The Taxing Question of Land

2013 ,    »  -   46 Comments
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Storyline
The Taxing Question of Land

Recession, unemployment, poverty, a lack of funding for public services, battling the deficit, the rising cost of health care, not having enough money to buy a home... what is the source to these economic troubles? Why is it so hard to afford a roof over our heads? Is land ownership connected in any way? Can the nation sustain growth while being responsible to each other? What would that responsible system look like?

It's really important we take notice of the fact that land is the most important resource in our economy? Clearly our stewardship of land takes us right to the heart of what it means to be human. Things that belong to everybody, things that are given and provided by nature, if we can privatize those then really freedom is not free.

Historic laws favor those who own the land, but today everyone believes in economic justice... so the problem is how do we achieve that? We have to make good use of our land and it has to not just respond to the economy but it has to drive the economy. So the challenge then is how do you make the value of land equally available to all.

The UK has 60 million acres of land and a growing population of 63 million. The way population interacts with this land creates value for the UK. The question of how to redistribute this value back to all of the population is at the heart of the taxation system. But the present system is flawed, unfair and it stifles growth, yet there is hope.

There are politicians, economists and academics working towards an alternative system; a system that is responsible, fair and sustains growth; a system that can find common ground across the political spectrum. This film will highlight the context and the importance of this alternative as well as consider how the UK can achieve this change in the system.

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46 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Bob

    What happens to the pensioner on fixed income who owns a home that increases in value because of infrastructure developement under the VLT system? Must they sell in order to meet their tax obligations?

  2. steviecomment

    Having one property per person exempt, maybe a solution.

  3. Unfolding Universe

    Let me see, If some people from china wants to buy land in the UK, why would he do it?

  4. a_no_n

    I agree, home ownership should be limited. Cornwall has been severely damaged economically by second home ownership. It would certainly bring the divorce rates down if anything.

  5. a_no_n

    i agree with everything except the statement "Everyone believes in economic justice"
    This is untrue. There are considerable influences (Mainly on the right wing in the Tories and UKIP but also hiding within the ranks of Labour)

    that most certainly do NOT believe in economic justice and will do anything to stop any progression that way.

    You can recognize these elements because they are the ones screaming at the top of their lungs about immigration to try and divert attention away from the real problems like the issues brought up in this doc.

  6. dmxi

    real estate forced to be equal with paper (currency) is a flaw ,becoming immaterial opposed to it's biological nature which needs human care if to be used for human needs in balance with it's resources....but it declines when land becomes an asset,a statistical number of tax or an issue of conflict which derives from the need of control & that leads to oppression.a vicious cycle,if you will.

  7. preferrous

    To use the UK as a life raft when the ship sinks.

  8. preferrous

    > Must they sell in order to meet their tax obligations?

    No. The unpaid annual tax (plus a small fee) is simply levied against the land's title. The next time it is sold, those funds are recovered from the sale proceeds.

  9. ZeissIkon

    I think we should use the correct term for those who are opposed to this kind of economic justice, as they clearly do exist and are quite simply "fascists" in the original Mussolini sense. For example, if you were to believe that all natural resources (the greatest of which being land itself) should be appropriated and monopolised by a political/financial elite at the expense of everyone else, leading to their being subjugated into indebted servitude (serfdom if you will), then you are by definition a fascist and any reasonable person can rightly refer to you as “the well known fascist sympathiser”.
    So, go on I dare you, take the time to ask your local MP whether they think common wealth (i.e. economic rent derived from that which was not created by human endeavour but was here before mankind existed) should be taxed back into the public coffers and divided equally amongst all people? I can tell you from personal experience, that hardly anyone affiliated to a major political party will want to answer that one, as it's about as off-message with the sponsors as it gets, so all you'll get is prevarication and/or you'll be referred to another party lackey who'll kindly prevaricate on their behalf. Either way, at least deep down they'll know and you'll know that they are supporting fascism.

