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The Land Question

Quotations from Historical and Contemporary Sources




Claiming Mother Earth -- what none of us has created yet all of us need -- has been a source of debate and a cause of violence that has never left us. Earth is the source of all material wealth; and good earth (safe and well-located places for building of cities or fertile soil for growing crops, or mineral-laden lands are limited in supply. Fertile soil, lovely vistas, rich mineral deposits, downtown intersections -- these things cannot be relocated or reproduced.

Within and between virtually every society there has been constant struggle over who will control the Earth. We are all dependent upon the Earth for our very survival, yet our systems of law fail to protect equal access to the Earth as a birthright of each person. In some societies, nature is largely controlled by the State (i.e., by bureaucratic agencies); in others, by elitist hierarchies; and, in still others, by individuals (directly or through corporate boards) who have obtained titles over nature by grant, inheritance or purchase.

Nature, too often, is treated under law as merely another type of private or government asset. For this, we have and are paying a heavy price.These contradictions have not escaped the attention of the more thoughtful among us. For example, rather early in his political career, Winston Churchill remarked:

Land, which is a necessity of human existence, which is the original source of all wealth, which is strictly limited in extent, which is fixed geographical position -- land, I say, differs from all other forms of property in these primary and fundamental conditions.

Churchill joined a renowned group of predecessors and contemporaries who understood that the Earth -- including the soil, water, air, and energy -- was made by whatever forces made us. And, that the Earth is the source of the wealth -- our food, clothes, homes, factories, machinery, cars, jewelry, etc. -- made by us. Goods we purchase from the producers. Services we purchase from the persons who exchange these services for goods (or currency). However, we are not able to purchase nature from its producer. Nature is here for us to exploit, freely but equally. And, when there began to be more of us than could exploit nature without denying others their birthright, some arrangement was called for to see that justice is served.

Law that permits the holding of titles to some part of the Earth has resulted in a few people controlling more land than others or owning better sites than others. This has forced the majority of people throughout history to make do with not enough land and locations of inferior quality.

The degree of inequality associated with control over the Earth is so bad that some landlord/tenant cases are little different from the master/slave relationship; think, for example, about the relative positions in society of the farm owner and farm worker. Horace Greeley (1811-1872), the journalist and politician who crusaded against slavery in the United States, noted:

Whenever the ownership of the soil is so engrossed by a small part of the community that the far larger part are compelled to pay whatever the few may see fit to exact for the privilege of occupying and cultivating the Earth, there is something very much like slavery.

The United States of America control sufficient territory and its socio-political arrangements and institutions are young enough so that the concentrated control over land and natural resources has been less of a problem than in older or smaller nations. Nevertheless, today, according to a United States Department of Agriculture study, just 3% of the population owns more than 95% of the privately held land.



WHAT FOLLOWS ARE EXCERPTS FROM THE CENTURIES-LONG DEBATE OVER WHETHER LOCATIONS ON THE EARTH -- AND/OR THE RENT ASSOCIATED THEREWITH -- OUGHT TO BE TREATED AS PRIVATE OR SOCIETAL PROPERTY.





BROWSE BY AUTHOR



A-C * D-E * F-H * I-L * M-Q * R-S * T-Z

AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Low taxation of land in relation to taxation of improvements fosters underutilization of land and a reluctance to construct and maintain improvements. That the supply of land is limited ensures that as population and economic activity increase, demand for land and thus prices will increase. Such low relative taxes on site values enable owners to leave sites idle or in uneconomic use. The smaller the land tax, the less incentive owners have to use land productively or ot sell it to someone who will. Yet, as general population increases and economic gowth result in higher prices for land, the private owner reaps the return on publicly created value.

Thus, a de facto subsidy is provided by payers of the larger tax on improvements to land.
[Economic Education Bulletin, February 1987, p.3]

Allen,
Charles Grant
(1848-1899)




ENLARGE

Not one solitary square inch of English soil remains unclaimed on which the landless citizen can legally lay his hand without paying a toll to somebody; in other words, without giving a part of his own labor or the product of his labor to one of the squatting and tabooing class in exchange for their permission (which they can withhold if they choose) merely to go on existing upon the ground which was originally common to all alike, and has been unjustly seized upon (through what particular process matters little) by the ancestors or predecessors of the present monopolists.

