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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16426/hume-on-intellectual-property-and-the-problematic-labor-metaphor/

Hume on Intellectual Property and the Problematic “Labor” Metaphor

April 9, 2011 by

I just read a fascinating paper, “Law and Economics, David Hume and Intellectual Property,” by Scottish law professor Hector Lewis MacQueen. ((University of Edinburgh School of Law, Working Paper Series, No 2011/09; also published in Nick Kuenssberg (ed), Argument amongst Friends: Twenty-five years of Sceptical Enquiry (David Hume Institute, Edinburgh, 2010), pp 9–14. See also MacQueen’s Intellectual Property and the Common Law in Scotland C.1700-C.1850.)) MacQueen argues that Hume probably would not have recognized IP as a form of property. This seems right to me. As Arnold Plant noted in a classic study in 1934, “The Economic Theory Concerning Patents for Inventions”: ((Economica, New Series, 1, no. 1 (Feb., 1934).))

The statutes creating patents in the various countries impose limitations on the exercise of the property rights which they comprise, but these are not the only peculiarities of this form of property.  Despite the limitations, property rights in patents are more potent than is generally true of private property.  The significance of private property in the economic system was enunciated long ago with great clarity by David Hume in his Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. Property, he argued, has no purpose where there is abundance; it arises, and derives its significance, out of the scarcity of the objects which become appropriated, in a world in which people desire to benefit from their own work and sacrifice. [Emphasis added]

In other words, Hume recognized the importance of scarcity in the definition of what property is. ((See also my Against Intellectual Property, text at n. 57, making a similar point about Hume.))

One thing that caught my eye was this quote from one of Hume’s footnotes:

Some philosophers account for the right of occupation, by saying, that every one has a property in his own labour; and when he joins that labour to any thing, it gives him the property of the whole: But, 1. There are several kinds of occupation, where we cannot be said to join our labour to the object we acquire: As when we possess a meadow by grazing our cattle upon it. 2. This accounts for the matter by means of accession; which is taking a needless circuit. 3. We cannot be said to join our labour to any thing but in a figurative sense. Properly speaking, we only make an alteration on it by our labour. This forms a relation betwixt us and the object; and thence arises the property, according to the preceding principles. [Treatise of Human Nature, Book III, Part II, Section III note 16; all emphasis added]

Here Hume is criticizing the overly metaphorical (“figurative”) idea of “labor” being “joined to” or mixed with objects, and he disagrees that this assumption is necessary to justify Lockean homesteading. He thinks a simpler version of Locke’s argument still works, one that drops the assumption that labor has to be “joined” to the object. I find this fascinating because I have long argued that the whole focus on labor is a key mistake of Lockean homesteading theory and IP arguments. ((See my “The Death Throes of Pro-IP Libertarianism” and my posts Thoughts on the Latecomer and Homesteading Ideas; or, why the very idea of “ownership” implies that only libertarian principles are justifiable; Locke, Smith, Marx and the Labor Theory of Value; Rand on IP, Owning “Values”, and “Rearrangement Rights”Locke on IP; Mises, Rothbard, and Rand on Creation, Production, and “Rearranging” and Thoughts on Intellectual Property, Scarcity, Labor-ownership, Metaphors, and Lockean Homesteading.)) In my view, the focus on labor has set both political theory and economics back: in political theory it leads to the idea of “creationism”–the confused idea that you own “things” you “create” by virtue of being a creator (as opposed to recognizing that production means transforming existing property, thus creating wealth but no new property or property titles), which leads to the fallacious notion of IP; and in economics to the labor theory of value which later led to a host of Marxian errors.

In my view, labor is nothing but a type of action. It is not special. We don’t “own labor” any more than we own our actions. We own our bodies–we are self-owners—which gives us the right to decide what actions we engage in. “Owning one’s actions” (or labor) is just a confusing and potentially misleading way of describing the fact of self-ownership, or consequences of that fact. But recall that Rothbard ((“Human Rights” As Property Rights.)) argued that all rights are property rights–that the right to “free speech,” say, is merely a consequence of or derivative of more fundamental property rights. Likewise, labor or action “ownership”, to the extent this bizarre formulation has any meaning, is just a consequence of self-ownership. It is not some independent right. In fact it is just a metaphorical or figurative way of saying (less precisely) that the actor is a self-owner. If you are a self-owner you have a right to perform actions–including “labor”. (Self-ownership also gives you the right to do pushups, eat ice cream, dream, love, read books, and reminisce, but it would be odd to say you own pushups, eating, dreams, love, your literacy, or memories.)

