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, Denmark.

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.


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.


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 time.

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 George.


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.