[From: "Individualism and Socialism," Contemporary Review (1889), p. 732]

Allen,
Charles Grant




By this time the grave political differences which separated [Herbert Spencer] from many of his early friends had either deepened or lessened. He found himself more in accord with those whom he had quitted, and less in accord with those whom he had regarded as the faithful few of his followers. The rock on which he split with his younger disciples was Socialism. Very early, most of those whom he had profoundly influenced had been led by the perusal of “Social Statics” into the acceptance of his original idea of Land Nationalization. Alfred Russel Wallace, the chief English exponent of the doctrine, founded his argument entirely on Spencer. Later on Wallace became a convinced Socialist, as did most of the other thinkers whose opinions Spencer had most deeply leavened. Two of those whom he specially regarded as his chosen disciples were Miss Beatrice Potter, afterwards Mrs Sidney Webb, and myself. I do not think I am going too far in saying that he looked upon us as his two favorite followers. But it was a great blow to him when we both, as he expressed it, “turned socialist.” He himself had been growing steadily more anti-socialist, and indeed conservative, for years; and his later publications, such as “The Man versus the State,” had been violently anti-radical. The following letter shows well his frame of mind on this moot point between us, and forms the only one in my collection in which Spencer touches at all seriously on the crying political differences which now divided us:

[From: Personal Reminiscences of Herbert Spencer (1894) ]

Allen,
Charles Grant




He cannot sleep without paying rent for the ground he sleeps on. ...The very air, the water and the sunlight are only his in the public highway. ...His one right recognized by thelaw is the right to walk along that highway till he reels with fatigue -- for he must keep moving.

[From: Individualism and Socialism, Contemporary Review (May 1889), pp. 732-3]

Amos,
Sheldon
(1835-1886)


Sheldon Amos was educated in the law at Clare College, Cambridge. In 1869 he was appointed to the chair of jurisprudence in University College, London, and in 1872 became reader under the council of legal education and examiner in constitutional law and history to the University of London. Failing health led to his resignation of those offices, and he took a voyage to the South Seas. He settled in Egypt, where he was appointed judge of the court of appeal. He returned to England in the autumn of 1885, and on his return to Egypt he died suddenly on 3 January, 1886. His principal publications are: Systematic View of the Science of Jurisprudence (1872); Lectures on International Law (1873); Science of Law (1874); Science of Politics (1883); and, History and Principles of the Civil Law of Rome as Aid to the Study of Scientific and Comparative Jurisprudence (1883).


The relation of a state to its territory, which in modern times enters into the essential conception of the state, implies that the land cannot be looked upon, even provisionally, as a true subject of permanent individual appropriation.

[From: Science of Law (1874), Chap. VIII., p. 166]

Amos,
Sheldon

If the land is looked upon as susceptible of permanent appropriation by some persons, other persons must, by the same theory, be regarded as possibly excluded fro it -- that is, banished from the territory of the State..

[From: Science of Law (1874), Chap. VIII., p. 166]

Aristotle




ENLARGE

The whole of the land was in the hands of a few, and if the cultivators did not pay their rents, they became subject to bondage. ...

Aristotle



Formerly in many States there was a law forbidding anyone to sell his original allotment of land.

[From: Politics (Jowett's Translation), VI, 4, p. 194]

Arnold,
Thomas (Dr.)




ENLARGE
At Rome, as elsewhere among the free commonwealths of the ancient world, property was derived from political rights, rather than political rights from property, and the division by assignation of lands to the individual member of the state by the deliberate act of the whole community, was familiarly recognized as the manner in which property was most regularly acquired.

[From: History of Rome (1868), Vol. I, pp. 227-8]

Asquith,
Herbert H.




ENLARGE
"The value of land rises as population grows and national necessities increase, not in proportion to the application of capital and labour, but through the development of the community itself. You have a form of value, therefore, which is conveniently called 'site value,' entirely independent of buildings and improvements and of other things which non-owners and occupiers have done to increase its value - a source of value created by the community, which the community is entitled to appropriate to itself. …In almost every aspect of our social and industrial problem you are brought back sooner or later to that fundamental fact." [Mr. H.H. Asquith, at Paisley, 7th June 1923]

"We hold, as we always have held, that, so far as practicable, local and national taxes which are necessary for public purposes should fall on the publicly-created value rather than on that which is the product of individual enterprise and industry. That does not involve a new or additional burden on taxation, but it would produce these two consequences - first of all, that we should cease to be imposing a burden upon successful enterprise and industry; and next, that the land would come more readily and cheaply into the best use for which it is fitted. These two things would be two potent promoters of industry and progress." [Mr. H.H. Asquith, at Buxton, 1st June 1923]

Bagehot,
Walter




ENLARGE
In the early ages of society it would have been impossible to maintain the exclusive ownership of a feew persons in what seems at first sight an equal gift to all (the land) -- a thing to which everyone has the same claim.

