We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Modernizing Henry George

by Herman Daly from CASSE.
Sacrifice of nature’s scarce services constitutes an increasing opportunity cost of growth, and that in turn means that nature must be priced, either explicitly or implicitly. But to whom should this price be paid?
“Value added” belongs to whoever added it. But the original value of that to which further value is added by labor and capital, the value of scarce natural resources and natural services, should belong to everyone.
Marxists argue that capital is accumulated surplus value created by labor. Under capitalism capitalists claim this as their private property. If the Marxists are correct, then by the same reasoning as Henry George, because the capitalists did not create this stored value, they cannot legitimately lay claim to it, and it should belong to all working people.