Month: February, 2012
On Liberty
| 25 February 2012 | 21:00 | Economics, Politics | No comments

Libertarianism is based on individual responsibility and property rights. Each person has the inalienable right to life and their legitimately owned possessions and to use their body and other possessions as they choose while not violating that same right that everyone else has. In exercising these rights, a person takes responsibility for what they do, is accountable for what they do, and takes the consequences for what they do. In accordance with this principle of liberty, a person has the right to defend their property (their person and other possessions) from assault, vandalism, theft, or any other aggression.

Property Rights
Property right means that the legitimate owner can do whatever he chooses with his property as long as it does not damage the property of anyone else. Or to turn it around, no one can legitimately interfere with the property of anyone else, and this includes the government.

Government and Property Rights
Governments routinely violate property rights by taxation, expropriation, and regulation of private property. The Canadian constitution does not acknowledge property rights such that any use of property is subject to government approval. Property rights are not recognised in Canada and consequently, we do not have liberty in Canada. What we have in Canada is whatever freedom our governments allow us to have, and whatever restrictions on liberty that our governments choose to legislate.

Property Rights in Canada
To the extent that Canadian governments allow freedom, there is prosperity. To the extent that our governments interfere with property, there is waste, inefficiency, and hardship for many citizens. The objective of the libertarian movement is to restore the recognition of property rights and the liberty of our citizens to pursue happiness and prosperity according to their initiative.

The Proper Role of Government
The only possible legitimate role of government is to protect the property rights of its citizens including their person. For example, laws that prohibit assault, vandalism, and theft would be legitimate and should have provisions for restitution to the victims. It may not be unreasonable to have a law enforcement system in place to protect property rights.

The Improper Role of Government
There are three major ways that government violates property rights to the detriment of its citizens. This happens with money, taxation, and regulation.

Sound Money and Banking
| 25 February 2012 | 20:02 | Economics, Politics | No comments

Money serves as a medium of exchange. A person works for or sells something in exchange for money. They can then use that money to buy what they need. Money is another type of property such that any fraud associated with money is a violation of property rights.

One type of fraud associated with money is counterfeiting. We use a money which has no value in itself, but rather represents the value of the real services and products that we exchange for the money. As long as everyone is willing to go along with this, it works fine. So what would be wrong with printing or counterfeiting money? Counterfeit money does not represent any real service or product. If it is put into circulation, it will dilute the value of all the money. The logical end of counterfeiting is that everyone prints money so there is lots of money, and no one works so there are no services or products to buy with the money.

Government and Money
The government prints a certain amount of money and replaces worn out money. What if the government increases the supply of money? It will have the same affect as counterfeiting and dilute or devalue all the money. The government does do this routinely because it is an easier way for them to get more money without raising taxes. This is why we have inflation and prices tend to go up. At the time the increased money is issued, the government and early users of the money pay current prices. When the increased money filters down to ordinary citizens, they will pay higher prices. It is a subtle form of fraud and violation of property rights that a libertarian government would discontinue.

Banks and Money
We have fractional banking in Canada which means that banks can lend money that they don’t have. A bank can make a loan by an accounting entry to increase the balance in a chequing account. That increase to the account balance does not represent any real value and when a cheque is drawn on the account, the money spent will dilute all money in the same way as counterfeit money. A libertarian government would discontinue the fraud associated with fractional banking.