Author Topic: Living off of other people's work  (Read 67940 times)

dragoncar

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #200 on: May 31, 2013, 12:13:29 PM »
I haven't read the entire thread (seems like too many tangents) but yes I plan to live off of a combination of my own past work and the compensated work of others.  Because I am not investing in slave labor, I see no moral issues with earning a profit off my employees.  If participation in the global economy is immoral (maybe it is?) then the only solution would be hermitville, population: you

+1

Yeah no, nice false dichotomy.

Are you arguing that you can be half-moral by half-participating in the global economy?

tuyop

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #201 on: May 31, 2013, 03:54:15 PM »
I haven't read the entire thread (seems like too many tangents) but yes I plan to live off of a combination of my own past work and the compensated work of others.  Because I am not investing in slave labor, I see no moral issues with earning a profit off my employees.  If participation in the global economy is immoral (maybe it is?) then the only solution would be hermitville, population: you

+1

Yeah no, nice false dichotomy.

Are you arguing that you can be half-moral by half-participating in the global economy?

No, there are other alternatives than:

1. be moral, live like a hermit alone in the wilderness
2. be immoral, participate in the global economy

which is the dilemma (I meant dilemma!) that you presented.

There is a third solution, which is to participate in an economy that is not immoral, global or otherwise.

nktokyo

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #202 on: May 31, 2013, 11:39:20 PM »
Such as create something of value, hire people to hep you grow as a business, incentivise them fairly and either keep any money left over (after taxes) or pay any loss out of your own pocket?

We've been over that - it's either deplorable exploitation or a fair way of doing things and there is zero chance that anyone is going to change their point of view.

tuyop

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #203 on: June 01, 2013, 05:03:17 AM »
Such as create something of value, hire people to hep you grow as a business, incentivise them fairly and either keep any money left over (after taxes) or pay any loss out of your own pocket?

We've been over that - it's either deplorable exploitation or a fair way of doing things and there is zero chance that anyone is going to change their point of view.

The sticking points are just details, we all want the same thing. Every term there from "create" to "loss" needs a definition that nobody will ever be able to agree upon.

Luck better Skill

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #204 on: June 01, 2013, 06:26:44 AM »
  Then become a catalyst and example of positive change.  Support those that are.

-  Fair Trade Coffee and Teas, seeing that the third world farmer gets a better deal.
-  Whole Foods trying to give its employees a good job.
-  Ben & Jerry's (in the past) limiting the CEO pay based on the lowest paid employee.

  Many great ideas that have improved human society/culture were not accepted overnight, nor by force.  It took leadership: working examples paving the way.  Thoughts?  Comments?

Bakari

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #205 on: June 01, 2013, 08:53:36 AM »
... and there is zero chance that anyone is going to change their point of view.

http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

tuyop

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #206 on: June 01, 2013, 11:12:02 AM »
  Then become a catalyst and example of positive change.  Support those that are.

-  Fair Trade Coffee and Teas, seeing that the third world farmer gets a better deal.
-  Whole Foods trying to give its employees a good job.
-  Ben & Jerry's (in the past) limiting the CEO pay based on the lowest paid employee.

  Many great ideas that have improved human society/culture were not accepted overnight, nor by force.  It took leadership: working examples paving the way.  Thoughts?  Comments?

I'm deeply suspicious of schemes to try to improve the system from within rather than simply opting out of the whole thing.

Fair trade coffee is an excellent example. My undergrad was in international development, and though I focused on conflict I went to a number of talks where a coffee farmer/activist tore apart the fair trade system as being another extension of corruption and cronyism in his region that just served to further divide classes of farmers and consolidate wealth.

You don't hear about the real ways to participate in economic activities morally. They're not very glamorous and there isn't much money in them. Things like, exchanging tools and skills with your neighbours. Visiting the places where your food is grown and then only buying food from there, so that you know exactly what externalities you're responsible for. Building solutions yourself or simply designing your lifestyle so that it falls in line with your values.

Don't fellate corporations for giving you a slightly larger portion of table scraps, leave the master's house and share a table with people like yourself.

Jamesqf

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #207 on: June 01, 2013, 11:39:41 AM »
Don't fellate corporations for giving you a slightly larger portion of table scraps, leave the master's house and share a table with people like yourself.

The problem here is that I have a lot more in common with the people you call the masters than those you think are like myself.

