Monthly News Digest -February

IN THE NEWS

The short life of Pennsylvania’s radical tax reform

The town of Altoona began trying out the land value tax in 2002 on the recommendation of the Center for the Study of Economics. From 2011, land value tax completely replaced taxes on buildings.

Nevertheless, five years later, land value tax advocates don’t have clear examples to point to of projects or investments in the city that would have been made without the tax system in place, and the reform has been undone.

The incentive created by the city’s land value tax was limited because the county and the school district imposed property taxes. Another major problem was that the tax system was so unusual that potential residents and businesses struggled to understand the potential benefits of moving to or investing in the city.

In some cases, businesses might have been turned off by the relatively high rate of tax on land, not understanding that there was no rate of tax on structures.

Britain has enough land to solve the housing crisis – it’s just being hoarded

The UK’s biggest house building firms are sitting on 600,000 plots of land that have planning consents – four times the number of new builds in the UK last year.

Land is often bought and sold many times over before construction goes ahead, and many owners have no intention of every building. The result is speculation and very expensive housing.

The average price of agricultural land in England is £21,000 per hectare, whereas land that has residential building consent is valued at close to £6 million per hectare.

Narendra Modi has made it extremely unappealing to be a landlord in India

The Modi government is introducing measures to encourage first-time home buyers, introducing tax incentives for self-occupied properties and rentals.

In the past, these tax incentives were capped for owner-occupied houses but not for rentals. Therefore, a landlord could book the loss they suffered on lower rent, which helped in reducing their overall taxable income. 

It is expected that this will bring new real estate to the market in turn bringing the prices down, which have already fallen by 30 percent after the demonetisation.

Mayor positive about a Land Value Tax trial

With the release of the London Finance Commission report, Assembly Member Tom Copley called for a Land Value Tax to replace the three basic property taxes: council tax, business rates and stamp duty land tax.

Copley said a Land Value Tax would discourage land banking, where developers sit on land waiting for its value to rise without building on it. This would incentivize the building of news homes quickly while raising much needed funds for investment.

Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue

Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away 640 million acres of national land to state governments. Critics fear this could eliminate mixed-use requirements, limit public access and turn over large portions for energy or property development.

The oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could soon be up for sale. States with small budgets may be unable to invest in the management of these lands and decide to sell them off.

Areas at stake are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, and contribute to more than $600 billion each year in economic stimulus from recreation and 6.1m jobs.

Not Dirt-Cheap: 10 Cities Where Land Is Worth More Than the Home on It

A home for sale last year in San Francisco’s Sunset District came perilously close to redefining the very concept of a “fixer-upper.”

The place was not inhabitable in any way, and yet it sold for just under $1 million last February after just a short time on the market. In space-strapped San Francisco, the real value of real estate lies in the land.

Could Land Value Tax reduce the tax bill for 99% of us?

Calculated based on a total land value in England of £1.842 trillion, residential properties would pay 79.5 percent of the tax, businesses 15.5 percent and agriculture 4.8 percent. Current Council Tax is unfairly distributed because it uses property bands.

On this basis, the top 1% of property wealth owners would be liable for 54% of the residential part of the tax assuming the tax is introduced at a flat rate for all. Land Value Tax, unlike Council Tax, is not a residency tax it is an ownership tax, so people in rented accommodation do not pay the tax. 

Infrastructure Australia says tax land not property to capture value

Infrastructure Australia recommends that governments gradually get rid of stamp duties and tax land values over the long term, arguing it is the “fairest” way of raising money for new infrastructure.

A new train line that makes it faster for people to get to work will typically attract people to buy houses nearby, increasing land values. IA’s report said “there are serious challenges for any form of value capture based on property prices rather than underlying land values.”

