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RE: Pre-debate Re: Nationalization

Two things about rights:  (1) No right is absolute.  (2) Accepting
rights means accepting and honoring the responsibilities that comes
with those rights.

I do not understand in what way does taxation take away the right of
ownership?  Someone has to maintain property titles and transaction
records. Most of the time that happens to be the government.  Property
owners have seen those taxes as part of their responsibilities for
keeping property and property tansactions process intact and orderly. 
Yes, sometimes that process is taken to far in this country. 
Examples:  older home owners who cannot pay property taxes are evicted
and their property sold.  In some states, however, like Florida, a
person's home cannot be touched (please correct if this is not
correct).  In the end it is upto society to make these laws more
humane.  I am always an advocate of giving citizens the right of
ability to pay. In other words, older citizens and young children
(that inherited property) who do not have the means to pay should be
protected. Nevertheless, we must recognize and uphold property and
ownership rights or there will be no democracy.

Now regarding easements and eminent domain:
Remember, as Sanjeev has been trying to point out, that
democratization in the West happened from the top down.   Property
rights therefore predate any other right. And that is what I meant
when I said they are considered "sovereign."  With the development of
railways and utilities came this problem of easements.  In the united
states the solution was that property could be taken away in such
cases with just compensation.

In the past undoubtedly bribes were given to obtain easements for
railways and utilities because like the present day bureaucracy of
India, US bureacracy was no different.  However, let us talk of TODAY.
 The procedures and circumstances to take over property have been
defined and easements are no longer as easy to obtain just by throwing
money at the council members.  There are ample examples where people
have successfully opposed development activity found to be
unreasonable by the people.

In any case I do not understand how easements and eminent domain are
related to NATIONALIZATION of businesses? -- the point that we were
talking about earlier. 

Charu's assumption that honoring property rights (where economic
disparity exists) leads to more economic disparity is not entirely
correct.  yes, those with property tend to start with an advantage,
but on the long run everyone benefits.  This happens through the rise
of the professional and expansion of the middle class. At least that
is how it happened in the USA.  I have been maintaining that
unfortunately you cannot see such a development in India without
reform in the government which includes decentralization of power.  In
the United States, political power was always decentralized.  The
goverment processes had to be smoothened and cleaned up. I do not
think you can have development in India without a commitment to

On the long run, Charu is right: honoring property and ownership
rights does create a class of super rich.  But that is the point that
Sanjeev has been making in his e-mails.  In our fear of the super rich
we (India) have managed to keep every body down.  Right now we do not
know of any other way how wealth is created except by individual
enterprise.  Inidvidual enterprise cannot function without guaranteed
rights of property and ownership.  You cannot honor those guarantees
without good government.  Good government cannot happen without a firm
commitment to basic democratic prinicples....
Regards to all, in particular to those who have joined recently.  Warm
Kush Khatri, DC

---Charudatt <charu@iced.com> wrote:
>> There is at least one context for "nationalization" or its
> equivalent. I believe many states have laws described as "Eminent
> Domain" statutes which are used for the state to take over land
> for the "greater good" such as building roads, powerlines, or setting
> aside
> conservation land. These laws were used extensively after the
> civil war to lay railroad lines and the railroads at that time
> being the richest corporations are known to have extensively
> bribed legislators to invoke eminent domain laws.
> >>Whether we like it or not property rights are considered
"sovreign" in
> >>a democracy.  Property rights have not been honored in post-British
> >>India. Not honoring property rights is a contradiction in a
> democracy.
> Not so. Almost every country in the world has this thing called
> taxation. Income tax, property tax, estate tax ... they're all a
> transfer of personal property to the state.
> >>  Democracy does not guarantee economic equality.  However, a
> >>democracy must guarantee political equality and equality before thee
> >>law.   If money buys you easy access to a politician who, in turn,
> >>illegally and arbitrarily controls economic activity -- that is a
> >>violation of basic democratic principles.  
> No democracy does not guarantee economic equality and yes it
> ought to at least strive for political equality but past
> experience indicates that political power is a commodity that can
> be purchased with money and this is unlikely to change- only the
> price will fluctuate. IMO it should be the goal of any society to
> strive for some level of economic equality or rather an absence
> of huge economic disparity.
> I think this is a good jumping off point for us to debate what sectors
> the government should be in and which should be private. I would
like to
> see us come up with a criterion for determining this. For example,
> should healthcare be private or publicly funded- hospitals, clinics,
> drug research and manufacture? What about prisons? How about the
> military? Should military production be private or publicly owned?
> about the military itself? Would the profit motive result in a more
> efficient, effective and better trained military? Why? Or why not?
> mention has been made of airlines. What about private ownership of
> railroads and surface roads?
> If we have a good criterion then we can resolve this debate much more
> cleanly.
> -Charu

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