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Author Topic: Georgism/Geoism and the Land Value Tax  (Read 11619 times)
Topazan
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December 10, 2012, 03:33:11 AM
 #1

We had a discussion about this before in 420's fair tax thread.  I decided to start a new thread specifically devoted to this topic.

I finally finished reading Progress and Poverty, and I'm even more convinced than I was before that geoism is completely compatible with libertarian moral views and necessary to create a truly just and free society.

George talked about the various forms on income secured through land ownership, which he described using the umbrella term "rent".  He argues that rent always tends towards the highest point the economy can sustain.  Unlike other goods, demand for land cannot be balanced out by increased production, so the price tends higher.  Whenever society becomes richer, whether through technology, population, infrastructure, etc, land value rises enough to absorb the extra value in rent, so that labor gets little-no benefit from the increased wealth.

The rewards of labor and capital comes from the value they add to the economy.  People can rightly claim ownership over these things, because people produce these things.  If I want to use a machine, it is completely reasonable to pay the creator a fair price, because if he didn't exist I couldn't have that particular machine at any price.  If I want to use land, well, if it weren't for the owner and those like him, I'd have it for free.  It's almost a form of extortion to have to pay him to not prevent me from using the land.

Keep in mind we aren't talking about the value of improvements such as buildings.  Some will object that even unimproved land gains value through human activity.  This is true.  However, it is not the activity of the owner.  Land gains value from the surrounding community.  Landholders collect revenue from surrounding businesses that they had nothing to do with.  This is not to say that landowning is a risk-free enterprise, but when they do make money it's at the expense of others.  Labor and business make their money by production of new goods, landowners simply leech off of them.

If you think about it, the tyranny of modern governments is based on control of land.  Most governments exert force within their borders and take relatively little interest in what happens outside.  Yet, "love it or leave it" is not an acceptable principle, because we need land to live on and live off of, and pretty much all of it is under the control some government or another.  Why is it acceptable for individuals to practice this level of control if not governments?

More than once in the other thread the objection of scale was brought up.  Private landowners do not generally control enough land to exert the kind of coercion that governments do.  There are at least three problems with this.  The first is that there is nothing, in theory, to prevent any individual from coming to possess as large a quantity of land as necessary.  The second is that while an individual landowner may not control that much, landowners as a class can literally control an entire country, and exert their collective will on the landless as a class.  The final problem is that pointing out that competition exists among landowners in no way justifies it on a moral basis.  If it is wrong for one person to own all the land, how can it be less wrong for several people to each own a part of it?

Then there's the fact that much land has not followed an unbroken chain of voluntary transactions from its rightful owner under the homestead principle to its current possessor.  People may object that these thefts happened long enough ago that they are irrelevant.  George discusses this issue in his book The Irish Land Question.  Basically, his point was that while stealing an object is a one time thing, robbery of land is an ongoing process.  The families who stole land centuries ago have collected rent ever since, and those from whom it was stolen have been obliged to pay.  While we might overlook the robbery that occurred far enough in the past, the robbery of land never stops.

So, I think that the land value tax is both morally and practically necessary.  While I believe in a free market of labor and capital, for an individual to claim ownership of land  is an act of aggression against others who need that land to live.  In order to gain exclusive possession, one must pay compensation to the community in the form of the land value tax, which may be divided up among the community.  It's a clean solution to historical injustice and it helps ensure that everyone will get to keep the value of their labor rather than losing it to rent.

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December 10, 2012, 02:45:51 PM
 #2

yeah, my words, libertarianism with land ownership is merely feudalism.

The problem with taxes is of course the question of power. Who is the executive that is allowed to collect those taxes? We want to decentralize everything after all. I'd also say a normal, modest home should not cost any taxes, I believe there is enough space for those. We should be able and free to live in a self-sufficient way after all like the Garbage Warrior. Only if someone claims excessive land ownership, there must be resistance, otherwise it would be like a cancer spreading in an organism.

I'm afraid this problem won't be solved in a satisfying way until we start colonizing the solar system anyway though. In fact issue this might be the very cause that will drive outer space colonization. It's evolution baby.

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Topazan
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December 10, 2012, 08:16:02 PM
Last edit: December 10, 2012, 08:26:31 PM by Topazan
 #3

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I would counter that after enough time has passed, one should be careful about giving nepotism too much weight. Why should people who, by a freak of nature just happen to be the descendants of someone who had his land stolen many years ago, become lucky winners in a genetic lottery?
I'm not saying we should track down the descendents of the original owners.  That would be almost impossible.  It's just an illustration of one of the problems of private ownership of land.

The Georgist perspective is that people who want to take land for their own use should pay rent (land value tax) to the community.  The money can either be used for public works, like you said, or simply redistributed as a citizen's dividend.  I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.  The original owners of the land were also wrong to hold it without paying the community.  Under this system,  everyone will be entitled to an equal share of the land's value, regardless of what happened in history.

The problem with most governments today is that even when they mean well, popular philosophies are tainted by Marxism.  They see wealth itself as evil, and make no distinction between wealth created through production, and wealth stolen through land rent.  People are happy to take from the wealthy because they're wealthy and give to the poor because they're poor, with no regard to right and justice.  They also forget that the wealthy have much more influence on the government than the poor, and never bother to question who really benefits when a new policy is made allegedly to help the poor.

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I'd also say a normal, modest home should not cost any taxes, I believe there is enough space for those. We should be able and free to live in a self-sufficient way after all like the Garbage Warrior. Only if someone claims excessive land ownership, there must be resistance, otherwise it would be like a cancer spreading in an organism.
It would have to depend on the demand for the land, not the quantity.  A normal, modest, home in the middle of nowhere would cost nothing or at least very little, a normal modest home in the heart of New York that's standing in the way of a skyscraper that will create thousands of jobs should be taxed accordingly.

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December 11, 2012, 02:02:55 AM
 #4

I definitely consider myself a geo-libertarian, especially in consideration the Enlightenment views of property as spelled out in Thomas Paine's Agrarian Justice.

While I believe there is room for public property, I think that a single tax on land would push governments toward privatization to increase revenues. Think about all the unused federal land that could be sold...

I am curios though, does Henry George indicate how the the values of the land are calculated? That is the most important criticism I have heard.

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December 11, 2012, 02:49:28 AM
 #5

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I am curios though, does Henry George indicate how the the values of the land are calculated? That is the most important criticism I have heard.
Agreed.  Unfortunately, he doesn't give a magic formula like I hoped he would, but he did point out that land value assessment is already done in the private sector, and that renters often do make expensive improvements even though they won't keep them forever.  There may not be a perfect solution, but if we could get "close enough", it would be a big improvement. 

I keep hoping to find some perfect, objective free market solution, but we may just have to rely on subjective assessments.  I've seen it pointed out that if land was over-valued, no one would rent it, and it would have to come down, so that's one balancing mechanism.  Again, it wouldn't be perfect.  There's still the possibility of corruption, but the corruption would be much more visible than it is in our current system.

In the other thread Fjordbit mentioned an auction system, where the purchaser of the land has to either come to an agreement with the owner of the improvements or compensate by "re-creating" the improvements elsewhere.  That seems incredibly impractical to me. 

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December 11, 2012, 03:13:31 AM
 #6

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I am curios though, does Henry George indicate how the the values of the land are calculated? That is the most important criticism I have heard.
Agreed.  Unfortunately, he doesn't give a magic formula like I hoped he would, but he did point out that land value assessment is already done in the private sector, and that renters often do make expensive improvements even though they won't keep them forever.  There may not be a perfect solution, but if we could get "close enough", it would be a big improvement. 

I keep hoping to find some perfect, objective free market solution, but we may just have to rely on subjective assessments.  I've seen it pointed out that if land was over-valued, no one would rent it, and it would have to come down, so that's one balancing mechanism.  Again, it wouldn't be perfect.  There's still the possibility of corruption, but the corruption would be much more visible than it is in our current system.

In the other thread Fjordbit mentioned an auction system, where the purchaser of the land has to either come to an agreement with the owner of the improvements or compensate by "re-creating" the improvements elsewhere.  That seems incredibly impractical to me. 

But for the value of the land year from year, how could value of land be determined when it is not currently for sale? People could claim that it's worth a million dollars with no intention of actually buying the land and then someone's taxes will go up. It seems the most fair thing would be a flat rate per area, which could also have benefits in increasing property distribution and thus the tax base but might have other stupid consequences. Would people give up ownership of their lawn just to pay lower taxes in such a system?

