What do land tax, Monopoly, and Australia have in common?


What does land tax, Monopoly, and Australia have in common?

Last week I wrote a piece about land tax and some economists who say we should tax land more so we can cut taxes on business and labour income.

Today, let’s read a bit more about Henry George (1839-1897), the once-famous American who made similar arguments more than 100 years ago, and who has inspired those economists.

It’s a fascinating story with Australian links, and ties to a famous boardgame.

Land is rewarded for others’ hard work

We’ll begin with an image.

Have a read of the message on this old billboard:

Henry George "Everybody works but the vacant lot."

Source: General Research Division, The New York Public Library, The New York Public Library Digital Collections: 1865 – 1899.

What thoughts occur to you when you read that?

In today’s context, where something deeply wrong with Australia’s economic management has driven property prices to socially-destructive levels, that billboard carries a sting.

Australians have been watching property values rise at a supernormal pace in recent years while the value of their wages has deteriorated in relation to those property values.



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