One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

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Amanda V's picture
Amanda V
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One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

Solving the problem of our debt based, consumer driven society obviously requires some thought, and like all CM readers, I have been pondering too. 

One thing that strikes me is that “the system” is structured to suck people in to consuming right from the start – and have them thinking about material needs (consuming) and how far they can climb up the pecking order of life.  He who dies with the most toys wins.  When we need the system, we feed it and so become more enslaved to that very system.

We learn to do this because we need to “be in” the system from the day we are born.  This is because in our “system” we have to EARN money for our basic needs (food, water, warmth, shelter) but we also have to EARN money for our right to a “place to call home”.    This is either in the form of rent, or in the form of upfront capital to purchase our own piece of property. 

If we could get our own basic needs ourselves then WE WOULD NOT NEED THE SYSTEM.

If we stepped outside the system, it would not matter (nearly so much) if the system used  debt based money, fractional reserve banking, fiat currency or whatever.  We would simply not have the same dependence on it.

If we had a birth right to live on and work on some land within small communities– WITHOUT DEBT from the land - we could “not need the system”.  We could grow our own food there and other - mostly - self sustaining activities. 

It is important to distinguish between not needing the system, and not choosing to participate in some parts of the system, because there is a whole lot of grey area in between.  But I just wanted to introduce this concept.  Our absolute dependence on the system would be limited in that we would have a lot more freedom, it would effect us less if the system came crumbling down, and most of all we would not be supporting the very system that is continually trapping more people in to dependence on the rat race.

If I was a gazzillionaire I would buy up land, and allow families to live on it and – with the only proviso that they looked after the land, were a guardian for it, grew food properly and organically, and functioned relatively harmoniously with other families living there.

I have spent my life working my ass off to earn a degree at University, then pay off my student loan, then save some money, then invest some money in my first property, then work my way up the property ladder…. So I could finally have my goal: some rural land to grow good food and live in a small friendly rural community.  And I still have a whopping big mortgage that my husband and I are still working madly to manage. 

One day my children shall have the opportunity – should they wish - to live on the land and live off the land – without being a slave to the system.  I wish this for more people.

Can anybody see the logic here and if so, can anybody see any way this could be possible - without me having to be a gazillionaire.

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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Two ideas re: Small DEBT FREE Communities

Well, being a gazillionaire *is* a lovely little shortcut.  Failing that...Undecided

I have two scenarios, one of which is potentially playing out, the other of which I'm trying to figure out how to implement.

1)  Somebody, somewhere in your web of friends/acquaintances either is or knows somebody who is already in ownership of a sizeable chunk of land on which they are attempting to live sustainably -- and they're looking for like-minded partners.  In my case, these people are D&B and I have all kinds of posts on the "Community Building" thread about who they are, what they are doing, and what the possibilities are for myself, my wife, and other people in our social circle.  To summarize:  D&B are homesteading on 25+ acres out in the woods.  They've built their house (w/attached workshop) and are now living there, raising goats and growing a big honkin' garden -- and they're looking for partners.  We're still nutting out how it might work (probably we give them X dollars for a 99-year lease on an acre of land and then build our own place to live [perhaps a yurt?] and we six [they have two young children] collaborate on the rest -- off-grid power options, aquaculture, etc.) but since they already own the land free and clear it would be not such a huge investment of money for us to get set up over there.  It'd involve a looootta sweat equity, but I have more of that than I do cash.  (If we can sell our house then that'd set us up w/our seed money -- but the housing market around here is [as they say in Hawai`i] "make die dead"...)

2)  The other possibility I've been thinking about is this -- My wife & I own two Pilates/massage studios and we have a very high-end clientele.  Some of them we've known for 6+ years and the personal relationship is tight.  IF at some point they were to start talking in SHTF terms ("I've just started wondering if the whole damn system is going to fall apart...") THEN I could float some ideas along the lines of "For $100k, I could provide your family a nice bug-out location up in the woods.  A small no-frills 2-bedroom cabin/bungalow, off-grid power, livestock and organic garden on-site, totally sustainable.  It'll have 6 months' stored food.  All you'll need is to keep one of your cars gassed up and Bug-Out Bags packed and ready to go."  The idea would be to get 2 or 3 families to buy in and then we turn around and use the money to develop D&B's homestead.  (If we spend $50k per bungalow set up then that leaves $50k to improve the homestead.  Sure, these people would be overpaying in a sense but if it gives them peace of mind then that has no price, right?)  Obviously, this plan is easier to execute if (a) you know high-worth individuals and have a bond of trust w/them and wouldn't mind living w/them around post-SHTF and (b) you know somebody that's already got the land and so forth, but a really super-enterprising person or group could sell these memberships up front and then go buy land and get the ball rolling from there.

