We are told that Georgism withered away quietly with its founder in 1897. That, however, is warped history. One of the great derelictions of American historians is to have neglected the single-tax movement, 1901-24.
So says Mason Gaffney in Neo-classical Economics as a Strategem against Henry George, full text here
As stated elsewhere, we’re trying to avoid talking about what is said in Poverty & Progress, but we’ve partly named ourselves in honour of the movement of the time, so we need to explain a little about the original Single Taxers.
And that means, necessarily, that we have to show a little of the punchline, almost, in mentioning that the Single Tax became adopted as the simple term that represented Henry George’s remedy for what was, and what is, wrong with the world. A beautifully practical remedy, universally benign, a mere alteration in fiscal arrangements, proposing neither shocks or revolutions, yet more profoundly revolutionary than any cause that’s ever risen. A remedy which would unleash the full flowering of humanity, release its full wealth in colours that grow too bright for words to paint.
Please, go and read the book, understand it properly. But for now, we’ll explain in as plain and undetailed way as we can, and then ask you to completely forget for the moment about the Single Tax until you take the pleasure of reading this book. (We almost envy you that you have still to read it.) And then we hope you come back to this site where we’ll be adding more songs and some pages for people for after they’ve read Poverty and Progress. And we’ll maybe then realise it doesn’t work trying to do it like this, and do it another way, but anyway, we have to do it some way …
To ensure we reveal as little as we can of the actual remedy, so that you may fully experience Henry George’s forensic unwrapping of the issue, we have, throughout this piece and throughout any quote that we’ve used, tried to substitute words like just and legitimate in place of a certain word which occurs alongside the word tax, because if you saw this term it would give too much away and probably lead to misunderstandings before Henry George can explain it all properly.
There is actually a whole issue about the use of the word tax, but we’ll discuss that elsewhere, this note is about the people who were the Single Taxers.
Seeing the cat was the Single Taxers’ term for the aha! moment as the realisation hits the brain, and all the distortions and injustices of a society which mangles itself in vain search for fair accord become suddenly visible, and everything that’s been such a struggle to understand then falls into place revealed.
These are our brief notes about, principally, the Single Tax movement in the USA in the early 19th century.