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Saturday, April 2, 2011

geolibertarians say TANSTAAFL

Ed Teyssier wrote on CALPCandidates:

> Sure, some land (MOST land) appreciates in value (most of the time...just as inflation is rarely negative), but sometimes the opposite happens.  Say, my house declined in value about $200K a few years back..  to whom should I send my claim?

The geolibertarian position is not quite that land value per se should be returned to the community that created it.  Rather, the geolibertarian position is that the community creates ground rent on an ongoing basis, and this ground rent should be returned on an ongoing basis.  Ground rent is a flow, and land value includes a speculative estimate of the present value of that future flow.  When your land value increases due to anticipation of future ground rents -- say, because a new park or interstate exit was created near you -- a land value tax does not collect all of that increase in the first year.  Rather, it uses that increase to adjust its ongoing measure of your ground rent.  If your land value drops -- say, because a nearby park closed -- then your ongoing ground rent also drops.

> Just because the value of land appreciates doesn't mean someone is "GAINING" from the community in any way that infers the community has any less because the property owner has more.

Again, that's not what geolibertarians assert.  We instead say that ground rent is a free-riding externality created by proximity to the community and the public goods it provides. That free-riding is essentially a subsidy, and returning ground rent to the community is the geolibertarian way of internalizing that externality and thus reversing the distortion and injustice caused by the externality.

TANSTAAFL was the original motto of the LP.  TANSTAAFL is as libertarian as it gets.  Geolibertarians just say: undo all subsidies, and fine all aggression. How could any libertarian could disagree with that?

P.S. Ed, if you oppose geolibertarian fees for monopolizing/polluting/congesting/depleting natural resources, do you (like Pam) instead favor some kind of tax on one's body or labor or exchanges or produced assets?  Or do you agree with anarchists who oppose both all taxes and all fees for monopolizing/polluting/congesting/depleting natural resources?