Stewardship Economy
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Tony Vickers Chair ALTER (Action on Land Value Taxation and Economic Reform) (July 2011)

“Stewardship Economy” struck me, as soon as I saw the title, as a term that deserves to stick. It suggested an entirely different approach to ‘ownership’, which indeed it is. “Private property without private ownership” is the book’s sub-title and although ‘land’ is mentioned once in the back-cover blurb it is all about ‘stewards’ of “any part of the natural world”.....

The book is clearly work-in-progress, with ‘supplements’ to follow. It is almost as though the author is slightly embarrassed by the potential impact of his insights. On the one hand, he is modest about the scope for immediate action in the absence of buy-in from the general public, also about his own ability to solve all the problems that might arise in transition; on the other, in the section of the book where facing pages contrast ‘now/ownership’ with ‘then/stewardship’, he can be startlingly ambitious. This device makes for very thought-provoking reading.

Pratt achieves for me, in that one word Stewardship, a mind-set that should make it easier to imbue LVT with an ethical dimension. I have no illusions about how challenging it will be to wrest that “compensation” (money!) from Owners until they become Stewards. But there will be no success for us land-taxers until we can frame our policies within a Stewardship context.

I recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand why some of us have become so obsessed with this policy. I suspect most readers of Challenge already accept Stewardship as preferable to Ownership. If so, you should find it easier, after reading it, to prefer ‘resource rents as revenue’ (the generic term for all kinds of ‘Land’ tax) to most other taxes – and to use more effective language to convert others to your way of thinking.


James Robertson (July 2011)

Julian Pratt describes the purpose of his book as "the limited one of pursuing the consequences of a single idea - what it could be like if everybody shared equally in the wealth of the natural world. It does not envisage the 'end of politics' or suggest that this single reform is a panacea for all social and economic ills. But it does provide a firm foundation on which to build a fair and sustainable economy."

In practice it is not a very limited purpose, of course. But his book brings together admirably the various necessary reforms to deal with property in land, managing the environment, raising revenue, and distributing social benefits. I recommend it very warmly.


David Boyle -  New Economics Foundation (June 2011)

'I might quibble with some of his solutions, especially the idea of a 100 per cent land tax, but the book is an important contribution to the new economics, and I commend it'.


Ethical Economics - Shepheard-Walwyn publishers (April 2011)

The author sets out the practical benefits of a stewardship economy and discusses how to make a transition from an ownership economy.  A supplementary volume, to be published later in the year, will trace the ethical and practical arguments for stewardship from the perspectives of property rights, economics, optimal taxation and benefit systems'.




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