I. EDITOR'S NOTE: Georgists Reach Spanish-Speakers
II. ACTION: Recent and Upcoming Events
GEORGIST SEEDS GROWING IN THE AMERICAS:
Georgists Address International Green Conference in Mexico;
Venezuela's New (1st Indigenous) President Talks "Land Rights";
Nicaraguan Educator Finding Audience for the Georgist Word;
New Georgist Group Developing in Argentina.
GEORGIST RUNS FOR US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
HENRY GEORGE INSTITUTE JOINS SUIT AGAINST LINCOLN.
MILESTONE VICTORY IN PENNSYLVANIA: Our First Borough!
PENNSYLVANIA ENVIRONMENTALISTS HEAR ABOUT LAND TAX.
III. WORD: Updates from the Info-War Front
CNN STOCK MARKET ANALYSIS IS A MYSTERY.
NEWSPEAK UPDATE: Beware the "Rent-Seekers."
ORWELL'S "ANIMAL FARM" REMADE; WORTH WATCHING.
IV. NETWORK: New Tools and Outreach Opportunities
HELP FOR HUNGER; LIBERTARIAN CHAT GUIDE
V. COMMENTS AND PERSONAL NOTES
CORRECTION: UN Habitat Agenda
THE GEORGIST SHOPPING NETWORK
DEATH OF HENRY GEORGE REMEMBERED
I'm sorry this issue is late. I'll try to make it up to you with Georgist news. There's way too much happening to squeeze it all into one issue, however (and I'm trying to shrink them anyway), so expect some catch-up reports.
There has been increasing effort over the past year to make more Georgist educational materials available to Spanish-speakers. I've noticed that Jeff Smith and Lindy Davies have helped with this. The Spanish-speaking world is becoming electronic at a faster rate than anyone except Americans. This and other developments enable greater, faster and better communication between more English-speakers and more non-English-speakers than ever before in history.
Bob Clancy, the late Georgist "great," enlightened thousands through his Spanish translations of Georgist curriculum. The Henry George School in New York and other places have classes for Spanish-speaking people all year. Now, though, Georgists hope to find those magic beans producing sky-high beanstalks in the fertile fields of Central and South America. And from this issue's reports, it seems their hope may not be unfounded. Enjoy.
Adam Jon Monroe, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org
20 October 1999 (GNS/Alanna Hartzok) - Among presenters at Milenio Verde (Green Millennium) in Oaxaca, Mexico last month were Geonomy Society President Jeff Smith and Alanna Hartzok, the UN NGO Representative for the International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade. It was attended by nearly 300 Green Party activists from 5 continents and 30 countries. Speeches were simultaneously translated into French, Spanish and English.
Georgists are grateful to Anne Goeke who arranged for Smith and Hartzok to present our ideas. Goeke is an important leader among US and International Green Parties and was part of the GP ticket in the last US presidential election.
Green Parties in some countries, like Scotland and Wales, actually do base much of their platform upon land value taxation, but, as yet, most of the world's environmental movement is unaware how easily a nation might establish the proper relationship between nature and civilization. Georgists' contribution to Milenio Verde seems likely to promote understanding of the land tax shift among environmental leaders.
For the panel on "Urban and Rural Development," Alanna presented an overview and details of green tax shifting and explained how the two-rate shift is working in Pennsylvania. Jeff Smith presented a panel on "Sustainability" in which he outlined the basics of geonomics and the citizens' dividend. After each, say our emissaries, many people acknowledged to them the importance of our perspective. Several African and Mexican conferees expressed particular interest in land value taxation.
Hundreds of copies of Spanish language articles by Henry George and other related materials were distributed. Nearly all of the geo-team's supply was gone by the end of the first morning's session though. Luckily, specially prepared packets had been set aside for key leaders.
On an outing Friday with Green Party members, Jeff and Hartzok visited with and composed a letter for an elected official from a state near Mexico City. She intends to use it in making an official request for a land value taxation study in her city.
Reaction to the physiocratic paradigm at Milenio Verde may even help persuade America's GP leaders to focus more on the land question. Hartzok was asked by officers of the USA Green Party to submit LVT/Green Tax materials for Ralph Nader's 2000 campaign platform.
