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Two Centuries of Economic Thought on Taxation of Land Rents

Professor Harry G. Brown often complained of a “conspiracy of silence” against the land tax idea. Certainly it has received more silence than its due, yet it would be hard to find a topic on which so many economists have rendered opinions and taken positions over the last two hundred years. I group these writers under five headings, according to their . . . → Read More: Two Centuries of Economic Thought on Taxation of Land Rents

Greater Social Benefits From our National Forests

Economists are not doing their job if they merely act like auditors and snoops. We are actually more dangerous than that. We become aware that there are gross perceptual biases in popular awareness of different kinds of waste. A poor congressman can get ruined for hiring a steno with a fast track record, but quietly waste billions of the . . . → Read More: Greater Social Benefits From our National Forests

Land and Rent in Welfare Economics

In the classical synthesis, human welfare and land rent were two parts of an integrated philosophy. As Smith, Mill, Marshall, and especially Ricardo scan us from their present eyries they must note with shock two virtually separate disciplines tagged “land economics” and “welfare economics.” The first has come to connote Wisconsin Institutionalism with its skepticism of marginal analysis, its emphasis on evolution, . . . → Read More: Land and Rent in Welfare Economics

Changes in Land Policy: How Fundamental are They?

The last 25 years have witnessed a fundamental change in state and local land policy, reflecting a revolutionary change in attitudes towards immigration and growth. Local governments used to compete to attract people, now it seems to exclude them In the battle of boosters versus knockers, the knockers have won going away.
We have had low density policies with us always, but in . . . → Read More: Changes in Land Policy: How Fundamental are They?

Toward Full Employment with Limited Land and Capital

“Though custom has dulled us to it, it is a strange and unnatural thing that men who wish to labor, in order to satisfy their wants, cannot find the opportunity.” “There can be no real scarcity of work . . . until human wants are all satisfied.” Today, nearly a century after Henry George wrote that, and with nearly 40 . . . → Read More: Toward Full Employment with Limited Land and Capital

The Property Tax is a Progressive Tax

“The regressive property tax” has become a common block phrase among economists and in the popular press. President Nixon’s support for revenue-sharing is increasingly based on the need to protect the poor from heavy property taxes. Some prominent tax economists are favoring even sales taxes to make the tax system more progressive, by lowering the property tax.’ Even local income taxes, . . . → Read More: The Property Tax is a Progressive Tax

Adequacy of Land as a Tax Base

More economists than not believe that land rent has superior qualities as a tax base. Their failure to push harder for focusing more of the tax burden on land stems partly from a belief that “there is no money in it.” The following journalistic passage reflects this belief: “Authorization of the graded tax would be useless, however, unless the present freeze . . . → Read More: Adequacy of Land as a Tax Base

Review of James Heilbrun, Real Estate Taxes and Urban Housing

Real Estate Taxes and Urban housing is a useful book on a hot subject. Dick Nctzer, in his Economics of the Properly Tax, leaned heavily on it while it was still a Ph.D. dissertation, pronouncing it “by far the best available treatment” of its subject, and citing it to support some of his policy conclusions. Not every dissertation moves so swiftly to the . . . → Read More: Review of James Heilbrun, Real Estate Taxes and Urban Housing

Welfare Economics and Environmental Quality

Important as the physical environment is, the intellectual, social and psychological are more so. The greater gain of improving the physical world is improving the man who does it, the greater gain of achieving harmony of man and nature is achieving, through nature, harmony of man and man. In this case, the means may indeed be the end.

In Henry Jarrett (ed.), . . . → Read More: Welfare Economics and Environmental Quality

Water Law and Economics Transfers of Water: A Reply

THIS is a reply to Dean Frank Trelease’s comment on a case study of western water law as applied to the Keweah River, California. That case study finds diseconomies in water allocation, and lays much of the blame to water law. Dean Trelease Ends this “very disturbing,” which reaction I, in turn, find a little puzzling, since he is himself . . . → Read More: Water Law and Economics Transfers of Water: A Reply