Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.
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Karl Williams

Landlording It Over Us
Geoism holds that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with being rich – indeed, an economic system exists whereby we could ALL be rich (in wealth, education or leisure time). The justification for riches all depends on whether a wealthy person has become so through creating wealth (in the form of goods and services that people willingly buy in a free and fair market) or through living off the wealth really created by others. Earned wealth might arise through talented or arduous inventing, writing, sports ability, entertaining, entrepreneurialship or whatever. Such examples of fairly earned wealth should not be subject to any (confiscatory) taxation, which would be legalised robbery. There is, of course, a natural form of public finance, in the form of Natural Resource Charges.

Geoism seeks to expose the many forms of unearned wealth, or privilege, that exist in our monstrous economic system. Monopoly rights are the more obvious examples of economic privilege, but less noticeable is the massive wealth to be gained by using the Global Commons (especially land) without reimbursing the rest of us. Where such wealth is purely misappropriated (as opposed to created), Geoism maintains that the whole lot be given over to community coffers through natural resource charges (such as land value taxation or eco-taxes).

Here we’re going to look at one of the most obvious examples of unearned wealth – the massive riches accumulated by the great landowners of Britain. Remember, it’s not the acreage of land that is important, but the value of the land.  ...

But the rewards of land go far beyond status, evidenced by how, over the centuries, the land-owning elite has pulled the levers of power in society, politics and the world of commerce. The Earl of Derby’s 1881 candid analysis of the benefits of owning land perhaps says it best,
  • “One, political influence;
  • two, social importance;
  • three, power exercised over tenantry;
  • four, residential enjoyment including what is called sport;
  • five, the money return – the rent.”
Since then, the reform of the House of Lords has dented the political influence that was previously wielded by the landowning class (titles and land were once synonymous). But who needs status? – let’s get crass and just go for the cash. The great windfall profits which are dropped into landowners’ laps (which rightly belongs to the community) occurs with rezoning and the growth in residential/industrial values. In the UK between 1991 and 2001, the total return by this measure (including capital growth and rental income) averaged a healthy 12.6% per year.

The gross injustice of handing over community-created values to landowners is revealed by cold, hard figures. According to Yolande Barnes, head of research at FPD Savills, the average UK building plot – at £709,650 for a greenfield acre – is worth around 403 times the equivalent agricultural land. Nationwide, through this form of rezoning, around £5bn. windfall profit is handed over to UK landowners each year.

Barnes explains further, “In many parts of the South and Southeast, it is certainly true that prices are paid for agricultural land that wouldn’t be justified by its agricultural value.” ... farmers buy around towns because they can’t lose. They’ll farm the land anyway, and if permission is given to build, they’ve won the lottery.

A great way to run a casino, but what sort of way to run an economy and a society? It makes you wonder how someone who realises the scale of these windfall profits can accept them so unquestioningly. ...

Britains' wealthiest man gets rich the easy way -- he has his underlings collect and bank his rent. And if the rents from his vast land holdings weren’t enough, soaring property prices have escalated his net worth sky high – to be exact, UK£11.5 billion. To give him his full title, he is His Grace, Gerald Grosvenor, OBE, Sixth Duke of Westminster.

Forget the vast tracts of rural land, including a 100,000-acre estate in Scotland which contains no less than three mountains. The 300 acres the duke owns in central London, comprising Mayfair and Belgravia, are today one of the most valuable patches of ground on the planet.  ...

Is it any wonder that, given how there is little or no land value taxation, the duke has all his many eggs in the land investment basket? But it’s not just for economic considerations that he could never contemplate selling his vast acreage, for he has a philosophical reason for not selling. (Have a bucket ready before reading the following!) “This is part of my heritage, my birthright. It is not to do with anything materialistic, but is deeply ingrained.”  Read the whole article

Land Value Taxation: The Overlooked But Vital Eco-Tax
Land value taxation (LVT) has often been omitted from the lists of natural resources for which eco-taxes are being advocated. LVT provides strong financial encouragement for land to be put to its optimal use and will eliminate speculation on land, as occupants must pay the full LVT whether the land is being fully utilised or not. This leads to better land management, a reduction in urban sprawl, less urban smothering of agricultural land, and less farmland being pushed into hinterland.

LVT makes the investment in resource-efficient infrastructure affordable because the resulting enhanced land values are "recycled" back into public coffers. One particular application of LVT to agricultural land provides much-needed financial incentives for organic farming. Unlike other ecotaxes which "sow the seeds of their own revenue demise," LVT actually increases over time as our environment is enhanced and is thus a stable revenue base.

This paper argues that the LVT assessment process shifts and refines our focus from monitoring human activity onto our use and abuse of natural resources, as any responsible form of stewardship should. It suggests that only if land users are prepared to pay the full cost of utilising resources should private resource holding be permitted.

"The depletion of natural resources and the despoliation of nature is due to a single reason: the failure properly to measure the rental value of all of nature's resources, and to make the users pay the community for the benefits they receive." F. Harrison, "The Corruption of Economics" read the entire article

Social Justice In Australia: INTRODUCTORY KIT
1. Introduction
2. In a Nutshell
3. Who We Are
4. An Outline of Economic History
5. Who Was Henry George?
6. A Forgotten Philosophy
7. Everyday Practicalities
8. A Day in the Life
9. "What's in It for Me?"
10. Take It from Here

You are about to experience a new way of thinking. It concerns a single, simple economic reform that will improve almost every facet of our lives.

It's an idea that's so simple, so timeless and so natural that you will probably be amazed that it is not already in place. At its very heart lies the basic fact that none of us, rich or poor, corporation or individual, indigenous or otherwise has the right to own land. 

