THE GEORGIST NEWS

WEB EDITION
Volume Thirteen, Number One, July 2010

A person's or a people's independence from another bossing them
around seems to merit a celebration (July 4th looks convenient).
Here's another advance to celebrate. This issue begins our
thirteenth year of covering our movement's progress! BTW, if you
know anyone who'd happily be a reader, please put them in touch.

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CONTENTS:

 * 30th North American Conference of the CGO
 1. News: LA Times for getting some rent; China tries it
 2. Good Press: British Headlines Push Public Recovery of Rent
 3. Movement Progress: Resolution adopted by Ontario Green Party
 4. Numbers: Forced Labor: Freedom unaffordable
 5. Letter: A Tale of Five Cities; Oz newsletter & Guardian
 6. Obituary: Al Rodda
 7. Likable link: The Short Run
 8. What You Can Do: Speak at Amazon; Take poll; Read Swede;
    Read of cities
 9. At the Margin: Quips and Quotes
10. Publication affairs: Contributors, About the Georgist News

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*  2010 CGO conference in Albany NY -- program and registration info
by Scott & Sue Walton, sns at swwalton.com, June 19, 2010

Just a reminder that the 30th annual Council of Georgist
Organizations Conference will be held July 12-16th in Albany, NY.
There is still some space available. Please contact: Sue or Scott
Walton at sns at swwalton.com if interested.

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1. News: LA Times for getting some rent; China tries it

Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times notes California is the only major
oil-producing state that exempts oil. "Corporate welfare and
California's budget deficit" http://www.progress.org/2010/budget.htm

Is China the only rational government on Earth? They try to avoid
recession. The US won't recover from its. "Shanghai to Start
Property Tax Trial"  http://www.progress.org/2010/property.htm

To keep up with the latest in the world of economic justice, visit
the daily news site, the Progress Report, where such articles
appear.

To establish a shared frame of reference for a discussion about how
to solve economic issues with friends, family, neighbors, and
co-workers, try sending them the progress.org link, see how it goes.

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2a. Good Press: British Headlines Push Public Recovery of Rent
by Joshua Vincent, Center for the Study of Economics, June 17, 2010

The Frisky of Turner News entertainment publicizes British rocker
Matthew Bellamy's (of Muse) Georgism.  http://tinyurl.com/36pgewc

Editor's Note: Georgism was also in the London Times (sent in by
Josh) and London's Financial Times (sent in by Carol Wilcox). Those
and other endorsements appeared at The Progress Report: "Some media
say what we need to do about bubbles and recessions, others are
clear about what not to do."
http://www.progress.org/2010/coverage.htm

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2b. Good Press: A Contract Between Americans

At the Daily Paul, the Ron Paul Republicans had a long and fruitful
discussion about sharing rent via a citizens' dividend.
http://www.dailypaul.com/node/137407

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3. Movement Progress: Resolution adopted by Ontario Green Party
by Frank de Jong, fdejong at sympatico.ca, 416-559-6941
votefrankdejong, June 17, 2010

Below is the green/geoist resolution that the Ontario
Georgist/Greens shepherded through the Green Party of Ontario
conference this past weekend. It doesn't mention land per se, but
the theory to include land as a resource is there.
==========

Let it be resolved that:
+ The Green Party of Ontario advocates fiscal policies that foster
  ecologically sustainable businesses, green jobs, preserve ecosystems
  and biodiversity, conserve resources for other species and future
  generations, shorten the work week, and ensures a high quality of
  life and basic economic equity for all;
+ The GPO proposes a natural resource levy so that those who use,
  monopolize or despoil our common wealth and reducing everyone
  else's access to and benefit from our common heritage, are obliged
  to reimburse society for this privilege;
+ The GPO would reduce taxes on labour, business and production
  and instead generate government revenue through fees and levies on
  the use and abuse of the global commons and on access to community
  assets;
+ The GPO proposes a green tax cut that distinguishes between
  earned and unearned income, and moves the tax burden from the
  former onto the latter. This shift will unburden the productive
  economy and instead finance government programs by collecting
  unearned income;
+ That institutions and businesses that enjoy access to
  community-built and tax-supported amenities and infrastructure be
  required to remit fees in the amount of the economic rent to
  government as compensation for the privileges granted;
+ The GPO further proposes that those who contribute back to the
  commons could be financially compensated by government. Companies
  and individuals who forgo income to conserve, protect or restore
  ecosystems could be partially reimbursed for expenses.

