The Earth’s Worth

Karl FitzgeraldCommentaryLeave a Comment

Creative Commons License photo credit: sigmaman

In Revenue Sharing – A Piece of the Pie John Cutfeet says:

I recently heard an Elder say that we, as the First Peoples, were given resources by the Creator from which we can make a living. He said, “God gave us resources to use from our lands. Our people did commercial fishing where we sold fish to make a living. We have the land and resources we can use instead of not doing anything with it.”

This message by the Elders has been consistent throughout the years and has been voiced repeatedly. When our forefathers engaged in the treaty-making process, they understood that they were agreeing to share the land and the benefits it provides with the newcomers.
Unfortunately, the text of the treaty does not reflect the discussions as remembered by the elders. They recall agreeing to share the lands and its resources for mutual benefit and not mass land surrender.

The shadows of the Copenhagen climate conference provide an opportune time to review our operating system and it’s pursuit of creating carbon permits for carbon speculators AKA carbon cowboys acting out as financial middlemen.

The short term mentality of quarterly dividend payments curtails the western CEO from thinking of future generations. Easy profits are delivered by the economic rents inherent in mining, land speculation or the ownership of any resource that is scarce. This gives modern economics a one-eyed view of the importance of scarce resources.

What justification do mainstream religious leaders give themselves late at night with the disjoint between the sentiment of their teachings and the outcomes of society as dictated by the economic system?

If nature’s wealth is shared amongst all, and not just the shareholders and privateers, then equality of opportunity is encouraged. Read this report on Valuing Common Assets and read more here for background.

Indigenous practice for thousands of years saw this work effectively and sustainably.

We believe that speculation on the licensed monopolies of scarce resources (also our DNA, copyright, fishing licenses) drives the rest of the economic juggernaut to cut corners. A coffee shop is forced to do this to keep up with the average 15.5% return over the last decade for land speculators here in Australia (where our land bubble still hasn’t popped).

Once speculators are signaled to stop their destructive practices of price inflation, then the cost of living returns to a more sustainable level. The implementation of a true cost economics system does this by penalising speculation and penalises pollution. Urban density, walkable communities and $1 train rides on an expanded network are all possible.

So too is more affordable housing, a decentralised push back out of our mega-cities and into the bush (where land values are lower and thus so are taxes) and even increased small business. The access to cheaper land with a simpler tax framework encourages the everyday person to follow their dreams into a start-up. The competition for labour heats up and because less is being paid for in rent, there is more to pay wages.

This all assists in undoing the forces that are driving the wealth gap. The chasm between private interests and the public good finds harmony when public works benefit all citizens equally, rather than delivering windfall gains for the lucky few who ‘own’ land.

A strong link with indigenous leaders will one day be made upon the common ground that the earth’s worth is for all and not just the privileged few. Can trust in market forces ever be rekindled? We like to think so.

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