THE LAND QUESTION

George7aIRELAND:  OUR FUTURE?

Ireland’s in a mess. I’ve previously mentioned my enjoyment of Irish journalist and economist David McWilliams’ accounts of Ireland’s rapid transformation from a roaring tiger economy into a sickly mouse.

If McWilliams hasn’t read Henry George’s “The Irish Land Question”, I can recommend it to him as an excellent investment of about an hour of his time. Published in New York 129 years ago, it provides insights as encouraging and applicable today as they were in 1881:-

  • Ireland’s economic situation, though stark, is similar to what the vast majority of people are experiencing elsewhere (to greater or lesser degree)
  • the Irish ‘famine’ is economic rather than agricultural
  • ‘the land question’ is at the bottom of the economic fracture
  • there is a simple repair for the fracture, if we wish to use it

Henry George received a hero’s welcome when he went to Ireland, but the Irish eventually chose not to utilise his remedy.  It was too hard.

Although the global financial collapse was entirely predictable, world economies have so far failed to react by removing the fundamental flaw that created it.  In the absence of the essential switch from taxes to a land rent revenue system, we may therefore expect the GFC to deepen over the next few years.