Q: In your opinion, would it be more effective to attempt to achieve support
from economists about the need for such reform, or to bypass them in seeking
to build popular support independently from them, in that the views of
mainstream economists on the topic of land reform might fairly be characterized
as an "intransigent"?
JES: There are some economists who are interested in this. I think most
economists would like the idea, and would support it. But, economists spend
their time on things that they think have marketability. So it isn't that
they don't think it's a good idea; they don't think there's any resonance
in it. President Bush is still talking about the inheritance tax, and income
tax, and they want to get involved in what other people are talking about.
It's a social phenomenon, I think. So, if you get a lot of other people talking
about it, then they'll join the fray.
Q: You are aware that Henry George was a critic of the moral foundations
of our economic institutions. What do you think of reform efforts toward
land value taxation based on an appeal to morality?
JES: What it fits into is that there is a wide view today that we
should tax environmental "bads" such as pollution and
the like. And switch from taxing good things like labor. So,
in a way, that's where it comes in:
let's stop taxing good things like labor, and tax things
that are resources. So the argument is, "why tax things
that are contributing to society?" ... read the entire interview