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Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing by Josh Ryan-Collins, Toby Lloyd, Laurie Macfarlane
"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, deindustrialization, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, garden city movement, George Akerlof, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, land tenure, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, low skilled workers, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, money market fund, mortgage debt, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, place-making, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, the built environment, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, working poor, working-age population
Australia has operated a system of applying land value tax that predates the creation of the independent country in 1901. The tax is administered at the state level and today there are two states which operate a universal land value tax, Queensland and New South Wales. The tax is applied to land regardless of whether income is earned from it, though primary residences are generally exempt. This exemption has the effect of removing around 60% of land by value from the tax base (Henry et al., 2009), but in 2015 land value tax still raised a total of AU$7.6 billion across Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015). One study which examined the effects of the land value taxation in Melbourne found evidence of a long-run association between the use of the land value tax and the intensity of development, and that land value taxes stimulate faster development (Lusht, 1992).
In the modern era, as the economic importance of land shifted from the production of food and other consumption goods, so the importance of land taxes for state revenue has declined, and has only partially been replaced by taxes on property such as business rates and housing transaction taxes (see Chapter 3). Ongoing taxes on the value of land – such as the land value tax advocated by Henry George ( 1979) – remain many economists’ preferred mechanism for reducing economic rents (see Chapter 7). Land value tax clearly has many theoretical advantages, in that it reduces rather than increases distortions on investment decisions, lowers property prices by reducing speculative pressures on them, and forces the owners of landed property to make rational decisions about the amount of property that they wish to hold based on the ongoing costs.
These thinkers were keen to maintain the institution of private property, which they saw as important for economic development. A pure land value tax on the market value of unimproved land would appear to be the most economically efficient way of raising taxes, not distorting but rather supporting investment and productive activity. LVT also has a strong moral basis: capturing the unearned windfalls from collective development for the state and wider community. In the UK, the Mirrlees Review, the most comprehensive review of the UK tax system ever undertaken, notes: The economic case for taxing land itself is very strong and there is a long history of arguments in favour of it. Its supply is fixed and cannot be affected by the introduction of a tax. With the same amount of land available, people would not be willing to pay any more for it than before, so (the present value of) a land value tax (LVT) would be reflected one-for-one in a lower price of land: the classic example of tax capitalization.
Who Owns England?: How We Lost Our Green and Pleasant Land, and How to Take It Back by Guy Shrubsole
back-to-the-land, Beeching cuts, Boris Johnson, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, congestion charging, deindustrialization, digital map, do-ocracy, Downton Abbey, financial deregulation, fixed income, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, housing crisis, James Dyson, Kickstarter, land reform, land tenure, land value tax, linked data, loadsamoney, mega-rich, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, openstreetmap, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, sceptred isle, Stewart Brand, the built environment, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, urban sprawl, web of trust, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
Beyond these two measures, the English Land Commission should be tasked with reporting on the best form of land value tax to levy in England. Land value tax is often proposed by land activists as a solution to the housing crisis – indeed, to some devotees of the thinker Henry George, land value tax is a silver bullet solution to all our woes. I don’t agree, though I do think it’s a proposal that has many merits. But the devil is in the detail. Do you just change business rates to reflect land values, for instance – or go the whole hog by abolishing council tax in favour of a land value tax on residential properties? And what would be the social ramifications of doing so – not to mention the political risks if it were designed in the wrong way? Part of the reason why there’s been no attempt at implementing a land value tax for decades is because there’s been no serious political discussion about one.
Churchill’s solution to this social evil was to introduce a land value tax. A 20 per cent tax would be levied on the future unearned increase in land values. To do so, however, would require a full survey of the ownership and value of land across the country. The Chancellor, Lloyd George, put forward such a tax in the ‘People’s Budget’ of 1909, alongside hikes in income tax for the wealthy and a super-tax on the very richest. When the ensuing vote triggered a constitutional crisis over which chamber of Parliament held the upper hand, the government went to the country to obtain a fresh mandate; the Liberals were returned to power, albeit only with the support of Labour and Irish Nationalist MPs, and the People’s Budget was forced through the Lords. In order to levy the new land value tax, current site values needed to be known; so a valuation survey was set up, dubbed ‘Lloyd George’s Domesday’.
It took five years to carry out and involved the detailed mapping of land ownership across the whole country, using Ordnance Survey maps. This makes it an even more valuable resource than the Return of Owners of Land, which only noted the acreage owned, not where it was. It produced an astonishing volume of data: some 50,000 maps and 95,000 ledgers describing the owners and values of around nine million houses, farms and other properties. The Liberals’ land value tax, however, came to a sorry end. Interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War, and with revenues from it outweighed by the costs of implementation, it was repealed in the 1920 Finance Act, under a government nominally still led by Lloyd George but dominated by the Conservative Party. I spoke to Professor Brian Short, an academic who has researched the valuation survey extensively, and asked him whether any headline findings exist of who owned England at the time.
The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class?and What We Can Do About It by Richard Florida
affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, Columbine, congestion charging, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, East Village, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, Ferguson, Missouri, Gini coefficient, Google bus, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jitney, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land value tax, low skilled workers, Lyft, megacity, Menlo Park, mortgage tax deduction, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, occupational segregation, Paul Graham, plutocrats, Plutocrats, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, superstar cities, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, young professional
The most effective approach to spurring denser and more clustered development is to switch from our current local reliance on the property tax to a land value tax. Whereas the property tax taxes land and the structures on top of it, a land value tax taxes the underlying value of the land itself. In this way, it creates significant incentives for property owners to put that land to its most intensive use. The basic idea goes back to David Ricardo, who developed influential theories of free trade and comparative advantage in the early eighteenth century. Ricardo saw the unearned income that comes from land as pure waste. The most influential proponent of the land value tax was the late nineteenth-century economist Henry George. In his book Progress and Poverty, he argued that such a tax would not only make more effective use of land, but also raise wages, reduce inequality, and generate greater productivity.
The High Line Park in New York, for instance, created a huge increase in the land value of surrounding property, which generated windfalls for real estate developers, but little if any of those gains were returned to the park or the broader community. The same is true on a smaller scale in virtually every urban neighborhood that is seeing an influx of new residents, new restaurants and cafés, new and better schools, or reductions in crime. A land value tax can help ensure that those benefits are shared more broadly by the public, because the rise in the value of the land that occurs through these broader neighborhood improvements is also captured by the tax and returned to the public, where it can potentially be used to invest in needed services and help close economic gaps in the community. Another intriguing idea involves using local tax policy to essentially co-opt NIMBY opposition to new development.
