The Simplified Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith, Book 5, Chapter 2b: Rent and sale of government lands

Chapter 2b: Rent and sale of government lands

14Land is a fund more naturally stable and permanent.15 War and the preparation for war create most of the expence of all great modern states. 16 In the ancient European monarchies, the manners and customs of the times sufficiently prepared the people for war. 17 In the present state of most civilized European monarchies, the rent of all the lands in the country, managed as if they all belonged to one proprietor, would scarce perhaps amount to the ordinary revenue which they levy on the people even in peacetime. 18The revenue which the people derive from land is in proportion to the produce of the land, not to the rent.19 Presently, no civilized European state derives most of its public revenue from the rent of state lands. 20 The crown's revenue from the crown lands appears to cost nothing to individuals. 21 Lands for pleasure and magnificence such as parks, gardens, public walks, etc. are everywhere causes of expence, not as revenue sources. 22 Public stock and public lands are the two revenue sources belonging to the sovereign.

Next: Chapter 2c: Taxation maxims