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Are libertarians blind to systems of central control that are less obvious than government?

Private property is a core value of libertarians. But does private property lead to a utopia of small landholders freely farming and trading?

Consider this: Whoever has land will use it to get more money, land, and political power leading to concentrations of wealth and power.


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    Jun 9 2013: please explain me how can you, with money, take my land
    • Jun 10 2013: Libertarians should be smart enough to see that their idea of the political effect of land ownership is a fantasy. Both in practice and in theory, it does not lead to a utopia of small landholders freely farming and trading. Because land ownership channels wealth to those who already have wealth, it is politically destabilizing. Whoever owns land will use it to get more money, more land, and more political power, leading as sure as water running downhill to a system where one giant multi-tentacled concentration of wealth/power commands almost all the land and all the people.
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        Jun 10 2013: you did not answer my question.

        your view of libertarianism is ... not the most precise to put it that way. no doubt, libertarians are not a hive mind, some of them might say that free market leads to small farms, fat cows and smiling farmers. libertarian doctrine tells that whoever owns the land, owns the land. you have no moral right to interfere, let alone take it by force. in a libertarian society, the only way to acquire land is to buy it. buying means voluntary transfer from one owner to another. you, being a third party, has absolutely no say in that matter. if you don't want all land to fall in the hands of one (which does not happen anyway, but hey), you are free to buy land yourself, and keep it. you can also organize a campaign and convince small farmers to keep their lands. you can pay them money to support them in that. what you can not do is to take someone else's property by force, for the sake of ... <insert something awesome here>
        • Jun 10 2013: You question is irrelevant.

          You do not know my view of libertarians for I have only stated that private property is their core value. Pat Gilbert agreed.

          This is not about taking land from a landowner although this can be done by eminant domaine.

          Central power other than government power corrupts too.
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        Jun 10 2013: i don't understand your motivation here. you have opened a conversation, yet you refuse to participate in it. you are satisfied with dismissing and ignoring counterarguments. are you genuinely interested in differing opinions, or you just want to hear reinforcements to your own sentiments?

        my question was very much central to your claims, and attempting to answer would reveal the falsehoods of your assumptions. after you refused to answer, i have elaborated why it is impossible to take all the land if you already have some. i have also explained why it is immoral to attempt to control this. you did not even try to reply any of these.

        never mind, here is my 3rd attempt, this time not trying to provoke cooperative thinking, just stating my point in a plain way. here is a list of the fallacies you have made:

        1. property automatically creates more property, land allows you to get more land. no, it does not. only in the hands of an able entrepreneur, property grows. in the hands of an unskilled entrepreneur, property shrinks.

        2. having some money grants you power. no, having any amount of money grants you no power at all, unless you engage in criminal activities.

        3. concentration of means of production is bad. no it is not. means of production concentrates in the hands of the most efficient provider. extreme concentration means that said provider outperforms all its competitors. this concentration remains until as the competition catches up, or the said provider screws up, which is inevitable sooner or later.

        4. "political power". in a libertarian society, there is no political power at all. political power exists only in non-capitalist societies. politics is exactly the non-capitalist part of a mixed (partially capitalist) society.
        • Jun 11 2013: Money is power. Isnt it just an agreed upon symbol for the exchange of power. Land can be a moneymaker. Ask a wise invested, a productive piece of land is always a safe investment.

          True not everyone will buy land to attain more money more power but some will. If one can buy up all the water rights timber, or mineral rights of a region then does he not have a great deal of power in that region?

          I do no buy ur statement "money is not power unless used for criminal purposes"

          Also I believe it a fantasy to say there will ever be politicians who can't be bought. That's like saying Christians won't lie cheat or steal because its against their beliefs.
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        Jun 11 2013: let's just forget all your entirely unsupported claims, and misunderstandings of my statements. let's focus on your repeated claim about a man can buy up all of a certain resource, and rule.

        how would that happen? could you please flash out an imaginary future timeline of it, in detail? suppose initially we have one million land owners. let it be a free, unhampered market. one of them decides to buy all the land. how does he proceed? questions to answer:

        1. how he manages to cough up the money for it? in a free market, land priced according to its productivity. you can only hope for profit only if you know something better than current land owners.

        2. let us assume that this man is the best goddam farmer/inventor, so he can indeed make more profit, and expand. wouldn't land price go up as a result of massive buying? unless of course he plans to buy the entire globe overnight.

        3. suppose the guy already owns 90% of the land. don't you think that the remaining 100 thousand small land owners start to ask, hey, maybe i should hold onto my property, as its price is rising?

