Home Rule Globally
Abstract of -
Property Rights and Taxation
John Ewbank was a patent and intellectual property rights lawyer. This essay seems significantly influenced by legal concepts that originally were established to protect the incomes of inventors, writers, and artists from opportunists who would seek to profit by selling knock-offs of original creations. Death overtakes all of us, however, and a dead person doesn't need income. Likewise, in a technological society inventions may soon become obsolete and of little further value; and demand for the vast majority of books and graphic works typically declines to near zero as time passes and fashions change. So for these reasons patent and copyright protection is limited to terms deemed appropriate to the particular type of creative work. Given this legal perspective, a broad and encompassing theory of property rights can be inferred and is reflected in this essay. Ideally, global government should acknowledge reasonable concepts of property rights and ensure that those same rights are respected at all levels of governance.
Ewbank also advances the general principle that each level of government should have the right to collect a uniform set of public data and public document types appropriate to its level of remove: localities having rights over property records; provinces having rights over provincial economic and administrative data, and nations having rights over data and documents from nationally regulated activities. Global government would collect data from international trade, currency exchange, and from other activities that span national boundaries. Rules about what publicly collected data or document categories could be made public, published, or offered for sale would be decided by vote of constituent electorates.
Having enshrined a broad swath of property rights, the essay addresses the issue of taxation, where government lays claim to a share of personal property or income. Fairness simplicity and voluntary public compliance are desirable taxation features that a global government would want. "With enough emphasis upon honesty, openness, intuitive justice and social responsibility fair taxation by the world federation could eventually develop enthusiasm"...for that government and compliance with its taxes. To keep taxes simple and minimize corruption, taxation at each level of government would be confined to entities and activities regulated or monitored at that level, and expenditures at all levels limited to current tax revenues plus funds raised for projects financed with set amortization obligations.