FARMERS TO THE FOREFRONT
By Jeffery J Smith
You may oppose despoliation of the environment yet you can’t name one such problem that you don’t create or worsen—you pay for it. Your taxes become subsidies to insider despoilers. Those well-connected recipients don’t intend to despoil earth but don’t really mind the spinoff consequences of their actions—an attitude we’re all guilty of.
By sourcing and misdirecting the flow of public revenue, taxpayers finance, oh, agri-business, factory farming, fossil fuel farming, machinery squishing the life out of soil microbes, livestock manure and chemical runoffs ruining rivers to the seas, pumping of topsoil into the ocean (via sewage systems), wind erosion from removing hedges and plowing (permaculture proves the plow is not necessary), loss of soil at the top and water in the table below. If all that does not lead to a dead end, literally, measuring food in tonnage rather than in nutritional value likely will. So, yeah. Let’s lose subsidies.
Instead of turning topsoil into food, food into poop, poop downstream into ocean pollution, let’s turn it back into topsoil. When I lived on an organic farm, we did that. After a year, poop turns white and flakey, unrecognizable, totally disease free, ready for use. Wouldn’t dream of using it before then. Patience.
Furthermore, half of all food raised is not eaten but goes to waste. It rots in fields. Gets squashed in delivery. Thrown out by supermarkets. Left on plates and scraped into the garbage. Worsened climate leaves yearly millions of cattle carcasses. Solve all that, and right away you spare half of all cropland and pastures, the lands where the waste was raised.
At the other end of the public revenue pipeline, let us the public agree on land dues then recover rents. Now days, most farmers use rented land, even in the US. Yet landlords are not morally entitled to ground rents. And farmers only to their outputs.
The value of land and location is something society generates. Their servant—government, supposedly—should be a good steward and recover what’s ours and share it among us. Besides, owners owe—claiming some Earth rebounds a duty to use her responsibly, so other species and generations have the same chance, too.
Adopt both halves of this revenue reform—zero out subsides and implement land dues. Drive down the price of land (in the country, of locations in the city). Farmers won’t have to go into annual debt. More will become owner occupants. No debts, no landlords, means no pressure to pressure the land. Not only could organic gardening compete, it’d win. Grocery store prices for organics would be well below those of foods sprayed with poison.
Abolishing the waste of subsidies could mean axing the waste of taxes. Then people would have more wherewithal to spend. As they spend, they inevitably pump up location value. Share that social surplus—like Alaska paying residents oil dividends. A nationwide Citizens Dividend > owner occupancy > prosperity > material security > slower then stable population growth. Happy Earth!
This noting the role of paying taxes is not to blame anyone but to show a responsible course of action—geonomics. It’s worked wherever tried.