Thursday 6 December 2012

The rise of the freeloaders

On Prospect magazine’s blog, David Cooper (secretary of ALTER, Liberal Democrat Action on Land, Taxation and Economic Reform) poses an interesting question:
Freeloading, once it is recognised, provokes instinctive revulsion. Recent studies indicate human morality evolved partly as a response to the damage done by ‘free riders’. In primitive societies, anyone hitching a free ride was lethal to the social group, since hunter-gatherer existence required everyone to pull their weight. Humans had to develop a finely tuned sense of fairness and root out free riders, or their social group would become extinct. Most people feel guilty when they hitch a free ride on others, and therefore avoid doing so.
No, the target is not people on benefits. Cooper instead asks, why do we tolerate “freeloading on a massive scale” by landowners?

His answer to this question is not new but is more radical than a mansion tax.

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