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December 11, 2012, 03:27:24 AM
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But for the value of the land year from year, how could value of land be determined when it is not currently for sale? People could claim that it's worth a million dollars with no intention of actually buying the land and then someone's taxes will go up. It seems the most fair thing would be a flat rate per area, which could also have benefits in increasing property distribution and thus the tax base but might have other stupid consequences.
Well, the difficult part is defining "area".  Certainly it would be unfair to assess one suburban house significantly more than its next door neighbor, and it would be readily apparent that something was wrong if that happens. 

Quote
Would people give up ownership of their lawn just to pay lower taxes in such a system?
Well, the value of the land is what they're willing to pay for it.  So, if they're not willing to give it up, the worth has not been exceeded.

I just reread one section where George talks about this.  He says that only relatively recent improvements should be excluded from value assessments.  "A swamp drained or a bill terraced by the Romans constitutes now as much a part of the natural advantages of the British Isles as though the work had been done by an earthquake or glacier."

That sounds reasonable to me.  What if, whenever we make an improvement to land, we report how much we spent on it, and that much is deducted from value assessments for as long as the same person holds the land?  That opens up the possibility of an auction based system.

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December 11, 2012, 04:00:37 AM
 #8

It seems the most fair thing would be a flat rate per area...

No, the most fair thing would be to not steal money and call it tax.

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December 11, 2012, 04:14:08 AM
 #9

@myrkul - You and I agree on more things than we disagree, and we had a good discussion in the other thread.  What's happened to you?  You've been so combative and non-constructive lately.  Maybe you need a break from this forum...

You should know by now that the moral position being discussed here holds that claiming natural resources as private property is theft.  This is what you need to refute if you want to convince anyone.

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December 11, 2012, 04:31:57 AM
 #10

You should know by now that the moral position being discussed here holds that claiming natural resources as private property is theft.  This is what you need to refute if you want to convince anyone.

Do I steal from you when I breathe? No?

But I'm taking from you the ability to breathe that specific air. There is, after all, only so much air on the planet. If not for the plants continually regenerating it, we'd all die in fairly short order. (Still waiting on Randall to do that What If?) What about when I take a drink of water? Am I stealing from you? Even more than air, the amount of drinkable water on the planet is limited. Yet when I breathe, or drink, I am taking that material into my own body, and certainly you cannot get more "private property" than ones' own corpus. And getting to that... you happen to be made of meat. Sweet, tender long-pork. Are you stealing from me by denying my right to eat that delicious meat?

I can't steal what was never yours, and you can't steal what was never mine. Claiming natural resources is not theft, no more than taking a drink of water is.

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December 11, 2012, 04:48:12 AM
 #11

Breathable air is not scarce at this time, and there is no reason to believe you are taking more than a reasonable share.  If, on the other hand, you declared, "The air is mine.  No one can breathe it without my permission.", then we would have a problem.  Would you allow someone to do this?  If a factory pollutes the air around my home until it's unbreathable, then I would absolutely feel justified in demanding compensation for using up all "my" air.

Are you claiming that water can't be stolen?  If we were lost in the desert, and I drank all the water in your canteen when you weren't looking, would you say that is not theft?  If I shoplift a bottle of evian, is that not theft?  And again, if someone poisons the local water supply, then they have certainly wronged the community that depends on it.

Aside from long pork, the only thing special about the resources you mentioned is that they're relatively abundant and sometimes free.  If they were scarce or if someone tried to claim private property over them, then these principles would indeed apply.

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December 11, 2012, 05:10:57 AM
 #12

Aside from long pork, the only thing special about the resources you mentioned is that they're relatively abundant and sometimes free.  If they were scarce or if someone tried to claim private property over them, then these principles would indeed apply.

You're saying that taking them into your body, where no one else has even the slightest possibility of using them is not claiming them as private property? If that's not your water, what's it doing in your body? And no, I'm not talking about a bottle of Evian, I'm talking about a drink from a stream or spring out in the wilderness. Just like land, air and water are scarce resources, relative abundance notwithstanding.

So, given that, should you be getting paid for every drink taken from every mountain stream? Are campers stealing from you this very instant? And if not, what is the difference between claiming a place to lay my head at night, and claiming a few moles of water to keep my metabolism chugging along?

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December 11, 2012, 05:26:04 AM
Last edit: December 11, 2012, 05:52:44 AM by Topazan
 #13

If it's in the middle of the wilderness and only drank by campers, and they only drank a few gulps, the demand for that quantity of that particular water approaches zero, and so the amount they owe is zero.

They can drink all they like, but if they want the legal authority to use force prevent to others from drinking as they please, that's when they have to pay.

Really, you talk about charging to drink from a stream as if it's absurd, but claiming the stream as private property gives one the authority to do just that.

EDIT: So, to answer your question, yes putting things in your body is claiming them as private property, but the value of what you put in your body is typically going to be trivial.  When I talked about claiming air or water as private property, I meant in the sense of claiming the atmosphere or a stream as your property.

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December 11, 2012, 06:04:05 AM
 #14

So, to answer your question, yes putting things in your body is claiming them as private property, but the value of what you put in your body is typically going to be trivial.  When I talked about claiming air or water as private property, I meant in the sense of claiming the atmosphere or a stream as your property.

So, then, where do we draw the line? Where does "trivial" end and "you need to pay everyone for what you just did" begin?

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December 11, 2012, 06:15:37 AM
 #15

At the point where what you're taking has market value.  That means that there is demand for the resources, which means others want to use them and are prevented from doing so by you.

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December 11, 2012, 06:19:45 AM
 #16

At the point where what you're taking has market value.  That means that there is demand for the resources, which means others want to use them and are prevented from doing so by you.

So you're saying that there's no demand for water, and drinking it does not prevent others from doing so with that same water?

What I'm saying here is that your answer was not an answer. If people use it, and it is not infinite, it has market value. Even one sip of water from a stream has some market value. What I am looking for is a cut-off point of what amount of market value is considered "trivial," and what is considered "theft."

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December 11, 2012, 06:36:41 AM
 #17

Ok, so it's a blurry line.

The same dilemma exists in a private property system.  If some camper's drink from an owned stream, can the owner sue them for compensation?

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December 11, 2012, 06:40:28 AM
 #18

Ok, so it's a blurry line.

The same dilemma exists in a private property system.  If some camper's drink from an owned stream, can the owner sue them for compensation?

No, trespass. What were they doing on the land that the stream passes through without permission?

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December 11, 2012, 06:55:28 AM
 #19

What if they had permission to camp on the land, just not to drink from the stream?

Also, how exactly do you compensate someone for trespass?

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December 11, 2012, 07:32:14 AM
 #20

What if they had permission to camp on the land, just not to drink from the stream?
Camping on the land includes drinking from the stream. Unless you have a funny definition of "use the land?" (as in use the land for camping)

Also, how exactly do you compensate someone for trespass?
Typically monetarily. The amount would likely be small. Possibly even enough for the owner to forgive, assuming the offenders vacate immediately. ie: "Get of my land, you dirty hippies!"

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December 11, 2012, 07:43:07 AM
 #21

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Camping on the land includes drinking from the stream. Unless you have a funny definition of "use the land?" (as in use the land for camping)
That depends on their agreement with the owner, doesn't it?  If they damage the land, by say starting a forest fire, he would have the right to ask for compensation, even if he didn't say "Don't burn down the forest" when he gave them permission to camp.  It's the same dilemma.  If you accept that he can sue them for damaging the land, where do you draw the line?

Let's not lose sight of what we're talking about.  Are you saying, that since it is impractical to collect the immeasurably tiny values of small amounts of abundant natural resources, we should therefore allow individuals to control all the vast quantities of the resources people need to live?

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December 11, 2012, 08:02:32 AM
Last edit: December 11, 2012, 08:44:19 AM by myrkul
 #22

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Camping on the land includes drinking from the stream. Unless you have a funny definition of "use the land?" (as in use the land for camping)
That depends on their agreement with the owner, doesn't it?  If they damage the land, by say starting a forest fire, he would have the right to ask for compensation, even if he didn't say "Don't burn down the forest" when he gave them permission to camp.  It's the same dilemma.  If you accept that he can sue them for damaging the land, where do you draw the line?
Is a drink from a stream a measurable loss? Is it permanent damage? A fire certainly is. And where you draw the line, of course, is up to the owner of the land.

Let's not lose sight of what we're talking about.  Are you saying, that since it is impractical to collect the value of immeasurably tiny amounts of natural resources, we should therefore allow individuals to control all the vast quantities of the resources people need to live?
No, I'm saying that owning natural resources does not steal them from those who never had them to begin with. You "homestead" the water when you drink it, and you homestead land when you plow it, or dig a mine into it, or build a fence around it. The difference is only of scale, and since you can hardly call drinking from a stream theft, neither can you call the claiming of land or other resources theft.

