Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 11:11:09 +0900

>>>>> "Thomas" == Thomas Lord <> writes:

    Thomas> Please read Stephen et al. more carefully.  In Stephen's
    Thomas> quote, for example, he is specifically and narrowly
    Thomas> referring to a particular form of slavery in a particular
    Thomas> historic situation in the U.S.  He is not talking about
    Thomas> slavery in general as though it were entirely in the past
    Thomas> tense.


    Thomas> In politics, and social justice movements, that makes
    Thomas> economics a very valuable tool.  The
    Thomas> people that you cite seem to recognize this, e.g., in
    Thomas> their criticisms of some aspects of globalization
    Thomas> practices, their promotion of fair trade practices, and
    Thomas> their rejection of certain kinds of boycott.

Good example.

    Thomas> The North might have done at least as well and perhaps
    Thomas> better if they'd managed to organize around the idea of
    Thomas> paying the Southern business interests to change their
    Thomas> ways (a ethically problematic route, to be sure).

Less ethically problematic than shooting the motherfuckers?  And not
even the Mofos-in-Chief, but mostly poor rednecks and idealistic kids
fighting for what they thought of as their way of life?  How many
plantation owners or their kids do you think died at Gettysburg?

    Thomas> p.s.: I'm still puzzling over this statement from Stephen:

    sjt>     Those slaves are *consumed*, and as long as people
    sjt> (speaking *very* loosely) have a taste for such consumption,
    sjt> it will never be abolished.  :-(

    Thomas> It seems to me that demand is only half of the equation
    Thomas> and that if supply evaporates, there can be no such trade.
    Thomas> Would not the supply evaporate if (no small matter)
    Thomas> poverty and oppression were wiped out?

By definition.  Slavery is oppression, no?

However, even if you restrict "oppression" to "economic oppression,"
you underestimate the lengths to which such people will go.  North
Korean agents conducted a systematic program of kidnapping and
enslaving Japanese and South Koreans (at least) for at least two

In Japan itself, loan sharks have been entrapping housewives into
sexual slavery for many years.  Usually the outcome is that the family
pays off the loan at exorbitant rates to shut up the racketeers, but
every year or so another case hits the papers where the husband's
response is to disclaim responsibility and divorce his wife, at which
point the victim has nobody to press her claim with the police and is
basically helpless.  Surely you would consider a Japanese housewife
with a husband working for a major bank[1] or the like sufficiently "not
in poverty" for this purpose?  But it ain't so.

[1]  Typically these cases come to light because the husband is
sufficiently well-placed to be a target for extortion based on his
ex-wife's "profession", the information leaks, and some investigative
reporter manages to find the woman and interview her.

Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
        Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory