Ten Things That Would Happen If We Shared the Value of Land
There’s enough for everyone. We just have to look in the right places.
May 9, 2015
Martin Adams
Author, Educator

For more information about how land reform can create meaningful work, restore our ecology, and bring more wealth into our local communities, I invite you to read my book Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World.

“The land value of New York City alone exceeds the combined value of all of the plant and equipment in the entire U.S.”
—Economist Michael Hudson

Economist Michael Hudson claims that the land value of New York City (NYC) alone exceeds the value of all of the plant and equipment in the entire country, combined (Source: Salon by Jesse Myerson | Nov 22, 2013). In other words, the non-productive value of privately-owned land in NYC is greater than all the productive equipment—the human-made things that keep the economy ticking—of the entire United States! Yet that land value is only owned by a handful of private individuals and corporations. No wonder we live in an age of simultaneous scarcity and abundance. Yet there is enough for everyone: We just have to look in the right places.

Here are 10 things that would happen if the value of land was equitably shared:

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1) End of Extreme Wealth Inequality

Drastic wealth inequality would come to an end as everyone would have affordable access to land and locations. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and property developers would no longer make millions off of tenants, and banks would no longer make millions off of indebted property owners.

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2) Banks Invest in the Economy

Banks would no longer be able to participate in the insanely profitable—and highly speculative—mortgage business. Instead, they would be forced to lend money to businesses that actually produce and add wealth to the economy.

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3) A Booming Economy

The economy would experience a tremendous boost as money would no longer flow into speculative real estate assets (i.e. land) and instead flow into productive capital.

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4) Wage Increases

Wages would drastically increase across the board as businesses would be flush with money from no longer having to pay money for land and locations to banks and landowners. With jobs chasing people instead of people chasing jobs, minimum wage laws would become unnecessary.

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5) No More Taxes

Most taxes would fall away as public revenue could easily be had from land. This further boosts the economy as deadweight loss created by burdensome taxes is eliminated. (For more information, see the Henry George Theorem.)

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6) Affordable housing

Housing would once again become affordable. Homelessness would be eliminated as locations and buildings are no longer scarce and there would be enough money to provide for public housing. (For more information, read the chapter “Affordable Housing” from my book Land.)

7) Basic Income

Social welfare programs could easily be replaced with a Basic Income or Citizen’s Dividend.

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8) No More Urban Sprawl

Urban sprawl would come to an end as existing land would be used far more efficiently.

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9) Save the Environment

Ecological destruction would end as people and companies would no longer have to destroy the environment in order to simply make a living.

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10) Happiness

Happiness across the nation would increase as people no longer struggle to meet their basic needs. The wealthy would feel much happier, too, as their conscience would no longer be negatively affected by the widespread poverty that, ultimately, affects everyone.

For more information about how land reform can create meaningful work, restore our ecology, and bring more wealth into our local communities, I invite you to read my book Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World.

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Martin Adams
Author, Educator

MARTIN ADAMS is a systems thinker and author. As a child, it pained him to see most people struggling while a few were living in opulence. This inspired in him a lifelong quest to co-create a fair and sustainable world in collaboration with others. As a graduate of a business school with ties to Wall Street, he opted not to pursue a career on Wall Street and chose instead to dedicate his life to community enrichment. Through his social enterprise work, he saw firsthand the extent to which the current economic system causes human and ecological strife. Consequently, Martin devoted himself to the development of a new economic paradigm that might allow humanity to thrive in harmony with nature. His book Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World is the fruit of his years of research into a part of this economic model; its message stands to educate policymakers and changemakers worldwide. Martin is technical director at Progress.org.