Home Contents

Participants Listing ] Participants submitting research papers ] Call for Papers ] Final Program ]
Participate in Issues 2004 ] Final Program of Global Dialogue 2004  ] Newsletters ]

Earth Community Organization (ECO)
the Global Community

Alanna Hartzok
Earth Rights Institute
United Nations NGO Representative
Email: earthrts@pa.net
Website: http://www.earthrights.net

for Discussion Roundtables 28, 4, 9, 26, 29, 30, 32, 33 and 53

Table of Contents

Earth Rights Economic Policy Vision Statement

by Alanna Hartzok
Website: http://www.earthrights.net

The biggest challenge for social democracy today is to articulate coherent policies based on a unifying vision for society. The policy approach should transcend the usual right/left divide and articulate a clear analysis of the problems inherent in the neoliberal macroeconomics structures.

The major problems to address include: (1) the enormous worldwide wealth gap and the underlying concentration of land and natural resource ownership and control; (2) the privatized monetary structures; and (3) building global governance institutions and financing governance and development in such a way as to divert funds from military industrial profits and into social development and environmental restoration.

We need a basic clarification of First Principles on the concept of "ownership", starting with the principle that the land and natural resources of the planet are a common heritage and belong equally as a birthright to everyone. Products and services created by individuals are properly viewed as private property. Products and services created by groups of individuals are properly viewed as collective property.

We can hatch many birds out of one egg when we shift public finance OFF OF private property and ONTO common heritage property. From the local to the global level we need to shift taxes off of labor and productive capital and onto land and natural resource rents. In other words, we need to privatize labor (wages) and socialize rent (the value of surface land and natural resources). This public finance shift will promote the cooperatization of the ownership of capital in a gradual way with minimal government control of the production and exchange of individual and collective wealth. Natural monopolies (infrastructure, energy, public transportation) should be owned and/or controlled or regulated by government at the most local level that is practical.

The levels of this public finance shift can be delineated thusly: Municipalities and localities to collect the surface land rents within their jurisdiction. Regional governing bodies to collect resource rents for forest lands, mineral, oil and water resources; the global level needs a Global Resource Agency to collect user fees for transnational commons such as satellite geostationary orbits, royalties on minerals mined or fish caught in international waters and the use of the electromagnetic spectrum.

An added benefit of this form of public finance is that it provides a peaceful way to address conflicts over land and natural resources. Resource rents should be collected and equitably distributed and utilized for the benefit of all, either in financing social services and/or in direct citizen dividends in equal amount to all individuals.

A portion of revenues could pass from the lower to the higher governance levels or vice versa as needed to ensure a just development pattern worldwide and needed environmental restoration.

In the area of monetary policy we need seignorage reform, which means that money should be issued as spending by governments, not as debt by private banking institutions. We also need guaranteed economic freedoms to create local and regional currencies on a democratic and transparent basis.

To discuss our Economic Policy Vision Statement contact:

Back to top of page

A Green Tax Shift Policy Approach To Financing Local-To-Global Public Goods

A Green Tax Shift Policy Approach To Financing Local-To-Global Public Goods
by Hector Sandler, Rashmi Mayur, Tatiana Roskoshnaya and Alanna Hartzok

There is a troublesome and painful contradiction in the lives of many of us who are working for peace, justice, poverty eradication, debt cancellation and sustainable development. While our hearts and minds focus on building a better world for everyone, each day we hand over fistfuls of dollars to build weapons of mass destruction, fuel dangerous, dirty and polluting technologies, and subsidize huge conglomerates which concentrate the wealth of the world in the control of the few. But together we can end tax tyranny and align our visions and values with how we finance our governments.

