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It is called "plutocracy"

It is called "plutocracy"

Posted May 17, 2013 17:39 UTC (Fri) by nybble41 (subscriber, #55106)
In reply to: It is called "plutocracy" by man_ls
Parent article: Strongbox and Aaron Swartz (The New Yorker)

The idea that you have rights independent of the will of the majority is incompatible with the idea that rights are defined by the will of the majority. The U.S. government (and most other western governments) fall somewhere in between; they endorse the idea of private property in general, but allow that right to be violated in (more or less) specific, uniform, and well-defined circumstances. Taxes are permitted, but (as originally envisioned) they must be applied uniformly, and only exist to fund the government's enumerated powers. Confiscation of property for public use is permitted, but only with "just" compensation. The default state is that the majority does not have the right to take your private property for its own use, with narrow exceptions.

> If in the US a communist party were to win the elections, you would have collectivized property in no time -- nothing in the US constitution precludes it (and even if it did it would be ammended).

The Constitution could certainly be amended, though the requirements for an amendment are higher than simply winning elections; amendments must be ratified by three-fourths of the state governments. I doubt fully collectivized property would be considered legal under the current Constitution, however, due to the 5th Amendment:

> No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


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Sorry for the off-topic

Posted May 17, 2013 20:24 UTC (Fri) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

The default state is that the majority does not have the right to take your private property for its own use, with narrow exceptions.
I would rather say that what can be "private property" is defined by the majority, and even that definition allows for exceptions. For example: beaches cannot be made private in Spain by law because we recognize that collective property is better for everyone. Streets are recognized as public property everywhere, and only the lots assigned to housing can be traded. You cannot own other people, or exotic animals, or dangerous pets without a license. And so on. The same is true for all money, which is even printed and distributed by the government. And money used for any purposes not approved by the government will be readily frozen or even confiscated. Some examples: drugs, gambling, trading with disliked foreign countries, weapons dealing, or terrorism.
No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
This is a debate for a different forum, but think that "due process of law" is defined by the government, and "just compensation" is a rather weak concept.

I just wanted to point out, which is in line with the main article, that the democratic State is far-reaching, and this is not only theory; this is practical use and has been for centuries. However our government is not yet "capitalist" but "democratic", at least in theory.


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