"I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree is a politic measure, and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on. If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be furnished to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not the fundamental right to labour the earth returns to the unemployed." Thomas Jefferson - Letter to James Madison (Oct. 28, 1785) / My Emphasis / HT:ExiledOnline.comSome highlights:
- Cites the disproportionate dispensation of property as the cause of misery
- Government would do well to increasingly "subdivide property" or break up this accumulation of property
- Supports progressive taxation
- Property rights "violate natural right" when it acts as a barrier between the working class and resources (a.k.a. capital)
- Earth is "common stock"
- Labor is a fundamental right