rentier: (ron’tee’yay; Fr.) n. One who arrogates unto himself the rents of land and natural resources generated by the public at large.
Take a long walk off a short pier, rentiers!
The French fought a revolution against privilege but, not having the wit to understand the manner in which they were being ripped off by the rentier class, they resorted to murdering them, leaving taxation largely undisturbed. Some revolution!
The French Physiocrats were able to educate Adam Smith and Benjamin Franklin to the harm caused by the privatisation of rent, but Louis XVI had his head removed rather than tell his pals their little scam was over. Going headless in preference to going straight? Quel majeste!
Meanwhile, in another part of town, the Americans decided to kick the Poms out for taxing their tea. They decided that the US of A should be all about “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson hadn’t been able to convince their colleagues of John Locke’s earlier advocacy of the collection of rent for freedom and the running of nations, but they couldn’t stomach the alternative clause sacramentalising “the right to private property” either – especially when some people couldn’t see the error in regarding the ownership of land as private property.
As most of the others thought the “pursuit of Motherhood and Apple Pie” would be vastly preferable to taxing away the rent of land as suggested in Locke’s writings, everyone decided to settle for “Happiness”. So, “Happiness” it became.
Unless I’m mistaken, I believe America and Ben Bernanke are currently engaged in the pursuit of Happiness right at the moment. I rather suspect they might be pursuing it for quite some time if they don’t soon realise happiness can only be released upon the population of the United States by capturing rent for revenue, as the alternative to taxation.
The Tea Party offers little assistance. It certainly does comprehend how taxation has destroyed America, but doesn’t accept taking public rent for public revenue is the proper recourse. Like all self-interested politicians, Sarah Palin can’t quite bring herself to accept the citizens’ dividend paid to Alaskans for their oil might have the wider application of solving America’s increasingly dire financial plight. By squibbing it, she has proven to be no more than a populist – not a real leader.
William Pitt was Britain’s Prime Minister when France and America revolted. He was helped in avoiding a revolution at home by shipping his trouble makers and poor off to found a colony at New South Wales.
So, several depressions later, here we are again with vast differences between the wealthy and the poor, the latter having been done in the eye once more by rent-seekers.
Hey! Governments of the world: when are you going to learn that ‘owning’ land is the power to collect rent and taxes? How far are you prepared to go ingratiating yourself to landed privilege and finance? Are you purposefully trying to avoid addressing the cause of economic depressions? A depression is preferable to this reform?
Some of us know it would be a lot easier for everybody if you simply told rentiers to piss off and to go and do some useful work. Why not summon up the courage to do it?