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December 11, 2012, 08:27:16 AM
 #23

It is worth noting that land is not some sort of privileged asset. The argument applies to many other types of resources as well.

Suppose I horde gold or bitcoin and the value goes up due to technological progress that I did not actively help create. I could easily have acquired the bitcoin
through theft, though this doesn't really matter. Do I deserve to get these returns? (Deserve is a stupid, inappropriate word. What I really mean is: 'Is the average bitcoin user better off if coin owners capture all of rents associated with coin appreciation?')

Ideally, we would have some system of taxing some of these rents and redistributing the revenue to the people who actually cause technological progress. This could make the average bitcoin user better off.

I have suggested a voting scheme in the past. Acting much like shareholders, coin owners could vote for an individual who has helped support the technology and distribute some block reward to him or her.

Here is the thread if you are interested: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=75029.0
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December 11, 2012, 08:33:57 AM
 #24

What if they had permission to camp on the land, just not to drink from the stream?
Camping on the land includes drinking from the stream. Unless you have a funny definition of "use the land?" (as in use the land for camping)

Also, how exactly do you compensate someone for trespass?
Typically monetarily. The amount would likely be small. Possibly even enough for the owner to forgive, assuming the offenders vacate immediately. ie: "Get of my land, you dirty hippies!"

What do you mean? What if you are a plantation owner in the post-slavery Carribbean and you have bought up all the water resources in order to reduplicate slavery through market arrangements. In the event of trespass and theft of stream use, the monetary losses are quite large. The plantation owner has loses his dictatorial control over the local population. Some small monetary compensation just won't do here. In any cases, the Negros are judgement proof. I suppose they can provide compensation via mandatory labor service though? LOL!
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December 11, 2012, 09:09:49 AM
 #25

It is worth noting that land is not some sort of privileged asset. The argument applies to many other types of resources as well.

Suppose I horde gold or bitcoin and the value goes up due to technological progress that I did not actively help create.

Bitcoin and not even gold is required to satisfy basic needs in an economic circle. Land is.

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December 11, 2012, 09:32:45 AM
 #26

It is worth noting that land is not some sort of privileged asset. The argument applies to many other types of resources as well.

Suppose I horde gold or bitcoin and the value goes up due to technological progress that I did not actively help create.

Bitcoin and not even gold is required to satisfy basic needs in an economic circle. Land is.

That is questionable. For most people today, money is required to meet basic needs. Anyways, I'm not sure why this matters.

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December 11, 2012, 11:05:50 AM
 #27

If someone owns all Bitcoins, I can still barter my potatoes for your carrots and we can live a free and happy life.

If someone owns all land, they can make us pay rent or taxes, and we'd have nowhere to go to live an independent life. It's practically feudalism.

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December 11, 2012, 06:30:10 PM
 #28

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Is a drink from a stream a measurable loss? Is it permanent damage?
Do the answers to these questions vary depending on whether or not we're in a geoist system?

I'm sorry, I really can't follow your point.  The market value of a drink of water is immeasurably small, especially without the labor and capital needed to transport it to a populated area.  The whole point of the tax is that you are depriving others of the opportunity to use those resources productively.  If nobody else is willing to bid on that drink of water, then the value to the community is zero.  So, no, a drink of water would not be taxed, and as I said there isn't a clear line between what would and wouldn't be taxed.  So what?

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It is worth noting that land is not some sort of privileged asset. The argument applies to many other types of resources as well.
I have considered whether or not these arguments apply to bitcoin, and I have concluded they do not.  Bitcoin is a currency.  It's value is entirely relative.  Even if I hoarded 99% of the bitcoin, people could still make do with trading the other 1% just fine.

George said that interest on capital stems from it being part of the same system of exchange as productive capital that grows in value over time.  I think the same applies to currencies.  Bitcoin grows in value because the bitcoin economy grows.  When I did the labor to earn the BTC in the first place, by delaying consumption I allowed the products of my labor to be invested productively, and that's reflected in the deflation of my BTC.  BTC might be stolen, but at least it's a one-time thing.  I won't have to pay rent to the thief every year afterwards.

Gold also gains some of its value as a currency, and as long as the land that produces gold is taxed, then compensation has already been made.

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The big question: is sentimental value priced-in? At the moment of exchange, probably yes. But afterwards, maybe not, unless the buyer hopes to profit by selling again shortly.
The price would be determined by what the market is willing to pay for it.  If it has some additional sentimental value specific to the current possessor, that will not be reflected in that market price. 

But you raise a good point though.  What about historic sites like cemeteries?  Even though it's harsh, I think it will ultimately have to fall to individuals to justify its existence by paying the value of whatever productive use that land would otherwise be put towards.  I'm tempted to say that there should be exceptions for things like that, but on reflection it's not necessary.  Making an exception for cemeteries is a reflection that they have intrinsic value to the community, and if they really do then the community can raise the funds to keep renting it.

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December 11, 2012, 07:03:54 PM
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Is a drink from a stream a measurable loss? Is it permanent damage?
Do the answers to these questions vary depending on whether or not we're in a geoist system?

I'm sorry, I really can't follow your point.  The market value of a drink of water is immeasurably small, especially without the labor and capital needed to transport it to a populated area.  The whole point of the tax is that you are depriving others of the opportunity to use those resources productively.  If nobody else is willing to bid on that drink of water, then the value to the community is zero.  So, no, a drink of water would not be taxed, and as I said there isn't a clear line between what would and wouldn't be taxed.  So what?
The parts you cut out answer that question.
And where you draw the line, of course, is up to the owner of the land.
I'm saying that owning natural resources does not steal them from those who never had them to begin with.

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December 11, 2012, 07:35:15 PM
 #30

In that case, you must feel extremely free because technically you can leave your country whenever you want.  Governments don't control you, they just control land you never had to begin with.

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December 11, 2012, 08:15:42 PM
 #31

In that case, you must feel extremely free because technically you can leave your country whenever you want.
But I can't, you see.... Countries have this imaginary line on the ground they call a border, and while they usually let you cross out fine, coming in (and you can't leave one without entering another) is a different matter entirely.

Governments don't control you, they just control land you never had to begin with.
On the contrary, they claim the very land that I have bought, fair and square, and claim that since they drew some lines on a map, I owe them tax. Who has a better claim on a piece of land, the man with a felt-tipped marker and a map, or the man with a house on it?

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December 11, 2012, 09:19:49 PM
 #32

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But I can't, you see.... Countries have this imaginary line on the ground they call a border, and while they usually let you cross out fine, coming in (and you can't leave one without entering another) is a different matter entirely.
And private landowners are different in this regard, how?

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On the contrary, they claim the very land that I have bought, fair and square, and claim that since they drew some lines on a map, I owe them tax. Who has a better claim on a piece of land, the man with a felt-tipped marker and a map, or the man with a house on it?
The US government has a house on the land.  It's white.  Also scores of offices, schools, military bases, prisons, hospitals, and more scattered throughout the country.

You bought your house with the full understanding that it was part of a country and subject to the laws of its government.  In effect, what you bought was permission to occupy land owned by the government.  It's like buying an apartment and complaining that the someone else still owns the building.  You "never had" sovereignty over the land you call your own, and since you never had it, then according to your logic you can't complain about the government denying you sovereignty.

Neither one of them has a better claim, they're both arbitrary.

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December 11, 2012, 09:34:07 PM
 #33

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But I can't, you see.... Countries have this imaginary line on the ground they call a border, and while they usually let you cross out fine, coming in (and you can't leave one without entering another) is a different matter entirely.
And private landowners are different in this regard, how?
Well, size, for one. For another, they have exerted actual effort on their part, through either directly homesteading, or by trading for the land. Governments, as I have said, typically just draw lines on maps.

Neither one of them has a better claim, they're both arbitrary.

That's where you're wrong. Homesteading the land changes it from something natural to something man-made. A product of a man's labor. And the product of a man's labor is his. He can sell it, he can keep it, he can pass it down to his heirs. Drawing a line on a map alters the map, not the land.

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December 11, 2012, 09:52:28 PM
 #34

I already addressed size in the original post.

If homesteading just allowed you to claim the product of your labor, you would have a point.  But it does so much more than that.  It gives you the product of all future labor done on that site, and it allows you to leech off of the production of the surrounding community.  According to that principle, building a mine should give you the right to claim only the ore you dig up, and not the ore that's still in the vein.  Yet, taking the vein as private property allows you to do both.

As I pointed out in the last thread, the first person could "homestead" one year, and then the next person to arrive could spend the rest of their life doing the exact same work on the exact same land, and the first person would get most of the reward.  Why?  Just because he got there first?

