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This 2013 excerpt of Business Insider, Dec 23, is by Christina Sterbenz.
As the years pass, secrets surface. Government documents become declassified. We now have evidence of certain elaborate government conspiracies right here in the U.S. of A.
Parts of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which led to U.S. intervention in Vietnam, never happened. Talk of Tonkin’s status as a “false flag” for U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War has permeated public discourse almost since the time of the attacks, especially after the government admitted that the second incident may have involved false radar images. But after resisting comment for decades, the National Security Agency finally declassified documents in 2005, admitting the incident on Aug. 4 never happened at all.
In January 1973, then CIA Director Richard Helms ordered the destruction of all documents pertaining to MKUltra, the government use of hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, torture, and most memorably, LSD, on unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens, one of whom committed suicide. To conduct these experiments, the CIA paid prisons, hospitals, and other institutions to keep quiet; over 30 universities became involved in various studies. When Congress looked into the matter, no one, not even Helms, could “remember” details. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, more documents were located, but the full timeline remains incomplete. The events inspired investigative journalist Jon Ronson’s best-selling book, “The Men Who Stare At Goats,” now a movie of the same title starring George Clooney.
Investigating Iran Contra, Congress subpoenaed government documents as early as 1981 and forced declassification of others. It turns out senior officials in the Reagan administration sold arms to Iran, then under embargo. The government, with the National Security Council’s Oliver North acting as a key player, later used the profits to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. The hearings never labeled the sale of weapons to Iran a criminal offense, but some officials faced charges for supporting the Contras. The administration, however, refused to declassify certain documents, forcing Congress to drop them.
In 1990, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl identified only as “Nayirah” testified before Congress that she witnessed Iraqi soldiers pulling infants from their incubators at a hospital and tossing them to the ground to die. PR giant Hill & Knowlton arranged her testimony for a client, Kuwaiti-sponsored Citizens for a Free Kuwait, and furthermore that Nayirah was the daughter of Kuwait’s Ambassador to the U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos coordinated the whole thing. Nayirah’s testimony helped build support for the Persian Gulf War, though Congress would have likely pursued involvement without her words.
Ed. Notes: So people in power do conspire to do things they hope you never find out about. Some theories about their conspiracies do turn out to be true; conspiracy theories can not be dismissed out of hand.
Since it’s hard to know which ones will turn out to be true, which to be false, perhaps the wisest course is to suspend judgment of the claims of both the theorists, and of the government, especially when the government claims push buttons designed to sway people and win their acceptance of a controversial policy.
And keep reading sites like this to learn the facts that, for whatever reason, don’t see the light of day in the mainstream media, announcers who just parrot the official line.
This 2013 excerpt of OpEd News, Oct 8, is by William John Cox, author of the Policy Manual of the Los Angeles Police Department and of the Role of the Police in America for a National Advisory Commission during the Nixon administration.
Unstable and undemocratic countries are usually controlled by individuals and cabals against whom military force ends up harming their own domestic victims more than the entrenched leadership, and new regimes offer little improvement.
Destroying the infrastructure of a nation to turn its people against their “leadership” fails, as in Iraq, resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent children. Targeting “insurgents” using drones and violent nighttime home invasions fails, as in Afghanistan, resulting in “collateral” deaths and injuries to bystanders. Imposition of economic sanctions fails, as in Iran, resulting in the destruction of the middle class and small businesses that are essential to a free society. Support of “rebels” against their government fails, as in Libya, when the new government is controlled by hostile and undemocratic forces. Continued use of aggressive war by the United States to bring about regime change will fail, as in Syria, for all of these reasons.
The use of war as an instrument of foreign policy fails in all of these situations because it does not produce the desired change; it injures the innocent victims of their unrepresentative governments and results in their hatred of the aggressors, rather than their oppressors.
In addition, the use of war by the United States also harms its own people through the wasteful diversion of scarce tax resources to the military-industrial complex, the compiling of massive and unsustainable public debt, and a reduction of personal freedoms by the intelligence-security complex.
Moreover, the use of aggressive, yet undeclared war by the United States has resulted in an undemocratic shift of power from the legislative branch to the executive branch of government. For the past 50 years, it has been the president, rather than Congress, who has repeatedly unleashed the greatest military force in history against far weaker nations and their people, who do not have the means or ability to fight back, except through acts of terror.
The aggressive use of war in most of these situations has been illegal. The United States signed the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy (Kellogg-Briand Pact) in 1928. Along with other nations, the U.S. promised to not use war to resolve “disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be.” That treaty is still binding on the United States.
Moreover, the U.S. ratification of the United Nations Charter in 1945 incorporated its provisions into the “supreme law of the land.” Article 2 of the Charter provides, “All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered [and shall] refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”
In addition to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria, the United States is also currently conducting aggressive wars in Somalia and Yemen. Not only are these wars undeclared by Congress, their extent is largely concealed from the American people. Moreover, in “fighting” these wars, the president, as Commander in Chief, claims the right to kill and detain “unlawful combatants,” including American citizens, anywhere in the world without trial.
Yet the American people no longer want to militarily intervene in other countries as a matter of foreign policy. A recent CBS/NYT poll found that 72 percent of Americans are opposed to removing dictators where it can, and a CNN poll found more than six in ten Americans desiring a more “non-interventionist” foreign policy.
There is violence and repression in the world, some of which threatens the security interests of the United States, and it would be naive to deny it; however, it is equally foolish to believe that undeclared aggressive war against nation states and their people can resolve each and every one of these threats. There has to be a better solution, one that is both legal and effective.
Assuming that the Obama administration can make the case that Bashar al-Assad and his regime poses a risk of danger to the people of the United States, shouldn’t the president present the evidence to Congress? Rather than an authorization to launch “limited military strikes” on Syria, which is tantamount to a declaration of war, the president could request a resolution along these lines:
“The Congress of the United States declares that Bashar al-Assad and his administration of the government of Syria pose a danger to the United States and directs the President of the United States to file an action against the government of Syria in the International Court of Justice and to take all necessary and reasonable steps to compel the personal attendance of Assad at The Hague to defend his government.”
