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Thread: Picture a starving man who owns a Ferarri.

  1. #1 Picture a starving man who owns a Ferarri. 
    Time Lord
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    And that will tell you most of what I see wrong with the world's economic systems, from my perspective.

    We've fooled ourselves into believing that our labor, and manufactured goods are the fundamental source of wealth, and we just keep being all surprised when a shortage of a natural resource cripples us.

    No. The most fundamental wealth of all is land, followed closely by resources. You can't eat if you don't grow food. You can't grow food without arable acreage. You can't make stuff if you've no raw materials.

    Which is more expendable, the Farmer, or the arable land he/she tills? Well, if you lose the farmer, some woman somewhere can bear another child, and in another 18-20 years you're set. If you lose the acre of arable land, nothing can replace that. (Women don't create land in their wombs)

    Indeed, the total potential productivity of food is tied proportionally to the amount of land available. Putting extra amounts of effort into tilling that land, beyond the basics, can only increase your final output by a small margin. (And for my purposes, the "basics" include the use of fertilizer and most modern farming techniques.)

    Nothing we do adds to the total pool of available land. We can increase its ease of access by terra-forming it, building roads, being careful not to pollute it. That's kind of like making more of it, but the same could be said of mining ore, or pumping oil. It's true that Ore/Oil is useless until somebody mines/pumps it, but there's still a fixed, final amount of ore/oil that ever can be mined/pumped, and we approach that limit hyperbolically.

    (As you get closer to the limit, the cost of extraction becomes greater and greater until it becomes too great to continue, but you never reach a point where you've fully mined every last grain of say... gold)

    So, what I would propose, at least in the third world, would be a change to the way we distribute land, one that more closely reflects the relationship between how much land exists, and how much an effect it has for a person to work really hard at creating more and/or maintaining what we have. There is kind of a relationship, but it's not like the relationship between working and building cars.


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  3. #2  
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    What's wrong with the price system? The people with the best, most productive uses of land will be able to bid more because they expect more production and more compensation from use of the land.


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  4. #3 Re: Picture a starving man who owns a Ferarri. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    If you lose the acre of arable land, nothing can replace that.
    Greenhouses?
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  5. #4  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by AustrianOak
    What's wrong with the price system? The people with the best, most productive uses of land will be able to bid more because they expect more production and more compensation from use of the land.
    Well, I'm in British Columbia, and real estate racket here is truly an injury to the world. What we've done, is, first, legally remove all land from normal human habitation (e.g. farms, homesteads, housing), and, second, release a maddeningly slow supply of said land, such that demand will always far exceed supply. This is how we make money. Basically we set the price of land according to the highest bid of the wealthiest immigrants, whom we allow at a slow, sustainable trickle. Most of the province is "crown land" and not yet given to market. Now you understand why Vancouver, surrounded by forest, sports the highest density neighbourhoods in North America, with the average house price nearing one million.

    So that's one thing about the price system that's wrong. I consider the BC gambit irresponsible in view of an overcrowded third world.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  6. #5  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    [
    So that's one thing about the price system that's wrong. I consider the BC gambit irresponsible in view of an overcrowded third world.
    This situation with "Crown Land" seems pretty interesting. Looks like they're basically doing with land, what the Arabs do with oil: releasing it a little at a time, so it doesn't run out, which creates the illusion of it being "produced", in a way.


    Either way, I don't think it's Canada's responsibility to help relieve the third world's overcrowding problems. The only lasting solution to that is to have fewer children, not give the existing children somewhere to live.
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