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Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #150 on: May 26, 2017, 01:42:16 AM »
Quote
Changing the source of energy from fossil fuels to renewables may simply fuel further the current mix of economic growth that has such dire consequences for the planet.

Are you concerned that we'll run out of bauxite and sand?

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #151 on: May 26, 2017, 12:14:23 PM »
To give everyone a basic income Zuckerberg style would mean Gov. borrowing 'money' from banks to redistribute it, this would save the current system from collapse for a while. Far better to have the Gov. extend credit on an egalitarian basis to all it's citizens, if this was the main means by which 'money' was created a simple tax of 2% on all transactions would more than meet all goverment expenses. Presently in the US as in the UK all transactions have an upstream interest cost of around 40% on them, before tax and before persona debt obligations.
https://ellenbrown.com/2012/11/08/its-the-interest-stupid-why-bankers-rule-the-world/

rboyd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #152 on: May 26, 2017, 05:24:08 PM »
Money does not need to be created through a private debt-based system, that is simply the financier and rentier friendly system that we currently have.

Between the mid 1930's and the mid 1970's, the Bank of Canada (owned by the Canadian people) directly funded a large amount of the Government of Canada's spending through the creation of debt-free money spent into existence. During that period, the Canadian economy grew very rapidly and with low inflation. Since then, the majority of the Canadian government debt is due to compound interest. The same could be done now to fund extensive renewable energy and energy efficiency investments.

The private banking system has usurped the sovereign's right to create money, which it uses to predominantly fund property speculation (80%+ of lending) and other socially non-beneficial activities (such as increasing business leverage to buy back stocks). Businesses tend to fund themselves from internally-generated funds. Just look at the current craziness in the Canadian housing markets, and the previous one in the U.S. Banks should be safekeepers of money, not creators of money and credit.

Unearned income (now referred to with the fancy title of capital gains) should be taxed at a higher rate than earned income (as it used to be up to the 1970's), this would go a long way to rebalancing things between workers and rentiers. Together with a none debt-based money system, economic and political power would flow back to the citizens in general and workers (rather than financiers/renters) in particular.

« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 05:29:43 PM by rboyd »

TerryM

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #153 on: May 26, 2017, 05:41:41 PM »
Money does not need to be created through a private debt-based system, that is simply the financier and rentier friendly system that we currently have.

Between the mid 1930's and the mid 1970's, the Bank of Canada (owned by the Canadian people) directly funded a large amount of the Government of Canada's spending through the creation of debt-free money spent into existence. During that period, the Canadian economy grew very rapidly and with low inflation. Since then, the majority of the Canadian government debt is due to compound interest. The same could be done now to fund extensive renewable energy and energy efficiency investments.

The private banking system has usurped the sovereign's right to create money, which it uses to predominantly fund property speculation (80%+ of lending) and other socially non-beneficial activities (such as increasing business leverage to buy back stocks). Businesses tend to fund themselves from internally-generated funds. Just look at the current craziness in the Canadian housing markets, and the previous one in the U.S. Banks should be safekeepers of money, not creators of money and credit.

Unearned income (now referred to with the fancy title of capital gains) should be taxed at a higher rate than earned income (as it used to be up to the 1970's), this would go a long way to rebalancing things between workers and rentiers. Together with a none debt-based money system, economic and political power would flow back to the citizens in general and workers (rather than financiers/renters) in particular.


The bolded would make a huge difference - and rapidly.
BUT - How will it ever get passed as long as the rentiers own the politicians?


Terry

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #154 on: May 26, 2017, 05:53:54 PM »
Quote
Unearned income (now referred to with the fancy title of capital gains) should be taxed at a higher rate than earned income

I agree (even though I live largely on earnings from investments).  I think the tax structure should be designed so that it's easier to earn the first million than the second million.

Things will stay out of kilter as long as working and poor people do not vote for their own interests but either don't bother to vote or let themselves be mislead by the likes of Rupert Murdoch.



Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #155 on: May 26, 2017, 05:59:01 PM »
When we discuss how goods will be distributed in the future (universal guaranteed income), remember that the cost of goods will approach zero.

We will reach a point at which the only cost for goods will be the raw materials.  Energy and labor will be essentially free.  And, hopefully, the materials will mostly be recycled so that even the cost of raw materials will be cheap.

rboyd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #156 on: May 26, 2017, 06:28:45 PM »
There is some hope, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is making a dramatic comeback against the Conservatives. The press, and the right-wing establishment of the Labour Party have spent the past two years trying to destroy Corbyn.

