.




























The Land Question



Quotations from Historical
and Contemporary Sources



WHAT FOLLOWS ARE EXCERPTS FROM THE CENTURIES-LONG DEBATE OVER WHETHER LOCATIONS ON THE EARTH -- AND/OR THE RENT ASSOCIATED THEREWITH -- OUGHT TO BE TREATED AS PRIVATE OR SOCIETAL PROPERTY.


BROWSE BY AUTHOR



A-C * D-E * F-H * I-L * M-Q * R-S * T-Z

Fairchild,
Fred Rogers


Fred Fairchild was a member of the economics faculty at Yale University. He was also a founder (1946) and board member of the Foundation for Economic Education, Irvinton-on-Hudson, New York. In May of 1943, at the annual meeting of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he argued that the U.S. must abandon "grandiose notions of policing, feeding, reconstructing the world," give up "certain parts of the Atlantic Charter and the Four Freedoms which imply performing, indefinitely, costly services for the rest of the world and doing it for nothing." He died in 1959.

The taxing power is among the most powerful and far-reaching of the attributes of sovereignty. Even when applied only for the purposes of securing government income, its indirect effects may be, indeed, certainly will be, very great. When consciously used for the accomplishment of other ends its power can scarcely be exaggerated..

[From: Elementary Economics (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1930 edition), p.372.]


Faltermayer,
Edmund K.


Edmund Faltermayer also wrote on personal finance, industrial competitiveness and the health-care crisis for Fortune. Though he retired from Fortune’s full-time staff in 1994, he continued as a contributing editor until shortly before he died in 2003, at age 75.

To discourage sprawl, many experts have long urged the property taxes be levied on land exclusively, or that communities at least tax the land component at a higher percentage of assessed value than buildings, as the city of Pittsburgh has done for several decades. To keep over-all revenues the same, communities would have to compensate for the total or partial untaxing of buildings by raising taxes on all land, whether built upon or not, and this would tend to produce two beneficial results:

On the one hand, owners of existing buildings would incur no increase in taxes, or less of an increase in taxes than at present, for renovating them.

On the other hand, the taxes on vacant land would rise, forcing speculators to build on it, or sell to others who would.

A good deal of research is needed on how American municipalities might switch entirely to a site-value form of taxation, or at least move partly in that direction. But it is clear that such a reform would tend to promote compact, intensively developed metropolitan areas that would be easy to service and get around in with more of the nearby countryside kept open for scenic and recreational purposes. Because we have failed to revamp the property tax, we have been promoting exactly the opposite effects.


[Associate Editor of Fortune Magazine; from Redoing America, Harper & Row, 1968.]


Feldstein,
Martin




ENLARGE

The classic example of an unshiftable tax is the general tax on pure rental income. Since Ricardo, economists have believed that the annual net rental income of unimproved land falls by the amount of the annual tax and its price by the capitalized value of this tax. This paper shows that these conclusions are false, that the tax on pure land rents is at least partly shifted, and that the price of land may be increased by the imposition of a tax. Implications are suggested for the analysis of the corporate income tax and the taxation of natural resources.

[From: "The Surprising Incidence of a Tax on Pure Rent: A New Answer to an Old Question," The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 85, No. 2 (Apr., 1977), pp. 349-360. Quoted in Land & Liberty, November 12, 1994]


Fels,
Joseph




ENLARGE

Joseph Fels devoted much of his share of profits from the Fels Naptha Soup Co. to ending land monopoly. He sought to demonstrate the validity of Henry George's analysis by establishing experimental communities where all public revenue would come from the rental value of land. Fels wrote:

The fundamental evil, the great God-denying crime of society, is the iniquitous system under which men are permitted to put into their pockets the community-made values of land, while organized society confiscates for public purposes a part of the wealth created by individuals.

[19--]


Fichte,
Johann G.
(1762-1814)




ENLARGE

Johann Gottlieb Fichte developed a systematic version of transcendental idealism, which he called Wissenschaftslehre (or “Doctrine of Scientific Knowledge”). He based his system upon the concept of subjectivity. From 1794 to 1799 he taught at the University of Jena, where he applied his philosophy to an elaborate transcendental system that embraced the philosophy of science, ethics, philosophy of law (i.e., of “right”) and religion.

Only the products of his hands are therefore the absolute property of the agriculturist. They belong to him substance and all, whereas of the lands he has only an accidence.

[From: Science of Rights (1889), Part II, Book 3, Sec. I (On Property in Land)]


Fitch,
Robert




ENLARGE

Best of all, a differential tax -- one that is higher on land than on buildings -- does away with the usual disadvantage of taxes. Almost invariably, if you tax something the capitalists will produce less of it and charge you more for it. But land is different. Most of it was produced once and for all by God. ...If you tax cigarettes the price will go up; if you tax the land you lower its price. It's no coincidence, then, that the one large city in the country with such a tax, Pittsburgh, has the lowest housing prices of any major city in America.

[From: the Nation, October 29, 1990]


Ford,
Henry
(1863-1947)




ENLARGE

Ford was quoted in Liberty magazine in an article by Donald Wilheim, saying:

We ought to tax all idle land the way Henry George said -- tax it heavily, so that its owners would have to make it productive.

