As the gold bugs know, on the one hand there is physical gold that you hold in your hand (or lose in a tragic boating accident) and on the other hand there is every other sort of gold, including “paper” gold.
So I was involved in a diatribe yesterday, with a UK “homeowner” who was absolutely adamant that despite having a mortgage, they were the legal owner of their home.
I tried to talk to them about “redeeming” the mortgage when the final payment is made, and finally owning the house, and we got on to the subject of Deeds, and I stated that 99% of UK homeowners don’t even know what a Deed looks like, only to be told I was an asshole, go to the Land Registry website and pay £3 and see the deeds online for your “owned property”….
Yeah, go down to the Ferrari garage and look at the 2016 Berlinetta through the window, it’s not the same as owning it.
I even used the analogy that a £600 car that you bought for cash you can sell for £1 and nobody gives a shit, try and sell a house or car subject to a finance agreement for £1 and see all the shit that lands on your head.
Sell a £300,000 house that you own for £1 and you might get a visit from the tax man for tax avoidance, but that’s about it.
Many of the things I said were simply flatly ignored, such as the fact that repeating interest on a loan is an exponential function in mathematics.
All this against the backdrop of the “owners vs renters” debate, where of course unless you own the freehold outright you are not a fucking “owner” and along with the house price bubble there has been an insidious rise in leasehold housing and a fall in freeholding.
Back in my folks day leaseholding was at least a 999 year lease, but it was still a lease, a pub that was a Free House was always a better pub than a Tied pub in a chain, more character.
If I look at new build properties for sale locally I can trawl through their websites and I can see all about the fantastic features, the rooms big enough to swing a cat in (if you have 6″ long arms) the gardens too small to put up a 2 man tent, the worthless (because the warranty company folds) 10 year warranty on workmanship that starts falling apart in 3, and on and on and on, but the subject of lease vs free hold is not even mentioned, so you can bet your ass they are leasehold, and the lease terms are dropping, 125 years is common, 100 is creeping in, and I have even seen 75 and 50 year leases.
And of course the Lease holder charges an annual fee, and of course the lease holder has the right to refuse you permission to make structural changes, such as erecting a greenhouse / conservatory / garage / workshop, and of course the leaseholder has the right to take you to court and take “your” property from you, if you do not pay their fees, however extortionate or ridiculous.
Even freehold, like phyzz gold, was only yours as long as the state permitted it, but it was very hard for the state to single out individual citizens for attention this way, not so with the current system, every single contract is an individual thing, so can be targeted individually.
Many years ago we used to talk about a worker and his tools, I have a workshop full of tools that I own outright, some of them were my father’s when he was a boy apprentice.
Today in 2016, it’s not so simple……
What if your “tool” requires some software to work, a dynojet dyno tuner is no good without the dynojet software, an Epilog or Trotec laser is no good without the software, a Mercedes Benz On Star diagnostic system is no good without the software, and the software is all sold under licence nowadays, by definition, you never own it.
Maybe software that you *think* you own won’t work in 20 years, simply because of some bug in the code that won’t work past a certain unix time, or because the OS it required is now so obsolete that even if you could get a copy of it, you can’t get any hardware that it will run on.
I’d be hard pressed to find a 64 bit MIPS processor based board today that I could put my Cobalt web server OS on and have it work, as for designing and building a suitable main board from scratch, forget it.
You can imagine a scenario that goes like this.
You have a lump of precious metal, say silver, that has a base metal value.
You have a coin operated machine that only works with certain silver coins.
You can’t get those coins any more, and you can’t modify the coin operated machine because it has checks throughout that depend on the *correct* coin mech and coins being used.
Well, you can physically devalue the precious metal, by pressing it into a coin of the appropriate form factor and design, and in doing so, you commit forgery / treason, of the same sort (because US “paper” money is all the same size) as making US$1.00 bills out of US$10.00 bills, it doesn’t matter that you are losing money to do it, and you are only doing it so the machine that only takes now obsolete $1 bills will work, you’ll get hammered just the same as if you tried to make a $1 bill a $1,000 bill.
Software is like gold, even if you hold the phyzz, there is nothing stopping “the man” from making it illegal for you to hold today what you held legally yesterday.
Scorpions Virgin Killer album cover was legal for me to buy in a shop many years ago, today it is child porn, for which there IS NO PERMISSIBLE LEGAL DEFENCE, which puts these new laws beyond even murder, which you can at least mount a defence against other than “it wasn’t me, you got the wrong guy guv”, for example self defence, mercy killing, accidental killing, negligent killing, and so on.
No I dunno about child porn but a family member does have some bestiality stuff, the fact that it is 400 year old eastern art is neither here nor there, a few years ago animal porn was legal in the UK, now it is not, so the relative is in the position of possibly having to justify what they own as being art, not porn, at some point in the future.
Basic shit like encryption protocols or the TCP stack or P2P or DXF file for a zip gun, basically anything they choose, can be made illegal tomorrow, even though it was legal for you to buy and sell yesterday.
And in this brave new world where so so so many “tools” are in fact “systems” that comprise many things, and which include software components, such as a Laser or CNC mill, 3D printer, Dynojet, or even high end multimeters…. what are you gonna do when one link in that chain gets broken?
Sitting on my NAS box in the corner is all manner of stuff, some of it dating back 17 years to copies of very early backup CD’s I made, early emails, websites, you name it.
In amongst that are some archives of various formats, and in amongst them, there are a handful that I cannot open, either because I have lost the password, or because the password is right but the archive is corrupted somehow.
One day, some years ago, it became potentially illegal for me to keep those files, if the NAS box is siezed by the po-po and they demand the passwords to everything, and I say “shit guys, I can’t remember, I just keep the file in case one day I work it out from a text reference or record in another file.. it’s not like they weigh anything or slow the NAS down” and they say “You’re lying” and I go to jail, not for refusing to divulge the passwords, but for FAILING to divulge them.
And I can stay in prison as long as the judge likes, years if necessary in HIS opinion, there is no concept of having served a sentence and the offence being expired.
The phyzz is a bastard.
Posession of the phyzz is a bigger bastard.
You see a while back I was handed a tool, it was a DVD with the Windows “WSUSoffline” updates on it, pretty cool tool, which I had a use for, a PC with limited 3g connectivity only, and inside :wsusoffline/client/bin there is an extra folder, and it contains some mp3’s, a crappy cam copy of the new star trek shite film, and some porn clips.
I did not know it was there.
Damn but is it ever getting easy to fit people up for crimes that they knew nothing about nowadays.
My C: drive on this PC currently has 232,258 files in 37,774 folders, this is *just* the C: drive in one machine.
I have three vehicles, in law there is no difference between me ensuring that three vehicles are all legal, and me ensuring that a quarter of a million files are all legal… and I could probably plant a handgun and some drugs in your car in such a way that YOU would never find it… give me 10 minutes…
…makes it real easy when you want a Erdogan style purge of everyone who doesn’t suck your cock.
But, you could mount a legal defence against the hand gun and dope, not mine yer honnor, never seen em before yer honnor, won’t have my prints on em yer honnor, microsoft and every website I visit has access to my car yer honnor… I just drive the fucker, within the speed limit, while sober, obeying lights and signs…
Jails, they’re still phyzz… funny that.