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The LVTC blog, by Henry Law

The comments in the LVTC Blog are a personal view of our Hon. Secretary Henry Law and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Campaign.

This is a place for personal observations and comments on politics, economics, current affairs, on-going discussions on the potential for LVT to remedy some of the current ills, and the impact on Society of any of the above. 

Please read and enjoy, and feel free to respond to Henry if you have any thing you would like to add.


Which part of a house is unaffordable?

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roof bricks drainsIs it the roof, the bricks or the drains?

"Unaffordable housing" The term still keeps cropping up. Which part of a house is not affordable? The roof? The bricks? The drains? The roofing tiles? The plumbing system? The amount builders have to be paid to put it all together?

Go into any builders' merchant and check the prices. They are all very affordable. It costs, at most, £100k to build a decent house. Which is very affordable when spread over 40 years - £50 a week. So what is going on to make houses unaffordable? I have asked this question many times over the past 30 years. Usually, the response is a yawn, so the resulting problems, are in a sense a richly deserved reward.

Too many have stood aside, not watched what is going on in the world and failed to try and make sense of it. Hence the talk about "unaffordable house prices" Anyone who uses the phrase "unaffordable house prices" without further explanation is guilty of extreme mental laziness. Which is most of us, and now we are living with the consequences of our neglect. This of course includes the Nationwide Building Society, which would do everyone a good turn if they scrapped their so-called House Price Index and replaced it with a housing land price index.


 

Land isn't a primary factor of production any more

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From a discussion group...

"Land isn't a primary factor in a knowledge based, high technology economy. It's a primary factor in an agricultural economy. You are a few hundred years behind the times."

Why does this idea keep popping up?

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Get off my land

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Gerrorff my land
This old story was told me by Vic Blundell, who for many years ran the various Georgist groups in Vauxhall Bridge Road.

A prosperous landowner is riding though his country estate. He comes across a notorious poacher with a brace of pheasants under his arm.


Landowner: "You're trespassing! Get off my land!"

Poacher: "Your land? How did you get this land?"
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Were we the first to forecast the financial collapse?

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Bullseye! One of our members drew my attention to an old issue of our publication Practical Politics in which the editor, David Mills, had said that of the next slump "the seeds are being sown now", and giving his prediction that it would occur "probably about seven years hence". As this was in July 2002, his forecast turned out to be a bullseye hit. Is there a prize for the first and best prediction and can we claim it?
 

Are financial services really useless?

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This comment on the Guardian's Comment is Free this morning set me thinking.
Financial services are the lifeblood of any economy (and a million miles from being "socially useless" - sorry, that's just ignorance) and for the UK to specialise in this area is just about the greatest stroke of genius going. Finance is labour intensive and offers high wages for all (even a City secretary earns £40-50k).
Hmm!
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A plethora of populist micro measures

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"A plethora of populist micro measures" - a phrase used by FT journalist Philip Stephens in an article headed "Populism without purpose" - concisely sums up the Chancellor's Pre-Budget statement. There is no coherent strategy for bringing down the government's colossal deficit. But the British government has no coherent strategy for anything at all. This is just another example of how the British government - whether it Dum or Dee in charge - is unable to establish anything like a coherent and strategic approach to policy on just about any issue one might care to mention. All it does is to respond to events and the tabloid-fuelled hysteria that grows up around them.
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What are the barriers to LVT?

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In response to a question that was circulated recently amongst LVT supporters, I received a list which must come close to being exhaustive. I am not sure whether all the things on the list really are barriers, but even if they were, on that basis, it would still be reasonable to expect support for LVT from politicians, academics and journalists with a commitment to social reform - who together make up a substantial body of power and influence. Yet there is almost none from those whose support should almost be a matter of course. What is going on here? One obstacle, not listed, is that the more enthusiastic advocates of LVT are not always clear about precisely what is being proposed and how it would operate, but even so the lack of interest is still remarkable.

What are the barriers to LVT?
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