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