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

Monday, 18 April 2011

England needs a land reform debate

Sue, A great article demonstrating the one aspect of the crazy economic system we live under.

I have made a deep study into land reform in the UK  and after looking for many solutions I discovered that there is a very simple solution that would really work. It has been promoted by all of the world’s leading economists, yet that solution has been systematically side-lined, as those that benefit from that economic status quo are the people who affect politics and political discourse, and so have blocked its wider discussion and implementation.

As I have mentioned a number of times the only real land reform that is needed is a system whereby the government collects the ‘rents’ of land and natural resources (and abolishes  all other taxes such as Income, NIC,  VAT etch).

The untaxed monopolisation of land means we will always be in this situation no matter what other remedies are tried. Lobbyist and vested interests have achieved the complete abolishment on all taxes associated with holding land, indeed there are many tax advantage to land ownership. The laws of land and its taxation has been groomed for centuries to harvest the wealth of all hard working people in this country so it can be received, with little tax, by landowners, monopolistic companies and investors in our banking system.

Any land reform that does not take out the unearned income from landownership will mean the attempted land reform will soon revert back to the system of monopolistic rent extraction that we have at the moment.  This is down to how rents work (Ricardo’s Law) and how the market will always take increases in productivity into land values and rents.

The smallholder or farmer who pays rent will always be in relative poverty as no matter how hard they work or whatever subsidy there receive. It will, over time, end up capitalised in the value of the land and charged as rent, by the landlord.

I would urge everyone to read Progress and Poverty (modern Version) you can get a free PDF or audio book from this website http://www.hgchicago.org/ It sets out the problems and solutions in a coherent way and shows how all attempts at land reform are doomed to fail unless economic rents are captured and shared amongst all.

It is the greatest book ever written in my humble opinion and strips away all frippery about economics and gets to the root cause of inefficiency and poverty that is pre-determined in our political and legal system.