        4. during all this time, nobody else had the same idea. why? how come not a single other entrepreneur realized this opportunity? at the end, we will have not one, but two, three, five, whatever number of land owners.

        5. is this sound plausible for said super-entrepreneur that he will hold onto each and every piece of land, which are extremely varied in their characteristics. this man is so great of a genius, he can make a profit everywhere, every kind of land, jungle, desert, ice, mountains. there never will be the case that someone says, hey man, i would pay you more for that piece of land than you make out of it. because i have a better idea how to use it. so he is either better than anyone, or willing to lose money on principle? if he is indeed better, i do want him to rule the globe!
        • Jun 12 2013: I said region not world. Very important distinction.

          But you are right it is implausible that one person/corporation will snatch up all the land in a state.

          But I don't concede every point to you. Examples of water rights being held by one corporation are real. I realize privatization makes distribution more efficient but morally it is questionable because the incentive to provide for the most needy is not there since they cannot afford the rates. T. Boone Pickens bought a bunch of land in Texas to sell the water rights to Southwestern cities. His plan fell through but that may be because he's ahead of the game. For his plan to be profitable the cost of water will have to skyrocket. The poor will be the ones that lose the most.

          Having all land held in private property relegates people to work for wages. Even the the feudal serfs would be offended to have to work for a wage. The enclosure acts most active during industrial revolution forced self sufficient farmers from land that was considered wide open for anyone to cross, occupy, or use. Of course the lords extorted the wealth from the land.

          Libertarians preach liberty for all but if you don't have access to life's basics because of a system that forces you to work poverty wages than you do not have liberty.
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        Jun 12 2013: sorry for refuting an even stronger claim. regional monopoly actually grants you even less power, since people can just buy stuff from outside the region.

        "water rights" is a nonexistent term in a free market. guess what, if you refer to the water crisis in i don't remember what central american or south american country, it was the government's job. that company didn't go around buying "water rights" from the people. it was granted those rights by the government, against the will of the people.

        working for a wage is a good thing. it means you don't have to bear any risks. if the company fails, you get your money anyway, up to the point of bankruptcy, in which case you just walk away, and pick another job. it is not a necessity. it is an opportunity. we choose to work for a wage, as opposed to be entrepreneurs.

        libertarian don't preach liberty for all. if you don't want liberty, you can give it up. you can sell yourself as slave or serf is you so desire. libertarians preach liberty for everyone that wants it. thus, we oppose any attempts to coerce people to comply with your or anyone's values. if you want me to live by your values, convince me. that is the civilized way. there is no third way. either you use force against people that disagree with you, or you don't. if you don't, it is the libertarian world. it is the free market.
        • Jun 12 2013: So how does one survive if they don't have any property to be self sufficient? Oh just become an entrepenuer... like its that easy and all of them keep afloat.

          I don't see how one is not forced into wage labor. Unless they decide to prostitute or sell organs.
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        Jun 12 2013: this phrase "don't have any property to be self sufficient" does not make sense to me. either does not have any property, or does not have property necessary to be self sufficient. the former case is impossible, you have your body and time. you can simply work as an employee, earn money, and be happy. the latter case is not a problem. i don't have the necessary property to be self sufficient. i have a small amount of land, not enough to make all the vegetables and grains to survive. but i don't care. i work as a programmer, i pick up my paycheck every month, i go to the supermarket, and buy the stuff i need. i prefer this setting, i hate planting and harvesting. i fail to see how am i "forced" into wage labor. wage labor is the best thing ever. i love it.
        • Jun 12 2013: Congratulations. So stop forcing your lifestyle on other people.

          Many many people don't have options and therefore work for poverty wages.
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        Jun 12 2013: i don't, and i did not even attempt. anti free market people do. i want you to realize that you are the one pushing your world view on others.
        • Jun 12 2013: Realize I am not pushing ANYTHING. I am arguing the belief that you can have liberty and private property at the same time.

          Not once have I advocated any kind of ideology. I am merely questioning things. I do not have a solution that I want to push on the ted crowd.

          I said stop forcing your lifestyle on other people because in my view you advocate for a system that keeps people in wretched poverty. Free markets do not incentivize providing anything for the people that have no money. What can these people do? There is no land to hunt and forage because private property killed that lifestyle. If they are lucky enough to own a little land it will still not be enough to provide all their needs. They can work in dangerous factories that pay barely enough to survive and that's about it.
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        Jun 12 2013: yes, you are pushing. you side with aggressors. granted, siding with aggressors is not the same as committing aggression, but not ethical either.

        once again: if you do not use force, you have free market. that is a logical consequence. you have to choose. you want to let people to live their lives as they choose to, or you don't. time to take a side. there is no third option. either you let people to have property and sell their property, or you don't want to let them. all else is just muddying the waters. come out of the closet!
        • Jun 13 2013: "if you do not use force, you have free market." Well the majority of North and South America were taken by force from the native americans. I already mentioned the enclosure acts in Europe. Seems to me private property spawned from force. Agriculturilists from the time of Babylon continued expanding and expanding. It's not like all of a sudden in 10,000 BC everybody discovered grain agriculture and then divided the land on a free market. No. Tribes and bands that had no sense of land ownership were either forced to assimilate or slaughtered to clear the way.

