Winston Churchill: The People's Land
In no great country in the new world or the
old have the working people yet secured the double advantage of Free Trade
and Free Land together.
Every nation in the world has its own way of doing things, its own successes
and its own failures. All over Europe we see systems of land tenure which economically,
socially, and politically are far superior to ours; but the benefits that those
countries derive from their improved land systems are largely swept away, or
at any rate neutralized, by grinding tariffs on the necessaries of life and the
materials of manufacture. In this country we have long enjoyed the blessings
of Free Trade and of untaxed bread and meat, but against these inestimable benefits
we have the evils of an unreformed and vicious land system. In no great country
in the new world or the old have the working people yet secured the double advantage
of Free Trade and Free Land together, by which I mean a commercial system and
a land system from which, so far as possible, all forms of monopoly have been
rigorously excluded. Sixty years ago our system of national taxation was effectively
reformed, and immense and undisputed advantages accrued therefrom to all classes,
the richest as well as the poorest. The system of local taxation today is just
as vicious and wasteful, just as great an impediment to enterprise and progress,
just as harsh a burden upon the poor, as the thousand taxes and Corn Law sliding
scales of the hungry forties. We are met in an hour of tremendous opportunity.
who shall liberate the land, said Mr.
Cobden, will do more for your country than we have done in the liberation
of its commerce. Read
the whole speech
Henry George: In Liverpool: The Financial
Reform Meeting at the Liverpool Rotunda (1889)
Chattel slavery, thank God, is abolished at last. Nowhere, where the American
flag flies, can one man be bought, or sold, or held by another. (Cheers) But
a great struggle still lies before us now. Chattel slavery is gone; industrial
slavery remains. The effort, the aim of the abolitionists of this time is to
abolish industrial slavery. (Cheers)
The free trade movement in England was a necessary step in this direction.
The men who took part in it did more than they knew. Striking at restrictions
in the form of protection, aiming at emancipating trade by reducing tariffs
to a minimum for revenue only, they aroused a spirit that yet goes further.
There sits, in the person of my friend, Mr. Briggs [Thomas Briggs], one
of the men of that time, one of the men who, not stopping, has always aimed
a larger freedom, one of the men who today hails what we in the United
States call the single tax movement, as the natural outcome and successor
of the movement
which Richard Cobden led.39 (A voice: "Three cheers for Mr. Briggs," and
cheers) ... read the whole speech
Dan Sullivan: Are you a Real
Libertarian, or a ROYAL Libertarian?
The English free-trader Cobden
remarked that "you who free the
land will do more for the people than we who have freed trade."
Indeed, how can anyone speak of free trade when the trader has to pay
tribute to some favored land-entitlement holder in order to do
This imperfect policy of
laissez-faire, led straight to a most hideous and dreadful economic
exploitation; starvation wages, slum dwelling, killing hours,
pauperism, coffin-ships, child-labour -- nothing like it had ever been
seen in modern times...People began to say, if this is what State
abstention comes to, let us have some State intervention.
But the state had
intervened; that was
the whole trouble. The State had established one monopoly--the
landlord's monopoly of economic rent--thereby shutting off great hordes
of people from free access to the only source of human subsistence, and
driving them into factories to work for whatever Mr. Gradgrind and Mr.
Bottles chose to give them. The land of England, while by no means
nearly all actually occupied, was all legally
occupied; and this State-created monopoly enabled landlords to satisfy
their needs and desires with little exertion or none, but it also
removed the land from competition with industry in the labor market,
thus creating a huge, constant and exigent labour-surplus. [Emphasis
Nock's] --Albert J. Nock, "The Gods' Lookout" February 1934 ... Read the whole piece