Taxation not only raises money to fund government services, it also reflects the overall value system of a society. The goal of green tax policy is to create a system of public finance which strengthens and maximize incentives for:

* Fair distribution of wealth
* Environmental protection
* Basic needs production
* Provision of adequate government services
* Peaceful resolution of territorial conflicts

Green tax reform makes a clear distinction between private property and common property. Private property is that which is created by labor. Common property is that which is provided by nature. Green tax policy removes taxes from wages and other private property and increases taxes and user fees on common property. Reducing taxes on labor increases purchasing capacity, reducing taxes on capital encourages efficiency. Shifting taxes to land and resources curbs speculation and private profiteering in our common property and is a practical way to conserve and fairly share the earth.

Captured in brief soundbites, tax waste, not work; tax bads, not goods; pay for what you take, not what you make; and polluter pays become tax shift principles readily translated into voter friendly policy recommendations with broadbased political support.

Green tax policy CUTS taxes on:
* Wages and earned income
* Productive and sustainable capital
* Sales, especially for basic necessities
* Homes and other buildings

Green tax policy INCREASES taxes and fees on:
* Land sites according to land value
* Lands used for timber, grazing, mining
* Emissions into air, water, or soil
* Ocean and freshwater resources
* Electromagnetic spectrum
* Satellite orbital zones
* Oil and minerals

Green tax policy seeks to ELIMINATE subsidies environmentally or socially harmful, unnecessary, or inequitable. Slated for drastic reduction or complete removal are subsidies for:

* Energy production
* Resource extraction
* Commerce and industry
* Agriculture and forestry
* Weapons of mass destruction

Back to top of page

The Alaska Permanent Fund: A Model of Resource Rents for Public Investment and Citizen Dividends


Wars are often fought over the ownership and control of land and natural resources. Inequitable ownership and wasteful, unsustainable use of the earthıs resources are root causes of both the unjust wealth gap between the rich and the poor and the depletion and collapse of our natural resource base.

This paper describes the form and function of the Alaska Permanent Fund as a model governmental institution for collection and distribution of natural resource rents, particularly oil, and makes suggestions for improvement of the Fund. It also presents an analysis of fundamental issues regarding natural resource and territorial claims and urges the establishment of a Global Resource Agency to collect and distribute transnational resource rents.

This paper describes the form and function of the Alaska Permanent Fund as a model governmental institution for collection and distribution of natural = resource rents, particularly oil, and makes suggestions for improvement of t he Fund. It also presents an analysis of fundamental issues regarding natura l resource and territorial claims and urges the establishment of a Global Re source Agency to collect and distribute transnational resource rents.


The author is United Nations NGO Representative for the International Union for Land Value Taxation and director, Earth Rights Institute. You may conta ct the author via:

Publication Pending
Copywrite November 14, 2001
All rights reserved.

The Alaska Permanent Fund
A Model of Resource Rents for Public Investment and Citizen Divi dends
by Alanna Hartzok

If you were a third grade student in the state of Alaska, one day in school you would play a game called JenniferB9s Dilemma. The game tells the story o f a little girl who has discovered a box of valuable coins. Her dilemma is d eciding what to do with an unexpectedly large amount of money. It is a way f or young children to learn about their own yearly windfall fortunes from the Alaska Permanent Fund. In the year 2000, each one received a dividend check for nearly $2000.

The Alaska Permanent Fund1 is a case study in a new concept of the ro le of government - that of agent to equitably distribute resource rents to t he people, thereby securing democratic common heritage rights to land and na tural resources.

Purchased from Russia in 1867, Alaska became the 49th state in 1959. Under the Alaska Constitution (Article VIII. Section 2. Gen eral Authority) all the natural resources of Alaska belong to the state to b e used, developed and conserved for the maximum benefit of the people. Ten y ears after statehood the first Prudhoe Bay oil lease sale yielded $900 milli on from oil companies for the right to drill oil on 164 tracts of state-owne d land. Compared to the 1968 total state budget of $112 million, this was a huge windfall.

By legislative consensus, the original $900 million was spent to provide fo r basic community needs such as water and sewer systems, schools, airports, health and other social services.

