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

Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Landowner squeals to keep his snout in the trough of privilege

A landowner took great umbrage at my last post and asked a number of clarifications, mostly saying farming would be uneconomic and not understanding the economics at play. Under LVT most taxes would of course fall on towns and cities probably about 97%. Most farmers, especially tenant farmers would be much better off when you take into account increased demand and a reduction on taxes on farm labour, profits and selling their produce. But it is a very complex economic picture as some farming below the margin would be forced out and the land rewilded and income just because you own land, the monopoly of land ownership, would be greatly reduced.

This was my response to him:

I have answered your questions (the logical ones) you just have not understood the answer which takes an open mind and a lot of understanding of the processes of land economics. Something I cannot teach you in a comments exchange such as this
If any of the farms around you are tenant farms and are still economic then they will be fine. Any tenant farm pays rent (which will be more than this tax) any land value tax will come out of rent and cannot be passed on to the tenant (Ricardo's Law)

The only people who suffer are idol landlords. You can of course be both an idol landlord and a hard working farmer at the same time, this is no logic contradiction think about it. A Land Value tax rewards the hardworking farmer portion of you by untaxing your labour and the sale of your produce but taxes the idol landlord portion of you that receives profit for the mere title of land.

Land Value tax is on the rental value of the land, land is artificially inflated due to tax breaks, subsidies and speculation, if a LVT was introduced land prices would be reduced considerably probably about 20% of what they are now. This will help land flow into new and productive hands, stimulating productive, more efficient and less damaging farming and making it available to young want to be farmers.

LVT rewards hard work and penalises monopoly. Also shifting taxes onto 'externalities' as well as LVT; such as carbon taxes and pollution taxes & taxes based on poor land management will allow economically efficient forms of farming, that require more labour input, to naturally be promoted while minimising the damage farming does to our environment.

Overall greater economic efficiency of such a tax system which promotes greater wages, more jobs and enhanced economic activity will allow many people to come out of welfare and what tax take is to be better spent supporting the needy who can then afford more expensive, but less environmentally damaging food that farming produces.

I have studied land economics for 20 years and it is at the heart of all our social and environmental problems and our obsession with the protection of the privilege of land ownership in our legal and taxation system is the cause. Land monopoly, in all its many forms, keeps billions on this planet in absolute poverty, it destroy hopes dreams and work, it causes wars by giving an incentive for the powerful to prey upon the week such as securing mining and oil rights. So as a landowner your culture and belief system seems proud of the fact you own land when I believe it is an abomination that causes the poor children of the world to starve to death, causes crime and misery, and creates and incentive to overuse land and natural resources wiping out biodiversity and polluting our planet.