Taking the Moral High Ground Requires that We Face the Truth

Note: This article was later renamed to “Beyond Property” and was reposted as the first article of the five-part “Protecting the Future Series“.

Timothy Wilken

If we humans are going to solve our fossil fuel energy/global warming crisis, it will require that we take action. We can expect no help from big government and big business. They created this crisis and they have no interest in solving it. Big government’s only goal is to be re-elected so they can retain political power, and the only goal of big business is to make money. These two forces have combined to create the present law of society one dollar = one vote.

If we humans with no political or economic power want to solve our problems, then we will have to take charge of our society. What is our authority for taking such action? We must begin by seizing the moral high ground. And, taking the moral high ground requires that we face the truth.

Truth #1—Possessions are not necessarily property.

The possession of an object does not mean that the possessor has a moral or rational claim to ownership of the object. The political, economic, and social structures of our present world are all based on our concept of ‘property’ and property rights. Recall from the Basics section, my discussion of the shifting of human values as humanity evolves from adversary processing to neutral processing to synergic processing. Adversary wealth is physical force. Neutral wealth is money. And, synergic wealth is mutual life support. Therefore adversary ‘property’ is property obtained by force or fraud, and then held with physical force. Neutral ‘property’ is property purchased in the fair market, and held by right of law enforced by neutral government.

Remember Neutrality was an evolutionary advance from Adversity, at the time of Neutrality’s inception most possessions were adversary. They had been obtained through force or fraud and held with physical force. The new institutions of Neutrality never made any attempt to correct what by the new values of Neutrality would be past injustices. Neutral values would prevail in future, but the past was left alone.

This resulted in the legal precedent wherein possession is 9/10 of the law.

In other words, at the time Neutrality was institutionalized, all existing ‘property’ whether adversary or neutral was made legal ‘property’. However, all new ‘property’ was required to be neutral ‘property’—that is ‘property’ acquired by paying a fair price in a free market to the rightful owner, or that ‘property’ which is created directly by the mind and labor of the owner.

Most of the founding fathers of Neutrality were beneficiaries of ‘adversary’ property and in no hurry to give it up. They also believed that in the long run these injustices would slowly be corrected, and all property would eventually come to be ‘neutral’ property. We will see later that this was not the case.

While synergic ‘property’ is not yet defined, it would have to be property that was obtained without hurting or ignoring anyone, and even more importantly, it would have to be property that was mutually life supporting—that is it would have to be property that had a beneficial effect for self and others. If humanity is to advance to Synergy, our concept of ‘property’ and property rights must change radically in the future. How this could work will be explained in the Future section, but now let us examine ‘property’ as it exists today.

The Territory Imperative

The need to control land begins in the Adversary world as Robert Ardrey explains:

“A territory is an area of space, whether of water or earth or air, which an animal or group of animals defends as an exclusive preserve. The word is also used to describe the inward compulsion in animate beings to possess and defend such a space. A territorial species of animals, therefore, is one in which all males, and sometimes females too, bear an inherent drive to gain and defend an exclusive property.

“Observations of twenty-four different hunting peoples so primitive that their ways differ little from the ways of paleolithic man revealed that their homes were isolated and far-spread. So remote were they from each other that there seemed small likelihood that anyone could have learned its ways from others. Yet all formed social bands occupying exclusive, permanent domains.

“Lions, eagles, wolves, great-horned owls are all hunters, and all guard exclusive hunting territories. The lions and wolves, besides, hunt in cooperative prides and packs differing little from the bands of primitive man.”

Frederick G. Kempin, Jr., Professor of Legal Studies at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania explains further:

“The concept of property goes far back into history. Records of primitive societies indicate a degree of private ownership of personal property. Private ownership of real property—the land itself—is apparently a much later concept, one that evolved after nomadic tribes settled down in permanent agricultural communities. Even in agricultural societies the land was often considered the property of the tribe or of a clan within the tribe and was rarely privately owned. Even as late as the Middle Ages the absolute ownership of the land by its individual occupants was unusual. Under feudalism, for example, land was held subject to obligations to a superior lord. The breakdown of the feudal system gradually destroyed the feudal relationship between lord and vassal, and the settlement of the New World increased by millions of acres the available land. In the Western Hemisphere absolute ownership of the land became the norm.”

