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John Passant

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December 2015



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Marx and taxing economic rent

This is very much a draft paper.  I argue that taxing resource rents in Australia involves a battle between the state in its Commonwealth and State and Territory variations as landlord and mining capital as both a new landlord and exploiter of the land and the minerals therein. That battle is over the share of the economic rent which mining capital extracts from other capital in the process of distribution of the profit or more correctly surplus value arising in production.

The taxation of resource rents acts as an imperfect substitute for competition by lowering the super profits the specific monopolists and oligopolists receive and thus helping to equalise profit rates, a role traditionally carried out by markets. Company tax cuts based on the increased revenue from the rent tax could then redistribute some of the monopoly rents obtained during the production process to those other sectors of capital as well as mining capital.

In Marxist terms this mining rent arises not because the mining industry has a large number of workers – the organic composition of mining capital is in fact very high – but because of the barrier to capital that is land and land ownership and the monopoly the state has over minerals and resources which it leases to mining companies.

I have cut it down from 20,000 words to 11,000 by removing most of the discussion about the rent taxes debates in Australia so it might red even more clunkily than usual. I also need to work out and make more prominent the argument about the state as landlord like in the States and Territories imposing royalties (ie taxes for the use of the minerals before they enter the production process) and how this is different to Commonwealth income taxes which arise after the production and distribution process.

Feel free to join in the conversation on the academia site about the strengths and weaknesses of the paper, with suggestions for improvement.


To view the draft click here. Taxing economic rents in Australia: what a capital idea


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