Just over a year ago, I wrote a somewhat invective essay entitled “Georgism is Insane“. If there is any testament to writing controversially or attacking people and ideas, it is that this post received more responses than any other post I have made here. It also appears to be one of the most viewed articles here, and was thoroly fisked by a blog called Blue Republik. I thanked and continue to thank all the responses to this, and I am not sure why Blue Republik was unable to reply here or the comment was deleted. I will check the spam filter.
In light of all this, and further reading into Georgism, an update is required. I should clarify that I write from the perspective of statelessness. In a stateless society, there should be no land tax or any tax. Land ownership is recognized by the general community. This would vary by locale, and even in the same locale. Presumably, there would be private registries that work together where necessary. This is how it works with website domain registration. There are many registries, all private, and they dont overlap each other. There are open questions as to if you can own vacant land forever and never use it. At what point can it be considered abandoned? However, that is not the nature of this post.
A meme has been going around from YouTube comments to big bank CEOs that bitcoin is the next tulip mania fad or beanie babies craze. In the 1700s, tulips became immensely popular in the Netherlands and the price skyrocketed. However, soon prices collapsed and some traders and speculators were ruined. And then, not too long ago, remember Beanie Babies? The little collectible stuffed animals filled with beans that were very popular in the late 90s. I still have a few of them. For awhile, it was thought they were going to be worth lots, and they were. Some went for hundreds of dollars. Then it all came crashing down and they were relegated to the bargain bin. According to these robotic parrot trolls, bitcoin is headed the same way.
Georgism has to be the most ridiculous concept ever contrived. I think communism might even make more sense than this. However, I will say the Georgists are a good deal more polite than mutualists.
The idea here is that anyone who uses space (not necessarily land, water too) deprives others from it, and thus should pay “the community” compensation for that deprivation. Essentially, its a property tax, but its based on the value of the land alone, not the improvement per se. This opens up a whole bunch of questions. Who assesses the value of land? Georgists seem to say that the value of land is not the same as its sale price, which is of course ridiculous. Sale price is value. And value to you might be different than value to me. I may want an acre of woods, and value it very much. A friend might find the same to be near worthless. As we know, value is subjective. They seem to think there is an immutable value of land, and its not entirely clear whether they think the value of land can change. Some seem to say yes, noting that land in cities has more value than in the country.
Here in New Hampshire, and in many other states, Democrats are again pushing for a Family and Medical Leave scheme that they claim is necessary. It passed the Republican controlled state House last year, but died in the Senate, facing a veto from the Republican governor. Now, the Democrats control both houses and are prioritizing to ram it thru. The governor suggests he will veto it because he has not seen proof of it being fiscally sustainable. He has proposed a market-based private system in partnership with Vermont, but the Democrats have ironically called that a tax and unsustainable, and will likely convert it once they win everything again. Their scheme is in no way financially stable and basically creates an income tax of 1.5% for all workers, and will inevitably lead to a true income tax to save it, which then will be upped and upped for more programs. No matter what Republicans try to do, this program is almost inevitable here and elsewhere. Even President Trump has said he was interested in a national leave program. Many states already have one.
Like many people still do, I used to support net neutrality. On its face, it makes sense. Aside from ideology, its marketed that all the internet should be equal so small blogs like this dont get throttled or charged exorbitant costs. This seems right and fair, if anti-market. But as I became a libertarian, I reexamined my views on things like net neutrality and global warming. Not everything is cut and dry as its presented. In this case, its a downright hoax and a lie.
Happy Sukkoth! Forgive the clickbait title, I couldnt think of a better way to phrase it.
GMO companies are trying to create a reduced gluten wheat, something that existed and was common until Norman Borlaug created a new type of wheat that increased yields (and gluten levels), but decreased nutritional value. Borlaug is frequently cited as a GMO success story for “saving a billion lives” despite the fact that he neither used genetic engineering nor did he save a billion lives. Malnourishment has remained roughly the same nominally for the past 40 years. Why do we need to create something that has already existed for 10,000 years?
Capitalism is fascinating. The different preferences of over seven billion people can only be reconciled by the price system and private risk taking. Central planners would never know that while the vast majority of America is running away from heavily processed box cake mixes like Betty Crocker, in remote parts of Alaska, its a slice of heaven. What we can get for 99c, costs them almost $5, even with the heavily subsidized shipping. And yet they still want it, and they innovate a lot of ways to make it, using mayonnaise for eggs, and sprite instead of milk.
With more and more activists pushing for a $15 minimum wage, and more and more states heading in that direction, research is being done to prove or disprove whether higher minimum wages have negative effects. Of course, research is not supposed to be done to prove either way; its supposed to see what the effects are, not focus on good or bad. In any case, studies have been conflicted for years, which has given both sides ammunition, and new research out of Seattle, which recently began raising its minimum wage to $15 has just added to this. One study shows no ill effects, another shows some workers are losing pay and hours (PDF). The reason for all this uncertainty is there are so many variables involved.
In 1929, our intellectual forefather Ludwig von Mises penned a lengthy tome about how socialism does not work. Not only does it not work in practice, he noted, it does not even work in theory, as some people say. The fundamental premise of his argument is that socialism cannot allocate resources effectively. Only the price system of the market (capitalism) can do that. No one person or committee of persons can appropriate resources for millions of people. In fact, even within a family unit, there is a good bit of friction when making such decisions. Scaling that up any further causes problems. The only thing that really can be done is provide a very basic distribution, but even that quickly becomes a logistical nightmare when scaled up too high.
The infamous physicist, who has been nearly fully paralyzed for decades, suffers from a degenerative disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrigs disease. After diagnosis, life expectancy is a few years. About 10% live past ten years. So, how is it possible that Hawking has survived for decades, especially in a country that has a socialist rationed healthcare system that usually just manages terminally ill patients until they die. There is no point wasting money on them from the bureaucrats point of view. Indeed, Hawking was offered a nursing home in the 1980s, but his wife would not allow it. Unless he is an animatronic robot, or extremely lucky, he would have had to use capitalism to survive this long, which would be ironic, given his socialist predilections and defense of the horrid NHS.