1
   

Is private property possible or just an illusion.

 
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 09:44 am
Piffka wrote:
I say, it's not that the governmental authorities can take your property, but that it is their choice and a reflection of their ultimate ownership.
* * *
That the owner is compensated is little justification for considering it (that is, the taking) as anything but what it is (that is, a taking by the ultimate owner).

Are you suggesting that the government is the only true owner of real property? That's not altogether impossible: feudal monarchies often followed the same principle (in theory if not in practice). But that would be a rather radical deviation from the conventional view of property ownership, at least in America.

Piffka wrote:
Eminent domain still does not compare well to imprisonment.

Similarities:
Government authority against the individual
Motivated by a governmently defined "greater social good"
No returns of property or time spent wallowing in prison


Differences:
No compensation in imprisonment as there is in eminent domain
No recourse in eminent domain as there is in imprisonment
Prison sentences are of limited duration, not so the takings by eminent domain

A better comparison would be eminent domain to capital punishment and then your justification based on compensation makes sense. I am no fan of capital punishment either.

One of the dangers of using an analogy is that someone will mistake it as a substantive comparison rather than as an instructive one. I freely concede that eminent domain and imprisonment differ on many, many points. My purpose, however, in making the analogy was to demonstrate that limitations on ownership, by means of eminent domain, don't necessarily vitiate the notion of ownership itself, just as limitations on personal freedom, by means of imprisonment, don't necessarily vitiate the notion of personal freedom itself. That was the entire purpose of the analogy. If you can think of a better one that makes the same point, Piffka, I encourage you to do so.

Piffka wrote:
Good question... the answer is that borrowing is a personal construct meant to overcome the absurdity of believing that the definition of ownership is anything other than a legal matter; that construct creates one's own universe while recognizing it can be limited at any time by political authority.

Of course ownership is a legal construct. Who suggested otherwise?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 09:48 am
thethinkfactory wrote:
I understand this - but how far can we take that limitation. If all we can own are our thoughts - then we need to seriously rethink our conception of ownership.

Well, I never said anything about "owning" thoughts -- I don't even think "ownership" is a particularly useful concept with regard to thoughts.

thethinkfactory wrote:
I hear what you are saying that a lack of ownership is not implied because we have diminished ownership - but what is the extent of our ownership?

Are you asking this as a legal matter or as a philosophical one? As a legal matter, the answer is simple: we can own what we are permitted, by law, to own. As a philosophical matter, however, you'll need to provide some definitions before I can attempt to provide an answer. In particular, you'll need to give some definitions of "ownership" and "property" that do not rely upon the law.
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 10:38 am
I believe that the thread was not trying to define private ownership in terms of law, since that is well-defined, though subject to judicial interpretation.

It is the philosophy of private ownership which can be so interestingly discussed. Obviously, the land that I own in concert with Mr.P and our mortgagees has real limitations. But what about the property I own "Fee-Simple"? It would appear to be mine, but even then, I have a continual drain as I pay into the county coffers, thousands of dollars per annum.

Now assuming that I do pay those fees, I am under some constraint as to what I do with them. A less romantic person than I might say I should make the most of my investments. Is it better to hold onto them? Log them? Divide and sell or improve and sell? At some point an "owner" such as myself has to make decisions based on their own philosophy of life. I thought that is what this thread was about.

It is odd that the property here in the west has only been held in any sort of legal way for just over 100 years. My favorite piece, the one which I feel (and yes, it is my choice) can't be sold, traces back to a homesteader in the 1880's. My family has their letters, my mother is buried in the cemetery that they donated to the community, and it is where I'll be buried, too. In my lifetime and in the lifetime of my heirs, I would hope that this property remains with us... yet, I can't think that it will always be that way. Things fall apart. I am not an owner, I have borrowed this land from both the ones who were before and those who come after.

