Self-ownership

Self-ownership (also known as sovereignty of the individual or individual sovereignty) is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to have bodily integrity and be the exclusive controller of one's own body and life. Self-ownership is a central idea in several political philosophies that emphasize individualism, such as liberalism and anarchism.

Definitional issues

The self

Discussion of the boundary of self with respect to ownership and responsibility has been explored by legal scholar Meir Dan-Cohen in his essays on The Value of Ownership and Responsibility and the Boundaries of the Self. The emphasis of this work illuminates the phenomenology of ownership and our common usage of personal pronouns to apply to both body and property—this serves as the folk basis for legal conceptions and debates about responsibility and ownership. Another view holds that labor is alienable because it can be contracted out, thus alienating it from the self. In this view, the choice of a person to voluntarily sell oneself into slavery is also preserved by the principle of self-ownership.[1]

Labour markets and private property

For anarchist political philosopher L. Susan Brown: "Liberalism and anarchism are two political philosophies that are fundamentally concerned with individual freedom yet differ from one another in very distinct ways. Anarchism shares with liberalism a commitment to individual freedom while rejecting liberalism's competitive property relations".[2] Scholar Ellen Meiksins Wood says that "there are doctrines of individualism that are opposed to Lockean individualism... and non-Lockean individualism may encompass socialism".[3]

Right-libertarian conceptions of self-ownership extend the concept to include control of private property as part of the self. According to Gerald Cohen, "the libertarian principle of self–ownership says that each person enjoys, over himself and his powers, full and exclusive rights of control and use, and therefore owes no service or product to anyone else that he has not contracted to supply".[4]

Philosopher Ian Shapiro says that labor markets affirm self-ownership because if self-ownership were not recognized, then people would not be allowed to sell the use of their productive capacities to others. He says that the individual sells the use of his productive capacity for a limited time and conditions but continues to own what he earns from selling the use of that capacity and the capacity itself, thereby retaining sovereignty over himself while contributing to economic efficiency.[5] A common view within classical liberalism is that sovereign-minded individuals usually assert a right of private property external to the body, reasoning that if a person owns themselves, they own their actions, including those that create or improve resources, therefore they own their own labour and the fruits thereof.[6]

In Human Action, Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises argues that labor markets are the rational conclusion of self-ownership and argues that collective ownership of labor ignores differing values for the labor of individuals:

Of course, people believe that there is an essential difference between the tasks incumbent upon the comrades of the socialist commonwealth and those incumbent upon slaves or serfs. The slaves and serfs, they say, toiled for the benefit of an exploiting lord. But in a socialist system the produce of labor goes to society of which the toiler himself is a part; here the worker works for himself, as it were. What this reasoning overlooks is that the identification of the individual comrades and the totality of all comrades with the collective entity pocketing the produce of all work is merely fictitious. Whether the ends which the community's officeholders are aiming at agree or disagree with the wishes and desires of the various comrades, is of minor importance. The main thing is that the individual's contribution to the collective entity's wealth is not requited in the shape of wages determined by the market.[7]

Nevertheless, there can be defense of self-ownership which can be critical of the idea of private property, specifically within the socialist branch of anarchism. The anarchist Oscar Wilde said:

For the recognition of private property has really harmed Individualism, and obscured it, by confusing a man with what he possesses. It has led Individualism entirely astray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know that the important thing is to be. The true perfection of man lies, not in what man has, but in what man is...With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols for things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all".[8]

Within anarchism the concept of wage slavery refers to a situation perceived as quasi-voluntary slavery,[9] where a person's livelihood depends on wages, especially when the dependence is total and immediate.[10][11] It is a negatively connoted term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor by focusing on similarities between owning and renting a person. The term "wage slavery" has been used to criticize economic exploitation and social stratification, with the former seen primarily as unequal bargaining power between labor and capital (particularly when workers are paid comparatively low wages, e.g. in sweatshops)[12] and the latter as a lack of workers' self-management, fulfilling job choices and leisure in an economy.[13][14][15] With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, thinkers such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Karl Marx elaborated the comparison between wage labor and slavery in the context of a critique of societal property not intended for active personal use[16][17] while Luddites emphasized the dehumanization brought about by machines. Emma Goldman famously denounced wage slavery by saying: "The only difference is that you are hired slaves instead of block slaves".[18]