On the last day, a journalist covering the conference told Smith and Hartzok that geoism was one of the most important perspectives he had heard about at the conference. Some of it may have gotten through to others via local press reports. Front page news stories about the conference were in several Oaxacan newspapers on a daily basis throughout. Newspapers in Mexico City also ran stories.
English-speaking press agents, however, were completely ignorant of the event
and US environmental groups have been complicit in that ignorance. The
Federation of Green Parties of the Americas and the Ecologist Parties of
Africa, serious international political organizations, cosponsored it, but
neither mainstream nor environmental news organizations reported on the
conference. Here are a few environmental news organizations which had nothing
to report on Milenio Verde: http://www.enn.com/Environmental News Network
[Sources: Alanna Hartzok, email@example.com / Common Ground-USA:
- - -
VENEZUELA'S NEW PRESIDENT MAKES GEORGIST GESTURE
10 October 1999 (GNS) - Don Hunter reported today (10/10) for the Anchorage Daily News that the new president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is thinking of establishing a citizens' dividend for Venezuelans like the one Alaskans enjoy, from state oil revenues.
En route to China on a major trade mission with a large entourage of Venezuela's business and political leaders, Chavez made a refueling stop in Anchorage and conducted a quick conference on Alaska's "Permanent Fund."
According to Jane Angvik, a former Alaskan official with ties to Venezuela, "Chavez is interested in finding ways to use Venezuela's oil resources to improve the standard of living for his people." Venezuela's first indigenous President, he complained that 80% of his population lives in poverty.
Perry Eaton, considered an expert on indigenous issues in Alaska, called the oil dividend "reverse taxation," explaining to Chavez that it "puts money directly into the hands of the people. ... It's terribly significant in allowing people to maintain their identity, at home, with the land."
The following statements by Chavez which were quoted in Hunter's article:
"We're here because we are changing our entire constitution, ... We are establishing new indigenous rights, and we're discussing land rights." Don Hunter's item for Anchorage Daily News is online at http://www.adn.com/stories/T99101015.html
For more info about the Citizens' Dividend idea, go to: http://www.progress.org/dividend/index.shtml
[Sources: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com/ Newsfeed at http://www.progress.org/http://www.progress.org ]
- - -
NEWLY GEORGIST EDUCATOR FINDS MINDS OPEN IN NICARAGUA
15 October 1999 (GNS) - Paul A. Martin, the International Director of Nicaragua Spanish Schools, has recently become very interested in teaching Georgist economic theory. He has also been doing a lot to forward that interest.
Martin has already convinced the Dean of the School of Economic Science at the Autonomous University of Nicaragua, Managua to establish a course using the Spanish translation of "Progress and Poverty" (by Henry George) as the primary text. The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation has agreed to supply the books.
Some time this month, Martin expects to be meeting with leaders of "Movimiento Comunal," which, says Martin, is Nicaragua's main civil activist network, the Sandinista remnant. He believes they might understand how physiocracy could supply the wedge they need to protect Nicaragua's poor from the effects of World Bank's restructuring plan.
Martin has high hopes Nicaraguans will recognize the beauty of and embrace
the land tax. Nicaragua Spanish Schools are online at
The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation is at: http://www.progress.org/books
- - -
GEORGIST NUMBERS GROW IN ARGENTINA
29 September 1999 (GNS) - Last weekend, New York Georgists received a visit from a civil engineer and Georgist educator from Buenos Aires, Argentina named Saul Martinez. On his way to Washington, DC, he stopped off to see the sights, meet a few people and acquire a book from the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.
He says there are 30-40 regular attendees of a Georgist meeting group Martinez helps organize in Buenos Aires called Fundacion Radical de Estudios Socioeconomicos (Foundation for the Study of Radical Political Economy). He, like Martin in Nicaragua, believes the logic of the single tax will allow it widespread acceptance among others in his country.
Martinez was very excited to purchase "The Losses of Nations." For a copy,
contact: The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation http://www.progress.org/books
149 Madison Ave., Suite 601, New York, NY 10016 - 6713
212-683-6424 Fax: 212-683-6454 firstname.lastname@example.org
- - -
Hector Sandler has a Web site with Georgist material in Spanish at http://www.servicenet.com.ar/esalom/sandler.htm
Also, the Henry George Institute has Georgist curriculum in Spanish on the Internet at http://www.henrygeorge.org/
- - - - - - - - - - - -
POPULAR GEORGIST JOURNALIST RUNS FOR US LEGISLATURE
22 September 1999 (GNS) - Dr. Fred Foldvary, a respected Georgist academic and journalist, intends to run for California's 9th Congressional District Seat (Oakland) in the US House of Representatives.
