Many Great Thinkers and Economists
Have Realized that Landed Property is Different.
Moses: The land shall not be sold forever; for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me. — Leviticus XXV
Thomas Jefferson: The earth is given as a common stock for men to labor and live on.
Ambrose Bierce (The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911) “LAND, n. A part of the earth’s surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society….
Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living; for the right to own implies the right exclusively to occupy; and in fact laws of trespass are enacted wherever property in land is recognized. It follows that if the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B and C, there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist.”
Karl Marx: Assuming the capitalist mode of production, then the capitalist is not only a necessary functionary but the dominating functionary in production. The landowner on the other hand is superfluous in this mode of production. If landed property became people’s property the whole basis of capitalist production would go.
Adam Smith: Ground rents are a species of revenue which the owner, in many cases, enjoys without any care or attention of his own. Ground rents are, therefore, perhaps a species of revenue which can best bear to have a peculiar tax imposed upon them.
Thomas Paine: Men did not make the earth…. It is the value of the improvement only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property…. Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds.
John Stuart Mill: Landlords grow richer in their sleep without working, risking, or economizing. The increase in the value of land, arising as it does from the efforts of an entire community, should belong to the community and not to the individual who might hold title.
Seattle: Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every hillside, every valley, every clearing and wood, is holy in the memory and experience of my people. Even those unspeaking stones along the shore are loud with events and memories in the life of my people. The ground beneath your feet responds more lovingly to our steps than yours, because it is the ashes of our grandfathers. Our bare feet know the kindred touch. The earth is rich with the lives of our kin.
Leo Tolstoy: Solving the land question means the solving of all social questions… possession of land by people who do not use it is immoral-just like the possession of slaves.
Sun Yat-Sen: The land tax as the only means of supporting the government is an infinitely just, reasonable, and equitably distributed tax, and on it we will found our new system. The centuries of heavy and irregular taxation for the benefit of the Manchus have shown China the injustice of any other system of taxation.
José Marti: [Henry George was] one of the most cogent and audacious thinkers…. George’s book was a revelation not only for the workers, but also for the intellectuals. Only Darwin, in the natural sciences, left an impression comparable to that of George in the social sciences…. His devotion can be compared to the love of the Nazarene, expressed in the language of our times.