Ming the Mechanic:
Ownership Society - members only

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Ownership Society - members only2004-06-17 15:37
30 comments
by Flemming Funch

Via Wealth Bondage, here's this from the Cato Institute:
An ownership society is a society that values responsibility, liberty, and property. An ownership society empowers individuals by freeing them from dependence on government handouts and making them owners instead, in control of their own lives and destinies. In the ownership society, patients control their own health care, parents control their own children's education, and workers control their retirement savings.
Yes, too bad you don't qualify. What a chilling bunch of crappy double-speak. What it means is: This is why you have no healthcare insurance, why the public schools are enormously underfunded, and why the social security fund has been depleted years ago. It's because you're supposed to do all of those things yourself. Because that's what it means to be a free person: that the government isn't doing anything for you. If you pay for everything yourself, you're in control. I guess that's a particularly American illusion. Or a conservative political ideology, or whatever we'll call it. Pretty much from the same people who've increased the U.S. taxation and national debt and corporate welfare, orders of magnitude more than any of their democratic counterparts who were actually expected to do so. A couple of Republican presidents have succeeded more than any communist revolution would have. The reality of an ownership society unfortunately became that for 99% of the population, somebody else than you owns you and the output of your creativity and productivity.

If it were for real, it would be nice of course. I.e. that people can be in control of their own lives, and own what they do. And be responsible and free. But that requires real ownership and real freedom. Not just that the government takes half your money and doesn't give it back, and you're free to have a mortgage and buy a big car on credit, and that you just barely can afford your health insurance. No, rather real freedom and real democracy and ability to live by your own devices. Owning your own life. Co-owning society. Would be a nice idea.


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30 comments

18 Jun 2004 @ 03:28 by jstarrs : Yeah...
...once you start 'owning' something, you then have to employ means so that you can protect what you own against others. It's called a 'defense budget'.  


18 Jun 2004 @ 03:51 by jazzolog : A Fundamental Question
What do you believe the basis is actually for owning anything?  


18 Jun 2004 @ 04:08 by jstarrs : The illusion...
...that there is a 'self' to own something.  


18 Jun 2004 @ 04:12 by jazzolog : Now What?
Ok, so that's really fundamental! Now (may I presume you believe in "now"?), looking out from that dream, how do you get to ownership?  


18 Jun 2004 @ 05:35 by jstarrs : By mere...
...imputation on an inherently existent self.  


18 Jun 2004 @ 08:26 by jazzolog : Owning Up
Assuming we disregard slavery, how does an extension of ownership into surrounding space take place?  


18 Jun 2004 @ 09:17 by ming : Ownership
I think we really only can own what we do. Which can be extended to what we're responsible for. But I don't really believe much in sort of owning stuff remotely, in absentia. E.g. if you own that piece of land over there, and you can put up signs saying "Stay off my property!!", whether you're doing anything useful with it or not.

If other people own stuff in the sense of "Stay out of here!", I'd want to own some stuff too, of course, in order to be sure it is available when I need it. But, idealistically speaking, I think that's the wrong way about it. I don't think one can really own land and trees. Certainly not ideas. Just as one can't own the sun or the air. The only really meaningful concept of ownership I can think of, that might be somewhat in harmony with how the universe works is, hey, I'm taking care of this spot, so you'll have to go over there instead if you want to do the same thing, and we aren't compatible. If I'm a tree, I'm growing here, so if you want to be a tree too, you'll have to grow somewhere else, or wait till I die. A tree can't reserve a spot, or sell it. But if you can demonstrate that poppies would grow better than trees in this spot, I might have to wither away and give way to a poppy field.

Anyway, most of what goes for ownership, isn't really. You don't really own your car if somebody has the right to confiscate it. You don't your house if somebody can tell you to move to make room for a freeway. You owned both of them even less if you hadn't paid off the bank yet. You were just allowed to use those items for a while, while nobody more important than you had better uses for them, and while you dance to their tune. And you hardly own yourself, if somebody can draft you to be their soldier, or put you in jail based on rules they made up, or use any necessary force to force you to do what they want you to do.  



18 Jun 2004 @ 09:49 by jazzolog : My Poppies Are Better
That's the rub...and where Jeff's comment about a defense budget comes in.
Or---I was here first.
I'm bigger.
You control the site...but I control language.

Absurd.
And yet...
Should there not be a "control" when one is mixing one's labor with the universe?  



18 Jun 2004 @ 10:24 by jstarrs : Does the...
...wind control the bamboo when it bends?(Some ol' Zen nun)  


18 Jun 2004 @ 12:57 by Quirkeboy @209.92.185.196 : One or the other..
Bare in mind that I dont study alternate forms of government.. but..
I've said this in the past:
If you live in a country where you pay ALOT in taxes.. but your health care, retirement, maternity leave etc. etc. are all taken care of.. this sounds great to me!!
OR.. if you live in a country where you have to pay for health care and retirement etc.. but the taxes are almost non-existent.. this sounds great too!!
But in the U.S. a huge chunk of our pay goes to taxes and retirement and healthcare.. but what do we get in return?? We have the negative aspects of both of these types of government.. without the positive aspects!! High taxes and no help from uncle sam..
But HEY.. we got lots of bombs!! Wooo hooo..  



18 Jun 2004 @ 17:14 by ming : Control
Yeah, how would it work in practice? It is difficult. Our current society seems to favor the bigger guys to hold on to stuff, and keeps the smaller guys continuously at a disadvantage. But ownership laws sometimes might give them a leg up, even smaller guys. I think that both (the disproportionate power of big guys, and the power of exclusive legal ownership, like through copyrights and patents) are unfair. So, I'm looking for something better. Something that allows little guys to see the benefits of good work. How does one ensure that? A super-big guy enforcing it? I sort of hope for something better.  


19 Jun 2004 @ 01:40 by b : The one who owns is the one responsible
As the individual is the one responsible for self. You are what you eat.
Rights of individuals and groups often are confused. It is good that we have dictionaries. Unfortunate dictionaries are being revised as is history. Soon it won't matter what anyone believes. It will just be the way it is. Of course there is a chance for a new and better civilization but somebody has got to do something.  



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