The property tax is the most contentious tax in the Western world because it is truly a measure of freedom, as even the smallest of a payment of a property tax is an admission that a man does not truly own his own land, but the government does and can take it at any time if he does not pay it. If one wants to test this theory, one only needs to not pay one’s property taxes and see what happens, a practice not recommended to anybody. He who receives the property taxes is the one who owns the land and thus controls the society.
Google is a major corporation, but acts like a country and makes more money than most nations. Consider the fact that in 2015, Google earned $66 billion US. Since there are only 69 countries that make more money than Google, the corporation places as the 70th richest “nation” in the world, placing it equivalent to Panama and making her in the top 50% of all 195 nations.
According to a recent article, Google’s Alphabet INC is asking for a portion of property tax revenues for its work in helping to develop “smart cities” according to a report:
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs proposed taking a portion of Toronto property taxes, development fees and increased land value to build a smart city on the eastern waterfront, The Toronto Star reported.
According to internal documents obtained by the Star, Sidewalks Labs plans to argue it is “entitled to … a share in the uptick in land value on the entire geography … a share of developer charges and incremental tax revenue on all land.”
This money, which would amount to an estimated $6 billion over 30 years, would otherwise go to the city, according to the Star.
Sidewalk Labs, which aims to create more sustainable and affordable cities through technology, has received significant push back to its project in Toronto after initially being heralded as a catalyst for innovation. Similar to the push back Amazon received in New York City that ultimately led the company to decide to abandon its plans there, local leaders have questioned the company’s intentions and pressured it to make concessions.
After locals became concerned about how Sidewalk Labs would use the the data it collects on their public spaces, the company promised it won’t control the data collected there, the Star reported in October 2018. Even after that promise, a prominent privacy expert on the project’s advisory committee stepped down from her role, calling the proposal, “not acceptable,” the Star reported.
In an interview with the Star about the company’s proposed funding, Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff said the company wants to take a fair cut of revenues once Toronto itself is prospering from the impact of its work.
“We’re going to be spending a lot of money in advancing the infrastructure,” Doctoroff told the Star. “And where we do that and there are new property tax revenues or developer charges, we only want to get paid back a reasonable return for our investment in that infrastructure.”
Reached for comment by CNBC, a spokesperson for Sidewalk Labs pointed to a blog post by Doctoroff clarifying the company’s plans following the Star report.
In the Star interview, Doctoroff said Sidewalk Labs is pursuing projects that will benefit the public and are not otherwise being developed.
“This is a way of actually enabling critical infrastructure that isn’t happening. What we hope to do is accelerate the development of this whole area by years and years,” Doctoroff told the Star. He said Sidewalk Labs plans to finance projects that will further encourage development, like an expansion of Toronto’s light rail and waste removal. He assured The Star that when Sidewalk Labs finances the light rail expansion, it would still remain a public entity. (source, source)
This is a fascinating admission, for while it is not unique to see public-private collaboration, what makes this unique is the attempt to collect property taxes for work done, as it is an admission that Google is not functioning so much as a nation, but a “nation-within-nation,” similar to an independent city-state or corporation of ancient or medieval times.
Many people will criticize and attack the Catholic Church because she does have a government and operates in a similar way. Indeed, the first model for corporations in a secular sense came from the Catholic Church because she is a group of people whose existence outlives the people themselves. However, this is because the Church is the mystical body of Christ, a living person wedded to a living man, Jesus Christ, God who became man. The Church’s “body” is metaphysical as well as is tangible at the same time, having the person of Jesus Christ in her on her earthly pilgrimage, and why she is called here the “church militant”, fighting the good fight, as opposed to the “Church suffering” in purgatory and then the “Church triumphant” in Heaven with the saints.
The modern corporation as it has developed functions in the same way that the Church does, except where the Church is a body with a soul, that being of Christ and those who belong to Him, the modern corporation functions as a legal person without a soul whose actions, while controlled by members who “possess” her, functions legally apart from her members, thus divesting them of legal “responsibility” for her actions. Years ago, people laughed at Mitt Romney for saying that “corporations are people,” but he is legally correct- just persons without a soul under law, or essentially possessed entities or zombies.
Google is no exception, and what is interesting is that so many in society will speak loudly about religious matters- something that is important and necessary -but will be willing to attack the “Church” and her structure over having such a structure when another organization operating in the same function but without Christ, morality, or even basic principles of ethics will come in an attempt to exert physical ownership over their society and even lands they claim to be “free” within.
Major corporations have always existed in all societies, and some have always been larger than countries. The issues of human freedom, man’s rights, and who is in charge of a nation have always also been important. The question is one of accountability- does one want a government which one can be accountable to, even if it is only nominally so, or does one want to be controlled by an entity made up of persons but which is designed to mask responsibility intentionally while all along exploiting the people as unaccountable rulers for private profit while socializing losses?
It is something to think about.