Foldvary seeks the nomination of his local Libertarian Party. His campaign's first hurdle is to fill a petition, prior to Nov. 29, with the signatures of at least 150 eligible voters in his district registered as Libertarians. He is receiving some help from local libertarian contacts, mostly students at the University of California at Berkeley.
Fred Foldvary is a professor of Global Economy at JFK University in California and Senior Editor of Georgists' favorite online periodical, The Progress Report. Recently, he wrote (single handed) "The Dictionary of Free-Market Economics" for Edward Elgar Publishing, which Georgists (and others seeking understandable and scientific definitions for modern economic terms) are finding very useful.
The Progress Report: http://www.progress.org/
Fred Foldvary's personal Web site: http://geo.to/foldvary/
- - -
LIBERCRATS & DEMOTARIANS
15 October 1999 (DFC News) - Last weekend (10/30-31), activists from the geo-leaning DFC (Democratic Freedom Caucus) had a booth at the State Convention of the Maryland Democratic Party. Hanno Beck (creator of the popular cyberzine "Progress Report") and DFC National Director Mike O'Mara were there, in Upper Marlboro, Maryland at the "Show Place Arena," dispensing text and wisdom for attendees. Some Georgists feel liberals tend to be more open-minded than conservatives and that Democrats could return to Classical Liberalism if enough of them knew about it.
[Sources: Mike O'Mara, email@example.com / DFC Discussion List,
- - - - - - - - - - - -
HENRY GEORGE INSTITUTE JOINS LAWSUIT AGAINST LINCOLN FOUNDATION
According to the latest issue of The Georgist Journal (which they publish), The Henry George Institute is joining many other Georgist organizations (including the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation) in a formal legal complaint against The Lincoln Foundation and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
Initially, HGI had simply issued a formal letter of support for those decrying the rather clear LF/LILP attempts to rollback and discourage consideration of the Georgist perspective among the public and public servants. After further consideration, HGI has decided the letter of support is insufficient to register HGI members' outrage over what Lincoln is doing. Now, HGI's full weight is with the plaintiffs, confident Lincoln truly is, has been and intends to continue misguiding the public and violating their charter, which directs it to promote Georgist theory.
[Source: The Georgist Journal (Fall 1999) from The Henry George Institute,
- - -
Reports from Georgists in Europe indicate some of the people working under grants from the Lincoln Foundation there are promoting, instead of attempting to obscure the benefits of economic reform based on the Georgist perspective.
Some Georgists describe this as Lincoln's "schizophrenia." Some say honest grant-recipients of the Lincoln Foundation must have fallen through the cracks and some say Lincoln might be trying to hedge their bets in lieu of the lawsuit against them.
People who are curious as to whether Lincoln is really trying to obscure the
benefits of Georgist reform might want to peruse their Web site,
- - - - - - - - - - - -
"QUIET REVOLUTION" GETS A LITTLE LOUDER
29 October 1999 (GNS/Josh Vincent) - Pennsylvania definitely lives up to its motto as "The Keystone State" as far as US Georgists are concerned. Since 1913, Pittsburgh has had a far more physiocratic property tax system than any major city in America. It has worked so well, that in 1986, while most industrial cities such as Cleveland and Detroit were still floundering from the 1970s' loss of the US steel monopoly, Pittsburgh was named America's #1 most livable city in a study by Rand-McNally. And over the past two decades, a growing number of larger cities (excluding Philly) have jumped on the bandwagon. There are now almost 20 Pa. taxing jurisdictions currently in the process of shifting taxes off of homes and businesses and onto land speculation.
Last year, around Thanksgiving appropriately, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge signed into law a bill (that had passed all but unanimously by the entire Pennsylvania Legislature) that dramatically expands the number of taxing jurisdictions allowed to shift property tax rates from structures to land. Now not only large cities, but smaller municipalities, known as "boroughs" are able to enact Georgist tax shifting.
