[EM] decision process design: wealth tax

James Green-Armytage jarmyta at antioch-college.edu
Tue Apr 11 00:52:11 PDT 2006

Hi Michael,

	Yes, I have heard of this idea (a land value tax or natural resource
tax), and I find it quite interesting. I heard of it almost entirely
through Nic Tideman, so I don't really know where his views on the subject
depart from Georgism in general. 
	Anyway, it does seem to tie back to voting systems in a somewhat
interesting way: It combines rather naturally with the idea of letting
groups of people secede from larger collectives at will. If everyone has a
right to an equal share of natural opportunities, the group should be
allowed to stake out a new territory with land value in proportion to
their numbers. In theory, these kind of secession rights may be the most
elegant solution to the tyranny of the majority problem. In practice, of
course, secession is a tricky thing, but nevertheless the idea is
	I've been mulling these ideas over in my head for nearly two years
without coming to any definite conclusions. Definitely worth knowing about.

>I particularly like the philosophical justification for it -- since no one
>creates the land, and its price is determined by its location and
>infrastructure improvements created by others in society, people should
>repay society for that value. 

	Yes. I find Georgism, aka left libertarianism, geolibertarianism, etc. to
be by far the most morally credible versions of libertarianism. 

>On the other hand, if you build something on
>that land with your own capital and labor, you should reap the full value
>of that improvement.

	Yes, that makes sense. However, keep in mind that if you implement a
system for fair sharing of natural natural opportunities, present
distributions of wealth (e.g. capital, money, commodities) may still be
based on inequalities generated by past systems, where natural resources
were (are) often allocated according to conquest or political power. Thus,
you would need to somehow correct these imbalances before claiming true
fairness. Also, of course, any collective that chooses redistribution
beyond the land tax should clearly have the right to do so, given the
understanding that membership in the collective is sufficiently voluntary,
as secession rights should hopefully ensure. 
my best,

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