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Is liberty the privilege of oppressing others, or is it something else?

The statement "proclaim liberty" on the Liberty Bell is a direct reference to the jubilee, the restoration of land to its holder for the next fifty years; the freeing of slaves and the extinguishing of debts.

Henry George: Ode to Liberty  (1877 speech)
WE HONOR LIBERTY in name and in form. We set up her statues and sound her praises. But we have not fully trusted her. And with our growth so grow her demands. She will have no half service! Liberty! it is a word to conjure with, not to vex the ear in empty boastings. For Liberty means Justice, and Justice is the natural law — the law of health and symmetry and strength, of fraternity and co-operation. ...

They who look upon Liberty as having accomplished her mission when she has abolished hereditary privileges and given men the ballot, who think of her as having no further relations to the everyday affairs of life, have not seen her real grandeur — to them the poets who have sung of her must seem rhapsodists, and her martyrs fools!  ...

It is not for an abstraction that men have toiled and died; that in every age the witnesses of Liberty have stood forth, and the martyrs of Liberty have suffered.

We speak of Liberty as one thing, and of virtue, wealth, knowledge, invention, national strength and national independence as other things. But, of all these, Liberty is the source, the mother, the necessary condition. She is to virtue what light is to color; to wealth what sunshine is to grain; to knowledge what eyes are to sight. She is the genius of invention, the brawn of national strength, the spirit of national independence. Where Liberty rises, there virtue grows, wealth increases, knowledge expands, invention multiplies human powers, and in strength and spirit the freer nation rises among her neighbors as Saul amid his brethren — taller and fairer. Where Liberty sinks, there virtue fades, wealth diminishes, knowledge is forgotten, invention ceases, and empires once mighty in arms and arts become a helpless prey to freer barbarians! ...

In our time, as in times before, creep on the insidious forces that, producing inequality, destroy Liberty. On the horizon the clouds begin to lower. Liberty calls to us again. We must follow her further; we must trust her fully. Either we must wholly accept her or she will not stay. It is not enough that men should vote; it is not enough that they should be theoretically equal before the law. They must have liberty to avail themselves of the opportunities and means of life; they must stand on equal terms with reference to the bounty of nature. Either this, or Liberty withdraws her light! Either this, or darkness comes on, and the very forces that progress has evolved turn to powers that work destruction. This is the universal law. This is the lesson of the centuries. Unless its foundations be laid in justice the social structure cannot stand.

Our primary social adjustment is a denial of justice. In allowing one man to own the land on which and from which other men must live, we have made them his bondsmen in a degree which increases as material progress goes on. This is the subtle alchemy that in ways they do not realize is extracting from the masses in every civilized country the fruits of their weary toil; that is instituting a harder and more hopeless slavery in place of that which has been destroyed; that is bringing political despotism out of political freedom, and must soon transmute democratic institutions into anarchy. ...

But if, while there is yet time, we turn to Justice and obey her, if we trust Liberty and follow her, the dangers that now threaten must disappear, the forces that now menace will turn to agencies of elevation. Think of the powers now wasted; of the infinite fields of knowledge yet to be explored; of the possibilities of which the wondrous inventions of this century give us but a hint. With want destroyed; with greed changed to noble passions; with the fraternity that is born of equality taking the place of the jealousy and fear that now array men against each other; with mental power loosed by conditions that give to the humblest comfort and leisure; and who shall measure the heights to which our civilization may soar? Words fail the thought! It is the Golden Age of which poets have sung and high-raised seers have told in metaphor! It is the glorious vision which has always haunted man with gleams of fitful splendor. It is what he saw whose eyes at Patmos were closed in a trance. It is the culmination of Christianity — the City of God on earth, with its walls of jasper and its gates of pearl! It is the reign of the Prince of Peace! ... read the whole speech and also Significant Paragraphs from Henry George's Progress & Poverty: 14 Liberty, and Equality of Opportunity (in the unabridged P&P: Part X: The Law of Human Progress — Chapter 5: The Central Truth)

Henry George: Political Dangers (Chapter 2 of Social Problems, 1883)

[05] There is a suggestive fact that must impress any one who thinks over the history of past eras and preceding civilizations. The great, wealthy and powerful nations have always lost their freedom; it is only in small, poor and isolated communities that Liberty has been maintained. So true is this that the poets have always sung that Liberty loves the rocks and the mountains; that she shrinks from wealth and power and splendor, from the crowded city and the busy mart. So true is this that philosophical historians have sought in the richness of material resources the causes of the corruption and enslavement of peoples.

[06] Liberty is natural. Primitive perceptions are of the equal rights of the citizen, and political organization always starts from this base. It is as social development goes on that we find power concentrating, in institutions based upon the equality of rights passing into institutions which make the many the slaves of the few. How this is we may see. In all institutions which involve the lodgment of governing power there is, with social growth, a tendency to the exaltation of their function and the centralization of their power, and in the stronger of these institutions a tendency to the absorption of the powers of the rest. Thus the tendency of social growth is to make government the business of a special class. And as numbers increase and the power and importance of each become less and less as compared with that of all, so, for this reason, does government tend to pass beyond the scrutiny and control of the masses. The leader of a handful of warriors, or head man of a little village, can command or govern only by common consent, and anyone aggrieved can readily appeal to his fellows. But when a tribe becomes a nation and the village expands to a populous country, the powers of the chieftain, without formal addition, become practically much greater. For with increase of numbers scrutiny of his acts becomes more difficult, it is harder and harder successfully to appeal from them, and the aggregate power which he directs becomes irresistible as against individuals. And gradually, as power thus concentrates, primitive ideas are lost, and the habit of thought grows up which regards the masses as born but for the service of their rulers ... read the entire essay

Henry George: The Great Debate: Single Tax vs Social Democracy  (1889)

We would abolish all taxation that falls on industry, and raise public revenue by this means, and move to our end, the taking of the full rental value of land for the use of the community, in this way. This name, Single Tax, expresses our method; not our ideal. What we are really is liberty men; what we believe in is perfect freedom: What we wish to do is to give each individual in the community the liberty to exert his powers in any way he pleases, bounded only by the equal liberty of others.   ... Read the entire article

Henry George: Concentrations of Wealth Harm America (excerpt from Social Problems)  (1883)
There is a suggestive fact that must impress any one who thinks over the history of past eras and preceding civilizations. The great, wealthy and powerful nations have always lost their freedom; it is only in small, poor and isolated communities that Liberty has been maintained. So true is this that the poets have always sung that Liberty loves the rocks and tile mountains; that she shrinks from wealth and power and splendor, from the crowded city and the busy mart....   Read the entire article

Henry George: The Single Tax: What It Is and Why We Urge It (1890)
The right of property does not rest upon human laws; they have often ignored and violated it. It rests on natural laws -- that is to say, the law of God. It is clear and absolute, and every violation of it, whether committed by a man or a nation, is a violation of the command, "Thou shalt not steal."

The man who catches a fish, grows an apple, raises a calf, builds a house, makes a coat, paints a picture, constructs a machine, has, as to any such thing, an exclusive right of ownership which carries with it the right to give, to sell or bequeath that thing.

