Fixing the world is simple. We do
not need to persuade people to "be good" - we just need basic economics: i.e. replace tax with land rent. Land
rent fixes nearly everything. For example:Abortion
Cost of living
Short term thinking
Tragedy of the commons
Wall Street Crash
Paul Birch examines and criticizes different types of land rent. Using his classification, I am Geo-libertarian. People and governments should be rewarded for what they do, and not for what they don't. I do not promote common legal ownership and do not appeal to "natural rights." But only a proportion of rental value should be captured as land rent: to change from tax to land rent we must ensure that land owners profit. Regarding Birch's other points:
Both pro-abortion and anti-abortion people agree on one thing: their own view makes a more attractive society. land rent is therefore an answer. Both sides can choose their own variant government. Have pro-abortion and anti-abortion variants, and see which becomes the kinder, gentler, more attractive place to live. As it attracts people it will grow, while the other one will shrink. Problem solved.
A common theme in all kinds of abuse is that the abused person wants to get away, but it isn't easy. So the abuse continues. land rent makes it easy to escape. It provides numerous alternate mini-societies, and many will have people like you. It also provides full employment so you can always pay your way: there is no danger that you will have to wait or might be turned down. See also child abuse.
Economic alienation, is where you have no power over your work or your physical needs. Marx's solution was a centrally planned economy, but central planning is fundamentally inefficient. Land rent offers a better solution: full employment and the freedom for each individual to choose a different political system. This returns power, money and freedom to the ordinary person.
Ask any charitable organization, on any topic, what they really need: they need political change. But politics is based on taxing work: this makes some work unprofitable, and rewards governments regardless of what they do. The foundations of the world are rotten. Land rent fixes this: more work becomes profitable, and government is only rewarded if it makes their nation more attractive. With this foundation everything else improves.
Apartheid is the policy of a government to treat groups differently: e.g. blacks and whites live apart. Being apart is not in itself bad: we all like our own space. But under a single government one side will inevitably get better treatment. land rent solves the problem by shrinking central government and letting local groups choose their own government.
Balkanization is where multiple tiny states try to grab each other's land, which leads to hatred. This is because they don't have land rent: anybody who grabs land can get free money. So everybody believes they deserve the land, and hates their neighbors accordingly. Land rent reduces the profit from simply occupying land. It also increases economic efficiency, which increases trade and reduces conflict: see war.
Failed banks are currently bailed out, which rewards bad
rent prevents unwise bail outs: it allows multiple
variant governments, so any
government that saddles its people with massive debt will find
Finally, land rent removes tax
related red tape. So if your currency is in trouble you can make
using barter or shares. Whatever the problem, simplicity
land rent lets you choose your own rules, and provides jobs
to it's easy to move. So if somebody bullies you then you can
move to a place with better rules. I suspect that all the
people will leave. E.g. any school or workplace that allows
will lose its smartest people and have to either change or
Capitalism is about
rewarding effort. So our current system is anti-capitalist:
the powerful to extract unearned wealth
from land and from regulatory capture. land rent allows capitalism to
as it was intended: when you can choose your
own government then government becomes a commodity like
any other; work is not taxed, and market
failure is removed.
land rent allows soft values to be measured. Raising a child in love, for example, benefits a society far more than it costs. land rent will measure this. So if a child is abused, they know that numerous other societies will welcome them. So a child always has somewhere loving to escape to.
land rent lets you negotiate
for the rules you want. Effectively, people can set up multiple
governments. These will all be good neighbors, because otherwise
creates costs for the parent government, and they will charge
land rent lets you set up a small Christian society, with exactly the rules you want, and prove it to everyone. No need to argue, no need to endure and suffer until death, just show everybody that it works. Show lower crime, happier people, etc. Be a light unto the world! (For bad religion, see extremism and fascism).
Land owners will only vote for land
rent if they can land owners profit from it. The economics page shows how land
rent can be set at less than a land owner currently pays in tax
This link explains how
governments can guarantee land prices. This link is why land
owners will not lose money on their investments.
If land rent replaces tax on work then, no wealthy person can avoid paying it (you can't hide land), and government finances become much easier to understand. So there is less room for corruption. This also benefits the government: more wealth and more governments mean more opportunities for honest leaders.
land rent is based on how much ground is used. If you thousands of people live in a tall building, on a small amount of land, each pays very little land rent. Governments have lower policing costs, lower defense costs and lower welfare costs due to full employment. Add cheaper goods and services and lower health costs and the cost of living is far less than before.
