THE GEORGIST NEWS
Volume Eight, Number Eleven May 1, 2006
Welcome to the May issue of The Georgist News.
News from around the world - from Korea to Nicaragua and several points in
between - has poured in to give impetus to intrepid Georgists. This periodical
has been joined by others, new ones from seminal thinkers. And for those who
enjoy working in the group setting, several interesting conferences are on the
horizon. As always, we invite you to send us your news and views to share with
The deadline for our June 2006 issue is May 25.
You can always reach the Georgist News at
CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
You can find out all about the upcoming Council of Georgist Organizations
conference in Chicago, Illinois, July 19-23, 2006. Full conference information
is now available at the CGO website, www.progress.org/cgo/
You can also register online for the conference. Please note that conference
fees increase on June 15, so do not delay!
Prefer to hold a conference brochure in your own hands? No problem, simply
contact Sue Walton at firstname.lastname@example.org or
telephone 888-262-9015 to request your own copy.
From Josh Vincent
In Connecticut, House Bill 5038 would empower the state's decaying cities to
shift their property tax off buildings, where the levy breeds slums, onto
land, which would spur speculators into rational developers. The Joint
Planning and Development Committee favored the bill 16-0 with two abstentions,
better than last year, sending it out on both floors of the Legislature.
Legislative Services staff, led by John Rappa, articulated the fiscal notes
and bill analysis. Against paying site rent are the Connecticut Business and
Industrial Association, perhaps the Realtors, and the state's Planners, who
elsewhere support public recovery of site values, since it motivates owners to
use land more efficiently. Supporting the bill are the state's municipalities
and their Home Builders Association.
by Dave Wetzel Davewetzel@tfl.gov.uk
The UK National Federation of Housing Associations said that landowners who
hold back the supply of vacant land in order to make more profit in the future
could be making the whole system socially and economically unsustainable. The
Federation called on the government to introduce a land value tax to force
developers to release land for affordable housing. See Inside Housing, Apr 7:
by Youngmin Cho, HGAK
The Henry George Association of Korea seeks to expand by delivering various
training courses and by drawing attention to associations between biblical
land laws and LVT. The Citizens' Union for Land Justice (CULJ) continues to
propagate LVT by providing writings and commentaries to newspapers and
journals regarding related governmental policies or social phenomena; by
opening policy forums; and by participating in related debates on TV and
radio. Although I can't claim that the following outcomes were the result of
our efforts, Korean Georgists could see a few changes:
First, bill 8.31 which focused on reinforcing property tax - though not the
two-rate tax - passed the National Assembly at the end of last year, and the
government brought forward other measures regarding collecting gains from
redevelopment at the end of March.
And more recently, various policies about LVT and public land-lease, which
CULJ developed, are appealing to politicians, which is inspiring. For
instance, an assemblyman from the opposition party favored a measure to
provide apartments by leasing land publicly and selling the buildings, as his
main policy point during his candidacy for the Mayor of Seoul. An assemblyman
from the ruling party, one of the presidential candidates, mentioned that the
revision of the constitution with a market-friendly public concept of land
ownership could be considered.
by Paul Martin (email@example.com)
Director, Instituto Henry George, Managua, Nicaragua
Below are the headlines of recently uploaded news stories on the IHG Mga
website at http://www.ibw.com.ni/~ihg. Enter and click on the "NEWS and
Photos" link to get to the "IHG News as of April 2006" page and the following
stories, which include informative news, updated statistics of our popular CE
course, and some interesting accompanying photos:
- 30th CE (Comprender la Economía) Economics Courses Graduates Strong
- Ongoing Strikes in Key Services a Sign of Nica "Progress"
- IHG to Seek Official NGO Status in Nicaragua
Mike A. Bozarth, State Chair of the Missouri Democratic Freedom Caucus, has
been elected to the city council of St. Joseph, MO. Mike first got involved in
politics at the age of thirteen in 1968, and has been active and involved ever
since. It is possible that as a newly elected City Councilman, active in a
local Democratic Club, as well as the DFC, he might be able to win a Delegate
or Alternate slot to the presidential convention. Presently LVT is not on his
agenda, as his town feels it has enough revenue, well enough raised. But that
The Dollars & Sense article by Mason Gaffney on repopulating New Orleans
by using geonomic lessons from San Francisco of a century ago, was republished
at the website, Economic Principles. Along with D&S and Mase's own site,
you now have three handsome places to visit to read the amazing story. Here is
by Jon Mendel
Ariel Cohen, at the conservative Heritage Foundation, as well as Nancy
Birdsall in Foreign Affairs vol.83, no.4, advanced an oil dividend for the
Iraqi people, similar to what Alaska pays its residents. Reinforcing the
understanding that one value of nature can be recovered and shared - the value
of oil - makes it easier to establish that another value of nature - that of
land - should likewise be taxed or otherwise recovered and used for public
by Edward Dodson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On Wednesday, May 3 at 2 p.m. ET, Local Initiatives Support Corp. and its
partners will present the last of three online discussions exploring
transit-oriented development. Smart Growth America and Reconnecting America
are co-sponsoring the series. The final session will highlight lessons learned
from TOD projects in suburban communities, small towns, and core cities. The
discussion will feature Len Brandrup, director of the Kenosha, Wis.,
Department of Transportation; Gretchen Nicholls, executive director of the
Center for Neighborhoods in Minneapolis; and Chris Zimmerman, chairman,
Arlington County, Va., Board. The speakers will cover practical strategies for
- and features of - successful transit-oriented developments.
