Georgism & Natural Resources Taxation FAQs

1. Introduction (Start Here)

NOTE: Until this FAQs is finished, you can view the FAQs pages listed at:

Many of the questions on this page address the same objections and misunderstandings, so it may feel repetitive and redundant to read all the questions and answers on this page. If you would like to read an actual essay explaining what Georgism is, then we recommend reading: Georgism Crash Course.

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the book yet, but Critics of Henry George is said to have a very comprehensive documentation and analysis of all the major critics and criticisms of Georgism. It may have many important ideas and arguments that are not addressed on this page.

2. Answering Questions About The Implementation, Logistics, And Consequences Of Georgism

Draft Georgist taxation plan with as many details as possible regarding:

  • Describe the implementation of Georgism in as much detail as possible.
  • Give more specific details regarding the implementation of taxation rates across different types of land and varying land values.
  • How would the mathematics (and machine learning?) of the mass appraisal be calculated?
  • How much taxes would be collected, and how often?
  • How would the various land value taxes be adjusted for inflation?
  • Who would get taxed when the ownership title isn’t very clear?
  • What would be the detailed route of procedure if someone does not pay their LVT?
  • When land is available for people to settle it, would they be signing a contract with the government to pay the designated LVT rates?
  • If someone does not pay their LVT to the point where they forfeit their occupation of the land, do they lose the improvements on the land, do they get compensated for losing those improvements, and/or does the value of those improvements get used to help pay the LVT that they failed to pay?
  • When land is available for people to settle it, would someone have to buy the improvements on the land as well?
  • What are the most realistic reactions to the gradual implementation of Georgism?
  • What are the most realistic reactions to the Georgist taxation system itself?
  • How would the logistics of the collection of other economic rents (besides real estate values) work?
  • How would pollution be measured before collecting pollution taxes? would it be possible to measure all types of pollution?
  • How would prices be effected regarding: food grown on farms, labor, etc?
  • Can it be verified that rents cannot get passed onto the tenants, when taking into account the effects of capital markets?
    • Although this page claims to prove that LVT cannot get passed onto the tenants, it’s actually not very helpful because it doesn’t cover the effects of capital markets at all, and the empirical study discussed in the article was on tax rates too low to cause an exodus of capital from real estate. As far as I know, nobody has taken this into account when arguing that LVT cannot be passed onto the tenants.

3. Switching to Georgism

Any conversion over to a Georgist taxation system would have to be a very gradual process, taking at least 30 years in order to give everybody enough time to re-adjust their personal finances, especially for the people who are relying on land speculation as part of their retirement portfolio. But that’s really the only drawback to Georgism. Once you’re through that, it’s smooth cruising from there on out.

The way how I was willing to switch from Qwerty to Colemak, in spite of the 1-month transition period, is analogous to how I support Georgism, which would also require a transition period. Both provide better long-term results because they are both applications of the Space Utility Optimization Principle.

Additionally, in order for Land Value Tax to be truly effective, it must be widespread, otherwise those not having to pay a land value tax will have an even bigger advantage. This is just like how states without income tax have an advantage in labor costs over states that do have income taxes, or how states without sales taxes have an advantage in sales over states that do have sales taxes. Likewise, if a Georgist government imposes taxes on negative externalities, like pollution, there would need to be a tariff on goods from countries which didn’t impose such a tax. Otherwise you would just be subsidizing pollution elsewhere.

It is already common practice in the real estate industry to separately evaluate of land values from property values. The easiest way to transition to Georgism would be to gradually transition the Property Taxes so that they tax the unimproved value of the land instead of the improved value of the land, in increasingly greater proportions over time. Property Taxes are basically a combination of a good tax (land) with a bad tax (property), so you slowly reduce the bad tax proportion to nothing while increasing the good tax proportion (LVT) to higher amounts. And then from there, you slowly reduce sales taxes, income taxes, and so forth to 0%, while slowly increasing the LVT to 100%. We already have all the machinery for implementing Georgism, it’s just a matter of gaining enough political support for starting the decades-long transitioning phase by educating more people about economics.

4. Why are natural resources taxes better than other taxes?

Most existing forms of taxation punish productivity. Most existing forms of taxation are complex, ad hoc and create opportunities for corruption and tax evasion.

