We are Hanno Beck, Lindy Davies, Fred Foldvary, Mike O'Mara, Jeff Smith, and assorted volunteers, all dedicated to bringing you the news and views that make a difference in our species struggle to win justice, prosperity, and eco-librium.
Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons Peter Barnes, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2006. 195 pages, $22.95.
reviewed by Bill Batt
Peter Barnes, Co-Founder of Working Assets in 1982, has moved on to offer his most recent idea to rescue an economic system run amok, this titled Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons. The same author, writing Who Owns the Sky some five years ago, suggested the creation of a skyowners trust as a way to address the problem of greenhouse gas emissions and a curb on carbon-generating global warming.
Now his concern is much deeper, and addresses a capitalist economic design which he believes needs a radical restructuring. Using the metaphor of a computer operating system, Capitalism 3.0 suggests how our economy can be upgraded to insure its healthy and responsible functioning. Capitalism 2.0 he demarcates as beginning in the 1950s with the ascendancy and dominance of corporations. No longer is it possible for shareholders to hold corporate structures responsible for their actions, nor can government meet the challenge either. Still another system of countervailing power must be devised to hold them in check against their own inherent rapaciousness. This new set of institutions, he believes, can rise from the growing design of trusts, as these organizations can be the guardians of what has historically been called the Commons. It is, after all, the commons that is most threatened by commodification and privatization. The elements of the Commons are not only nature, but also community and culture, and enumerated in detail at www.onthecommons.org.
There are ample instances of trust designs; they are found in every economic sector — the only requirement for their creation is that it must have something with a marketable price. Moreover they can be at all economic and political levels, local, regional, and national. Among the examples offered at the local level are land trusts first of all, but also community gardens, municipal Wi-Fi, farmers markets, public spaces, car-free zones, and time banks. At the regional level one can sometimes find trusts for watersheds, air-sheds, and even fauna and flora habitats. The following have been conceived and sometimes implemented at the national level: the Alaska permanent fund, health insurance programs, royalty funds, spectrum trusts and credit programs.
What all these designs have is common ownership of an asset or service, one which can constitute a monopoly in a given area or market. This allows the rent that flows from its service to be held in such a way that it can be employed for a social good. Barnes view is that the growth in the volume and strength of these entities can operate such that they will counter the overwhelming dominance of corporate power presently holding free market economies hostage. The essence of corporations is their single inexorable mission to secure returns for their stockholders and yet with limited liability. A trust, in contrast, would be able to take a broader view of any element within its purview, even though it sacrifices private returns to memberowners. In one of his several graphic depictions of this arrangement, trusts are placed on one side of a see-saw and corporations on the other.
Government as much as private enterprise, he avows, is limited in its capacity to address the social good. Governments are necessarily responsive to the most focused interests of its constituencies; they fail to protect broader and long term needs. To this reviewer, his willingness to give up on the capacity of government is a weakness of the book, but it no doubt stems from his first hand attempts to deal with governments in several past ventures. It is difficult, therefore, for me to argue he is wrong. Other solutions abound in current debate public financing of elections, term limits, better disposition of media resources, are among the most commonly mentioned. But concentrations of power have always been a subject of challenge; the founding fathers of this nation sought to address the problem by employing a federal system of governments along with checks and balances at each level. Peter Barnes sees a need for further fracturing of institutional structures as a way to protect at least some elements of the traditional commons that are now threatened. American society is a very different system than it was more than two centuries ago.
Creating trusts entails commodification of common attributes in what he labels propertization. Propertizing the Commons, just as with private sector elements, allows it to be better protected in law and for more open markets to obtain. But Commons are propertized without being privatized. The privatization of many aspects of what have historically been common assets has allowed rent to flow to those so fortunately situated to attain it. Propertizing Commons guarantees that rents will remain shared, but it still can put many parties at an economic disadvantage. Entry barriers to enjoying the goods and services of commons may be lower, but those that have the means to privatize such markets are still advantaged. Society remains unequal, and essentially unjust, insofar as such a two-tier system prevails. Its better perhaps than the winner-take-all economy emerging at the moment, but it is hardly a guarantee of equal birthrights of land to everyone.
