Geolibertarianism

From Academic Kids

Geolibertarianism is a political philosophy that holds with other forms of libertarianism that the products of one's labor should be privately owned and controlled. Geolibertarianism differs by claiming that land and other natural resources cannot be owned. Geolibertarians believe that homesteading cannot create ownership, only productive work can. They follow John Locke's proviso that one has private property in land only to the extent that there is "enough, and as good left in common for others." When this is not the case, the land accumulates rental value. Geolibertarians generally advocate distributing the land rent to the community via a Land Value Tax, as proposed by Henry George, and others before him. For this reason, they are often called "single taxers."

Geolibertarians are generally influenced by Georgism, but the ideas behind it predate George, and can be found in different forms in the writings of John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill.

Contents

Property Rights

Geolibertarians consider land to be owned by all mankind. They say that private property is derived from an individual's right to the fruits of their labor. Since land is not created by anyone's labor, it cannot be owned. Thus, geolibertarians recognize a right to privately possess land, but rent should be paid to the community. This, geolibertarians say, has the effect of both giving back the value created by the community and encouraging landowners to only use as much land as they need, leaving plenty for others.

The Land Value Tax

Geolibertarians advocate the Land Value Tax for a number of reasons. As explained already, it is seen as a means of upholding the equal right to land. It is also the tax most compatible with the free market. It does not affect the price of goods, nor does it discourage productivity, since it does not affect the cost of production. In fact, it actually increases productivity by lowering the entrance barrier into the market and encouraging more efficient land use.

Geolibertarians defend that, since public utilities and services increase land value, they could essentially fund themselves through the Land Value Tax. In this way, the tax can fund the functions of government so long as it contributes to the community. Some geolibertarians believe that all government expenditures beyond these functions should go towards a citizens' dividend, an equal payment to the whole community. Some others have argued that the citizens' dividend should come first, and then people can sign a contract to have portions of it go to fund certain services.

Criticisms

One criticism of Geolibertarianism is economic - that their analysis of fallow land as the major cause of poverty is wrong. This is supported by the many places that have poverty but plenty of land - India for instance. Modern economists realize that land is only one factor of production, and that labor and capital are also necessary. Another objection to Geolibertarianism is that collectivisation of land is inefficient, penalizing rational withholding of land from production. This might be done because a better use is foreseen, or for environmental reasons. Geolibertarianism is anti-environmentalist since it abhors natural preserves or any fallow land. A fundamental criticism of Geolibertarism's view of property is that scarcity, not labor, determines valid property. Thus the fact that land is scarce is all the more reason to make it private property.

See also

External links

What is Geolibertarianism? (http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/tma68/geolib.htm)

A Geolibertarian FAQ (http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/tma68/geo-faq.htm)

Libertarian Party at Sea and on Land (http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/tma68/kyriazi.htm)

Thomas Paine Network (http://www.tpaine.org/)


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