Our legal system is too slow and expensive to work for ordinary people, and even rich people find it is often cheaper to settle than contest a claim. Why? Because laws are complicated, and more are added every year. land rent solves the problem in three ways:
Small villages and gated communities have very little crime, because everybody is watching everybody else. This is only acceptable if you have the rules you want and the leaders you want. land rent provides this, along with more transparency and equality so any hint of crime is spotted, and crime never pays.
According to anti-Moonie and
anti-Scientology sites, these groups survive by donations from
members in the wider
community. Their headquarters are not economically
viable: a Moonie HQ allegedly survives only by selling
roadsides, and members of Sea Org (the Scientology HQ) are
pennies an hour. Each group
relies on religious tax breaks to survive. This is not the sign
of economic strength.
Yet each group claims to have a better way to run society. land rent calls their bluff. Let them have their own mini-government: that must pay the same land rent as anybody else. With land rent's better information system their strengths or weaknesses will be obvious to all.
A better information system (built on greater trust) would have proved multiple ways to check identities and check data as it's transmitted. This makes cyber crime, like other crime, practically impossible.
democracies are not very democratic. We cannot choose as
you have to all agree. Then there is no scientific way to show
who was right or wrong. This is not a recipe for progress.
Imagine letting anybody move to a desert if they pay a very low fixed rent, and keep certain rules to safeguard locals and wildlife. Pretty soon the Sahara would be covered in communities that export solar energy to the world. They then make even more money by irrigating the land, using it for normal land purposes. Pretty soon you've solved not just the problem of bad government, but African poverty, the energy crisis, global warming, and desertification.
This is how Britain ended its monarchy: the monarch gradually
allowed freedom, just enough so that economic growth put the
monarch in a
stronger position despite becoming more a symbol than a
A person who is
"disabled" in one way
is usually "able" in every other way. But the present economy
costs and high unemployment, so disabled people become dependent
others. land rent provides more jobs and reduces
all costs, including health care.
It also places a high cash value on
skills such as helping in the community.
Those who cannot work still create wealth: their existence
state is compassionate. This attracts more people people to the
thus measurably increasing the state's
income. Thus the severely disabled person creates a measurable
and is not reliant on handouts.
Almost anything is possible if there is the political will and the money (including money for research). land rent lets you have your own ideal laws and gives the wealth you need, so dreams can come true.
land rent greatly simplified how we pay for government. This makes it easy to make deals: "my area will pay more (or take less) if you let us do X." So one area could agree to legalize drugs, and another could have even stricter laws. Then see the result. Why should we just guess what works, when we can have proof?
In a crisis, a nation faces stark choices: like austerity or massive debts (or in the Euro crisis, leaving the Euro). With land rent different parts of the country can choose different options. Meanwhile you grow your way put of the crisis.
If a child does not want to go to school, full employment makes it practical for them to get a job instead and learn as an apprentice. Then they can come back to school only when they need new skills in order to progress. So everybody at school wants to be there, which makes learning and teaching more enjoyable and more effective. Meanwhile mini-states can experiment with new ways of teaching and others can learn from the best.
land rent costs for the land you
own. This is passed on as higher prices for raw materials
(balanced by lower prices for
every other stage of manufacture, leading to lower overall
prices because more work is done). This
leads to ever more efficient use of resources.
Meanwhile cities will
build upwards rather than outwards, to minimize rent. The more
compact the city, the lower the cost of
transport, and the greater the efficiencies of scale. So large
recycling becomes profitable.
world pays around half a
trillion dollars in subsidies to fossil fuels
than goes to renewables). The true cost is even higher due to
warming. As for nuclear, investors won't build them without
subsidies and government guarantees against the
In contrast, solar
power in deserts uses safe technology, and provides cheap,
forever. It just needs stable governments in
and a long thick cable (energy loss is only 10 percent over 3000
e.g. from the Sahara to Europe). Supply and demand ensures that
will adjust to the cheap daytime energy and invest in fuel cells
batteries as required for the rest.
If land is
taxed then idle land will be sold. This increases the supply and
the price, so anybody with a profitable idea can buy as much
they need. land rent also
removes all tax related red tape, offers ideal
laws, more information to spark new
ideas, and speeds up the legal system.
