I read recently Henry George’s essay “The Crime of Poverty” and I’m shocked how many of the problems described in it are still valid today. Written in 1885, George’s point is that poverty is a social crime, something that society ends imposing over people.
He argues that private appropriation of land leads to poverty - where the owner is the master and others the servants.
He proposes a solution for this and is to share the revenue of land through taxes while reducing taxes on capital and labor.
I like this idea; however, I think we are far from seeing something like this, mainly when big landowners are the ones sponsoring the people creating the laws.
The ideas mentioned here have been on the back of my mind lately, making me question things like how I invest my money. Land speculation still offers attractive results, but I don’t think they immediately help towards progress or lifting others out of poverty. I won’t stop investing in real estate. Still, George’s ideas can help as another data point to evaluate the kind of projects I want to invest in. Buying a plot of land and keeping it there until the price goes up is very different from investing in a building or construction.