I. EDITOR'S NOTES: Report from the Eco-Drudge
Millennial Madness Grips the City
II. ACTION: Recent and Upcoming Events
RUSSIAN MEDIA BLITZ AGAINST GEOIST POLITICAL BLOC
VENEZUELANS VOTE "YES" FOR CHAVEZ CONSTITUTION
BRAZIL'S LANDLESS PEASANTS' MOVEMENT
LAND FOR PEACE DEAL: JUBILEE
SEATTLE PROTEST CONTINUES; SQUATTERS SAY RENT IS THEFT
ANTI-BIOPIRACY PETITION ONLINE
RENT RISE AN IMPORTANT ISSUE IN CALIFORNIA MAYORAL RACE
A "FAT" TAX?
III. WORD: Updates from the Info-War Front
NEWS-WATCH: REPORTS ON FAKE MAINSTREAM NEWS
WATCH-WATCH: REPORTS ON FAKE ALTERNATIVE NEWS
GEO-WATCH: GEORGIST MEDIA UPDATES
IV. NETWORK: Outreach Tools and Opportunities
V. OTHER NOTES: Comments, Corrections and Personal Notes
End of the Affair?
The failure of the Seattle World Trade Organization meeting to advance trade negotiations could be part of a rising trend against western financial imperialism. Last year, a treaty expected to make the resource and people of poor nations more available to international ownership and allocation, the MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment), was prevented by Internet circulation of secret treaty details. With the details public, trade representatives could not sell out their national interests.
Technology growth throughout the 20th century has wrought a high degree of US world domination. The destructive influences associated with that progress, however, have been sufficient to engender deep anti-American sentiment with people of every nation on Earth, including America.
Unaware of the true reason for deprivation, it is understandable that people increasingly blame progress itself, which America represents, for poverty and all its many grotesque effects in the lives of individuals worldwide. It would even be difficult to say many people around the world have no good reason to hope the fall of American civilization is at hand.
The westernization of Earth may be nowhere more apparent than in global acceptance of hoopla surrounding the Millennium. The Y2K computer glitch has been very helpful in this, but even that is just another result of America's global economic domination.
This is probably the biggest reason, in fact, for fear of January 1, 2000: along with the power of leadership comes responsibility and Americans are less than satisfied, looking around the world today, with many of the effects of Earth's Americanization.
Even though the Millennium is a Christian culture-specific celebration, it is being shared by many nations around the world. The Chinese and Iranians aren't Christians, but the Millennium will be noted in Asia and the Mideast. Judaism has a different calendar, too, but it's assured that in Israel, where Christianity began, most of the world will be celebrating and the guest of honor is "the west," especially America. (Here's an interesting explanation of Christian-style millennialism from a Jewish perspective: http://www.outreachjudaism.org/year2000.html See also Sec. II, ISRAEL & JUBILEE, below.)
As I write, American agents have begun detaining people here and around the world suspected of planning attacks against the US timed with the Millennium. The federal government has issued warnings to US citizens everywhere not to attend mass gatherings to celebrate the Millennium, though they definitely will.
Considering the attention that naturally draws to a celebration that tends to cross borders, it could become clear to more Georgists why it is unacceptable to the aristocracy for Earth Day to be celebrated on the first day of Spring - the communal interest in land would become common knowledge all over the world, for every culture and nation on Earth marks the Vernal Equinox at the exact same moment.
No conspiracy is required for there to be a backlash against America or to bring down American civilization, but there must be some out there somewhere. There is no substitute, even temporarily, for a natural form of society. Without it, progress, which cannot be stopped, will eventually result in sufficient poverty to force our civilization down like Rome, European monarchies and every other land speculation-based society. Given the reach and control it now exercises, civilization's collapse could even damage Earth's ability to sustain humanity.
Civilizations, like many organisms (maybe all), is ruled by time, which forces evolution of either one kind or another, to either transform or die. Thus, as time goes by, the relationship between nature and society is increasingly critical and by now, most people are open to the physiocratic paradigm, it just isn't available. Making it available is, apparently, what we're going to have to do.
Adam J. Monroe, Jr.
Senior Editor, The Georgist News 212-787-5256
18 December RUSSIA TURNS SOUTH
MOSCOW, RUSSIA (GNS/Adam Monroe) - Boris Yeltsin's administration is now being accused of actually planting the bombs in Russian cities media companies there were blaming on Chechen terrorists. The vicious bombings are the grounds for Russia's current war in Chechnya. The Chechen war has distracted public attention from charges of major government corruption. Western media is ignoring the story.
