Welcome aboard to new subscribers: Trevor Acorn, Peter Morgan, Mark Porthouse, Ron Rosenberger, William Sell, and Michael Strong. If this is your first issue; brace yourself. As usual, it's chock full of stuff you need to know from world news to movement progress, topped off with things you can do to push us all forward.
The following people have tentatively agreed to speak at the 2007 CGO conference, Sunday evening July 22 to Friday morning July 27, 2007.
Invited Academic Speakers include:
Natural Law - Catholic: Anthony J. Lisska, Department of Philosophy,
Denison University, Granville, OH 43023
Natural Law - Georgist: Francis K. Peddle, Ph.D., Research Director, Canadian Research Committee on Taxation
Human Nature - Catholic: Rev. Joseph Koterski, SJ, Associate Professor, Philosophy, Fordham University
Human Nature - Georgist: Dr. James Dawsey, Chair, Religion Department, Emory & Henry College
Nature of Work - Catholic: Daniel K. Finn, Professor of Theology and Economics, St. Johns University, Collegeville, MN
Nature of Work - Georgist: Brendan Hennigan
Rerum Novarum - Catholic: Brian Benestad, Professor of Theology, University of Scranton
Rerum Novarum - Georgist: Mason Gaffney, Professor of Economics, University of CA - Riverside
Causes of War - Catholic: William J. Parente, Professor of Political Science, University of Scranton
Causes of War - Georgist: Alana Hartzok, Co-Director, Equal Rights Institute
Immigration - Catholic: Fr. William O'Neill, S.J. Associate Professor of Social Ethics, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley
Immigration - Georgist: John Beck, Professor of Economics, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
Development/Wealth - Catholic: Charles Clark, Associate Dean, Tobin College of Business, St. Johns University
Development/Wealth - Georgist: William Batt, Albany, NY
Neighborhood Revitalization - Catholic: Professor John J. DiIulio, Jr., Political Science Department, University of Pennsylvania
Neighborhood Revitalization - Georgist: Josh Vincent, Center for the Study of Economics
A complete list of speakers will be announced in March. Conference brochures will be out 4/1/07. For more information, please contact Sue & Scott Walton, Conference Administrators at sns at swwalton.com
"A levy on what lies beneath our overpriced houses could reduce society's
Compass, the influential leftwing pressure group with links to some Brownite
ministers, proposes moving to a single rate of pension tax relief, removing the
benefit for higher earners; replacing council tax with a tax on land values;
and introducing a top income tax rate/national insurance levy of 50% on income
of £100,000 or more a year. The group proposes land value capture as way to
fund infrastructure projects; the Jubilee line extension to Stratford has
raised property values around the stations by £10bn. If only a small part of
the windfall had been taxed it would have easily paid for the extension.
"One of the giants of modern economic theory, Professor Joan Robinson, is said
to have told her students at Cambridge University in the middle of the last
century to "forget all that ethics rubbish". Regrettably, this attitude is now
the norm and students are taught that moral considerations are not directly
relevant to their profession. Thus our universities' economics departments and
business schools have become a spiritually arid, barren wasteland. But the
marketplace is not just an economic sphere, "it is a region of the human
spirit". Economics was not always divorced from moral considerations. Adam
Smith, the "father" of modern economics had been professor of moral philosophy
at Glasgow University before he wrote The Wealth of Nations. To him and later
classical economists like Ricardo, Mill and Henry George ethical considerations
were of prime importance. Economic justice on a global scale is the key to
solving so many of our political and social problems."
