Why classical liberals should support carbon taxes:

(A post from http://www.econstudent.org pre my involvement in ALS)

If one accepts the science of global climate change then it is clear that overall carbon emissions must be reduced. The preferred method of reducing carbon emissions or more broadly reducing pollution has been either the use of pigouvian taxes (pollution/carbon tax) or an emissions trading scheme. I have explained the basics of both these measures in my environmental economics mini-lectures http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ID6IP2-gHc&feature=youtu.be and http://youtu.be/Z6xB5b-4MRI.

In both cases the cost of the pollution is internalised and becomes part of the cost of producing the good or service in a marketplace. This moves the supply curve for the good and this results in a new market equilibrium that accounts for the social cost of the pollution. What this means is the people gaining the benefit from the carbon emitting activity have to compensate society for the impact of the carbon. This gives firms an incentive to find less carbon intensive methods of producing their goods and raises the prices of carbon inefficient activities compared to carbon efficient activities.

Unfortunately, many classical liberals have seen the introduction of carbon taxes or less directly emissions trading schemes as a further grab of economic liberty by the State thus reducing individual liberties. Based on past form this is not an unrealistic view. Since the second world war the percentage of GDP occupied by Government in all industrialised countries has increased in-spite of the fact the overall size of the their economies have grown. Much of this growth has been in the form of income redistribution with the government taxing the income from individuals work to redistribute to those group the government chooses.

However, I would argue if the tax revenues raised through pollution taxes are offset by reductions on income tax then this is moving from taxing positive externalities to taxing negative externalities. If you view labour as a good being sold in the marketplace the purchaser of that good is gaining a consumer surplus and the worker does not receive the full benefit of their work, there is infact a broader benefit to a company hiring the labour and to society as a whole. I would argue that taxing individual income is perverse when there are alternative means of raising taxation that discourage negative externalities rather than discourage positive externalities.

The argument can be made that the atmosphere belongs to society as a whole and there is a limit to how much pollution can be emitted into it before serious harm is caused. The limited amount of pollution that is sustainable is therefore a scarce resource owned by society and by it is fair to charge those who use that resource. I would argue that for society to get a compensation for the use of its property is not in contrast with classical liberal beliefs.

I believe that it is unfortunate that the environmental movement is so closely linked to groups who have economically left-wing views and those groups that would seek an expansion on the role of government. Carbon will be one of many common-resources society must develop mechanisms to achieve a socially optimal level of demand. We have the opportunity to develop a system that pays for public goods through the taxation of negative externalities, increasing personal responsibility and reducing many of the perverse disincentives of the current taxation system.

82 thoughts on “Why classical liberals should support carbon taxes:

  1. “If one accepts the science of global climate change…”
    anything follows from the false premise.
    Before suggesting money grab by the government, three things have to be proven:
    1. The temperature has been increasing dangerously.
    2. Burning coal and petroleum contributes to the rise in temperature.
    3. The benefit of taxation (be it either carbon tax or ETS) is greater then the economic cost.

    Warming alarmist struggle even with the first point, let alone the second.
    As far as number three is concerned, I am yet to see proper non hysterical cost-benefit analyses of carbon tax.
    The cost of carbon tax (in terms of slugging economy) can be measured.
    But what about the benefit? The advocate of carbon tax must show:
    a. How much the temperature is going to decrease as a result of carbon tax (or somehow quantify the impact on climate).
    b. What is the benefit (preferably in monetary equivalent) of that temperature reduction /climate change.

    The advocacy of carbon tax (or similar regime) can be taken seriously only after everything above is addressed.

