Lessons of Enduring Value:
Henry George, A Century Later
C. Lowell Harriss
[A paper presented under the Henry George Research
held at Pace University, New York, 4 November 1982]
I ask no one who may
read this book to accept my views. I ask him to think for himself. (Social
Problems, p. 242)
Mental power is, therefore, the motor of progress
power which is devoted to the extension of knowledge, the
improvement of methods, and the betterment of social conditions. (Progress
and Poverety, p. 507)
A century ago, Henry George was much the most widely read writer on
economics. He wrote about matters of deep and broad concern. He wrote
with conviction and style, passion and vigor. The selections here
will, I hope, stimulate readers to seek out more of the writings of a
master of brilliant style, dealing with topics of enduring importance.
Much of what George says has relevance, both direct and indirect, to
present conditions. Some of it retains its original validity. Our
critical faculties must not be dulled by admiration for what stands as
valid. Today's world differs from that which George knew. Yet his
insights and conclusions, resting in part on observations about human
nature, are often valid and even more often serve his stated objective
of stimulating us to think.
Free Trade, Not Obstruction
"Trade is not invasion. It does not involve aggression on one
side and resistance on the other, but mutual consent and
gratification." (PFT, p. 46). This quotation from
Protection or Free Trade is only one of hundreds that tell us
something of enduring value. This one is not controversial. Some are.
In the latter part of the nineteenth century, one of the major issues
of public debate was the question of protectionism - using
governmental power to restrict imports. George fought against this.
Three quotations will illustrate:
Who would think of recommending a site for a proposed
city or a new colony because it was very difficult to get at? Yet if
the protective theory be true, this would really be an advantage.
Who would regard piracy as promotive of civilization? Yet a
discriminating pirate, who would confine his seizures to goods which
might be produced in the country to which they were being carried,
would be as beneficial to that country as a tariff. (PFT, p. 35).
What protection teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of peace
what enemies seek to do to us in time of war. (PFT, p. 47).
If to prevent trade were to stimulate industry and promote
prosperity, then the localities where he was most isolated would
show the first advances of man. The natural protection to home
industry afforded by rugged mountain-chains, by burning deserts, or
by seas too wide and tempestuous for the frail bark of the early
mariner, would have given us the first glimmerings of civilization
and shown it its most rapid growth. But, in fact, it is where trade
could best be carried on that we find wealth first accumulating and
civilization beginning. It is on accessible harbors, by navigable
rivers and much traveled highways that we find cities arising and
the arts and sciences developing. And as trade becomes more free and
extensive ... so does wealth augment and civilization grow. (PFT,
The struggle for human freedom against restriction of trade in
America brought more defeats than victories for much of the half
century after George began his efforts. Under the leadership of
Secretary of State Cordell Hull, the United States took the initiative
in reducing barriers, first on a bilateral basis, then on a broad
The multilateral lowering of tariffs aided expansion of international
trade after World War II. Such trade across political boundaries was
part of the process that raised levels of living for hundreds of
millions of human beings in countries rich and poor. Few Americans
have any conception how much the tariffs obstructing our imports have
come down. Nor do we appreciate how greatly our well-being depends
upon exporting, and how it has profited from the reduction of barriers
of other countries.
Today, however, forces for restriction here and abroad are
discouragingly powerful -discouraging for human welfare. Non-tariff
barriers - both observable and almost invisible but still powerful -
now take many forms. Human ingenuity devises many methods of working
harm. The supporters, of course, can give justifications that seem
plausible - for small groups and special interests in the short run.
Nevertheless, the fundamental principles of freedom that George
enunciated remain valid.
Today, however, the discussion will involve relatively new aspects -
floating exchange rates, new complexities in adjustment processes,
governmental subsidies for exports and "unfair" competition,
a several-fold increase in the number of sovereign countries, and
wider, almost uncritical acceptance of the notion that politics and
bureaucracy should exert a considerable influence on markets and
economic life. Some governments, notably Communist governments,
exercise full control. Others, in both developing and developed
countries, intervene in economic affairs at many points in various
What are the prospects that such intervention will help rather than
hurt mankind? George's view of human nature and governmental processes
enabled him to draw conclusions about the realities of intervention as
actually implemented. For example:
The result is, and always must be, the enactment of a
tariff which resembles the theoretical protectionist's ideas of what
a protective tariff should be about as closely as a bucketful of
paint thrown against a wall resembles the frescos of a Raphael.
(PFT, p. 92).
