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as Utopian. But, as Oscar Wilde long ago said in his argu-
ment for socialism, a map of the world which contains no
Utopia omits the country at which humanity is always
arriving. It is worth while to keep humanity's face set
toward these objectives, brotherhood and the abolition
of poverty, even if one is not convinced that any system
of taxation contains the whole secret of the attainment
of the goal.

Single tax is, of course, more than a system of taxation.
It is, in its purpose and anticipated results, a system of
land tenure and a method of preventing the establishment
of a monopoly in natural resources. Whether or not
Henry George arrived at the right solution of the problem,
he made a great contribution to the definition of it. He
saw, as few of his time did, that it is impossible to have
industrial democracy so long as a few own the land and
its potential wealth, its mineral deposits, its water-power,
its oil, its soil from which comes the material for food



clothing and shelter, while the many are their tenants at

It is a commonplace of economics that we have been
more successful in production than in the just distribution
of the values produced. Henry George tackled the problem
of distribution. Most men's interest in distribution is
confined to getting their own share. His was in devising
a plan by which everyone would get his share. He was
dealing with infinitely complex data. Perhaps he did
not get the right answer. But he is deserving of honor
especially the sort of honor which consists in taking his
problem as seriously as he took it and approaching it in
his unselfish spirit.

Christian Century, Chicago, 111.


THE Building Trades Council of Portland has appro-
priated the sum of twenty-five dollars for the fight
for the Single Tax in Oregon. It is believed that other
unions will follow. Two unions have called special meet-
ings and Mr. J. R. Hermann, leader of the Oregon forces,
has been invited to address them.

LAND AND FREEDOM is on the desk of the business office
of the Building Trades Council and is eagerly read. Will
Atkinson's abridgements also have been widely circulated.

Mr. Hermann has issued a circular showing how seven
years ago the State Federation of Labor joined with other
groups to put the Single Tax across. Since then many
new members have come in and do not know what occured
then. Hermann's reminder will help. Also the fact that
at one election forty thousand votes were cast for the
Single Tax amendment.

That Imaginary Line

EW. BACKUS, of Minneapolis, owns a dam in the
Rainy River, which forms the boundary line between
Minnesota and Ontario. At one end of the dam is the
Canadian town of Fort Francis and at the other end the
Minnesota town of International Falls. He built the
dam with the permission of Congress.

Fort Francis and International Falls both use the elec-
tricity generated by the water falling over the dam. It
comes from the same turbine at the same moment. It is
sold by a Canadian and an American corporation, both
Backus-owned. But in Fort Francis it costs the consumer
three cents straight for light and one cent for heat. In
International Falls the primary light rate is ten cents for
light, in South International Falls twelve cents, in Rainer,
a few miles away, thirteen cents.

There is one significant difference. The Canadian
corporation sells the current wholesale to the city of Fort
Francis, which retails it to its citizens. And Fort Francis
is in position to buy from the Ontario Power Commission,
publicly owned.

Henry George Lecture
Association to Affiliate

with Foundation

UNDER an arrangement just consummated since the
Pittsburgh Convention, the Henry George Lecture
Association founded about twenty-six years ago, October,
1903, by Frederick H. Monroe, becomes an affiliated organi-
zation of the Henry George Foundation of America, and
at a time to be announced later the headquarters of
the two organizations will be combined in Pittsburgh.
John Lawrence Monroe, son of the late Frederick H.
Munroe, will continue to act as President and Treasurer
of the Henry George Lecture Association and will also serve
as Associate Secretary of the Henry George Foundation.
The Lecture Association will not lose its separate iden-
tity under this arrangement but a very close and intimate
co-operation will be established between the two bodies
which is expected to materially strengthen the work of
both. Percy R. Williams, Executive Secretary of the
Henry George Foundation, will also assume the position
of Secretary of the Henry George Lecture Association and
will direct the office activities of that Association in ad-
dition to his regular duties for the Foundation.