  2. Firstly let me say that I am an environmentalist, I am an environmental photographer and writer and much of my work has been published worldwide. The carbon tax as introduced by Gillard is a complete and utter con. Australia will be the first country in the world to have an economy wide carbon tax. Even though Australia produces 1.32% of the worlds carbon dioxide output, we will be punishing our industry and people with a carbon tax.
    And to meet the target of 160 Million tonnes of carbon dioxide, we will not be reducing our own emissions, we will achieve two thirds of it by sending $3.7 billion dollars per year overseas to buy permits. Much of these permits from very questionable countries.
    So how does our future 160 million tonnes reduction compare to China’s annual production of CO2?. China produces 7,031 million tonnes of CO2 per annum. That’s 2.2 per cent of China’s output. So if China increases its output by the same amount it did in 2010, (ten percent), the 160 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide saved by Australia will be replaced by China in 3 months. Billions of dollars in extra burdens on Australian workers, industry and consumers to be replaced by China in three months. The Greens and other Climate alarmists will tell you that investment in renewable’s will result in tens of thousands of new “Green Jobs”. What they don’t tell you is that most of these “Green Jobs” are in China.
    Julia Gillard likes to tell the Australian people that the carbon tax will have only a small impact on them. However its only the beginning.
    The treasury projections for 2050 are in real terms (discounted for inflation) from a minimum of $131 per tonne to a maximum of $275 per tonne.
    Imagine if a $23 per tonne carbon tax causes a 10% increase in power prices, the NSW government says it will be 20%, what will a $275 carbon tax, ten times larger do to electricity prices? Norway ( my native country)introduced a carbon tax in 1991 (it did not work). It was set at $US65 per tonne. The carbon tax was placed on fossil fuels, and applied to petrol and diesel. As a result of the carbon tax, Norway has the most expensive fuel in Europe, and it is also one of the most expensive places to live in the world today! .So what has a carbon tax done for Norway’s CO2 emissions over the twenty one years it has had a carbon tax? CO2 emissions have gone up in Norway by 5% per capita.
    All the economists in Australia who have lined up behind the Labor governments carbon tax say it will cause real world changes in behavior and reduce CO2 production. However as we know economists get it wrong most of the time, and Norway is an example of where, despite the introduction of a carbon tax, it has not changed behavior, and not dropped the production of CO2.
    The carbon tax is being sold to the public under the line that its making the “polluters pay”! If only! Whilst 500 companies are being taxed, the fine print once again reveals that the biggest polluting industries far from being punished are being rewarded by this scheme. The scheme is putting aside a total of $9.2 billion dollars to compensate the biggest industrial polluters. This includes the steel, aluminium, zinc, pulp and paper makers who will get free permits representing 94.5 per cent of industry average carbon costs. That’s right- the biggest polluters, supposedly on the grounds that they are “trade exposed”, are being allowed to pollute for free. So much for “free market” principles! I would like to point out that the compensation package for the steel industry is so generous that it equates to $60,000 of handouts for every job in the industry. The coal industry is being “compensated the equivalent of $10,000 per job”. The Illawarra Mercury has reported that Blue Scope Steel corporation will be the biggest single beneficiary of the carbon tax proposal with its carbon bill “effectively paid for” by the public purse!
    Australia’s dirtiest power plant in the Latrobe Valley has nothing to fear. The tax includes plans to retire 2000 megawatts of dirtiest power generators by 2020 but only through negotiation and compensation for the private operators. In other words if Hazelwood closes its owners and the shareholders will exit the stage laughing all the way to the bank with hundreds of millions of tax payers dollars.
    So whilst ordinary people under this tax are expected to cop higher energy bills and an increased cost of living powerful polluters are rewarded for continuing to be climate criminals. The government and their coalition partners, the Greens are wildly ecstatic at the news that China intends to introduce a carbon tax, maybe by 2015. The government touts this as further evidence the rest of the world is acting to cut global greenhouse emissions. Unfortunately for Gillard, China is not the rest of the world, nor is this a serious tax. It is more like a Claytons tax, set at an extremely low rate and according to their government media, only likely to be levied on large users of coal, crude oil and natural gas. China is not following us in any way, setting a price of $1.55 per ton as opposed to our $23 per ton and rising across the entire economy.
    China has been spending heavily on nuclear and state of the art modern coal fired power stations, wind and rooftop solar. What has Australia done, wasted a ton of money putting pink bats into homes, inspecting them for dangerous installation, and repairing the ones that were really screwed up.
    This indicates that not only is it a low tax, but it is very selectively applied. We are already at a significant disadvantage to China, but now we are slugging a higher proportion of our industry with a tax that is fifteen times that of our competitor.
    It’s absolute insanity and definitely not being done for the environment or the people. There will be more pollution since Australian industry will be sent to China where more pollution will be created for the same output and our economy will be hurt at the same time. No amount of taxpayer funded advertising will fool Australians into believing that Labor’s carbon tax is good for them. So far they have spent=$4m was spent sending glossy brochures to every Australian household.
    $20.1m was spent on a media advertising campaigns $16.2m on advertising buy and $3.9m on campaign development
    $13m is being spent on the Government’s so called ‘Climate Change Foundation Campaign’ funding activist groups around Australia.
    $398,000 to the Australian Conservation Foundation for ‘The Climate Project’ which will roll out 2000 Al Gore-style presentations around Australia
    $271,000 to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition for Power Shift’ conferences in Perth and Brisbane
    $250,000 to the Climate Institute to raise awareness of price implications of the carbon tax
    $460,000 to Climate Works Australia to raise awareness of the carbon tax. Worse still, Labor is conveniently using ‘discretionary grants’ to repay groups who have been the loudest supporters of its carbon tax.
    The tax will result in industry closures in Australia! shifting emissions offshore as companies relocate to other countries that do not have this stupid tax!
    Here are some of the idiocies.
    Queensland sugar shipped from Mackay to Melbourne will incur a carbon tax. Sugar imported from Thailand or Brazil will not even though the carbon footprint is much larger!
    If you fly to Tasmania or some other Australian state you will pay a carbon tax. If you fly to the USA or Fiji you will not!
    If you buy an imported car you will not pay a carbon tax, but if you buy and Australian made Holden, Falcon or even a toyota hybrid you will pay a carbon tax!
    If you take a bus or train to work you will pay a carbon tax on the fuel, if you drive your own car to work it will be tax free!
    If you buy Danish butter, canned Thai pineapples or fruit juice from Brazil it will be tax free. But if you buy the same product Australian made you will be hit with a carbon tax!
    Complete and utter lunacy!!
    The green movement is trying to manipulate people into turning Tony Abbot into a demonic figure versus Julia and Bob who will defend the planet! Given the hopelessness of the carbon tax plan this is a complete joke. Obviously on a personal level Tony Abbot is an obnoxious climate denialist but no evidence has been produced to demonstrate that the Liberal Parties “direct action plan” will produce less emissions reductions than the carbon tax and an ETS.

  3. If “[t]he argument can be made that the atmosphere belongs to society as a whole”, make it and don’t just slide into resting on the idea that society not only can own property but also actually does own the atmosphere in its own right. Looking that straight in the face should show you that society is only ever a derivative thing that can only ever act at most as an agent or trustee for actual people, and that the atmosphere isn’t the sort of thing amenable to being owned by anyone anyway – nobody can take effective possession of it, so as to be able to control and benefit from it. The rest of this is just an exercise in circumventing these logical impossibilities and attempting to produce the same decisions and outcomes that would have obtained if only they did not apply – an exercise in wishful thinking that is only excusable as a youthful indiscretion caused by an excess of misguided enthusiasm.

  4. And I’M the one who gets denounced as a subversive wacko here?

    First, the fact that climate change or global warming is (supposedly) justifies heavy government regulation of every type of human activity which directly or indirectly consumes fossil fuel energy – which today in the west is EVERY type of human activity – is so convenient for the governing elites that it could be nothing but a fraud fabricated solely for that purpose. At the very least, it means we should look very deeply at whether or not it is true before accepting it.

    Why do you think it is unfortunate that environmental the environmental movement is “linked to left-wing groups” which advocate expansion of government? That is precisely what you are advocating. BTW, the environmental movement is not “linked to” left-wing groups, it IS left-wing. All groups within the environmental movement are left-wing. They are nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with socialism. It has never been anything but a popular front in the socialist movement, a vehicle for promoting socialism, a left-wing ruse.

    Second, if anthropomorphic climate change were a reality, government regulation and taxes would not be an effective way of dealing with it. For one thing, even the climate change proponents admit that the best we could do with the heaviest of restrictions would not have any detectable effect for another few hundred to a thousand years. Such regulations and measures that are being implemented would impoverish us so quickly that it would be a thousand times better to take our chances with climate change. The worst projected scenario for climate change would be better than the economic and political effects of the proposed measures to mitigate it.

    These measures – regulation, taxes, ETS, switching to renewables – all remove the one thing which really can lower our energy consumption and emissions: the economic incentive which drives technical advancement. The whole history of technology since the industrial revolution up to present day has been one of finding more energy efficient ways of living. Technical improvements have made our technologies more energy efficient and at times we have switched to new sources of energy.

    Most suspicious of all is the rejection by climate change proponents of the only viable alternative to fossil fuels: nuclear power, the cleanest, safest and cheapest source of energy yet discovered.

    Taxes on industry emissions are merely passed to the consumer as higher prices and therefore it is effectively a tax on everybody. A rise in cost of living is effectively the same as a tax.

  5. You don’t need trolls posting comments to this blog if your authors are posting articles like this.

    Forgot to add: Australia is one of the smallest per-capita emissions producers, yet we are being told we should “lead the way” for the world. In other words, jump first. The result is that our industry just goes to countries which have no environmental restrictions (i.e. the biggest emissions producers), our economy nosedives and the emissions continue increasing everywhere else.

    Anything in your environmental economics mini-lectures about that?

  6. This is a statist argument, not libertarian.

    No matter what you believe about man-made climate change, libertarians see no need for state intervention. Humans are neither stupid nor suicidal and will adapt and/or mitigate individually. Their individual decisions, in aggregate, will achieve far more than anything governments can impose.

