On Andrew Galambos and His Primary Property Ideas
by Alvin Lowi, Jr.
(Original version: March 31, 1998)
"Alvin Lowi first met Andrew J. Galambos in 1958 when he joined the technical Staff of Ramo-Wooldridge Corp. where Galambos was a principal astrophysicist for that company, which became TRW Space Technology Laboratories shortly thereafter. At the time, Lowi was a Ph.D. candidate in engineering at UCLA and Galambos generously tutored him in thermodynamics and other scientific subjects. Out of this collegial relationship arose a close person friendship and an intense mutual interest in developing a scientific approach to the understanding of social phenomena. By 1960, this rapport resulted in the founding of the Free Enterprise Institute and other related enterprises. Progress in the development of the details of "Volitional Science" failed to keep pace with the growing popularity of the mostly ideological lecture courses offered by FEI. Consequently, in 1969, Mr. Lowi relinquished his founder’s equity and terminated his position in FEI and his participation in the promotion of its ideological program.
"Since that time, Mr. Lowi has worked independently on the application of the scientific method to social phenomena. An unpublished monograph of his on this subject is referred to in this essay. He has contributed various articles and commentaries on the prospects of spontaneous volitional society, which appear on the world wide web under the auspices of the Tucson Center for Socionomic Research's Cactus Club Dialog
page. He has also written some critical reviews of politics and political government for the Economic Government Group which appeared in its "Don't Vote" page [until the website ceased to exist]: "No Conceivable Reform
" and "Abstention is not Apathy
". He is also a contributing author of "Technology and the Case for Free Enterprise
," an anthology edited and co-authored by economics professors Daniel Klein and Fred Foldvary, [which was] to be published by the University of Michigan Press in 2001.
"In this four-part essay, Mr. Lowi revisits some of Andrew J. Galambos' ideas on intellectual property, or "Primary Property" as Galambos called it. Mr. Lowi freely admits his treatment is only as good as his memory after several decades of reflection and further research."
- Stephen Clarke-Willson, Editor-Moderator, Above-the-Gararge.com and
Volitional Science Group
"Primary property" became the centerpiece of an ideological program launched by astrophysicist Andrew J. Galambos in 1961. The avowed purpose of this enterprise was to "build" a free society.
Galambos claimed a scientific basis for his approach. However, the dearth of written material as well as the ideological context in which the subject was presented has inhibited students of Galambos in their further explorations of the subject and handicapped their attempts to make practical applications of it to their lives. Nevertheless, the concepts he presented were enthusiastically received. He developed considerable excitement among his more than 5000 former students resulting in a loyal following among the majority of them that persists to this day. This outcome is remarkable considering that his disclosures were solely oral and he became mentally impaired more than fifteen years ago. It is a testimonial to his pioneering intellectual leadership if not also to his charisma.
It would be risky enough to explore the particular subject of "primary property" if only because of its obscure and esoteric psychological nature. It is all the more so because Galambos cannot now be consulted in person, his audio-tapes are unavailable for independent study and he left no written disclosures on the subject.
Galambos further complicated the study by embedding the subject in an ideology having moral connotations, which to question may elicit an emotional rather than a rational response. As a result of the very misconceptions Galambos feared would arise regarding the meaning of his ideas on the subject, speculations abound and rhetoric tends to supersede substance in inconclusive arguments.
Collegial explorations of Galambos’ notion of "primary property" as a social phenomenon using scientific method are inhibited. Since scientific method was represented by Galambos to be his first, foremost and most fundamental consideration, it would seem appropriate to try to overcome these inhibitions.
No one alive is authorized to speak for Galambos on technical matters, and there is no text of his available to stand in his defense. Thus, I am left to my own devices to determine how to regard my recollections of his teachings. Therefore, I must take full responsibility for these contents. Hopefully, my observations will be more heuristic than critical, and my skepticism regarding some aspects of Galambos’ approach will not obscure my genuine admiration of the man and his work. I have no doubt that the subject matter of his teachings is as important as he represented, importance measured in terms of the advancement of myself, my fellows and our mutual posterity.
GALAMBOS AND STATISM
In his original treatment of how human society works, which he presented systematically to the public for the first time in 1961, Andrew Galambos emphasized the workings of a free market economy under limited constitutional government. As the course developed, he discovered that the integrity of "private property" was the central feature of the existence and operation of a humane society in general and markets in particular. This new insight led him to observe that the word "private" was a superfluous adjective in the term "private property," pointing out that property is private else it is not property. He also refined his definition and treatment of property in his discourses as follows:
"Property consists of one’s life and all of its non-procreative derivatives."
Galambos chose this abstract definition to suit his theoretical constructions, which eventually, he claimed, dispensed with political arrangements altogether.
A more operational or phenomenological definition tied to observational procedures would have been more in keeping with his avowed interest in making his studies scientific. Such definitions might have been suggested by anthropology. However, he disdained historical practices, preferring ideal abstractions instead. This stance would come to handicap his appreciation for the very humanity that his theories were meant to complement, and it also handicapped the development of his theory of authentic human action in contradistinction to animal behavior.
One of Galambos’ original supporters was patent attorney Billy Alvin Robbins, Esquire. Robbins attended the first offering of Course 100 in 1961. A polished lecturer and a competent engineer, Robbins became the second person to ever present that course to the public (in the San Fernando Valley in 1962) under the auspices of Galambos, dba the Free Enterprise Institute (FEI). Under the influence of Robbins and others like me and Richard Nesbit who also had prepared in the physical sciences, Galambos made further refinements in his treatment of property, taking particular account of the intellectual variety because of its crucial role in technological advancement, the impetus for social progress. Accordingly, Galambos derived from his definition (above quoted) three classifications of property: (1) "primordial" (one’s own life), (2) "primary" (his own ideas sometimes generalized to refer to one’s entire intellectual estate) and (3) "secondary" (tangible possessions obtained by non-coercive means).
When Galambos introduced the term "coercion" into his elaborated definition of property, he inadvertently embraced a logical circularity that resulted from his definition of coercion as "an intentional interference with property." Consequently, he relied on "property" to define what was not property in order to define "property." A further complication resulted from having to determine whether an interference with property was "intentional," which is difficult if not impossible to observe. These anomalies were troublesome for some of his more conscientious students when they attempted to apply his concept of property in a scientific manner. They found they could not devise a suitable observational test to establish whether or not a particular claim to property as he defined it was authentic.
