Thirty years ago, one salary, even a woman's
(on average 75% or so of a man's salary) was enough to support a family — not
luxuriously, but manageably. This
meant that a divorced woman could provide for her family, or a single mother
could provide provide for herself and a child. It also meant that while
children were young, a married couple could afford to have one parent at
home caring for the children full-time, if they chose.
Today, the picture is very different. It takes two salaries to support
a family, and the families of single parents are at a distinct disadvantage. Where
has all the money gone? Gone to landholders, every one. When
will we ever learn?
Take a look at Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi's book "The Two Income Trap ..." for
some of the specifics.
But had we as a society been wise enough -- that is, our parents', or grandparents',
or great-grandparents' generations -- to start collecting the annual value
of the land from its holders, we might not have found ourselves in that position. The
rise in incomes created by the entry of women into the workforce would not
have, like all other benefits under land monopoly capitalism, accrued to
the individual, corporate and other landholders, and while the value of choice land would have risen, its price would not. Only its rent
would be higher, and that rent would be collected for the commons, instead
of taxing our income and our transactions.
But there is another question worth thinking about. Why is it that so many
women are willing to "go it alone," rather than waiting until they
are married, to have children? Are they more sure that they want to have
children while they are young, and expect to be able to see them through
to adulthood, even if it means raising them alone? Is our current economy
not leading to a large number of our young men not being considered
marriageable by our young women?
What might we change in society to create jobs and prosperity for all?
Henry George: Thou Shalt Not Steal (1887
Natural religion and revealed religion
alike tell us that God is no respecter of persons; that He did not make this
planet for a few individuals; that He did not give it to one generation in
preference to other generations, but that He made it for the use during their
lives of all the people that His providence brings into the world. If this
be true, the child that is born tonight in the humblest tenement in the most
squalid quarter of New York, comes into life seized with as good a title
to the land of this city as any Astor or Rhinelander.
How do we know that the Almighty is against poverty? That it is
not in accordance with His decree that poverty exists? We know it because
we know this, that the Almighty has declared: "Thou shalt not steal." And
we know for a truth that the poverty that exists today in the midst of
abounding wealth is the result of a system that legalizes theft.
The women who by the thousands are bending over their needles or sewing
machines, thirteen, fourteen, sixteen hours a day; these widows straining
and striving to bring up the little ones deprived of their natural breadwinner;
the children that are growing up in squalor and wretchedness, underclothed,
underfed, undereducated, even in this city, without any place to play — growing
up under conditions in which only a miracle can keep them pure — under
conditions which condemn them in advance to the penitentiary or the brothel — they
suffer, they die, because we permit them to be robbed, robbed of their birthright,
robbed by a system which disinherits the vast majority of the children that
come into the world.
There is enough and to spare for them. Had they the equal rights in
the estate which their Creator has given them, there would be no young girls
forced to unwomanly toil to eke out a mere existence; no widows finding it
such a bitter, bitter struggle to put bread into the mouths of their little
children; no such misery and squalor as we may see here in the greatest of
American cities; misery and squalor that are deepest in the largest and richest
centers of our civilization today.
These things are the results of legalized theft, the fruit of a denial
of that commandment that says: "Thou shalt not steal." How is this great
commandment interpreted today, even by men who preach the Gospel? "Thou shalt
not steal." Well, according to some of them, it means: "Thou shalt not get
into the penitentiary." Not much more than that with some. You may steal,
provided you steal enough, and you do not get caught. Do not steal a few
dollars — that may be dangerous, but if you steal millions and get
away with it, you become one of our first citizens. ... read the whole article
Karl Williams: Two Cow Economics
NEOCLASSICAL LAND-MONOPOLY CAPITALIST
You have two cows and several hectares of land.
Your neighbour is a single mother, has no cows, no land and works a part-time
You tell her that if she works longer and harder she could buy one of your
cows and become an enterprising capitalist. So she takes on full-time work
so that, after 3 months, she has saved enough money to buy one of your cows.
But what use is a cow (or anything, for that matter) without a plot of your
land, which is now worth $20,000?
So your neighbour takes on a night shift in addition to her day job, leaving
for work after the kids are in bed and arriving home just in time to get them
dressed for school.
After a year she has saved enough money to buy that land.