"Greens support a land value tax. Land values are the value of a property that comes in addition to, for example, the bricks and mortar cost of a house. They are usually caused by the property being in a particularly attractive, well-served, convenient or otherwise beneficial area and by the planning permission granted to a location. Land value arises because of the provision of public services and the general economic activity of the community. The land value of a location is community-created. Land value is not created by property owners who should therefore not benefit from it when it becomes incorporated in higher capital or rental values. Generally, taxpayers owning valuable prime city-centre locations will tend to pay more, and owners of less-valuable marginal locations, in rundown urban locations as well as in the countryside, especially the highlands, will pay less,"
"I met the Hon Ramakrishna Sithanen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, in the London High Commission in March last year for a one to one discussion. We discussed the land question and the opportunities for improving the Mauritius economy." Dave's excellent article continues, given a couple of full columns of space. Full story
A former senior executive at its manufacturer, Parker Bros., Philip E. Orbanes is also a historical consultant on board games to its corporate parent, Hasbro. He identifies an early 20th century pastime called the Landlord's Game as its progenitor and is adept at linking the evolution of the one game to the other with historical events. The game is yet another enduring institution that arose out of the Great Depression, along with federal insurance for bank deposits and price supports for agricultural products. Rexford Tugwell, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's brain trusters, had used that Landlord's Game in his economics classes at Columbia University to illustrate booms turning to busts.
The author not only relates the history of Monopoly to the largely forgotten radical tax reformer Henry George but then goes on to show that he and British Chancellor of the Exchequer (and later Prime Minister) David Lloyd George were linked by much more than their last name, in fact by a rather similar approach to taxing land.
Leaders in St. Louis who campaigned for an earnings tax in the 1940s and 1950s thought businesses would always need to stay in the city, but in fact citywide employment has dropped by half since 1969. Today's reality is that jobs can move easily across city, state, and even international borders. St. Louis' earnings tax drives both businesses and residents out of the city. But it contributes more than a third of the city's budget – $130 million a year. St. Louis leaders have drawn up another annual budget that depends critically on collecting 1% of each worker's earnings and 0.5% of each employer's payroll.
There is a better way to raise the money, says Joseph Haslag, a professor of economics at the University of Missouri at Columbia. In a study published by the Show-Me Institute, Haslag proposes replacing the earnings tax with a new tax on the value of all land in the city. It's not a new idea. Henry George, a social reformer in the 19th century, campaigned to replace all other taxes with a "single tax" on land. Haslag's model suggests a 10% tax on land value, in addition to the current 1.44% tax on land and building.
Editor notes: Following up on this article, Al Katzenberger wrote its author who replied, "You're right – one benefit of a land tax would be to force the slumlords/speculators to put vacant properties to better use. It would also capture more value from the well-connected developers who have won abatements or TIFs on their buildings over the years."
Capitalism 3.0 grew out of a life of social and political activism and market entrepreneurialism. In the 1970s, Barnes started a profitable solar energy company. In the 1980s, he helped launch the much more profitable and enduring Working Assets phone and financial company. Barnes' key solution to the unhealthy side effects of profit-seeking behavior is to revive the idea of – and reclaim the value – of the Commons. Think of the Commons as a broad river fed by three principal tributaries: nature, community, and culture. This river precedes and surrounds capitalism and adds immense value to it, and to us. The land as Commons is an idea that has had its advocates from the earliest days of the American Republic. Tom Paine proposed the establishment of a national permanent fund where every person at the age of twenty-one would receive money as partial compensation for his or her loss of "natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property.
In the late 19th century, economist Henry George launched an influential movement also based on the concept of the Commons. In the modern lingo, Henry George was the first to advocate an anti-givings movement. Rather than relying on government, Barnes argues for the creation of a new institution, a commons trust, based on a new property right in the Commons.
Editor notes: Much like Ralph Borsodi did sixty years ago.
The op-ed in the St. Paul Pioneer Press by Rich Nymoen et al (Nov 27) cited in last month's GN was rerun at Planetizen: Urban Planning and Development Network, the popular website of planners, titled, "Using A Land Value Tax To Keep Speculation In Check". Their rerun begins, "By taxing land more than buildings, cities can encourage valuable sites to be used productively, rather than banked by investors hoping for even higher prices."
