|Land is a finite community resource, and we should all be paying charges for its use to the community. Tribal societies have always understood who the ultimate landowner is. Graham Hart, Georgist Education Association. 1st of 3 parts|
GEORGIST EDUCATION ASSOC. (INC.)|
10 BROOME STREET,
SOUTH PERTH, W.A., 6151
PH: 9367 5386
Republished on the World Wide Web, January 1997, from a booklet published September 1987 by|
THE GEORGIST EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, INC., Broome Street (off Douglas Avenue, one street from Canning Highway), South Perth, Western Australia, 6151; Telephone (08) 9367 5386 (international +61 8 9367 5386);
Internet address: http://www.multiline.com.au/~georgist
The term Georgist 'philosophy' refers to the economic analysis and social philosophy advanced by
the United States economist Henry George. Central to this philosophy is the idea that land values, which are due to natural and social processes, should be the source of public revenue, eliminating taxes on labour, thrift and industry. It advocates equal rights for all, special privileges for none.
THE GEORGIST MOVEMENT AFFIRMS1. Governments shall collect for public revenue the site rental value of land (exclusive of improvements).
2. There shall be no taxation of the products and rewards of labour and capital in the production of wealth, nor upon the exchange or consumption of wealth.
3. Governments shall be confined to functions which by their nature are necessary monopolies in which there can be no freedom of competition compatible with justice, equality and efficiency.
4. The distribution of wealth arising from the application of labour and capital to land either directly or indirectly
including the rendering of services for the satisfaction of human desires is to
(The full application of 3 and 4 can only be attained subject to the implementation of 1 and 2.)
|CONTENTS of Part 1 (this document)|
|1. Human Rights||6. Misappropriated Rent|
|2. The Land||7. Natural Public Revenue|
|3. Wealth||8. Involuntary Unemployment|
|4. Rental Value of Land||9. Wealth Producers|
|5. Exclusive Occupation||10. Full Employment Restored|
|CONTENTS of Part 2|
|11. Monopoly and Speculation||16. Australian Land for Australians|
|12. Site Revenue Collection||17. Encourage Land Use--Discourage Speculation|
|13. Freedom of Information||18. Australia--Populate or Perish|
|14. Banking and Money in a Prosperous Economy||19. Democratic Elections|
|15. Three-Year Phasing-in Period||20. Proportional Representation|
|CONTENTS of Part 3|
|21. Governments Should Consult the People||27. Transitional Hardship|
|22. By-Elections||28. The Public Service|
|23. "Taxation--the Power to Destroy"||29. Protective Tariffs|
|24. Taxation Must be Abolished||30. Artificial Wage Fixing|
|25. The Family--the Central Unit of Society||31. Economic Recovery|
|26. Site Rent Revenue--Potential||32. Social Justice and Responsibility|
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS to the product of each person's labour--Free of all taxation.
2. The Land
The land must be held in Sacred Trust to serve the needs of this and all future generations; its
life-sustaining qualities must be preserved, by
* the prevention of soil erosion, salination and pollution,
* from the rape of renewable resources (forest wealth), and by
* the maximum conservation of non-renewable resources (mineral wealth)
subject to the needs of all people throughout the world, particularly those living in countries poorly endowed with natural resources, to freely exchange their products for basic wealth of this country.
In a disorderly society land may be exchanged for wealth, which is a breach of trust, and causes land to
be confused with wealth.
4. Rental Value of Land
The rental value of land arises when people congregate in closely settled communities, to
promote specialised production and exchanges in order to increase living standards, from the presence and
activity of all the people collectively, and from the functions of government which are necessary to provide
communications and reticulated services, etc.
The rental value of land is not created by the owner or occupier of particular sites--it belongs to the living generation, and is the natural source of public revenue, which increases with the growth of population and advancing technology.
The site rental value of land increases enormously with the density of population--from a few dollars an acre [or a hectare] in remote regions, to peak at a million dollars an acre in a city of a million inhabitants.
This bull, a very type of massive strength, who, because he has not wit enough to see how he might be free, suffers want in sight of plenty, and is helplessly preyed upon by weaker creatures, seems to me to be no unfit emblem of the working masses.
But until they trace effect to cause, until they see how they are fettered and how they may be freed, their struggles and outcries are as vain as those of the bull. Nay they are vainer. I shall go out and drive the bull in the way that will untwist the rope. But who shall drive men to freedom?"--Introduction to Protection or Free Trade 1888 by Henry George.
All honest workers with hand or brain would prosper, paying only the market-assessed rental value of land held, exclusive of improvements, as their contribution to public revenue. Corporate bodies of joint owners would be assessed just the same as individual landholders.
The richest man in the world, a Japanese [in 1987], is said to be worth 29 billion dollars. His income, if the return on his fortune was only 1% per year, would amount to more during say one hour's sleep than a skilled engineer could earn in one year. The same conditions may be seen to apply in Australia proportionately to population density.
7. Natural Public Revenue
When governments collect their natural income, all forms of taxation could be abolished.
Taxation destroys incentive, enterprise, and equal opportunity,
creates crime, corruption, frustrations leading to addictive forms of escapism, plus
suicide, rape, murder, broken homes, and every form of social disorder.
8. Involuntary Unemployment
The basic cause of what I call the crime of involuntary unemployment and poverty, is to deprive willing
workers of access to land under attractive conditions.
When not taken for public revenue, site rent is capitalised as land price, which increases because of an artificial scarcity created by those who monopolise more land than they can use--speculating in land rather than putting it to use.
Deprived of access to land, man will die. Given restricted access only, man will live a frustrated unnatural existence. Labour and Capital, therefore, have no alternative other than to attempt to meet the extortionate demands of land speculators. Some business enterprises may succeed with difficulty. Many will fail.
Governments, moreover, as the largest employers and users of wealth, must buy back their own taxes, because taxes increase production costs, which are added to the prices of goods and services. The need for public revenue is more than doubled by such crazy finance.
The alternative we advocate is for the government to collect the rental value of land for public revenue, and to abolish all stupid and immoral forms of taxation.
Only about one third of present public revenue would be needed if taxes were abolished, and publicly-generated revenue was diverted to the treasury.
The cost of dealing (ineffectively) with the alarming increase in crime, vandalism, and anti-social behaviour would be drastically reduced. (It is currently  costing the taxpayer $40,000 to keep a prison inmate for one year.)
The regimentation and bureaucratic interference with Australian industry (that requires proportionately four times as many public servants as Japan, and is probably the highest in the English-speaking world) would cease.
The collection of rent for public revenue would not increase prices, because rent is already an ingredient in the cost structure. On the contrary, costs would be reduced, because land previously held idle or under-developed would become available for use. The greater supply of land would cause rent to fall, and valuable land would have to be put to use to earn the rent.
There is no way of using land without the employment of labour and capital, competition for which would increase real wages and create full employment.
Rent would simply be diverted from monopolists and speculators to those to whom it rightly belongs-- the living generation--as their government's natural revenue.
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(Copied from September 1987 booklet, put on WWW 27 December 1996; last revised 21 August 1998)
DOC.31: URL = http://www.multiline.com.au/~georgist/econ1.htm
For electoral purposes, authorised by John Charles Massam, 10 Broome St., South Perth, 6151, Western Australia