Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.
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Jeff Smith: Sharing Natural Rents to Sustain Human Society
1. Materials - Extraction vs. Recycling
  • Rent: The light levy on the value of resources in the raw, government vitiates that with depletion allowances. Plus, government accepts under-market bids for leases of publicly owned pastures and deposits. Getting to keep Rent makes extracting virgin materials extra remunerative; recycling used materials, wherein Rent does not even exist, has no such gratis profit.
  • Taxes: The tax on sales complicates business. One must do extra bookkeeping or hire an accountant; an easier burden upon entrenched firms than upon startups, such as a store to sell ap-tech (the products that consume fewer resources) so every home can be an eco-home. Being sneakily regressive, the tax nibbles away at would-be customers' discretionary income.
  • License: The price of raw materials does not include all the costs from the loss of habitat, other species, sources of new medicines, the downwind and downstream costs from tailings, etc, disadvantaging recyclers.
  • Subsidy: Government logging roads and way under-market leases favor loggers and miners, not selective harvesters and recyclers.
To sustain that which we love, we must transform our relationships to nature, to government, and to each other. We need to become geonomists in worldview, theory, discipline, and policy. Geonomics creates an economy that's not at war with but aligned with the natural world....  Read the whole article

Jeff Smith: Share Rent, Transform Society

It is not just collecting ground rent but also untaxing other systems. Untax labor and make it more affordable. Enterprises such as recycling and reforestation, weatherization, reconstruction, and health enterprises are labor intensive and made more expensive artificially by taxing labor. We subsidize business: free roads for the timber industry, cheap water for agribusiness. Stop those subsidies and recycling could compete.
On a level field, recycling would roll over extraction of virgin material. We could spare forests and salmon and have a healthier eco system. Look at restoration. Money has to come from the public treasury but we could look at it as public investment. Pay for restoration and land values increase, so land dividends would increase. Direct investment benefits the entire public.

Now the public is paying for private parties. That is not fair. Look at the economy. Take taxes off homes, and they become more affordable. Have some kind of land charge, and housing stock increases as sites get developed. Affordable housing helps stabilize neighborhoods. In places that do have the land tax, i.e., Australia and New Zealand, they have fewer disputes with assessment. Assessors say their job is so much easier now. If land is less profitable and less of a political football, it is less tense in local politics. ... read the whole article



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