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Economics and Human Rights

Private property. Right to work. Morality.

From the book by Andrey Sokolov, "Economics and Human Rights"

"Economics and Human Rights" is a book about how the observance of human rights affects the economy.

Private property.

Property is a direct consequence of the realization of the rights to life and work. Property is derived from a person, for it is what he spent his life (in some part) and work on. Therefore, having received a reward for his work, a person has every right to spend it on anything, as well as his life. For the purchase of goods (cars, apartments, bread, weapons or drugs) or services (doctors, teachers, circus performers, car service technicians, prostitutes).

Already from this list it is clear that a person is very limited in his right to spend the result of his labor. Limited by legal prohibitions and requirements for licensing or certification of goods and services. After all, if he wants to buy a product, then the product must first be certified by officials, and if he wants to receive a service, then the master must first obtain a license from officials. Does the consumer need such intermediary bureaucratic services?

In fact, there are even more restrictions. For example, back in 1962, Milton Friedman wrote in his book Capitalism and Freedom: "The current laws prohibiting private individuals from owning and selling gold should be abolished ..."

Friedman pointed to the need for the free sale of gold as a means for economic growth. At the same time, the free sale of gold is necessary to ensure the human right to accumulate in the form in which he wants, because by saving income, the results of labor, he saves the results of his life. Those. full respect for the right to life and work requires the obligatory free sale of gold. However, like any other goods.

Today, besides gold, there are also cryptocurrencies, i.e. money "without the state of the issuer." And in some countries they want to ban them. However, who cares what a person spends on what he earned? To buy snow in Antarctica, bitcoins or a tour? This should not bother anyone. After all, if a person buys bitcoins and finds a counterparty who will accept them as payment for milk, then this is the business of these two people. Gold, currency, cryptocurrency, shells in this regard are equivalent means of payment recognized by both parties. After all, it is legal to exchange muscle efforts for dollars, mental activity for euros, and life time for pounds. This is the salary, fee, income. If you can trade your muscle strength for potatoes and apples in your garden, why can't you trade your brains for bitcoins?

Does everyone need gold or cryptocurrencies? Perhaps not for everyone. Just as not everyone needs chips, drugs, weapons, a car, prostitute services, watercolors, a piano, alcohol or cigarettes. But the need to ensure the possibility of acquiring any material good or service with one's own money is a direct consequence of the right to life.

If we recall the previous chapters, when the simple observance of human rights significantly increased the number of taxpayers due to the legalization of something prohibited, it is clear that the budget revenues from the removal of restrictive measures on trade will greatly increase.

And the budget will want to spend this money on some new programs, calling them services to the population. But if you remember the beginning of the book, it becomes obvious that these services are generally worse than those of individuals or businesses, and they are more expensive.

What, then, should a state that has fully realized human rights do, what should it do if there is a budget surplus?

Reduce taxes, of course. After all, a tax is the withdrawal of a part of property from a person. The less the amount seized, the more a person has, the more his rights are observed.

And when taxes begin to be calculated on the basis of absolute figures, from understandable prices for public services, then with an increase in the number of taxpayers, a decrease in the amount of taxes from each becomes obvious.

Let's take an example. Let's say there is a country where 100 people live. Of these, 5 are drug addicts, two are prostitutes, one is an arms dealer and two are illegal migrants. Having legalized these 10 people, the state did not begin to provide more services, government spending not only did not increase, but decreased, because the budget is no longer spent on the capture, trials and arrest of prostitutes, drug addicts and illegal immigrants. Thus, the number of taxpayers increased by 10 people (percent).

The number of residents has not changed. Government services have not changed.

And if the state “plays” honestly, receives taxes according to the receipt, in the absolute amount - a part of the requested budget, then this budget, equal, for example, to 100 coins, will now be filled not by 90, but by 100 people. This means that each of the 90 "old taxpayers" will pay almost 10% less taxes.

It is worth remembering that paying taxes on a voluntary basis, according to receipts, can, to some extent, replace sociological research.

For example, the government decided to participate in a certain military campaign, a military alliance. And the citizens don't like it. Will they then pay the "war" tax in the requested amount? Will the “infrastructure tax” be paid if the roads are repaired only where officials travel? Will the “management tax” be paid if MPs pass one awkward law after another?

Perhaps the principles described in this book will seem revolutionary or fantastic to some. But this is not the case. Just over half a century ago, it was impossible to buy currency not only in the USSR. But in Western countries, the sale of currency, the exchange rate was regulated by state directives, and not by free trade on the currency exchange. So the shock or surprise, or even rejection of what is written in this book, is nothing more than the "tyranny of the status quo," as Milton Friedman wrote.

And if for someone the legalization of weapons is a taboo, then the people of the United States probably will not understand at all why the chapter about weapons was written. And the chapter on prostitution, which might shock Americans, would be considered redundant by the people of Germany.

The free foreign exchange market, and many other freedoms that are natural for us now, were universally tabooed just a few decades ago. And where are these prohibitions now? Nobody remembers them.

Right to work

The number of people whose right to work is violated by law is actually enormous. This right is violated by one very popular provision, invented by legislators, of course, for the "good of the people."

Let's look at this "blessing" called the minimum wage.

The minimum wage is set in different ways in different countries. Somewhere - for an hour of work, somewhere in a month. This does not change the essence.

Why does this violate a person's right to work? Let's take an example.

Let's say a certain owner needs to mow the lawn near the house. This is a one hour job. He has one coin to pay for this labor.

There is a neighbor who is ready to do this job for one coin.

There is a law that says the minimum wage for one hour is three coins.

What are the options for solving this problem for the owner and neighbor, since they cannot change the law.

  1. A neighbor mows the lawn at night when the inspector officer sleeps. Receives one coin. Everyone is happy. But taxes on this coin have not been paid, since it was impossible to pay it legally.

  2. The owner can hire a firm to mow the lawn. The firm asks for 5 coins. The owner cannot spend 5 coins on this order. The lawn is overgrown.

  3. A landlord may hire a neighbor and pay him three coins, but then he will not be able to pay the loan and will lose his home. The owner does not pay three coins. The lawn is overgrown.

  4. The owner can mow the grass himself, but he has no mower, no skill and no time, because he needs to earn money to pay off the loan for the house. The lawn is overgrown.

  5. The owner does not mow the lawn, an official comes and fines the owner one coin for unmowed lawn. The landlord asks a neighbor to mow his lawn for half the coin he saved on food. The neighbor agrees - half of the coin is also money, and he mows the lawn at night when the official is asleep.

Of course, a reasonable owner and a reasonable neighbor will immediately choose the first option, ignoring the provisions of the law. They are reasonable, unlike the law. After all, the price of labor is determined not by the words of the legislator, but by the laws of the market. And if labor in the market costs one coin, then it will be bought and sold for one coin.

If a richer owner appears who offers his neighbor 2 coins for the lawn, then the labor will cost 2 coins. But not three.

If the official still drives the owner to bankruptcy, he will be left alone with his neighbor. And he will pay both the owner and the neighbor a social benefit in the amount of three or even six coins, because the law says so.

Only for these "social" coins the official will go to the owners who have not yet gone bankrupt. And ruin them too.

Do not assume that this example is speculative and only represents a theory. Many firms and many employees are forced to use Option 1 to one degree or another. For example, chain stores may not report 8 hours of work, but only six hours. And the employee can work ten hours. Almost all firms that cannot pay their employees as much as required by law do the same. After all, before you pay, you need to earn!

The question remains - why was it necessary to establish a law on the minimum wage and thus deprive a person of the possibility of legal earnings? And what is this if not the deprivation of the right to work by law? What benefit did the law on the minimum wage bring to the economy, if its only result is business going into the "shadow"?

As of January 1, 2017, according to Eurostat, 22 out of 28 EU member states have a statutory minimum wage. Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden have no such concept.

Milton Friedman wrote: “When the law prevents people from pursuing their interests, they look for workarounds. They will evade the law, they will break it or leave the country. "

Laws that violate human rights always harm the economy.

The right to work also means the right to idleness.

After all, if the right to work does not imply the right not to work, then the right turns into an obligation, and voluntary labor into slave labor.

So, to be consistent, the right to work in the same way gives the right to idleness, not to work.

Is it worth worrying about unemployment in this case, as moralistic regulators like to do?

And if employment is so important to moralists, then why is the work of a prostitute outlawed, as well as the right to rest of her client.

Should a rich heir work? And if not, why not? Should one of the spouses work if the other provides the family with an acceptable standard of living? Should Muslim women work or should they be counted as unemployed? Is work a free choice or a duty? When does the age of this debt arise? At 6, at 14, at 18, at 21, or after college or college? And how did it happen that law turned into debt? Why did a democratic society suddenly, on the issue of labor, turn into a slave society and decide to chain everyone to the machine? At what age, or with what savings, and by what procedure can a person stop working? Can this be done, for example, by Zuckerberg, Brin, or a young Hollywood actor who has certainly already secured enough money for himself for life? Will they be counted as “unemployed,” will the moralist legislator worry about them?

Does a volunteer work? He doesn't get paid, does he?

Does a writer and artist work when writing a novel or painting a picture at home without coming to the office and not getting paid. Moreover, not knowing whether he can sell a novel to a publisher and a painting to a collector? Is a programmer considered unemployed who starts a startup and, of course, does not receive income from it? Or a businessman starting a new business and receiving neither salary nor profit yet?

If we interview employees of the labor exchange, it turns out that most of the people who are registered with them do not want to get a job. And he wants only to receive unemployment benefits. And live on it. But are the authorities playing the benefit game with them, pretending to get them a job? Why is this lie?

