Wealth and Want
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Mason Gaffney: Full Employment, Growth And Progress On A Small Planet: Relieving Poverty While Healing The Earth
7. Value of urbanism. Cities are the cores of specialization and exchange, which in turn are the mainsprings of productivity and technical progress. Urban land is therefore highly productive, so that most land values are found in cities. So are most of the best jobs, and investment outlets.

Cities are the site of most “downstream” production, which uses more labor per unit of natural resources than the primary production outside cities. Modern “ecological footprint” thinking seems to deny or overlook this important fact. Cities earn their keep by providing the rest of the world with manufactures, medical care, education, research, and many other urban products and services that enhance rural output and welfare. (Even the Sierra Club and Audubon Society have downtown urban headquarters.)

8. Open space. Lands with open access (e.g. parks, and public rights-of-way) are already common property, and should not be taxed. Land taxes are needed only to compensate the landless for tenure – the right to exclude others – that society grants to the landed in preference to the landless. Common carriers, with rates regulated to reasonable levels, would seem to be a form of open access. In practise, the last point means that public utilities should be rate-regulated, instead of being taxed and then allowed to shift the taxes forward to customers.

9. Natural monopolies. Natural monopolies (a term going back to George’s harbinger, J.S. Mill) should be publicly owned, or regulated. Georgism as a political movement was closely allied with movements to lower urban mass transit fares and improve service, using if necessary the property tax base to cover deficits ... read the whole article

Mason Gaffney: Oil and Gas Leasing: a Study in Pseudo-Socialism
"Socialism," in common usage, is a Protean word, slippery and shifting. Many use it without defining it, whether from innocence, negligence, or cunning. These many include not just the vulgar, but most economists: semantic care is weak in the traditions of the profession. "Rigorous" model-builders today are among the offenders: the premium is on gilding the superstructure, neglecting the foundation. Indeed, foundations are not even needed for models that float in outer space, vouching for and communing mainly with each other. Those who do define Socialism, explicitly or implicitly, use the word for different things. A major difference, treated here, is between Managerial Socialism (who decides) and Distributive Socialism (who gets). These may overlap, but are independent of each other and often conflict. For example, Riverside, CA, owns its own electric utility (on whose Board I sit, losing battles). This is Managerial Socialism, municipal style. Its traditional rate structure includes large elements of cross-subsidy, mainly taking from the lower middles for the rich, tempered by crumbs thrown to the very poor. The same is true of our water system, and of most municipally owned and managed utilities around the nation. Water and sewer service are common examples of Managerial Socialism (from which the mnemonic "sewer socialism"). They have little in common with Distributive Socialism.... Read the whole article

 Charles B. Fillebrown: A Catechism of Natural Taxation, from Principles of Natural Taxation (1917)

Q3. What is meant by economic rent?
A. Gross ground rent -- the annual site value of land -- what land, including any quality or content of the land itself, is worth annually for use -- what the land does or would command for use per annum if offered in open market -- the annual value of the exclusive use in control of a given area of land, involving the enjoyment of those "rights and privileges thereto pertaining" which are stipulated in every title deed, and which, enumerated specifically, are as follows: right and ease of access to

* water, and
* health inspection,
* sewerage,
* fire protection,
* police,
* schools,
* libraries,
* museums,
* parks,
* playgrounds,
* steam and electric railway service,
* gas and electric lighting,
* telegraph and telephone service,
* subways,
* ferries,
* churches,
* public schools,
* private schools,
* colleges,
* universities,
* public buildings --

utilities which depend for their efficiency and economy on the character of the government; which collectively constitute the economic and social advantages of the land which are due to the presence and activity of population, and are inseparable therefrom, including the benefit of proximity to, and command of, facilities for commerce and communication with the world -- an artificial value created primarily through public expenditure of taxes. For the sake of brevity, the substance of this definition may be conveniently expressed as the value of "proximity." It is ordinarily measured by interest on investment plus taxes.

Q37. Does the single tax imply or involve the municipalization of public utilities?
A. No. A public franchise value is a land value which the single tax would assess at the same rate as other land values. The municipalization of the public utilities themselves is a different question, and is no necessary part of the single tax.

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