Echos of Orewa

Frank Newman: Echoes of Orewa

Hi Frank,

I was one of the original ACT candidates, and stood 3 times.
I classify myself as a classical liberal, in the sense that I hold respect for individual life and individual liberty as my highest values, and see great utility in the notion of property rights and legal systems, as being vastly more likely to deliver the sort of security that allows long life, over resorting to brute force (at any level). And the level thing is important.

This issue is really much deeper than your article implies.
New Zealand was not settled under the doctrine of “terra nullius”, but by treaty. That treaty was/is important in respect of its rather broad use of the phrase (lands and estates forests fisheries and other properties) in respect of property.
I think the notion of property rather important.

Companies and corporations can hold title to land without losing it at death of an individual – where is the clear distinction between that sort of association and a tribal one?

I spent years dealing with these issues with some of the best legal minds in the country when dealing with the Fisheries Claims, after the introduction of the Quota Management System.
I have been on a Water Management Committee for the last 5 years, and have chaired it for the last two, and have some clear understanding of the depth of legal argument around the notion of property that has nothing at all to do with race, and everything to do with liberty and justice.

Can you name me one major instance in history where rights have been allocated “fairly on the basis of need”? If you can, it will be the exception rather than the rule.

I see a great need for society as a whole to move away from scarcity based thinking, and to realise the levels of abundance that exponential technology actually gives us access to.
We could develop automated systems to deliver all the essentials of life to every person on the planet – and doing so would break our current system that is based on markets and money.
Markets can only ever value any universal abundance at zero or lower. If you doubt that consider air, arguably the most important thing to any of us, yet of zero market value due to universal abundance.

So the idea that markets will ever deliver universal abundance (eliminate poverty) of anything, is a myth. Market value relies on scarcity, and markets will develop methods to create scarcity where none need exist (evidence our “intellectual property” laws) – purely and simply to maintain market value.

So it is not an issue of “racial privilege”, it is very much more dimensional than that.

In history, exponential growth has meant 2% per year, or 3 doublings per century. Exponential growth in information technology is now doubling every ten months.
That trend is taking its first baby steps into the realm of hardware with first generation 3D printers. They are little more than toys at present, but by the time we get to 4th generation (12 years away), they will enable decentralised manufacture of most goods, and automated delivery of most services.

These issues are huge.

I agree with Hayek that one of the great powers of markets was the ability to coordinate cooperation through the price/profit signal, and increase the abundance of goods and services available. And we have certainly lived through a period that has enjoyed many of the fruits of that.

And we are now entering an entirely new domain, that none of the parents of economics foresaw – fully automated manufacture, fully distributed trust networks with real time global communication, and those things really do change everything.

I make the clear claim that money and markets are rapidly approaching (if they haven’t already past) the point where their basis in scarcity is actually delivering greater risk than benefit to the vast bulk of humanity (which includes both of us, and most readers of this), given the exponential increase in computation and manufacturing capacity we now possess.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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