Declaration of Interdependence by a Community

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The following is a Declaration of Interdependence that could be made by every community of, say between 5000 and 25,000 people. Since there are over 4 million people in New Zealand, it could be made by hundreds of different communities.

We as a community believe we have rights and responsibilities.

We find ourselves tired of growing inequality where the wealth of 62 individuals is now equal to the wealth of the bottom half of the the planet’s population. We are frustrated by the growing power of the corporates and the super wealthy. We are alarmed by decades of inaction on climate change because economics is fundamentally odds with the climate. We grieve for our steadily growing loss of sovereignty with so-called Free Trade Agreements like TPP ceding power to the corporates.

Recognising the power of nature to bat last and the social dangers posed by economic collapse or major climate events, we wholeheartedly believe it is time our economic system was at peace with the planet.

We, the people of …………, now desire to share the values of the land and gifts of Nature and of our inheritance with our whole community, for that is all we have within our power.

Given the power of the corporates to influence governments and therefore the relative futility of national action to bring our economic system in line with nature, we recognise that this fundamental change can only happen at the local level.

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We therefore agree among us to:
• Gradually own all our own land collectively so that no one will profit or lose from owning land. We will gradually bring more and more land into a Community Land Trust while compensating the owners fairly. We will thus take land out of the marketplace.
• Create a new currency, acceptable for our public revenue. This currency will be designed to circulate smoothly. It will not be created as interest-bearing debt because that creates more debt, but be spent into existence.
• Organise ourselves as a governance unit, electing our own people, making our own rules and being responsible for enforcing them. This includes keeping the value of the new currency stable. The rules will include rules for businesses using the currency and rules for imposing appropriate resource rents from water, minerals or any other part of the commons.
• Gather revenue from land and other resource rents and use it for public purposes including for regular distribution of a dividend for all our citizens resident here for a year or more.
• Collectively budget together at least twice a year.
• Create and maintain a register of citizens eligible for dividends.

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We further agree to:
• Co-operate with neighbouring communities to build and maintain such infrastructure as needed by a larger community and perform other governance functions that are better organised and financed on a larger scale.
• Co-operate with district and regional councils as above.
• Co-operate with central government as above.
• Co-operate with district, regional and central government for any revenue sharing in the new currency as we believe mutually beneficial.
• Co-operate with all other communities to keep the value of the new shared currency stable. We envisage a network of inflation control teams based in every community working together for this purpose.

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We do not agree that central government will impose their tax laws on trades in our currency or interfere with the formation or operation of our Community Land Trust. We do not agree to any interference from the Reserve Bank of NZ regarding the legitimacy of our new currency or the way we control its stability.

New Economics Party to have Unconference in Otaki

The following media statement has gone out today 17 May 15 About 20-25 people will be gathering in Otaki over Queens Birthday weekend for an “unconference” on designing a thriving post fossil fuel economy. Spokesperson Deirdre Kent said the group has been meeting online for three years and wants to design an economy that obeys the laws of Nature. She said one of their floated ideas was to have the Community Board or an elected Community Land Trust acquire a growing parcel of land and to share the rents as a Citizens Dividend. “Sharing the rents from the exclusive use of the commons is a fundamental policy for equity. Inequality between the landless and the others can only be addressed this way,” she said. The group is also keen on publicly created money, issued without debt or interest. “What we would like to see is a currency spent into existence by Community Boards to buy land and for that currency to be accepted by Council for rates and fees. Eventually we believe that Government would accept it for taxes when they want to share the revenue. There will be a Skype link on Friday night with London economics Professor Steve Keen on the current risks to the global economy, and another to Melbourne on Saturday with Karl Fitzgerald who has studied the possible rental income from the monopoly use of the commons in Australia, enough to replace deadweight taxes. Paekakariki feminist economist Prue Hyman will speak on the need for a Basic Income on Saturday. “Manufacturing and jobs and affordable housing will come naturally when we address fundamental invisible structures like currency design and the tax and welfare systems”, she said. Ms Kent said they expected to have a very stimulating weekend using open space discussion. Conference information

Modernising the Georgist ‘doctrine’ without using the words “land value tax”

41bQo1jRHqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_In Land a New Paradigm for a Thriving World, Martin Adams has spelled out his philosophy that no one should make a profit from owning land. He has carefully and thoughtfully reframed the Georgist ‘doctrine’ for a modern era and developed a clear new language. For example here is a classic sentence: ‘What most people don’t yet realise is that the value of land is best shared, and that whenever we profit from land we profit from society.”

Martin is no slave to doctrine and clearly thinks out the issues for himself. He sees the vision. “Once we being to share this value with one another, we have the opportunity to unleash a cultural, technological, ecological, and even spiritual renaissance that will liberate us in ways we can’t imagine.”

And – great news – Martin is no centralist. He understands that revenue must flow from the periphery to the centre, not the other way round. So he talks of land moving into a Community Land Trust and people then paying a Community Land Contribution. Some of the revenue stays local and the rest is passed upwards to other levels of government.

From his description of how to prevent urban sprawl to his chapter on using farmland efficiently, Martin challenges us to think in a fresh way.

Thoughout this valuable little book Martin has steadfastly refused to use the word ‘tax’ , arguing it implies that the people being taxed have to part with something that belongs to them. “Land value taxes”, he says, “are still rooted in the paradigm of private land ownership.”

The questions arising from this book regarding the practicalities of some of his suggested solution remain to be tackled. Martin, being so honest and so curious, will no doubt ask more questions, talk to more people and develop more politically realistic solutions. It's monumental task. I have no doubt he will make an even bigger contribution in the future. Watch this space!

Charles Eisenstein, Thom Hartman and Peter Barnes don’t just recommend any book or call a book a ‘brilliant contribution’ or a ‘modern breakthrough’. Their reputations would be at stake if they did.

Available here