When Lemonade Is Illegal…

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In the comments section of the post about CAFTA below, reader "Randolph Carter" points to this incredible story from Salem, Massachusetts, which is haunted more by stupid licensing laws than witches these days:

Dominic Serino, 9, and his neighbor, Ryan Decker, 11, were forced Saturday to shut down their lemonade stand at Salem Common after an employee of a nearby sausage vendor called police, complaining that the boys were hurting his sales.

The budding entrepreneurs had to call it quits, under orders by some reluctant police officers. The boys, after all, did not have a license, and rules are rules. The two packed up and trudged home.

Whole thing here.

All together now: "My country 'tis of thee…"

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  1. Well, it’s obvious that we have to close the “Lemonade Stand Loophole,” where unlicensed vendors can sell lemonade and other drinks to the public.

    And from http://www.overlawyered.com/archives/00aug2.html (in 2000):

    August 16-17 — Okay to make lemonade. In Eustis, Fla., the city government has backed down from an inspector’s attempt to close down the lemonade stand that nine-year-old Rachel Caine runs across the street from her home. (Stephanie Erickson, “Eustis officials back down from order to make girl, 9, close lemonade stand”, Orlando Sentinel/Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Aug. 9). And in Longmont, Colo., 11-year-old “Soda Girl” Caitlin Rezac is back in business with her fizzy-refreshment stand after a run-in with the Boulder County health department, which had busted her for operating without a hand sink and $110 license; a local business donated the sink (search Denver Post archives on “Caitlin Rezac” (excerpts free, fee for full story); letter to the editor from county official Ann Walters, Boulder Daily Camera, Aug. 12 (scroll) (via Liberzine)).

  2. It’s officially a trend!

    t was a University Heights tradition: Every year on John Carroll’s graduation day, neighborhood kids set up lemonade stands around the school for visiting parents.
    Obviously, this was bad. It had to be stopped.

    This year, Pat Rhoa’s sons, ages 9 and 11, were engaged in junior commerce when they were approached by John Carroll’s chief of police, Dan Clark. He told the boys they were in direct competition with the university’s concession stand, and if they wanted to sell on school property, they needed permission.

    “We had our own contracted food service people . . .,” Clark says. “I explained to the father that you’re taking business away from them.”

    Besides, as a good Catholic school, the Pope’s teachings on crushing the aspirations of children are very clear.

    Rhoa asked the chief whether his boys could at least sell their five remaining cups of lemonade, to which the officer responded with a definitive “no.” Rhoa says Clark then stood over the boys, arms folded, as they dumped the offending cups in the grass. “Don’t worry,” Rhoa told the officer. “We’re leaving.”

    But the chief didn’t budge. “We gotta make sure you leave,” he said, then escorted the trio off campus.

    One can never be too firm with traffickers in illegal lemonade.

    Fortunately, the Rhoa boys learned valuable lessons about commerce and power. “They learned how to be nice to people, a little bit about change and money,” says Dad. “But they also learned that you can’t get away from The Man. Big Brother is always there.”

    The greatest irony: The boys were trying to raise money to attend a John Carroll sports camp.

  3. The article only goes this deep into the sausage-vendor’s side:

    “”I didn’t tell the police, ‘Listen, throw these kids out of here,’ ” Clowery said. ”I am superapologetic. I just didn’t want them to be within direct line of sight. It’s a tourist area. We spend big money for the spot.””

    So, in the interest of playing devil’s advocate: is the big money for a license, or for a lease? I presume in Massachusetts “{Town} Common” is in fact a munincipal park. In that case, what follows is less significant. But…

    If it is in fact a lease, and it grants the sausage cart an exclusive right to retail in that area, then isn’t this a case of cute ragamuffins trampling their neighbor’s paid-for property rights?

  4. We have a bazillion cops in this country now, thanks to the war on drugs. Why are poeple surprised when they are used in any way at all that makes them seem useful?

  5. This sounds like a case for IJ!

  6. So lemme get this straight – the vendor wanted them removed from any line-of-sight to his cart, but didn’t want them thrown out of the area?

