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RE: [LandCafe] Re: Semantics and welfare - formerly legitimate LVT criticism

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  • Harry Pollard
    Roy, The following exchange: HP Neither of you say what the practical difference ... RL Tenants have security of tenure. Ownership includes a right to
    Message 1 of 229 , Mar 8 11:22 AM
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      Roy,

       

      The following exchange:

       

      HP > Neither of you say what the practical difference

      > is between ownership and security of tenure.

      RL “Tenants have security of tenure. Ownership includes a right to benefit from the property owned (i.e., to pocket the rent), and to dispose of it.”

       

      But in the Georgist economy, the full rent is collected by the community, so there is apparently no difference between my ‘ownership’ and your ‘security of tenure’. So let’s just leave land titles just as they are and collect the rent. That’s all that’s needed.

       

      Perhaps you should check your history. Land ownership has been with us a long time – indeed, you referred to the enclosures earlier. You had it wrong but you were right in one respect the taking over of the commons by the powerful who then owned them. But, then, the history of US land ownership is a miserable story of acquisition by force, fraud, and theft.

       

      Actually the seas need to be managed perhaps by the UN on behalf of the people so they can stop over-fishing which is very dangerous to us.

       

      You seem to approve of government ownership of land, or nationalization, as you say that government will be responsible for dishing out the land.

       

      There is so much of Roy that’s wrong, but let’s try this:

       

      “Harry, by contrast, has never offered any explanation for how land capable of supporting the less productive above subsistence would not attract any bids from the more productive. Nor will he ever be doing so.”

       

      “Bids” from the more productive will be for the most productive land – land on which they can get the highest return. There is simply no point in their paying the cost of holding marginal land, when they can earn high wages on the most productive land.

       

      Here’s another bit:

       

      HP > You complain about my "rosy predictions" of the economic development that

      > would occur with full rent collection. Yet those economic consequences are the major reason for collecting full ground rent.

      RL Not at all. The economic consequences would be roughly the same if landowners suddenly became rational profit maximizers. But the injustice would remain.

       

      You think that rack-rents would remain in spite of the release of lots of land now vacant or underused. You are very good when discussing markets, yet you think that the abandonment of perhaps half the central city speculative land (and/or a tremendous surge in building) would have no effect on the market.


      HP > This because the economic consequences of full rent collection carry us toward the goal of Liberty and Justice for all.

      RL How? It doesn't address the removal of people's liberty through exclusive tenure.

       

      Yet, you favor exclusive tenure. However, a bunch of entrepreneurs busy improving the empty sites and producing much wealth is good for me (and you) so don’t knock it. How on earth do these entrepreneurs limit my liberty in any way – or produce injustice?

       

      You said:

       

      HP > This list tends to concentrate on revenue and, understandably, on the best

      > means of getting it. This is a land-value taxation list. Yet, my reason for
      > becoming a Georgist and remaining so all the years is certainly not because
      > I favor a better way of getting revenue. It is because full rent collection was George's elegant way to handle the problem he exposed.

      RL IOW, Harry does not actually understand LVT or Henry George's thinking. The problem of vacant and under-utilized land will actually be solved long before full rent collection is achieved. Once the cost of holding the land exceeds its anticipated appreciation, speculators have nothing to look forward to, and the owners will either use it productively or sell it to someone who will.

       

      I’ve gone through this exhaustively if you bothered to read it. Introducing it now is just a debating ploy. Although land prices is likely to fall before there is even legislation on the books, and will be effective in springing land loose before full collection is achieved, full collection is necessary to collect all the rent that belongs to the community.

       

      And please don’t psychoanalyze me, You are not very good at it and it detracts from the occasional good things you write,

       

      Harry

       

      From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of roy_langston
      Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2013 11:23 PM
      To: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [LandCafe] Re: Semantics and welfare - formerly legitimate LVT criticism

       

       

      --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "Harry Pollard" <harrypollard@...> wrote:

      > Neither of you say what the practical difference
      > is between ownership and security of tenure.

      Tenants have security of tenure. Ownership includes a right to benefit from the property owned (i.e., to pocket the rent), and to dispose of it.

      > 2. On the other hand who does own the land if not privately owned.? The State? Does Roy or you envisage nationalization?
      >
      > Or perhaps he assumes that no land is owned.

      How can land rightly be owned, any more than the sun, or the atmosphere, or the oceans?

      > But then who grants security of tenure?

