But of course Mr. Monbiot

Last week I ran a small online poll, asking people to nominate inspiring, transfiguring ideas. The two mentioned most often were land value taxation and a basic income. As it happens, both are championed by the Green party. On this and other measures, its policies are by a long way more progressive than Labour\’s.

Given that I have been arguing for both….indeed, you could get most of the ASI and a goodly chunk of UKIP to sign up to both…..that makes us all more progressive than Labour, doesn\’t it?

You might think this a strange place for a neoliberal capitalist pig dog like myself to end up but there is one thing you\’ve got to understand about \”the left\” in the UK. Its incredible, quite astonishing, conservatism.

Half of them are still pining for the revolution of the proletariat when most of the country is already bourgeois by any reasonable measure, the other half pines for union corporatism when, outside the public sector, we\’ve not really got any unions left. Respectively, they\’re looking back a century and a half and half a century.

British politics really doesn\’t make any sense at all until you understand that the Labour Party is almost certainly the most conservative institution in the country.

BTW: Milton Friedman supported LVT and actually worked on ways to bring about a cbi (his version was the negative income tax which morphed into tax credits. But the aim was indeed a cbi which was affordable) so that makes Friedman more progressive than the Labour Party too, doesn\’t it?

6 thoughts on “But of course Mr. Monbiot”

  1. “the Labour Party is almost certainly the most conservative institution in the country”: that’s an improvement over the years when they were essentially reactionary – I have in mind their destruction of the school system introduced by the Butler Education Act, designed to give a good education to the bright children of the poor. Labour destroyed that as if they were a bunch of early 18th century reactionary squireens.

  2. So Much for Subtlety

    Last week I ran a small online poll, asking people to nominate inspiring, transfiguring ideas. The two mentioned most often were land value taxation and a basic income. As it happens, both are championed by the Green party. On this and other measures, its policies are by a long way more progressive than Labour-s.

    So how does George Monbiot justify the equating of “inspiring” and “transfiguring” – although what the Hell he means by that is anyone-s guess – with “progressive”? This is an abuse of the language away with he shall not get.

    But even if we let him torture the language for his own pathetic ends, what is inspiring and transfiguring about these ideas? The LVT goes back to Henry George. The Basic Income is just a conservative way of getting around the awfulness of modern welfare. As ideas that makes them about as old as the Stone Age. It just points up the inherent and utter intellectual bankruptcy of the modern Left. They have no ideas left so they are forced to fall back on George. Sad really.

    Even if we did it, would it be a good idea? A CBI is not a bad idea although there needs to be a work requirement. Probably too expensive, but worth a try. A LVT? It looks like a good idea, but consider the implications. Increased housing prices are one way that the poor rise into the middle class. It is a major source of upward mobility. People’s homes often serve as their retirement fund. Start taxing that and you are impoverishing a lot of people.

    Luckily we have done this experiment – African Americans are much poorer than White Americans. The average worth of an AA family is something like US5,000 while the average worth of a White family is more like US150,000. One of the reasons is that they do not own houses worth much. Worse still, many African Americans attempt to escape African American majority areas by buying in White neighbourhoods. White flight follows and then property prices collapse, leaving many early African American rivals worse off.

    A LVT would just reproduce this by taking the value of people-s homes away from them. Not sure if we want to do that. Because it ain-t working in the US.

  3. If the Left realise that LVT and CBI are profoundly “non-progressive” they might not be so keen on it. LVT taxes the very rich (who own productive assets, or indeed just lots of cash) very lightly. When your annual income is in the tens if not hundreds of millions, it matters little how many mansions you own, the LVT will only ever be a small percentage of the income. This would be totally unacceptable to the left, so their current interest with LVT is purely a way of adding land taxes to the existing income tax system. And we know what happens then – as more and more tax revenue is required the thresholds for who pays it get progressively reduced (or not raised as property prices rise) and eventually everyone pays it, just like they do now for income tax. Thats why LVT should be opposed at all turns. Not because its that bad intrinsically, but because of what the Left will do with it over time if given the chance.

  4. There you go: TW is a straight-on land taxer and citizen’s basic income advocate (not so different from the Social Credit and the Quantitative Easing for the People I have been going on about) .So eat your words, dullards!
    Where I would disagree with TW is on ASI and UKIP support.You’d never know that Adam Smith was Britain’s most convincing land taxer from the way the ASI represents him. And Mark Wadsworth , the inventor of the “mesh” between LVT and Citizen’s Income, gave up trying to convince UKIP of his subtle plans some time ago and left the party.
    I would n’t disagree that the Labour ,or more slowly and not so much, Party is a write-off .

  5. As to who was more progressive, Milton Friedman or the Labour Party, you’d have to concede that the winner is the American ,just, for stating clearly in 1970 “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon, in the sense that it is…produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.” He won the Nobel Prize for this statement of the bleedin’ obvious in 1976 much to the annoyance of Enoch Powell who had taken a premature Friedmanite stance on Governments causing inflation by resigning from the Cabinet (also the Chancellor,Peter Thorneycroft + Nigel Birch) in 1958 when inflation reached 2.5%. Powell continued to hound the Labour -Party for agreeing with the insane consensus that the unions caused inflation “for doing too little and asking too much ” Chippenham speech 1968. This consensus is still the majority view joined by the equally bonkers myth that increasing house prices are an economic stimulus .
    Where Friedman and Powell were not perhaps radical enough was in concentrating on the government’s creation of money when it has come home with a vengeance recently that the problem lies more with the banks ability to create money from the conventions on loans. Where the Douglas Scheme of Social Credit scores is that it takes back to the State some of the ability to create credit and distributes it in equal sums to everybody to ensure working to capacity. It does not try to distribute tax revenue including a possible LVT to provide citizens income ,which is to concentrate on the fiscal side to the neglect of monetary policy.(Clearly the banks are failing to push out aggregate spending power probably because they are scared of the too volatile property market which could be settled by the comparatively crude JS Mill land tax which just imposes a land price>house price freeze and scalps any fiurther rises, not the present price).
    Sorry for going on for so long.Your comments above seem to have stunned the usual suspects though..

  6. @ DBC Reed

    Spot on.

    I’ve heard the nothing from the ASI on LVT. I thought they were in favour of Capitalism and free markets, but like all of these right-wing think tanks it’s just about preserving our Feudal economy.

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