Today, some of the most difficult problems of international trade,
here and abroad, involve agricultural products. Some farmers face
difficulties, partly because land prices have risen to levels that
almost assure financial strain. A frequent response is the advocacy of
restrictions on imports and on marketing that make food more costly.
Britain had such restrictions -- the Corn Laws -- a century and a half
ago. Eventually, the British consumer was freed of such burdens. What
brought the change? Determined leadership was crucial. George cites a
moving incident with words that suggest his recognition of the role of
leadership and concerned, devoted effort to build a better world:
"Come with me," said Richard Cobden, as John
Bright turned heart-stricken from a new-made grave. "There are
in England women and children dying with hunger-with hunger made by
the laws. Come with me, and we will not rest until we repeal those
In this spirit the free-trade movement waxed and grew. (PFT,
Governments, our own and many others, impose food policies --
including restrictions on imports-that raise the cost of eating.
Henry George as an Economist
The great British economist, Alfred Marshall, who had more than a
little disagreement with George about land taxation, called him a "poet."
Professor Boulding writes that
Progress and Poverty is "the one book in economics which
could be set to music." (p. 5).
Was George really an economist? Some of his contemporaries teaching
in colleges were critical. One quotation will help us see why George
was not well received in the academic world:
And while colleges and universities and similar
institutions, though ostensibly organized for careful investigation
and honest promulgation of truth, are not and cannot be exempt from
the influences that disturb the study of political economy; they are
especially precluded under present conditions from the faithful and
adequate treatment of that science. For in the present social
conditions of the civilized world nothing is clearer than that there
is some deep and wide-spread wrong in the distribution. . . of
wealth. This it is the office of political economy to disclose, and
a really faithful and honest explication of the science must
. . . colleges and universities, as at present constituted, are by
the very law of their being precluded from discovering or revealing.
. . [the injustice]. For no matter what be the nature . . .the
wealthy class must, relatively at least, profit by it, and this is
the class whose views and wishes dominate in colleges and
universities. As, while slavery was yet strong, we might have looked
in vain to the colleges and universities ... in our Southern States
. . . for any admission of its injustice, so under present
conditions we look in vain to such sources for any faithful
treatment of political economy. Whoever accepts from them a chair of
political economy must do so under the implied stipulation that he
shall not really find what it is his professional burden to look
. . . he who would really know what political economy teaches . . .
can turn to the colleges and universities only with the certainty
that, wherever else he may find the truth, he cannot find it there.
(SPE, pp. xi-xii).
Impugning the integrity of professors would scarcely improve the
prospects of getting one's writings accepted. The great
Austrian-American economist, Joseph Schumpeter, tells us: "Henry
George . . . was a self-taught economist, but he was an economist. in
the course of his life, he acquired most of the knowledge and ability
to handle an economic argument that he could have acquired by academic
training as it then was."
George failed to incorporate marginal analysis, which was published
several years before his death, whose significance he failed to
understand. Yet to me it seems that his major policy conclusions would
hardly have been any different.
In contrast with so much of modern economics, George's work makes
almost no systematic use of quantitative evidence. A century ago, data
were scarce by modern standards. George observed and drew conclusions.
He read widely. He utilizes illustrations from a variety of sources.
Vividly expressive figures of speech abound. They do not necessarily
substantiate the points he makes, but I find them more convincing than
Society is an organism, not a machine. It can live only
by the individual life of its parts. And in the free and natural
development of all the parts will be secured the harmony of the
whole. (PP, p. 321).
George was a social philosopher. He ranged beyond supply and demand
and the confines of narrow economics. Some of his value for us moderns
lies in his observations about society. One quotation combines
insights on two points - the concern for public affairs and the
potential from enlarging the role of women:
. . .the progress of civilization necessitates the giving
of greater and greater attention and intelligence to public affairs.
And for this reason I am convinced that we make a great mistake in
depriving one sex of voice in public matters, and that we could in
no way so increase the attention, the intelligence and the devotion
which may be brought to the solution of social problems as by
enfranchising women. (SP, p.243).
Two paragraphs reveal, among other things, George's awareness of what
we may call "externalities" and views on rewards:
For there is to the community also a natural reward. The
law of society is each for all, as well as all for each. No one can
keep to himself the good he may do, any more than he can keep the
bad. Every productive enterprise, besides its return to those who
undertake it, yields collateral advantages to others. If a man plant
a fruit tree, his gain is that he gathers the fruit in its time and
season. But in addition to his gain, there is a gain to the whole
community. Others than the owner are benefited by the increased
supply of fruit; the birds which it shelters fly far and wide; the
rain which it helps attract falls not alone on his field; and, even
to the eye which rests upon it from a distance, it brings a sense of
beauty. And so with everything else. The building of a house, a
factory, a ship, or a railroad, benefits others besides those who
get the direct profits. Nature laughs at a miser. He is like the
squirrel who burries his nuts and refrains from digging them up
again. Lo! they sprout and grow into trees . . . The bee fills the
hollow tree with honey, and along comes the bear or the man.
Well may the community leave to the individual producer all that
prompts him to exertion; well may it let the laborer have the full
reward of his labor, and the capitalist the full return of his
capital. For the more that labor and capital produce, the greater
grows the common wealth in which all may share. And in the value or
rent of land is this general gain expressed in a definite and
concrete form. Here is a fund which the state may take while leaving
to labor and capital their full reward. With increased activity of
production this would commensurately increase. (PP, p. 436).
Note that land values rise as the economy benefits from adequately
rewarded human effort. Government can take the "positive
externalities" that become land rent.
A Conservative Economist and Opponent of Socialism
George articulated the concept of "spontaneous coordination."
This understanding plays a vital role in any effort to appraise the
potential of centralization of economic life. He condemned centralized
governmental management of the means of production-socialism. It would
destroy spontaneous coordination. Two generations later this point
became central to a major theme of the criticism of socialism. Today,
another generation later, experience provides evidence to substantiate
the point that George saw theoretically a century ago. Three
quotations will illustrate:
Attempting conscious direction of work that requires
spontaneous coordination] is like asking the carpenter who can build
a chickenhouse to build a chicken also.
This is the fatal defect of all forms of socialism -- the reason of
the fact, which all observation shows, that any attempt to carry
conscious regulation and direction beyond the narrow sphere of
social life in which it is necessary, inevitably works injury,
hindering even what it is intended to help.
And the rationale of this great fact may ... be perceived when we
consider that the originating element in all production is thought
or intelligence, the spiritual not the material. This spiritual
element, this intelligence or thought power as it appears in man,
cannot be combined or fused as can material force. (SPE, pp.
The last sentence contains truth too often overlooked. A second
quotation reinforces the point and adds to its force:
In other words it is only in independent action that the
full powers of the man may be utilized. The subordination of one
human will to another human will, while it may in certain ways
secure unity of action, must always, where intelligence is needed,
involve the loss of productive power. (SPE, pp. 392-93).
The proposal which socialism makes is that the collectivity or
state shall assume the management of all means of production,
including land, capital and man himself; do away with all
competition, and convert mankind into two classes, the directors,
taking their orders from government and acting by governmental
authority, and the workers, for whom everything shall be provided,
including the directors themselves. ... It is more destitute of any
central and guiding principle than any philosophy I know of ... It
has no system of individual rights whereby it can define the extent
to which the individual is entitled to liberty or to which the state
may go in restraining it. (SPE, pp. 198)
Time and again George reminds the reader of poverty, so often
desperate and degrading. But not, he believed, inevitable!
Monopoly and private ownership of the rent from land seem to be the
chief causes of continuing poverty:
That amid our highest civilization men faint and die with
want is not due to the niggardliness of nature, but to the injustice
of man. vice and misery, poverty and pauperism, are not the
legitimate results of increase of population and industrial
development; they only follow . . . because land is treated as
private property-they are the direct and necessary results of the
violation of the supreme law of justice, involved in giving to some
men the exclusive possession of that which nature provides for all
men. (PP, pp. 341).
At times he shows awareness of the progress that was being made for
many. Yet the impression of persisting, unremitting poverty stands
out. His diagnosis must have been incomplete.
The enormous improvement in living standards in the century since
George wrote occurred without at least the land tax reform he thought
so essential. There were elements in the operation of the economy that
have brought economic benefits for the vast majority beyond anything
he predicted. Why?
Monopoly has been weaker and competition stronger than he probably
expected. Certainly his belief that land ownership represented
powerful monopoly differs from reality. Land is owned in plots, most
of which are small in relation to the total supply. An owner of a plot
of land finds his power to command extortionate rents limited by
competing landowners. Each individual owner does have a monopoly, but
rarely on much of a community's land.
