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Economic Justice

The Henry George Foundation’s approach to the question of economic justice is forged by a radical understanding of the nature of property, and the importance for us all of the common resources of the world.

We recognise that the fundamental cause of the present unequal distribution of wealth is unequal access to the value of our common resources. Explicitly, we see the wealth problem of the 21st Century not as a problem of exchange, and therefore not one solvable by redistribution or trade rules. It is a problem of initial inequitable access to resources – and therefore solvable only by a clearer insight into, and implementation of, the natural laws of wealth distribution. We advocate a simple solution: the collection of the rental value of all natural and community resources – from whomever holds and monopolises them – and the application of the revenue raised for public purposes in lieu of traditional taxation.

This approach to sharing the value of our common resources and paying for public services and infrastructure comes in many guises. One example of the measure is called land value taxation. However fiscal charges should apply to all common resources including, for instance, the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, mineral exploitation (including oil and gas reserves), air traffic landing slots, pollution emissions capacity, satellite parking stations, and deep-sea fishing licences.

Such radical reform of our resource and public revenue systems would have far-reaching and profoundly beneficial consequences for society and the environment, addressing the key issues of the 21st Century: equitable access to our common resources, a fair system of taxation, rural and urban land rights, the creative liberation of enterprise & development, the elimination of involuntary poverty & debt, the realising of environmental justice, the full empowering of communities and the proper realisation of public life, with its necessary public services and infrastructure, and the laying of the foundations of profound international trade justice.

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Land & Liberty magazine is a publication of The Henry George Foundation.