Luck better Skill

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #208 on: June 01, 2013, 11:41:34 AM »
  Tuyop set the example of the better way to live.  Start a new thread or blog.  Solutions will never be adopted if kept a secret.

  The only thing we have control over is ourselves.  Smarter people change themselves all the time.  Most reading MMM are challenging at least some of their views/concepts on how to live a happy life.  Not everyone is willing to change, I focus on those who do.

dragoncar

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #209 on: June 01, 2013, 12:47:31 PM »


+1


No, there are other alternatives than:

1. be moral, live like a hermit alone in the wilderness
2. be immoral, participate in the global economy

which is the dilemma (I meant dilemma!) that you presented.

There is a third solution, which is to participate in an economy that is not immoral, global or otherwise.
[/quote]

Well we disagree about whether the dichotomy is false.  Assuming for argument that typical economic participation is immoral, I don't think there is a way to accomplish your third option.  Inevitably, your actions will feed the global immoral economy.  Unless you are a hermit or maybe live in a commune or move to an alien country (etc... There are a few options in this respect, but I bet you will have to spend at least one dollar accomplishing it).

Bakari

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #210 on: June 01, 2013, 04:18:26 PM »
Real life morality is almost never a 100% good or 100% evil option.

The very fact of challenging mainstream consumerism is already opting out of the system to an extent - even if your only motivation is for you to get rich and retire early, less of your money is going to corporations creating crap that no one really needs.  By driving less and biking more you are helping create less pollution, keeping money away from oil companies and Islamist regimes.  By thinking in terms of efficiency and bad-ass-ness you are using less energy.  Negative impact reduced, "global economy participation" reduced, amorality reduced.

If you want to go a step further, its not really a secret how to do it: shop local.  Try to shop local even if the price is slightly higher.  Shop at farmer's markets or get a CSA.  Buy from craigslist.  Try for places with only one location, and the owner is the person behind the registrar.  If that isn't an option, opt for the local chain before the nation wide one, buy union made before made in China - but only if you can't find it used!
If there really is no other reasonably practical option (and everyone can draw their own lines for "reasonably practical") at the very least choose corporations that are at least making a nominal effort to be moral (like the 3 listed below, for example).

Me personally, when a hire a subcontractor, I charge the client double the hourly rate, and I pay the sub the same rate as I get paid.  No labor mark-up, because I don't see any justification for me making a profit of off that person's work.  I'm not gonna change the world by doing it - I don't even advertise it or tell the sub (I just tell them what they will be making); but, since you asked, that's one way I feel comfortable participating in the economy as someone who believes whole-heartedly in the free market, but not at all in capitalism.


tuyop

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #211 on: June 01, 2013, 06:43:54 PM »


+1


No, there are other alternatives than:

1. be moral, live like a hermit alone in the wilderness
2. be immoral, participate in the global economy

which is the dilemma (I meant dilemma!) that you presented.

There is a third solution, which is to participate in an economy that is not immoral, global or otherwise.

Well we disagree about whether the dichotomy is false.  Assuming for argument that typical economic participation is immoral, I don't think there is a way to accomplish your third option.  Inevitably, your actions will feed the global immoral economy.  Unless you are a hermit or maybe live in a commune or move to an alien country (etc... There are a few options in this respect, but I bet you will have to spend at least one dollar accomplishing it).
[/quote]

So there is no such thing as a non-global economy?

I mean seriously. If I make soap from scratch (using wood ash and animal fat, the animal could be raised by me as well for argument's sake) for my neighbour, and he then helps me plant some potatoes, are we participating in the global economy? Sure, at some point the land had to be purchased in a traditional fashion, and I was raised in the global economy so all of my skills and knowledge have to be accounted for somehow, but I think that really has no bearing on the non-global character of the economy that I'm talking about.

  Tuyop set the example of the better way to live.  Start a new thread or blog.  Solutions will never be adopted if kept a secret.

  The only thing we have control over is ourselves.  Smarter people change themselves all the time.  Most reading MMM are challenging at least some of their views/concepts on how to live a happy life.  Not everyone is willing to change, I focus on those who do.

Working on it! Unfortunately I'm typing on a computer that was made in some godforsaken place by really unfortunate people.

But I do eat only local meat, and signed up for a CSA this year (well, my partner is signed up, since we've been separated by work and we don't know when we'll be together again), and hopefully that'll solve our intermediate "alternative economy" food problem until we can start to grow our own.