"In 1894, the first Single-Tax colonists (named for their belief in the economic theories of Henry George, who advocated for only a single land tax) settled on a bluff overlooking Mobile Bay. According to legend, one of them said the new colony had a "fair hope" of success. Fairhope was born then, and established in 1908 with about 500 residents. The Single Tax Colony had attracted supporters and financial backers from around the country to come to Fairhope, which soon became a resort community. The city is known for its parks and the quarter-mile long pier. Artists, writers and craftsmen have flocked to Fairhope through the years for a peaceful and inspiring setting."
"What I am suggesting is that a citizens dividend could mitigate and compensate – admittedly with a broad brush – the inherent injustices we as a society seem to accept, for good or ill."
Declare land and space as commons and more people will gain access to nature and more people will conserve nature, right? No, says Jeffery J. Smith, because too many people want or need to gain from using Earth. What would win greater access and greater stewardship is not titles but entitlement – feeling entitled to a share of both of Earth and her worth. The column continues with the rest of the 700-word article.
If government does not tax people who don't – own assets but only taxes those who own assets created by nature or the state – such as land and privilege – then owners would sell off such taxable assets, and the only ones interested in buying them would be the government; for income, the government would lease back the land and licenses at a fair rate. This lengthy article generated some reader feedback.
According to my guidebook, in Belize real estate taxes are only on land value
and not on improvements. The author states that within city limits the rate is
3-8%, and outside town limits it is around 1% of land value. However, there are
also: land transfer tax - one time 15%; Land speculation tax of 5% for over 300
acres; Sales tax of 9% + 2% environmental tax
Luxury taxes: up to 14%; Excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol; Hotel tax of 9%; Import duties of 0-80% averaging 20% (30% of gov't revenue is from import duties); Personal income tax 25-45%, first US$10,000 exempt; Business gross revenues: 0.75-25%; Corporate income tax 25%; Social security 2/3 employer 1/3 employee.
China announced it will enforce its tax on land appreciation of 30 to 60 percent on net gains made from all property development deals. Enforcing the rules would cut real estate developers' juicy profits in half. Housing prices have been rocketing in Chinese cities over the last couple of years; the price of newly-built apartments in Beijing rose 10.4% year-on-year last December. New apartments within Beijing's fifth ring road have all seen their prices exceed 10,000 yuan (1,200 U.S. dollars) per square meter. China's total tax revenues reached a record high of 3.8 trillion yuan (480 billion U.S. dollars) in 2006, an increase of 22 percent year-on-year. Moreover, the country's foreign exchange reserve exceeded one trillion U.S. dollars at the end of 2006, up 30.22 percent over that at the end of 2005. Many Chinese people hoped the government would spend the development tax revenue on new affordable housing.
Is an end of an era looming in the foreign exchange markets? The US currency has lost five percent of its value against the euro since late October, and 13% since the beginning of the year. Around a value of $1.33, the euro is only 3 cents away from its all-time high in 2004. Investors worldwide are starting to pull their money out of the United States. The US dollar's exchange rate is starting to crumble as a result of this withdrawal.
Ten executives, representing major utilities, aluminum and chemical companies and financial institutions, said mandatory reductions are needed and that "the cornerstone of this approach" should be a cap-and-trade system. Major industry groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers continue to oppose so-called "cap and trade" proposals to cut climate-changing pollution, mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.
Essentially, such a mechanism would have mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, but would allow companies to trade emission credits to reduce the cost. Companies that can't meet the cap could buy credits from companies that exceed them or in some cases from a government auction. Many of the companies already have voluntarily moved to curb greenhouse pollution, they said, but the executives also said they do not believe voluntary efforts will suffice. Mandatory reductions of heat-trapping emissions can be imposed without economic harm and would lead to economic opportunities if done economy-wide and with provisions to mitigate costs.
Editor notes: Big business sometimes endorses control to stifle competition from smaller firms. And if we're not careful, "provisions to mitigate costs" could become more corporate welfare. A fairer mitigation might mimic Alberta Canada's stipend to household energy consumers from oil revenue, a distant cousin to a Citizens Dividend.
