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Author Topic: Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)  (Read 30373 times)

RhythmStar

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #105 on: September 08, 2003, 05:28:15 pm »

I see alot of similarities between a monarchy and our current government - since we all have to pay 'rent' to the government for our private property(land) and we are restricted in its use by the dictates of others (often small minorities) we really are just serfs to the government.

Actually, serfs were considered as much a part of the property as the trees.  So, it is overstating things to claim we are serfs.  The direct historical corollary is the landed gentry of England -- we are manor lords, which is really just a fancy, high-class sort of tenant.  The rent is called taxes (or in the old days tribute), but the net effect is the same.  

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You are right on in your evaluation that ownership of land is very powerful and in fact is a monopoly - a government owned monopoly.  

Then I guess I can consider my explanation to your question of why I keep referring to land ownership as land monopoly a success. :)

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Just as self-ownership is extremely powerful (or the converse, slave ownership), that is exactly why I feel that land should be owned by a variety of individuals, not concentrated in the hands of the few (government).  Something so necessary, so intrinsic to our survival, needs to be in private hands...

Why private?  The air is essential, yet we do not feel that someone must have title to breath.  Land is like air (for the sake of this discussion) in all particulars save one -- you can exclude others from using a particular plot of land by force of arms.

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Philosophically, all non-artificial things are our common heritage.
I guess that it then breaks down into what you believe as far as evolution/creationism et al.  And what exactly is common heritage?

'Common heritage' is comprised of those things all sentient beings inherit in common.  On Earth, it means the air, the water, the ground and the underground.  Off-planet, it means any unoccupied locale we can reach.

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Just because we are human then we, as a race, own all we survey?

Just because we are sentient creatures, we have the right to use the commons, so long as we do not destroy the commons in the process.

They hang the man and flog the woman
Who steals the goose from off the Common,
But leave the greater villain loose
Who steals the commons from the goose


Quote
What about other creatures (I will leave out the extremely rare possiblity of aliens and such since even the discussion of such things seems to somehow invalidate anything else I might have to say due to the 'scifi' nature) like dolphins or primates or any other kind of life that just might exist in the solar system or nearby?

Ethical sentient beings find that indigenous life has the right to its native environment.  I happen to think this is proportional to the level of sophistication of the life in question, with any species being a thing of wonder in the mostly-lifeless Universe, and higher creatures commanding individual (as opposed to species) rights, according to their self-awareness.  So, it is OK for hunters to hunt, but unethical (and stupid) for hunters to extinct their prey.  

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Unfortunately life in the universe seems to follow the 'might makes right' analogy, even in human social interaction or regarding land ownership - the only real way you can 'own' something is if you can successfully defend it from others.  This is as true in the wild (the hunting ranges of animals, etc) as it is in humans (the whole 'stealing' land from the indians, the roman empire, etc).

Also known as the 'law of the jungle', this unreasoning perspective on survival is one of the main things civilization (and law) was invented to counteract.   By recognizing each others' rights (and respecting them), we can accomplish infinitely more than we can as lone avatars wandering the wilderness (although I sense that many folks would gladly return to that way of life).   As human ethical sophistication evolves, we will find that this same dynamic can work to our favor in our relationships with other species, both higher and lower than ourselves.

BTW, life does not follow 'might makes right', as the foodchain and the competition for survival is an amoral process.   Morals come from awareness and the power to choose.  Because we are aware of cruelty and we can choose not to be cruel, we have the moral obligation to do so.  We might find the lion's disembowelment of the still-screaming antelope cruel, and such an action by a human would be cruel, but the lion is just feeding and has no knowledge of cruelty per se.  

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I guess that my real problem with the Georgist system is I don't see much difference between a piece of land or a clay pot which I 'mixed my own labor' into - it is all just matter, just as we are matter, its kinda like saying that the sun owns the planets because it used its gravity well to shape them and hold them.  I see it as some sort of slippery slope - either people can 'own' stuff, or they can't... trying to put things into different classes (which they are not in reality) by saying some things can be 'owned' but others can't seems inconsistent.  

How so?  I fashion an axe out of stone and wood -- is it not mine?   Don't you feel just as entitled to go down to the river and pick a flint from the bank to make your own axe as I did?  Wouldn't the axe that you make be yours and yours alone?