Cool thread, Amanda.  Rock on, Kiwis!

Viva -- Sager

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SagerXX
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Great minds?

...think alike?  Wink

I checked in over at John Robb's blog just now and coincidentally his latest post is about how to package resilient communities as an attractive investment (per my Plan B, above)...

http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2010/06/the-only-in...

I guess we're in good company (JR is one smart cat)...

Viva -- Sager

nb:  edited for spelling

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mainedrtfrmr
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

We're definitely into Option #1: we have 45 acres - 35 woods and 10 +/- open land.  We are in the process of taking on Partner #1.  No rent, just 3-4 hours of sweat equity daily for the right for him to build his own cob cottage in the woods to live with no power or running water.  Between the 3 of us we expect to be on the self-sufficient path EXCEPT a whopping mortgage, oh well!

One of the saddest moments I can remember was listening to Helen Nearing back around 10 years ago as I was weeding the garden and listening to her speak on the radio (a call-in show by local Public radio).  It was after Scott had died and sadly, it was the last time she spoke publicly as she died within 2 weeks.  You remember Helen & Scott Nearing?  Role models of mine- lived first in Vermont in the 50s & 60s where they had fled because they felt that society had become unsustainable... "Living The Good Life" was the book that inspired me.  Anyway, they practically wrote the book, as they say, for the modern back-to-the-earth homesteaders.  They moved to Harborside, Maine after they felt that Vermont was getting "too crowded".  Anyway, on that particular day, a caller asked Helen how in the world a young family with 2 children could get a homestead going and Helen answered "You can't.  Not anymore.  With the price of land today, taxes, health insurance for the kids, etc., there is no way to get started homesteading today."  I was struck with the certainty in her voice, and very sad.  I decided then and there to make it happen.  It's a long road, to be sure! 

But.... even if one has mortgage-free land, house(s), etc., property taxes are always going to require cash - $2-4,000 annually here in my neck of the woods.  Insurance is also mandated if one has a mortgage.  How to get around that, I cannot figure.  I served as local Selectperson, and I know that taxes can't be paid in eggs and honey, sad though that is!

Good thread, and thank you for starting it!  I get world-weary often and homesteading is my/our positive response to a world gone mad  (I've been reading Derrick Jensen's "The Culture of Make-Believe" and so I've felt like walking deep into the woods and not coming back!)

Cheers from Maine, where we dig in the ground with sticks.....

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logBurner
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

Problem - think about the benefits of this current system such as Health. Here in UK we still have a National Health System. Imagine a self sufficient system wrt food and then an abcess in a tooth. Ouch!

I agree we are sucked in to this system but it would be a hard unwind because we have been sucked in for so long :(

Also think of a trading system and possibly it would just be a re-boot of the current system - eventually degrading due to human nature :(

Don't want to be negative here just realistic. I have just spent all day today getting yet another month's worth of logs split for next winter so you can take some measures ;) - 1 day for 1 month heating which will feed the local trees with CO2 to grow ;)

However, I have pondered this for many moons and the only way to rectify the horror of debt is to go back to  a 'duty to all people'. . . . . so much cr*p saying that we need capitalism to create incentive to create technology etc but this has been debated way back in times of Plato. IMO this mess can all be solved, but don't underestimate the power of the current monetary system. For example think about buying cement (or wood) for a new dwelling - everybody has to buy in for a valid alternative, . . . will the local builder accept a local currency??

FYI Look at the Austrian Approach which was very successful during the great depression but was killed off by central banks. In summary people realised that Money was not worth holding (local scrips) so they realised that when you make money you invested in things like food, wood, . . .. to safegaurd your future so they planted trees and food. This now seems alien as to make money (growth) nowadays you expect to place that money in a stock exchange (simplified of course as that model could actually work also but it doesn't work purely because of people).

The biggest point is that humans have a propensity to live of other creatures: Initially we chose the ox, horse, . . . we now choose third world humans but we don't see this anymore and we don't see exactly how much work those folk do: They do a frightening amount becuase we consume a frightening amount :(

Regards

Thomas Hedin's picture
Thomas Hedin
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

How are these small debt free communities going to pay their tax debts?

 

Amanda V's picture
Amanda V
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Re: Two ideas re: Small DEBT FREE Communities
SagerXX wrote:

Well, being a gazillionaire *is* a lovely little shortcut.  Failing that...Undecided

I have two scenarios, one of which is potentially playing out, the other of which I'm trying to figure out how to implement.

