中国/中华

China has a long history of land ‘tax’ (ground rent).

Five centuries before Christ, Confucianism held it to be the fairest revenue system.  See Chapter V “The State”: Taxation, Innocent and Destructive (almost halfway down page) from The Ethics of Confucius, by Miles Menander Dawson, 1915.

The early part of the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) was also largely financed from ground rent.

2400 years after Confucius, Sun Yat Sen announced the land ‘tax’ would be the foundation upon which he would build the new Chinese Republic:We propose that the government shall levy a tax proportionate to the price of the land, and if necessary buy back the land according to its price.

When modern, enlightened cities levy land taxes, the burdens upon the common people are lightened, and many other advantages follow. If Canton city should now collect land taxes according to land values, the government would have a large and steady source of funds for administration. The whole place could be put into good order.

But at present, the rising land values in Canton all go to the landowners themselves — they do not belong to the community. The government has no regular income, and so to meet expenses it has to levy all sorts of miscellaneous taxes upon the common people. This burden upon the common people is too heavy; they are always having to pay out taxes and so are terribly poor — and the number of poor people in China is enormous.

The reasons for the heavy burdens upon the poor are the unjust system of taxation practiced by the government, and the unequal distribution of land power and the failure to solve the land problem. If we can put the land tax completely into effect, the land problem will be solved and the common people will not have to endure such suffering.

With such history, whilst China’s new real estate billionaires will resist a ground rent, it’s not a big stretch to believe China may be the first country in the 21st century to employ an extensive national land ‘tax’.

She may have to do so, in order to resurrect herself from the financial ruin the country will face when her incredible real estate bubble bursts.  She needs to capture the ground rent that should have flowed, equally, to all her people.