Environmentalism is just better economics: it reflects the long term cost of poisoning the planet, and the true value of working with nature. land rent lets you measure values more accurately, and ensures long term thinking.
Wealthy nations tend to care more for animal welfare. This is because animals create wealth in ten ways:
land rent allows different groups to negotiate slightly different rules. Assisted death is precisely the kind of controversial rule where some groups would choose one way and some would choose another. So anybody wanting assisted suicide merely has to move to an area that allows it, while others stay in the areas that forbid it.
In the long run, being good makes you stronger than being bad in the long run. We know this because history is written by the winners: our definition of good is whatever helps us survive. E.g. cooperation and truth are moral because they create efficient societies. So bad people can be shown a more profitable way of living, in the long run. But for that you need an efficient economy, such as land rent provides.
How do we solve the threat of animal extinction? Take the great apes for example. Jane Goodall talks of the tragedy of chimpanzee orphans, and the loss of habitat. She does what she can to help her thirty square miles of protected Gombe national park. But the problems are far bigger than that. The real problems are economic: poverty, war, and bad politics. So we need land rent.
land rent lets you negotiate
your own mini Islamic, Christian, or
socialist states. But they can't be extremist, because
states need to
borrow money for infrastructure. If there is even the slightest
that a future leader might annoy neighbors then banks will not
invest. (They can't even rely on other extremists: see fascism.)
Will the possibility of government failure make borrowing more expensive for good governments? Not on average. The possibility of failure enforces responsible thinking: this leads to a stronger economy, which not only pays back the borrowing cost but encourages others to provide cheap credit. See banking.
What should we do when tempted to invade another nation to help
Some of them want help, some see it as simply an invasion for
rent allows each area to negotiate its own
rules: some will want us, some will not, and all get what
they want. (See also dictatorships.)
land rent can be applied to any political system. It's even good for dictators, and even better for
In a land rent system government finances and boundaries are extremely simple, so people can negotiate their own ideal laws and find their own kind of people. They also have jobs and more equality and more wealth so can make choices. A choice of rules plus supportive people plus money to spend equals real freedom.
land rent measures the value of any behavior to society. It measures the value of unlimited free speech. It measures the value of protecting people from libel. It measures everything in between. Land rent gives objective answers to difficult questions.
land rent is simply a more efficient economic system. The first nation to get it right will become wealthier, and compound growth means it will eventually become more powerful than any other nation. Other nations will either have to copy or fade into insignificance. So land rent is not a question of if, but when. If left to chance, this process might take a hundred years... or a thousand years. This is a period of uncertainty, where we will continue to have wars over land, and poverty and injustice due to inefficient resource allocation. If we wish to end the uncertainty over the future we can adopt land rent now, and be the nation that leads all the others out of the swamp. Or we can stay in the swamp. It is our choice.
Gay marriage is exactly the kind of small policy change that could be handled by land rent: imagine a town that negotiates to pay very slightly higher rent if it is allowed a particular law regarding gay marriage. That town could then attract more people and everybody profits. Of course, this assumes that there are enough jobs to make moving an easy matter. Jobs are another area where land rent excels.
As Germany has shown over the past 100 years, and China is showing the US today, and as Russia found when it lost the cold war, economic strength is more powerful than military strength. land rent provides overwhelming economic strength in several ways:
say we will not be able to react quickly enough to global
by irrigating deserts). Result: millions die. land rent, however,
provides greater wealth and more efficient government,
the poor. So people can adapt to the hotter areas, while
the now arable tundra. If, however, the situation is so bad that
massive action must be taken, land rent provides the money to do
the means to accurately measure the effect of global warming on
value of a state (since all its value is captured in land
Finally, land rent provides the pressure for bad nations to be good neighbors. As
land rents spreads to other nations the reputation system
becomes ever more powerful, so you don't want to be on the wrong
history: thirty years later people will remember what you did,
either charge or reward you, as an incentive to others.
land rent provides plenty of spare land (because people use as little as possible, to minimize rent). Land becomes more beautiful (because that attracts people, thus increasing land rent income). Land term also leads to better environmental decisions, gives animals a higher value, and solves other causes of habitat loss: poverty and overpopulation.
