The World Chaos: A Way Out
Silas S. Taber
[Reprinted from Land and Freedom, July-August
THE people of San Diego should be congratulated in regard to their
daily instruction in respect to "land values."
I doubt if the people of any other city are better versed in the
cause, development and importance of land values, for, thanks to the
full page advertising, it is daily hammered into our minds, that
increased population means increased land values ; that increased
civic enterprise means increased land values; that ninety per cent, of
all great fortunes are based in land values.
Our citizens are familiar with the fact that land values are simply
ground rents, capitalized: what the Political Economists call the
unearned increment, because entirely unearned by the site or
landowner. As a well-known illustration, a small corner lot down town
was leased about forty years ago, for $35 per month. At the present
time the ground rental runs to $2,000 per month, with no effort on the
part of the owner.
Now, while our citizens are kept well informed, that ground rent is a
social product, due to population and civic enterprise; they are not
kept so well informed in regard to the fact that our tax system, like
that of many other countries, allows about four-fifths of this social
revenue to flow into the pockets of private landowners, thus inducing
land speculation, necessitating taxation of industry and creating, in
the last analysis, that whole train of evils we term in short, the
Our tax system nullifies the laws of distribution. Community created
value is given to the fortunate few, while the many are robbed to make
up the loss. Present tax laws become in effect, a yearly method of
transferring a good portion of the earnings of land-users to the
pockets of landowners.
The transfer of taxes from industry to land values can be
accomplished without the slightest friction, as in Sydney, N.S.W., a
city of a million inhabitants.
With this system comes the Golden Rule into our economic life;
whatsoever the government does to its citizens in creating land
values, just so do the citizens render the government an exact money
equivalent. The old slogan, "Equal opportunity for all, special
privilege to none," becomes a vital living truth instead of a
dead aphorism. Justice and equity becomes the cornerstone of our
national wellbeing; and the sneaking, prying governmental espionage
into our private affairs, that induces perjury and false swearing will
be abolished. Thus shall our nation again be entitled to respect, in
the maintenance of those ideals of individual liberty and freedom of
production, that have been the inspiration of all progressive leaders
of the past; thus, shall three of the dreaded Horse men, Famine,
Pestilence and War, be banished from the earth.