Declaration of Principle and Policy
International Union for the Taxation of Land Values
and Free Trade
[Adopted at the Fourth International Conference to
Promote Land Value Taxation and Free Trade, Edinburgh, Scotland, 29
July thru 4 August, 1929]
We, the members of the Fourth International Conference to Promote
Land Value Taxation and Free Trade, assembled at Edinburgh July 29th,
1929, twenty-four countries being represented, reaffirm the
declarations of principle and policy of our previous International
Conferences: at Ronda, Spain; at Oxford, England; and at Copenhagen,
We confidently affirm that the persistence of poverty, low wages, and
unemployment in every country, and the evil and destructive social
phenomena that derive from these conditions, are both unnatural and
unnecessary; that they are due, primarily, to unjust restrictions upon
freedom in the production of wealth (involving injustice in its
distribution) that arise out of land monopoly.
Secondarily, we affirm that the conditions which produce poverty amid
increasing wealth, and despite the increasing power to produce wealth
afforded by invention, discovery, and increase of knowledge, are
accentuated by the burdensome measures which legislatures everywhere
employ in the raising of public revenues.
And we affirm that the present system of internal taxes and rates
adopted by Governments are unjust to Labor and Capital alike, by
imposing impediments to industry, and penalties upon energy,
enterprise and thrift.
For like reasons, we condemn those obstructions to the free flow of
trade which have been set up between friendly peoples by so-called
protective tariffs, "safeguarding" devices, and other
interferences with the natural laws of freedom in production and
exchange. These policies, yielding benefit only to limited privileged
groups in the countries which adopt them, are, in our opinion, nothing
short of treason to the true interests of the masses of human kind;
and they have been identified by the representatives of fifty
countries in the Economic Conference of the League of Nations, and by
leaders of the International Chambers of Commerce, as among the chief
causes of industrial depression, of unemployment, and of war.
Therefore, we appeal to all true friends of humanity and of the
establishment of an enduring World Peace to join with us in
recognition of the fact that discord between nations commonly arises
out of economic causes, such as the struggle for exclusive markets and
other preferences, and for concessions in the control of natural
resources, or because of the selfish policies by which some nations
seek to advantage themselves by hampering the economic freedom of
others. We cannot have Political Peace and Economic War.
LAND VALUE TAXATION
The remedy, we believe, lies in the establishment of freedom for all,
equal rights for all, justice for all. These ends, we confidently
affirm, will be attained when Governments can be led, through the
enlightment of public opinion, to repeal the present taxes, rates, and
tariffs which now hamper freedom in the production and exchange of
wealth, and cause injustice in its distribution.
Abandoning the burdens now directly or indirectly laid upon labor and
capital, we would concentrate taxes upon the value of land and of all
natural resources in private hands, in the conviction that these
resources being the gift of the Creator to all generations, the value
of land is the just and proper source of community revenues.
PROGRESS AND POVERTY
We would especially commend to the attention of serious-minded
persons in every land a study of the premises, conclusions, and simple
proposals of the inspiring and illuminating book, "Progress and
Poverty" by Henry George, the Fiftieth Anniversary of which we
are celebrating at this Conference. This famous politico-economic
work, translated into many languages, is in its essence a appeal for
World Justice and Peace, a plea for the rights of man everywhere.
Henry George was a great citizen of the world, a love of mankind, an
unerring expositor of economic truth, far-seeing statesman, and a
prophet of what has happened and is happening in the world at this
Finally, we reaffirm, in brief, our devotion to the policy which will
in every country, when fully applied, inaugurate an era of social
justice, economic freedom, and international peace. This policy we
express as Land Value Taxation and Free Trade as taught by Henry
PRINCIPAL RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED
The Conference welcomes the assurances that have been publicly given
by members and supporters of the present Government of Great Britain
to pass into law in the new Finance Act measures for the effective
taxation of land values and for removing not only the protective and
so-called "safeguarding" duties but also the indirect
taxation on the necessaries of life. In the opinion of this Conference
such action by the Government would set a stimulating example of
progressive legislation to the people of the world.
RESOLVED that this Conference having heard with appreciation that the
Danish Government proposes measures for developing the policy of land
value taxation and free trade sends a message of greeting to the
responsible Ministers and expresses the hope that the Government
efforts in this direction will attain early success.
RESOLVED that the Conference sends its respectful compliments to the
Government of the Greek Republic and thanks said Government for its
consideration in permitting a representative of Greece to participate
in the Conference proceedings in the person of Mr. Pavlos Giannelias
and further resolves that we respectfully commit to the responsible
officials of the Greek Government consideration of the declarations of
principles and policies adopted at this Conference by members from
twenty-four countries here assembled, believing that the application
of these principles may be of benefit to the people of any nation.
RESOLVED that this Conference approve the policies recently announced
by Hon. C. A. Dunning, Canadian Minister of the Interior and by Hon.
D. G. [Mackenzie ?], Manitoba Minister of Natural Resources in behalf
their respective Governments of safeguarding the site of the new city
of Churchill from the speculative abuses and exploitation of land
values which has characterized similar developments in the past; and
express the hope that thereby will be retained for the public
represented by the Municipal Provincial Dominion Governments the
annual land value created by public activities and at the same time
the natural opportunities of Church will be reserved for use and
development free from the the baneful operations of the forestaller.