A study, which the Interior Department refused to release for more than a year, estimates that current tax inducements could allow drilling companies in the Gulf of Mexico to escape tens of billions of dollars in royalties. The inducements would cause only a tiny increase in production. The cost to the U.S. of that additional oil could be as much as $80 a barrel, far more than the government would have to pay if it simply bought the oil on its own.
The United States is much more generous to oil companies than most other countries, demanding a smaller share of revenues than others that let private companies drill on public lands and in public waters. The United States has sweetened some of its incentives in recent years, while dozens of other countries demanded a bigger share of revenue. In the U.S., the federal government's take – royalties as well as corporate taxes – is about 40% of revenue from oil and gas produced on federal property, the worldwide average ''government take'' is about 60 to 65%; that figure excludes countries that do not allow any private ownership in oil production.
Starting this year, Britain imposed the second of two new supplemental taxes on petroleum revenue from the North Sea, pushing the government's share to 50% Norway keeps at least 70% of revenues, but the government share increases automatically as oil prices rise and tops out at 78%. Several Canadian provinces have adopted similar policies, and Alaska approved a tax system in August that automatically inches up as oil prices climb above $55 a barrel. Eliminating royalties on oil or gas would save a company 12 to 16 percent on some of its production. But those savings are minuscule compared with the nearly fourfold increase in oil prices from $15 a barrel in 1999 to more than $70 this summer. The new study was prepared under contract to the Minerals Management Service of the Interior Department by Innovation and Information Consultants of Concord, Mass.,
Data recently compiled by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston offers a startling look at just how out of whack executive compensation has become. According to the center's director, Andrew Sum, the top five Wall Street firms (Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley) were expected to award an estimated $36 billion to $44 billion worth of bonuses to their 173,000 employees, an average of between $208,000 and $254,000, with the bulk of the gains accruing to the top 1,000 or so highest-paid managers.
Between 2000 and 2006, labor productivity in the non-farm sector of the economy rose by 18%. But workers were not paid for that increase; instead, the inflation-adjusted weekly wages of workers increased by just 1%. That's $3.20 a week. There are 93 million production and nonsupervisory workers (exclusive of farmworkers) in the U.S. Their combined real annual earnings from 2000 to 2006 rose by $15.4 billion, which is less than half of the combined bonuses awarded by the five Wall Street firms for just one year. The once strong link between productivity gains and real wage increases has been severed. The savings rate has dropped to below zero, and more Americans are filing for bankruptcy than for divorce.
Editor notes: Please expect more of the same until a critical mass feels enough self-esteem to realize that not all income must come from one's labor, that one must also receive a fair share of society's surplus – the source of those outrageous salaries.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that the U.S. economy faces a budgetary "crisis" that threatens U.S. growth and living standards. In 2006, federal spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid was about 8.5% of the economy. The Congressional Budget Office expects the figure to rise to 10.5% by 2015 and 15% in 2030. The ratio of debt to annual economic output could soar to levels not seen since World War II.
Editor notes: So the blame falls on butter, not guns? That aside, the cost of medical care could fall were Americans healthier, if we could live without so much stress and so many pollutants. We could cut pollution with efficient land use – a byproduct of taxing land – and could cut stress by cutting the workweek – a byproduct of sharing land rent. Were we to shift taxes off of our efforts, onto the rents for sites, we'd not only have more money for public benefits, we'd also have less need for government care-giving.
After falling for three straight years, weekly earnings for non-supervisory workers rose by 2.1% last year, after adjusting for inflation. That was the biggest gain in nine years. The gain still lagged behind the rise in prices. Consumer prices rose by 2.5% in 2006, the slowest rise since prices increased by 1.9% in 2003. Prices for the year slowed even though in December the average consumer prices jumped 0.5%. The producer price index rose by 0.9% in December – slower than in November but fast enough that the stock market dipped.