As for the other stuff, it's difficult, man. The best thing for it that I've found is that, rather than throwing up my hands and being like, "it's impossible not to kill chinese sweatshop workers for my consumer goods!" I ask, "If it were impossible to get my goods from China, what would I do to be happy and productive?"

brewer12345

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #212 on: June 01, 2013, 07:49:06 PM »
It is amazing to see so many people who have so little going on in their real lives.

unitsinc

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #213 on: June 02, 2013, 04:15:03 PM »
It is amazing to see so many people who have so little going on in their real lives.

In my opinion, this is one of the best threads on the forums right now.

brewer12345

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #214 on: June 02, 2013, 04:19:30 PM »
It is amazing to see so many people who have so little going on in their real lives.

In my opinion, this is one of the best threads on the forums right now.

It has certainly helped me figure out who here belongs on my ignore list.

unitsinc

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #215 on: June 03, 2013, 04:12:11 PM »
It is amazing to see so many people who have so little going on in their real lives.

In my opinion, this is one of the best threads on the forums right now.

It has certainly helped me figure out who here belongs on my ignore list.

Well that's just sad. Even if you disagree with someone on some topics doesn't make everything they say invalid.

brewer12345

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #216 on: June 03, 2013, 06:41:27 PM »
It is amazing to see so many people who have so little going on in their real lives.

In my opinion, this is one of the best threads on the forums right now.

It has certainly helped me figure out who here belongs on my ignore list.

Well that's just sad. Even if you disagree with someone on some topics doesn't make everything they say invalid.

Eh, after 15 years of participating in internet forums it is clear that bloviating, one-track gasbags only serve to annoy me, so they are best binned.  If you want to listen to their blather, feel free.

dragoncar

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #217 on: June 03, 2013, 06:49:12 PM »
It is amazing to see so many people who have so little going on in their real lives.

In my opinion, this is one of the best threads on the forums right now.

It has certainly helped me figure out who here belongs on my ignore list.

Well that's just sad. Even if you disagree with someone on some topics doesn't make everything they say invalid.

You are now on my ignore list.


And yes tuyop, of course there is non-global economy... It's in hermitville as I mentioned.

And bakari, yes there can be shades of morality.  But the premise for argument was that living off other people's work was "immoral" I.e. not 100% moral.  If so, I think it's practically impossible to be "moral" within that definition.  Especially for anyone with access to a computer posting on this forum.

Bakari

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #218 on: June 03, 2013, 08:11:19 PM »
I don't quite understand your premise.

I thought we had already established that there is a difference between benefiting from another's labor in the sense of specialization and trade (i.e. Joe grows oranges, I fix bicycles.  Joe gives me oranges in return for fixing his bicycle.  I benefit from Joe's labor of growing, in the sense that I now have oranges, but I compensated him for them with my own labor)
and benefiting from another's labor based solely on having title to capital, without contributing any labor of your own.

If you are not earning interest or rent, and you don't have any employees, how are you living off of anyone else's work in the second sense?
How does having access to a computer imply anything about it?

And for that matter, how are Joe the Orange farmer and I not in a third category between "global economy" and "hermitville"?  Expand that example to include more (local) people, and use cash transactions to make things simpler.  It can be difficult to avoid dealing with international corporations and imported goods 100%, sure, but it isn't difficult to minimize them.

tuyop

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #219 on: June 04, 2013, 05:16:26 AM »
If you are not earning interest or rent, and you don't have any employees, how are you living off of anyone else's work in the second sense?
How does having access to a computer imply anything about it?

I think you have to take sunk costs into consideration as well. If you use roads, or the public school system, or books, or anything produced by the sum of human achievements, you're living off of someone else's work.

We can move in a direction that attempts to pay those externalized costs, but we can't really escape that reality.

Bakari

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #220 on: June 04, 2013, 08:51:33 AM »
If you are not earning interest or rent, and you don't have any employees, how are you living off of anyone else's work in the second sense?
How does having access to a computer imply anything about it?

I think you have to take sunk costs into consideration as well. If you use roads, or the public school system, or books, or anything produced by the sum of human achievements, you're living off of someone else's work.

We can move in a direction that attempts to pay those externalized costs, but we can't really escape that reality.