But who made the earth that any man can claim such ownership of it, or any part of it, or the right to give, sell or bequeath it? Since the earth was not made by us, but is only a temporary dwelling place on which one generation of men follow another; since we find ourselves here, are manifestly here with equal permission of the Creator, it is manifest that no one can have any exclusive right of ownership in land, and that the rights of all men to land must be equal and inalienable. There must be exclusive right of possession of land, for the man who uses it must have secure possession of land in order to reap the products of his labor. But his right of possession must be limited by the equal right of all, and should therefore be conditioned upon the payment to the community by the possessor of an equivalent for any special valuable privilege thus accorded him.  ...  read the whole article

It is a deep pleasure for me to be here tonight, the guest of the Liverpool Financial Reform Association, and to speak at my last meeting in England with my honored countrymen, [including] William Lloyd Garrison of Massachusetts. (Cheers)

You are right, Mr. Garrison. The true republic, the American Republic that we hope for and pray is not yet here. (Hear, hear) A poor thing is a republic where the tramp jostles the millionaire, where liberty is mocked by a paternal system of interference with human rights, where, under the pretext of protecting labor, labor is robbed! (Cheers) And here, in the motherland, in the United States, in Australia and New Zealand, we of the English tongue find the same difficulties confronting us. Liberty is not yet here; but, thank God, she is coming. (Cheers) Not merely the American Republic, not merely the Republic of the Southern Cross, not merely the Republic of Great Britain and Ireland is it that we see in the future, but that great republic that some day is to confederate the English speaking people everywhere (loud cheers) that is to bring a grander "Roman peace" to the world. (A voice: More than that.) Aye, more than that — that is to bring civilization as much higher, as much better than what we call a Christian civilization, as this is higher and better than barbarism. And already, in meetings such as this, it seems to me that I feel an earnest [presentiment] of the coming time when we of one blood and one speech are also to be one. (Cheers) For the same principles, for the same great cause that we stand in the United States we stand here. And in a little over a week from now I will be standing on an American platform speaking to men whose hearts are beating in the same cause in which we are engaged here. (Cheers)

Our little local politics may differ; our greater politics are one and the same. We have the same evils to redress, the same truth to propagate, the same end to seek.

And that end, what is it but liberty? (Hear, hear) He who listens to the voice of Freedom, she will lead and lead him on. Before I was born, before our friend there was born, there was in a southern city of the United States a young printer bearing the name William Lloyd Garrison. (Cheers) He saw around him the iniquity of negro slavery. (Hear, hear) The voice of the oppressed cried to him and would not let him rest, and he took up the cross. He became the great apostle of human liberty, and today in American cities that once hooted and stoned him there are now statues raised to William Lloyd Garrison.

He began as a protectionist. As he moved on he saw that liberty meant something more than simply the abolition of chattel slavery. He saw that liberty also meant, not merely the right to freely labor for oneself, but the right to freely exchange one's production, and, from a protectionist, William Lloyd Garrison became a free trader. (Cheers)

And now, when the first is gone, the second comes forward, to take one further step to realize that for perfect freedom there must also be freedom in the use of natural opportunities. (Hear, hear, and cheers) ...

That is what we strive for — for the freedom of all, for self-government to all (hear, hear) — and for as little government as possible: (Laughter and cheers) We don't believe that tyranny is a thing alone of kings and monarchs; we know well that majorities can be as tyrannous as aristocracies (hear, hear); we know that mobs can persecute as well as crowned heads. (Hear, hear) What we ask for is freedom — that in each locality, large or small, the people of that locality shall be free to manage the affairs that pertain only to that locality (hear, hear, and cheers); that each individual shall be free to manage the affairs that relate to him; that government shall not presume to say of whom he shall buy or to whom he shall sell, shall not attempt to dictate to him in any way, but shall confine itself to its proper function of preserving the public peace, of preventing the strong from oppressing the weak, of utilizing for the public good all the revenues that belong of right to the public, and of managing those affairs that are best managed by the whole. (Cheers) Our doctrine is the doctrine of freedom, our gospel is the gospel of liberty, and we have faith in it, why should we not? (Cheers) ... ... read the whole speech

Rev. A. C. Auchmuty: Gems from George, a themed collection of excerpts from the writings of Henry George (with links to sources)