Expressing great regret you explain that, in the meantime, the taxes on
her income have paid for the infrastructure that have boosted the value of
land, so that the current market price for that plot is now worth $30,000.
Back to the grindstone, baby!
Another year of sweat and toil follows, after which she returns with the
money. But, with hand on heart, you break the news that economic circumstances
recently driven most single and married mothers to bring in an extra income
in order to save for the ever-escalating price of land. As no-one’s
making any more land, the greater number of bidders has pushed up the price
of the fixed amount of land (this is called a “healthy, buoyant property
market”). It’s now worth $40,000 but it would be a lot easier
if she just got a bank loan, you tell her. However, all those eager bidders
for land have also bid up the rate of interest they’re prepared to
suffer, so that interest rates are now prohibitive. Your neighbour collapses
in tears at your feet, but what can you do? – you didn’t invent
the system! Just as our poor mum relents and considers taking out a mortgage,
she finally gets some good news – in a surprise move, the Reserve Bank
has decided to make it easier on prospective home-owners by reducing interest
rates. However, this has had the effect of making the owning of property
more attractive, so – immediately the interest rate decision is announced – landowners
raise the selling price of land. The “fair market price” of
that plot is now $50,000.
However, under political pressure because of the unaffordability of property,
the federal government announce that it will institute a First Home Owners’ grant
of $7,000. Suddenly that plot is selling for $57,000.
You have two cows and several acres of land.
Your neighbour is a single mother, has no cows, no land and works a minimum
You’ve had an amazing vision wherein you see the geoist paradigm
in all its glory and realise that all other reforms are just band-aids, so
become an activist with ProsperAustralia. You share your insight with your
neighbour and so everyone pulls together to successfully reform our insane
tax laws and system of land tenure. As a result:
(1) your neighbour can keep all of her hard-earned income, and
(2) those who have enclosed substantial amounts of the Common Wealth for their
own private domain now pay fair land value taxation (LVT) to society.
Your LVT bill arrives and you realise you have been holding more land than
you really need, so auction off the title to your land and the improvements
on it. Because of genuine tax relief, your neighbour can now afford to buy
And so - with LVT and trust and angel dust - they all live happily ever after. ...
read the whole article
Jeff Smith: What the Left Must Do: Share
What would you do if you could work two days and take five off? Write?
Play soccer? Tend to the community garden? Time off is an option made increasingly
viable by our relentlessly rising rate of productivity. French Marxist and
media critic Jean Baudrillard, while still advancing the interests of labor,
implores the Left to move on from seeing humans as workers to seeing workers
as human beings, with more needs than merely the material. Enabling
people to live their lives more fully is an issue made to order for
rescuing the Left from the doldrums that descended when “history ended”.
What would single mothers do with enough income to stay home? What
would minorities do with the wherewithal to begin their own businesses? What
would communities do if they did not leak resources up to an upper class
and out to a distant lender or tax collector? What would the elite do without
our commonwealth? The means to these ends is an extra income apart from labor
or capital (savings), that is, a “social salary” from society’s
surplus, a “Citizens Dividend” from all the rents, natural and
governmental, that people pay for land and to the privileged, redirected
to everyone equally. Merely demanding a fair sharing of the bounty
from nature and modern society would raise people’s self-esteem, a
key component for political involvement. Actually receiving an income supplement
would transform our lives and restructure society.
Unless humanity needs militarism, corporate welfare, and debt service,
it’s fair to say most public revenue gets wasted. Demanding a dividend – similar
to Alaska paying residents a share from oil royalties – forces a new
dialog on spending priorities. Beyond arguing “bread not bombs,” a
dividend replaces expenditures by politicians (necessarily influenced by donors)
with spending by citizens, the people who generate the surplus in the first
place. With a dividend, citizens get to see themselves as direct beneficiaries
from reigning in the wild spending spree on imperial aggression, disloyal multinationals,
and on “borrowing” money that never existed until “lent” by
the Federal Reserve. ...
Demanding jobs rather than a fair share
of society’s surplus implies that there is no commonwealth or that expropriating
it by a few is OK. Neither is true. Rents are real, and they are ours.
There is a free lunch (just ask the privileged), as those downing it do get
money for nothing. And since society, not lone owners, generates these values,
that flow of funds belongs to everyone. Read the whole article