And this poses a question for taxpayers. Does it make sense for them to spend money on idle benefits?

While respecting the right of idlers not to work, it is worth respecting the rights of those who work, and finding out - do they want to feed idlers? After all, it is from the taxes of those who work that the benefit of the idler is formed.

It is not surprising that prohibitionists and moralists, consuming the budget created by taxpayers, are concerned about universal employment, i.e. to reduce unemployment while depriving the legal work of prostitutes, gunsmiths, immigrants, hemp breeders and others. Not surprising, because, as has been shown many times in this book, moralists are usually extremely hypocritical and chauvinistic.

Not surprisingly, most moralists and regulators tend to sit on budget money, i.e. around the neck of taxpayers, continuously increasing budget spending in their favor and slowing down the development of the economy.

Where is the line between what is work and what is not? How much should the budget spend on benefits for a volunteer, artist, unemployed bum?

Why then talk about the need to reduce the unemployment rate?

Do bans on prostitution, arms sales, drugs increase the unemployment rate? How many new legal jobs will be created if prostitution, drugs and weapons are legalized? But these are far from all the options for how the observance of human rights can positively affect the budgets and economies of countries.

Alcohol and tobacco sellers have the right to work, but marijuana sellers do not. Although the harm and dependence on tobacco and alcohol is disproportionately higher than on marijuana.

Politicians, deputies, journalists, actors and models have the right to work, but prostitutes do not.

All this seems extremely strange and illogical. This cannot be explained by anything other than inertness and illiteracy.

Of course, someone may be annoyed by the work of a prostitute and the lifestyle of a rastaman, but isn't anyone annoyed by alcoholics or smokers? Aren't motorists annoyed by motorcyclists? But they are also dangerous! A drug can kill a drug addict, but a passion for motorcycles often leads to death.

It would be useful for politicians, legislators, and just ordinary people to work on their tolerance. After all, there are quite a few people who do not like them and who believe that they, too, "should be banned."

Morality. About Hitler and the like.

"Emotions are the main enemy of rationality."
Stephen Levitt

“The devil begins with foam on the lips of an angel ...
Everything crumbles to dust
both people and systems, but the spirit of hatred is eternal
in the fight for a just cause, and therefore
evil on earth has no end.
The style of debate is more important than the subject of debate.
Objects change, and style creates civilization "
Grigory Pomerants

Talking about drugs and prostitution, it is impossible to ignore the topic of morality, because this is one of the main arguments of the “fighters” against “social evil” and the champions of prohibitions.

Something about the morality of opponents of the legalization of prostitution could already be understood, using the example of Nazi Germany, which received votes for Hitler's unlimited power in catching prostitutes, but in fact legalized prostitution under the patronage of Himmler after a very short time.

However, the figure of Hitler as a champion of morality looks very, very doubtful. Would you like to be in the company of moralists like Hitler? Opposing the legalization of prostitution, a person finds himself in this very company.

It is useful for the champions of morality and ethics, especially those who refer to the church, to know that in medieval cities of Western Europe prostitution was usually under the official patronage of the church, city authorities, and the supreme authority. For example, in medieval England, brothels were patronized at first by the Bishop of Winchester and later by Parliament.

Why is a prostitute more immoral than a legal seller of alcohol?

Who does the most good or harm to health? Who creates more danger for others - a drunk passer-by, a stupid parliamentarian or a street prostitute?

Why should the state and some of its representatives have usurped the right to decide who is moral and who is not?

What is the difference between the services of a prostitute from the services of a bath attendant or a masseur?

Is it moral to do a colonoscopy, colposcopy, gastroscopy, is it moral to do an ultrasound scan using a vaginal probe, is it moral to undress a patient for examination in a doctor's office or for a search in a prison?

Is it moral to sell your body and the skills of this body to athletes, ballet dancers, dancers, bodyguards? But there are also firefighters, rescuers who risk their bodies, their lives and health to provide residents with certain services. Are these services more moral? But why then do we not see the queue of those wishing to become police officers, firefighters, bodyguards, pathologists, proctologists?

Why are representatives of some professions respected citizens, while others are immoral criminals ...

Is it moral to marry "for the sake of money"?

It is profitable to marry a rich man - isn't that a form of prostitution? What is the difference? That the client is always one and not many? The essence of this does not change - the provision of sexual services for a fee. A banal variety of escort services for prostitutes.

And the "gigolos"?

Is it moral for the state to regulate the intimate sphere, determining how and with whom to sleep and have sex? Do the authorities have more important things to do?

What is more moral about the seller, manufacturer, supplier of alcohol or tobacco than the seller, supplier, manufacturer of marijuana or LSD, to which the addiction is weaker and the destructive effect on the body is less? From the point of view of narcology, LSD, alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are drugs.