And, there's no clear line regarding how much land a given act of homesteading entitles you to.  In the last thread you gave the example of breaking a trail to claim a section of wilderness.  How much wilderness does a trail entitle you to?  While it sounds nice on paper, I really think homesteading is too arbitrary to base a system of property rights on.

Besides, how would you even go from the current system, where property consists of lines on a map, to a homestead system?  A number of people own land without marking it, would that revert to the commons after the revolution?  A number of people own land that is marked or occupied, but did not earn it justly, what happens to them?

Also, why do you care how the government claims sovereignty over land?  In your words, you never had it, so it was not taken from you, so why worry about it?

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December 11, 2012, 10:14:47 PM
 #35

I already addressed size in the original post.

If homesteading just allowed you to claim the product of your labor, you would have a point.  But it does so much more than that.  It gives you the product of all future labor done on that site, and it allows you to leech off of the production of the surrounding community.  According to that principle, building a mine should give you the right to claim only the ore you dig up, and not the ore that's still in the vein.  Yet, taking the vein as private property allows you to do both.
No, by digging the mine, you alter the land. You thereby gain ownership of the land. The ore, both in the vein and dug up, is part of that land

As I pointed out in the last thread, the first person could "homestead" one year, and then the next person to arrive could spend the rest of their life doing the exact same work on the exact same land, and the first person would get most of the reward.  Why?  Just because he got there first?
Care to explain how the first person gets most of the reward? Even if he rents it, He won't be able to charge more than the renter is willing to pay, and if the area is rich in ore, prospective renters may value that already dug hole less than the money he's charging for it, and go stake their own claim.

And, there's no clear line regarding how much land a given act of homesteading entitles you to.  In the last thread you gave the example of breaking a trail to claim a section of wilderness.  How much wilderness does a trail entitle you to?  While it sounds nice on paper, I really think homesteading is too arbitrary to base a system of property rights on.
So drawing a line on a map is less arbitrary? hmm, no. And your system has the same problem. How much land do you charge him for, if he breaks a trail trough the woods? All the woods he's thus altered? (ask FirstAscent exactly how) Just the trail? some area (line of sight?) around the trail?

Besides, how would you even go from the current system, where property consists of lines on a map, to a homestead system?  A number of people own land without marking it, would that revert to the commons after the revolution?  A number of people own land that is marked or occupied, but did not earn it justly, what happens to them?
You're aware that most land in the US was homesteaded? And I've explained a transition like this before. Gov't land is up for grabs, with the current users of it getting first "dibs" (the President would get some sweet digs), Private land, unless clearly stolen is assumed to be legitimately gained. Do some people get screwed? Maybe. But a lot fewer than the current system, and fewer than yours, too.

Also, why do you care how the government claims sovereignty over land?  In your words, you never had it, so it was not taken from you, so why worry about it?
Well, I never had my neighbor's yard, but I did legitimately gain my house. I do have it. Their claim conflicts with mine. That's why I care.

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December 11, 2012, 11:04:49 PM
 #36

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No, by digging the mine, you alter the land. You thereby gain ownership of the land. The ore, both in the vein and dug up, is part of that land
In other words, your argument that homesteading is just a way to let you keep the product of your labor is false.

Quote
Care to explain how the first person gets most of the reward? Even if he rents it, He won't be able to charge more than the renter is willing to pay, and if the area is rich in ore, prospective renters may value that already dug hole less than the money he's charging for it, and go stake their own claim.
Once all land is owned, the only limit to what renters are "willing" to pay is what they can pay.

Land doesn't work like the products of human labor.  If there was a sudden demand for, say, ice cream, the price increase would be temporary.  Eventually, the increased demand would be balanced out by increased production, or if it wasn't people would look for alternatives.  There is no way to increase production of land, and there are no alternatives.  Land value tends upwards, absorbing all the new wealth gained through increased productivity.

In a truly free market, unskilled labor can only receive a mere subsistence after rent.  We don't need to speak in hypotheticals, this exact situation happens all the time throughout the developing world and has happened through history.  I hate to speak in favor of regulation, but that's the only reason why we see it less in the west.

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So drawing a line on a map is less arbitrary? hmm, no. And your system has the same problem. How much land do you charge him for, if he breaks a trail trough the woods? All the woods he's thus altered? (ask FirstAscent exactly how) Just the trail? some area (line of sight?) around the trail?
I didn't say it was less arbitrary, I said it was equally arbitrary.

You don't generally charge him after the fact, he would reserve a section to work on ahead of time.  If he blazes the trail without renting it, then it would be a special situation to be handled on a case-by-case basis.  You'd try to charge him by the amount he reduced the land's value.  If he increased it, then nothing.

Quote
You're aware that most land in the US was homesteaded? And I've explained a transition like this before. Gov't land is up for grabs, with the current users of it getting first "dibs" (the President would get some sweet digs), Private land, unless clearly stolen is assumed to be legitimately gained. Do some people get screwed? Maybe. But a lot fewer than the current system, and fewer than yours, too.
The White House is used by many more people than the President, how do you decide who gets priority.

Who exactly gets screwed with geoism?

Quote
Well, I never had my neighbor's yard, but I did legitimately gain my house. I do have it. Their claim conflicts with mine. That's why I care.
It doesn't though.  You bought it with the full understanding that it would fall under the jurisdiction of the government.  If the seller led you to believe it wouldn't, then your beef is with them.  You have the right to occupy, modify, and resell that land, but the government's legal sovereignty over it was recognized since long before you were even born.  You never had sovereignty, so by your logic you are wrong to demand it.

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December 11, 2012, 11:41:51 PM
 #37

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No, by digging the mine, you alter the land. You thereby gain ownership of the land. The ore, both in the vein and dug up, is part of that land
In other words, your argument that homesteading is just a way to let you keep the product of your labor is false.
Read it again. You altered the land. You get to keep that land, even after the ore is gone. The ore, you can't sell in it's current state. You must dig it up.

Quote
Care to explain how the first person gets most of the reward? Even if he rents it, He won't be able to charge more than the renter is willing to pay, and if the area is rich in ore, prospective renters may value that already dug hole less than the money he's charging for it, and go stake their own claim.
Once all land is owned, the only limit to what renters are "willing" to pay is what they can pay.

Land doesn't work like the products of human labor.  If there was a sudden demand for, say, ice cream, the price increase would be temporary.  Eventually, the increased demand would be balanced out by increased production, or if it wasn't people would look for alternatives.  There is no way to increase production of land, and there are no alternatives.  Land value tends upwards, absorbing all the new wealth gained through increased productivity.
This is demonstrably false. Land values are subject to market forces, just like any other commodity.

In a truly free market, unskilled labor can only receive a mere subsistence after rent.
A fine argument for learning a skill, isn't it?

Quote
So drawing a line on a map is less arbitrary? hmm, no. And your system has the same problem. How much land do you charge him for, if he breaks a trail trough the woods? All the woods he's thus altered? (ask FirstAscent exactly how) Just the trail? some area (line of sight?) around the trail?
I didn't say it was less arbitrary, I said it was equally arbitrary.

You don't generally charge him after the fact, he would reserve a section to work on ahead of time.  If he blazes the trail without renting it, then it would be a special situation to be handled on a case-by-case basis.  You'd try to charge him by the amount he reduced the land's value.  If he increased it, then nothing.
I see. So, I can go around improving land, expending my energy for... nothing? Sounds like a good plan. Great incentive. "We won't charge you."

Quote
You're aware that most land in the US was homesteaded? And I've explained a transition like this before. Gov't land is up for grabs, with the current users of it getting first "dibs" (the President would get some sweet digs), Private land, unless clearly stolen is assumed to be legitimately gained. Do some people get screwed? Maybe. But a lot fewer than the current system, and fewer than yours, too.
The White House is used by many more people than the President, how do you decide who gets priority.

Who exactly gets screwed with geoism?
Everyone. Just like other forms of socialism, you're stealing from everyone to give to everyone, which necessitates a robber class, which will soak up some percentage of the take, leaving everyone (except the robber class) poorer than if you just left them alone.

Quote
Well, I never had my neighbor's yard, but I did legitimately gain my house. I do have it. Their claim conflicts with mine. That's why I care.
It doesn't though.  You bought it with the full understanding that it would fall under the jurisdiction of the government.  If the seller led you to believe it wouldn't, then your beef is with them.  You have the right to occupy, modify, and resell that land, but the government's legal sovereignty over it was recognized since long before you were even born.  You never had sovereignty, so by your logic you are wrong to demand it.
You assume that government "sovereignty" is legitimate. It is not, since drawing lines on a map does not grant ownership. If it did, I could easily draw on my map that I was no longer part of the US, and they would have to recognize it. No, the only way they have any claim over the land in the US is by force of arms, which is inherently illegitimate.

