[OPE] More nonsense from the illiterate Dr Greenspan about Marx

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sat Oct 11 2008 - 07:00:20 EDT

From: Dr. Alan Greenspan - "Markets and the Judiciary" Sandra Day O'Connor Project Conference, October 2, 2008

"Regrettably, the notion of rights of ownership of capital and other income-earning
assets remains conflicted, especially in societies that still believe that profit seeking is not
quite moral. A key purpose of property rights, after all, is to protect assets in order to use
them to profit or personally benefit. Such rights are not supportable in a society that holds
any significant remnant of the view of property as "theft." That notion embraced by Karl
Marx rests on the presumption that gained wide acceptance in the first half of the
twentieth century that wealth created under a division of labor is produced jointly, and
hence should be owned collectively. Any rights inhering in an individual, therefore, must
be "stolen" from society as a whole. Classical economists led by Adam Smith, a
prominent figure of the Enlightenment, in contrast, developed the notion of the marginal
contribution of each individual to the production process as the basis of his or her
incomes. Implicitly, Smith's followers argued that Marx's view was inconsistent with
human nature and therefore could not explain economic development. Marx did
recognize that acquisitive human nature was not compatible with a collectivized state.
But he postulated a change of human nature fostered by communism. It took many
generations to prove him wrong. With the exception of a few diehards, none of today's
communist leaders hold to that orthodoxy."


Dr Greenspan is so illiterate and so exceptionally badly informed about the real world of human relations, that he attributes what Pierre-Joseph Proudhon wrote in his first polemic (1840) "Qu'est-ce que la propriété? Recherche sur le principe du droit et du gouvernement" to Marx, and completely ignores that markets cannot even exist without an equivalent amount of non-commercial activity. Greenspan furthermore obscures the whole question of the ownership, the control and the use of property. No wonder he has left the legacy of a financial mess.

Proudhon subsequently qualified his statement Confessions d'un revolutionnaire:

"In my first memorandum, in a frontal assault upon the established order, I said things like, Property is theft! The intention was to lodge a protest, to highlight, so to speak, the inanity of our institutions. At the time, that was my sole concern. Also, in the memorandum in which I demonstrated that startling proposition using simple arithmetic, I took care to speak out against any communist conclusion. In the System of Economic Contradictions, having recalled and confirmed my initial formula, I added another quite contrary one rooted in considerations of quite another order - a formula that could neither destroy the first proposition nor be demolished by it: Property is freedom. [...] In respect of property, as of all economic factors, harm and abuse cannot be dissevered from the good, any more than debit can from asset in double-entry book-keeping. The one necessarily spawns the other. To seek to do away with the abuses of property, is to destroy the thing itself; just as the striking of a debit from an account is tantamount to striking it from the credit record."

For Marx's views on Proudhon, see http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1865/letters/65_01_24.htm


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Received on Sat Oct 11 07:10:11 2008

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