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Inquiring Minds

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“The Case for ‘Universal Property’”

Unfortunately, the current path of commerce that we tread resembles more a march to self-destruction than it does a “restorative economy.” While the problems that confront us are myriad, there are a few standouts: population, resource scarcity, and environmental degradation. And yet, the capitalist reliance on perpetual growth is not only unshaken, it is gaining ground. Large corporations are seeing their salvation in new global markets, which are eager to participate in the grand success story of Western materialism. Some continue to believe that technology and human invention will find new creative ways for us to extend our consumption beyond today’s “income” without running up against scarcity. The flaw of that reasoning is revealed in rephrasing it: if we can keep finding new ways to borrow from the future, we’ll never have to pay the bill. Sounds a lot like the Federal approach to budgeting, doesn’t it?

The “tragedy of the commons” is that the less direct ownership a resource has, the more it will be exploited and the less it will be properly cared for. When extracting wealth without regard for environmental and social costs is rewarded, the burden of restoration is left to the state, which usually becomes more an exercise of damage mitigation in a degraded environment than true restoration.

The “World Inequality Report” of 2018 states that “economic inequality is widespread and to some extent inevitable,” but that the scale of inequality as it has evolved in many countries is not inevitable. More important is the implication of the existing trends: “If rising inequality is not properly monitored and addressed,” the report says, “it can lead to various sorts of political, economic, and social catastrophes.”

The case for ‘Universal Property’ proposed by Henry George in the 19th century is an economic philosophy holding that the economic value derived from land, including natural resources and natural opportunities, should belong equally to all residents of a community, but that people own the value that they create themselves. The Georgist paradigm offers solutions to social and ecological problems, relying on principles of land rights and public finance which attempt to integrate economic efficiency with social justice.

How would such a social / economic policy work? Start with Rami’s Blog for some details . . .

More suggested resources

Here’s a short youtube video on the subject
Georgism 101 –  [6:37]

The Case for ‘Universal Property’
An idea pioneered by Alaska could inoculate society against extreme inequality
By James K. Boyce on November 28, 2020

What is Georgism?
Brendan McGuigan – Last Modified Date: April 05, 2022

Why we need land tax, explained by Monopoly
Most people know the game Monopoly. But few are aware Monopoly was inspired by political economist Henry George’s warning against a dystopic society where land, water and minerals are owned by the dominant few.



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