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Georgian economics  RSS feed

 
Wyatt Smith
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Location: Midwest zone 6
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The game monopoly was created by Georgists to teach young people how an appreciating real estate market enriches somebody and bankrupts everybody else.  A strong local property tax may be the key to affordable land and housing, and more sensible development of transit infrastructure.  Price appreciation in real estate is due to community developments and therefore the community should have the benefit of it.


http://vimeo.com/6099122

http://vimeo.com/5666781
 
Mary Saunders
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I have looked into this notion, and it seems to me to be a way to take property from un- or under-employed people, in addition to the other ways presently happening. 

The people who espouse this seem to be comfortable with government's control of large built environments that lanquish in the winter with one official guard enjoying the heated space.  I have a problem with this. 

Warming centers seem to be ending up in churches, which is ok, but I don't understand why government cannot also share its (our?) space, especially when some in government make big deals about being public servants and helping people.

If governments let heated properties languish in the winter when people are out of work, why should these governments get more money to do more of that with?  The lonely guard with the badge has a good gig, but what about the people kept out, why should they be kept out of a building their former taxes may have helped to pay for? 

Using space for coffee and tea shops that operate to train people and that earn free-will donations is another thing churches do.  Government could do this also, but does not, to the best of my knowledge. 

I would like to get answers as to why government is so unwilling to share back with people and why it lets properties languish for years instead.

I have not received satisfactory answers to questions such as this from those who support taxes at a level where they are confiscatory. 

More homeless people so that more property can sit under-used?  I don't get it.
 
Wyatt Smith
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Location: Midwest zone 6
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Georgians argue the opposite.  Less space will be underutilized, and land prices and rents will be lower.  So unemployment and homelessness are partially helped just through the system of collecting taxes, even if the tax money were completely wasted these problems would be helped.

The government does not sit on foreclosures, it auctions them off fast.  It is banks and private landowners who let vacant buildings languish.  Landowners can do that because the taxes are very low.

The incentives with the Georgist scheme, is that people will want as much land as they can personally use and no more. 

As for the questions of how much money the government should collect and how to spend it, people could fall anywhere on the right left spectrum and still support the Georgist system.
 
Mary Saunders
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In Portland, Memorial Coliseum is under-used and is in the center of town on property of great value. 

The SW corner of the venue would have one of the greatest views in town for a canteen.  If it were leased to an entity which has a track record of being a destination that pulls customers, then that space would be used in a higher and better way than it is presently.

As it is, most of the time, a lonely guard seems to patrol it.  The people paid for it.  If a coffee/tea/soup shop were located there, people could come in out of the cold and help to heat the vast building with their bodies. 

I am still greatly frustrated that government does not make its space available to people who have already paid for it.  I do not see how confidence in high taxes is encouraged by inadequate accessibility of already paid for buildings. 

High taxes can also add to the current problem of persons unhoused. 

Without answering these issues, Georgian economics does not seem serious to me.

To me, the logical place to start would be getting better credibility for existing government on issues of efficiency and accessibility. 
 
Daniel Westman
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Location: Sweden
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JadeQueen I think you have misunderstood what Georgian economics is all about. Georgian economics "holds that everyone owns what they create, but that everything found in nature, most importantly land, belongs equally to all of humanity". Georgian economics isn´t about high taxes or confiscating land from unemployed people, it´s about replacing all of todays income taxes etc. with a single tax on land ownership(based on unimproved land value). If you extract raw material from the earth, gold ore for example, and sell it, everyone should benefit from it as those raw materials from a Georgian view belongs equally to everyone. But if you are the buyer of that gold ore and refine it into jewellry, you´ve created "something out of nothing" and then you and only you should reap the benefits.  And it´s not "the government" that benefit from the land tax, it´s for the benefit of all people. With Georgian economics you don´t get an economy where all the land is owned and benefited from by 2% of the people, you then get a system where those 2% rent the land from the other 98% of the people.

The more I think about the fact that you can actually own land today, the more wierd the thought seems. The idea of non-existent individual land ownership isn´t new. The Native Americans had a very different view of land ownership than the "white men", they didn´t understand what the european settlers meant when they offered to buy the land.