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December 12, 2012, 02:01:21 AM
 #38

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Read it again. You altered the land. You get to keep that land, even after the ore is gone. The ore, you can't sell in it's current state. You must dig it up.
In a private property system you CAN sell the ore in its current state.  That's the problem.  Homesteading gives you far more than the value of your labor.

Quote
This is demonstrably false. Land values are subject to market forces, just like any other commodity.
Then, please, I invite you to demonstrate it.

Quote
A fine argument for learning a skill, isn't it?
Yes, in the sense that getting whipped by the slave-driver is a fine argument for working faster.

Quote
I see. So, I can go around improving land, expending my energy for... nothing? Sounds like a good plan. Great incentive. "We won't charge you."
Why would you want to go around improving random land, and why would "we" want you to?  Either register a claim and pay the community or hire yourself out to someone who has.

Quote
Everyone. Just like other forms of socialism, you're stealing from everyone to give to everyone, which necessitates a robber class, which will soak up some percentage of the take, leaving everyone (except the robber class) poorer than if you just left them alone.
Landowners are a robber class that steals from everyone to give to themselves.  We're just taking back what's ours.

Quote
You assume that government "sovereignty" is legitimate. It is not, since drawing lines on a map does not grant ownership. If it did, I could easily draw on my map that I was no longer part of the US, and they would have to recognize it. No, the only way they have any claim over the land in the US is by force of arms, which is inherently illegitimate.
So... if they built a fence along the borders would you recognize it?  If the government dropped their claim of sovereignty, who would it go to?  You never had it, so you can't be the rightful owner by your logic.

What does the government do that a landlord cannot?  Collect taxes?  Landlords collect rent.  Make laws?  Landlords make rules concerning their property.  Use force?  Once the landlord declares you a trespasser, they can do that.  Heck, what would stop them from making you sign a contract giving them the power to use force at will?  At the end of the day, land ownership is backed up by force of arms.  In a system of AnCap with private land ownership, landlords would just be governments by another name.

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December 12, 2012, 02:23:34 AM
 #39

Let me guess: myrkul is a homeowner, Topazan rents. Geoism will never succeed because most people own their homes.
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December 12, 2012, 02:37:18 AM
 #40

Let me guess: myrkul is a homeowner, Topazan rents. Geoism will never succeed because most people own their homes.
People own their homes at the expense of being indentured to a bank their whole lives.  Rising land values hurt buyers as well as renters.  Can you imagine all the things you could have done with the money you spent on your lot?

Besides, it's not just homes.  We need land to work as well as to live on.

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December 12, 2012, 03:16:33 AM
 #41

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Read it again. You altered the land. You get to keep that land, even after the ore is gone. The ore, you can't sell in it's current state. You must dig it up.
In a private property system you CAN sell the ore in its current state.  That's the problem.  Homesteading gives you far more than the value of your labor.
No you can't. You can sell the land. Or you can rent access to the mine. But you can't sell the ore while it's still in the ground. Whoever taught you that should be shot.

Quote
This is demonstrably false. Land values are subject to market forces, just like any other commodity.
Then, please, I invite you to demonstrate it.
See for yourself: http://www.realtor.com/
Quote
A fine argument for learning a skill, isn't it?
Yes, in the sense that getting whipped by the slave-driver is a fine argument for working faster.
Ahh, but nobody is obligated to pay for unskilled labor. Any strong back can compete... perhaps even out-compete you. Learn a skill, and you can command higher wages.

Quote
I see. So, I can go around improving land, expending my energy for... nothing? Sounds like a good plan. Great incentive. "We won't charge you."
Why would you want to go around improving random land, and why would "we" want you to?  Either register a claim and pay the community or hire yourself out to someone who has.
So, my choices are, Be a slave to everyone, or be a slave to one person. Hmm... Not seeing how your system is fairer. And keep in mind that any argument that you use to say that I am not a slave to the "someone who has" applies equally well to capitalism, but there is no rebuttal for the slavery to all.

Quote
Everyone. Just like other forms of socialism, you're stealing from everyone to give to everyone, which necessitates a robber class, which will soak up some percentage of the take, leaving everyone (except the robber class) poorer than if you just left them alone.
Landowners are a robber class that steals from everyone to give to themselves.  We're just taking back what's ours.
Said like a true socialist. Marx would be proud.

Quote
You assume that government "sovereignty" is legitimate. It is not, since drawing lines on a map does not grant ownership. If it did, I could easily draw on my map that I was no longer part of the US, and they would have to recognize it. No, the only way they have any claim over the land in the US is by force of arms, which is inherently illegitimate.
So... if they built a fence along the borders would you recognize it?  If the government dropped their claim of sovereignty, who would it go to?  You never had it, so you can't be the rightful owner by your logic.
Why do you keep saying this? I have, legitimately, purchased a house and land. I expended my labor to gain land. Please, stop using this falsehood. It's not helping your case.

What does the government do that a landlord cannot?  Collect taxes?  Landlords collect rent.  Make laws?  Landlords make rules concerning their property.  Use force?  Once the landlord declares you a trespasser, they can do that.  Heck, what would stop them from making you sign a contract giving them the power to use force at will?  At the end of the day, land ownership is backed up by force of arms.  In a system of AnCap with private land ownership, landlords would just be governments by another name.
Wrong. Governments claim sole right of initiatory force. Under AnCap, no person has the right to initiate the use of force, threat of force, or fraud against another person or their property. What would stop them from making you sign a contract giving them the power to use force at will? If you mean as a condition of living there, nothing, except the unwillingness of most people to live under such rules. He'll get no business, no matter how low his rates, and someone less prone to violence will buy the land when he goes broke (as he will, if that's his sole means of income). Nobody forces you to do business with a landlord. The government, on the other hand, forces you to do business with them.

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December 12, 2012, 04:19:18 AM
 #42

No, I'm saying that owning natural resources does not steal them from those who never had them to begin with.

This is where you're provably wrong. Have you forgotten your lessons on ecosystem services? Owning land does not necessarily exempt you from decimating the land to the point that the geographical regions outside the boundaries of the parcel suffer. Just as a drink of water from an owner's parcel makes a tiny dent in the landowner's resources, so does a change to the landowner's land make a tiny dent in the ecosystem beyond it.

But in fact, there are regulations and stipulations which define what one can and cannot do on their land, because ownership is never exactly what you think it is in a world of nations. If you disagree, then you don't understand what ownership is within a state. However, those regulations and stipulations aren't necessarily adequate - fault the governing bodies which enforce those regulations and stipulations.

So, in conclusion, owning natural resources, except for pure conservation motives ala the actions conducted by the likes of Doug Thompkins or Yvon Chouinard, land owners do change (i.e. "improve") their land, which means, in general, a decrease in ecosystem services provided to the surrounding region, and thus, is indeed theft from those who never owned the land in the first place.
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December 12, 2012, 04:26:00 AM
 #43

So, in conclusion, owning natural resources, except for pure conservation motives ala the actions conducted by the likes of Doug Thompkins or Yvon Chouinard, land owners do change (i.e. "improve") their land, which means, in general, a decrease in ecosystem services provided to the surrounding region, and thus, is indeed theft from those who never owned the land in the first place.

"Improvements" such as irrigating the desert, allowing them to plant food crops for hundreds, even thousands of people? You mean theft like that?

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December 12, 2012, 04:29:05 AM
 #44

So, in conclusion, owning natural resources, except for pure conservation motives ala the actions conducted by the likes of Doug Thompkins or Yvon Chouinard, land owners do change (i.e. "improve") their land, which means, in general, a decrease in ecosystem services provided to the surrounding region, and thus, is indeed theft from those who never owned the land in the first place.

"Improvements" such as irrigating the desert, allowing them to plant food crops for hundreds, even thousands of people? You mean theft like that?

Those are some "improvements" among many types of "improvements". Among those agricultural "improvements" you have mentioned, many are rather horrific, many are neutral, and some are beneficial, when total net value is summed.
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December 12, 2012, 04:37:29 AM
 #45

Since you have forgotten some of your lessons, let's review. That means you, myrkul.

Some of the following material is derived from posts I have written in the past, but I think it will have greater effect if I merge it together here with a few edits and additions. Please read it through thoroughly.

Ever heard of the Spotted Owl and the controversy surrounding it? What was all that about?

The Spotted Owl is a top level predator in the northwest. It was declared an umbrella species (otherwise known as a keystone or flagship species), and listed as endangered. The timber industry had an issue with this. Here's why. The purpose of listing the Spotted Owl as an umbrella species was because in order to preserve the Spotted Owl population, the old growth forests in the northwest would have to be preserved as well. That meant the timber industry would not be allowed to harvest existing old growth forests.

Why are old growth forests important? Because they offer what are called ecosystem services. Secondary growth forests do not offer all those ecosystem services, nor at the same level that the old growth forests do. And that's it in a nutshell. It has been demonstrated that the Spotted Owl can live in secondary growth forests, but it cannot viably breed in secondary growth forests.

Thus, species such as the Spotted Owl are declared umbrella species to act as a protective umbrella for their respective environments as a way to protect those environments in perpetuity, because once they're all gone, the possibility of regaining all those ecosystem services that those ecosystems provide is pretty much nil.

Biodiversity, it's very definition, implies diversity, which arises from the existence of thousands, tens of thousands of species within any given ecosystem. This then results in the ecosystem being able to provide its services, known collectively as ecosystem services. The goal is to protect biodiversity by protecting ecosystems. A general technique for doing so is to declare a top level species within its respective ecosystem as endangered (because it is endangered or will become extinct if its ecosystem is destroyed) as an umbrella species. The ecosystem is then preserved under the umbrella of the umbrella species. This protects biodiversity.

Myrkul provided an example of relocating the Scimitar Oryx to a Texan hunting preserve as an example of species preservation, but it is not a case of protecting biodiversity.

As long as we don't disrupt natural ecosystems, they will provide everything listed below:

- Freshwater supply and flood control
- Generation and maintenance of soils
- Ocean flood protection
- Natural pest control
- Amelioration of the weather
- The cycling of nutrients
- Pollination of plants

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, published in 2005, breaks it down like this:

Supporting Services:

- Nutrient cycling
- Soil formation
- Primary production
- Preservation of genetic resources

Regulating services:

- Climate amelioration
- Flood control
- Agricultural pest control
- Water purification

Provisioning services:

- Food
- Timber and fiber
- Fresh water
- Fuel

Cultural services:

- Esthetic
- Spiritual
- Educational
- Recreational

Other disruptive effects to the ecosystem services enumerated above include harvesting resources (collateral damage), toxic waste, atmospheric pollution, garbage waste, over harvesting (fish), pesticides, noise, etc.

What disrupts the above?

Reduction in the number of top level predators. Top level predators, such as raptors, wolves, cats, etc. regulate the ecosystem by preventing overgrazing of vegetation, which plays a role in providing habitat to the smaller organisms, all the way down to the microscopic level, which in turn plays a role in nutrient cycling, water purification, soil formation, etc. In other words, top level predators ultimately affect the health of the entire ecosystem. This process, where top level species affect the environment as a cascading effect are known collectively as trophic cascades.

As an example, let's examine the case of wolves. Numerous species of wolves were eradicated in the twentieth century (by cattle ranchers, incidentally). As it turns out, it was determined that they played a role within the dynamics of the ecosystems. Their elimination resulted in a deleterious effect on the ecosystem services, due to the removal of a trophic cascade effect.

When in the presence of wolves, ungulates generally do not browse in riparian zones. Riparian zones are the areas of rich vegetation along the banks of streams, creeks and rivers. The reason ungulates do not browse in such areas when wolves are present is because their escape route is hindered by the slopes of the river bank, the body of water itself, and the denser vegetation. When wolves are removed, ungulates in general decimate the vegetation in these riparian zones, which in turn results in habitat loss for numerous species, typically beginning with rodents, and cascading all the way down to the microscopic level, where numerous species exist within the soil. This loss of habitat within the riparian zones results in a huge loss of ecosystem services, including nutrient cycling, soil formation, flood control and water purification

Edge effects are another disrupting process to ecosystems and the ecosystem services they provide. Typically, property ownership is the cause. The fracturing of an ecosystem disrupts its viability, by inhibiting migration, reducing territorial area needed by top level predators (see above), and this ultimately reduces biodiversity, which reduces genetic information, a resource required for medicine, material science, engineering, computer science, etc.

Edge effects are a direct result of ecosystem fracturing, which will be defined and discussed. There is a whole cascade of effects and interrelated issues that apply here. They are:

- The importance of wildlife corridors
- The dangers of ignorance
- Exploitation via corporations
- Lack of regulation
- Solutions via private enterprise
- Habitat loss
- Information loss
- Bioproductivity loss
- Natural capital
- Water quality
- Trophic cascades
- Policies

The list goes on. And on.

The whole substrate upon which humanity, society, and life depend on begin in the soil and water (essentially our planet), as nourished by the incoming sunlight from above.

Here's a thought for you: the very complex systems which naturally occur within the soil and above the soil define everything we have to support ourselves and they define everything we have available to educate ourselves (outside cosmology and related fields). There is more going on here than you think. Humanity thus far has been built from those systems, but humanity itself is also depleting, fracturing (and thus destroying) the very systems which allowed it to come this far.

Edge effects: What are they? Imagine a parcel of land that is fairly large and of a particular shape, mostly undisturbed. Let's say it's unspoiled rainforest. We'll begin with a circle 100 miles in diameter.

The circle: A circle 100 miles in diameter has an edge that is 314 miles long. It's area is a little more than 7,500 miles. The ratio of area/edge is 7,500/314 which equals about 24.

The fractal shape: A fractal shape with an area of 7,500 miles but with a ragged edge that is 1,000 miles long has a ratio of area/edge of 7,500/1,000 which equals 7.5.

Among the two shapes described above, each say being a rainforest ecosystem, the circle will generally be healthier and more viable. What does this mean? The circle, will in general, be richer in all of the following:

- Number of species
- Lower extinction rate
- More nutrients within the soil
- Lesser vulnerability to drought, heat, cold, etc.
- More information, complexity and potential knowledge to be discovered within
- Greater productivity within: (i.e ability to nourish, support and grow)
- Ability to support larger fauna

A circle was used above as an example. One could just as easily substitute a square instead and get similar results. Therefore, consider a square 100 miles on a side. It has a ratio of area/edge of 10,000/400 which equals 25.

Assuming that square contains rainforest (but it could just as easily be another type of ecosystem), let's now fracture it. We'll turn it into a checkerboard of 64 black and white squares. Black are rainforest squares. White are squares burned to remove the trees, and then tilled for agriculture.

Our total area of rainforest within the checkerboard is now half what it was. The original square contained 10,000 square miles of rainforest. It now contains 5,000 square miles of rainforest. But look at the change in rainforest edges. The original square had only 400 miles of rainforest edge. The checkerboard has 1,600 miles of rainforest edge.

And so we can get a sense of the difference between these two extents of land. Recall that the unspoiled square had 10,000 square miles of rainforest and total edges measuring 400 miles with a ratio of 25. Look at the ratio of the fractured checkerboard to get a sense of how less rich its potential is. It's ratio is 5,000/1,600 which equals 3.125.

Compare the two numbers: 25 vs. 3.125.

What are some cases which cause edge effects?

Repurposing of land: Examples include agriculture, urban and suburban sprawl, etc.

Clearcutting: Clearcutting by the timber industry creates edge effects. Make no mistake about it - the ecosystem has been changed, and replanting of trees will not revert the area back to the original ecosystem in a period equal to the time it takes for the newly planted trees to mature. The original forest was an old growth forest, and when the newly planted trees finally mature, the resulting forest will be a secondary growth forest, which does not provide the same environment as the original old growth forest.

Roads: Going back to the circle example, if a road is placed through the center, then an edge effect is created. Depending on the type of road and how busy it is, the effect is dramatic. Essentially, you end up with two areas, each half the area of the original circle, and each area having an edge length not much less than the original circle. This is one of the reasons (among many) why there is such opposition to the idea of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It's not just the idea of potential damage from oil spills (which is real), but the road systems which would need to be built to access the enterprise.

Fences: Land left in its natural state, but fenced, also creates an edge effect. A very damaging example would be the fence proposed along the U.S./Mexico border by certain politicians.
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December 12, 2012, 05:06:35 AM
 #46

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Ahh, but nobody is obligated to pay for unskilled labor.
Laborers wouldn't need them to if they weren't the only source of land to work.  The homesteaders supported themselves off the land doing unskilled labor, why shouldn't the next generation be able to do that?

In fact, modern laborers have incredible productivity advantages over the homesteaders: technology, infrastructure, bigger markets.  They can produce probably hundreds of times the amount of wealth that people a few centuries ago could.  They should be living like kings compared to the homesteaders.  Yet, they're often found working pretty much as hard and gaining as mere a subsistence as laborers without these advantages.  Where does the extra wealth go?  To rent.

I think we've been going back and forth long enough about the other topics.  This is not a concession, I just feel it's time we moved on.  We need a fresh perspective.  FirstAscent, what do you think about geoism?

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December 12, 2012, 05:11:23 AM
 #47

Since you have forgotten some of your lessons, let's review. That means you, myrkul.