Classical economic theory is making a comeback in Pennsylvania; the "Whiskey Tax Rebellion" may not be over after all; the oldest tax reform in the book is winning converts faster than any other tax reform proposal in the US; a quiet revolution from the heart of America may unseat global financiers; yet, press reports about any of this are extremely rare.
Ebensburg has become the first borough of the Pennsylvania Enlightenment. Nearly three months ahead of the FY2000 budget deadline, Ebensburg's council passed the adoption resolution unanimously (1 absent). Mayor Charlie Moyer is "tickled pink" according to a favorable article (9/29) from the "Mountaineer-Herald," a local paper.
Ebensburg is the county seat of Cambria County, north of Johnstown. Local debate started in July and ended with a public meeting on Monday, the 27th, when they took the plunge.
Significantly, their tax bills are prepared by Infocon Corp., a big company that does municipal finances; Infocon dismissed the slight extra work involved as trivial. "Blessed be" for that, says local Georgist activist Josh Vincent. Infocon's attitude and diminutive charges for the alteration will set a good precedent - there are hundreds more Boroughs in Pennsylvania.
Steve Cord, Josh Vincent, Dan Sullivan, Alanna Hartzok (see below) and many
others must share credit for such a milestone victory.
- - -
PENNSYLVANIA ENVIRONMENTAL CONGRESS HEARS ABOUT LAND TAX
27 October 1999 (GNS) - The 6th Annual Meeting of Pennsylvania's Environmental Congress last weekend (10/23-24) helped promote Georgist economic theory. Early Sunday afternoon, Alanna Hartzok, in her capacity as State Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Fair Tax Coalition, gave a presentation on the sprawl-reversing effects of shifting property tax rates from structures to land value.
The event brochure described her talk as follows:
Curbing Sprawl Via Local Tax Reform - Presenter, Alanna Hartzok, State Coordinator, PA Fair Tax Coalition. Fifteen cities in Pennsylvania are pioneering an innovative approach to local tax reform that harnesses incentives for urban revitalization efficient use of infrastructure and decreased urban sprawl. This session will detail the use of two-rate or split-rate property tax, describe its place in broadbased green tax shift agendas and tell how your town or city can implement this policy. [Source: http://www.pennfuture.org/event_camp/ev_cmp_index.html]
Continued activities by our Pennsylvania team might establish a great enough degree of momentum that mainstream news sources in the US will no longer be able to ignore our "quiet revolution."
[Sources: Josh Vincent, Director, Henry George Foundation of America:
http://www.smart.net/~hgeorge/ (The HGFA site is sporting a new look!) /
Land-Theory Discussion List: http://www.kroyer.com/ /
Alanna Hartzok: http://www.enviroweb.org/earthrights/index.html /
Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future: http://www.pennfuture.org/ ]
- - -
29 October 1999 (GNS) - Last Friday, Steve Cord, who founded the Center for the Study of Economics and has done quite a lot toward Georgist success in Pennsylvania, explained to a gathering at the New York Henry George School of Social Science how they can literally "change the world." Avoiding philosophical discussion, though, he focused on exactly who tax shift advocates must talk to and exactly what they need to ask and to say, in order to get the ball rolling right in their home town, even if that's New York City.
If you'd like such information for your area, contact the Center for the Study of Economics: http://www.smart.net/~hgeorge/
28 October 1999 - CNN reports the reason for the recent stock market correction, ... "October." Their evidence is that the 1929 and 1987 crashes were both 55 days after an all-time high valuation for the stock market, making last Tuesday's price dive a simple case of strange luck (doubtless, caused by some gypsy curse).
Some land taxers note that as part of a property tax experiment between 1919 and 1929, there were no taxes on new structures in New York City. There was, naturally, a great buildup for the first several years, but development began to decline as 1929 rolled around and, as it became clear the shift would not continue, development's prospects grew very dim very quickly. Wall Street is there. Even a connection such as this is more tangible than the mainstream explanation.
CNN and others believe the business cycle is like the seasons and, thus, inevitable. The mysteries of nature are numerous, but do not include the means of allowing ecological stability nor economic justice. "October" is not the villain, neither "fear itself." As reported in the last issue of The Georgist News, land prices have recently been leveling off more and more in the US.
