North Dakota or Bust!

An excerpt from co-editor Fred Foldvary’s Progress Report:

In theory, productive public goods increase land rent because the supply of land is fixed. There can also be a rise in wages from more public goods, but that would be temporary. If labor becomes more productive in a location, that attracts labor from areas where wages are lower for the same skills. The increase in the labor supply will drive wages back down to normal. But the total supply of land in some region cannot expand, so the increase in rent sticks.

Just as territorial benefits raise land values, costs to landowners reduce the rent they keep, and so capitalize land value down. If the public goods are paid for by public revenue from land rent or site values, then the rise in land values would be limited. If governmental public goods are paid by labor and enterprise, then the rentalization and capitalization are implicit subsidies to landowners, at the expense of taxed labor and enterprise.

Economists have found evidence of the generation of higher land values from greater public goods. We now have an excellent case study: North Dakota.

Read the whole thing here. I’ve never been to North Dakota, but if it’s anything like South Dakota I might be tempted to settle there someday. Just kidding! California is the best state to live in, even with our terrible, fascistic-like government.

I am still having trouble wrapping my head around the concept of land value taxing, though. Someday I’m going to have to spend a couple of days with a copy of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty and see what I can figure out.

3 thoughts on “North Dakota or Bust!

  1. Clue us all in when you figure it out. This is something I have been curious about ever since I saw the Georgists on wikipedia when researching different variants of libertarians.

    • Oh, and here are some North Dakota jokes:

      Ole and Lena get married in Bismarck and head on down I-94 to honeymoon in Fargo.
      Around Casselton, Ole puts his hand on Lena’s knee. Lena says, “Oh, Ole, ve’re married now. You can go furder.”
      So Ole drove to Minneapolis.

      Why don’t North Dakotan’s ever ride their bicycles in Montana?
      Because there are too many chain removal signs on the mountain passes.

      Did you hear about the tension between North Dakota and Montana. Years ago it broke out into open conflict, when the North Dakotans began throwing sticks of dynamite across the border. The Montanan’s were undaunted. They would walk right up to the dynamite, pick it up, light it, and throw it back…

      Ole took a trip to Bozeman. While in a bar, an Indian on the next stool spoke to Ole in a friendly manner. “Look,” he said, “let’s play a little game. I’ll ask you a riddle. If you can answer it, I’ll buy YOU a drink. If you can’t answer it then you buy ME a drink. Okay?” “Ya,” says Ole, “dat sounds purty good to me”. The Indian proceeded to ask Ole, “My father and mother had one child. It wasnt’ my brother and it wasn’t my sister. Who was it?” Ole scratched his head and finally said, “I give up. Who vas it?” “It was me,” laughed the Indian. So Ole paid for the Indian’s drink. When Ole got back home to Fargo he ran into Sven in a bar. “Sven,” Ole says, “I got a game for you to play. If you can answer the question, I’ll buy you a drink. If you can’t, YOU have to buy ME vun. Okay?” Sven agreed. “Ok…my fadder and mudder had vun kid. It vasnt’ my brudder and it vasn’t my sister. Who vas it?” “Search me,” said Sven, “I give up, who was it?” Ole says, “It vas some Indian over der in Montana!”

      For some reason North Dakotans are have mostly Swedish-sounding names, so you would probably fit right in, Christensen.

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