Abstract: Society, based on contract and voluntary exchange, is evolving, but remains only partly developed. Goods and services that meet the needs of individuals, such as food, clothing, and shelter, are amply produced and distributed through the market process. However, those that meet common or community needs, while distributed through the market, are produced politically through taxation and violence. These goods attach not to individuals but to a place; to enjoy them, individuals must go to the place where they are. Land owners, all unknowingly, distribute such services contractually as they rent or sell sites. Rent or price is the market value of such services, net after disservices, as they affect each site. By distributing occupancies to those who can pay the highest price, land owners’ interests align with those of society. Without this, tenure would be precarious—by force or favor of politicians. The 18th-century separation of land from state, so little studied by historians, permitted the development of modern property in land. This change is perhaps “the greatest single step in the evolution of Society the world has ever seen.” When land owners realize that they market community services, they will organize to produce and administer them as well, and society will be made whole.
Keywords: Spencer Heath, Georgism, land ownership, public goods, market process, social progress
Download Paper: “Society, Its Process and Prospect”