Another intriguing idea involves using local tax policy to essentially co-opt NIMBY opposition to new development. The basic idea, referred to as tax increment local transfers, is to allow the residents of neighborhoods to share in the tax revenues that come from new development—for example, by rebating and reducing their own property taxes over a period of time.11 As politically difficult as it might seem to change local tax structures in these ways, the land value tax is attracting broad support from a wide array of economists and urbanists on both sides of the aisle. It is a move that would encourage more building where it is needed, increase density and clustering, and help to make both our cities and the economy stronger. INVEST IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR DENSITY AND GROWTH Infrastructure is an important, and necessary, piece of the puzzle. If well planned and invested in strategically, it can help expand the scale of clustered development, the number of places that can support clustered development, and the connections between outlying areas and existing clustered development close to the urban center.
Green Economics: An Introduction to Theory, Policy and Practice by Molly Scott Cato
Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Bretton Woods, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, carbon footprint, central bank independence, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate social responsibility, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, energy security, food miles, Food sovereignty, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, gender pay gap, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job satisfaction, land reform, land value tax, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, mortgage debt, passive income, peak oil, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, reserve currency, the built environment, The Spirit Level, Tobin tax, University of East Anglia, wikimedia commons
Although land is the most obvious and important example of a commons there are others, of which the radio spectrum is one that is now the subject of government fees rather than taxation. EU governments raised considerable revenue by auctioning off the right to use various bandwidths, some £22.5 billion in the case of the UK government. For green economists such commons are shared resources, the bounty of nature, whose value should be shared. If it is to be exploited by a few then they should pay for that privilege. The Land Value Tax, or as Robertson refers to it, the ‘Land-Rent Tax’: is a tax on the annual rental site value of land. The annual rental site value is the rental value which a particular piece of land would have if there were no buildings or improvements on it. It is the value of a site, as provided by nature and as affected for better or worse by the activities of the community at large. The tax falls on the annual value of land at the point where it enters into economic activity, before the application of capital and labour to it.15 Greens share with libertarian economists a fondness for the land tax because of its extreme simplicity and efficiency.
Since land is a ‘common treasury’ or ‘common wealth’ it follows that it should be shared fairly between those who have a need for it, and according to that need. Taxing land The concept of the ‘common treasury’ continues to be popular among radical economists and was translated into a powerful policy prescription that has LAND AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT 191 been adopted by greens in many countries: the land value tax. The idea of ‘the single tax’ was made popular by Henry George, whose book Progress and Poverty (1880) became an international best-seller and who achieved the unlikely feat of interesting millions the world over in both economics and taxation!13 The arguments made by George chimed well with the third principle outlined above, namely that the value gained from land should be shared between all members of the community.
But in fact, our most valuable natural resource, by a very large margin, is urban land. In cities, activities take less land area per head, but more land value, because the price of city land is hundreds, sometimes thousands of times higher than the price of rural land, per unit area. (Henry George Institute website) The idea of a land tax is taken into policy circles under a number of different names, including Site Rental Tax and Land Value Tax, but the basic underlying principle is the same: land is the most valuable resource available to the human community and thus the value derived from it should be shared between all members of that community. This is the argument based on fairness, but it is matched by an argument based on economic efficiency, with which some green economists would be more uneasy: The arguments for a land-rent tax are to do with fairness and economic efficiency.
Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth
"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons
He bought up an empty lot on a street in his home town of Rockford, Illinois and left it derelict, erecting only a giant billboard to explain why. He even turned it into a postcard to spread the message far and wide.36 Political performance art by Fay Lewis, Rockford, Illinois, 1914. George’s proposal for a land-value tax – an annual levy on underlying land values as a fair means of generating public revenue – echoed John Stuart Mill’s earlier call to tax ‘rentier landlords’ who ‘grow richer, as it were in their sleep, without working, risking, or economising’.37 Inspired by such reasoning, land-value taxes are now in use – albeit in diluted form – from Denmark and Kenya to the US, Hong Kong and Australia. But taxation to George was essentially a substitute for a more systemic fix: land, he believed, should be owned in common by a community, rather than by landowners.
John Stuart Mill also clearly saw the importance of Earth’s materials and energy in all economic production, but he wanted to distinguish social science from natural science and so (rather unhelpfully) proposed that the field of political economy focus on the laws of the mind, not the laws of matter.18 In the 1870s the radical American thinker Henry George pointed out that land gained value for its owners even if they did nothing to improve it, and so he advocated a land-value tax – prompting his influential (and land-owning) opponents to downplay the importance of land in economic theory from then on.19 The upshot of all this? The classical economists, led by Smith and Ricardo, had recognised labour, land and capital as three distinct factors of production. But by the late twentieth century, mainstream economics had reduced the focus to just two: labour and capital – and if ever land did get a mention, it was as just another form of capital, interchangeable with all the rest.20 As a result, mainstream economics is still taught today with scant attention paid to the living planet that supports us and the blazing star whose energy we depend upon.21 It relegates ecological stresses such as climate change, deforestation, and soil degradation to the periphery of economic thought, until they become so severe that their damaging economic impacts demand attention.
Fascinatingly, however, the game was originally called ‘The Landlord’s Game’ and was designed precisely to reveal the injustice arising out of such concentrated property ownership, not to celebrate it. The game’s inventor Elizabeth Magie was an outspoken supporter of Henry George’s ideas and when she first created her game in 1903 she gave it two very different sets of rules to be played in turn. Under the ‘Prosperity’ set of rules, every player gained each time someone acquired a new property (echoing George’s call for a land value tax), and the game was won (by all) when the player who had started out with the least money had doubled it. Under the second, ‘Monopolist’ set of rules, players gained by charging rent to those who were unfortunate enough to land on their properties – and whoever managed to bankrupt the rest was the sole winner. The purpose of the dual sets of rules, said Magie, was for players to experience a ‘practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences’ and so understand how different approaches to property ownership can lead to vastly different social outcomes.
