The Story of Bill

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Re: The Story of Bill

Postby Gloominary » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:29 am

If we're to have government and tax, in this and similar scenarios, I think the settlers should be protected, but they should have to start paying tax for their protection, a very small tax, considering they're living off the grid.
If people want to reserve land for construction, they should have to at least build a fence around the land they mean to build on, and they shouldn't be able to reserve land for very long, less than a year.
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Re: The Story of Bill

Postby Gloominary » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:31 am

@Carleas

Hi Gloominary, thanks for your response.

Hi Carleas, you're welcome and thanks.

I phrased this as though it supports my position, but really it supports yours. The kind of use-it-or-lose it position you're proposing is actually the law in much of the western world (though with a longer grace period than you propose). And there's reason to think that not taking that position causes problems in e.g. Rio de Janeiro, where slums exist in part because the people who are actually living on and using land can't establish a legal claim to it, and so can't invest in it fully.

Do you have any idea how long the grace period is in North America, or does it vary from province/state to province/state, or with what the developer intends to do with the land?
That's good to know there's limits on how long unused land can be reserved, I think that's just.

I'd be interested to know your thoughts on Georgist land value tax proposals, which could overcome some of the issues you present: people have to pay a tax to society to maintain their claim to any piece of land, so they have an incentive not to let land sit unused.

I just assumed they already had to pay a tax, you mean unused land isn't taxed?
I think they should pay a tax to government, after all, they want government to reserve and protect land for them, that's a service government is providing.
Still the amount of time they can leave unused land lying around should be limited.

You have said you think that even the state's claim to the land is suspect, but I don't think it's necessary to treat the state as though they are in the same position as any other land owner. If (if!) the state is a proxy for the commonweal, then it is more like society as a whole getting the benefit of anyone who takes control of a piece of land. Everyone collectively agrees to acknowledge Bill's ownership, and in return Bill pays money that is used for everyone's benefit.

Actually I'm not so sure high taxes are necessary, perhaps taxation isn't at all, if government is to exist, it should just print the money it needs, within limits of course, without having to turn to the central banks to fund its projects.
Aside from the military and police, basic education and healthcare, government should either nationalize food and housing, as I said earlier but I'll say it again anyway, or we could have communism and syndicalism, where residents and workers seize control of big housing and business directly, with, or without the support of government (anarchism).
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Re: The Story of Bill

Postby Silhouette » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:49 am

Carleas wrote:I don't think this is necessarily true. Things don't have universally agreed worth, so it's possible to sell something at a profit provided that the person you're selling it to values it more than you do. You can think of an exchange of goods for money as one person selling goods and buying money, and the other person selling money and buying goods. I can buy goods for money when the goods are worth more to me than the money, and then sell them again to someone else for more money when that money is worth more than the goods.

Put differently, it's possible to get a profit by disagreeing with people, without necessarily deceiving them.

If things don't have a universally agreed worth, then what's a market price?

I do agree that things don't *actually* have a universally agreed worth, but prices converge to the same amount for everyone none-the-less out of "fairness" (at any given time at least) because their sale at that price yields the maximum profit as a product of the number of buyers and the value at which the product is sold. This product is an expression of a more fundamental product - of the wants of the wage market to maximise wage expenses to the business, the level of business owner entitlement to a profit that justifies their capital investment enough to them, and the wants of the consumer market to minimise revenues to the business because they want to pay the lowest price. Each of these three parties are at odds with one another and only win or lose out in proportion to the balance of power between each of them.

When power is not equal between these parties as it never is, there is a lack of genuine consent (even if the disadvantaged relent) on the side of the party that is knowingly losing out, or there is dishonesty when the party with less power is not aware.
But yes, this relies on the aggregate of people's disagreements arriving at a market price as is the case in practice, rather than on a theoretical abstraction of each individual from the system in which they are embedded in order to appreciate their disagreement with others over the value of any one product. At best the latter scenario would require many much smaller markets, as (it could be argued) we used to have when communication was lacking. Communication and information availability is not lacking anymore...
Market prices arrive at some kind of average between all of these differences in individual valuations, such that those who are in a more powerful situation (able to need products less and having enough wealth to be able to turn down sub-optimal opportunities and still get by) actually profit from every transaction they make - in that the money they are required to part with means a lot less to them than the thing they want to buy, and those who are in a less powerful situation have to sacrifice what means a lot more to them just to be able to buy things, or they just have to go without altogether. It's easy to see how the rich get richer in this way due to market prices, and the poor only suffer from them. The difference in consent should be fairly obvious here - hence why trading is synonymous with thievery when there are the power imbalances that there always will be.

I have toyed with the idea of prices being set at a proportion of one's wealth, rather than at absolute amounts - in much the same way as taxes are charged. The proportions don't necessarily have to be uniform across all degrees of wealth, because otherwise it would completely negate any of the incentivising bonus of trying to get rich through being economically valuable, but at least they would offset the power imbalances spiraling out of control like they do with absolute market prices, and thus alleviate the needless suffering of those who aren't as economically valuable. We can reward people for being better, but we really don't have to punish people for being worse quite so much.
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