Geoism Without Government?

Is Geoism without government possible? Fred Foldvary seems to think so. In his presentation at Libertopia he states that private communities can function like condominiums wherein people pay a fee or a rent for taking up space in the community. Of course such Geoist communities would not collect any type of tax on working, exchanging, building, etc. In fact, these communities would even rebate taxes that governments imposed upon them. The difference between this and paying land rent to a government, via a land value tax for instance, is that community members voluntarily join and leave through contractual procedures. This isn’t an assumed social contract, but a physical document that anyone who wants to join and take up space in the community would sign agreeing to that community’s covenants and by-laws.

An added benefit to living in these private communities is that residents have a greater ability to hold their board of directors accountable, unlike big government which is endowed with sovereign immunity. It can be argued that communities do a better job of responding to their local needs than large removed governments do.

In the video, Dr. Foldvary mentions “Private Places” in St. Louis. Private Places are “self-governing enclave[s] whose common areas (e.g. streets) are owned by the residents, and whose services are provided by the private sector.” Foldvary states that any community could gradually shift towards systems resembling the Private Places model. What reason might governments give to disagree with the creation of such communities if they fund themselves or otherwise pull their own weight? Over the long-term, private communities might be the way to gradually shift to a more decentralized governmental model.

Eventually, these private communities could form larger networks for common defense and make current forms of government hierarchy obsolete. Any community could finance themselves by charging residents land rent, regardless of the dominant political ideology of the community. If someone didn’t like living in a particular community anymore, they could easily leave and join another. Changing communities would be much easier than moving to different states or countries.

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4 Responses to Geoism Without Government?

  1. It sounds like a way for the richer elements of society to distance themselves from the poorer elements of society. We are all in this life on earth together and should create one inclusive community not let the rich parts lock in previous gains to the detriment of the rest.

  2. Jacob Shwartz-Lucas says:

    Richard, these communities should allow anyone to join so long as they follow the rules the community creates. Communities should not be allowed to violate basic human rights, nor deny people entry based on their race, religion, origin, etc. The only requirement is that they must pay a rent based on the space they exclude others from in the community.

    Charging rent instead of taxes, can be done within in the current system as well. There are however libertarians that don’t like the idea of the government being the distributor of the rent/ land value back to the community that creates it. This video is simply meant to show them that it is possible to have a rent sharing system outside of a strong centralized government authority.

  3. Jacob Shwartz-Lucas says:

    There are many articles on this site about how a land value tax would create a more inclusive society.

  4. I agree that lvt is the way to go but I am not sure that it would work in this day and age without some form of oversight. The best form of oversight to my mind would be a properly democratic government. Complete freedom of information in order to inform citizens decision making coupled with a distribution of lvt as a citizens income which at election time the political parties negotiate with the electorate as to the amount of lvt/citizens income the party/government will take from citizens to run the country. This might look a bit “pie in the sky” at the moment but I can,t think of a better way of holding governments to account.

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