tolstoy henry george resurrection single tax

100 Years Ago

Leon Tolstoy and Henry George

In his novel Resurrection, world-class Russian author Leon Tolstoy recapitulates the philosophy of Henry George (American economist) as a solution to poverty. Being a nobleman, Tolstoy had the ear of the Czar and urged him to adopt the economic reform of Henry George -- the Single Tax on land values -- or suffer the consequences of bloody revolution and being deposed (just as the French physiocrat Jaques Turgot urged the French king Louis XVI to do the same for the same reasons). Obviously, the Czar could not bring himself to follow Tolstoy’s advice and the author’s prediction came to pass. When he was near death, Tolstoy was riding a train (some say he was trying to escape his most recent wife, a much younger woman). During the ride, he made the case for George’s reform to his fellow passengers. His dying words to the other Russians were a plea to adopt Georgist economics, a shift of taxes off our efforts, onto the socially-generated value of land, resources, and nature in general.

by the editor

On the one hundredth anniversary of Tolstoy´s death (2010 November 20), we provide a link to the article "Leon Tolstoy and Henry George" by Victor Lebrun, Tolstoy´s personal friend and secretary, about the relationship between these two profound thinkers. click here

This article and others are available in Spanish, translated by Germán Lema of Colombia (Cali), who also translated from English into Spanish other leaflets and booklets by Tolstoy: “A great iniquity”, “An Appeal to the Clergy* (Nov. 1902), “The Restoration of Hell” (1903), “The Slavery of our times”, and “A Selection of Children’s Stories”.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.

Also see:

Remembrances From Movements Past

One Labor Day was his birthday

Subsidies make some too mobile, taxes make buyers pay too much

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