  7. Well I’d have to disagree with Justin on the fact that it’s government’s role to internalize externalities. If government has any role, it is to enforce contracts. If pollution is having a direct effect on my wellbeing I should be compensated by the polluter, if the polluter won’t pay up, that’s when government should get involved and make them pay me compensation if I can prove my case. Climate change is interesting in this regard because it’s hard to say what the actual costs of the externalities are yet, they may even be positive, e.g increased crop yields because of higher CO2 concentration and temperature. If this were to happen then should the government then tax these increases and give it back to the CO2 producers? If you disagree with this but still think that CO2 emissions should be taxed, then why should government only regulate negative externalities but not positive ones?

  8. Another highly suspicious feature of climate change is that it is a global effect. Hence people in one country have alleged grounds for a grievance over the emissions of people in another country, perhaps halfway around the globe. This creates a pretext for internationalising emissions regulations, which equate to international totalitarian government. You know, like Agenda 21.

  9. Loki3, perhaps non-libertarian articles are put up to see how we react- so that we can gain intellectual strength from wrestling these concepts into their graves.

  10. Nuke – the whole rest of the internet is non-libertarian. I wrestle everyday with non-libertarians without even having to look for them. We can bring up and refute non-libertarian views here without having to actually pretend to be non-libertarian ourselves. Besides, this isn’t the first time JSC has advocated carbon tax here.

    “Why would I make anything up? Life is depressing enough without me having to invent more of it.”
    – Marvin the paranoid android, The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

  11. Theoretically a global carbon tax is the right way to deal with anthropogenic global warming. That still leaves us with a question regarding how high the tax should be. And then there are the consequential political issues to be considered. On balance I think the rate should be zero dollars per tonne as that is close to the correct theoretical and spot on given the consequential political issues.

  12. Terje – I agree with that; logically it is a global common good and a globally based tax / rent is the only way it should be approached. If it were actually a problem.

    Like it or not, there are a very limited number of issues that are global in nature and should only be addressed on that basis, in that they affect us all and actions in that realm have consequences borne globally.

  13. ^ IR, it’s also a very large “common good” and not likely to be wholly polluted by mankind. Especially as technical advances result in increasingly more efficient and less polluting power sources.

    There is no such thing as a “common good”. Society cannot collectively own anything. That is a socialist myth. All that happens under socialism or any other single, collectivist policy is that a ruling elite falsely claims to control the goods “on behalf of” the rest of society and in reality controls it in their own interests, over the heads of the rest of society.

  14. Isn’t there? Why not? I would suggest that anything that is not the result of human effort can quite reasonably be called a ‘common good’. There is nothing socialist about it. It’s just logic. These things exist outside of us, are a common resource for us and the rest of creation, and have no input by anyone through which a claim to their value can even be made.

  15. ^ The term “common good” implies common ownership. By your own reasoning, nobody can own the whole of the Earth’s atmosphere, either individually or collectively.

    True, it has no market value because of it’s abundance and easy availability. But something does not have to be the result of human effort to have value. Empty land has value. A deposit of gold has value before it is even mined, though some effort was probably made in finding it.

  16. Some recent commenters have fallen prey to a fairly common fallacy brought on by ambiguous terms that are being made precise in different ways in different places, so that the end result doesn’t actually follow from the beginning. I’ll bring it out with some examples and then work through how it is happening here.

    First of all, consider this fallacious reasoning: a penny is a coin, a shilling is a coin, therefore a penny is a shilling. It’s not only wrong, it’s fairly clear that it is wrong because the terms used are different.

    Now consider “a rose is a rose is a rose”. That’s clearly correct, right? No. There are different kinds of roses, and in fact some languages use “rose” as the generic term for flower and you have to qualify it. Whether it’s right or not depends on the kind of rose you mean at each stage, but either way it isn’t clear – but it looks as if it should be true.

    Now consider this one: zero is nothing, a vacuum is nothing, therefore zero is a vacuum. This is clearly wrong, but only because we have a good idea of what zero and a vacuum are. The confusion comes from loosening and tightening up the meaning of “nothing” in different ways in different places, so that there is a path from the beginning to the end but it isn’t obvious from the words alone that it is happening.

    Well, “common good” is like this. The atmosphere is indeed a common good in that it is good and that it is common, i.e. that everyone gets the good that is going – but “good” doesn’t mean “a good” here, it’s more generic. However, “common good” can get used in a quite different sense, to mean a good that is owned in common. In some of the comments above, the thinking is sliding around between the two without either making it clear that it is happening or that there is an entity “everyone” (or “society”) that can own anything, let alone that it does own the atmosphere in particular. One side of the question is using the spurious reasoning to get from the truth that the atmosphere is the first sort of common good to the false conclusion that society owns it. The other side is trying to refute that, but is buying into the faulty reasoning, so it is working back to overstating that the atmosphere is not a common good (in the first sense), simply because it is a nonsense to say that society owns it.

    I will leave readers with a historical example of this sort of fallacy that cropped up early in George I’s reign just after he had arrived in England, when he made a speech in English, a language with which he was not sufficiently familiar. He said, “I have come for your good. I have come for all your goods.” His audience laughed, and recognised that he was a good fellow who was doing his best.

  17. ^ I didn’t notice that others were confusing those two meanings of “common good” but I can see how they can be confused. Especially when you have people claiming that it would be for THE “common good” to treat the atmosphere as A “common good”. But I was not myself confusing those two usages or meanings of the word “good”. I understood the other side to be using “good” in the sense of a commodity and I responded to it as such.

  18. A common good and the common ownership of it are separate issues.

    The common good derived from something hadn’t been mentioned until the detailed analysis of the difference above.

    In this, loki had the correct understanding of how I was using the word.

    Possibly a better definition to chase is the difference between ‘wealth’ as I used it and ‘value’ as loki used it. What loki indicated regarding the value of things that are not yet wealth is correct. I think the difference is that I have accepted the argument made by George that these things of value that are not yet wealth – which George grouped under the term ‘land’ – ought to be held as common goods, and not be subject to private ‘ownership’.

    I don’t find this contrary to libertarian principles, as it in addition to it. If taken to its logical conclusions it provides a consistent and logical means of limiting ‘socialism’; provides a market based measure of community contribution and community benefit; and a mechanism for both capturing and distributing that value.

    Yes, it is sort of a ‘half way’ position. But it is a reasonable, consistent one that ebbs and flows with the market. Hard, fixed positions tend not to be optimal.

  19. ^ Why don’t you consider land not to be wealth? If you have something of market value, you have wealth. Land definitely has market value.

  20. Sort of by definition. ‘Land’ as used above is natural value that has had no separable human contribution made to it. Given that ‘wealth’ is the product of ‘land’ and ‘labour’, land cannot be wealth without labour.

