Henry George and the Single Tax

from wikipedia:

Georgism, or Geoism, named after Henry George (1839-1897), is a philosophy and economic ideology that holds that everyone owns what they create, but that everything found in nature, most importantly land, belongs equally to all of humanity. The Georgist philosophy is usually associated with the idea of a single tax on the value of land. Georgists argue that a tax on land value is efficient, fair and equitable, and will generate sufficient revenue so that other taxes, which are less fair and efficient, can be reduced or eliminated.[1]

Henry George is known best for his argument that the economic rent of land should be shared equally by the people of a society rather than being owned privately. The best statement of this opinion is found in his publication Progress and Poverty: “We must make land common property.”[2] Although this could be done by nationalizing land and then leasing it to private parties, George preferred taxing unimproved land value, in part because this would be less disruptive and controversial in a country where land titles have already been granted to individuals.

With the revenue from this “single tax”, three possibilities arise: either the revenue can be used to fund the state or it can be redistributed to citizens as a pension or basic income, or it can be divided between the first two options. If the first option were to be chosen, the state could avoid having to tax any other type of income, wealth or transactions. Introducing a large land value tax causes the price of land titles to decrease correspondingly, but George did not believe landowners should be compensated, and described the issue as being analogous to compensation of former slave owners.



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