Industrial monopoly has also been less extensive than he probably
believed. As employer? The picture of a single mill as the dominant
employer in a community applies to only limited portions of the
economy. The ability to depress wages below marginal productivity
encounters the worker's desire for income and, in this country,
significant ability to seek out better jobs. Population moves. Wages
plus fringes have risen with productivity from decade to decade.
Poverty has declined but by no means disappeared. The record of the "War
on Poverty," associated with President Johnson, and the vision he
articulated in 1964, offers insights into complexities that George
oversimplified. Large sums have been provided. Many approaches have
been tried. Site value taxation was not among them. The position of
the lowest fifth has improved. Much has been accomplished by many
forces - those of markets and governmental programs. No miracles.
Problems persist. Conditions differ from those of George's time. One
cannot reasonably expect him to have foreseen the complexities we face
today. One can be reminded of the challenges remaining.
Redistribution? Not by Compulsion
Bitterly as George hated poverty, he did not propose compulsory
redistribution as a remedy. His attitude was far removed from that
widely held today, which puts heavy reliance on government
redistribution using coercion of taxation. He believed in incentives.
He believed in rewards, in the justice, under natural law, of private
ownership of property:
It would not merely be gross injustice to refuse a
Raphael or a Rubens more than a house-painter, but it would prevent
the development of great painters. To destroy inequalities in
condition would be to destroy the incentive to progress. To quarrel
with them is to quarrel with the laws of nature. We might as well
rail against the length of the days or the phases of the moon;
complain that there there are valleys and mountains; zones of
tropical heat and regions of eternal ice. And were we by violent
measures to divide wealth equally, we should accomplish nothing but
harm; in a little while there would be inequalities as great as
This, in substance, is the teaching which we constantly hear. It is
accepted by some because it is flattering to their vanity in
accordance with their interests or pleasing to their hope; by
others, because it is dinned into their ears. Like all false
theories that obtain wide acceptance, it contains much truth. But it
is truth isolated from other truth or alloyed with falsehood. (SP,
Another expression of George's conviction that the producer deserves
his rewards would probably strike the Western world today as so
conservative, even reactionary, so out-of-step with modernity as to
strike at our concepts of progressive taxation and "welfare-state
This and this alone, I contend for - that he who makes
should have; that he who saves should enjoy. I ask in behalf of the
poor nothing whatever that properly belongs to the rich. Instead of
weakening and confusing the idea of property, I would surround it
with stronger sanctions. Instead of lessening the incentives to the
production of wealth, I would make it more powerful by making the
reward more certain. Whatever any man has added to the general stock
of wealth, or has received of the free will of him who did produce
it, let that be his as against all the world - his to use or to
give,, to do with it whatever he may please, so long as such use
does not interfere with the equal freedom of others. For my part, I
would put no limit on acquisition. No matter how many millions any
man can get by methods which do not involve the robbery of
others-they are his; let him have them. I would not even ask him for
charity, or have it dinned into his ears that it is his duty to help
the poor. That is his own affair. Let him do as he pleases with his
own, without restriction and without suggestion. If he gets without
taking from others, what he does with his wealth is his own business
and his own responsibility. (SP, p. 87).
Two elements of this quotation are striking: One is the emphasis on
strengthening the protection of property. As we today see so many
intrusions on the owner's ability to use property (or the preservation
of value in times of inflation/, do we stop to think of the effects on
human willingness to make the sacrifices required to add to real
wealth? A second point involves what seems to me one of the more
perplexing aspects of life - unlimited power to transmit property to
heirs. Land value would be an exception for George. Yet is not land
acquired with the fruits of energy and thrift more like than different
from other property? He faced the issue and came out in a quite
different position. For example:
Though the sovereign people of the state of New York
consent to the landed possessions of the Astors, the puniest infant
that comes wailing into the world, in the squalidest room of the
most miserable tenement house, becomes of that moment seized of an
equal right with the millionaires. And it is robbed if the right is
denied. (PP, p. 340).
One wonders what George's pen would write today about the fortunes
accumulating from the ownership of land under which oil and natural
gas are found. Consumers pay prices which bring vast fortunes to
persons who did nothing to put the oil under the surface of the earth.
Beyond the costs of exploration, development, and marketing there are
huge payments to passive - and lucky - owners of land.
Untaxing Structures, Taxing Land
This heading shifts the typical emphasis-in a way that seems to me
useful for presenting policy choices. First, however, an opening
quotation with a point of growing relevance - a potential source of
revenue largely beyond threat from the underground economy:
As land cannot be hidden or carried off, a tax on land
values can be assessed with more certainty and can be collected with
greater ease and less expense than any other tax, while it does not
in the slightest degree check production or lessen its incentive. It
is, in fact, a tax only in form, being in nature a rent - a taking
for the use of the community of a value that arises not from
individual exertion but from the growth of the community. (PFT, p.
