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Natural Social Contract Annotations

Theft - Transfer without Permission

The reader will only be able to understand the purpose and meaning of this annotation and its relationship to the Natural Social Contract (NSC), if s/he has first read the Introduction section of the NSC and its explanatory and elucidating annotation.

1) Note that the definition of Theft merely states that the Thief is the Effective Cause of the transfer of Possession or Control from the Entitled Freeman, not that s/he had Intent to Perform the transfer. While there may be many different kinds of Violations involved in the various actual Events that result in the UnPermitted Possession or Abandonment of one Freeman's Property by another, its different terms (robbery, theft, extortion, burglary, embezzlement, larceny, stealing, hijacking, kidnapping, hostage taking) are all included under the definition of Theft in the NSC. Any actual Violational differences between them are related to other types of Responsible Harm that may occur in conjunction with the UnPermitted Possession or Control. Therefore, it is best to separate those aspects with respect to Charges and Restitution. The only kind of UnPermitted transfer of Possession or Control which is not a Violation (to the Owner, Possessor or Controller) is one for which no Freeman is the Effective Cause. For example, if a meteor falls on your Real Estate, like it or not, you are now the Owner of it. OR if a tornado blows your car into your neighbor's house, then s/he has not Stolen your car and does not even need to return it (since it is on hir Real Estate), unless there is a Covenant between your and hir Real Estate to that effect, even though you are Responsible for hir Harm due to the damage to hir house. If the Possessor and/or Controller hirself is the Effective Cause of an Object being placed within something that someone else Owns, this is only a Violation if it is contrary to the Stipulations of a Covenant governing the boundaries of Real Estate, or a Stipulation regarding the use of someone else's Real Estate. Note that in this situation, as with the meteor or tornado tossed car, the Freeman within whose Property the Object now sits, is now its Possessor (in the case of the meteor, its Owner as well, since it was previously UnOwned and has now become Ownable). S/he may, of course, transfer it back, but s/he does not have to do so as long as s/he keeps it on hir Real Estate or transfers it to Real Estate whose Contractual use arrangements allow Possession without Entitlement. (This last is different than self-Permitted Possession of Stolen Property - eg. having Possession because something was placed within the boundaries of your Real Estate of a Possession without your Permission is quite different from having Possession because you have Permitted it to be there, perhaps by purchasing a Stolen good - even though both are Possession without Entitlement.)

2) Finally, there is the situation where Freeman-A is the Effective Cause of an UnPermitted transfer from Freeman-B to a recipient Freeman-C who in turn has not Permitted the transfer. In this case, a combination of Theft and Abandonment has taken place. The Abandonment may be a Violation of a Covenant related to the boundary of the Real Estate of Freeman-C. Moreover, this last kind of Theft is tantamount to destruction of the Stolen Property since the receiver of the Possession, Freeman-C, has not Violated Freeman-B or the Thief (Freeman-A) and need not return the Possession. This Possession by a third party who was not Involved in the original Action makes this result far more problematic than a simple Theft, both for the Thief and the Freeman who has been Robbed, because the Violation is not immediately Restitutable simply by return of the Stolen item and payment of all other losses incurred. A major part of the reason for this last is that Freemen-C (the receiver of the Stolen item, but who has not Permitted that reception) is now the Possessor of the item (only by Entitlement of Possession of everything on hir Real Estate, not by Entitled Possession - note the subtle but important difference) and there is no Requirement for hir to return it to anyone. This is a kind of limbo situation in which the original Owner and/or Possessor retains Ownership or Entitled Possession of it, but has no Non-Violational method by which to get actual Possession of it again, and the new Possessor, does not have Ownership or Entitled Possession of it because it was not transferred to hir by Acceptable Methods. However, there are reasonable solutions and extensions of this situation. First, Social Preferencing can be used by the Owner/Possessor to attempt to get hir Property/Possession returned to hir. Second, the Covenants with adjoining Real Estate including Egress Real Estate, may forbid the new Possessor from taking it off hir Property (viz. the current illegality of transport of stolen goods). See also the Stipulations in the NSC about RePossession Entitlement.