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 »

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17 Responses to this entry

  • Chris B Says:

    I was having a long discussion with Hurlock on twitter on this. I am interested in libertarian/ post-libertarian positions on derivatives and structures such as Asset Backed Securities, because that speculative materialism site you discovered by those communists seems very interested in the concept of dispersal of wealth via Special interest Vehicles ABSs.


    This throws a curve ball at this whole issue. I can see them wanting to pool collective wealth, and redirecting it via shares. There are multiple layers of property ownership here surely?


    admin Reply:

    Luckily, not many leftists have found their way to the real battleground yet, either. (Those you mention are among the dangerous exceptions.)


    Posted on November 15th, 2014 at 4:43 pm Reply | Quote
  • Frog Do Says:

    But then this all defaults to who owns the satellites, the servers, the cables; and more importantly who is sovereign over them. The whole techcomm edifice rests on actual physical property AND globalism. One must be able to approach a door to use a key, and all that.


    admin Reply:

    “One must be able to approach a door to use a key, and all that.” — That sounds like yesterday to me. Everything that isn’t yet networked is going to be.


    Nesh Reply:

    With autonomous corporation block-chain technology the central control code wouldn’t even have to have a “location” in the traditional sense. Given the increasing amount of data flow with opportunities for stenography and cheap manufacture of electronics the user’s location won’t matter either.


    Reader Reply:

    The government figured out who was running Silk Road 1.0 and 2,0 and those folks will be in prison for a long time. The vulnerability is not so much the cryptography as the human shortcomings of the people who use it. A government that sees its control threatened may well resort to very strong means of enforcing it, such as death penalties for use of cryptography to conceal financial transactions. Since they will occasionally succeed in using social means of infiltrating those encrypted networks, they will occasionally be able to haul someone out and string them up. How many average middle-class Joes are going to take the risk of prison or death in order to make some money illicitly using the blockchain? The government hasn’t yet begun to exercise its force here.


    Posted on November 15th, 2014 at 4:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • Owned | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on November 15th, 2014 at 9:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    Formalization is impossible.


    admin Reply:

    Formalization is the history of capitalism. It’s not only possible, but demonstrated. The most you can plausibly claim is that formalization is not finalizable (and I might even agree with you about that — but probably not).


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    no human formalization exhausts potentiality, for sure. I think formalizations that are as complete as possible over being as consistent as possible usually are superior; but Godel’s theorem suggests that completeness (and then I guess, finalization) eludes every formalization at LEAST inasmuch as the theory has to contend with the causes and ramifications of its own existence.


    admin Reply:

    I’m being sloppy, and treating an autonomized self-improving Pythia-capitalist Gödel machine as a definitive ‘finalization’ (from the human perspective).

    Posted on November 16th, 2014 at 12:38 am Reply | Quote
  • Dark Psy-Ops Says:

    There has been a Right Singularity the scale and seriousness of which is yet to be fully understood. The next month will continue with Malthussian scarcity and tech-comm secrecy, but soon enough the question of property will have my unimpeded attention. At which time any relentless leftward forces will self-dissipate or risk being locked in. A test is fine if one remembers there will be consequences unknown. I do hope somebody has been reading what has passed between myself and one other. It is the Great Filter specialised. Plus I’m new to this and have had a rough start. I’m not complaining. Peace is short, war is long. I fight for all of us and our freedom. Unity is needed, for in our trust is our survival. May Gnon have mercy on our souls.


    p.s demand needn’t be Jacobin, the supply certainly isn’t.


    Posted on November 17th, 2014 at 7:42 am Reply | Quote
  • SanguineEmpiricist Says:

    Compare to


    Not even close.


    admin Reply:

    This all seems like arbitrary sign-shuffling in comparison to what Satoshi Nakamoto has done. What’s the point of this type of scholastic discussion, unless to influence policy or politics? — and that epoch is over. Property is being re-implemented in functional, decentralized code, making it rigorously intelligible for the first time in history. It’s time to start catching up.


    SanguineEmpiricist Reply:

    I’ve seen you mention Ethereum. From a few video conferences I’ve been to where Tual has been presenting it seems like he was stalling and the smart contracts do not seem to be working as of yet, with many people attending the conferences having reservations. That was before this entire counterparty drama. I have a lot of hopes though and I’m going to keep checking.

    Federal people are also doing investigative groundwork for bitcoin related _anything_. I know because I met two of them and got uncomfortable after 2-3 meetings and bailed out. They were a ‘husband and wife’ They called me once last july, but turned out to be a non-issue. So, there’s that as well.

    There’s other procedural issues with it.. We can get the upside to technology as long as our base case can survive without it ie Aristocratic Egalitarianism. Governments based on technology are not robust to war/conflict/etc, but there is hope. How will they adapt to Urbit? What if they all fail? Not decent NRx risk management if you ask me.

    I don’t really see how it’s scholastic. It’s definitely better than anything mentioned in discussion threads. I push this line of thought so hard because the other stuff is impoverished thought. In the meantime Jensen and Nicholas wade still have issues.



    Posted on November 18th, 2014 at 3:55 am Reply | Quote
  • Lightning Round – 2014/11/19 | Free Northerner Says:

    […] A lack of formalism leads to totalitarianism. Related. […]

    Posted on November 19th, 2014 at 6:01 am Reply | Quote
  • The Mafia, Endo-Imperialism, Endo-Colonialism And The Secular State | The New International Outlook Says:

    […] either Mafias will also be resorted to as in the case of post-Soviet Russia, or the development of private security and cryptographic ownership will be sufficiently developed for what will be in effect an nRX […]

    Posted on December 28th, 2014 at 4:47 pm Reply | Quote

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