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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 71

Chapter V. — It is to be Based upon Valuation, and not Competition

Chapter V.

It is to be Based upon Valuation, and not Competition.

It may be objected by some that no method of fixing the ground rent by means of an assessment would be fair, but that it would be necessary, in order to give everyone an equal chance, to submit all land periodically to public competition, and to let it to the highest bidder. This is a matter of detail, upon which the writer can only express his individual opinion. His opinion is that the competitive plan would not result in giving an equal chance to all, seeing that the well-to-do man would have an advantage over the poorer man and the beginner. If this is so, then the very argument for its institution falls to the ground. But there is a very strong reason against the competitive plan. It is this: that it would lead to short periods of tenancy, and therefore to uncertainty, which would result in inferior cultivation and backwardness in making improvements. Permanence of ownership and freedom from every uncertainty to which a tenant is liable are among the prominent things which Single Taxers desire to obtain for land users. They seek to make it possible for every user, whether in town or country, to enjoy the fullest certainty in his operations which "freehold" can afford him. They wish to remove from users the competition of speculators and landlords, because this prevents many users from getting it at all, while it increases the price to those who succeed. But, further than this, it will be necessary to remove from them the need of competing amongst themselves. And what possible cause of complaint could any individual, or the whole community, have to make against an owner as long as he paid the required levy upon the community's own valuation of the ground rent?