Those all fall under the first definition I gave.  We all pay taxes.  Not just income, but sales and property (some of us via rent) and gas taxes, and that's what pay for roads and schools.  We aren't getting something for nothing.  Increases in total societal wealth via technology, nobody paid for, so if we all benefit from it, it isn't at anyone's expense.  The original question in this thread was whether it is moral to benefit  from someone else's labor by appropriating a portion of the value that another person created, thereby depriving them of that value. 

The question is does access to capital make that appropriation fair.  And, ok, there is still disagreement over whether access to capital makes value appropriation fair or not, however simply living in society does not implicate every individual in actually doing that.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #221 on: June 04, 2013, 12:44:40 PM »
Increases in total societal wealth via technology, nobody paid for, so if we all benefit from it, it isn't at anyone's expense. 

Technology was paid for and did come at someone's expense - in some cases it was an individual or business that invested to create that technology and in others it was through goverment initiatives and therefore paid by the taxpayers.  Everything has an expense and therefore it is being paid by someone - nothing just happens and comes for free.


dragoncar

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #222 on: June 04, 2013, 02:29:05 PM »
I don't quite understand your premise.

I thought we had already established that there is a difference between benefiting from another's labor in the sense of specialization and trade (i.e. Joe grows oranges, I fix bicycles.  Joe gives me oranges in return for fixing his bicycle.  I benefit from Joe's labor of growing, in the sense that I now have oranges, but I compensated him for them with my own labor)
and benefiting from another's labor based solely on having title to capital, without contributing any labor of your own.
 them.

Hey I agree with you.  You can exchange oranges for bike fixes.  I can exchange access to X dollars now (which I earned via specialized labor) in exchange for X+Y dollars later.  Both are beneficial exhanges of scarce resources, and both seem moral to me.

If, as I originally stated, someone wants to come along and tell me that my actions are immoral, then I see no way of acting moral by that definition outside of hermitville.  If people really need me to explain why almost everything is Interconnected, here is an example:  you use a road, which sure you paid taxes for.  But likely you paid taxes after the fact.  The road was built via bond measure.  In other words, someone made money off of their capital.  Gasp!  The road was also built by a construction firm that issued corporate bonds, using bulldozers created by a publicly traded company who paid workers in exchange for their labor.  By the way, the bulldozer company made a profit (gasp!) on the difference between it's materials cost, the wages it paid, an the sales price.  A reward to the shareholders for putting up their capital to get the whole thing operational. Luckily, you don't have to be a part of any of this, because hermit vile has no roads.

Bakari

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #223 on: June 04, 2013, 03:07:47 PM »
Increases in total societal wealth via technology, nobody paid for, so if we all benefit from it, it isn't at anyone's expense. 

Technology was paid for and did come at someone's expense - in some cases it was an individual or business that invested to create that technology and in others it was through goverment initiatives and therefore paid by the taxpayers.  Everything has an expense and therefore it is being paid by someone - nothing just happens and comes for free.

Fair enough, but not entirely relevant to the point.  Us using the ideas does not take anything away from the inventor.  The people benefiting from the existence of the technology are not the ones who invested in it.
Besides, in many cases it may take investment to actually implement a particular technology, but the technology itself is just an idea, a new way of doing things that no one ever thought of.  Implementing the new technology may not cost anymore than what its replacing, it just is more efficient.  Nobody had to invest to invent fire or log rollers or writing, human achievements that have vastly increased the potential for total wealth.  Building a processor today doesn't cost manufacturers more than it did 30 years ago, it costs less, yet its much much better at its job, in turn helping create even more productivity.

What I'm questioning is the idea that simply by living in society and buying food and paying rent you are somehow profiting from anyone else's labor, as in depriving them of value they created without compensation by some form of labor of your own.

Bakari

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #224 on: June 04, 2013, 03:26:20 PM »
  If people really need me to explain why almost everything is Interconnected, here is an example:  you use a road, which sure you paid taxes for.  But likely you paid taxes after the fact.  The road was built via bond measure.  In other words, someone made money off of their capital.  Gasp!  The road was also built by a construction firm that issued corporate bonds, using bulldozers created by a publicly traded company who paid workers in exchange for their labor.  By the way, the bulldozer company made a profit (gasp!) on the difference between it's materials cost, the wages it paid, an the sales price.  A reward to the shareholders for putting up their capital to get the whole thing operational. Luckily, you don't have to be a part of any of this, because hermit vile has no roads.