      Government, which by definition is the sovereign authority over a specific area of land.

      > Then, Walter, you add:
      >
      > "it doesn't matter that some people will (or at least may) go with nothing.
      > "See," Harry says "Each owner is paying just what he ought!" But then he derives from that, "So nobody is hurt."
      >
      > You say that this conclusion doesn't follow. Seems to me that arguments
      > against the effectiveness of full collection mostly consist of statements that somehow liberty and justice have been thwarted. How this is so is not developed,

      That is a fabrication. I have explained many times exactly how they have been thwarted. Harry, by contrast, has never offered any explanation for how land capable of supporting the less productive above subsistence would not attract any bids from the more productive. Nor will he ever be doing so.

      > in Roy's case he congratulates himself for proving something and that's all.

      No, that is just another bald fabrication by Harry. I have explained it in detail, very patiently, many times.

      > You complain about my "rosy predictions" of the economic development that
      > would occur with full rent collection. Yet those economic consequences are the major reason for collecting full ground rent.

      Not at all. The economic consequences would be roughly the same if landowners suddenly became rational profit maximizers. But the injustice would remain.

      > This because the economic consequences of full rent collection carry us toward the goal of Liberty and Justice for all.

      How? It doesn't address the removal of people's liberty through exclusive tenure.

      > This list tends to concentrate on revenue and, understandably, on the best
      > means of getting it. This is a land-value taxation list. Yet, my reason for
      > becoming a Georgist and remaining so all the years is certainly not because
      > I favor a better way of getting revenue. It is because full rent collection was George's elegant way to handle the problem he exposed.

      IOW, Harry does not actually understand LVT or Henry George's thinking. The problem of vacant and under-utilized land will actually be solved long before full rent collection is achieved. Once the cost of holding the land exceeds its anticipated appreciation, speculators have nothing to look forward to, and the owners will either use it productively or sell it to someone who will.

      > You say:
      >
      > "But suppose Harry's pipe dream were to come true and the economy would
      > absolutely SOAR! Would it then follow that nobody is hurt if each owner pays the full shot in LVT?"
      >
      > "Sadly, still the answer is no. It just doesn't follow that all compensation
      > to non-owners will have been made even if every owner is made to pay his fair share."
      >
      > 3. What other compensation is needed, and for what?

      The compensation for removal of people's rights to liberty.

      > The rent of a location is the advantage it gets compared with the margin which is said to be "the best available rent-free land".

      And by what right is people's liberty to use all the land better than that removed without just compensation?

      > Under modern conditions there is no margin - no free land.

      Nonsense. It's just very bad.

      > All land is held privately or by government bodies.

      There are lots of places where you can go and use government land for free: deserts, mountainsides, etc. But land has to be very bad to attract no more than one bid.

      > So those at the bottom of the wage
      > pyramid are pressed down by monopoly rents (which I name rack-rents) to subsistence levels.

      All land rents are monopoly rents, so using the term, "rack-rent" for them on that account is incorrect.

      > Although for all practical purposes all land is owned, it isn't all used.
      > Large amounts of even the most valuable land in cities is unused or
      > underused and mostly held for speculation in rising land-values. The effect
      > of collecting the full rent will change that. Much, or most, of this land
      > will be dumped on the market. Central city land - the most desirable - will
      > be snapped up by the best producers and over time most people will have
      > happily moved toward the center where the best jobs are, where services are
      > concentrated, and where commuting is less.

      But plenty of people will want to use more land, have bigger back yards, etc., and land rent recovery will give them the real, disposable, after-tax purchasing power to get it.

      > Some land at the outskirts of
      > the city is likely to be vacant and rent-free.

      Why would no more than one person be willing to pay to use such land?

      > Certainly it will be
      > available to the lowest wage earners, some of whom may well become
      > smallholders and make a better wage.

      Nope. The lowest wage earners aren't productive enough to compete with the more productive for land.

      > (Roy jeered at the thought of them
      > trying to compete with large farms, but they do this already in local Farmers' street markets.) Fresh tomatoes, zucchini, Brussels, and so on, have good sales now in these street markets.

      Only a handful of skilled and industrious people are able to do this, not the less productive.

      > Also hydroponic tanks are easy
      > to set up and produce well and plentifully.

      If you are skillful and industrious, and can afford the capital cost.

      > However just some will go in
      > this direction. When rent collection opens up good high rent land, the demand for labor will be high and wages will rise.

