Sunday, January 25, 2009

What is the goal of (Landsharing, Geonomics, Land Value Taxation) ?

The purpose of shifting taxes from taxes on buildings, wages, sales, to a tax on land, is to give all people an equal share of the earth's land or the rental income from that.

One way to think of it is that there are two pies.
One pie consists of all the land in the world, in the sense of all natural opportunities, including land, air, water, radio spectrum. The land has a rental value. This rental value for land, for example, can be found out by seeing what someone is willing to pay for a given parcel of land. This is often done with long-term leases. Air has a social cost which is the cost to battle the effects of pollution of that air. This "pie" is a gift of God/Nature which belongs to everyone in the world. If someone uses more than their share, they are indebted to the rest of humankind for that use. If we collected all the rent in an area (precinct, city, county, country) and divided and distributed it to all the permanent residents of that area, that would satisfy that debt. One effect of this tax or land rent collection would be to encourage frugal use of land, leaving more for others and for Nature to rejuvenate itself and protect our environment. It also allows communities to set up parks and beaches for the recreation of all.

The other pie represents what humans produce. Examples would be a worker's labor, a doctor's services, the production and showing of a movie, food. This "pie" is due to the individual's or organization's efforts and should not be taxed or divided. It takes nothing away from the common good. It does not need to be taxed. This encourages all people to work efficiently.

The folly of Socialism and Communism is that they try to divide both pies, taking away incentive to work. To the extent that democratic governments tax wages, buildings, and other work, they also destroy incentive to work. To the extent that governments leave land untaxed, they encourage land speculation and they encourage attempts to acquire more land than we need, leaving less for those who need it.

This does not have to be done in the whole world or entire country at once. Many cities in this country and others have instituted a two-tier real estate tax, whereby land is taxed at a higher rate than buildings. Examples are Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Sydney, Australia. The result has been an increase in economic activity and the presence of more affordable housing. See:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Social Cost

One of the concepts that we need to understand is that of social cost, that is the cost of certain activities that is born not born by the person doing the activity, but by the public in general, particularly the public in the area where the activity take place. An example of this would be the cost of pollution, which is often not born by the polluter, but by those who live in the area, especially people who are most exposed to the pollution.

One way to discourage this is by shifting taxes from being based on what people earn, spend, or have, to being based on what we pollute. Sometimes these are called green taxes, Pigovian; an example would be a carbon tax.

A land tax is an example of a green tax. It discourages buying land only for speculative purposes, since those who don't use it by building on it, or employing people one it, would have to pay more tax that what they do now. That means that taxes could be lowered on those who do use the land by building and/or employing. Land tax is also green because it encourages frugal use of land, resulting in compact growth, which means that more trips are walkable, bike-able, or would require shorter driving or transit trips.

Some other sites which advocate for Land Value Tax rather than Tax on Work are:

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Since we are somewhere in a recession, maybe the beginning, maybe the middle, maybe the end, it's important that we try to find out what is going wrong. Most people say it's the lack of regulation of the banking and financial markets that have allowed a few to profit at the expense of the many.

I believe that the problem is that we don't differentiate between the wealth that we've earned (the fruits of our work) and the wealth that God/Nature has given us as a society.

Some others have done a lot of work in this regard and you can find their efforts online at:

We know that if something is taxed, it will be reduced: if we tax beer, beer sales will go down. In the same way if we tax work, wages and employment will go down.

If we tax land, the amount of land does not go down, but the demand for it will go down, because only those who want to use it will buy it, land speculators will not want it. If that happens, the purchase price of land will go down, by the law of supply and demand. The purchase price goes down because speculators (those who believe they can profit from the ride up the bubble) don't bid up the price so high.
This makes housing more affordable.
Untaxing work means that workers' wages are higher and that employers are motivated to create more jobs.

(to be continued)