Comments on: The Moral Presumption in Favor of Free Trade Free Markets and Social Justice Sun, 19 Nov 2017 15:14:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: LLC Thu, 07 Apr 2016 19:41:00 +0000 the existence of fish was not part of the thought experiment as laid out. So, isn’t it’s introduction an ‘end run’?

By: Ron H. Sat, 02 Apr 2016 04:09:00 +0000 It’s necessary to assume that the boat people value the food more than Joe does – hard to imagine – as we can expect Joe to pay any price necessary to keep from starving, and to outbid the boat people up to his entire supply of rocks. If by “one additional rock” you mean one more rock than Joe’s total supply of rocks, then you already have that covered.

Then we must also assume either that Bob’s total supply of food is greater than Joe’s total supply of rocks at the current exchange rate, or that the renewal rate of food is greater than the renewal rate of rocks so that Joe will eventually run out of rocks.

I have a feeling Joe is going to die.

By: Libertymike Thu, 31 Mar 2016 16:27:00 +0000 Ben, I am an honest-to-goodness critic of the Lockean proviso, in general, and, to its application in particular situations; however, its voluntary assumption by actors is fine by me.

Now, under your modified thought experiment, you have amended the facts to present a much more harsh scenario.

To be sure, Bob has now crossed the Lockean proviso’s Rubicon by setting up the motion activated machine gun nests whereas one could legitimately argue that he had not on the facts you had originally set forth in your thought experiment (Bob knew that Joe could choose to embrace the pescatarian lifestyle).

By: Ben Kennedy Thu, 31 Mar 2016 13:31:00 +0000 The point of the Lockean proviso is to give the moral critic a leg to stand on when claiming someone is acting badly.

Bob and Joe are castaways. By fate, Bob lands on the side of the island with food. He is very worried about running out of food and competing with other castaways, so he gathers it up and surrounds it with motion activated machine gun nests. Joe lands on the side of the island with no food. Joe is hungry, and he will starve to death shortly. If he tries to get to the food, he will be cut down by Bob’s machine guns. Oh, and all the fish have died of mercury poisoning – the only food source is controlled by Bob.

So – if you think Bob is acting in a completely morally acceptable manner, I think you are a honest-to-goodness disbeliever in the Lockean proviso.

If you think Bob is somehow morally failing, then you believe in some form of the proviso – whether it is “Bob is obligated to share food”, or “Joe has a right to unimpeded access to food without getting machine-gunned”, it amounts to the same thing.

As to what is “initiating violence”, it depends on what you think of the proviso. If you think Bob has an absolute right to control his food supply, then Joe initiates violence by trespassing. If you think that Joe has a right to not starve to death, then it is Bob is initiating violence when his machine guns open up on Bob

By: Libertymike Wed, 30 Mar 2016 23:48:00 +0000 The enforcement of the Lockean proviso is at a lower moral level than the defense of Bob’s natural right to dispose of the food upon the terms he deems best.
The enforcement of the Lockean proviso would necessarily require the initiation of violence. For what end? To compel Bob to associate with Joe?
If anybody has shirked their duty in this thought experiment, it is Joe. He had a duty to diversify. He had a duty to have a little foresight.

By: efcdons Wed, 30 Mar 2016 20:03:00 +0000 Vis a vis the Nozick friends and lovers example, as per @benkennedy:disqus an obvious distinguishing factor between economic “liberties” and making a friend is that economic liberties require something from everyone else in order to be effective. You don’t need a societal structure in order to have a friend but you do need some sort of society in order to own and trade private property. Because economic liberties require our assent it seems like there is more of an argument for society to be involved in regulating or shaping economic liberties.

By: Ben Kennedy Wed, 30 Mar 2016 14:48:00 +0000 “But I’m not certain what kind of setup would result in Bob’s legitimate control of all the food, while still having a moral (but not contractual) obligation to trade with Joe.”

I think that this moral intuition is rooted in the social concept of division of labor. Specializing improves efficiency and increases everyone’s quality of life, but it also creates dependence, and hence a moral obligation. If someone later backs out (say, all the food producers stop selling food), our moral intuition says “unfair! had we known you would have stopped selling us food, we wouldn’t have trusted you with all the food production”. Trade protection can follow a similar intuition – “unfair! had we known you would have shipped our jobs overseas, we wouldn’t have placed you in charge!”

This is also higher-order than say property rights or contract law, which is all Libertarians tend to be concerned about. For the sake of an orderly productive society, we can certainly support those things like letting the food producer lock their doors to keep their private property away from trespassers. But I’d put both trade provisions and the Lockean proviso at this higher moral level.

By: M S Tue, 29 Mar 2016 21:30:00 +0000 “I’d want to know more about how they ended up that way”

Yeah, that’s fair. I imagine that if they had some kind of (really stupid on Joe’s part) agreement re: initial distribution of food and rocks, that might ally Locke’s concerns. But I’m not certain what kind of setup would result in Bob’s legitimate control of all the food, while still having a moral (but not contractual) obligation to trade with Joe.

“You could also be a consequentialist…”

Hard pass

By: Ben Kennedy Tue, 29 Mar 2016 19:51:00 +0000 Sure, you could model it that way if you want to consider the island the sphere of property rights. I’d want to know more about how they ended up that way, if they were castaways that happened to wash up on their respective sides, then Bob homesteading all the food would be a problem on those grounds.

You could also be a consequentialist and object to Bob’s actions based on the foreseeable starvation of Joe

By: M S Tue, 29 Mar 2016 19:46:00 +0000 Why is the wrong traceable to to Bob’s decision to trade with the boat instead of his violation of the Lockean proviso? That’s certainly where I’d point the finger.