Although the oil fields were proving to be the largest in North America, Al askans came to agree that a portion of this wealth should be saved for the f uture when the oil runs out. In 1976 voters approved a constitutional amendm ent, proposed by Governor Jay Hammond and modified by the legislature,   ;which stated that *at least 25% of all mineral lease rentals, royalties, ro yalty sale proceeds, federal mineral revenue-sharing payments, and bonuses r eceived by the State shall  be placed in a permanent fund, the principa l of which shall be used only for those income-producing investments specifi cally designated by law as eligible for permanent fund investments.*

The Alaska Permanent Fund was thus established as a state institution with the task of responsibly administering and conserving oil and other resource royalties for the citizenry.

There are two parts to the Fund: principal and income. The principal is inv ested permanently and cannot be spent without a vote of the people. Fund inc ome can be spent, decisions as to its use being made each year by the legisl ature and the Governor.

The Fund was established as an inviolate trust, meaning that the principal of the Fund is to be invested in perpetuity. The Fund thereby transforms non -renewable oil wealth into a renewable source of wealth for future generatio ns of Alaskans.

Oil started flowing through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in 1977, at the time the worldB9s largest privately financed construction project. In February of that year, the Fund received its first deposit of dedicated oil revenue of $734,000.

All income from the Permanent Fund was to be deposited in the state general fund unless otherwise provided by law. What to do with the earnings generated and how they would best benefit the present generation of Alaskans engaged Alaskans in debate for the two decades following the establishment of the Fund.

Like Jennifer with her box of coins, the dilemma was what to do with the gr owing income from the Fund. Would it best be saved for the future or m anaged as a development bank for AlaskaB9s economy? After a four year debate the Alaska State Legislature decided in 1980 in favor of a savings trust for the future. The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation was created to manage the assets of the Fund.

The same year the Legislature also created the Permanent Fund Dividend Prog ram, retroactive to January 1, 1979, to distribute a portion of the income o f the Permanent Fund each year to eligible Alaskans as a dividend payment. B y the end of 1982, after a couple years of wrangling with the U.S. Supreme C ourt over constitutional details, all residents of Alaska - every woman, man and child - who applied for and who were found eligible (must be at least o ne-year resident) received their first dividend which was $1000. This was th e historic beginning of an annual program paying to Alaskan citizens a fair and equal share of the wealth from publicly owned resources.

In 1987 the Permanent Fund Dividend Division was created within the Department of Revenue to consolidate responsibilities for the administration and operation of the dividend program. Through the dividend distribut ion program, the Fund puts more new money into the stateB9s economy than the total payroll of any industry in Alaska except the U.S. military, petroleum and the civilian federal government. Compared to the wages paid to Alaskans by basic industry, dividends make a greater contribution than the seafood in dustry, construction, tourism, timber, mining and agriculture. For a conside rable percentage of Alaskans, the dividend adds more than 10 percent to the income of their family. This is particularly true in rural Alaska.

Those who received dividends each year from 1982 - 2000 have received a tot al of $18, 511. There were 582,105 citizens who received a total of $1 ,143,172,725 in dividends in the year 2000, which amounted to an individual dividend of $1963 per person. Overall, the dividend program has dispersed mo re than $10 billion into the Alaskan economy. The principle of the Fund was nearly $26 billion as of June 19, 2001.

There is strong citizen interest in the FundB9s operation and investment act ivities. Earnings of the Fund undergo special public scrutiny since any expe nditure of such earnings must be subject to the legislative appropriation pr ocess. Beautifully designed and printed literature is available which descri bes in detail the various components of the Fund. An Annual Report is distri buted each year. Under the policy guidance of the FundB9s six trustees and th e executive director and staff selected to execute it, there has developed a n extensive accountability program and open meetings with opportunity for ci tizen participation.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation website (www.apfc.org) keeps current all investment and distribution activities of the Fund. The history of the d evelopment of the Fund, its incorporation, details concerning its management , along with up-to-date information on the Fund portfolio and dividend pay-o ut amounts can all be found on the website.

