Short stories

on the cause of poverty

A 'settler' in England
Paying twice?

A story is told of an Australian, who returned to England from the backwoods to set up his home in the old country.

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 about.

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 doing here?"
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
  1. Summary: Short Stories
  2. Summary of pages in English: The Land Problem
  3. Main page: Grundskyld - Henry George
December 2005