By “redistribution”, do you still mean “from haves to have nots”? Or now do you see it's a two-way street? Consider: Corporate welfare. Old-fashioned rent-gouging by landlords. Trade favors. Patent trolling. These and other examples show how businesses slurp at the public trough.

That aside, can you see predistribution? That is, the sharing the worth of Earth, before any elite or state has a chance to capture society's spending for the nature it uses.

How does this paying community for land differ from paying taxes on one's labor and capital? Here's how: Paying one's locality for one's land is not an added expense. Now days, people pay for land anyway, but to the wrong recipient. We pay owners, or lenders, when we could as easily pay neighbors.

Like owners, neighbors did not create the land. Unlike owners, they do create its value. Want to see high land value? Look for high densities: Boston, Manhattan, San Francisco.

When neighborly recipients enjoy a cushion, they can negotiate a fair wage. You can abolish minimum wage, so-called right to work laws, workers’ comp, and all sorts of bureaucracy. That extra income from rents also empowers the basement inventor, whose role in techno-progress is grossly underestimated (it was many more than just Jobs and Wozniak and in many more fields).

Some governments already distribute recovered rents: Aspen CO, Singapore, and Alaska with its oil royalties. Do they do a bad job? So far, there are no horror stories. They seem as efficient as a REIT.

Next, the chicken vs. the egg: does physical development have the power to raise land value? If new building did, how could there be any white elephants? Bridges to nowhere don’t up land value. A casino built too far off the beaten path goes broke. Many more examples show that in the absence of people, of their demand, “build it and they will come” only happens in fiction. That “they” first has to be nearby—location, location, location.

Look at my old hometown of Portland. Young hip people do not flock there because Intel is there. Intel located there because young, hip people flocked there to be near the exquisite nature.

What about when the economy evolves and outgrows a city, creating a Rust Belt, e.g., the troubled Chicago and Detroit? Buffalo used to be the second biggest and liveliest city in the nation, back In the days of the Eire Canal. Not any longer. What could be done? In South Africa, Johannesburg used to be a thriving mining town—until the ores played out. The city was dying. The desperate city fathers cast about for a solution. Lucky for them, geonomics was current a century ago. So they shifted their property tax off buildings, onto locations, set the rate at a market amount so it did not gouge anybody, and "the rest was history”; landowners and investors redeveloped the city, converting the mining town into a financial capital. Any American Rust Belt city could do likewise.

What do we do instead? Because people think jobs are a good thing, politicians exempted Intel from paying the community for their campus (from the property tax). Did politicians exempt the young newcomers? Of course not. So young adults pile six, eight, ten into a house. But it’s partly their fault since they’re content to remain ignorant of geonomics and merely complain about high rents and evil Intels.

“Creating jobs” is never an excuse for any political favoritism. Jobs are not a boon but a bane. We do not exist to serve the economy. The economy exists to serve us.

“Creating jobs” is never an excuse for any political favoritism. Jobs are not a boon but a bane. We do not exist to serve the economy. The economy exists to serve us.

Life is a miracle, and it should not be wasted, nine to five, doing quasi-slavery. In a just economy—one of zero taxes and subsidies and merely the sharing of rents—how long would be the workweek? It’d be a work weekend, probably two days a week, with no loss in standard of living.

Indeed, there’d be a gain. People could become more fully human, with the time to know and enjoy themselves, friends, family, community, nature, sports, arts, science, etc. Life would have meaning again.

Life is a miracle, and it should not be wasted, nine to five, doing quasi-slavery. In a just economy—one of zero taxes and subsidies and merely the sharing of rents—how long would be the workweek?

Predistribution is sharing the worth of Earth before any elite or state has a chance to capture society’s spending for the nature it uses.

© Text Copyright Jeffery J. Smith rights reserved.
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