THE primary purpose and end of government being to secure the natural rights and equal liberty of each, all businesses that involve monopoly are within the necessary province of governmental regulation, and businesses that are in their nature complete monopolies become properly functions of the State. As society develops, the State must assume these functions, in their nature co-operative, in order to secure the equal rights and liberty of all. That is to say, as, in the process of integration, the individual becomes more and more dependent upon and subordinate to the all, it becomes necessary for government, which is properly that social organ by which alone the whole body of individuals can act, to take upon itself, in the interest of all, certain functions which cannot safely be left to individuals. — Social Problems — Chapter 17, The Functions of Government

IT is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal rights of each from aggression on the part of others, and the moment governmental prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very ends they are intended to serve.— Social Problems — Chapter 17, The Functions of Government

ALL schemes for securing equality in the conditions of men by placing the distribution of wealth in the hands of government have the fatal defect of beginning at the wrong end. They pre-suppose pure government; but it is not government that makes society; it is society that makes government; and until there is something like substantial equality in the distribution of wealth, we cannot expect pure government. — Protection or Free Trade, Chapter 28 econlib

THE law of human progress, what is it but the moral law? Just as social adjustments promote justice, just as they acknowledge the equality of right between man and man, just as they insure to each the perfect liberty which is bounded only by the equal liberty of every other, must civilization advance. Just as they fail in this, must advancing civilization come to a halt and recede. Political economy and social science cannot teach any lessons that are not embraced in the simple truths that were taught to poor fishermen and Jewish peasants by One who eighteen hundred years ago was crucified — the simple truths which, beneath the warpings of selfishness and the distortions of superstition, seem to underlie every religion that has ever striven to formulate the spiritual yearnings of man. — Progress & Poverty — Book X, Chapter 3, The Law of Human Progress

THE poverty which in the midst of abundance pinches and embrutes men, and all the manifold evils which flow from it, spring from a denial of justice. In permitting the monopolization of the opportunities which nature freely offers to all, we have ignored the fundamental law of justice — for, so far as we can see, when we view things upon a large scale, justice seems to be the supreme law of the universe. But by sweeping away this injustice and asserting the rights of all men to natural opportunities, we shall conform ourselves to the law — we shall remove the great cause of unnatural inequality in the distribution of wealth and power; we shall abolish poverty; tame the ruthless passions of greed; dry up the springs of vice and misery; light in dark places the lamp of knowledge; give new vigor to invention and a fresh impulse to discovery; substitute political strength for political weakness; and make tyranny and anarchy impossible.  — Progress & Poverty — Book X, Chapter 5, The Law of Human Progress: The Central Truth ... go to "Gems from George"

Nic Tideman:  A Bill of Economic Rights and Obligations

Our nation was founded on the idea that we are all created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In living, expressing our liberty, and pursuing happiness we sometimes conflict with one another, so we need a shared understanding of the extent of the sphere of equal rights given to every person, and beyond that sphere our obligation to respect the rights of others. This Bill is concerned with the economic aspects of these rights and obligations. ...   Read the entire article

Nic Tideman:  Peace, Justice and Economic Reform
These components of the classical liberal conception of justice are held by two groups that hold conflicting views on a companion issue of great importance: how are claims of exclusive access to natural opportunities to be established?

John Locke qualified his statement that we own what we produce with his famous "proviso" that there be "as much and as good left in common for others." A few pages later, writing in the last decade of the seventeenth century, he said that private appropriations of land are actually not restricted, because anyone who is dissatisfied with the land available to him in Europe can always go to America, where there is plenty of unclaimed land.[12] Locke does not address the issue of rights to land when land is scarce.

One tradition in classical liberalism concerning claims to land is that of the "homesteading libertarians," as exemplified by Murray Rothbard, who say that there is really no need to be concerned with Locke's proviso. Natural opportunities belong to whoever first appropriates them, regardless of whether opportunities of equal value are available to others.[13]

The other tradition is that of the "geoists," as inspired if not exemplified by Henry George, who say that, whenever natural opportunities are scarce, each person has an obligation to ensure that the per capita value of the natural opportunities that he leaves for others is as great as the value of the natural opportunities that he claims for himself.[14] Any excess in one's claim generates an obligation to compensate those who thereby have less. George actually proposed the nearly equivalent idea, that all or nearly all of the rental value of land should be collected in taxes, and all other taxes should be abolished. The geoist position as I have expressed it emphasizes the idea that, at least when value generated by public services is not an issue, rights to land are fundamentally rights of individuals, not rights of governments.

There are two fundamental problems with the position of homesteading libertarians on claims to land. The first problem is the incongruity with historical reality. Humans have emerged from an environment of violence. Those who now have titles to land can trace those titles back only so far, before they come to events where fiat backed by violence determined title. And the persons who were displaced at that time themselves had titles that originated in violence. If there ever were humans who acquired the use of land without forcibly displacing other humans, we have no way of knowing who they were or who their current descendants might be. There is, in practice, no way of assigning land to the legitimate successors of the persons who first claimed land. And to assign titles based on any fraction of history is to reward the last land seizures that are not rectified.

The second fundamental problem with the position of the homesteading libertarians is that, even if there were previously unsettled land to be allocated, say a new continent emerging from the ocean, first grabbing would make no sense as a criterion for allocating land.

It would be inefficient, for one thing, as people stampeded to do whatever was necessary to establish their claims. But that is not decisive because, if we are concerned with justice, it might be necessary for us to tolerate inefficiency. But the homesteading libertarian view makes no sense in terms of justice. "I get it all because I got here first," isn't justice.

Justice -- the balancing of the scales -- is the geoist position, "I get exclusive access to this natural opportunity because I have left natural opportunities of equal value for you." (How one compares, in practice, the value of different natural opportunities is a bit complex. If you really want to know, you can invite me back for another lecture.)

Justice is thus a regime in which persons have the greatest possible individual liberty, and all acknowledge an obligation to share equally the value of natural opportunities. Justice is economic reform--the abolition of all taxes on labor and capital, the acceptance of individual responsibility, the creation of institutions that will provide equal sharing the value of natural opportunities. ...   Read the entire article

Nic Tideman: The Structure of an Inquiry into the Attractiveness of A Social Order Inspired by the Ideas of Henry George
 I. Ethical Principles
A. People own themselves and therefore own what they produce.
B. People have obligations to share equally the opportunities that are provided by nature.
C. People are free to interact with other competent adults on whatever terms are mutually agreed.
D. People have obligations to pay the costs that their intrusive behaviors impose on others.
II. Ethical Questions
A. What is the relationship between justice (as embodied in the ethical principles) and community (or peace or harmony)?
B. How are the weak to be provided for?
C. How should natural opportunities be shared?
D. Who should be included in the group among whom rent should be shared equally?
E. Is there an obligation to compensate those whose presently recognized titles to land and other exclusive natural opportunities will lose value when rent is shared equally?
F. Can a person who is occupying a per capita share of land reasonably ask to be left undisturbed indefinitely on that land?
G. What is the moral status of "intellectual property?"
H. What standards of environmental respect can people reasonably require of others?
I. What forms of land use control are consistent with the philosophy of Henry George?
III. Efficiency Questions
A. Would public collection of the rent of land provide enough revenue for an appropriate public sector?
B. How much revenue could public collection of rent raise?
C. Is it possible to assess land with sufficient accuracy?
D. How much growth can a community expect if it shifts taxes from improvements to land?
E. To what extent does the benefit that one community receives from shifting taxes from buildings to land come at the expense of other communities?
F. What is the impact of land taxes on land speculation?
G. How, if at all, does the impact of shifting the source of public revenue to land change if it is a whole nation rather than just a community that makes the shift?
H. Is there a danger that the application of Henry George's ideas would lead to a world of over-development?
I. How would natural resources be managed appropriately if they were regarded as the common heritage of humanity?    Read the whole article