As a patent attorney, Robbins was keenly interested in property, particularly the intellectual variety. His concentration was on traditional common law practices that were familiar to him in his profession. Galambos did not trust those traditions to deal adequately with such an important matter. He associated them with the statutory practices that had come to dominate intellectual property protection everywhere in society. He stereotyped patent attorneys like Robbins as agents of the State and not contractual counsel to individual innovators. After all, as a member of the Bar, Robbins was an officer of the court and was under oath to be faithful to the "law of the land," however concocted by the Legislature and interpreted by the Judiciary.
Perhaps because of his European heritage, Galambos did not appreciate that the Anglo-Saxon common law is the generally unwritten and evolving set of rules of jurisprudence that become binding by custom and then only as a result of immemorial usage and universal reception in a community. Thus, the "common law" is a natural phenomenon characterizing volitional human culture. Had Galambos known what Robbins knew, he would have realized that the property violations he abhorred derive primarily from statute law that comes down from the coercive power of the State to preempt the operation of common law among autonomous individuals. Moreover, he would have seen his property principle already at work in society as a feature of the common law phenomenon.
Robbins found an ample non-legal sphere within which his clients could find a measure of protection for their intellectual property. To him, an innovator’s protection would depend primarily on his own behavior and discipline expressed in a manner that could be recognized and respected by his community of peers.
For Robbins, prudence and competence would be the keys to the integrity of property. Whereas, Galambos adopted a moral approach in which "absolute" integrity of property was to be the sole criterion from which institutional sanctions could be justified.
Robbins conceded determination of ownership to a community consensus. By contrast, Galambos derived his authority from a "higher source." Presumably, that source was nature as revealed by scientific method in the course of development of what he called "Volitional science." Robbins’ and Galambos’ views on property would be reconciled eventually but not in the courses of the Free Enterprise Institute.
By this time, Galambos had developed an aversion to any State involvement in property protection. So he undertook to develop a theoretical approach "a priori," which he formally introduced into the curriculum of Course 100 in 1962. Subsequently, he announced that a new course, V-201, entitled "The Nature and Protection of Primary Property" would be offered the following year. In this new course, Galambos would concentrate on "primary property" and would disclose a new theory he had invented for its protection.
While Robbins was presenting Course 100, he attended the first offering of V-201 in 1963 at which time Galambos made a critical and derogatory example of Robbins’ profession, alluding to a conspiracy with the State regarding intellectual property. This "faux pas" would have been bad enough without mentioning Robbins by name and position on the FEI faculty. Although Galambos was unable to demonstrate how his theory would work out in practice, he easily showed how the typical alliance between the legal profession and the government results in corrupt practices with respect to innovators thereby impugning Robbins integrity in public. Robbins was stunned by this unprovoked attack, but he was able to defend his approach to intellectual property protection based on common law practices, accusing Galambos of throwing out the baby with the bath water.
Galambos summarily dismissed Robbins argument, and he insinuated that Robbins, the attorney, was a party to "immoral" professional practices. Robbins was understandably distressed inasmuch as this adversity was unprovoked and uncalled for even if the State had tainted the practice of patent law.
Galambos’ attack on the patent profession was personally painful to Robbins. And it raised the question as to why he did not also jump on the accountants, corporation lawyers, stock brokers, physicians, engineers and bankers in the class whose professions are not only corrupted by the State but are created by it in many cases. After all, since Galambos taught that there was no such thing as a small infringement of property any more than there could be just a little pregnancy, why single out the patent profession for abuse.
Robbins was not the last to encounter Galambos’ accusations of complicity in "primary property theft
." He was just the first and most visible target because he was knowledgeable on the subject and the most likely person in Galambos’ audience to uncover a defect in his new theory. Regardless, this episode was to shape Galambos’ posture in his future expositions and dealings.
Robbins was an authority on common law property practices as well as statute law and his "defense" against Galambos’ attack was very instructive to all those listening. Galambos was unable to listen in the classroom setting so I attempted to mediate this controversy in private based on an appeal to scientific criteria in the belief that such arguments would take precedence in the situation. I was motivated to do this because Robbins was my patent attorney and I considered both he and Galambos to be my colleagues in the quest for learning more about society. However, my efforts were to no avail. Much to my chagrin, I was unable to reconcile the controversy by such civil means. Galambos steadfastly held to a moral (i.e. righteous) as opposed to a scientific (i.e. realistic) position. Robbins had a successful patent law practice, which he was not about to abandon. In the end, Robbins resigned from the faculty of FEI. He also withdrew his patronage of Galambos’ ideological program taking considerable goodwill with him.
TWO VIEWS OF PROPERTY IN IDEAS
Robbins had the credentials for contributing to the theory of primary property and its protection. He had already distinguished himself in this field by obtaining the first patent (not merely a copyright) ever granted by the U.S. Patent Office covering a computer program. Prior to Robbins work, software had not been recognized as an invention. Robbins defended his client’s claims with some ingenuity of his own. He showed that a special-purpose computer is created from a general-purpose computer when a special program or algorithm is installed in it. As a result, his client was the first to be recognized by the public as a software inventor. This insight of Robbins’ would come to have special significance for me in understanding how intellectual property invested in land and natural resources results in creating new forms of property.
Robbins’ approach was most relevant to my efforts to commercialize an invention I was working on at the time. Curiously, Galambos was receptive to some of what I had learned from Robbins. For example, the "proprietary notice," presented to enrollees of Free Enterprise Institute courses for the first time in 1964, was an adaptation of Robbins’ form of an inventor’s disclosure agreement.
Subsequently, Robbins taught a course at UCLA emphasizing the importance of property in contracts and how to treat intellectual property in them. His approach was technical rather than ideological or moral. The information proved to be a valuable guide not only to personal behavior but also for understanding the fate of ideas in society here and now. I found the existing common-law institutions emphasized by Robbins to be relevant and practical for safely commercializing my inventions in the world as it is.
On the other hand, Galambos’ abstract social inventions for the protection of "primary property" could be implemented, if at all, only through ideological promotion. Such efforts would have to take precedence over all my other goals in life. Even then, there was substantial doubt that this effort would produce a practical alternative to the common-law methods of intellectual property protection. This dilemma impressed me with the difficulties of inventing social institutions in the abstract and then trying to mold humanity by ideological means to fit them into a synthetic structure. To me, this approach was like putting the cart before the horse in the sense that it implied the existence of a mature technology (the cart) without evidence of a science (the horse).
