Sunday, June 23, 2013

Politics IV: Property

The justification of the existence of a state is that it is a social contract (→ Rousseau) among its citizens in order to protect their physical integrity and their property from from possible hostilities among them. Therefore the main principle of every state has to be the protection of its citizens against physical harm and to defend their property.

In this post we will have a closer look at the concept of property.
Property means that the proprietor can dispose of his property in any form he wishes and that he is the supreme authority over it.
Unfortunately this concept has been thoroughly undermined by the modern state. The state itself claims supreme authority over any property making it effectively the real proprietor of every property in its territory. This idea is not only held by the last communist states, but also by supposed capitalist states who claim to respect the property of their citizens. The truth is, they don't.
No state has the right to interfere with whatever a citizen does with his property. A citizen neither needs a permission nor a licence for whatever he wants to do with it. Requiring any kind of business licence, construction permission is illegitimate. No law can be established over the property of a citizen, because the proprietor is the ultimate law-giving instance over his property. The sovereignty of the proprietor supersedes the sovereignty of the state in this matter. A state that does not respect this principle is illegitimate.

Another important issue is the concept of "intellectual property", which includes copyright, patents and so on. This concept is in contradiction of the concept of material property. 
There can only be one owner of an item, not a material owner and a intellectual owner. If an item is lawfully acquired, it becomes the sole property of the one who acquired it. There cannot be an intellectual proprietor else telling him what he is allowed to do with his property and what not. With the sale of an item the previous owner has ceased any claims and property rights over it. If he did not wish this to happen, he should not have sold the item in the first place.
Example: If a music CD is purchased, it becomes the sole property of the buyer. He can do whatever he wants with it. He may listen to it, he may make backup copies and he may allow friends to listen to it and give copies to his friends. If he was not allowed to do this, he would not be the proprietor.

The concept of "intellectual property" is not only incompatible with material property and therefore practically inapplicable, it is furthermore a major obstacle for technological progress.
Under current patent law inventors cannot build on existing ideas, if they have been patented. They have somehow to reinvent the wheel in order to improve an item. Patent law suits have slowed down the entire IT sector. "Intellectual property" has become a big business that allows to make money without producing anything. It is such a big business that the state has been bribed to defend the interests of the big intellectual property holders, and they have formed powerful syndicates to abolish the concept of material property. Today there are few crimes, which are as strictly persecuted and with such long jail terms as copyright infringements. For copyright infringement you can be imprisoned for 20 years and more and authorities will hunt you down all over the world. It is much easier to escape punishment as a murderer as for copyright infringement.

A further negative side-effect of  "intellectual property" is that the quality of its products is declining significantly. Every intellectual product that is only produced with the intention to make the maximum possible amount of  money from it, has lost value in itself.
A book should be written because an author has to tell something. With the current copyright business, it is only written, because the author tried to guess what the readers would like to read, so he can sell more copies. The author has no message at all. He cannot even afford to have a message, because this message might offend some of his readers and therefore diminish the market that he can reach with his book.
The same is true for the movie and the music industry.A movie cannot afford to be controversial or surprising. It has to target the whole audience and it has to have all the usual elements in it.that each of these audiences expect including special effects, happy end, family values, things that can later be turned into merchandise etc. The magnitude of these project is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. When there is so much money involved in the marketing of intellectual property, nobody can afford any experiments. Everything has to be according to reliable patterns that have formerly proved success. So instead of new movies we get sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots etc.
In the computer industry commercial software has not the main purpose to be useful, but to sell more. They have become marketing tools and are generally inferior to similar software which has been produced without "intellectual property" involved like open source products.

Intellectual property must be abolished. It undermines the concept of real property and it is responsible for stagnation and a decline in quality.

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