If I saw you with your fine axe (like mine) and decided then to claim exclusive rights to all the flint along that bank, as no other outcropping of quality flint was known to us, would you not feel that I was doing harm to you? That I had no authority to claim such ownership?  Thus, is not the flint along the bank in a different category of things (those things we did not make) than our axes (those things we did make)?  This seems pretty logical to me.

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OK, so to this you will bring up air or the oceans or something - just because we cannot currently easily divide up a resource does not mean it can't be owned.  Air is air - a stupid statement, BUT, its important.  Since you would agree if I 'created' air (mixed together the appropriate elements/gases - grew the plants that made oxygen, etc), put it into a self-contained bubble - it would be 'my' air, not just the bubble, but also the air inside.  And there is no difference between the air I 'created' and the air in earths atmosphere - EXCEPT that it is impossible currently to divide up/seperate the atmosphere into private little parcels...

Of course there is a difference -- your air is the fruit of your labor, while the air we are breathing now is the fruit of the Creator's labor.   Even if these different volumes of air are chemically identical, the manner of their creation and thus the rights pertaining to them are different.

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A Georgist System could evolve unmolested and unfettered in a purely private property (no taxes) world - but the reverse is not true... so why not have an overall private property system and institute Georgism within, thereby not infringing on anyones freedoms?

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As a theoretical point, there is no objection.  However, I think there are greater barriers to AnCap than there are to a Georgist tax policy.
Why do you equate having not property tax to AnCap?  My above statement works just as well in a minimalist society also.

How can there be a minimalist society with only private property?   In fact, how can there be a world where all land is owned?  Oh, I see... it would be a slave world, where one could sit in their virtual chains paying a fee to do so, as well as a fee to walk somewhere, and as soon as technically feasible, a fee to breath.  I guess we can add taxes on the money we spend and the labor we perform and the income we receive as well?  Yes, let's tax everything!

Boy, that sure sounds like freedom! (not)

:)

RS
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Terry 1956

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #106 on: September 08, 2003, 05:35:24 pm »

As a economic incentive( so  people will not take their property and leave the union) the tax rate should be low and that I see as a problem with the LVT, now if it allows for income varations I would be more  supportive of it. If my unimproved value on 4 acres is 10,000 and the tax rate is 500 dollars an acre, I would not have a problem paying the 2,000 bucks with my 30,000 a year income but my widowed neighbor with 40 acres might have a problem paying her tax of 20,000 bucks on a fixed income of 10,000 a year.

Actually, this (the landed widow) is the conundrum I was thinking of when I said earlier in the thread that switching to LVT on a grand scale might be difficult.  

In New Hampshire, I think it can be done painlessly -- just subtract the current assessment for improvements and add it to the land value column.  Voila!  Land Value Taxation without any pain at all.   You would then immediately see a boom in new construction, as the current tax penalty on improvements would be gone.

Yet, herein lies the seed of the aforementioned conundrum -- as new construction booms, greater demands will be made on goverment (fire departments, police, etc.).  The natural way to deal with this under LVT is to raise the LVT rate.  Since LVT rates should be based on the cost of government (at least I think so),  as economic development proceeds, so demand for government services rises, and so rises the LVT.   This is offset by the wealth created by the economic development.

HOWEVER,  I have proposed that instead of taxing different areas of land at greater rates than others, that all land should be taxed the same.   The reason for this is that I also suggest that the LVT be no more than the budget required by the minimal Minarchist government.  

LVT Rate per Acre = StateBudget / TaxableAcres

Thus all the voodoo is dispelled -- the LVT is to fund government, and the pain is proportional to the land you own.   Presumably, there is great economic benefit to owning land, so those with huge tracts of land should have no problem.   I have dubbed this variation on George's theme the Uniform Land Value Tax (ULVT).   In terms of economic disruption and overall fairness, it has attractions -- even enough to get Jason to conceed that it wouldn't be so bad (in his eyes) as non-uniform LVT.   Problem solved?