1)  Somebody, somewhere in your web of friends/acquaintances either is or knows somebody who is already in ownership of a sizeable chunk of land on which they are attempting to live sustainably -- and they're looking for like-minded partners.  In my case, these people are D&B and I have all kinds of posts on the "Community Building" thread about who they are, what they are doing, and what the possibilities are for myself, my wife, and other people in our social circle.  To summarize:  D&B are homesteading on 25+ acres out in the woods.  They've built their house (w/attached workshop) and are now living there, raising goats and growing a big honkin' garden -- and they're looking for partners.  We're still nutting out how it might work (probably we give them X dollars for a 99-year lease on an acre of land and then build our own place to live [perhaps a yurt?] and we six [they have two young children] collaborate on the rest -- off-grid power options, aquaculture, etc.) but since they already own the land free and clear it would be not such a huge investment of money for us to get set up over there.  It'd involve a looootta sweat equity, but I have more of that than I do cash.  (If we can sell our house then that'd set us up w/our seed money -- but the housing market around here is [as they say in Hawai`i] "make die dead"...)

2)  The other possibility I've been thinking about is this -- My wife & I own two Pilates/massage studios and we have a very high-end clientele.  Some of them we've known for 6+ years and the personal relationship is tight.  IF at some point they were to start talking in SHTF terms ("I've just started wondering if the whole damn system is going to fall apart...") THEN I could float some ideas along the lines of "For $100k, I could provide your family a nice bug-out location up in the woods.  A small no-frills 2-bedroom cabin/bungalow, off-grid power, livestock and organic garden on-site, totally sustainable.  It'll have 6 months' stored food.  All you'll need is to keep one of your cars gassed up and Bug-Out Bags packed and ready to go."  The idea would be to get 2 or 3 families to buy in and then we turn around and use the money to develop D&B's homestead.  (If we spend $50k per bungalow set up then that leaves $50k to improve the homestead.  Sure, these people would be overpaying in a sense but if it gives them peace of mind then that has no price, right?)  Obviously, this plan is easier to execute if (a) you know high-worth individuals and have a bond of trust w/them and wouldn't mind living w/them around post-SHTF and (b) you know somebody that's already got the land and so forth, but a really super-enterprising person or group could sell these memberships up front and then go buy land and get the ball rolling from there.

Cool thread, Amanda.  Rock on, Kiwis!

Viva -- Sager

SagerXX thanks for your great post.

1) very true comments.  I suppose if somebody really wanted to live on the land then  - where there is a will there is a way.  It is fabulous you have found S&D.   

I suppose other concerns that other people could have about doing this is that if the land ownership people weren't mortgage free, then they too could possibly lose all their hard work establishing the land if it were to go to mortgagee sale.  But I suppose a 99 year lease would protect them somewhat.

2) Very interesting thoughts here too.  I will be very interested to hear in future how this one goes.  Would you execute this legally or just as a verbal agreement?  I suppose they would want to see it first too.   And if they didn't go ahead with it, do they still come knocking on your door if TSHTF ?  You are right there is a bit of working out to do here, but it has the potential of a great idea. 

My other concern about number 2) is that I am wondering if by the time they feel the need to buy in to something like this, in actual fact - the value of what they would be buying would be worth for example $500,000 because you just can't buy that kind of security anywhere.  And if things have moved along the track that far, you could have a lot of takers for it, but would it be too late to kit out S&D's place like you would like to?

One way around it would be to offer to buy a shareholding of a "package".  But you are right, if you broach the subject to them too soon you could lose losing face with them altogether - so it is a fine line.  What about advertising in the local paper for a share in this sort of thing ?  That way, you could mention to your clients what you are doing without directly inviting them to part with their money.  Then if they were interested they could say so. 

I am just worried for you that you could end up with everyone on your door step one day .... I mean all the friends and the whole town and anyone who knows your paid up member  ....

I see it as a plus for them though because they get their "security" but they don't have the overheads of buying the land, and they are not having to "organise" anything.... so that justifies paying more than it is "worth" on face value.   Anyway, some very interesting points you have raised here.

 

Amanda V's picture
Amanda V
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities
mainedrtfrmr wrote:

We're definitely into Option #1: we have 45 acres - 35 woods and 10 +/- open land.  We are in the process of taking on Partner #1.  No rent, just 3-4 hours of sweat equity daily for the right for him to build his own cob cottage in the woods to live with no power or running water.  Between the 3 of us we expect to be on the self-sufficient path EXCEPT a whopping mortgage, oh well!