[From: Economic Studies, Essay I, Part I, p. 31]

Baker,
Newton D.




ENLARGE
I am inclined to believe that no writer of our times has had a more profound influence upon the thinking of ithe world. I have read "Progress and Poverty" several times and have always felt that for beauty of style, elevation of spirit, and weight of argument, it is one of the great books written in my lifetime.

Barr,
Joseph M.




ENLARGE
I believe the Graded Tax plan, which was adopted here in 1913 by an act of the state legislature, has done a great deal to encourage the improvement of real estate in general, and especially the building of homes and apartments. And I think it has been particularly fair and beneficial to homeowners.

It is generally felt that most of the fine structures erected through private enterprise and investment as part of the renewal program, are benefited by the lower tax rate on buildings, ...

Many people now believe the Graded Tax law should be extended. ...It was first sponsored here by a Republican Mayor, William Magee in 1913, and has since been supported by both Republican and Democratic mayors.

The law is generally accepted in the community and there is no significant support for its repeal or modification. In short, the Graded Tax plan has worked well in Pittsburgh, and we believe it would prove equally beneficial if tested in other areas.

[Mayor of Pittsburgh; from a speech at the Henry George Convention, 1962]

Beard,
Charles A.
(1874-1948)




ENLARGE
Of all the American economists since the early days of the republic, none treated as comprehensively the interfiliation of economy and civilization as George did.

Beard,
Daniel C.
(1850-1941)




ENLARGE
Beard, who founded the Boy Scouts of America, had given serious consideration to the proposals of Henry George, who whom he wrote:

I believe in Henry George... I have long been a worker for the Single Tax cause. ...When I read Progress and Poverty by Henry George for the first time I could fancy I had and still have great reverence for the truths contained in Jefferson's wonderful Declaration of Independence, truths which, for some reason, could not be realized or made practical because of some great obstacle, and I never realized what that obstacle was until I read Progress and Poverty.

Becker,
Gary




ENLARGE
The first book I looked at in economics was Progress and Poverty. It's a wonderful book and had a lasting impact on me. [Professor of Economics, University of Chicago, in a speech at St. John's University, April 23, 1992]

Bierce,
Ambrose




ENLARGE
LAND: A part of the earth's surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society, and is eminently worthy of the superstructure. Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living; for the right to own implies the right exclusively to occupy, and in fact laws of trespass are enacted wherever property in land is recognised. It follows that if the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B and C, there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist.
[from: Devil's Dictionary, 1911]

Blackstone,
William
(1732-1780)



ENLARGE
The earth, therefore, and all things therein, are the general property of all mankind from the immediate gift of the Creator. ...There is no foundation in nature or in natural law why a set of words upon parchment should convey the dominion of land.

[From: Commentaries on the Laws of England]

Blackstone,
William


There is indeed some difference among the writers on natural law, concerning the reason why occupancy should convey this right (i.e., to the permanent property of the soil) ... a dispute that savors too much of nice and scholastic refinement.


[From: Blackstone's Commentaries, Book II, Chap. I, p.8]

Blackstone,
William

The right of inheritance, or descent to the children and relations of the deceased, seems to have been allowed much earlier than the right of devising by testament. We are apt to conceive at first view that it has nature on its side; yet we often mistake for nature what we find established by long and inveterate custom.


[From: Blackstone's Commentaries, Book II, Chap. I, p.11]

Boulding,
Kenneth E.



ENLARGE
The sincerity, the passion, the genuine pride in progress and anguish over its failure to extinguish poverty, and the attempt to fuse the intellectual rigor of classical economics with ... a Christian morality, give Henry George a unique place not only in the literature of economics but in the English language itself. [source not identified]

Bourassa,
Steven C.




ENLARGE
My study of housing development in Pittsburgh demonstrated that small decreases in the tax rate on buildings resulted in substantial increases in the amount of new housing constructed in the city. In contrast, increases in the tax rate on land had no undesirable effects.

