ideas, various

Some ideas that don’t fit the flow of a blog post.

Adam Curtis and Henry George

Thinking about how Adam Curtis’s documentary series have explained how we have been manipulated into thinking that individualism liberates us, by rejecting common spaces, being part of a society, and how Henry George wrote about how more people living on — and paying for access to — a finite resource like land are connected. This … Continue reading “Adam Curtis and Henry George”

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Land Value Taxation/Land Rents: an exploration

Being my collected thoughts on land rents/land value taxation as I have tried to understand and explain it — unedited, unexpurgated. And the collected works…

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Land Value Taxation, 6

Time for another ramble down the local business corridor to see what, if anything, has changed. Oh, look, another closed business/property for sale. I expect it’s down to property taxes, driven by land values. Why else hold onto vacant land? It might be worth considering how we tax/value commercial property. The value of the land … Continue reading “Land Value Taxation, 6”

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Land Value Taxation, 5

Coming back to this as a compelling argument for a land rent/land value tax on *all* commercial real estate in Seattle. Rentiers have been siphoning off wages for too long. Collectively, their holdings might dwarf everyone’s fave villain, Jeff Bezos. this is one of the most naked plutocratic things ive seen a landlord say in … Continue reading “Land Value Taxation, 5”

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Land Value Taxation, 4

Seattle’s business and politics communities (is that 2 things? Or just 1?) are at loggerheads over wages and inequality, and we still hear arguments that raising the minimum wage kills business, despite evidence that proves the opposite — that good wages are good for business. But what if instead raising wages, these two (?) camps … Continue reading “Land Value Taxation, 4”

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Land Value Taxation, 3

So in the midst of all this talk about a need for affordable housing, I learn that the Seattle Housing Authority (!) is selling (!!) 4.5 acres of land []. Why sell it? Why not exchange the right to use the property, as an owner would get if they bought the land, in exchange for … Continue reading “Land Value Taxation, 3”

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Land Value Tax continued

Ran an errand on foot — the best way to see a city — and I noted more business closings along a major highway inside the Seattle city limits. More open spaces/brownfields/derelict buildings to show off, I guess. So what’s the cause? High taxes/costs of doing business? Given that property taxes along that stretch are … Continue reading “Land Value Tax continued”

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Intro to Land Value Taxation/land rents

This was my first attempt to understand and explain this old new idea. What is land value tax? How does it work? It requires some changes in how we think about land: no individuals or entity besides the state (county/municipality) can own land — that land is owned or held in common. You acquire the … Continue reading “Intro to Land Value Taxation/land rents”

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When two extremes bump into each other

What is about libertarianism that makes it so unique to the US? It’s like a bacterium that can only exists in an environment of prosperity but like so many parasites, it will kill its host. I grow more convinced that libertarianism and communism have more in common than their adherents will admit. Both are based … Continue reading “When two extremes bump into each other”

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What would Steve Jobs drive?

In the wake of Steve Jobs’ passing, I think I have heard everything, from heartfelt eulogies to bewildered questions about why he was deserving of so much public emotion. At the same time, we are having a serious conversation about money and power in American life, mostly framed as the rich getting richer while the … Continue reading “What would Steve Jobs drive?”

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Link Congressional Pay to the Minimum Wage Petition

   To: The President and Congress of the United States Whereas, the members of the United States Congress already earn more than thirty (30) times the federally mandated minimum wage and are in a position required to vote against pay raises that would otherwise be automatic; Whereas, the opportunity to serve in the United States … Continue reading “Link Congressional Pay to the Minimum Wage Petition”


simple campaign finance reform

As we see each election cycle, the outcome is largely determined by money raised and spent be each candidate (in the 90s, I recall a Senator had to bring in $15,000 each week of his six year term to be able to defend his seat: that $4,680,000 total has probably gone up a bit since … Continue reading “simple campaign finance reform”

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Earth Program

(NB: I just found this on a computer I rarely use, dated Sept 1 2009. Figured I’d post it.) Forty years ago, the United States put men on the moon and returned them to earth, safe and sound, following this up with the six more missions to our natural satellite. President John F. Kennedy had … Continue reading “Earth Program”

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50 years on

50 years ago, the US committed to landing a man on the moon by 1970. And did it. Part science, part nationalism/saber-rattling, it was a serious commitment and has yet to be matched (maybe because it wasn’t made of cheese?). Now, what challenges do we take on? Space has proven to be expensive in money … Continue reading “50 years on”

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so you want a monopoly?

Monopolies are bad, right? We like competition: it’s part of what makes an innovative society. But wait: do we want competing electricity providers? Or water suppliers? Hmm. With competition comes the desire to economize on costs and in some cases that can mean compromising safety or reliability. So we have government-regulated, in some cases government-owned, … Continue reading “so you want a monopoly?”

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not so free speech

Thirty-four races are held for US Senate each year, and more than four-fifths of the contests went to the campaign that spent more money. Put another way, one-third of Senate seats are up for election every two years. Of the 102 Senate races so far this decade, 86 (more than four of every five) have … Continue reading “not so free speech”

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Falling behind

Public education is in a bad way. We have been hearing for years that the United States is falling behind the rest of the world, particularly Asian countries. Why is it happening and why are none of the solutions effective? Most of the solutions — revised and ever-changing curricula or draconian testing regimes (No Child … Continue reading “Falling behind”

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airplanes as relevant as horse-drawn carriages

I read something recently on the imminence of $8/gallon gasoline and the projected fate of the airlines (and by extension, the aircraft industry). In 2003, a mere six years ago, jet fuel made up less than 13% of airlines’ costs. When gas prices reach $4 a gallon, as they did for part of 2008, jet … Continue reading “airplanes as relevant as horse-drawn carriages”

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pulling your weight

An old idea, perhaps, as it’s mentioned elsewhere on this pile of cruft, but it maybe belongs here. Given that our public infrastructure — roads, bridges, etc. — are in sad repair, partly due to reduced expenditure and partly due to higher loads — more and heavier vehicles, it’s time to find a better way … Continue reading “pulling your weight”

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one way to fix traffic woes? fewer and better drivers

Listening to my local NPR affiliate the other week, I heard some experts talking about traffic, volumes and policy, and one of the ideas mentioned was a local test where drivers — including some of the people on the program — had their travels logged and a theoretical bill prepared for those miles. I didn’t … Continue reading “one way to fix traffic woes? fewer and better drivers”

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