    It’s sort of like asking why labour isn’t wealth, but has value.

    A tree growing in the wild forest is valuable, but it isn’t wealth, but rather is part of the land. A cut tree has had labour contributed to it, becomes wealth, and thus able to be owned. Generally, more labour is added to this as the process goes on, increasing value further.

    The difference is important is that wealth may be owned, while land can only have a ‘right of use’.

  21. ^ Empty land can be used. You can build a house on it. You can play cricket on it. You have applied no labor to the land except clearing the foundations. The labor went into building the house on top of it. The wealth from that is in the house, not the land.

    I don’t see why application of labor to something is necessary for it to be considered wealth. The only requirement is that it has value. If you trip over a lump of gold sticking out from the ground in the bush, you have wealth even though you have applied no labor to it. You were just out bush-walking.

    Value alone makes something wealth, and value depends primarily on two things: supply and demand. An object can be completely useless and still have value.

    Your last distinction is a false one. Ownership is nothing more than the right of use. That is what property is. That is why, when the government tells you how to use your property, it effectively ceases to be your property. It is only your property on paper and by right, but not in practice.

  22. First paragraph is correct. Not sure of the point though?

    As to why the application of labour is necessary for something to be wealth; in this case, to distinguish it from things of value that have no capacity for ownership.

    If you trip over a lump of gold, you have no wealth. If you dig it out, you do.

    An object can also be completely valueless – in the sense of exchange – but still be wealth.

    Ownership includes the right to any change in value. A right of use on the other hand means that any change in value will result in a different cost on the next assessment. It’s why the system George developed is commonly called land rent – it is a market based cost that reflects the current value.

  23. ^ I forget my point in the first paragraph.

    “As to why the application of labour is necessary for something to be wealth; in this case, to distinguish it from things of value that have no capacity for ownership.”

    Why can’t land be owned? It seems you are applying circular reasoning: Land cannot be owned, therefore it is not wealth. Land is not wealth, therefore it cannot be owned.

    “If you trip over a lump of gold, you have no wealth. If you dig it out, you do.”

    What if you leave it there and stake a claim? What if you find it on your own property and leave it where you found it? Then no labor has been applied to it and it is still wealth, simply because you own it.

    “An object can also be completely valueless – in the sense of exchange – but still be wealth.”

    We usually mean wealth in the sense of something which can be exchanged. But yes something can have value in the sense that it benefits the owner in some material or psychological way though nobody else will buy it.

    “Ownership includes the right to any change in value. A right of use on the other hand means that any change in value will result in a different cost on the next assessment. It’s why the system George developed is commonly called land rent – it is a market based cost that reflects the current value.”

    I don’t follow this.

  24. I’ll deal with the last paragraph first because the rest will should make more sense if you get that.

    If I rent a house, I have the exclusive right to use it. However, any changes in the value of the property result in (recurring) costs going up for me. If I own a house, any changes in the value result in a (capital) benefit to me.

    The point regarding the difference between natural value and wealth is that it is counterproductive for something of natural value to be owned, but necessary for wealth to be able to be.

    Land should not be able to be owned; all land use should be subject to a ongoing ‘rent’ that reflects its current value.

    You make the case in point with the ‘claim’. A claim is paid for on an annual basis, and royalties charged on value extracted. You have established a right to use / right to extract.

    If you leave the gold where it is, it has value but is not wealth. It is still part of the ‘land’.

  25. Chris, who imposes the ‘rent’? This sounds more like communal anarchy than anything else. Is that what Georgism is?

  26. Nuke – in general terms, the community imposes the rent on the individuals that make it up. In practical, local terms, it’s either going to be the council or the state government.

  27. This still seems too intrusive for me. I think I’ll stay with my preferred brand of absolute property rights. Landowners should be absolute owners of their own private properties, and local counties should be absolute owners of public properties within their borders, etc. No taxes of any kind, though licences and tollways would suffice for revenues. Come to that, citizenship of a county should be a choice, and the cost of citizenship would be to be a part-time public servant! Community service, militia duty, fire-brigades- we could all have a share in government, if we want to vote.

  28. The different advantages there sound like something that needs to be hashed out over a few drinks sometime.

    I find the sense of it too individualistic, inefficient and I can’t see a rational path from here to there. But that’s just me.

  29. Some plans are efficient in some ways, and inefficient in others. Communism had an all-embracing plan that seemed efficient, but didn’t take individual human beings into account. My system would be very efficient at keeping governments down to a manageable level, so we can all make our own individual plans for ourselves. When you say ‘inefficient’, from which angle do you mean it?

  30. I also can’t see a way to get from here to time-share governments, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. ‘Seek and you will find’ has a converse meaning, ‘Do not seek, and you will not find’. I will seek for a solution, and maybe find it. If I do nothing, I am tacitly accepting the status quo, which I don’t want to do.

  31. And I might just have found a way to get these principles in circulation- find some county with lots of volunteer services, and have them pass a local ordinance that only those people who are, or who have been, in some volunteer community service are eligible to be alderman, whatever their politics! Then carry on from there.

  32. Loki – libertarian doesn’t mean individualist, although it attracts them.

    Nuke – that’s why I said it was just me. I haven’t spent time working on how to get to your ideal; i’ve spent it working out how to get to mine.

    For me, there is a balance to be held between individual sovereignty and common benefit. What George put forward that I haven’t seen elsewhere is a logical, market based mechanism for capturing the value people derive from their community.
    For me, the concept you put forward ofpaying for services and infrastructure both lacks the elegant simplicity of LVT, and fails to correct the market signals that should function to produce best land utilization.

  33. Did I miss something? Since when do Libertarians suggest a tax as the solution to a problem. LOL

  34. Whilst Libertarianism is a direction away from big government, we aren’t all anarcho-capitalists. I would prefer to do away with taxes, but if we could replace a lot of taxes with one tax, this move to simplicity would be appreciated.

  35. “Loki – libertarian doesn’t mean individualist, although it attracts them.”

    I was referring to the philosophy of individualism, not the personal ethic. Individualism is the basis of liberty. Collectivism, it’s opposite, is the basis of tyranny.

  36. “Why is this so? Because we already pay for it. We just a) pay up front, and b) pay the bank / waste capital.”

    We also own it. If we just rent our land, we can be turned off of it. That’s a big waste of “capital” too – you paid all previous rent for nothing. Who do we rent the land from, if nobody owns it? There has to be some kind of council which decides the terms on which we use the land. Effectively, then, the council owns it. We are back to the whole problem of collective ownership: Control passes to a small group administrating supposedly on behalf of the rest of society.

    Every member of society cannot vote on every issue arising from every person’s use of every individual block of land. Even if it were done that way, it would still be unjust and prone to error, because it would be rule by democracy. A majority vote is not necessarily a correct vote. (Australian political history demonstrates this.) Nor is it just for an individual’s use of property to be controlled by the vote of other individuals.