For more details about the discussion and how to participate, click on
by the Association for Georgist Studies
Call for papers on Influence of Henry George on Economic Theory, History of
Economics Society. See
June 23-26, 2006, Grinnell, IA, USA
The Association for Georgist Studies (HQ: Bard College) is an organization of
scholars and other writers in the social sciences, and was founded in 2005. We
seek to advance knowledge of the ideas expounded by Henry George and others of
like mind. George attributed the persistence of poverty in the midst of
economic growth to concentrated ownership, misallocation, and overpricing of
land, broadly defined. He attributed depressions to overpricing carried to
extremes during land booms. As a remedy he advocated shifting all taxes from
labor and capital onto land.
Identify scholars who study these and related issues raised by George.
Engage these scholars in creating a modern literature on the issues.
Facilitate communication and collaboration among them.
Identify and address flaws and omissions in George's work.
Link the Georgist viewpoint to current concerns about tax reform, social
justice, wealth and income inequality, oil monopoly, broadcast monopoly, world
trade, the environment, resource scarcity, immigration, outsourcing, major
cycles and bubbles like the current land boom, renewing cities and industries,
containing and reversing urban sprawl, promoting domestic saving and
investing, declining real wage rates and job opportunities, the feared decline
of western civilization, and
Engage opinion-leaders in academic and professional disciplines, journalism
and social reform movements in exploring the Georgist insight into their
We seek to explore a common set of problems from multiple disciplinary
We will do the following:
Organize panels at professional meetings.
Organize conferences with publication of proceedings.
Publish current articles on our website.
And create an online database of articles or links to relevant earlier
by Polly Cleveland (www.georgiststudies.org)
David Ellerman's new book, "Helping People Help Themselves: From the World
Bank to an Alternative Philosophy of Development Assistance," (Forward by
Albert O. Hirschman) is finally out in affordable paperback. Yay!
"The best kind of help to others, whenever possible, is indirect, and consists
in such modifications of the conditions of life, of the general level of
subsistence, as enables them independently to help themselves."
Ellerman begins with this quote from John Dewey. A former economist at the
World Bank himself, and assistant to Joseph Stiglitz, he nonetheless devotes
most of his book not to the bank, but to the theory of helping. Both names are
recognizable to Georgists.
Polly's column continues with more highly readable articles; such as,
"Gangsta-nomics at Harvard," and her insightful commentary.
by Hanno Beck, Publisher
You might recall that last month we had Jeff Smith as Georgist News guest
editor. Now we are pleased to announce a more permanent arrangement: the
Georgist News welcomes Jeffery J. Smith as our regular editor, starting with
the June issue.
by Jeffery J. Smith
The latest Geonomist quarterly is now available for free reading by
non-subscribers and anyone who would like to see the big picture. Articles
cite progress in France on recovering site rents, some startling statistics on
the billions of dollars of royalties never collected, the current phase in the
land price cycle, recognized thinkers endorsing some aspect of geonomics, new
books with valuable information, and much more. To see it, visit
To read the Geonomist in its entirety, with a relevant cartoon on each of its
sixteen pages, contact this editor at
Note that some of the hard copies have a typo in the address. The correct
address is 7536 SE Milwaukee Ave, Portland, OR, 97202. Phone 503-232-1337
The E.F. Schumacher Society cordially invites you to a seminar entitled
"Building Sustainable Local Economies" with Erbin Crowell, Eric Harris-Braun,
Elizabeth Keen, Chris Lindstrom, Stephanie Mills, Alex Thorp, Chuck Turner,
Greg Watson, Susan Witt, and other guest speakers, May 24 to 28, 2006, at the
E.F. Schumacher Library and Simon's Rock College of Bard, Great Barrington,
Massachusetts. How can regional communities regain the power to revitalize the
means of production for basic necessities (food, energy, shelter, clothing) in
the face of a deepening economic, social, and ecological crisis?
