I wish I had a dollar for all of the commentators speaking about the rising cost of living and the widening split between left and right. The political clash is palpable, and the USA is looking just about primed for another civil war.

Commentators and analysts are nothing short of marvelous at describing all the problems we’re facing, but are missing the key factor that generates them. Some even going so far as to suggest that there may be some truth in one or two conspiracy theories: banks and the level of private debt and increasingly impossible mortgages get an occasional mention.

However, you could count on the one hand those economists acknowledging most of our social problems stem from a failed economics–whether of left or right–that public capture of the national surplus product (‘economic rent’) instead of taxing earned incomes and purchases would go a long way towards bringing us back to the political centre; away from rampantly speculative rent-seeking.

Yes, the lonely idea of public capture of publicly-generated land and natural resource rents would meet powerful resistance from banking, real estate and media interests, but this is the only political adjustment that might mend the ever-widening split.