Business is booming.

Taking ownership — but what actually belongs to you?

80


If you have a house full of kids, there’s a word you probably hear a lot at Christmas: “mine”. You’ll hear it in the context of new toys unwrapped on the day; old toys being protected from rowdy cousins; cracker trinkets grabbed when they fall to the floor; and, of course, in the context of contested board games.

You’ll also hear versions of it from the adults: “This is my kitchen and we’ll make the sprouts my way,” and so on. There’s a lot of ambiguity here and an awful lot of potential for conflict too. If you bought the kitchen with an early inheritance from your mother and she’s in the kitchen too, does she get a say?

With wishes for a harmonious holiday for you all then, my first book suggestion for your Christmas gift list is Mine: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives by Michael Heller and James Salzman. We tend to think of ownership as something genuinely binary. Something is either mine or it’s yours. But it isn’t so. Instead, in many cases it is more of a “storytelling battle”. For example, who owns the bit of space that an airline seat reclines into — the person who has their knees already in it, or the person who wants to move their seat back into it?

Who owns your data? Who owns a book you bought for your Kindle if Amazon can turn it off at any point? If you own a piece of land, but other people have right of way over it or, as in much of the US, to forage on it, do you really own it? And if you want to get clean water from land, where the owners aren’t the end users of that water, how do you make them feel like they own it, so they keep it clean?

There’s a toolkit for the answers (six ways to make something yours), say Heller and Salzman, but the key point is that societies design their own rules of ownership — and getting that design right is the key to success.

Peter Barnes, author of our next book, Ours: The Case for Universal Property, reckons much of today’s design is wrong — and hence limiting our potential: he has form in the ownership debate game — one of his previous books is called Who Owns the Sky.

Barnes argues that capitalism has two nasty flaws: it widens existing inequalities and it is “destructive of nature”. The need to repair capitalism is, he says, “indisputable”. The solution is to recognise that the majority of the wealth of developed societies has little to do with our current efforts: it is instead a function of the eco systems that exist naturally and of the social assets built by previous generations — the rule of law, our banking systems and so on.

Things would be better if all these assets existed as universal property — held not privately and not by the state, but in a type of trust that charges all those who benefit from the work of past generations (and of nature) and pays out to the population as a whole equally.

So a financial transaction levy would be paid into the trust for example — as a rough structure think of the Alaska Permanent Fund which shares Alaska’s oil wealth out among all its residents.

I’m not sure I buy his depressing diagnosis in full. Our current system has brought the share of the world population living in absolute poverty down from 44 per cent 60 years ago to under 10 per cent now.

And why does rising inequality matter so much, if overall poverty levels are falling fast at the same time? Sometimes it is the absolutes that matter. Still, the idea that too many individuals find ways to benefit from what is really communal wealth is compelling. It is why I am in favour of a land value tax, for example, and I suspect it is gaining ground. You should know the arguments.

The same goes for those put forward in Vivek Ramaswamy’s Woke Inc: Inside the Social Justice Scam. The world is currently full of calls for individual ownership to be diluted one way or another — and the idea that companies should knock shareholders off the top of their priority lists in favour of stakeholders is a major part of that.

Ramaswamy is having none of it. This is a concept, he says, that allows big companies to get in on politics, something that really isn’t any of their business; which provides too much cover for hypocrisy; and (crucially) which interferes with democracy.

“We shouldn’t let self-interested corporations and politicians divide us with skin-deep identities and cheap social causes,” he says. Perhaps companies should leave politics to the politicians and get on with what should be their actual purpose: make stuff, sell it, do both well, return money to their actual owners — shareholders.

Next, you should read George Maher’s fabulous Pugnare: Economic Success and Failure, a History of the Roman Empire written from a financial perspective. Ownership design was as crucial 2,000 years ago as it is now.

Roman economic growth was based on two vital (and new) things: outright property ownership (no universal property here) and a stable, globally recognised money system. For most of the empire’s history the money you owned could be trusted to maintain its purchasing power.

When inflation kicked in at the end of the second century, as soldier salaries soared and the denarius was debased, economic stability collapsed along with the currency. The banking system appears to have completely failed in AD260 says Maher.

And that was that. One to give to anyone who you would like to be less blasé about the resilience of our institutions than they are and to worry more about inflation than they do. A central banker perhaps.

Finally for fun, a reminder of how easily mistakes can get stuck in our thinking — The Un-discovered Islands by Malachy Tallack. It’s a run-through of all the islands that have turned up on maps over the centuries — but then turned out not to exist.

Think Thule, apparently discovered somewhere north of Shetland by the ancient Greek explorer Pytheas and firmly believed in by Pliny (who told his readers that on Thule there was “no night at the summer solstice). It doesn’t exist, nor does Bermeja, an island that appeared on maps off the Yucatán peninsula for hundreds of years — and was eventually removed in 1997.

This is a travel book. But not one that will upset you as much as some others. As none of the islands actually exist, no one can own them, and lockdown or no lockdown you can’t go to them. You might find that quite relaxing. I did.

