On September 2, take a moment to note Henry George's birthday. And congratulate yourself on being a person who works for a better world for all people.
Please send in your own reports, news, opinions, to share with other readers. Deadline for the October issue: September 20.
You can always reach the Georgist News at email@example.com
CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
by Karl Williams
There's been a promising Geoist initiative reported in Sydney's mainstream media. In contrast to the massive giveaway to landowners resulting from the infrastructure upgrades in preparation for the 2000 Olympics, the state government is now seriously considering ways to tax part of the huge surge in real estate values that flow when a new road or rail project is built.
In this city of nearly 5 million, the sprawling outer suburb of Bringelly is the proposed test area is where 30,000 home lots will become available over the next 15 years. Planners have finally seen the wisdom in what they call a betterment tax, justifying it on the basis of huge real estate windfalls in areas with new transport corridors.
The lesson for the state government has been Waterloo's Green Square, which was re-zoned as high-density residential. In the 5 years since the announcement and building of in the new airport corridor rail line there, unit prices have risen by as much as 180 per cent over these 5 years. This is courtesy of the taxpayers who shelled out US$500 million to pay for the rail line.
Developers are already required to contribute toward the cost of extending infrastructure such as water and electricity to their sites. But a value-capture tax would make them contribute part of their large capital gain to big infrastructure projects, especially in transport corridors.
Studies have indicated that developers would be required to contribute around US$33,000 a block at Bringelly. This contrasts with the US$1600-a-block levy on the Rouse Hill land release, which has been heavily criticised because of the lack of public transport.
With Australia's 5 large mainland cities sprawling further and further, it has been a perennial problem to service outer suburbs with high-speed freeways and adequate public transport. But, with the possibility of the value of tax-funded infrastructure being recycled back into the public purse instead of disappearing into the Black Hole of landowners' pockets, there is now endless scope for quality infrastructure, lower taxes and more jobs.
by Yoon-sang Kim (the Korean translator of Progress and Poverty)
The Henry George Association of Korea held the twelfth Land School, an annual Georgist summer camp, at Jesus Abbey in Taebaek, South Korea from July 31th to August 3rd. The theme of this year's Land School was Land Justice and Politics. There were nation-wide local elections in June and there will be a presidential election in December. Last years's theme had been Environment and Land Value Taxation.
There were seven lectures and presentations, four religious sessions, and hours for discussion and social activities. About two hundred people interested in Georgist movement stayed together through the four-day school, abiding by the strict dress and behavior code of the abbey. One of the lecturers was Rev. Suh Gyung-suk who is recognized as the pioneer of the civic movement in S. Korea.
The Korean Henry George association was established in 1984 under the leadership of the Rev. Archer Torrey who had built the Jesus Abbey in 1964 in Taebaek, a coal mining town in mountains, about five hours Southeast from Seoul. Rev. Torrey passed away on August 6th, which is a great loss to Korean Georgists. He introduced Land Value Taxation to S. Korea and has strongly advocated it, influencing nearly all of Korean Georgists.
The association holds, in addition to the annual Land School, regular chapter meetings, frequent education sessions, an annual leadership camp, and various campaigns including monthly picketing on the most visible street in Seoul, and nationwide signing-up on a petition for special legislation on Land Value Taxation.
GN Comments: Two hundred people attending a four-day Georgist event! This is a magnificent achievement. Clearly, we must learn more about the successful techniques of the Georgists in South Korea.
Thursday 24 October 2002
CITY HALL, Queens Walk, London, SE1
Download brochure and booking form: www.henrygeorgefoundation.org/comfleafletv2a.pdf
Bob Kiley, Transport Commissioner for London.
Sir Joe Dwyer, Chair, Liverpool Vision
David Lock, Chair Town and Country Planning Association
Charles Secrett, Director, Friends of the Earth
Susan Kramer, Former Liberal Democrat London Mayoral Candidate
Further information, visit
or contact Paul Brandon on 020 7377 8885.
GN Comments: They modestly call it "probably the best conference in town," but we know it is "certainly the best conference in town." Please try to attend, or let your friends and associates in the London region know about it.
The Extension Director is responsible for teaching three, ten-lesson courses based on the works of Henry George. He or she is responsible for recruiting, training and supervising volunteers who teach the same courses. When opportunities arise, lectures and seminars are conducted.
Classes and seminars are held at the Birthplace and several other locations in conjunction with different organizations throughout the Delaware Valley. The Extension Director must continue an effort to establish the program with new organizations, replacing those, which from time to time drop out.
The Extension Director must have a driver's license and a car in relatively dependable condition. He or she must have a home telephone where he or she may be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in case of an emergency.
In addition to academics, the Director must compose and have printed, brochures and other material to promote the programs.
The Extension Director is responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of the building, as well as a financial accounting of expenses. Only a small amount of money is actually dispersed by the Extension Director.
Those who are interested, please send your resume, which includes all
activities within the Georgist movement, to Mike Curtis, Director of
Education, Henry George School of Social Science; 121 E. 30th St.; New York,
Phone (212) 889-8020 Fax (212) 889-8953
In my view, the conference was a triumph in every way - pleasant location, good food, well organized program. What impressed me most was the high quality of presentations given by Georgists and invited guests.
Perhaps the most inspiring achievement was an unprecedented level of cooperation between Georgists and members of the Green Party of Ontario. Thanks to the work of John Fisher and others, we can look forward to a long and fruitful era of mutual advancement of a "geo-green" economic program.