I don't think government deficit spending is actually to the taxpayer / citizen's advantage.  The theory was supposed to be that deficit spending would so stimulate the economy as to absorb the deficit and keep the debt negligible.  It never worked, and now we have sequester.
If government had truly transparent and competitive bidding, the road building job would get bid down to exactly that point where it could be done with neither profit nor loss.  All of those steps where investors are getting a cut, from bond holders to stock holders, that money is coming from somewhere, and that somewhere is the higher taxes we all end up paying than we would if, for example, the state built the road with reserves instead of bonds, or used their own employees instead of a contractor.  If I (we) end up paying the extra cost that generated the profit, how am I benefiting from the fact that a profit was made?

Luck better Skill

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #225 on: June 05, 2013, 01:37:31 PM »
Bakari, please clarify your position on rent?  Some of your post sounds like do not consider rent moral.  I have rented apartments, never felt cheated.

Bakari

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #226 on: June 05, 2013, 09:29:21 PM »
Bakari, please clarify your position on rent?  Some of your post sounds like do not consider rent moral.  I have rented apartments, never felt cheated.

I pay rent, and I don't feel cheated either.  My landlord is a really nice guy.  My mother owns a rental house.  She keeps the house in good condition and has spent more on repairs than she's gotten in rent so far - due to the inspection report missing some important stuff and damage from the first tenant, it will be a whole lot longer to break even than she expected.

The fact that something leads to less than ideal conditions for society as a whole doesn't automatically imply that the individuals who gain from it are evil people who set out to take advantage of others.

I think this same confusion is why the small employers here seem so defensive about the topic.

Fisherman aren't bad people, who are deliberately taking more than their share of the world's fish.  But the world's waterway are still being overfished.  I'm sure Regan and The Real George Bush and Jr all genuinely and sincerely believed that running massive deficits was actually good for the country in the long run, that the economy would expand so much as a result that the debt would never catch up to us.  And now here we are.

(note: I am still developing this idea.  Its relatively new to me, and this thread and similar ones in the past, as well as other reading I'm doing and have done, and conversations in real life, are all helping me refine them)

Why do people pay rent?  Everyone has to live somewhere.  Its illegal to live on public land, and everything else has been claimed, so opting out of the system is not an option.  But having a space in which to exist is a basic necessity just like air and water.  We, as a society, accept as a given that no one person has a right to hoard oxygen, or to claim all rain water.  These are common commodities which everyone has a right to access to.  There is also more than enough land/living space to go around - or at least there would be, if some people didn't hoard more than they can possibly use, in order to leverage payments from those without enough capital to purchase their own.

Like anything else, living space is supply and demand.  Roughly half of all residential real estate in the US is rental (substantially more of commercial, I believe).  When an investor buys a 2nd (or 3rd, or 10th, or 100th) living unit, he reduces the supply, thereby increasing the price.  The supply is artificially at 1/2 what it should be, if people only bought houses (or condos) that they actually planned to live in.
This is a huge part of why they are so expensive in the first place.  And that cost increase is not linear - once it gets expensive enough (so that it would take a decade or more for even a frugal person to save the entire purchase price on a middle class salary), it becomes practically necessary to take out a loan, which doubles or triples the cost in interest payments, it makes taxes and insurance more expensive, it makes real estate agents necessary who add in their fee, and it eventually comes full circle and forces people to need to rent because buying is too expensive.
Obviously no one investor is buying enough real estate to single-handedly cause this trend, just like no single commercial fisherman overfished the entire world.  So each individual landlord can feel comfortable that he is just participating in the system as designed, and is not being immoral. 
Particularly if its a single individual with one or two units, like my mom or MMM, who charge a fair rent and are attentive to any problems the tenants have, and (eventually) get a return on their investment (though not an excessive amount); but even if its someone who inherited an apartment complex or two from daddy, and they hire a manager and a maintenance person to do all of the work, and all they do is collect the checks, they still aren't extorting the money from their tenants, who all willing signed the rental agreement.

But in the big picture, investors collectively push costs up and price potential homeowners out of the market, thereby insuring themselves a ready supply of tenants.  In the big picture, since everyone has to live somewhere, all of the landlords are collectively, in effect, extorting their rent payments.  If someone makes minimum wage, or they are just out of college and haven't had time to build a 'stache, or they just lost their stache in a divorce or whatever reason, if they can't afford to buy, then they have no other choice than to pay some landlord somewhere for the privileged of existing in space.