Institutional Neutrality seeks to protect the free and independent citizens from loss. The escape from the Adversary way is the escape from losing. This fact makes property, private ownership of property, and property rights the very foundation of Institutional Neutrality. In today’s America,

“Property is anything that can be possessed and disposed of in a legal manner. Running water in a stream is not anyone’s property, because no one possesses it. If one, however, lawfully takes water from a stream in a container, the water in the container becomes property. In a legal sense property is the aggregate of legal rights of individuals with respect to objects and obligations owed to them by others that are guaranteed and protected by the government. Ownership of property is classified as either private or public. Private property is ownership by an individual or individuals, whereas public ownership implies possession by some kind of a governmental unit. In another sense property is classified as either real or personal. Real property, also known as realty, is land, any buildings that may be on the land, any mineral rights under the land, and anything that is attached to the land or buildings with the intention that it remain there permanently. Personal property is simply defined as any property that is not real property.

“During most of human history, real property—the land itself—was considered the greatest source of wealth. With the coming of the Industrial Revolution, however, personal property—especially in the form of stocks and bonds—gradually outstripped land as the basis of the industrial nations’ wealth. Classical Marxism views the private ownership of both forms of property as symptoms of the capitalist system that needs to be abolished to make way for a communist society. Therefore, in traditional communist nations very little real property and wealth-producing personal property is individually owned. Private ownership is generally limited to such personal articles as furniture and clothing. Small farms and dwellings in some Marxist countries remain privately owned, but most land is cooperatively owned. In the reformist and democratic socialist countries a mixture of private and public ownership of property generally prevails.

“Perhaps because land was traditionally the main source of wealth, the transfer of real property from one owner to another used to be much more complicated than the transfer of personal property. Since the Middle Ages this difference has diminished. Two basic instruments of transfer are used: the deed and the will. The government may cause land to pass from some form of public ownership to private ownership by a grant (and reclaim private land for public use by eminent domain). Much of the land in the American West, for example, was granted by the government to the original settlers.”

Who has the Right of ownership?

When children sit down to play the board game Monopoly, the first step after choosing your game piece is to count carefully so all players begin with exactly the same amount of play money. That is the only fair way to begin.

The control of property did not begin with the institutionalization of Neutrality. The players of Neutrality did not start out as equals. The adversary way dominated all human relations until 1776. It continues to dominate most human relationships throughout the rest of the world.

However, in the United States in 1776, the empty continent with its seemingly unlimited resources allowed the new players of Neutrality access to land that could be turned into private property by simple occupation. If you didn’t have what you needed here—you just moved west. There appeared to be land enough for all—available for the taking. However even in America in 1776, the empty continent of North America was not as empty as it appeared. The native Americans were simply swept aside by the American colonists. The lands they occupied were seized by force and fraud.

“In 1851, Chief Seattle and the Suquamish and other Indian tribes around Washington’s Puget Sound, were “persuaded” to sell two million acres of land for $150,000 or seven and one half cents per acre.”

And what of the large plantations in the South that were build on the backs of ~12 million negro slaves? Did those land owners have a moral claim to their ‘property’? And, what of the “carpet baggers” who stole the same lands after the Civil War, did they then represent the rightful owners?

Even those who settled in empty spaces did not pay any price for the land. They either just took it or received as a grant from the government. That is certainly not a fair exchange. And, who gave the land to the government in the first place? Of course, the Government had simply seized the land. After all, might made right. The strong dominated the weak—it was the adversary way.

Galambos Redefines ‘Property’

Today ‘property’ clearly has many different meanings. In the early 1960s, one capitalistic theorist, Andrew J. Galambos proposed an advanced capitalistic system which was non-coercive. Galambos’ Moral Capitalism was based on a new definition of ‘property’ designed to eliminate and prohibit loss. Galambos’ Moral Capitalism promised to eliminate losing relationships. Galambos’ Moral Capitalism was a type of Super-neutrality. It allowed win-draw, draw-win, draw-draw, or win-win. In Galambos’ own words:

What is Property?

“Most people think of Property in terms of material possessions. Because of this, many have successfully denounced the morality of the pursuit of material well-being and claimed it produces conflicts with human rights.

“The above is a restricted and erroneous point of view on Property. A more satisfying and total concept arises from the following definition:

“Property is individual man’s life and all non-procreative derivatives of his life.

“Property is the basis of ownership because to own means to have and hold Property. From the definition of Property, it follows that man must first own his life before he can own anything else. Life itself is defined as primordial Property.

“No one may own any man but himself. Thus, Property excludes slavery at the outset.

“The first derivatives of man’s life are his thoughts and ideas. Thoughts and ideas are defined as primary Property.

“From the definition, man owns primary Property and, through this ownership, intellectual freedom arises and inspires knowledge and production. From primary Property (ideas) stem actions. Ownership of one’s own actions (clearly a Property right) is commonly called liberty. Liberty, then, as well as life itself, is a Property right. Since all so-called human rights depend upon man’s liberty, it follows that all human rights are Property rights. There can be no conflict!

“Ideas and actions produce further, or secondary, derivatives. These include the access to and use of land and the production, utilization, enjoyment, and disposal of material, tangible goods of all kinds from ash trays to television sets, from log cabins to skyscrapers, from oxcarts to jet planes.

“These are called secondary Property. They are secondary both logically and chronologically. In all instances, their existence is antedated by primary Property which led to their generation and employment.

“Further derivatives of man’s life lead to voluntary transactions involving Property transfers (sales, trades, gifts, etc.). Involuntary Property transfers are derivative not from the property owner’s life but from the life of the coercer. Therefore, Property ceases to remain Property and is converted to Plunder when subjected to involuntary (coercive) transfer.”

Property or Plunder?

Galambos acknowledged Frederic Bastiat as his antecedent in recognizing the distinction between property and plunder. Bastiat recognized that French society in 1848 was heavily influenced by the Adversary way, and he was calling for a better way when he wrote the following words:

A Fatal Tendency of Mankind

“Self-preservation and self-development are common aspirations among all people. And if everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing.

“But there is also another tendency that is common among people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the expense of others. This is no rash accusation. Nor does it come from a gloomy and uncharitable spirit. The annals of history bear witness to the truth of it: the incessant wars, mass migrations, religious persecutions, universal slavery, dishonesty in commerce, and monopolies. This fatal desire has its origin in the very nature of man—in that primitive, universal, and insuppressible instinct that impels him to satisfy his desires with the least possible pain. (*Here Bastiat is describing the Adversary way and the Principle of Least Action.)

Property and Plunder

“Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

“But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

“Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain—and since labor is pain in itself—it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

“When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

“It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.”

This then is one of the major problems with human society even in today’s world. It is based on a definition of ‘property’ which makes no distinction between possessions held through honesty and possessions held through thievery—possession and ownership have long been considered synonymous. This is a belief that persists even in our present world.

Galambos reserved the word property for those possessions that were acquired by 1) either paying a fair price in a free market to the rightful owner, or 2) that which is produced by the mind and hands of the owner. Using this definition, most of today’s possessions are plunder and not property. Galambos continues:

“Children—being young human beings—have Property rights of their own and cannot themselves be owned; children are not property.

“Your ownership of Property is the basis of all you are, all you have, and all you can hope to achieve. Therefore, protect your property as though your life depended upon it. It does!”

Galambos’ Moral Capitalism

In Galambos’ own words:

Moral Capitalism is the societal structure that produces freedom by ensuring that each individual is fully (100%) in control of his own property (property being individual man’s life and all non-procreative derivatives of his life). Either each individual controls his own life and all of its derivatives—or he does not. If he does, capitalism is the societal structure that prevails—by definition. From this definition of capitalism, it is evident that moral capitalism is an absolute concept. It does not depend upon time, place, and circumstance.

“There are no possibilities of this being compromised or misunderstood.

“Thus, moral capitalism—an absolute—requires new ideas to bring it into existence. How do we know this? Because it doesn’t exist at this time—anywhere on this planet. Furthermore, it has never existed to this date—anywhere on this planet. Before you jump to the false conclusion that it is impossible, consider that the reason for this is not that it would violate any law of nature (the condition for impossibility), but that the social technology to establish it has not been known in the past. Thus, moral capitalism requires the constant search for new ideas, new theories, and new applications. It is, therefore, a progressive and liberal development because it requires forward-thinking and increased individual freedom (liberation from property interferences and controls). Moral capitalism’s only tie with the past is the American Revolution and its ideological antecedents.

“Today moral capitalism does not exist. And those who argue that if more enlightened men are appointed or elected to high office and if the present restrictive laws are repealed then we will achieve freedom are wrong.

