Popularized by Fred Foldvary and other Georgists, the cellular democracy is the essential structure of the AFFEERCE Federation. An apartment building or small neighborhood elects a representative to level 1. Level 1 councils elect one of their own to level 2, which elect one of their own to level 3, and soon up to perhaps 7 levels nationally or even 9 levels internationally. Each level of federation represents a dominion that fully encompasses all lower level dominions branching out beneath it.

The cellular democracy is critical to AFFEERCE Distribution Theory (the subject of the next installment), but it is also relevant to Collection Theory. Not in the collection of rents. They are collected and equally distributed only at the Federation (highest) level. Rather, the cellular democracy provides the mechanism to understand the geopolitical implications of a dominion treble. What does that mean?

Land owners in AFFEERCE have far more land rights than landlords do today. Like today, they can buy and sell land (although almost all vacant land will be free). They are also entitled to a 50% premium on improvements in the event of a treble (eminent domain).  However, the biggest right enjoyed by AFFEERCE land owners, a sovereign right found nowhere today, is the right to switch the dominion of borderlands, at any level of federation (called switching allegiance.) It is equivalent to the capture of a borderland with a declaration of dominion (called the dominion treble). Don’t freak out. It is really quite simple.

In simple terms, suppose I lived on the border between Chicago and Evanston, Illinois. I have the right to declare whether my land is in Chicago or whether my land is in Evanston. If I lived on the border between Illinois and Indiana, I could likewise declare for either Illinois or Indiana. On the border between the United States and Mexico, I could declare for either of those as well. This is true throughout the Federation, which,hopefully one day will encompass the entire Earth and beyond.

A change in dominion will also change the border. New lands become borderlands and land owners gain the right to choose between bordering dominions. Thus borders can change suddenly and with great rapidity. Entre towns could disappear in a day. Nations could disappear in a matter of weeks. Successful polities thrive and failures are quickly erased. Within the Federation, the dominion treble permanently replaces violent war.  It is far more efficient at achieving the goals of war without the bloodshed.

The cellular democracy is geared to handle the mechanics of such change. When a cell grows too large, it undergoes mitosis. Once it has exceeded an initial threshold, the cellular council can perform voluntary mitosis. Should the population exceed a second threshold, the parent cellular council must perform mitosis.

In performing mitosis, the land area of each separated part must be contiguous. If mitosis is inequitable,the original cell will re-form, and the process repeats until an equitable solution is found.  It is conceivable that the shift of a single person or the birth of a baby could trigger mitosis at many levels of federation. Another operation “fusion,” combines remnants of cells after mitosis into a single cell. Mitosis, fusion,and other operations on the cellular democracy are described by the mathematics of graph theory.

Collection Theory deals with sovereigns, for only a sovereign has the right to treble land. In terms of the cellular democracy, all sovereigns are leaves of the cellular democracy, and all leaves are sovereign. (Picture the cellular democracy as an upside down tree. The leaves are at the bottom of every branch.) By default the family is sovereign. When an individual leaves a family they gain individual sovereignty. While surrender of sovereignty to families, collectives, and other mutual organizations will be common, it is possible to surrender one’s sovereignty to a state, although the difference between surrendering one’s sovereignty to a kibbutz, for instance, and surrendering it to a state is only one of scale.

Here are 5 problems with the landvalue tax (LVT) found in Collection Theory. But that is no impedimentto a sovereign state that implements deeded property and an LVT.

All equations to solve for the LVT are self-referential. I.E. They use the current LVT to solve for the future LVT. This produces erratic behavior and continuously divorces LVT from real rents.

  1. All equations to solve for the LVT are self-referential. I.E. They use the current LVT to solve for the future LVT. This produces erratic behavior and continuously divorces LVT from real rents.
  2. Above a critical point (77% location value at 5% capitalization) a change in the price of the land produces a greater change in the LVT. At another critical point, the LVT exceeds the land price.
  3. When the price of the land is less than the variance on its improvements, there is no objective measure to determine land value. Assessed valuation is completely arbitrary and fosters corruption. LVT collected will tend toward zero over time. It will consume itself.
  4. Assessed valuation must be the value of the land to the average land user. Although the land might be 10 times more valuable to the most efficient user, the assessor must stick with the mode, lest the land go vacant. All told, the people are cheated out of rental revenue that is several times higher than assessed valuation.
  5. The only solace for the middle-class, today, is the appreciation of their land. In blighted towns, where speculators have replaced the middle class, an LVT succeeds by eradicating speculation and spurring new investment. If successful, the LVT restores the middle class who promptly and rationally, repeal the LVT.  Ultimately, all LVT’s are successful.

Suppose a group of LVT Georgists have no faith in these arguments and wish to establish a sovereign nation where LVT is collected on deeded property. AFFEERCE protected rights of sovereignty allow the establishment of such a state. But,is this double taxation? The sovereignty pays a treble safe rent on all its land holdings, while subjects pay a land value tax on property deeded to them by the sovereign state.

Recall that there is a per capitahousing distribution of $370/month. The new nation will likelyestablish itself on semi-rural, near marginal land. Thus atreble-safe rent is likely to be around $30/acre/month, leaving$340/month for other uses. (Assume the number of acres equals thenumber of subjects.) Outside of a metropolis, there will always be anet inflow, giving the new nation a distinct advantage over LVTwithout the distributions.

If the LVT nation is successful(Collection Theory predicts it will not be), industry will move in and land values will rise. After much success, rents will exceed the housing distribution and a ceiling will develop on the sovereign nation’s LVT revenue. This is the cost of sovereignty, just as funding the U.S. military is a cost of U.S. sovereignty.

While the sovereign LVT nation might begin as a small level-2 state, should it succeed in being a favorable alternative, mitosis will be rapid, and the LVT nation will rise to levels 3, 4, 5, and so on. Ultimately it could become the Federation itself.  The existence of sovereign individuals, families,collectives and states within the Federation is called the panarchy. The idea that one of them might grow to become the Federation is called “permanent embryo.” AFFEERCE nurtures that which will come to replace it, just as the viral community (see a future installment)is nurtured in today’s economy, over the course of 60 years, to become AFFEERCE.

There is more to Collection Theory, including the cellular aristocracy where noblesse oblige is de rigueur. (What is the romance in capturing land without a landed aristocracy?). The relationship of rent collection to monetary policy is also of critical importance.Those will be covered in future installments. However, in the next two installments we study the distribution of ground rents.

This article is a part of an ongoing series explaining the AFFEERCE Georgism implementation based on the ideas of economist Henry George. The fruits of our labor belong to us alone while the land belongs to each of us and to all of us. AFFEERCE is an acronym for Alternative Families + Free Enterprise + Universal Entitlement + Balance of the RCs + Enlightenment. To further understand, check out AFFEERCE Volume I – The Vision at AFFEERCE.org. For more info on AFFEERCE natural rights, See AFFEERCE – Volume I – Chapter 8 – The Natural Rights of Mankind. For an introduction to AFFEERCE, See AFFEERCE Volume I – Introduction and AFFEERCE Volume I – Chapter 1 – What is AFFEERCE? See also the stand alone PDF “What is AFFEERCE”a 12 page introduction. All of these are available free on the AFFEERCE website http://AFFEERCE.org.

© Text Copyright Jeff Graubart rights reserved.
Click here to participate in a community survey and enter a raffle.