Trustegrities Could Change Our Future

This is the fourth article of the five-part “Protecting the Future“ series. It was previously posted with the title “Redefining the Future (4)“.

Timothy Wilken

It must now be obvious to the reader, that most of human wealth is a gift and cannot be claimed as property by any individual or group of individuals. I have divided this gift into three categories: the Earth Trust, the Life Trust and the Time-binding Trust.

I propose the creation of synergic trustee organizations charged with the responsibility to protect, conserve and administer the synergic trusts for the benefit of all humanity—both the living and the unborn. This organization could make use of the Organizational Tensegrity synergic mechanism which utilizes synergic consensus and the synergic veto to eliminate conflict. These Synergic Trust Organizational Tensegrities will simply be called the “Trustegrities”. The Trustegrities could form the basis for a synergic government in the future. They could perform all the positive functions of present government with none of the negative consequences. The Trustegrities would exist to serve humanity as community as well as humanity as individual.

The Trustegrities will be three with separate but complementary missions in service to humankind.

The Earth Trustegrity will provide:

1) Access to land and natural resources for personal use at minimal or no cost, and

2) Access to land and natural resources for synergic production with appropriate charges payable to the Earth Trustegrity in lease or rental fees, licensing fees, and/or revenue shares. All rental fees, licensing fees, and/or revenue shares are entrusted to the Earth Trustegrity for Humanity as Community.

The Life Trustegrity will provide:

3) Safety from crime and war, and full access to:

4) Comfortable, safe, healthy housing.

5) Good nutritious food

6) Good preventative health services and comprehensive cradle to grave medical care, and access to the privilege of Reproduction based on fairness, equality, and mutual benefit to both humanity as Individuals and humanity as Community. This would include monitoring administrating, adjudicating the Trust privilege of Reproduction.

7) Access to animals and plants including native flora and wildlife for personal use at minimum or no cost.

8) Access to animals and plants including native flora and wildlife for synergic production with appropriate charges payable to the Life Trustegrity in rental fees, licensing fees and/or revenue shares. All payments made are entrusted to the Earth Trustegrity for Humanity as Community.

The Time-binding Trustegrity will provide:

9) Full education to an individual’s ability and interest regardless of age,

10) The opportunity to participate in synergic organization and invest their action and leverage to earn revenue shares and acquire property throughout their full lifetime.

11) Access to communication with humanity as individuals and to humanity as community for personal reasons, for synergic production and consumption, and for synergic consensus utilizing Unanimous Rule Democracy.

12) Protection of the intellectual discoveries and inventions of Time-binding whether they be in the Time-binding Trust, or the Property of living humans.

Funding the Synergic Trustegrities

Future Positive was established to help humanity transition from the present adversary-neutral political-economic mechanisms dominating human life in 2002 to synergic alternative mechanisms available in a Synergic Future. In such a future the entire human species could be organized as a single organization, then there would be no need for politics, economics, or even money. Certainly the forty trillion cells in the synergic organization which comprise our bodies do quite well without politics, economics or money.

As I said earlier, if we humans synergically reorganized, we could all be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. If we were to take all the wealth on planet Earth today, 2002 and divide it equally among the 6+ billions of us living on the planet, we would discover to our surprise and amazement that every man, woman, and child is a billionaire. There would never be any need for humans to earn their livings again. With synergic reorganization, and careful utilization of the Earth, Life and Time-binding Trusts, the Earth could comfortably support all of humanity. And this is without any need to damage or degrade our environment.

Our Time-binding Trust is so enormously powerful and gives those of us living today such enormous leverage that it is scientifically possible to solve all our human problems and meet all of our needs.

We humans are bound to the Earth, and our individual fates are linked together—we share a common fate. We can survive and prosper together as a unified species, or we can perish as individuals fighting and fleeing like the animals. There is no separate peace and no separate solutions.

All the land and all the natural resources of the Earth are needed for our species to survive. They cannot be held and used to serve any individual or group of individuals. The land and natural resources are not property, they cannot be owned by anyone. They are a Trust to be shared and carefully utilized by all living humans. They are a Trust to be conserved for all yet unborn humanity.

