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Theseus Ship, philosophy challenge and Golf Tax ??

Locust ForkLocust Fork Member Posts: 30,939 ✭✭✭✭
edited July 2018 in General Discussion
Ok.....todays "make you think" thing is something that I heard today in a podcast about the taxation of golf courses in California.

Lets start with the Ship of Theseus, its how the narrator of the story described the conundrum of what is going on.


If a ship leaves the harbor...while at sea....every board is replaced one by one....does the same ship come back to shore?

Its a thinker for sure.....at no time is ALL of the ship replaced, but it is replaced bit by bit.

Someone in the podcast brought up the idea of challenging the people who thought the ship was still the same by saying if Theseus's ship were in a museum and the guards stole it board by board....replacing it with matching boards....it would leave a copy, but NOT "Theseus" ship.

I don't think the museum thing is the same, because the thing on display has all of it's value in being a true relic or verified piece of history. The ship's intrinsic value is in how it is used....if boards are replaced it is not a loss or addition to that value.

So, I'm going to say it IS the same ship.

Now.....here is where the golf course comes in. In Los Angeles there are MANY private golf courses that aren't taxed for their current value. They have a loophole there where a private group can own something and it is taxed at the original tax rate.....UNLESS 50% of the property changes ownership.

Since the ownership of the courses changes hands as members sell or buy into the club it is changing hands....but like the boards of the ship, only one by one.

So, the course that is worth several BILLION dollars collects less tax dollars than a person that has a small piece of personal property in the same area.

I don't think the golf course should be punished for taking advantage of everything possible to save money.....but if I were paying taxes and paid more than my billionaire neighbor for something worth a lot less I'd have a huge problem with it.
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