Land and the rest of the Global Commons belongs to all of us - now and in the future. Use the Global Commons as we may, but as surely as no person ever created a mountain range or a river system, the idea that we can own - in perpetuity - natural resources, however large or small, is frankly outrageous. Furthermore, we believe that it is also the root cause of a great deal of social, economic and political injustice. ...
 This is not communism, anarchism, tribalism or any other grand vision which imposes all sorts of ideas about how we should behave or think - in fact, personal liberty is its very core. Yes, there are many details of this new economy and its way of caring for our natural environment, but everything flows logically and consistently from a simple fact. That is, land and natural resources are ours only to use and to be passed on to future generations. By an elegantly simple but profound change in our relationship with the land itself, we believe we can improve not only the natural environment, but the social and economic environment as well.
Much of what you'll discover will sound refreshingly new but, in fact, the details of this have been around for over a hundred years, and the outline for thousands! Some of the greatest philosophers, social reformers, philanthropists, scientists and economists in history have heartily endorsed what you are about to read, from biblical prophets up until modern giants such as Einstein. Supporters have come from all cultures, from each side of politics and from every religious persuasion.

So why hasn't such a strong and simple idea been adopted around the world? The history of these proposals is varied and fascinating, but the basic cause boils down to the greed of a few with vested interests. But now technology, a growing social conscience and other opportunities mean that this idea has reemerged for good, and now we shall lay before you some pretty exciting possibilities.

But there's a catch. We have to warn you that, once you understand what we're talking about, the world will appear very different. And you'll be hard pressed to see much justice in the way we presently do things. This is an old idea whose time has finally come.

Economics & Social Justice in Australia: INTERMEDIATE KIT

   1. Introduction
   2. Real Environmental Stewardship
   3. Urban Decay or Renewal?
   4. Land is not Capital!
   5. Wealth -- and Its Misappropriation
   6. Tax -- a Creator and a Destroyer
   7. Privacy! Liberty!
   8. The Folly of Most Third World Air
   9. Land Reform -- Real and Illusory
  10. Capitalism and Socialism
  11. Henry George and Social Justice
  12. Taking It From Here

"The rich grind the poor into abjectness and then complain that they are abject. They goad them to famine, then hang them if they steal a sheep." - Shelley (1792 - 1822)

We're going to continue to move in a spiral, rather than on a narrow-focused reductionist path. That is, to keep you with a vision of this big picture, we'll carry on moving around and around this great body of Geonomics, observing a number of its many aspects. With the wider perspective in view, we'll then start to grapple with the details. This Intermediate Kit revisits some of the topics covered in the Introductory Kit, but it also introduces some new subjects.

In a sense, there'll always be new aspects to discover with Geonomics. Economics is unfortunately a dirty word these days in many circles, which is a tragedy because it's really an awesome and endless source of insights. Some of the many fields related to economics which we'll visit are:
  • philosophy
  • prosperity
  • the environment
  • ethics
  • politics
  • technology
  • history
  • sociology
But - incredibly - who bothers to study economics today besides professionals? Yet is there anything more important to understand than economics - the great attempt to find out what makes our world go around - except the great Journey to understand our very selves?

All the facets you gaze upon are not of equal size or luminosity, and there's one area that clearly outshines all the rest. If this is the only facet upon which you gaze and understand, then the energy you've spent on Geonomics will have been amply rewarded. This facet is, in many ways, the keystone of the arch of economics. We refer to the mystery - some would say the madness - of unemployment.

The existence of unemployment should strike one as being quite absurd.
  • On the one hand there are millions of people - many highly-skilled - wanting to work, some desperately so.
  • And on the other hand there is work aplenty to do - to care for the elderly, to clean up the environment, to build better housing, to improve our teacher-student ratio, to expand our infrastructure etc. etc.
And yet, these two things can't presently come together to satisfy each other.

So we're spiraling around, looking at all sorts of interesting aspects, but not haphazardly. For we're deliberately preparing ourselves to reach the top of the spiral, to find the great economic key which will impact on just about every other aspect. For if you solve unemployment then you unlock one of the mighty doors to prosperity, and if you abolish the great curse of poverty then you'll find that there are powerful and positive impacts on all the other problems concerning the environment, social problems, war, education and more.

Sounds mad, doesn't it? That we should claim to have an answer to something on which politicians can never deliver, over which think tanks continue to scratch their heads, that highly-educated academics cannot answer. Now just visualise all these important people striding back and forth, heads down and deep in thought over the Riddle of Unemployment. The wonderful irony is that they're looking at the solution! In fact, they're standing on it - it's the Earth itself! The Earth Belongs to Everyone! And, factoring into our economic theories the distinguishing features between land and capital, the laws of economics are turned the right way up and now stand out by themselves!

Economics & Social Justice in Australia: ADVANCED KIT - Part 1
Economics & Social Justice in Australia: ADVANCED KIT - Part 2

    * Introduction
    * History: the Rise and Fall of Feudalism
    * History: the New Slavery
    * History: Henry George and the Land Value Tax
    * War - Who's theReal Villain!
    * Tax Evasion
    * Why LVT Cannot Be Passed on to the Tenant
    * When the Law is Actually Respected
    * Banking and Interest
    * Banks and the Money Supply
    * Currency Speculation and the Tobin Tax
    * Boom & Bust Cycles
    * Who Will Own the Land?
    * Indigenous Land Rights
    * Lies, Damned Lies and ….
    * Local and Global Geonomics
    * Free Trade or Protection?
    * Unemployment - the Pieces of the Puzzle
    * Taking It from Here



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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper