You Do Not Own Your Labor
“This line of argument is confused because of an over-reliance on vague metaphor. We have to stop thinking of contract as binding promises or obligations. We have to think of it, as Evers and Rothbard argue, as transfers of title to owned resources. And we have to recognize that these owned resources are only scarce, physical goods—not “labor.” You do not own your labor. You own your body. That gives you the right to perform actions (labor), but you do not own your actions. If I perform an action that you like, and pay me for, you do not own my action. You do not even “receive” my action. You simply prefer that I engage in it, for a variety of reasons.
In other words a labor contract may be viewed as an exchange only economically, but not legally. Economically, the employer gives up title to money, in “exchange” for you performing some action. But legally, it’s not an exchange at all, it’s just a one-way transfer of title: a conditional transfer of future title to future money, conditioned on the occurrence of a certain event happening (namely: that the “employee” does a certain action). That is, if you mow my lawn, then title to this gold coin transfers to you. Again, the transfer of title in this case is both expressly conditional and future-oriented. Title to the coin transfers only if the lawn is mowed, and I still own the coin.
The performance of the action triggers the transfer of money from the employer, but the action is not literally “sold” because the employee did not “own” his labor, and the employer does not own it after it is performed. We have to stop thinking sloppily and overusing metaphors.”
— Stephan Kinsella, A Libertarian Theory of Contract
One caveat I would add is that employers pay you to perform an action and this is a one way transfer but they do so with the expectation that your performance will result in a 3rd party transferring them some sort of payment, and usually greater than the original payment for your action.
If that second transfer isn’t possible or relied on or there is no expectation of a reciprocating action/reaction then most, if not all, employers would not initiate the initial action of transferring payment to you in the first place.
The secondary action can even be a negative. For example if you pay someone to stand guard as security on your property, your expected reciprocation from 3rd parties is that they will NOT bother you or enter your property.
You’re therefore paying for an action and expecting non-action in return.
Anonymous asked: thoughts on states trying to "secede"
First, let’s clarify. I don’t think states are trying to secede, I think the citizens of those states are PETITIONING to secede. Big difference.
But for the sake of this post, clump it all together and say that the States are trying to secede.
The United States of America is bound together by the ratification of the US Constitution as the doctrine that “Unites” all the states into a single Union where the Constitution grants the Federal Gov’t certain rights, lays out a list of human rights that all 50 states agree to protect, denies states some powers and then allows states to do whatever the Federal Gov’t wasn’t permitted to do and whatever the States weren’t prevented from doing under the US Constitution.
But, these states still exist on their own as 50 Nation States and the Constitution is a legally binding contract between them and the Federal Government.
Being a legal contract, if the States/People believe that there are performance issues by the Federal Government, they can ask for a remedy to the situation. Remedies include damages, specific performance and other remedies (which I’ll get to in a second).
The idea of Nullification was also introduced by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as a means to combat the unjust laws created by the Federal Government and applied to the states. The theory stands on the grounds that since the binding document between the State and Fed is a legal contract, no new clause or requirement can be introduced by one party without the approval of the other party or parties.
For example, if you sign a contract to buy 100 apples a month from me. I can’t, ex post facto, also make you buy 50 oranges a month with that order and then require you to do so or lose your apple contract. We never agreed on those terms and we are only bound by the terms we agreed to.
This is nullification.
The more extreme form of nullification is secession.
Which brings us to the other remedy of a breached contract: Rescission or the act of rescinding a contract.
In this case, Federal Government is found, by the people or the states, to no longer be engaging in the services which they promised or offered as consideration for the powers that were granted to them.
Not sure on what grounds these secessionists will argue that the Federal Government has failed to perform, but I can think of a few:
- Protection of the Bill of Rights (TSA, NSA, FBI, CIA, DHS, etc, etc, etc)
- Violation of the 5th Amendment (US Citizens were killed with out Due Process of Law),
- Violation of the 1st Amendment (No persons shall protest a public place that has a public servant with Secret Service present)
- Violation of Article 3, Section 3 - Treason (Aiding an enemy of the state, in this case militants in both Libya and Syria who we consider enemies of the state received federal aid and weapons from the government).
- Violation of the 4th Amendment - Search and Seizure (NSA and FBI wire taps and spying without court orders or justification).
This list can probably go on and on, but you get the picture.
As for how I feel about the states actually trying to secede, not sure. Obviously I have a healthy mistrust and distaste for government, so the smaller the better.