Module Four

Module Four

Economics of War and Peace

4.1.1-8: Introduction

Module 4, Section 1.1-8

Introduction

 

A goal stated in the UN Millennium Declaration: To make the United Nations more effective in maintaining peace and security by giving it the resources and tools it needs for conflict prevention, peaceful resolution of disputes, peacekeeping, post-conflict peace-building and reconstruction.

 

There are now 20 million refugees predicted to increase to 50 million in the next five years. Warfare over land and resources will destroy us all unless and until we find ways to equitably share the earth.refugees

1.1 Now we will take a step deeper into our land economics analysis and focus on how the private appropriation of land rent leads inexorably towards a warfare state and a highly militarized economic structure. The following diagrams will give you an appreciation of the importance of land value capture in building a world of peace and plenty for all.

1.2 Essentials of Economic Rent and a War Economy

1.3 This first diagram brings our attention to the fundamental person/planet relationship - that of human beings applying their energies to the gifts of nature in order to obtain food, shelter and other basic necessities of life. Some people, even today, are finding deep satisfaction in living simple lives in harmony with the natural world, and that they can meet much of their basic needs for food, shelter and energy with little need for cash. The most essential requirement is access to land that can be made fertile and productive.

1.4 Privilege Fund Grows

1.5 The second diagram shows that structural violence, indicated by the gun images, begins at the point when land is privatized by the few who are then in a position to charge Rent as a condition for others to have access to land. In economies having exclusive private property rights to common assets, as economic growth and development proceeds, land and resource values increase, and the wealth of elites grows as a result of the private appropriation of Rent. This inequitable accumulation of private wealth gives elites a disproportionate capacity to make loans to others. Thus they are able to capture massive amounts of financial interest(debt payments) as well.

1.6 The “Privilege Fund” is the descriptive term in the diagram indicating economic rent (unearned income) captured by economically powerful corporations, banks and individuals. Wages do not keep up with the cost of land for housing, and in many countries taxes fall heavily on wages, so most people must borrow and pay interest for their homes, business capitalization, higher education, etc. The middle class, if there was one, shrinks while multi-millions of people face poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity. At this point the rent-seeking activities of finance capitalism has overpowered the productive economy.

woman begging with 2 children (poverty in the middle east)getawayafrica limo Oil rich countries of Africa (namely Nigeria, Gabon, Sudan, Congo, Equatorial Africa, and Chad) have long histories of coups, military rule and dictatorship. Millions have died of hunger, disease and murder while wars over oil, diamonds, copper, and other mineral resources made life-generating economic activity difficult or impossible to proceed. - Africa under further menace of Resource Wars

1.7 Privilege Fund Enables War System

1.8 Diagram Three indicates that as the wealth and power gap between the very rich and the rest continues to grow the swelling Privilege Fund gives both motivation and capacity to invest in land, resources, and industries abroad and/or to engage in resource wars. The Privilege Fund is used also as a loan fund to indebt poorer countries. For instance, some international financial institutions’ original “portfolios” were secured by profits (resource rent) derived from oil.

Module 4, Assignment 1

Module 4, Assignment 1

Please do a websearch using Images World Energy Picture and also Images for Africa at the Boiling Point. Then write your thoughts, and feelings, in the assignment box below.

4.1.9-4.2.7: Transforming the Privilege Fund

Module 4, Section 1.9-2.7

Transforming the Privilege Fund

1.9 Collectors of the Privilege Fund invest in land and resources in 'underdeveloped' countries. To quell protests, investors call for military intervention.

1.10 The protection of massive privatized assets requires armaments and a clever system of propaganda to convince the general public that they must pay taxes from their wage income and/or incur public debt to pay for these “protective services.” At this stage a war economy is in full swing. The military-industrial-financial complex leads to super-state expansion and resultant covert and overt wars for geo-spatial control of natural resources and prime locations such as ports and other transport nodes.