The evidence from Pittsburgh strongly supports the idea that cities concerned with economic development should shift their real estate taxes from buildings to land [in order to] maintain revenues while encouraging development.

Given the results of this study, land value taxation seems to be a desirable strategy for central cities to employ in seeking to encourage development and attract households. Because households are relatively mobile within metropolitan areas, land value taxation may permit central cities to attract households that would otherwise locate in nearly suburban jurisdictions.


[Professor of Economics, Memphis State University; quoted from a 1987 study]
ABSTRACT,
Land Value Taxation and Housing Development, Effects of the Property Tax Reform in Three Types of Cities, from the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, January 1990, Vol. 49, Issue 1.

Brandeis,
Louis D.

(1856-1941)



ENLARGE
I find it very difficult to disagree with the principles of Henry George. ...I believe in the taxation of land values only.

Bright,
John




ENLARGE
I do not pretend to believe, if you examine the terms strictly, in what is called the absolute property in land. You may toss a sixpence into the sea if you like, but there are things with respect to land which you cannot, and ought not, and dare not do.

[From a Speech in the House of Commons, 14 March, 1868, Speeches, Vol.I, pp. 397-8 (Edition of 1868)]

Bright,
John



This being the case, in what manner are the Irish people to subsist in future? There is the land and there is labor enough to bring it into cultivation. But such is the state in which the land is placed, that capital cannot be employed upon it. You have tied up the raw material in such a manner -- you have created such a monopoly of land by your laws and by your mode of dealing with it -- as to render it alike a curse to the people and to the owners of it.

[From a Speech in the House of Commons, 2 April, 1849, Speeches, Vol.I, pp. 332 (Edition of 1868)]

Brooks,
Paul


We shall never understand the natural environment until we see it as a living organism. Land can be healthy or sick, fertile or barren, rich or poor, lovingly nurtured or bled white. Our present attitudes and laws governing the ownership and use of land represent an abuse of the concept of private property. ...Today you can murder land for private profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see and nobody calls the cops.

[From: The Pursuit of Wilderness (1971)]

Brueckner,
Jan K.




ENLARGE
... modern theory vindicates George's belief in the efficiency of site value taxation.

[Associate Professor of Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; a concluding remark at the end of a paper on a mathematical analysis of the effects of site value taxation]

Bryan,
William Jennings




ENLARGE
Henry George was as guideless as a child, and as earnest as a martyr.

Have you ever read Henry George’s “Progress and Poverty”? If not I will send it to you. It ought to be read by every thinking man & woman. I have not quite finished it but will by the time you let me know if you have read it or not. You will perhaps find it rather dry reading at first, but I think you will get interested in it, and as I have done become a convert to his theory.

[Boston, Sept, 9, 1887]

Buchanan,
James




ENLARGE
The landowner who withdraws land from productive use to a purely private use should be required to pay higher, not lower taxes.

[Professor of economics and winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize; from a lecture at St. Johns University, New York City]

Buckle,
Henry Thomas

(1821-1862)

The landlords are perhaps the only great body of men whose interest is dramatically opposed to the interests of the nation.

[From: "Fragment on the Rise of Agriculture," Miscellaneous Works(1885), Vol.I, p.350]

Buckley,
William. F. (Jr.)




ENLARGE
Henry George said that the rent of all land ought to be public. ...I am sympathetic with that particular analysis.

[From: Firing Line, PBS, 6 January, 1980]

Buckley,
William. F. (Jr.)

William F. Buckley, Jr., on Henry George and the Single-Tax - CSpan BookNotes interview with Brian Lamb (aired 4/2-3/2000)

"The Lexicon, A Cornucopia of Wonderful Words for the Inquisitive Word Lover" by William F. Buckley, Jr. [Arnold Roth, Illustrator, Jesse Sheidlower , Introduction.] Norwell, Massachusetts. Go ahead, please.

CALLER:Mr. Buckley, it's a pleasure to talk to you. I've heard you describe yourself as a Georgist, a follower of Henry George, but I haven't heard much in having you promote land value taxation and his theories, and I'm wondering why that is the case.