    Suuure.

  7. devil’s-advocate,

    You are correct in the sense that, as good libertarians, we should be happy that property rights are upheld by the use of law. However, let’s move away from the theoretical to the real world for a second. This vendor’s competition are a couple of kids. They’re not even teenagers yet. I don’t know about you, but whenever I see kids like this, I make a point of buying from them as a way to reinforce and validate their budding entreprenurial identities. However, I hardly ever drink the crap they’re selling; I go around the corner and throw the shit away. After all, they’re kids! God knows how many times they sneezed (on purpose or not) in the damn drink. If I am really hungry or thirsty, I’ll buy frmo the “professional.” I would imagine that the level of competition involved here is minute, and that what we here as libertarians should concern ourselves with in the obvious overreaction by our law enforcement officials.

  8. The sausage guy paid for legal rights, whether license or lease. Normally, libertarians would be all for the protection of rights for a business. But somehow, even here, there’s a soft spot for “the children”. As if being 11 makes one expempt from the abiding by the rules of the game. Perhaps the economics of the sausage-guy business are similar to other seasonal and tourist shops. He might need the extra lemonade sales to cover the cost of slack times, like summer break, so he arranges for a exclusive rights. For all we know, those little “entrepreneurs” were stealing bread from sausage guy’s family.

    Friends of selective enforcement might ask the police to look the other way when the offending 11-year old is “only” selling lemonade. Would they be so quick to grant the exemption when that kid is pulling out their landscaping or smashing the windows on their car? If you’re gonna have a law, it has to apply to everyone.

    Maybe it isn’t the kids who need helmets.

  9. When lemonade is illegal…

    …only criminals will have their thirst quenched.

  10. Swede: I like your sense of charity, but there’s a gap in your reasoning.

    let’s move away from the theoretical to the real world

    I would imagine that the level of competition involved here is minute

    Must we make sausage guy sue the kids to demonstrate the level of harm they do to his business? Would you also have no objection if a Starbucks trailer pulled up and started selling drinks? At what level of harm do we actually decide to enforce the contract?

  11. Not the first time that’s happened. But, when Mrs TWC had a lemonade stand it made the six o’clock news in LA. Good human interest. No bureacratic drones showed up either.

  12. WTF? I am absolutely amazed to see the defense of licensing on a libertarian BB.

    The real question should be why Sausage Guy or the Lemonade Boys should have to buy a friggin’ license to sell stuff.

  13. Normally, libertarians would be all for the protection of rights for a business. But somehow, even here, there’s a soft spot for “the children”.

    There was a right way to handle this and a wrong way. Right way: “Kid, you’ll do better if you move to a spot with less competition. And technically you aren’t supposed to be here since somebody else is paying to use this spot. So if you just move over there you’ll have customers and no competition and everything will be better.”

    Wrong way: “I’m going to have to ask you to cease and desist from any and all lemonade-related activity until you get a permit. Otherwise the cops will have no choice but to close you down forcibly.”

    It’s not about a “soft spot” for “the children”. It’s about adults using common sense so that kids can engage in time-honored childhood activities.

  14. I don’t see why libertarians should be on the side of the sausage guy. Just because he paid for a government license that grants him and him only the exclusive right to sell in that area doesn’t make such government controled licenses right. Private land is obviously another story.

  15. I think you’re missing the forest for the trees, Dynamist: Why do vendors have to purchase a $2,000 license from the state to be permitted to sell lemonade or sausage?

  16. And now libertarians are defending government-enforced monopolies. And harrassing kids.

  17. You know, if I see one more media-savvy parent setting up their precious Johnnie for a David/Goliath story I’m gonna puke. Look at those little bastards. A Radio Flyer in the background? Gimme a fucking break. Hey, where’s the backward “E” in “lemonade”? The crossed out 25 cent price?

    This happens a couple times a year. It happens when (a) some asshole parent builds their kid a lemonade stand for the SOLE PURPOSE of (b) getting it shut down, so they can then (c) go running to the paper, the TV, the Fox evening news, and every book publisher that’ll listen with their tale of woe, of how little Johnny got his lemonade stand shut down when all he wanted to do was make a few nickels for himself so he could save up enough money to join the Mickey Mouse club and look what happened. Waa waa waaa.