Seems when people were exposed to the actual Labour Party policies, rather than mainstream media scare and smear tactics, they really liked them. May be a "flash in the pan" but a Labour victory would send a huge message of hope to other progressive organizations and voters. Just two weeks left to election day!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/election-2017-conservatives-majority-two-seats-latest-poll-theresa-may-labour-votes-a7757031.html

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/uk-general-election-polls-labour-slashes-gap-with-tories-again-a3549886.html

Corbyn gave a speech drawing the link between the Manchester bombing and Britain's role in the destruction of Libya, as well as condemning the bombers themselves. A brave move which may actually pay off given many people's view in Britain of the Iraqi and other wars.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/jeremy-corbyn-sends-message-to-troops-and-urges-policy-reform-as-election-campaign-resumes_uk_592807d1e4b0df34c35b5246?utm_hp_ref=uk

https://yougov.co.uk/opi/surveys/results?belboon=031b3908984b04d39d00589b,4711849,subid=23150X907170X7e99e3ff433bce413760f0b02fc6cbdd#/survey/88c1aff0-41f4-11e7-94a8-2ab0a50a8b9c/question/a76fff10-41f4-11e7-aa59-c62e889b3830/toplines
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 06:54:30 PM by rboyd »

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #157 on: May 26, 2017, 08:33:31 PM »
Thanks, SMN, that's interesting.

I don't believe there can be a universal basic income, unless Zuckerberg's income and wealth is capped. Would he agree to that? I wish I could ask him. 'Mark, how much is enough?'

Although  I agree with your idea of a cap on total wealth, there are some worthwhile projects that billionaires make possible to happen.  So perhaps personal wealth should be judged separately from "foundation" wealth.  Perhaps above a certain amount, redistribution of wealth could be directed to something other than "everyone else."  I guess there would have to be some sort of oversight board to assure such projects are beneficial and not harmful.
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #158 on: May 26, 2017, 08:48:37 PM »
Tax higher levels of wealth.  Allow enough wealth accumulation for a comfortable, but not luxurious, retirement. 

Tax the third million at 0.1% or some low level.  Then the fourth at 0.2%.  By the time net worth reaches 100 million a 1% annual tax would not be out of line.  (Sticking that wealth in an index fund should return over 8% per year.)

If wealthy individuals want to use some of their money for the public good then they get a tax break, which they already do.  But the problem is  what is "good".  Gates funding health programs in Africa would be seen by most as good.  But the Kock's funding anti-climate change activities?

Neven

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #159 on: May 26, 2017, 10:51:05 PM »
Thanks, SMN, that's interesting.

I don't believe there can be a universal basic income, unless Zuckerberg's income and wealth is capped. Would he agree to that? I wish I could ask him. 'Mark, how much is enough?'

Although  I agree with your idea of a cap on total wealth, there are some worthwhile projects that billionaires make possible to happen.  So perhaps personal wealth should be judged separately from "foundation" wealth.  Perhaps above a certain amount, redistribution of wealth could be directed to something other than "everyone else."  I guess there would have to be some sort of oversight board to assure such projects are beneficial and not harmful.

Absolutely, you can't just take away money from the megarich and then let it get wasted in some form of bureaucracy. In fact, I believe you would somehow have to convince the megarich that their wealth needs to be capped if they don't want to destroy everything, everyone and themselves. For that you'd have to be able to present good ideas on what happens with the money, and how.

Perhaps some sort of referendum, with the megawealthy getting something like a superdelegate vote.

I don't know, I'm still thinking a lot about the idea.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #160 on: May 27, 2017, 03:30:37 AM »
Thanks, SMN, that's interesting.

I don't believe there can be a universal basic income, unless Zuckerberg's income and wealth is capped. Would he agree to that? I wish I could ask him. 'Mark, how much is enough?'

Although  I agree with your idea of a cap on total wealth, there are some worthwhile projects that billionaires make possible to happen.  So perhaps personal wealth should be judged separately from "foundation" wealth.  Perhaps above a certain amount, redistribution of wealth could be directed to something other than "everyone else."  I guess there would have to be some sort of oversight board to assure such projects are beneficial and not harmful.

