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Henry George

Green MP Caroline Lucas is supporting an annual land value tax, based on its market price, but, of course, with many "new" ideas this one has been proposed before. Henry George, a nineteenth-century writer who had popularized the notion that no single person could claim to “own” land. In his book Progress and Poverty (1879), George called private land ownership an “erroneous and destructive principle” and argued that land should be held in common, with members of society acting collectively as “the general landlord.”

Henry George's book "Progress and Poverty" was very popular. The book's starting point was man's God-given right to the land. Private property in land was unjust as it restricted access to the land. As technological progress increased industrial production, the benefits, George argued, went not to the labourers or even to the capitalists but to the landlords in the form of increased rent. The remedy proposed in Progress and Poverty was…