Why Falling Home Prices Could Be a Good Thing

Instead of looking at homes as investments, what if we regarded them like a TV or a car or any other consumer good? They would be somewhat cheaper in most places, where population is growing slowly. But they would be profoundly cheaper in places like San Francisco. That was the conclusion of a recent paper by the economists Ed Glaeser of Harvard and Joe Gyourko at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The paper used construction industry data to determine how much a house should cost to build if land­ use regulation were drastically cut back. Since the cost of erecting a home varies little from state to state — land is the main variable in housing costs — their measure is the closest thing we have to a national home price.

SOCIAL MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS

We don’t necessarily endorse any of the viewpoints in these discussions on Facebook, but they are sure to make you think. Tell us your thoughts, and feel free to submit images that more accurately reflect some of the concepts generated by the Land Value Tax Facebook community.


Since most of the economic rent in the world is actually captured by the wealthy, Charles D Allison attempted to construct a more accurate image showing how the rich capture a greater proportion. Exactly how much and what the standards for some of these terms are is unclear. It is clear however that rent privatization is much more stratified than either of these conceptual images would indicate. So, if you can create a more accurate image, reply with it or tell us what else you would improve about this one.



TREND SPOTLIGHT

EarthSharing.org in January:

 Wikipedia interest in ‘Henry George’:

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Next Recession Will Be in 2026

Fred Foldvary EarthSharing.org

An 18-year cycle of real estate and land values has been the cause of every major recession, and without a radical shift in taxation structures, the U.S. economy will be in for another shock around 2026.

EarthSharing.org had the opportunity earlier this month to speak with Fred Foldvary, professor of economics at San Jose State University and board member of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. Foldvary predicted the last recession in his 2007 book ‘The Depression of 2008’, and said real estate bubbles in general can be predicted using an 18-year cycle model developed by early-20th-century economist Homer Hoyt.

“[Hoyt found that] in Chicago there was an 18-year real estate cycle with very astonishing regularity, and that also coincided with the general business cycle of the United States,” he said.

Foldvary used the same methodology as Hoyt, swapping in the most up-to-date numbers from today’s real estate sector.

“I brought it up to date with current data on both construction and land data… The data is out there for the last 50 years,” Foldvary said.

A combination of low interest rates and high land values was the key warning signal for recession, Foldvary said, a kind of hybrid between the Austrian and Georgist schools of economic thought.

“The major recessions have all been closely related to the real estate cycle,” he said. “In each case the real estate prices and construction peaked shortly before becoming a recession.”

Without any unprecedented changes in government policy, there was no immediate risk of another recession for the next decade, Foldvary said. But the other side of the coin is that, without new ways of thinking about land values and controlling speculation, the U.S. economy should be prepared for another recession in around 2026.

“The federal debt will be that much higher, and if the government is all tapped out and it can’t borrow any more money in the next financial crisis, it could be even worse than 2008,” he said. “The economy has the same structure as it’s had for the last 200 years. The basic problem is massive subsidies to real estate – both fiscal subsidies and monetary subsidies.”

Even newer financial regulations like Dodd-Frank would be ineffective, because they failed to address the core reason for the business cycle, Foldvary said.

“They don’t touch the fact that land values absorb the benefits of progress, and then speculation carries them to a height that makes real estate unaffordable, and then you have the collapse.”

The potential for a system of land value taxation to break this 18-year cycle is enormous. Taxing land and natural resources instead of incomes and investment would act to discourage real estate speculation, keep the market accessible for wage-earners, and stimulate the construction of centrally-located real estate that promised the best value for the public and the greatest amount of space in which to work and live.

There will come a time in the next ten years when we will begin to see the signs of another impending recession in the U.S., one with the potential to be the worst this country has ever seen. Knowing the precipitating factors of a future crisis, and as the economy experiences slow growth, now is the critical time for land value taxation to be seriously considered.

 

Fred Foldvary is on the board of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation (RSF), a non-profit organization established in 1925 to spread the ideas of the social and economic philosopher Henry George (1839-1897). Foldvary received his B.A. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. He has taught economics at the Latvian University of Agriculture, Virginia Tech, John F. Kennedy University, California State University East Bay, the University of California at Berkeley Extension, Santa Clara University, and currently teaches at San Jose State University. Foldvary is the author of The Soul of Liberty, Public Goods and Private Communities, and Dictionary of Free Market Economics. He edited and contributed to Beyond Neoclassical Economics and  The Half-Life of Policy Rationales. Foldvary’s areas of research include public finance, governance, ethical philosophy, and land economics.

