Deadline for our November issue: October 25.
Good news. The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation will be granting some funding support to the Georgist News for the next 12 issues. We are greatly appreciative of the Foundation's support.
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CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
In 2005, the Council of Georgist Organizations will be celebrating 25 years of existence, hard work, fun, arguments and triumphs.
At the CGO conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 2005, attenders will of course note this milestone. But whether you attend or not, you can play a role right now. Here are two requests:
Sue Walton's postal address is CGO, P.O. Box 57, Evanston, IL 60204, USA.
We will treat your suggestions as anonymous, your name will not be mentioned, so please bring forward any ideas for improvement that you might have.
Send your positive recommendations to the Georgist News at email@example.com
GN Comments: Once in a while some economists start to wake up to the real world, and that's usually a good thing. Now several of them have begun a new journal called The Economists' Voice, and they promise to address serious questions. If some Georgists submit materials for their possible publication, we may learn quickly whether these economists are genuinely ready to shake the status quo. Let's put them to the test.
Here is how the founders describe their project:
"Although much of what economists write is "inside baseball" - written for a small audience of specialists - economists have much to contribute to the public debate on a wide range of policy issues. We believe that anyone concerned about the central problems of the day, whether they are students, policy makers, or other citizens, would benefit from hearing economists debate what should be done about problems from budget balancing to global development, from intellectual property to outsourcing, from health care reform to how to provide old age security. The Economists' Voice creates a forum for readable ideas and analysis by leading economists on vital issues of our day."
See http://www.bepress.com/ev for additional information.
We are always pleased to note the launching of new Georgist web sites. The newest comes from the Labour Land campaign in London, UK. Visit: http://www.LabourLand.org
The Earth Rights Trek took place in New Mexico just after the CGO conference in Albuquerque. Have a look at their adventure through Navajo/Hopi territories, read reports and view photos. Simply visit: http://www.earthrights.net/trek.html
GN Comments: Here is a great announcement from Dr. Fred Foldvary. Congratulations to him!
Chap Petersen is running for office, but he's not too worried about this November - because his race does not take place until 2005. Petersen is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and successfully sponsored legislation allowing a split-rate property tax in Fairfax City and Roanoke.
Now he is running for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, and he proudly
mentions the split-rate property tax at his website:
Thanks to Joseph Casey for sending in this news. Please consider helping this candidate.
GN Comments: We asked Alanna Hartzok to give us a quick sentence or two on what happened during her recent trip through Europe. Hartzok, though constantly busy, had these pithy remarks to share:
"There were about 150 people attending the Land and Poverty session; about 5000 attended the World Urban Forum. Jeff Smith and I made many connections with high level public officials and others during this and the following conference which was Basic Income European Network, embedded in the International Human Rights Conference. Jeff was on a panel with the focus on basic income from resource rent. Both venues were in Barcelona, Spain."
GN Comments: This Reuters news item was sent in by Edward Dodson. Since when was Mexican real estate considered a sound, safe investment for a pension fund? Dodson suspects that fund managers must feel that the California land boom has peaked. What do you think?
Occasionally you see a movie that seems to connect with Georgist ideas. There might be land speculators, activists, tricksters seeking special privilege, reformers seeking more justice, etc.
Although many Georgists have their favorites, we are not aware of any compiled list of geo-flavored movies. So the Council of Georgist Organizations is beginning such a list right now.
Send the names of your favorite Georgist-relevant movies, along with brief descriptions of the relevance, to Sue Walton at firstname.lastname@example.org
When an extensive list has been compiled, the CGO will make it available to all.
Lindy Davies, director of the Henry George Institute, had a powerful op-ed piece published in the Bangor Daily News (Maine, U.S.) on September 27, 2004.
You can read the article online. The Bangor Daily News staff did a slightly clumsy job of formatting the piece, however, and we much prefer the version that Davies himself has set up, at http://www.henrygeorge.org/taxcap.htm
Have a look, and plan to write an op-ed of your own soon.
GN Comments: Another interesting find from Ed Dodson.
