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Earthsharing and Economics
If you’ve ever wanted a simpler way to ensure we all have some right to a place on this earth, that we all have a valued role in society, then the economic adjustment we support could be just the tonic needed to see sense in this challenged world.
Most people think that periods of social, economic and environmental turmoil are somehow naturally preordained ["They are just part of the recurring cycle"] – and that continued over-exploitation of nature is taken to be the price we must pay for the benefits of modern civilisation. ["What alternative is there?"]
Those views are nothing but ‘hocus-pocus’ – but most economists subscribe to them.
We don’t have to remain victims of that sort of tunnel vision, because there is an economic model which supports responsible economic and environmental action. It stresses the role played by taxes in creating debt and unemployment – and gives the lie to misconceptions that the environment needs to be pillaged and plundered in order to consume our way out of the debt trap.
This model is known under names other than Earthsharing (“Geonomics”, “Georgism”, “Geoism”), and derives its necessary revenues from charges upon the title-holders of land and other natural resource licences. By replacing taxes with a system to share the naturally rising value of the earth, the damaging results of taxation can be obviated. Such a revenue system reduces unemployment and conserves the environment.
What is Earthsharing?
Earthsharing is a world movement dedicated to achieving economic justice for all people, and to reforming the way we treat our limited planetary resources. It is not “fairies at the bottom of the garden” stuff, but it is about hard-nosed, focused reform.
We propose a simple shift away from the taxation of our hard work (income tax) and onto resources, ensuring the natural wealth of the planet is shared amongst us all. We should all be shareholders – our birth-rights define as equals on this planet. But our economic policies are still written as if a flat earth existed.
This will help transition how we relate to the planet, moving society from owners to custodians of the earth.
Short: Speculators Flipping our Freedom
Why the name Earthsharing?
Earthsharing connotes that we have a responsibility to share access to natural resources equitably – and to be mindful of the rights of future generations by caring for the global environment. There is an elegant adjustment to economic systems that effectively secures these most fundamental, but neglected, human rights to all people.
What is this ‘elegant adjustment’?
Earthsharing is at odds with those who misuse or monopolise resources, so we are committed to an annual charge – based on the value of resources over which title is held – as the primary source of community revenues. This annual title fee would replace many taxes, but acts quite unlike a tax. Where taxes take from production and tend to inhibit employment, natural resource revenues do not. But they do reduce misuse of resources, and allocate them more equitably amongst those who are prepared to pay the title fee and use them responsibly.
The loudest outcry against the principles of Earthsharing has traditionally been from those people and institutions locked into mindsets of speculation, monopoly and environmental plunder. As a result, confusingly elaborate and inadequate systems of palliative care and ‘charity’ have been allowed to develop, in place of an economic system grounded in principles of natural justice. Until now, we have adapted to social and environmental problems, rather than eliminating their cause.
A profound new economic model – which puts people and nature firmly back into economics – would penalise ‘speculative booms’ and lead to a social and ecological re-birthing of community where we are encouraged to work together rather than exploit each other.
Throughout history many people have provided “endorsements” of this system of natural ecological and economic justice. Perhaps the writings of the social philosopher, Henry George (1839-1897) put its case best. Joseph Stiglitz and Dr Ken Henry are two contemporary proponents.