Within left-libertarianism, scholars such as Hillel Steiner,[19] Peter Vallentyne,[20] Philippe Van Parijs,[21] Michael Otsuka[22] and David Ellerman[23][24] root an economic egalitarianism in the classical liberal concepts of self-ownership and land appropriation, combined with geoist or physiocratic views regarding the ownership of land and natural resources (e.g. those of John Locke and Henry George). Left-libertarians "maintain that the world's natural resources were initially unowned, or belonged equally to all, and it is illegitimate for anyone to claim exclusive private ownership of these resources to the detriment of others. Such private appropriation is legitimate only if everyone can appropriate an equal amount, or if those who appropriate more are taxed to compensate those who are thereby excluded from what was once common property". This position is articulated in contrast to the position of other libertarians who argue for a right to appropriate parts of the external world based on sufficient use, even if this homesteading yields unequal results.[25] Some left-libertarians of the Steiner–Vallentyne type support some form of income redistribution on the grounds of a claim by each individual to be entitled to an equal share of natural resources.[26][27]

History

John Locke wrote in his Two Treatises on Government that "every man has a Property in his own Person". Locke also said that the individual "has a right to decide what would become of himself and what he would do, and as having a right to reap the benefits of what he did".[28][29] Josiah Warren was the first who wrote about the "sovereignty of the individual".[30]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Toward a Libertarian Theory of Inalienability: A Critique of Rothbard, Barnett, Smith, Kinsella, Gordon, and Epstein.
  2. ^ L. Susan Brown. The Politics of Individualism: Liberalism, Liberal Feminism, and Anarchism. Black Rose Books Ltd. 1993
  3. ^ Ellen Meiksins Wood. Mind and Politics: An Approach to the Meaning of Liberal and Socialist Individualism. University of California Press. 1972. ISBN 0-520-02029-4. p. 7
  4. ^ Cited in The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy. 2004. Blackwell Publishing. p. 630
  5. ^ Shapiro, Ian. 2001. Democratic Justice. Yale University Press. pp. 145–46
  6. ^ Harris, J. W. 1996. Property and Justice. Oxford University Press. p. 189
  7. ^ von Mises, Ludwig. "Work and Wages". Human Action (PDF). p. 628. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  8. ^ Oscar Wilde. The Soul of Man under Socialism
  9. ^ Ellerman 1992.
  10. ^ "wage slave". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  11. ^ "wage slave". dictionary.com. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  12. ^ Sandel 1996, p. 184.
  13. ^ "Conversation with Noam Chomsky". Globetrotter.berkeley.edu. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  14. ^ Hallgrimsdottir & Benoit 2007.
  15. ^ "The Bolsheviks and Workers Control, 1917–1921: The State and Counter-revolution". Spunk Library. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  16. ^ Proudhon 1890.
  17. ^ Marx 1969, Chapter VII.
  18. ^ Goldman 2003, p. 283.
  19. ^ Steiner, Hillel (1994). An Essay on Rights. Oxford: Blackwell.
  20. ^ (2000). Left Libertarianism and Its Critics: The Contemporary Debate. In Vallentyne, Peter; and Steiner, Hillel. London: Palgrave.
  21. ^ Van Parijs, Philippe (2009). Marxism Recycled. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  22. ^ Otsuka, Michael (2005). Libertarianism without Inequality. New York: Oxford University Press.
  23. ^ Ellerman, David (1992). Property and Contract in Economics: The Case for Economic Democracy. Cambridge MA: Blackwell.
  24. ^ Ellerman, David (1990). The Democratic Worker-Owned Firm. London:Unwin Hyman.
  25. ^ Rothbard, Murray N. (1982). The Ethics of Liberty. Atlantic Heights, NJ: Humanities.
  26. ^ (2000). Left-Libertarianism and Its Critics: The Contemporary Debate. In Steiner, Hillel and Vallentyne, Peter. London: Macmillan p. 1.
  27. ^ (2004). Handbook of Political Theory. In Gaus, Gerald F. and Kukathas, Chandran. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. p. 128.
  28. ^ Olsaretti, Serena. 2004. Liberty, Desert and the Market. Cambridge University Press. p. 91
  29. ^ Dan-Cohen, Meir. 2002. Harmful Thoughts: Essays on Law, Self, and Morality. Princeton University Press. p. 296
  30. ^ Josiah Warren Manifesto.