Although natural resource taxation has some complexity, it is much simpler than existing forms of taxation. There are a relatively small number of physical inputs to production, and they are relatively easy to audit and control. Natural resource taxation would be much simpler and fairer than applying taxes to every economic transaction, which is how the current system works.

4.1. Why would Georgism tax natural resources, and not just land?

By taxing the economic inputs of the economy instead of the economic outputs, there would be incentives to use the inputs (Natural Resources) more efficiently, and we should absolutely want this since there is a fixed, finite amount of valuable land and natural resources on Earth. Likewise, people wouldn’t get penalized for generating greater economic outputs.

Although location value taxation would be the main most dominant form of taxation, the taxation of the following would depend on how large the demand for those resources is, relative to the supply:

  • Mineral Deposits
  • Forests
  • Fish Stocks
  • Geostationary Orbits
  • The Frequencies of the Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Reproduction Licenses

The economics is pretty easy to understand, provided that one has an understanding of supply and demand.

4.2. Why are natural resource taxes better than a progressive income tax?

Income tax is based on income earned by labor or investment. If you work hard and well, or invest wisely, you will pay more income tax. This punishes productivity, and it makes labor more expensive. Income Tax is the sort of thing you would come up with if you were specifically trying to make the economy less efficient.

Income tax also requires individuals and companies to be accountants and keep track of financial minutia — or lie about them.

4.3. Why are natural resource taxes better than a flat income tax?

A simple flat tax would be relatively easy to assess compared to progressive income tax, but in most countries the income tax is very complex, with many loopholes and subsidies.

A flat income tax may have less harmful effects than a progressive income tax, but it would still punish productivity, and it would make labor more expensive nonetheless.

4.4. Why is natural resource taxes better than value added tax / sales tax?

VAT would reduce economic activity by decreasing sales in the economy. Consumption taxes also punish productivity, although not directly. All income is eventually used for consumption of some kind. So, a tax on consumption is a tax on income, and thus a tax on production.

Value-added tax is very complicated, because it requires a full accounting of revenue and the costs of production. Sales and value-added taxes are often ad hoc, and vary from one jurisdiction to another.

Sales tax requires businesses to record every sale, so it incentivizes them to not record every sale. By comparison, it is way easier to hide purchases and transactions than it is to hide land, especially since those purchases and transactions would be private knowledge, but not public knowledge (unless you make an authoritarian law mandating that everybody’s transactions be made public, but even then, people would still find a way around that). This is yet another reason why VAT is more prone to tax evasion, and would require significantly more paperwork than LVT.

More Information: Why FairTax is a Bad Idea.

4.5. Why should we implement land value taxes when we already have property taxes?

Property Taxes make housing less affordable, whereas Land Value Taxes make more affordable. Property Taxes reduce the supply of housing (by making it more expensive to build housing), and since the tenants thus have fewer options/alternatives to choose from, this enables the landlords to pass the Property Taxes onto the tenants. This wouldn’t happen at all with LVT though, because LVT would incentivize landlords to build more housing per square foot and they wouldn’t get penalized for creating new floors on their land. Since LVT would increase the supply of housing, the tenants would have many options to choose from in this buyers’ market, so LVT would not get passed onto the tenants.

People who own buildings wouldn’t be disincentivized to not upgrade them anymore. If property taxes are abolished, then people won’t get penalized for renovating their properties.

Property taxes also tax economic improvements to the land, which disincentivizes people to renovate their properties and creates the aesthetics similar to urban decay. Taxing economic improvements (which require human labor) makes the economy less efficient because that would effectively be a tax on productivity, and thus higher undesirable.

Furthermore, property taxes don’t bootstrap prices within the economy, nor do they conserve natural resources.

5. General Questions

5.1. What do Georgists think about Private Property?

If I need help making something, does have just as much ownership over it as me?

That’s a game theory problem. The workers need to come to some agreement about how much value they each deserve from making the product.

How does one lend enough land for everyone to get access to it?

The state don’t lend land to everyone, because not everybody needs to possess land in order to work.

Is it realistic that every citizen of a country can rent land?

Not really.

Are there more than one renter for each land plot?

There can be. It would depend on who is assigned to the land title.

