Universal Basic Landlord Subsidy

There’s quite a bit of chatter about so called “Universal Basic Income” again in some of the circles I frequent. It’s a simplistic policy, easy to understand but difficult to sell to the people who will feel like they are funding something for nothing for others. And it can do more harm than good if not coupled with wholesale reform of the tax system to stop fining people from doing economically beneficial things – such as working or investing to produce goods and services, or trading: things we want to encourage.

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Not costing the earth: funding climate resilience

Not costing the earth: funding climate resilience

This coming weekend I will be once again ensconced with fifty or so other citizens of my beloved Oxford as part of the city council's "Citizens' Assembly" on the climate emergency. Three weekends ago we heard from a range of experts and practitioners in five policy or technology domains that contribute to either increasing or…

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Finally, a real Georgist!

Finally, a real Georgist!

Buried in my previous post I made a pretty shocking, for me at least, admission: after twenty or so years a fan of Henry George's "single tax" - the collection for public use of the rent of land instead of private appropriation and taxing incomes and capital and so on - I have finally managed…

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On falling global “extreme poverty”

On falling global “extreme poverty”

I have, heretofore, generally accepted the idea that free trade, the division of labour, coordinated by what many people call "capitalism" has resulted in recent decades in a precipitous and welcome fall in the number of people on the planet living in what the UN, World Bank and co term "extreme poverty". They define this…

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Oxford: for the few, not the many!

Oxford: for the few, not the many!

Oxford City Council has a planning policy that its two universities must ensure that fewer than a certain number (3,000 I think in both cases) of their students should be living in "family housing" in the city. The upshot of this for someone like Oxford Brookes in particular, with a lot less land and university…

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Preserving Oxford…from itself

Preserving Oxford…from itself

I love Oxford. I have lived in bigger cities and I have lived in smaller cities and a few less urban places too, but, like baby bear's porridge, Oxford is, shall we say, "just right". I've been in or around Oxford for 26 years now, just over half my life. And though that scarcely makes…

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A wrong step in the right direction

A wrong step in the right direction

According to a "Guardian exclusive" the Labour party has plans to get land for housing on the cheap by making landowners sell it at a price before planning consent is given, eliminating most of the so-called "hope value" and enabling new council housing to be built at lower cost land: Labour plans to make landowners…

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Ebeneezer, the Garden City Geezer

Ebeneezer, the Garden City Geezer

...as he was described by George Bernard Shaw, apparently. I missed his birthday the other day: Born #onthisday in 1850, our founder, Sir Ebenezer Howard, a true pioneer whose ideas on housing and social reform sparked a global movement which is still celebrated today. Read about his life's work here: https://t.co/jSsWDLbV6F Picture credit: Garden City…

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Truth to power

Truth to power

Okay, so I make no bones about my disdain for the festival of rent-seeking and lobbying that is the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos. The top of the worlds hierarchies, governments, their corporate whores and bastard children the lobbyists meet, and, as Adam Smith wrote nearly 250 years ago now: "People…

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OECD and Land Value Tax

OECD and Land Value Tax

The OECD has a Policy Highlight document out, summarising two forthcoming publications on the governance of land use. In it (page 17) it advocates for Land Value Tax: If governments aim to encourage efficient land use within urban areas, they may also consider the introduction of a pure land value tax, which provides particularly strong…

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