The Remedy is No Idle Pipe Dream
Having recently given way to some shameless daydreamery, we need to call on Robert Andelson to state of the Remedy:
This is not the idle pipe-dream of an armchair visionary. It has been tested by experience. Let me just cite the Hutchinson Report, a survey comparing the various Australian states in terms of the degree to which they use the Henry George approach. It found that wages, purchasing power, growth of industry, volume of retail sales, land under cultivation, value of improvements, and population gain through immigration from other states were in every case greater in direct ratio to the proportion of revenues derived from the public collection of ground rent. To me, this is the most conclusive argument anyone could ask for!
It’s definitely not a pipedream. This report confirms everything else that we’ve come across, anytime, anywhere it’s been allowed to work its magic. Much more about Australia and New Zealand later. We’ve got to find that Hutchinson Report, can’t find it so far, it’s maybe been hushed up in some way. Certainly the idea is alive and current in Australia, indeed, Sydney is the largest city in the world to fund itself from land value taxation, with the usual tangibly positive effect.
Dr Andelson went on to talk about how the remedy fulfills ideally all measures of the effectiveness of collecting revenue, and mentioned real examples of it as it was working in Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan. He said that nowhere had it ever been giving full expression, full freedom, but when it has been, and to the exact degree that it has been, it has worked to the great benefit of everyone.
We’re really interested in this measurable exact degree and direct ratio: that the percentage of benefit that society and individuals gain is in exact proportion to the extent that the Remedy has been applied. Earlier we had a rant about scientific socialism, but we see a strong suggestion here that there actually is something scientific about the Remedy, producing benefit to the exact degree that it is employed, and demonstrated across many different samples around the world and across time.
But of course the remedy is scientific, because it’s an expression of the truth, of justice, that’s why it works. As truth, it’s very simple. It’s not magic; it’s obvious, once seen. But it seems like magic in its absence.
Mason Gaffney, Richard Noyes, Ronald Banks and Fred Harrison, in their book The Losses of Nations (1998) demonstrate the consistent correlation in the USA between a high reliance on property taxes for public revenue, rather than income and sales taxes, and universally higher income levels.
Property taxes were the prevailing source of revenue at the beginning of the 20th century, and the taxation has gradually been shifted onto incomes. The exceptions still dotted around among American states provide a basis for statistical comparison, and the American states with the highest incomes are the ones that collect a higher proportion of local and state tax revenue from property taxes.
Gaffney et al conclude their book by saying:
There is a correlation between the relatively heavy use of property taxes, as a part of the state/local tax mix, and high per capita incomes. This invites one final question: How much larger would these differences be, and how much better the results, if one end of the fiscal spectrum were socially-created land rents alone, clearly distinguished from the other end — the labor and industry of individuals?