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Coconuts and Capitalism

A series exploring the abstract concept of ‘private property’. Is it really a good thing? Does it make sense to blindly accept it as the ‘natural order of things’ without some critical thought? Is it like gravity that ‘just is’, or is it merely a contrived man-made notion? How is it established in the first place? Is it actually necessary?

Coconut Island: The Right-Wing Talk Radio Edit

Coconut Island: The Right-Wing Talk Radio Edit

Part I: Warning! Lazy communists are stealing your stuff!

A libertarian friend once explained his grievances towards socialism or—as he put it: “Taking a man’s property by threatening force if he did not comply in order to benefit those who did not work for it.” To him, socialism meant the theft of the fruits of his labor by taxation or force. He then proceeded to use an allegorical tale to animate his point that was essentially a rehash of The Little Red Hen. It went something like this:
The Real Tale of Coconut Island

The Real Tale of Coconut Island

Part II: The actual history of private property among its inhabitants.

Two men found themselves stranded on a desert island with no provisions. Realizing that they would need food, both struck out to survey the island to see what was available. One headed inland, while the other, David, decided to skirt the coast along the beach. After roaming for a day and a half, he found nothing to eat or of utility along the coast. The beaches of the island were truly devoid of anything that could be used for sustenance. Exhausted, and thirsty, he too realized that heading inland towards the center of the island was perhaps the best hope of finding food and fresh water after all.
Lessons From Coconut Island

Lessons From Coconut Island

Part III: This land was made for you and me

In part 1 of this series, I touched on the opinion often pushed by advocates of capitalism that the poor are merely trying to take advantage of or ‘steal’ from the wealthy. This sentiment is used as the rationale for various arguments against any sort of public spending, taxation, welfare etc. It’s used to portray any sort of financial or social obligation not voluntarily or willingly fulfilled by an individual as theft.