A New Look at the “Henry George Theorem”

  • Edward Nell
Part of the Palgrave Studies on Henry George for the 21st Century book series (PSHGC)


The Henry George Theorem states that the level of total rents in a country is nearly equal to the total costs of government in that area. There are several unconvincing “proofs” that make this claim. A widely circulated such proof, when inspected closely, is incoherent and unrealistic in its assumptions. Applying the previous chapter’s approach, one can develop a model that shows how rents and the growth of government move together, while allowing for plausible divergences. This suggests that the Henry George Theorem offers a good approach and should figure in policy discussions. An appendix by Andrew Mazzone recalculates rents in the 2016 US National Accounts and shows that redefining rents in a more inclusive manner suggests that rents could come close to financing the costs of government.


Henry George Theorem Economic policy Demand pressure Rent tax 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Nell
    • 1
  1. 1.New SchoolNew YorkUSA

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