Friday, July 15, 2011

This is how we got here ma’am

Land Rent - the Genesis of the British Class System

Land rent is one of several sources of unearned wealth that bestow privileges on a minority of citizens while biasing the economy against the interests of the majority.

Posted by neo-serf @ 05:09 PM (3523 views)
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49 thoughts on “This is how we got here ma’am

  • I thought Fred Harrison was the renegade economist?

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  • “one of several sources” – What other types of unearned wealth are there?

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  • The issues are too big and too broad for one man to be the Renegade Economist – this is now about engaging a young audience to take these messages forward.

    All contributions to the Renegade Economist site will be gratefully received – the guys on here are five minutes ahead and we want to help get that thinking into the world.

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  • @drewster — Mark Braund will discuss other types of unearned wealth over the next ten weeks…

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  • Aha, found it on the same website:

    First, we will look at land rent: the wealth derived by landowners not as a result of their labour effort, but from the collective efforts of wider society. Then, wealth derived from speculative investments that have no connection with the real economy. Next, interest; wealth derived by charging for the use of money, and the wider problems caused by the way money is issued. Then, the complex problem of profit: where it comes from, and the uses, legitimate and illegitimate, to which it can be put. Finally, inheritance, and the issue of genetic advantage, and what George Bernard Shaw termed the ‘rent of ability’.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    “land rent: the wealth derived by landowners not as a result of their labour effort, but from the collective efforts of wider society.”

    Correct. But the Homeys and Faux Libs then squeal “It’s moi laarnd and Oi’ve paid for it. If you are going to tax moi assets, are you going to tax moi car and pointings as well?”

    Answer; “No – of course not, your car or your paintings weren’t created by the collective efforts of society, were they?”

    Homey/Faux Lib “Yeah, but you’re still a bloody Communist”.
    ————————————-
    What’s wrong with speculative gains – most of the losses are borne by other speculators, so what?

    What’s wrong with interest? If we didn’t have it, then nobody would lend money – it is true that banks have a privileged position and can make an interest margin of 2% in their sleep. This is a kind of unearned rental income and can be dealt with quite easily with a 2% bank asset tax (instead of corporation tax).

    Profits are not an issue, mostly earned fair and square (monopoly profits can be dealt with via higher taxes e.g. on copyright and patent income or by not allowing them to arise in the first place by e.g. setting maximum prices for electricity), although employee-owned partnerships are probably a better way of running a lot of businesses, but they reach a certain maximum size or capital requirement where only quoted plc’s will do.

    Nothing wrong with inheritance (financial genetic or otherwise), I just don’t see any objections to that, what’s wrong with doing the best for your children?

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  • Oh yawn.. – twenty years after the misery of communism finally died its inevitable death, we get a new generation of starry-eyed idiots who havn’t the nouse to work out why it failed before..

    Drewster: ‘unearned income’ is a favourite and long-standing rallying cry of left wing politicians trying to impress the less educated electorate.

    The bedrock of investment principals is that money goes to money. Grumble about it if you like, but no-one has ever come up with a better system of oiling an economy that works..

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  • uncle tom, I’m no advocate of communism, but isn’t it a bit arrogant to be an advocate of the so called free market capitalism we supposedly enjoy with its speculative boom and consequent busts which cause misery to very many people. I suppose you could argue that the less fortunate have only themselves to blame for allowing such a loaded dice game to be played at their expense. Capitalism
    is a loaded dice game and you have to be extraordinarily sharp or well connected to play it. BTW petrol is going up again after having dropped a massive 2p in my area.

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  • Oh Yawn, Uncle Tom, this has nothing to do with communism and we all know it. Logically, private and exclusive ownership of land can’t exist within free-market capitalism. Exchange of labour cannot be free when one man must work for another in order to eat. No free market in labour, no free market.
    The crony/corporatist capitalism you talk of suits you and your previously stated aims to become a landlord and so you support it, let’s not pretend otherwise.

