QUESTIONS STILL IN NEED TO BE SOLVED (III) “WORLD EBULLITION” AND PRIVATE PROPERTY

An English translation by Jean-Loup Komarower of the post « ÉBULLITION DU MONDE » ET PROPRIÉTÉ PRIVÉE

Two questions have to be resolved initially: is new wealth created in the production of goods and services and if it is, how can its amount and value be determined? In addition, are the opposing parties that in our contemporary world share the newly created wealth all justified in getting a share and if they do, where do they derive this right and what is the conceptual foundation of this right?

We have the first part of an answer: wealth is necessarily created in the production process since it is subsequently consumed.

So far everyone agrees. We also note that several individual human efforts combine but we cannot be sure that some of these have not been contributed in vain. Those perhaps wasteful efforts belong to a type of activity that is useless in order to obtain the observed result, but however useful for the purpose of being rewarded via remuneration.

We also note the contribution of natural resources, such as raw material or energy that can be obtained without work or with minimal work, or readily available resources as for example sunshine, rain or wind.

This capacity of the world to contribute wealth “naturally” is what Georges Bataille called world ebullition in “La part maudite” (1949), translated by Robert Hurley as “The Accursed Share” (1991).

Naturally occurring raw materials like oil or mineral ores are different from sunshine, rain or wind in that they are not renewable, as they are of fossil or purely geological origin, resulting from a lengthy sedimentation process or from the process of formation of our planet by accretion of cosmic matter.

We have however found the way to appropriate this “spontaneous” ebullition of the world by means of the institution of private property. It allows the owner to claim a share of the newly created wealth simply by virtue of a title, a declaration guaranteed by the legal instrumentalities of the community, its judiciary and police force, stating that this part of the ebullition is not simply coming from “the world” but indeed belongs to him or to her.

(to be continued…)