Men did not make the earth…. It is the value of the improvement only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property…. Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds.” —Adam Smith (1723 – 1790)

Ground rents are a species of revenue which the owner, in many cases, enjoys without any care or attention of his own. Ground rents are, therefore, perhaps a species of revenue which can best bear to have a peculiar tax imposed upon them.” —Tom Paine (1737 – 1809)

The land, the earth God gave man for his home, sustenance, and support, should never be the possession of any man, corporation, society, or unfriendly government, any more than the air or water.” —Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

Henry George

The American writer, Henry George published Progress and Poverty in 1879, in which he made one of the first arguments for the common ownership of land by all people. He seriously argued for the full return of the land to humanity as community. He even suggested a mechanism for that transition. Here in his own words:

“There is but one way to remove an evil and that is to remove its cause. To extirpate poverty, to make wages what justice commands they should be, the full earnings of the labourer, we must substitute for the individual ownership of land a common ownership. Nothing else will go to the cause of the evil, in nothing else is there the slightest hope.

“But this is a truth which, in the present state of society, will arouse the most bitter antagonism, and must fight its way, inch by inch. It will be necessary, therefore, to meet the objections of those who, even when driven to admit this truth, will declare that it cannot be practically applied.

“In doing this we shall bring our previous reasoning to a new and crucial test. Just as we try addition by subtraction and multiplication by division, so may we, by testing the sufficiency of the remedy, prove the correctness of our conclusions as to the cause of the evil.

“The laws of the universe are harmonious. And if the remedy to which we have been led is the true one, it must be consistent with justice; it must be practicable of application; it must accord with the tendencies of social development and it must harmonize with other reform.

“I propose to show that this simple measure is not only easy of application, but that it is a sufficient remedy for all the evils which, as modern progress goes on, arise from the greater and greater inequality in the distribution of wealth—that it will substitute equality for inequality, plenty for want, justice for injustice, social strength for social weakness, and will open the way to grander and nobler advances of civilization.

“But a question of method remains. How shall we do it?

“We should satisfy the law of justice, we should meet all economic requirements, by at one stroke abolishing all private titles, declaring all land public property, and letting it out to the highest bidders in lots to suit, under such conditions as would sacredly guard the private right to improvements.

“Thus we should secure, in a more complex state of society, the same equality of rights that in a ruder state were secured by equal partitions of the soil and, by giving the use of the land to whoever could procure the most from it, we should secure the greatest production.

“But such a plan, though perfectly feasible, does not seem to me the best.

“To do that would involve a needless shock to present customs and habits of thought—which is to be avoided.

“To do that would involve a needless extension of governmental machinery—which is to be avoided.

“It is an axiom of statesmanship, which the successful founders of tyranny have understood and acted upon, that great changes can best be brought about under old forms. We, who would free men, should heed the same truth. It is the natural method. When nature would make a higher type, she takes a lower one and develops it. This is the law also of social growth. Let us work by it. With the current we may glide fast and far. Against it, it is hard pulling and slow progress.

“I do not propose either the purchase or the confiscation of private property in land. The first would be unjust; the second, needless. Let the individuals who now hold it still retain, if they want to, possession of what they are pleased to call their land. Let them continue to call it their land. Let them buy and sell, and bequeath and devise it. It is not necessary to confiscate land; it is only necessary to confiscate rent.

“Nor to take rent for public uses is it necessary that the state should bother with the letting of lands. It is not necessary that any new machinery should be created. The machinery already exists. Instead of extending it, all we have to do is to simplify and reduce it. By making use of this existing machinery, we may, without jar or shock, assert the common right to land by taking rent for public uses.

“We already take some rent in taxation. We have only to make some changes in our modes of taxation to take it all.

“Therefore, what I propose is—to appropriate rent by taxation.

“In form, the ownership of land would remain just as now. No owner of land need be dispossessed, and no restriction need be placed upon the amount of land any one could hold. For, rent being taken by the state in taxes, land, no matter in whose name it stood or in what parcels it was field, would be really common property, and every member of the community would participate in the advantages of its ownership.