The Lockean argument is that we own our labor, and “therefore” we own resources that we “mix” the labor with. The problem with this formulation is that it supports the labor theory of value, and also leads some to conclude that if you create with your some “thing” that “has value” then you “own” that thing, since you have “mixed your labor” with it. Proponents of IP often make such crankish arguments; they even say things like IP infringement is “theft of the creator’s labor”, as if they view labor as some owned substance emanating mystically from godlike Creators, ((See my post Inventors are Like Unto …. GODS…..)) “mixed with” or somehow “present in” creation-objects floating out there in Platonic space (but somehow still connected to the real world). (And despite the fact that Locke did not believe his own homesteading argument extended to IP.) ((See my post Locke on IP; Mises, Rothbard, and Rand on Creation, Production, and “Rearranging”, where I note that Tom Bell and Ronan Deazley have shown that neither the Founders nor Locke thought that IP was a natural right–that is, they only favored IP as a policy tool.))

One comment by MacQueen seems to support my take on this: he writes “Hume however rejected the justification of property commonly used in relation to copyright and other forms of intellectual property, a theory most often associated with Hume’s philosophical predecessor, John Locke; that is, the labour theory by which I own what is produced by my labour.” In other words, Locke’s homesteading argument, if it contains the labor part, could lead some to conclude that IP is property. This is exactly why it was a mistake to include the idea of labor ownership as part of the homesteading argument. And as Hume shows, it’s not necessary. (It’s not clear to me whether MacQueen thinks Locke himself would agree that his homesteading theory, even including the labor assumption, extends to IP; but as noted above, it seems fairly clear Locke did not believe this. Since the labor assumption does somewhat support the notion of IP, it’s not clear why Locke didn’t think it extended to IP; perhaps Locke himself knew that the labor portion of his argument was more metaphorical and not to be taken literally. But this is just support for streamlining the argument.)

In my view, Locke’s argument can be simplified by dropping the weird argument that labor is owned. Homesteading still results in property because a homesteader, by being the first to emborder or transform some unowned resource established a better claim to that resource than any latecomer. (For elaboration, see my “What Libertarianism Is,” n. 24 and accompanying text et pass.)

And this is what Hume seemed to recognize. In the passage quoted above, he disagrees with the Lockean formulation that the right of occupation (ownership) requires the idea “that every one has a property in his own labour; and when he joins that labour to any thing, it gives him the property of the whole.” First, Hume notes “There are several kinds of occupation, where we cannot be said to join our labour to the object we acquire: As when we possess a meadow by grazing our cattle upon it.” I think he is saying here that you acquire some rights to the pasture even though you don’t do any labor (the cows are just walking on it and eating grass, but you are not performing labor). I think he is here trying to show that labor-mixing is not necessary for homesteading.

Then: “2. This accounts for the matter by means of accession; which is taking a needless circuit.” Now accession, as MacQueen notes, is this idea: “the addition of matter to the original object such as the fruits of our garden or the offspring of our cattle which become our property even without possession”. If you own an apple tree, you own apples that plop from it “by accession”–without even taking possession of them (or laboring on them). I think Hume is saying insisting on the labor portion of the argument to justify any homesteading claim leads to a needlessly complicated argument (needless circuit) to account for why the cow owner homesteads rights in the pasture.

Then he criticizes the rigor of the entire concept of mixing-owned-labor: “3. We cannot be said to join our labour to any thing but in a figurative sense.” Instead, he recognizes the role of labor, or action: it is used to alter existing property, which gives rise to more wealth but not more property (this is similar to what Rand, Rothbard, Mises and others have said about how productive human action involves only rearranging or altering existing resources, not creating new things): ((See Locke on IP; Mises, Rothbard, and Rand on Creation, Production, and “Rearranging”.)) he writes: “Properly speaking, we only make an alteration on it by our labour.”

Then, he notes that this action–of being the first one to possess, use, transform an unowned scarce resource–is sufficient to give the homesteader a better claim to the resource than latecomers, without every saying labor is owned: “This forms a relation betwixt us and the object; and thence arises the property, according to the preceding principles.” Proto-Hoppean!

