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Post 40

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 4:25pmSanction this postReply
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Marotta:

I am responsible for the Atlases. I sanctioned a few of the Dane Stewart posts.

1) Has any of you ever inherited wealth? I have.

You know, here in America, we inherit assets, not liabilities.


Not true. Any estate an inheritor gets must also pay any liabilities attached to it just as Kurt points out.

There are places in the world where little kids labor all day long because their grandparents died with a debt that they inherited. How about that? Are you in favor of passing on BOTH sides of the ledger... or just the assets?


Marotta of course forgot to check his premises. As a free moral agent you have the right to refuse an inheritance, whether that estate has any net wealth or not. You can't force your debts or inheritance on anyone, not even to someone you name as your inheritor.
(Edited by John Armaos on 2/06, 4:32pm)




Post 41

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 4:26pmSanction this postReply
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Edit: (double post)
(Edited by John Armaos on 2/06, 4:26pm)




Post 42

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 7:18pmSanction this postReply
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Regarding Michael's mention of a negative income tax.  Here's a useful model that delivers something just as good to its members:
I look for useful models of how a society can function effectively to promote the well-being of everyone.  The Mondragon Cooperative has so far proven to be one of the most useful in this regard.  This is a virtual complete society which is literally owned directly by its members and has been running both at a profit and with an outstanding growth rate for over half a century now. 
Mondragon is not a state, but a voluntary but highly organized association of producers that charges a hefty fee for membership.  Once a member, which requires acceptance and a trial period of a year, as well as a big chunk of cash, you then have one vote, like every other member, on all the policies and structure of the society. 
However, this is not "20th Century Motors" from AS.  Mondragon is run to produce prosperity for its worker owners.  They are a bunch of hard-nosed businessmen, looking to further their own interests.  And they do.  Mondragon provides just about everything that a state does - or attempts to - to its owners, such as medical care, retirement, schools, etc. and pays significantly higher salaries to its workers than non-Mondragon workers in the same area and comparable jobs. 
For a real eye opener, go to: http://www.mcc.es/
 From the Mondragon sumary financial report.  Figures are listed as 2005, 2006, % variation.
Complete report at: http://www.mcc.es/ing/magnitudes/memoria2006.pdfINESS
(In million euros)
PERFORMANCE 2005 2006 % VARIATION
MCC Total Assets 22,977 27,550 19.9 - i.e., a 20% growth rate, which is typical for Mondragon for the past 5 decades...
MCC Equity 4,226 4,696 11.1
MCC Consolidated Results 545 677 24.2
Caja Laboral Assets Under Administration 11,036 12,333 11.8
Lagun-Aro Endowment Fund 3,303 3,626 9.8
Total Turnover (Industrial and Distribution) 11,859 13,390 12.9
MCC Overall Investments 866 1,243 43.5
EMPLOYMENT
MCC workforce at year end 78,455 83,601 6.6
% members of co-operative workforce 81 80 -1.2
% women members of co-operative workforce 41.9 41.9 -
Incident/accident rate for Industrial Group 58.3 54 -7.4
PARTICIPATION
Stakeholding capital of worker-members 2,010 2,282 13.5
No. worker-members in Governing Bodies 835 861 3.1
% profit distribution to worker-members 57.4 50 -12.3
SOLIDARITY
Resources allocated to community schemes 33 34 3.0
No. Students at MCC Educational Centres 7,642 7,429 -2.8
RESPONSIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
No. ISO 14000 Certificates in force 42 45 7.1
No. EMAS Certificates in force 4 4 -
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
% Resources allocated to R&D over Value Added (I.G.) 5.5 5.3 -3.6
No. Technology Centres in MCC 11 12 9.1

Now imagine that Mondragon were an L5 colony, wholly owned and run by the residents for a profit. 
Now scale that up a bit, to a ~10,000 mile diameter sphere of rock....




Post 43

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 8:12amSanction this postReply
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Ethan,
 
Re Post 24.
 
Democracy protects private property.  The majority has every right to decide on non-discretionary intervention by known rules but not by arbitrary theft or confiscation.  A stable democracy is the best way to grow and preserve private property.
 
We are each not the only pebbles on the beach.  The wealth you produce is only possible in a stable society.  It is good to take a part of what you can afford to give away or bequeath to those you choose, who have not earned it, so that others can receive some capital that they have not earned who otherwise would not have received any.  You, as an Objectivist, describe as wrong and evil what I describe as right and good.  So be it.  We must agree to disagree.
 
How does rewarding someone for doing nothing help them?  It helps them unless they receive too much or too little.  Hence the justification and the need for USA Universal Inheritance and UK Universal Inheritance.
  
Dane




Post 44

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 8:23amSanction this postReply
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Jeff,
 
Post 25 and earlier
 
Your "inviolable right to distribute your assets as you see fit".  Yes, but there is no reason why you should not be taxed at 10 per cent on the gifts and bequests you make to those to whom you choose. 
 
I am not espousing socialism.  Socialism is the state ownership of the means of production.  I am espousing popular, meritocratic capitalism instead of unfettered dynastic capitalism.  What I am espousing has not yet been tried, although the UK Baby Bonds and Child Trust Funds are flawed steps in the right direction.  So what I espouse cannot have been the ruin of my country - which is a fine country.  We used up a huge proportion of our accumulated wealth over the centuries in defeating, with your help, thank you very much, the Nazi tyranny of Hitler.  If people wish to go and use their brains to good purpose elsewhere, good for them. 
 
In a capitalist democracy, everyone should have some capital as well as a vote.  That is why I equated Universal Inheritance with Universal Suffrage.
 
Why this Objectivist violent metaphorical talk of knives, "naked evil", etc.?   I am suggesting an idea for the American people to consider.  We have taken on board many of yours and you have taken on board many of ours.  We are each free to determine our own democratic governments - and I must say the present primary process in your country is faxscinating to us over here.  I would have thought that one American revolution was quite enough!
 
Dane




Post 45

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 8:43amSanction this postReply
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Michael Marotta,
 
Post 27 and others
 
Thanks for the support on an argument if not the conclusion.
 
"Myself, I'd rather have police and the courts privatised and have all that money go into a negative income tax as recommended by Milton Friedman...and Thomas Paine, apparently.
 
 Thomas Paine also recommended a negative Capital Receipts Tax (15 at 18 financed by a 10 per cent inheritance tax)  - sounds familiar!  A negative Capital Receipts Tax has far less effect upon the incentive to create, earn, make and save than a negative Income Tax.  It may well have the opposite effect, and encourage greater creation of wealth through spreading capitalist opportunity more widely. 
 
It is strange to hear you calling Luke Setzer an Objectivist "looter" for being engaged in the exciting business of space exploration on behalf of your country and us all.  Would you like to privatise defence as well as space exploration?
 
Dane




Post 46

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 8:56amSanction this postReply
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Bob "Tax is Theft" Kolker,
 
Post 29. 
 
 Many congratulations!  It must be great to to be such a superior human being!  Having attended a talk on Infinity by Brian Clegg, who has written a book on the subject, in Oxford yesterday evening, I am full of admiration that you understand infinity so well.  How are you on Standard Quantum Mechanics or Classical Quantum Mechanics?
 
Dane




Post 47

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 9:34amSanction this postReply
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Claude Shannon
 
Post 33.
 
If the successful and well-to-do (many of them as a result of inheritance) donated volutarily 10% of their wealth that could well go to increase the amount of Universal Inheritance that it would be possible to pay if everyone were taxed at that rate on gifts and inheritance.  But it would not be practical to rely upon volutary contributions, particularly if what I understand as the views of Objectivists were widespread!  "Let my children have as much as possible and the devil take the hindmost!" seems to be the tune.
 
Charity used to be helpful in times gone by when a benign local lord (not an Objectivist who thought that unselfishness was immoral!) took notice of difficulties in his neighbourhood.  But once the industrial revolution and the move to the slums of the cities took place, charity was never enough, so there had to be taxes to redistribute income to those who were out of sight and out of mind to the new industrial barons. 
 
Dane




Post 48

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 9:39amSanction this postReply
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Sam Erica,
 
Dane Clouston will do very well, thanks.  I just filled in the form with my full name and so it came out.  I would be delighted if it could be reduced to Dane Clouston.
 
I have no title other than Director, OPPPORTUNITY - The Campaign for British Universal Inheritance and Director, The Campaign for Universal Inheritance.
 
I'm just waiting for the conversion on the road to Damascus of one of you former Objectivists so that he or she (not many ladies, it seems - maybe most have too much empathy with their fellow human beings for that) can sign up as the Director of the Campaign for USA Universal Inheritance.
 
Dane
 




Post 49

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 9:43amSanction this postReply
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Phil Osborne
 
Post 42
 
Montdragon sounds really interesting, thank you - I must have a closer look.
 
Dane




Post 50

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 9:51amSanction this postReply
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RoR! RoM! SoS!
 
Redefinition of Reason!  Redefinition of Morality!  Sense over Sensibility!
 
"Swallows..., unlike men, are in the order of their existence and have not perverted it by reason"  is a quote which I wrote down as a young man, being a keen ornithologist, from the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. 
 
An instinct for social morality is what has enabled our particular social species to survive the pitfalls of the evolutionary past.  Knowledge of our objective existence does not tell us what our moral instinct or moral sensibility will tell us to do that will enable us to survive cohesively and successfully into the future.
 
Why do we not hear from other civilisations on other planets whirling around other stars in other galaxies?  There are, I believe, about a hundred thousand million stars in our galaxy and about a hundred thousand million galaxies in our universe.  Is it because, as Carl Sagan suggested, they destroy themselves with internal conflict using the level of technological advance that would enable them to start signalling to us from their doomed civilisations?  It will be very reassuring on that count - although perhaps unnerving on others - when we hear the first interstellar or intergalactic contact.  Let us hope that we survive our Jihadist and other extremists nurtured on a diet of inequality, injustice and religion in a nuclear world until then and long after.
 
It is strange to be mocked for being polite and restrained in argument or discussion.  The Objectivist debate does seem inclined to be expressed unusually aggressively, angrily and defensively, with violent metaphors, - knives, naked evil, hunting and trapping of statists, etc, etc,   OK!  Maybe it is just your sense of humour (or humor).
 
Or perhaps it is all part of the Objectivist 'moral' viewpoint.  It seems to me that what I have gleaned of Objectivism from some of these exchanges is that it is psychopath friendly - giving a 'reason' for lack of empathy and unselfishness vis a vis fellow human beings.
 
RoR! RoM! SoS!
 
Not to mention RoT - Redefinition of Theft!




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Post 51

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 10:49amSanction this postReply
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Dane, you said:

Democracy protects private property. 
No it doesn't. Democracy just means majority rules. The rules can be immoral and wrong.
 
The majority has every right to decide on non-discretionary intervention by known rules but not by arbitrary theft or confiscation. 
Why does it have this right? Where does this right come from? What if the rules ARE arbitrary confiscation?
 
A stable democracy is the best way to grow and preserve private property.
Not if it's laws are anti-property!
 
We are each not the only pebbles on the beach. 
We are humans, not pebbles at all. Pebbles have no moral concerns.
 
The wealth you produce is only possible in a stable society. 
So?
 
You, as an Objectivist, describe as wrong and evil what I describe as right and good.  So be it.  We must agree to disagree.
Are good and evil subjective? Objectivism shows how good and evil are not, and how what you describe as good, is evil in fact and with proof.
 
How does rewarding someone for doing nothing help them?  It helps them unless they receive too much or too little.  Hence the justification and the need for USA Universal Inheritance and UK Universal Inheritance.
  How much SHOULD someone receive for doing nothing? What is too little in your mind and why?
 
E.




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Post 52

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 12:48pmSanction this postReply
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The expression, "Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations" is relevant in this discussion in that those who don't work for their rewards and "pay their dues", so to speak, will dissipate their inheritances. In case anyone hasn't heard this expression, the first generation, through perspicacity, hard work and dedication to long long term goals attains financial success. The second generation sustains the enterprise but because the inheritors don't have the drive that the first generation had, it doesn't thrive. The third generation, which has what remains of the business handed to them on a platter, just lets the business fail and they become as poor as the first generation was initially.

If one gives credence to this saying, as I do, giving capital to those who get it without paying their dues is tantamount to flushing it down the drain. It will not help establish long term benefits and, in my opinion, it will be detrimental to their values.

Sam  




Post 53

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 1:53pmSanction this postReply
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Dane, read Atlas Shrugged.  There, you will see how polite and kind the various statesmen are who wish to steal the product of Hank Reardon's labor - just because the words are nice, and the bandit dresses and speaks well, makes him no less a bandit.  The harsher language is to show what is couched in good what it truly is, which is evil disguised as good.  Good being punished for simply being productive, and others simply gaining free largesse at their expense - i.e. the looters and the moochers.