Forrester,
Jay W.




ENLARGE

Jay W. Forrester is Germeshausen Professor Emeritus and Senior Lecturer at the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He began his career as an electrical engineer working on servomechanisms and large-scale digital computers. While Director of the MIT Digital Computer Laboratory from 1946 to 1951, he was responsible for the design and construction of Whirlwind I, one of the first high-speed digital computers.

The tax on improvements rather than on land favors old buildings whose aging is an ultimate part of the urban decline process.

[Source of quote not known]



...the complex system is even more deceptive than merely hiding causes. In the complex system, when we look for a cause near in time and space to a symptom, we usually find what appears to be a plausible cause. But it is usually not the cause. The complex system presents apparent causes that are in fact coincident symptoms. The high degree of time correlation between variables in complex systems can lead us to make cause-and-effect associations between variables that are simply moving together as part of the total dynamic behavior of the system. Conditioned by our training in simple systems, we apply the same intuition to complex systems and are led into error. As a result we treat symptoms, not causes. The outcome lies between ineffective and detrimental.

[From: Urban Dynamics (1969), Pegasus Communications, pp. 8-9]


Fortune
Magazine

The editors of Fortune Magazine, August 8, 1983, observed:


Higher land taxes, especially when accompanied by reduced taxes on structures, look like an idea businessmen ought to embrace and promote. The benefits in the form of more jobs and increasingly compact development are not only lasting, but flow to the whole community.

Fox,
Homer

Land value taxation spurs development because a landlord can hardly sit and hold vacant land. The tax forces the rehabilitation of boarded-up buildings and the construction of new ones on vacant land, thus creating jobs.

[Visiting professor, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 1990]


Fox,
Matthew




ENLARGE

Matthew Fox is a theologian, educator and former Dominican priest. He also the founder and president of the University of Creation Spirituality and codirector of The Naropa Institute's master's program in Creation Spirituality, both in Oakland, California.

A land tax would tax all land but not improvements on the land and in this way would encourage initiative and jobs, rather than discourage them. It would run the land speculator and the absentee landlord out of town.

A land tax would encourage farmers who actually farm instead of those who speculate and it would increase productivity, ingenuity and the creation of jobs. It would also lessen bureaucratic interference since basically it is simplifying the law code.


[From: A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice]




ENLARGE

Franklin,
Benjamin




ENLARGE

Our legislators are all landowners, and they are not yet persuaded that all taxes are finally paid by the land ... therefore, we have been forced into the mode of indirect taxes. ...All the property that is necessary to a man for the conservation of the individual and the propagation of the species, is his natural right which none may justly deprive him of; but all property superfluous to such purposes is the property of the public.

[source not identified]


Franklin,
Benjamin


All the property that is necessary to a man for the conservation of the individual and the propagation of the species, is his natural right which none may justly deprive him of; but lal property superflous to such purposes is the property of the public.

[source not identified]


Franklin,
Benjamin

But notwithstanding this increase (of population), so vast is the territory of North America, that it will require many ages to settle it fully; and, till it is fully settled, labor will never be cheap here, where no man continues long a laborer for others, but gets a plantation of his own; no man continues long a journeyman to a trade, but goes among these new settlers, and sets up for himself.

[From: Observations Concerning for Increase of Mankind (1751), Sec. 8, Works, Vol. II, p. 225]


Frazier,
Douglas

Frazier, U.S. leader of the United Auto Workers, told the National Conference on Alternate State and Local Policies held over the Independence Day celebration in 1979:

One day, we are going to ask ourselves, did anyone make the oil and minerals and then put them in the ground? We will then realize that they belong to all of us.

Freeman,
Edward A.




ENLARGE

And now the final stroke was put to a change which had been gradually going on for some generations. The folkland, the common land of the nation, was now changed, fully and forever, into terra Regis, the land of the king.

[From: The Norman Conquest (1867), Vol. IV, Chap. 17, p. 15]


Friedman,
Milton




ENLARGE
Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman has written:

Land should be taxed as much as possible, and improvements as little as possible.

In an interview in Human Events, November 18, 1979, Milton Friedman said:

"There's a sense in which all taxes are antagonistic to free enterprise -- and yet we need taxes. ...So the question is, which are the least bad taxes? In my opinion the least bad tax is the property tax on the unimproved value of land, the Henry George argument of many, many years ago."

Friedman,
Milton


The least bad tax is the property tax on the unimproved value of the land, the Henry George argument of many years ago.

[Professor of Economics, University of Chicago, in address to the Americanism Education League]



And, from a letter writen to William Newcomb (President, Media Foundation for Land Economics) in 1979:

In Ricardo's words, the original and indestructible qualities of the land d not by any means account for all of the current rent from the land; land can be produced, its qualities can be improved, all through investment for which there is no incentive if the whole of the yield for improving the productivity of land or from producing the land were to go to the government.

On the other side of the issue, there are many other resources, of which human labor is one of the most important, which are, to put it in technical economic jargon, in inelastic supply so that a tax on the return from such services is unlikely to affect the amount of such services made available for market use. The most obvious are such items as the skill of a Muhammed Ali or of a Frank Sinatra. These are natural resources too, and they are limited in supply and derive their value from their scarcity.