The lecture activities which have been carried on by the
Foundation will be merged with those carried on by the
Lecture Association and plans are under way for a con-
siderable extension of these activities. Mr. Monroe an-
nounces that Attorney Wm. N. McNair of Pittsburgh
has been added to the lecture staff and that Hon. George
H. Duncan ot New Hampshire will also continue as one of
the principal lecturers.

John Lawrence Monroe has been engaged in this
work for several months past, traveling with Frederick
H. Monroe during the spring and, since his death,
taking over the full responsibility for the maintenance
of the organization. He has met with a very encouraging
response in his travels and has great confidence in the future
possibilities oi this kind of work. Under the new arrange-
ment, he will also act as a field representative of the Henry
George Foundation. Mr. Monroe has already been in-
timately associated with the work of the Henry George
Foundation, rendering valuable services particularly in
connection with the Chicago and Pittsburgh Conventions
as Chairman of Publicity and Registration Committees.

AS FOR me, I see no real answer to the "plight of the
farmers" except in the abolition of all special priv-
ileges granted at the expense of those classes not specially
protected. But any great or sudden change in this re-
gard, correcting "vested wrongs," will cause new con-
fusion and new plights, and if undertaken should be by
degrees, with wise consideration of purpose and of possi-



The Tariff and The Farmer

: "DESPITE the plainly evident fact that the greatly
-*-^ increased tariff rates on imported grain and other
products imposed by the present tariff law have not
brought any additional prosperity to the American farmer,
the manufacturing interests have been able to persuade
many of the leaders in the farm relief movement that they
should become catspaws for the predatory protected in-
dustries, and join in another orgy of tariff raising similar
to that of 1922. The story of the high tariff lobbyists
who infest Washington is plausible. "See," they chorus,
"how protection has enabled the manufacturers to raise
prices, and has made them prosperous. Let the farmers
follow their example, and all will be well with them."

Twenty years ago, a survey of farm sentiment would
beyond question have shown that the majority of the
farmers were opposed to the high tariff policy. Then came
the ill-fated Canadian Reciprocity pact, putting all farm
products on the free list so far as the principal competing
agricultural country, Canada, was concerned, while mak-
ing no substantial reduction in the oppressive tariff taxes
on manufactured articles. The farmers regarded this
proposal as a betrayal of their interests in order to furnish
the industrial centres with cheaper foodstuffs, and decided
that so long as high protection for manufacturers was to
be the national policy, they would insist that farm pro-
ducts must also be "protected." Many of the farm
leaders know full well that protection for the farmer is a
fraud and a delusion, but in the absence of any prospect
of a material reduction of duties on the goods they buy,
they cling to the hope that sometime, somehow, the tariff
may work to the farmer's advantage.

Because of their position in this matter, the farm leaders
have been reproached as lacking consistency, in failing to
protest against a system which they know has worked
great injustice upon them. Possibly this is true, but
it is no more inconsistent than the action of President
Coolidge in vetoing the bill to aid in fixing the price of
farm products, while cheerfully upholding such tariff taxes
as that on aluminum kitchenware, which enables Secretary
Mellon 's corporation to fix prices to the millions of farmers'
wives; or in his approving the bill voting millions of dollars
as subsidies to shipbuilders.

The American farmers have for more than sixty years
been cheated with false promises of prosperity to be secured
through the protective tariff. They have been told that
the encouragement of manufacturing, by enabling domes-
tic producers to extort monopoly prices from the consumers,
would create a home market for all the products of the
farms. They have found these promises a delusion, and
have seen their returns for labor and capital invested
steadily falling. They see the promise of lower prices for
what they buy denied by conspiracies of manufacturers
to fix prices at all that the consumer can pay. They know

that so long as they can and do grow more farm products
than the domestic market will absorb, they must sell their
surplus abroad in competition with the rest of the world.

An object lesson to the farmers has been furnished in
the appearance of hundreds of manufacturers, all begging
for further favors from Congress in the shape of higher
duties that will enable them to charge still higher prices.
The iron and steel industry, which boasts of its efficiency
and exports annually products valued at hundreds of mil-
lions of dollars, wants higher taxes on iron and steel, that
if granted will cost the farmers at least $50,000,000 annually.
The farmers complain, and justly, of the high freight and
passenger rates that they must pay the railways, but these
excessive charges are largely due to the higher cost of rails,
cars and all other equipment, due to the tariff.

