DMI Blog posts a 2007 update on the right wing think tanks most egregiously anti-social positions.
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Gifthub is an immortal work of art in theMenippean Tradition,written in a Padded Cell (he calls it a Dumpster for obvious reasons) in a state of shock by Phil Cubeta, Morals Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families, under an alias, or alter ego, The Happy Tutor, Dungeon Master to the Stars in Wealth Bondage...... More....
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Speaking of think tanks, I was trying to learn something about how the issue of theft figures in to theories of property. Google was not being very helpful. It seems like most of what has been written about the theory of property is from the seventeenth century.
As I'm skimming through it, the thought occurs that none of these theories really deal with the issues of theft. How many holders of wealth can demonstrate that it does not largely originate in a theft of a con at some level? Google is also helpful with many references to the much repeated nugget, "property is theft". If the present state of possession is simply taken as given, I hardly think you have provided a foundation based on natural rights or justice.
If anyone has any good references to work on the relationship of property rights theory and the issues of crime and corruption. Given that the rules of property transfer and financial transactions further effect the cumulative and future distribution of wealth, if those setting and enforcing the rules are also corrupt then there is no longer any moral foundation for any of it.
If the systems of order cannot be defended against systematic corruption, we are all in for a very bad ride.
Posted by: Gerry | December 31, 2007 at 03:43 PM
You might find Kevin Phillips work interesting. Here is a precis of one book.
Posted by: phil | December 31, 2007 at 03:54 PM
Yes, I remember reading some of his stuff.
I was hoping for some more foundational theory references, or confirmation of my suspicion that it is one of those surprisingly unstudied areas. Taboo to even mention it, like ponerology.
Posted by: Gerry | December 31, 2007 at 04:15 PM
John Locke's Treatise may be a starting point.
Posted by: Phil | December 31, 2007 at 04:57 PM
Yes, I think I will have to spend some time studying this foundation, but it is sad to think that no one has done any significant work on this theory from that time onward. You have the formations from and around Marx, but you would think Marx' critique would have produced a vigorous debate on foundations. Perhaps it was Marx himself who put this debate on a more or less polemic basis, or maybe it cannot help but be so.
Posted by: Gerry | January 01, 2008 at 02:06 AM
Read any Milton Friedman or Hayek? I am reading Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein and finding it depressing but illuminating.
Posted by: Phil | January 01, 2008 at 09:26 AM
No, do they even deal with the issue of damage in any way? Or do they hold to the idea that when a vandal breaks a window, there is a resultant positive impact on the economy as indicated in the GDP? Marx just changes the logic of who is in control, but does not address this topic of changing the size of the common pie negatively through hording and/or destruction of resources.
This relates directly to the Shock Doctrine. If someone is able to profit from the destruction of common resources, that is surely a path to ruin if the profit motive operates unrestrained. All common assets will be transferred to the landfill in an orgy of profit taking. If we devise the means to bill each enterprise directly for the damage they do, it will end quickly.
Posted by: Gerry | January 01, 2008 at 10:05 AM
In Pinochet-style Capitalism delivering the bill might not be in your self-interest. The counter push from the masses who have been betrayed has been anticipated and the laws are now conducive to repression of those who threaten Friedman's concept of Economic Freedom and Ordered Political Liberty. Corporate Oligarchs do not give their stuff back just because some loser sends a bill. You still have to collect.
Posted by: Phil | January 01, 2008 at 12:18 PM
Still, the public and collective acts of assessing and itemizing the bill must be done. It is a necessary counter to market based rhetoric and a devastating blow to market fundamentalism. Let's draw it up first and then worry about who will deliver it. The bits that record their Cayman accounts don't mean much without a polity willing to lay down for their abuse. The case has to be made.
Posted by: Gerry | January 01, 2008 at 12:35 PM
Carbon offset trading? Injustice Vouchers? How do you literally bill those who quite legally have stripped the commons and exported their waste into it?
Posted by: Phil | January 01, 2008 at 12:39 PM
PBS' Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy
can be viewed in its entirety online now (until recently only DVD.)
(w/choice of media players)
(requires Quicktime plug-in and a bit more hardware horsepower to play smoothly)
From Episode One: The Battle of Ideas
Hayek and Friedman begin dating pretty early on...
Posted by: Antoine Möeller | January 01, 2008 at 01:46 PM
Yes, Pinochet built shopping malls over torture cells and called it Freedom. Thus are the commanding heights seized.
Posted by: Phil | January 01, 2008 at 02:09 PM