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  • clockslinger says:

    UT @ 7, maybe these people aren’t so disenchanted by communism because they understand Marx well enough not to equate either the Soviet Union or China with communism. Neither society ever became capitalist, both passed from almost feudal conditions to dictatorship and both were transformed from non industrial to industrial economies in incredibly brief period. Marx envisaged capitalism “evolving” into advanced capitalism and into communism when its internal contradictions became unsustainable.

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  • Flashman, I’ll explain my thinking – ownership of property is established by producing something, or paying the producer. Therefore no-one can claim to ‘own’ land. The idea is one that must be enforced by threat of violence. If all land is privately ‘owned’, then a man cannot provide for himself from the land – he therefore must labour for others in order to eat. Clearly this can’t be a free exchange of labour and where there is no free exchange, there can be no free market. A free market is simply one where a person can refuse any offer given to them. This can’t happen if one must work for another to survive.
    The solution is one where a landowner compensates the wider community for the use of the land. This could be LVT or an entirely private arrangement.
    Perhaps you could explain the ‘insanity and nonsense’ in this position, or indeed how it is communist, or how it would need to be enforced?
    Ironically, considering your post, private land ownership without compensation must be enforced by the threat of violence by the state – it couldn’t exist otherwise as people can roam wherever they want on the earth.
    I’ve expressed these views on property ownership and the free market a number of times, so the fact that you’re trying to paint me as a communist is ridiculous.
    You make a lot of claims about my views in your post, can you justify them?

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  • Flashman – well said sir..

    Clockslinger – Karl Marx was (I think) well intentioned and his theories have inspired many; but his ideals have been tried and they have failed – and failed very badly. Trying to argue that ‘yes, but we’ll get it right next time’ won’t inspire many with confidence.

    Quiet guy – interesting clip, not least because Farage seemed to be quite warmly received. Everything he predicted is coming to pass.

    MW – Where you stand politically is a mystery to me, and I’m not sure you really know yourself. However, I take issue with your ignorant and offensive language – your comment has been reported.

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  • Shipbuilder – well said. labelling someone a communist and failing to back it up the label with a reasoned arguement is a cheap shot.

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  • shipbuilder,

    Your theories make arduous reading!

    Let’s start with the first sentence:

    “ownership of property is established by producing something, or paying the producer”

    How do you work that out? Ownership of land entails being the legally recognised custodian – no payment or production is demanded. If you own a gold coin, it also makes nothing and pays nothing, but it belongs to you…

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  • paranoia blue says:

    LOL Blouses “blowin’ in the wind”

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  • UT, the bit you’ve quoted is nothing more than a widely held view of the moral aspect of ‘ownership’, hardly some radical theory I have dreamed up. It has been discussed extensively by any amount of economists and philosophers. It does not need a legal construct to justify it. With respect to your example, money is a medium of exchange and so isn’t really ‘owned’ by anyone.

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  • clockslinger says:

    Shipbuilder @ 15, sounds like you are familiar with John Ruskin, an extraordinary figure. The idea that “there is no wealth but life” goes a lot further than your suggested “compensation”, however. The fact that he is so studiously ignored is an indication of how dangerous his ideas still are. Those who quote Mill and Adam Smith seem to strangely ignore this genius, who does a pretty good critique of both…very odd/convenient.

    UT @ 16, exactly the point; in fact it really has not been tried before! If you know of any advanced industrialised capitalist ecomomy that has undergone a revolution / evolved into a communist economic system let me know, but I can’t think of one and I believe we would all have noticed. However (just for a bit of balance as far as the command economy is concerned) it has always struck me as quite amazing that the USSR, despite the famine resulting from Stalins mad rush to collectivise agriculture, progressed from being a largely peasant economy to a state that could put a man into space before America. It took a command economy twenty five years to make this much progress. Not bad for any economic system from a standing start, particularly one in a country run by a psycopath and which had to see off the worlds best military machine at the same time. Even more incredible is how this is ignored when we have our little “capitalism is the only way” spats. WTFDIK? But lets get the whole picture.

