Monday, 14 January 2013

Personal property

I've just been listening to Peter Joseph on Blogtalk radio, and one of the subjects he explored is psychology v logic. By way of example, he set up abolition of / deprivation from personal property as one of the straw men used against the RBE.

My thoughts here follow on from his, but are not what he said exactly; they combine some of the ideas expressed in his talk in a different way.

Personal property is sacrosanct in many people's views. Even in a work environment, with equipment allocated / issued by an employer, people can have a strong identification of something being theirs - can I borrow YOUR stapler.

It's quite hard to analyse; there's one element of identifing with a possession - a concept that car manufacturers like to play on, so that a possession is part of you or your personality, and the other element is securing access to the resource. (I'm settimg aside things of sentimental value, or yucky things like sharing a toothbrush).

Let's take a CD for example. Technologically, it's perfectly possible to listen to any piece of music (recording) anytime, anywhere. We don't technically need a CD. Somehow though, the desire to have instant access to a recording, plus the £ invested in it, plus the (at one time) technical need to physically have a CD, plus the emotional draw created by the packaging, plus the cultural norm of posessing / owning combine powerfully to make us defensive of our CD collection, and reluctant if not unable to boil this down to actually what we want (what service) from the CD.

Imagine this scaled up, though, to a motor vehicle or dwelling. Living in an RBE takes such a leap of imagination. It's hard to inagine a world where we can call up a pice of music on any device that's to hand, or find a sleeping place where we happen to be, or easily and comfortably get from where we are to wher we want to be without any hassle, so at the moment we tend to own (secure exclusive use of) devices / objects that render these services. Thus we have CDs we rarely play, cars that are mainly parked, and so on usque ad infinitem.

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