Wow, that was a lot of text that I didn't read at all. If you are bound and determined to "teach" me, you know where to do it. Run along now. You can copy and paste, if you like, I'll read it when it's in the right spot. You were supposed to stop stalking me.

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Ahh, but nobody is obligated to pay for unskilled labor.
Laborers wouldn't need them to if they weren't the only source of land to work.  The homesteaders supported themselves off the land doing unskilled labor, why shouldn't the next generation be able to do that?

They can. I believe your complaint was that that was all they could do. So now, you want the second generation to benefit even more than the first did? Tsk.

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December 12, 2012, 05:17:37 AM
 #48

Wow, that was a lot of text that I didn't read at all. If you are bound and determined to "teach" me, you know where to do it. Run along now. You can copy and paste, if you like, I'll read it when it's in the right spot. You were supposed to stop stalking me.

Whenever you show your ignorance about land and resources (this thread, for one), then the text which I just posted is definitely in the right spot. And I never made any claim about not talking to you. Rather it was you who was supposed to put me on ignore. Seems you can't though.
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December 12, 2012, 05:18:36 AM
 #49

FirstAscent, what do you think about geoism?

What is the best online text (not video) introduction to geoism?
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December 12, 2012, 05:36:03 AM
 #50

Wow, that was a lot of text that I didn't read at all. If you are bound and determined to "teach" me, you know where to do it. Run along now. You can copy and paste, if you like, I'll read it when it's in the right spot. You were supposed to stop stalking me.

Whenever you show your ignorance about land and resources (this thread, for one), then the text which I just posted is definitely in the right spot. And I never made any claim about not talking to you. Rather it was you who was supposed to put me on ignore. Seems you can't though.

Stalking. Not talking. You're welcome to discuss anything you want. Just keep the movies to your movie thread, and your propaganda to your propaganda thread.

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December 12, 2012, 05:59:45 AM
 #51

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They can. I believe your complaint was that that was all they could do. So now, you want the second generation to benefit even more than the first did? Tsk.
No, they can't.  There's no more unowned land for them to homestead.  All they can do is hire themselves out to landowners at low wages, which is another kind of rent.

Yes, the second generation should benefit more.  They may be no more virtuous or deserving than the first, but people should keep the wealth they create.  Because they live in a more developed society, the second generation can produce more wealth for less labor, and they'd get to keep it if it wasn't lost to rent.

Quote
What is the best online text (not video) introduction to geoism?
Hm, that's a good question.  I don't know of many other than the ebook of Progress and Poverty.  There really is a need for a catchy introduction that covers the important points.

This is the best I can find after several minutes of googling.  What do you think of that, and what I've said so far in this thread?

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December 12, 2012, 06:14:31 AM
 #52

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They can. I believe your complaint was that that was all they could do. So now, you want the second generation to benefit even more than the first did? Tsk.
No, they can't.  There's no more unowned land for them to homestead.  All they can do is hire themselves out to landowners at low wages, which is another kind of rent.

They most certainly can support themselves. They support themselves through manual labor, just like the first generation. They even benefit more in that they get to carry away the fruits of this labor in portable (monetary) form, while the first generation was stuck with the literal fruits (and vegetables, etc) of their labor.

I believe your complaint was that they couldn't do much more than support themselves. Considering that was all the first generation could do, I'd say they're better off, even if all they have to offer is a strong back.

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December 12, 2012, 06:42:00 AM
 #53

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They most certainly can support themselves. They support themselves through manual labor, just like the first generation. They even benefit more in that they get to carry away the fruits of this labor in portable (monetary) form, while the first generation was stuck with the literal fruits (and vegetables, etc) of their labor.

I believe your complaint was that they couldn't do much more than support themselves. Considering that was all the first generation could do, I'd say they're better off, even if all they have to offer is a strong back.
The first generation was entitled to work the land just by the fact of their presence.  If their neighbor wanted to hire them, that was an option too.  The second generation can support themselves only if someone agrees to hire them.  If no one does, they starve.  If the only jobs involve degrading or life-threateningly dangerous conditions, they have no choice but to accept them.  Ironically, the first generation was probably fleeing a society just like this.

There's no reason they have to live in the same or worse conditions as the first generation did.  The society is much more developed, and the productivity of one worker is much increased.  If, like the first generation, the second generation had the choice between working for themselves or working for someone else, they would be in a much stronger position to demand wages that actually reflect the value of their work rather than their desperate circumstances.

Instead, when the development of society improves the productivity of the worker, it is the landowner who gets the lion's share of the increased production.

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December 12, 2012, 07:11:49 AM
 #54

Wow, that was a lot of text that I didn't read at all. If you are bound and determined to "teach" me, you know where to do it. Run along now. You can copy and paste, if you like, I'll read it when it's in the right spot. You were supposed to stop stalking me.

Whenever you show your ignorance about land and resources (this thread, for one), then the text which I just posted is definitely in the right spot. And I never made any claim about not talking to you. Rather it was you who was supposed to put me on ignore. Seems you can't though.

Stalking. Not talking. You're welcome to discuss anything you want. Just keep the movies to your movie thread, and your propaganda to your propaganda thread.

C'mon dude. You're the one who stalked me in the Freedom thread. And I don't do propaganda. Regarding movies, I only bring them up when you bring them up out of the blue. Like right now. Here's a recommendation for you: The Idiot, by Akira Kurosawa. Great movie. Seriously. Coming off of a marathon of watching Ozu movies with Setsuko Hara, I then watched The Idiot and enjoyed it immensely. It has stars from both Naruse's When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, Mizoguchi's Ugetsu, and Ozu's Equinox Flower.
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December 12, 2012, 07:14:15 AM
 #55

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What is the best online text (not video) introduction to geoism?
Hm, that's a good question.  I don't know of many other than the ebook of Progress and Poverty.  There really is a need for a catchy introduction that covers the important points.

This is the best I can find after several minutes of googling.  What do you think of that, and what I've said so far in this thread?

I will read it. It all sounds interesting.
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December 12, 2012, 07:37:36 AM
 #56

If, like the first generation, the second generation had the choice between working for themselves or working for someone else, they would be in a much stronger position to demand wages that actually reflect the value of their work rather than their desperate circumstances.

Ahh, but they do. They can simply buy land. Then they're working for themselves. They may have debt to pay off (or may not, second generation also means inheritance), but they're working for themselves. And anyway, you're arguing a lost cause. right now is way past second generation, and people buy and sell land, and still do just fine. Capitalism, it works, bitches.

Face it, what you propose is Socialism under a new guise, and that never works. It won't work if you add computers, it won't work if you change it from stealing productivity directly to stealing the fruits of that productivity, it won't work no matter what you do to it, because it's a flawed system.

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December 12, 2012, 07:52:16 AM
 #57

When did I ever say people don't buy and sell land?  The closest thing I said was that there's very little downward pressure on the price compared to man-made goods.

When people sell land for a higher price they bought it for, without making any improvements, that's a form of rent in the Georgist sense.  There's more than one way to collect rent.  Whatever the method, it's a burden on the producers.

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December 12, 2012, 09:33:46 AM
 #58

When did I ever say people don't buy and sell land?  The closest thing I said was that there's very little downward pressure on the price compared to man-made goods.

When people sell land for a higher price they bought it for, without making any improvements, that's a form of rent in the Georgist sense.  There's more than one way to collect rent.  Whatever the method, it's a burden on the producers.
So, instead, you would have a coercive system forcing that burden upon each and every person who has the audacity to own land? Even if he has no intention of selling, or of offering others jobs on that land? Some dude, out in the middle of nowhere in a log cabin owes everyone for the privilege of sleeping under a roof? Fuck that.

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December 12, 2012, 07:20:22 PM
 #59

This is the best I can find after several minutes of googling.  What do you think of that, and what I've said so far in this thread?

I see pros and cons. It sounds reasonable on the surface. But I haven't followed it before, and so I can't yet render a deeply thought out response. On the one hand, it encourages efficient use of land, which decreases sprawl and waste. But on the other hand, it encourages maximizing profit potential from the land, which can be counter to preserving the ecosystem services it would provide unmolested. In the article you posted, I also wasn't particularly enthusiastic to discover that the sham organization known as the Heartland Institute supports it, given their history of supporting property rights above the health of the planet, and their employment of deceptive propaganda in the process.

In some ways, it almost aligns with the philosophies of Herman Daly, who advocates a steady state economy, where taxes would be levied on that which we don't want: pollution, natural resource extraction, and waste. Geoism, in a sense, is like this, in that it taxes land usage. Use less land, pay less taxes.

The economy is really an organism which takes in raw materials, and through digestion, outputs products and waste. The key is to only take in renewable resources as input, output products, and eliminate the waste output.
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December 12, 2012, 11:07:39 PM
 #60

Less philosophy, I want to hear a debate on how the tax wold actually work, especially collection.