The resolution is directed against Assad, personally, as the dictator of Syria, instead of the people of Syria. It is narrowly designed to compel him to leave the country to attend the trial, thereby forcing him to hand over the reins of his government to other, hopefully more moderate, factions. As a practical matter, once Assad leaves Syria, the chances of his ever returning are very slim.
In many respects, the congressional resolution would act like an arrest warrant in a domestic criminal action. There, a judge finds probable cause for the arrest and directs the police to take the suspect into custody and deliver the defendant for trial. In doing so, the police are authorized to use all necessary and reasonable force to take custody of the accused.
While a congressional resolution directing the U.S. president to secure the presence (consent) of the Syrian president at the International Court would be coercive, it would be far less violent than the unleashing of bombs and cruise missiles on the Syrian people.
The “arrest” of Assad has a valuable double meaning. One is the actual taking into custody or securing his appearance at The Hague; the other is that he is arrested or stopped from performing the dangerous acts he is accused of.
While the use of reasonable force personally directed against Assad to “arrest” him might result in his death, the use of force would not have political assassination as its purpose. To the contrary and much like hostage negotiations by professional police officers, every attempt should be made to negotiate his voluntary surrender. Reasonable rewards and incentives might also be offered for his delivery by members of his own government or military.
In matters such as Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the harm done to the people and societies they governed would have been far less violent under a congressional arrest warrant than the actual war launched upon them by the United States, ostensibly for the same purpose.
Given the fact that societies in nations such as Iraq, Libya, or Syria are tribal in nature, the death and injuries suffered by the individual innocent victims of the violent and aggressive wars launched by the United States results in hatred and condemnation from generations to come. To the contrary, however, limited and effective action directed against their native oppressors would rebound with the respect and appreciation of the people, both now and in the future.
President Obama wants to bomb Syria to send a message that the use of chemical weapons against rebel forces is unacceptable. To the contrary, he should send a message to the world that the United States has the wisdom and power to achieve its foreign policy goals in a manner that is consistent with its constitution, legal obligations, and the will of its people.
Ed. Notes: Citizens have little control over government officials. Government officials get to spend public dollars almost any way they want, whether pouring the funds into the war machine or into Wall Street banks or whatever. Such power enjoyed by politicians makes it easy to ignore laws, treaties, constitutions, and even common sense.
If we want governments to be law-abiding and rational, we need to make governing less profitable, indeed, non-profitable. To shift the discretionary power of spending from politicians to people, we could replace social programs with a Citizen’s Dividend and require all military action to be funded by the income tax or Citizen’s Dues and use that tax or dues only for war. Tie war directly to taxation; when citizens get tired of one they’ll reduce the other.
Even deeper, reduce the economic reason for waging war. Many wars are turf battles but the issue of territory could be settled fairly and efficiently. What society must do is accept the notion that the worth of Earth belongs to everybody, not just the 1%. We should all pay in Land Dues proportional to the value of the part of Earth we claim, and get back rent dividends equal to the amounts everyone else gets back, de-motivating the turf reason for waging war, by nations big and small. Then the poor suffering people around the world will suffer less at the hands of the US military/industrial complex.
This 2013 of Popular Resistance, Dec 20, is by Kerry Drake.
End Homelessness: It is cheaper to give people an apartment than hospital visits, arrests and incarceration.
Give them an apartment first, ask questions later.
Utah has reduced its rate of chronic homelessness by 78 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015.
How’d they do it? The state is giving away apartments, no strings attached.
In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000. Each participant works with a caseworker to become self-sufficient, but if they fail, they still get to keep their apartment.
Other states are eager to emulate Utah’s results. Wyoming has seen its homeless population more than double in the past three years, and it only provides shelter for 26 percent of them, the lowest rate in the country. City officials in Casper, Wyoming, now plan to launch a pilot program using the methods of Utah’s Housing First program. There’s no telling how far the idea might go.
This 2013 excerpt of National Geographic, Oct 8, is by Virginia Hughes.
By comparing the relative lengths of certain fingers in eight cave sites in France and Spain, archaeologist Dean Snow determined that three-quarters of the handprints were female.
Because many early cave paintings showcase game animals —- bison, reindeer, horses, woolly mammoths —- many researchers have proposed that they were made by male hunters, perhaps to chronicle their kills or as some kind of “hunting magic” to improve success of an upcoming hunt.
“In most hunter-gatherer societies, it’s men that do the killing. But it’s often the women who haul the meat back to camp, and women are as concerned with the productivity of the hunt as the men are,” Snow said.
The hands in the caves were much more sexually dimorphic than modern hands, meaning that there was little overlap in the various hand measurements.
Several years ago, evolutionary biologist R. Dale Guthrie performed a similar analysis of Paleolithic handprints. His work—based mostly on differences in the width of the palm and the thumb. He found that the vast majority of handprints came from adolescent boys.
For adults, caves would have been dangerous and uninteresting, but young boys would have explored them for adventure, said Guthrie. “They drew what was on their mind, which is mainly two things: naked women and large, frightening mammals.”
Was most of the art made by shamans who went into trances to try to connect with the spirit world? “If you go into one of these caves alone, you start to suffer from sensory deprivation very, very quickly, in 5 to 10 minutes,” archaeologist Dave Whitley said. “It can spin you into an altered state of consciousness.” In some hunter-gatherer societies shamans are female or even transgendered.
Left answered: Why would women be the primary artists? Were they creating only the handprints, or the rest of the art as well? Would the hand analysis hold up if the artists weren’t human, but Neanderthal? Why did these ancient artists, whoever they were, leave handprints at all?
“A pretty good hypothesis is that this is somebody saying, ‘This is mine, I did this,’” Snow said.
Ed. Notes: You think prehistoric artists needed subsidies or patrons? Or was art a normal and integrated part of life that everyone practiced, like today we might all send an email? And whose caves were they? Did artists need permission or pay rent? Or were caves the commons? Maybe the handprints belonged to the landlady! Or were left by taggers! Hopefully not. And hopefully art will make a comeback and moderns will regain a love for esthetics. For that, tho’, we need leisure, security, equality, and freedom. All are things that economic justice can deliver, specifically by following geonomics.
These three 2013 excerpts on unaffordable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area are from: (1) Think Progress, Dec 18 on frost death by Scott Keyes; (2) Pando, Dec 20, on attacking a Google bus by Carmel Deamicis; and (3) Boing Boing, Dec 21, on a dormitory by Cory Doctorow.
In The Wealthiest Area Of The Country, 7 Homeless People Have Frozen To Death This Winter
A homeless man was beaten up and robbed by multiple men, who took the new winter coat White’s sister had given him. He was wearing just a hoodie and shorts. He was the seventh homeless person in the San Francisco Bay Area to die in the cold since November 28.
Approximately 700 homeless people die from hypothermia every year. Those deaths tend to occur in the East Coast and Midwest, not California. But temperatures in the Bay have repeatedly dipped below freezing in the past few weeks, an uncommon occurrence in a region generally known for its lack of inclement weather.
The Bay Area has one of the highest homeless populations. The San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose metropolitan area is the wealthiest in the country, even outpacing New York-Connecticut and Washington DC-Maryland-Northern Virginia. This influx of money has brought higher housing prices and more evictions in the past few years.
Bay Area housing protestors in West Oakland attacked a Google bus taking employees to their Mountain View headquarters, smashing the bus’s rear window while Google employees were inside. For the SF protest, roughly 100 people showed up and blocked an Apple bus for 30 minutes, organized by Eviction Free SF, Our Mission No Eviction, and Just Cause.
“Rents are going through the roof in both cities, we’re seeing massive levels of eviction,” an organizer said. Another said “it’s important to link gentrification in the East Bay to gentrification in SF.”
As the tech industry grows in size, wealth, and power, it attracts more people to the SF Bay Area and decreases the amount of available housing. Some San Francisco and East Bay residents are getting pushed out of the cities they live in because they can no longer afford rent. Some landlords sell their property for high rates.
Many employees who work for Google, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other tech companies based on the Peninsula live in San Francisco or the East Bay. They take shuttles run by the corporations from these locations down to work in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Mountain View.
Protestors have blockaded tech company buses on previous instances, most notably a few weeks ago when a video went viral online. The clip showed a supposed Google employee shouting back at protestors, “You can’t afford it? You can leave.” The man turned out to be a union organizer.
The smashing of the Google bus window today marks the first time the anti-eviction movement has used physically aggressive tactics, although in May between 30 and 40 protesters in San Francisco’s Mission district attacked a piñata in the form of a Google bus.
Live in a San Francisco Ikea Bunk-bed in a Mass Hacker Dormitory for a mere $1k/mo
A Craigslist ad for a “hub for entrepreneurs” who come from all part around the world offers a barracks of dozens of bunk-beds ranked in rows for a mere $999/month. But for productive collaboration you also get access to plenty of whiteboards and brainstorm areas as you seek to launch your tech business. Space is shared by entrepreneurs of all sexes.
The building hosts events, meetups, and parties for the tech community. “Our goal is to facilitate the idea exchange and support an entrepreneur so that you don’t have to worry about housing and a place to work from. No need to hop from coffee shop to coffee shop – create meaningful relationships, work with people who will help you in the long run. We host events and workshop to which you’re welcome to attend as well.”
When I moved to San Francisco in the late nineties, I lived in half an illegal sublet for about $2K/month, and that was a deal by the standards of the day. But I had it better than the guy paying $800/month for the Sears shed in the back-yard — I got a toilet!
Ed. Notes: Bunk beds are bad but it’s even worse in Tokyo where traveling salesmen sleep in drawers. While there may be over population in some metro areas and too little shelter, there is also wasted land — vacant lots and under-used lots — and abandoned or near-empty buildings.
Why do owners do that? Many are speculating, waiting to get an even higher offer. But there is a way to prod them to put their land to best use. It’s a method Pittsburgh used when it had the most affordable housing of any major US city (and the by-far lowest crime rate) and even closed its homeless shelter not from lack of funds but from lack of guests, housing was so affordable.
What Pittsburgh did and any city, state, or nation could do is shift their property tax off buildings, onto land. To afford it, owners get busy developing. That increases the housing stock and decreases the housing costs.
That was in the old Steel City, in the Rust Belt, but in the Sun Belt this property tax shift could work even better, precisely because location values are higher. The local government would recover those socially-generated values and distribute the lion’s share to residents. As site values climbed, one’s share of this pie would grow. People could always afford to live where they love, and love where they live.
Shuttle vandalism is mindless. Shelters are helpful but still dealing with symptom, not system. Better than vandalize buses is to geonomize localities.
This 2013 excerpt of BBC, Oct 7, is by Roger Harrabin.
The world’s governments agreed — after long negotiations in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) — that all airlines should join a global scheme to cut carbon emissions. But details will not be negotiated until 2016. It ends for the first time the notion of exceptionalism that has been cultivated by the airline industry.
The aviation sector will attempt to negotiate by 2016 a market-based mechanism (taxes, tradeable permits or carbon offsets) to tackle emissions from flying.
The EU’s own aviation emissions tax is on hold pending a global deal
There is still pressure on the EU to delay imposing its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) on aviation.
This agonised process for just one sector indicates just how hard it will be to get a global deal on greenhouse gas emissions.
Ed. Notes: Politics does not reveal humans at their best but at least it appears progress is being made, that the principle of pay for what you take is being followed. Next, perhaps, the principle of don’t pay for what you make — no tax on earnings and ownings — will be followed.
Then, finally, humanity may follow the principle of reap as you sow, including society as a whole reaping what it sows, which is the annual rental value of land and resources, since it is the presence of community which generates the rent or price for a location.
This geonomic policy would help airlines minimize their emissions. De-taxing our efforts while sharing out recovered rents to everyone, even to presently unheralded basement inventors, both speed up techno-progress, including development of alternative fuels and alternative engines — economic justice can be that powerful.
This 2013 excerpt of Business Spectator, Dec 9, is by Steve Keen, University of Western Sydney and author of Debunking Economics and the blog Debtwatch.
Eight years ago, in December 2005, I began warning of an impending economic crisis that would commence when the rate of growth of private debt started to fall. Journalists throughout the world picked it up and publicised my views – as well as similar arguments from Nouriel Roubini, Dean Baker, Ann Pettifor, Michael Hudson, Wynne Godley, and a few others. But our arguments were ignored by the economics profession. Numerical evidence of what caused the crisis was and still is ignored by mainstream economists, while less numerate journalists latched onto it.