Learn about successful, citizen-driven models for community revitalization and
how to take action in applying them to your own community.
How do we work together as individuals and a community to:
- Create non-profit community development financing systems such as local
- Become social entrepreneurs devising community and worker-owned businesses?
- Provide affordable access to land for farming and housing?
- Build strong regionally based and democratic economies?
Space is limited to twenty-five participants! Seminar cost of $500 includes
tuition, materials, and seven meals. Housing is available at Simon's Rock
College for $300 (single room with shared bath, includes breakfast). To
register please return the registration form, available
Or call 413-528-1737 or email
by Edward Dodson (email@example.com)
The Congress for the New Urbanism will hold its 14th annual conference,
"Developing the New Urbanism," June 1-4 in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. For
the first time, the Congress will shift its focus from those who plan and
design development to those who implement development. The keynote address
will be delivered by Christopher Alexander, a well-known author, architect,
and urbanist, who will propose a new development process. Other plenary
speakers will include Leon Krier, the pioneer of traditional urbanism, who
will lecture on the backlash against New Urbanism in the United States and
Europe; town planner Andres Duany, who will discuss development issues
following Hurricane Katrina; and Marilyn Jordan Taylor, chair of the Urban
Land Institute, who will focus on opportunities for collaboration between the
Congress and the Institute.
Other conference sessions will cover such topics as selling new urbanism,
partnering with government, infill developers, developing housing for people
at all income levels, and mixed-use development. Registrations received by May
4 qualify for the early registration fee.
A three-day conference will be held in Washington D.C., USA, May 7-9 to
address the implications of two overlapping crises: the coming peak in
worldwide oil production and the continuing disruption of ecosystems due to
global climate change.
At "Peak Oil and the Environment" over twenty leading sustainability thinkers,
including scientists and policymakers, will explore the challenges of oil
production peaking, its implications for the economy, climate, geopolitical
stability and human well-being; and possible adaptations, including
alternative energy sources and reducing energy use.
by Mike O'Mara
Thanks for mentioning my article and giving the web address, but the
collection of essays is not connected in any way to the Thomas Paine Network.
Instead, the collection of essays will be published by a humanist philosophy
organization. See www.wash.org/greenbook/gb_6_1.html.
By the way, I especially liked the news item from the Guardian about
landbanking and restrictive covenants - a good example of an anti-competitive
effect described by Mason Gaffney in Tideman's book, "Land and Taxation."
by Peter Meakin GIMFO IAAO, Registered Professional Valuer
Good on you for the Georgist News edition for April 2006 which was barnyard
fresh to my eyes. That is, you managed to entice me to prod around into more
corners than usual. If you wish it, here is my letter (excerpted) to the
Gauteng, previously the Transvaal, Premier in South Africa.
Mr. Mbhazima Shilowa
Premier of Gauteng Province
Dear Mr. Premier,
INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING by VALUE-CAPTURE METHODS
Our proposal explained how it is possible to prevent a handful of private
landowners from extracting massive unearned rents from the Gautrain project.
International case studies support our belief that if the Gautrain generates
the same multiple of profits as the Jubilee Line owners received in London,
then some R80 billion stands to be pocketed by the precinct owners without any
effort on their part. This will be because of the profits which the
R20-billion public investment will make for property owners. This would
clearly be an untenable situation, as its effect will be to deprive people in
the rest of South Africa - who, as taxpayers, will have paid for the train -
of its benefits and rewards. That situation can be avoided if Gauteng decides
to capture these profits before they reach the pockets of the effected
Please keep sending your reports, comments, and other interesting material to
firstname.lastname@example.org. And of course you may
continue to reach the Georgist News at
(from two venerable Georgist sympathizers)
"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in
it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot
stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again - and that is
well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."
- Mark Twain
"The essence of all slavery consists in taking the produce of another's labor
by force. It is immaterial whether this force be founded on ownership of the
slave or ownership of the money that he must get to live on."
- Leo Tolstoy (1891)
The Georgist News, a project of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, is an
(plain text) email newsletter. It is brought to you 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.
The Georgist News on the WWW -
Contributing to this issue:
Youngmin Cho, Polly Cleveland, Hanno Beck, Ed Dodson, Mike O'Mara,
Paul Martin, Peter Meakin, Jon Mendel, Josh Vincent, Dave Wetzel
Compiler: Jeffery J. Smith
Copy Editor: Enzo Piccone
Proofreader: Caspar Davis
Archivist: Stewart Goldwater
Owner: The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
Founder: Adam Monroe
Publisher: Hanno T. Beck
The Georgist News Volume Eight, Number Eleven May, 2006