An extended period of stagnation in land prices usually causes many banks to go out of business, such as with the US' savings and loan "scandal" in the 1980s (which was actually just business as usual) and Japan's big economic belly-flop. In the US, banks are less reliant on land price rises these days, but continue to depend greatly on mortgage payments.
It's becoming acceptable among some academics to use the term "rent-seeking" for investments which have the appearance of blackmail. An example is the purchase of a Web domain name like "Mcdonalds" (even though you don't own "McDonalds") for the purpose of selling it to them for a profit. Actually, it's interest-seeking, since, in economic terms, "rent" means the profit of land ownership, just like "wages" are the profit of laboring. Such investment strategies do bear resemblance to actual rent-seeking, though, in that it's debated whether any wealth is produced by the investor.
Georgists know society is not improved by paying a higher than necessary price for land. Whether or not paying a higher price for Web site domain names does something to improve society may be debatable. "Rent-seeking" is a phrase Georgists will probably see more and more, since it may help neoists* obscure the difference between land and capital. *[Neoist - Neoclassical economist; one who denies preferability of land tax; often, a paid mouthpiece of the aristocracy.]
ORWELL'S "ANIMAL FARM" REMADE; WORTH WATCHING
In case you didn't hear about this already, Ted Turner's TV Network, TNT, developed a new film version of George Orwell's "Animal Farm." A version was also made in the 1950s. I've never seen that, but the new one is worth seeing. I hope all teachers of relevant subject matter will make sure students watch it. So even if they can't read, maybe they'll, at least, learn the importance of thinking for themselves.
Apparently, at - http://www.thehungersite.org/ - The Hunger Site.org, all you have to do is click a button and a sponsor pays for some hungry person to get a meal at no cost to you. Each person is allowed one click per day, but if we spread the word, maybe some of the millions of kids dying of hunger every day on our bountiful planet will get a chance to live. Money raised goes to the United Nations' World Food Program.
[Sources: Paul F. Ramshaw / International Political Economy Discussion List.]
- - - - - - - - - - - -
LIBERTARIAN CHATS REQUIRE MODERATION
Georgists are not associated with any particular political party, though each party espouses something 'Georgist-sounding' to maintain a semblance of purpose.
Recently, Libertarians have been awakening to the necessity of equality in access to land before liberty can ever be a reality for more than a fraction of one percentile of citizens. Some call themselves "Eco-Libertarians" or "Geo-Libertarians," acknowledging the special case of Earth in a private economy.
Meanwhile, About.com, a unique Internet company which features human hosts
for hundreds of topics (including politics, economics, ecology, history and
others of geo-interest) and which Georgists have found very willing to
consider our suggestions (such as with a feature by their guide to 19th
century history, Joanne Reid, about Henry George in August), is looking for
Libertarians and Conservatives to host a chat or two. Here's their schedule:
About.com's US Politics Guide is Rowena Wall, (firstname.lastname@example.org).
CORRECTION: UN Habitat Agenda
It was reported in The Georgist News that the UN Habitat Agenda concerning land was the result of Georgists on site at the adoption of the agenda. In fact, I have learned from Alanna Hartzok that the strongly Georgist wording of the text in the UN's declaration is unsourced, but that our team lobbied to prevent its removal.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
The Georgist Shopping Network, Item #1:
For Sale: Canon L2 video camera (comes with lots of extras) used only to tape Georgist & free market subjects (no casual use). This is a prosumer (more professional grade than other consumer cameras). Reason for sale: wish to buy the L2's digital cousin the XL1. For more information, contact: Scott Walton at email@example.com
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Friday, October 29th, was the 102nd anniversary of the death of Henry George. His funeral was attended by a record number of people in a procession lasting from sunup to sundown; dignitaries and regular folk from around the world sent bales of tearful condolence; the event drew notice on a scale his generation had never before seen. Richard Watson Gilder wrote the poem below, published the following year (1898) in his collection, "In Palestine and other poems."
OF HENRY GEORGE
Who Died Fighting Against Political Tyranny and Corruption
Now is the city great! That deep-voiced bell
Tolls for a martyred hero. Such is he
Who loved her, strove for her, and nobly fell.
His fire be ours, - the passion to be free.
Enough said ... for now!
Adam Jon Monroe, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org