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  • Its the same argument on the forum as well. Someone mentioned social housing and two posts later they were being called a communist, social housing was called the soviet model etc etc. Its so tedious, the Murdoch response, as t’were. No wonder this place has a reputation for being full of ranting Daily Mail readers.

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  • Clockslinger, I think it was someone on this forum a while back who recommended I read ‘Unto this Last’. More recently and from roughly the same school of thought you should read ‘Small is beautiful’ by E.F. Schumacher.
    The compensation I mentioned is merely an expression of the fact that land cannot be ‘owned’ without the consent of others – it could take many forms and to be honest, the principle rather than the mechanics are what I’m most interested in.

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  • shipbuilder: Of course you’re a communist. If someone buys something fair and square, then they own it outright and you jolly well can’t cadge any part of it for free. The reason you’d have to violently enforce anything other than this intuitive status quo is because the right minded people of any free county wouldn’t have it any other way. Your constant refrain is that you want some sort of justice for the people but it’s time you accepted that the people would rather pelt you with rotten fruit than accept your brand of discredited communist ‘justice’. The vast majority of people would consider your ideas to be an evil infringement of their rights and in a fantasy world where you were a genuine threat, they’d fight to resist them.

    “ownership of property is established by producing something, or paying the producer. Therefore no-one can claim to ‘own’ land”

    Why don’t you just chant “property is theft” and be done with it. Do you not realise how ridiculous your above comment sounds to the vast majority of the free world population? I bought the poxy little bit of land my house sits on and you can bog off if you think that you’re entitled to so much as a blade of my grass. If the people could be bothered to give you the time of day they tell you to keep your greedy covetous eyes of their hard earned stuff and to go buy your own stuff. This is precisely why you’d have to enforce your version of “justice “ with an army. By all means be a 60s campus style communist but at least stand tall and admit it

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  • fubar: Congratulations on being the first person to pull the ‘Daily Mail Reader’ card. The old ones are the best. Allow me to counter with “Champagne Socialist” and raise you with “Islington set”. Clichés r us.

    If you don’t approve of communism it doesn’t make you a Nazi or a Mail reader. There’s just no sense to the accusation. I can’t be bothered with politics but I instinctively disapprove of any excitable un-British types be they left, right or anything else that interferes with us drinking our pints in peace

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  • Well done flashman – everyone else seems to ON something today…

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  • I guess if we’re in a congratulatory kind of a mood we should start with UT for pulling the communism card @ 7.

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  • Flashman, ownership of land needs to be enforced by the state, so clearly it is in no way natural. This is the entire crux of your argument and it falls flat on its face.
    Think of two scenarios involving a plot of land and group of people – in one, the group agree to split the land up and use it amongst themselves. In another, one or two people stick a fence around the land, claim ownership and tell the rest they want to be paid for it. Which is more likely to involve jackboots and armies? Your argument involves nothing more substantial than repeating that I’m a communist and wrong – you haven’t presented any counter logic and you haven’t answered any of my other points on the free market.
    As I’ve stated, my point on the moral basis ownership of property is widely acknowledged – libertarians and others extend it to land, whereas others such as socialists, anarchists and Georgists, don’t, they claim land must be treated seperately. It’s all there in the writings of Adam Smith, John Locke, Murray Rothbard, Henry George and so on, so your ‘property is theft’ jibe is simply weak.
    I’m sure you can do better than simply repeating the same hollow appeals to authority and jibes about communism.

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  • And just to clear things up, the definition of communism involves abolition of all forms of private property.
    My view is that private ownership of property is defined by producing something, or paying the producer a price for it.
    Just to clear up any confusion that may be perpetuated in any further posts.

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  • OK, I’ll relent and answer your lead point.

