Renting the Silk Road

Fred Harrison*

… launched a now expert comment, which is available for download (please click here) on the website of the DOC research institute. A brief conclusion:

“To achieve optimum levels of efficiency, complex societies need the support of efficient hierarchies of decision-making.

Fred Harrison

People in the formative phases of the first civilisations learnt how to combine the efficiency of power with the disciplines of ethics. This was authentic power: the capacity to mobilise the efforts of free people to solve problems in an efficient and ethical manner.

That quality is almost wholly absent in modern societies, in which power tends to assume the form of political opportunism. This is a degraded form of force, which has become part of the problem, not the solution, to the challenges facing humanity. We see this in the way that seemingly all-powerful governments continue to be defeated by the painful problems which afflict their populations.

The explanation for this failure is to be found in the fact that these problems flow from the architecture of the social system. As such, they are aligned with the privileged interests of rent-seekers, who remain hostile to remedies which might cure (as opposed to mitigating) the problems. By understanding the causal connections – the transmission mechanisms for poverty, ill-health, corruption, unaffordable housing, and so on – we may identify the need for fresh approaches. By locating our analysis within the framework of the model of civilisation, we are led to the conclusion that intractable problems can be erased; but only by restoring the classical statecraft and its doctrine of the Single Tax.

Based on our review of the deep past and the recent present, we can illustrate how current problems would be placed on the path to resolution within the framework of the classical approach to statecraft.”


  • Fred Harrison (born 1944) is a British author, economic commentator and corporate policy advisor, he is Research Director of the London-based Land Research Trust. He is notable for his stances on land reform and belief that an over reliance on land, property and mortgage weakens economic structures and makes companies vulnerable to economic collapse. His first book, The Power in the Land (1983), predicted the economic crisis of 1992. He followed this with a 10-year forecast (published in The Chaos Makers [1997]) that a global financial crisis would be triggered when house prices peaked in 2007. He studied economics at Oxford, first at Ruskin College and then at University College, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. His MSc is from the University of London. Fred’s first career was in newspaper journalism, most notably at The People newspaper, where he became chief reporter. After a move to Economics, initially as Director of the Centre for Incentive Taxation, he spent 10 years in Russia advising their Federal Parliament (Duma) and local authorities on property tax reform and establishment of land markets. Since his return to the UK he has worked as a corporate business advisor, research director, writer and lecturer. Harrison is inspired by the writings of American political economist, Henry George. He has written for a number of newspapers and magazines and his books are widely distributed.


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