In Socialist Alternative, issue 13, February-March 2009, which was circulated widely in Orientation Week at the University of Queensland, the first page proclaims that “Capitalism Caused this Disaster”.
The correct slogan should be that “Land Parasitism caused this disaster”. At least two thirds of the cost of urban houses and buildings is the cost of the land, which is why 80% of the wealth of this country is owned by, at most, 15% of its inhabitants.
Capital is a major factor in increasing the wealth of the nation, but land ownership is the major factor in halting progress, creating poverty and unemployment. The building of roads, factories, houses, etc. depends on access to land and all are dragged back by the cost of land. Thus, land monopolisation is the real reason for the unsustainable loans and mortgages forced upon businesses and home owners and the soaring cost of rented accommodation which is driving so many Australians into homelessness.
Instead of penalising production by evil and crazy taxes such as income tax, payroll tax and GST, we should abolish these taxes and instead take for the community what really belongs to them, namely, the community-created value of land.
It is estimated by the States’ Valuers General that this source of revenue would return many billions of dollars – more than enough to meet the nation’s needs. At the same time, it would encourage production which in turn would substantially reduce unemployment and homelessness.
Karl Marx, perhaps influenced by the American Economist and Philosopher Henry George, came to acknowledge the distinct and vital role played by land in his later publications; unfortunately, Communism was founded on his earlier version of Das Kapital in which land and capitalism were joined together as a single entity. No wonder it collapsed under the corruption which this misunderstanding inevitably created.
Cecil and Helen Stowasser, March 1st, 2009.