The Law of Rent: The Concept

Further Reading:

Ricardo's Law

Ricardo’s Law
by Fred Harrison

From Here to Prosperity

From Here to Prosperity
by Thomas J. Burgess

public revenue without taxation

Public Revenue Without Taxation
by Ronald Burgess

In the five or six years the Ethical Economics blog site has been in existence, the most regularly visited blog has been ‘The Law of Rent – the concept’. Hardly a month has gone by without at least six visits, but in May this year there were an astonishing 112 visits.

What is the Law of Rent? As defined by the economist David Ricardo in 1809, it states: ‘The rent of land is determined by the excess of its product over that which the same application can secure from the least productive land in use’. It is also called Ricardo’s Law in his honour. In the Preface to his Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation, he stressed its fundamental importance to economics by stating: ‘… without a knowledge of [the law of rent], it is impossible to understand the effect of the progress of wealth on profits and wages, or to trace satisfactorily the influence of taxation on different classes of the community’.

What is its relevance today? It is largely ignored by modern economists, but in our forthcoming title (July) Rent Unmasked scholars team up with lawyers and an ecologist to reveal how a knowledge of the law of rent makes it possible to save the global economy and build a sustainable future. Through a fiscal reform, which would reduce the cost of tax collection and make tax avoidance virtually impossible, the growing inequality in income and wealth could be greatly reduced.

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“You can become wealthy by creating wealth or by appropriating the wealth created by other people. When the appropriation of the wealth is illegal it is called theft or fraud. When it is legal economists call it rent-seeking”

John Kay, Financial Times 27th Dec 2009

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, they cannot save the few who are rich.”

John F Kennedy, Inaugural Speech, Jan 1961

“If science is defined by its ability to forecast the future, the failure of much of the economics profession to see the crisis coming should be a cause for great concern”

Joseph Stiglitz

“Today we live in a world that is divided. A world in which we have made great progress and advances in science and technology. But it is also a world where millions of children die because they have no access to medicines… It is a world of great promise and hope. It is also a world of despair, disease and hunger”

Nelson Mandela


Rent Unmasked

Rent UnmaskedRent Unmasked explores the new economic paradigm that policy-makers need to solve global problems in the post-2008 era. With conventional economic theories discredited, the new model must equip governments with tools to re-stabilise societies in a dangerous world. Rent Unmasked explains why one paradigm only qualifies to serve this purpose: the dynamic model that reinstates time and space in economic theorising.

ISBN 9780856835117 | Price: £19.95