Download Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons by Peter Barnes PDF

By Peter Barnes

From the cofounder of operating resources comes a visionary plan to improve capitalism.

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Extra info for Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons

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No wonder we experience envy, greed, and dissatisfaction. ChartID=37. Reprinted with permission of the Pew Research Center. 0 Let’s summarize the history of capitalism thus far. Since arising in the eighteenth century, capitalism has changed the face and chemistry of the earth. It keeps doing so, despite signals of planetary peril, like a runaway steam engine without a governor. It has built mountains of private wealth, but much of that wealth was taken from the commons, and a great deal of it adds little to our happiness.

Outside of Alaska, about 5 percent of government-owned lands have been designated as wilderness. In such areas, humans may enter on foot but not use motorized vehicles. Mining, logging, and hunting are also prohibited. On the other 95 percent of governmentowned land, private and commercial use is regulated by various agencies. S. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As a general rule, politics—not fiduciary duty—determines what uses are permitted and what prices are charged. A classic example is the Mining Act of 1872, under which private companies can stake claims to mineral-bearing lands for $5 an acre, and pay no royalties on the minerals they extract.

Limits of Taxation Let’s set aside for a moment the question of whether government is inherently biased toward property and focus instead on a purely mechanical question: is taxation a good tool for preserving gifts of nature? I pose this question because economists have advocated “green taxes” for over eighty years, and it’s time to move beyond this hoary panacea. The idea of using taxes to protect nature dates back to 1920, when Cambridge University’s top economist, Arthur Pigou, proposed it.

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