Author: Luca Andrea Minola
Description: The thesis is composed of four chapters. The first one examines in detail the theoretical framework on which Henry George’s proposal is based. In particular, the initial chapter critically reconstructs it by analyzing not only Progress and Poverty – George’s best-known book, which is generally claimed to be one of the “best sellers” in the history of economics (Barker 1991) – but also his other works as well as mainstream economists. The second chapter contains an analysis of main criticisms of public revenue from land rent. Economists from various schools of thought have critically analyzed Henry George’s theory. Although all of them would deserve a detailed analysis, the second chapter deals only with the criticisms of Herbert Spencer, some adherents of the Austrian school of economic thought and Frank Knight. Using these critics, it is possible to bring to the fore the debate concerning the private ownership in land and the role of land in wealth production, i.e., land as a distinctive factor of production versus land as just a type of capital good. Such criticisms also facilitate the highlighting of some relevant aspects that are not often considered, but that are claimed to undermine the implementation of land value taxation. The third chapter aims at bringing Henry George’s proposal up to date, analyzing and articulating the perspective of Neo-Georgism, defined as an attitude or point of view – one that may concede that Henry George’s theory and proposal were vulnerable, but maintains that, when all is said and done, he was right on the essentials. In this perspective, therefore, the term Neo-Georgism refers to a specific policy program reflecting this outlook. Finally, the last chapter analyses whether the proposal of Henry George can work and have a chance of success.