maandag 18 oktober 2010

Uitdaging voor het liberalisme

'k ben op dit moment naar een webinar aan't luisteren van de Students for Liberty in de USA. Deze webinar gaat over 'uitdaging voor het liberalisme'.

De eerste die wordt aangehaald is: 'eigendom over land'.
  1. Can a person justly own land? How long? Why? How does this ownership come to be? Etc.
  2. To what extent can I exclude others from access to my land?=> I I own the meadow, can I restrict you from merely walking across the meadow? Can I restrict you from flying an airplane over my property?
  3. Does ownership of land establish subsidence rights? => For example: do I have a right to that pool of water (or oil) under my property? If the pool of water lies under both my property and the property of my neighbors, do I have the right to suck as much water as possible from my well?
  4. Even if one can justify ownership of land, do the current owners have legitimate claims to their land? => If the current owners do not have legitimate claims, do others have claims that are legitimate?
Criticisms of libertarian perspective on private land ownership take many forms. Some criticisms involve the morality of private land ownership. (That is, you have no right to monopolize a particual parcel of earth.) Some criticisms are prudential; i.e. private land ownership leads to poverty for the many.

There are many different ways to justify ownership of land; I don't find any of them to be completely satisfactory.

The Georgist perspective (which I consider to be within the libertarian tradition) is a particulary interesting way of approaching the question of land ownership.

De tweede uitdaging: 'Rights-violative actions'
  1. When does your action constitute a violation of my rights? When does my inaction constitute a violation of my rights?
  2. If you decide that you want to keep your relationship with me completely non-photonic, then am I violating your rights if I shine a flashlight on you? => Related example: proposed light-shielding ordinance in Albemarl County, Virgina
  3. Are there types of actions such that each individual action is not considered rights-violative, but are deleterious in aggregate? If so, is it legitimate to restrict such actions? How? => Example: the possibility of human-induced 'global warming' and other types of 'non point source pollution'.
  4. Criticisms of the libertarian perspective frequently involve assertions that current property rights definitions are inadequate, or that market interactions will provide insufficient protection of people against harm. An interesting example involves those who believe the market price of gasoline doesn't reflect its 'full social cost".
  5. In addressing this challenge, many view the institution of 'common law' as a useful way to deal with the many of the problems that can arise. For example; John Hasnas makes a very interesting case for the common law as an appropriate mechanism for dealing with some of these problems.
  6. Am I allowed to use prior restraint to keep you from taking actions that might cause serious damage to me? => Should we use the concept of 'reckless endargerment' to deal with such questions.
  7. If I point a pistol at your stomach, have I violated your rights? Are you required to wait until I fire before taking defensive action? If I fire a bullet at you and don't hit you, have I violated your rights?
  8. If people in another country engage in actions that suggest an intent to launch an attack against my community using weapons that kill many, and for which there is no effective defense, is it permissible to engage in preemptive action?
Derde uitdaging: Dealing with children
  1. What are the rights of children? What are the obligations of parents? In my experience; libertarians differ widely in their views about the rights of children and the responsibilities of parents. For example; if I spank my daughter, am I violating her rights? Does the answer depend upon why I spanked her?
  2. Do I have an obligation to care for my children. If so, until when? => If I have an obligation to feed my son, do I have an obligation to feed him well?
  3. If I am driving a car, and if I choose to bring my young child with me, am I required to take special precautions for their safety?
  4. Should parents be required to have their very young children vaccinated to protect the children against dread diseases?
  5. Are 'age of consent' laws legitimate? If so; how does on determine the appropriate age? => Are laws regulating employment of children improper?
Challenge 4: Can 'sensible coercion' provide superior outcomes to those produced by 'the market'?
  1. Can forcing everyone to take a particular action produce an outcome that each participant agrees would be better than the outcome that would emerge absent the coercion? => Does Thomas Schelling's example of hockey helmets apply here?)
  2. Will 'public goods' be provided in sufficient quantity by 'the market'? (public good: non-rival and non-excludable). => For example: will a sufficient amount of national defense provided absent taxation?
  3. Should markets with substantial informational asymmetries between buyer and seller be regulated to produce better outcomes? => Example: George Akerlof's example of the market for 'lemons' (i.e. used cars that are defective).
  4. Can you nudge people toward improved behavior by judicious use of governmental power? => For example: should we require people to set money aside for their own pensions? => The book 'nudge' by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein may be the best source for arguments in favor of such judicious use.
  5. In considering this challenge, it may be difficult to prove anything. For example: 'nudging' may be hard to judge wether or not it's good or bad.

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