Green Spot: Reinventing the World

Every once in a while I get an idea or two on how to change the world.  Most of the time they won’t amount to amount to anything, but in the interest of entertainment I’ll share a few of them today.

  1. Remove Corporate Personhood.  Really let’s face the basic fact folks.  I can’t be in two places at once, but a corporation can be in millions of places at once and move millions of dollars in the blink of an eye.  Corporations have too much power by making them a person under the law.  In reality they require extra regulation to avoid social and environmental excesses in the mindless pursuit of profit.
  2. Excessive Toxin and Pollution Taxes.  Let’s face it if you want a company or person to not do something you make it too expensive.  So the simple solution is to use large taxes on the use of excessively toxic substances and pollution.  So if you rolled taxes like that out you could then reduce income taxes.  It’s similar to the Green Shift idea, but instead of just applying it to CO2 it applies to everything excessively toxic. (By the way I say excessively toxic, because just about everything is toxic to some degree, the minor stuff isn’t much of an issue, but some things are excessively toxic to all life.)
  3. Encourage micro and very small businesses by removing taxes.  Currently when a large business fails or shuts down operations it tends to effect a larger number of people directly and even larger number indirectly.  By shifting the focus to smaller local markets with multiple very small scale business the economy can handle the shocks of downturns better on a national level.  Yes some areas would still get hit hard once in a while, but the secondary effects would be reduced.
  4. Change Property Tax to Square Foot Based.  Pick a flat rate and then apply it to houses to encourage smaller ones which use less resources.  So if you did $2/sq foot per year, a 1200 sq foot house would be $2400/year, while a 3500 sq foot house would be $7000/year.  That way if you want a huge house, you better be able to afford it.

Well there’s a few of my strange ideas on changing the world.  If you have got some of your own, please share.

9 thoughts on “Green Spot: Reinventing the World”

  1. I like your ideas, they would be hard to nail down, but I still have to disagree with you #1.

    Having corporate personhood also keeps companies accountable. Without it they couldn’t can enter into contracts and couldn’t be sued. I agree it feels wrong that corporate is a separate entity, but it is a necessity to allow new businesses to be formed and take risks.

    I’d also add that I think the “Gas Guzzler” tax needs to be thrown out. It should be replaced with a general gas tax which is a fair tax on actual usage. The gas guzzler tax exempts trucks which are all gas guzzlers and second it isn’t fair to someone who has a legitimate need for a “big” SUV but also makes choices to only use it sparingly when needed.

  2. I have to agree with Jordan on the #1 item, having a corporation act like a person keeps them accountable.

    I would like to add in that subsidies to solar space and water heating systems which should bring the drain on our power requirement WAY down would be great. This would especially be needed as people migrate to electric cars when we have a technology to quickly charge them. Getting 30Kwh of power in to a battery/capacitor type device in an hour is a fricken lot of current.

  3. #1 need not be that hard. Currently the logic is as follows.

    Premise 1: Only people can be sued.
    Premise 2: We should be allowed to sue corporations also.
    Conclusion: Therefore corporations should be people.

    wtf? The answer isn’t to draw that conclusion. It’s to change Premise 1 so that it says “People AND corporations can be sued”. Easy.

  4. I disagree with the premise that separate legal entity status for corps keeps them accountable. Mostly it provides a shield to protect the human beings at the controls. Lift that shield and make those people personally liable.

    I love the property tax based on square foot idea.. that is brilliant..

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  6. I agree with #2 the most. I’m glad to see that Toronto is trying to reduce the use of plastic bags by allowing grocery stores to charge 5 cents a piece for them starting in June 2009. It’s a small thing, but it should have an impact on the irresponsible way plastic bags are being over used at the moment.

    Banning bottled water would be another good step or better yet, place a very heavy tax on this item. That may even put a stop to this horrible trend of using bottled water. I’m sure even 15 years ago, we managed to survive without bottled water. I’ve had people at work asking me why I drink tap water, as though that was a strange thing to do. I admit bottled water is convenient, but don’t overdo it.

    I like #4 as well, but property tax needs to also take into consideration a few other factors, like proximity to amenities such as good public transit, grocery shopping, etc.

  7. Elaine,

    Thank you. I was thinking of something similar. You strip companies of personhood and then layer on their new legal structure including the ability of people to sue the company.

    Joan,

    I agree the plastic bag thing is well over due. We just need to keep expanding it.

    I disagree with the other factors you listed for property tax. After all those really aren’t included now in my property tax so why would I add them?

    Tim

  8. I think it might be better to have property tax based on power and water usage. It would more directly tax the overuse of resources and encourage efficiency.

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