In the second half of last year, energy costs moderated, which helped lower the overall price increase to 2.5%, down from a gain of 3.4% in 2005, which had been the biggest price jump in five years. For all of 2006, energy costs rose 2.9%, a significant slowdown after an increase of 17.1% in 2005 and 16.6% in 2004. In the first six months of 2006, energy costs advanced at a 22.8% annual rate; in the final half of the year, they fell at a 13.4% rate. Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, rose by 2.6% in 2006, up from gains of 2.2% in both 2004 and 2005. That was the fastest increase since a 2.7% rise in 2001.
Editor notes: 2.7% means prices double in 27 years. Expect more inflation – a devalued currency – as long as debts continue to mount up.
Economic growth slowed to a 2% pace in the late summer as the real-estate bust weighed on overall business activity. The new reading on gross domestic product for the July-to-September quarter marked a slight downgrade from the 2.2 percent annual rate estimated in November.
The very policies touted by Congress as a way to save small family farms are instead helping to accelerate their demise. That's because owners of large farms receive the largest share of government subsidies. They often use the money to acquire more land, pushing aside small and medium-size farms as well as young farmers starting out. Large family farms, defined as those with revenue of more than $250,000, account for nearly 60 percent of all agricultural production but just 7% of all farms. They receive more than 54% of government subsidies. And their share of federal payments is growing – more than doubling over the past decade for the biggest farms. In 2003, the owners of the biggest family farms reported an average household income of $214,200, more than three times that of U.S. households on average. Lots of people work hard and don't get help. Why should farmers get special treatment?
A team of professors and students at Temple University prepared detailed up-to-date maps of areas that flood frequently in one section of Philadelphia. These maps were initially rejected by FEMA because they were too detailed, too accurate; but FEMA eventually was forced to accept them. The result is that many more properties than previously are labeled as having a higher risk of flooding. Their flood insurance premiums are increased. Their land value falls. As the article says, "Location in a floodplain can lower a property's value 3 to 12 percent below the value of comparable properties on higher ground."
Editor notes: That was all, not 75 to 95 percent? I bet the value of those submersible lots must still be propped up by some FEMA subsidies.
Lawrence Kansas City Commissioner Boog Highberger plans to lobby the Kansas legislature to increase the state's mortgage registration tax in order to provide the city with funding to implement affordable housing programs. The tax is paid every time someone buys a home and files a mortgage with the county's Register of Deeds. The current tax is 26 cents for every $100 worth of mortgage that is taken out on a piece of property. All but a penny of the tax goes to the county's general fund, while the one cent goes towards a state historic preservation fund. The 26 cent rate is charged in every county in the state.
Highberger wants a bill that would allow individual counties or cities to add onto that tax, if they agree to use the revenue for a housing trust fund that would provide assistance to people in need of affordable housing. Presently, Aspen Colorado does something similar. Critics claim the tax would increase the price for homes. Virtually all the commentators at the newspaper's website agreed with that claim.
Editor notes: For empirical evidence either way, one could examine the data where such a tax exists. I suspect it would have a greater impact lowering the price for homes, since most sellers are already charging as much as most buyers can afford.
Ruth Herrera, the Nicaraguan equivalent of Ralph Nader, has been appointed the Executive Director of the national water and waste water monopoly by the new President Daniel Ortega. Ruth is not a Sandinistan; her appointment, among others, indicates that the Sandinistas are willing, at least for now, to look for real solutions to national concerns. Ruth is the previous National Coordinator of the National Consumer Network in Nicaragua. She and her organization have been cordial if loose allies of the IHG since 2003 when they attended our seminar, held when Jim Dawsey came to promote the Spanish translation of his and Bob Andelson's book. Also, Ruth attended one class session of our last CE course of the year.
