The thoughts behind the Renegade Ecologist

From my 20 years as a nature conservationist I have learned the utter futility of trying to protect nature under our current economic system. But by making some small changes to our taxation system we could make a world fit for our children to inherit full of wildlife & prosperity for all.

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root....
Henry David Thoreau
"In many ways, nature conservation has become just another method of rent extraction by landowners who are trying to hide the fact that modern farmers’ fields are essentially deserts, devoid of wildlife, and the taxpayer must pay ‘rent’ if we want wild animals to occupy ‘their land’."
Peter Smith

Land Value Tax, which is in my opinion the Holy Grail of legislative changes to protect wildlife, is the simplest expression of the Economic theories of Henry George. This theory goes that if we abolish all harmful taxes on our hard work and trade and instead charge a rent for the use of natural resources such as Land we will not waste them or allow private interests to exploit the rest of humanities access to them.

Such a tax would not only stimulate jobs and enterprise but put a value on all of our natural resources and force us to look after them. If it was implemented for agricultural land, where the lower value of perpetually designated wilderness or natural grazing land is reflected in its land value taxation, it would be the surest way to save the wildlife of the UK and for the least cost to the taxpayer”

This would mean hard to farm areas, steep banks, riverbanks, rocky outcrops and areas landowners want to designate a nature reserves, which must be legally binding, could be set aside for wildlife and as such attract no taxation. The result of this would be that unproductive and marginal land would become wildlife havens and receive long term protection for future generation to enjoy. But it would also take away land and monopolies from our plutocrats who own wealth with no obligation to the rest of society, these plutocrats fund both the red and blue (and Yellow) faction of the vested interest or ‘line my friends pocket’ parties that control the legislature in Britain.

This blog is dedicated to teaching those who love nature that there is a simple ‘magic bullet’ that can save the rare wildlife of this country at no cost to the taxpayer. This magic bullet will actually grow our economy and create jobs and help create a better society based on rewarding those who work hard while penalising idol people who make monopolies such as bankers and landowners.

The solution if adopted worldwide would alleviate poverty and starvation and make a significant contribution to preventing war and terrorism.

Follow me on twitter: @peetasmith

Views are my own and don’t reflect the views of Wildwood Trust

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Non means tested income support to the country's wealthiest people

 

All Agricultural subsidies just end up in landowners pockets and are capitalised into increased land value - such is the logical extension of  Ricardo's Law of Economic Rent, for anyone interested classical economics.

 

We are essentially giving non means tested income support to the country's wealthiest people taken from the income taxes of hard working people.

 

I cannot believe that we do not have economists advising politicians and defra on this logical outcome of our agri environment system. Our land subsidies are basically saying the taxpayer must fund wildlife and the landowner is to be compensated for not destroying the wildlife on his land. The idea of subsidies giving a yearly rent to landowners for having some wildlife on their land is a logically very bad and is unsustainable for the tax payer, The privilege of holding freehold should conifer a duty to maintain its natural wealth without the direct input of the taxpayer. Landowners should be taxed if they take away the natural wealth of their land for their own private gain to its value to society.

 

I am very concerned that our economic and legal systems start from the premise that a freeholder has the right to destroy the natural wealth of his land  for his own private gain and that society then has a duty to compensate him if we introduce a regulation to stop him doing just what he wants. We should turn the system on its head and say a landowner has a duty to protect wildlife. If he wants to destroy it he must pay society through a land value tax equal to the rental value of the land for the licence to destroy those natural assets for his own private gain. This should go for mineral and oil extraction as well as land.