Thursday, December 15, 2005

Extranational Property Corporation: Introduction

Lately, I've been exploring what are called Geo-Libertarian ideas. The basic idea is that, while all men are entitled to the fruits of their labor, natural resources, such as land, water rights, broadcast spectrum, rights-of-way, and so on, are not created by men, and as such cannot be considered to be owned absolutely by any individual. It is a good thing to allow individuals a monopoly over the use of a particular resource (plot of land, radio band, etc.) since the activities that result are very good. However, the benefits of this, under a system of absolute ownership, are concentrated in the hands of the landowners. The result is generally a system in which a small class of wealthy landowners dominate a much larger class of landless peasants and serfs.

The solution proposed is that the only legitimate tax is one which taxes the value of land (and other natural resources) before improvements. So if you own a plot of land with a house on it, you pay taxes on the value the plot would have if there were no house on it. If you own a farm, you pay taxes on the value of the land were the fields not cultivated, and your equipment not there. What do do with the tax is where Georgists divide. Some say distribute it right back to the people directly, others say use it to pay for services (treat it like any other tax).

While these ideas are neat, I have what I think would be an even better idea. It would be very difficult to implement on existing property, but as we're constantly discovering new natural resources that can be monopolized to the benefit of mankind in general, it would be pretty cool to establish a principle by which newly allocated property was subject to this new system, and old property could be added to the common pool voluntarily.

The concept is this: Where natural resource monopolies do not exist, all people live in the state all aboriginal peoples live: not filthy rich, but not dirt poor, either. The creation of natural resource monopolies results in many becoming better off than their ancestors, but many end up worse off, as well. Thus, we should decide that any *new* natural resource monopolies created (on resources, the value of which has either been only recently discovered, or is as yet undiscovered) will be part of a common pool. While the rules of this pool will be set up that nobody is deprived of previously established privelages without their consent, rent will be paid for the maintenance of said privelages.

To this end, I shall introduce the Extranational Property Corporation!


gsawyer said...

Isn't a Georgist tax based on the difference between the unimproved land value and the economic returns from operations on that land? And how would you determine the natural resource value.

Apparently there is some practice of a natural resources rent tax in Australia, applied to offshore oil drilling/exploration.

Tarvok said...

Though I'd love to go into the details of how the values would be determined (it's forming quite nicely in my mind), it's too long for a comment. Next week's post will describe a different entity than I stated(the Public Resources Corporation, a US based solution), and the following week, I'll put in the assessment method plan.

Sorry you have to wait so long, but I really want to get this ramble weekly. :)