When an issue is politically neutral, a higher level of numeracy does correlate with a higher capacity to interpret numerical data correctly. But when an issue is politically charged – or the numerical data challenges a numerate person’s sense of self – numeracy actually works against understanding the issue. The reason appears to be that numerate people employed their numeracy skills to evade the evidence, rather than to consider it.
So much for democracy: both evidence and intelligence make precious little difference to how people will vote on contentious issues. The need to preserve a sense of identity matters more than the evidence – and this can’t be treated as “irrational” behavior either, because it’s quite rational to want to retain membership of a group that is immediately important to you.
Max Planck – the father of quantum mechanics – found it near impossible to convince his fellow physicists to accept his new – and empirically far more accurate – characterisation of the nature of energy. He ultimately concluded that: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
In social conflict over empirical issues, each side tends to deride the other as lacking the ability to interpret the data – thus thinking they are more numerate than their opponents.
Ed. Notes: While Keen is better than the economists winning so-called “Nobel” prizes (no such thing in economics; the money actually comes from banks), he’s still not as penetrating and scientific as the topic requires. For instance, it’s not just private debt in general that triggers recessions but private mortgage debt or, more precisely, our spending for land (under houses). When that gets out of hand, it sucks up our spending that no longer can go to purchasing the goods and services produced by our neighbors, so they cut back, a vicious spiral ensues, and recession is under way. Not grasping the deeper phenomena at work, economists (even the nice ones) can’t see the deep policy shift that’s needed to correct economies — which would be geonomics.
These two 2013 excerpts on rent-seeking are from (1) the Seattle Times, Oct 7, by Jon Talton and (2) Telefriden, Dec 17, by Rob Frieden at Penn State U and author of Winning the Silicon Sweepstakes: Can the United States Compete in Global Telecommunications.
The McCutcheon Case is Bad for the Economy, too
The next big campaign finance case, McCutcheon vs FEC, is at least as bad as 2010′s Citizen’s United, which struck down more than a century of restraints on corporate and union money in elections and affirmed “corporate personhood.” With McCutcheon, the plaintiff is asking that limits on individual contributions to candidates be struck down. Even under current law, an individual could spread up to $3.5 million among candidates.
Both Citizens United and McCutcheon carry economic consequences. They ensure that America will be less fair and capitalism will be less competitive.
Today’s inequality was purchased by the already unprecedented money in politics. The increasing phenomenon of “rent seeking,” where giant corporations use their power to extract government subsidies and laws that allow for massive executive compensation, is a near free ride while profiting from environmental destruction, taxpayer backing of a risky financial sector, and thwarting competition.
Rent-seeking, which happens in myriad ways and on a vast scale, is the redistribution of income from one part of society to another. Thus vast sums are gambled in world capital markets rather than be used to expand existing companies, seed new ones, and create jobs. It mostly comes at the expense of wage earners and lower-income Americans. Think of the big banks and the recession: They are more profitable (and bigger) today than ever, while the median household makes less than it did in 1989.
Joseph Stiglitz: “Rent seeking makes nothing grow. Efforts are directed toward getting a larger share of the pie rather than increasing the size of the pie. But it’s worse than that: rent seeking distorts resource allocations and makes the economy weaker. It is a centripetal force: the rewards of rent seeking become so outsize that more and more energy is directed toward it, at the expense of everything else.”
Big money in politics has also helped create highly concentrated industries in numerous sectors, from finance to media. For them, it is a profitable loop: Money buys lax antitrust enforcement which allows for greater size which infuses ever larger amounts of money into passing legislation favorable to these quasi-monopolies, cartels, and oligopolies. The price of entry for new competitors is prohibitive. Business formation suffers. And it’s much easier to hold down job creation and keep people desperate just to hang onto their stagnant-wage jobs if they have them.
Inequality and a fixed market will only grow worse if McCutcheon becomes the latest piece of judicial activism from the Roberts court.
Stakeholders keen on working less hard and earning greater returns will resort to any political, legal and economic ideology and philosophy to support the desired outcome.
It is quite fine when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted incumbent wireline telephone free spectrum for mobile services, but now denying these carriers the opportunity to bid for any and all spectrum is an abomination.
Let’s not underestimate the power of sponsored research where esteemed scholars grab lots of dollars for embracing a specific ideology and explaining how it serves the public interest. In a matter of days the very same economist might rail against the Herfindahl Hirschman Index (“HHI”) of market concentration as flawed and not predictive of anything. But when presented with an assignment and a generous retainer to show how robustly competitive a market is, that economist might quickly invoke the HHI to “prove” how competition can exist in a concentrated marketplace.
Ed. Notes: It’s encouraging that this sort of corruption gets covered by professors and in the biggest paper in the Pacific Coast Northwest. However, as usual, it’s almost all problem and no solution. The solution is not just to say “no” to rent-seeking but something far more fundamental. It’s as Abraham Lincoln said: “Nothing’s fixed until it’s fixed right.”
This sort of rent-seeking above won’t end until the classic sort of rent-winning — that is, absentee owners and lenders getting paid to permit others to use land — gets corrected. The correction to that basic injustice is to not pay them for a site or a resource but to pay your community. Nobody made land, everybody needs land, and all of us — the presence of community — is what gives locations their value.
We need to pay Land Dues into the public treasury and get Rent Shares back. But we don’t need to pay taxes on earnings, purchases, and buildings while getting bureaucratized “services”. Letting politicians decide how to spend public money only opens the Pandora’s Box of rent-seeking. Better to follow the basic principle of sharing Earth’s worth while de-legitimizing capricious taxation and subsidization — the geonomic reform.
This 2013 excerpt of the Huffington Post, Dec 17, is by Shahien Nasiripour and Michael McAuliff.
The nation’s biggest banks have quietly dodged a measure expressing Congress’s desire to eliminate the unfair advantages they may enjoy because they’re perceived as “too big to fail.”
The “sense of the Senate” measure did little more than convey lawmakers’ view that the federal government should somehow stamp out subsidies or taxpayer-conferred benefits. Aimed at institutions with more than $500 billion in assets, it was sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), and passed the Senate in March by a 99-0 vote in a show of lawmakers’ reluctance to be tagged as big-bank sympathizers.
