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Source: (consider it) Thread: Jubilee
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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There have been a couple of instances lately of people calling for some sort of Jubilee system, such as Adeodatus on the "Rawls, Nozick, etc." thread:

quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
If, on the other hand, say, every fifty years you stripped everybody of their inherited wealth and then redistributed that wealth, then it might be interesting to see what happened. But then, I think someone else already had a similar idea ... what was his name ... God something-or-other?

Or leo on the "Right Wing Christians" thread:

quote:
Originally posted by leo:
What about the Jubilee, which stops the accumulation of wealth at the expense of others?

Wikipedia has a handy article about the Biblical concept here (tinyurl used because of brackets in the url).

What I'm interested in discussing is how people think introducing such a concept to modern society would work, and indeed if it could work while retaining anything even remotely similar to the society we have now - a society which, for all its faults, works for the vast majority of people. I am, naturally, highly sceptical that any sort of Jubilee system would be anywhere near as good as the system we have now, but I would be interested to hear other people's views.

For starters, how would "the original owner" of any given property be identified? The Biblical system was based on the division of Canaan between the 12 tribes of Israel, but for obvious reasons that definition cannot work for Gentiles living in a completely different country. Would we just start counting from next January?

Secondly, how would such a system work in an economy where wealth is not necessarily tied to land ownership? It seems to me that the majority of people who draw the ire of socialists (bankers, for example) are not necessarily "land-wealthy", but instead are "cash-wealthy" due to having large salaries. Would any putative Jubilee system have to include liquid assets in the set of property to be returned every fifty years? And if so, how would it account for the effects of inflation?

There are many other questions I have for people who call for a system of Jubilee to be implemented in the Western World (this post contains some of them), but that should be enough to be going on with. Heck, maybe nobody will be willing to try to defend the concept in the first place. We shall see.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Hawk

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The hard part about setting up Jubilee is that it relies on a foundational equitable distribution of land. The concept is entirely reliant on the fact, accepted by all of Israel, that the Land that was divided out between them when they first inhabited the land, was fair and just, and that therefore any resetting back to this state would be equally fair and just.

The foundational concept also relies on a very strong sense of family units. Inheritance down the male line is key and society is set up to maintain this structure so that no land is lost from the family unit. No property could be sold away from these units, it could only be leased, and the price of the lease we know was reliant on how close to Jubilee it was. The concept relies on the fact that the land originally distributed would never be too small for the descendants of the original landholder, that births and deaths would equal out. This is of course reliant on high levels of mortality within society. Something that could certainly be taken for granted in a small country existing at the crossroads between powerful and dangerous neighbours. It also relies on a stable native population, an extremly low level of immigration so no new family units to be catered for.

Another foundational concept is that the equation is based on land, not houses. Houses within walled cities were exempt from Jubilee, so it can be seen that private homes were not to be redistributed because it was outside the purpose of the system. The system was based on the idea of an equitable distribution of wealth, not necessarily property, but wealth in Israelite society was intrinsically tied to the amount of land you could farm or graze.

All three foundational concepts are entirely alien to western culture. We have no pre-existing equitable division of wealth, we have no strong sense of family units, with a stable population arranged into these units, and we have no sense of wealth as tied to something tangible that can be physically distributed.

Therefore Jubilee is a ridiculous concept for anything outside the very narrow conditions of the society it was created for. Rather than providing a model to copy however, what it should tell us is that God is very concerned about the equitable division of wealth among everyone, that wealth should not be hoarded over time by individuals and companies to the detriment of others. But the means to redistribute such hoardings among the populace needs an entirely different system to be created for our society. Personally I think the UK welfare state goes a good way towards fulfilling this system, though obviously imperfect.

[ 22. October 2013, 13:20: Message edited by: Hawk ]

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
The hard part about setting up Jubilee is that it relies on a foundational equitable distribution of land.

The underlying assumption here is that wealth and productivity are related to land use. This is a fairly safe assumption to make in an agrarian/pastoral economy, but I don't think it applies to an industrialized one.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Doc Tor
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For all the reasons stated above, the fifty-year Jubilee is now obsolete.

However, if we're after something redistributive that prevents hoarding of wealth however it may be represented, there's always a 100% inheritance tax to consider.

Redistributing the assets afterwards may be as simple as reducing everyone's tax burden while still alive, or sinking the money gained into providing services deliberately designed to be egalitarian - public schools, hospitals, transport, leisure facilities, energy co-ops and such.