Galambos was able to cut heroic social conceptions out of whole moral cloth, and he was increasingly intent on trying to reduce them to practice. However, his approach boiled down to a programmatic dedication to synthetic contrivances. His program became inconsistent with the methods of natural science and technology he taught so well and was so well prepared to practice. Consequently, Galambos’ students now find themselves confronting certain dilemmas that can be resolved only by resort to humility and skepticism coupled with further innovation, experimentation and study as originally advocated by Galambos. Curiously, the synthetic approach to which Galambos came to devote his powerful mind raises the same questions encountered with any "public policy," namely, who’s in charge and how did he get his authority?
As he had taught earlier on, Galambos showed how the scientific method provides the only tools applicable for coping with societal insufficiencies and uncertainties. Any new hypothesis is likely to raise dilemmas in applying it to the real world and had Galambos remained faithful to his original scientific approach, the dilemmas that arose in his ideological program would have been at least rational ones rather than the acrimonious moral issues they subsequently became.
A comparison of Galambos’ and Robbins’ approaches to the subject of "intellectual" or "primary" property is instructive. Galambos, the physicist and social theorist, grudgingly used conventional methods of intellectual property protection while introducing his idealized method through verbal discourse, personal example and exhortation. Although he was reluctant to sanction application by others, he fully expected his mechanistic system would eventually succeed as the method of choice in society on the strength of ideological persuasion based on abstract moral arguments.
Robbins, the engineer and patent attorney, recommended common law practices because they were familiar and already widely practiced evidencing social acceptance of intellectual property based on long-standing practicality rather than moral exhortation or government edict. He expected refinements in the actual practices might well occur along the lines envisioned by Galambos as people became more knowledgeable and appreciative of the practice.
Robbins believed innovators could be adequately served by mastering and refining the evolutionary phenomenological practices with which he was familiar. By contrast, Galambos disdained what he knew of those methods in favor of the revolutionary but untested mechanisms he had invented.
References and Notes
1 Astrophysicist/scholar/teacher/entrepreneur, Andrew J. Galambos (aka Joseph A. Galambos) was a colleague of the author's when both were members of the technical staff of Ramo-Wooldridge, later to become TRW Space Technology Laboratories. This was during the formative period of the aerospace industry when most engineers did not know the difference between an airplane and an artificial earth satellite. There, Galambos, a highly regarded astrophysicist, presented a popular noon-time lecture series to other technical staff members which he called "Astronomy, Astrophysics and Astronautics" (1957-59). Subsequently, he offered similar lecture courses to his students and to the public during a brief tenure as a professor of physics, mathematics and astronomy at Whittier College. This led to his founding The Free Enterprise Institute in Monterey Park, CA, in 1960, through which he developed and presented similar courses subject to tuition including his memorable "Course 100," entitled "Capitalism--The Key to Survival" (preserved on audio tape). The author was first a student and then a lecturer, having taught this course during 1962-64 under the strict supervision of Galambos. As a result, the author developed both an appreciation for and a divergence from Galambos' ideas which readers familiar with this background will surely recognize.
2 Alvin Lowi, Jr.,"A Recollection of My Acquaintanship with Andrew Joseph Galambos," unpublished manuscript available from the author, 2146 Toscanini Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, December 25, 1995.
3 Andrew J. Galambos, "What is Property?" Thrust for Freedom, Number 2, The Liberal Publishing Co., Inc., Los Angeles, 1963.
4 Billy A. Robbins, Byard G. Nilsson and Robert Berliner, "Patenting and Marketing Ideas," Business Administration Extension Course No. 898, University of California, Los Angeles, Spring Term, 1972.
5 Alvin Lowi, Jr., "Scientific Method--In Search of Legitimate Authority in Society," unpublished manuscript available from the author, December 25, 1996 (revised March 8, 1998). See especially p.55 and following.
PROPERTIES OF IDEAS VERSUS IDEAS AS PROPERTY
Galambos’ concern for the protection of what he called "primary property" was understandable and his arguments compelling. He noted that the ideas comprising this form of property, once disclosed, can never be recovered and that no disclosure, no matter how skillfully rendered, can assure that the ideas expressed will be apprehended accurately and recalled with fidelity. Thus, he was apprehensive of the fate of an innovator and his works in the population at large while at the same time, insistent that the innovator must be secure in his role and position for any human justice to prevail and social progress to occur.
"Primary property," as contemplated by Galambos, consists of ideas, conceptions, theories, hypotheses, premises, principles, assumptions, know-how, esthetic works, verbal works, literary works, musical works, mechanisms, processes, methods, enterprises and other suggestions of causes or order imagined by humans. Other than one’s biological life, land and natural resources, primary property according to Galambos, is the precursor to all the creative works of man. This characterization also makes it clear that every human is an innovator, i.e. a creator of "primary property," at some time or other. It follows then that every man is a vital factor in the creation of his own environment as well as the environment of others.
Articulateness or intelligibility in communication, being what it is, varies widely among individuals. Obviously, the less articulate among us will be disadvantaged in asserting their claims to their innovations, just as the less resourceful and lesser prepared persons in the population will naturally have less access to social benefits--sad but true.
To prescribe the metes and bounds of ideas is a difficult problem even for a skillful writer. That feat is virtually impossible in verbal discourse even for the most eloquent orator. Not only is the communication of ideas challenging, to do so adequately for the purpose establishing them as property in society is more so.
Ideas can be visualized with integrity only in the mind. However, as long as they remain in that abstract domain, they never behave as property in the sense of keeping accounts and making social history. Since we can observe that "property" in some form or other does make creative social history, we are encouraged to believe that property has an intellectual component that is not altogether abstract, where abstract means having an existence apart from the senses.
The kind of "property" Galambos defined as "primary" is wholly intangible, i.e. abstract. It can exist solely in the mind of the beholder. Originally, it is "property" only in the sense that it is "A PROPERTY" of the human mind, a very obscure and esoteric subject. Such "property" only becomes observable when it produces a tangible manifestation. The manifestation may or may not be true to the original conception and the original conception may have been "learned" or suggested by another such that neither originality nor authenticity can be tested by observation. Thus, "primary property" as contemplated by Galambos is metaphysical and must be so distinguished from other forms of "property." Curiously, "primary property" never loses its metaphysical character even when embodied in tangible works like writings, music or artifacts. It remains a creation of the mind that originated it regardless of any physical or social effects it motivates.