I realize that in almost all other respects the views of the Georgists and of my own are very much the same. I am more than glad to join with them in common ojbectives, but I could not ally myself with the Georgist movement in any sense which suggested that I agreed with its fundamental underlying premises.


The following quote from Professor Friedman is also attributed to correspondence with William Newcomb. However, this statement is repeated here from secondary sources which do not indicate the date of the letter or any additional comments:

I share your view that taxes would best be placed on the land, and not on improvements.

Froude,
James A.




ENLARGE

To treat land, with the present privileges attached to the possession of it, as an article of sale, to be passed from hand to hand in the market like other commodities, is an arrangement not likely to be permanent either in Ireland or elsewhere.

[From: Nineteenth Century, September, 1880, p. 369]


Froude,
James A.


Seeing that men are born into the world without their own wills, and being in the world they must live upon the earth's surface, or they cannot live at all, no individual or set of individuals can hold over land that personal and irresponsible right which is allowed them in things of less universal necessity.

[From: History of Ireland (1872 and 1984), Book, I, Chap. 2, Sec. 6, p. 131]


Froude,
James A.

Land is not, and cannot be, property in the sense in which movable things are property. Every human being born into this planet must live upon the land if he lives at all. He did not ask to be born, and being born, room must be found for him. The land in any country is really the property of the nation which occupies it.

[From: Ireland, Nineteenth Century (September, 1880), p. 362]


Fuller,
Buckminster




ENLARGE

He [Fuller] feels, as did George, that the truly effective revolution would not lower the upper end of the socio-economic spectrum as much as raise the bottom up.

[quote from a letter by Ann Mintz, secretary to Buckminster Fuller, February 21, 1978]


Gaffney,
Mason




ENLARGE

George's blend of radicalism and conservatism can puzzle one, until it is seen as a reconciliaton of the two. The system is internally consistent, but defies conventional stereotypes.

[From: New Palgrave Dictionary of Economic Thought, 1987]


Gaffney,
Mason


The Neoclassical economists' view of their proper role is rather like that in The Realtor's Oath, which includes a vow "To protect the individual right of real estate ownership." The word "individual" is construed broadly to include corporations, estates, trusts, anonymous offshore funds, schools, government agencies, institutions, partnerships, cooperatives, Archbishops, families (including criminal families) and so on, but "individual" sounds more all-American and subsumes them all. This is a potent chant that stirs people to extremes of self-righteousness and siege mentality when challenged.

[from: The Corruption of Economics, 1994]


Galbraith,
John Kenneth




ENLARGE

If a tax were imposed equal to the annual use value of real property ex its improvement, so that it would now have no net earnings and hence no capital value of its own -- progress would be orderly and its fruits would be equitably shared.

[From the book, The Affluent Society, p.44]


Gandhi,
Mahatma




ENLARGE

There is enough for everybody's need, but not enough for their greed.

George,
David Lloyd




ENLARGE

The land question in the towns bears upon (over-crowding). It is all very well to produce "Housing of Working Class" bills. They will never be effective until you tackle the taxation of land values.

[From: a speech not more specifically identified]


George,
David Lloyd


To prove a legal title to land one must trace it back to the man who stole it.

George,
David Lloyd


"The great criticism against rating is not merely that it lacks uniformity and is unfair between the parties, but that it is unfair to the class of property that you tax and rate. This is the greatest grievance of all - that it taxes improvements. The more a landlord improves his property the higher he is rated; the more he neglects his property the less he is rated. …If he allows his cottages to fall into decay and become empty, his rates are less; but if he is a good, sound landlord, who repairs ruinous cottages and builds new ones, up go his rates. The man who trusts to obsolete machinery in his business can keep his rates low; but the man who puts in new machinery and improves his buildings has to pay a higher contribution to the rates."

[Mr. Lloyd George, in the House of Commons, 28th April 1913]



"You cannot build houses without land; you cannot lay down trams for the purpose of spreading the population over a wider area without land. As long as the landlords allowed to charge prohibitive prices for a bit of land, even land, without contributing anything to local resources, so long will this terrible congestion remain in our towns. That is the first great trust to deal with, and for another reason --resources of local taxation are almost exhausted. It is essential that you should get some new resources for this purpose. What better resources can you get than this wealth created by the community, and how better can it be used than for the benefit of the community? ...It is all very well to produce Housing of the Working Classes Bills. They will never be effective until you tackle the taxation of land-values."

[Mr. Lloyd George, at Newcastle, 4th March 1903]



"Who ordained that a few should have the land of Britain as a perquisite; who made 10,000 people owners of the soil and the rest of us trespassers in the land of our birth; who is it? Who is responsible for the scheme of things whereby one man is engaged through life in grinding labour, to win a bare and precarious subsistence for himself . . . and another man who does not toil receives every hour of the day, every hour of the night whilst he slumbers, more than his poor neighbour receives in a whole year of toil? Where did the table of the law come from? Whose finger inscribed it?"