    Its a sick spectacle, to be sure, using kids this way, but this is what some parents have become.

  18. Dynamist, if you think libertarians support business “rights” which are derived from arbitrary government regulation, I think you don’t have a very good understanding of libertarianism or rights.

  19. The law’s the law. Laws are meant to protect us. These kids have no more right to break the law then you or I do. If a law keeps us all safe it is inherintly a good thing, it wouldn’t have been enacted otherwise, I’m all for throwing the book at them.

  20. Good thing Sausage Guy didn’t hurl a rock at them.

  21. thoreau: You’re correct about the technique.

    Everybody else: The idea of licensing need not derive from government. Substitute something like Underwriter’s Laboratorties or the Good Houskeeping Seal in place of the license. I agree that paying the state sucks, but there are extra costs to running a “professional” business (so that Swede would feel comfortable drinking the juice). In our current nanny-state model, that UL label for food vendors takes the form of a municpal license. If you don’t like licensing, bitch about that, rather than ask for selective enforcement of silly law.

    if you think libertarians support business “rights” which are derived from arbitrary government regulation

    Most libertarians love property rights which are part of land titles. Where do land titles come from? The arbritrary decision of an old English King. If you look deeper into the history of titles, you’ll find this fundamental aspect of libertarianism is founded upon blatantly arbitrary and illegal (by common law) taking of land by force.

  22. I haven’t seen a lemonade stand in years.
    What about Lucy’s Psychiatry stand from Peanuts? How I wish the feds would shut that down.

  23. What is property?

    Property is theft!

  24. Excuse me, folks, this was ON THE TOWN COMMON. The town shouldn’t have any system to decide who, or how many, people and businesses are allowed to set up on the Town Common.

    Freaking ignorant, reflexive snarking, is what…

  25. What’s theft?

    Taking something without consent or compensation.

    Land titles are theft. All other property is beautiful. Keep what you make, but don’t claim rights to what you didn’t make.

  26. Dynamist, I would have to disagree, for somewhat Hobbesian reasons.

    It is impossible for any human economic activity at all to take place without some means of determining who has access to a particular piece of property. Even so-called propertyless theoretical systems still have a means to grant exclusive access to a piece of property for a particular user, if only to avoid having me come along and plow up the crops Collective Farm #1 just planted so that I can have a nice open-air latrine.

    Since some sort of exclusive land use access is inevitable, we have two choices. We can either 1) have a war of all against all to attempt to determine who should have which piece of land, or 2) we can “negotiate” our way into a system of peaceful management of land claims by affirming existing ownership and initiating a system of honest exchange. Some centuries ago we decided to do #2. Disputing all existing land claims because of the fact that at the jumping-off point land distribution was not perfectly fair accomplishes little but returning us to #1.

  27. Does anyone really want to walk through a public area and be harassed by guys selling “rolexes” from inside their overcoats, or knockoff football jerseys, or pirated dvds, every 5 feet? Vendor’s licensing is a reasonable solution to prevent this, as well as leasing the right to sell in a public space. It’s too bad these kids have idiot parents who don’t think that the law applies to them, but that doesn’t make the sausage vendor, the police, or the system the city has to license vendors, at fault.

    p.s. – thank you for coming joe, you’re exactly right (with the sarcasm).

  28. Does anyone really want to walk through a public area and be harassed by guys selling “rolexes” from inside their overcoats, or knockoff football jerseys, or pirated dvds, every 5 feet?

    Hell, yes! One of the best watches I ever owned was a knockoff Gucci with changeable color backgrounds, for which I paid a DC street vendor ten bucks. It kept perfect time for three years; too bad I lost it when I moved to Connecticut.

  29. Where else am I supposed to buy my Rolexes? I’ve got to go to Canal Street every time I want me some bling?

  30. Wow. That was more successful than I had hoped.
    🙂

    Kirsten, my private property is defined by a deed, issued by my county, which at root originates from some arbitrary government decision. Show me anywhere where that isn’t the case.