    “Flashman, ownership of land needs to be enforced by the state, so clearly it is in no way natural. This is the entire crux of your argument and it falls flat on its face”

    You make a very poor point. Did you think it through? It’s enforced by the state because the people ask for it to be enforced by the state. In the free world we vote for laws or governments that make laws and we have a police force to stop criminals or undemocratic thugs from breaking our laws. You are entitled to vote for, campaign for, or wish for, any changes to our laws but if you are in the minority (a very tiny one in your case), then you will have to respect the majority opinion. Democracy is a beautiful thing but it unfortunately needs to be constantly protected from creatures who think they know better than the people. There is no hope for anyone who doesn’t understand the difference between enforcement of the will of the people and enforcement against the will of the people

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Shipbuilder said (quite reasonably): “”ownership of property is established by producing something, or paying the producer”

    UT asks: “How do you work that out? Ownership of land entails being the legally recognised custodian – no payment or production is demanded. If you own a gold coin, it also makes nothing and pays nothing, but it belongs to you…”

    1. What do gold coins have to do with it? Somebody produces the gold coin and you obtain ownership by paying the producer. That fits in entirely with Shipbuilder’s position. Gold is not land. Neither are cars, paintings or lawn mowers. Land values are the only values which arise purely as a result of actions of ‘the community”. Gold coins, cars etc do not appear out of thin air or at the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen.

    2. “Ownership of land entails being the legally recognised custodian”, in other words, it requires the force of the state to back it up, which is also what Shipbuilder said at comment 15.

    3. “no payment or production is demanded.” Agreed, under current rules on most countries, the government demands very little in payment in return from the current owner (apart from Domestic Rates, Business Rates, Council Tax and their equivalents in other countries).

    4. But the point is, thanks to their state protected, heavily subsidised and lightly taxed privilege, the current owner of land can demand payments from others who wish to occupy it, which might be quite modest in the case of forests or grouse moor in Scotland, all the way up to £500 per square foot per year on Bond Street in London.

    To sum up, the Land Value Taxers say it is perfectly reasonable for the current owner or occupant of any bit of land to pay the government for the value of what he is getting in terms of legal protection, backed up with force of the state. Similarly, it is quite unreasonable for the government to demand a proportion of people’s earned income or profits (i.e. where individuals are creating value with their own efforts), so income tax, VAT etc should be abolished.

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  • Flashman, the reason why you need to drop the discredited communist nonsense is because it’s clouded the rest of your thinking.
    ‘Any normal person would say that they own something if they bought it’. Well, yes, as per my definition of property. The original producer establishes ownership of something by making or transforming something with their labour – it’s then transferred in the free market to others.
    The idea about something being part owned by a gibbering communist is entirely your own cartoon fabrication and fits with no definition of communism – I even provided the definition for you. You really didn’t think about what I’d said other than how it fitted in with your ‘communism’, did you?
    This definition is what serparates land from other property – you can grow crops and sell them, make furniture and sell it, but you can’t make land, so it’s not yours to sell. As I said, it’s an easily and widely understood definition of property rights.
    You’re repeated appeals to what ‘everyone’ would say about my property definition and your extremist jibes are petty and irrelevant. Just stick to the facts and logic.

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  • Flashman, regarding your second post, a bit of history regarding enclosure laws, Highland clearances and so on explains the origin of your property laws, their purpose and how land was held in common before they were introduced – held in common being an arrangement that required no law – and hence why they need enforced by the state now.
    As per my scenario – agreement amongst the community about use of land requires no law, for a minority to fence off land and demand payment or labour requires the threat of violence.
    The evidence of my thinking and logic is clear in all my posts so far – you haven’t yet tackled any of it directly, instead preferring to call me names and invent what others might say about (your flawed interpretation of) my ideas. Let’s establish the logic of our positions first before we start speculating on what others might think of them.

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  • Have a look at Wikipedia under ‘labour theory of property’. It’s all there.