Mostly, I think, except for one thing -- the royalist culture has used land deeds as a respository of private wealth, like a bank.   And mixing improvement taxes into the land taxes has provided the method for allowing large monopolies on undeveloped land to exist (i.e. a widow holding 40 acres of undeveloped land), and to even be considered great assets -- her 'unimproved' assessment may be very low on 40 acres, while the 1/2 acre plot next door with the fancy house gets taxed to death!  In contrast, LVT makes land monopolies (deeds) into liabilities -- only improvements are assets!  And under ULVT, all land is taxed the same.

I view the conversion of unimproved land monopolies from wealth repositories into tax liabilities as a good thing.  A land monopoly is a government-granted privilege that denies all others their natural rights to the same land.  Such exclusivity is a necessary evil for economic development to progress, but the bargain is fair enough if (and only if) there is compensation to society for the deed.  

Under the current system, unimproved land is bought up in the hope that the artificial scarcity thus created will drive up the price.  This is akin to damming up the river so you can charge $2 a bottle for water to the suddenly-thirsty downstream communities. (Yes, I mean to equate the pre-existing water rights of the downstreamers with the pre-existing common rights to unimproved land.)   It is unfair and coercive, even when bad government allows it.  

So, the landed widow may be living off of a fixed income.  If we keep with New Hampshire, as the construction boom surrounds her, the demand on government services inevitably causes a rise in ULVT.   There is an urge to say this is bad, since the widow then either has to put the land to use, or suffer economic damage.   However, the fact is that holding a monopoly on those 40 acres is a great luxury... those wealthy enough can do it, but those not so rich need to either put the land to use or lose the land deed to those who can.

In the widow's case, all she really has to do is let someone build some nice, tax-free rental houses, or some other revenue-generating activity (hunting or logging leases?).   She would be richer and more economic development of the land would result.   So, taken in context, the widow's plight under rising LVT due to a construction boom is no different than her plight anyway, as taxes rise.  Except that under LVT, she has a ready means to generate more income, tax free.

:)

RS

                                                                               
Why should she do that if it is rightfully her property and why should she agree to a constitution where she can't hold on to her property in a natural state until she needs the income from a sale(My grandparents sold their acreage which was mostly unused for medical expenses). I think you are right the LVT would be hard to do in Say WY. or Montana. NH I think has tax defrement and reductions for some on local property tax, so do it on a LVT or maybe have a split rate as some PA. local governments have.                          




Personally I would perfer for all government levels either a per Capta tax or a sales tax because it is very transparent. If all the government levels was passed to the local government Today as a per Capta tax it would be on average 9,000+ bucks each or over 36,000 dollars for a family of 4. If it was a sales tax it would be around 40%. Either way people would be filling the town halls and county court houses at every meeting until the tax was lowered a lot.
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Terry 1956

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #107 on: September 08, 2003, 06:06:36 pm »

Rhythm, why do you keep referring to land ownership as a 'monopoly'?

Because that's exactly what it is.  

BTW, intellectual property rights are also monopolies (as a published songwriter, I have a bit of experience with the Copyright office).  And just like land titles, intellectual property rights are government-granted privileges, awarded to spur economic development (or should be).  

Sadly, due to the royalist influence, most people today believe in the dominion theory regarding land, which is basically a holdover from the days of the King's Divine Right to Rule.  Oh well.

Royal Libertarians

:)

RS
                                                                               
The government has no real need or politically ethical right to grant copyrights or patents, contracts can serve the same purpose.                                                                                Now  it is true that government deeds to land and natural resources can be highly unethical. It is also true that exclusive use of  a area of land is a monoply on that area but that is not politically unethical if the owner come by the land by rightful means.A orginal homesteader( the first finder and user) has exclusive right to the land he uses. He also has a right to sell  or give the land to others for their exclusive use.                  
        Now if the orginal  user and finder did find and use the land that no one else had found or used, it does not matter that he did not create the land and that others will not have the use of the land, it is still his because his work is in the land.Now if he uses a 1000 acres for living mostly a hunter and gatherer lifestlyle( effcentcy does not make a play) that is his right as long as he did not take the land from others who where using it. There is a limited amount of land, finders and users are keepers and that is that. Except for a major detail, a good deal if not most land has been stolen  swindled or extorted over the years from first users. Even today eminet domain is used to build presidential libraries and private shopping malls.
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Terry 1956

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #108 on: September 08, 2003, 06:24:06 pm »



Why private?  The air is essential, yet we do not feel that someone must have title to breath.  Land is like air (for the sake of this discussion) in all particulars save one -- you can exclude others from using a particular plot of land by force of arms. Actually air is diffrent from land, land used has a begining and end.