“The trouble is not with men, but with a system that can do nothing but coerce. Regardless of who holds the reins of power, the individual is still at the mercy of the state authority. It is not true that good men will reform the state. It is true that the state will corrupt the best of men. No one—and this includes the most sincere and well-meaning of politicians—is immune to Acton’s disease. Acton first defined the symptoms of the world’s foremost political disease: “Power corrupts and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.”

“Moreover, conservatives worship tradition. Moral capitalists, on the other hand, honor the knowledge of the past, but believe themselves capable of improving upon it and do not succumb to self-derogation by assuming they can do nothing but repeat the processes of the past. The conservatives who concern themselves most with the rituals of the past traditions and their codification into a party line become the major conservative politicians. The moral capitalists who concern themselves most with improvements and progress become the major innovators and entrepreneurs. Conservatism is concerned with codifying past controls of property, moral capitalism is concerned with the improvement of property, the protection of property, and the moral utilization of property.

“The final point to be emphasized is that moral capitalism is not a political concept and that the purpose of moral capitalism is to construct a society wherein man is free by controlling all of his own property all of the time. Because property does not have a political origin (but oftentimes it has a political destruction), moral capitalism does not concern itself with improving the state or any of the political apparatuses employed either to run the state or to exchange the administration of the state. Politics, at best, is a game which never ends. First, the “ins” and “outs” play until the “outs” get “in.” Then they switch sides and play it again. And so on, until man loses all his property and ends up enslaved. Moral capitalism is the vehicle of progress and the builder of civilization through property sanctity. Freedom is its attainable goal. Freedom is not a game. Freedom is a man’s loftiest goal and the prerequisite for all his other permanent goals.

“And when it is finally achieved, freedom is forever!”

Galambos’ Moral Capitalism offers us better protection of property, increased human freedom, and a fairer concept of justice.

However while, Galambos’ Moral Capitalism does prohibit hurting others, it does not require helping others. Thus in the final analysis, Galambos’ Moral Capitalism is a neutral and not a synergic system. However it is a much better neutral system then the one in place today, therefore we should embrace and make use of those mechanisms of Galambos’ Moral Capitalism that do offer clear benefits. One of these is the need for a clear distinction between property and plunder. This distinction is essential if we are to repair our present world.

In today’s world plunder is common and property is rare.

The truth is especially hard to believe if it requires that we take action—if it requires that we change. If humanity is to have a future, we must take action—we must change. If humanity is to have a future, we must believe the truth.

Then we can build a future where the very opposite is true—a future where property is common and plunder is rare.

Truth # 2—The Majority of Human Wealth is a Gift

The vast majority of human wealth is a gift free for the taking, and cannot be morally or rationally claimed as property by any individual. Alfred Korzybski explains:

“In the earliest times, humans knew that they did not create nature. They did not feel it “proper” to “expropriate the creator” and legalistically appropriate the earth and its treasure for themselves.

“Early man felt, in their unsophisticated morale, that being called into existence they had a natural right to exist and to use freely the gifts of nature in the preservation of their life; and that is what they did.”
Property, ownership of land and the control of natural resources by individuals comes later in the human story. Hazel Henderson, a Futurist and Economist, explains:

“Private property is another good example. The word ‘private’ comes from the Latin privare—‘to deprive’—which shows you the widespread ancient view that property was first and foremost communal. It was only with the rise of individualism in the Renaissance that people no longer thought of private property as those goods that individuals deprived the group from using.

“Today we have completely inverted the meaning of the term. We believe that property should be private in the first place, and that society should not deprive the individual without due process of law.”

Land and Natural Resources—A Gift

The land and natural resources are wealth provided to us by God and Nature. The sunshine, air, water, land, minerals, and the earth itself all come to us freely. The Earth’s land and natural resources are not products of the human mind or body. They existed long before life and humankind even emerged on our planet. There exists no moral or rational basis for any individual to claim them as Property.

