Wealth and Want
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Injustice of Current Taxes

a synopsis of Robert V. Andelson and James M. Dawsey: From Wasteland to Promised land: Liberation Theology for a Post-Marxist World

To recognize that "the earth is the Lord's" is to see that the same God who established communities has also in his providence ordained for them, through the land itself, a just source of revenue. Yet, in the Wasteland in which we live, this revenue goes mainly into the pockets of monopolists, while communities meet their needs by extorting individuals the fruits of their honest toil. If ever there were any doubt that structural sin exists, our present system of taxation is the proof. Everywhere we see governments penalizing individuals for their industry and creativity, while the socially produced value of land is reaped by speculators in exact proportion to the land which they withhold. The greater the Wasteland, the greater the reward. Does this comport with any divine plan, or notion of justice and human rights? Or does it not, rather, perpetuate the Wasteland and prevent the realization of the Promised Land?

This not meant to suggest that land monopolists and speculators have a corner on acquisitiveness or the "profit motive," which is a well-nigh universal fact of human nature. As a group, they are no more sinful than are people at large, except to the degree that they knowingly obstruct reforms aimed at removing the basis of exploitation. Many abide by the dictum: "If one has to live under a corrupt system, it is better to be a beneficiary than a victim of it."

But they do not have to live under a corrupt system; no one does. The profit motive can be channeled in ways that are socially desirable as well as in ways that are socially destructive. Let us give testimony to our faith that the earth is the Lord's by building a social order in which there are no victims. Read the whole synopsis


Robert V. Andelson  Henry George and the Reconstruction of Capitalism

At present we have the ironic spectacle of the community penalizing the individual for his industry and initiative, and taking away from him a share of that which he produces, while at the same time lavishing upon the nonproducer undeserved windfalls which it -- the community -- produces. Henry George built his whole program around the principle: Let the individual keep all of that which he or she produces, and let the community keep all of that which it produces. ...

There are two things which a government can never do and still be just:

  • The first of these is to take for public purposes what rightfully belongs to private individuals or corporations.
  • The second is to give to private individuals or corporations what rightfully belongs to the public.

All wealth that is privately produced rightfully belongs to private individuals or corporations, and for the government to appropriate it is unjust. But land rent is publicly produced, and for the government to give it to private individuals or corporations is equally unjust. He who thinks himself prepared to justify in principle the private monopolization of land rent, must also be prepared to justify in principle the jobbery of the Tweed Ring and the looting of Teapot Dome -- not to mention the escapades of Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, and Charles Keating.

In closing, I will summarize with a quotation from the late Dr. Viggo Starke, for many years a member of the Danish cabinet: "What I produce is mine. All mine! What you produce is yours. All yours! But that which none of us produced, but which we all lend value to together, belongs by right to all of us in common." This, in a nutshell, is the philosophy of Henry George.Read the whole article






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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper