Verses on the theme

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And time there was, ere England’s griefs began,

When every rood of ground maintained its man;

For him light labour spread her wholesome store,

Just gave what life required, but gave no more;

His best companions, innocence and health;

And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.

Oliver Goldsmith. Continue reading

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SA69. Argentina by Fernando Scornic Gerstein

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With 2.791.8101 Square Kilometres of surface Argentina is one of the largest countries in the world and with 36.223.9472 inhabitants one of the comparatively less populated. The actual ratio of inhabitants per Square Kilometres, 13, is one of the lowest in Earth.

In spite of being as a whole an almost empty country, the population is mostly concentrated in an about the city of Buenos Aires and some other few large cities like Córdoba and Rosario (about 12.000.000 people).

Being a country with such an abundance of land and so few inhabitants, nevertheless large sectors of the population live in slums surrounding the big cities, with no access to land.

This situation moved the Catholic Church to issue recently an Episcopal Document about the land problem in the country, proposing different solutions. In the foreword to this document Monseñor Carmelo Juan Giaquinta points out that the relation of the Argentineans with land “is maybe one of the worst in the World”. Continue reading

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SA68. The Right to Work, by Leslie Blake

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The following sad story appeared in the Daily Mail of 21 May 2001:

“When offered contract work, my firm went through the costings, cashflow and forecasting exercise. We judged  there would  be a fair return  on the investment and decided to go ahead. However, the figures starting going through my mind and the following emerged : net profit to the firm — £18,598; net profit to the government  — £24,767.

Why?With National Insurance, PAYE,  VAT, fuel tax, insurance  tax, land fill levy, road fund licences, operators’ licence, personal tax liabilities, loss of interest on cash flow and other hidden taxes, the government will gain more from this investment than the company. In addition, ifwe took on three employees for this new job and they came off benefits, it would save the government another £23,400 a year, leaving the government a gain of more than £48,167  in the first  year — 259% more than the  risk-taker.

Why should I risk everything for a government that has accepted contract prices 30% lower than last   year? Continue reading

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SA66. The Most Wonderful Manuscript by Ivy Akeroyd 1932

[An address delivered at the Henry George Club, Sydney NSW; 16 May, 1932]
Although the sciences, generally, are rightly regarded as nature studies, there is an unfortunate tendency to consider economic science to be a set of complicated man-made schemes, continuously amended by even more complicated man-made laws – a hopeless tangle about which there can be endless difference of opinion and which only the very wise and learned may hope to understand.

The following is an endeavour to show that this is not so, but that, on the contrary, economic science (or as it is sometimes termed “economics” or “political economy”) is a simple nature study, that the economist is as much a naturalist as any other scientist, and for him also, there is significance in the well-known lines of Longfellow:

Nature the old nurse, took
The child upon her knee,
Saying, “Here is a story book
Thy Father has written for thee.”

“Come, wander with me,” she said,
“Into regions yet untrod,
And read what is still unread
In the manuscripts of God.”

Continue reading

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SA65. Housing Crisis? What Housing Crisis? by Mark Wadsworth

It would be foolish to describe the current situation in the UK housing market as a “crisis,” as  this suggests some unforeseen events which suddenly come to a head and which the government has to deal with urgently.

Far from it, the state of the housing market is the inevitable result of quite deliberate changes in UK government policy over the last thirty years or so, which we are feeling the full impact of now.

Government policies

If we go back to the period between 1945 and the 1980s, what is remarkable is the rate at which owner-occupation levels increased. The share of owner-occupier households rose from 30% to 60%; the proportion of social tenants increased from 20% to 30% and – in a development which has received much less attention – the share of households renting privately fell from 50% to 10%. Continue reading

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SA64. Making Use of History by Roy Douglas

To celebrate the 100th article in LANDISFREE  we ask our chair to write a special essay.

Is history a mere chronicle of events or are there patterns in history? If the second view is correct, then a study of those patterns may not only help us understand how things happened in the past, but may also give us some idea as to how things are likely to happen in the future. If, furthermore, the future is not completely predetermined, it is possible that people may intervene and give future events a twist in the direction they wish them to take. In other words, history – properly understood – is not just a record of the past, but can also be a profoundly important guide for the future.

Many historians have sought to see patterns in history, often to fit their own ideologies. To pagans in the 4th and 5th Centuries, the decline of the Roman Empire was due to Romans forsaking the old gods and turning to Christianity. The gods therefore abandoned the Empire. This view was denied by another man living through the same events. St Augustine of Hippo saw all history as a working out of the purpose of the Christian God and argued that the Christians were a force of preservation, not a force of destruction. Marxists have a view of history radically different from both. To them, the development of feudalism, capitalism and socialism, and the fate of empires, derive, not from intervention by any kind of divinity, but from struggles between social classes. Continue reading

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SA63. The Fairhope Single Tax Colony – from their website

History of Fairhope and the Single Tax Corporation

Members of the single tax club in Des Moines, Iowa, decided in 1894 that they wanted to do more than just discuss the single tax theory. They wanted to build an actual community that would employ, as best they could, single tax principles. Still meeting in Iowa, they formulated their plans, wrote a constitution, and began seeking a site. Upon passage of the constitution one of the founding members said he believed there was a fair hope that the experiment would succeed. Thus the name for the utopian demonstration community: Fairhope. Continue reading

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SA62. A Huge Extra Resource, by Ed Dodson

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Ed has very kindly given us access to the fruit of the last twenty years work. Click on this link to get to thirteen slide presentations, each of about thirty slides. The second link below will take you to a vast trove of quotations about land, by author and by country.


Continue reading

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SA61. Foundations of Earth Sharing Why It Matters: By Lawrence Bosek

Many notable people support sharing as part of the roots for peaceful sustainability.

Sharing is a virtuous fundamental principle taught among civilized cultures. Parents often teach their children to share among siblings and schools typically utilize shared resources. Sharing is inherent as well as learned and therefore is integrated into society at differing levels.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr. Continue reading

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SA60. How to Restore Economic Growth, by Fred Foldvary, Ph.D.

None of the candidates for office are discussing what would really make the economy grow.|

The candidates for office in 2016 have been discussing ideas about promoting economic growth, as the US economy has had a sluggish recovery since the recession ended in 2009. The Federal Reserve has pushed interest rates down to historically low levels, and that policy may have prevented even worse outcomes, but artificially low interest rates fueled previous asset bubbles and has fueled an artificial rise of land values and stock market prices. What has been missing is an analysis of what causes economic growth.

Growth and development originates in the desire of individuals to improve their condition. That desire induces people to work and to invest in capital goods and skills. The incentive to engage in this progress gets blocked by the artificial costs imposed by government. Moreover, where government artificially boosts growth from subsidies, the result is often a waste of resources. We can witness this happening now in China, where years of promoting construction has resulted in excessive real estate malinvestments, which, as this has stopped, the downturn in China now infects the global economy. Continue reading

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