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Philosophically, all non-artificial things are our common heritage.
I guess that it then breaks down into what you believe as far as evolution/creationism et al.  And what exactly is common heritage?

'Common heritage' is comprised of those things all sentient beings inherit in common.  On Earth, it means the air, the water, the ground and the underground.  Off-planet, it means any unoccupied locale we can reach.                                                                                                                                                                              But it is not necessarily a common heritage, their is a legitmate reason for exclusion as a defense in others destroying or subverting your work. If all natural resources belong to everyone equally and those who restrict a use to others, people can abuse and trash the resources they have and the claim by taxation or other means the resources others used as good stewards.

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Just because we are human then we, as a race, own all we survey?

Just because we are sentient creatures, we have the right to use the commons, so long as we do not destroy the commons in the process.

They hang the man and flog the woman
Who steals the goose from off the Common,
But leave the greater villain loose
Who steals the commons from the goose


Quote
What about other creatures (I will leave out the extremely rare possiblity of aliens and such since even the discussion of such things seems to somehow invalidate anything else I might have to say due to the 'scifi' nature) like dolphins or primates or any other kind of life that just might exist in the solar system or nearby?

Ethical sentient beings find that indigenous life has the right to its native environment.  I happen to think this is proportional to the level of sophistication of the life in question, with any species being a thing of wonder in the mostly-lifeless Universe, and higher creatures commanding individual (as opposed to species) rights, according to their self-awareness.  So, it is OK for hunters to hunt, but unethical (and stupid) for hunters to extinct their prey.  

Quote
Unfortunately life in the universe seems to follow the 'might makes right' analogy, even in human social interaction or regarding land ownership - the only real way you can 'own' something is if you can successfully defend it from others.  This is as true in the wild (the hunting ranges of animals, etc) as it is in humans (the whole 'stealing' land from the indians, the roman empire, etc).

Also known as the 'law of the jungle', this unreasoning perspective on survival is one of the main things civilization (and law) was invented to counteract.   By recognizing each others' rights (and respecting them), we can accomplish infinitely more than we can as lone avatars wandering the wilderness (although I sense that many folks would gladly return to that way of life).   As human ethical sophistication evolves, we will find that this same dynamic can work to our favor in our relationships with other species, both higher and lower than ourselves.

BTW, life does not follow 'might makes right', as the foodchain and the competition for survival is an amoral process.   Morals come from awareness and the power to choose.  Because we are aware of cruelty and we can choose not to be cruel, we have the moral obligation to do so.  We might find the lion's disembowelment of the still-screaming antelope cruel, and such an action by a human would be cruel, but the lion is just feeding and has no knowledge of cruelty per se.  

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I guess that my real problem with the Georgist system is I don't see much difference between a piece of land or a clay pot which I 'mixed my own labor' into - it is all just matter, just as we are matter, its kinda like saying that the sun owns the planets because it used its gravity well to shape them and hold them.  I see it as some sort of slippery slope - either people can 'own' stuff, or they can't... trying to put things into different classes (which they are not in reality) by saying some things can be 'owned' but others can't seems inconsistent.  

How so?  I fashion an axe out of stone and wood -- is it not mine?   Don't you feel just as entitled to go down to the river and pick a flint from the bank to make your own axe as I did?  Wouldn't the axe that you make be yours and yours alone?

If I saw you with your fine axe (like mine) and decided then to claim exclusive rights to all the flint along that bank, as no other outcropping of quality flint was known to us, would you not feel that I was doing harm to you? That I had no authority to claim such ownership?  Thus, is not the flint along the bank in a different category of things (those things we did not make) than our axes (those things we did make)?  This seems pretty logical to me.

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OK, so to this you will bring up air or the oceans or something - just because we cannot currently easily divide up a resource does not mean it can't be owned.  Air is air - a stupid statement, BUT, its important.  Since you would agree if I 'created' air (mixed together the appropriate elements/gases - grew the plants that made oxygen, etc), put it into a self-contained bubble - it would be 'my' air, not just the bubble, but also the air inside.  And there is no difference between the air I 'created' and the air in earths atmosphere - EXCEPT that it is impossible currently to divide up/seperate the atmosphere into private little parcels...