One of the saddest moments I can remember was listening to Helen Nearing back around 10 years ago as I was weeding the garden and listening to her speak on the radio (a call-in show by local Public radio).  It was after Scott had died and sadly, it was the last time she spoke publicly as she died within 2 weeks.  You remember Helen & Scott Nearing?  Role models of mine- lived first in Vermont in the 50s & 60s where they had fled because they felt that society had become unsustainable... "Living The Good Life" was the book that inspired me.  Anyway, they practically wrote the book, as they say, for the modern back-to-the-earth homesteaders.  They moved to Harborside, Maine after they felt that Vermont was getting "too crowded".  Anyway, on that particular day, a caller asked Helen how in the world a young family with 2 children could get a homestead going and Helen answered "You can't.  Not anymore.  With the price of land today, taxes, health insurance for the kids, etc., there is no way to get started homesteading today."  I was struck with the certainty in her voice, and very sad.  I decided then and there to make it happen.  It's a long road, to be sure! 

But.... even if one has mortgage-free land, house(s), etc., property taxes are always going to require cash - $2-4,000 annually here in my neck of the woods.  Insurance is also mandated if one has a mortgage.  How to get around that, I cannot figure.  I served as local Selectperson, and I know that taxes can't be paid in eggs and honey, sad though that is!

Good thread, and thank you for starting it!  I get world-weary often and homesteading is my/our positive response to a world gone mad  (I've been reading Derrick Jensen's "The Culture of Make-Believe" and so I've felt like walking deep into the woods and not coming back!)

Cheers from Maine, where we dig in the ground with sticks.....

Hi Maine

I think it is fabulous you have found somebody who is prepared to work 3 to 4 hours a day for only his spot on the land.  ie you are not offering him a dwelling or anything else ?  Make sure you look after paying that mortgage!

Helen Nearings message is so true and why I am so upset at the moment.  It is so hard for the average person to decide to take care of themselves as much as they can by getting back to the good life.  That is how stuck we have all become. 

I am actually not sure how many people would decide to go to the land and live off it as much as they could if they had the choice.  But at least they would have the choice.  We are the only species that is not given a home to take for granted.  A bear is born in the woods and gets his cave, the birds get the trees ....  native indians had the land to use (once),  there are tribes in the amazon who are slaves to nobody and live off the food in the forest ...

I suppose when I spoke about grey areas, I meant that we may have to still earn a little bit of money... for medical needs.  Land taxes come under the same category as having to pay money for your place to sustain yourself.  But if you worked even a few hours a week that would still free up the rest of your life for taking care of yourself.  In New Zealand our land taxes are much much less.  I pay $1000 a year and I have 17 acres.  I din't realise yours were so high.

Am interested in that book by Derek Jensen - sounds interesting, I shall give it a read.  No doubt I will also want to head in to the woods and never come back too.

 

Amanda V's picture
Amanda V
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities
logBurner wrote:

However, I have pondered this for many moons and the only way to rectify the horror of debt is to go back to  a 'duty to all people'. . . . . so much cr*p saying that we need capitalism to create incentive to create technology etc but this has been debated way back in times of Plato. IMO this mess can all be solved, but don't underestimate the power of the current monetary system. For example think about buying cement (or wood) for a new dwelling - everybody has to buy in for a valid alternative, . . . will the local builder accept a local currency??

Logburner

Your builder would accept food as a currency if the amount and quality of the food was better than he could get anywhere else for the same value of money as his building work. 

As for building the dwellings, I say build now while you can still get the stuff you need.

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Amanda V
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities
Thomas Hedin wrote:

How are these small debt free communities going to pay their tax debts?

 

Taxes are only a very small amount here in NZ so I hadn't considered it.  However working a few hours a week to pay for these things would still give us back our freedom by allowing us to look after ourselves on the land the rest of the time.  And if we did live in a small community there are all sorts of other options for paying land taxes eg one family pays the taxes and in return the other families provide all their firewood needs for example.

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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

Amanda,

Are the taxes going to be paid with money?

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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities
Thomas Hedin wrote:

Amanda,

Are the taxes going to be paid with money?

Oh for goodness sake.  Yes.  Do you think your government will accept anything else? Please read my replies to others above.

You are wording it as though this thing is full on up and running.  It is a concept and an idea I am sharing.  It maybe somewhat idealistic.  But most solutions to our problems at the moment are.  The forums are for sharing ideas.  That is what I did.  I don't have all the solutions and answers to the details.  At least not yet.

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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

Oh for goodness sake.  Yes.  Do you think your government will accept anything else?

How are the people going to get the money to pay the taxes? 

 

Wouldn't it be easier to just have governments create the money to pay for things that your society needs in leau of taxation without any debt to anyone?