As far as is known, contrary to advocates of mental telepathy, ideas may be propagated among humans only as a result of their tangible expressions. Actually, what propagates is a facsimile of the original idea which, when apprehended and taken to mind by others, becomes their surrogate for the original idea. There are possibly as many such surrogates as there are people but there is only one original. Since such surrogates are the creation of those who hold them to mind, the question arises as to whether such proxies do not in some way become the separate primary property of the beholder. "Independent" conceptions also occur and they may seem identical. Close examination of their tangible manifestations where possible usually reveals distinguishable differences suggesting that true independence is highly unlikely. That it should be so is understandable in terms of the infinite variation in the genetic and memetic makeup of human beings.
Galambos pointed out that primary property is embedded in all other forms of property. This observation raises a serious question for "volitional science," the name he gave to his studies: How can primary property be disembodied from the tangible varieties? Until that question is answered, "primary property," as Galambos contemplated it, is an imponderable from a scientific standpoint. Neither neurology nor psychology can illuminate this subject as yet.
To get around this problem in order to proceed with his approach to social science, which he called "Socionomic," Spencer Heath bundled all the social aspects of "property" into what he called "the subject matter of contracts." This may seem like an oversimplification but, among other things, it solves, at least potentially, one critical problem regarding "primary property," namely disclosure. Disclosure would seem to be the first step in realizing the potential social consequences of "primary property." Presumably, this is how land and natural resources can be brought under proprietary administration.
Heath had anticipated Galambos’ "integrity of property" idea by some number of years. However, in contrast to Galambos, Heath did not attribute any special moral significance to "property." Thereby, he was able to pursue his scientific quest without distraction from premature or irrelevant moral issues. I would characterize Heath’s approach as anthropological in which common law figures prominently.
INNOVATION AND INNOVATION-TRANSFER
It is instructive to examine the meaning of Galambos’ concept of "primary property" in terms of the fate of an innovator in society. For this purpose, Galambos’ definition of an innovator should be used, namely "one who is a creator of primary property." Galambos himself represents a case in point.
Consider Galambos’ claim that he is the owner of some ideas other people may hold dear in their minds. Can they be sure that the ideas they contemplate are indeed the same as Galambos’ after they had struggled to apprehend them during and after verbal discourse? Obviously, they did not
get them by organ transplantation. They got them by putting some intellectual effort of their own into powering their own imaginations whereby they also became creators, if only in a minor way. In other words, they learned them and thereby made them "theirs" in some sense.
The teacher "teaches." The student "learns." In the process, the question arises whether some kind of ownership authority is passed. If the recipients of the information are in doubt as to their proper prerogatives, how can an innocent bystander accredit or discredit the authenticity of a teacher’s claim to exclusivity when there is no way of observing either the subject matter or the industry involved in its creation and transfer.
Galambos explicitly claimed ownership of "his" ideas when he made his disclosures in his classes. He was also careful to inform all within earshot that he was standing on the shoulders of giants and he admonished them to do likewise. In acknowledging his intellectual antecedents, Galambos demonstrated the sort of gratitude he deemed proper and which is practiced to a high degree in academia. His practices also revealed a curiosity of ownership as commonly understood and expressed in the common language. As pointed out by anthropologist Spencer Heath MacCallum, the etymology of the word "own" is the same as for the word "owe." So to own is also to owe in our culture. However, Galambos raised this idea to a higher level of consciousness than any of his predecessors, albeit not without controversy.
But how does Galambos express his ownership after a disclosure? Is he not limited to the attempt to persuade others to behave mentally and otherwise according to his wishes regarding the "transplanted" ideas? To take a coercive approach to having his way would have been anathema. As a result, the acquisition of ownership of ideas by autonomous other persons comes into question unless they would somehow forfeit that aspect of their inheritance and become puppets. I resist the notion that Galambos had this perverse intent and I doubt that anyone who entered into the FEI disclosure agreement or signed the proprietary notice as a condition of hearing the course had any such an intention.
Indeed, Galambos himself has said that none of his students could understand what was to be expected of him in regard to "primary property" practice prior to his having completed the course in its entirety. Even then, he was not optimistic for a rational outcome. Yet, he bravely offered a tuition refund to any enrollee who had the courage to stand up and say he did not get his time’s-worth from attending all the lectures. Although this rarely happened, Galambos was known to be true to his word.
Perhaps it was Galambos’ pessimism that prevented him from following up on his proprietary notice with contractual negotiations to perfect a coherent "meeting of the minds" with his students whereby the benefits of application and extrapolation would be mutually agreeable. Of course, this would have required that he specify which of his ideas he had reserved for his exclusive use; which were available for exclusive license to others on negotiated terms; and which all signees to the proprietary notice were free to use under an automatic non-exclusive license giving recognition to him on the honorable and subjective value basis that he taught.
Galambos’ exposition of this procedure was eloquent as well as ingenious. He made it seem simple enough to practice by setting forth a system for what he called "primary bookkeeping." However, as it turned out, his approach to the administration of such a procedure was fraught with difficulties, not the least of which was the demand on his limited time and patience, never mind the same on others. For whatever reason, this procedure was never actually reduced to practice in the administration of the Free Enterprise Institute. It was not even practiced by dedicated members of a cadre of believers Galambos referred to as his "moral island." If Galambos himself practiced primary bookkeeping as he preached, evidence of it has not thus far been turned up in his archives, although his estate trustees say they are actively looking for such and anticipate negotiating royalty settlements on his behalf regardless.
Galambos’ Estate Trustees express the following policy regarding his intellectual estate:
“...the use (not disclosure) of Prof.’s ideas in one’s own business has always been encouraged; the public use of his ideas becomes ARD [automatic remoteness dilution] upon the complete
[italics added] publication of Book 1. Volume 1 of Book 1 consists of the V-50 lectures... Volumes 2 through 4 (estimated) shall consist of the V-201 lectures and master index...”
According to this policy statement, neither disclosure (presumably even a bibliographic reference) nor business application is authorized prior to some indefinite future publication of the transcriptions of his lectures even though business use is said to be encouraged. If this policy is faithful to Galambos’ wishes, it represents a prohibition now and a "Catch 22" later whenever the books are published, if ever. However, the trustees add:
“I cannot say yea oder [sic] nay as to a publishing arrangement [regarding Alvin Lowi, Jr.'s unpublished works]--there is nothing to preclude a joint agreement. In any event, I would be most interested in pursuing this with you.”