William F. Buckley: It's mostly because I'm beaten down by my right-wing theorists and intellectual friends. They always find something wrong with the Single-Tax idea. What I'm talking about Mr. Lamb is Henry George who said there is infinite capacity to increase capital and to increase labor, but none to increase land, and since wealth is a function of how they play against each other, land should be thought of as common property. The effect of this would be that if you have a parking lot and the Empire State Building next to it, the tax on the parking lot should be the same as the tax on the Empire State Building, because you shouldn't encourage land speculation. Anyway I've run into tons of situations were I think the Single-Tax theory would be applicable. We should remember also this about Henry George, he was sort of co-opted by the socialists in the 20s and the 30s, but he was not one at all. Alfred J. Nock's book on him makes that plain. Plus, also, he believes in only that tax. He believes in zero income tax. You look bored (addressing Brian Lamb)!

Brian Lamb: No, no. As a matter of fact I was going to ask you about this little book ("Lexicon, A Cornucopia of Wonderful Words for the Inquisitive Word Lover"). I'm fascinated by it. I'm going to see if you can pronounce the word, the-fear-of-having-peanut-butter-stuck-to-your-roof-of-your-mouth, This little book starts off and the fellow's name, is it Jesse Sheidlower?...

William F. Buckley: I think so.

Brian Lamb: S-H-E-I-D-L-O-W-E-R? You've never read it (the Introduction to "The Lexicon").

William F. Buckley: No. I never have.

Brian Lamb: (Quoting the book) "The first time I met William F. Buckley, we were both members of a televised panel discussing word. The moderator introduced me with a pop-quiz to test my credentials asked me to define the word..." Is it USUFRUCT?

William F. Buckley: Usufruct, yeah.

Brian Lamb: (Quoting the book) "I felt smug as I recite the right to enjoy another's property as long as you don't damage it. Then Mr. Buckley leaned into his microphone and quoted an entire paragraph on usufruct from the political economist, Henry George.

William F. Buckley: Oh for heaven's sake!

Brian Lamb: And this little book has..

William F. Buckley: The land belongs to those in usufruct.

This passage is available to print out as a distinct page. Click here.

Burgess,
Edwin


Edwin Burgess was a tailor living in Racine, Wisconsin. In 1848 he wrote a letter which appeared in "Excursion No. 45, Clearance No. 3, of the Portland [Maine] Pleasure boat, J. Hacker, Owner, Master, and Crew," in which he said:

I want now to say a few words on the best means of raising revenue or taxes so as to prevent land monopoly. I know not what are your views on the subject, but should like to have you inquire whether raising all the taxes off the land in proportion to its market value would not produce the greatest good to mankind with the least evil, of any means of raising revenue. Taxing personal property has a tendency to limit its use by increasing its price, and the consequent difficulty of obtaining it.

In 1859-60 Burgess gave a more extensive presentation of these ideas in a series of eleven letters to the Racine Advocate, in which he urged that land should be taxed and improvements exempted. These letters aroused considerable discussion and some opposition. Burgess believed that his policy would force idle land into use, would encourage the production of wealth and increase opportunities for employment, and would do away with the evasion and fraud which accompany other taxes.

Were all the taxes on the land, and the people's land free, then the hitherto landless could soon build their own homes on their own land, and raise all they needed to consume or exchange, and no longer need the land, house, or capital of others; then rent, interest, and even usury would cease for want to poverty to sustain them, for the curse, land monopoly, being removed, the effect would case with the cause. Thus would the happiness of mankind be immeasurably increased, and misery be proportionately diminished; then would earth be redeemed from the giant sin of land robbery, and the Paradise of the present or future be far above that of the past.

[from: The Edwin Burgess Letters on Taxation, p. 14.]

Burke,
Edmund




ENLARGE
Instead of putting themselves in this odious point of light, one would think they would wish to let Time draw his oblivious veil over the unpleasant modes by which lordships and demesnes have been acquired in their and almost in all other countries.

[From a letter to Richard Burke, Works, Vol.VI, pp.75-6]

Cable,
George Washington




ENLARGE


ENLARGE
He thought again of that deep store of the earth's largess lying under the unfruitful custody, ... that root of so many world-wide evils -- the calling still private what the commons need has made public.

[From: John March, Southerner (1895), Chap. XXVIII., p. 164]

Cairnes,
John Elliot




ENLARGE
Sustained by some of the greatest names -- I will say by every name of the first rank in Political Economy, from Turgot and Adam Smith to Mill -- I hold that the land of a country presents conditions which separate it economically from the great mass of the other objects of wealth, -- conditions which, if they do not absolutely and under all circumstances impose upon the State the obligation of controlling private enterprise in dealing with land, at least explain why this control is in certain stages of social progress indispensable.