The unreported economy, we hear, grows; it provides an increasing
total of untaxed income and consumption. Land, however, cannot be
hidden. Does it not offer a base of taxation which defies attempted
The second sentence of the quotation introduces George's conviction
of the moral principles: land rent should be appropriated for the use
of society as a whole. George's passion for human betterment shines
out in this discussion. The narrowly economic aspects are not alone in
making the case for taxing land rent. The moral justification in
George's view was not limited to future increments. On this point my
personal conclusion differs.
Nevertheless, George's message on the taxation of land has much merit
today. There are persuasive reasons of justice and equity without
pretending to reverse the past. There are persuasive reasons to expect
better allocation and use of land. Here, however, I emphasize the
possibility that it offers for helping to reduce the taxes on man-made
capital. Not a single tax. Government spending has grown beyond any
feasible possibility of finance by tax on land alone. For his own
time, I believe, he overstated the case. He oversimplified the
ethical-equity issue. But can one reasonably deny the justice of
taxing "unearned increments" that profit landowners "as
they sleep"? one can speculate - dream - about the differences
today if communities had been able to finance local services from land
rents - or the growth of land rents through a century, half a century
(e.g., since the Great Depression), or the last three or two decades
of land price increases (above inflation). If man-made capital had
been subject to little or no property taxation, would not we have more
such capital and the benefits it brings? Yes. Moreover, that capital
would probably have been allocated more productively.
Many opportunities have been irretrievably lost. Yet the country will
be here for a long time. We and our children can have a better future,
it seems to me, if local governments move in the directions George
indicated a century ago. Not every state need act, nor every locality
in a state which permits the change.
The logic of reducing tax rates on structures and getting rent is the
ideal land (location) value, the logic of such a change has been
stated many times by many economists in many places.
George was certainly right in perceiving that economic
rent is the ideal subject of taxation. (Boulding, p. 8)
Land is one productive resource whose supply will not be reduced by a
(high) tax. It does not move. Much of its value results from the
actions of persons other than the owner, especially governmental
spending on streets, sewers, schools, and other such facilities.
One change would be increased influence on owners of land to put it
to its best use. Holding land in a use far below its potential would
involve higher costs. The character of use of each plot affects those
around. Market forces reflecting the total of considerations, of
opportunities, would be reinforced by tax forces. progress toward
better use would be greater as owners had to pay larger amounts of tax
on land. The need to pay more dollars each year would add to the
incentive to get income at once, as speculative withholding from "the
highest and best use" would be less attractive.
The lower tax on man-made capital, however, would increase the
ability to build and to improve land. A cut in the tax on new
construction would tend to enlarge the demand for land. Such forces
would raise land values and benefit owners. Landowners would find the
development of their property easier to the extent that cost of
capital would be reduced.
The present form of property tax on man-made capital has serious
disadvantages --disadvantages beyond the effects which inevitably
result from getting funds to pay for government. More space than is
available here would be needed for a full discussion of the adverse
effects of high taxes on new and better buildings, on the improvement
and upgrading of older buildings. The unfortunate results may be
slight where the effective tax rate is 1 percent or so a year. But
where the tax rate is 3 or 4 percent on full market value each year
the burden is high in relation to the annual net real product of the
capital. Thinking of the tax as compared with the flow of annual
income, one sees it large enough to influence decisions-to discourage
the flow of new capital.
Localities with high tax rates impose burdens and obstacles which
cannot help - and must certainly hinder-the building of new structures
and the improvement of old. Taxes are needed to finance local
government. All taxes have nonrevenue effects. The tax on man-made
capital has far more adverse nonrevenue effects than would an
equal-yield tax on land. The tax on man-made capital, for example,
operates to discourage the construction of larger and better rooms and
thus to take advantage of the potential of the "law of the cube"
- expense of construction per cubic foot declines with size, through
some meaningful range. Excess burden results; i.e., there are losses
of real benefit to human beings that do not result in revenues for the
Taxing land values-absorbing much, most, or all of the annual
rent--aroused fear in George's time and will today. Opposition must be
expected when talk centers on higher tax on anything. Yet the Georgist
program for taxing land more heavily also involves the abolition or
reduction of other taxes. Man-made capital would have been freed from
property tax. i Under modern American conditions, at least in most
areas, full untaxing of structures seems out of the question;' but
substantial rate reduction can be achieved. For the community as a
whole, tax bills should not' change.
