Property is robbery

The various measures by which governments are cutting down on their spending without decreasing the taxes that they collect (and in most cases by increasing the taxes that they collect) are easily explained but the explanation is hard to swallow. Taxpayers are assured that previous governments have spent so much more than they have collected that it will be necessary to repay some of the borrowing that they have incurred in order to avoid economic disaster.

If you borrow, you have to repay it, or else you steal the money that you have borrowed, and that would not be allowed in the world economic context any more than it would be allowed in private life.

In short, we shall all be having less property to enjoy than before, while we pay the bills of foolish governments. The winners have been a thin slice at the richest end of society – folk such as the speculating bankers whose earnings have been supported by taxpayers – and a thicker slice of unfortunates and idle poor whose living standards and own property has increased significantly out of the proceeds of borrowing.

It would be wonderful if you could help the poor by taxing the rich or even by confiscating the wealth of the rich, but there are so few rich and so many poor. In the communist experiment in Eastern Europe one group of people were deprived of their property (by this I mean not just land but their goods and investments), and another group of people received great wealth and privilege. Just like Orwell’s pigs in animal farm, one slice of society benefited out of the confiscation of the property belonging to another slice of society. Nothing was done to improve the lot of the common man; simply things were redefined as property shifted from one to another.

Proudhon famously wrote that property is theft. He meant by property landed property or realty; he was not, as I understand it, regarding all ownership of all articles as theft. Proudhon’s phrase is catchy, easy to remember and foolish. About the same time as Proudhon was putting together his political philosophy in France, across the Channel Samuel Butler explained the problem more accurately in Erewhon

“Wherefore should a man be so richly rewarded for having been the son of a millionaire, were it not clearly provable that the common welfare if  thus bettered furthered? We cannot seriously detract from a man’s merit in having been the son of a rich father without imperilling our own tenure of things which we do not wish to jeopardize; if this were otherwise we should not let him keep his money for a single hour; we would have it ourselves at once. For property is robbery, but then we are all robbers or would be robbers together, and have found it essential to organise our thieving as we have found it necessary to organise our lust and revenge.

There is one sense in which property is theft and robbery. In the past centuries so much of human activity has gone into creating property to encourage people to acquire more and more of the stuff. Almost every television programme and virtually every magazine extols the virtues of owning more and more property. We create more and more property and in doing so use our planet’s resources and risk the future stability of our climate. Property is theft and robbery; in acquiring property we steal from future generations.


2 Responses

  1. Interesting concept about any property being theft. What about perhaps ‘chose in action’ is theft or any kind of possesion or ownership of intangible property such as copyright or carbon credits ?

    Current energy use in the face of peak oil where i the average person uses massive amounts of non-renewable energy. Fullers energy slave concept is an actual example where we can see theft.

  2. Robbery. According to the minuites above was made many times, when the council house tenure was first instigated, the right to rob was made so very easy.

    People lost their jobs because theft was no longer taking place in building less new properties, who then lost their jobs because of that theft.

    Then more theft ensude when those houses were bought again for pennies on the pound by the property developers and the bankers waiting in the wings.

    Edmund Burke two centuries ago wrote about the subject of theft and tyranny, he said; all that is necessary for evil men to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

    We are all born innocent and ignorant to what the world is about to throw at us, but one has to work very hard afterwards in order of remaing so utterly stupid.

    Where in the equasion does this put the churches and the queen herself and her followers, right at the top I suppose and all bought on money given or begged without intrest to boot.

    How much longer are we going to except the daylight robbery we see taking place today, for as long as it takes to realise that our riches based upon debts borrowed many times over is property theft by the same labels as always.

    The man in the mirror has a question he would like to ask everybody, go see what he has to say, cut and paste for the answer.

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