          Wretched poverty is not the natural state of man. Read about it in an anthropology book. Tribes and bands may have had natural disasters that set them back but they did not live in wretched poverty. Why? Because they knew how to harvest food from the land and the land was shared through a long line of kinship.

          I am not calling for a return to that life because for one we've forgotten it and two its unfair to redistribute land.

          So how do we keep what is good in civilization and stop the unnatural suffering so many millions are forced to deal with? That is what I wonder. Thomas Paine had some suggestions. I'm sure you'd dislike it since it has to do with payments to people.
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        Jun 13 2013: so what? libertarians do not endorse, rather condemn taking land by force. those people were not libertarians.

        you need to read about anthropology and history more, as poverty is the natural state, as it can be observed in tribes today. they live short, they suffer illnesses, their children die. but this is not the point, if you want to live such a life, go ahead. you can team up with a hundred other guys, buy some forest in brazil or savannah in africa, and go hunting. you might face some threats and opposition, but none of that will come from a libertarian. they will come from robbers, either private ones or states.
        • Jun 13 2013: Tribes people do not sell their body and time because they are free to survive off the land they were born into.

          Your average sweatshop worker works most of the day. They risk their long term and short term life for a wage that buys them what tribes people can produce themselves in a much much shorter period of time.

          What tribes people lack is law and order and the medical advances that civilization benefits from.

          So what? So being in a condition of starvation, long hours of work, and dangerous filth is not a consistent historical condition.

          It doesnt matter the ideology of the people that conquered the traditional tribal lands what matters is that we know people do not have to suffer in this way. We need to find a way to stop an unfair system.
        • Jun 14 2013: Steven Pinkers talk about decline of violence is nothing new to me. I had mentioned that tribal societies need law and order. I do not romanticize tribal life. I am stating that in a lot of respects people were better off compared to the wretched poor of civilization. I read Jared Diamond's book The World Until Yesterday.
          Jared Diamond who has lived among various New Guinea tribes and has studied traditional societies vs. civilized life says this:
          "Are twentieth century hunter-gatherers reallyworse off than farmers? Scattered throughout the world, several dozengroups of so-called primitive people, like the Kalahari bushmen,continue to support themselves that way. It turns out that these peoplehave plenty of leisure time, sleep a good deal, and work less hard thantheir farming neighbors. For instance, the average time devoted eachweek to obtaining food is only 12 to 19 hours for one group of Bushmen,14 hours or less for the Hadza nomads of Tanzania. One Bushman, whenasked why he hadn’t emulated neighboring tribes by adoptingagriculture, replied, "Why should we, when there are so manymongongo nuts in the world?"While farmers concentrate on high-carbohydrate crops like rice andpotatoes, the mix of wild plants and animals in the diets of survivinghunter-gatherers provides more protein and a bettter balance of othernutrients. In one study, the Bushmen’s average daily food intake (duringa month when food was plentiful) was 2,140 calories and 93 grams of protein, considerably greater than the recommended daily allowance forpeople of their size. It’s almost inconceivable that Bushmen, who eat 75or so wild plants, could die of starvation the way hundreds of thousandsof Irish farmers and their families did during the potato famine of the 1840s.So the lives of at least the surviving hunter-gatherers aren’t nasty andbrutish, even though farmes have pushed them into some of the world’sworst real estate."
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          Jun 14 2013: Oh no first it was Al Gore and now this, next you are going to tell me that there is no global warming, I'm so confused.
        • Jun 16 2013: If you really believe subsistance farmers or sweatshop workers are better off than traditional hunter gatherers than fine. I don't think you want to believe it.

          I believe the archaeological evidence and logically makes sense to me.
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        Jun 16 2013: it is not logical, it is just romantic and wishful thinking. who forces those people into "sweatshops"? nobody forces them, they go back to their old habits. they want to work there, because they want the money. your misguided views hurt poor people.
        • Jun 16 2013: People do wish to abandon subsistence agricultural life and what some find is a job that requires long hours with no or very little safety precautions. Relative low pay. Yes "sweatshops" are what people refer to these jobs.

