result- as with all other communistic/socialistic edicts- would be to discourage anyone from producing anything of value.


#6

[quote=“RET423, post:2, topic:36378”]
So not having the Liberty of ownership of your own creations…
And not having the Liberty to own and control your own Land…
And not having the Liberty to market your own talents to whoever you want without forced collectivism…
And not having ownership of your own writing and intellectual/artistic creations…

Is now being openly touted as “Libertarian”?

This does not surprise me, I have seen not a nickles worth of difference between the Communist ideal and what most Libertarians argue for in spite of them offering different “reasons” for these opinions but it is refreshing to hear that at least some are not hiding from the truth.
[/quote]Hence: Liberaltarians…


#7

[QUOTE=RET]No small author, musician, song writer, software writer, inventor or chemist would ever have a shot to capitalize on their creation if the well established existing entities could simply snatch them the moment they become known and mass produce/mass market them as their own.[/QUOTE]

If Long’s argument succeeds, such that the sort of enforcement you favor is thought of as a rights violation, then the above dog doesn’t bark to begin with. At any rate, this is just so much bald assertion on your part (Long offers evidence for his claims).

[QUOTE=RET]Absolutely no faith could ever be established in the public market if no consumer could ever tell if the “Pepsi” he is buying at the store is an actual “Pepsi” or just some awful knockoff in an identical can if copyright and patent infringement protection were abolished.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=RET]
Favorite Authors could never build a faithful following if the media could be flooded with fake writings under their name by those attempting to profit off their reputation.[/QUOTE]

If you had taken the time to actually read Long’s arguments, you would see that he is careful to distinguish between peaceful use of an idea and fraud:
[INDENT=2]
Suppose I pirate your work, put my name on it, and market it as mine. Or suppose I revise your work without your permission, and market it as yours. Have I done nothing wrong?

On the contrary, I have definitely committed a rights-violation. The rights I have violated, however, are not yours, but those of my customers. By selling one person’s work as though it were the work of another., I am defrauding those who purchase the work, as surely as I would be if I sold soy steaks as beef steaks or vice versa. All you need to do is buy a copy (so you can claim to be a customer) and then bring a class-action suit against me.

[/INDENT]

[QUOTE=RET]
Like all of Longs opinions, even fleeting scrutiny reveals how shallow his capacity is as a thinker. [/QUOTE]

Much like failing to take even the briefest time to understand a person’s position before subjecting them to a stream of self-congratulatory insults.


#8

[quote=“JStang, post:6, topic:36378”]
Hence: Liberaltarians…
[/quote]I am reminded of a member on another site who was touting a supposed utopia that was asking for money and one of their platforms was everything belonged to everybody so if you created it the only value was self satisfaction. I wish I could remember the web site.


#9

[quote=“samspade, post:8, topic:36378”]
I am reminded of a member on another site who was touting a supposed utopia that was asking for money and one of their platforms was everything belonged to everybody so if you created it the only value was self satisfaction. I wish I could remember the web site.
[/quote]My utopia would be New Orleans, minus the liberals.


#10

I need a little more information on this subject. I honestly have never heard or read that Libertarians were against intellectual property.

Say for the sake of argument we are in the ideal Libertarian world. How would song writers, authors and software developers make a living?


#11

It rather begins to appear that “true” libertarianism is also “true” communism.


#12

I can’t speak for an “ideal libertarian world,” and still less for all libertarians who oppose intellectual property. My own answer would be that I don’t really see the difficulty. An “ideal libertarian world” is, for most libertarians, one with free markets. Hence, artists and inventors would have to make a living the same way as most everybody else: through successfully marketing a product.

Consider, for instance, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. This is in the “public domain”; anybody can produce and sell the work. Additionally, it’s available for free in many places, including online. Nevertheless, people still produce copies and sell them, which suggests that lots of people continue to profit from the work for any number of reasons. For instance, I simply prefer books to electronic copies. Moreover, I don’t always want the cheapest copies of books, I tend to want authoritative copies (for purposes of referencing and the like). Hence, in academic works (for instance), the original author would have an inherent advantage in that his or her production of the work would tend to be the most authoritative. Similarly, it seems likely that many fans of certain song writers would tend to want to support the original artists, and there are lots of other ways (i.e. unique packaging, including personal touches such as signed autographs, etc.) in which the original author may set his or her own artistic creation apart from the pack.


#13

No.

I tire of hearing that libertarian is secretly liberalism or communism. It simply isn’t.

