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In a radical and ground-breaking decision, the Scottish Parliament voted on January 30th to 'consider and investigate' land value taxation. The idea was proposed by the Green Party's only member of the Scottish Parliament, Robin Harper.
By publicly advocating land value taxation, the Scottish Green Party joins the Green Party of Ontario as world leaders in tax reform for economic justice and environmental wisdom. Congratulations to the Henry George Foundation of Great Britain for its involvement in this exciting development.
For the full details, including quotes and background, see this news release from the Henry George Foundation of Great Britain: http://www.henrygeorgefoundation.org/harperPR.html
Or view this version from the Progress Report: http://www.progress.org/2003/scot02.htm
For additional information, have a look at the policy papers of the Scottish Green Party. Land value taxation is not a hidden footnote there, but is mentioned centrally in at least three places, the papers on "Economy," "Land Reform," and "Housing": http://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/
GN Comments: Here are three items reported by Yoon-sang Kim. Our thanks to Dr. Kim for keeping us informed about the energetic Georgist activities going on in South Korea.
The letter was signed by more than sixty civic, religious and academic leaders, including Rev. Suh Kyung-suk, the renowned NGO leader who initiated a major civic movement in Korea in 1987. Probably because of the weight of the co-signers, the letter was favorably reported by a few major news media.
The Henry George Association of Korea was established in 1984 under the leadership of the late Reverend Archer Torrey who built the Jesus Abbey in 1964 in Taebaek City, a coal-mining town in mountains, about five hours southeast from Seoul. There are Korean translations of 'Progress and Poverty' and a few other Georgist texts written in Korean.
The first half of the book explains the current private land ownership system and shows how it undermines social justice and efficiency, and the second half proposes land value taxation as the fundamental reform alternative and discusses questions and applications in the Korean context. The author has been studying the subject since 1982 when he returned to Korea after receiving a Ph.D. in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. While the university is located in Philadelphia, Henry George's place of birth, the author never once heard Henry George mentioned during his doctoral courses.
Korean Georgists are pleased to have the new book, in addition to another recent Georgist book, "Rethinking Henry George a Century Later," a collection of papers contributed by eleven Korean Georgist scholars, which was reported on in a previous issue of the Georgist News. Professor Lee Joung-woo, editor of this book, has been appointed as head of the Economic Subcommittee of the transition team for President-elect Roh Moo-hyun. [And as we note in the news flash above, Lee is now a top advisor to Roh Moo-hyun.]
GN Comments: Here are just a few highlights from a recent report by Alanna Hartzok of the Earth Rights Institute.
(A) Our years of work with the UN have had a recent important result. "Land Value Taxation in Pennsylvania" is featured on page 95 of a recently published very substantial 262 page book - "SUSTAINABLE URBANISATION: Bridging the Green and Brown Agenda." The book was produced by the Development Planning Unit, University College, London in collaboration with United Nations Habitat with the support of the Infrastructure and Urban Development (IUDD), British Government Department for International Development (DFID).
(B) Another international economic justice organization that I have been associated with for 30 years has now published a book which includes land value taxation. 'After Capitalism' was compiled and written by Acarya Maheshvaranda. There is a preface by Noam Chomsky of MIT and an afterward by Frei Betto, a Brazilian leader of the Liberation Theology movement. In addition, there are contributions by Leonardo Boff, Marcos Arruda, Johan Galtung, Ravi Batra, Sohail Inayatullah and other leading thinkers and activists. Portuguese and Spanish translations will be completed soon.
(C) The crisis of the world situation is yet another opportunity for us to bring Georgist economics to the forefront. I have been developing the theme of Peace, War and Natural Resource Rights and have been invited to conduct an educational workshop on this theme to the Quakers in central Pennsylvania. I am now scheduling to give this workshop with other groups as sponsors.
(D) I must share with you how delighted I was to open up my new edition of Permaculture Activist and find as the Number One article a full five pages written by Shirley-Anne Hardy, a Georgist leader from Scotland, and entitled "The Road to Globalisation: Where Stands Permaculture? Where Stand We All?" Contained within her article is a full-on teach-in on the Law of Rent. We must all congratulate Shirley-Anne Hardy!
(E) I have recently produced a video entitled NO WAR ON IRAQ! It documents a day long event sponsored by the Carlisle Peace College.
GN Comments: Arrange to bring Alanna Hartzok to your community for a "Peace, War and Natural Resource Rights" workshop. Purchase the new Earth Rights Institute video. Ask Hartzok about other ways that you can support the work of the Institute.
Phone: (717) 263-3512 / 264-0957
A query from Yoon-sang Kim:
Korean Georgists are planning to produce a video documentary on Land Value Taxation and want to know if any American organization has made such tape. I'm the Korean translator of Progress and Poverty.