Low taxes

Great infrastructure

Plenty of money to do business with.

Money that represents the peoples production.

Then there could be lots of small debt free communities that are prosperous right?

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Amanda V
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

 

How are the people going to get the money to pay the taxes?

Please re-read my initial post and my other responses to you and others.  Basically finding the money to pay land tax would not nearly be the burden of paying a mortgage.  Atleast not in New Zealand.   So people would be more "free" from the system.  I am not saying money would not exist.  I am saying you would not be such a slave to the system if you did not owe money on the land.  Not just because you had no mortgage but because you could take care of many of your own needs.

As for the rest of your post.  I am speaking about one solution that is independent of governments.  Governments got us in this mess.   If you think the government should create more money then, maybe you should, like, watch the crash course ?

 

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Thomas Hedin
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

If you think the government should create more money then, maybe you should, like, watch the crash course ?

How is the government creating money a problem when the government creates no money at all?  Only banks create money.

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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

Amanda,

So if I understand you correctly, you do have to pay property taxes in your country right?

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goes211
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

Thomas,

Can't you just let someone discuss a topic without it becoming a forum to discuss your sovereign credit solution?  Not everyone agrees with you on this and I fear that the only things you are accomplishing are derailing threads and alienating members.

Vanityfox451's picture
Vanityfox451
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

Thomas,

call this a gift ...

Games People Play ~ by Eric Berne

[quote=]

Wikipedia Review

Games People Play (subtitle: The Psychology of Human Relationships) is a famous 1964 book by psychiatrist Eric Berne. Since its publication it has sold more than five million copies. The book describes both functional and dysfunctional social interactions.

In the first half of the book, Berne introduces transactional analysis as a way of interpreting social interactions. He describes three roles or ego-states, the Child, the Parent, and the Adult, and postulates that many negative behaviors can be traced to switching or confusion of these ego-states. He discusses procedures, rituals, and pastimes in social behavior, in light of this method of analysis. For example, a boss who talks to his staff as a controlling parent will often engender self-abased obedience, tantrums, or other childlike responses from his employees.

The second half of the book catalogues a series of mind games, in which people interact through a patterned and predictable series of "transactions" which are superficially plausible (that is, they may appear normal to bystanders or even to the people involved), but which actually conceal motivations, include private significance to the parties involved, and lead to a well-defined predictable outcome, usually counterproductive. The book uses “Boy, has he got your number” and other casual phrases as a way of briefly describing each game. Often, the "winner" of a mind game is the person that returns to the Adult ego-state first.

Not all interactions or transactions are part of a game. Specifically, if both parties in a one-on-one conversation remain in an Adult ego-state, it is unlikely that a game is being played.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2642300664854649094

... with other less specific yet useful books to be found here : -

Important films, books or internet pages we all should study

~ VF ~

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Thomas Hedin
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

Can't you just let someone discuss a topic without it becoming a forum to discuss your sovereign credit solution?

I'm all for small communities, I think they are a great idea.  I just wanted the author to understand there is no debt free land anywhere because (at least in the USA) all property has a mortgage placed on it, weather the owner agreed to it or not.  I know for a fact I would love to live in a smaller community.  I think they are healthier for a nation and if we ever get around to making it financially possible we could live in a world of smaller, more tigh knit, low crime, moral communities.  The only way this is going to happen, and I'm sorry to tell you this, is to change the princples of how the now worldwide money system works.

You've never seen me advocate for soverign credit.  I only advocate wealth or debt free Money.

 

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities
Thomas Hedin wrote:

Oh for goodness sake.  Yes.  Do you think your government will accept anything else?

How are the people going to get the money to pay the taxes? 

 

Wouldn't it be easier to just have governments create the money to pay for things that your society needs in leau of taxation without any debt to anyone?

Low taxes

Great infrastructure

Plenty of money to do business with.

Money that represents the peoples production.

Then there could be lots of small debt free communities that are prosperous right?

Thomas, I admire your zeal.  But with all due respect, not every thread on CM.com is amenable to or in need of  being turned into a lecture/debate vis-a-vis your money/currency ideas.  

Amanda V's picture
Amanda V
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities

Thank you very much goes211, Vanityfox and Sager for your support.

Amanda V's picture
Amanda V
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Re: One Solution: Small DEBT FREE Communities
Thomas Hedin wrote:

Amanda,

So if I understand you correctly, you do have to pay property taxes in your country right?

I am sorry Thomas, I really don't understand where you are coming from.  And I don't think you understand where I am coming from either.  Maybe we should just leave it at that.

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