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Arden, Delaware

http://www.henrygeorge.org/mikerent.htm The Arden Land Trust


Upton Sinclair: The Consequences of Land Speculation are Tenantry and Debt on the Farms, and Slums and Luxury in the Cities

...I have before me a little book entitled "Enclaves of Economic Rent," by C. W. Huntington....This book is published by Mr. Fiske Warren, a millionaire paper manufacturer who lives at Harvard, Massachusetts, and believes in the Single Tax by way of enclaves....I sought to persuade Mr. Warren that a great crisis was impending; that the inequality of wealth in our society a thing continually growing worse, was bound to bring a smash-up long before mankind had been persuaded to live in enclaves. To this Mr. Warren answered, in substance: "You may be right; but if this civilization collapses, something else will have to be put in its place, and it may be useful to men to have a model of a better community."

...How are these enclaves run? The principle is very simple. The community owns the land, and fixes the site value year by year, and those who occupy the land pay the full rental value of the land they occupy. Improvements of any kind are not taxed; you pay only for the use of what nature and the community have created. The community takes all this wealth and uses it, first to pay all the taxes on the land [and buildings -ds] the remaining money being expended for community purposes, by the democratic vote of all.

What this means in practice you can see from the town of Fairhope, Alabama. Fairhope began nearly thirty years ago, with three hundred and fifty acres, and now has nearly four thousand acres. Its land is estimated to be worth a million dollars. But instead of this wealth being distributed among private owners, in accordance with the guessing power or each individual, the whole rental value is the property of the community, and the whole community prospers by the labors of each one.

What this means in the way of moral values you may judge from one sentence in the little book: and I will follow the example of the book and quote this sentence in the same cold and unemotional fashion: "No resident of Fairhope has been defendant in a criminal case in county court." Perhaps I should add that there is no place except the county court where anyone could be a defendant; there has never been a court or jail or anything of that sort in Fairhope.

Or take the colony of Arden, Delaware, which is just south of Philadelphia. I could not say that no resident of Arden has ever been a defendant in a court — I myself having been one of eleven men who were arrested by a constable from the city of Wilmington, and sent to prison for the crime of playing baseball and tennis on Sunday! It is that kind of humorous story which you read about Arden, and not the serious efforts which are there being made to solve a great and pressing social problem.

In Philadelphia, as in all our great cities, are enormously wealthy families, living on hereditary incomes derived from crowded slums. Here and there among these rich men is one who realizes that he has not earned what he is consuming, and that it has not brought him happiness, and is bringing still less to his children. Such men are casting about for ways to invest their money without breeding idleness and parasitism. Some of them might be grateful to learn about this enclave plan, and to visit the lovely village of Arden, and see what its people are doing to make possible a peaceful and joyous life, even in this land of bootleggers and jazz orchestras. ... read the whole article


Fred E. Foldvary — The Ultimate Tax Reform: Public Revenue from Land Rent

Followers of Henry George established several model communities. In one of them, Arden, Delaware, all residential land is owned by a trust. It leases the land to the residents, who pay rent only on their leaseholds. The trust itself pays property taxes to the county. Arden has prospered as a community with fine houses and lively community activities.37

Many private communities implement the single tax on land in effect, collected as a fee or assessment. A condominium owner, for example, owns his unit and a share of the “common elements” such as building exteriors, landscaping, and recreation facilities. The unit owner pays an assessment often calculated as a “percentage interest,” based on the market value of the unit relative to other units. In effect, the unit owner is paying rent for use of the common elements.38 ... read the whole document


Dan Sullivan: Are you a Real Libertarian, or a ROYAL Libertarian?

There are, in fact, proprietary communities operating on the single tax model. Arden, Delaware, with a population of 4900, has had no local taxes since 1900. The Arden Corporation collects a fair market rent on each land parcel, which is reappraised annually. (They actually collect only about a fourth of the rent to which they are entitled.) From that they not only pay for all the municipal services, but rebate all property taxes levied by the county and school district.... Read the whole piece


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