Sunday, November 26, 2006

How Rent Makes Poverty

"Henry George got into things. Because of the simple points that rent has to be paid in advance and that rents always rise while wages do not, he said labor takes home less and less. He makes his general principle that 'as land increases in value, poverty deepens.' Classically, Adam Smith claimed that all the efforts of people seeking self-interest lift a society up, acting as a giant wedge driven under the society. Henry George said that rents actually tend to force the poor further down; the wedge is driven through the society. Rent is the culprit, he said, it is the thing that prevents a free market society benefiting everyone. It is eviscerating. It accounted for the widening inequality of his day, and he had powerful descriptions of American cities in which widespread destitution could be found in the midst of the greatest abundance. Since the law supports the haves, rent is legal robbery '..not like the robbery of a horse or a sum of money, that ceases with the act. It is a fresh and continuous robbery, that goes on every day and every hour... a toll levied constantly and debases, and embrutes, and embitters. "

I found this essay kinda of interesting. I hope you do to, but I'd recommend you read the entire article before you make up your mind. I got out of the landlord business myself about six years ago, and I don't think I'd like to go back to it. Morals cannot be removed from politics and economics if you expect to end up with a free and just society. That's what I think anyhow.


LVT Fan said...

If you're interested in more about Henry George's ideas, in a contemporary context, check out (the website name is taken from the subtitle to George's best selling book, Progress and Poverty.

There is a new edition of P&P, a thought-by-thought updating into contemporary language. It is about 7 hours reading. (There's a brochure at
or order online from

Meantime, you might also look at an older abridgement, at, particularly Chapter 3.

If you are interested in wealth distribution, income distribution and ending poverty, the website has a perspective you should know about!

The Anarchist Flamethrower said...

Thanks. I'll take a look.