[Mr. Lloyd George, at Newcastle, 30th September 1909]



"Search out every problem, look into these questions thoroughly, and the more thoroughly you look into them you will find that the land is at the root of most of them. Housing, wages, food, health, the development of a virile, independent, manly, Imperial race - you must have a free land system as an essential condition of these. To use a gardening phrase, our social and economic condition is root-bound by the feudal system. It has no room to develop, but its roots are breaking through. Well, let's burst it!"

[Mr. Lloyd George, at Aberdeen, 29th November 1912]



"We want to do something to bring the land within the grasp of the people. We want to put an end to the system whereby the land of this country is retailed by the ounce, so that there should not be an extra grain of breathing spaces. . . .The resources of the land are frozen by the old feudal system. I am looking forward to the spring-time, when the thaw will set in, and when the people and the children of the people shall enter into the inheritance that has been given them from on high."

[Mr. Lloyd George, at Liverpool, 21st December 1909]



George,
Henry
(1839-1897)




ENLARGE

More than any other figure during the late nineteenth century, Henry George, author of the book Progress and Poverty, dedicated his life to the cause of collecting the rental value of land (sometimes referred to as ground rent or economic rent) and the ending monopoly privilege associated with land ownership. George told his readers:

What man has produced belongs to the individual producer; what God has created belongs equally to all men ... therefore abolish all taxation save on the value of land.

George,
Henry


Here are two men of equal incomes -- that of the one derived from the exertion of his labour, that of the other from the rent of land. Is it just that they should equally contribute to the expenses of the State? Evidently not. The income of the one represents wealth he creates and adds to the general wealth of the State; the income of the other represents merely wealth that he takes from the general stock, returning nothing.

[From: Progress and Poverty (1879)]


Getty,
John Paul


Sadly, as many or more persons with strong scholarly or public reputation could be found who argue against the idea that the earth is the birthright of each of us, equally, and against the proposal to achieve equality of opportunity by means of a reliance on the rental value of locations for public revenue.

Many of the same persons would also disagree that moral principles are integral to the treatment of the earth as a form of property distinct from what we produce with our labor and what capital goods we possess. From one of the original oil tycoons, John Paul Getty, came some very dark humor, as Getty turned a Biblical quotation attributed to Jesus Christ into the following:

"The meek shall Inherit the earth -- but not the mineral rights."

Giffen,
Robert


The soil of a nation is primarily the property of the whole nation -- the common inheritance of all.

[From: Essays on Finance (1871), First Series, Chap. X, p. 249]


Giffen,
Robert


Land-owning is, beyond all other things, in the nature of a monopoly.

[From: Essays on Finance (1871), First Series, Chap. X, p. 239]


Giffen,
Robert


It is certain, however, that a large part of the improvement is due to the increasing value of advantageous sites, an unearned increase of value such as Mr. Mill speaks of, and therefore a kind of profit which the State may restrict with least harm.

[From: Essays on Finance (1871), First Series, Chap. X, p. 244]

Gilder,
George




ENLARGE

As the late Henry George eloquently maintained in his classic "Progress and Poverty," landowning in itself is not a productive activity. Yet most of the tax benefits assigned to real estate in recent years have been redeemed chiefly by inflationary capital gains and condominium conversions.

[from a column published in the Wall Street Journal, 29 May 1986]


Gladstone,
Mary


Yesterday I began 'Progress and Poverty', supposed to be the most upsetting, revolutionary book of the age. At present Maggie and I both agree with it, and most brilliantly written it is -- we had long discussions. He (W.E. Gladstone, her father) is reading it too.

[Reprinted from: Mary Gladstone, Diary and Letters, London, 17 August, 1883]


Gladstone,
Mary


Finished 'Progress and Poverty' with feelings of deep admiration -- felt desperately impressed, and he is ia Christian.

[Reprinted from: Mary Gladstone, Diary and Letters, Hawarden, 30 August, 1883]


Gladstone,
William




ENLARGE

I fully admit this; I have stated it long ago in Midlothian -- I hold it without the smallest doubt; if a time came when the British nation could think that the land ought to be nationalized, and that it were wise to do it, they have a perfect right to do it beyond all doubt and question.

[From: A speech delivered at Hawarde, 23 September, 1889, reported in the Times, 24 September, 1889, p. 10, column 3]


Gladstone,
William


Those persons who possess large portions of the space of the earth are not altogether in the same position as possessors of mere personalty, for personalty does not impose the same limitations on the action and industry and the well-being to the community in the same ratio as does the possession of land, and therefore I hold that compulsory appropriation, if for an adequate public object, is a thing in itself admirable, and even sound in principle.

[From a speech delivered at West Calder, 27 November, 1879. Reprinted in The Times, 28 November, 1879, p. 10, column 2]


Goddard,
Haynes C.


There does exist a very appropriate financial mechanism for compensation to property owners. it is the land value increment tax, formerly known as a betterment tax. The idea is old, simple and widely considered fair. An increase in land value, as opposed to changes in the property value resulting from improvements erected on land, is basically an increase in site value. The land owners typically has done nothing to produce the incremental value. this increase usually results from population growth, economic growth and the infrastructural investments made by local governments, such as roads, water supply and sewerage. These increments are unearned by the property owner and could be taxed away without affecting resource allocation. That is, such taxation would not impair the potential for the land market to assign land to its 'highest and best' use."