    Under your system, the user of the land does not control his use of it. Simply because, as you are advocating, he doesn’t own it.

    Liberty and private ownership of property and are inseparable. Without control of your property, you cannot exercise your liberty. You don’t really have liberty. Land is the most basic and primary forms of property. It is the space in which you may freely use all of your other property – house, car, appliances, business, your own person – and so on. If you can’t own land, your liberty is greatly restricted. Ask anyone who rents their home or business premises.

  37. I wonder if we should rehabilitate the word ‘landlord’? Landlordism could be our philosophy- if you buy or inherit land, then you are the owner of that land, the lord or king of it, absolutely.

  38. Loki – you still own the land. Just not in perpetuity. Same situation you are in now if someone holds a mortgage over the land you are on; if you don’t make your payments, you lose the land.

    The rights you have in use of the land are exactly the same as they are now. You still own everything you put onto the land – it doesn’t become the property of the state.

    You just pay the value in a stream rather than a lump sum.

  39. “Loki – you still own the land. Just not in perpetuity. Same situation you are in now if someone holds a mortgage over the land you are on; if you don’t make your payments, you lose the land.”

    If someone holds a mortgage over your land. Under your system, everyone would be forced to “take out the mortgage” and risk losing their land. And you can’t leave your land to your offspring or another beneficiary?

    “The rights you have in use of the land are exactly the same as they are now. You still own everything you put onto the land – it doesn’t become the property of the state.”

    It doesn’t sound like exactly the same thing as owning.

    “You just pay the value in a stream rather than a lump sum.”

    And you don’t own it in perpetuity.

  40. “Loki – you still own the land. Just not in perpetuity. Same situation you are in now if someone holds a mortgage over the land you are on; if you don’t make your payments, you lose the land.”

    If someone holds a mortgage over your land. Under your system, everyone would be forced to “take out the mortgage” and risk losing their land. And you can’t leave your land to your offspring or another beneficiary?

    “The rights you have in use of the land are exactly the same as they are now. You still own everything you put onto the land – it doesn’t become the property of the state.”

    It doesn’t sound like exactly the same thing as owning.

    “You just pay the value in a stream rather than a lump sum.”

    And you don’t own it in perpetuity.

  41. Why wouldn’t you be able to leave your land to your offspring or whoever? You own the land.

    “And you don’t own it in perpetuity.”

    You do. It’s no different from anything else you own in the sense of ownership. Nor is defaulting on your payment of your LVT any different from defaulting on your income tax.

  42. ^ I’m confused. You believe that nobody should own land, that they should only be able to rent the land by paying a tax. Then you say the renter actually owns it forever and can even pass it on to heirs. Does he own it or not? Is he renting it or owning it? If he owns it – forever – then why not just purchase it instead of paying rent?

    Who is the land rented from, if “nobody owns it”? Who ultimately controls the use of the land?

  43. No, it’s not that nobody should own land. It that land should not be purchased by a single payment but that the right to its use should be paid for by an ongoing assessment of its current value.

    The reason you don’t let someone pay for land once and then never pay again is because that completely upends the market drivers for the use of land.

    The land is rented from the state or council, depending on how the system is organised. The control of the use of the land falls to the owner; however this is tempered by that fact that poor use of the land will cost the owner just as much as good use of the land. So someone can continue to do whatever they want with the land, as long as they are happy to pay the current valuation of that land.

  44. “No, it’s not that nobody should own land. It that land should not be purchased by a single payment but that the right to its use should be paid for by an ongoing assessment of its current value.”

    How do you decide the value of a property? The value of any given item of property varies between individuals. The value of an item is the minimum the seller is prepared to accept and the maximum the highest-bidding purchaser is willing to pay. It depends on many factors which vary for individual sellers and buyers.

    “The reason you don’t let someone pay for land once and then never pay again is because that completely upends the market drivers for the use of land.”

    How? Somebody purchases land for the amount they believe the land is worth to them, which depends on the intended use of the land. While that person owns and uses the land, why does it matter to anyone else how the market “drives” the use of it? Only the owner is using it, nobody else.

    Or is it to do with how the owner’s use of the land affects other people? In that case, you are saying that the owner has to use his land as it suits other people, which means that he doesn’t really own the land, the whole community, ultimately all of society, owns it. That is socialism.

    “The land is rented from the state or council, depending on how the system is organised. The control of the use of the land falls to the owner; however this is tempered by that fact that poor use of the land will cost the owner just as much as good use of the land. So someone can continue to do whatever they want with the land, as long as they are happy to pay the current valuation of that land.”

    So someone can do “whatever they want” with the land, as long as they are prepared to pay extra money to do it. As well as being revenue, taxes can serve as a means of state control of individual activity. For example, taxes on car emissions are intended to reduce car use or reduce the size of the cars which people purchase. Taxes do not allow people to do “whatever they want”. It forces them to pay more money to do what they like, making it less likely that they will choose to do it. That is not “whatever they want”.

    LVT still looks exactly like socialism.

  45. Ah… But to a socialist, it looks like libertarianism. The concept of market limited socialism – which is not an unreasonable description of what Georgism is – upsets both libertarians and socialists.

    To suggest that the social aspect of life should be ignored in the design of a system of government is ludicrous. The whole purpose of government is the effective management of the individual / social interchange. Just as unchecked socialism leads to abandonment of individual responsibility, unchecked libertarianism leads to societal deterioration.

    What we do, on our land, affects and is affected by the actions of others on their land.

    LVT captures and places a value on the affects that others actions and efforts have on our land. It doesn’t capture the effect we have on those around us in its classical form. Thus my comment earlier that consideration needs to be given to its use in the distribution side as well as the supply side. BTW, this suggestion brings out the hackles on classical Georgist’s : )

    As to your question as to how the full value is calculated – a full LVT is levied at the rate required to reduced the purchase price of land to zero. My working estimate is the product of the current home loan rate and the value of the land.

    If the work available here drops off, my LVT would drop quickly; counteracting the effects on the community. I benefit rather than suffer; exactly the opposite occurs under the current system.

    Basically the current system rewards poor use of land. That’s borked, and needs to be fixed.

  46. “Ah… But to a socialist, it looks like libertarianism. The concept of market limited socialism – which is not an unreasonable description of what Georgism is – upsets both libertarians and socialists.”

    I meant that LVT is a socialist policy, not that the whole system is socialist. But in practice it would lead to a whole socialist system. Government intervention inevitably leads to more intervention. It distorts the market and creates problems which the government then intervenes again in attempt to rectify. (Although the logical and better thing to do would be to remove the original intervention which created the problem).

    Land is a primary resource and government control of people’s use of their land indirectly gives the government control over many, if not all, other types of activity. It is the same as with control of emissions, which requires control over fuel consumption and energy use, which is required for all human activity. Or control of currency and banking, which indirectly affects all transactions, since they involve money, which therefore controls all economic activity, and therefore all activity, since all activity is directly or indirectly economic.

