|Wealth and Want|
|... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.|
|Home||Essential Documents||Themes||All Documents||Authors||Glossary||Links||Contact Us|
To get rich, or more likely to stay rich, some of us can develop land, especially sprawling shopping centers, and extract resources, especially oil. While sprawl and oil depletion are not necessary, they are more profitable than a car-free functionally integrated city. Under the current rules of doing business, waste returns more than efficiency. We let a few privatize rent -- ground rent and resource rent -- although rent is a social surplus. As if rent were not profit enough, winners of rent have also won further state favors -- tax breaks, liability limits, subsidies, and a host of others designed to impel growth (20 major ones follow herein).
If we are to sustain our selves, our civilization, and our eco-system, we must make some hard choices about property. What we decide to do with rent, whether we let it reward our exploiting or our attaining eco-librium, matters. Imagine society waking up to the public nature of rent. Then it would collect and share its surplus that manifests as the market value of sites, resources, the spectrum, and government-granted privileges. Then we could forego taxing labor and capital. On such a level playing field, this freed market would favor efficiency -- the compact city -- not waste -- the mall and automobile. ...
Drawing their cue from the public,
governments tolerate "rentention", the private retention of
values. Lacking this Rent, states turn to taxes. But to grow the
economy, all governments -- left, right, or undecided -- hustle to
stimulate development; they cut taxes and slop subsidies. Going
beyond the call of duty, the state excuses producers' their routine
pollution and limit liability, thereby cutting the cost of insurance.
Companies that don't impose on nature, worker, or customer are not
benefited at all but lose a competitive advantage. On this tilted
playing field, one with the lumps of subsidies and the tilts of
taxes, technologies lean and clean have a hard time competing as
suppliers of materials, homes, food, rides, and energy.
Charles T. Root — Not a Single Tax! (1925)
to email this page to a friend: right click, choose "send"
Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper