COHERING REFORM

rentThere’s certainly much crap on the web. There’s a lot of good stuff, too. Naturally, I’m keen on the myriad websites proclaiming the system is broken. These sites consider the major political parties no longer represent us–having sold out to pro-war crony capitalism–and they advocate societal change.  But the proposed changes seem impossibly many.

So, how to cohere this multiplicity?

A hint to the answer is to be found in how western democracy is currently failing us:

–      Mainstream newspapers continue to support one of the two main political parties, and then they wonder why their patronage is falling.

–      Television has largely become escapist dross (I include here the business channels) in order that we don’t question too closely how the political system is failing us.

–      Governments meanwhile go largely unchallenged as they continue privatising rail transport, gas and electricity supplies (sometimes water), prisons, ports and airports. Freeways, too, are increasingly becoming tollways. That gets them off the government balance sheet, despite these services being natural monopolies and more properly publicly-run.

–      The rentier class is both invisible to reformers and at the same time all-powerful.

Are not some things meant to be held as common property? Do not such things as roads, parklands, our land and natural resources represent our common–not private–property?

Is it not these things that actually represent community? Are they not the things that give us a community of interest?

Was not payment to the public purse (via municipal ‘rates’, or the property ‘tax’) the rent for our exclusively-granted use of these things held in common, the very glue that used to hold western society together?

No longer! Everything has become private property and society has crumbled as a result.

The thing that might fashion and underpin all sensible 21st century political reform is the need that any political change be underpinned by the public capture of economic rent and the abolition of taxation of labour and capital.

Those who see the need for greater levels of taxation are misguided. What matters most is from where your revenue is derived. Without the capture of economic rent, any attempted political reform is destined to fail.

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