The notion that we own that property supercedes the claim (what may be considered a stronger claim) to the native Americans who so obviously lived there. We have the midden pits to prove it. Where are they now? They're dead and gone, were dead and gone before my time, and their heirs, if any, have moved to reservations so generously donated to them by the same government which currently stamps my claim with approval, so long as I pay the taxes.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 03:39 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
Are you asking this as a legal matter or as a philosophical one? As a legal matter, the answer is simple: we can own what we are permitted, by law, to own. As a philosophical matter, however, you'll need to provide some definitions before I can attempt to provide an answer. In particular, you'll need to give some definitions of "ownership" and "property" that do not rely upon the law.


I am asking the philosophical question as to what we own. I don't have a good definition for ownership but the working one includes:

Ownership:

Possession of said good until the owner chooses to get rid of it.
Purchased or created (as in Locke's mixing Labor with raw materials) - in other words it cannot be stolen.
Ability to do whatever I want with my property with the bounds of reason.
--Perhaps what can be included is that the use of my property cannot infringe on others use of property.

Joe, I think you are exactly on the money that this turns on our concept of ownership - so let's be clear on what we mean when we say ownership so that we know if we can own anything or not.

If this is our working definition of property - legally we don't 'own' much - but that is a completely seperate question of whether we can own things.

TTF
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 03:45 pm
Piffka: I do find it really interesting that we in the Western world take it as obvious that we can own things - when the eastern world, the Native Americans, the Stoics, and the Epicureans - to name a few - didn't believe that we could own many things.

I think we seek to only define it legally because we assume it is justified philosophically. I think Locke assumes too much when he states that once we build something we can own it.

TTF
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 06:09 pm
It seems that "ownership" refers to social rules, to the roles people occupy regarding others with respect to "property." Most people cannot enter "my" house without my permission (notwithstanding the tv fictions, I Love Lucy and Everybody Loves Raymond), but my son or daughter can. This has to do with our familial role relations. But my children cannot sell my house without my permission. Nor can they destroy it. I can, and I can sell it, loan it and lease it, as well as enjoy exclusive use of it without asking permission from anyone. Mexican peasants who belong to agricultural collectives (as members of these "ejidos" they are called "ejidatarios"). Ejidatarios have usufruct (use rights) to plots of land allocated to them by elected officials of the ejido. They cannot let their assigned plots fallow for more than two years, they cannot use them as collateral for loans, and they cannot lease or lend them to others. These rights and obligations are defined by national law. These ejidatarios see themselves as having moral, political and social obligations toward each other because of the common tie they have to their land grant. Despite their inability to sell, rent, lend or lease their land they still say that they are the "owners" (duenos) of their parcels. Ownership is a clearly a matter of social rules and roles.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 07:08 pm
usufruct

The right to use and enjoy the profits and advantages of something belonging to another as long as the property is not damaged or altered in any way.



Man JL I thought you made a word up there - or it was a typo. I gise 80 scrabble points for that one!

TTF
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 10:22 pm
thethinkfactory wrote:
Piffka: I do find it really interesting that we in the Western world take it as obvious that we can own things - when the eastern world, the Native Americans, the Stoics, and the Epicureans - to name a few - didn't believe that we could own many things.

I think we seek to only define it legally because we assume it is justified philosophically. I think Locke assumes too much when he states that once we build something we can own it.

TTF


I don't know much of anything about how property's held in the eastern world. I wish you'd fill me in.

Mr.P hand-built this house and identifies strongly with it, so Locke wasn't far off the mark. Once a "buyer" pays money down he can start to build "equity."

It's a good investment to hold real estate, but I see a lot of connected obligations.

JLN -- That's so interesting. Usufruct. Can these ejidatarios give their interest in the land to their children? Can they hire people to work the land?
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 10:28 pm
anyone talk about the land being private under streams and rivers? here in WA there are places where people are prosocuted for trespassing when floating down a river (little spokane river)
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 10:39 pm
Usually, as I understand it, an ejidatario, upon dying, passes his holdings to his wife (she becomes an ejidatariA). I know ejidatarios who hire landless men to work their land for a portion of the crop, and in Northern Mexico some ejidatarios lease their holdings to American corporations for cash. They do many of the things that they are prohibited from doing. But that's Mexico.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 10:48 pm
Piffka wrote:
I believe that the thread was not trying to define private ownership in terms of law, since that is well-defined, though subject to judicial interpretation.