“Now, insomuch as the taxation of rent, or land values, must necessarily be increased just as we abolish other taxes, we may put the proposition into practical form by proposing to abolish all taxation save that upon land values.

“As we have seen, the value of land is at the beginning of society nothing, but as society develops by the increase of population and the advance of the arts, it becomes greater and greater. Hence it will not be enough merely to place all taxes upon the value of land. It will be necessary, where rent exceeds the present governmental revenues, to increase commensurately the amount demanded in taxation, and to continue this increase as society progresses and rent advances. But this is so natural and easy a matter, that it may be considered as involved, or at least understood, in the proposition to put an taxes on the value of land.

“Wherever the idea of concentrating all taxation upon land values finds lodgment sufficient to induce consideration, it invariably makes way, but there are few of the classes most to be benefited by it, who at first, or even for a long time afterwards, see its full significance and power. It is difficult for working-men to get over the idea that there is a real antagonism between capital and labour. It is difficult for small farmers and homestead owners to get over the idea that to put all taxes on the value of land would be to tax them unduly. It is difficult for both classes to get over the idea that to exempt capital from taxation would be to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer. These ideas spring from confused thought. But behind ignorance and prejudice there is a powerful interest, which has hitherto dominated literature, education and opinion. A great wrong always dies hard, and the great wrong which in every civilized country condemns the masses of men to poverty and want will not die without a bitter struggle.

•  •  •  •

 “It is impossible for anyone to study Political Economy, or to think at all upon the production and distribution of wealth, without seeing that property in land differs from property in things of human production.

“This is admitted, either expressly or tacitly, in every standard work on Political Economy, but in general only by vague admission or omission. Attention is in general called away from the truth, as a lecturer on moral philosophy in a slave-holding community might call away attention from too close a consideration of the natural rights of men; and private property in land is accepted without comment, as an existing fact, or is assumed to be necessary to the proper use of land and the existence of the civilized state.

“The consideration that seems to cause hesitation is the idea that having permitted land to be treated as private property for so long, we should in abolishing it be doing a wrong to those who have been suffered to base their calculations upon its permanence; that having permitted land to be held as rightful property we should by the resumption of common rights be doing injustice to those who have purchased it with what was unquestionably their rightful property.

“Thus it is held that if we abolish private property in land, justice requires that we should fully compensate those who now possess it, as the British government, in abolishing the purchase and sale of military commissions, felt itself bound to compensate those who held commissions which they had purchased in the belief that they could sell them again; or as, in abolishing slavery in the British West Indies, the sum of 20,000,000 pounds was paid to the slaveholders.

“Herbert Spencer wrote in Social Statics, published in 1864 “Had we to deal with the parties who originally robbed the human race of its heritage, we might make short work of the matter.”

“Why not make short work of the matter anyhow? This robbery is not like theft of a horse or a sum of money that ceases with the act. It is a fresh and continuous robbery that goes on every day and every hour. It is not from the produce of the past that rent is drawn; it is from the produce of the present. It is a toll levied upon labour constantly and continuously. Every blow of the hammer, every stroke of the pick, every thrust of the shuttle, every throb of the steam engine, pays its tribute. It levies upon the earnings of those men who, deep underground, risk their lives, and of those who over white surges hang to reeling masts. It robs the shivering, of warmth; the hungry, of food; the sick, of medicine; the anxious, of peace. It debases, and embrutes, and embitters. It crowds families of eight and ten into a single squalid room. It makes lads who might be useful men candidates for prisons and penitentiaries. It sends greed and all evil passions prowling through society as a hard winter drives the wolves to the abodes of men. It darkens faith in the human soul, and across the reflection of a just and merciful Creator draws the veil of a hard, and blind, and cruel fate.

“It is not merely a robbery in the past; it is a robbery in the present—a robbery that deprives of their birthright the infants that are now coming into the world. Why should we hesitate about making short work of such a system? Because you were robbed yesterday and the day before, and the day before that, is that any reason why you should suffer yourself to be robbed today and tomorrow? Any reason why you should conclude that the robber has acquired a vested right to rob you?