The latest meeting of the G-8 (the 7 largest economies on the globe, plus Russia) focused on Russia, Chechnya and exactly what does the Kremlin think it's doing? The Russian representative walked out on the talks.
Russian media companies remain loyal to the Kremlin and, leading up to yesterday's elections for the Duma, have been circulating scandalous rumors constantly about Yeltsin's most popular opponents, geoist pols Yuri Luzhkov and Yevgeny Primakov.
Meanwhile, a brand new political party, paid for by the Kremlin, but sold to the public as independent, is gaining popularity. It is called "Unity" and features expensive TV commercials and "war heroes." As expected, yesterday's Duma elections went badly for the Primakov-Luzhkov coalition, the "Fatherland-All Russia Party" (Yeltsin's only serious competition). The term "propaganda" and the phrase "return to the Cold War" are being used in a few courageous news analyses about Russia.
Religious persecution, especially against Jews, has been rumored to be on the rise in Russia and the Yeltsin administration's power over the Russian media is like iron. Russian democracy's decay has been shocking western media agents for some time. Many American journalists have been under-reporting such things, though, possibly to save the current US administration from embarrassment over having invested so much of America's clout and money in Yeltsin's administration.
Now though, with growing belief that the Kremlin is responsible for the urban bombings that Russian newspapers have been blaming on Chechen seperatists, Boris Yeltsin's administration seems prepared to break every rule necessary in order to retain regional control. This may be worrying international financiers who have loaned billions of dollars to Russian banks. If Russia contracts further, the entire world may, once again, begin to live in a realistic fear of chaos and nuclear radiation.
To respond, Primakov has declared early that he will run for the Russian presidency next year, citing the need to root out corruption in Russian government. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is, as yet, still thought popular enough to remain Mayor of Moscow, but is no longer thought Russia's most likely next president. Luzhkov, has declared that now, "there is no democracy in Russia," and says there might be little open opposition to Kremlin policies in Russia anymore.
This seems a terrible setback for the Georgist Movement in Russia. Luzhkov, Primakov and their advisors have demonstrated understanding of Georgist economic theory and would probably have made use of this wisdom if allowed to assume national leadership as expected prior to the latest Yeltsin media muscling.
The following are translated excerpts from a book published earlier this year and edited by Primakov advisor, the Russian Science Academy, Dmitry Lvov, "A Way to the 21st Century: Strategic Problems & Prospects of Russian Economy."
"For a long time it has been well known that the public face of any country, and its political system, is determined by the character of use of land. Private property for land remains a sacred cow in the minds of western societies. The arguments of the ideological supporters of this idea are not able to deny the most important thing. Land in private ownership is a permanent source of getting additional income (above labour and entrepreneurship). The owner of land, in fact, gets unlimited right to privatise what never belonged to him, that which is a heritage of society as a whole. "
"Our point was that the only correct decision was to abolish all forms of taxation of labour, especially payrolls, and of a tax which is closely interconnected with this fund of wages and this is VAT [Value Added Tax]. This would reduce considerably the costs of production, and what is even more important create additional incentives to increase the number of jobs and reduce unemployment."
"More than two-thirds of income from the use of national wealth is the rent of natural resources of the country. This reality was well understood by our financial oligarchs. That is why we have had the unprecedented privatisation of this revenue."
"The rental income of Russia was more than enough to cover all the basic needs of the country for its defence, the transformation of industries, science, education, culture and health-care. In fact, it was quite possible in principle not to tax labour and capital at all, abolish VAT and abolish payroll payments into pension funds, and exclude the majority of citizens from income tax. This would result in lower costs of domestic production and higher competitiveness in world markets. Abolishing traditional taxes would improve the investment climate in the country and create serious incentives for foreign investors and attract a flow of currency into the country."
"Adoption of a mainly rental system of tax collection has not only economic but social advantages as well. Transfer of the main burden of taxation on to the natural resource potential of the country would make it possible to organise financial transfers between profitable and non-profitable but socially important sectors of the economy, between rich and poor regions and to provide considerable social support for those layers of the population who are desperate for it."
[Source: The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
149 Madison Ave., Ste 601, New York, NY 10016
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16 December 1999 VENEZUELA VOTES "YES" FOR GEOIST? CONSTITUTION
CARACAS, VENEZUELA (GNS/Adam Monroe) -- With a large voter turnout (despite rain so torrential as to kill hundreds of people) and over 80% of votes counted, the people of Venezuela strongly approved a new national constitution Wednesday (12/15) which might give them the most geoist economy on Earth.