The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It by Yascha Mounk
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, basic income, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, centre right, clean water, cognitive bias, conceptual framework, David Brooks, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, German hyperinflation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, land value tax, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, open borders, Parag Khanna, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, price stability, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, zero-sum game
Nicola Harley, “Theresa May Unveils Plan to Build New Council Houses,” Telegraph, May 13, 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/13/theresa-may-unveils-plan-build-new-council-houses/; see also “Forward, Together: Our Plan for a Stronger Britain and a Prosperous Future: The Conservative and Unionist Party, Manifesto 2017,” Conservatives.com, 2017, 70–72, https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto. 42. A good overview of the land value tax is provided in “Why Land Value Taxes Are So Popular, Yet So Rare,” Economist, November 10, 2014, https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/11/economist-explains-0. Interestingly, the tax has strong supporters on both the left and the right. See Andy Hull, “In Land Revenue: The Case for a Land Value Tax in the UK,” Labour List, May 8, 2013, https://labourlist.org/2013/05/in-land-revenue-the-case-for-a-land-value-tax-in-the-uk/; and Daran Sarma, “The Case for a Land Value Tax,” Institute of Economic Affairs, February 15, 2016, https://iea.org.uk/blog/the-case-for-a-land-value-tax-0. 43. A number of cities and countries, from Paris and New York to Italy, have been moving toward taxing second homes more heavily.
The process of obtaining permits should be made much easier, and disputes about them resolved much more quickly.39 Towns and villages should have less power to veto developments in their jurisdiction.40 States should do more to help in the construction of new apartments, whether directly through the addition of new units of public housing or indirectly through financial assistance to local municipalities.41 Finally, the introduction of land value taxes—which levy the same charge on a patch of land irrespective of whether its owner lets it lie barren or decides to erect a building on it—would provide a strong incentive to build new homes.42 A different tax system could also improve the distribution of housing. Higher rates on second homes and vacant properties could drive up occupancy rates.43 Existing incentives for rich people to buy bigger homes or purchase additional properties—like the mortgage-interest tax deduction in the United States or the easy availability of buy-to-let mortgages in the United Kingdom—could be abolished.44 None of these policies will be easy to pass: Since the equity they own in their homes is a primary source of wealth for many middle-class people, they have a strong incentive to vote for higher home prices.45 And since a precipitous drop in housing prices can, as the world painfully learned in 2008, lead to a huge short-term shock, politicians are understandably worried about any policy that might pop a speculative bubble.46 But if we take housing seriously as an artificial restraint on our affluence—and thus a danger to our democracies—there are ways to compensate the losers of falling home prices, and to make potential gains more salient to the winners.
The Joy of Tax by Richard Murphy
banking crisis, banks create money, carried interest, correlation does not imply causation, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, full employment, Gini coefficient, high net worth, land value tax, means of production, offshore financial centre, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, savings glut, seigniorage, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transfer pricing
At the same time, local authority taxation, which is largely based upon the outdated valuation of properties (a crude tax, created in a hurry to replace the hated poll tax), has become deeply dysfunctional for that reason. As a consequence land value taxation has now become essential. Land value taxation should apply to all land value, without exception, where the land value is the amount for which the land could be let without having been developed. The land value tax due on an empty plot would therefore be the same as that due on the house next door. As already noted, this is an ideal tax to be managed by a devolved authority or regional government. The charge would be made on the owner, and not on the occupier of the land. In other words, this is a tax paid by landlords and the owner-occupiers of land. This means it is quite clear what it is: it is a tax on wealth.
Third, it allows the taxing authority to achieve environmental policy goals through active engagement with that land use, for example by using allowances and exemptions. Fourth, this tax shifts the burden from those who are less able to pay it – that is tenants – to those who always can, who are landlords. As a result this tax tends to be progressive in its nature, which most other land-based taxes ever charged in countries like the UK have never been, and which the UK council tax is very definitely not. Finally, because land use tends to improve when land value tax is in use yields rise, there are economic gains as a result and reduced social cost from vacant land and so the system provides net economic gains beyond revenue raised. This consideration of direct charges on wealth does not, however, bring to a close the consideration of wealth taxation. Transfers of wealth provide another basis for tax. The sale of goods is one such transfer: when a sale takes place wealth is transferred between the participants.
This is a tax produced in a hurry by a government in a panic that nobody has dared revise since the day that it was introduced in 1992 and which is unfit for purpose today, and as unfair now as on the day it was created. It makes no sense at all that this tax, which is charged on the occupiers and not the owners of land, and which encourages second-property ownership and properties being left vacant, whilst the fact that charges are capped at what are now ludicrously low valuations renders it regressive, should continue in existence. I can therefore confirm that arrangements are to be made to introduce a land value tax in England and that devolved governments will be encouraged to consider similar taxes in the parts of the country for which they are responsible. Such a change will take time, and care will be needed with the design of this tax. This means that its introduction will be delayed for at least three years, but I can set out its design principles now. All land will, without exception, be liable to this tax, although exemptions for some land and uses will be made, using our new tax design principles.
The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain by Brett Christophers
Boris Johnson, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Corn Laws, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, Diane Coyle, estate planning, ghettoisation, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, income inequality, invisible hand, land reform, land tenure, land value tax, late capitalism, market clearing, Martin Wolf, New Journalism, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, price mechanism, price stability, profit motive, Right to Buy, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, wealth creators
A tax on the ‘unimproved’ value of land – that is, the value of land minus its appurtenances – is another way to channel land-value gains to the wider society that generates them, and it has long been the recommendation of choice for tackling the unearned increment problem, especially among economists. Adam Smith thought ‘nothing [could] be more reasonable’ than such a land value tax; Milton Friedman, inimitably, considered it the ‘least bad tax’.2 Henry George, writing in the 1870s, is especially closely associated with the idea. Today, Wolf is one high-profile advocate; another is the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. The reason that economists – even, perhaps especially, those in the mainstream – are so enamoured of the idea of a land value tax is that it is, on their terms, efficient. It does not distort incentives, because the supply of land is effectively fixed. Again, a land value tax is not simply wishful thinking, a mere impractical fancy. More than thirty countries around the world, at various moments, have successfully implemented land value taxation.1 The rent and capital-gains-related iniquities widely imputed to capitalist private landownership matter quite simply because land, like all other assets, is unequally distributed.
Collinson, ‘Welcome to London, Where Homes Earn More than Their Owners’, Guardian, 17 March 2015. 2 M. Wolf, ‘Why We Must Halt the Land Cycle’, Financial Times, 8 July 2010. 3 Ibid. 4 P. Kivell, Land and the City: Patterns and Processes of Urban Change (London: Routledge, 2002), pp. 109–10. 1 M. Neutze, ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Public Land Ownership in Canberra and Stockholm to the Early 1980s’, Scandinavian Housing and Planning Research 6: 4 (1989), pp. 189–99, at p. 191. 2 ‘Why Land Value Taxes Are So Popular, Yet So Rare’, Economist, 10 November 2014. 1 R. Dye and R. England, ‘Assessing the Theory and Practice of Land Value Taxation’, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2010, p. 2 – available at lincolninst.edu. 2 D. Massey and A. Catalano, Capital and Land: Private Landownership by Capital in Great Britain (London: Edward Arnold, 1978), p. 12. 3 L. Kirkaldy, ‘Land Reform and Inequality: What Does the Debate Tell Us about Scotland?’
