5 thoughts on “Property – Intro to Political Economy, Lecture3

  1. If he is using liberty in the Hohfeldian sense then he is wrong that anyone can do something. Having a liberty (or privilege) in that sense only means you are not under a duty to refrain from doing that. I wouldn't assume he is using it in that sense, but he seems to dwell on the legal classifications a lot, which implies Hohfeld for classifications of rights.

  2. Macroeconomics has recently become a true science instead as a pseudo one! This change is because my new book on theoretical macroeconomics "Consequential Macroeconomics–Rationalizing About How our System Works" has been written using a formal engineering approach and this means clear statements of axioms, assumptions, definitions (of variables) and logical and sensible analysis. And incidentally Henry George (my favorite economist) wrote"The more hawks the least chickens but the more men the more chickens" which is a way to begin the logic. For an e-copy of my book write to [email protected] and dispel the many poorly expressed facts about our dismal subject.

  3. To continue…

    Rousseau's argument about the relation between the individual and the state is bolstered by a fuller understanding of such relations under feudalism. The prince as overlord enjoyed privileges but also had obligations to protect the members of the feudal community. These relations began to dissolve and private property in land arose with the introduction of precious metal coinage into Europe after the Crusades. The opening of trade routes between the city-states of Italy and the eastern Mediterranean accelerated the privatization of land and enclosure of the commons. Land became a commodity to be bought and sold, mortgaged and foreclosed upon by creditors.

    What the state does, particularly if laws are just and justly enforced, is to secure rightful claims of ownership to assets we produce with our labor with or without the aid of capital goods as well as to assets we have acquired from others under conditions of voluntary exchange.

    The discussion about claims of ownership to mineral rights is another category of law that conveys to individuals who hold a deed or other evidence of exclusive use to land an unjust claim on the commons. What Turgot (and others of likemind) would say is that the holder of this form of license, which has economic value, is free to exploit the resources so long as the licensee fully compensates society according to the potential annual rental value of the land according to the land's highest, best use.

  4. Not all economists have failed to predict or forecast economic cycles of boom to bust. There are economists who have moved away from the theoretical assumptions of neoclassical economics and returned to the perspectives that are consistent with real world experience. Economics professors such as William Vickrey and Mason Gaffney embraced the approach advanced by political economists of the 17th and 18th centuries (and further developed by Henry George in the 19th century). What they argue in their writings is that the three factor model of political economy is far more helpful than treating all economic inputs as different forms of capital with essentially the same characteristics. Nature, for one thing, has a zero cost of production in terms of labor and capital goods.

    The perspective of political economy carries with it fundamental challenge to societal laws that secure and protect claims to property in nature by individuals and private entities. Political economy argues the moral case for a labor and capital goods basis for private property.

    As discussed in this lecture, Locke's Proviso challenges the moral basis for the acquisition of huge territorial estates left unimproved. John Locke ventures into this realm of analysis but cannot bring himself to declare the rentier societal framework to be unjust.

    Locke offered an important beginning point in the discussion of what constitutes just law by distinguishing between acts that fall within the realm of liberty or (in violation of liberty) in the realm of license. He could not bring himself to look too closely at forms of economic license, or privilege. Richard Cantillon was one of the first to do so, calling for the societal collection of land rents as necessary to a state of equality of opportunity. These same issues were addressed by Anne Robert Jacques Turgot and other members of the physiocratic school and by Adam Smith. Thus, the correct societal response to Locke's Proviso is the physiocratic call for the taxation of land rent (i.e., the impot unique).

    Edward J. Dodson, M.L.A.
    School of Cooperative Individualism

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