It would seem from this latter statement that Galambos left his trustees with a good deal of discretion as to how they would execute his primary property theories. If so, he kept all discretion to himself, now expressed through his estate charter, and left none for his students. I seriously doubt Galambos intended to establish such a double standard. Thus, if the trustees' understanding of his theories is trustworthy, this dilemma must be attributable to a defect in his theory.
References and Notes
6 Spencer Heath, "Citadel, Market and Altar--Emerging Society--Outline of Socionomy, the New Natural Science of Society
", The Science of Society Foundation, Baltimore, MD, 1957. (c/o Heather Foundation, P.O.Box 180, Tonopah, NV 89049).
7 Heath set forth the grand alternative to politics in principle in a 1936 pamphlet entitled "Politics versus Proprietorship" (c/o Heather Foundation, P.O.Box 180, Tonopah, NV 89049).
8 I acquired some authority in this matter as a result of my involvement in the initiation of that practice and by contributing to the original draft of that disclosure instrument.
9 Charles W. Hayes, CPA, Co-Trustee of the Andrew J. Galambos and Suzanne J. Galambos Natural Estates Trust, Letter to Alvin Lowi, Jr. dated January 19, 1998.
CONTRACTUAL DISCLOSURE: A CONTRACTUAL DILEMMA
Because of the subject matter of his discourses, Galambos had to admit that a meeting of the minds between himself and his students regarding any specific commitments to perform any particular task with respect to that subject matter could not be made prior to his disclosures. The proprietary notice was no more than a non-disclosure agreement. Thus, it was simply a covenant acknowledging Galambos’ claim to antecedence at the outset and calling for abstention from disclosure pending further agreement regarding any specific notion or action. No further agreement was specifically forthcoming, and none was anticipated until and unless negotiated after the course when the student would be presumably informed sufficiently to enter into a contract responsibly. Therefore, the proprietary notice was relegated to the status of a ritual. As a result, Galambos never had a bona fide contract with any of his students to behave toward any specific ideas in any particular way. He only had a covenant against certain behavior regarding unspecified ideas, such behavior he classified simply as immoral.
Consequently, abject secrecy was the only way one could be absolutely sure at the outset not to violate the covenant and become stigmatized as an "immoral" actor. This was the result notwithstanding the following language included in the proprietary notice:
“Of course, utilization [of these ideas] is enthusiastically encouraged, subject to mutual contractual recognition of and agreement to such ordinary proprietary considerations as acknowledgement (for primary use) and royalties (for secondary use).”
On the other hand, while subsequent disclosures by Galambos would encourage the student to somehow bring others into the class, he never informed them specifically as to what of the information they received was subject to the covenant against disclosure outside of class. While Galambos may have devised a simple theory in his mind, application of the theory involved a complex and burdensome procedure both for himself and his students to abide. This only goes to show that abstract ideas often lead to complex consequences.
In any case, Galambos’ disclosures were irreversible. The genie could not be put back in the bottle. He inadvertently created a bunch of proxies. All that was left for him to do to try to "protect" himself afterward was to engage in exhortations to "moral" behavior and threats to expulsion from his "moral island."
Patent attorneys refer to publication by strictly verbal means as "promiscuous disclosure" because they result inadvertently in "dedication to the public." In this event, the innovator is at the mercy of the "public." Whether predatory, fair or generous, the "public" is ill equipped to spontaneously recognize abstract conceptions let alone reward the innovator of such. Nature offers no inherent protection from the effects of promiscuity.
It may well be that Galambos did not always behave in harmony with nature. Yet, it is not our place to help nature along one way or the other to punish or reward him. No one appointed us to judge him any more than he us. Our authority, precisely like his was, is limited to allying ourselves harmoniously with nature as best we can. In doing so, we may discover the merit of Galambos’ theory and, if so, find satisfaction in expressing gratitude to Galambos, each in our own way. It would not be appropriate for us to put Galambos in a hero’s crypt. Neither are we contractually bound pay him homage in any particular way. To act as if there were a contract of that sort in effect is highly problematical, to say the least.
CURIOUS SUPPORT FOR GALAMBOS’ THEORY
People are known to not only pay homage but to tithe themselves financially to a church that brings them assorted abstract notions that palatalize their existence. This they do in the name of revered persons of antiquity. However, the innovators of the ideas to whom the church attributes the program it promotes have long since been relegated to a pantheon of heroes. Scholars labor to trace the authorship of the ideas of the current clergy and their theological program. Needless to say, such efforts are not only academic but also controversial.
Notwithstanding the obscurity of the authorship and the questionable authenticity and epistemology of the ideas promoted by the church hierarchy, the existence of the Christian Churches and their considerable annual revenues represents the kind of recognition Galambos envisioned as proper toward the "moral estates" of innovators like himself. While he would have resented any suggestion that his ideas were at all comparable to those embodied in religious institutions, he could not so readily dismiss the likeness of the churches’ and their flocks’ primary property practices to those which he idealized in his theory.
Galambos might well have dismissed the obvious likeness of such religious reverence to his theory of "primary gratitude" by citing one of his favorite Hungarian proverbs:
"When two people do the same thing, it is not the same".
However, in doing so, he would have encountered an old nemesis, namely, using the ends to justify the means. While it may be easier to admire Galambos’ non-sectarian ends than to embrace the ends of the world’s religious sects, the use of moral intimidation as a means of gaining priority recognition seems a common practice. If moral criteria are brought down from a "higher" authority than is possessed by those affected, it is inevitable that a form of servitude will result, albeit possibly voluntary.
SOME SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF PRIMARY PROPERTY
No doubt "intellectual property" (to use the common law term) animates the behavior of an individual and touches all who come into contact with it. How it may be made to behave appropriately in social intercourse is a highly challenging question. Andrew Galambos posed this question in its most general context and claimed to have answered it. Yet, this question remains in the minds of those of us who received Galambos’ instruction. Although he convinced us by his inspired and powerful arguments that such property is the key to the future of the race, perplexities and frustrations persist as to what to do about it. That he left considerable unfinished business in the development of an appropriate theory of social behavior is indicated by the paralysis being endured by his intellectual estate trustees. Clearly, it takes more than a verbal claim or insinuation asserted to sympathetic listeners to create the attributes qualifying ideas to behave as property on a local level. How much more does it take to establish the successful practice of an institution of primary property in society at large in an indifferent world?