Ball, ‘Chasing a Snail: Innovation and Housebuilding Firms’ Strategies’, Housing Studies 14 (1999), pp. 9–22, at pp. 14, 19–20. 2 T. Dolphin and M. Griffith, Forever Blowing Bubbles? Housing’s Role in the UK Economy (London: Institute for Public Policy Research, 2011), p. 2. 3 Ibid., p. 26. 4 Molior London, ‘Barriers to Housing Delivery’, December 2012, pp. 9, 23 – pdf available at london.gov.uk. 1 A. Wightman, ‘A Land Value Tax for England: Fair, Efficient, Sustainable’, March 2013, p. 5 – pdf available at andywightman.com. 2 ‘UK’s Enviably Smooth Economic Recovery’, Financial Times, 16 September 2015. 1 O. Wainwright, ‘Made in London No More: Will Property Speculation Kill Industry in the Capital?’, Guardian, 6 February 2017. 2 J. Ferm and E. Jones, ‘London’s Industrial Land: Cause for Concern?’, February 2015, pp. 15–20 – pdf available at justspacelondon.files.wordpress.com. 3 J.
How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature by George Monbiot
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, dematerialisation, demographic transition, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, first-past-the-post, full employment, Gini coefficient, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, land reform, land value tax, market fundamentalism, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, old-boy network, peak oil, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, rent-seeking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, urban sprawl, wealth creators, World Values Survey
The owner pays £1,369 in council tax, or 0.001 per cent of its value.9 Last year the Independent revealed that the Sultan of Brunei pays only £32 a month more for his pleasure dome in Kensington Palace Gardens than some of the poorest people in the same borough.10 A mansion tax – slapped down by David Cameron in October11 – is only the beginning of what the owners of such places should pay. For the simplest, fairest and least avoidable levy is one which the major parties simply will not contemplate. It’s called land value tax. The term is a misnomer. It’s not really a tax. It’s a return to the public of the benefits we have donated to the landlords. When land rises in value, the government and the people deliver a great unearned gift to those who happen to own it. In 1909 a dangerous subversive explained the issue thus: Roads are made, streets are made, services are improved, electric light turns night into day, water is brought from reservoirs a hundred miles off in the mountains – and all the while the landlord sits still.
He renders no service to the community, he contributes nothing to the general welfare, he contributes nothing to the process from which his own enrichment is derived … the unearned increment on the land is reaped by the land monopolist in exact proportion, not to the service, but to the disservice done.12 Who was this firebrand? Winston Churchill. As Churchill, Adam Smith and many others have pointed out,13 those who own the land skim wealth from everyone else, without exertion or enterprise. They ‘levy a toll upon all other forms of wealth and every form of industry’.14 Land value tax recoups this toll. It has a number of other benefits.15 It stops the speculative land hoarding that prevents homes from being built. It ensures that the most valuable real estate – in city centres – is developed first, discouraging urban sprawl. It prevents speculative property bubbles, of the kind that have recently trashed the economies of Ireland, Spain and other nations and which make rents and first homes so hard to afford.
Because it does not affect the supply of land (they stopped making it some time ago), it cannot cause the rents that people must pay to the landlords to be raised. It is easy to calculate and hard to avoid: you can’t hide your land in London in a secret account in the Cayman Islands. And it could probably discharge the entire deficit. It is altogether remarkable, in these straitened and inequitable times, that land value tax is not at the heart of the current political debate. Perhaps it is a sign of how powerful the rent-seeking class in Britain has become. While the silence surrounding this obvious solution exposes Labour’s limitations, it also exposes the contradiction at heart of the Conservative Party. The Conservatives claim, in David Cameron’s words, to be ‘the party of enterprise’.16 But those who benefit most from its policies are those who are rich already.
Corbyn by Richard Seymour
anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, credit crunch, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, first-past-the-post, full employment, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, knowledge economy, land value tax, liberal world order, mass immigration, means of production, moral panic, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, pension reform, Philip Mirowski, precariat, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent control, Snapchat, stakhanovite, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, Wolfgang Streeck, working-age population, éminence grise
On the other side of the political fence, the reactionary press preferred to accuse Labour of taxing ‘ordinary working families’ (the Daily Star) and ‘middle-class homeowners’ (the Telegraph). This was an extraordinary claim given Labour’s express pledge, not matched by Conservatives, not to raise taxes for the bottom 95 per cent. The basis of it was the Tory interpretation of Labour’s plan to investigate replacing the poll tax with the land value tax. Taking their estimate of the revenue that would be raised by such a tax, they claimed that, averaged out across households, Labour’s idea would treble the amount of tax they were paying. But, of course, the point of the land value tax is that it is progressive – most households would pay less, while the wealthiest property barons would pay a lot more.53 By and large, given the popularity of Labour’s manifesto, the Tories and their press supporters preferred to avoid talking too much about it, and keep the fire aimed at Corbyn’s record in the 1980s.