If the American farmers can once more be fooled into
supporting a system of tariff protection that robs and
oppresses them, their plight may well be regarded as hope-
less. If instead of lightening the farmer's burdens by
taking the tariff taxes off the goods he buys, the Congress
raises still higher walls against foreign competition, leav-
ing the domestic consumer at the mercy of price-fixing
industrial combinations, the condition of agriculture will
grow steadily worse. Already city "financiers," and so-
called economists, not to omit Mr. Henry Ford, are urg-
ing that the long existing system of independent small
farm owners must be abolished, and give way to great
corporations organized for efficiency and for profits.
If the home-owning American farmers are to be replaced
by a peasant class getting employment for a few months
each year, the chief factor in their downfall will be the
protective tariff system, that while enriching a few manu-
facturers has impoverished a large percentage of the
WHIDDEN GRAHAM, in Bulletin No. 38 Free Trade League.

The Meeting of The

Boy and The Book

SINCE George's extraordinary work came out just
fifty years ago this Fall, a word or two may be fitting.

Briefly it advocated a single tax, that on land; and ad-
vanced the theory that "the wages of labor are paid out
of the value that the laborer creates, not from a fund of

It was in England that the theory made its deepest im-
pression. Most of all in a Scotch fishing village where a
boy named J. Ramsay MacDonald lived. That meeting
of the boy and the book has had immense results on the
course of history.

It is not surprising that the Premier, arriving in New
York, should have made a comment on the half century
appearance of the book. The idea it germinated in his
mind had very much to do with the formulation of the
policy of the Labor Party, of which he is the head.



MacDonald could very well have said, on shaking the
hand of Mayor Walker:

"Your Excellency, thanks to the work of one of your
almost predecessors I have the privilege of meeting you
in these circumstances. I refer to Mr. George."

Whether the impeccable Jimmy would have racked his
head to think if the reterence was to Lloyd George is really
of no consequence.

Idwal Jones, Book Reviewer, in Washington Herald.

Mr. Snowden and Land Values

IN well informed Socialist circles it is believed that Mr.
Snowden, in his search for fresh sources of revenue,
will tap land-values, and that he will not be content
with a trifling tax. Socialists expect Liberal support
for such proposals if, and when, they are brought
forward in the House. Mr. Lloyd George's Increment
Value Duty, Reversion Duty and Undeveloped Land
Duty, which were in his famous Budget of 1909, were
swept away by Sir Austen Chamberlain in his Budget of
1920, under Mr. Lloyd George's Premiership. All that
remains of the Budget of 1919 is the Mineral Rights Duty.
The other duties yielded comparatively trifling returns,
and were a glaring failure. It is alleged, however, by those
who favor the taxation of land values, that Mr. Lloyd
George's system was too complicated and contained too
many exemptions. These critics are pressing now for a
tax on the capital value of all the land in Great Britain,
assessed at its market value without taking account of

At the offices of the United Committee for the Taxation
of land values I was told today that the capital value of
this land is at least 4,500,000,000. A tax of threepence
in the pound on this amount would yield 56,250,000 a
year, but against this is to be set the cost of re-assessments
at frequent intervals. The supporters of this policy are
trying to make it one of the issues at the Municipal Elec-
tions on Friday week.

Yorkshire Post (Conservative)

Trust It May Be True

PHE "Sunday Express" understands that in the event
- of Mr. Snowden, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, being
compelled to introduce new taxation in his Budget, neither
the income tax nor the super tax will be affected.

There is just the possibility that some addition may be
made to the death duties, but it is far more likely that the
increased revenue will be raised by the imposition of a tax
on land values.

Mr. Snowden has already made detailed investigations
into the yield that might be obtained from this source,
and is satisfied that by a tax of threepence in the
pound he could raise a revenue approximating 60,000,000.