Bibliography

External links

Analytical Marxism

Analytical Marxism is an approach to Marxist theory that was prominent amongst English-speaking philosophers and social scientists during the 1980s. It was mainly associated with the September Group of academics, so called because of their biennial September meetings to discuss common interests. Self-described as "Non-Bullshit Marxism",[1] the group was characterized, in the words of David Miller, by "clear and rigorous thinking about questions that are usually blanketed by ideological fog."[2] Members of this school seek to apply the techniques of analytic philosophy, along with tools of modern social science such as rational choice theory to the elucidation of the theories of Karl Marx and his successors.

The best-known analytical Marxist was Oxford University philosopher G. A. Cohen, whose Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence (1978) helped start the school. In that book, Cohen attempted to apply the tools of logical and linguistic analysis to the elucidation and defense of Marx's materialist conception of history. Other prominent analytical Marxists include the economist John Roemer, the social scientist Jon Elster, and the sociologist Erik Olin Wright. They all have attempted to build upon Cohen's work by bringing to bear modern social science methods, such as rational choice theory, to supplement Cohen's use of analytic philosophical techniques in the interpretation of Marxian theory.

Cohen would later engage directly with Rawlsian political philosophy to advance a socialist theory of justice that contrasts with both traditional Marxism and the theories advanced by political philosophers such as the left-liberal John Rawls and the right-libertarian Robert Nozick. In particular, he points to Marx's maxim of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

Anarchism and issues related to love and sex

Major male anarchist thinkers (except Proudhon) generally supported women's equality. Free love advocates sometimes traced their roots back to Josiah Warren and to experimental communities, viewing sexual freedom as an expression of an individual's self-ownership. Free love particularly stressed women's rights. In New York's Greenwich Village, "bohemian" feminists and socialists advocated self-realisation and pleasure for both men and women. In Europe and North America, the free love movement combined ideas revived from utopian socialism with anarchism and feminism to attack the "hypocritical" sexual morality of the Victorian era.

Anarcho-capitalism

Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy and school of anarchist thought that advocates the elimination of centralized state dictum in favor of self-ownership, private property and free markets. Anarcho-capitalists hold that in the absence of statute (law by arbitrary autocratic decrees, or bureaucratic legislation swayed by transitory political special interest groups), society tends to contractually self-regulate and civilize through the spontaneous and organic discipline of the free market (in what its proponents describe as a "voluntary society").In an anarcho-capitalist society, law enforcement, courts and all other security services would be operated by privately funded competitors selected by consumers rather than centrally through confiscatory taxation. Money, along with all other goods and services, would be privately and competitively provided in an open market. Personal and economic activities under anarcho-capitalism would therefore be regulated by victim-based dispute resolution organizations under tort and contract law, rather than by statute through centrally determined punishment under political monopolies, which tend to become corrupt in proportion to their monopolization. Business regulations, such as corporate standards, public relations, product labels, rules for consumer protection, ethics, and labor relations would be regulated voluntarily via the use of competitive trade associations, professional societies, and standards bodies; this would, in theory, establish market-recourse for businesses' decisions and allow the market to communicate effectively with businesses by the use of consumer unions, instead of centralized regulatory mandates for companies imposed by the state, which anarcho-capitalists and other libertarians argue is inefficient due to regulatory capture.Various theorists have espoused legal philosophies similar to anarcho-capitalism. However, the first person to use the term was Murray Rothbard who, in the mid-20th century, synthesized elements from the Austrian School of economics, classical liberalism and 19th-century American individualist anarchists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker (while rejecting their labor theory of value and the norms they derived from it). A Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist society would operate under a mutually agreed-upon libertarian "legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow". This pact would recognize self-ownership, property, contracts, and tort law, in keeping with the universal non-aggression principle (NAP).

Anarcho-capitalists are distinguished from minarchists, who advocate a small Jeffersonian night-watchman state limited to protecting individuals and their properties from foreign and domestic aggression; and from other anarchists who seek to prohibit or regulate the accumulation of private property and the flow of capital.

Anti-authoritarianism

Anti-authoritarianism is opposition to authoritarianism, which is defined as "a form of social organisation characterised by submission to authority", "favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom" and to authoritarian government. Anti-authoritarians usually believe in full equality before the law and strong civil liberties. Sometimes the term is used interchangeably with anarchism, an ideology which entails opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including the state system.

