Debate Magazine

They Own Land. Give 'em More Land!

Posted on the 30 July 2014 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

Yep, there was a time when dishing out land was the method of rewarding favoured groups. Feudalism basically.
Neo-Classical economists agree with this approach. Only by severing our common property rights, and giving them away for free to a select minority, can it's value be realised.  Presumably, although breathing is currently free, if we could privatise air, those companies would be adding value by charging us to breathe. I digress.
In today's Telegraph, leading the charge to this Feudal Utopia is Matthew Lynn who's article "Want people to back fracking? Let them own land under their property" can be read here.
In a nutshell, his argument is, because people are worried about the impact of fracking, let's re-attach the mineral rights to their freehold. Thus compensating them for any inconvenience caused. Hurrah!
So, because the value of their unearned wealth in land has gone down, let's dissolve wealth we share in common(unexploited value of shale gas), and give them exclusive rights to it.
The parasite is unwell, let's feed it!
Lynn opines that this simple solution, is the only solution, if we want to get fracking going.
But, there is another simple solution, that is the opposite of his one. Land value tax.
Under LVT your liabilities change when the economic and spacial environment changes. All externalities are thus internalised. So, those affected by fracking will be compensated by lower bills, at precisely the amount the market judges they are. No bureaucrats, or messy bribes involved.
This sounds like a much fairer and efficient way to run things.

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