GN Comments: How about it, folks? We know there are several good videotapes that the Koreans would benefit from seeing. If you have any samples or suggestions for Dr. Kim, you may contact him at email@example.com
Several Georgist organizations will be holding their annual meetings in conjunction with the Council of Georgist Organizations conference in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Among them are:
The Henry George Institute (contact Lindy Davies at firstname.lastname@example.org);
HGFA/CSE (contact Josh Vincent at 215-988-9998);
ISTA II (contact Pia DeSilva at 212/889-8020);
and a pre-conference meeting of the board of directors of Common Ground-U.S.A. (CGUSA President Nadine Stoner will be publishing details in GroundSwell).
ANNUAL NORTH AMERICAN GEORGIST CONFERENCE: BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT: JULY 16-20, 2003
Ted Gwartney, CGO Advisor, is this year's conference coordinator and with his wife Toni, co-host. He is being assisted by members of the planning committee, Ed Dodson and Josh Vincent, and members of the executive committee, Vice-President Alanna Hartzok and President Mark Sullivan, and Administrators Sue & Scott Walton.
It has been a very busy process, particularly for the planning committee. They have met over the phone and in person with each other and with CT State Representative Jeff Davis and Bob Kantor of Fannie Mae's Hartford, CT office. They are working out logistics for the Friday, July 18, outreach day program. As of mid-February, the working outline is as folows:
Part I. A "world-view" of where cities and other governments are fiscally, and where we stand as people: Why is housing not affordable? Why are states and regions fracturing along economic and racial lines?
Part II. An "options" session. What role can LVT and other ideas help in:
A. School Funding
B. Affordable Housing
C. Smart Growth
D. Economic Development
Part III. A roundtable, tentatively to be led by several elected officials from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts and possibly New Jersey. Real-life demonstrations showing LVT impacts at the municipal (and possibly state) level.
The Conference Program will also include: Educational sessions by Henry George Institute and Henry George School faculty members. A session on "Resource Wars". CGO Members and Affiliates Reports and Discussions. Annual CGO Business Meeting. Other organizational meetings. Gala Banquet and Friendship Brunch. Excursions by bus within the Bridgeport environs, and by ferry to scenic Port Jefferson, Long Island.
Further details will appear in the next Georgist News.
Most of you are familiar with Ask Henry, the World Wide Web "search engine" specializing in Georgist web sites. Ask Henry is available at http://www.askhenry.com
On February 23, Ask Henry underwent a major "upgrade" and will be even faster and more up to date in the future.
We think that Ask Henry records every word of every page of every Georgist web site. If you know of any Georgist WWW page that cannot be found using Ask Henry, please let Hanno Beck know at email@example.com
Any Georgist web site that wishes to include an "Ask Henry" search form on any page, may do so for free. If you have an existing Ask Henry search form, you will need to change it slightly to work with the newly upgraded search software - please contact Hanno Beck for the simple instructions to do this.
Ask Henry is a project of the Banneker Center for Economic Justice.
FORUM: Water Crisis in Israel and the Palestinian Authority
There will be a presentation on March 4, 2003 at 10:00 AM on "The State of the Water Crisis in Israel and Palestinian Authority: Integrating Science and Policy" by Avner Vengosh, Senior Lecturer of Geochemistry and Isotope Hydrology, Ben Gurion University and Erika Wiethnal, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Tel Aviv University. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.
For information, contact:
Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Environmental Change and Security Project, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004-3027
at (202) 691-4186
or go to their web site at www.wilsoncenter.org/ecsp
GN Comments: Here is an announcement about a new resource. Although it focuses mainly on Monterey County, California, communities all over the world are facing similar issues and challenges.
LandWatch has just published a "Best Policies" guidebook entitled Land Use and the General Plan. It covers many of the most important topics affecting the future of Monterey County, including affordable housing, property rights, agricultural land protection, water, transportation, and permit process reform.
The new LandWatch guidebook is sixty-four pages long, and is written for any local resident who would like to make a difference in the land-use planning arena.
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has released "Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States."
See the report at http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/whopays.htm - including state-by-state reports and "Top Ten" lists.
GN Comments: The report claims that property taxes are somewhat "regressive" - I thought that claim had been dismissed years ago as unfounded, and that Georgist economists had successfully shown that the property tax is progressive. If this new report is wrong, its producers (and its readers) should be told. Who has more information on this subject? Why does the myth continue?
Adam Monroe, who first launched the Georgist News, recently sent in this timely tidbit:
"On March 3rd, just after 3:03 am, will occur a rather exciting event, but nobody seems to know about it.
It will be the 3rd second of the 3rd minute of the 3rd day of the 3rd month of the 3rd year of the 3rd millennium.
Pretty cool, huh!"
Let us not look not back in anger, or forward with fear, but
around in awareness.
- James Thurber
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with
- Dolly Parton
I do not want to die ... until I have faithfully made the most
of my talent and cultivated the seed that was placed in me until
the last small twig has grown.
- Kathe Kollwitz
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