Of course there is a difference -- your air is the fruit of your labor, while the air we are breathing now is the fruit of the Creator's labor.   Even if these different volumes of air are chemically identical, the manner of their creation and thus the rights pertaining to them are different.

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A Georgist System could evolve unmolested and unfettered in a purely private property (no taxes) world - but the reverse is not true... so why not have an overall private property system and institute Georgism within, thereby not infringing on anyones freedoms?

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As a theoretical point, there is no objection.  However, I think there are greater barriers to AnCap than there are to a Georgist tax policy.
Why do you equate having not property tax to AnCap?  My above statement works just as well in a minimalist society also.

How can there be a minimalist society with only private property?   In fact, how can there be a world where all land is owned?  Oh, I see... it would be a slave world, where one could sit in their virtual chains paying a fee to do so, as well as a fee to walk somewhere, and as soon as technically feasible, a fee to breath.  I guess we can add taxes on the money we spend and the labor we perform and the income we receive as well?  Yes, let's tax everything!

Boy, that sure sounds like freedom! (not)

:)

RS
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Terry 1956

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #109 on: September 08, 2003, 06:50:01 pm »



Why private?  The air is essential, yet we do not feel that someone must have title to breath.  Land is like air (for the sake of this discussion) in all particulars save one -- you can exclude others from using a particular plot of land by force of arms. Actually air is diffrent from land, land used has a begining and end.

Quote
Quote
Philosophically, all non-artificial things are our common heritage.
I guess that it then breaks down into what you believe as far as evolution/creationism et al.  And what exactly is common heritage?

'Common heritage' is comprised of those things all sentient beings inherit in common.  On Earth, it means the air, the water, the ground and the underground.  Off-planet, it means any unoccupied locale we can reach.                                                                                                                                                          

How can there be a minimalist society with only private property?   In fact, how can there be a world where all land is owned?  Oh, I see... it would be a slave world, where one could sit in their virtual chains paying a fee to do so, as well as a fee to walk somewhere, and as soon as technically feasible, a fee to breath.  I guess we can add taxes on the money we spend and the labor we perform and the income we receive as well?  Yes, let's tax everything!

Boy, that sure sounds like freedom! (not)

:)

RS
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Privately owned land and liberty are far from being opposites, in fact mass common owned land would subvert liberty. Yes there is a liberty paradox in having standing room and living room but common control and dogmatic taxation schemes are not the answer for all. A size 18 shirt is will not work for every man but in Central Planning production schemes it may seem the most efficent means to produce mens shirts.
                                                                                  Personally I think the world starting today would be better off with Anarcho Capitalism than it is today especially if it was a polycentric constitutional order like Randy Barnetts idea but I think as a hedge it would be better to also have a constitutional public government as long as people where free to secede.
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BillG

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #110 on: September 09, 2003, 07:35:20 pm »

RhythmStar wrote:
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Yet, herein lies the seed of the aforementioned conundrum -- as new construction booms, greater demands will be made on goverment (fire departments, police, etc.).  The natural way to deal with this under LVT is to raise the LVT rate.  Since LVT rates should be based on the cost of government (at least I think so),  as economic development proceeds, so demand for government services rises, and so rises the LVT.   This is offset by the wealth created by the economic development.

HOWEVER,  I have proposed that instead of taxing different areas of land at greater rates than others, that all land should be taxed the same.   The reason for this is that I also suggest that the LVT be no more than the budget required by the minimal Minarchist government.   

BillG: No, No, No, No - did I say NO!
Increasing demands on gov't services are the result of increasing populations! If economic activity is optimized in a central core area the infrastructure & services needs will be concentrated and economies of scale for services can be brought into account...

But the major piece you are missing is that as populations rise in a locale the value of the land rises! If the LVT rate remains the same while land values increase there should be no need for raise "more" money than what is already being raised.

The LVT can be flat but the value of land is different depending on it's location...

