Henry George's Ingenious Tax

A Contemporary Restatement


  • G. Jürgen Backhaus

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      Professor Dr. Jürgen Backhaus is a Professor of Economics at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. His interests include the history of economic thought, public finance, and law. He is the author of numerous books and articles on economics. Presently he is the editor of the European Journal of Law and Economics.


Abstract. Henry George (1839–1897) has left an intellectual legacy which is shrouded under a cloak of controversy. “Professional economists who focused attention on the single-tax proposal and condemned Henry George's teaching, root and branch, were hardly just to him.” (Schumpeter 1954, p. 865). This essay tries to do justice to Henry George from the point of view of economic theory and relevant economic practical questions in 1997. The single tax proposal is looked at from the point of view of constitutional economics, and the wider applicability of Henry George's basic notions is emphasized.