[ExI] Inheritance

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Sat Sep 9 16:30:31 UTC 2017

On Sat, Sep 9, 2017 at 8:29 AM, Stuart LaForge <avant at sollegro.com> wrote:

> 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
> today.

 OK, but then aren't gifts also rent?

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.

But we still have inheritance.

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

Property ownership "forever" is absurd. Property (land) ownership at all is
"quite unnatural". I'm not sure how you can prevent a parent from giving
something to a child. And under the default American rules, property is
divided among all of the heirs, so if you continue that "forever", the
heirs will be inheriting microscopic parcels.

> fathers
> 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.

I sorta think people should be able to decide what to do with their
holdings, I'm OK with gifts while one is alive and bequests or inheritance
at death. If one wants to set up a trust or fund that distributes it, or
donate to an existing one, that's fine too. I'm strongly opposed to
government intervention in the process.

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