Why is Georgism, or geoism, not the correct alternative to modern capitalism?

Hello Professor, I listened to your interview on Chapo Trap House and related to your experiences with university-taught economics. I am an economics major myself, about to graduate, and also dissatisfied with the limited scope of questions modern economics courses try to answer. My personal search for answers did not bring me to Marx, however. They brought me to Henry George and what I consider a better alternative to the status quo, geoism. To me, geoism lacks what I consider the inherent authoritarianism in Marxism. Those things not created by people, location and natural resources/forces, obviously belong to society as a whole. But the things that take individual motivation and effort to exist, "Capital", should belong to those that create it. Without the profit/wage motive, why should anyone put in the extra effort it takes to do the necessary but more skilled work of organizing production? The only other realistic mechanism I can think of to achieve this is a threat of violence by those who have monopolized power through other means than capitalism. This is why I feel that the only "successful" revolutionary socialist experiments have devolved into dictatorships that suppress political and individual rights. There are no other motivations for an individual to put in the extra effort of skilled labor/effort other than a sense of love and duty to society, which seems like a flimsy thing to hang a whole economic system on. The socialization of natural resources, natural forces, land, and location avoid this issue of motivation. They exist outside the effort of individuals and therefore should not be owned privately. Their value comes from society, and should therefore be returned to it. The private theft of socially created wealth that Henry George describes is a much more compelling theory of inequality and poverty than anything I have read from a Marxist perspective. I will admit I have not dived as deep into Marxism as I have Georgism, but I found it hard to explore Marx thoroughly without that question of authoritarianism constantly in the background of my mind. Do you have an explanation that could prove me wrong? Thank you


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  • Solly Martheze
    followed this page 2018-02-26 01:44:29 -0500
  • Henry George
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2018-02-19 19:38:40 -0500

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