5.2. Why should landowners pay land value tax?

  • There is an interesting split between geoists who believe those who create land value are obligated to receive it and geoists who believe those who occupy land value are obligated to return it.
  • Private communities, under geoism, are glorified land owners. They operate functionally indistinguishable from a residential landlord/homeowner. The only difference would be scale.
  • This means such communities are obligated to return the land value their community resides on to everyone outside the community.
  • This would seem an insurmountable task given the size of private communities, but it is made easier if the residents of the communities themselves are ultimately paying LVT for each subsection they reside on.
  • This means the private community organizer is off the hook for the majority of the land value.
  • In fact, they might ultimately get paid if their jurisdiction over said community makes living in that community more valuable than otherwise. This is the Henry George Theorem in action.
  • Knowledge that all other entities in a community are obliged to follow a minimal set of rules (other rules might be built on top of these selectively) and that one would receive certain community services from the private community organizer might make the community a profitable enterprise.
  • It is also easier to resolve the problem of rent because one doesn’t need to track down the source of rent, only its existence and magnitude. This problem by itself is problematic enough. Who is obligated to receive rents is another problem I haven’t figured out.

5.3. How does Georgism achieve “equal ownership of land”?

All land rents are used to pay for government revenues. Most Georgists propose a Citizen’s Dividend (basically a UBI) if there’s a surplus in government revenue, but there are other alternatives to this.

5.4. What do Georgists think about equality?

We believe in equal opportunity, not equality of outcomes. The latter would reduce the production of wealth, make everyone worse off, and cause tyranny. Many people compare Georgism to Communism, but they are very different:

  • Georgism is motivated by a positive vision for the future, whereas Communism and Socialism are motivated by hatred of those who are wealthy and successful, and they fantasize about killing billionaires, landowners, and/or politicians.
  • Georgism makes a distinction between ownership and possession. Georgists are okay with the wealthy and the elite maintaining possession over their land (and ownership over the fruits of their labor), as long as they compensate everyone else for being able to have that right. By comparison, Communists and Socialists want to steal property from the wealthy and redistribute it for everyone else to own.
  • Georgism is supported by solid classical economics. Communism and Socialism are not.
  • Georgism has never been tried before. Communism and Socialism have been tried, and they failed.
  • Georgism doesn’t enable rent-seeking, nor does it cause free-rider problems, nor does it penalize people for being productive. Communism and Socialism do all of these.
  • Georgism would reduce corruption, compared to alternative proposals for bootstrapping market prices. If anything, implicit ad hoc pricing creates even more opportunities for corruption and evasion, in comparison to taxing natural resources at the point of extraction.

I think it’s theoretically possible for Georgism to be enforced by non-elites if the power structure is just right after great reform or a major revolution, but I also wouldn’t be surprised at all if the world’s natural resources ended up being controlled by the elites, since that’s pretty much the same outcome of every ideology (that the elites take over everything). Even if Georgism resulted in the elites seizing power to manage the pricing of land and natural resources (and thus the distribution to some extent), I would still view it as preferable. Even the elites have an interest in conserving natural resources for a sustainable future, which natural resource taxation would achieve, along with all the other benefits on this list.

5.5. Could Rents Get Passed Onto The Tenants?

No. There is a consensus among economists that Land Value Tax cannot be passed onto the tenants.

The basic gist is that tenants can go to another location with a lower location value. This property owner here is being charged less in taxes because the location value is lower. That would just mean they pass on slightly less expenses to their tenants, right? It would, except the tenants can keep going to locations with lower and lower location value until they reach the location with zero location value. The land here is essentially worthless. They would prefer to live closer to the city but their expenses for living here, further out, and the expenses they would incur for living closer in the form of higher rent are identical. The landlord must provide superior service rather than charging more for increase in location value.

5.6. Wouldn’t taxing land at 100% of its value be unfair to landowners?

It would be if 100% LVT started getting applied overnight, but only because many people’s wealth and life savings are stored in the value of their land, especially for many middle-class homeowners.

Any conversion over to a Georgist taxation system would have to be a very gradual process, taking at least 30 years in order to give everybody enough time to re-adjust their personal finances, especially for the people who are relying on land speculation as part of their retirement portfolio. But once society is through that, the economy will be better off than it was before the transition and it will be smooth cruising from there on out.

