The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79
Make Room at the Father's Table
Make Room at the Father's Table.
The land is the great storehouse provided by the Common Father for the support and comfort and well-being of common family. The earth is the table of the Heavenly Father, and we want to make room, and equal room, at the Father's table for all the Father's children. How is it to be done? By evolution or by revolution? By peaceful adjustment or by bloody conflict? The answer to these questions cannot be long delayed. The wonderful developments of science during the last sixty years in the application of steam and machinery to production has introduced a new factor into the life of the world. Land value, like gravitation, tends to attract to itself all the material advantages that arise from new inventions applied to production, distribution, and exchange; while the needs of an increasing normal population enable the owners of the earth to extract an ever-increasing proportion of the products of labour for the right to live and work on their property.
Look at the position in our own country. In twenty years the people of this country have increased the unimproved land value by no less than £140,000,000. This increased land value is in addition to the value created by the expenditure of labour and capital in making improvements. It is a social value created by society, and rightly belonging to society. Yet the whole of it has passed into the possession of a portion of the people, and most of it (£126,000,000 out of the £140,000,000) has passed into the possession of not more than 22,500 families out of the million people in New Zealand. If this socially-created wealth had been collected and used for social purposes, in which all the people could have participated, it would have been equivalent to an increase of wages of £35 a year to every family in the land. It is due mainly to ignorance that this enormous iniquity is allowed to continue. Self-interest on the part of some tends to blind them to the disastrous effects of a system which has grown up with them, and which has worked quite satisfactorily from their point of view. This is a moral universe, and what is morally wrong can never be politically right. Has the Church no word to speak regarding this great moral iniquity? All that we require is that