Also posted therein are lesson plans that can be downloaded for teachers to use in their classes such as Jennifer's Dilemma, other teaching stories, an d puzzles and games to further education and interest in the Fund. From the website one can email any questions and receive a direct reply from a knowle dgeable Fund trustee or employee.

The Alaska Permanent Fund is a well-managed, transparent and democratic &nb sp;institution. It is a remarkable pioneering model of a fair and effective way to secure common heritage wealth benefits for the people as a whole. Whi le undoubtedly an institution worthy of replication worldwide, there are, ho wever, aspects of the Fund which upon close examination reveal the beginning s of another dilemma.

Charlies Challenge and the Prudent Investor Rule

Let's call this dilemma B3Charlies Challenge.B2 Imagine now that Jennifer has given Uncle Charlie some of her valuable coins to invest in the best and sa fest way possible. Jennifer trusts Uncle Charlie to do a good job because he is an expert investor. Charlie invests in a diversified portfolio of stocks , bonds and other securities, including real estate. Having carefully explor ed potentially good deals for real estate investments in B3the lower 48B2, Cha rlie selects several properties, including one in the City of Philadelphia. Philadelphia has low property taxes, state and federal monies pouring into the city and B3free enterprise zonesB2 so land values will surely b e rising. Real estate in this city looks like a good investment for Jennifer .

However, unbeknownst to Charlie, there is a growing citizens movement in Ph iladelphia that is set on capturing for the people of that city the equivale nt of AlaskaB9s oil wealth - the value accruing to a different type of valuab le natural resource - the surface land sites of Philadelphia. CharlieB9s Chal lenge is this: when he becomes aware that the citizens movement for land val ue taxation in Philadelphia will cut into profits for JenniferB9s dividend in vestment fund, what will he do? Will he try to keep the resource rents of Ph iladelphia flowing into JenniferB9s portfolio or might he decide to help the citizens of Philadelphia establish their claim to the resource rents of thei r own territory? Or will he simply withdraw funds from real estate investmen ts that may not be so profitable once land values are recaptured by the city for the benefit of its citizenry?

Charlies Challenge is quite literally the situation that is emerging for th e Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation and its Board of Trustees. The Fund now owns investment property in the city of Philadephia. There is indeed a growi ng citizen movement in that city to shift taxes onto the value of land sites , thereby recapturing resource rents as a common heritage right for the citi zens of the territory of this municipality.

Keep in mind that the Fund is now so enormous ($26 billion) that it has the power to grab significant amounts of resource rents from anywhere on earth. Within established foundation guidelines of the B3prudent investor ruleB2 the TrusteesB9 goal is to earn slightly better-than-average rates of return with slightly below-average levels of risk. In other words , the Fund is managed under normal investment procedures and criteria. And u nder normal investment rules, there are no established ethical criteria for socially responsible investing. In fact, the Fund makes a special point that it minimizes risk and within that constraint maximize s investment yield and does NOT engage in "social" or "politi cal" investing.

In other words, mandated by law to secure the continued prosperity of the c itizens of Alaska now and into the future, the Fund is in the position to ma ke substantial profits from land and natural resources from people all over the world via Fund investments in real estate2 (see footnote) an d stocks, as profits from the latter also include substantial amounts of lan d and resource rent.

Thus the Fund faces this ethical challenge of global dimensions. Establishe d to secure common heritage rights to rents and royalties from the oil and n atural resources of Alaska for the citizens of Alaska, it is now beginning t o extract resource rents from other territories. Unbeknownst to people elsew here who have not secured their own rights to common heritage resources is t he fact that Alaskan people are *stealing* their resource rents through perf ectly legal, *responsible* and yes *prudent* investment mechanisms.

From this perspective, Charlies Challenge is a dilemma of monumental propor tions. As people all over the world begin to awaken to and indeed demand the ir rights to the rents of common heritage resources, investment portfolios w ill never again be the same. The Alaska Permanent Fund and all other public and private investment funds will have to look elsewhere to generate profits - maybe to investments in renewable energy technologies which could help AL L of us when the oil runs dry.

