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Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives by Michael A. Heller
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Mine! Quotes Showing 1-14 of 14
“The General Mining Act of 1872 worked in a similar way. It allowed citizens and companies to stake claims on public land. Prospectors needed to search for valuable minerals, prove a discovery, and put in at least $100 worth of labor or improvements annually. So long as they met these minimal requirements (and a few others) and paid $2.50 to $5.00 per claimed acre, they owned the minerals below and sometimes the surface land above. The claim fee has never been updated since 1872. Mining companies still extract $2 billion to $3 billion each year from public lands and pay close to nothing for the privilege.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“Disney now unofficially tolerates hundreds of small online shops run by die-hard fans selling T-shirts, buttons, pins, patches, jewelry, and thousands more items that leverage Disney characters. These stores don’t pay Disney a dime in licensing fees. Why the pivot to tolerating knockoffs? Because Disney learned that fan-made, unlicensed twenty-five-dollar T-shirts drive their wearers to Disney parks, where they buy expensive entrance tickets and pass the day spending even more money. Another reason for Disney’s newfound tolerance: it has discovered the marketing research value from the hundreds of small knockoff shops. These shops turn out to be a vibrant source of ideas for new official Disney merchandise. In 2016 the online vendor Bibbidi Bobbidi Brooke came out with a hugely popular line of rose-gold sequined Mickey ears, something that had not occurred to the Disney licensors. So Disney copied the design, which sold out immediately in its official stores. Bibbidi Bobbidi Brooke was gracious, posting “always excited to see new merch offerings.” Her fans replied, “Yours will always be the original!!!” Everyone wins.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“Think of ownership design like organizing dinner for a group of friends. The task gets exponentially harder as the crowd grows. He’s vegan; she’s gluten free; they eat only sushi; this one’s on a juice cleanse; and the other is only free on Tuesdays. If everyone gets a dinner veto, no one dines together. The Senate works this way, with every senator able to filibuster the chamber into gridlock on most issues; similarly, the United Nations is often paralyzed, with the five permanent members of the Security Council—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—each able by design to veto the others’ agendas.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“Writing a will is a kindness to survivors so they know who gets what. Too many families are torn apart fighting over objects with sentimental value—like Arthur and Mildred’s rocking chair, discussed in the Introduction—even when the cash value is negligible.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“The Mickey Mouse Protection Act is unlikely to produce any public benefit whatsoever, not a single cartoon character or song. It’s pure corporate welfare.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“Reasoning by distinction can be as powerful a tool as reasoning by analogy”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“Song of Solomon: Grab this land! Take it, hold it, my brothers, make it, my brothers, shake it, squeeze it, turn it, twist it, beat it, kick it, kiss it, whip it, stomp it, dig it, plow it, seed it, reap it, rent it, buy it, sell it, own it, build it, multiply it, and pass it on—can you hear me? Pass it on!”
Michael A Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“Tract 1305 [on a Dakota Reservation] is 40 acres and produces $1,080 in income annually. It is valued at $8,000. It has 439 owners, one-third of whom receive less than $.05 in annual rent and two-thirds of whom receive less than $1….The administrative costs of handling this tract are estimated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs at $17,560 annually.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“The master stroke for this campaign was a concerted effort to rebrand the debate as one about the “death tax.” Frank Luntz, a political operative on the repeal payroll, later revealed that this rebranding “kindled voter resentment in a way that ‘inheritance tax’ and ‘estate tax’ [did] not.” To control the ownership narrative, the repeal campaign relied on personal stories that activated people’s fears. That’s why Thigpen was not alone testifying on the panel. With him were Bill McNutt, owner of Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas; Jim Turner, a rancher in Florida; and Robert Lange, a farmer from Malvern, Pennsylvania. Each expressed concern that their family businesses would need to be sold to pay estate taxes. The key for pro-repeal lobbyists was that nearly 40 percent of Americans mistakenly believed they were in the top 1 percent, or soon would be, and thus were potentially subject to the tax. Thanks to the lobbying campaign, Thigpen’s story went viral. Luntz and his hired associates transformed a tax that affected fewer than two out of every hundred Americans into a seemingly populist cause. As one commentator notes, “Thigpen’s story was repeated over and over again, and its racial undertones implied that the tax disproportionately impacts Black families. The only problem? It was a complete lie.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“Until the industrial revolution, most wealth was held in land. Primogeniture was a powerful tool for aristocrats aiming to avoid fractionation among heirs, the outcome inflicted on Black and Native American owners—and on the Irish. Fractionation was in part responsible for the Irish Potato Famine and the resulting wave of immigration to the United States. Following the Popery Act of 1703, England did not allow primogeniture for Catholics in Ireland, so their farms fractured as generations passed. Plots shrank to the point that planting a diversified range of crops became impossible. Eventually, potatoes were the only viable, nutrient-dense food that could be farmed. When a blight killed that sole crop, there was no alternative. A million Irish people starved to death; an exodus of survivors came to America.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“In 1916 Congress passed an estate tax, eventually setting the rate at 25 percent for estates over $10 million (worth over $230 million in today’s dollars). The tax helped pay for the U.S. war effort in World War I, and it achieved Roosevelt’s goal to tame what he called “the really big fortune, the swollen fortune.” Politicians and the public understood the estate tax as a moral imperative. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt made clear, “The transmission from generation to generation of vast fortunes by will, inheritance or gift is not consistent with the ideals and sentiments of the American people.” The president believed, as did most Americans, that each generation should stand on its own.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“Initially, CERs did spur some forest projects in the tropics. But they also increased activity in an unexpected quarter. A small number of companies in China and India produced a chemical used in refrigerators. Their manufacturing process created a by-product called HFC-23. This chemical has an unusual property: it is a super greenhouse gas. Just one HFC-23 molecule causes as much global warming as 11,700 molecules of carbon dioxide. The manufacturers spotted an opportunity with CERs. Five years into the trading program, it emerged that these companies had doubled their output and had earned roughly half the world’s total CERs. The market for refrigerants had not grown, though, so why had they ramped up production? These companies had changed their business model. Their profit no longer came from producing and selling refrigerant. What they now cared about was producing and destroying the HFC-23 by-product. They duly incinerated every pound of HFC-23 they created. And for every pound of super greenhouse gas they destroyed, the companies were awarded CERs—which they then sold to polluting countries and companies in Europe and Japan. As Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, explained, “It’s perverse. You have companies which make a lot of money by making more of this gas, and then getting paid to destroy it.” Creating and then destroying HFC-23 generated a lot of profit—but it provided zero environmental benefit. Even worse, it was cheaper for companies to buy credits from HFC-23 destroyers than from forest builders. So very little money flowed to rainforests. By the time this scam was recognized and stopped, Chinese and Indian HFC-23 makers had earned a fortune. Billions of dollars had been wasted; the world’s climate got nothing in return.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“Before 1980, ownership gridlock was not a major problem for drug developers. Scientists published their research findings more or less freely and were rewarded for their labor with academic tenure, peer recognition, lecture invitations, awards, and maybe even a Nobel Prize. Recognition (and not ownership) was enough to spur the great twentieth-century biomedical innovations—humanity-transforming discoveries from penicillin to the polio vaccine.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives
“They call this the “piracy paradox” and show that copycats actually help the fashion industry innovate.”
Michael A. Heller, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives