Kj draws my attention to this:
In the September 15, 1970 issue of The Libertarian Forum, (Vol. II #18), prominent libertarian economist Murray Rothbard wrote:
"The Heathian goal is to have cities and large land areas owned by single private corporations, which would own and rent out the land and housing over the area, and provide all conceivable "public services": police, fire, roads, courts, etc., out of the voluntarily-paid rent.
Heathianism is Henry Georgism stood on its head; like George, Heath and MacCallum would provide for all public services out of rent; but unlike George, the rent would be collected, and the land owned, by private corporate landlords rather than by the government, and the payment therefore voluntary rather than coercive.
The Heathian 'proprietary community' is, of course, in stark contrast to the scruffy egalitarian commune dreamed of by anarchists of the Left.
I accept that such Heathian corporations will often lead to better outcomes than dividing up land into ever smaller plots, that's a separate topic. But it amazes me that somebody can say something so incredibly stupid and then not realise what he has just said.
He merrily overlooks the fact that all landownership arises from the use of force.
To make a car, you need metal, rubber, electronic stuff, plastic, machines, lots of electricity and workers and so on. And you put it all together and have a car. For sure it is helpful if you have anti-locking devices and police who will chase car thieves and so on, but that's an extra. There can be no "car ownership" until people create the car, the "car" and the "car ownership" are the same thing. In a sane world, whoever makes the car is the first owner (not in a Socialist or Home-Owner-Ist world, of course) and they can sell it and split up the proceeds between themselves.
To own land, you need an army, police, courts and prisons. You need fences, gates, locks and barriers. That's all you need, the "land ownership" was not created by the people who created the land. "Land" and "land ownership" are not synonymous, what are synonymous is "land ownership" and "the state". That land or location has been knocking about for billions of years, and belonged to nothing and nobody. The "land ownership" did not come into existence until somebody ("the state") built up a big enough army to invade it and/or defend it from invaders.
Secondly, like all Faux Libs he says that any payment to the government must automatically be a tax paid under coercion and therefore BAD, but that any payment to a "private" entity is voluntary and therefore GOOD.
We can illustrate that this is nonsense quite simply by following the logic through:
i. Let us imagine that the country is divided in a few dozen areas, each owned by a Heathian corporation. We know that they will make bumper profits, even after paying for border patrols, roads and so on.
ii. Unless you want to move abroad, you will have to choose in which area you want to live. You have no choice about this. You can choose the amount you are willing to pay but not whether you pay. Even if you move abroad, you will always have to pay something (unless you hide somewhere uninhabitable).
iii. So each corporation in raking in £10 billion in rents, spending maybe £3 billion on border patrols, roads etc and the rest is a handsome profit. That is monopoly profits, it cannot be competed away (the rents would level out at whatever cannot be competed away, by definition. If they could be competed away, they would be). Perhaps the shares in the corporation are publicly traded on the stock exchange, so what, it is still monopoly income.
iv. If the government tries to tax that profit (i.e. by demanding £6 billion in LVT from the corporation), the Faux Libs argue that this is a tax and therefore automatically BAD.
v. From the point of view of the citizen, it does not make any difference, his rent is the same however it is split up between corporation and government, the government is just the superior landlord. But the Faux Libs think it does.
vi. Suitably outraged, the corporation decides to cede from the country and form its own independent state. Again, apart from customs hassle, this makes little difference to the citizens of that area, he's still paying the same rent to the same people and goes about his business.
vi. But wait - that is no longer a corporation, it is now a "state" in its own right. So according to Faux Lib logic, any payment to that state/corporation is now paid under "coercion", is a tax and is BAD.
I mean, I've heard some really shit KLNs in my time but he disproves his own point.
And why he bundles in Georgism with "the scruffy egalitarian commune dreamed of by anarchists of the Left" I do not know, I don't even know what this is supposed to mean. "Egalitarian" suggests some form of redistribution, but in anarchy, there is no government to collect and redistribute.
Saturday, 9 November 2013
Kj draws my attention to this: