Thursday, June 02, 2011

There's Not Enough Wealth

Forget about all of the other problems in the world today and ask yourself this question. Would those other problems be lessened or even eliminated if only everybody just had more wealth?

Just wealth would come from just human activity. Taking is not just so outright taking must be eliminated eventually for justice to prevail. Once the people feel they are creating wealth in a just system they will create lots more of it. Where can we get more of this "wealth?"

Wealth is everything humans either want or need to live in a modern civilized world. So the wealth police for the sake of argument should go away for awhile and we all can agree that what is valued as wealth is left to each individual to decide. Wealth is created when humans mix their labor with the land. We store our accumulated wealth on the land as well and exists there too. Land is an equal partner along with human labor in the resulting creation of wealth. A diamond is just a rock until humans mines it and bring it to market for sale. A potato isn't wealth until humans take it from the earth and bring it to market. Everything, at the end of the day, comes from human labor and the earth herself. Doesn't it become clear to everyone that the main reason we don't all have more wealth to keep and spend for our wants and needs is the few own most of the planet while the many rent a space from them?

The few also own the resources on that land too. What this ultimately means for practical purposes is to one degree or another the few own the people who make up the many. This is an unjust situation which sets up a conflict. Conflicts require the spending of wealth on all sides. Everyone, the rich few and the poorer many, must spend a portion of their wealth on conflicts like it or not. Wouldn't the world be a much more stable and prosperous place if conflicts were unnecessary?

Well of course it would but we still have one giant problem with the planet. At some point every portion of the planet has been stolen by the strong leaving the weak dead or as refugees. The result is the few own most of the land and resources and even the supply of script fiat money that the many are forced to use in transactions. How can we correct this unjust situation that is keeping the majority of humans off most of the planet that the few owns?

The communists tried the state confiscation method for the people of course and Cubans are paying for this folly till this day in Cuba. So we know this violent revolutionary method of redistribution of the land doesn't work. If we forget about all of the above truths about how much land each of us is entitled to and just think about this reality. Our needs for land will never be equal. What I mean is some have more land needs than others and they should control more land. If a human is putting all the land he or she controls into productive creation of wealth then that's great for everyone. On the other side if an individuals only wishes to create enough wealth to sustain their own personal family needs then they would require far less land - perhaps just a small home and yard. So the question is how do we get to a just redistribution of the earth that won't cause a violent upheaval?

The answer was given by Henry George back in the 1800's in his masterpiece "Progress and Poverty." We "Georgists" are also known as single taxers. Basically, we advocate transitioning away from all taxation on labor, which in reality belongs to the owner doing the labor. Society needs for roads, police and firemen with parks for the kids and schools would be funded from paying a land rent back to the community based on the location value of the land each of us control. More desired urban land would be higher rent than rural land with fewer services. Resources could be shared as in Alaska by paying the many a dividend for the amount of oil being extracted.

With the single tax plan we would all be sharing the planet more equally, not wasting the diminishing supply of wealth on fighting over the earth. Instead we would all me making more wealth leaving less time for or need for conflict. Wouldn't that be nice?

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