torsdag 29 november 2007

Whither Land Value Taxation in the UK?

If land value taxation (LVT) and the ideas of Henry George are to be promoted, it needs supporters who are familiar with the underlying philosophy and theory. That means they will have gone through the School of Economic Science (SES) economics course. Otherwise their grasp of the subject is always shaky and they are vulnerable to being out-argued or talked into conceding compromises unnecessarily. Whatever one thinks about SES, and I have my reservations, there is nowhere else teaching economics soundly.

The principal organisation for the promotion of the ideas of Henry George in the UK, the Henry George Foundation, appears to be at long last in reliable hands. Subject to the limitations of that organisation as a registered charity, there appears to be no longer any reason why all the activity should not be channelled through that body, and it would probably be advantageous if other Georgist bodies were re-integrated into this mainstream.

The other issue concerns the use of the term Land Value Tax. This may have come to the end of its useful life and there is probably a need to describe what it does in another way, not "just one more tax". And people have different preoccupations and concerns and ways of thinking about the world. We cannot present things the same way we would have done in 1947. This all needs thinking about. SES is at present providing a useful forum for discussion.

The prospects for LVT in Britain are very poor. The public is badly informed and badly educated, and are focussed on trivia and personalities. The press panders to that and provides no leadership. There is a poverty of ideas on both left and right. The alternative centre seems unable to make any mark despite good parliamentary representation. Neither of the two main parties has anything useful to offer and both are apparently committed to the delusion that Britain is a great power that needs to be in a position to project military force around the world. Strange, when we cannot even have clean streets. Thus the best that can be done is to maintain a holding operation. As long as campaigners maintain a realistic view on this and do not imagine we are on the verge of any breakthrough, there is no reason why continuing effort should not be sustained.

2 kommentarer:

Anonymous sa...

Correspondence courses are available at http://www.henrygeorge.org/.

And do you know about the new abridgment of Progress and Poverty? It is available online at http://www.progressandpoverty.org/ and at the website above; and can be ordered in paperback. See the brochure at http://www.wealthandwant.com/pdf/brochuresw_www.pdf for information. That website also has information about LVT, as does http://www.answersanswers.com/

Tom Fotheringham sa...

Why do you say the LVT "may have come to the end of its useful life"? Perhaps it would catch one's attention more to say "eliminate all taxes but one" and couple it with an easy way anyone could estimate what their own tax (or anyone else's) would be. I.e. a web site with an LVT calculator. Is there anywhere an HGI (Henry George Index) that would measure how close (or far)any jurisdiction is to the ideal tax regime? I'm also looking for computer models - a cross between a more sophisticated Monopoly game and SimCity - wherein one could fiddle with different tax scenarios and either interact with others or run several generations with different parameter values. Any ideas? (a SecondLife.com variant has been suggested)

FYI I'm just completing a course in Ethics & Economics at the Dominican College University (www.dominicancollege.ca - Prof. Frank Peddle) in Ottawa - my first exposure to Henry George. It incorporates the standard HGI course on top of all the big names back to Aristotle - really excellent! I'm itching to get involved somehow and open to suggestions.

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