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KOL211 | Corporations and the Corporate Form

Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 211.

My interview on the Wake Up Call podcast, Episode 44: Corporations and the Corporate Form.

From the shownotes page:

Episode Summary

Stephan Kinsella joins Adam Camac and Daniel Laguros to discuss corporations and the corporate form, common objections, and state interventions in the area.

 

Related Articles
1. In Defense of the Corporation by Stephan Kinsella (October 27, 2005)
2. Corporate Personhood, Limited Liability, and Double Taxation by Stephan Kinsella (October 18, 2011)

Books Mentioned
1. Against Intellectual Property by Stephan Kinsella
2. In Defense of the Corporation by Robert Hessen

Related Interview
1. KOL170: Tom Woods Show: Are Corporations Unlibertarian? (January 24, 2015)

Previous Appearance
24. The Nature of Property and Problems with Intellectual Property Laws with Stephan Kinsella (Wednesday, March 30, 2016)

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Kevin Carson on Confiscating Property from the Rich

A few years back, I had a disagreement with left-libertarian Kevin Carson who implied, I thought, that anyone who is “rich”—say, who earns more than $250k a year—earns his money illegitimately, by being part of the state’s exploiting class, and it would be just to confiscate his wealth. See, for example, our interchange in the comments thread to his C4SS post “I’ve Never Seen a Poor Person Give Anyone a Job”.

In some of his arguments (such as in this interview) he appeals to Rothbard for support. As far as I can tell, he is referring to Rothbard’s “Confiscation and the Homestead Principle,” from Libertarian Forum, vol. 1.6, June 15, 1969.1

But of course Rothbard later implicitly repudiated these views, as can be seen in his 1974 article “Justice and Property Rights,” as I’ve explained in Justice and Property Rights: Rothbard on Scarcity, Property, Contracts.

Anyway, if there was any doubt about Carson’s views, which I inferred from his previous writing as made clear in our discussion of the $250k issue, there can be little doubt now: in a recent Facebook post, leftish libertarian Nick Manley posted this from an email interchange with Carson:

“A not 100 percent converted but sympathetic radical leftist I know who respects your work and C4SS wants to know if you favor the kind of direct confiscation of state capitalist or capitalist property say Rothbard advocated in Confiscation and the Homestead principle. He seems to think you have a more Tuckerite “freed markets will solve it” attitude.”

Kevin Carson responded with:

“Oh, I’m totally in favor of confiscating it, at least if the actual occupation is carried out from below (e.g. by tenants, landless people or radical unions). No reason to wait for the market to take care of it. Given the near 100% of Fortune 500 corporations that are only in the black because of economic rents or environmental cost externalization, I’d be happy to treat all those companies as proxies for the state capitalist sector just for starters.”

For more, see:

  1. Here Rothbard writes:

    Let us now apply our libertarian theory of property to the case of property in the hands of, or derived from, the State apparatus. The libertarian sees the State as a giant gang of organized criminals, who live off the theft called “taxation” and use the proceeds to kill, enslave, and generally push people around. Therefore, any property in the hands of the State is in the hands of thieves, and should be liberated as quickly as possible. Any person or group who liberates such property, who confiscates or appropriates it from the State, is performing a virtuous act and a signal service to the cause of liberty. In the case of the State, furthermore, the victim is not readily identifiable as B, the horse-owner. All taxpayers, all draftees, all victims of the State have been mulcted. How to go about returning all this property to the taxpayers? What proportions should be used in this terrific tangle of robbery and injustice that we have all suffered at the hands of the State? Often, the most practical method of de-statizing is simply to grant the moral right of ownership on the person or group who seizes the property from the State. Of this group, the most morally deserving are the ones who are already using the property but who have no moral complicity in the State’s act of aggression. These people then become the “homesteaders” of the stolen property and hence the rightful owners.

    Take, for example, the State universities. This is property built on funds stolen from the taxpayers. Since the State has not found or put into effect a way of returning ownership of this property to the taxpaying public, the proper owners of this university are the “homesteaders”, those who have already been using and therefore “mixing their labor” with the facilities. The prime consideration is to deprive the thief, in this case the State, as quickly as possible of the ownership and control of its ill-gotten gains, to return the property to the innocent, private sector. This means student and/or faculty ownership of the universities.

    As between the two groups, the students have a prior claim, for the students have been paying at least some amount to support the university whereas the faculty suffer from the moral taint of living off State funds and thereby becoming to some extent a part of the State apparatus.

    The same principle applies to nominally “private” property which really comes from the State as a result of zealous lobbying on behalf of the recipient. Columbia University, for example, which receives nearly two-thirds of its income from government, is only a “private” college in the most ironic sense. It deserves a similar fate of virtuous homesteading confiscation.