 

Dr Martin Luther King said that only ‘the radical reconstruction of society itself' and ‘a radical redistribution of economic and political power' could ‘save us from social catastrophe.” He told us that "a nation that will exploit economically will have to have foreign investments and everything else, and will have to use its military might to protect them… the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. They are the triple evils that are interrelated." MLK 1.11 What is the true cost of war?
Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations. -Major General Smedley Butler

 

 

Transforming the Privilege Fund

2.1 Diagram Four
Transforming the Privilege Fund

 

2.2 This fourth diagram describes a new role for democratic governance. It shows the Privilege Fund converted to a Resource Rent Fund utilized for the benefit of everyone. A condition for land enclosure for private use would be payment of land rent to the entire community. This is the goal of “land value capture.” “Exclusive” private property rights to land, which includes the right to privately appropriate land rent, is thereby easily converted to “conditional” private use rights to land. Individuals, groups, or businesses can secure use rights to land provided that they pay the full rent of land to society to be utilized for the benefit of all.
the earth belongs to everyone

2.3 Land Value Capture places the economic foundation of society on the principle of equal economic human rights to the value of earth’s resources. We might call this new mandate for governance “earth rights democracy.”

2.4 Another way to grasp this concept is to consider that land belongs to all on an equal basis, each with an “equal share.” In the best forms of tribal land tenure systems there is an agreed upon process or leader making fair decisions about allocations of land use to clans and families. In complex cash economies, public systems of land value capture play this allocative role. Those who privatize or enclose the most and the best land would pay the most land rent to the common fund. Those with little or no land or poorly located land would pay little or nothing. Taxes on their wages or other productive activities would be eliminated.

2.5 Thus, instead of rent being captured by the few leading to wealth inequality, the new role of "earth rights" democratic governance is to capture land rent for the many leading to a much fairer distribution of wealth.

2.6 As the economy develops and becomes more complex and land rent grows, a percentage of the rent from the now public resource rent fund could be distributed as equal cash payments to everyone, a “citizens dividend” similar to the previously described Alaska Permanent Fund dividend system. Surface land rent is one of the best sources of funds for citizen dividend payments, better than oil rent which would best be utilized to finance renewable energy systems.

2.7 Optional Reading: The Law of Rent and the Economics of War and Peace This paper, first presented in New York at the Eastern Economics Association Conference (2007) on the panel organized by Economists for Peace and Security, further develops the themes of each of the four diagrams in this section.

 

Land Conflict Resolution

landscape A similar pattern exists for conflicts around the planet: power-seeking to get the prize of land and natural resource wealth. Land value capture can work to directly address issues of territorial conflict. The key to peace is to equitably distribute the land rent throughout the area in dispute.

 

Those pursuing non-violent solutions to surface land, oil and other natural resource conflicts would initiate information gathering to determine the approximate amount of land and resource rent that could be captured from the territory experiencing land and resource conflicts. They would publicly and transparently post this information in the form of land and resource value maps.

They then would consult with people living in the areas of conflict to solicit their ideas on how the land rent when captured for public use could be utilized. In this way those in the conflict zone would be encouraged to imagine a peaceful settlement to the conflict and a way forward to a future where all can attain their basic human needs.

The peacemakers would next put forth a proposal to establish a Land (and/or Resource)Rent Authority to administer annual land value (resource rent) assessments and the collection and distribution of land rent for the benefit of everyone. In places where there is no functioning land market from which to determine land values, the amount of land rent to be paid in order to secure title to specific disputed land parcels could be determined by land auctions, with those willing and able to pay the highest amount of land rent into the public fund receiving land title or the right to extract the natural resource.

For an example of an oil resource rent fund, recall the aforementioned Alaska Permanent Fund. Also, citizen activists in Bayelsa State, Nigeria, have proposed the establishment of a Bayelsa State Oil Fund Commission to equitably allocate oil rent to the people of the state. To learn about this well-designed resource rent fund proposal GO HERE

The Land Rent Authority once operative would also have the capacity to enforce the land value capture policy, at least until other functional structures of democratic governance are put in place. The Land Rent Authority thus would be a key to an overall peace plan for the area experiencing land conflicts.

Peacemakers would present this plan to establish a Land Rent Authority as a way to secure equitable land rights and fundamental economic justice for every person who wants to reside within the territory under dispute. The next step would be a time period dedicated to broadening the popular basis of support and endorsement for the plan, the goal being legitimization and approval of the proposal by as many people as possible.

After a substantial number of people have endorsed the proposal, the Land Rent Authority would be formally established and begin its work. Those who cooperate with the plan and willingly pay their fairly assessed land rent fee would be considered rightful title holders and the Land Rent Authority would protect and enforce their title rights.

