Thanks, Michael West!
Dissatisfaction with Australia’s politicians appears to have hit a new high, with more and more people realising both sides of politics listen more to privileged and corporate interests than they do to everyday Australians. As banks, monopolies and hangers-on do exceptionally well, it’s become nakedly obvious that the vast majority isn’t winning in this devastating ‘game of mates’.
The dissatisfaction promises change.
It’s arguable, however, that it has ever been thus: that our ‘betters’ have always thought of people as the ‘mob’, and that a democracy where the generality of people influence political decisions, would be a great threat to their interests. Is change even possible?
But cynicism about political corruption and fraud has reached epic proportions. The divide and rule nature of the political system is daily exposed, and it’s only the absolutely welded-on can still look upon their chosen political party with respect as rent-seekers are permitted to run amok.
Let’s hope this burgeoning awareness translates to real political change.
The 1920s Florida bubble was actually replicated around much of the world, as the ‘Californian Bungalow’ became an oft-replicated housing feature of Australia’s 1920s property bubble. The 1929 stock market collapse came later, following the collapse of real estate prices.
Just as America had its “roaring ’20s”, and ‘prosperity’ was evident to everyone except those who were ensnared in rapidly increasing poverty (inversely proportional to the speculative bubble), the US economy is again said to be healthy. But to what extent is it, really? Isn’t it once again an economy where banking and monopolies have done extremely well at the expense of the poor and a massively increasing number of the middle class? Is not the greater part of America struggling with extreme levels of private debt, many having to work at more than one job to survive?
The answer for those prepared to investigate more than superficially is a resounding “yes”.
GDP doesn’t tell us the tale of distribution. Nor does it distinguish between the mindless inflation of stock and real estate markets and genuine wealth creation.
A century later, we watch on as a repetition of the decay and mindless speculation of the 1920s stumbles towards its appalling conclusion.
Pass the popcorn.
I had the pleasure of speaking with these two gentlemen at Melbourne Town Hall in 2009 on “Lifting the Lid on the GFC“.
Australia has been terribly afflicted by bushfires; the extent of coronavirus is yet to be established.
Now we have a reason, or reasons, to have our economic collapse. If history serves, it’ll never be sheeted home to the real reason: our impossibly high land prices.
High land prices assist the growth of monopolies. That’s why people like John Locke, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, JS Mill, Henry George, Mason Gaffney, Michael Hudson and Joseph Stigliz have said land values ought to be taxed.
And if we take ‘land’ to mean the rent of ALL natural resources, this includes the rent of minerals and the electromagnetic spectrum.
Banks wouldn’t be happy, because they create money by lending against land prices–which would gradually disappear towards zero if all the land rent were collected publicly–although the economic rent of natural resources would of course remain.
GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) wouldn’t be happy if airwaves rent were captured. As with banks, their super-profits reduce.
However, people would be happy: no land price, no other taxes, lower prices for goods and services because the deadweight losses inflicted by taxes would be removed.
What’s not to like about doing away with land prices and taxes and transitioning to taxing economic rents?