The Case for Public Collection
of Land Rent

C. V. Brayne

[An excerpt from (page 94) the book Social Justice First, published by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., London, England, in 1937. C.V. Brayne was at the time the retired Land Commissioner of Ceylon. Reprinted here from Land and Freedom, January-February 1938]

"The bounty of Nature must in common fairness belong to the whole community. Every member of that community should have equal rights to it. That one member should have to pay rent to another for the use of land is, therefore, wrong in principle. If rent is to be paid for land, and it is difficult in our modern society to see how this can be avoided, that rent should be paid to the community. In practice this would mean its being paid to the State as the trustee of the whole community. The revenue obtained by the State from land would belong to the whole community and the fairest way of disposing of it would be as a dividend amongst all the members. How far such a disposal would be practicable or how far such revenue should be utilized as a substitute for other forms of taxation as proposed by Henry George, need not now be discussed. Suffice it here, merely to state that the demands of social justice can only be met by the abolition of the system under which rent for land is payable to any private individual, or to anyone but the state as the trustee of the whole community."