Hugo Chavez, the popular new (and the first indigenous) president of Venezuela, has offered the new constitution, saying it is essential for the rebirth of the Venezuelan economy. Reports from most news sources have been sketchy about details on the new constitution, but say it enshrines state ownership of the oil industry. Some quoted Chavez repeatedly on the subject of land ownership as the right of every worker.
[The new constitution is currently available in Spanish linked from the story about the Caracas Stock Exchange at: http://www.vheadline.com/ (I'll report on Georgist analysts' comments in the next issue.) - AJM]
Business journalists say capital flight is occurring due to fears of Chavez's communist ties. It also seems possible investors are becoming more aware of credibility in Chavez's anti-corruption promises or a potential decentralization of land ownership since that would raise Venezuelan wages.
Venezuela is the third largest oil exporter in the world, but only the fourth largest economy in Latin America. Chavez, during a visit to Alaska, expressed great interest in the citizens' dividend paid from state oil sales. Chavez promises that the territorial claims of indigenous peoples will be recognized and protected by the new constitution. He has also been quoted as follows on the subject of land:
"Those that have land must put it into production."
"If they are not producing, either a rural property tax will be applied, or they will have to sell it or we will have to carry out self-managed agricultural cooperatives."
Article 307 of the new charter states that idle lands could be taxed and that "peasants and other agricultural producers have the right to land ownership.''
Chavez is said to quote 18th century philosophers and to be an ardent admirer of Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), Venezuela's great founding father, who liberated serfs from Spanish aristocracy. The new constitution even changes the official name of the country from The Republic of Venezuela to The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Hector Sandler, Georgists' man in Argentina, explains that Bolivar, along
with Argentina's famous freedom fighter, Jose de San Martin (1787-1850), was
aware of and promoted physiocracy. Sandler has an extensive Georgist Web site
in Spanish: http://www.servicenet.com.ar/esalom/sandler.htm
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17 December 1999 RSF OFFERS HELP TO HUGO CHAVEZ
Ted Gwartney, Executive Director of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, says the organization would assist the Chavez administration in the application of physiocratic tax reform with modern assessment tools like GIS (Geographic Information Systems). Gwartney has issued a call to establish contact with Chavez, that RSF might assess his understanding of or interest in land tax technology and philosophy.
Physiocratic tax reform would allow Venezuelan cities to thrive while allowing peasants to farm and trade free of any restrictions, rents or taxes.
Chavez hosts a live radio show in Caracas every Sunday and answers questions
from telephone callers. Georgists around the world are on the edge of their
seat to learn whether Chavez truly understands and intends to implement
Georgist land reform for the people of Venezuela or if he is only using
Georgist rhetoric to maintain popularity.
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17 December LANDLESS PEASANT'S MOVEMENT IN BRAZIL
Since the Land Law of 1850, Brazil, by far the largest country in South America, has had a major problem with landlessness. To this day, Brazil's landless wage a zombie-like war with the bank-friendly government. According to recent reports, though, they are becoming more organized in the form of the "Landless Peasants Movement." This Web site has a lot of historical data leading up to today with regard to land reform in Brazil: http://www.christusrex.org/www2/mst/ Georgists will probably find this site very interesting.
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16 December 1999 ISRAEL & SYRIA: "LAND IS STILL IMPORTANT"
Treated by some news analysts as the most important peace talks our generation will probably ever witness, negotiations between Syria and Israel have begun, regarding a "land for peace" deal. Syria would regain possession of the Golan Heights, an area they lost in war 30 years ago. Israel would retain water rights.
Apparently, land is not becoming less important to our modern economy as so
many self-styled experts purport. With every new competing form of labor, the
utility of life and, thus, the power bestowed by access to land expands - it
does not contract. Ancient, ominous and eternally irreconcilable differences
between generations of sworn enemies could, indeed, vanish simply because
people discover better things to do. Many people are praying they will.
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WWW.GOLANHEIGHTS.COM NOT PART OF MIDEAST PEACE DEAL
Anti-Georgist and non-Georgist economists have declared land value taxation "old-fashioned," because of the Internet, but, in fact, there are no Internet domain names on the bargaining table between Israel and Syria (not even www.golanheights.com). Economists suppose the designs of entrepreneurs, but every entrepreneur either knows or learns this rule: location, location, location.