[Reprinted from the New York Times, 22 May 1995, a letter by Haynes C. Goddard, Professor of Economics at the University of Cincinnati]


Godwin,
William




ENLARGE

Humanity weeps over the distreses of the peasantry of all civilized nations; and when she turns from the spectacle to behold the luxury of their lords, gross, imperial and prodigal, her sensations are certainly not less acute. this spectacle is the school in which mankind have been educated. they have been accustomed to the sight of injustice, oppression and iniquity, till their feelings have been made callous, and their understanding incapable of apprehending the nature of true virtue.

[From: Political Justice (1793), Book VIII, Chap. 2]

Godwin,
William




It is territorial monopoly that obliges men unwillingly to see vast tracts of land lying waste or negligently and imperfectly cultivated, while they are subjected to the miseries of want.

[From: Political Justice (1793), Book VIII, Chap. 3]

Goethe,
Johann Wolfgang




ENLARGE

The great ones of the world have taken this earth of ours to themselves; they live in the midst of splender and superfluity. The smallest nook of the land is already a possession; none may touch it or meddle with it.

[From: Wilhelm Meister]


Goldman,
E.F.
(historian)


For some years prior to 1952, I was working on a history of American reform and over and over again my research ran into this fact: an enormous number of men and women, strikingly different people, men and women who were to lead 20th century America in a dozen fields of humane activity wrote or told someone that their whole thinking had been redirected by reading Progress and Poverty in their formative years. In this respect no other book came anywhere near comparable influence and I would like to add this word of tribute to a volume which magically catalyzed the best yearnings of our fathers and grandfathers.

Gompers,
Samuel
(1850-1924)




ENLARGE

Gompers, a leader of the U.S. labor movement, declared:

I believe in the Single Tax. I count it a great privilege to have been a friend of Henry George and to have been one of those who helped to make him understood in New York and elsewhere...

Goodman,
George
(aka Adam Smith)




ENLARGE

Every improvement in the circumstances of the society tends, either directly or indirectly, to raise the real rent of land, to increase the real wealth of the landlord, his power of purchasing the labours or the produce of the labour of other people.

[from: Good Government magazine, October 1999, p.6]


Gossen,
Hermann Heinrich


Hermann Gossen (1810-1859) never held an academic position and resigned from a career in the Prussian Civil Service in order to complete work on his book. "I believe," he wrote of it, "that my discoveries enable me to point out to man with unfailing certainty the path that he must follow in order to accomplish completely the purpose of his life."

The state could acquire land advantageously because it would be able to borrow the purchase money at low rates of interest. If collective ownership of land were introduced, society instead of private individuals would get the advantage of any future increase in land values.

[from: Entwicklung der Gesetze der menschlichen Verkehrs und der darausfliessenden Regeln fur menschliches Handeln, Brunswick, 1854.]


Gracchus,
Tiberius
(B.C. 162-133)




ENLARGE

This Roman statesman complained:

The private soldiers fight and die to advance the wealth and luxury of the great and they are called masters of the world, while they have not a foot of ground in their possession.

[From: Plutarch's Life of Tiberius Gracchus. Pliny the Elder (23-79), a Roman naturalist, added that land monopoly ruined Rome.


Graham,
Franklin D.


The real unearned income is that which accrues to an individual without his having done anything which contributes to production. Of the several types of such income the most important is that which issues from the site value of land. the recipient of such an income does nothing to earn it; he merely sits tight while the growth of the community about the land to which he holds title brings him unmerited gain. This gain is at the expense of all true producers whether they be laborers, enterprisers or investors in industrial equipment. The taxation of this gain can do nothing to deprive the community of any service since the donee is rendering none. The land will be there for the use of society whether the return from it be taxed or free. Society creates the value and should secure it by taxation.

[From: Henry George News, February 1955. Franklin D. Graham was, at the time, a Professor of Economics at Princeton University]

Greeley,
Horace




ENLARGE

Whenever the ownership of the soil is so engrossed by a small part of the community that the far larger part are compelled to pay whatever the few may see fit to exact for the privilege of occupying and cultivating the Earth, there is something very much like slavery.

[From: "Slavery at Home," in Hints Toward Reform (1845), pp. 354-5]



We admit and insist on the legal right of the owner of wild lands to keep them uninhabited forever, but we do not consider it morally right that he should do so when land becomes scarce and subsistence for the landless scanty and precarious. . . . yes, . . . something will be done, in spite of any stupid clamor that can be raised about 'Infidelity' and 'Agrarianism,' to secure future generations against the faithful evils of Monopoly of Land by the few.

[From: New York Weekly Tribune, Aug. 4, 1845]



Greeley,
Horace


In short, the terrestrial Man, possessing the well known properties of matter, as well as the spirit, can only in truth enjoy the rights of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," by being guaranteed some place in which to enjoy them.

[From: Land Reform, Hints Toward Reform, (1850), p.312]


Greeley,
Horace


He who has no clear inherent right to live somewhere has no right to live at all.