    To be sure, my goal wasn’t to support government licensing, but it was to make sure we’re not being blinded by “for the children” cuteness where the sausage vendor is legitimately impacted by other operators within a regulated space. Is the point that there shouldn’t be any public spaces where this kind of ambiguity pops up? Sure, I can get behind that.

    But this is a more ambiguous situation than the time in 2003 when Minnesota shut down lemonade kids *on their own lawn* in the neighborhood of the state fair.

    Thoreau had it right – explain to the kids that they’re hurting the sausage vendor who has in fact played by the rules to be where they are; if they don’t think to move out of the way themselves, then suggest a better location.

    Of course, this is itself an argument for more discretion for police officers, which I think we like when police make the right decision, and decry when they make they wrong decision.

  31. I think the kids should start selling Rolexes.

  32. FluffyUnbound: I was only making half the case. Once people accept that the current system of titling is bogus (a tough slog), then they’ll be more open to looking at negotiated alternatives. From my limited experience, if I start with the negotiated alternative, I bump against a lot of closed minds who don’t want to change an unjust system that has served many (but still a minority) quite well for centuries.

    The other half is to recognize that all land is justly the property of the public-at-large, and in exchange for using a bit of land for your latrine or wheat field or office tower, you owe the public some rent on the ground you occupy. To make a long post short, I ask all to look into the ideas of Henry George.

  33. Jennifer, Stephen,

    The guys selling watches either a) have a license to set up a table on the sidewalk, which are limited in number and enforced by the city or b) acting illegally, which keeps the numbers down and the vendors discreet.

    Either, way the law is keeping the sidewalk from falling victim to the tragedy of the commons.

  34. When life hands you melons, make melonade.

  35. advocate: Some years ago I made an offer of exchange to your employer. I haven’t received any reply. Would you please ask him if he’s still interested in obtaining more souls?

    (Provided, of course, that I own my own soul. I didn’t make it myself, so I might not have a right to trade; I might be stuck with it.)

  36. Joe–

    It was a pushcart, not a table.

  37. She said the parents were using the stand to help teach the boys the basics of running a business, but the lemonade controversy created a real-life civics lesson for them, too.

    Lesson learned: entrepeneurship is hell. If it seems easy, don’t worry: the government will make it difficult for you.

    Swede, lol! I patronize lemonade stands, too. You make a good point, though. Next time I’ll throw the swill out when I drive away.

    The law’s the law. Laws are meant to protect us. These kids have no more right to break the law then you or I do. If a law keeps us all safe it is inherintly a good thing, it wouldn’t have been enacted otherwise, I’m all for throwing the book at them.

    Has anyone noticed that Jane is Juanita reincarnated and honkified? (my own term).

    Ron Hardin,

    You’re a fan of Homestar Runner , too?

    Phil,

    I’m awfully pensive to say this, but I have a closer affiliation with John Carroll than I would be comfortable to admit here.

  38. Sausage Guy and the Lemonade Boys….I think I’ve seen them live in concert before.

  39. THE KNIGHTS

    (A monologue from the play by Aristophanes)

    (NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Aristophanes: The Eleven Comedies. Trans. Anonymous. London: The Athenian Society, 1922.)