[From: "Political Economy and Land," published in Essays in Political Economy, Theoretical and Applied, London 1873, p. 189. The essay here quoted was first published in 1870, in the Edinburgh Rev.]

Cairnes,
John Elliot

Little impression has been made on the rate of wages and profits by the universal industrial progress of recent times. ...The large additions to the wealth of the country (England) has gone neither to profits nor to wages, nor yet to the public at large, but to swell a fund ever growing even while its proprietors sleep -- the rent roll of the owners of the soil.

[From: Some Principles of Political Economy]

Cairnes,
John Elliot

Sustained by some of the greatest names -- I will say by every name of the first rank in Political Economy from Turgot and Adam Smith to Mill -- I hold that the land of a country presents conditions which separate it economically form the great mass of the other objects of wealth..

[From: Essays in Political Economy (1870), Essay VI, p. 189]

Cairnes,
John Elliot

A bale of cloth, a machine, a house, owes its value to the labor expended upon it, and belongs to the person who expends or employs the labor; a piece of land owes its value, so far as its value is affected by the causes I am now considering, not to the labor expended on it, but to that expended upon something else -- to the labor expended in making a railroad or building houses in an adjoining town. ...How many landlords have their rent rolls doubled by railways made in their despite!

[From: Essays in Political Economy (1870), Essay VI, p. 193]

Cameron,
Clyde




ENLARGE
I am certain that the ALP will once again produce the kind of statesmen who in yesteryears had the intelligence and the integrity to be right (and support the economic philosophy of Henry George). ...That will one day make it possible for Christmas to truly say, "Thy will be gone on earth as it is in heaven."

[Mr. Cameron served as the Federal Minister for Labour in the 1972-1975 Whitlam government, Australia]

Campbell-Bannerman,
Henry




ENLARGE
x"Let the value of the land be assessed independently of the buildings upon it, and upon such valuation let contribution be made to those public services which create the value. This is not to disturb the balance of equity, but to redress it. …There is no unfairness in it. The unfairness is in the present state of things. Why should one man reap what another man sows? We would give to the landowner all that is his, but we would prevent him taking something which belongs to other people."

[Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, at Leeds, 19th March 1903]

"Our present rating system operates as a hostile tariff on our industries, it goes in restraint of trade, it falls with severity on the shoulders of the poorer classes in the very worst shape, in the shape of a tax upon house-room. …So long as this system is left unamended, we are consenting - you and I, by allowing it to remain unamended - to the aggravation of these appalling evils of over-crowding, which are a disgrace to our humanity and a blot upon our record as a capable self-governing community."

[Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, at Dunfermline, 22nd October 1907]

"We desire to develop our undeveloped estates in this country - to colonise our own country - to give the farmer greater freedom and greater security in the exercise of business - to secure a home and a career for the labourer, is now in many cases cut off from the soil. We wish to make the land less of a pleasure-ground for the rich and more of treasure-house for the nation."

[Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, at the Albert Hall, 21st December 1905]

Cannan,
______

The movement for 'nationalizing' land without compensation to present owners, on which Mr. Henry George and others have wasted immense energy, would probably never have been heard of, if the Ricardian economists had not represented rent as a sort of vampire which continually engrosses a larger and larger share of the produce, and if they had not failed to classify rent and interest together as two species of one genus.

[From: Theories of Production and Distribution, London (1903), p. 393]

Cantillon,
Richard

It does not appear that Providence has given the right of the possession of land to one man preferably to another: the most ancient titles are founded on violence and conquest.

[From: Essay on the Nature of Commerce (1755), Chapter 11]

Carlson,
Gary

Specific changes in the state's property tax laws to allow local governments to set separate higher tax rates on land and lower tax rates on improvements could encurage economic development.

[Community Development Director, Newton, Iowa; from a research thesis abstract]

Carlyle,
Thomas




ENLARGE
Properly speaking, the land belongs to these two: the almighty God and to all his children of men.

[From: Past and Present]

While the widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Beouf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract from her the third nettle, and call it rent.

[Source not identified]

"The Land is Mother of us all; nourishes, shelters, gladdens, lovingly enriches us all; in how many ways, from our first wakening to our last sleep on her blessed mother-bosom, does she, as with blessed mother-arms, enfold us all! ... Properly speaking, the Land belongs to these two: to the Almighty God; and to all his Children of Men. …It is not the property of any generation, we say, but that of all the past generations that have worked on it, and of all the future ones that shall work on it."

[Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, iii, 8]

"We hear it said, the soil of England, or of any country, is properly worth nothing, 'except the labour bestowed on it,' This, speaking even in the language of Eastcheap, is not correct. The rudest space of country equal in extent to England - could a whole English nation, with all their habitudes, arrangements, skills, with whatsoever they do carry within the skins of them and cannot be stript of, suddenly take wing and alight on it - would be worth a very considerable thing! . . . On the other hand, fancy what an English nation, once 'on the wing,' could have done with itself, had there been simply no soil, not even an inarable one, to alight on? Vain all its talents for ploughing, hammering, and whatever else; there is no Earth-room for this nation with its talents. …Soil, with or without ploughing, is the gift of God. The soil of all countries belongs evermore, in a very considerable degree, to the Almighty Maker! The last stroke of labour bestowed on it is not the making of its value, but only the increasing thereof."

[Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, iii, 8]

Carlyle,
Thomas



Properly speaking, the land belongs to these two -- to the Almighty God and to all the children of men that have ever worked well on it, or that shall ever work well on it.

[From: Past and Present, Book III, Chap.8]

Carnegie,
Andrew




ENLARGE
The most comfortable, but also the most unproductive, way for a capitalist to increase his fortune is to put all his monies in sites and await that point in time when a society, hungering for land, has to pay his price.

[source unknown]

Carpenter,
Edward




ENLARGE
Are they not mine, saith the Lord, the everlasting hills? ...
Are they not mine, where I dwell -- and for my children?
How long, you, will you trail your slime over them, and your talk of rights and of property?


[From: Towards Democracy (1894), p. 340]

Chamberlain,
Joseph




ENLARGE
"There is a trade at present in our midst which would return to the wealth England £250,000,000 per annum, which would give employment to I know not how many families of the working classes. And that trade we might win, not by conciliating barbarous potentates with slavery circulars, not by exporting civilisation in chests of opium, nor by forcing it upon ignorant people at the bayonet's point, but by freeing the land of England from the trammels of a bygone age."

[From a speech delivered at Birmingham, England in 1876]

Cheng,
Wen-Hui

Raising the effective rates of the Land Value Tax not only benefits local finance, but also improves the equity and efficiency of the whole property taxation system.

[Professor of Public Finance, National Chengchi University, Taiwan; from a paper written with Tzer-Ming Chu, presented at the L.R.T.I. conference, November 1988]

Churchill,
Winston S.




ENLARGE
I have made speeches by the yard on the subject of land value taxation, and you know what a supporter I am of that policy.

It is quite true that the land monopoly is not the only monopoly which exists, but it is by far the greatest of monopolies -- it is a perpetual monopoly, and it is the mother of all forms of monopoly.

Nothing is more amusing than to watch the efforts of our monopolist opponents to prove that other forms of property and increment are exactly the same, and are similar in all respects to the unearned increment in land.

Clark,
Colin




ENLARGE
What gives urban land its value, apart form the few cents per square foot which the developer has to spend on roads, wate rand sewerage connection, is its proximity to opportunities for employment, shopping, education, etc. In other words, the seller of urban land is mainly selling the fruits of other people's labour. The requirements of social justice would therefore indicate that heavy taxes should be imposed on land.
[Professor of Economics, November 1974]

Clark,
Colin

Land taxation reduces the price of land. This can be shown by mathematical demonstrations and by practice.
[Quote from comments made by Prof. Clark at a Colloquium on Land Values held in London during March, 1965]

Clark,
P.H.

I have stressed the moral aspect of imposing a levey on site values since I believe this to be fundamental to both site-value rating and the recovery of betterment. Both principles rest on a sound moral basis and on this ground alone, are valid.
[Quote from comments made by Prof. Clark at a Colloquium on Land Values held in London during March, 1965]

Clemens,
Samuel
(1835-1910)




ENLARGE
Writing under the penname Mark Twain, Clemens authored the essay Archimedes which on July 27, 1889 appeared In the San Francisco newspaper, The Standard (edited by Henry George). In this essay, Clemens joined Henry George by criticizing private individual ownership of land without payment of the full ground rent to society. Clemens became personally invovled in the effort to publicize George's cause, actually helping to sell tickets at Henry George lectures. In Archimedes, Clemens writes:

The earth belongs to the people. I believe in the gospel of the Single Tax.

