Re: Suggested Ground Rules (Re: Beggars in Spain)

Ernest N. Prabhakar (
Thu, 08 Jul 1999 08:56:02 -0700

> Okay, here's a suggested set of ground rules. What would happen if
> society was built up from these basic rules:

A fascinating question, and a reasonable starting point. This sounds more
or less libertarian (from my superficial understanding of libertarianism),
which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

First of all, I think the system is incomplete in not defining which things
are owned in common (or how that's decided). As an extreme example, are
'community standards of morality' something owned/protected in common?

Second, it is not clear where children fit into this. Much of modern
liberalism (in the older, perhaps more positive sense of the word) was based
on child welfare. Child labor laws, compulsory education, etc. Even
social welfare was largely built around Aid to Families with Dependent

So, I guess I couldn't judge your system unless I knew how it dealt with
those issues.

-- Ernie P.

> (1) There is a notion of ownership of property
> (2) You cannot take or impair the use of somebody else's property
> (3) You cannot harm another person's physical being
> (4) There is a notion of a consensual, binding contract
> (5) You cannot impair anyone's right to enter consensual contract
> (6) All resources owned in common are managed
> (a) in order to yield maximum "common benefit"
> (b) in order to minimize negative impact to individuals
> (7) Coercion is not allowed
> (8) Everything else is tolerated
> There are no particular rights except the right to personal safety,
> right to safety of property, right to enter contract freely, right to
> not be impacted adversely by management of resources held in common
> trust, and right to freedom from coercion. There are correspondingly no
> particular responsibilities except to respect these rights in others.
> Where does this break down?
> jb

Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D.