Viewed holistically, and as a fundamental paradigm shift in property rights ethics, the Alaska Permanent Fund opens yet other important dimensions of i nquiry.

The state of Alaska receives federal money for substantial federal military installations. The military is established to protect the territory of the United States and this protection secures the rights to US land and resource s for the people of the US as well as non-nationals who have legal title to American lands. The military, paid for by US citizens out of federal income taxes, is protecting Alaskan citizensB9 rights to the resource royalties they are now collecting through the Fund. Through providing protective services, all US citizens are contributing to the value of Alaska oil resources and t hus to the dividends paid to Alaskans, but getting no value in return, as th e federal government is not taxing Alaskan oil wealth.

Additionally, the Fund is now so large that it is a major source of loans t o the US government via US savings bonds. So not only are US citizens from t he other 49 states contributing through their tax dollars to the value of Al aska oil resources via military expenditures, they now have to pay interest on the federal debt to the Fund out of their own hard-earned income taxes. & nbsp;And where, one might ask, are the Alaska Permanent Fund equivalents for the other oil producing and mineral mining states? Many large corporations owning these oil and mineral lands sometimes pay no taxes whatsover. They en gage in other ventures such as agribusiness at a loss, write the loss off ag ainst their oil profits, and end up with no *profits* on the books to be tax ed.

Resource Rights and Territorial Claims

Let us deepen our inquiry concerning property rights in land and natural re sources as it relates to the Fund, checking in again with Jennifer and Uncle Charlie. What would Jennifer do if she met up with another claimant to her valuable coins? What if someone informed Jennifer that the box of coins was originally theirs, because they had found the box first, and had simply put it on the shelf where she had found it? Now they had returned and wanted it back.

Here we confront issues of the establishment of rights to territory by disc overy and prior claim. Jennifer B3discoveredB2 the coins but someone else clai ms them as originally theirs. If Jennifer refuses to surrender her coins to the prior claimant, the situation could deteriorate to violence and bloodshe d, mayhem and murder, or even a lawsuit. Uncle Charlie better supply Jennife r with some really big guns or funds for an extensive court battle. Claim co uld then be determined by force in the former or cunning in the latter.

There is a miasma of problems with trying to establish territorial rights b y any of these methods, either discovery or prior claim, by military force o r by current legal mechanisms. The persistent conflict in the Middle East co mes readily to mind, as do indigenous land issues and the wounds of historic land grabs still festering throughout Latin America. Less well-known are th e raw realities of the concentration in the ownership and control of land an d resources in the United Kingdom, Scotland, and the United States, all firs t world countries where a few individuals or corporations own massive amount s of natural wealth. (see Appendix)

And now back to Alaska with the really big question. Upon what basis is the exclusive claim of the people of Alaska to the oil resources of Alaska? Let us consider the history of this claim.
The state takes its name from the Eskimo word B3Alakshak.B2 The B3prior claimB2 by original occupancy would appear to be exclusively that of the indigenous people.

Russia claimed Alaska by right of discovery after it was sighted by Vitus B ering in 1741. Purchase was negotiatied by the US governmentB9s Secreta ry of State William H. Seward who bought Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million, about two cents an acre. Was the purchase by the United States and thus the transfer of rights to exclusive claim legitimate on the basis of R ussiaB9s prior claim by discovery?

World War II had a substantial impact on Alaska as the United States sent thousands of workers there to build defense installments and the Alaska High way. In 1942 the Japanese occupied several Aleutian islands, the only part o f North America that was invaded during the war. B3Might makes rightB2 enables an exclusive claim to be secured and maintained and frequently is the origi n of the claim itself. But does the ability to maintain a territorial bounda ry through military protection stand up as an appropriate basis for exclusiv e claim?

