but the concept of gaining public revenues from natural resource privileges was widely popularized by the economist and social reformer Henry George and his first book, Progress and Poverty, published during 1879.Georgist ideas were popular and influential during the late 19th and early 20th century.
Henry George is best known for popularizing the argument that government should be funded by a tax on land rent rather than taxes on labor.Georgism is concerned with the distribution of economic rent caused by natural monopolies, pollution, and the control of commons, including title of ownership for natural resources and other contrived privileges (e.g., intellectual property).Any natural resource which is inherently limited in supply can generate economic rent, but the classical and most significant example of 'land monopoly' involves the extraction of common ground rent from valuable urban locations.In his most celebrated book, Progress and Poverty, George argues that the appropriation of land for private use contributes to persistent poverty in spite of technological progress, and causes economies to exhibit a tendency toward boom and bust cycles.According to George, people justly own what they create, but that natural opportunities and land belong equally to all.
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Assets consisting of commodified privilege can be considered as wealth since they have exchange value, similar to taxi medallions.Milton Friedman described Henry George's tax on unimproved value of land as the "least bad tax", since unlike other taxes, it would not impose an excess burden on economic activity (leading to zero or even negative "deadweight loss"); hence, a replacement of other more distortionary taxes with a land value tax would improve economic welfare.and single tax (archaic), is an economic philosophy holding that, while people should own the value they produce themselves, economic value derived from land (including natural resources and natural opportunities) should belong equally to all members of society.Developed from the writings of Henry George, the Georgist paradigm offers solutions to social and ecological problems, relying on principles of land rights and public finance which attempt to integrate economic efficiency with social justice.Then, but not till then, will labor get its full reward, and capital its natural return.
Although equal rights to land might be achieved by nationalizing land and then leasing it to private users, George preferred taxing unimproved land value and leaving the control of land mostly in private hands.
George believed that although scientific experiments could not be performed in political economy, theories could be tested by comparing different societies with different conditions and by thought experiments about the effects of various factors.
Applying this method, he concluded that many of the problems that beset society, such as poverty, inequality, and economic booms and busts, could be attributed to the private ownership of the necessary resource, land.
George's reasoning for leaving land in private control and slowly shifting to land value tax was that it would not penalize existing owners who had improved land and would also be less disruptive and controversial in a country where land titles have already been granted.
Georgists have observed that privately created wealth is socialized via the tax system (e.g., through income and sales tax), while socially created wealth in land values are privatized in the price of land titles and bank mortgages.