What a great set of insights in one little footnote.

Update: see Cordato and Kirzner on Intellectual Property

{ 27 comments }

Jeffrey Tucker April 9, 2011 at 7:55 am

This is a fascinating discussion. As you mention, Locke himself was an opponent of IP of any sort. What would be most interesting would be to return to Locke and examine his actual writings on labor and its contribution to creating rights. I expect that we would find that he held nothing like the theory that labor is somehow owned independent of ownership of body, space, and things, and that it takes a distortion of his view to arrive at anything like IP.

Stephan Kinsella April 9, 2011 at 8:17 am

I think you are right. This would be worth looking into.

Regarding Locke and IP, Deazley, http://blog.mises.org/14045/locke-on-ip-mises-rothbard-and-rand-on-creation-production-and-rearranging/ seem to imply Locke might have favored something like copyright but only on policy grounds, not as a natural right; but as Bell observes, “by invoking government power a copyright holder can impose prior restraint, fines, imprisonment, and confiscation on those engaged in peaceful expression and the quiet enjoyment of physical property. By thus gagging our voices, tying our hands, and demolishing our presses, copyright law violates the very rights that Locke defended.”.

RC April 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

I guess that I should set fire in my local forest – this will make me the “rightful owner” of it, since “a relation between myself and the object” will be established. Or maybe I should pour a glass of milk into the Pacific Ocean – now that’s some property!
This would be funny if it wasn’t tragic (that some people believe in such stupid theories).

Inquisitor April 9, 2011 at 9:30 am

Who, pray tell, are these people, and what exactly is tragic about your first example? I’ll let you ponder on why the second doesn’t make much sense (and neither did Nozick’s original example…)

RC April 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm

“Who, pray tell, are these people, and what exactly is tragic about your first example?”

Well, don’t you think that many people valued the forest, which I now destroyed? I really don’t own them anything? I think I do.
And why assume that such a “relation between myself and the object” is enough to have any property rights? What if someone says no?

sweatervest April 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm

“Well, don’t you think that many people valued the forest, which I now destroyed?”

Would it be tragic if you destroyed your garden and lowered the values of your neighbors’ property?

RC April 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm

“Would it be tragic if you destroyed your garden and lowered the values of your neighbors’ property?”

But that is my garden, my property, so the situation is different. I gave the example of an unowned forest, something I have no claim to.
Since libertarians reject state ownership, therefore things such as the Niagra Falls or the Grand Canyon are de facto unowned. Would it be right to destroy them (or transform them, but transformation must result in the destruction of the original object) in order to establish ownership, and thus harm millions of people who enjoy them? Without any compensation?

Anthony April 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

My understanding of Rothbard is that the millions of people enjoying those places have an easement of the property which any owner would have to respect.

That is, I could homestead some previously unused aspect of the grand canyon (say, harvesting algae or something) as long as I don’t infringe on the uses people were already making of the site. I could not demolish the canyon to make gravel, however, because that would violate the viewing and hiking rights that have already been homesteaded by others.

Would that system be more acceptable to you?

RC April 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm

“My understanding of Rothbard is that the millions of people enjoying those places have an easement of the property which any owner would have to respect.

That is, I could homestead some previously unused aspect of the grand canyon (say, harvesting algae or something) as long as I don’t infringe on the uses people were already making of the site. I could not demolish the canyon to make gravel, however, because that would violate the viewing and hiking rights that have already been homesteaded by others.”

Sure, it is somewhat more acceptable for me. The problem is: how can one acquire viewing and hiking rights by homesteading?
Notice that right now the objects I have mentioned are under state ownership. When the state would give up its (illegitimate in the eyes of libertarians) claim over them, they become unowned – with no one having any claims to them. So why couldn’t one (the one who is fastest in appropriation) demolish the canyon to make gravel, if those that enjoyed the canyon (during the state ownership period) do not have any claim to it, i.e. clear relation to it?

Inquisitor April 9, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Value is irrelevant until action is undertaken to create a link to the resource. I value my neighbour’s friendship, high market share, romance etc. It doesn’t suffice to say I own something.

“What if someone says no?”

