Thursday, September 10, 2009

Random note: Private property and The State

The following note was taken during my visit to National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) library, for presenting my paper in its Foundation Day Seminar in 2006. The paper was peer reviewed one and was also paid a lump sum as Honorarium for the paper!

The State by Anthony de Jasay

“Young Marx- He spoke of the ‘general secular contradiction between the political State and civil society’, and contended that ‘when the political State…comes violently into being of civil society…... it can and must proceed to the abolition of religion, to the destruction of religion: but only in the same way as it proceeds to the abolition of private property (by imposing a maximum, by confiscation, by progressive taxation) and the abolition of life (by the guillotine) (K Marx, The Jewish Question, Early writings, 1975, pp.220, 222, 226).

  • For Marx State as essentially as instrument then Engels, Lenin
  • For Hobbes it keeps the peace
  • For Locke it upholds the natural right to liberty and property
  • For Rousseau it realise the general will
  • For Bentham and Mill it is the vehicle of improving social arrangements
  • For today’s liberals it overcomes the incapacity of private interests spontaneously to co-operate
  • Collectively proposed public goods of order, defence, clean aid, paved streets and universal education.

For ‘non market choice’ or public choice school, the interaction of private choices through the instrument of the State is liable to overproduce public goods and fail in other way to attain prepared outcomes (as one of the founders of this school puts it, welfare economics is about market failures, public choice theory is about government failures) (James M Buchanan, The Limits of Liberty, 1975, ch.10).

People who have been to rely on the State never learn the art of Self-reliance nor acquire the habits of civil action.

State action may or may not achieve its intended effect. “Civil society governs itself”

The ‘Origin of the State is conquest’ and the ‘origin of the State is the Social Contract’ are not two rival explanations.

“Social Contract”

Robert L Carneiro, ‘A Theory of the Origin of the State’ in JD Jennings and E . Hoebel (eds),

The origin of capitalist ownership is that ‘finders are keepers’. Possession to ownership; to good title to property, independently of its particularities, of who the title- holders may be and also of the use he may or may not make of the property.

Locke’s famous words “enough and as good”

Adam Smith- describes political economy as a branch of the ‘Science of a Statesman’ and ascribes to it in the role of two distinct objects: first to provide a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people or more properly, to enable them to provide such a revenue or substance for themselves; and secondly, to supply the State or commonwealth with a revenue sufficient for the public services. It proposes, he says, to enrich both the people and the sovereign (The Wealth of Nations, Cannan’s Edition vol I, 395).

The following are from ‘Politics and Economics Papers in Political Economy by Lord Robbins’ 1963, Macmillan & Co, New York.

  • Keynes-in the end, the world is governed by ideas and by little else.
  • The world’s freedom and ‘order’ each appeal to our emotions.
  • ‘I desire freedom as an end in itself. I desire order as a means to freedom’
  • We decide to rely on private property as a basis of dispersed initiative and freedom, we must be prepared to tolerate the existence of some inequality arising from this source also.

Diffusion of property…

From Globalisation and Its Discontents by Joseph E. Stiglitz (2002)

  • I saw divisions were often made because of ideology and politics. I believe in privatization, if markets are competitive and efficient and lower’s prices for consumers.

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