Land rent allows each person to choose their own form of government. So we can see which kind of health care works best. land rent's better information allows for better prevention and better drug research, and a lower cost of living reduces the cost of labor intensive care.
land rent lets you choose your own mini-government, and provides plenty of jobs so it's easy to move. So you can always find a people where you fit in and feel at home, or if you already have such a people they can make their own ideal society.
If we really care about suffering then we should focus our efforts where we can help the most people. That is, don't start with the hard problems like Syria, and focus on wherever is the easiest to fix. When the weakest state is fixed then they become part of the expanding global land rent movement. Together we then focus on the next weakest and so on. By the time we reach the hard problems they will be, by definition, the easiest.
Most nations have
problems with immigration because their economies are not
it. Yet the opportunities for profit are staggering: a desperate
immigrant will work for a dollar an hour, and even an unskilled
create five times that. They can teach themselves to read, then
whatever they need, and then create ten or a hundred dollars an
So immigrants are basically free money, if a state can find a way to absorb them in large numbers. land rent allows people to try different rules, and sooner or later one group will find a way. Then all the world's displaced people can go to mini-states that welcome them, and reduce the pressure on everybody else..
land rent reduces inequality in
More jobs means employers have to treat workers well or lose them. Ending global poverty reduces pressure from cheap immigrant labor. Better government means fewer opportunities to skim unearned wealth from the top. The result is less inequality.
Monetarism is the
policy of changing an economy by printing money: if you have a
then print money to pay people to work. But this causes
inflation. Economists can't be sure of the right amount of money
to print because they have very limited data sets (just a few
nations). land rent
solves the problem by providing better
information. On a smaller scale, better information keeps
prices down by highlighting hidden or unfair price rises.
More trust in government allows them to gather much better information. Less crime means similar trust in neighbors. land rent also creates a better legal system so nobody is afraid of being sued for telling the truth. Meanwhile, we can compare the true value of many alternative governments and thus calculate the results and value of any change. Better information means better outcomes in everything we do.
How do you cope with irrational enemies? If they are truly irrational then you can ignore them. If somebody thinks that 2 + 2 = 5 then that person will fail at anything requiring math. Mathematically they are not a threat. The real problem is that enemies we think are irrational may more rational than we think. This is why we need economics. Economics, at its purest, ignores what people say, and looks at what actually happens.
land rent lets you set up your own mini-Caliphate, with exactly the rules you want. If it's good, people will see the results and want to join. But bad new states will fail (see extremism and fascism).
Imagine if Palestinians paid land rent to some neutral body, and that then spread the rent between both groups. This gives Israel an incentive to treat Palestinians well, so they make more money. This also makes it simple for any peaceful Palestinian group to negotiate better conditions for better behavior. So friendly groups appear and expand, while unfriendly groups pay higher rent and contract. Problem solved.
Current societies typically have 10 percent unemployment.
Compare this to the added 67% cost
that tax adds to work, making a lot of work unprofitable.
land rent allows every bit of
work to be done, and also encourages better
laws and more entrepreneurs,
so full employment is very likely.
Libertarians have a problem: no government will voluntarily relinquish power. Land rent solves the problem. In the long term, as more local groups negotiate better deals, the proportion of power increases in the direction of individuals. But at every stage the total economic pie increases in size, and both sides benefit financially, and more money means more power. The final stage is the government is as the central clearing house for land rent in a vastly more powerful collection of mini-states. Government's role is thus minimized, yet everyone is better off than before. A similar thing happens when a monarchy moves from dictatorship to symbolic head of state: they lose the power to assassinate people, but their country is no longer a basket case so they gain overall in wealth and respect. Land rent is just good business: it's win-win.
land rent allows an information system that is orders of magnitude better than anything we have today, because it is built on absolute guarantees of trust. Any desperately unhappy person would have a much better chance of finding his or her soul mate, and a million emotional tragedies, including suicides and murders, could be avoided.
Karl Marx's objective, the replacement of our current capitalist system with something better, failed because it was built on a faulty premise: the labor theory of value (see value). However, land rent achieves his dream, not by opposing capitalism, but by embracing it and forcing it to become consistent. Capitalism claims to reward those who create wealth. Great! Then do not tax work (that punished wealth creation) and tax land value instead (because society creates that wealth). Result: power moves from elites toward workers, just as Marx hoped, and society becomes more efficient. But with land rent all kinds of workers benefit, even land owners, if they add relative value to their land (i.e. they make their land more valuable than merely its location).