Those refusing to pay their fairly assessed land rent fee, who in essence want to continue with their private land enclosure without fairly paying to the community their fair share for the rights to this privilege, would risk losing their land.(Note that this is no different than how property taxation is enforced in many countries at the present time.) In other words, there would be no basis for the Land Rent Authority to pay for and enforce title protection to lands unless the land rent has been paid into the common fund. In this way fairness in land rights would become a force of law.

It is important to understand that this approach to land conflict resolution is contained within a framework of “just law and order” as compared to simply “law and order.”

Defining the parameters of sovereignty is a key component of the world order dialogue as it struggles to reach consensus regarding the boundaries and prerogatives of power. Sovereignty is the status of a person or group of persons having supreme and independent political authority. In dealing with the concept of sovereignty, we are dealing with the reality of power. It is a power over territory, over land and water, oil and minerals, as well as those life forms which have miraculously emerged out of the mud of the earth.

The kings and queens of Europe, Asia, and Africa were sovereigns. They reigned supreme and were thought to be divine. They descended from those having the strongest might and force to prevail over territory. The larger and richer the territory they could hold under their power and authority, the higher their status. They were both feared and courted by other humans.

These were the dominators who ruled the land and made the rules. Their rules became law. Their territorial law was most often a form of "dominium" -- the legalization or formalization of control over lands originally obtained by conquest and plunder. All real estate was in essence the royal estate. Might made right, as the rules of power became the laws of the land.

Land value capture policy, however, stems from a moral and ethical framework of “just law” based on equal rights to land and natural resources as a birthright. As such it leaves “might makes right” in the dust of neanderthals and neocons.

The use of legitimate force under just laws and institutions constituted to secure the equal human right to land and natural resources is no different than law enforcement currently established to protect citizens against crimes. The payment of the land rent fee legitimizes and enforces the right to private, exclusive land title. Non-payment of the land rent fee forfeits the right to enforcement of title protection and therefore private and exclusive land use rights.

It is evident that democracy as presently constituted is insufficient to provide peace and economic human rights. It is also necessary to assure economic justice, and the foundation of economic justice is the compensation of land rent paid to all the members of the community for the private use of the land which rightfully belongs to everyone.

This form of land tenure - private use rights secured on condition of payment of full land rent to the community with no taxation on labor and productive activities - furthers both individual initiatives for wealth production AND a fair distribution of wealth. There is no trade-off of one or the other. There is instead a full social synergy.

International covenants on economic human rights to food, shelter, health care, and education have been widely endorsed. Unfortunately there has been a great lack of clarity regarding precise mechanisms for implementing economic human rights for all. By preventing land, a gift of nature, from being hoarded or used as a basis for land speculation and profiteering, land value capture sets the stage for securing all other economic human rights.

The exercise of both common and individual rights in land is essential to a society based on justice. But the rights of individuals in natural resources are limited by the just rights of the community. Denying the existence of common rights in land creates a condition of society wherein the exercise of individual rights becomes impossible for the great mass of the people.

Land value capture is a practical approach for securing common rights to land rent while retaining individual rights to the products of labor. Land value capture is thus an important key to the implementation of economic human rights within demo-cratic societies whether they currently lean towards capitalism or socialism. Its potential for land conflict resolution is considerable in either case.

This Land Rights and Land Value Capture course is primarily focused on public capture of rent from surface land. For information on resource rent capture institutions that can help resolve conflicts over oil and other natural resources go to Alaska Permanent Fund, Bayelsa State Oil Fund Commission Bill, How to Tax Mineral Rents and Experiences with Oil Funds: Institutional and Financial Aspects.

Module 4, Assignment 2

Module 4, Assignment 2

Do three websearches, each one by keying in the name of a country of your choice plus the words: "Land Conflict". Read an article from each country. Give your ideas, in three short essays, of how land value capture could help resolve these conflicts.

4: The New Greatest Game on Earth

Module 4

The New Greatest Game on Earth

labor upon mother earth produces wages The object of the 4000 year old oriental game of GO is to gain control of territory by capturing enemy stones on a board. You win by forming walls with your stones that surround more territory than do your opponent's stone walls. One of the oldest games known, GO is based on the concept that if you possess land or territory, you have an area to base life on. You then have liberty and freedom. Without land or territory, you do not have anything to base life on and are considered without life, or dead.