  10. Unfolding Universe

    You mean the other way around? LOL

  11. ZeissIkon

    That's probably the most common intial objection, in fact I raised it myself the first time I came across LVT.
    However, it would be quite easy to work round this problem. If, for personal/sentimental reasons, they didn't want to sell up and cash in on their little property value windfall, then the land value tax payments could be deferred until such time as death or future sale of the property. Alternately, the number of pensioners who would fall into this category would actually be quite small in the general scheme of things, so you could simply make an exemption for those pensioners in such circumstances at the time of implementation of LVT.
    The truth of the matter is, most people would benefit greatly from an LVT system, and not just those at the very bottom. A middle class famiy in an average three bedroom house would be quite a few thousand pounds a year better off under LVT, as their share of commonwealth paid as a citizens income would surpass their LVT payment. The real losers would be the big land owners, corporate monopolists and buy-to-let empire builders.

  12. Fabien L'Amour

    I'm not from the UK but a quick check showed that the biggest private owners of land in the UK are pension funds and utility companies. Pension funds own 550,000 acres and utilities companies (water, electricity and railways) own 500,000 acres. Increasing their taxes would greatly affect the general population in my opinion so the net benefit to the community might not be as tremendous as the doc presents it.

  13. socratesuk

    Disappointing promotional film!. It’s basically a glossy left-wing/green rant about “wealthy land holders”. Basically the people in this film seem annoyed at paying tax, so would rather someone else pays it. The actual economic arguments don’t seem to stack up either. The main problem with the UK is that employing someone is now a massive expensive bureaucratic exercise. Scrapping employer National Insurance contributions might help!. Also it doesn’t help that most MPS, councillors, academics and so on have never run a business or tried to employ someone. Also the idea that living next to a train line would bring down your tax rate seems a bit daft. Most people live near a busy road or train line. There is an issue in some UK cities where people buy land or derelict buildings in the hope the price will go up, but the solution to this is not some massive over-haul of the tax system instead “LAWS” can be passed. So just make a law that says if you buy derelict land or land in an urban area; development must start within 2 years. Another massive issue particularly with London, is that lots of people from abroad buy homes in London and never live in them, ironically a lot of British people also do the same thing in places like Cornwall. So again the solution is probably a law that limits how many homes each person can own. Also LAND value varies dramatically. Agricultural land is typically cheap to buy, (even though it feeds us) where as a big bank might have a lovely expensive skyscraper in London (but its actual value comes from the extremely high-risk gambling that goes on inside the building). So although on the surface it seems an interesting idea, when you actual look at the details, their entire economic argument seems to fall apart. The actual solutions are reducing government debt, making it easier and cheaper to employ someone, and maybe scrapping stamp duty on the purchase of homes.

  14. socratesuk

    Some Chinese have large savings, and might be looking to make an investment!.........

  15. socratesuk

    Totally agree.

  16. Unfolding Universe

    Other than speculating on your your land in the west, there is no money to be made.

  17. Al Maghribi

    A small percentage of Taxes (Extortion) are used towards the welfare of it's people. Most country's taxes go to finance wars and spying. It's a matter of time, the world recognises the value of Islamic finance and the Islamic constitution known to us as 'Shariah'. No Man-made law can withstand the test of time. Dubai has laid the foundation to lead in Islamic finance and they are very keen to gradually turn their economy to Islamic ethical standards. As residents we have seen the exponential grown that is taking place right now. Ultimately, the Islamic Shariah will prevail to those who practice as it was prescribed by the Noble Quran and the authentic sunnah (way) of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) May Allah guide those who seek knowledge and happiness in this life and the next inshaAllah.

  18. ZeissIkon

    I can see what you're saying and it is a legitimate concern, but it is inevitable that investors will be looking for the best returns, and the property market is delivering that right now. However, the reason for that is the British government have been pumping ludricrous amounts of debt money straight into the property market via quantative easing to keep it propped up, thereby showing a rather dubiously inflated GDP figure (ever wonder why you never hear GNP mentioned these days?), which effectively means that we the tax payers and our next three or four generations of descendants are footing the bill for this wholesale fraud. Worse still, with central bank interest rates at a bargain basement low, there's nothing left in reserve to weather any further disturbances (god help us if the bond market tanks!). That's why LVT is so urgently needed to check this spiralling debt cycle by returning those ill gotten gains to the public purse, thereby disincentivising the whole ponzy scheme. As for the pension funds, well if the individual fund managers do their jobs properly by seeing which way the wind's blowing and repositioning accordingly, then the initial knock shouldn't hurt too much. Either way, the existing system has to stop.