For as labor cannot produce without the use of land, the denial of the equal right to the use of land is necessarily the denial of the right of labor to its own produce. – Henry George, Progress and Poverty, Book VII, Chapter I

5.7. Wouldn’t Georgism give landowners more influence over the government since they would be paying all the taxes?

It’s not clear why non-taxpayers wouldn’t have a voice. They would probably have just as much representation as they do now under this current system, and even if that’s not very much, there are ways to improve the structure of the government so that it listens to all its citizens, but that is very complicated and a discussion for another thread.

Keep in mind that we are also in favor of head taxes since we believe that everybody who benefits from government services should be required to make a contribution for receiving them. Head taxes don’t reduce economic productivity since they are a flat rate that is applied to every citizen.

5.8. Wouldn’t the land value tax (LVT) increase the price of land?

No, because it wouldn’t change the supply or the demand for land.

Most people who ask this question mistakenly think that the LVT would be paid on top of the price of buying land. But this is inaccurate because land would not be bought at all under Georgism, as land could only rented by paying the LVT (the price of the land rent).

Since the land rent is the only cost to being able to possess/occupy land, since LVT would effectively be the price of land, and since the price of land would only be dependent on the supply and demand of land, LVT would not increase the price of land.

5.9. How would Georgism reduce wealth inequality?

When everybody owns land equally, this ensures that everybody has equal access to the three factors of production: Land, Labor, and Capital. It follows that economic productivity is increased, and wealth inequality is dramatically reduced. The massive wealth inequality that exists today is in large part caused by the skewed and unequal ownership of highly valuable land.

Since the wealthiest people are naturally the ones who own the most land and the most valuable land, Land Value Tax would therefore reduce economic inequality, because the LVT would mostly fall on the wealthiest members of society.

Additionally, Georgism would make housing more affordable. When housing is unaffordable, it tends to affect the lower classes more than the upper classes, so that’s another way how Georgism will reduce wealth inequality.

As a thought experiment for illustrating how land is the ultimate driver of economic inequality, imagine if there were no scarcity of land. Imagine so much high-quality, easily accessible land that anyone can use as much as they want without reducing the amount available for others to use. How many of the ’problems of capitalism’ would still remain in such a world?

5.10. Wouldn’t LVT discourage people from owning land?

It does discourage people from owning land. That’s a feature, not a bug. It ensures that people only use as much land as is efficient for them, leaving the rest for someone else to use. That’s what we want, as opposed to the land-hoarding and rentseeking behavior that dominates our current real estate market. (Actually, we want to raise the tax so high that the sale price of the land becomes zero, erasing the notion of privately ’owning’ land at all. Everyone would be a tenant on common land, paying back everyone else for the land they use and, conversely, getting paid for all the land they don’t use.)

5.11. But isn’t land speculation the same as any other commodity speculation?

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

5.12. Why is only land speculation bad? Why not also SBF-style speculation?

Every form of rent-seeking is undesirable for an economy and that there should be laws to prevent it whenever it occurs. We oppose Sam Bankman-Fried style speculation, but it’s harder to make a case that that counts as rent-seeking. SBF-style speculation is more akin to gambling instead of investing since the speculators don’t really own any true wealth and the risks are much higher. Gambling in small amounts won’t hurt an economy, but it becomes a problem when it’s done on the scale of the FTX scandal and a feedback loop is created.

If the stock market counted as rent, then that would effectively mean that there is no value in researching to distinguish between profitable investments and non-profitable investments. To an extent, the same could be said for land speculation, but the key difference between speculating on land versus speculating on a stock is that the former deprives everyone else of a natural resource in fixed supply, whereas the latter does not.

One of the problems with making a law against SBF-style speculation is that it can difficult to define and differentiate. It may just be better to let gamblers suffer the consequences of their actions. I oppose capital gains tax because stocks represents real wealth, are actual investments in a company, and actually have positive benefits on the economy.

5.13. Why not just build outwards instead of upwards?

It’s true that you can build outwards instead up upwards if there is still uninhabited land available and the geography allows it, but it still remains the case that the supply of valuable locations within the jurisdiction is fixed.

Yes, there are millions of square kilometers of uninhabited land around the world, but asserting that ignores that not all of that land is equally valuable.

The problem is that if land is not taxed, there is no guarantee that it will be used as efficiently as possible. There’s a huge difference between building a suburban style house in Manhattan versus building an apartment complex in the same location.