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Anglican't
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I suspect any modern-day attempt at resurrecting Jubilee would require the creation of a Minister for the Jubilee (after all, if an Olympic Games takes around eight years of planning, how long are you going to need to confiscate, and then redistribute, all the assets in the world's sixth-largest economy?)

Because of the enormity of the task, most work will be farmed out to a Quango, the Jubilee Agency, whose activities will of course need to be monitored by a regulator, OfJub. I'm sure that, combined, they could do the task for a reasonable £100bn or so.

And guess who'll get performance-related bonuses the day after Jubilee...?

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Jay-Emm
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
Because of the enormity of the task, most work will be farmed out to a Quango, the Jubilee Agency, whose activities will of course need to be monitored by a regulator, OfJub. I'm sure that, combined, they could do the task for a reasonable £100bn or so.

Any reason why your quoting 30 times more than the current tax system costs?
In some ways, yes, it's more complex, but in others it's more simple.
But the more I think of it, the more I'm coming to the conclusion that the Inland Revenue (uk tax collectors) is already doing all the work (and more) every year.

Which doesn't mean it's a good thing. You have the problems Hawk observed to implement in full. You have to decide if the people want it (and if you can implement it for only those that do, etc...). That said I'm not sure we have to consider it a God given duty to totally ignore it, either.
The student loan system in that sense probably comes as having some features in common with how a jubilee-lite element would have to work (some oddities too, not least the phrasing and others due to the effects of interest).

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
However, if we're after something redistributive that prevents hoarding of wealth however it may be represented, there's always a 100% inheritance tax to consider.

Hideous idea. Older people already have enough financial concerns without adding massive pressure on them to give all their assets to their children while they still can.

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Adeodatus
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I wasn't so much interested in the Biblical Jubliee, which is about a lot more than just moving property around, but in a thought-experiment on inherited wealth. I don't see that it's ethically obvious that we should expect a right either to leave wealth to our offspring, or to inherit it from our parents.

It seems to me that where there's inherited wealth, you're living in the opposite of a meritocracy: people don't thrive on their own skills and talents, but on those of their parents (or their great-great grandparents). Large inheited wealth might in fact encourage laziness and discourage people from realising their potential - you only have too look around the British aristocracy for examples.

I think parents who, however jokingly, spend their retirement "spending the kids' inheritance" are in fact doing the world a favour by forcing their children to work harder and be more productive.

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Porridge
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# 15405

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I wasn't so much interested in the Biblical Jubliee, which is about a lot more than just moving property around, but in a thought-experiment on inherited wealth. I don't see that it's ethically obvious that we should expect a right either to leave wealth to our offspring, or to inherit it from our parents.

I'm surprising myself here by suggesting this, but:

In the context within which the "leaving-wealth-to-heirs" perhaps originally rose, it was probably a form of social insurance. Consider the situation of the traditional "widow and orphan," who were left without the means of survival at the death of the husband-and-father.

Inherited wealth meant that this bereft family of legal minors (since traditionally, both women and underage children occupied this position), having lost its breadwinner, could not only survive, but do so without becoming a charge upon some government or other organization.

In short, accumulating wealth to leave to one's heirs could be seen as an obligation to society, to protect that society from being burdened with the responsibilities of the deceased.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I wasn't so much interested in the Biblical Jubliee, which is about a lot more than just moving property around, but in a thought-experiment on inherited wealth. I don't see that it's ethically obvious that we should expect a right either to leave wealth to our offspring, or to inherit it from our parents.

Why wouldn't you want to leave what you have to your children?

quote:
It seems to me that where there's inherited wealth, you're living in the opposite of a meritocracy: people don't thrive on their own skills and talents, but on those of their parents (or their great-great grandparents).
You might as well say it's immoral for intelligent parents to teach their children all they know, as it will give them an unfair advantage over the children of stupid parents.

quote:
Large inheited wealth might in fact encourage laziness and discourage people from realising their potential - you only have too look around the British aristocracy for examples.
In a world where there are fewer jobs than people of working age, isn't anything that takes people out of the job market a good thing? Every person living off inherited wealth is one less person competing with me for work.

quote:
I think parents who, however jokingly, spend their retirement "spending the kids' inheritance" are in fact doing the world a favour by forcing their children to work harder and be more productive.
It doesn't work like that. I'm not working any less hard because I have modest hopes of an inheritance one day, but that doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to being able to pay off a significant chunk of the mortgage when the sad day comes and that inheritance hits my account. Why should I be denied that one small chunk of comfort in the wake of my parents' deaths?