It is the philosophy of private ownership which can be so interestingly discussed. Obviously, the land that I own in concert with Mr.P and our mortgagees has real limitations. But what about the property I own "Fee-Simple"? It would appear to be mine, but even then, I have a continual drain as I pay into the county coffers, thousands of dollars per annum.

Since I never got an answer the first time I asked this question, I'll ask again: Are you suggesting that the government is the only true owner of real property?

Piffka wrote:
Now assuming that I do pay those fees, I am under some constraint as to what I do with them. A less romantic person than I might say I should make the most of my investments. Is it better to hold onto them? Log them? Divide and sell or improve and sell? At some point an "owner" such as myself has to make decisions based on their own philosophy of life. I thought that is what this thread was about.

If that is what this thread is about then it is a very uninteresting thread indeed.

Piffka wrote:
It is odd that the property here in the west has only been held in any sort of legal way for just over 100 years. My favorite piece, the one which I feel (and yes, it is my choice) can't be sold, traces back to a homesteader in the 1880's. My family has their letters, my mother is buried in the cemetery that they donated to the community, and it is where I'll be buried, too. In my lifetime and in the lifetime of my heirs, I would hope that this property remains with us... yet, I can't think that it will always be that way. Things fall apart. I am not an owner, I have borrowed this land from both the ones who were before and those who come after.

Are you suggesting that the government is the only true owner of real property?

Piffka wrote:
The notion that we own that property supercedes the claim (what may be considered a stronger claim) to the native Americans who so obviously lived there. We have the midden pits to prove it. Where are they now? They're dead and gone, were dead and gone before my time, and their heirs, if any, have moved to reservations so generously donated to them by the same government which currently stamps my claim with approval, so long as I pay the taxes.

Are you suggesting that the government is the only true owner of real property?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2004 10:55 pm
husker wrote:
anyone talk about the land being private under streams and rivers? here in WA there are places where people are prosocuted for trespassing when floating down a river (little spokane river)

Depends on the river and the laws. I believe that, under the common law, adjoining (riparian) landowners have rights to the land under non-navigable waterways.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2004 08:21 am
Piffka-
Surely private property is an evolutionary principle.Presumably the idea is to place resources into the hands of those who make best use of them.
Best being defined by those in power.Dictatorships,monarchies and the rest are self-evidently inferior to democracies in the current state of play.This might not always be the case but it would be hard to see any serious change taking place in the near future.Democracies exert their unexampled power through technology and it is fair to assume that the principle of private property is a key factor.This forum is a small piece of private property which is unlikely to be legal in any non-democratic system.Members,by their very existence,prove that private property is no illusion.You might find it worthwhile to peruse Origin of Species.Please don't slide down the "do we exist" escape route.We exist alright.Goodstyle.

spendius.
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2004 08:22 am
joefromchicago wrote:
Piffka wrote:
I believe that the thread was not trying to define private ownership in terms of law, since that is well-defined, though subject to judicial interpretation.

It is the philosophy of private ownership which can be so interestingly discussed. Obviously, the land that I own in concert with Mr.P and our mortgagees has real limitations. But what about the property I own "Fee-Simple"? It would appear to be mine, but even then, I have a continual drain as I pay into the county coffers, thousands of dollars per annum.

Since I never got an answer the first time I asked this question, I'll ask again: Are you suggesting that the government is the only true owner of real property?

Piffka wrote:
Now assuming that I do pay those fees, I am under some constraint as to what I do with them. A less romantic person than I might say I should make the most of my investments. Is it better to hold onto them? Log them? Divide and sell or improve and sell? At some point an "owner" such as myself has to make decisions based on their own philosophy of life. I thought that is what this thread was about.

If that is what this thread is about then it is a very uninteresting thread indeed.

