Land Is Not Capital
[Reprinted from an undated pamphlet, Simple Talks
on Taxation, published by the author]
... Some of your fellers say that
land isn't capital.
right and they're wrong.
How the hell can that be?
right if they begin by saying "in justice," and
they're wrong if they don't continue by saying "under
How about repeating that
with the full sentence?
right. They should say: In justice, land is not capital, but
under present conditions, land is capital.
How do you work it out?
in justice, no one would have to pay out any capital for land.
You mean, he'd get it free?
no! He'd pay the rental value to its creators.
Who'd they be?
and me and the rest of the people. But there'd be no capital
No capital outlay!!!
You see, land's value is measured in the rent it would bring.
Well, you've got to buy it.
got to now, yes. But if the people who create the rent value
also collected it, there'd be nothing to sell - -
How do you mean,
nothing to sell?
mean, if the public collected all the land rent, which is the
only basis of land value, there'd be no value left to sell.
So what would happen?
take someone who has been using a piece of land. He doesn't need
it any more. It's a good location so the land tent is high. So
he gets out.
Couldn't he sell the title?
would he be selling? A title is only a permit to collect land
rent If all the rent was already governmentally collected, what
good would the permit be?
What would he do then?
move out, and someone who had use for the land, would move in.
And no money would
finished with a metered parking place and you followed me into
it, would any money change hands between us?
You mean, it's the same
The whole world is one great parking place. The right to
exclusive ownership or occupation, should only last as long as
the owner pays the public for that right; that is, in all
I was going to ask you
about your "in justice," "injustice" you've
been saying. What do you mean by "in justice"?
answer you by asking you: Is it just for a few favored people to
collect what you-and I and the rest of the people create? And is
it just, after we let them reap our harvest, for us to
arbitrarily take away part of everyone's earnings? And a "cut"
on everything he buys? And a big chunk out of what he has saved,
when he dies?
The way you describe it, it
seems like the answer is: No.
right, then. All profit and income from land is unjust. That's
why I speak of "in justice." And that's why I say
that, in justice, land is not capital.
You put up a good argument.
and there's another reason why land is not capital: Of land, the
yield (which is rent) creates the value. Of capital, the value
creates the yield (which is interest and profit).
I never thought of it that
one more thing to ponder over. Capital creates more capital.
Land never creates more land!
Gee! I'll miss the Sports
Newscast if I stay here any longer!