It seems a hard thing for many to understand how the single tax, as applied at Fairhope or elsewhere, can benefit both those who have little and those who have much. They think that if the tax burden upon the wealthy man's fine improvement is decreased, it must be at the expense of his poorer neighbor; or on the other hand, if the poor man's burden is lightened, it must be because it is shifted to the well-to-do. The fact is that the wealthy man whose wealth is genuine wealth, houses, stores, stocks (of goods) and other things which are the product of labor — not the possessor of monopoly privileges — will be benefited by the freeing from taxation of these forms of wealth, and the poor man will be benefited by the exemption of his smaller improvement if he be a home-owner, and if he be not, by the destruction of land speculation, making it easy for him to secure land for a home or for cultivation, and by an increased demand for his labor from others and the increased ability of others to buy his products if he be a producer.
"But somebody must be hurt by your policy. You can't benefit everybody, the beneficiaries of the present system as well as its victims," will say the skeptic. To which we say: There is plenty of room for the argument as to whether the enthronement of Justice ever did or can hurt anybody; but so far as the colony is concerned, there are no beneficiaries of injustice. No one has ever been given the privilege of collecting tribute in the form of unearned land values, and the wealthy and the poor are alike benefited by the taking for public use of that which belongs and has been held from the beginning to belong to the public, but elsewhere is made the privilege of a favored few.
Outside the colony the application of the single tax to present conditions would take somebody's privileges and profits, and it will be those who are "reaping where they have not sown" in the collection of land values rightly belonging to the public for the two highest reasons: first, because their collection for the common benefit is necessary to insure to each his inherent right to live upon the earth; and second, because such values are the result of their joint presence and activity, and not traceable to individual exertions.