Besides, as I said before there are far more people than jobs. If one person quits because they inherited a large amount of cash then someone else simply steps into their job and keeps it going. Effect on the economy: zero. Effect for the person who now has a job: positive. Effect for the person who no longer has to work: overwhelmingly positive. Where's the downside?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Boogie

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# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:

I think parents who, however jokingly, spend their retirement "spending the kids' inheritance" are in fact doing the world a favour by forcing their children to work harder and be more productive.

We were glad to inherit my MILs house - we now rent it out for income, it means we can both work part time, which means we can both do a lot of voluntary work.

My Mum is 'spending' our inheritance because it is all going on her care. If she knew (which she doesn't as she has severe dementia) I think she'd be sorry that her hard earned savings didn't go to us after all.

I will be happy to leave a house each to my sons when I 'pop off'. It will give me a sense that they are secure. Is it wrong to feel this?

[ 23. October 2013, 13:10: Message edited by: Boogie ]

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the giant cheeseburger
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# 10942

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:

Besides, as I said before there are far more people than jobs. If one person quits because they inherited a large amount of cash then someone else simply steps into their job and keeps it going. Effect on the economy: zero. Effect for the person who now has a job: positive. Effect for the person who no longer has to work: overwhelmingly positive. Where's the downside?

That should actually be positive, for it is one less person (and their dependents) that the state has to support, therefore allowing taxes to be used for the provision of services rather than handouts.

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Hawk

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# 14289

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I wasn't so much interested in the Biblical Jubliee, which is about a lot more than just moving property around, but in a thought-experiment on inherited wealth. I don't see that it's ethically obvious that we should expect a right either to leave wealth to our offspring, or to inherit it from our parents.

I think you and Doc Tor have entirely misunderstood the point of Jubilee. It's not about redistributing wealth to avoid people inheriting wealth from their parents, it's a support of the inheritance system so children don't lose anything that their father had. The concept of the inheritance tax is the antithesis of Jubilee as it takes wealth away from the family unit.

As a thought experiment on fair distributon of wealth and the maintainance of that fair distribution, Jubilee can however inspire us to consider what a modern society might do.

After some brief thinking, my purely thought-experiment plan is as follows:

1) Every citizen is grouped into small units of roughly equal size (for the purposes of this experiment lets say 25). The groupings are calculated to ensure that the group's total earnings equal the same as other groups. - Unemployed citizens are divided equally around the groups. (This would be an extremly complicated calculation but once the algorithm is written the calculation only needs to be done once.)
2) Every month everyone's salaries are put into a pot and divided equally among the members of the group.
3) After fifty years Jublee means that step 1 is done again to reset the system.

The consequences would be that a) there is a fair distribution of wealth for all citizens, and b) there is a maintainance of this fair distribution since if one group starts suceeding more and getting a higher total income then such increase will be redistributed among the wider nation at Jubilee. And c) there is no removal of the capitalist drive to work harder since if any individual works harder the effects of their extra income in the relatively small group will not be so diluted that they won't be able to appreciate it, (at least for a relatively long period depending on where in the Jubilee cycle they are).

Obviously as Jubilee approaches the capitalist drive effect will lessen and some people will put off getting promoted/working harder in order to cheat the system - but this will only be a temporary blip.

Of course this is entirely unworkable as no one would agree to it. But as a thought-experiment what do you think?

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“We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

See my blog for 'interesting' thoughts

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Porridge
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
It seems to me that where there's inherited wealth, you're living in the opposite of a meritocracy: people don't thrive on their own skills and talents, but on those of their parents (or their great-great grandparents). Large inheited wealth might in fact encourage laziness and discourage people from realising their potential - you only have too look around the British aristocracy for examples.

I think the situation is quite different in the U.S. Granted that I don't move in the circles of the wealthy, but I can't recall ever reading about the activities of some scion-of-wealth without also reading that he (usually a "he") works at some high-falutin' job where 'he' pulls down a handsome salary to add to the family stash.

Granted that the high-falutin' job may be a sinecure within some company owned by the family, still, U.S. scions seem typically to work, though I doubt we can legitimately add "for a living."

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
I think you and Doc Tor have entirely misunderstood the point of Jubilee. It's not about redistributing wealth to avoid people inheriting wealth from their parents, it's a support of the inheritance system so children don't lose anything that their father had.

I think you've missed the point that because all the common land was stolen from us peasants in the first place, our fathers have nothing to pass on.

Inheritance laws favour the rich. They favour accumulated wealth over earned wealth. And if a 100% inheritance tax was the norm, Marvin, and people just expected it, why would anyone feel pressured to give away stuff to their kids? Surely, your libertarian values would insist they stood on their own two feet after mum and dad passed away?

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Chorister

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If people thought all their money would get taken away when they die, and not passed on to their family, it would just encourage people to spend it all on things they don't really want or need. There is enough waste already without that happening as well.

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Erroneous Monk
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:


However, if we're after something redistributive that prevents hoarding of wealth however it may be represented, there's always a 100% inheritance tax to consider.


You'd have to persuade me that the government would do more to redistribute wealth than the charities of my choice. And any money I might be lucky enough to leave to my kids will enable them to do something even more valuable - donate their time - a point that Boogie makes.

But mainly, if I knew that any surplus I made in life would go to the government, I'd spend a lot less time working. And I don't see how that would make *anyone* better off.

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Sioni Sais
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I can't help thinking that if a 100% inheritance tax was introduced then more ways would be developed to avoid inheritance tax, and huge amounts of cash would be squirrelled away.

More people would treat a house as a pension plan and I'm sure that the current schemes under which a bank or insurance company pays you a monthly sum and let you stay in your home, so that when you die the house becomes theirs to sell, would become the norm. It would take a very smart Chief Secretary to the Treasury to prevent that.

A relatively small wealth tax, which may be only one or two percent of wealth over a threshold similar to that for inheritance tax, would be a heck of a lot more sustainable and the revenue for it could be generated through investment. If people knew that their wealth had to provide a certain sum to pay taxes then I feel they would invest less rashly, which wouldn't be a bad thing.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Inheritance laws favour the rich. They favour accumulated wealth over earned wealth.

They favour anyone who has anything to leave behind when they die. Is Boogie rich? Am I?

quote:
And if a 100% inheritance tax was the norm, Marvin, and people just expected it, why would anyone feel pressured to give away stuff to their kids?
Because they'd prefer their kids to have it after them than the State. Who wouldn't? If I knew the State was going to take everything I own when I die, I'd make damn sure I didn't own anything more than the shirt on my back at that point. Everything else would have long since passed to the people I care about, to ensure their continued prosperity and wellbeing after I'm gone. What's the point of working to build up a decent financial position for your family if they're not going to keep it?

quote:
Surely, your libertarian values would insist they stood on their own two feet after mum and dad passed away?
Yes, and having a nice big inheritance would enable them to do so. "Standing on your own two feet" means providing for yourself out of your own resources, it doesn't in any way require those resources to be gained through work. A rich beneficiary (or lottery winner, for that matter) who never has to work again is still standing on their own two feet. In fact, they're even more independent and self-sufficient than those of us who are still dependent on continued employment for our daily bread.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
"Standing on your own two feet" means providing for yourself out of your own resources, it doesn't in any way require those resources to be gained through work. A rich beneficiary (or lottery winner, for that matter) who never has to work again is still standing on their own two feet. In fact, they're even more independent and self-sufficient than those of us who are still dependent on continued employment for our daily bread.

If their inheritance is in tinned food then they're standing on their own two feet. Arguably they are if their inheritance is in precious metals or artworks or something else with intrinsic value. If the inheritance is invested in shares or even deposited in a bank then they're living off other people's work.

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Doc Tor
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# 9748

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Marvin - so your position is essentially communist to people you're related to, and libertarian when you step outside the front door?

Okay...

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
If the inheritance is invested in shares or even deposited in a bank then they're living off other people's work.

...work which they are paying for with their investment.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Marvin - so your position is essentially communist to people you're related to, and libertarian when you step outside the front door?

That is an incredibly curious way of putting it. I'm not even sure what point you're trying to make there. I share everything with my wife therefore I'm a Communist? [Confused]

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Eutychus
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Thanks to Hawk and others for some very clear thoughts on Jubilee.

The immediate questions I have about Hawk's thought experiment are 1) what happens if people marry between groups 2) how to account for local inequalities in terms of infrastructure etc.

