Thomas Paine (1737-1809) and Thomas Spence (1750-1814) on land ownership, land taxes and the provision of citizens' dividend
John Marangos ()
International Journal of Social Economics, 2008, vol. 35, issue 5, 313-325
Purpose - The aim of this paper is to outline and compare the land ownership, land taxes and citizens' dividend proposals by Thomas Paine and Thomas Spence. Design/methodology/approach - Paine wrote “Agrarian justice” in which he argued that every proprietor of cultivated land owes to the society a ground-rent for the land which the person holds because it is common property. This ground rent would take the form of a tax per year of 10 per cent on inheritances. It is this ground-rent that would fund the payments made to every person based on some age restrictions. In response, Spence wrote “The rights of infants” in which he went a step further as he recommended the abolition of aristocracy. As a result, there would have been common ownership of land and revenue derived from land would be administered by the parishes and distributed to everyone equally. Findings - In assessing the two proposals using the citizens' dividend criterion, each proposal has consistent and inconsistent elements. Practical implications - It can be argued that the two proposals are primitive versions of citizens' dividend as espoused today. Originality/value - The paper contributes to knowledge regarding the debate at the time. During that period, public opinion associated classical political economy with a resolute denial of the right to subsistence to the poor and vigorous opposition to the English Poor Law based on the ideas of Malthus. Students of social economics would benefit from this paper in placing on equal footnoting in the historical debate the counter-proposals to the dominant position at the time.
Keywords: Economic history; Land; Taxes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/030682908108 ... RePEc&WT.mc_id=RePEc (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:35:y:2008:i:5:p:313-325
Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
Access Statistics for this article
International Journal of Social Economics is currently edited by Dr Colin Tyler and James Connelly
More articles in International Journal of Social Economics from Emerald Group Publishing
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Virginia Chapman ().