 

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EarthSharing.org on Stanford Radio KZSU 90.1 FM Promoting the Recession Generation Event

WKZSU 90.1 FM Stanford University Radio Interviews EarthSharing.org

 

July 5th, 2016, Edward Miller and Jacob Shwartz-Lucas were invited onto Stanford University Radio to discuss an event they would organize in Oakland a few days later. The event was titled BIL Oakland 2016: The Recession Generation.

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The discussion revolved around the event’s aim of helping young adults to navigate the challenges of living in our harsh economic climate and rapid technological disruption.

Jacob and Edward discussed their motivations for putting on the conference. This included explaining their backgrounds, and what changes they want to see in the world.

photo credit: Jane Says via photopin (license)
photo credit: Jane Says via photopin (license)
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Chinese Investment in US Real Estate Tops $110bn

The lessons of the 2008 financial crisis are quickly being forgotten. That market collapse was precipitated by an extraordinary rise of US land values, which was driven by the emergence of subprime lending on a mass scale.

Prices of residential and commercial real estate are once again on the rise. A major driver of this astounding rebound has been Chinese real estate investment. Chinese investors, seeking promising investments and a way to move their money out of the slowing Chinese economy, have poured $110 billion dollars into US real estate in the past five years. By contrast, the Chinese real estate market, which is putting a drag on the Chinese economy, has been called by many the largest land bubble in history. Chinese investments in the US market are inflating housing prices across the country and placing home ownership further out of reach of many Americans.

Over the past several years, Chinese investment in commercial properties has captured headlines. For example, in 2015, the Anbang Insurance Group purchased the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for $2bn and attempted to purchase Starwood Hotels for $14bn. However, the vast majority of Chinese speculative investment has been in the residential market, to the tune of over $93bn. Cities with the most rapidly rising housing costs–San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle–are popular markets with Chinese buyers. But as housing stock across the country continues to gain value, buyers are now turning their speculative intents to Chicago, Miami, and regions of middle America.

Chinese buyers are eager to speculate in the US real estate market. Not only because they see a lucrative investment opportunity, but because of concerns about the slowing Chinese economy. As the economy continues to slow and the value of the Yuan falls, citizens are eager to move wealth abroad and into dollar-backed assets, particularly in the form of land speculation. Despite efforts by the Chinese government to encourage domestic investments, speculation in US real estate by Chinese nationals is expected to exceed $200bn over the next 5 years.

photo credit: IMG_0953 via photopin (license)
photo credit: IMG_0953 via photopin (license)

When people speak of rising real estate prices, they certainly aren’t talking about bricks, they are talking about land. As a consequence of all this land speculation, Americans are finding it harder to obtain affordable housing and commercial space, and not only because of rising prices. Close to 70% of Chinese buyers pay cash, which is more appealing to sellers because deals can close much faster. This puts US residential buyers who require a mortgage at a disadvantage. Bidding wars with deep-pocketed foreign speculators also has the effect of pressuring US buyers with more limited liquid assets to sign off on larger mortgages than they can financially handle.

Prospective home buyers are not the only ones feeling the crunch. As homeownership becomes more unaffordable, the number of people in the rental market increases, driving up rents across the country. In 2016, rent increases are expected to outpace wage increases by about one percentage point. Faster than the general rate of inflation.

The periodic bubbles in real estate markets are a symptom of this rush to pocket the rising value of land, whether by foreigners or citizens. So far, the United States is not taking steps to curb either domestic or foreign speculation in real estate. Instead, Congress is going in the opposite direction by encouraging foreign “investment” in US property.

However, other countries are taking a stand. Hong Kong and Singapore have instituted a 15% tax on properties purchased by foreign buyers, a move that has slowed the rise in housing costs. Citing decreasing affordability of homes, Australia has instituted a similar tax. The Australian government also used legal means to intercede in the attempt by Chinese investment group Dakang Holdings to purchase the Kidman Farm empire, which controls 1.3% of the Australian landmass.

photo credit: Lavender Valley 2407 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Lavender Valley 2407 via photopin (license)

An alternative to such measures, which numerous eminent economists recommend, is a tax on land values. Land value taxation (LVT) is a twist on conventional property taxation, whereby improvements to the land are not taxed, but the land itself is taxed. Proponents argue that we ought to shift as much taxes as possible away from productive activity and onto land values. While other strategies would serve to limit foreign land purchases, taxing land values would actually halt idle landholding in general by making the speculative ownership of raw or underdeveloped real estate unprofitable.

When markets are operating correctly, profits are simply a return for productive activity, not a windfall that is achieved by excluding others as with the landed gentry in the feudal era. With LVT in place, Chinese or other foreign investors who wanted to make money by purchasing land would have to actually develop that land. They would need to attract residential or commercial tenants by providing desirable amenities and reasonable rents, and shouldering the risks involved in any sort of productive activity.

This would result in a growth of construction activity and an increase in US housing supply. Increased construction activity and decreased cost for commercial and residential real estate would stimulate the rest of the US economy, simultaneously decreasing unemployment and raising wages.  In effect, taxation of land values would convert the current Chinese desire for US land into a sustainable means of growth for the US economy.

Featured image photo credit: Light River via photopin (license)

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We’ve got a climate agreement. Now what?

This weekend, the Paris Climate Summit marked more diplomatic progress on the issue than ever before. China, the United States, and other key nations pledged unanimously to greatly reduce their emissions. Of all the solutions discussed, there really is only one reform that has the chance of being a game-changer, and that’s heavily taxing pollution. Even if you don’t believe in global warming, or whether it is man-made, you can’t deny that pollution is harmful in lots of other ways and that we ought to reduce it. The most common objection to this is that it would somehow hurt the economy. The truth is, a tax on carbon and other pollutants would would actually give the economy a great boost. Just ask the Republicans; taxing carbon was the Bush administration’s official policy.

Tax Pollution

Whether you’re a conservative or a liberal, for higher taxes or lower taxes, it doesn’t matter. If we collected the same amount of revenue we do now, it would be better if it came from pollution than wages, sales, etc. By removing taxes from hard work and exchange, business would get a boost, and polluting would become expensive. Therefore, people’s behavior and technological innovation would shift to be more in line with the environmental cost of their actions.

bretweinsteinpollution

President Obama said the following in Paris:

“I have long believed that the most elegant way to drive innovation and to reduce carbon emissions is to put a price on it. This is a classic market failure. If you open up an Econ101 textbook, it will say the market is very good about determining prices and allocating capital towards its most productive use — except there are certain externalities, there are certain things that the market just doesn’t count, it doesn’t price, at least not on its own. Clean air is an example. Clean water — or the converse — dirty water, dirty air.In this case, the carbons that are being sent up that originally we didn’t have the science to fully understand — we do now. And if that’s the case, if you put a price on it, then the entire market would respond.”

Green Technologies

The agreement calls for rich countries to invest in clean energy infrastructure in poor areas of Africa and other regions, but who knows whether it will actually be spent well. That doesn’t make it a bad idea per se. One shouldn’t have a zero rule for misappropriation if the overall aim of the spending is achieved and these results are more beneficial than alternative investments. However, it would make more sense to take the pollution tax revenue and just give it to everyone as a global citizen’s dividend, or basic income as some call it, like Alaskan citizens get when companies extract oil from their state.

Government can be effective in the realm of basic research, but when it comes to creating final products that reduce pollution, the private sector is likely to do a better job. I’m not saying this because I’m some kind of crazy Ayn Rand fanatic, I’m just a pragmatic nerd who wants a clean planet with high living standards and lots of technological innovation. We don’t need to depend on government to come up with clean technologies if we simply give businesses the right incentives. There is no way that even the smartest in government can beat out the collective ingenuity of billions of people actively looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint in avoidance of paying pollution taxes.