If you attended the CGO conference this year, what impressed you the most? The least? Share your views with the Georgist News.
- Hanno Beck
Geotopia, a feature-length script on life in a geoist future, languishes, needing the critical feedback of a good script doctor. If you're familiar with what makes scripts work, contact the author for an e-copy at Jeff Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
For Mr. Arnold's original question, see last month's Georgist News or inspect the archive at www.georgist.com/
Some folks found the original question a bit unclear, but I think this bounty of answers will resolve all that. Please note - due to space limitations, we have edited many responses.
1. Get the long-term real interest rate (net of inflation).
2. Estimate the replacement cost of the improvements.
3. Subtract from #2 the depreciation.
4. Muliply #3 by the interest rate. That gives the rental on improvements.
5. Subtract #4 from the typical rental paid by tenants.
6. The remainder is the land rental.
So the formula is R = T - i(C-D)
where R is the land rent, T the tenant payment, i the interest rate, C the replacement cost of improvements, and D the depreciation.
For popular consumption, and quick impact, you need a simple, conceptual statement. Then, as interest grows, and challenges are thrown, and gray areas emerge, build on the interest.
Where real estate is generally purchased rather than leased, it is necessary to convert selling prices to annual values; this depends on interest rates, the amount of speculative "froth" in the market and prospects of planning consent, population change, monetary inflation, etc. Strictly speaking, these annual values also include existing annual property tax liabilities and the latter should be taken into account in the assessments.
Where land value tax was levied at a rate close to 100%, the situation would indeed change. If individual sites were over-assessed, they would "stick", and landholders could be relied upon to appeal against the over-valuation promptly. Thus the authorities would be careful not to over-value if only to avoid the trouble of appeals. They would avoid over-valuation and concentrate on getting the comparative valuations of sites correct.
Under-valued sites would change hands at a small capital premium, as would of course happen for all land where the tax was less than 100% of its annual value. These premiums would provide additional market evidence for continuing valuations but would represent a reducing proportion of the total value. On the whole, shifts in rental value tend to be sufficiently slow that valuations, if frequent enough, can track the changes reliably.
Seems one could tell residential site rent by ambient income. Commercial site rent by foot traffic. Etc. The community could offer some fallow sites for bid and extrapolate from there.
GN Comments: Any more responses or rejoinders? Send them!
Please in the future try to balance left & right!
Below are my views on privatization of government services. They are my personal views and are not that of the CGO or of the Better Cities Committee of Illinois.
Privatization begs the question of what is the role of government. Some times government needs to learn from private enterprise. For me government is not my parent. Henry George espoused free trade and did not like monopolies. Some government monopolies are natural such as defense and state, but it does not need to provide every service. Some times government needs to lean from private enterprise in order to provide better services and products Walmart & Target need to show the Post Office how to run their 'window service' - they either have too few or too many windows open. In Indianapolis, Indiana there are public private partnerships where the government employees formed their own private companies to run such things at the sewage treatment plant and garbage collection. They did the same tasks without the layers of governmental interference. If the garbage men can do it, others can too! Despite anti-trust legislation, government does not always protect its citizens from monopolies - look at the case of one certain software company whose influence is global. I dislike having to use that company's software because all the lemmings use it. Choice is freedom. Monopolies prevent choice. When there are monopolies, people don't have to take responsibility for their own actions.
The world works in wondrous ways. Did you know...
Check out these stories and more in the summer issue of The Geonomist at http://www.progress.org/geonomy/geonom111.htm
Tell a friend, even a list of them.
And you should visit Goldwater's own WWW site at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/janusg/
PHILADELPHIA EARTH CHARTER COMMUNITY SUMMITS
September 28, 8 AM to 6 PM at Irvine Auditorium at University of
Pennsylvania. Endorse the Earth Charter and join with 'cultural creatives'
in your community to design action projects for building a just, peaceful
and ecologically sustainable global society in one of the following
afternoon caucus sessions: Responsible Business, Peace & Nonviolence, Energy
& Climate, Social/Economic Justice, Education, Health, Democracy in Action,
or Interfaith Spirituality. To pre-register (no admission charge):
or for more information call 215-472-2058.
Archer Torrey, Reverend of Anglican Church and the leader of Korean Georgist circle, passed away on August 6th in a hospital where he had been in a coma for several weeks.
I am the Korean translator of Progress and Poverty and have met Rev. Torrey several times. I guess he was around eighty years old.
Rev. Torrey served in South Korea for about 50 years and established Jesus Abbey, a Christian community. He enthusiastically advocated Land Value Taxation as a modern application of Jubilee and moved many a Korean to get involved in the Georgist cause spiritually as well as politically.
Those of you who want to express condolence may follow the instruction below.
Visit the Korean Henry George Association site:
http://www.land.kimc.net Skip the first page by clicking
You may see the menu at the left-most side of the page.
Click the icon just below Q&A and enter the bulletin board.
Click 'Write' icon at the bottom-right corner of the page.
You may leave your message in English.
(In case you want to avoid the procedure above, you may write a mail to me at email@example.com. Then I will post it for you.)
I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed,
but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody
that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him
when he goes wrong.
- Abraham Lincoln
I would rather lose in a cause that will some day win, than win in a cause
that will some day lose.
- Woodrow Wilson
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