Martin Wolf wants to socialize land rent

As do pretty much all of us who understand economics from a geoist perspective.  Wolf happens to be a columnist for the influential Financial Times, and in this column he endorses Fred Harrison‘s analysis of the fundamental cause of periodic economic meltdowns.  (Since FT probably won’t leave this accessible for very long, here is the citation:

Financial Times:
Why we must halt the land cycle
By Martin Wolf
Published: July 8 2010 22:28)

But Wolf goes on

Socialising the full rental value of land would destroy the financial system and the wealth of a large part of the public.

As if the recent financial collapses did not very nearly do the same.

That is obviously impossible. But socialising any gain from here on would be far less so.

I believe this was proposed by John Stuart Mill, and evaluated by Henry George as “better than nothing.” Which it is, and had it been seriously and honestly enforced since George’s day we wouldn’t worry much about financial crashes now.

UK-based Wolf also infers that, with land price gains impossible, there might be less need for direct controls on what Americans call “sprawl.”

via Dave Wetzel

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One Response to “Martin Wolf wants to socialize land rent”

  1. Scott says:

    The Foundation of any Social Structure is the stabilizing factor. In terms of Life, Land is the Foundation. Treating Land as a commodity has been called the mother of all monopolies but on the flip side Socialized Land is the Mother of Liberty. Socializing Land across the entire human spectrum is The Secure Foundation. Using the United States as an example, there are currently over 3000 counties in the US. The way this works is the people of each county maintain 100% ownership of the Land in that county. Basing Land values on the currently assessed values, each “landowner” pays a Lease Fee into a Community Land fund which is then redistributed (100% of it) back to each resident in the county equally in the form of a yearly Land Dividend. Owners no longer own Land but lease it from the community. All of the improvements (houses, barns, gardens, etc…) are personally owned while the Land the improvements sit on Belongs Equally to every individual in that county. When someone sells his/her home they do not sell the Land but only the improvements. The new owner of the improvements takes over the Lease Fee. Sharing the Land in this manner effectively makes the Lease Fee on the average piece of Land exactly equal to the yearly Land Dividend. This makes Land equally affordable for everyone no matter income status. When individuals and families have security in Land they gain security in Life and are no longer beholden to another to procure Life’s basic necessities. It returns responsibility to the individual and in turn the community.

    The Socialization of Land described above is The Foundation for Universal Liberty and the doorway to a True and Pure Capitalistic Economy in which local (county) resources are owned equally by Everyone in that county (Pure Democracy) and which rewards those who are Creative, Cooperative, Compassionate and Hard Working.

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