Curiously, an innovator can retain exclusive ownership of his "primary" estate with confidence only if he refrains from producing any tangible manifestations of his ideas. He maintains secure control only by keeping his ideas to himself. Any disclosure is likely to result in proxies and imitators who may not be able to trace the origin of the ideas they entertain even if they try. When Galambos applied his definition of "coercion" to primary property, his crisp criterion "intentional interference with property" led to an incoherent, arbitrary and contentious practice. Here is an example of a precise but abstract definition producing a mischievous distraction in application. Evidence of intent is untrustworthy even for a priest in a confessional.
On the other hand, non-disclosure or secrecy prevents ideas from making any social history whatsoever so that the innovator's satisfaction will be limited to his own mental reveries. In that case, he may become discouraged from a lack of real fulfillment because he will have doomed himself to "contractual oblivion."
Non-contractual disclosure is the most prevalent behavior of innovators as typified by Galambos. That he established an explicit covenant regarding his intent to maintain proprietorship proves that he was trying to avoid promiscuity. He was simply unable to follow through with the contractual formalities anticipated by his theory. As a result, he took more risk in realizing his aims for recognition and participation than he may have bargained for.
While it is unlikely an innovator would willingly disclose his ideas to a hostile audience, he might willingly forego contractual formalities and dedicate his ideas to the public. This was the posture adopted by Spencer Heath, another practicing patent attorney. Such an act might very well have satisfied his rational self-interest. Having obtained the satisfaction that comes from the conception itself, he might see further profit to himself in terms of the satisfaction that derives from capturing the attention of others and inspiring them in some way. This may in turn create a kind of "resonance" out of which more ideas will be forthcoming. Spencer Heath believed that the more he shared his intangibles with others, the more of them he would have to share. For Heath, disclosure was a means of growing intellectual capital.
On the other hand, the innovator has no duty to disclose anything whatsoever unless he is seeking to control or influence the behavior of others in some manner. In that case, he would seem to be obligated to make a full disclosure of all "pertinent" information to ensure against deception leading to defeat in the long run.
Since there are never enough good ideas to go around, disclosure recipients as potential beneficiaries are likely to be receptive to an innovator's terms of disclosure, if any. They would be motivated to accommodate him to gain the possible benefits and to encourage the creation of more from where those good ideas came.
In order for an innovator to participate in social benefits, he must risk the potential loss of control of his idea that results from a disclosure in some observable form. Then the question arises as to how he may position himself for receiving such benefits with any confidence. Such know-how is a technology that must be first discovered, then learned, perfected and practiced with diligence. This Galambos was attempting to do with a vengeance.
A promiscuous disclosure is the antithesis of such a posture. So what distinguishes a promiscuous disclosure from non-contractual disclosure? I suggest that the difference is in the attitude of the discloser and the responsibility he willingly assumes for the consequences of his act. When Galambos turned petulant regarding the "quality" of recognition he was receiving from his disclosees, he was flirting with promiscuity since he could not have his cake and eat it, too.
The history of innovation suggests that ideas regularly become the subject matter of contracts whereby innovators successfully participate beneficially in social affairs as their ideas, reduced to practice, benefit all others. This means that ideas do indeed become recognizable to others who accord to innovators some measure of priority or ownership as "creators." Such "quiet possession," as it is known in the common law tradition, is based on a rudimentary form of consensus. Such possession is sufficient to eliminate ambiguity to the point where ownership of the idea can be expressed effectively through contract (usually in writing with a modicum of skill) with specific others to act in some kind of concerted effort on behalf of the ideas. (Such contracts are generally known as intellectual property licenses.) This does not happen by accident or by moral persuasion or intimidation. In fact, in history, ambiguity as well as misappropriation is common and contractual incompetence is frequent even when there is no ambiguity regarding ownership or usurpation of such. This is evidence of both the existence of the "primary" form of property as well as the primitive state of its social practice and treatment.
Common law practices regarding "intellectual property" are abundant but they are generally familiar only to patent attorneys who use them in their stock in trade. Such practices are very instructive on how humans have treated property in the past and how they are likely to treat it in the future. I find a striking similarity of treatment in the common law tradition regarding intellectual and real (i.e. land) estates. Indeed, the word "patent" denotes in common language a recognizable title in both fields. It has this value regardless of any standing in court.
A curiosity of common law patents is that they do not compel behavior by physical force. They only signify a claim to property by its owner validated by a process of publication followed by a peaceful defense against all challenges and voluntary compliance with the owners’ claims by others. This is how quiet possession prevails over trespass. A right to sue in court comes not from common law but from statute.
Another peculiarity of common law patents is that a fee-simple sale of an object that embodies an innovation is considered a dedication of the intellectual property to public use. Whereas, no such dedication occurs upon a license to use or a lease of the same object. In any case, the only protection available to the owner regardless of the urgency of his claim is a sanction of quiet possession that is the outcome of a consensus. Yet, no consensus is possible without disclosure and all disclosures, whether by controlled circulation or publication, involve risks to the discloser. This observation seems to sum up the state-of-the-art of intellectual property protection at the present stage of development of civilization.
References and Notes
10 A. J. Galambos, A. Lowi and S. J. Galambos, "Proprietary Notice--Volitional Science ("V") Courses," Free Enterprise Institute, Los Angeles, CA, October, 1965.
"THE PASSIVE INNOVATOR": A THEORETICAL OVERSIGHT
Galambos set out to perfect and implement his theory and system for the protection of primary property to make the world safe for innovators as the creators of human progress. His approach to the subject assumed that "innovators are seldom entrepreneurs." Since such a vision of humanity is defective that may account for many of the problems Galambos encountered in trying to reduce his theory to practice.
A more realistic view of humanity for the purposes of understanding a free society is that all volitional beings comprising it are full-time entrepreneurs whatever else they may be. The alternative is wage slavery or worse. Entrepreneurial activity must include a modicum of innovation in order to succeed in a competitive world without conflict and force
. But there is no such thing as a full-time innovator. A man is still a biological organism and he has to eat to remain alive. He cannot eat his ideas no matter how "fertile." He must "sell" them to others or "sell" others on the merits of engaging in their use for a fee thereby behaving entrepreneurially
. The only alternatives he has are mendicancy and predation.
