Rothbard’s rebuttal of georgism is often referenced by opponents as if it ends all debate on the topic. This is unfortunate, because there’s a lot of interesting discussions that can come out of reading it, as long as you have a good grounding in how Georgism works. Here, I will attempt such a discussion.
To do this, I shall attempt to summarise Rothbard’s writings before pointing out where his misunderstanding of where land value comes from leads to his complete misreading of how Georgism would work in practice.
You can read my pithy, bullet-point summary of Rothbard’s text, but you might as well read the original. If you’re astute, you’ll notice a couple of times, Rothbard contradicts himself (For example – Do Georgists want to tax rents at 100%? According to Rothbard: Yes AND No.), but it can be useful to examine his arguments even when he does so.
I’ve split the discussion up into categories to try and consolidate thoughts that are connected.