"The great puzzle of Effective Demand vanished from economic literature. You will not find it mentioned once in the whole of the works of Marshall, Edgeworth and Professor Pigou. It could only live on furtively below the surface in the underworlds of Karl Marx, Silvio Gesell, and Major Douglas" (Keynes, 1936, p. 32).
— quoted in Toward a Non-Autistic Economy — A Place at the Table for Society, William Krehm, COMER Publications, 2002
At the start of Unto This Last, as he had done in Modern Painters, Ruskin took on the people who were supposed to be experts — and in this case, the new economists who believed that scarcity was the basic existence of humanity. ‘No’, says Ruskin to Malthus, Ricardo and Mill:
the real science of political economy, which has yet to be distinguished from the bastard science, as medicine from witchcraft, and astronomy from astrology, is that which teaches nations to desire and labour for the things that lead to life: and which teaches them to scorn and destroy the things that lead to destruction.
My father’s generationgrew up with certain beliefs. One of those beliefs is that the amount of money one earns is a rough guide to one’s contribution to the w4fare and prosperity of society. It took watching his son being paid 225 grand at the age of twenty-seven, after two years on the job, to shake his faith in money.
Michael Lewis, LIAR’S POKER, describing his life on Wall Street during the 1980s’ boom
— from The Money Changers, ed. David Boyle, Earthscan, 2002
ARE WE BEING RIPPED OFF?
YES WE ARE.
Most of us just own the land that is under our home and some of us don’t own that. But the land that counts is that which has —
=oil and minerals under it good soil
=a rich population nearby and so a demand for what can be sold
Guess who owns all that? Big business and resource owners.
They fill their pockets at our expense because the price of land goes on rising and rising as the world’s population rises. Land cannot expand as our planet cannot expand.
We do not need to nationalise land as we can take their ‘unearned’ money away from its owners by Land Value Taxation.
Land Value Taxation is rather like rates/community charge. But it does not tax buildings or the number of people living in a building.
Land Value Taxation:
Ptakes the money away from the ‘haves’ and gives it to government who could give it to the ‘have nots’ through services or a citizen income. It is a big pot equal, at the latest estimate, to be 18% of our national income
Preduces speculation in land and so reduces our exploitation of our country and planet
Pproduces greater economic efficiency because the owners of land will no longer receive money for doing little (just owning land). A nice little earner if you inherited it or shares in one of the big businesses owing it
Ptakes the heat of house prices that rise well above the rate of inflation generally not because the houses themselves are improving but because the land under them keeps just rising and rising in price. (Houses like cars gradually wear out over time.)
Preduces the number of people being mortgage slaves who have to work and work in order to pay for their home when in reality they are mainly paying for the land underneath it
Preduces the boom and slump in the economy triggered by the siphoning of money into the land market
Preduces the cost of collecting taxes because land value taxation is simple to gather once there is a full register of land owners
Full scale land value taxation was advocated by the Russian Kerensky Government before the Communists took over. It was nearly put in place by the Labour Government in the 1930s.
It is partly in place in Denmark, various parts of Australia and New Zealand and numerous cities in the United States.
The Liberal Democrats and the British Green Party currently want to replace the existing Community Charge with it.
Economist advocates of Land Value Taxation have included Ricardo, Adam Smith and Henry George.
Past advocates have included Tolstoy, Bertrand Russell and Winston Churchill. Present advocates include Putin, the Russian President.
Conventional economics ignores land and often resources. It emphasises money, shares, machinery and labour.
Much has been written about Land Value Taxation.
For more information contact Henry George Foundation, 427, The London Fruit Exchange, Brushfield Street, London El 6EL. 020 7377 8885www.HenryGeorgeFoundation.org
or me, Eric Wall, at 24, Arboretum St. Derby 01332 366863