, Telegraph, 19 April 2017. 43Graeme Demianyk, ‘Jeremy Corbyn was NOT “dancing a jig” before Remembrance Sunday service’, Huffington Post, 13 November 2016. 44Jon Craig, ‘Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn denies supporting or meeting IRA’, Sky News, 26 May 2017 45Andrew Gilligan, ‘Revealed: Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s close IRA links’, Telegraph, 10 October 2015; Claire Newell, Hayley Dixon, Luke Heighton, and Harry Yorke, ‘Exclusive: MI5 opened file on Jeremy Corbyn amid concerns over his IRA links’, Telegraph, 19 May 2017; Laura Hughes and Edward Malnick, ‘Revealed: Jeremy Corbyn’s three decades of blocking terror legislation’, Telegraph, 26 May 2017; Richard Dearlove, ‘Corbyn would not be allowed into security services, so he’s not fit for No 10’, Telegraph, 8 June 2017. 46Sean O’Callaghan, ‘Jeremy Corbyn might not have planted a bomb but he made it easier for those who did, says former IRA man’, Sun, 22 May 2017; Tom Newton Dunn, ‘Jeremy Corbyn boosted morale of IRA killers with his support and prolonged the violence leading to more deaths, IRA killer reveals’, Sun, 22 May 2017; Sean O’Callaghan, ‘Finucane should not have been killed – but he was in the IRA’, Telegraph, 18 April 2013; Cory Collusion Inquiry Report: Patrick Finucane, House of Commons, April 2004. 47David Trayner, ‘Claims Jeremy Corbyn funded “IRA bomber” turn out to be 30 years old – and inaccurate’, Independent, 20 September 2015. 48‘Jeremy Corbyn quizzed over IRA comments’, ITV News, 21 May 2017; Jessica Elgot, ‘Johnson accuses Corbyn of siding with UK’s enemies in fight on terror’, Guardian, 6 June 2017; Robert Booth, Martin Belam, and Maeve McClenaghan, ‘Tory attack ad misrepresents Corbyn views on IRA, says Labour’, Guardian, 2 June 2017. 49Kate Devlin, ‘Labour MPs urge Smith to attack Corbyn over IRA’, Evening Times, 18 August 2016; Kate McCann, ‘Labour’s Stoke candidate branded Jeremy Corbyn “IRA supporting friend of Hamas” and criticised Brexit’, Telegraph, 27 January 2017. 50James Forsythe, ‘Jeremy Corbyn always blames Britain first’, Spectator, 28 May 2017; Simon Heffer, ‘Jeremy Corbyn has long hated Britain’, Telegraph, 28 May 2017; editorial, ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s intervention on terror is tasteless and wrong’, Telegraph, 26 May 2017; Steve Hawkes, ‘RED FLAG: outrage as it’s revealed Jeremy Corbyn will claim Britain’s war on terror is to blame for Manchester terror attack’, Sun, 25 May 2017; editorial, ‘An important speech from Jeremy Corbyn – but made at the wrong time’, Independent, 26 May 2017; Matthew Smith, ‘Jeremy Corbyn is on the right side of public opinion on foreign policy: except for the Falklands’, YouGov, 30 May 2017. 51Tom Batchelor, ‘British voters overwhelmingly back Labour’s manifesto policies, poll finds’, Independent, 11 May 2017. 52Will Dahlgren, ‘Voters choose greater equality over greater wealth’, YouGov, 30 April 2014; Will Dahlgren, ‘Nationalise energy and rail companies, say public’, YouGov, 4 November 2013; Patrick Butler, ‘UK survey finds huge support for ending austerity’, Guardian, 28 June 2017. 53Editorial, ‘The Guardian view on the Labour election manifesto: widening the bounds of the thinkable’, Guardian, 16 May 2017; editorial, ‘The Observer’s view on the Labour manifesto’, Observer, 14 May 2017; Andrew Grice, ‘Labour’s manifesto will be popular, but this election is about trust, not policies’, Independent, 16 May 2017; Nick Robinson, ‘No one should be surprised …’, Twitter.com, 20 May 2017; Jeremy Culley, ‘REVEALED: Labour plans to “TREBLE Council Tax plunging people into negative equity”’, Daily Star, 30 May 2017; Gordon Rayner, ‘Tax on homes “to treble under Labour plans for Land Value Tax”’, Telegraph, 29 May 2017; Jon Stone, ‘Labour looks to replace Council Tax with a Land Value Tax’, Independent, 16 May 2017. 54Macer Hall, ‘May’s plan for a Fairer Britain’, Daily Express, 18 May 2017; editorial, ‘DAILY MAIL COMMENT: as Mrs May unveils her manifesto, at last, we have a PM who is not afraid to be honest’, Daily Mail, 19 May 2017; editorial, ‘THE SUN SAYS: never in our history has a UK election thrown up such a clear-cut and obvious choice for Sun readers’, Sun, 19 May 2017; editorial, ‘The Guardian view on Theresa May’s manifesto: a new Toryism’, Guardian, 18 May 2017. 55Dawn Foster, ‘Theresa May’s manifesto shows that she is more right wing than Cameron ever dared to be’, Independent, 18 May 2017. 56Robert Booth, ‘Conservatives launch online offensive against Corbyn’, Guardian, 15 May 2017. 57Nicholas Cecil, ‘How Jeremy Corbyn beat Theresa May in the social media election war’, Evening Standard, 14 June 2017. 58Jim Waterson and Tom Phillips, ‘People on Facebook only want to share pro-Corbyn, anti-Tory news stories’, Buzzfeed, 7 May 2017; Ben Kentish, ‘Tories “spent more than £1m” on negative Facebook adverts attacking Jeremy Corbyn’, Independent, 11 June 2017; Giles Turner and Jeremy Kahn, ‘U.K.
A Pelican Introduction: Basic Income by Guy Standing
bank run, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial intermediation, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gunnar Myrdal, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, intangible asset, job automation, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, labour market flexibility, land value tax, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, open economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Sam Altman, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, universal basic income, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce, working poor, Y Combinator, Zipcar
Other Sources of Finance A widely held and appealing idea is to help fund a basic income through the proceeds of a carbon tax to discourage emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.27 Calculations for the US by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby suggest that a $15 per ton carbon tax could raise $117 billion a year, which, after various adjustments, could finance a yearly dividend of $811 per household ($323 per person).28 A majority of households would gain (the dividend would outweigh price increases due to the carbon tax) and the impact would be highly progressive, with low-income households gaining proportionately more. High-income households would lose on average but relative to income the losses would be negligible. A more traditional proposal is a land value tax. Thomas Paine envisaged funding for his scheme coming from a ‘ground rent’ charged to property owners. Henry George campaigned for a land rent levy to finance a basic income. Land taxes would be progressive, since land ownership is broadly in line with income and wealth. And in principle they could raise large sums. According to estimates cited by The Economist, a land value tax of 5 per cent charged on all US land would raise over $1 trillion, enough to pay every American $3,500 a year.29 This is an attractive idea, especially since property taxes in most countries are a mess, often regressive and in need of reform.
One would be to limit the taper so that housing benefit recipients would ‘pay’ (in lost benefit and higher taxes) no more than the top marginal rate of tax if they earned extra income. A second would be to hand over all housing-related spending to local authorities, which could adapt policy on building, rents and benefits to local circumstances. The third would be to pay a ‘basic rental income’ to everyone who rents rather than owns a property, financed by a land value tax. Of course, the UK housing situation is not unique. Other countries too face similar problems, especially the lack of affordable housing in the big cities and wide regional and urban/rural variations in housing costs. However, a number of northern European countries such as Germany, Sweden and France opted for more generous earnings-related social insurance benefits that enable most people to cover their rent.
Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by Dominic Frisby
3D printing, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer age, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, fixed income, friendly fire, game design, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, land value tax, litecoin, M-Pesa, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing complete, War on Poverty, web application, WikiLeaks
And if governments demand too much tax, people look for ways to avoid it – it will be no different with Bitcoin. It will mean greater state resources are required to stop evaders and avoiders. An investigation might not be worth the cost for the amount it levies. This, of course, raises all sorts of moral issues. But taxation, in its current form, will be harder to enforce and more costly to levy. In all probability, we’ll move towards the taxation of consumption and assets, rather than labour – a land value tax, even (see the footnote for more on land value tax177). Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Ethereum – dubbed ‘Bitcoin 2.0’ – says to me: I think it’s going to go to a national sales tax. If you’re a business you’re going to probably have a physical footprint because you have warehouses, you have to store products, you have a store front, you have to register with the government. If you’re an Internet business, maybe then you can live 100% in the cloud.
Riegel, ‘The New Approach to Freedom’, Chapter 3, The Heather Foundation, 2003, http://bit.ly/1tHF956. 173 Michael McLeay, Amar Radia, Ryland Thomas, ‘Money creation in the modern economy’, Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Q1 2014. 174 Dominic Frisby, Life After the State (London, Unbound, 2013). 175 ‘National Average Wage Index 2012,’ US Social Security Administration, accessed March 17, 2014, http://1.usa.gov/1trvGLy. 176 The average UK wage has gone from around from £2,000 per annum in 1971 to around £25,000 in 2014. 177 The most obvious form of consumption tax, and the hardest to hide, is to tax use of the land – land value tax. Its proponents argue that it would also bring about the much needed re-balancing of land ownership. Seventy per cent of the UK, for example, is owned by 0.7% of the people – and they receive subsidy for it. A world in which they have to pay tax on that land, instead of receiving subsidy for it, would see many sell land they are not making use of because it has become a liability rather than an asset. 178 Satoshi Nakamoto, ‘Re: Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper,’ Cryptography Mailing List, November 14, 2008, accessed March 17, 2014, http://bit.ly/1tru7NC.
Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein
Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate raider, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, God and Mammon, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, land value tax, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, McMansion, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, special drawing rights, spinning jenny, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail
These properly belong to all of us, and their depletion should only happen by common agreement and for the common good. Transition and policy: Some states and nations already levy land-value taxes, and others have nationalized oil and minerals. The country of Bolivia and the state of Alaska, for example, assert public ownership over oil rights, so that oil companies earn money only for their services in extracting the oil, and not from owning the oil. Shifting the tax burden away from labor and toward property will become more and more attractive as wage earners’ situations become desperate. Finally, as intractable regulatory battles over water rights show, building resource conservation directly into the money system is an idea whose time is coming. Measures such as Georgist land-value taxes, leasing of mineral rights, and the use of the subjects of economic rent as a currency backing as described in this book are ways to return economic rents to the people, so that private interests can only profit by using property well, not by merely owning it.
Thus, paradoxically, improving land can raise the value of the underlying unimproved land, creating a disincentive to make improvements. I think these difficulties, which apply to some degree to other kinds of natural capital, are resolvable, but a detailed discussion is beyond the scope of this book. 5. For example, land could gradually be bought out from private ownership by instituting a 3-percent land-value tax initially paid for by existing equity so that owners would only have to start paying the tax thirty-three years later. 6. Economist Henry Simons wrote to Fisher in 1934, “Savings-deposits, treasury certificates, and even commercial paper are almost as close to demand deposits as are demand deposits to legal-tender currency. The whole problem which we now associate with commercial banking might easily reappear in other forms of financial arrangements.… Little would be gained by putting demand deposit banking on a 100% basis if that change were accompanied by increasing disposition to hold, and increasing facilities for holding, liquid ‘cash’ reserves in the form of time-deposits.
Basic Income And The Left by henningmeyer
basic income, Bernie Sanders, centre right, eurozone crisis, income inequality, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labour market flexibility, land value tax, means of production, mini-job, moral hazard, precariat, quantitative easing, Silicon Valley, the market place, Tobin tax, universal basic income
There has been much discussion recently (in Social Europe) about a Basic or Citizen’s Income: an uncon‐ ditional and non-withdrawable income for every individual. My aim here is to respond to one partic‐ ular point made more than once: a Citizen’s Income would be unaffordable. This is a complex question to which a variety of responses might be offered. Several of those responses would not be viable in the short or medium term but might be possible in the longer term: for instance, new forms of taxation, such as a financial transaction tax or land value tax, or the creation of new money, along the lines of the quanti‐ tative easing practised by central banks since the financial crisis. None of these funding methods 96 97 would be easy to establish, and the likelihood of benefits related to housing (Housing Benefit, being able to implement one of them at the same Council Tax Benefit, and the housing component of time as introducing a Citizen’s Income would be Universal Credit) are substantial in areas of high close to zero.
A Fine Mess by T. R. Reid
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, centre right, clean water, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, game design, Gini coefficient, High speed trading, Home mortgage interest deduction, Honoré de Balzac, income inequality, industrial robot, land value tax, loss aversion, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, Tobin tax, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks
It is true that disappointment has followed disappointment, and that discovery upon discovery, and invention after invention, have neither lessened the toil nor brought plenty to the poor.1 In another striking parallel with Piketty, Henry George came up with the same proposed tool to deal with the problem of inequality: taxes. Piketty calls for personal income tax rates as high as 80% and for an international wealth tax, like the one that’s used in France, to extract even more from the richest taxpayers. George, in contrast, came up with a distinctive approach to taxation—indeed, an idea so radical it had not been tried before. This new system he called the Land Value Tax, or simply the Single Tax. — FROM THE ECONOMISTS, George took the basic principle that when you tax something, you generally get less of it. Therefore, a tax on labor—such as an income tax or a payroll tax deduction for Social Security—would lead people to work less and reduce overall productivity. A tax on commerce—such as a sales tax or a corporate profits tax—would diminish business activity and innovation.
Logically, this might have led to a system that seized the land belonging to the Some and dispersed it equally to All. While Henry George was a radical, though, he was not so radical as to call for confiscation of private property. In his system, the rich could keep their land, but they were to be taxed to pay for this privilege. “The land belongs equally to all, and land values . . . should be shared among all.” George proposed that governments impose a heavy tax on the value of land. In fact, this Land Value Tax was to be so heavy that the revenues would be enough to replace the income from all other forms of taxation. All governments would need only one form of tax. And because this Single Tax would be paid almost entirely by the landowning elites, working people would be free to spend and save their earnings without the need to fund government through other forms of taxation. The rich would pay more, the working class would pay less, and over time inequality of wealth would sharply diminish.
Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It by Richard V. Reeves
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, assortative mating, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, desegregation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, knowledge economy, land value tax, longitudinal study, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working-age population, zero-sum game
The very phrase “landed gentry” highlighted the historical connection between land, wealth, and status. The regulation, taxation, and control of land have been important areas of European political contest and public policy. But it was a nineteenth century American economist, Henry George, who popularized the idea that increases in the value of land ought to be seen as a public rather than private benefit and so pioneered a proposal for a land value tax. George’s ideas fell on largely stony soil in his own country, where land was seen as a birthright, but had some impact on economic scholarship and policies in Europe as well as some postcolonial nations like Singapore and Australia. Today the United States is pretty cramped in many of its most productive cities and regions. The financial crisis and housing crash put the housing market under the microscope, and it was not a pretty sight.
Big Capital: Who Is London For? by Anna Minton
Airbnb, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, high net worth, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, land value tax, market design, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, payday loans, quantitative easing, rent control, Right to Buy, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban renewal, working poor
This has been investigated and recommended by government inquiry after government inquiry.fn3 It is part of the system in countries including Denmark, Singapore, Hong Kong and parts of the US and Australia, which are hardly bastions of socialism but which are prepared to intervene in property markets to safeguard decent housing. And it is a view shared by John Muellbauer, Professor of Economics at Oxford, who argues that a land value tax could play a part in stabilizing house prices. Politicians as diverse as the former Conservative planning minister Nicholas Boles and Green MP Caroline Lucas have made the case for it.15 But despite the ongoing discussion the government has not made any serious attempt to study its feasibility.fn4 Given the inertia, the emerging political alliance around the housing crisis across income groups, in civil society and among some politicians needs to make this a priority.
Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer
accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, anti-globalists, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, job automation, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, land value tax, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, predatory finance, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game
In keeping with the main argument of this book, we need not only to tax the rich and redistribute wealth back to the rest, but to cut back their sources of unearned income in the first place. First, rent. The most obvious way to stop private owners from extracting rent (beyond covering construction and maintenance costs) from others is to nationalise land and minerals, so that rent comes under democratic control, or for the state to tax ground rent through a land-value tax. Those who are horrified by the idea of land nationalisation need to be reminded that it need not prevent people owning buildings and benefitting from improving them and the land; it’s just a matter of recovering for society the gains made from the privatisation of nature and space itself. Although state-controlled rents are likely to be much lower than private rents they can still be set higher in the more sought-after areas than in less-popular areas.
And in much more equal societies, differences in what land and property users are willing to pay will reflect mainly differences in their needs and wants rather than differences in income. However, under international law, nationalisation of land would require compensation of landowners (in effect, compensating them for the loss of the benefit of providing a disservice to tenants), whereas states are free to charge whatever taxes they like. A land-value tax has been favoured on the Right as well as the Left: in the US, it was advocated by the capitalist reformer Henry George. It would, he argued, stop landowners siphoning profits from enterprises in the form of rent and thereby holding back development. In the 18th century, it was supported by Adam Smith. Even Chicago economist Milton Friedman, a key figure in the rise of neoliberalism, described it as ‘the least bad tax’.6 Of course, neoliberal politicians ignore this, as their parties rely on the votes and financial support of property-owning classes and rentiers, so instead they encourage rent as a source of income.
The Finance Curse: How Global Finance Is Making Us All Poorer by Nicholas Shaxson
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, airline deregulation, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Blythe Masters, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, Etonian, failed state, falling living standards, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, forensic accounting, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, land value tax, late capitalism, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, wealth creators, white picket fence, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
For example, billions of dollars of money flooding into our property market from former Soviet republics is not helping Britain as a whole: while it may make wealthier homeowners feel richer and deliver windfalls to estate agents and City bankers, it squeezes others out of the property market – and also poses many other dangers, such as feeding boom-and-bust economics, or serving as a vector for wealthy foreign owners to corrupt our politics.11 Policies to control these inflows could range from outright bans on certain kinds of investment in the property market; to radical transparency, forcing the names of the beneficial owners of all real estate in Britain into the public domain; to a land value tax, levied on the value of each square metre of underlying land, which could jimmy a stream of tax revenues out of wealthy foreigners who own land in the UK, and channel this towards compelling social priorities, such as a basic income. A land value tax would be, if set up right, unavoidable: even if the land were held under an impenetrable Cook Islands trust, if whoever owns or controls or benefits from it does not cough up the right amount of tax each year, the land (or a portion of it) would be forfeit and you can send the bailiffs in.
Inequality and the 1% by Danny Dorling
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, buy and hold, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Attenborough, David Graeber, delayed gratification, Dominic Cummings, double helix, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, family office, financial deregulation, full employment, Gini coefficient, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, land value tax, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, lump of labour, mega-rich, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, TaskRabbit, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, very high income, We are the 99%, wealth creators, working poor
Lugo-Ocando, Poor News: Global Journalism and the Reporting of World Poverty (London: Pluto Press, 2014). Many of today’s rich in the UK come from families whose original riches can be traced back to slave ownership or violence; others are recent arrivals from other countries, with dubious stories concerning how they made their money. 104. N. Shaxson, Treasure Islands. 105. It is of course an old campaign. Winston Churchill even supported a land value tax – perhaps because, although born at Blenheim Palace, he never owned it or had a chance of owning such a property. See C. Joseph, ‘Duke’s Dissolute Son Kicks Heroin Habit … and Wins Back His Birth-Right – the Keys to Blenheim Palace – in Amazing Tale of Redemption’, Daily Mail, 18 November 2012. 106. Capgemini and RBC, ‘World Wealth Report’, 2013, Fig. 23, p. 37. 107. G. Monbiot, ‘Europe’s €50bn Bung that Enriches Landowners and Kills Wildlife’, Guardian, 26 November 2012. 108.
The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality by Bhaskar Sunkara
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Donald Trump, equal pay for equal work, feminist movement, Ferguson, Missouri, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gunnar Myrdal, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, income inequality, inventory management, labor-force participation, land reform, land value tax, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, new economy, Occupy movement, postindustrial economy, precariat, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, We are the 99%
BY 1890, THE Workingmen’s Party, now known as the Socialist Labor Party (SLP), came under the sway of Daniel De Leon. An immigrant from Curaçao, De Leon was a lecturer at Columbia School of Law when he became active in the 1886 mayoral candidacy of Henry George. George was backed by the Central Labor Union, a New York–area union broadly Marxist in orientation. George’s own politics, however, were eclectic. He was the best-selling author of Progress and Poverty, which advocated an egalitarian land value tax. The idea was that people should control the fruits of their own labor, but land and other natural resources belonged to society as a whole. George finished second in the election (beating out future president Theodore Roosevelt), and De Leon was denied a full-time job at Columbia for his political activity. De Leon wasn’t put off from politics, however. Like hundreds of thousands of other Americans, he read utopian socialist Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, which depicts a socialist society in the year 2000.
