Guaranteed to slow down consumption

#1

The implementation of donut economics would need a driving force.

One that forces change.

One that makes a level playing field for industry.

One that changes culture.

One that builds in repairability and recyclability.

The question is - how to make massive change happen with least bureaucracy.

An answer: By using legislation that is powered by the engine of consumerism.

Imagine if you had to make something that really had to last, that could be repaired easily and with minimum levels of recycling problems.

How about playing about with the guarantee laws.

Imagine a low cost item, such as a £50 food mixer, that has to have a 10-year legally fully refundable guarantee.

That would force the manufacturer to reconsider design so that it delivered reliability and reparability - but on a level playing field across the industry.

Consumers would expect to pay more but they would use items for longer and not change products at a whim; it is more costly but is cheaper long term as the product lasts.

Costs would go up but for everyone who manufactured them but get the design wrong and you are into costly replacements. The product would last much longer, repair-ability would be built in as the manufacturer has to carry out the repairs at cost. Recyclability would be fully integrated into product design with much lower volumes to be recycled.

Apply this across the board of consumer products and imagine the culture change in industry and consumer consumption. A bit like putting production and consumption into slow motion.

#2

The answer to the slowing down process that we feel today, is to eliminate monopoly in the production of useful goods and services. This monopoly particularly effects the equality of opportunity for production and for residence in sensible places. I refer to the monopoly by speculation in land values. The answer is to replace many other forms of taxation with a tax on land values or LVT.

Socially Just Taxation–Its 17 Effects On: Government, Land Owners, Community and Ethics

A wise and sensible government would recognize that the problem of poverty and unjust social conditions derives from the lack of opportunities to work, earn and sensibly reside. It can be solved by the introduction of a tax system which encourages the proper use of land and which stops penalizing almost everyone else who does not own it. Such a tax system was discussed about 140 years ago by Henry George, a (North) American economist. In his 1879 classic book “Progress and Poverty”, George proposed a single tax on land values without any other kinds of taxes (on earnings, purchases, capital gains, developed property not including its sites, gambling, etc.). Land value taxation (LVT) has 17 features which benefit almost everyone in the economy, except for the employment of big tax departments, landlords and bankers, all of which do nothing productive–the last two of which exploit the rights for land monopolization, that are being provided by legal means through the government.

17 Aspects of LVT Affecting Government, Land Owners, Communities and Ethics

Four Aspects for Better Government:

  1. LVT, adds to the national income as do other taxation systems, but it should replace them.

  2. The cost of collecting the LVT is less than for any other kind of production or capital goods related tax. It is more efficient and tax avoidance becomes impossible. Sites of land are visible to all and their ownership is public knowledge, due to the use of land-value maps with tables of site (parcel) numbering and definitions.

  3. Consumers pay less for their purchases, due to lower production costs (see below) and no purchase tax. This means there is more satisfaction with the better management of national and local affairs, which are seen to be on a fairer basis, without favouring the wealthy.

  4. The speculation in and withholding of unused land is mostly eliminated, see item 7, and the national economy stabilizes. It no longer experiences the 18 year business boom/bust cycle, due to periodic speculation in land values (see below).

Six Aspects Affecting Land Owners:

  1. LVT is progressive–owners of the most potentially productive sites pay the most tax. Urban sites provide the most usefulness and the greatest resulting tax. Comparatively, rural sites have less value and as a result are farmed for production in an appropriate way and at a lower cost.

  2. The land owner pays LVT regardless of how the site is used, but according to its potential for use. Nearly all of the existing ground-rent from tenants becomes the LVT. This results in the land eventually having less sales-value but a significant rental-value, even when it is unused.

  3. LVT stops speculation in land prices because the withholding of land from proper use is not worthwhile. It costs the land owner the same, regardless of its actual use, or when this opportunity is lost by withholding the site from access for production, residence, etc.

  4. The introduction of LVT initially reduces the sales price of sites, because more of them become available and the competition for the access rights to them becomes less fierce. Their rental values grow over a longer term due to the increase in the local infrastructure, which is a required aspect during the greater resulting site development.

  5. With LVT, land owners are unable to pass the tax on to their tenants as rent hikes, due to the reduced competition for access to the additional sites that become available, from item 7 above.

  6. Speculators and monopolists in real-estate will want to foreclose on their mortgages and withdraw their money for reinvestment. Therefore LVT should be introduced gradually, to allow these speculators sufficient time to transfer their money to company-shares, etc., and simultaneously to meet the increased demand for produce (see below, items 12 and 13).

Three Aspects Regarding Improved Communities:

  1. With LVT, there is an incentive to better use the land for production, commerce and residence, rather than it being left idle. Communities become more efficient in communications and improve their living standards.

  2. With LVT, greater working opportunities exist due to cheaper land and a greater number of available sites. Consumer goods become cheaper too, because entrepreneurs have less difficulty in starting-up their businesses. They initially pay less ground-rent, and production costs will fall, goods supply will grow and unemployment will decrease.

  3. Previous investment money is withdrawn from land and instead is placed in the shares of companies and used for purchasing durable capital goods. This means more advances in technology, greater productive efficiency and cheaper goods, too.

Four Aspects About Ethics and Social Justice:

  1. The collection of taxes from productive effort and commerce is seen as socially unjust. It appears to reduce the progress of the nation and certainly redistributes it. The rent and added sales-values of land due to its monopolization and non-use, are generated without any exertion on the part of the land owner or by the banks. LVT replaces this national extortion by gathering the surplus rental income–LVT being a natural system of national income-gathering.

  2. The previous degree of bribery and corruption, for gaining privileged information about proposed land developments, will cease. This previously was due to the leaking of news of municipal plans for housing and industrial development, causing shock-waves in local land prices (and municipal workers’ and lawyers’ bank balances).

  3. The improved use of the more central land of cities reduces the environmental damage and pollution due to a) unused sites being dumping-grounds and b) the smaller amount of fossil-fuel use when travelling between home and workplace.

  4. Because the LVT eliminates the advantage that landlords currently hold over our society, LVT provides a greater equality of opportunity to earn a living. Entrepreneurs can operate in a natural way–to provide more jobs because their production costs are reduced. Then untaxed earnings will correspond more closely to the value that the labour puts into the product or service. Consequently, after LVT has been properly and fully introduced as a single tax, it will eliminate poverty and improve business ethics.