Nic Tideman: Improving Efficiency and Preventing Exploitation in Taxing and Spending Decisions

A possible difficulty with classical liberalism as a justification for government action is that it may justify little if any government action. Taxes intrude upon individual liberty. How is this intrusion to be justified? One way to try to get around this difficulty is by the claim that some expenditures on protecting individual rights are so valuable that anyone would understand that, for these expenditures, the reduction in individual liberty from taxation is less than the addition to individual liberty from the protection of individual rights that is possible with taxation. However, if improving the well-being of all citizens is the justification, then one should ask whether there is adequate justification for even these government actions if they do not have unanimous support.
Supporters of government action might argue that if unanimous support were required, then the problem of selfish individuals holding out for greater shares of the surplus would raise transactions costs to the point where nothing could be done, even if there were things that would make everyone better off. But that justification carries the risk of justifying nearly anything. If those in power have an excuse to ignore what citizens say about what they value, what limits to power are there?
Geoliberalism offers a different way of justifying public spending and the taxation that finances it. If people are perfectly mobile, and if there are enough people who value a local public good to fill the area that benefits from it, then the provision of a local public good will raise land rents by enough to pay for the public good. In collecting the rental value of land, governments will collect enough to pay for any worthwhile local public goods that they provide.
Under the conservative or homesteading libertarian versions of classical liberalism, the possessor of land might say, "This is my land. I didn't ask for these public goods. You have no right to tax me to pay for them." Under geoliberalism, on the other hand, the community can reply, "You have as much right to the use of land and other natural opportunities as anyone else. If you want to exercise your rights in this community, these are the taxes you must pay. If you don't like it, claim your share of natural opportunities somewhere else." ... read the whole article


Fred Foldvary:  Well being and being well off
I see three ways in which one can define "well off."
First, one is better or worse off relative to the distribution of wealth or income in a particular society. ...
Secondly, being well off can be thought of as relative to the typical person in the economy. ...
Third, one can define "well off" in absolute terms. ...

Being absolutely well off means,

  • first, that one is able to rise substantially above subsistence through peaceful and honest means, whether from one's labor, from one's rightful share of natural and contractual benefits, or from gifts.
  • Secondly, to be absolutely well off requires complete liberty, so that the only legal restriction is the prohibition of coercive harm to others. Liberty includes security against attack, either by government or by private persons, since one is not really free if one is under substantial threats of death and theft against which one is helpless.

With liberty, one is free to establish whatever relationships one wishes, so long as others are also willing. With liberty and the ability to obtain wealth, one can obtain assurance of future wealth both because one is able to earn it and also because one is able to store wealth and insure oneself against risk.

My Dictionary of Free-Market Economics defines "well-being" as "The amount and degree to which individuals in an economy are able to pursue and attain their ends." The only requirement for absolute well being, for someone who is mentally and physically able to produce wealth, is liberty. With liberty, one can obtain wealth, friends, and future security, express oneself as one pleases, and enjoy life in accord with one's values and lifestyle preference.

Being absolutely well off does not involve any particular level of wealth beyond subsistence, since this depends on personal preference. An artist may prefer to live at subsistence and devote her time to art, and that person is absolutely well off because she is pursuing happiness in her own way. As with relative well being, one can be well off in the absolute sense without being happy, as for example a person who has much wealth but has lost love or has a serious illness.

What is required for there to be complete liberty? There must be a basic law such that any act that does not invade the domain of others is not prohibited or taxed. In liberty, there are only prohibitions if there are victims who are coercively harmed, and there is restitution for damages to others. In liberty, people have equal rights and no special legal privileges. In a free society, nobody starves, because one is able to save for the future, because on obtains one's equal share of natural and civic benefits, and because the sympathy of society will not let people starve.