Why should I pay 10% tax on a gift?  And yes, why would I not just buy gold and give it away as often as possible, or cash, since you cannot trace it?  Well then what happens is we have gold and cash outlawed and controlled, now some government thug has to approve of your transactions, all to satisfy what YOU think is good. 

Already, many billionaires and rich establish various trust funds to do what you discuss.  I am not sure how effective they are, but either way I don't mind they can do what they wish with their money - it does not belong to me.

You are also wrong in your entire feudalism was more charitable than pure capitalism mention there - in fact it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of true capitalism.




Post 54

Thursday, February 14, 2008 - 7:13pmSanction this postReply
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Reply to #46

I am conversant with quantum theory through first relativization and I am picking my way through quantum field theory. I am also learning perturbation. There is no such thing as classical quantum mechanics. You might be referring to non-relativistic quantum theory which is what quantum theory was before Dirac reformulated it. By definition, classical physics is pre-quantum physics.

Bob Kolker




Post 55

Friday, February 15, 2008 - 12:20amSanction this postReply
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Dane said:
(not many ladies, it seems - maybe most have too much empathy with their fellow human beings for that)
Empathy:
 1. The intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
 2. The imaginative ascribing to an object, as a natural object or work of art, feelings or attitudes present in oneself: By means of empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self.

It is my understanding that Objectivists - of either gender - have a vast amount of empathy, yet realise that empathy cannot be a virtue unless the - philosophically examined, sufficiently entrenched - sense of 'I' is established, and given priority...

otherwise, what you have is a bunch of 'head-less chickens'...

Jo

(Edited for clarity... I hope... )

(Edited by Barney Maggru on 2/15, 6:32am)




Post 56

Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 3:40pmSanction this postReply
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Post #0
I yesterday sent a letter out to newspapers in the UK, following comments from a prosperous UK celebrity, Nigella Lawson, that she would leave no inheritance to her children.  I have not heard whether or not she has already given them an expensive private education (I imagine she has) or lifetime gifts of capital to start them off in any way, which would make a bit of a difference to the import of her remarks. 
 
As Dale undoubtedly knows, Bill Gates has stated that he is endowing his children with only a modest inheritance and is giving enormous gifts to charities, but the crucial issue in this discussion is that what he is doing is voluntary and what Dale proposes is by force of law, i.e. coercion.
 
Post #47
Charity used to be helpful in times gone by when a benign local lord (not an Objectivist who thought that unselfishness was immoral!) took notice of difficulties in his neighborhood.  But once the industrial revolution and the move to the slums of the cities took place, charity was never enough, so there had to be taxes to redistribute income to those who were out of sight and out of mind to the new industrial barons
 
It was only because of the nasty "new industrial barons" that there was an Industrial Revolution in the first place, thus it brought in a new age of prosperity. Now Dale criticizes them for not doing enough.
 
Sigh.
 
Sam
 
 




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Post 57

Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 4:26pmSanction this postReply
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"...so there had to be taxes to redistribute income to those who were out of sight and out of mind..." Dane

"had to be"? You mean (contrary to historical fact, however, but let that slide), had to be if social engineering goals of the sort you favor are to be achieved.

The whole basis of Dane's proposal is this:

'I envision a certain type of outcome, and believe that if I can get enough to agree with me to vote that it be done, we collectively have the right to take 10% of your assets and distribute them in an attempt to achieve that outcome.'

The morality of Dane's outcome is questionable. Its practical realization is doubtful. But set even those aside. Dane still does not address the basic issue (alluded to by Sam above): by what right do you use the power of government to achieve your desired end?

The correct answer is: by no right whatever. You simply think it would be good, therefore you will pursue it.




Post 58

Sunday, February 17, 2008 - 9:15amSanction this postReply
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Luke: Thank you for your reference (Post #2) to the free, on-line "Capitalism" by George Reisman, available at:

http://www.capitalism.net

The hard copy is currently selling for as much as $150, which puts it out of reach for many of us.

Sam




Post 59

Sunday, February 17, 2008 - 10:54amSanction this postReply
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The hard copy is currently selling for as much as $150, which puts it out of reach for many of us.

WOW - sure wasn't that priced when I got it shortly after it was available!!
[is an excellent work, btw...]




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