A new book on Land Value Taxation has been published by Ian Hopton from the United Kingdom. Here is a description, review and author’s bio. The book may be purchased on Amazon at: https://tinyurl.com/mpf9rcrr

From the Author:

I believe that in the near future, the issue of taxation will become more widely discussed at all levels of government and this will include the possibility of a land value tax (LVT). At the same time, the majority of ordinary taxpayers, who may be otherwise very well informed, have probably never heard of it.

This book is therefore an educational book aimed at filling this gap in our knowledge. It is aimed at those people who have no particular knowledge of economics or taxation but who wish to know what LVT is and how it works. The book is based on the information and data that I have collected over many years for my website: landvaluetaxguide.com

The contemporary formulation of LVT owes its origin in the publication, in 1879, of Progress and Poverty by the American economic philosopher, Henry George. His book gave rise to a worldwide movement that reached its peak with reformist governments in the first decade of the 20th century. LVT thereafter became overshadowed by the preference of governments for the income tax and also by the organised opposition of vested interests, who saw it as a threat to their source of unearned income.

But, in recent years, many economists, academics and politicians have begun to see the failures of the current neoclassical/neoliberal economic system and are seriously reconsidering LVT as an alternative. For a list of LVT supporters over recent years refer to: landvaluetaxguide.com/category/supporters/

The book comprises an introduction, thirteen chapters and three appendices with supplementary information. References are collected in several pages of endnotes and the text is fully indexed.

I present the case for taxation in general as a ‘good’ not the ‘necessary evil’ that many people appear to believe. But it has to be accepted that there are good and bad taxes – measured in accordance with the degree of benefit or harm they may give rise to in their application. This book is an explanation of why LVT may be seen as a beneficial tax. I suggest that we would better understand taxes if we viewed them more as contributions towards the proper functioning of society.

In the explanation I make use of diagrams, which take the reader step by step through the evolution of a society from simple beginnings to the development of a complex city, how land values arise in this process, and why they become a proper basis for a system of taxation.

I suggest that throughout history there have always been the same three problems that beset the tax collector: identification, measurement and avoidance. The book shows how a land value tax would be effective in resolving these three issues that remain problems to this day.

I examine the issue of private landownership and I suggest that this has historically been the basis of much economic injustice. In England, it began with the Norman conquest and became consolidated and legitimised over the centuries, so that now the concept is virtually sacrosanct.

The title of the book is taken from John of Gaunt’s ‘sceptre’d isle’ speech, in Shakespeare’s Richard II, in which he laments the king’s selling of land leases to finance his campaign in Ireland.

Review

‘This book is well researched and comprehensive and should serve as a very useful primer for those unfamiliar with economics and taxation. At the same time, it could also be read by those who have a knowledge of land value taxation, since it contains a wealth of information I have not seen assembled elsewhere in one place.’

Chris Wood, The School of Philosophy and Economic Science, London

‘Ian Hopton examines the causes of land value and, most importantly to my mind, the ownership of land in the United Kingdom from the Norman invasion and through the Enclosures, the effects of which endure even to this day. He establishes both the economic and moral cases for LVT and examines the practicalities of implementation. This book is a timely contribution to the vexed question of taxation and is an apposite and comprehensive contribution to what will be a critical debate about taxation in the near future.’

Chris Waller, Former IT financial systems designer and contributor to ‘Economania’, Mensa’s website for the special interest group dealing with economics, trade and finance.

About the Author

My working life has been somewhat unorthodox. After emerging from grammar school with an undistinguished record, except in art, I went to sea as an apprentice deck officer in the Merchant Navy at the age of sixteen and after 10 years I had obtained a Master’s certificate. I then changed my career to architecture. After studying at Manchester University, I worked for the next 23 years as an assistant architect in various private practices in London – except for one year studying at art college. My interest in economics began during this time whilst studying at the School of Philosophy and Economic Science, which taught the theories of Henry George and the Land Value Tax system. In 1990, I changed career again to become a full-time artist. I moved to France and established a studio and workshop and continued to work as a painter and printmaker. Throughout the period, I maintained my interest in economics and politics and also my contacts in the UK. In 2014 I set up a website: https: //landvaluetaxguide.com on which this book is based. The book itself I started to write in late 2019.–This text refers to the paperback edition.