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  • flashman: “Any normal person would say that they own something if they bought it or get given it for their birthday. We object to some crazy communist gibbering on about us having to produce something to avoid it being (conveniently) part owned by the gibbering communist”

    The problem with that argument (aside from the childish use of the word communist) is that it’s overly simplistic drivel.

    If someone steals your DVD player, I don’t own it, irrespective of the fact that I may have bought it from someone or been given it for my birthday.

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  • Michael Hudson on Economic Rent

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  • Clockslinger, I disagree that my definition would be unwelcome and for two reasons – firstly, Flashman’s reading of my definition was incorrect. Of course, his interpretation of my definition would indeed be unwelcome.
    Secondly, what follows from the idea that no-one has natural ownership rights over land is that the community must agree on who gets to use the land – either ‘ownership’ could be split up amongst individuals, or the community could agree that only a few could ‘own’ it. However why would they agree to give up access to land without payment? After all, the land is the source of their food and water. Hence my ‘compensation’ mentioned earlier.
    As to the status quo, it could be argued that the welfare state is currently the form of compensation given to those who cannot provide for themselves from nature and Unions are there to rebalance the distortion of association of labour resulting of the landless being forced to work for the landed in order to eat.

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  • shipbuilder: You are failing to understand that I am presenting you with the democratic majority opinion and in doing so, I am demonstrating the absolute futility of your stance. Your position is an extreme outlier that is considered to be borderline repulsive by the bulk of the electorate. If the majority find your opinions to be repulsive, then they are repulsive. The world has no other viable system of reality. Just in case you have forgotten, I’d also better tell you that the democratic majority would consider your opinions to be communist. We are all entitled to hold any opinion we want but it is quite arrogant of you to think you know better than the people. As far as the people are concerned, they own something outright and forever, if they paid for it. Nothing will persuade them that you are entitled to a portion of it, in whatever form. It’s no use ranting on about the state giving us protection and building roads etc. We already pay for the state in a variety of ways and in a democratic country, the people ARE the state. The UK is, relatively speaking, one of the fairest and freest countries on this earth. The people of Britain are responsible for this state of affairs and you really ought to wise up and give more consideration to the beliefs of the people that created a country that half the world would flee to, given the chance. I have no doubt that you mean well but you have to understand that any system devised by you (or any of the other excitable chaps ranting about guillotines and Nazis), that runs wildly against the values of the well proven British people, is likely to cause ruin and misery. Riding roughshod over the beliefs and values of a population never plays well in the end and that is precisely what you would have to do to impose your beliefs. Unless you have a jack-booted army at your disposal, I suggest you take up a more productive hobby because it’ll be a cold day in hell before the British people want any part of your property beliefs

    clockslinger: I’m sure you’d be the first to admit that you are a committed lefty? Absolutely nothing wrong in that but in a debate between Forest Gump and Stephen Hawkins, you’d always award the win to Gump, as long as he was wearing a red T-shirt.

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  • “defend your lawns, defend your lawns from the tyrany of the proles!”

    This chap couldn’t have made my point better. It’s the “proles” who’d be the first to defend their lawns and the “proles” would be the first to punch someone in the face for having the cheek to call them “proles”.

    It’s not the “elitists” who would fight against what’s being proposed here, it’s absolutely everyone. Fortunately there’ll be no need to fight because this is the fantasy of a tiny unrepresentative minority

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  • clockslinger: my post at 40 probably makes it clear why I am addressing this debate in the way that I am. However just in case, let me make it clear. I am limiting my involvement here to pointing out that there is a turd on the sofa and I absolutely refuse to discuss the turd’s shade of brown. Shipbuilder has made it clear in the past that he believes that this stuff will inevitably be adopted. I only wanted to address what I consider to be this considerable delusion (couldn’t think of a nicer word). I like shipbuilder but I am so amazed by this little piece of magnificent naivety and I wanted to find out more.

