Georgism (also known as geoism and geonomics) is an economic philosophy holding that the economic value derived from land, including natural resources and natural opportunities, should belong equally to all residents of a community, but that people own the value that they create themselves. The Georgist paradigm offers solutions to social and ecological problems, relying on principles of land rights and public finance which attempt to integrate economic efficiency with social justice.〔Gaffney, Mason, and Harrison, Fred (1994). ''(The Corruption of Economics )''. London: Shepheard-Walwyn. ISBN 978-0-85683-244-4〕〔Hudson, Michael; Feder, Kris; and Miller, George James (1994). ''(A Philosophy for a Fair Society )''. Shepheard-Walwyn, London. ISBN 978-0-85683-159-1.〕
Georgism is concerned with the distribution of economic rent caused by natural monopolies, pollution, and the control of commons, including title over natural resources and other contrived privileges (e.g., intellectual property). Any natural resource, which is inherently limited in supply, can generate economic rent, but the classical and most significant example of 'land monopoly' involves the extraction of common ground rent from valuable urban locations. Georgists argue that taxing economic rent is efficient, fair, and equitable. The main Georgist policy tool is a tax assessed on land value. Georgists argue that revenues from a land value tax (LVT) can reduce or eliminate existing taxes on labor and investment that are unfair and inefficient. Some Georgists also advocate for the return of surplus public revenue back to the people through a basic income or citizen's dividend.
Economists since Adam Smith have observed that, unlike other taxes, a public levy on land value does not cause economic inefficiency. A land value tax is often said to have progressive tax effects, in that it is paid primarily by the wealthy (the landowners), and it cannot be passed on to tenants, workers, or users of land. Land value capture would reduce economic inequality, increase wages, remove incentives to misuse real estate, and reduce the vulnerability that economies face from credit and property bubbles.〔(Land Value Taxation: An Applied Analysis, William J. McCluskey, Riël C. D. Franzsen )〕 The philosophical basis of Georgism dates back to several early proponents such as John Locke, Baruch Spinoza, and Thomas Paine, but the concept of gaining public revenues from natural resource privileges was widely popularized by the economist and social reformer Henry George and his first book, ''Progress and Poverty.
Georgist ideas were popular and influential in the late 19th and early 20th century.〔(The Forgotten Idea That Shaped Great U.S. Cities ) by Mason Gaffney & Rich Nymoen, Commons magazine,October 17, 2013.〕 Political parties, institutions and communities were founded based on Georgist principles during that time. Early followers of Henry George's economic philosophy called themselves ''Single Taxers'', associated with the idea of raising public revenue exclusively from land and privileges, but the term is now considered a misnomer because Georgists usually support multiple mechanisms for government funding. In classical and Georgist economics, the term 'land' is defined as all locations, natural opportunities, resources, physical forces, and government privileges over economic domains, which is closely related to the concept of commons.〔(【引用サイトリンク】url=http://www.henrygeorge.org/def2.htm )〕 ''Georgism'' was coined later, and some prefer the term ''geoism'' or ''geonomics'' to distinguish their beliefs from those of Henry George.
== Main tenets ==
Many people have observed that privately created wealth is socialized via the tax system (e.g., through income and sales tax), while socially created wealth in land values are privatized in the price of land titles and bank mortgages. The opposite would be the case if land rent replaced taxes on labor as the main source of public revenue; socially created wealth would become available for use by the community, while the fruits of labor would remain private.〔http://earthsharing.ca/page/poverty〕 Henry George is best known for popularizing these classical arguments in favor of effecting this reform in land title and tax policy.
In ''Progress and Poverty'' George argues that people justly own what they create, but that natural opportunities and land belong equally in common to all.〔 George believed there was an important distinction between common and collective property.〔(''Common Rights vs. Collective Rights'' )〕 Although equal rights to land might be achieved by nationalizing land and then leasing it to private users, George preferred taxing unimproved land value and leaving the control of land mostly in private hands. George's reasoning for leaving land in private control and slowly shifting to land value tax was that it would not penalize existing owners who had improved land and would also be less disruptive and controversial in a country where land titles have already been granted.
George believed that although scientific experiments could not be carried out in political economy, theories could be tested by comparing different societies with different conditions and through thought experiments about the effects of various factors.〔(''Progress and Poverty'' – "Introduction: The Problem of Poverty Amid Progress'' )〕 Applying this method, George concluded that many of the problems that beset society, such as poverty, inequality, and economic booms and busts, could be attributed to the private ownership of the necessary resource, land.
In Georgism, a land value tax is seen as fitting the definition of a user fee instead of a tax, since it is tied to the market value of socially created locational advantage, the privilege to exclude others from locations. Assets consisting of commodified privilege can be viewed as wealth since they have exchange value, similar to taxi medallions. A land value tax, charging fees for exclusive use of land, as a means of raising public revenue is also a progressive tax tending to reduce economic inequality,〔〔 since it falls entirely on ownership of valuable land, which is highly correlated to incomes, and there is no means by which landlords can shift the tax burden onto tenants or laborers.
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