    “To suggest that the social aspect of life should be ignored in the design of a system of government is ludicrous.”

    Libertarianism doesn’t ignore the social aspect of life. It recognises that government control of the individual greatly worsens the social aspect of life.

    “The whole purpose of government is the effective management of the individual / social interchange.”

    Which is the reason we don’t want it. However, a legitimate role for the government to protect the liberties of individuals, i.e. by enacting and enforcing laws which do so. But all other forms of “management” are themselves infringements on liberties, i.e., crimes.

    “Just as unchecked socialism leads to abandonment of individual responsibility, unchecked libertarianism leads to societal deterioration.”

    This has actually happened, or some socialists just told you it would happen? We have never practiced libertarianism for long enough to find out, but the times we did, society greatly improved in prosperity, individual welfare and morality.

    “What we do, on our land, affects and is affected by the actions of others on their land.”

    How? The whole point of everybody owning their own land is that I can do what I want on my land without affecting what you do on your land. But let’s say you are right. How would the government taking ownership of all land and renting it to us all stop what we do on our land from affecting others? We’d still be doing all the same things, wouldn’t we? Or not? Well if not, then the government is controlling what we do on our land.

    “LVT captures and places a value on the affects that others actions and efforts have on our land. It doesn’t capture the effect we have on those around us in its classical form.”

    Classical form? “Placing a value” on the effects of people’s actions sounds like taxing our activities for the purpose of controlling them. Am I wrong? Everything we do on our land – i.e., everything we do – is controlled directly or indirectly through LVT. Government control of everything people do is socialism.

    “Thus my comment earlier that consideration needs to be given to its use in the distribution side as well as the supply side.”

    Control of supply and distribution?

    “BTW, this suggestion brings out the hackles on classical Georgist’s : )”

    So classical Georgists are even more socialist than you are? Incredible.

    “As to your question as to how the full value is calculated – a full LVT is levied at the rate required to reduced the purchase price of land to zero. My working estimate is the product of the current home loan rate and the value of the land.”

    So the value of the land is calculated as the product of the current home loan rate and the current value of the land.

    “If the work available here drops off, my LVT would drop quickly; counteracting the effects on the community. I benefit rather than suffer; exactly the opposite occurs under the current system.”

    What work, available where? What effects? Who benefits or suffers?

    “Basically the current system rewards poor use of land. That’s borked, and needs to be fixed.”

    How does the “current system” reward poor use of land? Are you talking about free market, which is not the current system, or socialism, which is what we do have?

  47. (Christopher Polis:)

    “The land is rented from the state or council, depending on how the system is organised.”

    If the land is rented from the government, then the government owns the land. Your whole idea is supposed to be that nobody should own land, that it is a “common good”. But there is no difference between a group of politicians and bureaucrats owning the land and one or more individuals outside of the government owning the land. Politicians and bureaucrats are self-interested individuals just like everybody else. All you have done is give ownership of all of the land to a small, powerful minority of self-interested individuals.

    “The control of the use of the land falls to the owner;”

    If the “owner” rents the land from the government, he does not own it. He did not buy it, he is renting it, because it is a “common good” and is not allowed to be owned – except by the individuals in government.

    “however this is tempered by that fact that poor use of the land will cost the owner just as much as good use of the land. So someone can continue to do whatever they want with the land, as long as they are happy to pay the current valuation of that land.”

    In other words, the government controls the use of the land, through the tax. So not only doesn’t the “owner” own the land, he does not really control it either. Which is just what we would expect.

  48. PM, I had heard of the word ‘Allodial’ before, but not many other people would have. As a title,’Landlordism’ would not need to be explained.

  49. True enough, but I still think we can do something with the word ‘landlord’.
    Come to that, what are your views on these controversial issues, PM?

  50. Loki – I understand the point; however the government only has ‘control’ if it is able to influence the prices charged.

    Even then, it’s control is limited.

    I disagree with the thought that the owner of land should be able to do whatever they choose to with that land, with no consideration of the effects on those around them. Down that path is unmitigated abuse.

    A system must balance the benefit of the many against the benefit of the one, to mitigate both authoritarian and individual abuses.

  51. Now you’re asking for a book! The best I can do with the resources available (which, come to think of it, is a constraint problem related to these very issues, making it rather self-referential), is to present a bit of a mind dump without presenting much in the way of underlying reasoning (so it is bound to leave you unsatisfied):-

    - “Landlord”, at least these days, doesn’t signify what you seem to have in mind. That is, people will only take away the idea of someone with the right to levy rent and to pick and choose his tenants, but not to over-ride the rights of the tenants while they are there. You seem to be getting at what the Sire de Coucy had (google him, or read Barbara Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century” – but be aware that she has biasses that work out as selective coverage that is hard to spot), or what the “Barons of the Land” had in the Crusader Kingdoms or the Latin Empire (read some of Alfred Duggan’s historical novels to introduce the ideas and then follow up with Francois Ganshof’s “Feudalism”).

    - The whole point of outright ownership, whether by purchase in full or not, is to take a portion of economic activity out of the constant need to be renewed. The cost of not interacting later – to others or to the owners – is reflected in the purchase price already paid (not necessarily in cash, e.g. earning land rights by setting up settlers). It’s much the same logic as drives modularising software; done right it actually gains more than it loses, even though done wrong it cuts off what is needed.

    - There are both economic and philosophical fallacies in Georgism. Economic ones include the difficulty of making sound assessments of value, partly because methods suggested work in dry runs but not once property starts being used under the influence of Georgism (see Goodhart’s Law; in the extreme, if all land value is captured there is no remaining pricing signal to indicate value accurately; also, assessment falls prey to valuing all holdings as if they were at the margin, whereas realising the value of all of them would shift that value after the first – you don’t need as much water to float a boat as it displaces, the buoyancy paradox). Philosophical ones include the very presumptions that “society” (not defined, or else defined circularly, and either way unjustifiably taken to be represented by governments) has a right to gains in value, which is certainly false when the purchase price folded that in already, and that the gains can be used better by society and that that provides a justification. Indeed, proprietors of colonies had more justification for claiming gains arising from the side effects of the economic activities of those around than “society” had, since the proprietors had put them there (this would completely answer the complaints of the people Britain evicted from Diego Garcia, if only their ancestors had been brought there freely – but many were brought as slaves, leaving things murky). So Georgism involves a lot of question begging (assuming what is being sought to prove) and Procrustean logic that does not cater for such things as gains in value from the actor rather than for the actor, e.g. airstrips draw business and raise surrounding land values, yet they actually suffer from the presence of those moving to the region in response (the gains and losses go the other way to what Georgism supposes).