Nothing in the proposal would lead to higher governmental spending.
Total taxes, therefore, would neither rise nor fall. What taxpayers
would lose on one score (land), they would gain on another (man-made
capital). For particular properties the net result would depend upon
the relation of land value to building value compared with the
relation throughout the taxing jurisdiction.
What about homeowners - the bulk of voters? Conditions differ from
one locality to another. Generally, however, would not most homeowners
be rather near the average as regards the relation of land values to
man-made capital? I should think so. There would be some large losers,
and they would complain. Some large winners would reap windfalls. But
the great majority, I think, would experience no great loss or gain.
And gradual implementation spread over, say, five years would keep
changes individually modest yet eventually significant.
A quotation with which I close conveys economic wisdom of a high
order, on property taxation and taxation in general:
To abolish the taxation which, acting and reacting, now
hampers every wheel of exchange and presses upon every form of
industry, would be like removing an immense weight from a powerful
spring. Imbued with fresh energy, production would start into new
life, and trade would receive a stimulus which would be felt to the
remotest arteries. The present method of taxation operates upon
exchange like artificial deserts and mountains; it costs more to get
goods through a custom house than it does to carry them around the
world. It operates upon energy, and industry, and skill, and thrift,
like a fine upon those qualities. If I have worked harder and built
myself a good house while you have been contented to live in a
hovel, the tax gatherer now comes annually to make me pay a penalty
for my energy and industry, by taxing me more than you. If I have
saved while you wasted, I am mulct, while you are exempt. If a man
build a ship we make him pay for his temerity, as though he had done
injury to the state; if a railroad be opened, down comes the tax
collector upon it, as though it were a public nuisance; if a
manufactory be erected we levy upon it an annual sum which would go
far toward making a handsome profit. We say we want capital, but if
any one accumulate it, or bring it among us, we charge him for it as
though we were giving him a privilege. We punish with a tax the man
who covers barren fields with ripening grain, we fine him who puts
up machinery, and him who drains a swamp. . ..
To abolish these taxes would be to lift the whole enormous weight
of taxation from productive industry. The needle of the seamstress
and the great manufactory; the cart horse and the locomotive; the
fishing boat and the steamship; the farmer's plow and the merchant's
stock would be alike untaxed. All would be free to make or to save,
to buy or to sell, unfined by taxes, unannoyed by the tax gatherer.
Instead of saying to the producer, as it does now, "The more
you add to the general wealth the more shall you be taxed!" the
state would say to the producer, "Be as industrious, as
thrifty, as enterprising as you choose, you shall have your full
reward! You shall not be fined for making two blades of grass grow
where one grew before; you shall not be taxed for adding to the
And will not the community gain by thus refusing to kill the goose
that lays the golden eggs; by thus refraining from muzzling the ox
that treadeth out the corn; by thus leaving to industry, and thrift,
and skill, their natural reward, full and unimpaired? (PP, pp.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
- Sources of quotations and page
numbers refer to Schalkenbach Foundation issues: PFT = Protection
or Free Trade PP = Progress and Poverty SP = Social Problems SPE =
Science of Political Ecomonics
- I must acknowledge two recent
scholarly sources: Leland Yeager's address at St. Johns
University, March 1982, "Henry George and Austrian Economics";
and Terence M. Dwyer, "Henry George's Thoughts in Relation to
Modern Economics," The American Journal of Economics and
Sociology, October 1982, pp. 363-73; also Kenneth E. Boulding,
"A Second Look at Progress and Poverty in Richard W.
Lindholm and Arthur D. Lynn, Jr.,Land Value Taxation; The
Progress and Poverty Centenary (Madison: University of
Wisconsin Press, 1980), pp. 5-17.
- Joseph A. Schumpeter, History
of Economic Analysis, (New York Oxford University Press,
1954), p. 865.
- When George wrote, government
in this country was predominantly local government. The national
government had some veteran's/military expenditure, carried the
mails, operated some courts and a diplomatic service, and had a
few other functions. Costs were low. States did very little in the
days before spending on highways, aid to localities for schools,
and other functions.
- The power of such taxation
would, of course, depend upon the tax rate and the quality of
assessment. Would there not be danger of premature development?
Perhaps. Careful planning and design are in order. They are