Property is an economic right. Without an economy, we can't have a working society--these rights must be protected in order to create a thriving community, which leads to a working government, which protects your right to life and liberty. Essentially, without economic rights, you cannot access a government, and you therefore cannot access life & liberty to their fullest extents (by enforcing the right to live over the right to murder, etc.).
I think we're only disagreeing on terms here. By economic right, I mean an enforceable right to own an economic good.By right to property, I only mean that you own that which you produce, or that which is given to you, or that which you rightfully trade with someone for.You do not have a right to some absolute amount of property or type of property, however. It would be wrong to say "I don't have any land, but I have a right to property, so I'm going to take some of yours."
So why is healthcare not in there? especially when it's predominantly driven by external factors out of your control? And isn't healthcare an enabler for 'life'? Finally, how does 'healthcare as aright' violate any of the 3 you mentioned?
This begs the question: are rights which grant access to other rights (as healthcare grants access to 'life') considered legitimate? Or are these secondary rights just positive consequences of the core three?
A right is something that belongs to you by your nature. Your life is your own. Since you're a human being with a reasoning consciousness, the actions you take belong to you as well (right to liberty). Since your survival requires the production of material goods, that which you produce belongs to you as well (right to property).Health care is an economic good. It requires someone's effort to produce it. To say that health care is your right is to say that the effort of those who are producing it belongs to you, but that contradicts their rights to liberty and property.If you're saying that you have a right to health care, you're saying that you have a right to force a doctor to provide that to you (or to force someone else to pay the doctor on your behalf).
Fair point.. but even if it wasn't means to an end, why isn't it an economic right just like property is? and why would it violate the other 3 core rights?
Well, if the rights are enforceable (which is the only way they can exist in practice), then someone needs to enforce it--the government.When it's the right to life, there's no problem. No one's rights are violated by the government using its force to prevent people from murdering each other. Same with liberty and property: the government should be able to use force to prevent people from kidnapping or stealing from each other.For the government to enforce health care, though, they'd need to do some combination of two wrong things:1. Force health care providers to render their service free of charge, or at a rate lower than they might choose to charge. That would violate the providers' right to liberty (and probably property).2. Leave the providers alone, but force people to pay for each other's health care, which would violate their right to property.
What if healthcare is subsidized by the Government at the same rate as privatize healthcare?
The moral issue still exists, but to focus on your point, I'm curious if this is even possible.How can it cost the same to distribute the same good with a middleman and without a middleman (when the middleman is a government bureaucracy)?
I agree with everything here, but what would you answer if someone claimed the following:the government needs to tax people to pay the policemen who will protect your right to life.If this is so, why is it any different than taxing people to pay for your healthcare, which enables life?
The violation of rights comes from an act of force or fraud by another human being. (You wouldn't accuse cancer or crocodiles of violating your rights.) Therefore, to protect rights, it makes sense that the government should be able to use force against people who initiate it. Hence the appropriate role of police. If a criminal uses force, the police are authorized by the people with the retaliatory use of force. We all mutually and directly benefit from having a neutral third party in charge of enforcement. No one's rights are sacrificed to another person's interest.(Incidentally, I think in an ideal world, a police force could probably be funded by voluntary contributions, but that's a far-off concern that I'll leave to the first colonists on Mars or something.)Health care (or any other economic good), by contrast, does not offer a mutual and direct benefit. Rather, it entails a compulsion against one person for the benefit of another. That's unjust.To say that health care enables life, which is a right, therefore healthcare is a right is an equivocation fallacy. "Life," in the context of rights, indicates that your life belongs to you. "Life," in the context of health care, denotes survival, which requires the production of goods, and in this case, the goods someone else produced, and has rightful ownership of, being forcibly transferred to you.In other words, it contradicts the more fundamental right.
I think in modern society, some level of economic right to an open and fair market exists. Life, liberty and property rights are fine if someone is entirely self-sufficient, and doesn't require any goods or services from others. Considering, however, that almost everyone in modern society instead specializes in certain things, and then exchanges goods and services with others, there ought to be a right to fair exchanges, which can often require a lot of government action to ensure (i.e, breaking up monopolies, preventing price gouging, taxing negative externalities, etc). Without fair or legitimate markets, the right to property becomes basically worthless in a modern context, since that property can't provide any real value to the owner.