Governments often create
artificial markets. E.g. hospitals choose their suppliers. This
improve one area by making another area worse (e.g. hospitals
instead of treating the sick). Land rent solves the problem by
you choose an entire system based on its total results, not just
one measured detail. In general, land rent
University colleague Jack Levin and I have studied dozens upon
mass murderers over the past few decades [...] The road to
typically involves years of disappointment and failure that
mix of profound hopelessness and deep-seated resentment.
psychologically isolated, mass murderers lack emotional
encouragement from confidants."-
Land rent lets you choose a society where you fit in (and full employment means you have plenty of choices). This removes the usual causes of mass murder. It also makes mental illness part easier to spot because you have more friends.
land rent measures the value of a loction. As every house buyer knows, this is hugely affected by whether you have good neighbors and a functioning community. Therefore land rent becomes a direct measure of the cash value of soft values such as niceness, helpfulness, trust, etc.
Majority rule based on tax is a perverse incentive: it rewards majorities who crush minorities. land rent is different: if America had instituted land rent in Iraq then not only would the ordinary people be richer, but each group could negotiate the rules they want, and no government could extract money except by earning it. Why risk death squads when you can have wealth and freedom and justice instead?
One cause of market failure is that that people do not have a choice ("non-competitive markets"). Yet monopolies always exist. If your requirements are very precise, you will frequently have only one business that can fulfill it. land rent lets you easily choose a different government with different rules. So if you believe that this business is inefficient, then you mentally add this to the cost of living under this government. When the costs all add up then you may decide a better government is worth the switch. So with land rent, even a monopoly is not a monopoly.
Manned moon landings are fading into history. As the years pass, fewer people are left alive who stood on another planet. The problem is of course money: moon landings were very, very expensive. There is also the concern that moon landings are not a priority when people on earth are starving. One simple answer is land rent: expand the economy, meet other political and social needs, and let the private sector flourish as never before. Then we can once again turn our eyes heavenward in a big way.
land rent is the
answer to a belief in nationalism: you can choose (or create)
nation you want.
Nationalists may fear that their existing states
break apart. But the opposite may be true: most min-states will
differ in tiny ways, as anything bigger would create barriers to
and reduce their ability to rent land. However, as land rent
world, many mini-states around the world will want to be close
large successful states. The USA could easily expand from 50
500. Land rent is not
only a secessionist's dream, it is also a nationalists' dream.
Natural disasters (Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods,etc.) are mainly a problem for the poor. Rich nations can afford long range weather stations, and build strong buildings, and rich people have insurance and cars and good roads to get away to safety. land rent, by providing strong economic growth, provides the money that protects you. Global wealth will also allows more money for spotting and deflecting asteroids. Global wealth increasing over centuries will even allow us to leave the planet, or hide underground (safe from gamma bursts) and generally avoid all conceivable risk.
Nomads are no different economically from other people: they do work for money. That work requires land, so they need to buy or rent it. It just happens that nomads need lots of land for a very short time, rather than a small amount permanently. The real problem here is that the nomads do not have enough money, for the usual reasons: a poor economy with few choices. land rent fixes any economy, allowing everyone (including nomads) to do more work for good pay, while paying lower prices for what they need, and letting them make deals for better government. So land rent solves the problem. Land rent also fixes the problem of inequality, as will be covered in the next post.
land rent allows each nation to become wealthier through trade, and provides better government. More trade and better government (and comfortable people) makes war less and less likely. Meanwhile, increased competition creates pressure not to waste money, as wasteful nations attract fewer people. So expensive nuclear weapons become obsolete.
The Olympic ideal is of nations competing on a level playing field. Unfortunately this is not true: wealth makes a huge difference to who wins. Worse, only a tiny number of athletes compete: the rest of the world only watches. Yet people get very excited about seeing their own nation win. land rent is even better because the whole nation competes: this is real competition between nations, where the best nations get the highest land rent and expand, and other nations must either opt out, or work harder if they want to to keep up.
The larger movie and music producers believe media piracy is evil: see the anti-piracy messages at the start of DVDs. Meanwhile many others (including small producers) believe heavy handed anti-piracy does more harm than good. So who is right? land rent allows the formation of groups within a state that try subtly different laws. Then the amount of land rent people will pay is a measure of the desirability of those laws. By comparing a sufficiently large number of variations we can statistically determine the real cost or benefit of any law. Then land rent provides better information for catching the real crooks. Problem solved.
In an election, each
candidate must persuade voters that their ideas are best. Each
suspects the other of bending the truth. Wouldn't it be so much
if we could see their plans in action, and have a simple way to
them? land rent lets you have Republican locations and
locations side by side for comparison. land rent then lets you directly measure who is best.
As nations become wealthier their population growth declines. In many first world countries (e.g. Japan) populations are shrinking, or only maintained by giving economic incentives to raising children (time off work for mothers, tax breaks for families, etc.). This is hardly surprising, as having children is hard work and expensive, so not everyone wants to do it, and the biological need for a child is often satisfied with just one. land rent allows all nations to become wealthy, so population will either decline, or rise in a controlled and desirable way.
land rent creates wealth while reducing inequality. Thus is
As a system it can be applies to any size of land (it does not
the complexity of tax), and is politically neutral, so its easy
export: even to dictators. Another
way to end global poverty is to allow the creation of a state
that welcomes immigrants. Either
way, land rent can end global poverty.
More information allows better decisions. But we fear that our information will be used against us. But with greater infirmation and a goernment you can trust, anybody who misused information would be quickly caught. Similarly, businesses can share more secrets, knowing that anybody who abuses the system will be found and made to pay any costs they create. So we get the privacy we need plus maxmimum freedom and opportunity.
Problem families are defined (in Britain at least) as those with a history of crime and also no jobs. land rent provides full employment, so by definition there can be no problem families. This is not just playing with words: full employment gives hope and better choices to the individual. It also gives society the moral right to be tough, and the money (no longer wasted on unemployment) to do whatever needs to be done.
Psychopathy is hard to prove. On the one hand you don't want to let people harm you, on the other hand you don't want to lock everybody up "just in case." The answer of course is a much better information system: much more nuanced understanding of the individual, and more data for predicting a person's behavior in different circumstances. land rent can provide this.
David Ricardo observed that employers will pay the minimum
the amount a worker can get if they leave and start their own
on whatever land is available. That land will tend to be the
or else it would already be used. So the profit from land is the
difference between the rent on the worst land and the rent on
When no land is left then wages
go down to starvation levels.
However, if we tax land then idle land is sold, allowing
workers to set up their own businesses, so the minimum wage
increases. Yet no landowners need lose
out, because of the expanding economy.
Human needs are finite.
We need around 2000 calories per day, a certain amount of water,
certain temperature range, etc. But human ingenuity is infinite:
more and more ways to obtain these things at lower and lower
cost. Meanwhile no resource will ever run out,
because as it comes closer to running out its price increases
and demand) so alternatives become profitable.
When is somebody responsible for their actions? Who causes something to happen? land rent provides plenty of control groups and better information within each group, so we can infer cause and effect statistically with great confidence.
Science has made technology a thousand times better. Imagine
the same benefits in every area of life.
land rent allows people to create alternate mini-governments. It also
measures everything of value.
It therefore allows scientific government: you can compare
variants of each group and see their effect of small changes on
total value of a state.
Current governments have "moral hazard": whatever they do, they are not allowed to fail. They make short term decisions and future generations pay the price. But with land rent, anybody can negotiate their own rules, hence their own mini government. if they fail, the mini government ends. The possibility of failure, even in theory, will force nations to think long term (or in the worst case where a nation ignores the warnings, replace a bad nation with a better one).
land rent is a single
amount per location, a simple percentage of the location value.
can throw away the ten thousand page tax code. Apart from saving
for business, government, and avoiding tax evasion (you can't
land), you can know exactly what you spend and exactly you get
return. This simplicity allows individuals and groups to negotiate deals, so everybody
gets what they want.
There is more slavery today than at any time in history, mainly due to the much larger world population. Slavery is inefficient, because a slave is prevented from using their talents in the most effective way possible. This is only a small effect compared with the general mess of the world economy, so slavery can be relatively profitable, but only relative to other inefficient systems (such as governments that tax work). land rent removes economic inefficiency, so inefficient systems like slavery become unprofitable.
