Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who owns your labor?

One of the basic principles I put forth is:
“Each person owns himself, his body, his mind, and the products of his labor.”

Sovereignty over the products of my labor follows from sovereignty over self, body, and mind. If a person owns his body and his mind, who but the person himself owns the effort put forth by the body and the creations of the body and mind together?

If someone else wished to exchange something for the results of my labor (dig a hole for him and he’ll give me an apple) does this not mean that I now own the “something”? I’ve exchanged part of me for something that is a part of someone else. Freely traded.

This is how wealth is created: my friend is better off with a hole in the ground and no apple and I’m better off tired but with an apple. We are both wealthier.

Hence, property or other value that derives from labor belongs to him who labored.

Property ownership is a human right
Ownership of property is the same as ownership of the self, for property can only derive from the efforts of the self.

Ownership (sovereignty) includes the right to possess, use, enjoy, and alienate. Each person can trade his property for the property (or labor) of another. Or give it away. The person receiving the property from this free transaction (free of coercion, stealth, or violence – and the threat thereof) now becomes sovereign. Ownership has transferred.

The right to own property is a fundamental human right, just as fundamental as the right to life.

The rallying cry “Put human rights before property rights” is a lie. A pernicious lie based on an ambiguity of meaning. Property has no rights, only people have rights, thus the term “property rights” refers to a category of human rights. Properly, “property rights” is shorthand for “the human right to own and have sovereignty over property”

Property merely represents a man’s work, either by direct creation of the property, by free trade of work for property, or by free trade of property for other property. (Free trade means by mutual consent, absent coercion or fraud. Trade will not happen unless both parties consider themselves better off – wealthier – as a result of the trade.) Property, like labor, can be given as a gift, of course. Hence charity and inheritance.

An anecdote:

On the evening of January 12, 1865, the U.S. Secretary of War and General W.T. Sherman met with “colored ministers and church officers” in Savannah, Georgia.
The visitors selected the Rev. Garrison Frazier, age 67, as their spokesman. Rev. Frazier was born a slave and lived as a slave until, at the age of 59, he purchased his freedom for $1,000. That’s a lot of money; for $1,000, Rev. Frazier’s previous owner could pay the wages of a free agricultural laborer for 10 to 15 years.

The Secretary asked Rev. Frazier to ”State what you understand by Slavery and the freedom that was to be given by the President's proclamation.”

Rev. Frazier responded, “Slavery is, receiving by irresistible power the work of another man, and not by his consent. The freedom, as I understand it, promised by the proclamation [the Emancipation Proclamation] , is taking us from under the yoke of bondage, and placing us where we could reap the fruit of our own labor, take care of ourselves and assist the Government in maintaining our freedom.“

Interesting. Rev. Frazier did not speak of slavery as being owned or salable; not even being without the freedom to travel. He spoke of having his work taken by irresistible power and another man receiving it.

What is different between having ones labor, or the property (money) that labor represents, taken by irresistible power and given to a master, and having that money taken by the irresistible power of government and given to another person?

About 60% of the Federal Budget involves taking money (the product of labor) from some individuals by irresistible power and giving it to other individuals. Not for the common good or common defense, but from one person and to another person.

Seems that Rev. Frazier would consider that to be slavery.

Is taking from the Rich and giving to the Poor any less immoral than taking from the Poor and giving to the Rich? Why? Under what principles?

No comments:

Post a Comment