          Now you seem to be claiming that civilized subsistence agriculuralists are better off than our tribal hunter gatherer ancestors. You claim that these tribal people are violent and nobody in civilization is better off living that lifestyle. You are right that you have a greater chance of being murdered in a tribal society than civilized. But this is just one aspect of tribal life. Should we not try to learn anything from these societies? Or are they too "brutish" for ya?

          I say that our tribal ancestors are very valuable because they have been doing social experiments on how to live for 10's of thousands of years. Turns out there's a lot of diversity on how to live.

          Tribal hunter gatherers spend less time acquiring food, shelter, clothing from their environment that either subsistence farmers or wage workers at sweatshops.

          This is what is upseting that I name one good aspect about tribal life and you go all romance and wishful thinking on me. I find that narrow minded.

          So yes I believe civilization should work on a proper way to end wretched poverty for it is a very recent occurence in human history
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        Jun 16 2013: that is the myth of the noble savage. you are romanticizing poverty. many did that, and probably many will be. it is nothing but a mistake, if you just say that. but alas, sometimes policies stem from that kind of thinking. we want to preserve the culture of these native people, we want to "defend" them from civilization. those people can't want to get all the benefits we have. they don't want to preserve their lifestyle, only you believe they do. just as europe chose agriculture and modern technology over hunger and despair, all other nations all around the globe want to make that step forward.
        • Jun 18 2013: The noble savage is a myth of peace loving, nature loving tribes people. Clearly I do not believe either of these myths. But poverty? I think that's more your perspective.

          Poverty is relative. I would say someone is more impovershed if they go to bed hungry than if they have little to no personal belongings. But hey I like to eat.

          Besides malnutrition, starvation, and epidemic diseases, farming helped bring another curse upon humanity: deep class divisions. Hunter-gatherers have little or no stored food, and no concentrated food sources, like an orchard or a herd of cows: they live off the wild plants and animals they obtain each day. Therefore, there can be no kings, no class of social parasites who grow fat on food seized from others. Only in a farming population could a healthy, non-producing elite set itself above the disease-ridden masses. Skeletons from Greek tombs at Mycenae c. 1500 B. C. suggest that royals enjoyed a better diet than commoners, since the royal skeletons were two or three inches taller and had better teeth (on the average, one instead of six cavities or missing teeth). Among Chilean mummies from c. A. D. 1000, the elite were distinguished not only by ornaments and gold hair clips but also by a fourfold lower rate of bone lesions caused by disease.

          Similar contrasts in nutrition and health persist on a global scale today. To people in rich countries like the U. S., it sounds ridiculous to extol the virtues of hunting and gathering. But Americans are an elite, dependent on oil and minerals that must often be imported from countries with poorer health and nutrition. If one could choose between being a peasant farmer in Ethiopia or a bushman gatherer in the Kalahari, which do you think would be the better choice?

          You say europeans "chose" agriculture and modern technology. Where's the evidence? How are a few tribes people going to fight off an overpopulated farming population? I say your using the old adage might makes right.
        • Jun 18 2013: Read Agrarian Justice by Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine had first hand experience observing american indian life.
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        Jun 18 2013: again, you are free to love the state of existence 20000 years before. it gets evil only when you support policies that keeps people in that state against their will. nobody that has that life, likes it. only people in privilege, like you, likes it. today, a beggar eats better food today than many kings did five thousand years ago. i'm not going to debate it. you need to select your readings better. do not rely on paleolithic diet leaflets.
        • Jun 19 2013: What policies do you think I support that are forcing tribal people to do anything?.

          Where is the beggar from? If from an industrialized nation than I could believe this.

          I would say that a diversity of food like what most hunter gatherers eat gives the body a range of nutrients. Eating primarly starchy carbohydrates like the poor civilized masses leaves the body lacking nutrients.

          To say that tribes want to leave their life for modernity is using a broad brush to paint. For one, you assume they are leaving because they want to participate in the world economy. It very well could be the case that they are tired of the endless revenge killing and prefer state governance. And of course there are numerous examples of tribes that want nothing to do with the outside world such as the Sentinelese. Others want to trade for goods but want to keep their culture and lands. And yes others have fully immersed themselves in civilized life.

          In conclusion, before you scoff at their way of life consider that if tribes are anything they are diverse. And just like our biospher needs biodiversity for survival, humans ought to value cultural diversity for our survival.
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        Jun 19 2013: i don't know, but it would be weird if you would not support policies you consider aim at the good thing. i can imagine for example that you would try to stop a factory (sweatshop, as you like to call it) from being built in such an area, "for the sake" of the people living there. this is the point where being wrong turns into doing wrong.

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