|This post is in reference to Rick Pasotto's post #61,|
He quotes Rand, (via Michael Moeller's post),
And Rick says that Rand, in this quote is espousing Marx's Labor Theory of Value. And he states that IP law creates a monopoly 'right' and 'creates' a law versus just protecting 'ownership right of an object.
"By forbidding an unauthorized reproduction of the object, the law declares, in effect, that the physical labor of copying is not the source of the object's value, that that value is created by the originator of the idea and may not be used without his consent; thus the law establishes the property right of a mind to that which it brought into existence" (VOS, pg 130).
First I'll address the issue of "rights"
Ethics derive a 'right' (according to it's basic philosophical premises) - then law(s) can be created as expressions of that ethical right. If the ethical system says "man has a right to his life" - it is reasonable to express this with a law that declares taking of a life under certain circumstances as 'murder'.
Thus the word 'right' can mean two things (which should, but don't necessarily agree with one another). My right to my life (ethics) is defended by my right (legal) not to be murdered. Ethical rights are proposed by philosophers, ethicists, and intellectuals. Legal rights are all created by government.
In point 3) on Rich Pasotto's post he says,
"When dealing with physical objects, property law protects the owners right to that object but IP law creates a 'right'. "The fact is, the government has created laws defining legal rights in intellectual property, and in real estate property, and in all instances of recognized property. Rick goes on to say,
"In other contexts this is referred to as a government grant of monopoly privilege." Chucking out the following unhelpful phrases - "In other contexts" and "this is referred to as" we are left with a statement saying
IP law creates a monopoly privilege (that other property laws don't create). But every legal right in a bundle of legal rights that makes up the property associated with a good is a kind of legal monopoly. I have the right to rent my house out (In my case, no covenants, zoning laws, or other restrictions deprive me of that right) and ONLY I have that right. I have a legal monopoly on renting out MY house.
Next I'll address Ricks use of "value"
Take a look at Rick's 2nd point,
To claim that the [original] creator of an object or idea creates (is the source of) the value of that object or idea is to espouse the long discredited labor theory of value.Marx's labor theory of value has no place for anything but labor in determining value (exluding natural values like unprocessed minerals or raw ground). And that theory would not recognize any special value in the uniqueness of the pattern emerging from a given labor such that it could become something like IP. And IP is clearly what Rand is arguing for. Marx's theory also specifically denies that differences in the quality of labor that might exist could change the theory that labor is the sole arbiter of value.
Rand is talking about the creation of the value versus the copying of it. (And please note that 'copying' also involves labor which by itself makes Rick's claim wrong on its face). Rand would be the first to say that the value created by a monkey hitting a keyboard for 100 days would not be the equal to the value of a writer whose previous works sold in great number. She also would not have said the entire value of a book is in the 'pattern of words' but also, even if in much smaller portions, in the physical binding, the paper, the ease of purchase, the efforts and ideas of the others, etc. Value is added after she turns over her manuscript - by publisher, editor, agent, printer, shippers, distributers, retailers, advertisers, etc. This chain of agreements where value is added - values that include capital, machines, commitments, legal rights held by others, and labor.
Think of this chain of agreements as made of exchanging differing bundles of legal rights. The author may give up exclusive right to mass produce a pattern of words for some time period but under specific limiting conditions to a publisher who gives up the legal right to some of the money from the book sales (royalties). The publisher agrees with a printer to exchange legal right to x amount of dollars in exchange for printing y number of copies under an agreement specifying details - He has the right from the author to mass-produce copies of the pattern, but he only gives the printer a version of that right so as to be able to print the same pattern in the future with another printer. The printer has acquired from other sources the legal rights to the materials, machinery, labor, etc. needed to fulfill the agreement. All exchanges involve legal rights and no legal right can exist without an implied ethical right. That chain can have many links and each link can be of a slightly different nature and there can be other chains spliced into the main one, but they all are linked such that at the start is the idea of the author and the other end is a customer with a book in hand. Each link is made of the following: voluntary agreements based upon each parties own valuation and the particular legal rights being evaluated and then exchanged.
Marx's labor theory treats labor as a special kind of contribution to a good - the only one that could increase the good's value. Rand and most economic schools recognize that there are many things that can add to the value of a good.. Marx wanted to state that non-labor could not contribute to value as part of an argument for justifying the state owning all means of production. Addressing that obscenity takes us off topic.
To say that Ayn Rand mistakenly confused private, productive, creative efforts involving ideas, labor, machinery, capital, estabished relationships, pre-existing legal rights, knowledge, experience and other values that resulted in desirable goods being privately manufactured, distributed and purchased in a free market as an example of capitaliism when it really should be seen as an example of Marx's labor theory is absurd. Her royalty is payment for the percieved value she added, her rights are what she had to bargain with. The portion that goes to the publisher is his profit (or loss if he guessed wrong or screwed up), and payment to others are for their value added. When someone askes about a percieved value, "percieved by who?" - the answer is always by the person preparing to make a choice and to make or not to make an agreement and this means every party to every agreement.
Early man could take a simple view that he giving up his cave in exchange for a piece of fresh buffalo haunch (being hungry and knowing where another cave was). Today we need to focus not on an object or entity but on the bundle of rights that define our "property" relative to an object or entity - we have rent, lease, sale, fee simple, lease-hold, condo, townhouse, apartment, time-share, covenants, and on and on.
I'm hoping we can create a better ground-up description of property from this thread, but I didn't think that we needed to have finished that to point out the problems with Rick's post.