Single Taxers Divert from Henry George's Analysis Regarding
Asher George Beecher
Land and Freedom, January-February, 1931]
Those good disciples of Henry George who were on the Resolutions
Committee of the recent Henry George Congress in San Francisco, make a
strange statement in their "Resolutions on Agriculture."
They say, in their first Whereas, that "the increasing
mechanization of agriculture has thrown many farmers out of
The only way to throw farmers out of work is to take their farms from
them; and farm machinery never did that. Who ever saw a farmer out of
work while he had a farm? A farmer with a farm always has access to
land always has natural opportunities always has plenty of work and
usually very small pay for doing it.
"The trouble with the farmers" is not unemployment; it is
robbery legalized robbery a robbery to which the farmer himself is a
particeps criminis. And it is not machinery, but ground rent
made private property that cuts down the "dirt farmer's"
share of production and keeps him in poverty ground rent which in
justice is public property and should be used for public purposes
speculative ground rent, which drives him from the markets of
civilization into the wilderness capitalized ground rent, which
extorts from him a price for a bit of God's land even at the verge of
cultivation and mortgages years of his labor to pay for it periodical
ground rent, which takes a part of every crop he raises and gives no
return for it. It is taxation which gives ground rent to "the
farmers who farm farmers" It is taxation which not only gives
public property to private persons, but also takes private property
for public purposes; it is taxation which "protects" great
landed estates from their share of public expenses, plunders the
people and forces the farmer to sell low and buy high; it is taxation
which makes low wages and small profits creates disemployment and
destroys purchasing power robs toiling producers and hungry consumers
all to enrich grasping landlords and gambling speculators.
No student of Progress and Poverty ought ever to admit that
machinery produces unemployment. Neither should he admit that man, "the
only animal that is never satisfied," can ever be unemployed for
lack of work to do. The word unemployment, like the word protection,
is a lying misnomer. There is no "problem of the unemployed."
What is glibly called so is in fact the problem of disemployment the
problem of "enforced idleness." That problem Henry George
solved fifty years ago and discovered not only "The Cause,"
but also "The Remedy. "
And to digress a little any disciple of our beloved teacher who calls
those great discoveries "the theories of Henry George,"
ought immediately to give more study to the book and become wiser and
more accurate in the use of terms.