Georgism has to be the most ridiculous concept ever contrived. I think communism might even make more sense than this. However, I will say the Georgists are a good deal more polite than mutualists.
The idea here is that anyone who uses space (not necessarily land, water too) deprives others from it, and thus should pay “the community” compensation for that deprivation. Essentially, its a property tax, but its based on the value of the land alone, not the improvement per se. This opens up a whole bunch of questions. Who assesses the value of land? Georgists seem to say that the value of land is not the same as its sale price, which is of course ridiculous. Sale price is value. And value to you might be different than value to me. I may want an acre of woods, and value it very much. A friend might find the same to be near worthless. As we know, value is subjective. They seem to think there is an immutable value of land, and its not entirely clear whether they think the value of land can change. Some seem to say yes, noting that land in cities has more value than in the country.
Georgists have a bit of arrogance and presumptuousness to them quoting Locke and Smith as authorities that they are not. Economics and law are evolving philosophies. They assert that because these two said that land cannot be totally owned, only rented from the community, that makes it so. But what even is that community? That is the next question. Even if the land is assessed, what is the level of tax to be paid? Who decides this? They say the community, but that of course, requires compulsion. I want my land to myself, who are you to say otherwise!
Once landowners have paid “the community” for monopolization of the land, what happens with this money? Some have suggested an equal dividend to all, but where does this begin and where does it end? How do you distribute all that money? The logistics problem is the problem of socialism, and given that Georgism has a seed of socialism in this, it has the same problem. Others say the basic services of government will be spent with this money. That produces another question: what services? Roads? Railroads? Airports? Ports? Channels? Police? Courts? Military? Healthcare? Etc. Some have said that the taxes will necessarily be limited so not that much in the way of services can be provided, which is a good thing, if true.
What is the reason for all this? Well, Georgists assert without any evidence that everyone has an equal right to any land. So by using it, you are depriving everyone else of it. They point to the fixed amount of land as the reason. However, there is a fixed amount of everything. If I use some iron, you cant use it. Should I pay you? And everyone else in the world? Georgists say this does not apply to anything except land, without explaining why. The thought is this will prevent land speculation and claiming up of land without using it all, but is this really a problem? The Georgist says instead of paying rent to some arbitrary landlord, you would pay it to a community. There are a lot of questions about how housing would work, especially in cities. In all likelihood, they might be right that this would reallocate land in a better way and put vacant land to use. But it also causes a lot of questions and problems. If the tax goes up on a plot, people might lose their homes. Of course, the rate could be locked in for life, but then can I bequeath it to my descendants or a chosen heir?
There are a whole lot of questions and problems with Georgism still. The main thought is that the tax on the value of the land will vary and encourage people to make the most use of the land. Fair enough, but as above, that could kick people off their land. Given that same high tax in a dense and productive area, how would housing work? Would there be individual owners forced to pay the tax regardless of their ability? Who are Georgists to demand they earn more than they may want to? Or what of rentals? Communists, mutualists, and Georgists dont seem to understand what rent is. Its not just a payment for nothing. You are paying for the use of space, the building, the infrastructure, utilities (maybe), maintenance, etc. It seems that a land value tax would take up 100% of the “surplus” rent. Therefore, a landlord makes no profit unless he provides other services, and he probably will, but why do anything at all? And will a beautiful peace of land with a nice view become unavailable to the poor? I also foresee this creating some ridiculous property maps where people do their best to use as little land as possible and create blobs that are connected by paths, which end up leaving random splotches of vacant land everywhere.
The Georgists still have a lot of questions to answer. In some ways, it defies logic and sanity. In other ways, its a better system than others. Property based taxes are one of the least bad taxes, and can be controlled better than income or sales/VAT, but still are taxes. I would have no problem seeing it tried out in a town somewhere. Indeed, New Hampshire is one of the most property tax reliant states. This has its pros and cons. Our property taxes are very high, but thats one of the only taxes you pay (no income or sales). And in most places, you get to vote on it directly. But as someone once said, Georgism takes the worst of communist and anarchocapitalism into one ideology.
PS: If any Georgists happen upon this, feel free to comment with answers. I will update the post accordingly if they satisfy.