Chess, probably invented in India in ancient times, was widespread in Europe in the 16th century when the rules were definitively stabilized. A more directly confrontational and combative game than GO, chess exhibits the same theme of territorial conquest and control as a life or death affair. Both are games of metaphor which mirror real life militarized territorial goals.

Consider for a moment that for thousands of years and millions of hours multi-trillions of brain cells have been focused on taking, expanding or holding territory in the face of the "enemy." We now live in an age when defining the "other" as "enemy" can lead to the annihilation of both. "Winning" by capturing the land and resources of the "other" now has a boomerang effect, as numerous intractable wars attest. Time, attention, energy and money devoted to securing or maintaining exclusive claim to particular territory now needs to be redirected to save the earth, all of humanity and other life forms from the current threat of overall ecosystem collapse. It’s time for a New Great Game – Saving the People and the Planet!

 

The Landlord's Game The board game commonly now known as Monopoly was invented by Elizabeth Maggie Phillips in about 1903. She called her game The Landlords Game. Features on the game board include railroads, timber, coal, oil and farmlands, the “go to jail” space, and street names. In one corner it pictures the earth and says “Labor Upon Mother Earth Produces Wages.”

 

In 1931, this game was transformed into Monopoly as we know it. Charles Darrow copyrighted some art work and began to sell Monopoly in 1933, dishonestly claiming invention rights to this game which by then had become a public domain folk game.

The game was played in two ways – first with the usual Monopoly game rules where it ends with one person owning everything. Once you got the gist of the real world economic game from playing Monopoly, then you played by a new set of rules based on everyone having Rights to the Earth – to the land rent.

Played in this way the game teaches people how to claim the earth as their birthright via land value capture. For information on the fascinating history of how Monopoly was monopolized go here

4.3.1-5: Land Value Capture and Conflict Resolution

Module 4, Section 3.1-5

Land Value Capture and Conflict Resolution

3.1 This section discusses the potential of land value capture as a tool for conflict resolution and introduces the concept of “geo-confederation” as developed by Dr. Fred Foldvary in his paper Peace through Confederal Democracy and Economic Justice.

3.2 Social justice, based on individual empowerment and equal rights, is the key to peace. Social justice includes political rights such as voting, legal rights to equal treatment by law, and economic rights, the right to one's own labor and to an equal benefit of natural opportunities.

3.4 Attempts to create unitary democratic governments often fail because of ethnic conflicts. Despite their variety of cultural and historical issues, these conflicts are most often rooted in social injustice with economic and political dimensions. In a unitary state, groups seek dominant positions of power and control. In ethno-territorial struggles the underlying economic conflict, usually related to land and natural resources, is too often left untouched.

3.5 The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an archetype of ethnic conflict. Its roots go back thousands of years. It is a struggle that has resisted solution because an understanding of the land economic and ethical foundations has been lacking. These foundations will now be our focus in order to understand the remedies that are required for a lasting peace.

4.4.1-19: Israel and Palestine

Module 4, Section 4.1-19

Israel and Palestine

4.1 The heart of the conflict is the question of who has the proper claim to the land known throughout history as Canaan, Israel, Judea, Palestine, and the Holy Land. Going deeper, there is an economic and ethical question of what we mean by "the land."

4.2 The ownership of land has two basic components: 1) the right of possession, including the use of land, the products of labor on land, and right to transfer the land to others; 2) the right to the yield or return on the land as a result of nature and society created land value, which for the land alone, excluding buildings and improvements, is land rent. Rights of possession are separable from rights to the rent.

4.3 The natural-law philosopher John Locke in his Two Treatises of Government stated that "The things of nature are given in common," whereas each person has ownership of himself. He then stated that one could claim possession of land so long as there was land of equal value freely available to others.

4.4 If such land is no longer available, our common right to the natural heritage can be obtained by sharing the benefit of the land, which is economically manifested as its economic rent, the rent that should be paid to society by a tenant that puts the land to its best economic use.

4.5 With respect to the possession of Israel-Palestine, there is an ancient as well as historical basis for the possessory claims of both the Israeli Jews and the Palestinian Arabs. The reconciliation of these claims has thus far not been resolved by either the establishment of a unitary state nor by a two-state partition.

4.6 The third method of coexistence, as states within a confederation, could offer the benefits of unity without the danger of domination. As the American social philosopher and economist Henry George wrote, "warfare is the negation of association." Perhaps the reverse is true as well: association is the negation of warfare.