If a claim of ownership can be made at all, it must be a claim on behalf of all humanity both the living and those yet unborn. This is a truth that has been known and ignored for hundreds of years. In the words of some of our greatest thinkers:

“God gave the world in common to all mankind.”
—John Locke (1632 – 1704)

“The earth is given as a common stock for men to labor and live on.” —Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)

“The earth…and all things therein, are the general property of all mankind, from the immediate gift of the creator.”
—William Blackstone (1723 – 1780)

“Men did not make the earth…. It is the value of the improvement only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property…. Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds.” —Tom Paine (1737 – 1809)

“The land, the earth God gave man for his home, sustenance, and support, should never be the possession of any man, corporation, society, or unfriendly government, any more than the air or water.” —Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

“Equity does not permit property in land…The world is God’s bequest to mankind. All men are joint heirs to it.”
—Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903)

“LAND, n. A part of the earth’s surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society, and is eminently worthy of the superstructure. Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living; for the right to own implies the right exclusively to occupy; and in fact laws of trespass are enacted wherever property in land is recognized. It follows that if the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B and C, there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist.” —Ambrose Bierce (The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911)

“How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? . . . This we know: the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. ” —Chief Seattle (~ 1854)

And yet today, the Earth’s land and natural resources are claimed as the personal property of a few individuals and serve only them.

Galambos on ownership of land and natural resources

Recall Galambos’ basic definition of property:

“Property is individual man’s life and all non-procreative derivatives of his life.”

This definition would exclude land and natural resources since they are clearly not a derivative of any individual’s life.

Whether individuals have a right to the ownership of land and of natural resources was a question that Galambos did not answer. Galambos did made reference to the work of Henry George, a nineteenth century social scientist who had written:

“All persons have a right to the use of the earth and all have a right to the fruits of their labor. To implement these rights it is proposed that the rent of land be taken by the community as public revenue, and that all taxes on labor and the fruits of labor be abolished. Liberty means justice and justice is the natural law. The social and economic ills besetting the world today are the result of non-conformance to natural law.”

In a another paragraph quoted earlier, Galambos says:

“Ideas and actions produce further, or secondary, derivatives. These include the access to and use of land.”

Galambos agreed with George that individuals have a right to use land and natural resources. Elsewhere, Galambos explained that an individual who builds a road to access land, who cultivates a field to grow crops, or who constructs a mine to remove metal ore, is entitled to some property rights related to those modifications and improvements. However nowhere does Galambos state that an individual can claim personal ownership of the land itself, or to the raw natural resources that are found on that land.

Galambos admitted that a better answer was needed and felt that answer might lie in a modification of George’s work. However, his interests took him elsewhere and he died before offering us a better answer.

Progress—another gift

Much of today’s wealth is not in the land and natural resources, nor is it found in cash, stocks or bonds, nor is it in all the personal possessions that we all hold so dear. It is in the evermore powerful tools and technology that results from the accumulation of our human Time-binding power. Present humanity is always the inheritor of the knowledge and technology of past humanity. Our quality of life is always richer, better, safer, healthier, simply because we are later. But present humans pay nothing for this rich inheritance. We take our wonderful inheritance and accept is as our due. We are not even aware that it is an inheritance. We simply call it progress.

Korzybski on Progress

“Our primitive forefather in the jungle would have died from hunger, cold, heat, blood poisoning or the attacks of wild animals, if he had not used his brain and muscles to take some stone or a piece of wood to knock down fruit from trees, to kill an animal, so as to use his hide for clothes and his meat for food, or to break wood and trees for a shelter and to make some weapons for defense and hunting.

“Our primitive forefathers first acquaintance with fire was probably through lightning; he discovered, probably by chance, the possibility of making fire by rubbing together two pieces of wood and by striking together two pieces of stone; he established one of the first facts in technology; he felt the warm effect of fire and also the good effect of broiling his food by finding some roasted animals in a fire. Thus nature revealed to him one of its great gifts, the stored-up energy of the sun in vegetation and its primitive beneficial use. He was already a time-binder; evolution had brought him to that level. Being a product of nature, he was reflecting those natural laws that belong to his class of life; he had ceased to be static—he had become dynamic—progressiveness had got into his blood—he was above the estate of animals.

“We also observe that primitive man produced commodities, acquired experiences, made observations, and that some of the produced commodities had a use-value for other people and remained good for use, even after his death.

“After the death of a man, some of the objects produced by him still survived, such as weapons, fishing or hunting instruments, or the caves adapted for living; a baby had to be nourished for some years by its parents or it would have died. Those facts had important consequences; objects made by someone for some particular use could be used by someone else, even after the death of one or more successive users; again the experiences acquired by one member of a family or a group of people were taught by example or precept to others of the same generation and to the next generation.