One can argue that capturing rents for the use of selected clienteles is certainly a step in the direction of restoring elements of the Commons. Designs such as these are what characterized the historic Georgist communities such as Arden, Delaware and Fairhope, Alabama. Are the schemes that Barnes proposes then any less Georgist? Some readers among the Georgist community deny that Barnes is a Georgist, and regard his proposals as moving farther away from a Georgist society. Insofar as rents are only selectively recouped and for selected populations, they divide people into selected Commons. How different are these from private marinas owned as cooperatives or country clubs owned by members? Professor Fred Foldvary, a widely read Georgist scholar, holds ideas about government and communities not much different.
In January, I was fortunate in being able to question Peter Barnes about the extent of his commitment to a Georgist utopia, however far removed from current reality one might sense it to be. He was very reassuring. The book itself pays homage to George in more than one spot, and in both a personal avowal and in signing my copy In honor of Henry George, he confirmed his view that the ideas expressed in this book were not his final statement. Rather, they should be viewed as a means within current reach, a partial solution to what is a pervasive and daunting threat to the contemporary American polity. Given his druthers, it would appear that he too would prefer to see an across-the-board recovery of rents for the provision of public goods and services. But that isnt within reasonable reach at present. Meanwhile the polity is in need of imminent if not drastic surgery.
So as land trusts, community gardens, spectrum rent auctions, and perhaps other public commodities continue slowly to gain legitimacy, the economy and the polity will continue to diversify in ways that may be closer to Peter Barnes vision than to that of Henry George. Nonetheless, Capitalism 3.0 brings within the scope of discourse the prospect of a Capitalism 4.0 that at some point might have an even stronger Georgist tone.
For other book reviews by Bill Batt, see http://www.progress.org/2005/hitrev.htm and http://www.progress.org/2004/desorev.htm
When it comes to natural resources, it seems that corruption, bribery and plundering are typical. If natural resources were taxed enough so that windfall profits were not possible, the criminals would leave, and natural resource values could be shared among all persons.
Here is a news report from CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development.
A global call to urgently address problems caused by competition for natural resources such as oil, gas, timber, diamonds and gold has been made in Nairobi at the World Social Forum (WSF).
A two-day seminar, arranged by CAFOD and CIDSE, saw representatives of 60 organisations based in 30 countries with communities who suffer rather than benefit from their natural resources.
The participants demanded that governments and transnational corporations gain the consent of the local people before extractive projects begin.
Companies should also be transparent about the payments made to governments, to end corruption and ensure profits from the natural resources are reinvested back into the communities they come from.
Violating basic rights
Time and time again oil, gas, mining and logging companies are violating the most basic human rights and environmental standards, said Rene Grotenhuis, vice-president of CIDSE.
In a joint statement, the agencies urge corporations, governments, the IMF, World Bank and UN to ensure that “practical and enforceable” steps are taken to regulate the extractive industries, and to hold companies to account for failure to comply with international standards on human rights and the environment.
Fr Alfred Buju, a priest and former child miner in the goldfields of Mongbwalu who is now head of CAFOD partner the Justice and Peace Commission in Bunia, DRC, said: In my country, we have some of the richest goldfields in Africa and yet people are suffering from poverty and conflict as a result of competition for our natural resources.
Theres never been a greater need to take action to address globally the problems associated with extractive industries.
CAFODs extractives analyst Sonya Maldar is attending the seminar with Fr Alfred Buju, Pedro Landa, deputy director of Caritas Tegucigalpa in Honduras, and two UK campaigners.
The DRC and Honduras are the focus of the aid agencys Unearth Justice campaign, which aims to highlight the impact of gold mining on developing countries.
Sonya says: Gold mining can devastate communities and the environment often with little benefit for local people. CAFODs Unearth Justice campaign is putting pressure on the whole industry from retailers to suppliers to gold mining companies and governments to make changes.
