Re: Property rights (was Re: Can't afford to rescue cows)

Date: Thu Apr 17 2008 - 08:01:15 MDT

> Okay, here's a question -- Do you know a way to do something like
> Hutter's AIXI that has the concept of respect for private property
> built in?
> Actually, here's an easier question: can you express the concept of
> private property formally? (This omits the part about respecting it,
> and it lets you pick the formalism.)
> There are weird property-like things, like water rights, stock
> options, and patents. A correct solution will have some process for
> deciding who owns various parts of the moon, by the time it makes a
> practical difference. Partial solutions are welcome.

I can't prove it formally, yet -- but have you ever noticed that the very concept of private property, beyond the bounds of need, is probably the biggest contributor to evil in the world?

Why should anyone *own* various parts of the moon? If you aren't using it, why should you be able to hog it and insist that others pay you for the right to use it?

Just because we've always done things like this in the past doesn't make it right for the future. Ownership makes a lot of sense in conditions of scarcity but I strongly doubt that it is rational in conditions of plenty -- and in intermediate conditions, like those of today, I think that the concept of private property (and the necessity that everyone *must* work) is actually getting in the way of moving towards a condition of plenty (and fairness and happiness).


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