Multiple local governments allow the true value of transparency to be calculated. This creates financial pressure for central government to be honest and transparent. The more honest and transparent, the more valuable it is. So the eventual government will be entirely separate from all service provision: it will simply be an unimpeachable source of accurate information on the true value of all local governments or services. Where natural monopolies exist, it will say "company A provides best value for roads, and company B for the military." As a pure information provider it can be checked by other pure information providers: each local government can have a department to shadow the central government's decisions and suggest better choices.
Why not create your own ideal society and see if it works? land rent allows you to make deals with central government, so they benefit from giving you freedom.
If your life is so bad that you
wish you were somewhere else, land
rent provides the jobs and alternate
governments to let you escape.
Does this mean you have to work harder to pay more rent? Quite the opposite. Perhaps your idea of utopia is to only work for one hour a week? Then find the tallest buildings on the cheapest land and share rooms. Your land rent per person fall to almost zero, yet the parent government gets more money per square foot. So everyone is happy.
land rent lets everyone choose their ideal government. So the smart people can all create their ideal society and move there. It will soon be obvious who is right and who is wrong. Land rent also leads to a reliable reputation system, and forces governments to think long term. So land rent is the cure for stupidity.
Sustainability is just good economics: destroying the world we live in destroys our economic base. Wasteful destruction is a sign of market failure: allowing destruction of assets to benefit a minority. Land rent fixes these market failures, and so ends the throw away culture.
$21-32 trillion is hidden in offshore tax shelters. Even the low estimate is the equivalent of the United States and Japanese economies combined. A simple solution: replace all tax with land rent. You can't hide land offshore.
has a number of "big problem" videos on environmental or social
problems. They usually say there is "no simple solution" and it
"very hard work" in "many areas." Yet the
problems always trace to bad economics. E.g. we can use
like carbon based fuels without paying the full price, knowing
cost will be paid by others in the future. So the problem is not
complicated, it's simple: fix
land rent removes the need for war, and so removes the main cause of anti-Americanism. Most terrorists simply want their own government, and land rent already offers that in a way that prevents extremism (see). Extremism is usually fueled by economic injustice, and land rent fixes that as well. Ads for lone fanatics, they are in the same situation as criminals, and and rent makes crime almost impossible (see). Basically, land rent drains the swamp that breeds terrorism.
join Al Qaeda for a mixture of idealism and adventure. Idealism
certainly the emphasis in Al Qaeda recruitment materials.
not a great choice for idealists: you might force the infidel
only after much bloodshed and the next rulers may be just as
land rent offers a way to get the
government you want, and solve the
world's problems, without the pain. Land rent is a better offer
idealistic young men. Instead of investing in drones and
ck ops, the west should invest in idealism.
Fear of terrorism:
When people choose their own nation they all support it, share more information and allow more surveillance, so terrorists have nowhere to hide. Also, more states mean more competition. As a cause of death, terrorism is far down the list behind almost everything else. As states focus on more serious threats, terrorism will gain less publicity, and without publicity terrorists have no incentive, so the fashion will decline.Home grown terrorism:
War is an economic calculation. Currently, owning land means
free money (e.g. you can extra wealth, and the government can
whoever lives on the land). This is effectively theft from
the land before, then grabbing unearned wealth. Add people who
desperate enough to risk death to get it, and you have war. For
rent changes the calculation, see war.
Torture is a calculation: in order to stop a short term problem (the ticking bomb) you create a long term problem:
Trade, specialization, and taxing ground rents instead of work, are the secret to the wealth of nations, as identified by Adam Smith. People naturally want a better life (those who don't find themselves unable to compete), so for more trade we simply need more freedom. Note that trade forces people to cooperate and to depend on each other, and is thus the antidote to war.
goods" are goods like air and water that some people use but
pays for. This is an example of market
failure. But under land rent,
everything is automatically
measured, and information is more
available. So the benefit of every action to the whole of
very clear. States that reward good behavior will grow
those that allow public goods to be squandered will shrink.
The only way to guarantee transparency is to let individuals choose their own form of government. Transparency creates efficiency, so the most transparent governments will be more economically attractive.
With land rent, groups can negotiate their own rules. This leads to multiple alternate mini-governments. Combine this with more jobs, and you can easily change governments if you don't like the present one. Any government that abuses trust will then lose customers and become weaker.