5.14. Wouldn’t Land Value Tax Hurt Farmers?

Nope. Georgism would help everybody, including farmers.

Land Value Tax != Land Area Tax. Rural land tends to be worth far less per unit area than urban land, so it’s not as big of a deal as you might think. For instance, in the United States, urban land constitutes less than 3% of the total land area but over 70% of the total rent (and thus potential LVT revenue). So farm land could only account for less than 30% of the total, which is a very small portion of the land rent, especially in proportion to its size. If anything, farmers might receive more money via the Citizen’s Dividend than whatever that they might pay in LVT.

For another thing, LVT would: 1. densify suburbs that sprawl into farmland, and 2. tax land speculators. Both of these factors would only make rural land cheaper for farmers.

Here’s a more extensive answer to this question.

5.15. How Would Georgism Affect Wages?

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5.16. What do Georgists think about landlords?

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

5.17. How much tax revenue would Georgism generate as a percentage of a country’s GDP?

Probably about 40% in typical developed countries. If you do the math regarding the cost of housing, the level of existing tax burdens, etc, that’s roughly what it comes to. Could be perhaps ±10% from country to country depending on their population, dominant industries and level of economic development.

In the 2012 federal budget, tax revenue was about 1.73 trillion USD. However, total land values were 54 trillion USD, which is about 31 times more than the total tax revenue. A land value tax of 3% would bring in almost 20% of all current revenue. This is just pure land value, as in what the land is worth, not including the improvements or buildings. If we were to combine it with other taxes, it would be an absolute tax boom.

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

5.18. How can you predict that Georgism would increase economic growth?

One of the reasons why economics is so unpredictable is because economists have been assuming for centuries that social mobility is mostly dependent on environmental factors, when it’s actually dependent on genetics. The mathematical optimization behind Georgism is very sound. Another thing is that virtually all tax proposals have largely failed to benefit society in the past because they don’t aim to reduce rent-seeking, they punish productivity in one form or another. Neither applies to LVT.

But it’s based on assumptions that space is effectively utilized. Is that mere speculation?

There are many examples in that section. Just imagine how slow and inefficient your computer would run if it used a finder’s keepers approach to memory and CPU power. That’s the system that we have now (a finder’s keeper’s approach to land ownership).

I’m arguing for a system that allocates resources in the most efficient manner possible, similarly to how modern OSs are designed.

But a society is not based on processors and chips, it’s based on the unpredictability of humanity?

There’s a lot of complexity and unpredictability in ranking processes too. There are entire CS courses that teach memory, CPU, and resource management, like Theory of Computation.

Yes, but then the code isn’t even finished itself, so how would it be able to be successfully applied to humanity when it in itself isn’t completed in it’s own area? That would be very speculative?

Georgism works because it uses free market principles. We can’t know how valuable land is we don’t put a price on its monthly value. The same cannot be said of the current system, where land values are not appraised on a regular basis, since people can own land for years and decades, no matter how inefficiently they may be using it.

I think this is missing a perspective that the free market itself is what determines value, not some kind of appraisal system, and it seems unfair to say that a free market is good for everything but land.

That’s not true for natural resources.

5.19. How does Georgism resist government corruption?

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

5.20. How would Georgism prevent gentrification?

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6. How Would LVT Be Calculated?

6.1. Can land value be seasonal?


[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

6.2. Is Land Value Tax fixed rate?

We want to capture 100% of the land rent, whatever that is, and even if it changes over time.

It doesn’t correspond to a ’rate’ on the land’s sale price as in a traditional property tax. The sale price itself is sensitive to taxation (you’re not willing to pay as much to buy something you have to pay more tax on), and capturing 100% of the land rent would effectively drive the sale price to zero, making the traditional calculation useless. Therefore we need other methods of calculating what the land rent is, that don’t depend on sales. Fortunately that is relatively straightforward and the statistical tools largely already exist.

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

6.3. Why should land be taxed at 100% of its value? Why not a different percentage?

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

6.4. How much land tax value would be “fair”?

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

6.5. Would all land value have to be appraised?

Land only has value if people want it. There’s not much sense in putting a price on the land in Antarctica or the Sahara Desert because no one wants it.

But yes, all land that people want would have to be appraised, in order to know how valuable land is compared to other land. The two main proposals are either by land value appraisal or auctions.