Merryn Somerset Webb is editor-in-chief of MoneyWeek. The views expressed are personal; merryn@ft.comTwitter: @MerrynSW 





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80 Comments
  1. فوت فتیش says

    فیلمی درباره علاقه به کفش زنانه؛ برنده جایزه بهترین فیلم از
    جشنواره‌ای با پسوند «فجر»!!!+عکس

    بعضی از بچه هایی که اعضای خانواده آنها بیشتر با پا با آنها به بازی کردن می پردازند.
    هرگونه انتشار و بازنشر مطالبی که میدان اولین انتشار دهنده آن است، آزاد
    بوده و توصیه می‌شود. درباره مطالبی که از منابع دیگر در سایت میدان با ذکر منبع
    بازنشر شده‌اند، محدودیت‌های منبع اصلی معتبر خواهد بود.

    در میان این اختلالات، پدوفیلی،
    نمایشگری، چشم چرانی، دیگرآزاری
    و مالشگری جرم محسوب می شوند. اما داشتن
    تخیلات یا رفتارهای پارافیلیایی همیشه به
    معنای مبتلا بودن به بیماری روانی نیست.
    این تخیلات یا رفتارها ممکن است در
    اشکال بسیار خفیفی وجود داشته باشند و باعث اختلال کارکرد فرد و
    مانع ایجاد روابط سالم فرد با دیگران نشوند و به فرد
    یا دیگران آسیب نرسانند و به پیگرد قانونی نینجامند.

    سلستین (با بازی ژن مورو) به عنوان خدمت‌کار
    به املاک روستایی یک خانواده به نام مونتیل می‌رود.
    او خیلی زود متوجه می‌شود که
    زیاده‌روی در سرخوردگی‌ها و وسوسه‌های کارفرمایان مردش، می‌تواند به پیشرفت
    اجتماعی و مالی او کمک کند. این فیلم بلند مکزیکی بونوئل ایده شهادت مذهبی را در یک دنیای فاسد بررسی می‌کند.

    یکی از نمادین‌ترین تصاویر آن، چشمی است
    که با یک تیغ بریده می‌شود، که برخی از محققان آن را حمله بونوئل به ادراک تماشاگران تحلیل کرده‌اند.
    «سوسانا» به اندازه دیگر شاهکارهای بونوئل گزنده نیست، اما با تصاویر و تم‌های روانی و جنسی (به خصوص تم‌های ابزورد و پوچ مانند
    شلاق زدن سوسانا) مملو گشته است. امیال و رفتارهای فرد مبتلا به پارافیلی ممکن است باعث
    ناراحتی قابل توجه یا اختلال کارکرد شخصی،
    اجتماعی یا شغلی شود. فرد دچار
    پارافیلی را ممکن است «منحرف» بخوانند
    و این رفتارها ممکن است پیامدهای اجتماعی و قانونی
    وخیمی برای او داشته باشد. شیئ پرستی، بت پرستی، پا پرستی (فوت فتیش) یا عضو پرستی و غیره انحراف جنسی است که فرد
    بوسیله دیدن و لمس کردن آنها از نظر جنسی تحریک
    و با آنها لذت جنسی می برد.

    (کاراکترهایی که نه کاملا خوبند و نه کاملا بد)؛ کسانی که در یک دنیای
    فاسد و پر از ریاکاری زندگی می‌کنند.

    از اولین تصویرش از یک چشم بریده تا تصویر نهایی‌اش از یک قاب
    فیلم انفجار؛ بونوئل ما را با آثاری تنها گذاشت
    که آشکارا به آگاهی‌های ما حمله می‌کردند و خوشی را از ناخوشی‌ها خلق می‌کردند.
    بیست فیلم فهرست‌شده در این مطلب، بیانگر گستره استعدادهای بونوئل هستند.
    هیپنوتیزم به همراه روان
    درمانی سریع ترین و قویترین روش درمان مشکلات حل
    نشده شماست. مرکز مشاوره رسش در سال 1394 با مجوز رسمی از سازمان بهزیستی با همکاری اساتید برجسته دانشگاه و متخصصان مجرب روانشناسی و مشاوره شروع به فعالیت
    کرده است.
    با وجود این که این گونه تمایلات در ابتدا زندگی
    خود را بروز می‌دهند، اما نشانه‌های آن ممکن است در طول
    زندگی فرد بروز و ظهورهای کم و
    یا زیاد داشته باشند. اختلال‌های فتیش‌‌گونه معمولا همراه
    با اختلال‌های مارافیلیایی یا فعالیت‌های شدید جنسی همراه هستند.
    اختلال‌های فتیش‌گونه تقریبا به صورت انحصاری در مردان دیده می‌شوند.

    ۱۳۰ نفر از بیماران مبتلا به کووید۱۹ در
    بخش های مراقبت های ویژه بیمارستانها تحت مراقبت
    قرار دارند. مشاوره ماندگار برگرفته از آرمان ها و اهداف ایده آل در
    ایفای مشاوره‌ی حرفه ‌ای در زمینه های مختلف با سال ها تجربه در کنار شما عزیزان است،
    تا بهترین خدمات را به شما ارائه دهد.
    امکان دارد کودک در زمان ۵ یا ۶ سالگی به کفش
    مادر یا خواهر تمایل پیدا کند .

  2. پرستار مراقبت ویژه در منزل تهران says

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of
    it. I have got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

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