A story is told of an Australian,
who returned to England from the backwoods to set up his home in the old
He selected a suitable site and approached the owner for information
about the purchase price. The owner demanded £ 1.000, which amazed
the newcomer and caused him to ask, "Why so much?"
"Well," said the agent, "the site is bounded by two main roads, has
main drainage, water, gas and electricity laid on, is near to the public
park and is close to the railway. These are grat benefits and I could easily
get £ 1.000 for this half acre."
The Australian agreed and work began on his house. When it was nearing
completion he found a stranger measuring it up and asked him what he was
The stranger replied that he was from the Valuation Department of
the Borough Council.
The Australian said, "You may be, but that is my house. What are you
The surveyor, a little surprised, explained that he was valuing the
house for rates and explained what the rates were.
The Australian demanded to know what he had to pay the rates for.
"Why," said the surveyor, "for the main roads, the public park and
the other amenities of the district.
Anyone who uses his eyes will observe how the expenditure of
the authorities in making improvements is capitalized by the landowner who
advertise these very improvements as reasons why they should be paid higher
prizes for their land.
If this rent were taken by the public authority it would clearly
pay for the public services .
Taxes on income, consumption etc. could then be abolished.
From Maclaren: Nature of Society