  19. Fabien L'Amour

    Are you talking about Ijara and Zakat?
    In secular countries, a faith based tax system won't be possible.
    Many countries have a mandatory separation between religion and state.

  20. Al Maghribi

    The separation between religion and state is one of the hindrance in most countries that fail to apply a time tested system of economic governance. Example, All Public service fees are passed on to the citizens who use the service rather than subsidising. National defence is financed by the natural resources.The 2.5 percent Zakah on the nett disposable income which could be enough and more to fund the basic needs of the unfortunate destitute. Ijara is a methodology of business transactions.

  21. ZeissIkon

    Georgism is actually at the free market/small government end of things, so it can hardly be described as “Left”. Though, seeing as “Left” and “Right” became political terms in the age of neoclassical economics, you could say that they are inapplicable to Georgism which runs on classical economic principals. Likewise, though Land Value Tax would clearly be very good for the environment, we are talking about an idea that first surfaced with the 18th century French physiocrats, so it's safe to say it significantly pre-dates green economics.
    I would however concede that a great number of politicians and academics have never run a business or spent much time in the real world for that matter. What is interesting about Georgism is that it tends to upset most politicians and plenty of academics (neoclassical economists mainly), but draws support from lots of people in the outside world. One of the biggest proponents of LVT in the UK is Mark Wadsworth who is a tax advisor in the city, and Henry George himself was a self made man who left school at an early age and went to sea as a cabin boy. So, again I think you may have the wrong impression here.
    I would personally suggest having a look at the interview with Swiss economist Bruno Moser on youtube, which helps to further explain how LVT actually works, as I suspect it might clear up some of your misconceptions about land and capital improvements.

  22. socratesuk

    What a stupid statement. Okay what about all the Chinese food outlets in the UK? That feed most of the nation every Friday Night.....

  23. socratesuk

    Thank you for your reply!. Some interesting points.

    Realistically tho, I don't think it would work.

    The main issue is that large corporations have not been paying their corporate tax!!!!!. (This is partially a result of globalization, as a lot of companies are now global rather than being national, and can move huge amounts of money around the world in a few seconds) ...also some businesses own little land yet make lots of profits through creativity. I.E Microsoft and Apple and Google. ***I think the appeal of LVT is maybe that land cant hide in an offshore bank account. Also the idea that LVT could replace all other taxes is ridiculous. Surely taxing consumption through VAT makes more sense. Half the rubbish in our homes we don't need anyway!. When I buy an xbox game, I am happy to pay an extra 20% (knowing this money goes toward paying the brain surgeon at the local hospital...*well in the U.K anyway*). Also there is huge amounts of Land in the UK which have maybe 20 or so sheep on, and yet a relatively small piece of land in London might have a sky-scrapper built on it, that gambles with billions every day on the stock market. Some farmers own a lot of land, but they are not wealthy!. In fact some have lots of land but are relatively poor, (considering the working conditions and amount of hours they do etc). RATHER than coming up with even more taxes, we should be focusing on job creation!. There is so many intelligent graduates stuck in Costa coffee shops serving coffee to people who also work in shops. I would much rather we focus on the next Google or invest more money into driver-less cars, and or fully automate the London Underground.

  24. Fabien L'Amour

    Scandinavian countries are doing fine with separation between religion and state. Passing on all pubic service fees to the user sure doesn't work for healthcare. For example, an organ transplant is way too expensive for almost all citizens. Countries with minimal natural resources wouldn't have a national defence? What about countries with a different religion? You want everybody to be Muslims?

  25. Al Maghribi

    It's a matter of opinion how we measure Scandinavians 'doing fine'. A very small percentage of people would require organ transplants and the Zakah fund should be sufficient to meet it. Logically, countries with minimal natural resources have nothing much to defend. Countries who adopt different religion may act accordingly and there no compulsion in Religion. No one has the power to force anyone; anything unless and until they believe deeply. Faith is a very personal choice. No one can posses the mind of another unless they are willing to be possessed.

    Muslims all around the world should strive to implement the Islamic Shariah (Divine Injunctions) on themselves first, before they start imposing on others. To practice Islam; the geographic location is not very important. We can choose to ignore the secular lifestyle very easily even if we are destined to live in a so-called democracy.

