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Monday, April 30, 2018

Should We Give Every Person on Earth 55,756.8 Square Feet of the Moon?



By Robert Wenzel

As part of my debate with Dr. Walter Block in conjunction with the release of my book, Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person, I argue that the Lockean perspective that property ownership should be given to the person who mixes a land area with labor, is simply a makeshift rule and that it is not some type of  "natural law."

Indeed, I point out that such an ownership rule, in fact, is disadvantageous to certain people. The blind person, the person in a wheelchair and the elderly person, for example, are certainly at a disadvantage in working a land area.

I raise this point here because it is likely that, at some point, human beings will inhabit the moon and, perhaps, other celestial bodies.

How should this land be divided? My Private Property Society book is about achieving peace and harmony on earth. It does so by arguing that overarching rules such as natural rights should be rejected.

Something of the same kind of perspective can be applied to the moon. In fact, it is easier to reject natural rights for the moon because no one "owns" any part of the moon at this time.

That is, let's all get together at this point and divide up the moon.

The surface mass of the moon is 14.6 million square miles. The world population is roughly 7 billion. Let's agree to evenly divide the moon up amongst us. (We can do the same later for Mars and other heavenly bodies).

With the current population, we would all get approximately 55,756.8 square feet of the moon.

I will leave it up to the technocrats to map out the moon and determine the exact number of people on earth at a given date, and then divide the moon amongst us and work out a system so that each person on earth gets a random plot. Once the plots are divided, the plots should be considered private property that can be sold, saved, combined, leased out, whatever.

Those who will have plans to land on and develop parts of the moon in the future will simply have to buy or rent the land from those who have received title from the Great Moon Divide.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of  EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Ban .and most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on  iphone and stitcher.


9 comments:

  1. So its arbitrary rules "all the way down"...

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    1. I love how the word arbitrary comes so easily to mind when there is no skin in the game.

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  2. I think Blockian "libertarian law" consists of good rules of thumb for dealing with perfect strangers with whom you have no contractual or other relations. They are not set in stone and people can clearly agree among themselves to alternative rules regarding their relationships, including . Half the population could agree to live under a non-contiguous private property form of funny money Keynesianism for all I care.

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  3. The governments of the world will divide up the moon property and then put property taxes on it. Because it is useless to us in the present there will be no buyers except for maybe insiders that can avoid the taxes and they would probably want to be paid to take it off our hands.

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  4. I have not thought through the argument that “overarching rules such as natural rights should be rejected.” But I do contend that we have rights, whether we call them natural or not, such as life, liberty and property. Property starting with myself extending to my labor. I believe this is the Lockean perspective on property ownership and it is not so makeshift.

    Mixture of land and labor to determine property rights is far from perfect but my fist thoughts about RW’s alternative to “evenly divide the moon up amongst us” (beyond the logistics of who decides who gets what plot) is that it is not justified unless we all have equal share in the burdens to develop the moon.

    If there were no native Americans when the Europeans discovered the Americas should they have divided the Americas evenly between all humans at that time? Wouldn’t that have been a disincentive to the more industrious, willing, able to go to the new world and try to make their way? The first ones that explore, map, develop ports and other improvements and that find resources, discover dangers and how to deal with them should have more rights to benefit from the work and risk this would involve.

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  5. "That is, let's all get together at this point and divide up the moon."

    RW, I thought you were against "grand rules"?

    Either we can all agree to the grand rule you have proposed, or we can all agree to a different grand rule. Libertarian homesteading is one such option. To convince people to agree, you'd need to reason this out. Personally, I find it more cogent to say that those who physically create some objective boundaries around unowned land to show direct control over it get to own it vs. a centralized body giving everyone an equal share.

    "I will leave it up to the technocrats to map out the moon and determine the exact number of people on earth at a given date, and then divide the moon amongst us and work out a system so that each person on earth gets a random plot."

    RW, how does this differ from a state claiming the right to grant title to land (such as the 1862 Homestead Act)?

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  6. Is this just basically the Coase Theorem?

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  7. I hate to be a stickler, but I am more concerned about what on earth (Or the moon) a surface mass is.

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  8. We can’t give away property we don’t own.

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