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This 2014 excerpt of the St Pete Herald, Dec 14, by Dana Melius.
Because the US federal crop insurance program subsidizes up to 70 percent of premium costs and has no limits on how much an individual producer can receive, it provides a public-funded source of cash for bidding up rental and land purchase prices.
It artificially inflates land prices by allowing the largest crop operators to lock in profits and aggressively purchase and rent farmland to expand their operations, driving up land costs beyond the reach of most farmers.
The federal crop insurance makes it difficult for beginning farmers to access sufficient capital since the program limits coverage for producers who have little to no yield history or those who choose to diversify crop production.
Just 2.3 percent of America’s farmers took in half of all premium subsidies paid out totaling over $4 billion. These 50,000 farms each received an average crop insurance subsidy payment of $82,223 while remaining farmers on the program received an average of $7,639.
In Minnesota, two farm operations that same year each received over $1 million in crop insurance premium subsidies, and seven more received more than $500,000.
Ed. Notes: Farmers and the USDA now understand better that subsidies make bads cheap just as taxes make goods spendy. A growing number acknowledge the environmental problems of phosphorus run-off and mono-crops. At this rate, they may soon see how paying rent to their community — not to landlords or lenders — would be the biggest reform to benefit actual farmers.
This 2014 excerpt of Newsweek, Dec 14, is by Betsy Isaacson.
Ending poverty is not a matter of resources.
A simple cash subsidy—$15,000 per year (which is about what the average retiree gets annually from Social Security) for every household, say—would give the poor and middle class a financial floor on which they could live, take care of their loved ones, and think about what they would like to do.
Split $1.88 trillion — what the US federal government and states spend on welfare and Social Security — among all these households and each one gets $16,315.62.
In pilot programs, the reduction in working hours among those given basic income was extremely low. The only participants who stopped working were new mothers, and teenagers who had previously been working while attending high school.
In the age of automation, basic income or something like it could become a necessity.
Ed. Notes: The article offers the Alaskan oil dividend as an example. But what Alaska does is a better example of geonomics. The money for the dividend does not come from taxes on people’s income or purchases or buildings. It comes from the value of nature, oil in this case.
If society shared the values of all nature in use — trillions each year — then registered voters could still get $1k per month.
Yet at the same time government spending and taxing could be drastically curbed, letting the economy become much more productive — another source of prosperity and security for everyone.
Ed. Notes: The bean-counters typically include the estimated price of the land beneath one’s home in the total of one’s “wealth”. However, the only way to capture that wealth for spending it is to sell the land or borrow against it and go into debt. And if everybody sold their home+land at the same time (say, just when the measurement by bean-counters is being taken), the price would drop drastically.
Further, recessions happen because we allow land to be an object of speculation. Buyers bid up the price of land beyond what’s affordable for a critical mass of people and businesses. While pushing up the price of land, they have too little money leftover to spend on goods and services that others produce. So some of those others go bust. Hence, recession.
If you don’t want families to lose so much money every eighteen years, then don’t let land be an object of speculation. Use government to recover the socially-generated value of land then disburse the raised revenue back to the family. It’s called geonomics and it works.
This 2014 excerpt of Business Insider, OCT. 8, is by Mike Bird.
The International Monetary Fund examined the GDPs of China and the US. The IMF measured both GDPs in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, at the end of 2014, China made up 16.48% of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the US just 16.28% (or $17.416 trillion):
It’ll be some time yet until the lines cross over in raw terms, not adjusted for purchasing power. By that measure, China still sits more than $6.5 trillion lower than the US and isn’t likely to overtake for quite some time.
In terms of the raw market value of China’s currency, it still has a long way to go.
Ed. Notes: China has to pass the US at some point. It has the bigger population — five times bigger. Does it matter? Not at all. A place like Denmark has one of the tiniest economies and one of the most prosperous societies.
This 2014 excerpt of Reuters, Nov 19, is by Kate Kelland.
When bank workers could win more money if they cheated, bankers were more dishonest when they were made particularly aware of their professional role.
When bank employees were primed to think less about their profession and more about normal life, however, they were less inclined to dishonesty.
The same experiments with employees in other sectors — including manufacturing, telecoms and pharmaceuticals — showed they don’t become more dishonest when their professional identity or banking-related information is emphasized.
Ed. Notes: While bankers do misbehave, they did not start it. The root of this particular bit of evil is our custom of letting the value of land be an object of avarice rather than be the common wealth that it should. Why should it? Land is made by none of us, needed by all of us, and all of us are who make the locations in land valuable. Land value or land “rents” should not go to bankers via mortgages — their fattest source of profit — but to all of us. Once we finally do recover this surplus and share it, then we can eradicate counterproductive taxes and subsidies — and the bankers’ culture of greed.
Ed. Notes: How good a businessperson can a bureaucrat be? They grossly underestimated the airwaves’ value. Are they able to get full market for the public they supposedly represent? And why are they selling these aspects of nature? Once a business becomes an owner, it turns around and leases the spectrum. Why won’t the FCC likewise lease out? Good for the goose, good for the gander? This being another example of government giving away the public store to private interests tells me government is in a dense fog when it comes to understanding its duty to the people.
This excerpt of Southwest Farm Press, Nov 21, is by Kim Anderson.
The market does not consider how much it costs to produce wheat when determining the price. All the market cares about is how much wheat is needed to meet consumer demand, how much the consumer will pay, and what it costs to process and deliver the product from the farmer to the consumer.
The per acre cost includes land rent ($55), field work ($30), planting ($14), seed ($14), insurance ($12), and fertilizer ($44 – 50 per pound of N; $ 60 for P). The total variable cost per acre to date is $169.
Remaining variable costs between now and harvest include top-dress nitrogen ($30; 50 per pound of N via UAN), fungicide ($15), and harvesting ($35). Total variable costs are projected to be $249.
Fixed costs (taxes, insurance, and depreciation) are $25 per acre. The total cost per acre is projected to be $274.
What would cause wheat prices to be less than expected? The answer is that higher production would probably result in lower prices.
Ed. Notes: Out of all those costs, while most reward someone else’s labor (e.g., harvesting) or capital (e.g., fertilizer), some don’t. Some costs the farmer must pay simply because the payee can demand it, such as land rent and taxes and insurance. You can see how to save farmers money. Use (taxes or) land dues to direct rent into the public treasury and get rid of (all other) taxes. Farmers would not have any more fixed costs and would get back part of their rent payment as a residential dividend. With geonomics, we could repeal agri-subsidies and farmers would still profit handsomely.
Ed. Notes: Uncle Sam can’t afford giving freebies to some of the most profitable companies in the world. Doing that is exactly the opposite of what government should do. Don’t open loopholes but recover all the annual rental value of land and resources, of the nature made by none of us and needed by all of us. It’s our need, or demand, that creates the value of oil. In return, government could de-tax the labor and capital involved in harnessing land.
This 2014 excerpt of Quartz, Nov 21, is by Gwynn Guilford.
Starting in 2016, China will start liberalizing its nearly 2,600-year-old monopoly on table salt —- opening up the world’s oldest monopoly to competition at last.
For now, China National Salt Industry Corporation is the only entity allowed to sell table salt in China. The nation uses a quarter of all the salt consumed on the planet.
Where there is monopoly, people respond with a black market. Since 1994, Beijing had its own special salt monopoly-enforcing police force. Long ago, two smugglers eventually overthrew the Tang and the Yuan dynasties.
Ed. Notes: The role of government is not to monopolize a natural resource like salt but to auction off permits to extract the salt and then disburse the raised revenue to the populace, the salt consumers, who create the value of salt.
Ed. Notes: Japan also needs to, most importantly, recover the socially-generated value of land, or locations. That will make speculators go away, and that will lower the price of land and thus the cost of housing. Having to pay ongoing will spur owners to put and keep their lots at highest and best use. Doing that takes labor and capital, so both wages and profits rise. Japan once had land reform. It should give itself the gift that keeps on giving once again, in a big way.
This 2014 excerpt of The Institute Blog, Dec 16, by Lynn Parramore, interviewing Joseph Stiglitz.
JS: You cannot explain what has happened to the wealth/income ratio by Pikkety’s analysis. A large fraction of the increase in wealth is an increase in the value of land, not in the amount of capital goods.
LP: When you say “land,” you’re not talking about land in the Jane Austen sense, that is, agricultural land under the ownership of the lord of the manor.
JS: It’s not agricultural land, it’s the value of urban land, and I would include in that, broadly, rents associated with natural resources.