It is important to remember in this regard that just over 100 years ago, opium was sold in pharmacies and was legal.

And not only opium, but also other drugs about a hundred years ago were completely legal and created taxes. During World War II, amphetamines were used in the active armies of Germany and Great Britain, during the Vietnam War - in the US army, and also in the USA in the 30s of the twentieth century, amphetamines were used by truck drivers.

Alcohol and tobacco by their characteristics, from the point of view of narcology, are drugs.

Alcohol is the cause of many crimes. But it's legal.

Marijuana, LSD, ecstasy never actually provoke crime, but they are illegal.

Sometimes the police or customs will catch clandestine tobacco and alcohol producers or smugglers. And the reason for this catch has a lot to do with money. The authorities want to receive taxes on the sale of these products. After all, smuggled cigarettes differ from non-smuggled ones only in that no taxes and excise taxes are paid on contraband.

Then what is the problem with the legalization of prostitution, drugs, weapons? Legalize. And catch those who don't pay taxes, but protect those who pay.

A person is free to decide from what and when to get sick and die - this is his right, because the right to life automatically implies the right to death. Or should suicide be outlawed? What punishment will the authorities provide for this act? Jail, correctional labor?

Even if there are vodka and cigarettes in the store, those who do not smoke or drink will not buy them, just as a healthy person does not buy medicines, and a vegetarian does not buy meat. Legalization of prostitution, weapons, drugs does not entail “deadly sin”, universal armament and 100% drug addiction. Selling alcohol and cigarettes in a supermarket does not lead to 100% drunkenness and smoking. On the street, drunkards and smokers are a minority, despite free access to the drug. In countries where weapons are legalized, not all residents are armed at all. And where prostitution is legalized, people are not divided into prostitutes and clients, and most people never intersect with this area. As a person without a car, he does not intersect with car service workers, and people who are indifferent to fishing do not take a fishing rod in their hands, and those who are indifferent to ballet may not even be aware of its existence.

Often advocates of morality use a completely immoral thesis in a dispute: "Would you agree that your child was engaged in prostitution or use drugs?" Moralists count on the opponent's confusion and his confused "of course not." However, the answer of a civilized person must sound differently. First, you need to point out to the moralist the inadmissibility of going personal in an argument. And secondly, calmly and loudly answer that: “My children have the same rights to life, health, freedom of choice, work, rest, like all other people. And I want the best for my children. But what is best for them is for them to decide. This is their right. " Agree that it is rather strange to interfere in the life and choice of a 20, 30 or 40-year-old "child".

However, with regard to the right to arms, the answer may be even shorter. "Yes. I want my child to be able to protect his life and health without waiting for the police to arrive. "

Is it moral to leave people unarmed when meeting an armed criminal? Is it moral to decide how people have fun and who to sleep with, or is it a matter of purely two individuals? Is it moral to sell one drug while prohibiting another? Is it moral to create conditions for the emergence of crime around weapons, drugs, prostitution? Is it moral to spend taxpayers' money on catching a prostitute and her client, with not unsolved thefts and murders? Is it moral to spend money, waste it for many years, waste it is ineffective, instead of making money on legalization and using the income received to improve the country's infrastructure in the interests of all residents - on roads, libraries, medicine, science, education, culture?

So what is morality and morality? And are the champions of morality trying to violate the right of other people to have their own opinion. It is to limit their freedom in the image of the communist or fascist government? And is it moral to prohibit someone from doing something if it is a purely personal matter that does not in any way affect the rights, security and freedoms of others?
What will the upholders of morality demand of us tomorrow? Walk in formation like in the army, chant the leader, like in the DPRK, shave your head like monks, pray five times a day like Muslims, wear earrings (or not wear earrings), lengthen your skirt or shorten your skirt, cover your face with a burqa or leave it open ? The fantasy of the champions of morality is boundless, because their morality is nothing but a banal thirst for power, a thirst to command other people, to decide what is allowed and what is not.

We can discuss for a long time the consequences of the legalization of drugs, prostitution, and weapons. One can just as long discuss the consequences of the ban. However, these discussions are not important. It is important whether human rights are respected when legalizing drugs, prostitution, and weapons. Or are respected when prohibited. Respect for human rights is important, not arguments why these rights should not be respected.

The point is not whether legalization of something is good or bad, but whether the right of a particular person to life, health, work, rest will be realized in the event of legalization or not. Whether the prohibition limits the rights of a particular person or not. Not societies, not states. Namely, a person. The Declaration of Human Rights contains not a word about the rights of society or the state. And about human rights - there is.

If, as a result of reasoning, the reader comes to the conclusion that a ban or other restriction violates human rights, then the state is obliged to lift this ban or restriction. For the state is obliged to ensure the realization of human rights in full, and not in the amount in which it is convenient.