Our Land, Our Rent, Our Jobs

Paperback Price £ 19.95

  • ISBN: 9780856835049    
  • Pages: 256pp
  • Size: 234mm x 156mm
  • Available: July 2015

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Editor Details:

Stephen Meintjes studied law at Stellenbosch and Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He has spent most of his career in investment research and management and is frequently quoted in the media, including radio and television. He is currently Head of Research for Imara S. P. Reid.

The late Michael Jacques, a chartered accountant and then lecturer at the Faculty of Commerce of the University of the Witwatersrand, worked with Stephen Meintjes on the submission to the Treasury of various proposals on windfall taxes, royalties and general tax reform.

South Africa, like many countries in Africa, is resource rich but the benefits are not shared by the whole population. High levels of unemployment are leading to increasing conflict and violence, undermining the brighter future hoped for when apartheid was abolished.

The authors set out a proposal to unleash their country’s potential for growth in a way that benefits investors and the poorest by reforming taxation – a blueprint for other developing countries. The rapid development of Taiwan and South Korea in the 1950s and 1960s owed much to a similar, business-friendly tax reform.

‘This book is, in a sense, immediate and topical and in another, universal and timeless.’ from the Foreword by Nobantu Mbeki

“… abounds with new ideas … they must be debated, for only in this manner can a solution to the [land] crisis be found.” Dr Thami Mazwai

“[The authors] challenge us to totally rethink the nature of taxation.”  Kennedy Maxwell

Lateral ideas on tax raising to generate social justice for all South Africans whilst maintaining international investor confidencePeter Hain

“The concept of community-created natural resource rentals as described … does much to stimulate the basis for an expectation for finding and unleashing forces that could give rise to economic regeneration.”  Alex Anderson

“This is an innovative proposal on taxation that simultaneously addresses the issues of equity, growth, job creation and tax efficiency. It goes beyond the theory and outlines practical steps that can be taken to a different taxation regime …”  JP Landman

Governments today tax social ills like tobacco and alcohol to discourage use, but why tax work and investment? The result, the authors reveal, is to make half the country economically unviable, yet economists have long known that a tax on ground rent does not have this adverse effect. As Adam Smith put it: “Though a part of this revenue should be taken … in order to defray the expenses of the state, no discouragement will thereby be given to any sort of industry.”

All governments need do is collect the value they create and stop taxing the value created by labour and capital. To achieve this, the authors propose replacing most taxes with land value rentals and, in the case of mining, rolling out the tried and tested gold mine tax formula to the rest of the industry, thus stimulating development and creating more jobs.

Such a regime would encourage the owner of land to put it to its best use or sell it for someone else to do so. It would also make viable public investment in new infrastructure projects. These would become self financing, because the uplift in land values, due to the improved amenities, would automatically be captured in higher rentals payable to the government, a kind of virtuous circle.