By Michael Horsman
The authors greatest source of hope rests on generating widespread support for Henry Georges proposed shift from taxation to the economic rent of land as the source of public revenue. He takes the time to explain what this would accomplish as well as offering a plan for how it would be implemented.
– Edward J. Dodson, School of Cooperative Individualism
We all want freedom and justice, yet few have given much thought to how such a state could be organised. Michael Horsman has taken a multi-disciplinary approach in seeking an answer, reading widely over 35 years in the realms of Politics and Economics, Sociology and Philosophy, History and Law. This approach has led to insights that above the current political analysis into Left and Right.
Comparing the consensus theory of the origin of the state, popularised by Rousseau, with the conflict theory as expounded by Franz Oppenheimer, Horsman argues that most states have arisen from the conquest of one class or tribe over another. Thus the modern state is characterised by a ruling class exercising coercive power and denying freedom and justice to the rest in varying degrees. Thus the state can be our greatest enemy –as evidenced by the 20th century. But not only totalitarian states limit freedom: In demanding more of the welfare state, we forge chains that bind us.
At the same time, living in society, we need a limited government to defend territory and maintain law and order; and this needs to be funded. Horsman shows how a shift from the current predatory taxation on labour and capital to a unique tax on land values, would turn the revenue system into a tool of justice.
A third feature draws on Herbert Spencer who argued that it behoved the State to establish courts of justice . . . in which every man should be able to obtain the protection of the law, free of cost.
These three elements, the Minimal State, the Single Tax and a Free Judicial Service, are mutually consistent and neatly dovetail to maximize the state of individual freedom and justice.