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  • clockslinger says:

    Oh Flash, come on now! I wouldn’t dispute that I am an “extremist” leftie. Now, it might well be that one arrives at that position by sheer prejudice and envy (the ususal slur) or it might be one comes to that view through life experience, deliberation and study. Whatever you may think of that position, my comment on the debate between Shipbuilder and yourself seems perfectly reasonable and your comment is unfounded. Further, the “bulk of the electorate” don’t get to vote on matters of any significance, nor it is eliteist to say that the bulk of the electorate are grossly influenced in how they form their views by what they read, view and discuss…just like me and you…except the “bulk of the electorate”, who I have no doubt are at least as bright as me, are probably far more widely read in works such as Hello, Now, The Sun and Interiors Magazine, and form their views accordingly.
    The bulk of the electorate have pretty much given away their welfare state “lawn” to the rich. Don’t think they really know whether that was raelly in their best interests yet, somehow.
    Land tax reform could, I would argue, be made electorally quite palatable depending on how the story was told, what other taxes would be abolished as a result and whether the “equity” of the reform and resulting benefits were made clear to those who think their tiny lawn may be under threat. That process won’t be greatly assisted by referring to it’s advocates as Commies or Lefties. It isn’t sufficient to dismiss a reasoned argument simply by implying the person espousing it is the holder of cliched views.

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  • It’s the “proles” who’d be the first to defend their lawns and the “proles” would be the first to punch someone in the face for having the cheek to call them “proles”.

    No we wouldn’t. Most Proles wouldn’t recognise the term,and those that did would likely be proud of it. Patrony is far more likely to earn you a smack in the mouth & I’m surprised that somebody so obviously in tune with what the Working Class people of this Country would or would not like, that you don’t already know this.

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  • Flashman, now we’ve hopefully got to an understanding of my position. The logical conclusion of your point of view is that there would be no point to democracy or political parties, as there would be no point in challenging the status quo or suggesting change.
    Current property laws have existed for a fraction of the UK’s history and are young enough for families to still recall when land was stolen from their ancestors’ communities and they were suddenly charged rent under the threat of violence, so I would suggest that it is arrogant of you to presume to talk for the people of Britain and Britain’s traditions.
    I have done nothing more than set out the logic and moral side of land ownership. My assertion is that any political system that does not reflect natural justices is doomed to failure. Hence when you consider the scenarios I have twice laid out, it is clear which is the more natural form of land ‘ownership’.
    As to your idea that I’m a communist because people might say I am, I’m sure if I claimed that every worker in the City was a thief and spiv because the majority believed it, you might rightly take issue with that and claim that they were simply wrong about the facts (as you have indeed done on this blog in the past).

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  • Flashman, in addition, your constant references to people’s lawns and houses are something of a straw man. Communities throughout history have been perfectly able to sort out space for people’s living spaces and houses without resorting to laws. Indeed, they did defend their rights to the common land, but to no avail and now we have the majority of the UK’s land controlled by a small amount of people.
    I would suggest that people’s view on the tens of thousands of hectares of land held by various Lards and Dukes and so on is quite different from your ‘turd on the sofa’.
    We’re all here on this forum because of the injustices that the minority who control land in this country have set in law.

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  • I recommend ‘Soil and Soul’ by Alastair McIntosh, a fantastic book on the subject of a community’s struggle for ownership of their land, for anyone interested.

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  • Flashman, if you haven’t looked seriously at my position, I have to say, it’s your loss. It’s a well-worn groove of debate amongst the economists and philosophers I mentioned in an earlier post, nothing like the extremist outlier you keep mentioning and certainly not communism, shared as it is by some libertarians, socialists and several shades of anarchists, as well as MW and several others on here. If I recall you identified yourself as an anarcho-capitalist a while back, so why you haven’t come across this before is a mystery to me – Murray Rothbard addresses Georgism in an essay easily found online that covers the whole subject.
    As for the view of others, well I’ve shown that the current view of property ownership is in fact the outlier in historical terms – have a look at the book I mentioned – an inspiring read. I’m not going to judge what others may think – we’ll see.
    You’re quite right in that I have no bitterness – my life couldn’t be better at the moment – but there is nothing unusual in reaching my position other than considering the logic and morals of property ownership and where the line of logic leads to.
    I have to say that your refusal to engage in a debate on the logic of property ownership is disappointing, but as I say, your loss in my opinion.