“We want communities to have a say over what happens to their resources and whether a mine goes ahead or not.
“We also want companies to publish vital information about the social and environmental impacts of their operations and payments to governments.
By working together we hope to get mining and other extractive industries to bring about a better deal for affected communities.
A panel debate at the WSF chaired by Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will be held on February 23.
Participants will include working with communities affected by mining, logging and drilling across the world including Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Honduras, Philippines, Guatemala, Ecuador, Cameroon.
This article is being distributed by the Inter Press Service News Agency.
by Abderrahim El Ouali
Morocco on a Slow March to Literacy Abderrahim El Ouali Morocco’s “march towards light” as its literacy programme is called is brightening up as official figures go, but with far too many shady areas still.
Two years after the launch of the programme intended to eradicate illiteracy by 2015 in line with the Millennium Development Goals, officials claim that illiteracy has diminished to 38 percent of the population of 30 million, from 80 percent in 1960 and 48 percent in 1999.
The “march towards light”, the “massiarat al nour” in Arabic, aims to take literacy to a million illiterate people every year. The state aims to reach 570,000 of these, non-governmental organisations another 269,000 and public sector companies 146,000. Private sector companies aim to reach about 15,000 a year.
Impressive numbers, but Abdessamad Hassad, a researcher studying the impact of literacy on democracy and development says the programme is “poor in content and means.”
“What is being shown as a policy to eradicate illiteracy is only really speeches for internal and external consumption,” he told IPS.
Hassad points to indicators other than the official figures. About 700 newspapers and magazines in Morocco have between them a readership of only 300,000, he says.
This indicator is contentious, too. Sixty-eight-year-old Hajja Fatima is now literate thanks to the “massiarat al nour” programme, but she just does not like newspapers.
“I can read and write now,” she told IPS. “This has helped me understand the news on radio and tv. But I do not like newspapers. Politicians do not care about what we say, so I do not care about what they say in newspapers.”
Not everyone has Hajja’s choice. While the figures show 38 percent illiteracy in the population, they point to 68 percent illiteracy among voters – indicating far greater illiteracy among older people.
“Illiteracy is a big hindrance in democracy and development,” Hassad says. “If more than two-thirds of the electorate is illiterate, they are not able to distinguish between the different political parties’ programmes,” he said. “So voters become easy to trick and corrupt. This leads to false elections, false results and false representative institutions.”
The illiteracy is leading to a split between these people and the elite, Hassad said. “Twelve million Moroccans are illiterate. This means they have no access to what the elite produces. Communication between these people and the political elite is limited to electoral campaigns.”
But the political elite are not all literate either. Moroccan law requires that members of parliament and municipality leaders must have at least a primary school certificate. After the last elections in 2002 and 2003, many such certificates presented by winning candidates were found to have been forged.
While such concerns are raised, there is no denying the half full part of the glass — or that it is getting fuller, with or without official support.
Abdelkader Faydi, a 34-year-old electrician who had to leave school because his family could not afford the fee, did not wait for any programme; he simply learnt to read Arabic and French on his own. “Now I can read about electricity, and I’m becoming more skilful every day,” he said.
Much of his technical learning now comes off the Internet. He has used this knowledge to learn to install wire connections for large local electricity networks.
“I have extra sources of income now, and that is a good thing,” he told IPS. “I will carry on learning. I will never stop.”
Hassad says Morocco needs more people like Faydi. “People with such will are rare, but illiteracy must be eradicated, and we should encourage everyone to get involved to fight it,” he said.
I am a professor of obviology. I’m actually credited by some as the founder of this discipline. While that honor may not be warranted, I do count myself as a practitioner and theorist. You’d think it wouldn’t be difficult, that society would be full of obviologists — but the fact is that the capacity to see what’s plumb in front of one’s nose is not widespread. This has much to do, I think, with a culture-wide mania for obfuscation and overcomplication, used (whether by design or just plain dumb habit) to keep plain folks from thinking they have the ability — or even the right — to know what’s going on around them.
