Sunday, 30 October 2011

Some Questions for Georgists / Geo-Libertarians

I posted this at the forum...

I am willing to accept arguendo the ethical arguments that support land value recapture as described in the recent article by Edward B Miller.

He says "The land value must be recaptured to the fullest extent possible, not simply as a means for funding essential services. If the government is limited enough and well-managed enough to not require all of the land rent, it should still recapture all of it and distribute the surplus as a flat Citizen's Dividend, since that value truly does belong equally to all. This dividend would not only be essential for justice, but would provide a strong incentive for all parties to keep public services lean and efficient."

I have a number of questions about this passage.

1. What does he mean by "the fullest extent possible"? i.e. how does the government work out how much needs to be recaptured from each landowner, without crossing the line beyond which recapturing becomes aggression?

2. Roughly speaking, how much revenue do you expect the government to raise through full recapture, compared to, say, it's current tax revenue? More? Less? What if this is not enough to cover all "essential services"?

3. Who decides what an "essential service" is? What happens if there is a disagreement among the citizens about whether recaptured money should be used to pay for some service, or whether it should be left to market competition?

4. For any services that are to be provided by the government or paid for out of recaptured money, how will economic calculation be carried out? i.e. in the absence of free market competition and free market prices, how can the government know that it is using resources efficiently?

5. How will the government operate, ideally? Monarchy? Democracy? How will public-choice issues such as the influence of special interest groups whenever there is a government, be avoided? How large a land area ought each government to cover, and is secession allowed?

That'll do for now. Thanks.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Law without Government, Part Three: The Bargaining Mechanism

The third part of my video series exploring a world with law but without a compulsory monopoly provider of it.

This part looks at a conflict between protection agencies about principles, namely a disagreement about whether the death penalty is a suitable punishment for murderers. It explains how, in a system of competing providers of security and law, consumer preferences for justice are reflected in the policies, decisions and agreements of the protection agencies.

This part is heavily inspired by David Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom, chapter 29 "Police, Courts, and Laws - on the Market".