Contracting provides the instrumentation for the exchange anticipated by all this "selling" activity. To be effective, the contractual terms that are to be performed must be practical for and profitable to all parties involved. If they are too stringent or esoteric, they may be useful only to establish injury and fix blame for it in an inevitable default of such a contract.
Concentration on protecting a passive innovator from all possible usurpation regardless of his entrepreneurial competence or prudence leads to a concentration on remedies for injuries that can make no creative social history. Such a theory might not even be able to explain how recourse to restitution of injuries can be effected without invoking further injury or spreading the conflict. What it can do is scandalize plunder as if discouragement of the ugly practice is somehow a remedy, let alone a substitute for know-how in the peaceful and productive administration of property.
SOCIAL EVOLUTION VIS-À-VIS UTOPIA
Society is not some ideal world that exists only in the imagination. It is a real or natural phenomenon that can be experienced and, indeed, is experienced in the preponderance of everyday life. If an ideal world like Galambos’ "Natural Republic" was essential for human society to really function, then most people would have to be existing in a state of suspended animation and remain so until they get a wake-up call from the new regime under construction. Clearly, this is not so. In actuality, society consists of real human beings interacting autonomously in their inimitable manner and such peaceful behavior is very much in evidence at the present time, albeit neither universal nor newsworthy. That people can and will become more competent in expressing their autonomous approaches to life seems to be the natural course of human affairs which is aided and abetted by the science and technology perfected by humankind. If this were not so, civilization would have ended before it started and there would be no clues to the future of the human race as such.
Complete autonomy unabridged by forceful or deceptive intrusions or interventions into the lives of some by others has been idealized as a "free society." Curiously, such a free society does not offer complete freedom for autonomous individuals. This is because there is no such thing as freedom from the "laws of nature." Obviously, one can never know enough to always be in harmonious alignment with nature. Conflict with other people is a sure sign of ignorance or worse. Knowing how to recognize the property of others is valuable for avoiding such conflict, and reciprocity is best taught by example. To the extent this is what Galambos had in mind, his work is to be commended and it will be recognized in the future of society.
Galambos’ "Spaceland" concept is actually only a state of mind to be enjoyed by each person who apprehends it. When he associated that idea with what he called "The Natural Republic," he catered, I believe inadvertently, to false hopes deeply embedded in the human psyche for the construction of an institutional contrivance that would bring real human freedom to the world. In this regard, Galambos was in good company with the likes of John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and other less respectable advocates of a Utopia. However, history has been very unkind to such expectations, as Galambos well knew. He developed a somewhat more promising model of progress for human freedom, a vision of society that went well beyond anything imaginable to his liberal ancestors by virtue of his concept of wholly non-political government and his emphasis on entrepreneurship, proprietary administration and innovation. Although he was not entirely comfortable with the implications of his model --specifically that self-government was the only known example that was consistent with it--he could accept the idea of social evolution in terms of the spontaneous order that results from a growing competence among autonomous individuals. This was evidenced by his eloquent treatments of the virtues of honesty and integrity. But he was impatient with the natural processes at work that actually bring about such conditions. I believe his impatience got the better of him when it came to getting across to others the real merit of his vision.
In clinging to visions of engineered social contrivances that are to be "built" to purpose, Galambos indulged in a sort of play-acting among his followers. This approach is reminiscent of earlier social movements calling for the establishment of certain ideal institutions thought to be prerequisite to social life. Sir Thomas More was the first to write such a script. More’s title "Utopia" (meaning "no such place" in Greek) was appropriate to his subject, namely an ideal state of affairs he envisioned in which all is ordered for the "best" of mankind "as a whole" and the "evils" of society--poverty, misery, etc.--have been done away with. Galambos was the first person to enlighten me on this priceless bit of etymology proving he was well aware of the difference between reality and ideality. But obviously, he was not the first person to lose track of that difference in the course of a zealous campaign for setting the world to "right."
Galambos was cognizant of the factors that contribute to the accretion and safekeeping of property in society. But he failed to come to grips with them realistically in his own life. To some extent, this was a disciplinary problem with him that every innovator faces. To realize immediate income from a disclosure of heretofore-unimagined notions has to be a great feat of intellect and personality. To have inspired others to accept his ideas and act out his ideological program has to be an even greater one. Galambos took great pride in the fact that he was able to realize immediate income from his lectures, but he was in denial when it came to recognizing that his know-how was inadequate to ensure he would receive the kind of appreciation and recognition he had in mind. This was tantamount to denying that his theory was incomplete or defective as the case may be.
In any event, Galambos compromised his control objectives for financial gain as would most innovators in his circumstances. However, more than would some, he disdained patient investment of his work in a more controllable vehicle such as a controlled-circulation book. One can only speculate as to the reasons for this neglect. Yet, had he not gone ahead with his disclosures without any durable documentation or greater assurances of protection, his ideas may never have seen the light of day, whereupon we would not be here now discussing them and struggling to apply them. He did, after all, have more lucrative business and professional alternatives available to him in his life.
Galambos was famous for the shortness of his patience and the magnificence of his obsession. This combination of "virtues" left him vulnerable to consequences he was not prepared to accept. But he proceeded anyway to give his courses withholding nothing because he felt morally obligated to fully disclose all the information pertinent to the ideological program he was promoting. For some, this was more than they really wanted to know. For others, it was far too little. Afterward, when he saw his ideas being embraced, adapted and implemented by others as he ostensibly wished, he took the last resort of the scoundrel, namely moral intimidation, in an attempt to maintain his exclusivity--as if he could ever have been copied. In this respect, Galambos underrated himself as a person because, if nothing else, his style, passion and insight was inimitable and he obviously enjoyed his work while he was at it. He also realized a great ego profit that comes to very few because few are as well equipped to profit from teaching as he was. Galambos manifested genuine charisma to go with his encyclopedic knowledge.