You see, I’ve been wanting to say something on the latest Iraq strategy that was recently announced by our, uhm, President — but it’s been difficult for a peace-loving Waldo Countian who has, after all, a life, to muster the gumption. I mean, there are demonstrations one could go to, but dag, they’ve been demonstrating the obvious for going on four years.
Perhaps what people have been missing — which might not be quite so obvious, after all — is that nothing as subtle as a clear national mandate will suffice to dislodge the war policies of the Decider-in-Deaf.
I make no pretension of neutrality. I loathe George W. Bush; the man’s aw-shucks arrogance, the pride he takes in not knowing a damn thing. He’s gone to the finest schools, all right — one can only conclude that his insistence on pronouncing “nook-yuler” is willful. The “Mission Accomplished” flight jacket thing was pretty heinous, but the worst Dubya moment for me had to be the snippet of an interview on election night 2000, in which he was sitting with his Mom and Dad watching the returns, and a reporter asked what he thought of the real, real close vote in Florida, (we remember the real, real close vote in Florida, don’t we?) And he said, “I’m feeling very upbeat about Florida.” Yes, that set the tone.
But I don’t have to like the President to evaluate his policies. I didn’t like Clinton either — cripe, the doofus named Kenny G as his favorite saxophonist! But no matter: an Administration’s policies have consequences, beyond mere tackiness, and when they are telling us obvious lies, they need to be called on them.
In his recent speech Bush told us, “… to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear the country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale.” This is the thinking that “moderates” are using to support the “new way forward”. They are willing to admit that maybe we shouldn’t have invaded Iraq in the first place — but now, things are in such a mess there, we must stay and fix it. This rhetoric adopts a tone of realism, of lifting one’s head out of the liberal sand and facing facts. But it’s Bull Funky, and here’s why:
When we say “mass killings on an unimaginable scale”, do we mean, like, in Rwanda? Seems to me that the mainstream press has already been doing what it can to soften the impact of the amount of actual death that’s been happening in Iraq. While 3,000+ US troops dead is plenty — don’t get me wrong — it seems small beside the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam. Yet that figure is also misleading: better field medicine and surgery techniques are saving many who would have died with 60s-era technology. Over 23,000 US troops have been wounded in Iraq; many of them come home physically or emotionally maimed. (They face budget cuts in long-term VA care.) But let’s go back to “mass killings on an unimaginable scale”. The Bush Administration has leveled many criticisms at its predecessor, but its failure to stop mass killings in Central Africa has not been among them. What Bush really meant by “mass killings on an unimaginable scale” was “a level of chaos severe enough to threaten US strategic interests”.
Is United States occupation the only way to avoid chaos? From a peacekeeping standpoint, US occupation has serious drawbacks. Polls repeatedly show that Iraqis want the US to go; we are seen as an invading army. We pretty much refuse to talk to major diplomatic players like the Shiites in Iran, the Sunnis in Syria and the Kurds in Turkey. Our personnel there don’t know the language or the local customs and are (justifiably) afraid of every person they see in the streets; this doesn’t help them win hearts and minds. With these glaring weaknesses, it’s hard to see how we can possibly accomplish our current objectives, even (perhaps especially) with more troops. We haven’t been having such an easy time finding more troops, remember; extending tours and recalling veterans is going to play a big role in providing the numbers being called for. This means that frayed nerves and PTSD will play an ever-greater role in how things go, even as daily pressures increase.
It seems to me that there is an alternative — or would be in a sane world, anyway. The historical, geopolitical dynamic in Iraq is not unique; in fact is very familiar, similar in many ways to those in Central Africa, and in the Balkans: within colonial boundaries, drawn across ethnic lines, autocratic regimes, useful in the Cold War chess game, repressed people’s national aspirations. As long as such regimes were useful to the Superpowers, they received support (regardless of their “human rights records”). Everyone knows that Saddam was “our dictator” in the 1980s; we supported the very unspeakable actions for which we just invaded and deposed him. We also supported a long line of awful people, including Mobutu, Pinochet, Marcos, Suharto and the Shah of Iran, not to mention the somewhat, shall we say, less-than-enlightened Saudi monarchy. The point here is that colonial and Cold War politics created many places in which ethnic cleansing and sectarian violence are almost inevitable. It seems to me that the job of peace-keeping in such volatile places — of which Iraq is only the most visible example at the moment — can’t be accomplished by a sovereign superpower out to protect its “interests”.