I have recently discovered complementary currencies such as the Bristol Pound. These have a limited lifespan, one aim of which is to force the currency to be a means of exchange rather than a store of wealth, and keep wealth within a local region. The current Bristol Pounds expire in 2015. I have been trying to work out for some while whether this has any long term future beyond being a gimmick and whether it has anything to do with the biblical concept of Jubilee.

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Anyuta
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I think that there is no inherent expectation of inheritance, but there is a natural one. evolution is based on the passing down of successful traits to one's descendants. Biologically speaking, obviously, these are things one has little conscious control over. but it applies also, indirectly, to advantages that one attains one way or another,not necessarily biologically. those critters fortunate enough to be born in a location which allows them to thrive have an advantage over those unfortunate enough to be born where their particular traits are of little benefit.

AT the same time, as was pointed out by others, as critters with a sense of ethics, which can be said to be tied to altruism, we think it's WRONG for some to, unjustifiably, benefit at the expense of others.

To me this means there is a tension between the natural desire to allow for the passing on of benefits (in our society expressed mostly as wealth), and the societal desire to be "fair" and thus limit benefits to an individual that they themselves did not directly earn (i.e. inheritance, but not ONLY inheritance.. think money making money). These two generally opposing forces/desired are always in tension, and as I see it, society's challenge is to keep them in balance. if one or the other is allowed to dominate, society as a whole looses out.

How to balance them is the key. clearly there was some attempt to do this with the Jubilee, but as others have pointed out, there were flaws in that system, constraints which limited it's utility, and certainly very significant limits to its applicability today. but I do think that it was an attempt by the society of that time to keep these two forces in balance.

how to dot his today, though? I don't' think that trying to find some perfect balance and creating a system to keep things there would work.. there has to be some room for the natural push and shove between these two opposing goals--room for them to create a natural balance. but I think we CAN try to put some limits on the extreme expressions of each. we can try to limit the accumulation of wealth and the rigging of the system such that the means of wealth accumulation is limited to those who already have it. ON the other hand, we should not allow the system to completely eliminate any benefits that accumulate within families.

I read a great description of socialism, in "Les Miserables": (paraphrase) society has two goals: to increase wealth generation and wealth distribution. Capitalism is great at fostering wealth generation, but is terrible at wealth distribution. Communism is good at wealth distribution, but terrible at encouraging wealth generation. Socialism is the balance of the two.

I don't' know how accurate that description of the three systems is, but I think it's a good description of the problems we're talking about. we need to maximize the desire of people to generate wealth (which is usually done by allowing them and their descendants the maximum benefit of that wealth for themselves), while at the same time, maximizing the distribution of the wealth.. ways in which the ABILITY to generate wealth is not limited to a few, and the Benefit of that wealth is also not limited only to those directly controlling it's generation.

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Marvin - so your position is essentially communist to people you're related to, and libertarian when you step outside the front door?

That is an incredibly curious way of putting it. I'm not even sure what point you're trying to make there. I share everything with my wife therefore I'm a Communist? [Confused]
I don't know about the home life of self-confessed libertarians, but I've always imagined it to be lists of jobs done against rewards claimed, if I do this then you do that sort of thing.

If you're saying that you run it like I do, a slightly chaotic Christian socialist commune, I don't have to swap those ethics for what is essentially anarcho-capitalism when I step out of the front door.

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Ricardus
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# 8757

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Hawk:
The hard part about setting up Jubilee is that it relies on a foundational equitable distribution of land.

The underlying assumption here is that wealth and productivity are related to land use. This is a fairly safe assumption to make in an agrarian/pastoral economy, but I don't think it applies to an industrialized one.
However it does seem to me that a lot of social mobility is dependent on house prices, and that high rents represent a kind of existence tax on a lot of people.

I'm not sure of the logical connection between land-based jubilee > ? > equitable house prices, but there might be one ...

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
If you're saying that you run it like I do, a slightly chaotic Christian socialist commune, I don't have to swap those ethics for what is essentially anarcho-capitalism when I step out of the front door.

I don't share my life with strangers in the same way I do with family members. That's only an ethical problem if you presuppose that treating everbody in exactly the same way be they your spouse or some random face in a crowd six towns over should be the norm.

I don't kiss my coworkers before leaving the office either. Oh, the mass of ethical contradictions that is my life!