Native American view of land ownership:
"Land, a part of the universe, belonged to all, particularly the tribe. Individual land ownership did not exist, since all were entitled to the fruits of nature. Users' rights were protected and specified in various traditions, but there was no such things as land "ownership". Generally, individuals could clear as much land as needed for farming; this land would remain in a family's possession as long as they continued to use it. Once it was abandoned, anyone else could cultivate it."

Native Americans had a very advanced society that lived in harmony with nature for hundreds of years. I can´t say the same for our western society. Our chances of survival on our current path is slim, and our economic system is partly to blame. I´m not saying that Georgism is the solution for all of our problems, but it´s an interesting alternative to today´s unfair and enslaving tax on income.

As for the issue you´re mentioning that Memorial Coliseum is under-used, you can hardly blame Georgian economics for that problem. That´s a problem that has arisen under the current economic system.
 
Mary Saunders
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In practice, a group of persons (government) controls the land and the improvements that people in general were taxed for. 

The group who now controls the land prevents the use of it by the people in general. 

I see nothing in Georgian economics that addresses this issue, and this is a central issue from the point of view of people who want to see the land and improvements used to promote nature and the advancement of human skill and values, but who have no means of getting the government to pay attention, even.

In Portland, they send staff to conduct hearings in the evenings, when they know the public opposes their plans.  Do the flack-catchers report back?  Why?  Why would yes-people tell the bosses what the bosses already know and don't want to hear?

Are you aware of the level of debt in a city like Portland, for attempts to degrade our water, for example?

When government takes resources, control of the resources is enforced with the coercion that government has a monopoly on. 

What reason do people have to give resources to government control when government then bars access and jacks up rates and fees, except to people with special privileges? 

I see why people who want exclusivity might be ok with this.  I just do not see why people of ordinary means, struggling to pay living costs, should think this is a good deal for them.

Not everybody is ready to genuflect when the concept of government's taking things is invoked.  Some people would like to do a bit of due diligence first, to see what is being done with the resources the government already has.

This is where I find the proponents of Georgian economics, at least the ones I have personally met, lacking.

There are places in Pennsylvania that inspired the insertion of Nature as a person in the Constitution of Ecuador.  Georgian economics values Disneyland as having more value than the strawberries and orange groves that were there before. 

I agree that government gets more taxes from Disneyland.  I'm not sure the Earth values Disneyland more.
 
                                    
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
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JadeQueen wrote:
In practice, a group of persons (government) controls the land and the improvements that people in general were taxed for. 

The group who now controls the land prevents the use of it by the people in general. 

I see nothing in Georgian economics that addresses this issue, and this is a central issue from the point of view of people who want to see the land and improvements used to promote nature and the advancement of human skill and values, but who have no means of getting the government to pay attention, even.


im not sure this thread needs to exist, but JadeQueen DanielWeston is right that the Georgists intention was to answer "the social problem" (ie it was one of many variants of socialism) by way of land and runs counter to widely accepted lockean-provisio.  it'd be important to understand to Georgists government is not a group of persons.

Land reform was something of a panacea for Georgists.  Compare w/Tuckerites where land is one of the four monopolies along with money, patents & tariffs or Marxism whose system is quite elaborate and more well known.  Georgists believe that the single tax would prevent profit by landlords on unimproved land and thus allow land to be more distributed.  he explicitly opposed land ownership by governments though not land owned in common (note the distinction there).
 
Mary Saunders
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I agree this may be an unpragmatic thread for a permaculture site.

Nonetheless, the issue of good intentions and how to turn them into good outcomes is a worthy topic, for certain subcategories of geeks. 

If the vehicle that is supposed to get us from intentions to outcomes is in poor running order, it seems appropriate to tune it up and make its mechanics transparent, so that everybody knows how to fix it and how to prevent it from barreling on despite unacceptable collateral damage or despite neglect of functions that much of the population may think it is doing but where in fact it is abdicating.
 
                                    
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
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its hardly fair to blame georgists for the inequity in our economic system.  they ultimately had little impact.
 
Mary Saunders
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I'm not blaming Georgists in general for what exists.

I question the use of existing mechanisms to implement what Georgists have proposed in Portland.

The Portland government controls valuable property in a suspended animation that resembles speculation.  It's my understanding that Georgists do not approve of holding property for speculation.  To let government do that sets a poor model.  To use this asset better, even just to do so as a sort of pilot project of transparency and entrepreneurialism would establish a better base for a land tax measure at a later time.  

