Site hosted by Build your free website today!
courtesy Duke University Economics Dept
Champions of Liberty
Two illustrious Frenchmen and two forgotten Americans

Francois Quesnay; French Physiocrat,Court Physician to Louis XV, founder of the science of political economy, author of the Tableau Economique (Economic Table). Advocated the Impot Unique (single tax) and stressed the Natural Order.

Pierre Joseph Proudhon. French anarchist. Author of What Is Property, The Philosophy Of Poverty, General Idea Of The Revolution In The 19th Century.

Henry George. American political economist and social reformer. Author of Progress And Poverty, Social Problems, Protection Or Free Trade, A Perplexed Philosopher, The Science Of Political Economy.

Albert Jay Nock. American libertarian and social critic. Author of Our Enemy The State, Memoirs Of A Superfluous Man, Jefferson, Henry George.

It is a truism that land is the source of all wealth. But a conspiracy of academics and "scholars" has succeeded in obfuscating and downplaying land and its rent as a primary source of necessary public revenue. Yet the significance of land and its rent for the serious student of political economy has been recognized for more than two centuries as evidenced by the selected quotes below.

FRANCOIS QUESNAY from first edition of the Tableau Economique, 1758

"Let the sovereign and the nation never forget that the land is the only source of wealth..."

"Taxes should not be destructive or out of proportion to the sum total of the national revenue. Any increase of taxes should be dependent upon the increase of this revenue. Moreover, taxes should be levied directly and without delay on the net product of land and not on wages or the price of foodstuffs, in which case they would be not only expensive to administer but would also be detrimental to trade and would destroy annually part of the national revenues. Nor should taxes be levied on the cultivators of the soil..."

from Natural Right, 1765

"But the first positive law, the law fundamental to all other positive laws, is the establishment of public and private instruction in the laws of the natural order, which is the supreme standard for all man-made legislation and of all civil conduct, political, economic, and social. Without this fundamental institution governments and the behaviour of men must be characterized by darkness, error, confusion, and disorder. For without acquaintance with the natural laws which must serve as a basis for man-made laws and as supreme standards for the conduct of men, there is no evidence of just and unjust, of natural rights, of the physical and moral order; no evidence of the essential difference between the general interest and particular interests, of the real nature of the causes of the prosperity and impoverishment of nations..."

PIERRE JOSEPH PROUDHON from What Is Property, 1840

"Thus, labor gives birth to private possession, the right to a thing-jus in re. But in what thing? Evidently, in the product, not in the soil. So the Arabs have always understood it; and so, according to Caesar and Tacitus, the Germans formerly held. "The Arabs," says M. de Sismondi," who admit a man's property in the flocks which he has raised, do not refuse the crop to him who planted the seed; but they do not see why another, his equal, should not have a right to plant in his turn. The inequality which results from the pretended right of the first occupant seems to them to be based upon no principle of justice; and when all the land falls into the hands of a certain number of inhabitants, there results a monopoly in their favor against the rest of the nation, to which they do not wish to submit."

"The original cultivators of the land, who were also the original makers of the law, were not as learned as our legislators, I admit; and had they been, they could not have done worse; they did not foresee the consequences of the transformation of the right of private possession into the right of absolute property. But why have not those, who in later times have established the distinction between jus in re and jus ad rem applied it to the principle of property itself."

HENRY GEORGE from Progress And Poverty, 1879

"All things which have exchange value are, therefore, not wealth, in the only sense in which the term can be used in political economy. Only such things can be wealth the production of which increases and the destruction of which decrease the aggregate of wealth. If we consider what those things are, and what their nature is, we shall have no difficulty in defining wealth."

"The great cause of inequality in the distribution of wealth is inequality in the ownership of land. The ownership of land is the great fundamental fact which ultimately determines the social, the political, and consequentially the intellectual and moral condition of a people."

"This, then, is the remedy for the unjust and unequal distribution of wealth apparent in modern civilization, and for all the evils which flow from it: we must make land common property."

"I do not propose either to purchase or to confiscate private property in land. The first would be unjust; the second, needless...What I therefore, propose, as the simple yet sovereign remedy, which will raise wages, increase the earnings of capital, extirpate pauperism, abolish poverty, give remunerative employment to whoever wishes it, afford free scope to human powers, lessen crime, elevate morals, and taste, and intelligence, purify government and carry civilization to yet nobler heights, is-to appropriate rent by taxation...Now...insomuch as the taxation of rent, or land values, must necessarily be increased just as we abolish other taxes, we may put the proposition into practical form by proposing-to abolish all taxation save that upon land values."

"Liberty! it is a word to conjure with, not to vex the ear in empty boastings. For Liberty means Justice, and Justice is the natural law."

ALBERT JAY NOCK from Our Enemy The State, 1935

"Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators and beneficiaries from those of a professional criminal class."

"There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man's needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means."

"After conquest and confiscation have been effected, and the State set up, its first concern is with the land. The State assumes the right of eminent domain over its territorial basis, whereby every landholder becomes in theory a tenant of the State. In its capacity as ultimate landlord, the State distributes the land among its beneficiaries on its own terms. A point to be observed in passing is that by the State system of land tenure each original transaction confers two distinct monopolies, entirely different in their nature, inasmuch as one confers the right to labour-made property, and the other concerns the right to purely law-made property. The one is a monopoly of the use-value of land; and the other, a monopoly of the economic rent* of land. The first gives the right to keep other persons from using the land in question, or trespassing on it, and the right to exclusive possession of values accruing from the application of labor to it; values, that is, which are produced by the exercise of the economic means upon the particular property in question. Monopoly of economic rent, on the other hand gives the exclusive right to values accruing from the desire of other persons to possess that property; values which take their rise irrespective of any exercise of the economic means on the part of the holder."

*Economic rent (or ground rent) is one of the most important concepts in political economy. But its genesis and implications for every society are virtually ignored or obfuscated by contemporary economic pundits.


With the growth of population and increase in the productive power of labor, certain locations become more desirable. Thus economic rent (or ground rent) arises on these favored land sites. This is a universal fact regardless of the social, economic, or political organization of a society. Ground rent exists as long as the planet is inhabited. But the fundamental question is; to whom does the ground rent belong?

Share the wealth schemes or clumsy land nationalization policies can, at best, serve as palliatives. Individual possession is necessary for the most efficient use of land. But individual collection of ground rent breeds corruption, inefficiency, and injustice. Without justice, liberty perishes. To put it succinctly; the values created by the individual belong to the individual, and the values created by the community (i.e. land values) belong to the community. It is not necessary to confiscate land; it is only necessary to confiscate rent.

some relevant links

Silence of the Historians

Physiocrats & the Impot Unique

Political Economy Primer

Proudhon on being governed soon a new website -MONEY, WEALTH AND VALUE begin money, wealth and value