4.7 The challenge in formulating a proposal is, to put it in economic terms, to maximize the opportunity to fulfill individual and ethnic interests subject to the constraint of justice. A confederate association of separate but equal states would not interfere in the internal activities of the states. Each of the states, Israel and Palestine, would govern its domestic affairs as it saw fit.

4.8 The Confederation would have three main functions:

  1. Courts and enforceable laws.
  2. Defense and foreign affairs.
  3. Annual land value assessments and collection of rent which would be equitably distributed for the benefit of everyone in the Confederation.

 

4.9 Specific details of the proposed Confederation legislature and governance structure plus the first two points above have been described elsewhere (see Peace Through Confederal Democracy and Economic Justice by Fred Foldvary). We will herein focus on the third function as this is the land value capture proposal applied to areas of ethno-territorial conflict.

4.10 This third function of the Confederation would be to assess all the land annually and collect the land rent from the owners, including governmental titleholders. Mechanically, it would be the same as a property tax, except that it would exempt all personal property, buildings, and improvements to land, and collect (value capture) what the land would rent for in a market rental auction.

4.11 As previously stated, the right of possession of land in terms of occupation and use is separable from the right to receive the land rent. Those who wish to possess and directly use land would have the responsibility to pay rent into the common resource rent fund. All residents of the Confederation thus would have an “equal right to rent.”

4.12 Any purely geographical redivision of land sites would be practically impossible and leave each person with less than their full share. But the collection and distribution of land rent in a practical, efficient and equitable way is the best way to share the nature and society created benefits of land. In this way the claims of Jews and Palestinian Arabs (and Bedouins) to the entire territory can be met by an equitable distribution of land rent to all residents of the Confederation. Each resident would be entitled to an equal share of land rent, either as provided by government provided services or as direct citizen dividends or a combination of the two to be decided upon by discussion and vote of all residents of the Confederation.

4.13 The Confederation would retain a portion of remaining land rent for its administration, for the retirement of any debts or for other agreed-upon purposes.

4.14 The land would be viewed as jointly owned in common by both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, and members of both groups would share the rent that would be paid by those desiring exclusive private use of particular land parcels. Those who could best utilize land would be able to pay the most land rent back to all residents of the Confederation. The dynamics of this social synergy creates a “win-win” land tenure system.

4.15 The Confederation would also establish rent collection authorities for water use and for all other natural resources, further building a fair economy based on equal rights to the gifts of nature.

4.16 The concept of commonly-shared rent in conjunction with a confederation will be referred to here as a "geo-confederacy," encompassing commonly-owned land ("geo") in conjunction with confederated states and citizenship.

4.17 For the Israelis to accept such a settlement, they need to regard it not as yielding territory, not as a withdrawal, but as an agreement to share sovereignty; not as the establishment of a hostile neighboring state, but as the preservation of Jewish autonomy within a common government over which they will have significant control.

4.18 The Palestinians too will resist a settlement unless they see it as a just plan. Obtaining their share of the rent from all the land in Israel and Palestine as compensation for not directly possessing it would go a long way towards establishing both security and economic justice.

4.19 The ultimate source of resentment and hatred is the feeling that another is enjoying a privilege, an unfair advantage, or a position of dominance. When all are politically equal, such feelings would subside and then and only then would cooperation and friendship be possible. A geo-confederation can elegantly resolve ethno-territorial conflicts.

4.5.1-2: Jammu and Kashmir

Module 4, Section 5.1-2

Jammu and Kashmir

5.1 Kashmir is the disputed area in northern India and Pakistan, which is currently partitioned between them. There, too, the national conflict has a religious dimension, the Muslims claiming all of Kashmir, which is 80 percent Islamic. In 1947, the princely states of India were to choose whether to become part of India or Pakistan. The majority of the people wished to belong to Pakistan, but the maharajah, under pressure, chose India during an interim period, subject to a plebiscite that did not take place. Since then there have been several wars and continuing conflict over the status of the territory.

5.2 Here, India and Pakistan could both have joint sovereignty over the territory, as Spain and France do in Andorra, with a confederation that would provide one government for the Muslims and one for the Hindus, each person choosing his affiliation. The confederate government would collect and distribute the land rent, provide courts, and have administrative functions for the whole territory. Joint territorial sovereignty with a confederate government over the whole area would avoid the perception for each side that it had given up territory, and the payment of rent to the confederation would be a compensation for the loss of full possession.

4.6.1-3: Northern Ireland

Module 4, Section 6.1-3

Northern Ireland

6.1 In 1920, Ireland was granted home rule, but the six counties of Ulster, with a Protestant, pro-British majority, remained in the United Kingdom. There has been continuing conflict in Northern Ireland since the 1950s.

6.2 Similar to the case of Kashmir, rather than one or the other side having exclusive rule, Ireland and the United Kingdom could have joint sovereignty over Northern Ireland, with domestic self-government by a confederation of the Irish and the British Unionists. The payment of rent by all holders of land would implement a land reform that would compensate the whole population for the use of the land by the titleholders.

6.3 This would be an extension of the "Good Friday" peace settlement of 1998, which was approved by the voters and honored by a Nobel Peace Prize for the party leaders. But instead of one assembly, there would be three: one for the Irish, one for the British, and one for the confederation. Having their own government for domestic policy should satisfy the desire of both sides to avoid domination by the British or Irish, and joint sovereignty would let the Irish in Northern Ireland be citizens of Ireland while the Protestants could be citizens of the U.K.

4.7.1-5: Rwanda

Module 4, Section 7.1-5

Rwanda

7.1 A small republic in eastern Central Africa, Rwanda was the site of massive slaughtering in the 1990s. Its three ethnic groups are the Hutus, with 90 percent, the Tutsi, with 9 percent, and the Twa pygmies with 1 percent of the population. The Twa were the original inhabitants, followed by the Hutu and then the Tutsi conquerors. The conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis exists despite their sharing a common language and culture.

7.2 Rwanda, along with neighboring Burundi, became part of German East Africa, mandated to Belgium as Ruanda-Urundi after World War I, both colonies bordering on the Belgian Congo. The Belgians perpetuated the rule by the Tutsis, and introduced identity cards showing ethnic affiliation. The Hutus rebelled in 1959, and Rwanda became an independent republic in 1962 dominated this time by the Hutus.

7.3 There followed political instability and conflict between the Hutu and the Tutsi. In 1993, a Tutsi rebellion was stopped with the help of French troops. In a meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, the two sides agreed to share power, and the United Nations set up UNAMIR, the UN Assistance Mission to Rwanda. It received little funding or support, and UN headquarters failed to act on early warnings of the impending catastrophe. Attempts at democracy and peace ended in 1994 after the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed when the plane carrying them was shot down.

7.4 Massive violence against the Tutsis and moderate Hutus broke out and turned into genocide as a million Rwandans, mostly Tutsis, were killed, with thousands more dying of disease. As William Shawcross points out, while ancient ethnic hatreds are blamed, the violence "also had political drivers." The leaders exploited the conflict, transforming feelings into crises and violence. Violence is chosen; it does not just happen. Institutional structures are needed that would better enable people to address their concerns and legitimate needs for conflict resolution.

7.5 A geo-confederation where the Hutus and the Tutsis each have their own government would reduce the incentive to dominate the other side. The payment of rent would reduce the incentive to grab land; those who have it must pay, and those who don't have it receive more rent. The shared land rent would also provide needed funds for developing the country. As the country develops, land values increase yielding land rent which is then captured by constituted resource rent authorities to be utilized for the benefit of everyone.

4.8.1-2: Chiapas, Mexico

Module 4, Section 8.1-2

Chiapas, Mexico

8.1 The State of Chiapas in southern Mexico is home to the Mayan Indian nation, a civilization that flourished in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras prior to the Spanish conquest. The troubles in Chiapas are a legacy of this conquest as the Mayans remain in effect a conquered people. As with the other ethnic conflicts, land and self-governance are the key issues. Mayan autonomy within Chiapas and Mexico would protect their culture while finally liberating the indigenous people from the rule of the heirs of the conquerors.

8.2 The payment of rent by the landholders would bring the genuine land reform that has otherwise escaped the Mexican attempts at reform by redistribution of land holdings. So long as the big landowners retain the rent, there is political pressure to preserve large estates and serf-like tenancy. When the privilege of retaining rent is taken out of the latifundia and rent is captured for the common good, then the people would obtain land on an equal footing. The best anti-poverty device would then be to abolish the taxation of labor and production, letting the rent revenue serve for the public finances.