Galambos achieved a good measure of what he set out to do in terms of developing the traits of honesty, integrity, self-reliance, scholarship and skepticism in his students. To this extent, had aligned himself harmoniously with nature, albeit grudgingly. His extreme idealism seemed to prevent him from taking a full measure of profit from his success. Although he did not acknowledge it, he was also aligned with Thomas Kuhn, Arthur Koestler, F. A. Hayek
, Spencer Heath, F. A. Harper and other authors who have pointed out the intimate relationship of intellectual property to technology and thereby to the advancement of civilization. Even without a book to his credit, Galambos probably contributed more to this particular cause than any of them because he so significantly raised the level of consciousness for proprietary administration of intellectual property. Beyond that, Galambos had invented an abstract system of primary property protection, a castle in the sky, so to speak, with which he administered an esthetic experience for most, an intellectual inspiration for some and an emotional ordeal for a few. Because his teachings on the subject lacked immediate practical application, many of his students became frustrated and worried, but hardly more than he was.
As has been suggested previously by at least one of the Free Enterprise Institute's original faculty members, "common law" experience represents an important source of data in the development of "volitional science." Little of this perspective seems to have survived in Galambos’ approach. Nevertheless, he definitely established the kind of consensus common law accords owners, albeit not to the extent or level of intensity that he wished. Indeed, he was contemptuous of the merely consensual notion of ownership believing as he did that there was some higher standard of recognition that derived from his theory.
Galambos failed to express his ownership in contractual form. He pronounced moral judgment rhetorically in advance on anyone who would disclose or otherwise make use of his ideas without authorization. He insisted that definite and specific social manifestations of "his ideas" could not be comfortably pursued by specific others volitionally for mutual profit unless explicitly sanctioned by him. So it was more by default than error in theory that he did not live to see more progress with his ideological program. For example, he never exercised an owner’s prerogative by answering the questions of authorization, which a legitimate owner is obliged to do. Thus, his splendid vision of proprietary administration of ideas remains largely untried.
Even now, some of Galambos’ brightest and most enthusiastic students are paralyzed over a moral dilemma regarding their authority to recite let alone research or extrapolate Galambos ideas without specific authorization from Galambos himself or his "moral" trustee. Since such authorization is not now nor ever was forthcoming, those believers so afflicted who persist in their abstinence face intellectual suicide. Once having apprehended Galambos’ grand vision of the future, their thinking about the world can never be the same as before. To think or not to think is a false alternative, which they must set aside in order to become whole persons. That they must act even though they do not understand all they know, or appreciate all the consequences of their actions, is reminiscent of one of Galambos’ favorite quotations. Attributed to the famous electrical engineer and innovator Oliver Heaviside, he said: "Must I refuse to eat because I do not understand the process of digestion."
Galambos may have made a serious error in connection with his dream of founding of a science of volition. In his expositions of scientific method, he established with great clarity that "validity" and "truth" (which he was inclined to lump together under the term "rationality") together suffice to prove scientific rectitude. However, he subsequently introduced an "ad hoc" moral criterion that applied only to social phenomena when testing any theories of such.
Originally, Galambos, the scientist and natural philosopher, considered morality to be whatever code of human conduct (ethics) a proper social science would accredit. But he got impatient to implement his ideological program regardless of the maturity of the underlying science. While the specific moral criterion he chose--integrity of property--to be imposed on the usual criteria of scientific rectitude--truth and validity--is a prime candidate for accreditation by science as a "law of nature," the scientific cycle has yet be completed on the question. Thus, it remains a hypothesis, albeit a highly pregnant one.
Galambos created a serious problem when he took a promising postulate for a science of society and elevated it to the status of parity with the traditional scientific criteria of "rightness." That decision not only spoiled his epistemological clarity but it also complicated the practice of the scientific method in his chosen domain of phenomena well beyond necessity. It was not like him to dismiss Occham’s advice without a by-your-leave. When he so enshrined his property postulate as a matter of faith, it was never thereafter to be questioned. Then, he came to regard any doubt as to the relevance of his moral criterion of "absolute rightness" to be tantamount to sanctioning immoral behavior. This judgmental posture unnecessarily handicapped him as well as his followers in apprehending, let alone realizing, his grand and esthetic visions of the future of civilization based on scientific method.
One might ask what else could he have done. One thing comes to mind. He could have treated "property" as a property of social phenomena, looking for indications under the rules of scientific method as to the implication for peaceful and creative social behavior, whatever that means.
References and Notes
11 A. J. Galambos, "The Nature and Protection of Primary Property," Course V-201, Free Enterprise Institute, Los Angeles, CA, October, 1965.
12 Thomas More, "Utopia
13 "The Columbia Encyclopedia in One Volume
", Columbia University Press, New York, 1940.
14 In 1963, a group of enthusiastic patrons of FEI assembled in Galambos' offices on East Beverly Blvd. to hear a book proposal by this author, then an FEI faculty member. This proposal, complete with an annotated table of contents, was presented to Galambos with his indulgence. A textbook was to be prepared in the manner of Wilson's treatment of J.W. Gibbs "Vector Analysis, a text-book for the use of students of Mathematics and Physics founded upon the lectures of J. Willard Gibbs
", by E. B. Wilson, Chas. Scribner and Sons, New York 1901.This work had been exemplified by Galambos as a proper one for an author who had more urgent matters to contend with. A limited printing of controlled-circulation, serialized copies was subscribed for in advance at a price of $500 per copy. Only one hundred copies would be printed by FEI and these were already over-subscribed as evidenced by the premiums being offered by the 20 or so existing subscribers for multiple copies with low copy numbers. Galambos was amazed to see this bidding but he avowed that the subscription price was outrageously high and he would not sanction any book of his to be so "overpriced." At this point in the proceedings, Dr. George N. Haddad, another faculty member and an active bidder for the first ten numbered copies, suggested to Galambos that if he thought the price was too high, he should not buy one. In the end, Galambos shunned this project without further explanation. Needless to say, such behavior had put a damper on the enthusiasm of FEI’s first generation of students.
15 Besides his recognized competence as an astrophysicist and mathematician, Galambos obtained a brokerage license from the National Association of Securities Dealers. During the 1950's. He built and operated a successful business firm dba Universal Shares, Inc. specializing in the then new field of mutual fund investments using dollar-cost-averaging techniques. He is still remembered more than forty years later by many satisfied clients who got their first real taste of capitalism with his help as he enhanced their personal wealth in the process by acting on his investment advice. After forming the Free Enterprise Institute in 1961, he gradually phased out his investment practice to devote all his energies to his lectures. He eventually became so pessimistic about the health of American capitalism on ideological grounds that he shunned stock market investments altogether. Much to his chagrin, his latter-day disdain for investment in corporate securities through mutual funds proved to be financially disappointing for him and his loyal students.