Saturday, February 17, 2007

Georgist Sentiments

I was looking around the internet today and found an interesting discussion found here. The author who replied to the anti-georgist did a good job, but I’ve seen that sort of stuff before. When it comes to land, for some reason, people simply abandon all of their economic principles or they will simply make up things about Georgism and usually the opposite of what George asserted (in this case both), such as the entire idea of private property. I hear this one more often then any other: that George wanted to confiscate all lands, make them public and it would be one giant common park. Of course, George asserted the exact opposite and talked about this at great length. Tideman talks about this, that George should have chosen some better words. He was a pioneer of the Tragedy of the Commons long before Hardin wrote his now famous article. The other is this entire notion of Free Trade. Of course, George was remembered for lots of things, after his main contribution of Georgism he is also well remembered for his ideas of free trade, whom libertarian authors still cite to this day. Keep in mind, he was writing during a period of time when free trade was extremely unpopular.

This entire idea notion of a community hiring out explorers to “find” new land is new to me though... probably because the argument is a little (ok a lot) silly. The replier was right not only historically, but even in the modern sense. Citizens do not leave the urban area because fellow urbanites are paying them go forth and suburbanize, the suburbanites are instead rent seeking. Indeed, as Gaffney pointed out these suburbs tend to be leaches on the urban community. The urban community pays for the majority cost of waste and sanitation, roads tunnels and bridges, but the suburban areas only need to pay for marginal roads, pipes and dump trucks.

Anyway, that site is a serious forum warrior site. Tread at your own peril.