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Misunderstandings of Land Value Taxation

When words are used imprecisely, or words or phrases change in meaning over time, misunderstandings may result. One of the goals of this website is to help the reader make the important distinctions precisely!

Louis Post: Outlines of Louis F. Post's Lectures, with Illustrative Notes and Charts (1894) — Appendix: FAQ

Q7. If a man owns a city lot with a $5000 building on it, what, under the single tax, would hinder another man, perhaps with hostile intent, from bidding a higher tax than the first man was able to pay, and thus ousting him from his building?

A. The question rests upon a misapprehension of method. The single tax is not a method of nationalizing land and renting it out to the highest bidder. It is a method of taxation. And it would not only hinder, it would prevent the unjust ousting of another from his building. The single tax falls upon land-owners in proportion to the unimproved value of their land; and this value is determined by the real estate market — by the demands of the whole community — and not by arbitrary bids. No one could oust a man from his building by bidding more for the land on which it stood than the occupier was paying; the single tax would not be increased in any case unless the land upon which it fell was in so much greater demand that the owner could let it for a higher rent. ... read the book

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

Q9. Does not the single tax mean the nationalization of land?
A. No; as Henry George has said, "the primary error of the advocates of land nationalization is in their confusion of equal rights with joint rights. ... In truth, the right to the use of land is not a joint or common right, but an equal right; a joint or common right is to rent."* It means rather the socialization of economic rent. It simply proposes gradually to divert an increasing share of ground rent into the public treasury.
*A Perplexed Philosopher, Part III, Chapter XI: Compensation ... 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