Take Tesla Motors for example. They have beautiful, fast, and completely electric cars already on the market. Sure, most people can’t afford a Tesla at present, but Elon Musk’s long term business strategy is to progressively make less and less expensive models at higher sales volumes, once Tesla’s costs are lower that is. If taxes were shifted off of companies like Tesla who make clean cars, and on to big polluters like Ford, it would naturally lead to more demand among consumers for cleaner vehicles, and car manufactures would need to follow suit to remain competitive. If you’re concerned about raising productive employment in the United States, providing such incentives would enable the US to compete with Asian car manufacturers. The problem at present is that not only do we not tax pollution, we actually subsidize a host of industries involved in a supply chain latent with pollution. If we end the subsidies and start taxing pollution, you’ll see lots of clean economic growth. They taxed energy in Denmark, a way to approximate taxing pollution, and the results have been greatly beneficial.

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Pollution Facts: Top Ten Ways To Protect Yourself

By Chris Tolworthy

Pollution is one of the top ten dangers to life. Table: Ranking of selected risk factors: 10 leading risk factor causes of death by income group, 2004 Risk factor, deaths in millions, percentage of total: High-income countries: 1: Tobacco use: 1.5; 17.9 2: High blood pressure: 1.4; 16.8 3: Overweight and obesity: 0.7; 8.4 4: Physical inactivity: 0.6; 7.7 5: High blood glucose: 0.6; 7.0 6: High cholesterol: 0.5; 5.8 7: Low fruit and vegetable intake: 0.2; 2.5 8: Urban outdoor air pollution: 0.2; 2.5 9: Alcohol use: 0.1; 1.6 10: Occupational risks: 0.1; 1.1 Source: Word health Organisation, "GLOBAL HEALTH RISKS: Mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks" page 11 Available at http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GlobalHealthRisks_report_full.pdf

 

Pollution makes it harder to breathe. Studies correlate air pollution with damage to lungs, causing children to breathe less easily, increasing the risk of asthma in all ages, and older people increase their risk of pneumonia . So... Find out how to fight it. Keep up to date on the battle for a better world at EarthSharing.org : Sign up for the newsletter, join the community, learn how to make a difference: http://earthsharing.org/files1/about/what-can-i-do/ Sources: http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223074703.htm http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150627081210.htm http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140930090137.htm

Pollution is poisoning your cells Studies correlate air pollution with cells being less able to cope with free radicals, causing stress due to generally poorer health . So... Exercise! Walk more! Get fit! Studies also show that physical exercise helps your body fight back, compensating for the damage due to air pollution. Sources: http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150324210045.htm http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150324210045.htm

 

Pollution can damage your eyes, ears, skin, stomach, etc. Studies correlate seawater pollution with illnesses in swimmers' eyes, ears, skin, stomach, etc. So... Don’t flush things down the toilet if they don’t belong there. Recycle your batteries and paint. Don’t litter. Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC2271797/pdf/epidinfect00022-0132.pdf http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/1/1.short http://www.girlshealth.gov/environmental/water/protect.html

Pollution can make you fat Studies correlate poor air quality and tobacco pollution with increased childhood obesity. Dangerous particles from cigarette smoke can remain in the air long after a cigarette has been extinguished. So... Don't allow anyone to smoke indoors, and support measures to make all public places smoke free. Sources: http:// sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141112093141.htm http:// lung.org/healthy-air/outdoor/ protecting-your-health/protecting-yourself/

Pollution can give you diabetes, Alzheimer's, and more Studies correlate nitrates in bacon, drinking water, etc. (from modern farming practices) with harm to the pancreas, increased risk of diabetes mellitus, as well as Alzhemer's, Parkinson's disease, and more.So... Care about what you eat and learn where it comes from. If you can’t afford organic, at least remember that how animals are reared will affect you, and may come at a high price. Source: http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090705215239.htm