I have to tell you I just don't get this ULVT stuff...either the rent collected is rightfully the landowner's or it is society's. Why not give it ALL back to society pro-rata in the form of a citizen's dividend and then just charge a per head fee for the minachist government services? and then valued add fees for additional services (fire, security, garbage, etc) or they can purchase them privately?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2003, 07:36:58 pm by BillG (not Gates) »
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chez

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #111 on: September 09, 2003, 07:35:23 pm »

I know I'm late to this thread, but I wanted to express my happiness that I'm not the only follower of Henry George. I'm not going to argue the topic myself, because I've seen arguments about this go on endlessly, but I just wanted it to be stated that there are porcupines who subscribe to this ideology.
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BillG

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #112 on: September 09, 2003, 07:41:53 pm »

I know I'm late to this thread, but I wanted to express my happiness that I'm not the only follower of Henry George. I'm not going to argue the topic myself, because I've seen arguments about this go on endlessly, but I just wanted it to be stated that there are porcupines who subscribe to this ideology.

BillG: Welcome aboard Pup! If NH is selected there is a REAL opportunity to create a true freedom-based society simply by splitting the tax rate then shifting the taxes off of buildings (entirely) and completely on to the value of land.

If you move to NH the Geo-libertarians here would welcome another voice of reason rowing against the Rothbardian tide!
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RhythmStar

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #113 on: September 09, 2003, 10:50:16 pm »

RhythmStar wrote:
Quote
Yet, herein lies the seed of the aforementioned conundrum -- as new construction booms, greater demands will be made on goverment (fire departments, police, etc.).  The natural way to deal with this under LVT is to raise the LVT rate.  Since LVT rates should be based on the cost of government (at least I think so),  as economic development proceeds, so demand for government services rises, and so rises the LVT.   This is offset by the wealth created by the economic development.

HOWEVER,  I have proposed that instead of taxing different areas of land at greater rates than others, that all land should be taxed the same.   The reason for this is that I also suggest that the LVT be no more than the budget required by the minimal Minarchist government.   

BillG: No, No, No, No - did I say NO!
Increasing demands on gov't services are the result of increasing populations! If economic activity is optimized in a central core area the infrastructure & services needs will be concentrated and economies of scale for services can be brought into account...

40 acres of woods with a few houses around don't usually have much in the way of government services.  Take the same land and add lots of houses and you have lots of need for government services.  True, the reason is that people moved there, but the reason they moved there was that the improvements to the land (houses, etc.) were built.  So, construction booms and population growth go hand in hand.   Either way you want to attribute it, the cost of government services will go up.

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But the major piece you are missing is that as populations rise in a locale the value of the land rises! If the LVT rate remains the same while land values increase there should be no need for raise "more" money than what is already being raised.

The LVT can be flat but the value of land is different depending on it's location...

Market value can indeed exceed LVT assessed value.  And that will most likely happen in urban areas.  Here, we seem to agree. :)

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I have to tell you I just don't get this ULVT stuff...either the rent collected is rightfully the landowner's or it is society's.

Rent on the land, sure -- give it all to pay for government (but no more than that).  But the use of my improvements is not free!  So, tenant rent is not the same thing as LVT rent -- it is the combination of the LVT plus the user fee for the improvements.  I worked it all out in a spreadsheet earlier in the thread. :)

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Why not give it ALL back to society pro-rata in the form of a citizen's dividend and then just charge a per head fee for the minachist government services? and then valued add fees for additional services (fire, security, garbage, etc) or they can purchase them privately?

Why overcharge the landowners to begin with?   The tenants pay no direct taxes at all!  According to my calculations, both tenant and landlord will have about twice as much net income, even with the government still taking in 55% of it's current take (assuming a 50% aggregate mostly from income taxes).   What's not to like?

The citizen's dividend stuff is something I used to muse about in my younger days.  I thought "Why not just run the country like a big corporation and give everyone a share? Wouldn't that solve the poverty and other social ills?"  I am no longer so sure it would.   It might, but it also might enable a bunch of on-the-dole freeloaders like you have in Great Britain.

Anyway, my motivation in the ULVT idea is to keep the government from cashing in with high taxes on city property and thus driving developers to the outskirts.  Also, by having the ULVT rate set by the simple formula  LVT = Budget / Taxable Acres, all the grousing about government tax value assessments goes away.  

Why tax at all, if not to fund the Minarchist government?  If this is true, then why not set the tax rate by simply dividing the budget across the revenue source?  

