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russell lester

Orchardist, Grange

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Idea: Global property tax to support environmental reform

The idea I am kicking around is to establish a global agency, perhaps a party to the world court which would assess a tax on each person globally say one one thousandth of there properties value (local market value) times the estimated shares of mean carbon production they are responsible for, which would i grant you be hard to quantify, maybe it could be based on a per capita national average.

The tax could be levied against nations wishing to or having ever used the world court, and could be once a decade or whatever time interval seems good, the revenues would be available for the world courts foundation managers to disperse to address credit challenged projects that are of great environmental value.


Closing Statement from russell lester

Corperations constrained and taxed more here than anywhere else in the world. Which is why they put manufacturing in China. 25% or more of the pollution over Los Angeles comes from China. Problem is that the China is not under the purview of California law,

I have a rare book, it is called international Anarchy and it was written and published in the interval between the end of the first world war and the failure of the united states to ratify and empower the league of nations. The premise is that conflicts wars and struggles over the sea and air can be avoided if the nations agree to a code of law and mutually enforce it. This does not even require the individual nations to give up sovereignty, just the right to launch wars of aggression, and perhaps its time to include pollution of air water land and bio spheres to the list of mutually outlawed actions. Certainly I can see that you cannot fix problems by simply redistributing wealth, or at least not all problems, but what would the harm be in providing an incentive for developing nations to not pursue programs we know now are destructive to everyone? After all the wealth of the rich nations and the rich in those nations was made on the resources of other nations from time to time, plus it was the process of amassing that wealth or more accurately the process' which were used to do so which have caused such wide spread damage.

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    Nov 8 2012: This is why we might conclude that economics ceased to be a science or an investigation once it presupposed an engineering physics model as its methodological given. It became instead the defining software of a machinal system with no place for life in its money-sequence operations. Like the received dogma of another epoch, its formulations decoupled from reality in a scholastic formalism, its priesthood would not acknowledge the right of any but trained believers to speak on issues designated by the subject, and its iron laws subsumed all that lived as material ready to be made productive by transformation into the system’s service. ... Yet it would be a very great mistake to simply reject economics as a resource of analysis. It provides an articulated lexicon of exact referents, operations and principles of the global market mechanism which it presupposes as the natural order. And its resources are invaluable in coming to understand the system of rule which the global market now implements across the world in its restructuring operations. One has to expose and understand the principles the doctrine assumes in order to examine and unmask their implications for life-organization. One has to follow the assumptions its theoreticians take as given to see the trail of consequences for reality which obedience to this unseen metaphysic unleashes on the world. One has to connect across the logical lattice of the covert value system the defining axioms and co-ordinates it bears to see what it means for the planetary life-web as an integrated whole. One has, in short, to do what the economist avoids as the explosion of his own identity – open up its value structure to examination.- John McMurty
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    Nov 6 2012: I am open to hearing more. Like I said I think its a good idea to use this site as a place to spread ideas and that obviously includes education., There are ways to begin doing things to protect what we have left of our bioshere. It can be as simple as the tax break that is currently available in the us to people who use their property to grow Christmas trees, or as complex as requiring an end destructive mining in the Appalachians. Wealth is as I understand it generated by work and by the investment of capitol into enterprises by capitalists, I love the idea of capitalism and of democracy and I don't see the problem with advocating a global state to replace competing nations. I do not think its wise to trust private companies with the power to regulate themselves, We live in an age where just as we the people are being compelled to surrender rights the we hold dear, privacy and possession of weapons and precursor chemicals to dozens of proscribed things, corporations must also yield to being constrained. When it comes to Economics I have to say I know enough to know that even people who are "experts" have conflicting theories and ideas and plans. The sort of math that really describes the way things like markets work is the stuff that mathematicians explore , note that theories and explore axiomatically mean that no one totally understands the subject.
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      Nov 6 2012: "I don't see the problem with advocating a global state to replace competing nations. "


      "corporations must also yield to being constrained. "

      They are already constrained and taxed more than anywhere else in the world. Which is a huge reason why they simply put the manufacturing in China. They estimate that 25% or more of the pollution over Los Angeles comes from China. Problem is that the China is not under the purview of California law.

      Regarding the last couple of sentences, is that excuse not to study the subject? There is a lot of propaganda on the subject of economics which imo is designed to obscure political intentions E.G. calling the FED printing of money QE is designed to obscure the huge inflationary effects of this practice as well as the fact that it is hugely crony capitalism and is in effect stealing and could be the downfall of the country.

      That does not mean there is no science to the subject. The problem is that Keynesian economics is a tool of the politician who's only purpose is to get reelected. Mean while schools of economics like the Chicago School of Economics or the Austrian School of Economics don't get noticed because there is no political capital in them in fact quite the opposite.

      Centralized anything is ALWAYS a problem. The way to approach your idea is from the bottom up. The last thing the world needs is another ignorant bureaucracy telling people what they should do and using it as guise to more power.
    • Nov 6 2012: @russell lester: "The sort of math that really describes the way things like markets work is the stuff that mathematicians explore , note that theories and explore axiomatically mean that no one totally understands the subject."

      I would agree or disagree based on what you would consider qualifies for "totally understands the subject". But, I must point you to Hayek's Nobel prize acceptance speech: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/1974/hayek-speech.html
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        Nov 8 2012: Thank you for the link, but I am confussed doesn't he say that following any economists thoughts exclusivly is bad? That economists who win public regard are danerously prone to making pronouncements on issues that they have not devoted enough study to? What is the basic underlying foundation of economics? Is it not that the exchange of goods and services is good and that a way to make this exchange as easy as possible is the goal?
        • Nov 8 2012: What Hayek is arguing against is the kind of people like Krugman or Bernake who sit in their comfortable offices and come up with plans on what the rest of us should and should not spend money on. Hayek's fundamentals were solid, but he never went into details of which stocks to buy, which fields to invest in, or whether the government should encourage land-ownership or buying new cars, etc. He advocated leaving those details to those who knew it best.

          In case of the environment, it would be rating agencies such as http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/offerings/businesses/environment/, rather than governments which sometimes come up with hair-brained schemes like "cash for clunkers".

          Basically, it would involve raising awareness on a massive scale. A task that seems impossible to me, unless we were to start educating kids with solid science, and to inculcate a culture where they ask companies for what they want, rather than be passive recipients of products that we seem to have become these days.
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    Nov 5 2012: i appoint the UN to implement it. the world leaders, like G whatever, can come up with the details. in that way, it is guaranteed that nothing will happen within 20 years, and by that time, i hope extreme statism will be a bad memory.
  • Nov 5 2012: Terrific idea! You see, I have this project of great environmental value, and I'm unfortunately a bit credit challenged. Start paying the taxes quickly, so that I can spend it on my project. You won't benefit from it directly, but your grandkids will say my name in awe and reverence.

    On a more serious note, if you care about the environment, do something about it, rather than coming up with ways to dispose of other people's money. These idle talks are exactly that -- idle.
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      Nov 6 2012: I work as an orchardist constantly improving the ways and means of soil and water conservation, exploring new non chemical means of pest control I drive as little as possible i bet I put less miles on my car this past year than you did in a month, besides, i don't think I said I was exempting myself from the idea of taxation, do you think that left to individuals and individual nations and corporations we will see environmental change? Without a central authority that can evaluate the pros and cons of various projects and to prioritize them and assist in funding them we will accomplish very little.
      • Nov 6 2012: I am happy that you live in a "green" way. I try what I can too. But I work in technology, so no orchards. I wish you hadn't made that bet with me -- I don't have a car. It's Europe, so I use buses and bicycles all the time. I'm mostly vegetarian. Even in this freezing winter, I turn off the heating and wear more clothes, despite the fact that I don't pay extra for heating, and it's part of my rent anyway. I do a few other boring things.

        This is the kind of taxation I'm sympathetic towards: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/19/157047211/six-policies-economists-love-and-politicians-hate. I like the idea of taxing the hell out of environmentally harmful activities, like the usage of Freons, mercury, lead chemicals, etc. I like the usage of Ecolabels (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecolabel). It's too late to do much about most adults, but kids should be taught a lot more about the environment, and they'll grow up to be more sensitive to the environment.

        But my previous paragraph was idle talk too. Nothing will come out of it. In the mean time, I do what I can.
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          Nov 8 2012: I think ou are doing a lot and that you ave underestimated the ability of your opinions and information to affect people I might be an optomist but I think that you are never to old to learn and never to young to teach.
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    Nov 5 2012: Nothing could possibly go wrong with that idea...
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      Nov 6 2012: Sure it could tons and tons could. But rather than just trashing ideas or benig sarcastic I think it would be better to use this forum to try and improve ideas that are suggested ... but don't mind me.
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        Nov 6 2012: The state I live in has driven industries and jobs and productive people and wealth out of the state in droves by just the kind of thinking you are espousing. This year the state started cap and trade, a legacy left by Schwarzenegger, that will further drive business out of the state.

        This type of thinking stems from socialist equality we know best what to do with other people's money mentality. Which is a delusion.

        The first thing that a person who comes up with what we should all do is first find out what he is talking about which you have not. Knowledge on this subject is not acquired by dilettantes it requires hard work and genuine thinking and listening.