Pollution harms the unborn child Studies correlate air pollution with increased infertility. And if you do get pregnant, pollution may weaken the unborn child, resulting in a lower birth weight, impaired brain function and more behavioural problems. So... Get involved. Review your community's air pollution plans and support state and local efforts to clean up the air. How? Contact your local American Lung Association at http://www.lung.org or 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872). Find out what is happening in your area and how to get involved. Source: http:// sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150428171400.htm http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150325110622.htm http:// sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150329141015.htm http://lung.org/healthy-air/outdoor/protecting-your-health/protecting-yourself/

Pollution weakens a child’s immune system . Studies correlate air pollution with a weaker baby immune system, making children more likely to develop allergies to food, pets, etc., that are then carried into adulthood. So... The biggest cause of air pollution is burning fuel. So the simplest change is to use fuel more efficiently (which also saves money and reduces global warming). Read the Environmental Protection Agency's easy tips for saving energy at home:http://epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/home.html Use public transport or car pools. Don’t burn wood or trash: these produce dangerous particulates. Switch to natural gas where possible. Sources: http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150504094427.htm http://lung.org/healthy-air/outdoor/protecting-your-health/protecting-yourself/

Pollution can contribute to a fatal stroke Studies correlate air pollution with thickening of the blood and narrowing vessels, making them more likely to clot, causing a potentially fatal stroke. So... Check daily air quality levels and air pollution forecasts in your area. http:// www.epa.gov/airnow/. Avoid exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high: try indoor exercises at those times. Always avoid exercising near high road traffic areas. Sources: http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050223162705.htm http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150413095116.htm http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150324210045.htm http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150304190120.htm http://nhs.uk/Conditions/Stroke/Pages/Introduction.aspx http://lung.org/healthy-air/outdoor/protecting-your-health/protecting-yourself/

Pollution makes you tired Studies correlate air pollution with weakening of the kidneys' ability to clean the blood, making you feel more tired and nauseous . So... Remember that everything you do is connected. When you buy any product it has to be manufactured and transported, and that affects air quality. Why not have a simpler life? Re-use, recycle, spend money on simple things and good causes, not on what kills you. Sources: http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141116094226.htm http://nhs.uk/conditions/Kidney-disease-chronic /Pages/Introduction.aspx

Pollution increases the risk of heart attack Studies correlate air pollution with irritation to your heart, making a heart attack more likely. So... Vote for cleaner air. Find out what candidates say about the environment: http://ontheissues.org/Environment.htm Find out which candidate most closely matches your views: http://selectsmart.com/president/ And vote! Source: http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141007091653.htm

Pollution damages your brain. Studies correlate air pollution with damage to brain cells, leading to increased autism in children, unhappiness in all ages, and anxiety and decreased brain function in middle aged and older people. So... Use your brain while you can! Understand the bigger economic picture: Why are we so messed up that we would poison our own air? And how can we make a better world? Learn the economics of wealth and poverty: http://understandecon.com/igivetest/register.php Sources: http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150521121049.htm http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120213185121.htm http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130118125955.htm

 

How can we reduce pollution globally? It’s important that we not only ask individuals to change their personal behavior but that we also change the incentives under which they operate. We should tax the use and abuse of natural resources.  We should make companies pay taxes in proportion to how much they pollute. This would give them not only a moral reason to pollute less but also a financial one.

 

One of the major causes of pollution is urban sprawl. Sprawl is caused when central locations are not used efficiently and people are forced to outlying areas as a result. The best way to curb sprawl is to tax the value of land so that owners of central locations will use their land efficiently, making the land available for the otherwise would-be sprawlers. To learn more about taxing the value of land, see our illustrated article Visualizing Earth Sharing.

 

Clickable text version

Pollution is one of the top ten dangers to life.