In addition, it’s the increase in other kinds of rents, like monopoly rents. If monopoly rents get increased, if the market power of firms relative to workers gets increased, as when you have the ability of a few, like the banks, to get government guarantees — the value of that is increased and gets capitalized. And that increases wealth but it doesn’t increase capital.
The value of land or the value of assets is very closely linked with the credit system. So if you get a flow of credit increasing, as we’ve seen in the last few years (QE: quantitative easing) — that flow of credit increased bubbles of one kind or another.
What has happened repeatedly in recent years is that we’ve had monetary authorities allowing — through deregulation and lax standards — banks to lend more, but not for creating new business, not for capital goods. The effect of it has been actually to increase the value of land and other fixed resources [buildings, real estate, etc].
The links with inequality are twofold: one is that if more of the savings of the economy leads to an increase in the value of land rather than the stock of capital goods, then wages won’t go up.
The other part we allow more lending against collateral. Then those who have the assets that can be used for collateral see those assets go up in price, like land. And so those who hold wealth become wealthier. The workers, who have no wealth, don’t benefit from that expansion.
A lot of the income the 1% got was through the exercise of monopoly power. People who make the most productive contributions, people who make lasers or transistors, or the inventor of the computer, DNA researchers, none of these are the top wealthiest people in the country. So if you look at the people who contributed the most, and the people who are there at the top, they’re not the same.
When you think of policies that are going to address inequality of wealth, you have to be very thoughtful about “incidence of taxes.” Some of the statements that Piketty made that you should just tax capital may have been overly simplistic.
Ed. Notes: What government should tax (if it should be taxing at all), is the socially-generated rental value of nature — land, resources, EM spectrum, ecosystem services — and of privilege — corporate charters, banking charters, patents/copyrights, and utility franchises. Stieglitz recommends taxing land elsewhere.
This 2014 excerpt of the Washington Monthly, November/December, is by Joseph E. Stiglitz, ex Chief Economist at the World Bank.
America is less of a land of opportunity than most countries of “old Europe”. Real median household income (half above, half below, after adjusting for inflation) is lower today than it was a quarter century ago. Close to a quarter of all income goes to the top 1 percent. Much of that money comes from seizing a larger share of the national pie rather than increasing its size.
Countries with greater equality perform better —- higher growth, more stability. In Australia, spending on health care per capita is just over two-thirds that in the United States, yet life expectancy is three years longer. In some states, spending on prisons has at times exceeded that on universities. If public schools and public transit worked better, the poor would be better able to seize new employment opportunities. If we provided more equality at lower cost, we arguably wouldn’t even have a federal budget deficit today.
Interest deductability on a mega-mansion could easily be worth $25,000 a year. “Loopholes” does not adequately describe the flaws in our tax system; “gaps” might be better.
If we required the banks to pay but a fraction of the costs they have imposed on others, we would then have further funds to undo some of the damage that they caused by their discriminatory and predatory lending practices, which moved money from the bottom of the economic pyramid to the top.
If we taxed pollution in all of its forms, we could raise billions of dollars, and have a better environment. We could tax land, oil, and minerals more, without resulting in less land, less oil, fewer minerals. (Even if they are taxed more, these resources won’t go on strike; they won’t leave the country!)
This 2014 excerpt of FT Magazine, Oct 31, is by Richard Waters, FT’s US West Coast editor.
Wouldn’t the world be a happier place if 90 per cent of the people let robots do the work? Why didn’t the last house you bought cost only 5 per cent of what you paid for it? And why shouldn’t you or your children enjoy limitless cheap power and a greatly extended lifespan?
To ponder these questions, Larry Page, 41, co-founder (with Sergey Brin) and chief executive of Google, running a company with 55,000 workers, has shifted responsibility for much of his company’s current business to a lieutenant.
Even as Google pours money into new ventures, the cash keeps piling up. It now exceeds $62bn.
“Even if there’s going to be a disruption on people’s jobs, in the short term that’s likely to be made up by the decreasing cost of things we need; they could get much, much, much cheaper.”
He puts affordable housing down to policy changes needed to make land more readily available for construction. Rather than exceeding $1m, there’s no reason why the median home in Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley, shouldn’t cost $50,000, he says.
Ed. Notes: It’s interesting how close people come to seeing the truth about land. Even rich, smart, successful people have that very widespread blind spot about what makes land pricey, what makes economies boom then bust, what makes cities sprawl, what source of money corrupts government, etc. Maybe society’s spending for land and resources and other items of high value that nobody made is just too massive for most people to see.
Blind to it, they can’t see the solution. Here’s one way to say it: Rather than pay an owner or lender or speculator for land, we must pay our communities. Pay land dues in and get rent dividends back out. Redirecting the flow of this massive spending — by far the biggest stream in the GDP — will make all the difference in the world … and create the world that most people want.
These three 2014 excerpts are from: (1) Comment Today, Nov 11, by Joe, a housing economist; (2) Connecticut Post, Dec 15, by Brian Lockhart; and (3) Agrarian Trust, Dec 14.
Exploring Land Value Tax: Fighting Sprawl, Incentivizing Density
Land value tax can encourage density, reduce urban sprawl, and ensure land is used as it is demanded.
Land is more expensive the closer to the city centre it is (all other things being equal). As land in the city centre would have the largest levy, the owner will want to maximise the return on investment in order to pay it. The denser the building that sits on the land, the larger the revenue generated to pay for the same levy value.
Taxing land will also save the public money accruing from agglomeration of more focused infrastructure.
Abandoned manufacturing plants and vacant lots scar Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city.
City officials are considering taxing some of those underused properties at a higher rate to compel owners to stop “land-hoarding” and either get more aggressive about redevelopment, or sell to someone who is.
The City Council is poised Monday to pass a resolution allowing Bridgeport to tax undeveloped property more than developed land. Bridgeport Councilman Enrique Torres, R-130, the only Republican member, is enthusiastic about a land value tax. Passing it would potentially lighten the burden on the rest of the taxpayers.
Martin Adams is a new voice for the land, and a revivalist of the historical context for the way we think about land issues. His new book, Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World is scheduled for publication in March.
As communities become more attractive to live in, some property owners —- but mostly the financial institutions that finance them —- then extract this additional value, and this extraction is one of the root causes of wealth inequality, ecological destruction, and even economic recessions.
This 2014 excerpt of The New York Times, Nov 11, is by their Editorial Board.
The national turnout last month was the lowest in more than seven decades. It was 36.3 percent (even less if you consider citizens eligible to vote but not registered). Only the 1942 federal election during World War II had a lower participation rate at 33.9 percent.
In 43 states, less than half the eligible population voted, and no state broke 60 percent. In the three largest states — California, Texas, and New York — less than a third of the eligible population voted … 28.8 percent in New York, the fourth-lowest in the country.
Republicans ran a single-theme campaign of pure opposition to President Obama, and Democrats were too afraid of the backlash to put forward their plans (if they had any).
The decline was particularly acute among younger voters, who made up 13 percent of this year’s electorate compared with 19 percent two years ago. Voting correlates with education and income levels.
Republicans suppressed the turnout of young, poor, and minority voters, but it was hard to make a definitive link between those laws and Democratic losses this year.
Ed. Notes: While wannabe leftist reformers complain about the rich buying elections (or about the rich doing anything, understandably, since much they do is cruel), critics do not complain about the poor (whom they want to help) not voting. You hear many explanations, summed up in the jokes: “Why vote? It only encourages them!” and “If elections did any good, they’d be illegal.” What the authors above left out is the stultifying lack of choice in the US system of only two parties and first-past-the-post elections.
What you won’t hear (except here) is how terribly pathetic are the attempts at communication by wannabe reformers with the greater population at large. As a rule, people say what they want to say, not what their listeners want to hear. So the critics go on and on and on, complaining about the rich (people whom many of the poor want to become), getting nowhere, rather than stop, take a deep breath, and try to craft a message that will actually be understood and express the message the proponent hopes to convey.
What would a winning campaign platform look like? It would look pretty geonomic. It would not cater to fear. It would not ignore the big picture. And yet, it would be feasible. It would use the words that push all the right buttons to declare that the surplus of society (not private earning) is truly a common wealth available for us all to share, a la Alaska’s oil dividend. Would you vote for that?
more transformation than reform; it’s a step ahead. Harvard economics students this year did petition to change the curriculum, in the wake of the English who caught the dissension from across The Channel. French reformers, who fault conventional economics for conjuring mathematical models of little empirical relevance and being closed to critical and reflective thought, reject this “autism” – or detachment from reality – and dub their offering “post-autistic economics”. Not a bad name, but again, academics define themselves by what they’re not, not by what they are, unlike geonomists. We track rent – the money we spend on the nature we use – and watch it pull all the other economic indicators in its wake. We see economies as part of the ecosystem, similarly following natural patterns and able to self-regulate more so than allowed, once we quit distorting prices. To align people and planet, we’d replace taxes and subsidies with recovering and sharing rents.