Impressed with the number and quality of our student body, she was eager to take advantage of our offer to assist her in replicating our course in her organization. I will try to meet with her soon after she has settled into her new post. Meanwhile, I have scheduled a meeting with her replacement at the Consumer Network (the equivalent NGO of Public Citizen in the USA) to see if we can move ahead with some cooperative activities. To take advantage of this situation, I will try to meet with the new leaders of all the government ministries and agencies. I hope that soon we can count on a visit or two from of a small delegation of three or four Georgist heavy hitters like Cay H, M.Hudson, Jeff S., Lindy, Ted G., Alanna H, etc., to impress and awe.
Journalist Fred Harrison continues his assault on the status quo with his new book, Ricardo's Law. In the book, Fred adds his voice to the moral crusade to which Paine and George devoted themselves, and he does so with the advantage of even greater historical perspective. Paine's efforts helped to secure the future of republican governance and democratic processes. George and his supporters formed the Progressive vanguard fighting for an end to monopoly privilege. Tragically, they failed.
Fred Harrison describes the injustices that so troubled Paine and George, and provides a "take no prisoners" analysis of the subsequent failed efforts by central planners and so-called free market proponents to solve the problems of wealth concentration and generational poverty. Fred Harrison resurrects the land question in Ricardo's Law as the most important societal issue yet to be addressed. For a long time now, the safety valve provided by empty lands to which the landless could migrate has been closed. Armed with the data produced by government and other experts, Harrison's analysis challenges a long list of conventional wisdoms.
Editor notes: Ed's complete review will soon be available at the
Cooperative Individualism website.
The School of Cooperative Individualism on-line project is completing its ninth
year. During 2006, the SCI library continued to be expanded with the addition
of a large quantity of writings long forgotten but deserving to be resurrected
for current readers. Additionally, the Biographical History of the Georgist
Movement went thru several revisions, as information on countless individuals
was located. In September the site got over 80,000 hits, the highest month to
date. For the year, our hits exceeded 600,000. Only a few visitors each month
fill out the visitor response form or send comments or questions.
The third volume of my book, The Discovery of First Principles, is
available online without cost to visitors. Over 500 people have read at least
the first couple of chapters. Several have sent complimentary comments (one
person has challenged me on my treatment of 20th century economic history). I
am making some of the writings of Ian Lambert available on-line. He writes, for
example: "Georgists have no particular strategy for bringing about a Georgist
society." Look for this and other of Ian's writings from the 1990s shortly.
The Program on Latin America and the Caribbean of the Lincoln Institute of Land
Policy is receiving applications for its fifth annual fellowship program for
masters and doctoral candidates. This fellowship program is exclusively for
individuals who are studying at Latin American universities and who are in
their final year of thesis preparation.
By Ed Dodson, ejdodson at comcast.net, 28 December 2006
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, lac at lincolninst.edu, 8 January 2007
The School of Cooperative Individualism on-line project is completing its ninth year. During 2006, the SCI library continued to be expanded with the addition of a large quantity of writings long forgotten but deserving to be resurrected for current readers. Additionally, the Biographical History of the Georgist Movement went thru several revisions, as information on countless individuals was located. In September the site got over 80,000 hits, the highest month to date. For the year, our hits exceeded 600,000. Only a few visitors each month fill out the visitor response form or send comments or questions.
The third volume of my book, The Discovery of First Principles, is available online without cost to visitors. Over 500 people have read at least the first couple of chapters. Several have sent complimentary comments (one person has challenged me on my treatment of 20th century economic history). I am making some of the writings of Ian Lambert available on-line. He writes, for example: "Georgists have no particular strategy for bringing about a Georgist society." Look for this and other of Ian's writings from the 1990s shortly.
The Program on Latin America and the Caribbean of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is receiving applications for its fifth annual fellowship program for masters and doctoral candidates. This fellowship program is exclusively for individuals who are studying at Latin American universities and who are in their final year of thesis preparation.
Proponents assert that the minimum wage increase will bring justice to the people who empty the bedpans, change the bed linens, sweep the floors and do the hardest work of America. Opponents say it will penalize small business owners and increase unemployment of young and low-skill workers. Opponents' logic is sound. They might even be right about consequences were the increase large enough to bring the minimum wage up to something like a living wage of $12 an hour.