    - That said, very low levels of LVT cause less harm than other forms of tax at the same levels, because there is often less distortion by the tax itself than from other taxes (only because it is at levels low enough not to change the game). But that leads to yet other kinds of tax that generalise the LVT and share this sweet spot behaviour while both extending the sweet spot and being easier to operate than through an assessment system that circles back through market prices (they reduce the dangerous feedback that causes the distortions), e.g. the cadastre-based Byzantine “kapnikon” with its deliberate use of features found in the “Tragedy of the Commons”. This is one of those areas that I won’t detail, but if you take them to a logical extreme you find the taxing authorities turning into rentiers in their own right, deriving revenue from leasing out property that they supply and maintain, maybe even produce (not just land, but also fleet leasing of commercially useful plant and equipment, for example – see the wikipedia entry on how the Dutch ran their “Cultivation System” in the Dutch East Indies, including the cunning trick used to help fund it; disclaimer, I contributed to that article). Quit rents fall under this heading, if they are properly understood as only having the sanction of resuming the former activity that was bought out, e.g. running cattle.

    For something incomplete, that’s a lot. Please don’t criticise it for not working things through thoroughly; it’s only possible to introduce them without proof, and not to introduce everything relevant at that.

  52. CP, the answer to your objection is that the outright owner of land should have full control over it, because if you had reservations it was open to you not to sell or otherwise convey it to him on those terms in the first place. And if you aren’t the one who sold it, that moves it back one; you’re effectively asking to vary the rights of the previous owner, and the same applies one level further back, and so on. If you are some johnny-come-lately government claiming sovereignty other than through ownership, where did you get any authority in the matter at all?

  53. PM.. I’ll work back from the end.

    Except in the very rare allodial case, no one has full rights to their land conferred to them by what we call ownership. And yes, they are welcome to refuse to purchase land on the basis of that restriction. Most seem not to fuss.

    I accept fully that any change in those rights should be fully compensated; I find the common assertion that accrued benefit should be forfeited to be grossly unfair. Those are the current ‘rules of the game’; those who have ‘won’ under the current rules should receive the benefit of playing well.

    I see only two (acceptable) options for LVT at a full rate to be introduced – a communal ‘pooling’ of land resources for communal benefit; and a buyout of land value by a state government. Actually I could see the second being a voluntary arrangement that any property owner could enter into with the state government.

    The risk of overtaxation is real, but very clearly flagged by the valuation of property on sale being lower than the value of capital improvements, and on empty land being negatively valued.

    I mentioned earlier that the process needs also be considered in reverse; that value that is added to the community should be recognised and rewarded. This again is not a ‘standard’ Georgist view, but is a necessary and integral part of a properly functioning system. While 140 years ago, this process was considered impossible, today it just requires appropriate data and a deconvolution algorithm.

    The issue of final purchase – notwithstanding that governments still levy property based taxes at whim – is significant. I’ll address it tomorrow as I’ve got to finish this up now.

  54. Great read; great rhetoric; great swallow of all the spin. Even if all the “science”is correct, even if it is not and the real cause and effect is say somewhere in the middle I still have a very simple question nobody seems to have the answer.
    What and how much (dollars or percentage) are taxed products or services are going rise? Forget the spin in the “offset” rebate or assistance, direct or by tax reductions and any other spin the Govt. want to put up.
    Is my garbage collection going up by $62.00 PA (claimed by my council due to carbon tax)
    Is my trip to the dump (recycle and waste depo) going up by 100% ( 6x 4 box trailer)
    Is my elect /gas and rates all going up (claimed to be due to carbon tax.
    Service on my motor car up 20%
    Fares on the bus up? Car rego up 100% over the next 2 years (Victoria)
    Building my new shed / house/ pool/ up
    and etc etc etc.
    With the GST we all knew all was up 10% (offset was the removal of most wholesale tax..that was often scammed anyway…only a few clear exemptions etc etc
    THERE WAS A LIST
    this tax has the so called 500 poluters seeming to set the list??? the offset is only for a few who are struggling all the time.
    SHOW ME THE LIST AND THE PERCENTAGE OR DOLLAR RISE….BET NOBODY CAN.. Like the Norway example it will be scammed and fail. Just wait until “THEY” are allowed to “TRADE” the credits…. WOW

  55. In community, recognition.

    LVT encapsulates the principles:
    – you have the right to compensation if your neighbour causes your property harm;
    – you have the responsibility to recognise and recompense your neighbour if they bring your property benefit.

    Further to the LVT, a Land Value Redistribution encapsulates the principles:
    – you have a right to recognition if you bring benefit to your neighbours property;
    – you have a responsibility to recognise and recompense your neighbour if you bring their property harm.

    Furthermore, an LVT recognises that there exists value created not by the effort of man, but through the abundance of nature. This value shall not be assumed by any individual or organisation, but retained by or distributed amongst the community for the equal benefit of all.

  56. Right, now that Harmony day is over, no more group hugs!
    Who decides what is a benefit? This sounds like simple majoritarianism to me! And the communism implicit in ‘equal benefit of all.’ does not attract me to LVT.

  57. “PM.. I’ll work back from the end.

    Except in the very rare allodial case, no one has full rights to their land conferred to them by what we call ownership.”

    Who besides the owner has rights to his land?

    “And yes, they are welcome to refuse to purchase land on the basis of that restriction. Most seem not to fuss.”

    That’s government intervention right there, affecting the actions of individuals by economic means.

    “I accept fully that any change in those rights should be fully compensated; I find the common assertion that accrued benefit should be forfeited to be grossly unfair. Those are the current ‘rules of the game’; those who have ‘won’ under the current rules should receive the benefit of playing well.”

    More economic intervention. People don’t recognise that direct, legislative regulation is not the only means of state intervention or control.

    “I see only two (acceptable) options for LVT at a full rate to be introduced – a communal ‘pooling’ of land resources for communal benefit; and a buyout of land value by a state government. Actually I could see the second being a voluntary arrangement that any property owner could enter into with the state government.”

    So, communal property or state ownership of land, but not socialism.

    “The risk of overtaxation is real, but very clearly flagged by the valuation of property on sale being lower than the value of capital improvements, and on empty land being negatively valued.”

    Who decides the value of the land again?

    “I mentioned earlier that the process needs also be considered in reverse; that value that is added to the community should be recognised and rewarded.”

    Incentives are also a means of economic control, by the people who decide for the rest of us what is beneficial for us.

    “This again is not a ‘standard’ Georgist view, but is a necessary and integral part of a properly functioning system.”

    You mean real Georgism is even more unjust?

    “While 140 years ago, this process was considered impossible, today it just requires appropriate data and a deconvolution algorithm.”

    And a central computer supervised by the government. About as reliable as electronic voting.

    Read a serious book about statism and start calling things by their real names.

  58. “In community, recognition.

    LVT encapsulates the principles:
    – you have the right to compensation if your neighbour causes your property harm;”

    In a libertarian society you can sue for damages too.