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!
as unfamiliar as geo-economics. The latter is a course some universities offer that combines geography and economics. A UN newsletter, Go Between (57, Apr/May ’96; thanks, Pat Aller), cited an Asian conference on geopolitics and “geoeconomics”. The abbreviated term ‘geonomics” is the name of an institute on Middlebury College campus and of a show on CNBC. Both entities use the neologism to mean “global economics”, in particular world trade. We use geonomics entirely differently, to refer to the money people spend on the nature they use, how letting this flow collect in a few pockets creates class and poverty and assaults upon the environment, and how, on the other hand, sharing this rental flow creates equality, prosperity, and a people/planet harmony. This flow of natural rent, several trillions dollars in the US each year, shapes society and belongs to society.
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.
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.
of interest to Dave Lakhani, President Bold Approach (Mar 8) and Matt Ozga (Jan 29): “I write for the Washington Square News, the student run newspaper out of New York University. Geonomics seems like it has great significance, especially in this area. When was geonomics developed, and by whom?”
About 1982 I began. Two years later, Chilean Dr Manfred Max-Neef offered the term geonomics for Earth-friendly economics. In the mid-80s, a millionaire founded a Geonomics Institute on Middlebury College campus in Vermont re global trade. In the 1990s, CNBC cablecast a show, Geonomics, on world trade as it benefits world traders. My version of geonomics draws heavily from the American Henry George who wrote Progress & Poverty (1879) and won the mayoralty of New York but was denied his victory by Tammany Hall (1886). He in turn got lots from Brits David Ricardo, Adam Smith, and the French physiocrats of the 1700s. My version differs by focusing not on taxation but on the flow of rents for sites, resources, sinks, and government-granted privileges. Forgoing these trillions, we instead tax and subsidize, making waste cheap and sustainability expensive. To quit distorting price, replace taxes with “land dues” and replace subsidies with a Citizens Dividend.
Matt: “This idea of sharing rents sounds, if not explicitly socialist, at least at odds with some capitalist values (only the strong survive & prosper, etc). Is it fair to say that geonomics has some basis in socialist theory?”
A closer descriptor would be Christian. Beyond ethics into praxis, Alaska shares oil rent with residents, and they’re more libertarian than socialist. While individuals provide labor and capital, no one provides land while society generates its value. Rent is not private property but public property. Sharing Rent is predistribution, sharing it before an elite or state has a chance to get and misspend it, like a public REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) paying dividends to its stakeholders – a perfectly capitalist model. What we should leave untaxed are our sales, salaries, and structures, things we do produce.
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.
suitable for framing by Green Parties. When Greens began in Germany two decades ago, they defined themselves as neither left nor right but in front. Geonomics fits that description. The Green Parties have their Four Pillars; geonomists have four ways to apply them:
Ecological Wisdom. Want people to use the eco-system wisely? Charge them Rent and, to end corporate license, add surcharges. To minimize these costs, people will use less Earth.
Nonviolence. Want people to settle disputes nonviolently? Set a good example; don’t levy taxes, which rely on the threat of incarceration, to take people’s money. Try quid pro quo fees and dues.
Social Responsibility. Want people to be responsible for their actions? Don’t make basic choices for them by subsidizing services, addicting them to a caretaker state. Let people spend shares of social surplus.
Grassroots Democracy. Better have grassroots prosperity. Remember, political power follows economic. Pay people a Citizens Dividend; to keep it, they’ll show up at the polls, public hearings, and conventions.
an alternative to conventional land trusts. Just as it seems some functions should not be left to the market – private courts and cops invite corruption (while private mediation is fine) – just so some land should not be left in the market. That said, sacred sites do not make much of a model for treating the vast acreage of land that we need to use. So the usual trust model, which is anti-use and counter-market, can not apply where it’s needed most. Trust proponents worry about ownership and control – two very human ambitions – but they’re not central. Supposedly, we the people own millions acres – acres that private corporations treat as private fiefdoms – and conversely, the Nature Conservancy owns wilderness the public can some places use as parks. So, the issue is not who owns but who gets the rent – ideally, all of us.