Table: Risk factor, deaths in millions, percentage of total:
1: Tobacco use: 1.5; 17.9
2: High blood pressure: 1.4; 16.8
3: Overweight and obesity: 0.7; 8.4
4: Physical inactivity: 0.6; 7.7
5: High blood glucose: 0.6; 7.0
6: High cholesterol: 0.5; 5.8
7: Low fruit and vegetable intake: 0.2; 2.5
8: Urban outdoor air pollution: 0.2; 2.5
9: Alcohol use: 0.1; 1.6
10: Occupational risks: 0.1; 1.1

Source:
Word health Organisation, “GLOBAL HEALTH RISKS: Mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks”, page 11: Table 1: Ranking of selected risk factors: 10 leading risk factor causes of death by income group, 2004, for high-income countries. Available at http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GlobalHealthRisks_report_full.pdf
Pollution can damage your eyes, ears, skin, stomach, etc.

Studies correlate seawater pollution with illnesses in swimmers’ eyes, ears, skin, stomach, etc.
So…
Don’t flush things down the toilet if they don’t belong there. Recycle your batteries and paint. Don’t litter.
Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2271797/pdf/epidinfect00022-0132.pdf
http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/1/1.short
http://www.girlshealth.gov/environmental/water/protect.html
Pollution increases the risk of heart attack

Studies correlate air pollution with irritation to your heart, making a heart attack more likely.
So…
Vote for cleaner air.
Find out what candidates say about the environment:
http://ontheissues.org/Environment.htm
Find out which candidate most closely matches your views:
http://selectsmart.com/president/
And vote!
Source:
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141007091653.htm
Pollution makes you tired

Studies correlate air pollution with weakening of the kidneys’ ability to clean the blood, making you feel more tired and nauseous .
So…
Remember that everything you do is connected. When you buy any product it has to be manufactured and transported, and that affects air quality. Why not have a simpler life? Re-use, recycle, spend money on simple things and good causes, not on what kills you.
Sources:
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141116094226.htm
http://nhs.uk/conditions/Kidney-disease-chronic/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Pollution can contribute to a fatal stroke

Studies correlate air pollution with thickening of the blood and narrowing vessels, making them more likely to clot, causing a potentially fatal stroke.
So…
Check daily air quality levels and air pollution forecasts in your area. http:// www.epa.gov/airnow/ Avoid exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high: try indoor exercises at those times.
Always avoid exercising near high road traffic areas.
Sources:
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050223162705.htm
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150413095116.htm
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150324210045.htm
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150304190120.htm
http://nhs.uk/Conditions/Stroke/Pages/Introduction.aspx
http://lung.org/healthy-air/outdoor/protecting-your-health/protecting-yourself/
Pollution weakens a child’s immune system

Studies correlate air pollution with a weaker baby immune system, making children more likely to develop allergies to food, pets, etc., that are then carried into adulthood.
So…
The biggest cause of air pollution is burning fuel. So the simplest change is to use fuel more efficiently (which also saves money and reduces global warming). Read the Environmental Protection Agency’s easy tips for saving energy at home: http://epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/home.html  Use public transport or car pools. Don’t burn wood or trash: these produce dangerous particulates. Switch to natural gas where possible.
Sources:
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150504094427.htm
http://lung.org/healthy-air/outdoor/ protecting-your-health/protecting-yourself/
Pollution harms the unborn child

Studies correlate air pollution with increased infertility. And if you do get pregnant, pollution may weaken the unborn child, resulting in a lower birth weight, impaired brain function and more behavioural problems.
So…
Get involved. Review your community’s air pollution plans and support state and local efforts to clean up the air. How? Contact your local American Lung Association at http://www.lung.org or 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872). Find out what is happening in your area and how to get involved.
Source:
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150428171400.htm
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150325110622.htm
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150329141015.htm
http://lung.org/healthy-air/outdoor/ protecting-your-health/protecting-yourself/
Pollution can give you diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more