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4. Numbers: Forced Labor: Freedom unaffordable

Want all the current indicators in one place? Periodically, The
Progress Report publishes just such a digest. To give readers
greater breadth, depth, and the most salient facts, many articles
at the Progress Report are not single articles but compilations on
a particular theme, offering a compendium of data on one sector:

Forced labor is work the unscrupulous force on the poor and the
narrow-minded force on the elderly worldwide. "France forces
oldsters to sell their labor"
http://www.progress.org/2010/slavery.htm

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5a. Letter: A Tale of Five Cities?
by Richard Biddle, biddle19103 at gmail.com, Jun 21, 2010

We need a good or better copy of A Tale of Five Cities (1983) for
digitizing into a DVD format. Do you have a good, very good, or
preferably an excellent VHS or film copy of A Tale of 5 Cities or
both? I'm looking for the best copy I can find to digitize. I'll
pay to have it digitized.

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5b. Letter: Latest Oz Newsletter
by Karl Fitzgerald, k2 at earthsharing.org.au , June 15, 2010

In the recent Earthsharing Australia email newsletter, read about
being pushed to the economic edge and more. To see it, write the
e-ddress above.

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5c. Letter: Ozzie Guardian
by David Brooks, davidsb1 at bigpond.com, June 21, 2010

The new issue of the Australian Guardian is out. I trust you enjoy
the reading. Contact me for a copy.

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6. Obituary: Al Rodda
by Mason Gaffney, June 3, 2010

We have lost former Cal state Senator Al Rodda, senate leader and
Georgist stalwart. Perhaps it was time: he lived his 3-score years
and 10 plus 27 more, but he left footprints in the sands of time.
Anyone caring to write him up, start with
www.thebackbench.blogspot.com.

Al graduated from Stanford in the year when Law Prof. Jackson
Ralston was beginning his series of campaigns for LVT in California.
Very likely, some of this rubbed off on young Al. At any rate when
Al got to the Calif State Senate, and became head of its finance
committee, and a major leader, he kept introducing initiative and
other proposals for a statewide tax on land values. You may be sure
this raised the consciousness of other statesmen, even though he
failed. He also worked with Senator Jim Mills of San Diego, who
fought to finance BART and other muni transit systems with benefit
taxes on the affected lands.

I first heard him speak to a Georgist group in the Bay Area in the
1960's. Among those present was Perry I. Prentice, Editor of House
and Home Magazine in the stable of TIME, Inc. Rodda scolded us for
not doing more politically - I confess I resented his attitude then,
although I learned later that is a professional hazard in Sacto.
Anyway, Prentice, a man not accustomed to being scolded, rose to
lead cheers, and second Rodda's remarks. LBJ was President,
preaching of The Great Society - it was another age, scarcely
believable to those not living then. Lunch counter sit-ins were
chic; MLK Jr. was preaching, Vatican II was underway... a time of
hope and excitement when people dreamed.

In 1976 we moved to California - Jerry Brown was Governor. Time to
dream some more! "Appropriate technology" was the rage, with E.F.
Schumacher and Amory Lovins drawing crowds. Reforming water law was
thinkable. Rodda invited me to testify before the Senate Finance
Committee on his latest move for a statewide land tax. I most
vividly remember a nasty heckler and sandbagger, Senator George
Deukmejian, a harbinger of times to come. I remember him because he
did not want answers to his "questions", his mind was made up, don't
bother him with facts. As we morphed into the Reagan Era I ran into
more and more people like that, including Deans Lowell Lewis and
Shannon and Fatso the chemist at UCR, and various entomologists
consulting for Monsanto, and physicists consulting for General
Atomic, killers of the dream. Pretty soon instead of Al Rodda we had
Howard Jarvis and the dark night of despair. California began its
long slide downhill into the abyss of Alabamization.

Al Rodda, after 22 years a Senator, went down in the Reagan
landslide of 1980. So what good came of his hard work? A good deal,
I think. Rodda was a product of the era when California had a
magnetic tax system - a way of raising ample public revenues without
repelling jobs and capital. An object lesson for the world. It was
far from perfect, but a student of its nuances, like our friend the
Assessor Ted Gwartney, could see its relative virtues a mile away.
To explain, I attach a SHORT module from an article, "When
California had a magnetic tax system". With the State and nation
mired in a new "underemployment equilibrium", the stage is set for a
renaissance of the old values that built the State before the
calamity of 1978. God bless you, Al, and if there is a
Reincarnation, send Al back in the body of an ambitious young
politician!

