By GRAHAM HART, Georgist Education Association Inc, of Western Australia

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1. It is truly amazing to learn how few people understand the functions of government, and understand that there is a principle involved which limits public functions to the preservation of peace and justice.

2. Australia enacts more than twice as many laws and regulations as any other country in the world.
Lord Acton truly said, "To govern best is to govern least."
Australia is therefore the most over-governed country in the world. This involves a higher cost to be financed by public revenue.
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In the absence of temptations to do what is anti-social people will naturally respect the equal rights of all other people.
In the Book of Micah 6.8 the question is asked "What doth the Lord require of thee?" It is answered, "To do justly, to love mercy and walk humbly before God." Justice is the first of the Lord's requirements.

3. To understand what is, or is not, a government function, it is necessary to have an understanding of fundamental human rights.
All people live by applying their labour of hand or brand, directly or indirectly, to the earth, which is the source of all wealth and the field of human endeavour.
The land is freely provided by the Creator equally for all His children. Land assumes a vlue only when competition of people arises for land most suitable for their individual or corporate requirements.

The basic human right is that all people shall have equality of opportunity to apply their labour to land for the satisfaction of their needs and desires.
This right must be respected by governments.
It must also be provided that all people shall keep what they earn.

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4. Peace and goodwill can only be maintained when all people have the right to use the earth and to keep the wealth won therefrom. This implies the similar rights of the people of other countries.
It is essential to remember that public revenue arises from the presence and activity of all people in a community, which imparts a rental or use value to land.

What the people have created as a community belongs to all the people and is the natural source of public revenue.

Taxation imposed on people who produce, exchange, invest or consume wealth, to the contrary, is a violation of the right of property in the product of labour.

The first duty of governments is to collect community-created value and refrain from collecting individually-created wealth by taxation.
This proposal would produce only about half the revenue raised by taxation, but the cost of public services would be correspondingly reduced also.

Government functions would be limited:-
(a) Justice applied to government would abolish involuntary poverty and unemployment.
(b) Crime, which arises because of unjust discrimination between people, would be greatly reduced together with the cost of controlling the same.

5. Governments should be restricted to functions which, by their nature, are necessary monopolies, in which competitive private enterprise cannot operate efficiently and in the national interest.
The subject of a just public revenue system will be enlarged upon in the next bulletin about the correct Public Revenue.

Copyright © 1996; reproduction is permitted if approval requested, and original matter is acknowledged.

Other Australian and New Zealand reformers you could contact

Henry George Homepage (Australia), NSW
Universal Basic Income,NZ
Helen's Place homepage,NZ
EarthSharing, Victoria
or click here for wider list

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Georgists worldwide invite you to work towards a Pattern for a Better World, and Georgist Policy. If you click the previous underlined words you will return to No 1 in this series.

You have just read (we hope) 2. The True Functions of Government. Please read: 3. Public Revenue, 4. Taxation & Monopoly, 5. Restriction of Government Functions, 6. A Private Banking System, 7. Democratic Elections, 8. Phasing in Over a Period.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Bright yellow background colour on one or more of these pages by courtesy of the Banneker Center, USA. Other acknowledgements include some that can be seen, and some unseen, which can be detected by running a cursor over images etc. The early pages of this Website were put on the WWW through finance from HGFA, and the assistance of GANM, plus GP and GP of Multiline Internet Server.


Put on WWW around 19 October 1996; Last revised on 20 Sep 2005

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