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.
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?
Why does everything need to be banned? Whenever there is a problem, however big or small, the immediate thought is to ban it. Even libertarians joke about how X or Y activity or thing should be banned. With the recent death of Otto Warmbier, an American who was kidnapped and thrown in a cage for a 15 year term starting last year in North Korea, there is growing talk of the US government restricting travel to North Korea. Is there such a pressing number of Americans going over there that the government needs to spend time stopping people from putting themselves in harms way? The results of travel to North Korea seem to speak for themselves. While its only been a few people, the proportion of tourists being kidnapped in North Korea seems to be the highest in the world. The only places more dangerous might be Afghanistan or Daesh Islamic State.
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.
A ransomware attack has been launched worldwide, targeting thousands of computer networks in dozens of country. The program encrypts your computer files and demands a payment of $300 in bitcoin within 3 days, doubling after that, and locking you out permanently in 7. Not without a sense of fairness, the poor may appeal for clemency after six months. One of the biggest targets of this has been the National Health Service of the United Kingdom. Often touted by those who favor a single payer socialist healthcare system (in spite of its very poor record of treating major illnesses), the NHS has been brought to its knees by a computer virus. Thousands of non-emergency patients have been turned away.
Earlier today, a group of people gathered on the State House steps in Concord, New Hampshire. Attendees soon discovered that the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire had an announcement to make. A freshman Democrat state representative, Joseph Stallcop, from Keene was defecting to join the Libertarian Party. He cited his upset with the government use of force against pipeline protestors in North Dakota and his “classic liberal” values conflicting with his party. This marks the third defection from the Democrats in just a few months, the other two switching to Republican.