A research paper published in the current edition of Business Review (the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia) examines the impact of the proliferation of patents for computer software. The authors, Robert Hunt (a Fed researcher) and Jim Bessen (Boston University School of Law) concludes:
"Nearly 50 years ago, scholar Fritz Machlup presented the results of his study on the efficacy of the patent system to the U.S. Congress. He concluded: 'If one does not know whether a system as a whole (in contrast to certain features of it) is good or bad, the safest policy conclusion is to muddle through. If we did not have a patent system, it would be irresponsible to recommend instituting one. But since we have had a patent system for a long time, it would be irresponsible, on the basis of our present knowledge, to recommend abolishing it.'
"What would Machlup say about a significant expansion of the patent system and a significant change in patentability standards, instituted in the absence of much evidence about the likely effects? Yet this is precisely what has happened in the U.S. over the last quarter of a century.
"These changes are often justified on the basis of conventional wisdom: Granting more and stronger property rights will necessarily stimulate innovation. Our evidence suggests this assumption may be incorrect in the case of software patents. If the legal changes create patent thickets instead, the result might well be less innovation."
GN Comments: Our proofreader, Caspar Davis, points out that this situation is "even more obvious in biotech, where companies are patenting the gene sequences for various diseases and other organisms, which they at best mapped but certainly did not create, and barring other researchers unless they pay fat fees."
On Friday, October 15, 2004, a one-day seminar will take place, called "Filling the Vacuum: A new direction for national housing policy." The event will be held at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1 R4RL, from 9:30 am - 5:30 PM.
For more information, contact the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, Conference Office, 73 Lansdowne Road, Tottenham, London N17 ONN - 020 8801 3014
And by the way, some 20,000 people are expected to convene in London October 15-17 for the European Social Forum, a huge gathering of people who want to make the world a better place.
ESF attenders already are committed to activism and have a healthy distrust of the "status quo." These sincere people are not yet as familiar with Georgist ideas as they should be, however. To help them, the Henry George Foundation (UK) and Labour Land Campaign will be running a seminar at the Forum.
For more information, or to register, visit: http://www.fse-esf.org/en/
GN Comments: Sharp-eyed Ed Dodson has found another interesting item, this one appearing to promise free land in the United States.
GN Comments: Towns such as Kenesaw might do well to examine why they suffer from "emptying nests and brain drains" in the first place, rather than engaging in what amounts to short-term bribes to tempt potential residents to live there for a little while. Still, we can't deny that the program is interesting and may teach us all something new about the role of land values in local economies.
The "Journal of Human Rights and Civil Society" is to be published by The Protection Project, a human rights research institute of the Foreign Policy Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC, USA.
The journal encourages submissions from non-governmental practitioners and civil society representatives throughout the world.
For more information, visit: http://www.protectionproject.org/main1.htm
The American Economics Association will hold its annual meetings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 7-9, 2005 (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday).
AEA in conjunction with approximately 50 associations in related disciplines, holds a three-day meeting to present papers on general economic subjects. Over 450 scholarly sessions are held.
The next meeting is scheduled for January 7-9, 2005, in Philadelphia. The headquarters hotel is the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. All members are invited to attend the AEA Annual Business Meeting on January 8th, 6:00 PM in the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Grand Ballroom-Salons G&H.
All participants must register. General information concerning registration and the meeting is available online. You may register online for the associated ASSA Meetings or download a pre-registration form. The deadline to pre-register is December 3, 2004.
For more information visit: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AEA/anmt.htm
If you are not a U.S. citizen, then you might be eligible to apply to become a Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, Center for Civil Society Studies, International Philanthropy Fellow.
This program affords an opportunity for advanced study, research, and training for up to eight participants each year who are involved in studying or managing private nonprofit, or philanthropic organizations outside of the United States, or working as NGO liaisons in the public or commercial sectors. Fellowships, which can be an academic year or semester, are available at both the Junior and Senior level. Special funding is available for Fellows from East Africa and for Fellows conducting research on Community Foundations. The application deadline is February 25, 2005.
For more information, or to download an application, visit: http://www.jhu.edu/~philfellow/
The 24th annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures will take place Saturday, October 23, 2004, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
The event will last all day, and the featured speakers for this year are Oren Lyons, Judy Wicks and Stephanie Mills.
For more information on the speakers and the event, visit: http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/
Attitudes are contagious: is yours worth catching?
Never let yesterday use up too much of today.
- Will Rogers
The Georgist News is an email newsletter, sent free of charge. Its purpose is to keep you updated on the latest news, world events, projects, and initiatives of relevance to people who, like Henry George, seek a world free from special privilege and free from the causes of poverty.
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