Land Policy Failure Breeding Nationalism

Karl FitzgeraldHot IssuesLeave a Comment

Creative Commons License photo credit: Maria Gertsovskaya

From South Africa to Bolivia to here in Australia, the failure to approach land as a human right rather than a speculative kite is breeding dangerous undercurrents amongst those excluded from ‘the property game’.

The young firebrand South African ANC youth leader Julius Malema again fired up the masses with these comments:

“You need land to do everything. Without land voting means nothing,” he said.

Malema said South Africans can vote until they are purple.

He said as long as they did not have the economy of South Africa their votes were useless.

“You vote and you still go beg,” he said.

An economic democracy is vital. We need our birth rights, our earth rights. Speculative privileges have superseded those fundamental rights through distortions in the tax system. Julius went on:

Malema said he was told one should not talk politics of land and property or nationalisation because it would scare investors away.

“They invest in countries where there are civil wars. ” he said, adding that people should not believe the “lies” that investors would be scared off by talks of nationalisation.

Malema said Investors did not care about people and that they were interested in making profit.

Last night’s Today Tonight rang loud on the fear of Chinese investors buying up Australia. If a higher and flatter Land Tax was implemented on land valued yearly, the profits that attract foreign investors and agri-business would be greatly wound back.

Foreign investment in property is unproductive. No matter how much money is invested, investors can’t make any more land. The profits inherent in land as a scarce resource are the magnet for investment. It has little to do with providing housing for slum dwellers.

With our system there would be a re-balance away from land based profiteering and towards the provision of housing for a steady rate of return.

Nationalisation is not necessary. What is vital is capturing the community created rent (that capitalises into the massive property based profits). Private possession of land is still sacrosanct.

The catch is that this possession is based on the yearly payment of a land rent back to the community (once known as the government) in respect for the privilege of being a custodian of that piece of land. Outright ownership for 99 years is no longer reliant upon on a huge loan to banks.

The ANC has ignored the warnings of South African colleagues such as Godfrey Dunkley that bureaucratic land reform is a slowly imploding mess (witness Zimbabwe, not matter what the role of the IMF/ WB). Legal stouches and community infighting hamper who gets the land by the river and who gets to live next to the dusty quarry.

No farmer no matter what skin colour will voluntarily give up land they have cared for. Perhaps Mugabe and SA’s Zuma need to look at the speculative elite rather than race. Even then, we can’t put the blame on those lucky few, it is the system that needs changing.

Market forces directed by the tax system can do this much more effectively.

After 30 years of neoliberal dominance it is time that the people stood up and promoted an economic policy that delivers reward for effort for businessmen whilst simultaneously protecting the environment with a True Cost Economics system. Read more

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