What I think could be a good solution would be to keep private property rights, but to not have them be unlimited.  A communist / Aboriginal American / hippy commune approach whereby nobody can own the land has the same tragedy of the commons issue as the ocean fish free-for-all.  I think it makes sense for a person to own their own home, their own piece of land.  And they should have to earn it themselves. I have no problem with free market pricing.  Land in more desirable locations should be more expensive than in crappy locations.  But no one should be allowed to own land that they do not personally live and/or work on.  That would reduce the power of capital, and force every individual to earn their own way in life, while at the same time reducing the cost of living for those who have been less fortunate so far.

MichaelR

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #227 on: July 22, 2013, 02:34:55 PM »
Just for another perspective I asked this question of a Buddhist monk - specifically is investing in a stock market a legitimate way to make money.

For those of you who do not know one of the 8 parts of the Buddhist path is "right livelihood" which prohibits, amongst other things, dealing in weapons, human trafficking, being a butcher, and selling poisons. In a more general sense any livelihood that directly harms another being is prohibited.

This particular monk said there was no problem with the stock market but did point out that knowingly investing in a company that manufactured weapons would be not be congruent with Buddhist practice.

My personal view has changed over the years. Now I would see investment for an expected and reasonable return, as legitimate and in fact necessary. A utopia where everybody lived based on their own labour would mean we could not support the 7 billion on this planet now, let alone deal with the sick and infirm.

Bakari

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #228 on: July 22, 2013, 05:13:26 PM »
A utopia where everybody lived based on their own labour would mean we could not support the 7 billion on this planet now, let alone deal with the sick and infirm.

please elaborate?

hybrid

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #229 on: July 23, 2013, 09:37:43 AM »
Bakari, please clarify your position on rent?  Some of your post sounds like do not consider rent moral.  I have rented apartments, never felt cheated.

I pay rent, and I don't feel cheated either.  My landlord is a really nice guy.  My mother owns a rental house.  She keeps the house in good condition and has spent more on repairs than she's gotten in rent so far - due to the inspection report missing some important stuff and damage from the first tenant, it will be a whole lot longer to break even than she expected.

Just jumping into this long thread, but Bakari hit upon a significant point - risk.  The landlord assumes all the risk in a rental property, the renter assumes none.  There are no guarantees with a rental property.  So I have absolutely no issue with the notion that the renter stands to profit handsomely from their investment - they could also lose money too.

kyleaaa

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #230 on: July 23, 2013, 12:46:14 PM »
Not only is it morally and ethically okay, it is morally and ethically REQUIRED because investing your capital efficiently is the best way to help other people raise their own living standard. Capitalism works because everybody wins. There isn't a limited amount of wealth to go around, rather, one can literally create wealth out of nothing. When you do that, everybody wins. Some win more than others, but everybody wins at least a little. Capitalism is built on mutual advantage.

Besides, it is literally impossible not to live off other people's work. The poorest of the poor in the poorest nations on earth live of other people's work. Not even a hermit living alone in the forest could avoid living off other people's work completely. It's physically impossible.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 12:48:28 PM by kyleaaa »

Bakari

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #231 on: July 23, 2013, 05:27:27 PM »
Not only is it morally and ethically okay, it is morally and ethically REQUIRED because investing your capital efficiently is the best way to help other people raise their own living standard.
One could let others temporarily borrow their excess without expecting a return, (Kiva Zip, for example, or as required of Jews, Christians and Muslims by Exodus 21:25)

Quote
Besides, it is literally impossible not to live off other people's work. The poorest of the poor in the poorest nations on earth live of other people's work. Not even a hermit living alone in the forest could avoid living off other people's work completely. It's physically impossible.
Did you skip all the posts already written after the first one? 
There is a difference between two people creating something with their labor, and then exchanging what they create with each other (mutually benefiting from someone else's labor, but still living off your own), and allowing someone to borrow your property and receiving enough interest that you do not need to labor at all (living off someone else's labor). 

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #232 on: July 23, 2013, 07:05:58 PM »
One could let others temporarily borrow their excess without expecting a return, (Kiva Zip, for example, or as required of Jews, Christians and Muslims by Exodus 21:25)

But what fraction of the population will actually do that?  Or even of the Jewish, Christian, & Muslim population?