The onus would be on them to demonstrate in what way they have a superior connection (and to show the cogency of a latecomer ethic.)

“So why couldn’t one (the one who is fastest in appropriation) demolish the canyon to make gravel, if those that enjoyed the canyon (during the state ownership period) do not have any claim to it, i.e. clear relation to it?”

They could if there were no overriding rights to it. I don’t see the issue. As for easements, it’s up to courts what constitutes enough to form an easement (or indeed what suffices to form an objective link.) This is because though they are not required for you to appropriate something, they’re also not obliged to offer you protection and can, in that manner, determine the type and level of effort required to effect appropriation (Rothbard’s “relevant technological unit” being one such possible standard.)

RC April 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm

“Value is irrelevant until action is undertaken to create a link to the resource. I value my neighbour’s friendship, high market share, romance etc. It doesn’t suffice to say I own something. ”

Of course. But what I’m saying here is that the people, while they did not have ownership rights over a object (be it a forest, a canyon etc.) they did have a liberty/privilege right to use it (in this case it is the right to walk in it). Someone who transforms an object de facto denies that liberty right (since the object ceases to exist in its current form). Therefore, some compensation seems legit to me (Lockean Proviso?).

“What if someone says no?”

“The onus would be on them to demonstrate in what way they have a superior connection (and to show the cogency of a latecomer ethic.)”

They do not have to. They can say: “we do not have a superior connection to the object, but we do not consider your connection as having any moral legitimacy”. In other words, they may dismiss a certain act of homesteading as insufficient. That won’t make them the owners, of course; but conflict will arise when the homesteader will attempt to exclude them from the object, since they will perceive it as aggression (as they reject his ownership claim).

Colin Phillips April 9, 2011 at 9:52 am

That’s quite interesting. This essentially means that if anyone were able to update the Labour theory of value to be able to withstand the criticisms levelled against it by the Austrians, such that the “value is subjective” argument was relatively discredited, the argument for IP would be on a solid, coherent, logically sound footing.

Perhaps this will be an easier task than providing meaningful answers to the Surda questions. I’m losing hope that the challenge these questions pose will be conquered, although I’m sure the resident falsificationist will remind me that that hope can never truly be completely quashed.

Peter Surda April 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Colin,

I’m not sure what you mean. If I was wrong, refuting me would be trivial.

Colin Phillips April 9, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Peter Surda,

Thanks, I do understand. I was just noting for my own benefit that there is a third way to refute your arguments:
1. Demonstrate where your reasoning is incorrect.
2. Provide a counterexample
3. Prove that the (new! improved!) Labour theory of value is superior to other value theories.

I was not claiming to have performed any of the above 3 feats. I just hadn’t realised before that there was that third option. Do you agree with Stephan Kinsella that “the labor assumption does somewhat support the notion of IP” ? I think it follows very plainly. The only stumbling block is that the “labour assumption” in its current form is an assumption I do not accept. An improvement to the Labour theory of value that deals with the standard Austrian criticisms is required.

Peter Surda April 10, 2011 at 3:00 am

Colin,

let us assume that that was indeed true (proving point 3 would prove some sort of IP). However, I really doubt that anyone would formulate a coherent theory based just on that. The hypothetical proponent would still have to resolve the contradiction. The deontological advocates don’t want to give up physical property rights, so they would fail, and objective rules do not matter for utilitarian advocates.

Anti-IP Libertarian April 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

@Colin Phillips:

Regarding the third way:

There can be no “normal” physical property rights if there are “intellectual property rights” because the former would only be temporary until someone got an “intellectual property right” to an involved object.

Therefore if one stated that there were “intellectual property rights” (it doesn’t matter where they stem from!) than these would be supreme (they would overrule physical property rights every time!).

So this “value theory” would only lead to a supremacy of “intellectual property”. And that isn’t something the followers of “value theory” would want.

PS: Just look at the Randians… or at A. J. Galambos to see the consequences of a domination of “true intellectual property”.

sweatervest April 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm

“Perhaps this will be an easier task”

We’re waiting!

Colin Phillips April 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm

What if I just promise you that I have it? “I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain”. :-) Just because nobody has done it yet does not mean it’s impossible.

Peter Surda April 10, 2011 at 2:52 am

Colin,

that’s how falsifiable theories work. You formulate them in a way that there is a potential way to disprove them. I don’t understand what your point is.

