The thoughts behind the Renegade Ecologist

From my 30 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, 17 December 2012

The Landlord's Role in Society

An old story as relevant to day as it was then:

Many years ago a company of tradesmen united themselves into a guild and each one had to relate what he could contribute to its support.

First the blacksmith came forward and said:—
"Gentlemen, I wish to become a member of your organisation."
"Well, what can you do?"
"Oh, I can make springs and axles for your carriages, shoe your horses, and make all kinds of implements."
"Very well, come in, Mr. Blacksmith."

The mason applied for admission into the society.
"What can you do, sir?"
"I can build your barns, bridges, houses, and stables."
"Very well, come in; we cannot do without you."

Along comes the shoemaker and says:—
"I wish to become a member of your society."
"Well, what can you do?"
"I can make boots and shoes for you."
"Come in, Mr. Shoemaker; we must have you."

In turn all the trades and professions applied, till at last an individual came who wanted to become a member.
"And what are you?"

"I am a landlord."

"A landlord? And what can you do?"

"I can hunt and fish and win prizes at pigeon matches."

"But what do you do for a livelihood?"

"Oh, I take toll of all of you. The labourer pays me for the right to dig, the miner to burrow in the earth, and the bricklayer to build a house."

"But what can you *do*?"

"I can make your laws, and when I have made them I can administer them. If a man snares a hare I give him six months; if he shoots a snipe I give him three. I can drive men to desperation, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. I can prevent the erection of cottages, or the building of a Methodist chapel. I can look on and take the larger share of the prosperity of the farmer, the shopkeeper, and the manufacturer; I can keep up an army of paupers."

"And what else can you do?"

"I can bring the grey hairs of the aged to the grave with sorrow; I can break the heart of the wife, and blast the prospects of men of talent and enterprise, and fill the land with more than the plagues of Egypt."

"Is that all you can do?"

"Good heavens! is not that enough?"

source: English Land Restoration League, Issue No. 3, 1889

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