Absolutely, you can't just take away money from the megarich and then let it get wasted in some form of bureaucracy. In fact, I believe you would somehow have to convince the megarich that their wealth needs to be capped if they don't want to destroy everything, everyone and themselves. For that you'd have to be able to present good ideas on what happens with the money, and how.

Perhaps some sort of referendum, with the megawealthy getting something like a superdelegate vote.

I don't know, I'm still thinking a lot about the idea.

Need a "God Squad."  ;)
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #161 on: May 27, 2017, 04:52:37 AM »
Thanks, SMN, that's interesting.

I don't believe there can be a universal basic income, unless Zuckerberg's income and wealth is capped. Would he agree to that? I wish I could ask him. 'Mark, how much is enough?'

Although  I agree with your idea of a cap on total wealth, there are some worthwhile projects that billionaires make possible to happen.  So perhaps personal wealth should be judged separately from "foundation" wealth.  Perhaps above a certain amount, redistribution of wealth could be directed to something other than "everyone else."  I guess there would have to be some sort of oversight board to assure such projects are beneficial and not harmful.

Absolutely, you can't just take away money from the megarich and then let it get wasted in some form of bureaucracy. In fact, I believe you would somehow have to convince the megarich that their wealth needs to be capped if they don't want to destroy everything, everyone and themselves. For that you'd have to be able to present good ideas on what happens with the money, and how.

Perhaps some sort of referendum, with the megawealthy getting something like a superdelegate vote.

I don't know, I'm still thinking a lot about the idea.

Or we could return to pre-Reagan tax rates and elect some good people to run the government.

Personally, I was fairly happy with the way things went in 2009 to early 2011.  A couple more liberal Senators would have made things danged good.

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #162 on: May 27, 2017, 06:21:19 AM »
Re: "  ... happy with the way things went in 2009 to early 2011 ... "

I am definitely not happy. No torturer or thieving banker was even tried, much less jailed except for a handful of flunkies. Most of the worst were elevated to greater power. That period really exposed the naked plutocrat bones of the system and fuelled Occupy.

Some of us remember. But that is more appropriate for the memory thread at "Que se ficieron"

sidd
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 06:44:07 AM by sidd »

rboyd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #163 on: May 27, 2017, 07:16:56 AM »
In a true democracy, the representative government can increase taxes on the wealthy. They don't need to ask permission, how about we simply return rates back to what they were in the 1960's? Government is not intrinsically more inefficient than private corporations, especially ones engaged in monopolistic/oligopolistic markets. Just look at the US healthcare system versus the other OECD countries. The current British rail system compared to those in Europe.

A basic income would be very simple to implement, as there would not be the complexity of means testing etc. A simple transfer into people's accounts.


Red

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #164 on: May 27, 2017, 12:10:46 PM »
As usual lots of good and interesting ideas/solutions here at the ASIF, but there is this well designed wall that has to be destroyed first. How do we de-construct this without causing wide spread real death and destruction? I offer up Venezuela as a quick example. George gives a nice overview of how we are being held captive by a capitalist machine that has dressed itself up as democracy.

http://www.monbiot.com/2017/05/26/lighten-the-darkness/
How dark money is subverting democracy in the UK.
Is this democracy? Is this sovereignty? No. It’s the replacement of informed political choice with an onslaught of corporate propaganda and fake facts, which, as we don’t have 100 years between elections to check and refute, we have little chance of resisting.

Why has there been no effective action on climate change? Why are we choking on air pollution? Why is the junk food industry able to exploit our children? Because governments and their agencies have rolled over and let such people make a mockery of informed consent.

Shared Humanity

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #165 on: May 28, 2017, 04:33:20 PM »
While I find no issue with this discussion and the need for creating a more fair economic system, the effect of increasing the income of ordinary people will be to fuel consumption and growth.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #166 on: May 28, 2017, 05:46:05 PM »
Quote
Why has there been no effective action on climate change?

But there has been.

We're in the early days of the transition off fossil fuels, not yet at the point at which the change jumps up in your face and shouts at you.


Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #167 on: May 31, 2017, 09:08:07 PM »
Hey, Neven -- check this out!  :)

These 14 billionaires just promised to give away more than half of their money like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett
Quote
Fourteen billionaires announced they have signed the Giving Pledge, formally joining the 154 other billionaires who have promised to give away at least half of their vast wealth to philanthropic causes.
...
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/31/14-billionaires-signed-bill-gates-and-warren-buffetts-giving-pledge.html
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Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #168 on: May 31, 2017, 09:28:13 PM »
Hey, Neven -- check this out!  :)

These 14 billionaires just promised to give away more than half of their money like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett
Quote
Fourteen billionaires announced they have signed the Giving Pledge, formally joining the 154 other billionaires who have promised to give away at least half of their vast wealth to philanthropic causes.
...
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/31/14-billionaires-signed-bill-gates-and-warren-buffetts-giving-pledge.html

Interesting list.  Several of the personal statements are quite good.

I didn't notice a few names of the very richest on the list - Koch, Walton, Mercer, Putin, ....


Neven

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #169 on: May 31, 2017, 10:29:00 PM »
Hey, Neven -- check this out!  :)

These 14 billionaires just promised to give away more than half of their money like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett
Quote
Fourteen billionaires announced they have signed the Giving Pledge, formally joining the 154 other billionaires who have promised to give away at least half of their vast wealth to philanthropic causes.
...
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/31/14-billionaires-signed-bill-gates-and-warren-buffetts-giving-pledge.html

Thanks for this, SMN, this is interesting. Maybe it's the philanthropy that interests wealthy people. But maybe it's also a sign that they know that their wealth could destroy society, like it always has so far. And of course, aside from a couple of insane lunatics like Mercer and the Kochs, that's not what most rich people want. But it doesn't matter what they want, as their money is the master over everything, even over them. It's their money that drives the system, as some kind of black hole, sucking everything into it.

That's why philanthropy looks very nice*, and half the wealth of billionaires sounds like a lot, but instead of voluntary, it would be much better if there simply was a hard limit on how much a person can own. To break that inanimate power of money.

Imagine all those billionaires simply having to give back everything above 100 million dollars. Every year. Now that would make a dent. But like we've discussed in the previous round, who gets to decide what is done with the money?

- Free education and healthcare
- Manhattan-style climate mitigation programme
- Rebuilding war-torn zones
- Rebuilding the soil worldwide
- Rebooting the space programme and explore/colonize the solar system

It would seem all that would become possible, if done the right way. There probably was some truth in that Randian Atlas Shrugged stuff. So how to circumvent that?

---

* I haven't seen Bill Gates get any poorer from his philanthropy, and despite it he might live to see himself become a trillionaire 30-40 years from now. But maybe that's because his Foundation invests a lot in patent-related Pharma stuff (I learned that from a documentary on the Gates Foundation that I translated a couple of years ago, but maybe things have changed by now).
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Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #170 on: May 31, 2017, 10:37:43 PM »
I think it would be very hard to get the general public to agree to a limit on wealth.  Too many dream of making it big themselves/winning the lottery.

But instituting a tax on net worth might be something that could be passed.

rboyd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #171 on: May 31, 2017, 11:00:46 PM »
"You made all that wealth by dumping CO2 into the atmosphere, now we are going to take some back to pay for sucking that CO2 back out of the atmosphere" sounds pretty logical to me.

Neven

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #172 on: June 01, 2017, 04:03:07 PM »
I think it would be very hard to get the general public to agree to a limit on wealth.  Too many dream of making it big themselves/winning the lottery.

Yes, the irony would probably be that anyone publicly announcing the idea, would probably be lynched by the poor. A bit like Plato's cave.  ;)

That's why the limit should probably be set relatively high, like 100 million USD or some such, even though 25 million would be more than enough, in my humble and poor opinion.
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rboyd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #173 on: June 01, 2017, 06:05:32 PM »
Any limit on wealth would fall foul of a lot of "common sense" ideas about fairness, incentives etc. Better to:
1. Make unearned income (capital gains) taxable at the same rate as earned income
2. Get rid of the hedge fund tax dodges ('carried interest' etc.)
3. Take the ceiling off Social Security and Pension Taxes
4. Remove the fictitious depreciation of buildings used by companies to reduce taxes, plus all the other 'depletion allowances' etc.
5. Raise corporate taxes back to where they were in the 1980's

All of these would be seen as reasonable by the average person, making sure the rich pay at least the same tax rate as them. People paying their "fair share" hits the right buttons.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #174 on: June 02, 2017, 12:00:36 AM »
Any limit on wealth would fall foul of a lot of "common sense" ideas about fairness, incentives etc. Better to:
1. Make unearned income (capital gains) taxable at the same rate as earned income
2. Get rid of the hedge fund tax dodges ('carried interest' etc.)
3. Take the ceiling off Social Security and Pension Taxes
4. Remove the fictitious depreciation of buildings used by companies to reduce taxes, plus all the other 'depletion allowances' etc.
5. Raise corporate taxes back to where they were in the 1980's

All of these would be seen as reasonable by the average person, making sure the rich pay at least the same tax rate as them. People paying their "fair share" hits the right buttons.