Though largely symbolic in nature, proponents of the measure used the vote to rally support for congressional and regulatory efforts to break up the biggest banks on the grounds that the subsidies amount to an unfair earnings advantage not available to smaller banks. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, American International Group, and General Electric Capital are the eight U.S. financial institutions with sufficient assets to fall under the measure.
Despite the unanimous vote in the Senate, congressional negotiators declined to include the control- Wall St. bill in the bipartisan budget deal. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio): “Our amendment was approved 99-0 in the light of day, and then removed in the dark.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, referring to the Senate, that banks “frankly own the place.”
Ed. Notes: Where do Wall Street banks get their money? Mostly from mortgages. What do these debts extract? Payments for land is the biggest part. So if we kept our payments for land (and resources) circulating locally, then such spending for nature could not engross Wall Street banks to the point where they appear too big to fail. We’d not have to worry about their fate at all. We’d have the money and the comfort that comes with it. All we have to do is institute Land Dues to direct the flow of spending into the local treasury and Rent Dividends to bounce it back out to residents as a fair share. It’s sort of like what Singapore already, and goes by the name of geonomics.
When the US Federal Government Shut Down, its Military Spent More.
This 2013 excerpt of Foreign Policy, Oct 7, is by John Reed.
The Pentagon pumped $5 billions of dollars into contractors’ bank accounts on the eve of the U.S. government’s shutdown that saw 400,000 Defense Department employees furloughed.
All told, the Pentagon awarded 94 contracts on its annual end-of-the-fiscal-year spending spree, spending more than five billion dollars on everything from robot submarines to Finnish hand grenades and a radar base mounted on an offshore oil platform. To put things in perspective, the Pentagon gave out only 14 contracts on September 3, the first workday of the month.
This goes to show that even when the federal government is shutdown and the military has temporarily lost half its civilian workforce, the Pentagon can spend money like almost no one else.
Ed. Notes: It goes to show me that we’re making a huge mistake letting government spend public money any way it wants. The discretionary power of funding must become severely curtailed. Limit political spending to the military and other means of defense and limit the source of those funds to a flat income tax or to citizenship dues. If people are going to still want to complain about taxes they’ll have to complain about war, too. As for domestic programs, such as schooling and medical attention, just pay the citizenry a dividend and let people choose their own teachers and doctors.
Get that money from the common wealth, from society’s surplus, from all the money all of us spend for all the nature we use. Use taxes, fees, dues, etc to redirect our spending for land and resources into the public treasury, and use rebates, vouchers, and dividends to disburse those funds back out to all of us.
Then it won’t just be military contractors and the rest of the war machine able to celebrate Christmas in style.
These two excerpts are of (1) Huffington Post, last year, Oct 3, by Mike Sandler on sharing the commons and (2) Web of Debt, 2013, Dec 7, on the Fed by Ellen Brown, rerun by Alternet as “Here’s an Idea! Let the Fed Drop Money into Your Bank Account Instead of Raining it Down on the Rich”
Citizen’s Dividends: Basic Income from your Share of the Commons
Cap & Dividend system: greenhouse gas emissions from upstream fossil fuel companies are limited, and the revenues generated by the sale of permits are returned to individuals as a dividend. The reasoning is that we all share the sky, and so as the now-scarce resource becomes valuable, we should all be given our share.
“Quantitative Easing” (QE) is a form of bailout where the central bank purchases bank assets with newly created money. By flooding Wall Street (big banks) with money, it may have prevented more bank failures, but it is unclear if any of that new money is being lent to the productive parts of the economy, or that it goes any farther than bonuses to the 1%, which may end up sitting in tax-haven accounts in the Cayman Islands.
If the Fed wants to really stimulate the economy, it needs the money to actually reach the actual people who will spend it into circulation and create the demand so that employers will begin hiring again. The answer is simple: send the money to the people as a citizen’s dividend. William Greider, in an article in The Nation: Roads and bridges are great, but with a citizen’s dividend some of the trillions would go straight to the people. Chairman Ben Bernanke just announced the third round of quantitative easing, QE3. He should make QE4 a citizen’s dividend.
December 23rd marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve.
The helicopter drop was proposed by Ben Bernanke in 2002 as a quick fix for deflation. He told the Japanese, “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.” Later in the speech he discussed “a money-financed tax cut,” which he said was “essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman’s famous ‘helicopter drop’ of money.” Deflation could be cured, said Professor Friedman, simply by dropping money from helicopters.
But there has been no cloudburst of money raining down on the people. The money has gotten only into the reserve accounts of banks. John Lounsbury, writing in Econintersect, observes that Friedman’s idea of a helicopter drop involved debt-free money printed by the government and landing in people’s bank accounts. “He foresaw the money entering the economy through bank deposits, not through bank reserves.”
The fatal flaw of QE is that it delivers money to the accounts of the creditors and does nothing for the accounts of the debtors. Bad debts remain unserviced and the debt crisis continues.
The Federal Reserve Act was drafted by bankers to create a banker’s bank that would serve their interests. A century after the Fed’s creation, a sober look at its history leads to the conclusion that it is a privately controlled institution whose corporate owners use it to direct our entire economy for their own ends, without democratic influence or accountability. For the central bank to become an institution that serves all the people, not just the 1%, the Fed needs fundamental reform.
Ed. Notes: The one thing the Fed should not have is a monopoly on issuing new money. If the Fed faced competition from other, sounder currencies, it could try any trick it wanted but none would work. As they printed too much new money and its currency lost its purchasing power, people would abandon it in favor of a currency that held its value by not being over-issued (more new notes than the output of new goods and services).
However, all of this becomes another non-issue in a just economy. Why would there be such a pressing need to constantly create new money if the cost of living were constantly falling? In a just economy, the advance of technology would ceaselessly shrivel the cost of new goods and services. People simply would not need as much money to mediate their exchanges.
What would make an economy just? No more corporate welfare. No more taxes on our efforts: on our earnings, purchases, and houses. And no more overlooking the common wealth, which is the worth of Earth. Instead, government would redirect all our spending for land and resources back to everyone. How? We’d pay land dues or land taxes into the public treasury and get rent shares or Citizen’s Dividends back.