    When love, knowledge and aspiration is directed to this worldly life, the heart becomes narrow and gloomy as it distances itself from the real source, Allah.

  26. Fabien L'Amour

    Countries with minimal natural resources have nothing much to defend?!?! No offense but I am sure people that experienced World War 2 in Belgium, Holland, England, Taiwan or Korea would disagree. As far as I know Vietnam did not have any natural resources that interested the U.S.A. Defending your population should have nothing to do with natural resources.

  27. Al Maghribi

    Every country and every individual has some form of resourcefulness either tapped or untapped. An aggressor will manufacture an excuse to impose a failed ideology as Democracy to extort from a weak nation. In some parts of the world national defence means nothing as politicians and bought and sold as commodities. In an Islamic environment practising Muslims believe in open borders except the city of Makkah and Medina which are considered as places of Divine significance. By National defence we mean, money spent on the preservation of moral and ethical values. The weapons and the mass media industry is controlled by the aggressor nations (the so-called international community). No amount of money will save us from it except our faith.

  28. ZeissIkon

    I am concerned about globalisation and the rise of the corporations too, certainly to the extent where their interests will override those of nation states, but view this as an inevitable bi-product of neoclassical economics. In an model where only capital exists, such enterprises flourish without check and, in pursuit of the bottom line, soon discover that, in addition to land, politics and the media represent some of the best returns for their capital, ensuring they get their way at every turn in the scramble to misappropriate natural resources (land being the key). This is precisely why the neoclassical school was funded so intensively by the 19th Century monopolists. John D Rockefeller's funding of the Chicago School alone being astronomical, even by modern standards, which begs the question; are we really to believe that they did this out of genuine philanthropy? It seems more likely to have been a ploy to replace classical economic tradition, which was proving a thorn in their side after the publication of “Poverty and Progress”, with a system that would give them free reign to monopolise the common wealth. It bears mentioning that, despite a colossal budget, they still haven't come up with a workable argument against Georgism in over 130 years and generally tend to prevaricate or just get personal when cornered on the subject, which says it all in my book. Georgism was never defeated by an argument or anything reasonable, the Western World just got razzle dazzled by the neoclassical lot and drifted down an economic cul-de-sac.
    Of course, under a Georgist system, there would be no corporation tax for them to worry about, as the only tax would be on land value (all other taxes would be abolished), but you would find that their bill would generally be far higher and quite unavoidable due to their land holdings. The important thing to remember is that in a classical economic model there are the people, the land and capital (that which is created by the people using the land and its resources), and there lies the critical distinction in value between land (basically everything that existed before man walked) and capital (created by man). The latter is private wealth and of no interest to the tax man, as he didn't make it so it is not his to take, but the rent derived from the former is commonwealth and should be taxed back for the benefit of all by way of a citizens income. In this way there is no taxation of productivity, virtually no dead weight costs, a stable housing market and no unemployment benefit cheats for that matter. In fact the disincentive to taking a low paid/part time job of losing your benefits would also disappear, as everyone would get the same citizens income and however many jobs or business opportunities they felt like taking on would be their private affair. That alone has got to be a considerable stimulus to increased productivity and employment.
    Furthermore, the poor farmer need not worry, as LVT would come in at let's say 5% of land value, so his bill would be 5% of the value of some cheap agricultural land, whereas a tower block in the city would be sitting on some very valuable land so that 5% would be a small fortune. Likewise, you mention consumer waste, and I agree we have become used to a high level of consumption, and would move that this is entirely due to the past century of wholesale looting of commonwealth resources at the bitter expense of future generations, but if you consider which part of that waste is the offensive element, then it would be those non-renewable commonwealth resources. The sheer volume of petrochemicals in spurious packaging alone doesn't bear thinking about, as once that stuff's gone, it's gone, and it's very useful for other far more important things, some of which we haven't even discovered yet. Let's face it, built in obsolescence is a crime against future humanity. With LVT, those commonwealth resource derived elements would already have been taxed at the appropriate rate via the holder of the land with associated mineral rights. So don't worry about paying that 20% VAT, a large corporation just did, or would under LVT. In fact the response from the business world would be to avoid, or at least minimise the use of such costly elements, which would be a sane direction to see consumer products moving in anyway.
    As regards the viability of replacing the existing tax system with LVT, most people are surprised to learn that the “Land Monopoly Black Hole” in the UK is currently in the ball park of £250 Billion. This is the land rent, which should be seen as commonwealth, that instead pours into the pockets of less than 1% of the population, making a bit of a mockery of any “trickle down” theories of wealth distribution (and let's face it, most of that wealth gets pumped into further land speculation, which just piles the misery on). If you compare this to the £4 billion attributable to benefits cheats, I'd have to say that it is the idle rich one needs to worry about in this country. And do remember, that with every bout of quantitative easing, the government is effectively contributing to this enormous disparity of wealth at the expense of not just the current tax payers, but also their children and children's children's tax payments. As to where your 20% goes, I am afraid it pretty much winds up paying off interest to the privately owned Bank of England on money borrowed by the government to pay the aforementioned brain surgeon's wages along with other necessary expenses, whilst also crudely propping up the housing bubble (hence the spiralling national debt). The problem with the current system is we end up paying economic rent once, either directly or via mortgages, and then we pay it into the same black hole all over again with our taxes.