Stolen: How to Save the World From Financialisation by Grace Blakeley
"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, David Graeber, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, G4S, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land value tax, light touch regulation, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, pensions crisis, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Right to Buy, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, road to serfdom, savings glut, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transfer pricing, universal basic income, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, yield curve, zero-sum game
These can all be understood as a kind of technocratic utopianism — they rely on the assumption that society can be transformed from above and that making one or two radical policy changes will completely transform the economy. Many of these policies are not incorrect or bad, but their adherents often prescribe them as the solution to all the world’s problems, without considering how we got to where we are in the first place. Policy prescriptions — from wealth taxes and land value taxes, to financial reform and housing reform — have to be situated within their political economic context. It is meaningless to speak of “policy” without speaking of power. Neoliberal governments have no interest in funda- mental economic reform as their primary constituency is the wealthy elite. The coalition that supports finance-led growth is based on asset ownership. At the top end, it is dominated by those who live off wealth — those who own so much that they are able to generate a large return from investing or renting out their existing assets.
Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, lone genius, mass immigration, megacity, Minecraft, moral panic, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern
For a long time, her greatest claim to fame came through an act of political performance art, placing a mock advertisement in a local paper that put herself on the market as a “young woman American slave”—protesting the oppressive wage gap between male and female salaries, and mocking the mercenary nature of many traditional marriages. Magie was also a devotee of the then-influential economist Henry George, who had argued in his 1879 best-selling book Progress and Poverty for an annual “land-value tax” on all land held as private property—high enough to obviate the need for other taxes on income or production. Many progressive thinkers and activists of the period integrated “Georgist” proposals for single-tax plans into their political platforms and stump speeches. But only Lizzie Magie appears to have decided that radical tax reform might make compelling subject matter for a board game.
The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and Its Solutions by Jason Hickel
Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Atahualpa, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, David Attenborough, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, dematerialisation, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, European colonialism, falling living standards, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, Howard Zinn, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land value tax, liberal capitalism, Live Aid, Mahatma Gandhi, Monroe Doctrine, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, plutocrats, Plutocrats, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration
If growth is a substitute for equality, then equality is a substitute for growth.33 A basic income would help immensely towards this end. And that’s on top of the fact that a basic income would in and of itself help slow our overheated production down a bit by releasing people from the pressure of having to work for forty or even sixty hours a week simply in order to stay alive. A basic income could be funded in a variety of ways, including progressive taxes on commercial land use, like the land value tax made famous by the American economist Henry George, or taxes on capital gains, foreign currency transactions and financial transactions, such as the Robin Hood tax suggested by Nobel Prize-winning economist James Tobin. Another approach might be to tax the $32 trillion of private wealth that is presently hidden away in offshore tax havens, and use the proceeds for direct cash transfers. In the US state of Alaska, natural resources are considered a commons, so every resident receives an annual dividend from the state’s oil revenues as a basic income.
Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens by Nicholas Shaxson
Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, call centre, capital controls, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land value tax, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, money market fund, New Journalism, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, old-boy network, out of africa, passive income, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, transfer pricing, Washington Consensus
This is not a tax on property ownership, but a tax on land: whether or not that piece of prime real estate is owned by a Russian oligarch hidden behind a Liechtenstein anstalt, the bricks of the building sited there are rooted firmly into the soil, and the tax can be levied. Because land cannot move, this tax is insulated against offshore escape. It encourages and rewards the best use of land and keeps rents lower than they would otherwise be. Not only that, but a huge share of the profits of the financial sector derive ultimately from real estate business and land value. Tax land’s rental value, and you capture a big slice of this financial business, however much it is reengineered offshore. When Pittsburgh became one of the few places in the world to adopt the tax in 1911, in the teeth of massive resistance from wealthy landowners, it had dramatic and positive effects: While the rest of America went on an orgy of land speculation ahead of the Crash of 1929, prices in Pittsburgh only rose 20 percent.
The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth-Century History by David Edgerton
active measures, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, blue-collar work, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Corn Laws, corporate governance, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, Donald Davies, double helix, endogenous growth, Etonian, European colonialism, feminist movement, first-past-the-post, full employment, imperial preference, James Dyson, knowledge economy, labour mobility, land reform, land value tax, manufacturing employment, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, packet switching, Philip Mirowski, Piper Alpha, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, trade liberalization, union organizing, very high income, wages for housework, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor
The central political issue was not the raising of taxes in itself, or whether they were used for welfare or warfare – it was the form of taxation that mattered. The Conservative opposition wanted tariffs to fund both the armed forces and the social services while the Liberals wanted income taxes and excise duties instead. The budget went through, ignoring these views and entrenching taxes rather than tariffs as sources of state income. The best-known increases in taxes were those on very high incomes, a proposed land value tax and death duties, which affected only the very rich. In fact, the increase in these was roughly matched by increases in excise duties, paid largely by the working class. The so-called People’s Budget financed the controversial 1909 naval programme. The Liberal government had first proposed starting four battleships in the 1909–10 financial year. In March 1909 the government said it might add another four as a result of immense pressure from the Conservative opposition and public agitation, with its chant of ‘we want eight and we won’t wait’.
Fall Out: A Year of Political Mayhem by Tim Shipman
banking crisis, Beeching cuts, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, centre right, Clapham omnibus, Corn Laws, corporate governance, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, drone strike, Etonian, eurozone crisis, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, iterative process, John Bercow, Kickstarter, kremlinology, land value tax, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, open borders, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, Snapchat, working poor
It was three days before they spotted that the costings required Labour to reverse the tax break for married couples brought in by Cameron – and even then the BBC seemed uninterested, an incident that led to furious rows between Rob Oxley and Laura Kuenssberg, the political editor, and her boss Katy Searle. Sheridan Westlake, one of the party’s most forensic brains, spotted Labour’s admission that they might replace council tax with a ‘land value tax’, which he quickly dubbed a ‘garden tax’ because those with larger properties would be hit hard. Yet the Tories became so distracted by their own manifesto and the subsequent terrorist attacks that they made little use of Westlake’s work until the final days of the campaign. One senior CCHQ official said, ‘It’s exactly the sort of thing that George Osborne would have picked up on.’ Labour officials were relieved that the Tories did not react quicker.