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Jubilee is a word being used a lot more in recent years as many nations find themselves in debt they cannot repay and as concern grows over collapse of the global debt system. In effect, the person at the Monopoly board who has wiped everyone out, it is said, must forgive some debt in order to keep the game going.
Jubilee 2000: http://www.jubilee2000uk.org/
Jubilee 2000 and other debt-dropping advocates are not suggesting any way for poor nations to prevent the re-accumulation of debt, however. Nor are they explaining why the world is in debt to international bankers, which is this: loans are given for the accumulation of land since, over time, it tends to rise in value. Then, however, as the cost of land goes up, local people lose the ability to produce wealth with it. The result is that the populations of such nations become, in effect, serfs on land owned by international finaciers. Small farmers in America will recognize this situation.
The truth about the meaning of Jubilee is this: it is the foundation of economic law in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Judaic and Christian Bibles. The law is based upon the concept that God, not landowners, is the ultimate landlord.
The effect of a real move toward a Jubilee economic system would naturally decentralize the ownership of land. Many organizations are calling for the forgiveness of some third world debt under the auspices of a spirit of Jubilee. This is not completely inappropriate precisely because most of the debt has been incurred through loans intended for use in land speculation, but Georgists are still the only people calling for systemic decentralization of land ownership.
Unfortunately, as Michael Hudson explains in "Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land," a February article for Bible Review, "of all the major biblical laws" the Jubilee was "the first to be cast aside."
Hudson has also co-written two books with famed Hebrew philospher, Baruch
Levine, called "Privatization in the Ancient Near East and Classical World"
and "Urbanization and Land Ownership in the Ancient Near East," which are
available through Georgist publishing company, the Robert Schalkenbach
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14 December 1999 PROGRESS AMONG PROGRESSIVES?
The WTO meeting in Seattle earlier this month is helping cultivate a renewal of 1960s-like anti-establishment activism in the US. Interest in environmentalism and in helping the billions of starving, poor and struggling people around the world has aroused growing interest in international property and trade rules.
Meanwhile, staunch freedom-minded folk are thrilled at the success protesters had in fending off the global centralization of authority WTO arrangements represent. Public discussion may be sparking recognition of the physocratic paradigm among open-minded investigators of the issues surrounding international trade and finance arrangements.
According to Associated Press, anti-WTO activists currently retain occupation
of a Seattle building they moved into as part of the protest. A sign in one
of the windows says "Rent is Theft."
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The WTO's TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) are a matter of genuine interest to Georgists since corporate privilege is thereby allowed ownership of agricultural and medicinal knowledge of indigenous peoples. In this way, as with land speculation, the means of subsistence, no longer free, are ransomed for the highest price people can afford, enslaving societies that have lived well for centuries prior.
A petition against bio-piracy is currently online at: http://www.gene-watch.org/
[Lots more interesting sites about the WTO and related issues are available
through links in Sec. III, below, WATCH-WATCH.]
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15 December 1999 RENT AN ISSUE IN SAN FRANCISCO MAYORAL RACE
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (GNS) -- Michael Warren, reporting for Associated Press, quoted San Francisco Mayoral candidate Tom Ammiano as saying that, if elected, he "would declare war on any and all gentrification."
In San Francisco, rents have been rising so fast, anti-gentrification terrorism has been threatened there. The growth of the computer business, which is based in the area, AKA Silicon Valley, has raised local wages enough that the average price of a new home there is 3 times the US national average.
The run-off election between Ammiano and former SF Mayor Willie Brown was
held yesterday. Brown, viewed as less radically liberal and who outspent
Ammiano 10 to 1, won the election handily. Despite what some prominent
economists conclude, land retains its importance in a modern economy and the
Internet is definitely no replacement for land.
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The American Obesity Association suggests a "twinkie tax." The fat tax proposal is this would discourage obesity while providing funds to help America's obese population. "Incentive taxation," the concept that society is manipulated by the incentives and disincentives of tax systems, is very mainstream, but still, many academics insist there should be no consideration of the social effects of economic reform proposals.
NEWS-WATCH: Public Watchdog On the Take?
This week's issues of two widely read American news magazines, "US News and World Report" and "Newsweek," feature cover stories sympathizing with people who are working harder and longer, rather than the reverse as they had expected.
All week CNN (Cable News Network) has run a series called "The New Economy: Boom Without End?"
