KOHLER: Amid an overheated housing market, a 19th-century economist’s dream of a land tax is making a comeback.
A tax for our housing bubble trouble
“Almost 120 years after his death, Henry George may finally be coming into his own.
In the 19th century he was an economic rockstar. His book Progress and Poverty caused a sensation, proposing a single tax on land to replace all other taxes, and he picked up near devotion from geniuses like Albert Einstein, Leo Tolstoy and, in Australia, Walter Burley Griffin, among many others.
Essentially George led a revolt against rich landlords and property speculators, but he wasn’t a socialist. In fact he locked horns with Karl Marx, predicting, correctly, that if Marx’s ideas were tried they would result in dictatorship. Apparently the game of Monopoly was even invented in 1890 by a disciple of Henry George to demonstrate the evils of “land-grabbing” and property speculation. (It didn’t work: it turns out everyone loves being a ruthless landlord.)
Land tax and the…
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