7. Libertarian Questions

7.1. Don’t seasteading technologies refute the argument that “land is finite”?

No, it doesn’t.

  1. This ignores the fact that we are losing more land due to rising sea levels than whatever land we could ever hope to gain with seasteading.
  2. Seasteading is extremely expensive since it costs billions of dollars, and it could never produce enough land to go around for everybody.
  3. There wouldn’t be a need to seastead more land in the first place if we used the land that we already have more efficiently, which we could most practically accomplish via LVT.
  4. Most land reclamation likely won’t be permanent. Even though Incheon International Airport was built on reclaimed land, it has been slowly sinking at an alarming rate every year. Climate change and rising sea levels will further worsen this problem. If the numbers are correct and this trend continues, then the airport is projected to sink below sea level within the next 100-200 years. This suggests that land reclamation won’t be a permanent solution to land scarcity.

7.2. Doesn’t taxing people’s land violate the NAP?

No it doesn’t, and for several reasons:

  • Everybody has an equal negative right to land. If you disagree and you are going to argue in favor of unequal rights, then the burden of proof falls entirely on you to prove your claim since you would be arguing for unequal negative rights. Anti-Georgism violates the Libertarian NAP.
  • Anti-Georgism leads to an anti-free-market economy, and that certainly isn’t compatible with Libertarianism.
  • The NAP isn’t as “objective” as Libertarians would like to believe. This list shows a huge myriad of ways how Libertarians will disagree with each other, and it is evidence that Aggression is subjective, so the Libertarian Non-Aggression Principle is yet another subjective moral principle that does not form a basis for “objective morality”.
  • Private landownership violates the NAP. All privately owned land comes to be owned (originally) by claiming it, and then threatening or using force upon everyone who disagrees with one’s claim.

But the state would determine people’s right to land.

The state would not determine people’s right to land. The state’s duty is to enforce equal rights for all. That includes land rights.

7.3. But taxation is an unnecessary evil.

There is no such thing as an “unnecessary evil” or a “necessary evil” because evil is not well-defined, and evil is an illusion.

Moreover, there has never been a single civilization in human history that has managed to exist without some form of taxation. If civilization is to exist, then taxation is inevitable because a society can only eliminate what Libertarians call “force” by exerting it outwards and establishing the Rule of Law within the society.

So if taxation has to exist within a civilization, it’s only logical that the least harmful and most widely recommended tax of them all should be used.

7.4. But it’s “authoritarian” to take away someone’s land if they don’t pay their taxes.

This belief is based on an incorrect understanding of what does and does not count as aggression. An equal right to land is a negative right since land is not created by other people’s labor. It follows that everybody has an equal right to land, which is guaranteed by collecting LVT and using it to benefit the public. Economically, it’s also beneficial because if land is confiscated, then that means that the land is not being used to its maximum economic efficiency to the point where paying the LVT price is not a problem. This is a good thing because then someone who will use the land to its fullest economic potential will have a fair chance to occupy it and use it too.

Georgism would lead to unjust and uncompensated confiscations.

The same could be said for any form of government. There is the possible concern that land values could be appraised in such a way that promotes corruption or cronyism, but this isn’t a very good argument because prices have to be bootstrapped somehow. If anything, implicit ad hoc pricing creates even more opportunities for corruption and evasion, in comparison to taxing natural resources at the point of extraction. If the government doesn’t set prices for natural resources, then markets won’t be bootstrapped, and we’ll have a tragedy of the commons. https://gameofrent.com/content/can-land-be-accurately-assessed

7.5. But it’s authoritarian to disrupt inherited property.

That claim is akin to the Divine Right of Kings, like a royal dynasty’s ownership of land. In order to ensure private ownership of land, you have to prevent other people from using it. That’s pretty authoritarian considering that the inheriters did no labor to create the land.

Whether or not LVT disrupting inheritance is “authoritarian” also depends on the inheritance. To be clear, we’re not against land being possessed by family generations. We’re only saying that they should pay LVT at the market price if they want to keep the land in the family.

Being related by blood is not a qualification for anything. Society should be based on merit. If people want to continue owning land that their ancestors owned, then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have to pay the market price, just like everyone else.

How does paying the market price show merit though? You can be wealthy and still lack merit.

Because Georgism would eliminate rent-seeking, wealth earned without generating wealth. Georgists believe that people should only be entitled to nothing but the fruits of their labor. Any wealth that people do have, would be earned by the fruits of their labor.