It’s not necessary to print up new notes to grant people economic security. In fact, it’d probably only end up creating inflation. All that’s needed is to redirect the money that already exists and is spent to own or use some portion of Earth, and channel the flow to everyone.
It’d become the Citizen’s Dividend (a phrase I coined decades ago, good to see it catching on; maybe Huffington Post will soon help spread the rest of geonomic policy will, too) — the key feature of geonomics, and potentially regular Christmas gifts for everybody.
The US and state governments seem to be at war with everything. Much of what we do or own is prohibited, restricted, taxed, or mandated. It is puzzling why a country whose motto and creed are “liberty,” as inscribed in American coins, would be so restrictive. Part of the answer may be that people don’t understand freedom, and also that deep down, they don’t want it. The creed of liberty may itself be destructive of freedom, because Americans are seemingly satisfied with the slogan rather than the substance. There is always a seemingly good reason for restricting and penalizing acts that do not harm others, and that seems to be good enough for government officials, and presumably the public.
Now the government has extended its long list of wars to include teaching to play the piano. In the “Potomac Watch” article in the 28 November Wall Street Journal, Kimberly Strassel described the “Piano Sonata in FTC Minor.” In March 2013, the Federal Trade Commission sent a complaint to the Music Teachers National Association. The crime of this association was anticompetitive practices. It is the job of the FTC to prevent monopolies and collusion, no matter how tiny and insignificant.
The MTNA was founded in 1876 to promote learning and teaching music. The French writer Alexis de Tocqueville observed in his 1835 book De la démocratie en Amérique that Americans loved to form clubs. That was long before the US government officials regarded clubs as inherent collusion. When people organize, they cooperate, and evidently the US government regards cooperation and organization as illegal collusion.
The Music Teachers National Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with 22,000 members, nine-tenths of them piano teachers. Its crime was to have a politically incorrect code of ethics. Ethics evidently makes people do similar things, which is collusion, and illegal.
Specifically, the FTC was concerned with the ethics rule prescribing that music teachers honor their colleagues’ studios and students. Members are not supposed to recruit or solicit students from other teachers. The FTC regards this ethical rule as anticompetitive. They want piano teachers to try to grab away the students from other teachers. Perhaps negative advertising would make the FTC chiefs happy.
Economic theory tells us that when there are only a few firms in an industry, they have more pricing power. But there are thousands of music teachers, and students who seek music teachers can check the prices asked, so there is competition even if the teachers avoid engaging in fierce price wars.
The attorneys of the MTNA explained to the FTC chiefs that this ethical rule was never actually enforced. It is a matter of voluntarily honoring one another rather than expelling a member. Moreover, the FTC does not have explicit legal authority over nonprofit organizations. Nevertheless, the MTNA deleted this offending ethical rule. But the FTC responded that because the piano teachers had been dissonant in the past, they had to be investigated, evidently no matter how trivial the offense, and no matter how costly the compliance. It does not matter to the government officials if they bankrupt a business, destroy an organization, and eliminate jobs. They are at war on pianos, and war implies destruction.
The dozen staff members of the MTNA were forced to spend many months assembling thousands of documents for the FTC, anything relating to the ethics code. On October 2013, MTNA signed a consent decree. It must announce a statement at each national meeting and send the statement to all its members. The MTNA is also ordered to avoid affiliating with other associations which restrict “solicitation, advertising, or price-related competition.” The association must also submit reports to the FTC and appoint an antitrust compliance officer.
On December 16, 2013, the FTC published the settlement orders on its web site under the title “Professional Associations Settle FTC Charges by Eliminating Rules That Restricted Competition Among Their Members.” A final ruling will be made after 15 January 2014.
The whole concept of antitrust policy or government action against collusion is misguided. It is true that competition among firms keeps prices low, but all that is needed for competition is the ability of firms and individuals to enter and leave an industry. If prices are higher than what is needed for a normal profit, this is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to enter that industry to obtain those profits. There is always rivalry among sellers, even if they do not explicitly recruit customers away from other sellers.
The federal government has attacked firms such as Whole Foods for not being sufficiently competitive. The economic cost of attacking companies for cooperating or being too big has been more damaging than the social cost of possibly higher prices (see, for example, Dominick Armentano, Antitrust and Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure, 1982). A truly free market and free society avoids any governmental interference in human action other than to prohibit and penalize coercive harm to others. Coercive harm means a forceful trespass and invasion. That’s what we should understand about freedom.
This 2013 excerpt of Toronto’s The Star, Dec 17, is by L. Buxton, Bradford.
Re: How to get moving again, Business Dec. 7
Re: A better idea for transit funding, Letter Dec. 14
Further to the letter by Frank de Jong, I agree that the best way to finance subways would be to take the unearned increment from adjacent properties. This is quite reasonable if you consider what happens when a city builds a subway.
Consider two identical properties at opposite ends of a city, both identical in capital value and rentable value. Call them property A and property B. The city decides to build a subway to property A but not property B using tax and fare box money. As a result of this subway, property A becomes more desirable hence more valuable and commands higher rents or exchange value, which all goes to the owners of property A.
In effect, the main result of building the subway, which is intended to move people from place to place, actually results in moving tax and fare box money from the city to the owners of property A. Of course, the taxes are paid by everyone, including the owners of property B, who get no benefit at all.
This could be rectified by removing the unearned increment 100 per cent through the existing tax system.
Ed. Notes: Society’s agent — government — could levy a tax on the rental value of all locations in its jurisdiction, but it need not use taxation. Instead, it could charge a land use fee, or make the deed fee annual and set at full market value, or institute land dues. Further it need not leave all the recovered rents in the public treasury for politicians to spend as they see fit but could instead pay a dividend to residents so they could spend their own money as they see fit, a little like how Singpaore does it. Whatever method is used, it would make new subways self-financing, and that’d be a big step forward.
This 2013 excerpt of Great Britain’s Independent, Dec 5, about cabinet minister George Osborne is by Dominic Frisby, author of Life After The State, published by Unbound, and extend English coverage of this fundamental idea.
Our system of tax is too complicated. Our tax code is 11,000 pages long. That is too long. By about 10,990 pages I’d say. It makes blunders and fraud inevitable.