Argumentation ethics

Argumentation ethics is a proposed proof of the libertarian principle of self-ownership developed in 1988 by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, a Professor Emeritus with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Business and Ludwig von Mises Institute Senior Fellow. Responses have mainly come from Hoppe's colleagues at the Mises Institute, among whom the argument's reception has been mixed.Argumentation ethics aims to prove that arguing against self-ownership is logically incoherent. Hoppe states that if argumentation praxeologically presupposes the norm that both the speaker and the listener are allowed to exercise exclusive control over their respective physical bodies in order to settle a disagreement or resolve a conflict over scarce resources, then it follows that propositions propounded during such argumentation cannot contradict this norm without falling into a (dialectical) performative contradiction between one's actions and words. Thus Hoppe concludes that despite aggressive behaviour being possible, it can not be argumentatively justified.

Autarchism

Autarchism is a political philosophy that promotes the principles of individualism, the moral ideology of individual liberty and self-reliance. It rejects compulsory government and supports the elimination of government in favor of ruling oneself to the exclusion of rule by others.

Free-market anarchism

Free-market anarchism, or market anarchism, includes several branches of anarchism that advocate an economic system based on voluntary market interactions without the involvement of the state. A branch of market anarchism is left-wing market anarchism such as mutualists or Gary Chartier and Kevin Carson, who consider themselves anti-capitalists and self identify as part of the socialist movement.On the other hand, people who identify as anarcho-capitalists stress the legitimacy and priority of private property, describing it as an integral component of individual rights and a free market economy. There is a strong current within anarchism which does not consider that anarcho-capitalism can be considered a part of the anarchist movement because anarchism has historically been an anti-capitalist movement and for definitional reasons which see anarchism incompatible with capitalist forms. Thus, the term may be used to refer to diverse economic and political concepts, such as those proposed by anarchist libertarian socialists like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Benjamin Tucker or alternatively anarcho-capitalists like Murray Rothbard and David D. Friedman.

International Alliance of Libertarian Parties

The International Alliance of Libertarian Parties (IALP) is an alliance of right-libertarian political parties across the world. Its mission is to promote libertarian politics internationally. The IALP has 21 members as of 2018.At the 2014 Libertarian National Convention in the United States, former chairman of the Libertarian National Committee Geoff Neale was appointed to help with the creation of an alliance of global Libertarian parties. On March 6, 2015 the IALP was formed with 9 founding members.

Left-libertarianism

Left-libertarianism, also known as left-wing libertarianism, names several related yet distinct approaches to political and social theory which stress both individual freedom and social equality. In its classical usage, left-libertarianism is a synonym for anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics, e.g. libertarian socialism, which includes anarchism and libertarian Marxism among others. Left-libertarianism can also refer to political positions associated with academic philosophers Hillel Steiner, Philippe Van Parijs and Peter Vallentyne that combine self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources.While maintaining full respect for personal property, left-libertarians are skeptical of or fully against private ownership of natural resources, arguing in contrast to right-libertarians that neither claiming nor mixing one's labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights and maintain that natural resources (raw land, oil, gold, the electromagnetic spectrum, air-space and so on) should be held in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Those left-libertarians who support private property do so under the condition that recompense is offered to the local or even global community.On the other hand, left-wing market anarchism, which includes Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's mutualism and Samuel Edward Konkin III's agorism, appeals to left-wing concerns such as egalitarianism, gender and sexuality, class, immigration and environmentalism within the paradigm of a socialist free market. In the United States, the word "libertarian" has become associated with right-libertarianism after Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess reached out to the New Left in the 1960s. However, until then political usage of the word was associated exclusively with anti-capitalism and in most parts of the world such an association still predominates.

Libertarian Party of Russia

The Libertarian Party of Russia (Russian: Либертарианская партия России; Libertarianskaya partiya Rossii) is a political party in the Russian Federation founded in 2008. As its name suggests, its political philosophy is Libertarianism, "self-ownership and non-aggression."The party has had two members elected to local office, one in Moscow and the other in Moscow Oblast. The first, Vera Kichanova, was elected in 2012 to the municipal council of the Yuzhnoye Tushino District of Moscow. The second, Andrey Shalnev, was elected in 2014 as a deputy council for the Pushkino District. (Shalnev ran as an independent).The party coordinates the Adam Smith Forum (an annual international libertarian conference in Moscow), participates in the organization of the Free People's Forum (which discusses Russian politics), and runs other activities and publications, including a monthly newspaper and a podcast series.