The whole debate is over whether an idea is property or not. And that debate exists within the libertarian community; there is no single position.


#14

[quote=“RightOnLeftCoast, post:10, topic:36378”]
I need a little more information on this subject. I honestly have never heard or read that Libertarians were against intellectual property.

Say for the sake of argument we are in the ideal Libertarian world. How would song writers, authors and software developers make a living?
[/quote]The same way they already do, performing, writing and selling. BTW, this is not the “ideal libertarian world.” This is one libertarian position, and it is very much in contention among libertarians. It will probably remain so. My own industry (newspaper) has dealt with copyright violations at least as long as the copy machine has existed. I don’t think it’s ever harmed the newspaper industry. I’ve seen (more a few years ago than recently) plenty of my own work photocopied and passed around, not individual copies of the newspaper, which is what copyright law really demands. I’m not convinced that the end of copyright and patent law is the end of the world. That side also makes excellent arguments. But I still tend toward the pro-IP position, which also has excellent arguments.

[quote=“J.Anderson, post:12, topic:36378”]
I can’t speak for an “ideal libertarian world,” and still less for all libertarians who oppose intellectual property. My own answer would be that I don’t really see the difficulty. An “ideal libertarian world” is, for most libertarians, one with free markets. Hence, artists and inventors would have to make a living the same way as most everybody else: through successfully marketing a product.

Consider, for instance, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. This is in the “public domain”; anybody can produce and sell the work. Additionally, it’s available for free in many places, including online. Nevertheless, people still produce copies and sell them, which suggests that lots of people continue to profit from the work for any number of reasons. For instance, I simply prefer books to electronic copies. Moreover, I don’t always want the cheapest copies of books, I tend to want authoritative copies (for purposes of referencing and the like). Hence, in academic works (for instance), the original author would have an inherent advantage in that his or her production of the work would tend to be the most authoritative. Similarly, it seems likely that many fans of certain song writers would tend to want to support the original artists, and there are lots of other ways (i.e. unique packaging, including personal touches such as signed autographs, etc.) in which the original author may set his or her own artistic creation apart from the pack.
[/quote]Hence the tendency even today (with the minute problem of piracy and the larger issue of purchasing only a song or two) music artists and labels are marketing a variety of deluxe and value-added versions of their CDs, ranging in price from $10 to $300 – and people are paying for the expensive ones too.

[quote=“Bigfoot_88, post:13, topic:36378”]
No.

I tire of hearing that libertarian is secretly liberalism or communism. It simply isn’t.

The whole debate is over whether an idea is property or not. And that debate exists within the libertarian community; there is no single position.
[/quote]:yeahthat:


#15

How do you deal with Long’s argument for intellectual property as a rights violation? I’m reasonably familiar with the literature and I’ve yet to come across a serious rebuttal of this position that doesn’t involve simply rejecting Long’s Lockean/Nozickean basis for property rights. Essentially, if you accept a traditional libertarian account of property rights that — as with Locke — stems from self-ownership and the mixing of labor, then Long’s conclusions seem extremely difficult to avoid. It seems to me that you would have to go with a more Humean position where property rights are conceived of as ultimately conventional and resting on consequentialist (“utilitarian”) concerns.


#16

[quote=“J.Anderson, post:15, topic:36378”]
How do you deal with Long’s argument for intellectual property as a rights violation? I’m reasonably familiar with the literature and I’ve yet to come across a serious rebuttal of this position that doesn’t involve simply rejecting Long’s Lockean/Nozickean basis for property rights. Essentially, if you accept a traditional libertarian account of property rights that — as with Locke — stems from self-ownership and the mixing of labor, then Long’s conclusions seem extremely difficult to avoid. It seems to me that you would have to go with a more Humean position where property rights are conceived of as ultimately conventional and resting on consequentialist (“utilitarian”) concerns.
[/quote]I haven’t given it any thought based on names. I read things. They seem reasonable. All of my work is copyrighted. I make a lot of copyrighted work every day. It’s my job. And it just seems reasonable to me that it belongs to me. Fair use also seems very reasonable especially with what I do. Actual violations of my copyrights or my employer’s copyright don’t really seem to a big deal on a practical level though, but what’s really getting me these days are some of the absurdities IP creates with digital files.

