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Geolibertarianism is a left-libertarian political movement and ideology that synthesizes libertarianism and geoism (or Georgism).[1][2]

Geolibertarians hold that all natural resources – most importantly land – are common assets to which all individuals have an equal right to access; therefore, individuals must pay rent to the community if they claim land as their private property. Rent need not be paid for the mere use of land, but only for the right to exclude others from that land, and for the protection of one's title by government.

They simultaneously agree with the libertarian position that each individual has an exclusive right to the fruits of his or her labor as their private property, as opposed to this product being owned collectively by society or the community, and that "one's labor, wages, and the products of labor" should not be taxed. Also, with traditional libertarians they advocate "full civil liberties, with no crimes unless there are victims who have been invaded."[1]

Geolibertarians are generally influenced by Georgism, but the ideas behind it pre-date Henry George, and can be found in different forms in the writings of John Locke, the French Physiocrats, Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, James Mill (John Stuart Mill's father), David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, and Thomas Spence.

Property rights[edit]

Thomas Paine inspired the Citizen's Dividend and stated, "Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds."[3]

Geolibertarians consider land to be the common property of all humankind. They say that private property is derived from an individual's right to the fruits of their labor. Since land was not created by anyone's labor, it cannot be rightfully owned. Thus, geolibertarians recognize a right to secure possession of land (land tenure), on the condition that the full rental value be paid to the community. This, they say, has the effect of both giving back the value that belongs to the community and encouraging landholders to only use as much land as they need, leaving unneeded land for others.[4]

Perhaps the best summary of geolibertarianism is Thomas Paine's assertion in Agrarian Justice that "Men did not make the earth. It is the value of the improvements only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property. Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds." On the other hand, Locke wrote that private land ownership should be praised, as long as its product was not left to spoil and there was "enough, and as good left in common for others"; when this Lockean proviso is violated, the land earns rental value. Some would argue that "as good" is unlikely to be achieved in an urban setting because location is paramount, and that therefore Locke's proviso in an urban setting requires the collection and equal distribution of ground rent.

Some geolibertarians claim that the same reasoning justifies a pollution tax against those who degrade the value of common resources. Also, the common nature of the radio wave spectrum is sometimes viewed as a justification for the taxation of its exclusive use as well.[5]

This strict definition of property as all fruits of labor makes geolibertarians fervent advocates of free markets.

Political proposals[edit]

Geolibertarians generally advocate distributing the land rent to the community via a land value tax, as proposed by Henry George and others before him. For this reason, they are often called "single taxers". Fred E. Foldvary coined the word geo-libertarianism in an article so titled in Land and Liberty.[6][verification needed] In the case of geoanarchism, the voluntary form of geolibertarianism as described by Foldvary, rent would be collected by private associations with the opportunity to secede from a geocommunity (and not receive the geocommunity's services) if desired.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Foldvary, Fred E. Geoism and Libertarianism. The Progress Report". Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  2. ^ Karen DeCoster, Henry George and the Tariff Question,, April 19, 2006.
  3. ^ * Wikisource link to Agrarian Justice. Wikisource. 
  4. ^ Liam (2011-06-12). "Geolibertarianism – The Social Contract Fallacy". Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  5. ^ "Basis of Taxation". 2005-08-12. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  6. ^ May/June 1981, pp. 53–55.
  7. ^ Foldvary, Fred E. (2001-07-15). "Geoanarchism". Retrieved 2009-04-15. 

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