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of rent and taxes, and thereby, as well as by all Other means of passive and moral resistance, compel the State to repeal all the so-called land titles now existing.

Thus "the land for the people" according to Liberty is the only "land for the people" that means the abolition of landlordism and the annihilation of rent;[1] and all of Henry George's talk about "peasant proprietorship necessarily meaning nothing more than an extension of the landlord class" is the veriest rot, which should be thrown back upon him by the charge that land nationalization means nothing more than a diminution of the landlord class and a concentration and hundred-fold multiplication of the landlord's power.

 

 

BASIC PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMICS: RENT.

[Liberty, October 3, 1885.]

In following up the issues made by Mr. Tucker in the August number of Liberty, I am not quixotic enough to defend Proudhon either against Mr. T. or against his own possible inconsistencies. Only two of his works (recommended by Mr. T.) have been open to me. What I have to say stands upon its own merits, appealing to reason and the instinct of justice.

1. "The fiction of the productivity of capital,"

In productivity for human needs or desires, human activity is implied. No one pretends that capital or the results of past labor can in this point of view be independent of actual labor. Ripe grain or fruit in field or orchard is a capital; its use implies the labor of gathering and storing, milling, cooking, etc. But these consummating works would be impossible without the capital of the harvest, the result of previous culture, which, whether by the same or by different laborers, is equally an integrant factor in productivity and justly entitled to its proportionate share of the fruits.

Now, go back a year or more. Before the culture in question, capital existed as the result of clearing, fencing, ditching, manuring, etc., without which the culture would have been fruitless or impossible. Such previous works, then, are, equally with the two later, integrant of productivity, and have just claims to t>e satisfied in the repartition of the harvest. Previous to these three kinds of works, there has often been expenditure of effort in discovery or exploration, in conquest of territory, to which the State falls heir, and on the strength of which it levies tribute under title of entry fees or purchase-money.

In the precited series, the second term in order of succession has absorbed the first, so that the entry or purchase-fee is added to the claim

for preparatory works, whose aggregate constitutes the basis of rentals.
  1. Meaning by rent monopolistic rent, paid by tenant to landlord; not economic rent, the advantage enjoyed by the occupant of superior land.