    But if Columbia University, what of General Dynamics? What of the myriad of corporations which are integral parts of the military-industrial complex, which not only get over half or sometimes virtually all their revenue from the government but also participate in mass murder? What are their credentials to “private” property? Surely less than zero. As eager lobbyists for these contracts and subsidies, as co-founders of the garrison state, they deserve confiscation and reversion of their property to the genuine private sector as rapidly as possible. To say that their “private” property must be respected is to say that the property stolen by the horsethief and the murdered [sic] must be “respected”.  []

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The “Out of Pocket” Idiom

Interesting facebook discussion about the meaning of the expression “out of pocket.”

The audio of the aforementioned wife’s response is here and embedded below:

.

You learn something every day. For years, maybe decades, I have been around people who use the phrase “out of pocket” to mean “I’m not available right now”.

I was unaware that this was a regional usage, or that there were other usages even. Urban dictionary says it means “paid from personal funds.” I had never heard this.

My yankee friends and I had a heated debate. They said it usually means something other than “unavailable” — like “I spent money” or something. Never heard it used like that.

So I asked my wife, who is usually a reliable indicator of how normal people talk and think, out of the blue: Hey, babe, have you heard people say “I’m out of pocket”? She pauses, suspecting a setup, but says, “yes.” I say “And what do you think that means, when they say ‘I am out of pocket’?”

She instantly says, “That they’re unavailable.”

Me: “Thank you.”

CASE CLOSED YOUR HONOR

<MIC DROP>

 

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Dr. Petr Beckmann: “Defending Nuclear Power”

Illuminating lecture by the late, great Petr Beckmann. For more on Beckmann, see my posts:

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My memoriam for Tibor Machan, R.I.P., was published today at FEE.org: Remembering Tibor Machan, Libertarian Mentor and Friend: Reflections on a Giant.

A local copy is repixeled below.

Update: Jack Criss’s touching tribute is available here. And here is one by Pater Tenebraram.

***

One of my long-time friends, libertarian philosopher Tibor Machan, passed away last month, on Thursday, March 24, 2016. He was 77. Many other libertarians have already posted their memories of Tibor,1 Which is not surprising, given his significant, longtime, and tireless work for liberty and libertarian theory.

I became familiar with Tibor’s work while I was in college, especially Human Rights and Human Liberties (1975) and Individuals and Their Rights (1989), my two favorite of his works. I was also reading Reason at the time, the magazine Tibor co-founded. My friend Jack Criss, who also knew Tibor, commended him to me as well. I began to correspond with Tibor; he kindly responded to a great number of letters, later emails, over the years, often giving me useful reading suggestions and responding thoughtfully and gently to my philosophical and political questions and arguments. He published my first scholarly paper, “Estoppel: A New Justification for Individual Rights,” in the Fall 1992 issue of his journal Reason Papers. We remained and became closer friends over the next 24 years.   [click to continue…]

  1. E.g., these memories and obituaries by my friends Jeff TuckerChris SciabarraSheldon RichmanAeon Skoble; and David Kelley; see also those by Nick Gillespie at ReasonDavid Gordon, IES-EuropeDavid Henderson, Timothy Sandefur, Irfan Khawaja, and Nicolas Capaldi (from Tibor’s festschrift, more about which later). []
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My Reddit “Ask Me Anything” Threads

I’ve been on various Reddit subreddits participating in AMA’s a few times:

 

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The Genesis of Estoppel: My Libertarian Rights Theory

I’ve been ruminating recently about my “libertarian career”—the one that has run parallel to my law career.1 Here are a few more thoughts and recollections, focused on the libertarian topic that has always greatly interested me: rights theory: what our rights are, what rights mean, how we justify them. (N.b.: This is a bit self-indulgent and probably only of interest to a very small number of people, so trudge on at your peril…)

When I was younger I was interested both in STEM topics as well as philosophy, but had almost no views on political or economic topics. I was basically tabula rasa. Reading Ayn Rand in high school catapulted me into deeper interest in philosophy, political theory, economics. I ended up going to LSU and studying electrical engineering (started in 1983), but I was also devouring this other kind of material “on the side.” I started getting the itch to have conversations or interactions on these topics with others, but it was hard to find anyone to talk about them with. Frustrating. You can’t find engineering students who care about this stuff. And there was no Internet back then. This itch is probably one reason I eventually gravitated towards law school. I gradually realized I would not be satisfied being a practicing engineer. I liked using normative and verbal and legal type reasoning and argumentation too much, plus the scholarship opportunities a law career can offer. I liked writing. Engineering would not have suited me—it would have been too stultifying and boring. [click to continue…]

  1. See My Failed Libertarian Speaking Hiatus; Memories of Mises Institute and Other Events, 1988–2015;  also How I Became A LibertarianNew Publisher, Co-Editor for my Legal Treatise, and how I got started with legal publishing. []
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KOL210 | Ask a Libertarian: Lafayette County LP

Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 210.

This is my interview, mostly on IP, by Josh Havins, of the Lafayette County (Mississippi) Libertarian Party: Their episode: “Ask a Libertarian #6 – Stephan Kinsella – Against Intellectual Property” (video embedded below).

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