Labor Is Something You Do. Not Something You Necessarily Own.

In reality, labor is what you do; not what you are. When the word “labor” is used as a noun, it refers to a process; not a substance. There are no homogeneous units of measurement for labor. There is no way to observe labor independent of the person who does it. Labor is not inherent in the thing produced like some ethereal, quasi-tangible aura; labor is merely the process by which the thing was produced.

The ability to assign a noun to an action is not sufficient for establishing ownership of said action. Property norms are established to avoid and address conflicts over scarce, rivalrous resources. In the case of “labor”, the rivalrous resources involved are the production capital, the time expended, the laborer, and the good or service produced. “Labor” does not exist independent of these rivalrous resources. The fact that the process called “labor” occurred is evidenced by the end result, but there is no way to directly measure the good or service itself to determine exactly how much work, time, or production capital was invested in its production.

This is why the market phenomenon known as “price” exists, but that’s not really my point. My point is that people aren’t labor. “Labor” can’t be entitled to what “labor” produces because “labor” isn’t even a moral agent. Would we likewise say that running is entitled to what running produces, or the farting is entitled to what farting produces?


This double counting of “labor” as though it were a scarce, rivalrous resource independent of other resources lends itself to the initiation of physical conflicts, as is the case with the cartelization of information euphemistically referred to as “intellectually property protection”. Further, it’s a reification fallacy that reinforces man’s distorted perspective of himself, other people, and the world at large.

To view oneself and others as mere “labor” is but one consequence of being completely desensitized to the violent subjugation of territorial monopolists on ultimate decision making.