Prepare to Pay Royalties on Sunshine



A woman in Spain has been declared the rightful owner of the sun and she plans to charge the rest of the world for “using” it; i.e., for in any way taking advantage of the heat or light emanating from it. This may sound ridiculous and somewhat humorous, but it is true. Angeles Duran followed the laws of the nation in Spain when she registered the sun as her property, following the lead of American Dennis Hope, who is the registered owner of the moon and most of the planets in the solar system.

Of course, this shows how utterly ridiculous the view of gaining property rights through the state is. Anything registered as property with a state agency is declared property and enforced using our tax money. Be it the sun (which, I think, was there long before Ms. Duran), a genetic code, or a thought. Creation is not necessary, and neither is the Lockean “mixing” with one’s labor – and use or possession is equally irrelevant. What matters is “registration.”

One cannot but agree with the proponents of the radical socialist movement, who claim property is “theft” and “impossible” (to use Proudhon’s words) and an exploitative privilege granted by the state without philosophical grounds. The ownership of the sun and everything that comes from it pinpoints one of the many problems with state capitalism: that it is all about the bureaucratic process and using the legal system to one’s benefit at the cost of others.

Contemporary corporate state capitalism is to a large extent a zero sum system for profit where those who do not earn profits are forced to support those who do. The difference to a positive sum free market system is gargantuan.

Ms. Duran will now take her right to the courts in order to have well over six billion people pay for the “use” of her star. Showing her true statist stripes, she will use her “just” income in the proper way: half of the proceeds will be given to the Spanish government and an additional twenty percent will be used to prop up the nation’s public pension fund.

It is a wonderful world.

The Ludwig von Mises Institute