    “– you have the responsibility to recognise and recompense your neighbour if they bring your property benefit.”

    How do you decide what is beneficial and how do you place a value on it, in order to recompense it?

    “Further to the LVT, a Land Value Redistribution encapsulates the principles:”

    Redistribution?

    “– you have a right to recognition if you bring benefit to your neighbours property;
    – you have a responsibility to recognise and recompense your neighbour if you bring their property harm.”

    As above.

    “Furthermore, an LVT recognises that there exists value created not by the effort of man, but through the abundance of nature. ”

    That’s not a first.

    “This value shall not be assumed by any individual or organisation, but retained by or distributed amongst the community for the equal benefit of all.”

    So all naturally occurring resources, collectively managed. What we make out of them, indivdually owned. Do you realise that by managing the resources, you indirectly control what is made from them?

    This is a bad dream. I’m at a libertarian and people are openly advocating socialism. Well, not for the first time. There was an article a while back advocating the debasement of the currency into fiat.

  59. Under normal land ownership you do not have rights to
    – whatever council limitations are upon the land
    – any minerals resources thereon
    – probably other things as well

    So for a start, both council and the state have rights over ‘owned’ land. Ownership, in terms of land, is simply a set of rights.

    Who decides the value of land? The market, just as it does now.

    What you seem to be missing is that the incentives, the pricing, all these things are determined by the market. Not by the government.

    The only bureaucratic function is valuing the rent. And that is again a market driven value.

    And look, I’m happy for you to complain that this is not a ‘pure’ libertarianism. It’s not. I happen to think that any extreme is overlooking something. In this case it is that we derive value from the community we are part of. The concept you put forward that every interaction between property owners should be a suit is screwed up in so many ways.

    If naturally resources aren’t collectively managed, then you inescapably end up in the situation where they are managed by an elite few.

    That is the insight that drove LVT.

    Managing personal resources collectively is socialism. Managing natural resources collectively is Georgism. Its a huge difference.

  60. For a different way of looking at it. Everyone wants something for nothing. Georgism is the only system I’ve seen that doesn’t let you have it.

    Socialism lets those in government take personal resource as they see fit.
    Libertarianism lets those who own land take natural resource as they see fit.

    Both systems are just systematic theft.

  61. Of course everyone wants something for nothing! The Universe was born that way, at the Big Bang! So why shouldn’t libertarians hope for the same thing?
    And theft depends on their being an owner! Those who own land can have socialists thieve it from them, but you can’t thieve from yourself. Your attempt to equate the two is false.

  62. I guess by the comments so far; to my diatribe; (in regard) to the LVT debate does justify my question in the real world. WOW; not so far off subject if you are really a libertarian.
    The issue of rent or who owns what is actually shot down if a government can introduce a tax that completely removes the ability to not only think liberty but aligns all mankind future to one cause by linking a “natural” phenomenon to a tax that can be traded. Then what point is left in defining who owns what and who pays or uses it.
    It will not matter what you think, all will be controlled. Was it not the Roman Caesar Caligula that asked the question 2000 years ago? Senators find me a way to tax the citizens for the air they breathe? CO2 is the majority of the air we breathe is it not? May be they should tax the decrease in N, at least that is a bigger number????

  63. “If one accepts the science of global climate change then it is clear that overall carbon emissions must be reduced. ”

    This is just insane. This is a morally vicious statement. Its incoherent as far as the English language is concerned. It displays a hatred of reason and science. The rest of the idiocy follows directly. Here you seem to be goose-stepping in the terminal idiocy of Humphreys. A fellow who insists the money supply must be interest-bearing, all science fraud must be adhered to, science doesn’t matter, economics doesn’t matter so long as he stays ignorant of it, and so forth.

    So we have this fraudulent movement for global domination by the banking oligarchs. Now are you claiming that you have evidence that extra CO2 is bad for the biosphere or not? You don’t do you? No you don’t. So why are you being such an evil drooling retard Justin?

  64. “Theoretically a global carbon tax is the right way to deal with anthropogenic global warming. ”

    No you are being an idiot.

  65. Here’s the Cambell/Humphreys hero. Here’s the guy they are working for. The Pharoah of science fraud and lifelong debt as a way of life. Note that he lets it be known that the real reason for the science fraud is so his coterie can have a world government which they can control.

  66. Look the self-serving fallacies, errors, and straight-out malfeasance of the whole global warming hoo-haa have been exposed and exploded so many times, that an article supporting a carbon tax should not be published on here if all it does is *repeat* what has already been refuted a thousand times. It’s pathetic.

  67. It’s worth repeating that Professor Lovelock himself is now being reported as down-playing anything like a quick disaster. He came up with the Gaia concept years ago, and is cited as a greenhouse authority, so this will make some waves.

  68. Well interesting to watch the replies. I am more convinced that most of the Contributors are either very unqualified or so “un worldly” that they are so convinced that science is always so correct and accurate that one (or several) man made things cause climate change ..Hence mankind alone is the problem. Sorry but I for one are not convinced…not so long ago these same scientists swore the world was flat..One cannot exceed the speed of sound.. Then the speed of light… then eating animal fats cause obesity.. What about our overall position in the universe (if there is one?) We move by 1 deg. what happens?? We eat only blubber what happens. The fact that banning pressure cans did what? A true libertarian is the fact that all factors are resolved by letting “nature “take its course… I do remember a survival of the fittest prologue to all the latest “Fads” No way can humans bring on climate change less let us alter it….The last Japanese tidal wave (sorry tsunami???) did more harm, did it not? Getting rid of vegetarians will do as much good. Sure we can save a few species but why? Like all finance; love life; politics, law, (how many times have these changed to suit politics, lobbies, religion, self interests, etc. etc. etc. The world will go on A CARBON TAX OR TRADING SCHEME IS DEFINATLEY NOT THE ANSWER only pecuniary interests will gain from this.
    True libertarians will let liberty control and guide the way… freedom of everything will control mankind eventually. Liberty is not for the weak or for the strong.. Like water and gravity it finds its own level and always sucks????

    PS ban speed cameras: hybrid cars: solar panels: religion: late night infomercials: game shows: reality shows: horse racing (go the animal liberals) duck shooting (ok for KFC though): what a crock….So what if a few sink on the way…don’t be a blind believer Get a life and look at what and how others live and survive go to Africa, Asia, and east Europe. (Forget Arabia we stuffed that;;; they will eventually ) I trust you do know that cows don’t lay milk cartons and cotton is actually a plant. GEEZZ
    (This space I censored due to the fact I may be taken the “wrong way”) free comment and speak is not a fact???

    Lawyers brought down Rome so they in time will bring down western society. (and eastern) in fact possible the world as I remember long before carbon will………………

  69. The whole reason that global warming / climate change was invented was as a pretext for imposing the opposite of liberalism on society. Even if global warming were real, however, government regulation would not be the correct way to halt it.

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