As I wrote in the comments thread of my post on transposing anti-IP arguments to property rights as a whole, I received many essays (I’m talking multi-pages) on exactly why each of my points are wrong, in elaborate detail and verbose prose. Out of all these essays, there’s one main point that seems to repeat over and over, which I can reformulate as the following:
“Property enables exploitation, but it is not innately exploitation. Attacking property for the abuses some people make of it is like attacking McDonalds for making people fat.”
But what abuses are we talking about? People like to criticize this or that corporation for setting prices too high, for firing too many people, and other sundry complaints of this nature. But the capacity to set a price for sale regardless of actual worth, and the capacity of the owner to exclude current users at will, are both part of the concept of property itself. So how can they be abuses?
Either you accept the just nature of the prices and firings, or you reject capitalism; there’s not really any middle ground here. “Real capitalism” cannot exist without property rights. I am often accused of not addressing “real capitalism,” but whether we’re talking about “real capitalism,” “corporatism,” “cronyism,” or any other such label, we’re talking about something which has as its fundamental premise the tyranny of property. How can this be honestly denied?
All the economic depravations of our society- the excessive richess and poverty, the useless jobs, the destruction of property, the widespread fraud- are part and parcel of this concept of property. They are merely the expression of the attributes of property over time.
What is the potential of exploitation if not the degree of control which one individual can have over another’s livelihood, affecting it at will? And what system implements this control more than that of property? As individuals, we are renters, borrowers, workers, citizens; we constantly are forced to depend on others’ good will, when their will is only fixed on profits and benefits. Our entire economic life is therefore made available for others to exploit through the concept of property.