[From: Land Reform, Hints Toward Reform, (1850), p. 312]


Greeley,
Horace


Man ... having a right to liberty, he must have consequently the right to go somewhere on earth and do what is essential to his continued existence, not by the purchased permission of some other man, but by virtue of his manhood.

[From: Land Reform, Hints Toward Reform, (1850), p. 312]

Griffin,
Walter B.




ENLARGE

Behind every radical movement you will find Single Taxers. Woodrow Wilson is surrounded by them.

[Walter Griffin (1876-1937) was the designer of Canberra, Australia, and member of the Chicago Single Tax Club]

Grotius,
Hugo




ENLARGE

Vacant and uncultivated lands which are found in the territory of a State should be awarded to foreigners if they demand them. And in fact they have the right to seize them; for we should not regard as property that which is not cultivated.

[From: Rights of War and Peace, Book II, Chap. 2, Sec. 17]


Hapgood,
David


A tax on the earnings of labor seems unjust by comparison (with a land tax) because it deprives the individual of what is rightfully his, the fruits of his own efforts. The same is true of a tax on the return to capital, to the extent that capital represents the unspent return of past labor and initiative.

Equally important -- and here orthodox economics agrees with George -- a natural resources rental charge is the rare tax that improves rather than distorts people's incentives. Tax labor, and people work less. Tax savings, and savings diminish. But tax land, and the supply remains the same, while the owner is forced to put it to more productive use.


[From: New Republic (1986)]


Hall,
Peter


When the site values are taxed ... the incentive is always to develop so as to realise the gains that are being taxed. Indeed this is one of the most important points which have consistently been made by the advocates of site-value rating.

[From: Land Values: The Report of the Proceedings of a Colloquium Held in London on March 13 and 14, 1965, under the Auspices of the Acton Society Trust]


Harris,
W. Carlton


Land is of fundamental importance as the basis of man's economic and socia life. Not only does mankind live upon it, but it is the source of all material wealth. So self-evident is this fact that its elaboration is unnecessary.

[From: "Real Estate and Real Estate Problems," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Part I, Vol. CXLVIII, No. 237, March, 1930, p.1.]


Harris,
W. Carlton


The Ricardian doctrine of rent, namely, that rent is a differential surplus largely, or in the whole, unearned, has led to the promulgation of certain theories of land tax which usually go under the name of the "single tax." In detail, these plans vary all the way from proposals to tax the future unearned ncome of land, to proposals to absorb the past unearned income, which would practically amount to confiscation and would lead to systems of land nationalization.

[From: "Real Estate and Real Estate Problems," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Part I, Vol. CXLVIII, No. 237, March, 1930, pp.5-6. ]


Harrison,
Fred



ENLARGE

The forces that shaped the modern state, and therefore the character of the power that it exercises, were disputes over land and its rent. The struggle over public value may be tracked at several levels. One is cross-border conflict over territory. ...The outcome was the privatisation of rent..

[From: Ricardo's Law (2006), p. 278]


Heilbrun,
James


Site value -- the value of unimproved land -- has long been regarded [by economists] as a particularly fit object for taxation.

[Professor of Economics, Fordham University; from his textbook, Urban Economics & Public Policy, 1987]


Heinberg,
Richard


Tax Reform is also essential. "Geonomics" tax theorists, who trace their lineage to 19th century American economist Henry George, argue that society should tax land and other basic resources -- the birthright of all -- instead of income from labor. Geonomic tax reform, says advocates, could decrease wealth disparities while reducing pollution and discouraging land speculation. Similarly, taxing nonrenewable resources and pollution - instead of giving oil companies huge subsidies in the form of 'depletion allowances" - would put the breaks on resource extraction while giving society the means with which to fund the development of renewables.

[From the book, The Party's Over, p. 246]


Henderson,
Arthur




ENLARGE

In 1903, Arthur Henderson was elected Member of Parliament (MP) following a by-election. In 1908, when Hardie resigned as Leader of the Labour Party, Henderson was elected to replace him. In 1914, the then-Labour leader, Ramsay MacDonald resigned in protest over the war, and Henderson returned. In 1915, following Prime Minister Asquith's decision to create a coalition government, he became the first member of the Labour Party to become a member of the Cabinet, as President of the Board of Education. When David Lloyd George became Prime Minister in 1916t, Henderson became a member of the small War Cabinet. He resigned in August 1917 when his idea for an international conference on the war was voted down by the rest of the cabinet; shortly afterwards he resigned as Labour leader.

Henderson lost his seat in 1918 but was returned to Parliament in 1919 after winning a by-election. He became Labour's chief whip, only to lose his seat in the 1922 general election. Again, he returned to Parliament via a by-election but lost this seat in the 1923 general election. Yet again he was returned to Parliament months later after winning a by-election. He was appointed Home Secretary in the first ever Labour government (led by MacDonald). This government was defeated in 1924.

Henderson was re-elected in 1924 and was urged by others to challenge Ramsay MacDonald for the party leadership. Worried about factionalism in the Labour Party, he published a pamphlet called Labour and the Nation, in which he attempted to clarify the Labour's goals.