  29. socratesuk

    Thank you for your lengthy reply. I don't think LVT is the solution. It doesn't help that the human population is constantly growing either. I didn't really get your point about the brain surgeon? Are you saying they are not needed? Surely taxing consumption is the only solution, as our economic model is based on trends, new fashion trends, new games, new music, new films. etc. So surely paying 20% extra on these things is a good thing, if it goes to pay for a doctor or a teacher? There is no way LVT could replace all other taxes! It makes more sense to reform current tax laws. For example rather than corporation taxes maybe a tax on net sales per a country. Corporation taxes worked when countries were largely based in one country, but it doesn't really work in a globalized world, where billions of capital can be moved in a matter of seconds from one country to another.

  30. ZeissIkon

    My apologies for the late reply.
    Firstly, I didn't imply that brain surgeons were not needed. I was just pointing out that in addition to paying for such essential services, the government was at the same time wasting huge amounts of future tax payer's money by propping up the housing bubble (I guess we're all suckers for a lightly massaged GDP figure).
    Secondly, LVT is the most effective tax on consumption, as it tackles the problem at source (all non renewable resources are included in LVT) and is impossible to evade. In fact, due to the amount of needless confusion that seems to arise from using the term "Land", a friend of mine actually suggested re-branding LVT as a "Commonwealth Consumption Charge", and I do think he might be onto something there. Land and commonwealth, are one and the same thing to a Georgist, but, bearing in mind that "Homeownerism" is the unofficial religion of the UK, any mention of "Land" tends to stir up a fairly emotional response from a whole lot of people, as they misperceive LVT as a direct attack on their homes. This is understandable, as they do not see a difference between land and capital improvements, so the house and the land it sits on are one and the same from their neoclassical influenced outlook.
    Finally, LVT can and should replace all other taxes. It simply represents the most efficient and fair means of returning commonwealth value, which should be the only purpose of taxation. Admittedly some people do put a fair degree of Hong Kong's success down to a large percentage of tax revenue being raised on land, but to try and fudge a partial LVT system would be to miss the point in my opinion. One of the major problems with trying to change to LVT, is the danger of a slow and gradual process becoming diluted into just such an ineffective fudge as moneyed interests and lobbyists seek to erode the process. It would really be best to make it a sudden and complete change, but you do have to recognise just what a mountain to climb that would be in the current political landscape.
    At the end of the day, morally and mathematically it's difficult to argue against Georgism (virtually impossible in my opinion), but that doesn't stop the political right from wanting to defend corporate monopolists, the political left from rejecting a system that's light on social engineering and doesn't target private wealth, and economists from fearing a general lessening of their importance and power. As I said, it's quite a mountain to climb and the only way to do it will be as a grass roots movement, since those in power are the least likely to want to accept it.

  31. socratesuk

    Interesting post. I might have to do some more research on the subject. I cant see how LVT would replace all other taxes. I think people forget that in the UK were taxed on almost everything we purchase and do. (It doesn't help that we have a massive public sector, not to mention the £40-£50 billion in debt interest every year). I think this LVT idea will do the blogosphere rounds for a few months then die out. Also valuing land is a tricky one. Some land is much more valuable than other bits of land. A patch of desert has little value. But if Google builds its new headquarters on that bit of land, suddenly a small bit of land is capable of producing billions. I will try and keep an open mind, and look out for more mainstream acceptance and criticism of this new tax model.