Is the exclusive claim of the people of Alaska to the oil resources of Alas ka theirs by right of that stateB9s constitutional law? Legally, yes, a legal ity that was put in place well after United States Federal and State Constit utional law was established for the B3lower 48B2 states, and much later than t he land of North America was grabbed by force of conquest from indigenous pe oples. That a state constitution and a democratic vote of the people establi shed a basis and a mechanism for equal rights to natural resources is a phen omenal and profoundly important human rights achievement and should be ackno wledged as such.

Nonetheless we must question whether democratic process itself is a suffici ent basis for an exclusive claim to natural resources by people residing in a particular territory. If that territory contains resources essential for t he well-being of everyone else on earth, then the absolute control of that r esource by the people of that territory, no matter how democratic the intern al politics may be, would give those people undue and unjust power and contr ol over the people of the rest of the world.

Thus we see that the basis upon which the citizens of Alaska stake their ex clusive claim to the oil and natural resources of Alaska is a complex histor ical weaving of territorial claims by discovery, purchase, military might an d democratic law. Interestingly, the land right due to occupancy or B3prior c laim,B2 negated as a way to secure an exclusive claim of indigenous peo ples to the territory by the several ensuing methods of claim by newcomers, finds its mirror in the Alaska Permanent Fund requirement that an individual must reside in Alaska for at least twelve months in order to qualify for th e Fund dividend payments. Time-determined occupancy is certainly one way to stake a claim to the benefits of natural resources in a territory, reminisce nt of earlier US homesteading approaches to land rights. But here again, we must ask if this is a sufficient ethical basis for an B3exclusiveB2 claim?

The essential question then is this: Is it fair and just to exclude people from everywhere else in the world from benefiting from the extremely valuabl e, nature created oil deposits of Alaska because of any of these territorial rights rules and negotiations? Are any of these methods of claiming territo ry more moral and ethical, more in alignment with truth and justice, than ot hers? In other words, is there a moral and ethical hierarchy, if you will, o f territorial claims, some being more B3rightB2 than others?

We must conclude that while some of these means to claim may be more just o r fair than others, the exclusive claim of the people of Alaska to the oil r oyalities of Alaska cannot be made on the basis of either prior claim, disco very, purchase, ability to maintain and secure possession, constitutional la w, or length of residency.

Ultimately, the only rational, supportable, moral, just and ethical basis u pon which the citizens of Alaska can assert a claim to the oil resources of Alaska is by birthright to the gifts of nature. And that cannot be an exclus ive claim. The claim by birthright can only be legitimate if it is acknowled ged that all other human beings have an equal claim to land and natural reso urces. The deepest ethical dimension of territorial rights recognizes that h umanity is one and indivisible in its fundamental claim to the earth as a bi rthright of all.

People from the rest of the world, with no oil in their territories, can on ly establish the right to oil by purchase or force. If they are dependent on oil to develop and advance their economies, but only are able to purchase a nd not profit from oil, then these people will remain in a subservient and m endicant relationship to the controllers and claimers of oil rich territorie s until the oil runs dry. By then the Alaska Permanent Fund will have an eve n larger investment portfolio by which to extract land and resource rents &n bsp;from people elsewhere. This is the fundamental moral and ethical contrad iction of the Alaska Permanent Fund and its modus operandi as a B3prudentlyB2 managed investment trust.

If the Fund trustees and the citizens of Alaska were to deeply consider thi s common heritage rights basis for their claim of oil royalties and the prof it on Fund investments they would certainly come to realize the need for a & nbsp;broader, global, humanitarian role for the Fund - that of assisting peo ple in other parts of the world to secure their own fair share rights to res ource rents.

For instance, Africa now accounts for 14 percent of U.S. oil imports, a num ber that could grow to 25 percent by 20153 . (footnote #3) Many Africa n countries with oil wealth do not publish their oil revenue in the national budgets. These nations are rife with strife, civil war, corruption and pove rty. Humanitarian organizations and many African citizens are calling for tr ansparency and accountability in the management of oil funds and for the use of oil wealth for overall economic development. The Alaska Permanent Fund c ould play an important role by helping to establish similar funds in these n ations.