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7. Likable link: The Short Run
by John Sorrentino, April 14, 2010

A Keynesian website of note explains economic rent:
http://www.theshortrun.com/classroom/glossary/micro/rent.html

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8a. What You Can Do: Defend Us On Amazon

by Bill Batt, June 6, 2010

I've posted my response to Herbert Gintis' Amazon.com review of
Mason Gaffney's Corruption of Economics, but it hasn't been screened
yet by the Amazon editors. (Hope they allow it!) Regardless,
however, we need more responses to his screed than just mine. Go to
Amazon.com and post your own review of COE, especially responding to
Gintis. We can't let guys like him get away with such vitriol.

Wyn Achenbaum adds: The review is at  http://tinyurl.com/3xmhqfp
and I've added my vote about Gintis's review. Writing a review is a
good opportunity to get some ideas out. Links to URLs other than
Amazon items get omitted.

Co-editor Caspar Davis wrote: Mr. Gintis says:
"[Gaffney's] explanation of the demise of George's political economy
ideas is that rich men paid smart men to confuse the masses, and
this hoodwinking of the public continues today. The idea is really
quite ludicrous, and reminiscent of the religious fundamentalist
Creationists who believe all evolutionary biologists are atheists in
the pay of the devil."

I reply:
A more apt analogy would be with the climate change deniers (and the
earlier defenders and boosters of cigarettes and DDT) who are
generously supported by the powerful interests including the oil
industry to ensure that the findings of science about human induced
climate change are ignored, denied, or vilified.

Henry George stepped on the toes not only of the oil industry but of
most of the wealthy and powerful including (most significantly at
that time) the railroad builders, who were being granted huge swaths
of land, and also the property developers, mine owners, timber
barons, and everyone else who was doing well by selling resources
produced by God or nature and given value by the activities of
society as a whole. It is depressing but hardly surprising that they
were able to stifle the voice of the man whom they regarded as more
of a threat to their wealth and privilege than Karl Marx.

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8b. What You Can Do: Take CGO Survey
by Ed Dodson, President, Council of Georgist Organizations, June 8, 2010

Your input is requested. Please take the survey linked to the
Council of Georgist Organizations website. The annual conference
coming up in a few weeks in Albany, New York, will explore the state
of the Georgist movement and strategies we ought to consider to
bring our perspectives into the public discourse. We need the input
from as many people as possible, and the online survey is designed
to set the agenda for in-depth discussion. You can access the survey
from a link at the CGO website: http://www.cgocouncil.org/conf10.htm
Make your views known!

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8c. What You Can Do: Excerpt worth reading
by Ed Dodson, June 8, 2010

Real-world economics review, issue no. 51
Global commons and common sense
Jorge Buzaglo* [Sweden]:

"A closely related realm is the realm of what economists used to
call Land. That is, a privately owned natural resource, producing a
differential rent, the income of a particular class of factor
owners. There are old and venerable redistributive institutions like
the biblical Jubilee (by which plots were periodically permuted)
based on the idea that the land belongs to YHWH, and that humans are
only tenants. There are also strong ethical arguments (Spinoza) for
the common property of land, to be rented to producers - or
alternatively for taxation of land rent. There is general acceptance
of the idea, reflected in most tax codes, that land rent and other
'non-earned incomes' due to fortuitous factors such as location are
not fully legitimate and should (at least partially) be taxed away."

"The argument applies to other natural resources such as mineral and
oil deposits, which also give rise to differential rents. The fact
that in most countries oil is a collectively owned resource and
underground resources in general are prima facie considered as
belonging to the commonwealth, suggests that mineral resources are
naturally seen as the common property of the commonwealth. What is
not reflected in most natural resource legislations is the legal
consequence of collective ownership, namely the equal allocation of
dividends, a question that is central to the global redistributive
mechanisms discussed here."

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8d. What You Can Do: Read About Streetcars and City
by Mason Gaffney, June 10, 2010

Re mass transit and urban land use and revenues, here is an
excellent essay by Patrick Condon:  http://tinyurl.com/bes9g4
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9. the Margin: Quips and Quotes

Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your
neighbor. It makes you shoot at your landlord. And it makes you miss
him.
- Irish proverb

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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9. Publication affairs: Contributing to this issue

Along with those acknowledged above with each blurb:
  Editor: Jeffery J. Smith
  Assistant Editor: Caspar Davis
  Archivist: Stewart Goldwater
  Owner: Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
  Founder: Adam Monroe

Send your news and other interesting material to the Georgist News,
jjs at geonomics.org or gn at progress.org. The deadline for the
next issue is the 25th of this month.

The Georgist News, a project of 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
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always, it's free. Thanks.

The Georgist News is also available on line www.Georgist.com/
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The Georgist News, Volume Thirteen, Number One, July 1, 2010