But it’s worse than that. Our system of tax is immoral, it is inconsistent, and it creates inequality.
So I am simplifying it. Here’s how.
Why should the multi-national corporation with an army of accountants employed solely to deal with the taxman receive better treatment than the local small businessman? Why should any group receive special favour? That is not social democracy — it is crony capitalism.
From now on, we will have a simple flat rate of tax across the board.
Excess taxation creates three Fs – Fight, Flight, and Fraud.
Government obligations will fall. With more money in their pockets, people will be able to buy for themselves the services for which they now depend on government.
People spend and invest their money better than governments do. We restore people’s moral right to keep the profits of their endeavour.
There shall be no more quantitative easing. We do not need to print money and give it to banks to lend out to get the economy turning. This is just giving banks special favour – more stuff of crony capitalism. Instead we let people keep the money they have earned. Their own spending and investment will grow the economy. And the growth will be genuine, not built on finance and malinvestment.
We live on just 7 per cent of the land. Only 2.5 per cent of land is actually built on. A decent house can be built for less than a £100,000. Yet the average age of the first-time buyer in London is now over 40. He or she’ll be a pensioner before they can start a family.
We introduce a simple land value tax. We do not tax their labour, we tax people on the land they use. We do not tax production, we tax consumption. If you are one of the 1 per cent who owns 70 per cent of the land in this country, you will pay tax on that land. If you do not wish to pay tax on it, then let the land pass to someone who will.
The unearned wealth that is the land shall be distributed fairly and equally. And people will be able to build houses for themselves.
We have drawn from the example of Singapore, whose tax rates are low and simple. It ranked the second most competitive country in the world, and it has the highest rank in terms of trust in politicians. It has the third highest GDP per capita, after Qatar and Luxembourg.
Low tax, flat tax, simple tax and land value tax. Why on earth has it taken us so long to het here?
Hormone-disrupting chemicals found in water at fracking sites, substances that have been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer.
This 2013 excerpt of the Los Angeles Times, Dece 16, is by Neela Banerjee.
Water samples collected at Colorado sites where hydraulic fracturing was used to extract natural gas show the presence of chemicals that have been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer.
The study also found elevated levels of the hormone-disrupting chemicals in the Colorado River, where wastewater released during accidental spills at nearby wells could wind up.
Tests of water from sites with no fracking activity also revealed the activity of so-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs. But the levels from these control sites were lower than in places with direct links to fracking.
Fracking involves injecting millions of gallons of chemical-laced water and sand deep underground to crack shale formations and unlock oil and gas. The process is exempt from some regulations that are part of the Safe Drinking Water Act, and energy companies do not have to disclose the chemicals they use if they consider that information a trade secret.
The fact that the domestic boom in oil and gas is driven by fracking has made discussions of its impact extremely fraught.
Independent scientists who reviewed the study countered that the researchers were cautious with their conclusions. The study does not state that fracking spills contaminated surface and groundwater. Rather, it shows a correlation between the Garfield County spill sites and greater activity of EDCs in the water.
The human endocrine system and that of wildlife is guided by very small fluctuations of hormones. Even low levels of anti-estrogenic or anti-androgenic activity could potentially alter development.
Ed. Notes: So whose side is the government on? Why exempt business instead of protect public health? You know why. Politicians get money from frackers who get to keep the share that belongs to the public and use some of that excess profit to contribute to the campaigns of politicians — i.e., to be brutally frank, bribe lawmakers.
To chop this misdeed off at its root, society would have to recover what is already ours — the worth of Mother Earth, our common natural heritage. That we can do by a strategy of land taxes or land dues and rent shares or Citizen’s Dividends, sort of like Alaska’s oil dividend. Then, if people got natural “rents” instead of business, then government could become independent enough to not cater to contributors but actually hold them accountable instead and protect both people and the planet.
a manual. The world did not come without a way for people to prosper, and the planet to heal and stay well; that way is geonomics. Economies are part of the ecosystem. Both generate surpluses and follow self-regulating feedback loops. A cycle like the Law of Supply and Demand is one of the economy’s on/off loops. Our spending for land and resources – things that nobody made and everybody needs – constitutes our society’s surplus. Those profits without production (remember, nobody produced Earth) can become our commonwealth. To share it, we could pay land dues in to the public treasury (wouldn’t oil companies love that?) and get rent dividends back, a la Alaska’s oil dividend. Doing so let’s us axe taxes and jettison subsidies. Taxes and subsidies distort price (the DNA of exchange), violate quid pro quo by benefiting the well-connected more than anyone else, reinforce hierarchy of state over citizen, and are costly to administer (you don’t really need so much bureaucracy, do you?). Conversely, land dues motivate people to not waste sites, resources, and the ecosystem while rent dividends motivate people to not waste themselves. Receiving this income supplement – a Citizens Dividend – people can invest in their favorite technology or outgrow being “economan” and shrink their overbearing workweek in order to enjoy more time with family, friends, community, and nature. Then in all that free time, maybe we could figure out just what we are here for.
about the money we spend on the nature we use. It flows torrentially yet invisibly, often submerged in the price of housing, food, fuel, and everything else. Flowing from the many to the few, natural rent distorts prices and rewards unjust and unsustainable choices. Redirected via dues and dividends to flow from each to all, “rent” payments would level the playing field and empower neighbors to shrink their workweek and expand their horizons. Modeled on nature’s feedback loops, earlier proposals to redirect rent found favor with Paine, Tolstoy, and Einstein. Wherever tried, to the degree tried, redirecting rent worked. One of today’s versions, the green tax shift, spreads out of Europe. Another, the Property Tax Shift, activists can win at the local level, building a world that works right for everyone.
a way to redirect all the money we spend on the nature we use – trillions of dollars annually. We can’t pay the Creator of sites and resources and are mistaken to pay their owners this biggest stream in our economy. Instead, as owners we should pay our neighbors for respecting our claims to land. Owners could pay in land dues to the public treasury, a la Sydney Australia’s land tax, and residents could get back a “rent” dividend, a la Alaska’s oil dividend. We’d pay for owning sites, resources, EM spectrum, or emitting pollutants into the ecosphere, then get a fair share of the recovered revenue. The economy would finally have a thermostat, the dividend. When it’s small, people would work more; when it’s big, they’d work less. Sharing Earth’s worth, we could jettison counterproductive taxes and addictive subsidies. Prices would become precise; things like sprawl, sprayed food, gasoline engines, coal-burning plants would no longer seem cheap; things like compact towns, organic foods, fuel cells, and solar powers would become affordable. Getting shares, people could spend their expanded leisure socializing, making art, enjoying nature, or just chilling. Economies let us produce wealth efficiently; geonomics lets us share it fairly.
