Thursday, October 16, 2008

Property Right Intuition

My 17 month old daughter is very cute, of course (is it possible for a parent to think otherwise?), but as she is becoming more intelligent it is fun to see her inchoate intuitions. I go to pick her up from the child center, and she's in tears because a much older 2 year old took her diaper bag and is throwing it around. The women there can't understand why she's crying, but I know that it's because she always gets her diaper bag out of her cubby when I pick her up, and she sees that when others take her diaper bag it is 'not right'. The ladies think that kids are basically like caricatures of savages, people who don't care about who owns what. Thus, those in charge completely misdiagnosed the situation because they did not appreciate my baby's intuition for property rights, making my baby very unhappy, adults clueless.

I get the sense that lowering taxes on the bottom 95%, raising it on the top 5%, also does not appreciates peoples' intuition for property rights. Currently the top 5% of earners make over about $150k, and they pay about 60% of the income taxes. I think they will respond by gaming the system, and their will be a huge elasticity in reported income.


Anonymous said...

Good stuff falken. I have long thought that mandatory "sharing" between siblings is also a bad idea. The older child becomes resentful as everything that was "his" is no longer secure and can be taken and used at any time. I think this is a big cause of much childhood fighting.

Anonymous said...

The problem we have is that the adult party has acted with venal cronyism, nepotism, and simony to such an extent that voters will overcome property based intuitions in favor of delivering intuitive justice: give the other team a chance.

I hate the idea of an untrammeled Democratic government, but you aren't being honest if don't think the GOP deserves a beating. Again, from a sense of intuitive justice.

As far as kids, they shoudl have their own toys, but also communal toys. Own toys makes them lazy negotiators (its mine, give it to me).

jsalvati said...

I agree that kids should have some communal toys and some owned toys. Teaches them skills in multiple life domains.

J said...

On the other hand, a kindergarten should prepare babies to school life, with its school yard brutalities. And that is being done in your daughter´s center.

Eric Falkenstein said...

I think she is learning a balanced view of property rights by complaining when stuff she brought, that she carries to and from the center, is 'her property'. All the toys at the center, however, are shared, and it's first come first serve, and does not have a legitimate grievance there.

Pete S said...

Everyone is reading just a little bit too much into this situation.

She must be very bright if she remembers her stuff. Most parents (like me) end up driving back to school a few times a year so their lil' rocket scientists can get their homework out of their lockers.