This property was not included in the figuring of land value or in the figuring of the dividend.  

Consequently the plan puts no pressure on government to use the property in a way to contribute.  The property has potential for use by local people, yet some of the city proposals have been for outside operators, even a big box from a company with headquarters far away.

In the meantime, local people need work, and we have examples of local businesses that draw locals.  Visitors to the nearby convention center might visit as well, especially when Roller Derby is in session.  The site is well served by public transit, an investment of community money already made.

To work, the Georgist proposal seems to be based on increasing values in private property.  I think this a risky assumption.

I agreewith Georgists that it is unfortunate to tax and punish people for upgrading or keeping up their property.  If the alternative is to punish them for being there at all, if new neighbors are wealthier, that seems worse.  

It also seems to be what we have presently.  

Given the expense of the government we currently have, the land taxes required to maintain it are confiscatory for ordinary people, especially if government property is held out of the equation.  

What's more, some property is going into a no-man's land where the titles are compromised.   It's not clear how to value land when a clear title cannot be issued.

Maybe Portlanders in general are wealthy enough to want homogenous neighborhoods of sufficient wealth to deal with the land taxes required to keep government at its current rate of expenditure.  The only way to know is to put out a proposal and to see what happens.  In a way, the proposed new school taxes may be a kind of test.

What worries me about the test is the possible tyranny of a majority.  Majorities can and have voted to take rights and property from minorities.  Harming minorities can have poor consequences for everyone.  If it were to prompt a greater exodus of presently tax-paying people, it could backfire and produce less taxes rather than more.

Maybe I am the only individual who would notice these issues.  If not, it might be helpful to see them posted here, early in a process.
 
                                    
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
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JadeQueen wrote:

To work, the Georgist proposal seems to be based on increasing values in private property.  I think this a risky assumption.


no it is based on the opposite.  developers & landlords are able to artificially keep land prices high and supply low - here i agree with the georgists.
 
Mary Saunders
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So if people are living in a modest home, and a governing authority decides Walmart would produce a better stream of income from the home than can be gotten from the inhabitants, the zoning can be changed so that people living there cannot afford the taxes.  The house can then be taken for back taxes, especially in an economy where it may be impossible to sell it otherwise.

I believe this is how things currently work. 

Is a Georgist system different from this, especially if under-used government property, centrally located, is kept out of the value equation and out of the inventory of already-built property that could be used for commerce? 

Doesn't it make it more likely that homes will be taken for or by government-connected entities? 

the answer I have gotten from Georgists previously is that there will be dividends to the government from the income stream of Walmart, and that money will be given back to the people as dividends, as money has been given back to Alaskans from oil income. 

It's this piece of the puzzle that triggers my double-positive, yeah, right, gene.  I am not seeing how this pencils.
 
Wyatt Smith
Posts: 111
Location: Midwest zone 6
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Land tenure is very important concept for permaculture, so I believe the thread is relevant.

I don´t know anything about local politics in Portland so I can´t comment on that.  Also I don´t really view property held by the government for its own purposes as relevant so far as the georgist system goes.

My primary interest in this system has to do with farmland being overpriced.  Non-farmers can hold the land with very little downside.  While farmers cannot afford to buy the land and pay the morgage through farming activities.  Higher land taxes would force out the absentee landlords, and allow newcomers to purchace land at reasonable prices.
 
Mary Saunders
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I strongly agree that powers that be manipulate to take farmland. 

They do it to take city property as well.

One way they do this is to pressure governments to require minimum earnings from farming.  It's a complicated topic, but I see this as relevant to a discussion of Georgism. 

I know of a woman who was threatened with having her land taken after she had put down a bigger down payment than most and was harvesting blackberries and other products. 

Somehow she was able to get Oregon Tilth to help her stay on her land, but it was not easy.  She allows some you-pick and other educational visits to her land, and that is how I came to hear her story.

It makes my stomach hurt to think of what she went through.

To be appetizing to the ordinary person, Georgian proposals would have to be very specific and to deal with the hurtful rules that presently exist, without making the effects of those rules worse.

It seems likely we will see small jurisdictions doing their own things, especially in states that are not draconian in enforcement because they can't afford to imprison more people than they already do. 

 
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