THE RIOTS

The rioting in England is indefensible, but how to understand it?

I’ve mentioned several times throughout these blogs that the rent of land represents community.  However, although land and natural resource rent is community-generated, less and less of it has been captured back for public revenue over the last forty years.  Thereby, a sense of a community has been lost.

That’s because it has become fashionable to privatise the rent of land and natural resources in the misbegotten belief that ‘user pays’ and increased taxation is preferable to the public capture of publicly created resource rents. It is largely privatisers of our natural resource rents who’ve been able to put about this self-serving idea. And they’ve sold it successfully to government.

The cumulative effect of the process over forty years has been to widen the gap between rich and poor. This now vast divide is well documented, but the role of land rent remains virtually invisible.

Right wing shock jocks consider that parasitic leeching of natural resource rents by private interests is respectable employment, and, unable to think through the logical consequences, they’re flabbergasted by London’s street riots.

The rising of the hun in the city is obviously a function of poverty and dispossession. Feeling disenfranchised and disconnected, these predominantly lower class youth exhibit their hate for a system that keeps them down and often unemployed whilst bank CEOs who crashed the system flaunt their multi-millions.  Unlike many of us, the rioters see the game is rigged and their frustration has spilled over into aggression and excess.

But it’s not just happening in the west.  It’s a worldwide contagion.  This compelling cover story in India’s national magazine “Frontline” shows private rent-seeking is also doing gangbusters in India.