[ExI] Inheritance

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sat Sep 9 12:29:01 UTC 2017

In response to BillW, Dave Sill wrote:

>> On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 8:22 AM, Dave Sill <sparge at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > How do you that? Confiscate it and redistribute it? Who decides who gets
>> some? And why stop with the money? What about real estate, businesses,
>> Shouldn't they also go to more deserving people than heirs?
>> yes
>Yes to all six questions or just the last one? I'm trying to understand
>what you're advocating but a one word answer doesn't help. At any rate,
>what you're suggesting is not in any way libertarian, which I thought you
>claimed to be.

Actually, a libertarian argument could be made for inheritance tax or
other forms, preferably free market, of redistribution of the wealth of
the deceased.

First off, inheritance is a form of economic rent which is a technical
term for unearned wealth gained in the absense of production value, risk,
or opportunity cost. All forms of economic rent are market inefficiencies
and are considered to be factors in the unprecedented inequality we see

Second, the USian founding fathers thought that inheritance was part of
the trappings of European aristocracy. They abolished the English laws of
primogeniture in the colonies because they felt it wrong for the dead to
enforce their will upon the living in perpetuity and they were worried it
would give rise to an American nobility.

Ur economist Adam Smith had this to say on the subject:

"A power to dispose of estates forever is manifestly absurd. The earth and
the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can
have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is
quite unnatural. There is no point more difficult to account for than the
right we conceive men to have to dispose of their goods after death."-
Adam Smith


As someone with libertarian leanings myself, I feel that inheritance
brings into conflict my values of freedom and meritocracy. Whereas a part
of me wants the ability to distribute my estate as I see fit, another part
of me realizes that I will have no way of knowing whether I would approve
of how that wealth was used by my heirs. Were I to know, I might want to
change my mind.

So I might be in favor of some free market method of redistributing wealth
above and beyond whatever would be adequate to comfortably support ones
heirs. Although I am loathe to let government do it.

Stuart LaForge

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