  32. Horst Manure

    And put up the price before hand to cover the interest.

  33. Leslie

    And then what? Kill all infidels? I will never practice Sharia or call Allah my own, EVER!

  34. Tom Kaye

    What outdated crap! Wealth is no longer in land. Wealth is in the mind of the individual and in the laws that protect that intellectual property! How much did Bill Gates pay the programmer for DOS? $50,000 (and I'll bet that guy thought he'd hit the jackpot that day!). How much did he get for licensing it (not selling it) to IBM? His first billions.

    And just how much land did Steve Jobs own?

    How much land did the Warner Brothers own when they built their first studio backlot in Hollywood? Maybe a hundred acres? And how much grain or cattle could you raise on a hundred acres? How many people could live on that acreage? But they didn't do that with the land, did they? No! Instead they made movies and helped launch a billion dollar industry.

    The greatest wealth in land today is in SAND! Silicon. And how many billions of microchips can you make from an acre of land? And how many acres of land are there on the planet? And how deep does it go?

    Time to join the 21st Century.

  35. Al Maghribi

    Freedom of choice is NEVER lasting

  36. charles park

    Right 100%

  37. Melissa Hagblom

    this is a perspective i have not heard before...Sounds fascinating, any links or info?

  38. meh

    The two are not mutually exclusive. LVT would elevate a lot of the existing issues with speculative use of a finite resource, a speculative use that in general is not beneficial to society.

    I agree it is not the silver bullet portrayed in the documentary but it is an important shift that'll help move capital from merely holding on to land to doing something productive with that land or with your disposable income.

  39. Morthund

    Seemed pretty succinct to me, if a tad dumbed-down.
    Check out the outraged beneficiary of an inheritance..
    V

  40. Tom Kaye

    Sorry for not replying. I think I'd just signed up for disqus and didn't know how to use it so I never saw your reply.

    No, I don't have any links. I learned most of that watching a debate on the original "Crossfire" show, before it became Jerry Springer for politics. The were debating the so-called over-population problem. The guy arguing that population was a problem was, ironically enough, the guy who wrote the book, "Eight is enough", about raising his own EIGHT children. The conservative was making the argument that, "If people are the problem and the problem is serious enough, you are justified doing whatever it takes to solve it. Including genocide." The slippery slope argument. The conservative then went on to point out all the ways in which problems lead to solutions which can often make things better for everyone. He mentioned how sand, the most plentious substance on earth, is the material for the most revolutionary product of all time. A wonderful point.

  41. Zake

    You vision of the world is ratherlimited indeed. Some of us are creative and earning a living selling or using our creative genius
    - some of us are athletic and would make a living selling our athletic
    talent, while most of us are neither. Both Creativity and athletic talent is relative. To some extend it’s like art work valuable today and worthless tomorrow. Bethlehem steel was one of the most dynamic companies in America if not the world - today they are gone- bankrupt --- in fact they have been gone for nearly 30 years … so your argument is baseless.
    What you call mind -- is worth nothing unless someone is willing to pay you to use …. I know a lot of PhDand MS working at bookstores or coffee shops.

  42. Tom Kaye

    All the wisdom you need is right there in your own words: "What you call mind -- is worth nothing unless someone is willing to pay you to use [it]..."

    And that is the point! Value is NOT in land but in what the mind of a man conceives to do with it. The value of "mind" as I described it rationally IMPLIED using your mind to create something of value, not just vomiting words on a piece of paper and calling it art or running in the Special Olympics and expecting win an endorsement deal from NIKE!! (Actually, I'm surprised Wheaties hasn't put Special "Olympians" on the front of their box! A great PR move! I hope they pay me for it!

    See that! I used my mind to come up with an idea which, if I bothered to send it to Wheaties just might make me a few bucks! And I didn't have to own a single square foot of "land".

    You reference to Ph.D.s is telling and actually goes to my point. Many people spend their whole lives in academia and NEVER learn to become useful to anyone! Years in school and their own minds are a wasteland, producing nothing of value.