What you're bringing up is only a question of how you apply property rights. Governments are necessary for the protection of rights, but they frequently overreach (usually with good intentions).Since you brought up that people require goods and services from others, I'll point out that trade is simply the mutual exercise (and exchange) of property rights, and the government certainly has a role in making sure that is facilitated fairly. Enforcing private contracts is certainly a legitimate use of the courts and police power (if need be).You bring up three examples that are separate from contracts: externalities, monopolies, and price gouging.In the case of externalities, if your industrial plant pollutes my property, you've violated my property rights. Ideally, the laws should be clear enough that I could sue you without emptying my bank account or sitting in a courtroom for three years, and get you to compensate me for the damages to my property.I don't think the government should break up monopolies, unless you're referring to the only kind of coercive monopoly that actually exists: government-run or government-protected monopolies. In both of those cases, prices tend to rise, progress stagnates, and everyone loses. Consider the MTA. On the private end, consider taxicab medallions, which created a government-protected cartel that was only recently disrupted by ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. It was the government "protectors" that were serving an oligopoly and trying to prevent a better alternative from taking root.For price-gouging, laws against it only lead to shortages. Look at NJ gas lines after Hurricane Sandy. There were no windfall profits to be realized, meaning less incentive to bear the extra cost of bringing supply into the area.Compare that to Uber's surge pricing. Yes, some people end up paying more--voluntarily. But it actually works. People get where they need to go or they figure out alternatives.
I agree that trade is just a mutual excersize of property rights, but I still think these 3 other examples still warrant government intervention. Externalities: While your example does make sense, I think the vast majority of environmental negative externalities are pollution of things like the air or water sources, which no individual has a legitimate property claim to. I think governments should still force companies to internalize these social costs, which reveals a gap between the protection of pure property rights and the ideal role of government.Monopolies: I think it's generally bad if private monopolies or oligopolies exist as well. Usually, once companies are able to provide lower quality services without worrying about losing customers and market share, they'll generally just defer to the cheapest, lowest-quality products. A pretty good example of this is the media industry late in the 20th century, where hundreds of individual companies began consolidating into large conglomerates. By the 1990s, these companies were making more money than ever, while also sharply cutting back on journalist resources that were required for quality coverage. I think that without real choice in markets, consumers cannot fully excersize their property rights.Price-gouging: While, again, anti-gouging laws have been implemented poorly in the past, I think there are a lot of instances in which laws ought to be enacted against this. Very simply, as long as companies can still make profits, they'll probably keep providing the goods/services that people need. An example of where such laws could be needed is in the pharmaceutical industry, where patent protection allows functional monopolies to exist any time a new drug is released. A lot of the time the justification for these higher prices is the high costs of bringing a drug to market, but that probably says more about the complexities of gaining federal approval than it does about the basic economics of the industry. If the cost of bringing a hypothetical drug to market were $1/unit, and a company were selling it for $1,000,000/unit, I think setting price ceilings in between the 2 numbers would both maintain market incentives for companies to produce the drugs while also allowing consumers to fully excersize their property rights. At the end of the day, I think all of these protections are required for people to fully excersize their property rights in the modern day, and that a government's role needs to be far more than just enforcing basic contracts to do so.
Though I don't know the exact details of government involvement in the television industry, I do know for a fact that they've historically been very interlinked.That being said, I would not be surprised if the development of oligopolies in the TV world had much to do with government creating barriers to entry which excluded smaller companies from competition
Each of these issues can be their own debate, so I'll keep it brief:Your point about externalities illustrates the need for more clearly and thoroughly defined property rights, not a separate regulatory regime that runs parallel to them. Applying property rights to fluid bodies, like water and air, would be more complex than basic land property (and far too challenging a task in philosophy of law for our current legislators to tackle), but it would be the most direct solution to the problem. If a river runs through my backyard, I should own it in some capacity. I should also have a stake, in some way, the air that flows into my home. Again, how that can be implemented is a far longer and more complex discussion.Monopolies: Jonathan made the point that TV is heavily interwoven with government protection. Between broadcast licensing on the channel's end, and cable franchises imposed by local governments on the distribution end, it's no wonder that the industry consolidated. Observe that when anyone could create a "channel" online, free of regulatory barriers, we ended up with more channels than we know what to do with.Price-gouging: the point is that price controls of any type necessarily lead to a shortage. If it's a a maximum price, you'll see less supply (see: NJ gas lines after Hurricane Sandy). If it's a minimum price, you'll see less demand (see: minimum wage and unemployment).Pharmaceutical companies also have a government privilege: their customers are not payers, meaning they are insulated from price. The payer is either an insurance company or a government, who might be legally required to provide the drug at any price. That's the only way they can profit by charging more than their customers can afford (if their customers had to pay at prices they couldn't afford, by definition, the company would have no sales).