Studies correlate nitrates in bacon, drinking water, etc. (from modern farming practices) with harm to the pancreas, increased risk of diabetes mellitus, as well as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and more.
So…
Care about what you eat and learn where it comes from. If you can’t afford organic, at least remember that how animals are reared will affect you, and may come at a high price.
Source:
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090705215239.htm
Pollution can make you fat

Studies correlate poor air quality and tobacco pollution with increased childhood obesity. Dangerous particles from cigarette smoke can remain in the air long after a cigarette has been extinguished.
So…
Don’t allow anyone to smoke indoors, and support measures to make all public places smoke free.
Sources:
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141112093141.htm
http://lung.org/healthy-air/outdoor/ protecting-your-health/protecting-yourself/


Pollution is poisoning your cells

Studies correlate air pollution with cells being less able to cope with free radicals, causing stress due to generally poorer health .
So…
Exercise! Walk more! Get fit! Studies also show that physical exercise helps your body fight back, compensating for the damage due to air pollution.
Sources:
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150324210045.htm
Pollution makes it harder to breathe

Studies correlate air pollution with damage to lungs, causing children to breathe less easily, increasing the risk of asthma in all ages, and older people increase their risk of pneumonia .
So…
Find out how to fight it. Keep up to date on the battle for a better world at EarthSharing.org: Sign up for the newsletter, join the community, learn how to make a difference: http://earthsharing.org/files1/about/what-can-i-do/
Sources:
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223074703.htm
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150627081210.htm
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140930090137.htm
Pollution damages your brain

Studies correlate air pollution with damage to brain cells, leading to increased autism in children, unhappiness in all ages, and anxiety and decreased brain function in middle aged and older people.
So…
Use your brain while you can! Understand the bigger economic picture: Why are we so messed up that we would poison our own air? And how can we make a better world? Learn the economics of wealth and poverty:
http://understandecon.com/igivetest/register.php

Sources:

http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150521121049.htm
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120213185121.htm
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130118125955.htm
There is a simple way to stop all pollution, once and for all:

LVT (Land Value Taxation).

Under LVT, work is tax free, so there is more work, more jobs, more money.
Instead of paying tax on work, people pay for the natural resources they use (such as land).

It follows that if we poison natural resources then we pay for that as well.
If we have to pay the full cost of pollution, we soon stop polluting!

Simple.

For the economic details, see “Applications of Land Value Taxation to Problems of Environmental Protection” by Nicolaus Tideman: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.202.5288 

 

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Marriage Equality and How to Build Movements

 

Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis spoke at the Council of Georgist Organizations annual conference. Their talk was entitled: Case Study in Building Successful Movements, How the LGBT Community Went from the Margins to Mainstream. They discuss how movements to end poverty and save the environment can benefit from the what they have learned about the LGBT movement.

Stuart Gaffney and his husband John Lewis are leaders in the freedom to marry movement. Together as a couple for 26 years, they were two of the plaintiffs in the historic 2008 lawsuit that held that California’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the state constitution. On June 17, 2008, they married at San Francisco City Hall, surrounded by friends and family.

Stuart and John are leaders in Marriage Equality USA, a national grassroots organization, and API Equality, a coalition targeting outreach and education to the Asian-American community. They have appeared extensively in local, national and international media. The focus of their work has been to foster connection between the general public and the lives of LGBTIQ people.

Stuart is a graduate of Yale University and currently a Policy Analyst at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies. [from Huffington Post]

 

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Same-sex Marriage Now Protected in All 50 States

As of Friday, same-sex marriage is now protected in all 50 states under the 14th amendment to the US Constitution. Justice Anthony Kennedy  delivered the 5-4 decision:

“It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.”

“Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

Before today’s decision, same-sex marriage was legal in 36 states, covering 70 percent of the US population. The remaining 14 states included: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati had previously determined that states should define marriage laws,  and “to allow change through the customary political processes” instead of the courts. In recent years, public opinion has shifted rapidly. A Gallup poll in 1996 indicated that 27% of people approved of same-sex marriage, up to 60% now. Over the last year and a half, 60 decisions struck down same-sex marriage bans.

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