Just over a year ago, I wrote a somewhat invective essay entitled “Georgism is Insane“. If there is any testament to writing controversially or attacking people and ideas, it is that this post received more responses than any other post I have made here. It also appears to be one of the most viewed articles here, and was thoroly fisked by a blog called Blue Republik. I thanked and continue to thank all the responses to this, and I am not sure why Blue Republik was unable to reply here or the comment was deleted. I will check the spam filter.
In light of all this, and further reading into Georgism, an update is required. I should clarify that I write from the perspective of statelessness. In a stateless society, there should be no land tax or any tax. Land ownership is recognized by the general community. This would vary by locale, and even in the same locale. Presumably, there would be private registries that work together where necessary. This is how it works with website domain registration. There are many registries, all private, and they dont overlap each other. There are open questions as to if you can own vacant land forever and never use it. At what point can it be considered abandoned? However, that is not the nature of this post.
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.
Leftists often claim that successful businesses owe society for all the money they have made. Those capitalist bastards took all our money and gave us nothing in return, right? This, of course, makes absolutely no sense. How did they get that money if not by selling us their products which we wanted? If anything, we got the better deal: a physical good or service in exchange for some paper (or an electronic ledger record these days).