      That is simply a statement of faith. Supply of labor will also be high as rentiers have to find real jobs. Wages are determined by the productivity of labor on marginal land, and I've seen no persuasive evidence that the margin will gallop inward as Harry proclaims.

      > This is from where Georgists are coming, but not from where Roy is coming.
      >
      > He thinks that when full collection of rent happens there will be little
      > effect on monopoly rents - my rack-rents. The lowest workers will still be
      > earning at subsistence rates, will still be unable to get out of the hole
      > they are in. This is where we differ and this is why he has come up with the exemption.

      Again, Harry persists in making this unfounded and dishonest claim no matter how many times I refute it. Such behavior is insulting, childish, and disgraceful.

      > On 2/28 Roy answered my:
      >
      > > You can always pay rent because the location provides you with the means to pay it.
      >
      > "No, that claim is blatantly and indisputably false. The location does not
      > provide you with either the labor or the capital to pay the rent. That is
      > very much the point: everyone who can't provide the labor and capital needed
      > to use the location to its full potential is forcibly deprived of the liberty to use it -- liberty they would otherwise have."
      >
      > I can't understand this argument at all. The exemption will get him land at
      > (say) half price but it doesn't provide "labor and capital" so what's the difference?

      With the UIE, he only has to pay for the amount of good land he uses in excess of the exempt amount. So he gets secure access to economic opportunity even if he is not its most productive prospective user.

      > With the Georgist analysis labor should be able to get marginal
      > land for nothing. That's a start.

      Labor can already get marginal land for nothing. That's because it is so bad only at most one person is willing to pay to use it.

      > Of course, Roy cannot understand

      I will thank Harry to keep his silly and invariably incorrect speculations about what I can and cannot understand to himself.

      > that marginal land (best rent-free land) can be productive.

      It can't be productive enough to attract bids from more than one prospective user. Harry has never explained why no more than one prospective user will be willing to pay for land that can support the less productive at a level above subsistence. I'm betting he will never be able to do so.

      > Well, if the result of full collection does not release
      > large amounts of land from speculative hold-out - as he thinks - this is so.

      It will release lots, but also enable lots to be taken up.

      > Marginal land will be the worst of the worst. But, again, full collection
      > will spring loose a lot of land which is far better than the present margin and lead to higher wages.

      While real, disposable, after-tax wages will likely rise substantially, the idea that this will eliminate the poverty of the least productive is just wishful thinking. It's never happened anywhere land rent recovery has ever been tried. It's also irrelevant to the basic injustice of removing people's rights to liberty without just compensation.

      -- Roy Langston

    • roy_langston
      ... Very simply: a geoist economy will likely distribute exclusive tenure more widely (i.e., a larger fraction of the population will end up as direct
      Message 229 of 229 , Apr 1, 2013
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        --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "Harry Pollard" <harrypollard@...> wrote:

        > HP > Let's not pursue this. Ownership in a full rent collection economy is fine and harms no-one.
        >
        > RL: Not so. Once it is conceded that land is owned as the fruits of one's
        > labor are owned, how does one justify taxing one and not the other?
        >
        > In a Georgist economy, how on earth does ownership of land harm anyone, whereas "security of tenure", which you favor, doesn't?

        Very simply: a geoist economy will likely distribute exclusive tenure more widely (i.e., a larger fraction of the population will end up as direct landholders). But if people OWN land in a Georgist economy, they have a very good reason to VOTE AGAINST that Georgist economy, thus voting themselves a privilege of pocketing "their" land's rent.

        It is going to be monumentally difficult to implement a geoist economy. In fact, it may be the most difficult task that will ever be accomplished by human beings. It is therefore crucial that the implementation make it even more difficult to undo than it is to do.

        > You apparently see
        > no practical difference between security of tenure and ownership.

        OTC, because it so resembles leasehold tenure, I don't see how one can honestly call secure, exclusive land tenure in a geoist economy "ownership."

        > Neither the "fruits" nor land should be taxed. However, in a Georgist
        > economy, if your location benefits from the surrounding community, you will
        > pay that advantage back to them. This isn't a tax. It's a fee - you pay for what you get.

        It's true that unlike income tax or other taxes, land rent recovery is a voluntary, market-based, value-for-value transaction. It is the only possible way government can be made self-financing. But all that claiming "it's not a tax" will get is a popular perception of disingenuousness.

        -- Roy Langston
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