“Henry George” left a comment on my Facebook page today, describing the classical true left/right paradigm and refuting the neo-classical false left/right paradigm of Karl Marx, Ludwig von Mises, and John Maynard Keynes, to someone drinking the Mises Kool-Aid.
Henry George was considered the true center before neo-classical economics. Keynes is an arbitary division of wealth and control between the private and public sector. Marx attempts to put the control and wealth into the hands of the public sector (and often times in the hands of large corporations) while Mises attempts to put the control and wealth into the hands of the private sector (and often times in the hands of large corporations). Henry George provided a more proper, more libertarian, less arbitary division where wealth from land value is placed into the public sector and all other wealth is placed into the private sector.
I say “libertarian” because land is not an arbitary commodity since it isn’t created by labor, as Chief Seattle intuitively understood, but stolen by force using statist institutions, which violates Libertarian doctrine. Furthermore, land is strictly limited in supply and necessary for all people to secure their right to life, liberty, and prosperity. Without land, not only can we not secure the fruits of our labor, we can’t live. If we don’t assign proper ownership of land value to the community, the owners of land will steal the fruits of labor through land rents.
Von Mises was right about the inefficiency, inadequacy and ultimate impossibility of socialist central economic planning (as was Henry George long before him — see George’s books Progress and Proverty and Science of Political Economy), and right about the efficiency of free markets in things produced by human labor (as was Henry George and many others), but von Mises was completely, utterly wrong about the purported morality, efficiency and necessity of private property in land and its rent. Actual land users obviously are entitled to ownership of the fruits of their labor, but they are not therefore entitled to ownership of the land itself or subsoil resources it contains; landholders owe to the community the full economic rental value of any valuable land they occupy or use.
According to Rothbard [ http://mises.org/about/3248 ]…
“Socialism-communism had triumphed in Russia and in much of Europe during and after World War I, and Mises was moved to publish his famous article, ‘Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth,’ (1920) in which he demonstrated that it would be impossible for a socialist planning board to plan a modern economic system; furthermore, no attempt at artificial ‘markets’ would work, since a genuine pricing and costing system requires an exchange of property titles, and therefore private property in the means of production.”
With respect to land, however, which includes locations and all natural resources, the statement that “a genuine pricing and costing system requires an exchange of property titles, and therefore private property in the means of production” is a false assertion that does not and cannot flow logically or necessarily from any disproof of “socialist planning.” Rothbard, von Mises’s disciple, authored the most illogical and idiotic supposed refutation of Georgism and the single tax on land values I have ever read.
Von Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, and Ayn Rand were emotionally reacting to, and intellectually overreacting to, the obvious, great injustices and extreme economic stupidity inherent in dictatorial Marxism and as demonstrated in practice in the USSR and elsewhere. To say or prove that it’s wrong, foolish and stupid to socialize all the means of production does NOT necessarily mean that therefore all the means of production, including land and natural resources, must or should be privately owned, although this false conclusion is naturally pleasing to the propertied interests that ultimately largely control thought and education in the West and elsewhere. The key fallacy of the so-called free-market libertarians with respect to land is to assume that “a genuine pricing and costing system requires an [ability to freely] exchange… [land] property titles,” and “therefore private property [is also required] in the means of production” INCLUDING LAND.
This is simply FALSE with respect to land; in fact, as Henry George irrefutably proves in Progress and Poverty, private property in land (i.e., allowing private landholders to retain, and thus profit from, actual or potential land rent) necessarily and inevitably leads to the robbery and denial of the true property rights and rightful earnings of both labor and true capital by the landholding classes, and to the low-wage enslavement of ordinary labor. This occurs not simply through the alchemy of rent, the origin and normal growth of which are themselves natural with the progress, growth, and advance of civilization (for the natural, normal existence and growth of rent is inherently beneficent if fully collected for public purposes and clearly indicative of a Higher Intelligence which created the world and ordained its natural laws of social growth and development), but the aforementioned extremely adverse — nay, disastrous — social consequences of what should otherwise be the unmixed blessing material progress occur through the arising, under the regime of private property in land, speculative and monopoly rents which carry actual rent far beyond levels actually justified by prevailing economic conditions.
It is speculative and monopoly rent, engendered by private property in land, that ultimately drive down the wages of ordinary labor to subsistence levels REGARDLESS of the degree of social and technological progress and regardless of population size. Speculative land booms, such as that which the world recently experienced on a monumental scale, underlie and are the fundamental, root cause of all boom-and-bust economic cycles and banking system panics and collapses.
Historically, and until the present day, much improvement and extensive production of wealth has taken place on land that is not owned by users but simply leased from the landholder; the titleholder could just as well be the local, state or federal government as representative of the pubic at large rather than needlessly and foolishly “requiring” a private individual or private corporate holder of land to collect and pocket the annual rental value or capitalized market selling price of land.
Under the single tax system, however, there is no need to abolish or alter private titles to land; it’s only necessary to fully tax the value of land irrespective of improvements for public purposes and eliminate taxes on production, wages, commerce and industry. What Henry George achieved, although he did not initially set out to do so, was “…to unite the truth perceived by the school of Smith and Ricardo to the truth perceived by the school of Proudhon and Lasalle; to show that laissez faire (in its full true meaning) opens the way to a realization of the noble dreams of socialism; to identify social law with moral law, and to disprove ideas which in the minds of many cloud grand and elevating perceptions.”
The Rockefeller Foundation hi-jacked the Libertarian Party in the early 1900s, before the Libertarian Party was founded, with the falsehoods of Ludwig von Mises, while the true Libertarian philosophy was systematically suppressed.
“Many readers may be surprised to learn the extent to which the Graduate Institute and then Mises himself in the years immediately after he came to United States were kept afloat financially through generous grants from the Rockefeller Foundation. In fact, for the first years of Mises’s life in the United States, before his appointment as a visiting professor in the Graduate School of Business Administration at New York University (NYU) in 1945, he was almost totally dependent on annual research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation.”