We like to think that the freedoms we have in the west makes capitalism so much the better system than communism. However, they have a common problem: neither system does what is essential for the real freedom and prosperity of its citizenry, that is, taxes away its publicly-generated surplus product/economic rent.

Karl Marx made mention of the need to tax land rent in Book III of ‘Capital’, but resorted to the non-sequitur of the need for capital to be publicly-controlled. This led Henry George, the key proponent of public rent capture, to label Marx “The prince of muddleheads“.

Last Thursday we witnessed the world’s biggest property developer, the Chinese Evergrand Group, file for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in New York owing US$300 billion (AUD$470 billion). This followed the Chinese government’s tightening of borrowing restrictions on spec, such that Evergrand defaulted in December 2021.

Although we mock the over-developed Chinese ghost cities: “How can they be so stupid?“, we fail to see the corresponding emptiness of pumping our own land prices to the moon, which is every bit as vacuous and threatening as the speculation behind the Evergrand default. Wall after wall of empty Chinese multi-storey buildings is simply a more concrete metaphor for the west’s own speculative stupidity. China’s quandary is also ours.

The logically ensuing world financial depression from 2027 is likely to be equally savage on both communist and capitalist systems.

As rent-seeking elites in both regimes will be unwilling to release their self-interested grip, it will be up to people defeated by the outcome from all this speculative excess to discover and employ the simple Georgist tweak – urgently.

That’s unlikely? That’s bad!