The task demands an international organization. And we have one — except, well, not really. For fiscal year 2007, the United Nations is requesting $1.13 billion for peacekeeping operations, and it acknowledges that it probably won’t get that much, for the United States is not sympathetic to UN budget requests. It currently maintains a total of 70,000 troops for peacekeeping operations. By contrast, the United States has spent approximately $360 billion on the Iraq war to date, with more to come. For a fraction of the resources (and human lives!) The United States has blown away in Iraq, it could support a peacekeeping effort that would be truly non-partisan, that would work to restore order and shore up democracy in Iraq.
It could, that is, if the United Nations were not anathema to the US administration. Bush’s first choice for UN Ambassador was a man who had repeatedly characterized the UN as useless! Bush isn’t alone in this position, of course; it has long been a conservative tenet to deny any claim the United Nations might make to executive authority, and to pooh-pooh the very notion of International Law (except when it supports our objectives).
Nevertheless: the potential for chaos in Iraq does not justify the US occupation, because a viable alternative exists. For decades, the United States has devoted a ridiculously huge portion of its national resources to weapons and war, touting its “responsibility” to defend against evil totalitarian destroyers of freedom. But the Soviet Union fell. A new “ideological struggle” has been debuted in its place, but we really ought not to fall for that: hegemony is not righteous.
I am not suggesting that the United States shouldn’t robustly defend itself. I just think we could do that quite effectively at less than half the cost of being the World’s Policeman. Really, I doubt that we’re about to be attacked by anyone. If we were, then might not one of the tens of thousands of un-checked, un-inspected freight containers entering US ports since 2001 have contained some terrible weapon? We need to get our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, stop pretending to be the world’s policeman, and start giving significant support to international cooperation and peacekeeping. The alternative is chaos indeed.
The Sprawl Search Engine is no longer maintained. Please use the “Sprawl” category or tags to find pages from the Sprawl Information Center. You may also find the search engine for the entire site useful.
one of many words I coined over 20 years ago: geoism, geonomics, geonomy, geocracy, etc – neologisms that later others came up with, too. CNBC once had a Geonomics Show, and Middlebury College has a Geonomics Institute. If “economy” is literally “management of the household”, then geonomy is “management of the planet”. The kind of management I had in mind is not what CNBC was thinking – top-down. My geonomics is not hands-on, interfering, but hands-off, organic. It’d strive to align policy with natural processes, similar to what holistic healing does in medicine, what organic farming does in agriculture. Geonomics attends to two key components: One, the crucial stuff to track is fat — or profit, especially profits without production, such as rent, or all the money we spend on the nature we use. Society’s surplus is the sine qua non for growth, needed to counter death – not merely more, but sustainable development, more from less. Two, the basic process to respect is the feedback loop. These let nature maintain balance automatically and could do the same for markets, if we let them. Letting them would turn our economies, now our masters, into a geonomy, our servant, providing us with prosperity, eco-librium (to coin a term) and leisure, time off — a hostile environment for economan but a cradle for a loving and creative humanity.
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!
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 discipline that, compared to economics, is as obscure as Warren Buffett’s investment strategy, compared to conventional investment theory, about which Buffett said, “You couldn’t advance in a finance department in this country unless you taught that the world was flat.” (The New York Times, Oct 29). The writer wondered, “But why? If it works, why don’t more investors use it?”
