NOT TILTING AT WINDMILLS

Many great personalities, including Leo Tolstoy,* have noted the case for a Georgist economy is unanswerable, and arguments put against it are either based upon ignorance of what Henry George actually said or otherwise fallacious.

So, if the case for the public capture of land and resource rents is logical, and Georgists are not simply tilting at windmills, why have countries suffering so badly under the deadweight of taxation failed to put it into practice?

The only possible answer is that political power has so far been able to defeat reason on the issue – and this comes through in a resigned fashion in discussion with intelligent people:

Oh, the argument is fine, but powerful vested interests will resist it!

It’s impossible to break through the existing mindset.

It’s a big issue, and people can’t accept such far-reaching change, even if it does correct many of the ills we face today.

Of course, this tragic situation has parallels. Just as an enormous taxation industry now feeds off an economic system tailored to the whims of the big rent-seekers in banking, mining and real estate (the 0.01%) the pharmaceutical industry feeds off illnesses and ailments we may not experience had we taken greater care of our diet and exercise.

The big difference is the pharmaceutical industry won’t tell you a good dietary regime and healthy exercise is bad for you.

So, the question becomes: How do we tackle the wealthy corporate entities who steal the public’s resource rents, in order that we may free ourselves from the parasite which not only preys upon our personal wealth and health but also drives nations into the depression and penury we’re witnessing?

It’s a riddle we need to solve urgently, because the usual rotation from this point is: currency wars; trade wars; world war.

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* “People do not argue with the teachings of George, they simply do not know it. … He who becomes acquainted with it cannot but agree.”  – Leo Tolstoy

 

2 thoughts on “NOT TILTING AT WINDMILLS”

  1. The issue you have to unroll is that it is not only the 0.01% that lose from the change. While they may benefit the most, they have ensured that a substantial proportion of the population is also invested in the system and benefitting from it.

    There are two things I see to do. The first is to make the change optional ( at least to start with ). This is what I get at with the concept of addressing this as a form or title, rather than a form of taxation. The second is to focus on those who are being cheated by the current system. Who loses most? Those without ownership of land, and those who have invested heavily upon the land they own – down here at least, the recent review showed some ratepayers being charged 11 times the land value rate because of their capital investment.

    Those groups are your allies, and need to know that they are being shafted. I suspect that largely they don’t.

    So.. two ideas to throw into the mix.

    1. “The issue you have to unroll is that it is not only the 0.01% that lose from the change. While they may benefit the most, they have ensured that a substantial proportion of the population is also invested in the system and benefitting from it.”

      That’s clearly the perception, but not the reality, Chris. So, I agree that we have to educate those who believe they are benefitting that they would be far better off if our GDP were doubled by removing taxation’s deadweight. (We’ve done preliminary estimates to that effect.)

      “There are two things I see to do. The first is to make the change optional ( at least to start with ). This is what I get at with the concept of addressing this as a form or title, rather than a form of taxation. The second is to focus on those who are being cheated by the current system. Who loses most? Those without ownership of land, and those who have invested heavily upon the land they own – down here at least, the recent review showed some ratepayers being charged 11 times the land value rate because of their capital investment.”

      Dr Gavin Putland agrees with you about an optional system and has developed a couple of opt-in opt-out models which might introduce the system.

      “Those groups are your allies, and need to know that they are being shafted. I suspect that largely they don’t.”

      “So.. two ideas to throw into the mix.”

      Thanks, I’ll pass you comments on to the Prosper Australia executive committee, Chris.

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