In 1929, Labour formed another minority government, and MacDonald appointed Henderson as Foreign Secretary, a position Henderson used to try to reduce the tensions that had been building up in Europe since the end of the War. Diplomatic relations were re-established with the USSR and the League of Nations was given Britain's full support.

During the Great Depression, Henderson joined with others in the Cabinet opposing cuts in unemployment benefits. He resigned in protest. In 1931, MacDonald attempted to form an emergency National Government to tackle the crisis. The Labour Party repudiated this government, and the National Executive expelled MacDonald and all other Labour members who supported him (Henderson cast the only vote against this). Henderson now became leader of the party. With the economic and political situation still uncertain, the National Government decided to call a general election, and in the largest landslide in British political history, it won an overwhelming majority. Yet again Henderson lost his seat. The following year he relinquished the party leadership.

Henderson returned to Parliament after winning yet another a by-election and spent the rest of his life trying to halt the gathering storm of war. He chaired the Geneva Disarmament Conference and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1934. He died aged 72 in 1935.

"The Labour Party says that if the great landowners of this country desire to put fences round the most productive soil in the world … they must pay for the pleasure of doing so. Accordingly, it is proposed to have the land valued, and to ask the owner to pay a tax on that valuation. I think that by the pressure of the taxation and rating of land-values the owners would soon find that the land held out of use was not so necessary to their pleasure as they thought. I venture to suggest that they would quickly commence to seek buyers or tenants. The plentiful supply of land that would come on the market would enable farmers to obtain their holdings at a reasonable price or rent instead of having to enter into possession on the inflated values with which you are acquainted. I assert, without fear of contradiction, that nothing would give a greater stimulus to the agricultural industry than the freeing of the land. More farms would be opened up; more opportunities of employment would offer for the agricultural worker; the countryside would become a hive of industry instead of a grave of disappointed hopes. The root of the rural problem is where all roots are to be found - in the Land."

[Mr. Arthur Henderson, at Cromer, 17th March 1922]


Henderson,
Arthur



"The taxation of land-values would not impose any further burden upon the agricultural industry. . . .The landowner would have to pay it. He could not pass it on to the farmer, and he could not make the agricultural worker pay it by means of a reduction in his standard of life. I challenge anyone to say that a tax on economic rent is paid by anyone else than the receiver of the rent. But the Labour Party would go further than that. The present system of assessment and rating produces an inequality of burdens which are injurious to agriculture. Improvements are positively discouraged. The burden of rates is often heaviest where it can least well be borne. A farmer who improves his land or erects an additional building for the housing of his live stock finds immediately that his assessment is raised. The Labour Party holds that it is suicidal for the nation to penalise by increased taxation occupiers of land who effect improvements which add to its value. We propose a drastic revision of the entire system of assessment and rating in order that the taxation of land may be used to unrate the improvements made by the occupier. "

[Mr. Arthur Henderson, at Cromer, 17th March, 1922]


Henderson,
Arthur



"Under our present system improvements are penalized. If a shopkeeper extends his premises, or a farmer increases the value of his farm by erecting improved buildings or draining the land, the rates are immediately increased. That is a tax on private enterprise with which I do not agree. Private enterprise of a character not subversive of the public good I would encourage. It little becomes the wealthy landlords who oppose the shifting of the burden of the rates from houses, factories, shops, and machinery on to the value of the land, to criticise the speech I made at Newport. Why f I recently attached my name to a Bill for the taking of rates off machinery. Is that an attack on private enterprise? "

[Mr. Arthur Henderson, at Newcastle By-election, January 1923]


Henderson,
Arthur




"The principle and policy of the United Committee have no more sincere supporter than myself. The taxation of land-values has been a vital need ever since the private ownership of land formed an integral part of the social system, but the aftermath of a great war has brought us problems which have dragged its urgent necessity more into the light and indicated the essential truths of the doctrine taught by Henry George."

[Mr. Arthur Henderson, Letter to the International Conference on the Taxation of Land-values at Oxford, August 1923]


Henderson,
Arthur




"The taxation of land-values with, of course, the exemption of improvements, does not receive my support merely as a plan for raising additional revenue. It is designed to achieve far greater results. It seeks to open the way to the natural resources from which all wealth springs. The labour is here, and with it the wilt to work, but the land still lies locked in the grip of a tenacious and unrelenting monopoly, while unemployment and poverty haunt us with a terrifying persistence."

[Mr. Arthur Henderson, ib.]


Hill,
Edward




ENLARGE


and

Nowak,
Jeremy




ENLARGE

The following excerpt is from an article appearing in the Brookings Review, "Nothing to Lose: Only Radical Strategies Can Hep America's Most Distressed Cities":

As a first step, cities should abolish all business taxes that inhibit the location of startup firms or discourage investment in productivity-enhancing equipment or practices... Cities should also replace the business property tax with a tax on the market value of land, coupling the land tax with a broader use of business improvement districts or tax increment finance districts to pay for major infrastructure investments. Land taxes ... have several advantages over property taxes in keeping a city's economy competitive. They discourage speculative land banking. They encourage businesses to place as much capital on property as is economically justifiable because non-land forms of real property are not taxes. ...

