Sauerkraut, Watermelon, and Rent
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
Millions of people get heartburn, which sets the chest on fire, and to get relief, they ingest pills to block, neutralize, or prevent the acid. But the chemicals in these medications can prevent proper digestion and damage the body over the long run. Natural remedies can relieve symptoms without such damage. Papaya sometimes helps prevent heartburn, and sauerkraut is usually an even more effective remedy. I have personally found that if I have been a bad boy and eaten chili beans too late in the evening, a few forkfulls of sauerkraut effectively prevents heartburn.
Another common health problem is an irritated throat when one has a cold. If I take cough drops and vitamin C and drink hot tea and soup, and the monster in the throat remains unfazed. I have discovered that eating watermelon eliminates the irritation. Probably the roughage in the watermelon gently scrapes off the irritating substances, and the juice may help too. Whatever the reason, when I have a cold, watermelon is my prime medicine. Yet, I don't know of any books on treating colds that mention this remedy.
There is of course a literature on natural remedies to illnesses, but doctors almost always prescribe expensive pills and potions. The pharmaceutical companies make a great profit in the U.S. from their patented medications, which they heavily advertise and promote to the public and to doctors. But they are only exploiting a monopoly privilege granted by government.
The problem is not really the patents but the legal prohibition of competition by substitutes. For example, the government permits the use of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, but bans the use of stevia when labeled as a sweetener in products. This gives a privilege and subsidy to aspartame. Sellers of health supplements are not allowed to provide information on the label on the health benefits even when true and proven. Sellers of sauerkraut and watermelon are forbidden to tell customers that these may have health benefits.
Instead of buying a healthful watermelon, the typical coughing and sneezing sufferer buys pills. I'm not saying that one should never ingest pills, since each individual has a unique metabolism, and for some, particular commercial medications may indeed be the best treatment. I am not a doctor and am not dispensing medical advice. I am only saying that sauerkraut and watermelon work for me, and so they may well be effective for many others.
The problem is that government pushes and subsidizes expensive artificial medications which often have harmful long-term effects and also bad side effects for some people, while alternatives which may be less expensive and more effective, for many people, are banned, suppressed, and ignored. Isn't it that way with the economy also? The natural remedy for economic disease is the elimination of artificial economic poisons and the use of natural sources of public finance such as pollution charges and land rent.
Land rent is nature's source of public revenue, because land is not a product of labor. Space cannot be imported or manufactured. The rental value of space is a pure social surplus that can be tapped for public revenue with no harm to the economy, and indeed even benefits the economy.
Just as watermelon provides nutrition while preventing throat irritation, rent provides public revenue while preventing the economic irritation of market-hampering real estate speculation which later collapses, bringing down also the banks, enterprises, and the whole economy.
Just as sauerkraut naturally neutralizes excessive acid, preventing heartburn, so too does the public collection of land rent neutralize the excessive inequality of wealth, preventing poverty. When most of the rent is collected for public revenue (including distribution as a residents' dividend, or collected by private communities for their civic services), then this equalizes the benefits of the land. The natural benefits as well as value derived from governmental public works are shared by all rather than being concentrated in an economic elite.
Instead of using natural sources of public revenue, government poisons the economy with artificial toxins such as sales and income taxes. These taxes are poison! They destroy initiative, distort prices and profits, reduce investment, and create poverty, waste, and instability.
Taxes on production cause economic heartburn and economic irritation. Public revenue from land rent is soothing. Rent is like a body excretion that has to be collected if it is not to cause congestion and imbalance.
In a primal society, the rent excretions are not a problem, because the tribe shares the land and its benefits. But in our commercialized mass society, we cannot physically equally share land. The effective way to prevent rent from itself becoming a poison is to collect it for public services or a residents' dividend.
So next time you have heartburn or an irritated throat, try sauerkraut and watermelon. And if your community has an economic illness, try the natural remedy: replace toxic taxes with rent.
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2004 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
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