If I purchase a digital book for $2 or $3 more than a paperback version of the same book (with all its intrinsic physical costs), I cannot lend it to a friend. That’s just part of physical reality, but if he has a kindle, I cannot lend it to him for more than two weeks (at least for some). He can take my physical books all day long – and I don’t care. They sit on my shelf otherwise. I take my friends’ books and keep them for long periods of time too. They know where they are when they want them. I cannot sell a used book now, but that’s also part of physical reality. Oddly, the digital producer gets a certain physical benefit from this arrangement, but some of them are trying to defend against the most practical applications of the digital world at the same time. One publisher will allow a library to lend a digital book 26 times, then the library must purchase a new digital copy. It seems ridiculous. It can lend a physical copy out 250 times, according to my local public library director. Of course, the concept of the library sort of runs against the producers too, discouraging the purchase of books. I never really hear anyone bellyaching about them.

I have a game for my PC that I tried to install on a new rig. I have the licenses. I’m having difficulty installing two expansions because they don’t exist for download any more. They are combined into a single expansion that they expect me to pay for again. I paid for them already. I could call and possibly get this resolved, but why should I have to. Their DRM is making it harder on a customer that purchased the item. Regardless of copyright law, their DRM actually makes it difficult to use the game online – although not locally if the product is simply pirated – answering someone who asked how software developers will make money. It’s absurd what a pain in the rear end this one is. I wish I had purchased a physical copy of those expansions now.

I have observed numerous other absurdities here and there that I cannot recall right now.

I also think of the stunted growth we’ve seen with technology thanks to patents. The steam engine comes to mind. Also the millions of dollars electronics manufacturers spend defending and suing over their patents today. I don’t know how much that really costs everyone, the consumers and the producers. I don’t how much it stunts our technological progress today, but it’s definitely something I find interesting. So there is definitely some kind of consequentialist concern that I have about the existence of IP.


#17

I posted that because it was what the previous post indicated. Not that I necessarily accept it. I really don’t know enough about “true” libertarianism (if there is such a thing) to make an educated judgment of it. From what I hear here, it is quite variable.


#18

I forgot about this thread until it was referenced in another thread today but I thought some of this was worthy of a response.

Long offered nothing defensible in this day and age and the age he referenced was the age that inspired intellectual property rights to begin with so his dog doesn’t hunt in that era either.

For proof of my assertions one need travel no further than Tijuana to see name brands marketed with fake products, I understand the streets of New York are ripe with this as well but I cannot confirm that personally.

Where intellectual property rights are not enforced, fraud is rampant.

I read this imbeciles piece and many of his other ramblings as well, the “peaceful use” garbage changes nothing.

I either have a Right to my own creations and ideas or the collective has a Right to my creations and ideas, what a thief uses my property for is irrelevant.

Do I have a Right to your house if my intent is “peaceful”? How about your car?
What is “Fraud” then and how does it change anything from the perspective of the owner?

Yes, you have stolen my property to profit from it if you did not have my permission in the first case and in the second case you have used my reputation to market a false product in which case you both made money off my reputation and you damaged my reputation simultaneously.

Hence my “Communist” accusation, Long sees my property as collectively owned by everyone so the offense you described in your hypothetical can only be a crime to the collective and not to me.

It sounds like we both understood exactly what this imbecile meant.

You may have defrauded your customers but that does not in any way change my Rights, I am not part of any “class action” because the “class” had no claim of ownership to my creation or reputation.

Nobody has ever claimed that defrauding customers cannot coexist with Intellectual Property Rights, Long is introducing a Red Herring with this because defrauding a customer is also against the law now.

These are two entirely different legal concepts and they are NOT mutually exclusive, no creator must lose his Rights to his property for a customer to obtain their Right to not be defrauded.

Long has no argument short of the standard arguments that are always made in defense of Communism, that is why he attempts to justify his position with a completely irrelevant rabbit trail like “defrauding customers”. These are two separate crimes with two separate victims and neither need be stripped of their Rights to protect the other.

I understand Long’s argument perfectly, it is indefensible within any concept of Individual Liberty and Free Market Capitalism.

Nobody has any claim on anything that I create or have worked to own, my property is under my authority and your property is under your authority.

Protecting these Rights is the proper use of Law and the most vital check and balance to insure opportunity for all.


#19

I don’t know what the hell a libertarian is. About the time I think I’ve got it, another self proclaimed Libertarian lays out a different description of libertarianism.
Anarchy is the closest I can get to it with my limited brain.:banghead:


#20

The libertarians are so varied that it is impossible to define what a libertarian is.