Danny Sanchez April 9, 2011 at 10:38 am

“Proto-Hoppean!”

Indeed Stephan, Hoppe’s theory of property and scarcity is very Humean. In fact the very first footnote in Hoppe’s theoretical discussion of property in chapter 2 of Theory of Socialism and Capitalism is a citation of Hume’s property discussions in both the “Treatise” and the “Enquiry”.

Stephan Kinsella April 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm

damn, good find. I had forgotten that. It’s a bit depressing that it takes me decades to keep rediscovering what Hoppe knew when he was years younger than me.

Andras April 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Why don’t you publish this on hume.org?

Stephan Kinsella April 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm

not sure how

Andras April 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Colin,
(The) Surda of IP as Zeno of Elea? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno_of_Elea)
Aren’t you giving him too much credit?

Colin Phillips April 10, 2011 at 12:14 am

I read enough of LvMI comment threads to recognise particular names and arguments after a while. Peter Surda’s name and arguments are one example. That’s about as much credit as I can bestow, I’m just a regular reader of this site.

All my comment was meant to show was that I had not previously realised that the “Surda questions” (that’s just a shorthand, I don’t believe he “owns” the arguments) rest on an assumption that the Labour theory of value is sufficiently discredited by the Austrian criticisms.

Dave Wetzel April 10, 2011 at 3:55 am

Surely labour is human physical and/or mental effort to change or transport a natural material in order to satisfy a need.
Without labour nothing gets made or shifted for human consumption.
This was as true for a cavewoman in pre-recorded history as for a lorry driver, call-centre worker or factory machinist today.
Are we not all entitled to enjoy the product of our own labour?
However labour cannot act alone.
Labour needs access to land and natural resources. Land for growing food. Land for building homes. Land for factories, warehouses, sports facilities, artistic endeavours, shops, workshops, offices, docks etc. etc.
Land is provided free by nature.
It requires no Labour for land to be made or provided – so why do we mortgage most of our working lives to buy a house on a piece of land?
The current system denies us the freedom to enjoy the benefits of our own labour.
The government taxes labour. The banks charge labour interest. The capitalist cheats labour from receiving its just reward. The landowner (also the owner of natural resources) creams the surplus from labour in the form of economic rent for access to nature’s free gift.
What is private property?
If I make something – then surely I own it and can exchange it for something more useful to me, give it away or save it for future use (or no use at all). The product I have made is my private property to do with as I will. By doing this I deprive no other of their right or opportunity to create their own property.
However, if I can “legally” fence off even only one tenth of an acre of land, and claim it as MY property – I immediately exclude any other from using it. If i use it I gain an advantage. If I allow others to use it freely THEY gain an advantage. If I charge others to use it – I get something for nothing!
So we have a conundrum – - how to solve it?
If I build a house in the sky – the whole of the house is my property. I deprive nobody else and they are free to build their own house in the sky.
But obviously, although most trained economists think otherwise (because they choose to ignore the unique need for land in the productive process) – we know that it is in fact impossible to build a house in the sky.
So we need a location on which to build our house.
And as soon as I acquire a location for my house – I am depriving all others from using it.
Worst still – if I don’t use my location – by depriving anyone else from using it I am adding to the problems of overcrowding, homelessness and urban sprawl etc. If the location is not residential but a workplace – then I am denying others the opportunity to work, to consume the fruits of that labour and either destroying the opportunity for production or forcing that production to take place on an inferior location that incurs costs both for the producer and the rest of society.
And not all locations are equal.
If I choose Kensington in the heart of London to build my house the one-tenth of an acre has a high value. But on the outskirts of a small village in Scotland my location will be relatively cheap.
1. Who creates that value?
2. Who has a right to share that value?
3. How can the value of land be shared equitably?

1. We ALL create land value.
2. Therefore we ALL should share that value.
3. Let’s introduce an annual Land Value Tax (LVT) on all sites, urban and rural, so that landowners pay for the benefit they receive from society and we can use the income to reduce harmful taxes on labour such as income tax, vat etc.

The result will be that land speculators would put their land to good use – creating jobs, homes and leisure opportunities.
Labour would pay less tax and thus be encouraged to strive to make life better.
Investors would avoid land speculation and switch their investments into the production of the goods and services that we all need.