Do Georgists support inheritance? If a parent makes savings for their child’s future, should that instead be taken by society and handed out “equally”?

The difference is that land is gained by preventing other people from using it. If a child inherits money from their ancestors, they’re not preventing anybody else from being able to earn money by the fruits of their labor. You can’t say the same thing about land.

But everyone in a society inherits the land though?

I mean, you could argue that LVT is bad because so much of the middle class’s retirement is dependent on the land speculation of their houses. But that’s not a good argument against LVT when considering the costs that that has for urban planning, pollution, economic efficiency, etc. The harms outweigh the benefits.

7.6. Why do people have an equal right to land?

Main Article: Why Everybody Owns Land Equally.

It doesn’t make sense to believe that land can be ’owned’. The idea that land can be ’owned’ is kind of weird. You didn’t create it and You can’t pick it up and move it like you could any other owned object. Ownership in this sense is a bundle of rights that excludes everyone else and requires either everyone else to consent or the government to keep enforcing. Yeah, you don’t ever get to stop paying for those rights, but if it was otherwise, land ownership would just be about calling dibs on something nobody made and expecting the government to defend your rights in perpetuity, even if you aren’t using it. Like, can I call dibs on the moon and expect NASA or ESA to kick anybody else’s probes and rovers off? There is something fundamentally wrong with applying a Finder’s Keepers System to land rights. Land ownership is incredibly useful but philosophically isn’t very different from calling dibs on the moon, and doesn’t make much sense outside of community consenting to your rights in return for compensation.

7.7. Doesn’t the NAP presuppose the OATP?

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7.8. But labor doesn’t count as property

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7.9. Isn’t Georgism the same thing as Socialism or Communism?

No, not in the slightest. A Socialist economy is when Capital is publicly owned, a Georgist economy is when Land is publicly owned while Labor and Capital are privately-owned, and a Communist economy is when all Three of Factors of Production (Labor, Capital, and Land) are publicly owned. You can refer to the table for a concise comparison:

  Capitalism Georgism Socialism Communism
Land Private Public Public Public
Capital Private Private Public Public
Labor Private Private Private Public

Note the following for what it means for each Factor of Production to be “public”:

Basically, the distinction between whether each factor of production is public or private is whether it is owned by the state or owned by individual entities.

Unlike Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism, Georgism has never been tried before, and yet it is different from all of them, as it is the only one where everybody is guaranteed equal access to all Three of the Factors of Production.

7.10. But private land ownership is necessary to resolve tragedies of the commons.

This is not true. Georgism requires private land possession, not private land ownership.

Private possession solves the Tragedy of the Commons. Private ownership causes the Iron Law of Wages (in combination with population growth), mass poverty, and untold economic inefficiency.

Think about a company with shareholders. Each of the shareholders owns part of the company, but they don’t necessarily get to make decisions for the company.

Possession and ownership are different concepts. Different words, different wiki articles, different dictionary definitions:

If we got rid of land ownership and replaced it with land possession there would be no practical difference.

This is also wrong. If Georgism was installed today and everybody owned land equally (while private possession is still maintained), then the difference would be that everybody receives a UBI after all government expenses are paid. In essence, everybody would own the Earth’s land equally because the value would be equally distributed to all citizens.

7.11. But land is neither necessary nor sufficient to create economic value.

I suppose that’s why it’s so cheap and can be bought for pennies even in dense urban areas.

Oh, wait…

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

7.12. But Capitalism already has a “free market” for land.

There’s nothing free market about some guy calling dibs on a plot of land. Alloidal libertarians are able to recognize that inflation is a form of invisible theft, and yet they turn a blind eye to land speculation which also extracts other people’s labor into the hands of a few, yet differently.

The irony is that they need LVT in order to actually have a free market. The ’free market’ rhetoric is typically used to defend what is essentially modern-day feudalism. And both sides bought into the propaganda. Even the left is convinced that we have a free market, since they just responded by declaring that freedom is bad.

7.13. What’s wrong with the Homesteading Principle?

Private Land Ownership Violates the NAP.

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

8. More Specific Questions

8.1. Wouldn’t a tax on natural resources make our country’s natural resources more expensive and uncompetitive with world markets?