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  • Johnathan Pearce says:

    Mark Wadsworth writes:

    “Gold is not land. Neither are cars, paintings or lawn mowers. Land values are the only values which arise purely as a result of actions of ‘the community”. Gold coins, cars etc do not appear out of thin air or at the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen.”

    No, a coin, or car, or whatever, has to be made out of the stuff of nature. But like land prices, gold prices are affected by the behaviour of the totality of Mankind, in that people’s fears about inflation, for example, can drive up the price of gold coins, and hence drive demand for mines, and digging equipment, and smelting plants, just as demand for certain types of land in certain places drives up prices of said, encouraging buildings of a certain type, and so on.

    One of the many fallacies of Georgism is that there can be a distinction between movable and immovable goods when it comes to the forces that drive their values. Ultimately, what drives the price of anything are marginal buyers and sellers.

    Fl

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  • Flashman, in reality I know nothing about anyone else on here and have no reason to believe you more than others, with everyone’s knowledge and experience being entirely self-proclaimed. However I’m not really interested in the characters behind the posts, just the debate.
    I’ll take your first paragraph as a bit of patronising fluff because you know little about me, I know little about you, you refused to debate and with no previous demonstration of your knowledge on the subject that I can recall, your expertise remains a mystery. Having said that, I personally wear no mask on here and have nothing to hide, of course you’ll have to take my word for that.
    As for others, I don’t really care for their motivations, people are entitled to their opinions. I’m not a politician, so my interest in these subjects is entirely philosophical. I’m here in an intellectual capacity – to learn and debate – I’m more interested in testing my own opinions than being popular, which is why your refusal to debate the logic of my position is disappointing.
    As you say, we’ve had some interesting discussions in the past, but whether you bother in the future is your own matter, have a good evening.

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  • shippy, I am not impressed by your claim to not know anything about anyone on this blog. You have interacted with other posters several hundred times and if you have learned or intuited nothing of them, then you are either narcissistically indifferent to them or just plain lacking in insight. If you were truly indifferent to our fellow posters then any post you made could reasonably be accused of being in the spirit of monologue rather than dialogue. I am quite confident that I do know something of you. You are some sort of engineer with a passion for left wing theory. Almost everyone here is capable of discerning the genuine articles from the hobbyists or bluffers. It’s really just down to the difference between those who can, on request, provide useful technical information and explanation and those who who can only provide superficial theory. Even my greatest detractors readily acknowledge that I have (on hundreds of occasions) provided in depth economic and financial information, when requested by other posters. It reflects badly on you if you are incapable of discerning or noticing expertise in your fellow posters. I enjoy chating with you because you are an interesting and clever chap but no one ever asks you for technical information or explanation because it is quite obvious that you do not have any. If this were an engineering blog then someone as bright as you would undoubtedly be one of the go to posters and I would be just a hobbyist or bluffer. Your contribution is of a high caliber and I enjoy it but it is not ‘expert’.

