11. The Single Tax Issue

In his book, Progress and Poverty, Henry George proposed that the Land Value Tax should be the only tax.  This ‘single tax’ idea has been identified with the LVT movement ever since, and is still insisted upon by the purists, but in recent times it has been questioned more and more.  It may have been feasible in George’s time when economic structures were much simpler, but in the complex contemporary world, it is in my view, more realistic to accept the need for other taxes.

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12. Definitions

The main purpose of this website is to communicate the ideas of LVT to ordinary people with no special knowledge of economics, and therefore I have used terms and meanings as they are generally understood in common usage.  However there are in certain cases definitions used by economists that differ, and need to be mentioned.  The items covered are:   1. Wealth,   2. Land,    3. Property/Real Estate,  4. Earnings,   5. Wages,   6. Money,  7. Capital and 8. Ownership.

1.  Wealth

As generally understood wealth is represented by the possession of goods, money, land or natural resources.  However the economic definitions of the last three require some qualification:

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13. Quotations

‘In my opinion the least bad tax is the property tax on the unimproved value of land, the Henry George argument of many, many years ago’                                                                                      Milton Friedman (1912-2006):  American economist and Nobel laureate.

‘The economic case for a Land Value Tax is simple and almost undeniable. Why then do we not have one already? Why hasn’t it been adopted widely in the western world? Even more puzzling is that, right now, as western economies struggle with the global financial crisis, why isn’t this form of taxation being seriously considered as an alternative?’                                                                      Sir James Mirlees (1936-2018): Nobel economics Laureate.

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