I'm firmly behind all your point except for #4.  Buildings and other stuff do wear out.  That 'wear out' is a cost of doing business and should be deducted from profits.

If you buy a pencil for your business that's a "this year" deductible expense.  It's assumed you'll use it up this year.  If you buy a computer then you get to deduct 1/7th (IIRC) of the cost per year for seven years at which point it is assumed the computer will no longer have value.  A commercial building's cost gets spread over 39 years.  27.5 years for a rental property.

If there is residual value in the buildings or used equipment and they are sold to someone else that is recovered as taxable gain.

ghoti

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #175 on: June 02, 2017, 01:30:20 AM »
Also note that whenever a depreciated item is sold tax is paid on any recaptured value above which it was depreciated to. At least that's the rule.

rboyd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #176 on: June 02, 2017, 02:57:51 AM »
Buildings tend to appreciate in value, so the company gets to defer tax for years by depreciating an asset which is not depreciating! Then, yes if it does sell the building it pays tax on the difference between the sale price and the depreciated amount. The company should have to prove an actual drop in the value of the building.

All those deferred taxes have been happily earning compound interest over the years.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #177 on: June 02, 2017, 04:47:40 AM »
Quote
Buildings tend to appreciate in value


I'd need to see data to back up that claim.  I see a lot of commercial buildings knocked down so something different can be built on the land.  Here in our huge city of ~30,000 both the McDonald's and Wendy's were recently torn down and rebuilt. 

rboyd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #178 on: June 02, 2017, 06:05:24 PM »
Its the price of the land that the building stands on that tends to appreciate, being a derivative of economic growth over the long term. In a growing economy the land price tends to increase at a rate faster than GDP. Of course, in recessions it may go down for a little while.

In local areas, such as Detroit it may of course go down. Think San Francisco, New York, Toronto, London, Shanghai, Berlin etc.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #179 on: June 02, 2017, 06:35:08 PM »
Businesses do not get to depreciate land.  Only "improvements" - buildings, utility connections, parking lots, etc.

Any land appreciation gets taxed at time of sale.

rboyd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #180 on: June 02, 2017, 07:01:12 PM »
You are right Bob, I stand corrected!

Sigmetnow

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #181 on: July 11, 2017, 03:30:02 AM »
Warren Buffett just gave $3.17 billion to charity
Quote
In 2006, Buffett announced plans to gradually donate all his Berkshire Hathaway shares.

It was a promise that took on a new life in 2010, when Buffett launched The Giving Pledge with Bill Gates. The initiative encourages the world's billionaires to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

As of May, 170 people had signed the pledge across 21 countries.
http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/10/investing/warren-buffett-stock-donations/index.html
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gerontocrat

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #182 on: July 11, 2017, 12:48:20 PM »
Businesses do not get to depreciate land.  Only "improvements" - buildings, utility connections, parking lots, etc.

Any land appreciation gets taxed at time of sale.
It has been an accounting standard (assumption) for hundreds (yes, hundreds) of years that land cannot depreciate in value. This is nonsense. In the old industrial city where I live there are many abandoned industrial sites that have negative value due to many years of toxic pollution buried in the ground.
I am sure it is the same in the rust belts of the USA. Make and Take profits, pollute and abandon.
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #183 on: July 11, 2017, 04:19:31 PM »
Businesses do not get to depreciate land.  Only "improvements" - buildings, utility connections, parking lots, etc.

Any land appreciation gets taxed at time of sale.
It has been an accounting standard (assumption) for hundreds (yes, hundreds) of years that land cannot depreciate in value. This is nonsense. In the old industrial city where I live there are many abandoned industrial sites that have negative value due to many years of toxic pollution buried in the ground.
I am sure it is the same in the rust belts of the USA. Make and Take profits, pollute and abandon.

Companies should be required to clean up their messes.  But the cases of pollute and abandon are a very small percentage of land use. 

Companies should not be allowed to make the problems in the first place.  I doubt that, outside of a few outlaw companies, this is happening in the US these days.

If you are running a factory, for example, on a site and complying with environmental regulations and then go out of business the land where you were running your factory might be priced less than a nearby piece of empty land because the buyer will have the cost of removing your old buildings and equipment.  But that's your loss when you sell the land.

wili

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #184 on: July 11, 2017, 04:33:38 PM »
Well, there are at least a half million brownfield sites in the US, and that's not counting Superfund sites. So devalued, polluted industrial land certainly has been an issue in the US. I would say that the onus is on you to prove that it is no longer one.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownfield_land
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #185 on: July 11, 2017, 05:12:31 PM »
Well, there are at least a half million brownfield sites in the US, and that's not counting Superfund sites. So devalued, polluted industrial land certainly has been an issue in the US. I would say that the onus is on you to prove that it is no longer one.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownfield_land

From your link -

"Brownfield land is an area of land previously used or built upon, as opposed to greenfield land, which has never been built upon"

"Land that is more severely contaminated and has high concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, such as a Superfund site, does not fall under the brownfield classification."

"United States estimates suggest there are over 500,000 brownfield sites contaminated at levels below the Superfund caliber (the most contaminated) in the country."

One of the common types of brownfields in the US are places where there were gas stations and car repair shops.  In order to build on these sites sometimes a portion of the soil where petroleum products have leaked the soil has to be removed and replaced.  That's a building cost for the purchaser and lowers the value of the property.

Currently gas stations have to comply with much stricter regulations.  Underground fuel tanks have to be "tank within a tank" design with sensors to indicate if the inner tank is leaking.  Companies are required to capture and recycle the old oil they pull from engines.

Lead paint is no longer used.  Asbestos is no longer used.  Lead pipes are no longer used.  These are the sort of things that created the legacy sites than now need cleaning up.  And those 500,000 sites that potentially need cleaning are only a small percentage of all pieces of land.  There are over 100,000 buildings in Manhattan alone.

TerryM

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #186 on: July 11, 2017, 06:23:59 PM »
I know there are at least two sites in my small city here in Canada where the costs of cleanup far exceed the value of the property. One was a large dry cleaning facility, the other the factory that at one time produced the gas light for 19th century street lights.


My fathers old paint factory site was purchased by the city for a new city hall many decades ago & they simply built over what was there. Too long ago to worry about all the chemicals that had seeped underground.


I do remember the site cleanup at the old rail yard in Las Vegas. They simply cooked the dirt until they'd boiled all the nastiness into the atmosphere. Some at the University weren't too happy, but they weren't paying the bills, or the bribes.  :-\


Terry

wili

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #187 on: July 11, 2017, 06:26:01 PM »
New chemicals are invented everyday, Bob. Few of them go through much of a review. Many of them end up in the environment. Yes, we are doing a bit better with a relatively narrow range of well know problem chemicals.

If you think all the chemicals that have been and are going to be developed are benign or never get into the environment...well, you're a bigger optimist than I.

But I guess we knew that already.  :D

;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Good points, Terry. And remember that whole neighborhoods are affected by chemicals that have been or are being spewed into the air and fall in various patterns (disproportionately on minority communities, by the way, even after controlling for poverty). And water also gets contaminated. There are many such cases in my neighborhood and metro area.

And let's not forget the pipeline spills that seems to be inevitable and will affect vast stretches of land and aquifers.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

rboyd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #188 on: July 11, 2017, 07:02:51 PM »
In Canada we hide huge amounts of degradation in the North, far away from most of the population.

The documentary "The Hole Story" tells the story of resource extraction in northern Quebec and Ontario. The companies take the profits and the people/nature are left with the degradation and cleanup costs. You can watch it free here:

https://www.nfb.ca/film/hole_story/

Same goes for the Tar Sands, where the rectification fund is massively underfunded and the US oil majors have sold out to smaller Canadian outfits. Removes the risk that Alberta can go after the US majors to make up the shortfall in the rectification fund. "The fund holds $1.6 billion to cover about $21 billion in eventual liabilities."

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/oilsands-cleanup-may-not-be-adequately-funded-alberta-auditor-general/

A good documentary on the lack of real environmental oversight in Alberta, and the cozy relationship between the oil industry and the Alberta government:



With the movement of the rain belts north with climate change, these are the very places that could be made livable if they had not been so badly polluted.

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #189 on: July 12, 2017, 02:27:11 AM »
"New chemicals are invented everyday,"

And there are regulations in place that forbid just dumping them on the ground.  Sure, a few people will cheat.  But the days of dumping stuff on the ground or in streams are behind us.

wili

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #190 on: July 12, 2017, 04:10:27 AM »
Wow.

Naive doesn't even begin...

Ag alone is a huge 'dumper' of toxins into the environment

"The agriculture industry uses over 800,000 tons of pesticides worldwide annually that contaminates the soils and eventually infiltrates into the groundwater causing drinking water to contain toxic chemicals"

Lots of nasty stuff in electronics is still not properly disposed of, though a lot of it ends up in countries other than the US.

Lots of drugs and other chems get flushed down toilets, and lots of heavy metals (and sometimes other nasties) end up coming out of incinerators. Nasty fracking chems get dumped all over the place. A search for illegal trash dumping pulls up 60,000 some hits. https://www.google.com/search?q=illegal+trash+dumping&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#q=illegal+trash+dumping&tbm=nws

We don't even have a system for dealing with nuclear waste...

I could go on...

but I get the feeling that you've made up your mind and you're stickin' with it, sunny optimist that you are! Have fun with that. And do sleep tight.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 04:29:57 AM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

sidd

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #191 on: July 12, 2017, 05:10:44 AM »
I recently travelled to the headwaters of the Missouri at Three Forks, MT.  There you can see already runoff residue in the Jefferson, Madison and Galatin rivers that come together.  I went through the Galatin and Madison valleys upstream, didnt see much pollution upstream of the confluence.

Ag runoff is a huge issue, but so is urban runoff.

sidd

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #192 on: July 12, 2017, 05:40:19 AM »
wili, the discussion was about whether it does or does not make sense to 'not depreciate' land in the way we depreciate buildings and equipment.

Proper farming practices belong in a different discussion.


wili

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #193 on: July 12, 2017, 10:44:42 AM »
Because farming has nothing to do with land??  :o
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

gerontocrat

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #194 on: July 12, 2017, 11:49:15 AM »
Because farming has nothing to do with land??  :o
I believe about 40% of the world's food supply depends on bees and other insects for pollination. Pesticides are a threat and there is a huge debate about Neonicotinoids, which work as an insecticide by blocking specific neural pathways in insects’ central nervous systems, causing disorientation, inability to feed and death. (if you want to depress yourself google it).

Europe wants to ban them. The UK (and the USA?) do not.

This is just one example of how extremely powerful industrial companies will fight to the (our?) death to keep producing these nasties.
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

gerontocrat

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #195 on: July 12, 2017, 12:10:56 PM »
From the UK Guardian newspaper

Threats, bullying, lawsuits: tobacco industry's dirty war for the African market
Revealed: In pursuit of growth in Africa, British American Tobacco and others use intimidatory tactics to attempt to suppress health warnings and regulation

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/12/big-tobacco-dirty-war-africa-market

And so it goes on.
"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

wili

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #196 on: July 12, 2017, 02:41:11 PM »
Good points, g.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #197 on: July 12, 2017, 03:49:12 PM »
Because farming has nothing to do with land??  :o

Because the discussion was not about farmland.

Isn't there a food thread where you could take up your farming concerns?

wili

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #198 on: July 12, 2017, 05:50:12 PM »
Sheesh.

The name of the thread is Capitalism. That covers quite a lot. I'm not sure why you think you have the right to dictate exactly what words can and cannot be used on this or on any other thread. There are mods for that.

And farming was just one of many counter examples to your claim that no one was dumping any dangerous chemicals anywhere anymore.

I assume that, since you had to resort to diversion, you are essentially admitting that you were wrong about that point. I accept your admission of defeat, and wish you well, sir.  ;D
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« Reply #199 on: July 12, 2017, 06:06:31 PM »
Quote
I assume that, since you had to resort to diversion, you are essentially admitting that you were wrong about that point. I accept your admission of defeat, and wish you well, sir.  ;D

You should have stopped with the first three letters of your second word.