OTOH, I am not against user fees financing certain things.  Toll roads, for example.  The more government services that can be met by user fees, the less that the base ULVT that everyone has to pay can be.  This might end up being a small tax!

Well, anyway, that's the problem with us software engineers... always trying to redesign everything.  :)

RS
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LeopardPM

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #114 on: September 10, 2003, 02:41:54 pm »

user fees and such are great, but if a service provided by the government can be paid for by collecting fees... then why have that service be a government function at all?  user fees should be the last step on the road to total privatization...

Welcome Mr. Pup!  Yes, you have Georgian friends here (count me as just a friend tho...).  And I would like to see the Georgists have the ability to experiment their land tax ideas in an area in the FS - perhaps if enough of you georgists are around you can all pool your resources and purchase a large tract of land and 'go to town' so to speak...

but, I would not vote for such a plan state-wide, only vote for the end of property taxes at all
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RhythmStar

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On Commonwealth Taxes
« Reply #115 on: September 18, 2003, 07:28:25 pm »

Just an update...

I have stated before that I did not ascribe to the GeoLib notion of taxing "everything that moves", or more accurately, every form of special privilege enforced by the government to the economic gain of the so privileged.  My reasoning has been that there really is no need to levy taxes everywhere the Georgist theory of unearned incomes might be applied, if the purpose of taxation was to fund a minimum government.   It has recently occurred to me that there may indeed be a reason for such taxes -- fairness to the landowner.

As discussed earlier, the one harsh aspect of ULVT (the Uniform Land Value Tax) theory is the 'landed widow' problem.  Basically, as populations rise and economic development ensues, those landed folk with fixed incomes and undeveloped lands would see their LVT rise, perhaps to the point of losing their land.   One can argue that it is inevitable that some people may lose their land to non-payment of property taxes, as this happens even today, but that does not make it any less harsh.

Then, I realized that the ULVT, if made to bear the cost of government alone, would be inescapably too high, even when it is affordable. The economic/population growth and subsequent increase in public costs is not the sole result of the use of land, it also derives from the use of things like electromagnetic spectrum, and other natural (and naturally common) resources.  With every resource privilege administered by the government comes a cost of administration and law enforcement.  That cost should be carried by the receiver of the privilege, not the land owners!

Of course, I do still differ with the notion that these 'rents' should be calculated by their economic production, with the intent of redistributing a portion of that rent to the populace (the 'citizen's dividend' idea).  Those not in possession of a government title to land, spectrum, or whatever, benefit themselves from the economic output of these resources by having jobs, places to rent, food and other goods to buy, and a plethora of other benefits of free enterprise, so it's not like they are being oppressed or anything (after all, they live tax free).  

:)

RS
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BillG

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #116 on: September 18, 2003, 08:41:34 pm »

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I have stated before that I did not ascribe to the GeoLib notion of taxing "everything that moves"

Ok, then let just call it something else more fitting than taxes. How about this ... the capturing of Community Created Economic Scarcity Rents (CCESRs or "cesars")

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every form of special privilege enforced by the government to the economic gain of the so privileged

Some privilege happens from the lack of enforcements of equal access to the commons - like using the Sky for a pollution sink (read: dump)

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My reasoning has been that there really is no need to levy taxes everywhere the Georgist theory of unearned incomes might be applied, if the purpose of taxation was to fund a minimum government.

Here is where we run into the point of divergence. The Geo-libertarian purpose for CCSER is NOT to fund a minimum government! The purpose is to insure INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY thru SOCIAL JUSTICE! Nothing more and nothing less!

Remember if the economic scarcity rent is pocketed by the landowner (btw - it use to be called landHOLDER) that means that the rent they charge is a TAX on the fruits of the tenants wages!

Taxation equals theft!

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It has recently occurred to me that there may indeed be a reason for such taxes -- fairness to the landowner.

huh?

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As discussed earlier, the one harsh aspect of ULVT (the Uniform Land Value Tax) theory is the 'landed widow' problem.  Basically, as populations rise and economic development ensues, those landed folk with fixed incomes and undeveloped lands would see their LVT rise, perhaps to the point of losing their land.  One can argue that it is inevitable that some people may lose their land to non-payment of property taxes, as this happens even today, but that does not make it any less harsh.