The economy would thrive.

Any takers?

See http://www.theIU.org
http://www.Labour Land.org

nate-m April 10, 2011 at 11:56 am

Surely labour is human physical and/or mental effort to change or transport a natural material in order to satisfy a need.

Mental and physical energy expended over a period of time towards a particular goal. Yep that is labor.

Without labour nothing gets made or shifted for human consumption.

Just about.

This was as true for a cavewoman in pre-recorded history as for a lorry driver, call-centre worker or factory machinist today.

Most people do work for a living.

Are we not all entitled to enjoy the product of our own labour?

If the opportunity presents itself, yes.

However labour cannot act alone.

Yeah. You need private property. Private property combined with labor produces goods.

Land is provided free by nature.

Well yeah. It exists.

It requires no Labour for land to be made or provided – so why do we mortgage most of our working lives to buy a house on a piece of land?

Bad judgement, probably.

The current system denies us the freedom to enjoy the benefits of our own labour.

The capitalist system is what enables us to enjoy the benefits of our own labor. The ‘natural’ state of man is one of constant near starvation, suffering, disease, and short lives. Humans have spent thousands of years developing the systems we have today to change the natural state and make it possible for us to enjoy ourselves.

What is private property?

Stuff you own.

However, if I can “legally” fence off even only one tenth of an acre of land, and claim it as MY property – I immediately exclude any other from using it.

Being in control of something is a prerequisite of being able to use it. Title to land and property is a formalization of a practical extension of this truth.

If I allow others to use it freely THEY gain an advantage.

Yeah. It becomes their property instead of yours if you give it to them.

If I charge others to use it – I get something for nothing!

You get compensation for letting them use it for their purposes rather then you using it for yours. It’s a exchange.

So we have a conundrum – – how to solve it?

Better reasoning skills and logic.

If I build a house in the sky – the whole of the house is my property. I deprive nobody else and they are free to build their own house in the sky.

Your still using the the building materials needed to manufacture and maintain the house as well as the fuel needed to maintain it’s flying capabilities.

But obviously, although most trained economists think otherwise (because they choose to ignore the unique need for land in the productive process) – we know that it is in fact impossible to build a house in the sky.

Nothing here is making sense. I think that most decent economists understand that you need to have raw materials to make material goods.

So we need a location on which to build our house.

Yeah. It’s called private property.

And as soon as I acquire a location for my house – I am depriving all others from using it.

Your going in circles here.

Worst still – if I don’t use my location – by depriving anyone else from using it I am adding to the problems of overcrowding, homelessness and urban sprawl etc. If the location is not residential but a workplace – then I am denying others the opportunity to work, to consume the fruits of that labour and either destroying the opportunity for production or forcing that production to take place on an inferior location that incurs costs both for the producer and the rest of society.
And not all locations are equal.
If I choose Kensington in the heart of London to build my house the one-tenth of an acre has a high value. But on the outskirts of a small village in Scotland my location will be relatively cheap.

Your spinning. Spinning.

1. Who creates that value?

The person that uses for some purpose.

2. Who has a right to share that value?

The owner.

3. How can the value of land be shared equitably?

By a open market were people are free to buy and sell based on the value of the land.

1. We ALL create land value.

what? Not if we don’t own it or use it.

2. Therefore we ALL should share that value.

I don’t see how that works out here.

3. Let’s introduce an annual Land Value Tax (LVT) on all sites, urban and rural, so that landowners pay for the benefit they receive from society and we can use the income to reduce harmful taxes on labour such as income tax, vat etc.

What is the point in creating a harmful tax to reduce other harmful taxes? It’s all tax. Your just pointlessly shifting the burden around.

The result will be that land speculators would put their land to good use – creating jobs, homes and leisure opportunities.

Not if you take away their ability to do so through heavy taxation. Then your just killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

Labour would pay less tax and thus be encouraged to strive to make life better.

That really doesn’t follow.

Investors would avoid land speculation and switch their investments into the production of the goods and services that we all need.

Your just creating artificial distortions in the market. Your ideas would result in government enforced inefficiency and misappropriation of natural resources.

The economy would thrive.

No it wouldn’t.

Any takers?

I hope not. It’s really a very horrible idea.

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