RevolutionZ

Ep 5 - Vision: The Property Problem

June 09, 2019 Season 1
RevolutionZ
Ep 5 - Vision: The Property Problem
Chapters
RevolutionZ
Ep 5 - Vision: The Property Problem
Jun 09, 2019 Season 1
Michael Albert
Solving the problem of what to do about private ownership of resources and businesses.
Show Notes Transcript

Jeff Bezos owns Amazon. You own your shoes and shirt. Each is private property. We are told they are alike, except Bezos helps more people. So what is the property problem, and what is it’s solution for a good economy. Episode 5 proposes answers.

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Speaker 1:
0:01
Hello. My name is Michael Albert and this is episode five of our new podcast revolution z life after capitalism. First, I'd like to make a very brief appeal. I hope you will consider visiting our Patreon page at www.patrion.com/revolution z there you can help revolution z by becoming a patron. We need your help to add a second episode each week with a guest or guests and a third question and the interrupted sewed each week as well help. We'll also let us improve our equipment for better sound and in time initiate a youtube channel for video versions of the episodes as well. Now let's get to today's topic, which is property. Adam Smith. Yes, the Adam Smith wrote, as soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords like all other men love to reap where they have never sewed and demand a rent even for its natural produce.
Speaker 1:
0:58
In contrast, Andrew Carnegie Rode upon the sacredness of property. Civilization itself depends. The right of the Labour to is hundred dollars in the savings bank and equally the legal right of the millionaire to his millions. George Bernard. Sure. Echoing the anarchist proton was more succinct. Property is organized robbery, so what should we think about property? What should we think about owning things and especially what should we think about owning places where people work? You own your shirt and cell phone. You decide what to do with them. You decide how to display them and you decide when and how to use or not to use them. I don't make such decisions about your shirt or your cell phone, nor do you make such decisions about mind. Mister money bags, however, owns a company that produces some important product, mind some important resource or does some other similar function. Mister money bags decides what to do with his company.
Speaker 1:
2:00
He decides what to do with the products of his company and he decides what to do with the employees he hires to make his company productive. I can't decide those things, nor can you decide those things, nor can any of mister money bags. Employees decide those things. Mister money bags has dominion over his company. Like you have dominion over your shirt and your cell phone ownership conveys dominion over that which is owned. It's true for you in your shirt and cell phone. It's the same for mister money bags in his company. That was Carnegie's point. So what does the property problem? Your Dominion over your shirt and cell phone doesn't subvert equity. It doesn't subvert self management. It doesn't subvert solidarity, diversity and ecological sustainability. You Are Dominion over your shirt and cell phone doesn't subvert the participation, dignity and freedom of others, but to many in my missed him bunny barracks and roughly 2% of the population over the resources, venues and technologies of production and over the work lives of those they hire to do their bidding.
Speaker 1:
3:05
That does avert equity. It does subvert self management. It does subvert solidarity, diversity and ecological sustainability. It does subvert the participation, dignity and freedom of others. We can see it all around us. The property problem is that sensible rules for personal possessions become horrific. Rules when extended to resources, tools, and venues. Because resources, tools, and venues are critical to the lives of countless people beyond their owners. The personal rules for owners of shirts and cell phones benefit everyone. The same rules for owners of society's productive assets serve only those owners and they do so at the expense of everyone's subject to the owner's decisions. This is the underlying reason why alternative to capitalism have historically always included eliminating private ownership of productive assets. Such ownership creates a division between the owners, called capitalists and all others. It conveys wealth and power virtually without limit to the owners and consigns all others to various levels of enforced obedience and imposed impoverishment all the way down to total subordination and abject poverty.
Speaker 1:
4:18
Again, we can see it all around us, but if Jeff Bezos and folks like Bezos can't own and thereby have dominion over Amazon and other companies, what's the alternative? That is the property problem for which anyone who wants a better economy needs to have an answer. If a bunch of money bags can't own and thereby a crew, a very large part of the contribution to society, social product of Amazon or any of the company who should get company created wealth. In prior episodes we suggested that workers should get income for the duration, intensity and onerous menace of the socially valued work that they do. People who cannot work, she should get an average share. Additionally, some of society's product should go to meeting collective needs. People have like healthcare, safety, public roads, schooling and the like and some should go to investment in the future for example, to new construction and research.
Speaker 1:
5:15
But the property point is that none should go to anyone on grounds. They own productive assets. That is half the property issue. It's only half because the dominion that ownership conveys is about income, but it is also about control. Owners in our current economy make decisions about what to produce, how to produce it, who does the work, what they are paid on much else. If there are no longer owners of companies, minds and workplaces who should make such decisions and by what calculus and methods. To conclude this brief essay rejecting private ownership of productive assets. I want only to assert that such decisions should not be the purview of some individual or group simply because they have a document that says they own the companies' minds or workplaces in question. We should all be able to agree on that. Some then say the alternative to private ownership is that the state should own the companies.
Speaker 1:
6:14
Others say the alternative is that workers in the unit in question should own it or the surrounding communities should own it or that the entire population should own it. I think all these answers are fixated on ownership as if owning is somehow essential. It has to exist so we have to allot at somewhere, but why is that? Imagine being shipwrecked with a whole bunch of others on some unreachable island. You know, you will be there for years. You have to arrange yourselves to produce, distribute, and consume. You have a big meeting of the new residents of Los Island. Some confidence fellow stands up and says, before in the real world, I owned a big company. I should own. A big chunk of this island's lands and resources. Then I can run those. I can hire many of you and I can help you thrive. I see 20 others like me among you and 980 folks who worked for people like us before, so let's set ourselves up now here as we were before, 20 owners and 980 workers for owners, my land, my resources, my workplaces.
Speaker 1:
7:23
Once you build them and your wages from me, 20 owner deciders and 980 beneficiaries of owners wisdom. I hope you will agree that this owner should be given a shovel and the patients due to a lunatic on the island. We can see clearly that if we say people's income should have nothing to do with something called ownership and we say people's influence over outcomes should have nothing to do with something called ownership, then what is left for ownership of productive assets to mean clearly there is nothing left for ownership or productive assets to me. I suggest therefore that no one and no thing should own societies productive assets just like no one should own the sky or the oceans. The concept of owning simply makes no sense when applied to the islands, land or resources and it also makes no sense applied to companies' minds and the like, so it's ownership should not exist.
Speaker 1:
8:20
The substansive issue at stake isn't some abstract notion of owning minds and workplaces. It is instead the very tangible notion of who gets the wealth created by minds and workplaces and who decides what minds and workplaces do and how they operate. Our equity value developed earlier guided us toward an answer to the first issue regarding income. We decided or we arrived at the possibility the proposal. That income ought to be a function of how long people work, have, how hard people work and if the owners and this of the conditions under people work. On the other hand, income should not derived from property, from power or even from luck in the genetic lottery or the tools a lottery. It should be a function of the effort that we expend and socially worthy labor. And next step then is to allow herself management value to guide us toward an answer to the second issue. Who decides what? And so that is coming up next. But for now, this is Michael Albert signing off until next time for revolution Z.
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