    SAUSAGE-SELLER: The story is worth hearing. Listen! From here I rushed straight to the Senate, right in the track of this man; he was already letting loose the storm, unchaining the lightning, crushing the Knights beneath huge mountains of calumnies heaped together and having all the air of truth; he called you conspirators and his lies caught root like weeds in every mind; dark were the looks on every side and brows were knitted. When I saw that the Senate listened to him favourably and was being tricked by his imposture I said to myself, “Come, gods of rascals and braggarts, gods of all fools, toad-eaters and braggarts and thou, market-place, where I was bred from my earliest days, give me unbridled audacity, an untiring chatter and a shameless voice.” No sooner had I ended this prayer than a lewd man broke wind on my right. “Hah! ’tis a good omen,” said I, and prostrated myself; then I burst open the door by a vigorous push with my back, and, opening my mouth to the utmost, shouted, “Senators, I wanted you to be the first to hear the good news; since the War broke out, I have never seen anchovies at a lower price!” All faces brightened at once and I was voted a chaplet for my good tidings; and I added, “With a couple of words I will reveal to you, how you can have quantities of anchovies for an obol; ’tis to seize on all the dishes the merchants have.” With mouths gaping with admiration, they applauded me. However, the Paphlagonian winded the matter and, well knowing the sort of language which pleases the Senate best, said, “Friends, I am resolved to offer one hundred oxen to the goddess in recognition of this happy event.” The Senat at once veered to his side. So when I saw myself defeated by this ox filth, I outbade the fellow, crying, “Two hundred!” And beyond this I moved, that a vow be made to Diana of a thousand goats if the next day anchovies should only be worth an obol a hundred. And the Senate looked towards me again. The other, stunned with the blow, grew delirious in his speech, and at last the Prytanes and the guards dragged him out. The Senators then stood talking noisily about the anchovies. Cleon, however, begged them to listen to the Laced?monian envoy, who had come to make proposals of peace; but all with one accord, cried, “‘Tis certainly not the moment to think of peace now! If anchovies are so cheap, what need have we of peace? Let the war take its course!” And with loud shouts they demanded that the Prytanes should close the sitting and then leapt over the rails in all directions. As for me, I slipped away to buy all the coriander seed and leeks there were on the market and gave it to them gratis as seasoning for their anchovies. ‘Twas marvellous! They loaded me with praises and caresses; thus I conquered the Senate with an obol’s worth of leeks, and here I am.

  40. Kirsten, my private property is defined by a deed, issued by my county, which at root originates from some arbitrary government decision. Show me anywhere where that isn’t the case.

    I’m typing on it right now. I don’t have a deed to my computer issued by any government, nor does any government hold records saying that I own the clothes on my body nor the purse that I carry nor the majority of the other things I own. Property rights do not derive from government deeds.

    But consider the consequences of that line of reasoning. Are you suggesting that if the government records defining your private property were destroyed in some bizarre catastrophe that it would be okay for me to show up with a bulldozer and knock down your house since it was no longer your property?

  41. smacky —

    I have nothing against JCU myself; I had just happened to read that bit in Scene last month and it was the first thing I thought of. Me, I’ve only ever been on the campus . . . maybe three times? And not at all since like 1996.

  42. SAUSAGE-SELLER: Just tell me how a sausage-seller can become a great man.

    DEMOSTHENES: That is precisely why you will be great, because you are a sad rascal without shame, no better than a common market rogue.

    SAUSAGE-SELLER: I do not hold myself worthy of wielding power.

    DEMOSTHENES: Oh! by the gods! Why do you not hold yourself worthy? Have you then such a good opinion of yourself? Come, are you of honest parentage?

    SAUSAGE-SELLER: By the gods! No! of very bad indeed.

    DEMOSTHENES: Spoilt child of fortune, everything fits together to ensure your greatness.

    SAUSAGE-SELLER: But I have not had the least education. I can only read, and that very badly.

    DEMOSTHENES: That is what may stand in your way, almost knowing how to read. A demagogue must be neither an educated nor an honest man; he has to be an ignoramus and a rogue.

    (…)

    CHORUS: Demos, you are our all-powerful sovereign lord; all tremble before you, yet you are led by the nose. You love to be flattered and fooled; you listen to the orators with gaping mouth and your mind is led astray.

    DEMOS: It’s rather you who have no brains, if you think me so foolish as all that; it is with a purpose that I play this idiot’s role, for I love to drink the livelong day, and so it pleases me to keep a thief for my minister. When he has thoroughly gorged himself, then I overthrow and crush him.

    CHORUS: What profound wisdom! If it be really so, why! all is for the best. Your ministers, then, are your victims, whom you nourish and feed up expressly in the Pnyx, so that, the day your dinner is ready, you may immolate the fattest and eat him.

