global warming vacation time productivity land value tax

Climate Change Slowed By Less Work But Less Income?
 mark drakeford ownership

Mark Drakeford AM -- Land Tax Fair ... & Enough?

Climate change might spur needed reform to how society gets and spends. We excerpt two 2012/13 articles from (1) U.S.News & World Report, Feb 4 ('13), on less work by J. Koebler, and (2) WalesOnline, Feb 3 ('12), on AM support by D. Williamson.

by Jason Koebler and by David Williamson

Want to reduce the effects of global warming? Stop working so hard.

A worldwide switch to a "more European" work schedule, which includes working fewer hours and more vacation time, could prevent as much as half of the expected global temperature rise by 2100.

Some of that reduction can be attributed to fewer operating hours in factories and other workplaces that consume high levels of energy.

A move toward the European system would result in a trade-off of up to one quarter of income gains in exchange for increased leisure time and vacation.

We can get a similar amount of work done as productivity and technology improves.

To read more

JJS: If people work less, then their employers or clients pay them less. How can they make up the missing income? Well, if one’s labor is not bringing in enough money, then look at the other two factors in production, capital and land, especially land.

Presently, most of the spending for land goes to owners, who are usually absentee individuals, and to mortgage lenders, who typically are one of the few remaining banks. But do they deserve this immense flow of spending, bigger than either the wages paid to labor or the profits paid to capital? Owners and lenders do not either create land, none of us do, nor alone create a location’s value -- all of us do.

So, shouldn’t all of us get a share of this common wealth? If so, first we as a society would have to recover it. One way to do that might be coming into play in Wales.

Welsh Labour Assembly Member Mark Drakeford has given his backing to a “land value tax”.

The Cardiff West AM’s championing of the tax comes as the Silk Commission investigates giving the Assembly new fiscal powers.

In an article for the Institute of Welsh Affairs, Mr Drakeford argues land should “should belong to the people” and this would be a progressive tax.

He writes: “In Wales -– the part of the United Kingdom with the longest tradition of radicalism –- we have no difficulty in understanding the notion that land is a resource we share in common, a true ‘common wealth’. As a result of being fixed and fundamental, it should belong to the people.

“Those who have the privilege of ownership should pay something back for that privilege, through a Land Value Tax. Once this is understood and agreed, the serious work of detailed investigation of its pros and cons and its practical implementation here in Wales can begin.”

Mr Drakeford argues that a land value tax has advantages over council tax, stating: “Of course, it would be an alternative to existing forms of taxation, not an addition to them. At its most radical, a land value tax would allow for the abolition of council tax, business rates, and stamp duty land tax.

“Instead it would introduce a levy on the annual rental value of every site in Wales including all residential, commercial, and farming land, as well as privately owned estates.

“A major virtue of the change would be that land value tax is a progressive tax. On the other hand, council tax is regressive because it imposes a lower burden on the rich than the poor –- and also a lower burden on rich places than poor places. The land value tax reverses that proposition.”

Mr Drakeford said the London Underground Jubilee Line extension from Green Park to Stratford is estimated to have raised property values by £10bn. “If only a small part of this windfall had been taxed, it would have paid for the extension very easily.”

To read more

JJS: May Wales lead others! But bear in mind, society need not recover the socially-generated value of land via a tax, as Singapore does. It could also lease public land, as Hong Kong does. Or it could institute land dues. Or its government could charge user fees. You might be able to think of other recovery mechanisms.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

Tax England's green and pleasant land

Enough quick fixes, Overhaul the tax system

Why Some Like Conservatives & Oppose Liberals

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