Local personal taxes commonly take three forms: sales taxes, wage or income taxes, and property taxes, the latter being the most common. A residential property tax has two components -- a land tax and a sax on the value of the structure. The land component of the residential property tax should be assessed on an equal basis with the business land tax, again providing incentives to develop in neighborhoods with low land values, as well as preventing speculative land banking.


[Edward Hill is a senior research scholar at Cleveland State University's Levin College of Urban Affairs. Jeremy Nowak is president of the Reinvestment Fund located in Philadelphia.]


Hobson,
John A.
(1858-1940)




ENLARGE

During his long writing career, Hobson criticizing classical economics, holding that economic theory was bound up with the ethical problems of social welfare and should be a guide to reform. He is frequently referred to as a precursor of John Maynard Keynes. Hobson advocated partial socialization, and in Imperialism (1902) he interpreted imperialism as a product of the economic excesses of capitalism. His other works include The Evolution of Modern Capitalism (1894), The Economics of Distribution (1900), The Economics of Unemployment (1922), and Confessions of an Economic Heretic, (1938).

The part played by rent in the problems of poverty can scarcely be overestimated.

[From: Problems of Poverty (1891), p.10]


Holmes,
Rev. John Naynes
(1879-1964)


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was co-founded by Rev. Holmes, who wrote:

Progress and Poverty was the most closely knit, fascinating and convincing specimen of argumentation that I believe, ever sprang from the mind of man.


Holmes,
Rev. John Naynes


My reading of Henry George's immortal masterpiece "Progress and Poverty" marked an epoch in my life. All my thought upon the social question and all my work for social reform began with the reading of this book. The passing years have only added to my conviction that Henry George is one of the greatest of all modern statesmen and prophets. His eloquence, his character, his life must ever remain among the imperishable treasures of the race.

Howe,
Frederic C.



ENLARGE
While United States Commissioner of Immigration, in a speech before the Pittsburgh Commercial Club, March 15, 1916:

Pittsburgh has set the pace for all America in her tax system -- reducing taxes on improvements and increasing taxes on land values -- the greatest single step any American city has taken in city building.

Howe,
Frederic C.




The rich men I knew were not thrifty; they asked others to be thrifty for them. They did not save; others saved for them. They admonished others to virtues of meekness, humility, and duty, but they observed none of their own admonitions.

They got an underhold on society, got it through monopoly and made other people work for them. They capitalized something that every one had to have or controlled a service that every one had to use. They got rich easily, often quickly, and kept the wealth they had acquired. ...Many men who got rich out of land had done so against their will, or by accident.


[From: The Confessions of a Reformer (1925), pp.222-223]

Howells,
William Dean
(1837-1920)




ENLARGE

Howells novel details the attempt to establish a new magazine in New York City during America's Gilded Age. Historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. described this work as "the first memorable novel about New York City." Among the subjects explored are the New York streetcar riot of 1889 and the execution of the Haymarket anarchists in Chicago.

Some spaces, probably held by the owners for that rise in value which the industry of others providentially gives to the land of the wise and good, it left vacant comparatively far down the road, and built up others at remoter points.


ENLARGE

[From: A Hazard of New Fortunes, Part IV, Chap. 3]


Hughes,
Thomas

The first thing which the democracy will write upon the slate will be the nationalization of the land.

[From: An address at the Church Congress of 1888]


Hugo,
Victor




ENLARGE

Democratize property, not by abolishing, but by universalizing it, so that every citizen without exception may be a landowner, an easier task than it may be supposed; in short, know how to produce wealth andhow to distribute it, and you will possess at once material greatness and moral greatness, and you will be worthy to be called France.

[From: Les Miserables, Saint Denis, Book I., Chap. 4]


Hume,
David




ENLARGE

The possession alone, and first possession, is supposed to convey property, when nobody else has any preceding claim and pretension. Many of the reasonings of lawyers are of this analogical nature, and depend on very slight connections of the imagination.

[From: Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Sec. III, Part 2, Essays, Vol. II, p. 190]


Hseng,
Hsiao

Tseng Hsiao was at the time of the following statement in 1989 Director of the China Research Institute of Land Economics.

The principle of equitable distribution of land rights requires no taxation on labour and capital. Furthermore, site rent has to be taxed for public revenue because land has monopoly power. There is a difference between ordinary products and land. The latter is a gift of nature, which is limited and cannot be increased by human beings; its revenue has to be shared among all citizens in society.

[The source of the statement is not known. It is reprinted from Land & Liberty, July-August 1989]


Huxley,
Aldous
(1894-1963)




ENLARGE

In the preface to his Brave New World (p. viii), Huxley wrote:

If I were now to rewrite the book, I would offer a third alternative ... the possibility of sanity ... Economics would be decentralist and Henry Georgian.

Hydeman,
Albert (Jr.)


Is there a sensible alternative to the property tax? Such an alternative would have to do the following things: Realign the tax burden from those least able to pay to those most able to pay, simplify and reduce the cost of community growth and development.

I think there is such an alternative. It's known as the land value tax. We are now taxing improvements -- buildings -- at the same rate we tax land. I think that's a mistake.

We're discouraging people from fixing up their properties. There should be a lower property tax on improvements -- or none at all.


[former Secretary, Pa. Department of Community Affairs]


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