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i don't care about protecting property. i don't care about your weird fucking death god.

private property is a guarantor of no rights. it is only a steward of oppression.

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@garbados Adam Smith considered it to be a tradeoff, one for which those without property needed to be compensated. Today's conception of property as an absolute right seems to be a more recent invention. Or maybe just a remixing of feudalism.

@freakazoid like there was a moment in the collapse of the church as a reigning government that the liberals might have opposed price as an organizing principle, but to fund war and other things they headfucked their ideology to justify massive loans, and here we are being asked to die for our death god the market

@garbados He spent a lot of time thinking about what it meant to be a good person. Have you read (or read about) The Theory of Moral Sentiments?

@freakazoid i haven't. i'm reading a summary now. i'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

i think adam smith is a stooge because his ideas operate in a particular ideological vacuum created by the collapse of the church and the witch trials, in which enemies of states all over europe were hunted down and killed en masse. he gets to pontificate like this, building on the ideas of other bewigged stooges, because concepts that nascent nations considered more dangerous had been meticulously incinerated. it's in some ways then no surprise that his ideas are so useful to these nations in justifying and structuring their authority and dominion; otherwise, we wouldn't know anything about him.

@garbados An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations is the best known work I can think of that proposes the at the time radical idea that wealthy nations weren't wealthy because they'd been chosen by God or because they were populated by a superior race.

@garbados Smith wrote a lot about what constituted a fair price. One example he gives is a guy taking a horse to market to sell who comes across someone with a wagon full of perishable goods he also intends to sell whose horse has died. Smith says that the man with the horse should not ask more for the horse than he would at the market because one shouldn't exploit the particular circumstances of whomever they're trading with.

@garbados Of course, the "invisible hand of the market" ends up taking into account people's "particular circumstances" through market segmentation, and international trade exploits differences in the particular circumstances of countries.

In writing about the North American colonies, I think Smith largely ignored the impact of the colonies on the Indians, though he did write about the Indians themselves.

@garbados He observed that they did trade among themselves quite a bit and concluded that their poverty came from the fact that they didn't have any incentive to improve the land due to lack of property rights. Which sort of ignores how property rights and the whole notion of land improvements developed in the first place, from agriculture.

@garbados He wrote Wealth of Nations right at the beginning of the Industrial Revolusions, so he didn't have the benefit of hindsight to see how property rights evolved as large, fixed capital and the labor to run it became more important than arable land.

It seems like we now live in a world where nearly all capital is mobile or in some way "virtual" and labor needs to be rather specialized. So now the ownership of IP and "networks" of various kinds has become the dominant... goal?

@garbados So, abolish IP, make all networks self-organizing, and devolve all ownership of capital to whoever is operating it?

If people don't have to work in offices anymore, won't that take most power away from landlords?

@garbados That's pretty much what I'm saying.

Home ownership is not necessarily a much better deal, though. Many a homeowner has ended up stuck with the consequences of their municipality's bad fiscal choices, choosing between keeping their house and paying high property tax bills to pay off the city's huge debt it's getting nothing in return for, and selling into a depressed market.

So, tiny houses on wheels maybe?

@garbados The aspect of seasteading I found most attractive was the idea of "modular land" where you could just dock with whoever you wanted to be your neighbor. But it turns out that even ignoring political considerations, doing such a thing in the open ocean is extremely difficult. You'd be far better off doing it on land that isn't particularly useful for anyone else. And a land seastead is just a trailer :)

@freakazoid maybe this whole notion of ownership is messed up. it gets so complicated to say This is MINE when the consequences of This are so widespread and entangled — who does the municipality belong to, and why? How did you get stuck with “its” choices? Property is a fiction we use as an organizing principle, but it isn’t good or right. it’s easier to say, i’m using that, or, that’s special to me, but all we do with the private property is engender privation.

@freakazoid even if we think adam smith said or thought or wrote interesting things, he’s coming from a set of precepts that are highly questionable, that we today should be extremely skeptical of.

@freakazoid sorry if i’m coming off as combative — i’m a little on edge because of, y’know, everything.

@garbados Not at all. Frankly I'm thrilled to even have someone to talk about this stuff with, and I feel like you've always been more than patient with me.

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@garbados Smith handwaved this by talking about how we mix our labor with the land or whatever's extracted from it. In fact, he subscribed to the labor theory of value.

@garbados Generally people are willing to put effort into something when they expect to get something back out of it. Giving them the exclusive right to whatever's viewed as the "output" is the most simplistic way to engender that expectation. But the vast majority of what we put effort into falls outside of what can be captured as "property" or even contracts. It's relationships and communities. And we tend to keep the two kinds of transactions separate for what may be fundamental reasons.

@garbados For both categories of investment there's trust involved. It's just a question of who you need to trust. Contracts and deeds get some amount of protection from the government. And trusting that they will be protected most of the time doesn't take a leap of faith because we can see it happening. But relationships and community require directly trusting the actual participants. Maybe there is a way to bootstrap that trust? I've been thinking a lot about game theory in this context lately

@garbados I haven't been thinking about game theory for this specific reason, but because it occurred to me that we might be able to convince AIs not to kill us if we could come up with some kind of proof via game theory that they'd be better off not killing us. Though I guess they'd quickly realize that humans are not rational actors and kill us anyway. Ironically the best reason for AIs not to kill us seems like it would be for them to be powerful enough that we couldn't kill them.

@freakazoid why would AI decide to kill us tho? who will give them that power? aren't those people and the origin of their power the issue?

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@freakazoid i think you can bootstrap that trust with mutual aid. look out for each other, and the favor will come back to you in expected ways. as the practice normalizes, it becomes self-sustaining. there's no magic framework that "solves trust"; you have to put in the work.

@garbados That reminds me of James Carse's book Finite and Infinite Games. In repeated games you end up with strategies like tit for tat in the iterated prisoners' dilemma that end up settling on the optimal solution after some small number of iterations.

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