The economic policy of liberty has four rules:

    1. To the creator belongs the creation.
    2. The profit of nature's creation belongs equally to all.
    3. The benefit of what is created by government belongs to all the people in its jurisdiction.
    4. When the initial distribution is just, the outcomes of free exchange are just and should not be hampered.  Read the whole article

Publisher's pamphlet, circa 1970:
Apart from Free Trade, the great economic and social issues were taxation and the alleviation of poverty. The Liberals were concerned to remove the basic cause of the problem -- not just to mitigate its undesirable effects.

    It was the American economist Henry George who, towards the end of the 19th century, had examined the paradox of the age in his Progress and Poverty. His principles had a major impact, first upon the radicals of Scotland and Ireland, including Campbell Bannerman himself; and later upon the policy of the Liberal Party.

    Henry George propounded that whilst people have the right to possess what they produce, or receive in exchange for their work, there is no such right to private ownership of the elements upon which all depend -- air, water, sunshine and land. Indeed, George held the right of access to these basic elements as strong and equal as the right to life itself, and that if private ownership of basic elements is permitted, suppression and exploitation of one class by another is inevitable. The consequent injustice must become more acute as the community develops.

    Thus it became a major point of Liberal policy to shift taxation from production, and to raise taxation upon the value of land, on the basis that this value, as witnessed by the tremendously high prices even then demanded for commercial land, is created not by any individual but by the existence and work of the whole community. A natural source thus arises from which the community may meet its growing needs without discouraging production or inhibiting the growth of earnings.

    The justice and practicality of this proposition can rarely if ever have enjoyed a more brilliant advocate than Winston Churchill, and today's reader is left to wonder how different might be the present state of Britain had the forces of social change pursued these principles to their enactment. ...

    The People's Rights tells a very different story and comes now not as a document of historic interest but as a challenge to politicians, indeed to the entire electorate, to consider again the causes of poverty and the basic issues of social and economic justice. Perhaps current disillusionment with politics springs from a sense that if justice in the community can only be achieved at the expense of individual liberty, the price -- especially in terms of ever-increasing taxation and bureaucracy -- is too high to pay.

    As a proposition that justice in the community and the freedom of the individual are complementary and that taxes may be raised without undermining either, The People's Rights comes as a major contribution to current political and economic thought. Indeed it deserves a place in the annals of Man's struggle for freedom and yearning for a society in which the genius of every person would be nurtured and the liberty of every person respected. ... Read the whole piece

Ted Gwartney:  A Free Market Strategy to Reduce Sprawl
  • Unused land is far more abundant than we realize.
  • End the Public Subsidy of Land Speculation and Sprawl
  • Counterproductive growth limitations and regulations should be abolished.
  • A Strategy for Urban Renewal
  • A Strategy for Economic Development
  • Public Finance by Self-Financing
It was estimated that the BART transportation system in San Francisco produced two times more land value than it cost to build. The public recaptured only a small part of the cost from benefits provided by land taxes and user fees. Most of the cost came from external sources, unrelated sales and income taxes. Most of the profits went into only a few pockets.

Thus, the claim that a community is short of capital is misleading. In fact, a community could become self-sufficient in the supply of capital from internal sources. But a precondition for this is the reduction of taxes on productive capital and labor. Examine, for example, what would happen as a result of the elimination of taxation of buildings. This decision, not to penalize people who invest their savings in new buildings, leads to the stimulation of a higher level of national income, higher saving, and the creation of new capital. According to the study made by Tideman and Plassmann (1998, The Losses of Nations, Fred Harrison, editor, Orthila Press), shifting taxes off buildings, production and distribution, and onto land and natural resources, could increase the gross national product by 25%, or one trillion 1998 dollars ($1,000,000,000,000).

The Land Value Tax Shift from labor and capital is not only a key to reversing suburban sprawl and protecting rural environments -- it is a key to realizing the dream and fulfilling promises of a truly free market -- with liberty, prosperity, and justice for all.  ... 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