Libertarian anarchism

Libertarian anarchism may refer to:

Anarchism, a political philosophy that advocates stateless societies, usually considered a radical left-wing ideology

Autarchism, a political philosophy that upholds the principle of individual liberty, rejects compulsory government and supports the elimination of government in favor of ruling oneself and no other

Free-market anarchism, a political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty, private property and open markets

Agorism, a revolutionary form of free-market anarchism that focuses on employing counter-economic activity to undermine the state

Anarcho-capitalism, a political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty, private property and open markets (many anarchists dispute this as a form of anarchism and argue it is a misuse of the term)

Left-wing market anarchism, a political philosophy that strongly affirms the classical liberal ideas of self-ownership and free markets, while maintaining that taken to their logical conclusions these ideas support "anti-capitalist" positions

Libertarianism, an individualist political philosophy that upholds liberty as its primary focus and principal objective

Voluntaryism, a political philosophy which holds that all forms of human association should be voluntary

Men Going Their Own Way

Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW ) is a mostly pseudonymous online community of men supported by websites and social media presences cautioning men against serious romantic relationships with women, especially marriage.The community is part of what is more broadly termed the manosphere. MGTOW have "...vowed to stay away from women, stop dating and not have children". MGTOW focuses on men's self-ownership rather than changing the status quo through activism and protest, which to them makes MGTOW distinct from the men's rights movement.

Morphological freedom

Morphological freedom refers to a proposed civil right of a person to either maintain or modify their own body, on their own terms, through informed, consensual recourse to, or refusal of, available therapeutic or enabling medical technology.The term may have been coined by transhumanist Max More in his 1993 article, Technological Self-Transformation: Expanding Personal Extropy, where he defined it as "the ability to alter bodily form at will through technologies such as surgery, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, uploading". The term was later used by science debater Anders Sandberg as "an extension of one’s right to one’s body, not just self-ownership but also the right to modify oneself according to one’s desires."

Natural-rights libertarianism

Natural-rights libertarianism, also known as deontological libertarianism, philosophical libertarianism, deontological liberalism, rights-theorist libertarianism, natural rights-based libertarianism, or libertarian moralism, refers to the view that all individuals possess certain natural or moral rights, mainly a right of individual sovereignty and that therefore acts of initiation of force and fraud are rights-violations and that is sufficient reason to oppose those acts. This is one of the two ethical view points within right-libertarianism, the other being consequentialist libertarianism which only takes into account the consequences of actions and rules when judging them and holds that free markets and strong private property rights have good consequences.Deontological libertarianism is based on the non-aggression principle which states that no human being holds the right to initate force or fraud against the person or property of another human being under any circumstances. Deontological libertarians consider this principle to be the basis of all morality and therefore believe that any violation of the principle is immoral, no matter what other arguments may be invoked to justify that violation.

Outline of libertarianism

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to libertarianism, a political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. Thus, libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgment.

The Ethics of Liberty

The Ethics of Liberty is a 1982 book by American philosopher and economist Murray N. Rothbard, in which the author expounds a libertarian political position.

Voluntaryism

Voluntaryism (UK: , US: ; sometimes voluntarism ) is a philosophy which holds that all forms of human association should be voluntary, a term coined in this usage by Auberon Herbert in the 19th century, and gaining renewed use since the late 20th century, especially among libertarians. Its principal beliefs stem from the non-aggression principle.

WQRM

WQRM (850 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a Christian radio format. Licensed to Duluth, Minnesota, United States, the station is an owned and operated affiliate of VCY America. The station previously held the call sign WWJC, under self ownership and featured programming from Salem Radio Network. The then-WWJC originally signed on at 1270 kHz with 5 kW in 1963 and moved to its current 850 kHz frequency and raised power to 10 kW in 1970.In 2016, WQRM was granted a license to increase daytime power to 50,000 watts, with critical hours service of 14,000 watts.

WSJD

WSJD (100.5 FM, "True Oldies 100.5") is a radio station serving the Evansville, Indiana area with an oldies format. It broadcasts on FM frequency 100.5 MHz and is under self ownership. Majority of the programming is featured from ABC Radio's "The True Oldies Channel" satellite feed. The station broadcasts Major League Baseball games as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network.Prior to 2008, it was airing a Hot AC format known as "Star 100.5"

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