4.9.1-5: Appalachian Region, United States

Module 4, Section 9.1-5

Appalachian Region, United States

9.1 The Appalachian region in the eastern part of the United States is composed of portions of ten states. The area is sometimes regarded as “America’s internal third world” because it exhibits socio-economic patterns similar to that of a number of developing countries. This mountainous region is very rich in coal and other natural resources, yet many of the people have lived in chronic poverty for generations. They are also experiencing significant land degradation and water and other environmental pollution.

9.2 NGOs formed a coalition and began their research on these problems with the question: “Why if our land is so rich are our people so poor?” What they discovered was a pattern of highly concentrated ownership of the land and natural resources of the region. Most of those holding title to the most valuable land were corporations with headquarters elsewhere. Interestingly, many of these land title-holding corporations were not the same companies that actually ran the businesses of organizing labour and capital to mine the lands. As a condition of access to the resources, these companies were paying land rent to the absentee corporate title-holders.

9.3 The land rent, along with the coal, was leaving Appalachia. Meanwhile, the taxes throughout the region were falling almost entirely on wages and production and little or no land rent was being collected. The NGO coalition had found the answer to their question and along with it the solution. They decided to work for tax reform that would collect resource rent for the people.

9.4 This populist struggle for economic justice in Appalachia is underway. Thus far they are taking a state by state approach as most states need legislation that would enable this new form of “rent capture” taxation policy. The movement has been slow because most of the state legislatures are also controlled by those with vested interest in land profits. Because the economic power is in the hands of so few, so is the political power.

9.5 A Confederation approach might be to unify these state NGO and grassroots movements into a force to establish a new Appalachian regional authority to assess, collect and equitably distribute resource rent from coal and other extractive resources. The Confederation would also have the power to enforce environmental regulations and/or charge pollution taxes. The struggle for surface land rent could take place on the local level where, by popular vote, a shift to land value capture could be democratically and directly instituted.

4.10.1-6: Decentralization and Geo-Confederation

Module 4, Section 10.1-6

Decentralization and Geo-Confederation

10.1 Geo-Confederation can work harmoniously with decentralized, local governance. Sound governance, especially for a country having little or no parliamentary experience, might best be rooted in cities, towns and villages and their justly constituted authorities. Power would then be delegated up from below rather than being centrally imposed from above. In conjunction, the land rent must be shared to prevent land value from becoming a glittering prize, loot ripe for conquest.

10.2 Where there is treasure such as oil or diamonds, the people will not benefit unless there are both sound governing structures and a constitutionaally mandated sharing of the natural wealth.

10.3 Mass elections often just invite trouble. More locally embedded governance would prevent the fraud and violence associated with countrywide elections in countries lacking historical voting experience and a deeply ingrained democratic culture. Voting would instead take place on the local level, and local councils would in turn elect higher-level governments.

10.4 As noted by Jack Snyder in his book From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict:
"The centerpiece of foreign policy in the 1990s was the claim that promoting the spread of democracy would also promote peace. We have seen that these attempts fail unless there are also federal structures to provide self-governance for ethnic parties and to prevent an excessive centralization of power. Naively pressuring ethnically divided authoritarian states to hold instant elections can lead to disastrous results."

10.5 It is also evident that democracy as presently constituted is insufficient to provide peace. It is also necessary to assure economic justice, and the foundation of economic justice is the compensation of land rent paid to all the members of the community for the private use of the land which rightfully belongs to everyone.

10.6 This form of land tenure – private use rights secured on condition of payment of full land rent to the community – furthers both individual initiatives for wealth production AND a fair distribution of wealth. There is no trade-off of one or the other. There is instead a full social synergy.

4.11: Policy Conclusions

Module 4, Section 11

Policy Conclusions

11.1 This is our summary statement for Module Four. You have learned that a similar pattern exists for conflicts around the planet: the economic prize of land and resource wealth and power-seeking to get that prize. There is a common antidote: (1) a governance structure that provides both self-determination and unity; and (2) a sharing of the benefits of the natural resources by having a constituted authority that captures the land and resource rent and equitably distributes these funds to everyone.

Module 4, Assignment 3

Module 4, Assignment 3

Would you be willing to explore the possibility of working with Earth Rights Institute to develop peace and conflict resolution plans based on what you have learned in Module Four? If yes, what country or region of the world would you want to be your focus?