Well they wouldn't lose their lands if they were better utilized. Let's be clear about the tradeoff - allow someone to continue underutizing their land closer to the urban core so more farmland is "developed" continuing sprawl and dependence on the car...

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With every resource privilege administered by the government comes a cost of administration and law enforcement.  That cost should be carried by the receiver of the privilege, not the land owners!

Fine then collect all the CCESRs distribute it in the form of a citizens dividend pro-rata and then charge a head fee for the administrative and law enforcement. Anyone who doesn't pay doesn't get the CD...simple and efficient.
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LeopardPM

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #117 on: September 18, 2003, 11:36:00 pm »

BillG:
I know we brushed upon this earlier, but, could you restate your answer to this question:

Do you believe that we humans are relegated<sp?> to living on this planet forever?  If not, how much longer until it is possible for humans to 'colonize' and/or terraform other worlds?


not trying to change the conversation topic, it just occurs to me that I would me in favor of a Georgist System within a closed environment - in which case your description of landowners 'taxing' non-landowners is valid.  I don't think it is valid when there is opportunity to 'find' or 'create' more land, no matter how hard it is to succeed in achieving that 'opportunity'.

michael
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RhythmStar

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #118 on: September 19, 2003, 11:32:02 am »

I would me in favor of a Georgist System within a closed environment - in which case your description of landowners 'taxing' non-landowners is valid.

Yes!  This the reason that the non-Georgist land system has not been a source of obvious problems in the US -- there has (until recently) been a supply of undeveloped lands that the government could essentially give away (see Homestead Act).  Contrast this to England, where all lands were legally occupied centuries ago and whose system I feel had a lot to do with George's take on things and, indeed, the entire land monopoly debate.

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I don't think it is valid when there is opportunity to 'find' or 'create' more land, no matter how hard it is to succeed in achieving that 'opportunity'.

michael

One essential concept is perhaps the basis of all eco-centric philosophy -- there is only one planet in the whole, vast Universe where human beings are perfectly adapted, since humans evolved there:  Earth.  No matter where else we go, we will not find a biosphere that suits us.  It will be too hot, or too cold, or have the wrong atmosphere, or be filled with poisonous spores, or have too much of a certain wavelength of light, or a million things I can't think of.  And particularly in our own solar system (currently the only reachable set of planets), we have no world but Earth where we can live as animals in nature, rather than machine symbiotes requiring a vast technological plant to manufacture the devices that allow us to eat, drink and breath.  And we still haven't licked the gravity issue, which makes in-space living so far impractical.  

Thus, the scarcest resource in the Universe for humans is Earth's biosphere, which is our common heritage because it is essential for the survival of the whole species.  What each one of us does here affects all of us in time.

Put another way, only on Earth may humans walk free, not in political freedom (although that would be nice), but free from the constraint of lifesupport suits.

Anyway, as I have stated before, I think in space there is no issue -- as everything there necessary for survival (save base elements and energy) must be manufactured, there is no bioshpere Commons in space.  All livable spaces there are the fruits of labor,  which is not the natural situation here on Earth at all!

RS
« Last Edit: September 19, 2003, 11:34:07 am by RhythmStar »
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BillG

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Re:Economics According To George (Henry George, that is...)
« Reply #119 on: September 19, 2003, 11:55:42 am »

BillG:
I know we brushed upon this earlier, but, could you restate your answer to this question:

Do you believe that we humans are relegated<sp?> to living on this planet forever?  If not, how much longer until it is possible for humans to 'colonize' and/or terraform other worlds?


not trying to change the conversation topic, it just occurs to me that I would me in favor of a Georgist System within a closed environment - in which case your description of landowners 'taxing' non-landowners is valid.  I don't think it is valid when there is opportunity to 'find' or 'create' more land, no matter how hard it is to succeed in achieving that 'opportunity'.

michael

Michael - it is my belief that within the next 10 - 20 years we will hit "peak oil" status on this planet thus I don't think realistically we will have the energy supplies to propel & sustain us in any significant way in space. Simple laws of physics...but why go anywhere else when we can agree what is wrong here and fix it?

essentially you are describing the "Lockean proviso"

http://www.info.human.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~iseda/works/proviso.html
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