“If the land belong to the people, why continue to permit landowners to take the rent, or compensate them in any manner for the loss of rent? Consider what rent is. It does not arise spontaneously from land; it is due to nothing that the landowners have done. It represents a value created by the whole community. Let the landholders have, if you please, all that the possession of the land would give them in the absence of the rest of the community. But rent, the creation of the whole community, necessarily belongs to the whole community.

“The common law we are told is the perfection of reason, and certainly the landowners cannot complain of its decision, for it has been built up by and for landowners. Now what does the law allow to the innocent possessor when the land for which he paid his money is adjudged to belong rightfully to another? Nothing at all.
“The law simply says: “The land belongs to A, let the Sheriff put him in possession!” It gives the innocent purchaser of a wrongful title no claim, it allows him no compensation. And not only this, it takes from him all the improvements that he has in good faith made upon the land.

“You may have paid a high price for land, making every exertion to see that the title is good; you may have held it in undisturbed possession for years without thought or hint of an adverse claimant; made it fruitful by your toil or erected upon it a costly building of greater value than the land itself, or a modest home in which you hope, surrounded by the fig trees you have planted and the vines you have dressed, to pass your declining days. Yet if Quirk, Gammon and Snap can mouse out a technical flaw in your parchments or hunt up some forgotten heir who never dreamed of his rights, not merely the land, but all your improvements, may be taken away from you. And not merely that. According to the common law, when you have surrendered the land and given up your improvements, you may be called upon to account for the profits you derived from the land during the time you had it.

“Now if we were to apply to this case of The People v. The Landowners the same maxims of justice that have been formulated by landowners into law, and are applied every day in English and American courts to disputes between man and man, we should not only not think of giving the landholders any compensation for the land, but should take all the improvements and whatever else they might have as well.

“But I do not propose, and I do not suppose that anyone else will propose, to go so far. It is sufficient if the people resume ownership of the rent of land. Let the landowners retain their improvements and personal property in secure possession.

“And in this measure of justice would be no oppression, no injury to any class. The great cause of the present unequal distribution of wealth, with the suffering, degradation and waste that it entails, would be swept away. Even landholders would share in the general gain. The gain of even the large landholders would be a real one. The gain of the small landholders would be enormous. For in welcoming justice, men welcome the handmaid of Love. Peace and Plenty follow in her train, bringing their good gifts, not to some, but to all.”

Henry George was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1839, the Earth’s human population had just passed 1,000,000,000 individuals. It is one hundred and twenty years since Henry George wrote his book Progress and Poverty. Since then the Earth’s human population has increased six times.

The truth is especially hard to believe if it requires that we take action ­if it requires that we change. If humanity is to have a future, we must take action ­we must change. If humanity is to have a future, we must believe the truth.

The wealth represented by the land and water, native plants and wildlife, chemical, mineral, and metal natural resources is so enormous that when it is rescued from the plunderers and returned to the Synergic Trust to benefit every human it will easily sustain the needs of all humanity.

The Synergic Trusts would make Land and Natural Resources available to individuals and organizations. The Trustegrity could be funded entirely by rent receipts from the lease and utilization of Land, and from the licensing fees and revenue shares it receives for use of Natural Resources from the Life and Earth Trusts. This leasing of land and licensing of renewable natural resources would provide the revenue base for all of the beneficial services to humanity as community and to humanity as individuals.

Basic shelter, food, education and medical care would supplied without charge to individual humanity.

Only those individuals wanting to use land and natural resources for synergic production would pay appropriate charges payable to the Earth Trustegrity in lease or rental fees, licensing fees, and/or revenue shares. Only those individuals wanting to use animals and plants including native flora and wildlife for synergic production would pay appropriate charges payable to the Life Trustegrity in rental fees, licensing fees and/or revenue shares.

Only those making non-personal use of the Earth and Life Trusts are charged fees and/or revenue shares. The rents and licensing fees charged by the Trustegrity and paid to the Synergic Trusts are not taxes, since the rentor or licensee is receiving valuable access to and use of the Earth, Natural Resources, Plants and Animals, wealth belonging to Present and Future Humanity as Community in exchange for the fees and revenue shares that they pay.

Thus the Trustegrities would abolish all taxation.