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Work in progress

It is good that various groups supporting the introduction of Land Value Taxation are getting together to see if they can put forward a common theme in the present climate. They are joined in their common understanding that the cure to poverty and income inequalities is to return to the community what the community creates and to remove taxes from productive processes. What divides them is only the detail of the means, how to bring change about.

Those organisations which are charities will need to stick to their defined purposes, whilst the more campaigning ones such as ourselves will be able to be more forceful in their opinions.

The Henry George Foundation now has its reference library in the library of The School of Economic Science at 11 Mandeville Place, London W1U 3AJ. This is a fantastic store of all that has been written since the days of Henry George himself, and his own writings. It has been said that no-one can disagree with him, but only misunderstand him. This library is available to all those who need to refresh their thinking by a return to principle. A recent book, by economist Brian Hodgkinson A New Model of the Economy is an excellent reconciliation of the ideas of Henry George with modern economic thinking.

However, it must be admitted that all this writing has not had much effect on the powers that govern us. Maybe it is time for a change of emphasis.

As we have been telling all and sundry what to do for the last 120 years, and obtained very little response, perhaps it is time to concentrate on the effects of existing arrangements. Fred Harrison has ably pointed out that the cause of poverty is the non collection of Resource Rents for public purposes. On the website Land is Free we point out that our obsession with the fact that the private ownership of land is a voluntary reduction in freedom for the benefit of a few. We don’t have to do it that way, and if we don’t like the result, it can be changed.

Also available is a set of tables showing the result of the present tax system. Derived from tax rates, these show that the cost of wages to an employer is double the “reward for work” of the employee. What must this do to the values put on work by employers and employees? Is it any surprise that labour intensive industries have fled the country? We see the effect of efforts to save labour all around us, yet, surely all must be able to work.

There must be many opportunities for research to show how our system of economic laws is gradually bringing about disaster. The 18year real estate cycle is now fully explained. Are we to go through the same again for ever?

Now we have the Credit Crunch on top of the cycle, neatly timed to have a devastating effect. How much unemployment and homelessness must we create in order to bring the price of land down to affordable? And is not the underlying cause the unnatural distribution of the product of work? When the result of the community’s effort land up in private hands, then of course those hands control the land and credit creation.

It is not easy to see how the teachings of Henry George are relevant today, and how they combine with nature and justice to create economic freedom. But once it has “clicked” it is so obvious. As John Stewart puts it in his book “The President” our trouble is moving from an intensely complicated system towards simplicity.

There are many initiatives afoot, and if we can all work together, perhaps there is hope.

Tommas Graves


Brian Hodgekinson A New Model of the Economy ISBN -13:978-0-85683-250-5
Fred Harrison The Silver Bullet ISBN 978-0-904658-10-1
Tax tables tommasgraves [at]
Website (see links)
Phillip J Anderson The Secret Life of Real Estate ISBN 978-0-85683-263-5
John Stewart The President ISBN -13: 978-0-85683-261-1