Conventional activism involves a small group fighting a powerful foe. Being powerful, the foe generally wins. But land rent is a business approach: a way to change the world that benefits both sides. There are no enemies, so nobody gets crushed or disappointed. It's win-win.
Our current rules have no way of
measuring real value objectively. So it is possible to become
harming society. A better system would directly
measure the overall good
people do, and also the financial value they add to society in
Wall Street Crash was caused largely by land speculation:
leading to too many unprofitable farms; land bubbles in Florida,
Chicago and Detroit; and an end to a housing boom in New York.
crash was also triggered by land speculation: the
belief that land would always rise in value led to worthless
mortgages on balance sheets. The great Japanese depression of
was also caused by land speculation. land
rent means there reduces the
profit from simply occupying land, so there are no land
Most wars are over land. But with land rent the incentive disappears. Central government becomes too small and transparent to gain wealth except by earning it Meanwhile local government must be efficient or people leave. That leaves the ordinary people, and if they grab valuable land they just pay more land rent. So land is no longer a license to print money, and is no longer a reason to go to war.Drone strikes and other easy wars
Drone strikes seem like an easy way to hurt the other side at low cost. But there are always easy ways to hurt the other side at low cost: that's why a few terrorists can scare an entire nation. But how can you be sure the other side won't bear a grudge and come back and hurt you later? The only way to be sure is get a solution that both sides want. Land rent provides such a solution, a way for everyone to get the wealth or the form of government that they want.
and permanent alternative to war is trade. Land rent makes work
profitable, so creates more opportunities for trade. Land rent
itself is politically neutral: it's the same policy whether you
are good or
bad, rich or poor. Your power or history or politics does not
gives each side what they want: power, land, security and peace.
See also terrorism.
Is the economic solution to war discredited? In 1913, Norman Angell observed that a European war was not profitable for the winner, because trade is a more efficient way to create wealth. We then had two major European wars. Yet Angell was proven right: war was not profitable at all for Germany, and peace was very profitable: Germany now has a strong aversion to war because peace is vastly more rewarding. This is not just because Hitler lost: General Franco was like Hitler, and he won. This was economically disastrous for Spain, and Spain returned to democracy once Franco died. Land rent merely exaggerates this effect: it makes traders vastly more wealthy, and increases trade so much that disrupting trade is vastly more costly. So while war is still possible under land rent, it is far less likely.
A "wicked problem" is any social planning problem that is too complex to solve through planning, and needs to solved by trial and error. Land rent allows groups to negotiate their own laws, so we don't need to model a problem in theory, we can just see what works and copy it.
Work creates wealth. Yet our current economic system taxes
making some work uneconomic. Attempts to compensate (e.g.
taxation) merely shift the loss to other parts of the economy. Click for details. land rent makes more work
profitable, so more work is done. Land rent also provides more
opportunities for entrepreneurs.
The Wall Street Crash was largely caused by partly caused by an agricultural crash. Why did so many people have small farms when they obviously weren't very profitable? Because motor cars and the railroad were opening up so much cheap land. There was no rent to pay once the land was bought, so why not grab more than you need?
A second major cause was the
land bubbles in Florida, Chicago, Detroit, and elsewhere. In
this was the accepted cause of the Wall Street Crash and
Depression. What actually triggered the crash?
It may have been the end of land
rent. New York experimented
with a tax shift law, a modest form of land rent, in the
1920s, and this
led to a boom in building. But it was only a temporary law,
and the end
to the good times was a shock to the NY economy. "Economic
in New York came to an end, though, when owners in 1928 began
anticipate the expiration of the tax-shift law. (See “How New
Its Housing Crisis”, Charles Johnson Post, 1931?, Schalkenbach
Mason Gaffney, 2001)
John William Godward, via Wikipaintings ("golden
hours" for the woman looking around)
John Everett Millais, via Wikimedia ("The Boyhood
of Raleigh" for the sailor pointing)
BobLoco, via Flickr ("moleskin and pen" without the moleskin: the pen)
ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortium/HOBYS Key Programme Consortia, via NASA image of the day ("Stellar Nursery in the Rosette Nebula")
unknown second century author via Wikimedia ("P._Oxy._VI_932" for parchment)
BazzaDaRambler, via Flickr ("World War 1 and grandfather William Harris" for the old photo)
Becky E, via Flickr ("Wedding Hearts" for love heart)
Kotomicreations, via Flickr (chain on love heart)
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