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #233 on: July 23, 2013, 07:49:23 PM »
You people are all on smack.

Bakari

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #234 on: July 23, 2013, 08:04:13 PM »
One could let others temporarily borrow their excess without expecting a return, (Kiva Zip, for example, or as required of Jews, Christians and Muslims by Exodus 21:25)

But what fraction of the population will actually do that?  Or even of the Jewish, Christian, & Muslim population?

I don't mean to imply it is realistic.  I was responding to the claim that
Quote
"it is morally and ethically REQUIRED"
Its one thing to be able to benefit from the capitalist system - its another thing altogether to tell yourself that by doing so you are a great humanitarian!

ch12

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #235 on: July 23, 2013, 08:44:28 PM »
A pretty significant number of people put their money into Kiva and like sites, regardless of religion. Kiva says 961,331. http://www.kiva.org/about/stats I don't use Kiva anymore, but that's due to specific borrowers. The plural of anecdote is not data, as they say.

//tangent on religion and why my excess money is put into Kickstarter
It's not really the same (and I'm sure this is probably blasphemous to the Catholic Magisterium) but I don't believe in tithing to the Church, despite being a cradle Catholic. I've been told that individual church pockets have been drained by the molestation lawsuits (those plaintiffs deserve whatever restitution they get, IMO), and it makes churches less able to provide stuff like a food pantry or free clinics [where I've been volunteering since I was really young - those help people a lot]. It means that churches with extra push money towards churches with less, but also that my church money is sorta going towards protection of pedophile priests and paying for their sins. I'm really not all the way ok with that.

I tithe to Kickstarter or Indiegogo, because those are the kind of changes I want to see in the world. Sometimes it's silly stuff like the 3-D pen, where you can create 3-D doodles, but sometimes it's more important stuff like Synergy Aircraft, which is cobbling together already-discovered aviation breakthroughs and making really, really cool efficient airplanes. http://www.synergyaircraft.com/news.html

If I didn't need any more money, I'd probably enjoy pushing all extra cash towards crowdfunding efforts, because there are just really cool advances. I'm wearing a Pebble smartwatch right now and I love it and use it to control my music, wake me up, and read SMS texts. I'd love it if My Major Company http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Major_Company finally made it to the US so I could crowdfund aspiring musicians/authors.

kyleaaa

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #236 on: July 24, 2013, 08:13:30 PM »
One could let others temporarily borrow their excess without expecting a return, (Kiva Zip, for example, or as required of Jews, Christians and Muslims by Exodus 21:25)

No you couldn't, because then there would be no mechanism to effectively allocate resources. Everybody would be much, much, much, much poorer in such a world. What you propose used to be the norm in hunter-gatherer societies where resource allocation could easily be worked out directly around the campfire. When societies grew large enough that you could no longer reasonably expect to personally know everybody in your village, this stopped working. The world would be a horrible, horrible place if the masses started doing this.

Did you skip all the posts already written after the first one? 
There is a difference between two people creating something with their labor, and then exchanging what they create with each other (mutually benefiting from someone else's labor, but still living off your own), and allowing someone to borrow your property and receiving enough interest that you do not need to labor at all (living off someone else's labor).

No there isn't. They are the same thing. Wealth is just an easily tradable form of accumulated labor. Earning interest off accumulated capital is logically and morally identical to barter. It's just a more efficient form of it.

I don't mean to imply it is realistic.  I was responding to the claim that
Quote
"it is morally and ethically REQUIRED"
Its one thing to be able to benefit from the capitalist system - its another thing altogether to tell yourself that by doing so you are a great humanitarian!

I neither said nor implied anything of the sort. The beautiful of capitalism is that it works well even when people are actively trying not to be a humanitarian. It doesn't matter either way. Society still benefits. No other social system has that advantage.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 08:21:33 PM by kyleaaa »

Jamesqf

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Re: Living off of other people's work
« Reply #237 on: July 25, 2013, 12:02:39 AM »
A pretty significant number of people put their money into Kiva and like sites, regardless of religion. Kiva says 961,331.

Which is about a third of a percent of the US population - and I assume it doesn't draw its participants exclusively from the US. 

Now we could also wonder as to the ratio between the typical contributor's capitalist-type investments, and the average under $500/person spent on Kiva.