Are You Owed a Share of Your Nation's Geo-Surplus?
Martin Luther King on Employment and Income Floors
Who knows who did the deed or why MLK was assassinated but the timing suggests he'd gone too far, into the realm of sharing "rents" among everyone. We excerpt two 2013 articles about sharing surplus from (1) Slate, Jan 21, on MLK by M. Yglesias and (2) The Big Picture RT, Jan 11, on common wealth by T. Hartman.
by Matthew Yglesias and by Thom Hartman
Martin Luther King on Full Employment and Guaranteed Incomes
Martin Luther King, Jr. said: We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available. In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he wrote in Progress and Poverty:
The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power and enriches literature and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves driven to their tasks either by the task, by the taskmaster, or by animal necessity. It is the work of men who somehow find a form of work that brings a security for its own sake and a state of society where want is abolished.
There's a lot of insight here, but I also think it's an interesing example of how things change.
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Shouldn't We Each Get a Check for the Wealth of our Nation?
The stuff beneath us is worth trillions of dollars -- so why don't we see any of the wealth? Rather than billionaire CEOs paying us to use our commons, to pollute our air and water, dictate our military missions, exploit our markets, and to hijack our radio and TV airwaves, it's all been flipped on its head and we end up paying them. We give them subsidies, generous tax breaks, free usage, and no requirement that they have to share any of the wealth our commons have produced for them with the rest of us who actually own those commons. So in the end, they make billions off what should belong to all of us while we make squat. This makes no sense. And with pressing concerns about wealth inequality, economic insecurity, and environmental disasters, we need to move away from this corporate rentier-model, and embrace a new universal shareholder model.
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JJS: It’s a long list of sources of wealth that belong in the commons, and it gets longer when you include surface land, corporate charters, bankers’ privilege to issue new money, utility franchises, and other government-granted pieces of paper that fence off some common wealth for a few insiders. Were we to recover and share it all, then we’d each get at least $1k per month. Not bad for being a decent citizen living in a decent nation, eh?
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 .
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