“The produced commodities were composed of raw material, freely supplied by nature, combined with some mental work which gave him the conception of how to make and to use the object, and some work on his part which finally shaped the thing; all of this mental and manual work consumed an amount of time. It is obvious that all of these elements are indispensable to produce anything of any value, or of any use-value. His child not only directly received some of the use-values produced by him, but was initiated into all of his experiences and observations.

“Generally speaking, each successor did not start his life at the point where his father started; he started somewhere near where his father left off. His father gave, say, fifty years to discover two truths in nature and succeeded in making two or three simple objects; but the son does not need to give fifty years to discover and create the same achievements, and so he has time to achieve something new. He thus adds his own achievements to those of his father in tools and experience; this is mathematical equivalent of adding his parent’s years of life to his own. His mother’s work and experience are of course included—the name father and son being only used representatively.

“In political economy , we have not yet grasped the obvious fact—a fact of immeasurable import for all of the social sciences—that with little exception the wealth and capital possessed by a given generation are not produced by its own toil but are the inherited fruit of dead men’s toil—a free gift of the past. We have yet to learn and apply the lesson that not only our material wealth and capital but our science and art and learning and wisdom—all that goes to constitute our civilization—were produced, not by our own labor, but by the time-binding energies of past generations.

“This stupendous fact is the definitive mark of humanity—the power to roll up continuously the ever-increasing achievements of generation after generation endlessly. Such simple facts are the cornerstones or our whole civilization and they are the direct result of the HUMAN CAPACITY OF TIME-BINDING.”

“And here arises a most important question: since the wealth of the world is in the main the free gift of the past—the fruit of the labor of the dead—to whom does it of right belong?”

The gift of progress is from all the humans who have lived and died in the past. My grandmother was born in a house without telephone, radio, television, electricity, running water or toilet. My mother was born in the same house with the addition of electricity, running water, and radio. I was born in a modern hospital, my mother was put to sleep for the delivery and I grew up in a house with electricity, running water, flush toilets, radio, and telephone, and when I was eight, we got a television—Progress.

My daughters were born in a hospital “home birth center” with my wife awake and participating. My daughters live with us in a house with three televisions, two stereos, three radios, many telephones, three video recorders, and a three personal computers—Progress.

I am no smarter than my grandparents. I do not work harder. I am do more deserving. But I am richer. I have a better quality of life. I am healthier. Why? simply because, I am later. Human knowledge and technology continuously results form the continuing use of our Time-binding power—Progress.

Progress is the mark of Time-binding power. As we humans look around us things are always advancing. Three hundred years ago we cooked our food over wood fires. One hundred years ago we cooked with piped in gas. Fifty years ago, we cooked with wired in electricity. And, today we cook with microwave—Progress.

Three hundred years ago we traveled by foot, or rode on the back of an animal. One hundred years ago, we moved by steam powered train. Fifty years ago, came the car and plane. And today, we jet from New York to London in three hours—Progress.

We humans understand progress. We know today’s automobiles are much safer, more comfortable, more efficient than yesterdays models. We know today’s power tools are, stronger, lighter, and cheaper than yesterdays. We know that today’s computers are unbelievable faster and more powerful than those made five years ago and they are much cheaper—Progress.

Modern humans are not smarter, they are not better, they are just later. Humans began first making tools ~2.5 million years ago. Humans began using and controlling fire ~1.5 million years ago. The wheel was invented ~6000 years ago. Each generation of humans inherits the accumulated knowledge and technology created by previous generations. We didn’t pay a fair price in a free market for this knowledge and technology. It comes to us as a human legacy—a free gift of the past—the resultant of human Time-binding Power.

We can purchase the newest model of automobile, or the newest model of computer and “own” that. But we can’t own the knowledge and technology that are embedded in these tools. Progress is the result of Time-Binding.

Two Gifts

It should be clear now that the vast majority of human wealth is a gift. None of us have any moral or rational basis to claim individual ownership of this gift. We did not create it. We never paid for it. It is clearly not property. The land and natural resources of the Earth are a gift from God and Nature to all life on Earth. And, Progress is a gift passed in trust from all the humans who have ever lived in the past to those of us living today, and to those humans that will be born in the future. Today these two great gifts are possessed and controlled by a handful individuals, and these great gifts serve only those few individuals at great cost and harm to the remaining 95% of humanity.

The truth is especially hard to believe if it requires that we take action—if it requires that we change. If humanity is to have a future, we must take action—we must change. If humanity is to have a future, we must believe the truth.