Paperback Price £ 14.95
- ISBN: 9780856835070
- Pages: 112pp
- Size: 214mm x 136mm
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Governments around the world are wrestling with the problems of enormous debts, low growth, high unemployment and a gap between the demands of public expenditure and what can be raised through taxation. This problem has been acute since the financial crisis, but has been a hallmark of western economies for decades.
Only a few countries have been able to avoid this pattern, mostly those blessed with vast natural resources such as oil. However, there are two small islands with no natural resources which have also enjoyed high growth combined with low taxation: Hong Kong and Singapore. Nor do they have any public debts, on the contrary, they generally run a budget surplus, and investment income is a feature of their government revenue.
“This is an excellent book. It brings a highly informed, exterior perspective to the debate on the particulars of the remarkable Hong Kong Revenue Regime. There is a real freshness about the discussion, which benefits from a number of well chosen comparative reflections – in addition to its strong theoretical foundations.”
Richard Cullen, Visiting Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong
The author has gone beyond the conventional analysis of taxation, and asked what each jurisdiction has in common, to bring about this happy state of affairs.
The result is quite surprising for two countries which sit at the top of the table for promoting free markets and other capitalist ideals of small government. All land in Hong Kong is owned by the government, which makes it available for use by lease in return for a Government Rent, while Singapore now controls over half of its land area, as well as significant stakes in its strategic industries, which deliver a steady stream of unconventional income.
Although in Hong Kong this situation has developed almost by accident, Purves suggests that here lies a model for generating public revenue that could be adopted in other countries to allow a shift in taxation from production and consumption to the Economic Rent of land, as advocated by Adam Smith over two hundred years ago.
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“You can become wealthy by creating wealth or by appropriating the wealth created by other people. When the appropriation of the wealth is illegal it is called theft or fraud. When it is legal economists call it rent-seeking”
John Kay, Financial Times 27th Dec 2009
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, they cannot save the few who are rich.”
John F Kennedy, Inaugural Speech, Jan 1961
“If science is defined by its ability to forecast the future, the failure of much of the economics profession to see the crisis coming should be a cause for great concern”
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Rent Unmasked explores the new economic paradigm that policy-makers need to solve global problems in the post-2008 era. With conventional economic theories discredited, the new model must equip governments with tools to re-stabilise societies in a dangerous world. Rent Unmasked explains why one paradigm only qualifies to serve this purpose: the dynamic model that reinstates time and space in economic theorising.
ISBN 9780856835117 | Price: £19.95