Cobden,
Richard




ENLARGE
For a period of one hundred fifty years after the [Norman] Conquest, the whole of the revenue of the country was derived from the land. During the next one hundred and fifty years it yielded nineteen-twentieths of the revenue. For the next century down to the reign of Richard III it was nine-tenths. During the next seventy years to the time of Mary it fell to about three-fourths. From this time to the end of the Commonwealth, land appeared to have yielded one half of the revenue. Down to the reign of Anne it was one-fourth. In the reign of George III it was one-sixth. For the first thirty years of his reign the land yielded one-seventh of the revenue. From 1793 to 1816 (during the period of the land tax), land contributed one-ninth, from which time to the present [1845] one-twenty-fifth only has been derived from the land. ...Thus, the land which anciently paid the whole of taxation paid now only a fraction. ...The people had fared better under the despotic monarchs than when the power of the state had fallen into the hands of a landed oligarchy who had first exempted themselves from taxation, and next claimed compensation for themselves by a corn law for their heavy and peculiar burdens.

[From a speech delivered during the Parliamentary debate on the Corn Laws, 1845]

Cobden,
Richard

You who shall liberate the land will do more for your country than we have done in the liberation of its trade.

[source not identified]

Coleridge,
Samuel Taylor




ENLARGE
Nothing but the most horrible perversion of humanity and moral justice, under the specious name of political economy, could have blinded men to this truth as to the possesion of land, -- the law of God having connected indissolubly the cultivation of every rood of earth with the maintenance and watchful labor of man. But money, stock, riches by credit, transferable and convertible at will, are under no such obligations, and, unhappily, it is from the selfish, autocratic possession of such property, that our landholders have learned their present theory of trading with that which was never meant to be an object of commerce.


[From: Table Talk, March 31, 1833]

Coleridge,
Samuel Taylor

These Islands are not very large. It is plainly conceivable that estates might grow to fifteen million acres or more. ...These things might be for the general advantage, ...but if not, does any man possessing anything which he is pleased to call his mind, deny that a state of law under which such mischiefs should exist, under which the country itself would exist, not for its people but for a mere handful of them, ought to be instantly and absolutely set aside?

[From: "The Laws of Property," an address before the Glasgow Juridical Society, Macmillan's Magazine, April, 1888, p. 406]

Coleridge,
Samuel Taylor

I should myself deny that the mineral treasures under the soil of a country belong to a handful of surface proprietors in the sense in which these gentlemen appeared to think they did.

[From: "The Laws of Property," an address before the Glasgow Juridical Society, Macmillan's Magazine, April, 1888, p. 467]

Confucius
(B.C. 551-479)



ENLARGE
The great Chinese philosopher and teacher observed of his own society's past and present:

When the Great Way prevailed, natural resources were fully used for the benefit of all and not appropriated for selfish ends... This was the Age of the Great Commonwealth of peace and prosperity.

Cranston,
Alan




ENLARGE
A potentially important application of the societal collection of rent takes the form of the eventual removal of taxes from location improvements, so that only the rental value of the location itself -- but all of that value -- is collected for societal use. Cranston, a long-time member of the U.S. Senate, expressed support for this gradual reform in the Los Angeles Times (Nov. 20, 1967):

Higher taxes on land and lower taxes on improvements have already been tested successfully.

Currie,
Lauchlin




ENLARGE
Lauchlin Currie was an early advocate of treating housing as a "leading sector" in the advance of under-developed economies. In a paper he prepared for Habitat, the UN Conference on Human Settlements, in 1976, he wrote:

It is a striking example of our economic illiteracy that we have more or less quietly acquiesced in the private appropriation of socially created gains, letting fortunate owners and their heirs levy tribute or claim a share of the national income to which they have contributed nothing. [The case for capturing] all or a large portion of the pure monopoly gain of rising urban land has been impaired by failure to distinguish between land and capital in general, between land and building, and between the rise reflecting inflation and that traceable to pure scarcity.

The rise in land values ... that results from the growth in numbers and income of a community is a reflection of pure scarcity. It arises from the community and should belong to the community. It does not in any way arise form the work or saving of an individual owner and does not provide any incentive to work or save, since the supply of land is fixed.

[See: Lauchlin Currie, "Controlling land use: the key to urbanization," Ekistics, 244, March 1976, pp.137-143. ]



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