    Of course it’s just a posture when you say that you don’t know anything of your fellow posters. When it suits you, you claim to know plenty about them. You opened your account in this debate with a knee jerk personal attack on uc where you unfairly accused him of preferring crony/corporatist blah blah for selfish purposes. You then contradicted this claimed insight by closing your account with “I know nothing about anyone else on here”. uc said nothing that could remotely warrant your crony/corporatist insult but it is quite obvious that you knee jerked against his use of the word communist an his dismissal of a left wing theory. If you haven’t already worked it out, it was your politically inspired waspish behaviour toward him that influenced my refusal to engage you on the subject. I have a natural bias against anyone over 30 who is still strongly inclined towards a defined political persuasion because I really can’t understand how a rational adult could still be an avowed righty or lefty, once they’ve experienced life for any length of time. The only explanation I can think of for an extreme political bias that outlives adolescence, is some sort of formative damage. As any debate with the victim of formative damage is likely to be frustratingly limited, I try to avoid it/them. I am aware that I shouldn’t be so contemptuous of the posters who are defined and limited by a very narrow field of obsession because I don’t suppose most of them have a choice in the matter. I don’t usually remotely see you in this light but on this occasion, you closely aligned yourself with some of this sites biggest loons.

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  • Flashman, I know nothing of people on here beyond what they claim, which of course on an internet forum could easily be made up without evidence. You’re quite right in that I don’t get involved in technical discussions about economics because I have no interest or depth of knowledge, while clearly there is no reason to doubt your financial knowledge or career.
    However on this occasion the subject is not economics, but the philosophical nature of property ownership. Whilst I’ve never claimed to be an expert, it’s a pretty simple area, although widely discussed. When presented with on of the theories on the nature of property, the labour theory, a widely held view of how property rights originate, not only did you not recognise it, you misinterpreted it and then went on to call it extreme and communist. You continue to call it extreme and have refused to debate it. Therefore I conclude that on this occasion you’re bluffing.
    While my interpretation of the theory, that land cannot be owned, is undoubtedly from the ‘left’, historically it is far from unusual and indeed today common land still exists. You’ll no doubt still continue to paint me as an extremist, so be it. I’ll leave the discussion there.

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  • ship: Of course I recognised it and understood it. You can’t actually believe that someone like me hasn’t come across it, so I’ll have to conclude that you are trying to pick a fight in retaliation for some of my sharper comments. I have in fact previously dissected it in detail on this blog and once gave a long explanation of how it was academically reviewed and largely empirically disproved at the time of its creation. I quoted the main bodies of work and the authors. It is actually far more of an economic theory than it is ‘philosophy’ and you should realise that ALL economics graduates will have formally studied it. Each time I have previously engaged on the topic, the offensive crazies came out to play, so I decided to either ignore the subject or treat it with contempt. Back in the day (and I’m sure in every ‘day’), some very reasonable students gave it serious consideration but they nearly all discard it in the end. In your field of work I am sure you will acknowledge that there is a deep difference between hobby study and formal study and experience. There is very little rigour or methodology to informal study. Hobbyists are very selective in their reading and they tend to ignore inconvenient information. Do a fair and balanced Google search on the subject using words like discredited/disproved or search for my previous posts on the subject. If you want to see what a bluffer looks like, there was one particular guy who transparently pretended to know all about the academic bodies of work that I quoted. It’s all very silly

    At the risk of further rancour, it is actually you who has misunderstood/missed my point. I couldn’t have made it clearer that I was only wanted to take issue with your inference and claim that it is a wildly held view and one that is potentially acceptable to the electorate. It is most definitely a minority view and it was partially discredited by academics and economists at the time of its creation. It is also most definitely repulsive to the bulk on the electorate. mw has made an extensive effort to spread the word but he been driven almost insane by the total rejection he has experienced from the vast majority. He has consequently realised and acknowledged that it will never be accepted. You are entitled to think otherwise but I’m afraid that I will think that you are terribly naive, if you do. If you hadn’t completely ignored my point or at least acknowledged it, I would have engaged (as long as the crazies didn’t get too excited).

    Anyway this has gone on long enough. You are a good egg so peace be with you.

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  • Flash, fair enough, I was being a bit mischeivous there, although I think we’re still a wee bit at cross purposes on this, but there you go, have a good day.

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  • Flash, out of interest I had a search on Google as you said. I can’t find your previous post that you mentioned on the subject, were you talking about the Labour Theory of Value, I noticed that you’d mentioned it a few times?

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