Archive for November 15th, 2014

Owned

Hurlock has a valuable post on the concept of property, especially in its relation to sovereignty, and formalization. Since (Moldbuggian) Neocameralism can be construed as a renovated theory of property, crucially involving all three of these terms, the relevance of the topic should require no defense. The profound failure of enlightenment philosophy to satisfactorily determine the meaning of property has been a hostage to fortune whose dire consequences have yet to be fully exhausted. (Within the NRx generally, the question of property is deeply under-developed, and — with a very few exceptions — there is little sign of serious attention being paid to it.)

The enlightenment failure has been to begin its analysis of property from the problem of justification. This not only throws it into immediate ideological contention, submitting it to politics, and thus to relentless left-drift, it also places insurmountable obstacles in the path of rigorous understanding. To depart from an axiom of legitimate original property acquisition through work, as Locke does, is already proto-Marxist in implication, resting on philosophically hopeless metaphor, such as that of ‘mixing’ labor with things. It is property that defines work (over against non-productive behavior), not the inverse. As Hurlock notes, Moldbug’s approach is the correct one. ‘Property’ — as a social category — is a legitimation of control. It cascades conceptually from sovereignty, and not from production.

These matters will inevitably become intellectually pressing, due to the current technocommercial restoration of money, exemplified by the innovation of Bitcoin (in its expansive sense, as the blockchain). Control is undergoing cryptographic formalization, from which all consistent apprehension of ‘property’ will follow. Property, in the end, is not sociopolitical recognition of rights, but keys. What you can lock and unlock is yours. The rest is merely more or less serious talk, that only contingently compiles. This is what hacker culture has already long understood in its specific (thedish) usage of ‘owned’. There’s no point crying to the government about having paid good money for your computer, if Nerdgodz or some other irritating 15-year-old is running it as a Bitcoin-mining facility from his mother’s basement. The concreteness of ‘might is right’ once looked like a parade ground, but increasingly it is running functional code.

Formalization isn’t a detached exercise in philosophical reflection, or even a sociopolitical and legal consensus, it’s functional technocommercial cryptography. Defining property outside the terms of this eventuation is an exercise in arbitrary sign-shuffling. Those with the keys can simply smile at the surrounding senseless noise. As Moldbug anticipates, with rigorously coded control, there’s nothing further to argue about.

ADDED: Three recommended links from Bitstein; Locke’s mistake, blockchained title, crypto and contracts (video discussion).

November 15, 2014admin 17 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce
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