There's no evidence that the federal minimum wage has ever affected employment, even at its 1968 peak of $1.58-$7.71 in 2006 equivalent dollars, as computed by Economic Policy Institute economists. Opponents also might be right if the minimum wage were easily enforceable. In reality, small businesses often pay their workers off the books, or report fewer hours than actually worked. A minimum wage increase will indeed help some workers, especially in operations large enough to make enforcement feasible. It will set a norm for higher pay as small businesses grapple with the tradeoff between pay rates and employee turnover. But for all the hoopla, a minimum wage increase won't seriously dent inequality.
The winter Geonomist is out, and with answers to curious questions. Did you know ...
- That the public can charge high oil royalties and oil companies still bid
on the oil?
- What government-granted privileges make the Forbes 400 all billionaires?
- As gas prices rise, the richest retailer actually lost big-box business?
- Even in the modern economy, airports must still till the soil in order to make a profit?
- Some insiders – who won't feel any pain – predict a recession as early as Q1?
Read all about it and more in the winter issue of The Geonomist at
If you want a hard copy, complete with the popular cartoons, let me know.
Harper's for February has a fascinating article about intellectual property rights and the sins of the current interpretations of copyright. ("The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism" by Jonathan Lethem) It left me worrying that in my fantasy trilogy I inadvertently borrowed themes and even language from every myth that has ever been written or told around a campfire, so both Lethem's playfulness and his insights really resonated with me. The section titled "The Commons" contains such gems as "Honoring the commons is not a matter of moral exhortation. It is a practical necessity.
We in Western societies are going through a period of intensifying belief in private ownership, to the detriment of the public good. We have to remain constantly vigilant to prevent raids by those who would selfishly exploit our common heritage for their private gain. Such raids on our natural resources are not examples of enterprise and initiative. They are attempts to take from all the people for the benefit of the few." However, be forewarned: Lethem is a scamp. Many sections in the above paragraph were not written by Lethem but "borrowed" from David Bollier's Silent Theft and from John Sulston (Noble prize winner and mapper of the human genome) and from Harry S. Truman!
If you'll be in the Northeast in late February, come join geo colleagues at the Eastern Economics Assn. conference Feb. 23–24 in New York City at the Crown Sheraton. The panel on Economics of War and Peace includes a presentation on the Law of Rent. Plus, other geoists will be presenting in other sessions, and the Henry George School has invited the US Basic Income Group over for a reception.
The Canadian Society for Ecological Economics (CANSEE) will be holding its 7th Biennial Conference from July 26-28, 2007 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, "Sustaining Communities and Development in the Face of Environmental Challenges". Interested in presenting a paper at the conference? Please note that the deadline for abstracts is March 1, 2007.
Contributing to this issue:
Richard Biddle, Joe Casey, Polly Cleveland, Ed Dodson, Gary Flo, Ted Gwartney, Alanna Hartzok, Al Katzenberer, Paul Martin, Mark Monson, Rich Nymoen, Gavin R. Putland, Heather Remoff, Dave Wetzel.
Editor: Jeffery J. Smith Copy Editor: Enzo Piccone Assistant Editor: Caspar Davis Archivist: Stewart Goldwater Owner: The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation Founder: Adam Monroe Publisher: Hanno T. Beck
Send your news and other interesting material to the Georgist News at
jjs at geonomics.org or gn at progress.org. The deadline for the next
issue is Febuary 25.
About The Georgist News
The Georgist News, a project of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, is an email newsletter brought to you free of charge. Its purpose is to keep you updated on the latest news, citations, events, and initiatives of relevance to people who, like Henry George, seek a world free from special privilege and the causes of poverty.
Do you know someone who'd enjoy reading the GN? Please forward them an issue and ask them to subscribe, or send us their eddress. As always, it's free. Thanks.
The Georgist News is also available on-line at http://www.georgist.com/