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John Passant

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January 2016



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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 rent – taxing resource rents in Australia

In this paper I use Marx’s analysis of rent to try to understand the complexities associated with the attempts to tax resource rents in Australia. My aim is to dissect ground rent (what the landlord expropriates in capitalist society by virtue of being the owner of land) into its constituent parts– absolute rent for the use of the land and what Marx calls Differential Rent I and Differential Rent II, rents which arise from different qualities in land and different levels of capital investment in land. I also discuss monopoly rent.

Economic rent in the mining industry in Australia arises in some circumstances because of the barrier to capital that is land and land ownership and the monopoly of ownership that the States and Territories have of minerals and resources. In other circumstances rent arises because of demand which pushes the price (or did before the mining boom in Australia ended in mid-2012) above its price of production and hence gives a greater than average rate of return compared to other industries. Barriers to entry (Marx’s alien forces) prevent new investment that would equalise that above average profit back towards the average.

The various rent taxes of the Commonwealth and States and Territories then are attempts by the State to claw back some of the rent (surplus or above normal surplus value) flowing to mining capital. They do this either through levies independent of the production of surplus value, in the case of State and Territory royalties, or as income taxes imposed by the Commonwealth on profits arising after surplus value has been created in the process of production. The Commonwealth could take on the role of minerals landlord and demand rent from mining companies by imposing royalties on them across Australia.

To read this draft work in progress on SSRN click here.



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