Good question. Geonomics works, too. Every place that has used it has prospered while conserving resources. Yet it remains off the radar of many wanna-be reformers. Gradually, tho’, that’s changing. More are becoming aware of what geonomics studies – all the money we spend on the nature we use. Geonomics (1) as an alternative worldview to the anthropocentric, sees human economies as part of the embracing ecosystem with natural feedback loops seeking balance in both systems. (2) As an alternative to worker vs. investor, it sees our need for sites and resources making those who own land into landlords. (3)As an alternative to economics, it tracks the trillions of “rent” as it drives the “housing” bubble and all other indicators. And (4) as an alternative to left or right, it suggests we not tax ourselves then subsidize our favorites but recover and share society’s surplus, paying in land dues and getting back “rent” dividends, a la Alaska’s oil dividend. Letting rent go to the wrong pockets wreaks havoc, while redirecting it to everyone would solve our economic ills and the ills downstream from them.
People must learn to stop whining so much and feel enough self-esteem to demand a fair share of rent, society’s surplus, the commonwealth.
not a panacea, but like John Muir said, “pull on any one thing, and find it connected to everything else.” Recall last month’s earthquake in El Salvador. We felt it and its formidable after-shocks in Nicaragua. Immediately afterwards, my host nation, one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, sent aid to its Central American neighbor. The Nica newspapers carried photos of the devastation. They showed that the cliff sides that crumbled had had homes built on them while the cliffs left pristine withstood the shock. Could monopoly of good, safe, flat land be pushing people to build on risky, unstable cliffs? If so, that’s just one more good reason to break up land monopoly. What works to break up land monopoly, history shows, is for society to collect the annual rental value of the underlying sites and resources. That’d spur owners to use level land efficiently, so no one would be excluded, forced to resort to cliffs. To prevent another man-induced landslide is yet another reason to spread geonomics.
an answer for Jonathan of the Green Party (Nov 7): “What does ‘share our surplus’ mean?”
Our surplus is the values that society generates synergistically. It’s the money we spend on the nature we use: on land sites, natural resources, EM spectrum, ecosystem services (assimilating pollutants). It’s also the money we pay to holders of government-granted privileges like corporate charters. We could share it by paying for the nature we use and privileges we hold to the public treasury then getting back a fair share of the recovered revenue. Used to be, owners did owe rent (“own” and “owe” used to be one word). And presently, some lucky residents do get back periodic dividends: Alaska’s oil dividend and Aspen Colorado’s housing assistance. Doing that, instead of subsidizing bads while taxing goods, is the essence of geonomics.
Jonathan: “Is local currency what you mean?”
Editor: It’s not. Community currency is a good reform, but every good reform pushes up site values. That makes land an even more tempting object of speculation. Now, any good will eventually do bad by widening the income gap – until you share land values.
a way to have everybody pulling on the same end of the rope. Last summer’s expansive forest fires shed light on growing class resentment in the West. Old log-gers and ranchers rankled at the new urgency to stamp out the blazes that threatened the recent Aspenesque settlers. The newcomers expected working class firemen to make protecting their expensive homes top priority. (Chr Sci Mntr, Spt 7) The tinder for this envy? Rich people moving in bid up the price of land, making it hard to afford by people on the margin. The fault really lies with our system of privatizing land value. If this rising value were collected by land dues and shared by rent dividends – the essence of geonomic policy – who’d complain? The more people move in, the higher the land value, and the fatter the dividend paid to residents. Then people on the margin might go out of their way to invite rich outsiders in.
an answer to a rarely asked question. If price is a reward for production, why do we pay for land, never produced by any of us? What is land price a reward for? Good behavior? How much money do we spend on the nature we use? Who gets it? What do they do with it? (If you answer all these correctly, you’re not a genius but a geoist.) The worth of Earth is enough that were we to collect and share it, we could abolish taxes on the goods we do produce. For example, San Francisco’s Redefining Progress has calculated that Cali-fornia could abolish all state and local taxes were it to collect the values of resources and of using na-ture as a dump. By exorcising the profit motive from depletion and pollution, rent collection could replace bossy regulation. Economies could self-regulate, as the rest of the eco-system does. See how big problems yield to big answers when we ask the right questions?
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.
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.