    No one is guaranteed success nor love. If you want love get a dog. (Or have a daughter! I once told a friend who said he wanted to have a son, "No, you want a daughter." He asked why. I said, "A daughter is the only woman who will ever love you unconditionally." My EX-wife agreed.)

    I fail to see how the bankruptcy of Bethlehem Steel makes my argument baseless. The U.S. outsourced its steel production to third world countries because it was cheaper. The great minds at Bethlehem steel made the brilliant decision to TEACH THE MINDS of these foreign companies' employees how to MAKE steel on their own, assuring them of their own destruction. We are doing the same thing in China.

    I'm sorry if my reference to MIND creating value didn't explicitly state said mind needed to actually be thinking USEFUL THOUGHTS. Inventing USEFUL things.

    I sometimes attend poetry slams and 99% of those "poets" are offering nothing of value from their minds. The same can be said for 99% of comments on Disqus.

  43. Tom Kaye

    Oh, yeah! Now I remember. Read. "Wealth and Poverty" by George Gilder. A brilliant book that correctly points out that the moral basis of capitalism is the Golden Rule, "That which you would have others do unto you, that do ye also to them."

    Where is that precept in capitalism?

    "Find a NEED and fill it." "The customer is always right."

    He also points out that FAITH is the attitude underlying all entrepreneurial activity! Faith! An entrepreneur must BELIEVE the actions he takes and the money he invests are going to give him an adequate return. Also, without FAITH in the people you are dealing with ,faith in the courts to enforce contracts and the police to defend the rights of all equally, there could be NO large scale economy at all!

    A Great, Great book!

  44. benj

    This is all quite simple. No one created this Earth. If we don't share the value derived from it as equals, we end up with an unjust economic system and all the symptoms of inequality and dysfunction stem from this alone. Wars for example.

    All taxes are "land taxes" insofar as they reduce rental incomes and selling prices. But by taxing Land indirectly by the incomes/capital and transactions of producers, it is both unfair and inefficient. All an LVT is, is the most direct, fair and efficient path to using land rent as the base to fund public services.

    By doing so, we then have a fair distribution of the factors of production, which aligns incentives and results in optimal efficiency.

    Only when we learn what it is right to share and what it is wrong to share, will we be able to get along together.

    It's all about aligning incentives. When we do than, then the World can live in peace, prosperity and sustainably.

    LVT is the key. LVT is our equal share of this Earth that belongs to all of us.

  45. Sin

    The profit motive and greed is too strong. That's why humans will burn every drop of oil and trash the atmosphere...profits rule over the environment. Profits and greed will forever rule over land too. Only govt. can effect these changes and [they] not the people...own the govt.

  46. DustUp

    If you want to see what lack of ownership does, visit a "public(govt) housing project". Although there are always a few exceptions to everything, for the vast majority they need to have skin in the game in order to take care of something. Or you get "it aint mine, why should I worry about it?"

    THE problem isn't land. People that love the city in Amsterdam? or another city in the Netherlands can buy a floating home. In the UK they can buy a condo over or under a bunch of others.

    THE problem IS the central bankers who are NOT govt trying to help, they are private BANKSTERS helping themselves to your wallet by manipulating interest rates, first up causing inflation, then down causing deflation. Thomas Jefferson describes the process well and stated they are more dangerous than standing armies. Also instructed NOT to let bankers control the issuance of the country's currency....... well, when you gather up the balls to change that, then you will have solved MOST of the problems we face in the West except those wonderful muslims who either want to kill you or convert you because they make the excuse they need to rule over the whole world in order to stop the great satan of filth when all they have to do is turn off the tv and stone their daughters to death for dating the wrong guy while it is fine if their sons rape non muslims.

    So now you should have figured out why "they" being the banksters have directed many of the world leaders into the plot of spreading muslims throughout the west as refugees. Keep them distracted upon societies that don't trust each other rather than upon the real criminals, the central banksters, which many are waking up to. Which world leader is not a puppet? The very few who refuse hordes of muslim refugees.

    For the unthinking bleeding hearts, a safe zone could be made in several places in the middle east much easier and much less costly in multiple ways (like your sisters and daughters getting beaten and raped) than importing these people who are actually telling you to destroy them before they destroy you. You just aren't listening because you have your head up your backside. Same for the banksters. Wake up, see to it incorruptible wise people are running for all offices, problems solved.

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