“Some Observations on the Nature of Public Enterprise”


Abstract: Raymond V. McNally was an economist at the Henry George School of Social Science in New York City. This article was written shortly after the entry of the United States into World War II, and presumably remained unpublished because of the unsettled times. It recently came to light among the papers of Spencer Heath, to be domiciled at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín. In the paper, McNally describes the important social role—both present and potential—of property in land, thus offering a broader understanding of the basic Georgian concept of rent as the natural fund for public services. To clarify the nature of public enterprise, McNally first examines private enterprise in terms of the production and distribution of services, viewed in light of the role played by owners. He then shows that the two kinds of enterprise, private and public, are alike with respect to distribution but differ with respect to production, due to incomplete development of the ownership role in the latter. He suggests that this anomaly will be resolved as owners in public enterprise develop a scientific understanding of their role and bring it into alignment with that of owners in private enterprise. Hence, the author anticipates that the evolution of normal economic, as opposed to political, provision of public services will lead to the abandonment of taxation and its ills.