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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 71

Chapter XXVIII. — The Principal Obstacle to the Reform

Chapter XXVIII.

The Principal Obstacle to the Reform.

The principal obstacle in the way of the adoption of the Single Tax, is the fact that many individuals have secured the exclusive possession, in perpetuity, of large portions of the earth's surface—some by inheritance and others by purchase—without any reservation which renders them liable to make any annual payment to the community; that this possession gives to them the enjoyment of the ground-rent fund; that they have acquired this possession with the consent of the majority of that portion of the community which, for the time being, had a voice in making the laws; and that the individuals who enjoy such possession, together with those who were parties to allowing them to obtain it, are mostly of opinion that it would be unfair to introduce modifications into the bargain, except upon payment of due compensation. To this claim for compensation Single Taxers cannot agree. The claim, and its refusal, therefore, form a very real obstacle to the public acceptance of the proposed reform. There are many who admit the soundness of the theory, its equitableness, and the prospect which it offers of doing great good, provided it could be instituted at the commencement of some new colony, but they can't see how to make the change equitably. Single Taxers, on the contrary, are unable to admit that the present system can be equitably maintained.