    DEMOS: Look, see how I play with them, while all the time they think themselves such adepts at cheating me. I have my eye on them when they thieve, but I do not appear to be seeing them; then I thrust a judgment down their throat as it were a feather, and force them to vomit up all they have robbed from me.

  43. The Boston Glob now tells me that the Boys are back in business. You see, the mayor of my fair town of Salem, The Hon. Stanley Usovicz, felt that a waiver of permit for the kids and their little lemon cart would be too much trouble, so he is allowing the lemonade selling tykes (who have been there for weeks and who are adorable) to operate jointly with the sausage cart under the sausage cart’s license. The sausage cart vendor, for his part, feels like a real jagoff for ratting the kids out in the first place, and numerous passersby have told him so as well. So, the kids get a piece of his permit.

    ‘Cos that makes sense. That they need a permit. Can’t vote, can’t drive, can’t pop a cold one, need a permit. To sell Country Time lemonade at insane markups.

    I love living in Salem, so much to see, so much to do, skee-ball and ice cream all summer long, but man. It sure is Massachusettsy around here.

  44. Kirsten: You miss the distinction between personal property and real property. Who owns than land upon which you park your stuff?

    If the records of title are lost or destroyed, I could claim the land and bulldoze your house. Why do you think your claim to land is any stronger than mine?

    (Such a tragedy is one of the reasons title insurance is mandatory for mortgages, and wise for everybody.)

  45. The Hon. Stanley Usovicz, felt that a waiver of permit for the kids and their little lemon cart would be too much trouble, so he is allowing the lemonade selling tykes (who have been there for weeks and who are adorable) to operate jointly with the sausage cart under the sausage cart’s license.

    Yeah, buddy, you tell that turd who’s boss!

  46. The other half is to recognize that all land is justly the property of the public-at-large, and in exchange for using a bit of land for your latrine or wheat field or office tower, you owe the public some rent on the ground you occupy.

    Didn’t they try that once somewhere. Russia, maybe? Cuber? North Korea? How’s that whole communism thing working out, anyhow?

    Ye godz, to think someone with the handle of Dynamist is proposing the abolition of property rights in real estate, to be replaced with a tax. Apologies to joe, but that may be the worst single idea I’ve ever read here at H & R.

    Real property is picture-perfect arbitrariness. After all, the definition of your real property, its boundaries, could hardly be more arbitrary – imaginary lines drawn in space. The root of all real property, as far as I know, goes back to a grant from the government itself.

    Real property is basically a bundle of arbitrary state-granted monopoly rights. Too bad it beats the hell out of every alternative tried so far. Especially communal ownership.

  47. RC: You illustrate the closed-mindedness I face. Please check the link I gave. The essential bit is not who actually holds the title, but recognizing that no individual has just claim to a perpetual occupation of piece of the earth. Versions of the system seem to have served Hong Kong and Singapore quite well. The commies that took over Namibia are discovering “the market” and other liberty-friendly adjustments to the colonial system. Ask a renter how well the King’s rights are serving him. Free your mind, my friend.

    By eliminating a deeply-ingrained distortion in value, Georgism (or geolibertarianism), is a much more “dynamic” system than continuing the monoply our Founding Fathers brought over from England to enrich themselves. No argument that it has worked well enough, and I’m a screwer more than a screwee, but I can see how it isn’t fair. As a dynamist, I’m not one to argue for a desired outcome (that’s for joe). I look for ways to eliminate distortions so we have better information and make better choices.

  48. metalgrid: I want that to be the Iron Lady…who is it?

  49. A big raspberry goes out to the vendor who called the police on these two boys. Jarrod Clowery attempted to defend his actions: “I didn’t tell the police, “Listen, throw these kids out of here”. I am superapologetic. I just didn’t want them to be within direct line of sight. It’s a tourist area. We spend big money for the spot.” I’m guessing he spends somewhere in the vicinity of $2000 for the spot. Possibly Clowery has a point. He did indeed buy a license enabling him to sell food and drinks in a heavily trafficked area. I could argue that he had a property right to the vending concessions in that area. By calling the police, he was simply protecting his legitimate property.