He is credited with the view, apart from the revenue
question, that the taxation of land values would act as a
decided stimulant to the development of the land.

London Express.

Who'll Enlighten Him?

pHE following excerpt from the December report of
* B. H. Crocheron, director of agricultural extension
of the University of California, does not seem to require
any comment:

" Bill Smith owns a good ranch. He sells it at a pleas-
ing price to John Jones, subdivider; presumably Bill makes
a profit. Then John Jones divides the ranch into fifty
small pieces, each of five acres or less, and sells the pieces
to fifty families at prices pleasing to himself; presumably
John makes a profit. Then the fifty families start out,
each on a piece of Bill Smith's ranch, to try to make a
profit. They paid more per acre than that place was
worth to Bill, else he'd not have sold it to John
Jones. They paid more than it cost John, else he'd not
have sold it to the settlers.

" Bill didn't make a fine living; he got 'along', was
saving, reaped advantage from the natural advance
in land values and now is comfortable on the proceeds.
But the settlers have only 2 per cent, of the area
on which to farm; they paid a price per acre that would
make Bill's hair stand on end and, furthermore, most of
them don't know the business.

" Result, five years hence: Bill Smith and John Jones
still satisfied ; fifty 'farm families' very much dissatisfied.
Two men with a profit; fifty with a loss; the county
with a delinquent tax list; the community with a patch
of deserted shacks. Is that the way to develop the
State? "
From Farm and Orchard Magazine of Los Angeles Times

The Bishop's "Natural" Cure

it T can see no cure for unemployment in this country,"
-* said the Bishop of London. * * * * "Such a state
of affairs is too awful for words; the natural cure is to
send British stock to the Dominions and Colonies."

If this Bishop is not better informed concerning this
life, we must decline to place any reliance upon his assur-
ances concerning the "life hereafter."

The " natural cure " is freedom to use the earth
which the Bishop's God hath given for the children of
men. Let him read his Bible again before he gets up to
talk. Overcrowding arises from lack of houses. Lack
of houses arises from high prices for land on which to
stand them and, (what is generally overlooked) out of
which to make them. High prices for land arise from
the claim by some of God's children that they can "own"
what is provided equally for all.

Commonweal, England.



The Progress of Henry

George Ideas in the U. S. A.


TY years have now elapsed since first the humble
San Francisco printer flung in the world's face his
challenge to the social injustice which had been built into
the very foundations of the Temple of Civilization, em-
bedded so deep that there seems some justification for the
cry that to eradicate it will bring our institutions down
about our ears. As the birthplace of the man who first
clearly diagnosed the social cancer and offered an obvious
remedy, all eyes turn to America, and we are invited to
explain what we have done with the talent which has been
committed to us, who have had in our ranks so many great
men and faithful adherents who stood around Henry
George in the brave days of old.

It is clearly no function of this paper to deal with antici-
pations of the Single Tax doctrine nor with forerunners
of the man, George. It must content itself with a brief
account of what happened after Henry George came to
New York with his fateful book in type. We can now see
that there were certain fortuitous circumstances which
helped to give the book a vogue, not to be hoped for at
another juncture. The horrors of the Irish Land War
then raging caused the land question to be studied as
though the land question in that country presented
phenomena different from elsewhere. In 1883 American
labor organizations first began to assert themselves. In
1886 came the great New York mayoralty campaign which
first flung economic issues into a purely local struggle.
Henry George realized that the contest held out no pros-
pect of success, but hoped for, from it, a better advertise-
ment of his views than could be achieved in any other way.
He received seventy thousand votes according to the
record : but in those days the poll was often at wide variance
with the facts; the purpose sought for was accomplished;
the daily periodical press widely disseminated the out-
landish doctrine which Henry George was trying to dis-
seminate. If his opponents strove to misrepresent and
malign, not a great percentage of his actual supporters
could clearly grasp his very simple doctrine; but it was
nevertheless true that a large proportion of the active
Single Tax leaders in America date their adherence to the
movement from 1886.