Piffka wrote:
It is odd that the property here in the west has only been held in any sort of legal way for just over 100 years. My favorite piece, the one which I feel (and yes, it is my choice) can't be sold, traces back to a homesteader in the 1880's. My family has their letters, my mother is buried in the cemetery that they donated to the community, and it is where I'll be buried, too. In my lifetime and in the lifetime of my heirs, I would hope that this property remains with us... yet, I can't think that it will always be that way. Things fall apart. I am not an owner, I have borrowed this land from both the ones who were before and those who come after.

Are you suggesting that the government is the only true owner of real property?

Piffka wrote:
The notion that we own that property supercedes the claim (what may be considered a stronger claim) to the native Americans who so obviously lived there. We have the midden pits to prove it. Where are they now? They're dead and gone, were dead and gone before my time, and their heirs, if any, have moved to reservations so generously donated to them by the same government which currently stamps my claim with approval, so long as I pay the taxes.

Are you suggesting that the government is the only true owner of real property?


I think I've said in as many ways as I can that there is no "true owner." I see those are considered to be "owners" as caretakers when they're at their best, and squatters when they're at their worst.

The government currently in power has "the gun" which allows it to determine and enforce zoning, tax, and highest and best use, among other things. Governments create a construct of private ownership which makes the economy work, but the private ownership under which the land is entailed has limitations defined by the government. That allows the government to lose the liability but maintain ultimate control.

As this continent was being settled, one government or another "gave" the land to a chosen few for one reason or another, but never for monetary exchange. A few hundred years ago this government wasn't here -- some day it will be gone. (I doubt this is news to anyone.)

If any entity can claim ownership (which I say is a false claim anyway), it would be the government.



As to whether the thread is "very uninteresting," that's your decision.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2004 08:37 am
Piffka wrote:


If any entity can claim ownership (which I say is a false claim anyway), it would be the government.



.

Piffka.
Try that on the Inland Revenue.I did once and it flummoxed them.I said that its all the governments money anyway and that the blood in our viens is the governments blood.They couldn't prove that their demands were beneficial to anybody except themselves.They settled out of court.

spendius.
0 Replies
 
thethinkfactory
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2004 08:43 am
Piffka has stayed focused on the real question at hand - however, we seemed to be stuck on the legal concept of whether land ownership is possible.

I am asking - if any man is endowed with the metaphysical means to own property.

Piffka has summed up my thoughts very well - but we seem to be stuck on the 'obviousness' of an idea (i.e. that we can own land) when it isn't that obvious.

With all the restriction our nature puts on our own bodies and our property it appears at the least that our concept of ownership needs to be redefined. Borowing - because it is finite and restricted - seems a better term.

The only evidence I have seen in this 6 page thread to the otherwise is 'don't be silly - ofcourse we can own property'.

TTF
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2004 08:44 am
Piffka wrote:
I think I've said in as many ways as I can that there is no "true owner." I see those are considered to be "owners" as caretakers when they're at their best, and squatters when they're at their worst.

If there are no owners then there can be no borrowers. There are only people with unenforceable claims. There are no caretakers and squatters, there are only squatters.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2004 08:45 am
Piffka-
I'm sorry.I made a bad mistake.I gave the impression that evolution has ideas which,of course,it doesn't.It has accidental mutations in extended sequences without rhyme or reason.The mutations which are successful in the particular environment are bred in and become a starting point for fresh mutations.This may well result in extinctions.

Referring to your long intro. scroll-
Who owns the parking meters?
The full line is in your Lyrics copy which I assume you to have.

spendius.
0 Replies
 
Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Nov, 2004 11:47 am
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving Day.

What do you say to the Palestinians who still have deeds to their property, JoeofChicago, the ones who didn't sell their land? Are they borrowers, squatters, owners?

I have no idea why you don't think there are caretakers. That shows, to me, no respect or understanding of land. It makes me believe you have spent your entire life in the city.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Nov, 2004 12:35 pm
Interesting anthropological question, Piffka. What are the differences in sensibilities regarding property between a rent-paying or residence-owning urbanite and a ruralite who owns land that has been in his family for generations? They must be profound. For one thing, the urbanite merely resides in his house or condo while the ruralite lives both on and off the land he owns.
0 Replies
 
 

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