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I'm not sure of the logical connection between land-based jubilee > ? > equitable house prices, but there might be one ...

There wouldn;t be house prices, as buying a house wouldn't be a thing in the first place. You'd just rent one for a period not longer than the remaining time to the next Jubilee. The actual ownership would always reside with whoever happened to be in posession when the Jubilee system was set up.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
If you're saying that you run it like I do, a slightly chaotic Christian socialist commune, I don't have to swap those ethics for what is essentially anarcho-capitalism when I step out of the front door.

I don't share my life with strangers in the same way I do with family members. That's only an ethical problem if you presuppose that treating everbody in exactly the same way be they your spouse or some random face in a crowd six towns over should be the norm.

I don't kiss my coworkers before leaving the office either. Oh, the mass of ethical contradictions that is my life!

I have a feeling you know exactly what I mean, and are simply dodging the question.

I treat everybody (including the random face in the crowd six towns over) in exactly the same ethical way as I treat my family. Whether or not I kiss someone is not part of the ethical sphere. Whether or not their full-time job pays enough to keep a roof over their head, or whether they're free to join a union, or whether they have access to health care, or whether policing is adequate where they live, is.

You appear to apply vastly different set of ethical and political standards to your family compared with your neighbours, your townspeople, and the wider community.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
You appear to apply vastly different set of ethical and political standards to your family compared with your neighbours, your townspeople, and the wider community.

Yes. If a family member was in danger, I would risk my life to save them without a second thought. I wouldn't do that for a random stranger. If a family member needed a few hundred quid to avoid being kicked out of their house, I would give it to them even if it meant going into overdraft myself. I wouldn't do that for a random stranger.

And in a similar vein (to bring us back to somewhere near where we started), when I die I want any assets I may have to pass to my family rather than to some random stranger. Because the whole reason I have those assets in the first place is to benefit myself and those I love, and once I'm dead the first of those won't apply. I'm not sitting in this office because I care about the job or for the betterment of the world, I'm sitting here because at the end of every month they give me money that I can then use to pay for the things I and my family need and want.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Moo

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# 107

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
I'm not sure of the logical connection between land-based jubilee > ? > equitable house prices, but there might be one ...

There wouldn;t be house prices, as buying a house wouldn't be a thing in the first place. You'd just rent one for a period not longer than the remaining time to the next Jubilee. The actual ownership would always reside with whoever happened to be in posession when the Jubilee system was set up.
This reminds me of the land ownership problem on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. All of the land belongs to all of the tribe members. There are no stores on the reservation because no one is going to build one on land for which they do not hold clear title.

This leads to a serious social problem. All the grocery stores near the reservation have liquor stores nearby. Many people who want to stop drinking can't manage to refrain from going into these stores and buying liquor.

Moo

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mdijon
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# 8520

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Marvin, I wouldn't call those ethical or political standards. Those are human responses to family ties, and I expect most of us would identify with feeling those more strongly for friends and family than for strangers.

Having said that, Doc Tor, I'm not sure where Marvin is guilty of different ethical/political standards. He's not suggesting inheritance tax to non-Martians while Martians are exempt, for instance.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
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Erroneous Monk
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# 10858

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:


Inheritance laws favour the rich. They favour accumulated wealth over earned wealth.

For me, the trouble is that I have no difficulty with inheritance laws favouring someone who started with absolutely nothing - say, an immigrant to these shores with one suitcase - worked long hours all his life (let's say, for the sake of argument, in the public sector) and at the end of it, by passing up on holidays, luxuries, and expensive habits, has paid off his mortgage. That man should be allowed to determine how to dispose of his one capital asset.

That then means that I have to accept that the Spencer-Churchills own Blenheim Palace.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

Posts: 2950 | From: I cannot tell you, for you are not a friar | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
You appear to apply vastly different set of ethical and political standards to your family compared with your neighbours, your townspeople, and the wider community.

Yes. If a family member was in danger, I would risk my life to save them without a second thought. I wouldn't do that for a random stranger. If a family member needed a few hundred quid to avoid being kicked out of their house, I would give it to them even if it meant going into overdraft myself. I wouldn't do that for a random stranger.
To the first, been there, done that. I know of others who have, too. Helping random strangers is what makes society society. Reasonably certain Jesus had something to say about that too. Giving blood, giving food, giving goods, giving time, giving to charity. As to the second, that's why I support the welfare net. So that people don't get thrown out of their homes for the sake of a couple of hundred quid. I pay for that - and gladly - through the tax system.