No, because this question assumes that natural resources would be privately owned and that the Natural Resources Tax would go on top of that, which is not the case at all under Georgism.

We already pay enormous corporations like British Petrol, De Beers, Sibanye Stillwater Limited, etc money when we buy natural resources from them. But under Georgism, natural resources would be owned by the government instead, and everybody would pay money (Natural Resources Tax) to the government to buy said natural resources, not the privately owned mega-corporations that shouldn’t exist. Since the government would collect the revenue from selling natural resources instead of private corporations and no additional expenses would be added on top of that, Georgism would not make the country’s natural resources less competitive on the global market.

Another point is that this would be even more impossible if there is a global government that manages the world’s natural resources. The whole point of government is to resolve prisoner dilemmas and tragedies of the commons, so it is entirely reasonable to have a global government. The only criticisms that could be applied against a global government are ones that would also apply to national governments as well.

If we don’t build a global government, a de facto global government will take form instead. Today, that is currently the United Nations, combined with the influence of the Chinese and American superpowers. So we might as well build a global government that is less likely to be a dumpster fire like the UN.

It is unreasonable to allow mega-corporations to profit billions of dollars just because they claimed that land first under a finders’ keepers system. That is called rent-seeking, and it doesn’t contribute to economic growth at all. If anybody is going to be making billions of dollars off of selling coal, oil, iron, copper, cobalt, natural gas, etc, it better be the government so that everybody else can pay fewer taxes (and maybe receive some welfare in return).

8.2. If you tax land value, then won’t all the houses be crammed together and poorly built in order to use as little land as possible?

Nope, that doesn’t follow at all. LVT incentivizes building more housing. When you increase the supply of housing, you increase competition inside the market. Competition decreases prices and increases the quality of the goods and services available to the consumers.

It is also completely wrong to predict that all the houses and apartments would be crammed together. If anything, that’s what you see / will see in the current system. Housing is so freaking expensive in Japan that there’s literally coffin-sized apartments and POD hotels that people live inside of since they have no other choice. And the West is bound to head that road too in some areas if housing reform is not enacted.

Obviously, the vast majority of people don’t want to live inside coffin-sized houses, so they’d absolutely be okay with paying more LVT if that buys them more living space. And since landlords would have every incentive to get as many customers as possible, they would have to build something that people want to live in.

8.3. What makes Location Value Taxation unique?

It is the only natural resource that all countries and regions of the world, have in common. Not every country will have coal, oil, gold, timber, etc, but every country will have communities whose economic productivity and urban layouts can be most effectively optimized by location value tax, since it enforces the Space Utility Optimization Principle.

8.4. Does Georgist Theory claim that an LVT is even better than having no taxes at all?

8.5. Do all Georgists support UBI?

No. Other Georgists have all sorts of ideas about how they think tax revenues should be used, but all of them are pretty arbitrary in comparison to the Citizen’s Dividend, which I personally don’t support.

8.6. How would eminent domain work in a Georgist Society?

LVT would cause Eminent Domain to be less one-sided since more valuable properties would be more consenting to the eminent domain, since they would have to pay higher LVTs.

If the city collects a LVT and can also decide which land will get purposed for different things, it can essentially operate as a business, which should make it and all its operations run more efficiently.

8.7. What happens if the LVT increases, and the land possessor is unable to pay it?

If someone is at risk of this happening to them, then they ought to purchase some insurance that will pay the difference between what they were paying and what they have to pay after the tax increase, in case their LVT rates rise.

8.8. Who pays the LVT when the land title or tenure is uncertain?

If it’s useful to keep the land as public land (i.e. doing so raises neighboring rents by more than the rent on that land), then that’s what we would do.

Otherwise, we’d make the title certain by drawing up an appropriate contract. If nobody already claiming the land steps forward to pay the going rate, or to ask compensation for any improvements, then whoever signs the contract and pays the LVT becomes the new tenant (and the value of the improvements gets incorporated into the LVT rate).

8.9. How do you sell the improvements when someone else repossesses the land?

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

Read More: General Single Measurements For Multiple Variables.

8.10. Why do domain names also count as land?

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

8.11. What do Georgists think about Net Neutrality?

[I haven’t finished writing this section yet. It takes time to write stuff.]

Last Modified: 2023 November 04, 06:01

Author: Zero Contradictions