a scientific look at how we divvy up the work and the wealth, how some of us end up with too much or too little effort or reward. That’s partly due to Ricardo’s Law of Rent, showing how wasteful use of Earth cuts wages. And it’s partly due to how a society’s elite runs government around like water boys, dishing out subsidies and tax breaks. While geonomists look political reality right in the eye, without blinking, conventional economists flinch. When Paul Volcker, ex-chief of the Federal Reserve, moved on to a cushy professorship at Princeton cum book contract, the crush of deadlines bore down. So Volcker asked a junior associate to help with the book. The guy refused, explaining that giving serious consideration to policy would ruin his academic career. The ex-Fed chief couldn’t believe it and asked the department chair if truly that were the case. That head honcho pondered the question then replied no, not if he only does it once. And economics was AKA political economy!
shaped by reality. In the 1980′s, the Swedish government doubled its stock transfer tax. Tax receipts, however, rose only 15%, since traders simply fled to London exchanges. Fearing a further exodus, the Swedish government quickly rescinded the tax altogether. (The New York Times, April 20) That willingness to tax anything leads us astray. Pushing us astray is that unwillingness to pay what we owe: rent for land, our common heritage. Assuming land value is up for grabs, we speculate. We cap the property tax on both land and buildings and the rate at which assessments can go up; while real market values rise quicker, assessments can never catch up. Our stewards, the Bureau of Land Management, routinely sell and lease sites below market value, often to insiders, says the Government Accounting Office. Once we grasp that rent is ours to share, we’ll collect it all, rather than let it enrich a few, and quit taxing earnings, which do belong to the individual earner. That shift is geonomic policy.
a study of a phenomenon David Ricardo noted going on two centuries ago. When wine grapes rise to $10,000 a ton from the very best land (last year, cabernet sauvignon commanded an average of $4,021 a ton in the Napa Valley), then vineyard prices soar from $18,000 an acre in the 1980′s to $100,000 an acre five years ago and now for a top pedigree up to $300,000 an acre (The New York Times, April 9, via Wyn Achenbaum). Pricey land does not make wine pricey; spendy wine makes land spendy. While vintners make their wine tasty, nature and society in general – not any lone owner – make land desireable. Steve Kerch of CBS’s MarketWatch (April 5) notes that much of what a home sells for on the open market is a reflection of intangible factors such as what school district the house sits in. The price the builder has to pay for the land also tends to be driven by the same intangibles. Because the value of land comes from society, and because one’s use excludes the rest of society, each user owes all others compensation, and is owed compensation by everyone else. Sharing land’s value, instead of taxing one’s efforts, is the policy of geonomics.
an economic policy based on the earth’s natural patterns. Eco-systems self-regulate by using feedback loops to keep balance. Can economies do likewise? Why don’t they now produce efficiently and distribute fairly? The answers lie in the money we spend on the earth we use. To attain people/planet harmony, that financial flow from sites and resources must visit each of us. Our agent, government, must collect this natural rent via fees and disburse the collected revenue via dividends. And, it must forgo taxes on homes and earnings, and quit subsidies of either the needy or the greedy. As our steward, government must also collect Ecology Security Deposits, require Restoration Insurance, and auction off the occasional Emissions Permit. And that’s about it – were nature our model.
a POV that Spain’s president might try. A few blocks from my room in Madrid at a book fair to promote literacy, Sr Zapatero, while giving autographs and high fives to kids, said books are very expensive and he’d see about getting the value added tax on them cut down to zero. (El Pais, June 4; see, politicians can grasp geo-logic.) But why do we raise the cost of any useful product? Why not tax useless products? Even more basic: is being better than a costly tax good enough? Our favorite replacement for any tax is no tax: instead, run government like a business and charge full market value for the permits it issues, such as everything from corporate charters to emission allowances to resource leases. These pieces of paper are immensely valuable, yet now our steward, the state, gives them away for nearly free, absolutely free in some cases. Government is sitting on its own assets and needs merely to cash in by doing what any rational entity in the economy does – negotiate the best deal. Then with this profit, rather than fund more waste, pay the stakeholders, we citizenry, a dividend. Thereby geonomics gets rid of two huge problems. It replaces taxes with full-value fees and replaces subsidies for special interests with a Citizens Dividend for people in general. Neither left nor right, this reform is what both nature lovers and liberty lovers need to promote, right now.
a study of Earth’s economic worth, of the money we spend on the nature we use, trillions of dollars each year. We spend most to be with our own kind; land value follows population density. Besides nearness to downtowns, we also pay for proximity to good schools, lovely views, soil fertility, etc. These advantages, sellers did not create. So we pay the wrong people for land. Instead, we should pay our neighbors. They generate land’s value and deserve compensation for keeping off ours, as they’d pay us for keeping off theirs. It’s mutual compensation: we’d replace taxes with land dues – a bit like Hong Kong does – and replace subsidies with “rent” dividends to area residents – a bit like Alaska does with oil revenue. Both taxes and subsidies – however fair or not – are costly and distort the prices of the goods taxed and the services subsidized. By replacing them and letting prices become precise, we reveal the real costs of output, the real values of consumers. Then, just by following the bottom line, people can choose to conserve and prosper automatically. A community could start by shifting its property tax off buildings, onto land – a bit like a score of towns in Pennsylvania do; every place that has done it has benefited.
the policy that the earth’s natural patterns suggests. Use the eco-system’s self-regulating feedback loops as a model. What then needs changing? Basically, the flow of money spent to own or use Earth (both sites and resources) must visit each of us. Our agent, government, exists to collect this natural rent via fees and to disburse the collected revenue via dividends. Doing this, we could forgo taxes on homes and earnings and subsidies of either the needy or the greedy. For more, see our web site, our pamphlet of the title above, or any of our other lit pieces; ask for our literature list.