    But I think he was too quick to depend on the government to protect him. Apparently the boys were doing enough business to threaten his revenue for the day. But that was an opportunity to earn higher profits. How? Simple. Allow the boys to act as vendors for his own lemonade. Offer to split the profits with them and benefit from their superior salesmanship. Clowery had a golden opportunity to teach the boys about property rights, business partnerships, and competitive advantage. He would have also avoided the ill will of the entire community of Salem, Massachusetts. Sounds like an opportunity for a win-win situation. Except that he chickened out and leaned on the government for help. Oops. Sounds like a lose-lose situation resulted.

    (This is what I posted at my blog after seeing the original story. From what I’m reading in the comments, it appears that the city may have enforced this solution already. It would have been better had the original parties reached this solution themselves, however.)

  50. Joe: I love your win-win solution. Without government to rely on, I think such ideas might occur more often.

  51. Joe, the problem with your solution is that Clowery probably would have been arrested for violating the child-labor laws.

  52. Jennifer, I agree that child-labor laws could potentially pose a problem. However, do they cover situtations like business partnerships in addition to straightforward employment? What if Clowery had worked out an arrangement with the kids’ parents?

  53. Dynamist: You have things completely bass-ackwards. Property does not come from titles, and neither is the invention of an old English king. Read Genesis 23:

    ‘Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, “I am an alien and a stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.” … So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre – both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field – was deeded to Abraham as his property…’

    That’s a little older than England, don’t you think? Ownership of private property has been recognized in a great many societies, very few of which used pieces of paper in the county office to record it. Formal title arose because it’s an effective means of proving ownership to strangers; “primitive” societies don’t have much use for it because land transactions don’t occur between strangers much. Really, you are so wrong about nearly everything you write about property that I can hardly think that you’re not just trolling. I would suggest that for a start you read Hernando de Soto’s The Mystery of Capital and Richard Pipes’ Property and Freedom.

  54. JD: I’ll skip arguing over biblical interpretion, and ask that you read Progress and Poverty by George. I’ll read Pipes. When would you like to meet and discuss?

    The idea of “proving ownership” implies that ownership is justly recognized. In the conquest of North America, the King’s workmen first had to “educate” natives about the “ownership” of god’s earth before they could cheat the heathens out of their ancestral non-titled land.

  55. From the blurbs on amazon about Pipes, it looks like he misses the discinction between real property and all other property. I’ll also guess that he misses the possibility of different separations between real-property rights and real-property ownership. An emphyteutic lease grants liberty-enhancing rights to the lessee while ownership and ultimate benefit of the ground is held by the lessor.

  56. Jane, you ignorant slut. 🙂

    Actually, I didn’t say that, it was the guy who founded House of Blues

  57. Kirsten, good points.

    And the property right isn’t defined by the deed it is EVIDENCED by the deed. We have asked the county to keep records of property transactions as a convenience to us.

    The government is not granting you the deed to your property the SELLER is granting you the deed, which you then record with the county.

  58. Can’t the sausage guy just use “I’m a licensed business” as a value-add selling point to potential customers? Or do most potential customers not see any value in that?

    The sausage guy paid a license fee for one reason: to restrict competition.

  59. I happen to know a great deal about land titles and ownership, and I sayeth:

    It’s really hard!

  60. TWC: Who granted the seller that deed? Regress until you reach an arbitrary decree of the King of England/France/Spain.

    The county also enforces the rights evidenced by the deed, granted under common and codified law. Without the Sheriff, your deed means much less. It seems a reasonable shorthand to say the deed comes with rights which derive from the arbitrary power of the King.

  61. If the records of title are lost or destroyed, I could claim the land and bulldoze your house. Why do you think your claim to land is any stronger than mine?

    Whether or not the records of title are lost or destroyed, you could claim the land and bulldoze the house. Either way it would be theft, and you’d have one pissed off property-owner to deal with. There is nothing magical about government which makes property what it is.

  62. The authors used the little things of life reflects the uncivilized phenomenon in society, to advise members of society a little more love.

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