Geonomics

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= Geonomics is the economic philosophy that "everyone owns what they create, but that everything found in nature, most importantly land, belongs equally to all of humanity." [1]


Description

"One can receive a share of the value of nature and all can conserve the health of nature at the same time. It’s not a political change, such as designating land as common, but an economic change, a redirection of rent (all the money we spend on the nature we use, for sites, resources, and ecosystem services) from present few owners and lenders to all members of society.


The words “own” and “owe” were once one word - and “ought” was the past tense - back when the duty of owners to contribute rent to community was widely understood. That understanding has eroded away. Which is understandable. Rent got paid in, but not paid back out, getting captured by lords in the past and by politicians today. Since paying rent did not benefit payers, it made little sense to keep paying rent.


The new/old policy of geonomics would make paying rent make sense. To recover rent, geonomics would replace taxes with land dues. To share rent, geonomics would replace subsidized services with a citizens’ dividend. When owners pay other members of their society, and the other members pay owners, together they accomplish mutual compensation; each member compensates all others for the land he exclusively occupies and is compensated by all others for being excluded from the sites they occupy.


Receiving rent shares, people would want to extract resources, but to conserve them as well. It’s not maximal use of land that maximizes land value but optimal use, a mix of use and nonuse. In urban areas, a neighborhood’s land values are higher with a public park versus lower without a public park; in rural areas, a region’s land values are higher with healthy forests and clean rivers versus lower with clear-cutting and eroded silt choking streams. Keeping ecosystems healthy keeps site values highest and the rent shares fattest, aligning the interests of self and society, of people and planet. Sharing rent would effectively motivate humans to turn Earth into the commons and themselves into Earthling stewards, as both trustors and trustees.


While land dues are rare, land taxes have often been levied. Plus there is a model of the public receiving shares of rent - the Alaskan oil dividend. This oil share has its limitations but it is a start toward sharing Earth via sharing her worth. It countermands the implicit assumption that the value of nature belongs to only a few owners rather than to all humanity. Natural bounty belonging to everyone is an understanding expressed in many moral traditions, including Christianity."


Discussion

Joseph Stiglitz in favour of a Land Tax

Joseph Stiglitz:

"One of the general principles of taxation is that one should tax factors that are inelastic in supply, since there are no adverse supply side effects. Land does not disappear when it is taxed.


Henry George, a great progressive of the late nineteenth century, argued, partly on this basis, for a land tax. It is ironic that rather than following this dictum, the United States has been doing just the opposite through its preferential treatment of capital gains.


But it is not just land that faces a low elasticity of supply. It is the case for other depletable natural resources. Subsidies might encourage the early discovery of some resource, but it does not increase the supply of the resource; that is largely a matter of nature.


That is why it also makes sense, from an efficiency point of view, to tax natural resource rents at as close to 100% as possible. …


The generalized Henry George principle identifies a class of taxes that does not impede economic efficiency. But there is a class of taxes that actually increases economic efficiency – taxes which discourage activities that generate negative externalities.


The most important category of such taxes are those on environmental externalities. Within this area, the most important are those associated with carbon emissions, with their impact on global warming and climate change." (http://peopleandplace.net/on_the_wire/2010/12/9/joseph_stiglitz_geonomics_the_land_tax)



More Information

The Geonomy Society is at http://www.progress.org/geonomy/

The proposal of Geonomics is related to the issues of the Basic Income and the Citizens Dividend