Additionally, the Fund could develop a screen for its investments which wou ld go beyond even currently established criteria for socially responsible in vesting. It could decide NOT to invest in land and resource securities and i nstead TO invest primarily in (1) the development of renewable energy techno logy; (2) strictly goods and services businesses and industries; and (3) in places and in ways that would support the emergence of forms of governance h olding principles aligned with the primary task of the Fund, i.e., the collection of resource rents as a common heritage right for all people on a n equal and democratic basis.

It would be a big step in the right direction if people all over the world awakened to their claim to the land and resources of the earth as a birthrig ht and demanded that this right be written into their constitutions as did t he Alaskans. But based on nation state boundaries, this would be insufficien t to secure justice in land rights worldwide. Nation states were forme d in a number of ways, but primarily through force of conquest. Consequently , some nation states are large and well-endowed with land and resources, whi le others are small or lack natural resources. Furthermore, former colonial states now independent did not thereby automatically gain control of their r esources for their own people.

Global Resource Agency

There is an urgent rational, ethical and democratic imperative for the crea tion of a Global Resource Agency which would function in some ways similiar to, but much more extensively than, the Alaska Fund. The Global Resource Age ncy would be responsible for (1) monitoring the global commons (e.g., the oz one shield, global forest reserves, fish); (2) determining rules for a ccess to transnational resources (like the oceans, electromagnetic spectrum and satellite orbital zones); (3) issuing use permits; and (4) collecting re source royalties and revenues.

The Global Resource Agency could also assume substantial authority for equi tably distributing fees collected from common heritage resources worldwide a s calculated by formulas based on population, development criteria and curre ncy purchasing capacity. For example, a percentage of the oil rents fr om the Alaska Permanent Fund would be collected by the Global Resource Agenc y and either distributed directly to citizens in regions with no oil resourc es in a kind of dividend sharing program or made available as interest free loan funds for sustainable development projects in those areas.

The Global Resource Agency could fund institutions and activities needed fo r global environmental protection, justice, and peacekeeping, such as the World Court and the International Criminal Court. This would in turn con tribute to a better and more secure quality of life for the citizens of Alas ka and elsewhere who would pay a portion of their resource rents into the GR A. The principle that the earth is the birthright of all on an equal b asis would also guide legal decisions made by the courts in determining just solutions to territorial disputes.

The emergence of such an institution is essential if we are to create a wor ld that works for everyone. However it would take years for it to be accepte d and created. In the meantime the responsibilities listed above could be as sumed by diverse existing United Nations agencies and other intergovernmenta l institutions and mechanisms. While some nation states which are strongly c ontrolled by vested interests who profit from the current system might balk at the idea of a Global Resource Agency, others would offer their endorsemen t if it were truly capable of promoting stability and economic fair play for their people. Seed funding and technical assistance from the Alaska Permane nt Fund could be provided to work together with these nations and worldwide networks of humanitarian non-governmental organizations to establish and coo rdinate the various components which would then be brought together to form the Global Resource Agency.

Some people might object to the idea of a Global Resource Agency out of fea rs that it would add another top-heavy level of bureaucracy to an already go vernmentally burdened world. But those advocating strengthened global govern ance ask us to imagine the shape of the emerging world as a pyramid with thr ee basic levels: a small tier at the top for global institutions, a greatly slimmed down second band of national governments, and a vast sturdy base of local government, with a primary role of governance on each tier to collect and redistribute land and resource rents and royalties as common heritage fu nds for the benefit of all. Thus much of the resources raised, decisions mad e and benefits provided would be at the local level.


The object of the 4000 year old oriental game of GO is to gain control of t erritory by capturing enemy stones on a board. You win by forming walls with your stones that surround more territory than do your opponentB9s stone wall s. One of the oldest games known, GO is based on the concept that if you pos sess land or territory, you have an area to base life on. You then have libe rty and freedom. Without land or territory, you do not have anything to base life on and are considered without life, or dead.