It brought into the movement a man whose name has
ever since been held in great affection by all Single Taxers
-Edward M'Glynn, a parish priest of a populous parish,
who resisted all threats of ecclesiastical punishment to
compel him to desist from supporting Henry George. Out
of his case arose the circumstance that the Roman Catholic
authorities at Rome formally considered the doctrines of
Henry George and declared that they contained nothing
"contrary to faith and morals. " Dr. M'Glynn was form-

ally restored to his full priestly functions without retrac-
tion of any views which he had expressed, merely express-
ing his regret if in the heat of argument he had said any-
thing obnoxious to Christian charity. During the progress
of this case the famous "Anti-Poverty Society" & was
organized, and afforded a platform for the presentation
of fundamental economics such as had not previously
existed. All through this stirring period one of the con- j
spicuous figures of the movement was the present Presi-
dent of this Conference, Charles O'Connor Hennessy,
who is by far the most eminent survivor of that thrilling

Of the work done from 1890 to 1897, when Henry George ;
entered upon his second mayoralty campaign, there is
only space to make a passing reference. Sporadic attempts
had been made in some municipalities to abolish personal
property taxation and to convert to Single Tax doctrines
some states, of which Delaware, because of its minuteness
and its almost exclusively urban population, was a con-
spicuous example. In Colorado an aggressive campaign
under Senator Bucklin was waged; while in Massachusetts
Charles B. Fillebrown, a manufacturer of Boston, persisted
in a campaign of sweet reasonableness with the object of
"taking into camp" leaders of various lines of thought
in the community. The conspicuous figure of the next
period was a man who was as well known here as in

America, and who did yeoman service for the cause the

late Joseph Fels, who thought that he saw in the State of
Oregon a broad opportunity for the submission to the people
of a constitutional amendment. A vigorous campaign was
waged, but the results were not specially encouraging.
Great public interest was manifested, more votes being
recorded on the Single Tax amendment than on any other
question submitted at the several elections. The net
result, however, was the rejection of the several amend-
ments by a vote approximating two to one.

A number of Western States, especially Washington,
made like experiments. The city of Everett adopted the
exemption of personal property and improvements from
taxation by a vote of approximately two to one. In 1913
the State Tax Commission declared the amendment in
conflict with the constitution, and directed the assessor
to ignore it and to proceed with the assessment as usual.
He obeyed ; the Single Taxers made no contest, and appar-
ently the matter has been allowed to lie in abeyance since

Missouri was the scene of a bitter struggle in 1912, lead-
ing at some points to displays of physical violence against
Single Tax speakers. Colorado has been for a long time
a battle-ground, and continues to be under the captaincy
of Barney Haughey; we had the report recently of a new
fight which sought to link together old-age pensions and
taxation of land values by making the latter the source
of payment of the former. A good deal of valuable prop-
aganda has been done, but with the result that no con-



siderable dent has been made in the dense skull of public
opinion. To go into detail into what has been sought
to be accomplished in New York and Pennsylvania would
lead me far beyond the space alloted to this paper, but
brief references can be allowed.

New York is perhaps the city of all others in the world
which, when rightly viewed, has shown forth the efficacy
of the Single Tax doctrine, because of the wonderful con-
sequences which have followed from the modicum of Single
Tax ideas which it has adopted. There does not appear
to be any direct connection between the adoption of these
ideas and the two campaigns which had been waged by
Henry George in 1886 and in 1897, except that the man
to whom we owe the adoption of the policy had been an
active supporter of Henry George in both campaigns. I
refer to Lawson Purdy.

In 1901 a combination of Republicans and Independents
won the election which determined the municipal admin-
istration of New York for the two ensuing years. Coming
into office after a notoriously corrupt and profligate
administration, which had exhausted the city's borrowing
capacity, the new Reform Administration found itself
incapable of redeeming the pledges for municipal improve-
ments which it had made to the people. It was pointed
out that the city's credit was ample to carry out the re-
forms projected, but action was hampered by the fact
that real estate was not assessed at its full value as required

Online LibraryOutdoor Advertising Association of AmericaLand and freedom (Volume 29) → online text (page 41 of 44)