Cooperative Individualism

J.E. Ferry

[Reprinted from Fragments, April-June 1965]

Some of our modern would-be leaders show much disdain of Socialism. They do not, however, show the path away from it -- which is by means of the application of co-operative individualism.

To attain co-operative individualism, we must first examine two economic attitudes: 1) toward labor; 2) toward taxation.

Regarding the first, it is obvious that the true reward of labor is the goods and services which the application of labor produces. Here in Australia, we pay laborers under pressure of Socialism overtime wages, causing the value of money to decrease. This, paradoxically, lessens the total of the goods and services which laborers may purchase with their inflated pounds. Regarding the second, it is evident that, in most of the English-speaking countries, the bulk of taxation comes from impositions on income. In the United States, the highest rate of progressive income tax is 77% of the income; in England, it is 83% and in Australia, 66%. Also in Australia, income tax is 67% of the total taxation, and 48.5% of the total revenue.

Income tax is highly Socialistic, and follows no economic principle. The principle of taxation should be:

"A payment made by individuals to the community for services rendered to those individuals by the community and the government."

How can these services be measured? In Australia, particularly in Queensland and New South Wales, these services are measured by means of land value taxation. To some extent, this is also true in the States of Victoria and South Australia. It would be a simple matter to make this method Commonwealth-wide.

Each authority would simply impose the rate on the valuation for the revenue it needed. These rates could be collected by the district councils. The amounts set out for Commonwealth and State purposes would be remitted to those authorities, without much expansion of local staffs. The great inquisitorial staffs in capital cities, which are now devoted to the collection of income tax, could be put to more productive work.

The application would make for co-operative individualism, as against Socialism; raise the standard of living; reduce costs; and make for increased trade between countries.