The Land Rent We Have vs. the Land Rent We Want

by Mike Curtis

First of all, Gross Domestic Product is a measure of what is actually produced, and land rent is the portion of that product that is actually paid to the landowner. We propose to collect the potential rent of land for public revenue. That includes the rental values of all the oil and other mineral land that is held in reserve, all the valuable airwaves that are held for speculation and all the vacant or under-used land in and around cities. Continue reading

Taxes Kill Jobs

by Mike Curtis

Mike, ever the persevering Georgist educator, has been emailing think-pieces like this one every few weeks, asking recipients to forward to their inboxes, if the message rings true.

“Taxes kill jobs!” is the message of political candidates. The American economic system causes unemployment and recessions, that is true — but without revenue and the role of government, the US would surely be a third-world country. Continue reading

The Top Ten Obvious Facts for Georgists

10. Wage Rates Don’t Depend on Productivity.

We hear a lot about lifting oneself by one’s own bootstraps — but that can’t be done unless there’s a pool of poor saps to lift oneself above. Education and training can help an individual to compete — but competition, of abundant workers for scarce jobs, drives wages down even while overall productivity increases.

9. Technological Progress Reduces the Value of Products.

Look at today’s low prices for a microwave oven, a gigabyte of digital memory, a dress shirt or a car that gets 35 mpg and goes from 0 to 60 in seven seconds. We just can’t blame our eroding standard of living on the prices of the goods we buy.

8. Land Is Not Produced by Labor.

It just isn’t, and that makes land fundamentally different from things that are produced by labor. Economists have tried and failed to get around this fact, in many complex and convoluted ways, for a century. Continue reading