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December 12, 2012, 11:35:15 PM
 #61

Less philosophy, I want to hear a debate on how the tax wold actually work, especially collection.

Same way all taxes are collected:



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December 13, 2012, 02:03:54 AM
 #62

Less philosophy, I want to hear a debate on how the tax wold actually work, especially collection.

Same way all taxes are collected:



We only take those out when there is a lack of certainty about who the winner would be. As long as the state has all the guns, the citizens are safe.
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December 13, 2012, 02:39:34 AM
 #63

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Same way all taxes are collected:
Cute.  Incidentally, that's the way rent is collected, too.

@FirstAscent - Thanks for the opinion.

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Less philosophy, I want to hear a debate on how the tax wold actually work, especially collection.
Good call.  I'm going to make a note to ask someone who's more learned in Georgism when I get the chance about how the valuation would work.  

Collection would, as myrkul said, work the same was as taxes.  The only penalty for not paying would be the loss of title to the land.  Ideally, I think a stable currency, maybe even a cryptocurrency, should be declared official for this purpose only, leaving people free to use other currencies in commerce.

You could probably decentralize the process quite a bit if you used a cryptocurrency.  Register an address for each site, and then there could be a number of private agencies that will pay in exchange for some physical goods.  "Landcoins for gold" and so on.  Once collected, the currency would be redistributed either as a citizen's dividend or as payment for services.

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December 13, 2012, 02:47:16 AM
 #64

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Same way all taxes are collected:
Cute.  Incidentally, that's the way rent is collected, too.

Not quite. It's more like:

Pay or...


See the difference? One is a mugging, the other an eviction.

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December 13, 2012, 02:49:46 AM
 #65

Collection would, as myrkul said, work the same was as taxes.

I apologize for my use of the word 'collection', either that was too broad or not what I meant. I'm less worried about the actually payment of the tax than I am determining who owes what and why they owe that specific amount. Many states already have a property tax, how does that compare? (To be honest, I don't know how property taxes are calculated, either.)

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December 13, 2012, 02:56:28 AM
 #66

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Same way all taxes are collected:
Cute.  Incidentally, that's the way rent is collected, too.

Not quite. It's more like:

Pay or...


See the difference? One is a mugging, the other an eviction.
You can always renounce your citizenship. We have plenty of foreigners who become Singaporean in order to evade taxes. Eduardo Saverin of Facebook fame is one example.
The highest marginal tax rate (effective at $320k income or more) is 20%.

If you earn 32,000 USD per year in income then you pay 450 USD in income taxes.
If you earn 66,000 USD per year in income then you pay 2900 USD in income taxes.
If you earn 131,000 USD per year in income then you pay 11400 USD in income taxes.

If you don't like paying big taxes in your country, then why don't you just renounce your citizenship and move here? It is just like switching landlords. If you are not a US citizen, then you don't even have to renounce your citizenship. You can just move.


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December 13, 2012, 03:16:04 AM
 #67

@myrkul - No, I don't see it, and I didn't the last five times you said it either.  Smiley  As far as I'm concerned, one mandate to use force in imposing one's will over those inhabiting a certain area of land is like another.  Maybe you should continue to repeat the same points without adding anything new.  Tongue

Quote
I apologize for my use of the word 'collection', either that was too broad or not what I meant. I'm less worried about the actually payment of the tax than I am determining who owes what and why they owe that specific amount. Many states already have a property tax, how does that compare? (To be honest, I don't know how property taxes are calculated, either.)
As I understand it, property tax includes the value of improvements made to the land.  If you build a house on an empty lot, you're suddenly going to be paying a lot more in taxes than you were.  This goes against both the philosophical and practical goals of Georgism.

A few places have a land value tax, and generally it works out pretty well, but generally it's only a small portion of the rent the owners can collect, so it's only a partial solution to the problem.

Yeah, I still can't tell you exactly how it would be done, but it would have to be based on demand for that particular land and not include the value of improvements.  The practical goal is to create an incentive to use land to its fullest productivity, so ideally it should be high enough to price out inefficient users, low enough that it's still profitable for its best use.

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December 13, 2012, 03:23:27 AM
 #68

@myrkul - No, I don't see it, and I didn't the last five times you said it either.  Smiley  As far as I'm concerned, one mandate to use force in imposing one's will over those inhabiting a certain area of land is like another.  Maybe you should continue to repeat the same points without adding anything new.  Tongue

Really? You don't see the difference between "Pay us or we'll toss you in a cage or kill you," and, "Pay me, like you agreed to, or leave?" You really think those are the same thing?

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December 13, 2012, 03:27:25 AM
 #69

It's more like "Pay us, or leave, or we'll toss you in a cage or kill you." for both of them.

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December 13, 2012, 03:51:34 AM
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@myrkul - No, I don't see it, and I didn't the last five times you said it either.  Smiley  As far as I'm concerned, one mandate to use force in imposing one's will over those inhabiting a certain area of land is like another.  Maybe you should continue to repeat the same points without adding anything new.  Tongue

Really? You don't see the difference between "Pay us or we'll toss you in a cage or kill you," and, "Pay me, like you agreed to, or leave?" You really think those are the same thing?
I thought we just went over the fact that you can often leave in both cases.
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December 13, 2012, 04:34:44 AM
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It's more like "Pay us, or leave, or we'll toss you in a cage or kill you." for both of them.
Except to live rent-free, you just have to buy your own land. To live tax-free, you must move to Somalia, and not paying rent will only get you evicted. Might land you an overnight stay in county, if you're belligerent about leaving, but that's in the current system, isn't it? And at any rate you get locked up for taking a swing at a cop or some such, not for not paying the rent.

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December 13, 2012, 04:53:37 AM
 #72

@myrkul - No, I don't see it, and I didn't the last five times you said it either.  Smiley  As far as I'm concerned, one mandate to use force in imposing one's will over those inhabiting a certain area of land is like another.  Maybe you should continue to repeat the same points without adding anything new.  Tongue

Really? You don't see the difference between "Pay us or we'll toss you in a cage or kill you," and, "Pay me, like you agreed to, or leave?" You really think those are the same thing?

I don't see the difference, frankly.

Landlord: get out, or pay, or I'll have someone point a gun at your face.

Government: go somewhere else and stop using our infrastructure, or pay up, or I'll have someone point a gun at your face.
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December 13, 2012, 04:59:03 AM
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@FirstAscent - Thanks for the opinion.

Just that? No heated debates? No argumentation? No meaningless myrkulistic memes? No nuanced discussion? Fair enough, I suppose.
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December 13, 2012, 05:54:52 AM
Last edit: December 13, 2012, 06:19:24 AM by Topazan
 #74

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Except to live rent-free, you just have to buy your own land. To live tax-free, you must move to Somalia, and not paying rent will only get you evicted. Might land you an overnight stay in county, if you're belligerent about leaving, but that's in the current system, isn't it? And at any rate you get locked up for taking a swing at a cop or some such, not for not paying the rent.
You need to judge the nature of the act itself, not the circumstances of its victim.  Is stabbing someone who has good health insurance less of a crime than stabbing someone who doesn't?

If the evicted tenant has an alternative place to work or live, that's not because of anything the landlord did.  If the tenant does not have another place, the landlord would consider it not-his-problem.  Therefore, it's not the government's problem if you don't have anywhere to go.  Why is it the government's fault you don't want to go to Somalia?

Besides, buying land isn't living rent-free.  At best, it's paying your rent in one lump sum (and possibly later collecting some from innocent third parties).  More often it means you're making a bank your landlord.

Quote
Just that? No heated debates? No argumentation? No meaningless myrkulistic memes? No nuanced discussion? Fair enough, I suppose.
Heh, well you seem to be a single-issue voter.  You obviously know much more about ecology than I do, so I just have to take your word concerning the environmental implications.

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December 13, 2012, 06:17:54 AM
 #75

@myrkul - No, I don't see it, and I didn't the last five times you said it either.  Smiley  As far as I'm concerned, one mandate to use force in imposing one's will over those inhabiting a certain area of land is like another.  Maybe you should continue to repeat the same points without adding anything new.  Tongue

Really? You don't see the difference between "Pay us or we'll toss you in a cage or kill you," and, "Pay me, like you agreed to, or leave?" You really think those are the same thing?

I don't see the difference, frankly.

Landlord: get out, or pay, or I'll have someone point a gun at your face.

Government: go somewhere else and stop using our infrastructure, or pay up, or I'll have someone point a gun at your face.

Yeah, government is just like a big landlord. Dictatorship is like having one big landowner. Democracy is like having one big condo association.
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