Chess, probably invented in India in ancient times, was widespread in Europ e in the 16th century when the rules were definitively stabilized. A more di rectly confrontational and combative game than GO, chess exhibits the same t heme of territorial conquest and control as a life or death affair. Both are games of metaphor which mirror real life militarized territorial goals.

Consider for a moment that for thousands of years and millions of hours tri llions of brain cells have been trying to take, expand or hold territory in the face of the enemy.B2 We now live in an age when defining the otherB2 as enemyB2 can lead to the annihilation of both. WinningB2 by taking away the territory of the otherB2 now has a boomerang effect, as numerous intrac table civil wars attest. Time, attention, energy and money devoted to securi ng or maintaining exclusive claim to particular territory now needs to be re directed to save the earth, all of humanity and other lifeforms from the cur rent threat of overall ecosystem collapse.

The spirit of our age, with the image of the earth as seen from space embla zoned in our mindscape, insists that the circle now be drawn to include all, each and every one of us, as equal claimants to the whole earth itself. Thi s quantum leap worldview can and surely will be the basis for profound chang es in institutions of governance, economics and law. The right to the earth itself as a right by birth is the most fundamental human right of all. The A laska Permanent Fund, based on the democratic constitutional equal right to natural resources, though not a perfect model, is nonetheless one of the mos t enlightened governmental works in progressB2 at this time on earth.


Footnote #1: The Fund's real estate portfolio consisted of 6 3 separate investments with a market value of $2.5 billion as of June 30, 20 00

Footnote #2: Oil for us; hope for them: U.S. trade with Africa should stre ss value of human rightsB2 by Ian Gary, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 9, 2001

Material for this paper taken from An AlaskanB9s Guide to the Permanent Fun d, 9th edition, annual reports of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation and Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend, and the Fund website, www.apfc.org.

The author, Alanna Hartzok, is United Nations NGO Representative for the In ternational Union for Land Value Taxation and director, Earth Rights Institu te. You may contact the author via:

Mail: Box 328, Scotland, PA 17254 USA
Phone: 717-264-0957
Fax: 717-264-5036
Email: earthrts@pa.net
Website: www.earthrights.net

Copywrite November 14, 2001 to Alanna Hartzok
All rights reserved.

Appendix - Land Ownership Data

* At best, a generous interpreta tion would suggest that about 3% of the population owns 95% of the privately held land in the USA. Fewer than 600 companies control 22% of our private l and, a land mass the size of Spain.Those same companies land interests world wide comprise a total area larger than that of Europe - almost 2 billi on acres. (Peter Meyer, "Land Rush - A Survey of America's Land - Who O wns It, Who Controls It, How much is Left" in Harpers Magazine, Jan. 19 79).

*A United Nations study of 83 countries showed that less than 5% of rural l andowners control three-quarters of the land.

* According to a 1985 government report, 2% of landowners hold 60% of the a rable land in Brazil while close to 70% of rural households have little or n one. Just 342 farm properties in Brazil cover 183,397 square miles - an area larger than California (Worldwatch, Oct. 1988)

* In Florida, 1% of the people own 77% of the land. Other states wher e the top 1% own over two-thirds of the land are Maine, Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon. (In order to show that there was NO need fo r land reform in Central America because our land in the USA is even more co ncentrated in ownership than Central America, Senator Jesse Helms read these facts into the Congressional Record in 1981.)

Throughout the world, we see these numbers (various source):

* 86% of South Africa is still owned by the white minority population
*  60% of El Salvador is owned by the richest 2% of the population
*  80% of Pakistan is owned by the richest 3% of the population
*  74% of Great Britain is owned by the richest 2% of thepopulation
*  84% of Scotland is owned by the richest 7% of the pop.

Back to top of page

Article 4

Back to top of page

Article 5

Article 6

Back to top of page

Send mail to gdufour@globalcommunitywebnet.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright İ 2003 Global Community WebNet Ltd.