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Progress without Poverty

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Progress Without Poverty

A Case for Recycling Public Value
David Triggs

This article is a reproduction of a paper produced by David Triggs, which lays out the case for Recycling public value, by use of a Land Value Tax.  It lays out clearly some of the main theories and values of the Henry George Foundation, as initially stated by Henry George himself, and as promoted by the foundation today. 


In this paper I argue for a radical improvement of the tax system. I illustrate how our current system is unjust, uneconomic and ineffective.

  • It is unjust because it conflicts with the fundamental economic tenet recognised in all civilised cultures that – ‘thou shall not steal’.
  • It is uneconomic because it inhibits productive, and promotes negative, economic behaviour.
  • It is ineffective because it causes or aggravates many of the economic and social problems that the revenue collected is intended to remedy.

I demonstrate how these shortcomings are unnecessary by showing that an efficient and just alternative is readily available. The scale of the problem and the benefits available from reform are discussed in the context of the deadweight losses to the GDP that are a feature of the current tax system.


My thesis is predicated on a belief and acknowledgement that everything is subject to ‘the laws of nature’ or Natural Law. Humanity and human society are both natural, and, whilst people and societies are certainly subject to man made law, and the will and actions of themselves and of others, they are first and foremost, subject to the laws of nature.

Artists, engineers or others who succeed in creating an object that corresponds with their intention must work in harmony with the nature of the materials they use and the natural forces that operate. Similarly, in the social science of economics, the systems that people devise to facilitate the creation and distribution of wealth, and the sharing of the gifts of nature, need to be in harmony with the nature of human beings and the forces that operate between people, and their natural environment.

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