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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Folk Economics and Property Axioms

Bruce, disagreeing with Locke on "as much and as good" doesn't automatically make you wrong.  It's just supposed to make you think.  One's theory of property is ultimately about what ethical axioms you accept or reject.  I happen to reject the axiom that you can "own" a location in the same sense as you own your labor or the material objects you fashion with it.

It's naive folk economics to think taxes can always be passed on to the final consumer.  Almost anybody who's ever managed to a profit/loss line knows that it's not true.  If you don't want to invest even 10 minutes learning about tax incidence, then the 1-sentence version is: "tax incidence falls mostly upon the group that responds least to price."  So a cigarette tax falls on price-insensitive nicotine addicts, while an apple tax falls on apple producers as their price-sensitive customers switch to oranges.

We should not be afraid of learning what economists can teach us, and I'm extremely grateful that Pam and Fred have both been so generous with their time and expertise here.

However, the core ideas of geolibertarianism can be stated very simply:
  • All persons are created equal, and are endowed at their creation with the inalienable right of equal access to the natural commons of the Earth — everything that is neither a person nor in any way a product of persons.
  • Each person has full rights to his body, labor, peaceful production, and voluntary exchanges, but he must compensate those whose access he impairs when he monopolizes, depletes, pollutes, or congests a natural commons.