Perhaps altruism is simply weakness, but what's the opposite? Sociopathic levels of selfishness?

quote:
And in a similar vein (to bring us back to somewhere near where we started), when I die I want any assets I may have to pass to my family rather than to some random stranger. Because the whole reason I have those assets in the first place is to benefit myself and those I love, and once I'm dead the first of those won't apply. I'm not sitting in this office because I care about the job or for the betterment of the world, I'm sitting here because at the end of every month they give me money that I can then use to pay for the things I and my family need and want.
I couldn't give a fig who gets my money when I die, just in the same way that what my parents do with their money and assets is up to them: give it away to the old cats' home, or perhaps even use it to give themselves a better old age. If (at the advanced age of 47) I'm still looking forward to half my parents' estate falling to me because, I don't know, greed or something, then frankly I should be ashamed of myself.

Likewise my children. If they're adults when me and the missus peg it, how they make their way in the world is up to them. I'm sitting at this desk because I do care about the job, and am hopefully bettering the world - I'm providing for my family while they can't provide for themselves, and teaching them to look after themselves when the time comes.

Bizarrely, that makes me more libertarian than you. Who'd have thought?

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Erroneous Monk
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# 10858

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I couldn't give a fig who gets my money when I die, just in the same way that what my parents do with their money and assets is up to them: give it away to the old cats' home, or perhaps even use it to give themselves a better old age.

Yes. Up to them. Not up to the government.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

Posts: 2950 | From: I cannot tell you, for you are not a friar | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Bizarrely, that makes me more libertarian than you.

Yes, just like me wanting to leave what assets I may have on death to my family while you don't care if your family get your assets or not means I love my family more than you love yours.

Shall we carry on like this, or shall we dispense with the backbiting and have a civilised debate?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Bizarrely, that makes me more libertarian than you.

Yes, just like me wanting to leave what assets I may have on death to my family while you don't care if your family get your assets or not means I love my family more than you love yours.

Shall we carry on like this, or shall we dispense with the backbiting and have a civilised debate?

I simply fail to see how a libertarian can value inherited money over self-sufficiency. Or is 'libertarian' simply a flag of convenience for what amounts to crude tribalism?

Seriously, I don't think you understand what being a libertarian actually entails. If you were consistent, I'd still disagree with you, but at least there'd be something there to respect.

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Forward the New Republic

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I simply fail to see how a libertarian can value inherited money over self-sufficiency.

I've already answered that one.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Jay-Emm
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# 11411

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quote:
Originally posted by Erroneous Monk:
That then means that I have to accept that the Spencer-Churchills own Blenheim Palace.

Although, you do know who paid for Blenheim...

(ok, in all fairness it's a bit more complicated, some of the land/estates was the queens and the Malboroughs did contribute, and even then it wasn't finished till they married a railroad barons daughter)

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I simply fail to see how a libertarian can value inherited money over self-sufficiency.

I've already answered that one.
Yes, but that's still not libertarianism. It merely makes you rich in a capitalist state. You still have to obey all the regulations and strictures of the state, and rely on them even more for your basic survival - currency being a state invention and backed by nothing more than a nod and a wink.

Perhaps as a Jubilee, we should just give every man, woman and child in the country a million quid. That would work.

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moonlitdoor
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# 11707

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If there was some kind of wealth tax that extended far enough down the scale of wealth to include someone like me ( property owner who has just finished paying mortgage ), I would be trying to find a way out of paying.

But if I had to pay the equivalent sum directly to a poor family or person, I would feel much more positive about that. I say directly but mean anonymously on both sides.

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We've evolved to being strange monkeys, but in the next life he'll help us be something more worthwhile - Gwai

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Porridge
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The problem with paying directly, though, is that it puts "the poor" in a sort of popularity contest -- who's deemed "deserving" and who isn't.

I'm reminded of the folks in my former church. They were all generous and giving and eager to help "the poor," but here's what I noticed: those "poor" had to be strangers and far away. The closer we got to the church's own turf, the less generous and empathic our congregation became toward them.

South American or African or Asian poor were recipients of largesse and personal parishioner trips to go roll up sleeves and personally pitch in.

The folks on welfare and disability within sight of the church steeple? They were lazy slobs too worthless to bother with, and barely tolerated as presences during worship.

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Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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