What Would Henry George Say?
Still Relevant, Still Poignant
By Thomas B. Edsall
September 13, 2023
By Dr. Marty Rowland
On Wednesday, September 13, 2023, the New York Times published an opinion by Thomas B. Edsall titled A Hidden Reason Cities Fall Apart. Edsall’s argument centers on the loss of local elites who had stakes in their towns that was the problem.
This is what Henry George would have said.
Thomas Edsall talks about everything except for the key fault in the decline of cities. While it’s true that elites sometimes allowed only meager benefits to trickle down to the broader population, federal policies also played a role in encouraging white flight through generous home loans and incentives. The key fault is that the wealth of successful communities resides in the locational value of businesses, services, homes, parks, etc. That was a key part of the wealth the elites extracted and did not reinvest it locally. This isn’t an intricately complex concept. A historian would recognize the significance of this issue, illustrating how cities like Cleveland and Detroit thrived in the early 20th century by implementing a land value tax and subsequently experienced decline when they deviated from this core element of success.
Stay caught up! Subscribe now and receive email updates of every new post.