None contain any explanation of or reference to the ever-rising cost of land
or banks' overwhelming dependence on land price inflation.
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American news reports last week were popularizing statistics and conclusions from a government study of homelessness in America that include this one: "39% of homeless people show signs of being mentally ill." Another statistic for public consumption is that many homeless people are substance abusers. I can't imagine why. Here is the report: http://www.huduser.org/
Neither the government report nor the fake news is mentioning that most homeless people with mental illnesses were homeless first. Poverty ruins a person's diet; several weeks without sufficient amounts of certain minerals and vitamins does permanent damage to the brain.
Substance abuse and mental illness are being blamed for poverty, but that
just isn't the way things work.
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WATCH-WATCH: Exposing Fake Alternative News
Supposed advocates of "free trade" are being held accountable by a few sincere leftist journalists, for defending international trade groups, since they actually regulate rather than liberalizing trade. Such references, unfortunately, are still rare.
The following news notices were sent out earlier this month by people from
Such fierce defence of international trade and finance groups is rightfully drawing suspicion from many folks, even within their ranks, since groups like the WTO actually standardize and regulate economic policies. In addition, there is a decided bent among journalists supposed to be defending freedom, toward deriding Seattle protesters and toward painting all critics of the WTO as communists.
News briefs from: http://www.free-market.net:
-> WTO: We're talking online Country: United States
With rioting dominating the headlines, anybody looking for the anti-WTO protesters largely statist arguments needs to look online. (12/3/99) URL: http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,32844,00.html
-> Amid tear gas, all globalization's foes emerge State: WA, Country:
The anti-World Trade Organization protesters in Seattle are a mixed bag of mostly pro-big-government types working from idealism, self-interest, and confusion. (12/3/99) URL: http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/1999/12/03/p1s2.htm
-> The Battle of Seattle - fighting the globalist monster Author:
State: WA, Country: United States
Many of the protesters in Seattle are opposed to what they see as the adoption of governmental powers by the World Trade Organization. (12/3/99) URL: http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j120399.html
-> Politically Incorrect Editorial Author: Lindsay Perigo Country:
"Seldom have so many of the dregs of humanity been concentrated in one location at once. Squillions of Socialists in Seattle!" (12/2/99) URL: http://www.freeradical.co.nz/content/pishow/pi991202.html
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GEO-WATCH: Georgist Media News
FREE TRADE VS. TRADE ORGANIZATION
Last month's poll at the Banneker Center for Economic Justice, on free trade and the WTO, suggests free trade advocates are definitely not necessarily WTO advocates: http://www.progress.org/banneker/sur48res.html
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GEORGISTS ON WORLD TRADE
A policy paper about trade is now on the front page at: http://www.henrygeorge.org/
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GEORGIST PHILOSOPHY ON THE INTERNET
Pat Aller's highly recommended paper from last summer's Georgist Education Conference, "The Georgist Philosophy in Culture and History" is now on the Internet, complete with illustrations and annotations, at: http://www.henrygeorge.org/arden.htm
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ONLINE HISTORY OF THE GEORGIST MOVEMENT
Edward Dodson, who keeps a massive Georgist Internet reference library, The School of Cooperative Individualism, is now working on a history of the Georgist Movement from George's day to the present.
He asks that Georgists write in with any information they would like added to this new database, which will surely be of great utility to Georgists around the world.
Edward Dodson: firstname.lastname@example.org
School of Cooperative Individualism: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/5148/
News, education and information are the most widely sold products in the world. Georgists should know better than anyone what all those people are looking for. Thus, the Internet seems to have been made just for us and what we need to do. Here's a place you can learn some fancy tricks to help more people find your Web site: http://websearch.about.com/
Do you have news for Georgists? Reply to this report or send email to GeorgistNews@aol.com. Thank you to the following Web sites for linking to the Georgist News Web site, http://www.georgist.com/gn and to: http://www.progress.org
Tax Reform Australia: http://www.taxreform.com.au
EarthSharing Home Page: http://www.earthsharing.org.au
Institute for Economic Democracy: http://www.slonet.org/~ied
Georgist Educational Association: http://www.multiline.com.au/~georgist
Social Justice & Economic Freedom Web site: http://http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm
The Georgist News is very grateful for support from (my heroes)
The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation: http://http://www.progress.org/books/
149 Madison Ave., Suite 601, New York, NY 10016 - 6713
212-683-6424 Fax: 212-683-6454 email@example.com