The Remedy (for social, economic and ecological problems of every scale).
[After Henry George, of Pennsylvania USA, Walter Edwards, of Fair Oak Devon, Julian Pratt of Devon, and original visions of people in every part of the world, who have made hospitable edges to places].
Once natural law in property (or property lore) is re-understood and realised a-new – a remedy becomes obvious.
The remedy hinges on realising that there are two distinct types of property. It hinges on seeing an edge that separates them.
One type of property is that which is made, fashioned or moulded by woman and man, kind or unkind, out of the stuff of the world. This type of property becomes clearly seen as belonging to the maker. Anything other becomes a theft of her efforts. Those who become owners of this type of property may dispose of it as they chose: it may be bought, sold or inherited according to existing laws.
The other type of property is the occupiable parts of the dimensions of this world. They are not made by any efforts of any woman or man. The occupiable, measurable dimensions of the world are somehow to be shared with and between all users of the planet. Occupation of this type of property can be defined, its edges can be made clear. Defence of this type of property, or the security of occupation of a place, must somehow be made. The best kind of defence will be one that is respected by those on both sides of the edges that surround this type of occupiable space.
The first type of property, the manipulated stuff of the world, the product of the joint action of human effort and tools to enhance human effort, properly belongs to the manipulators. A ditch, a hedge a preparation for sowing and harvesting of every sort, a building, a tool, human activity moulding the stuff of the earth into valuable goods and services to be traded and passed around in every conceivable way: all this is properly named as property. It is not to be taken. Thou shalt not steal. Including stealing by taxation. Because to steal takes away the full dignity and freedom to make out of this world to enhance our lives, whatever you and I may.
The other type of property, the place used for that manipulation, however, is valuable to the whole world. It is a pixel in the whole picture of a living planet. It is the substrate within which, or upon which, all ecological and economic activity is based. A place with defined edges has a defined value to those who would use it. This is not property to be owned by any other than the whole world. The safety, security and freedom to mould the stuff of a place is a privilege which can be attained with a kind of defence that is respected by those on both sides of the edges. Defence need not be attained or maintained only be military means.
This remedy proposes that a respected occupation of a place from which business can be done and lives can be lived can be secured with a direct payment of goods and services that matches the value of using that place. This payment can be made to all the people of the world. The whole people of the planet may receive this payment to facilitate our business of caring for the planet, its communities and its ecologies. It is to facilitate the public services for us all. The amount of the payment for each place is determined only by the value of that place to users or potential users. This use–value can be seen, and its amount quantified by those on both sides of the edges of places. The amount of payment for each place matches that value as accurately as possible. It becomes freely and voluntarily and joyfully offered to the public by the actual private users and occupiers of any part of the measurable dimensions of this planet. It becomes freely and voluntarily and joyfully received by us all, the public, as occupiers of the whole planet. It may be termed a full community contribution for use of a place on this earth.
These transfers of goods and services from exclusive users of places to the well-being of all, these voluntary declarations that the rents for the grounds we privately use, belong to the public good, these voluntary ground rent payments will start with just a few, as the realisation of the true nature of property lore grows. It may grow organically as more and more of us see our role as carers of this pixelated world. It may grow organically as more and more of us see that we no longer wish to support a system of economy that allows theft and supports threats.
A few occupiers to start with are offering their user-fees. Funds available for us all as global recipients will gradually grow. Algorithmic means for these polite, dignified and proper exchanges are, I’m sure, being developed. This will gradually become a joint effort by all to give new life to this world. These new algorithmic exchanges, I believe, will grow to replace the dying finance of the old model of forcibly defended ownership of a type of property that properly belongs, and is available to be creatively cared for, by the whole of ecology. Forcibly defended ownership of the territories of this planet has served humanity for a long, long time.
Not for much longer.
It is now clear that this planet is under the care of humanity as a whole. It is also clear that this care needs nurturing attention. Revenue from ongoing use of the places of the planet is to be paid directly to the people of the planet. This remedy will enable the people of the planet to properly take up our role as carers of the living systems which are connected to every place in the planet. Payments of community contributions for use of land and other measurable dimensions of the earth will, I believe become the globally recognised, respectful basis of a new and at the same time ancient form of economics. It will serve as a universally accepted way of behaving economically. It will become a form of economics which aligns personal, family, company, institutional and governmental interests with the care of the ecologies and communities of Planet Earth.
Property lore may then, perhaps, become civil law. (The first definition of Civilization in my dictionary is: “The assimilation of the Common Law into the Civil Law”.) Perhaps as civil laws take property lore into account, then you and I, as members of humanity, may become very much more proud of our very many civilizations.
As this remedy takes effect, effective and affectionate caring for the places of this world may then flourish.
Land owned and held by landowners, us landowners – for the purposes of security and a stake in the “never-enough” financial economy – will become available for the people of the world to till, to care for and to properly inhabit.
As Mr Wendell Berry, of Kentucky, USA eloquently says, “It all turns on Affection”. Every single community, family, company, institution and government are composed of people like you and me, all capable of affection not only to our nearest and dearest, but also to the places of this earth and the extraordinary capacity of the looked after ecologies to respond to that affection.
Oh, how I would love to see the land, the sea and the air released from the bondage of the never-enough economy. Oh, how I would love to see people and places freed to grow affection for each other.
As this remedy takes effect, we can all witness and participate in the healing of our cultures and our cultural abilities, together with all their edges. As this remedy takes effect, we can all witness and participate in the healing of the lands, the seas and the airs, of this beautiful and not-so-beautiful planet, together with all their edges.
Jonty Williams, Devon, December 2018