THE GEORGIST NEWS

WEB EDITION
Volume Thirteen, Number Two, August 2010

The press coverage out of Britain and elsewhere has been fantastic. Yet still not outdone by places actually recovering the socially-generated value of locations, as you'll see below. Meanwhile, welcome aboard new subscriber Steven Shafarman. Dear reader, if you know anyone who'd happily be a reader, please put them in touch.


CONTENTS: 1. News: Land dues Round up 2. Good Press: British mainstream media, National Review, Center for the Advance of Steady-State Economics, IFTA journal 3. Numbers: De-fund Ethanol, Get Funds from Renewables 4. Movement Progress: Baker, Gaffney, Hartzok, Martin 5. Letter: Law of Rent? CGO Conference 6. Obituary: Alice Tang 7. Likable link: Scott on the Spot's; HousePriceCrash 8. What You Can Do: Advise England; Join forum; Attend AMI Conference 9. At the Margin: Quips and Quotes 10. Publication affairs: Contributors, About the Georgist News


1. News: Land dues Round up Around the world, some governments do recover the rent for land, meeting resistance: "People haggle over how big land dues should be" http://www.progress.org/2010/reassess.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.


2a. Good Press: British mainstream media via numerous readers Collected into articles published at our Progress Report is recent press coverage in Great Britain on the most controversial, yet the most salutary, reform: "UK's Economist and Financial Times own up" http://www.progress.org/2010/ukpress.htm One of the above authors, Martin Wolf of the Financial Times, continued at his blog. Post comments on http://tinyurl.com/2u5kdr9 Some Georgists have already been active there. Steven Shafarman adds: Have Geoists been in direct contact with Martin Wolf? I encourage other Georgists to contact him, and perhaps even to be systematic and long-term strategic about it. A key to building any movement is cultivating allies, even if it takes many years. He's clearly open and worth the effort. Write letters to the editor of his and other publications to highlight his support, and encouraging others to do the same. Letter in Saturday's FT, July 19 2010 Why land tax shouldn't be confused with property tax by Mr John Read. Sir, Edward Gottesman (Letters, July 13) makes a number of assumptions regarding land tax in his arguments for rebutting its value. First, it should not be confused with property taxes, which include not only land but the buildings thereon. The latter incur significant cost, not only to produce but to maintain, whereas the former, being simply the site value, costs nothing to produce or maintain. Second, land prices have increased at a distinctly greater rate than inflation, exacerbated by a combination of increasing prosperity and population and, unlike buildings, its supply cannot be increased. Third, the main reason areas have property blight is that the tax taken from those areas is too great for them and, to add insult to injury, any improvements or maintenance of property are also taxed; with land taxation, if the land has no value, no tax is levied.


2b. Good Press: NRO's domestic-policy blog On Property Taxes by Reihan Salam, National Review, July 15, 2010 (via Wyn Achenbaum) Michael Hudson is a bit more inventive: he'd like to see a move away from income taxes and towards property taxes. As for Michael Hudson's idea, ahem, I'll just say that I've been enthusiastic about property taxes since Raghuram Rajan and Luigi Zingales described their virtues in Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists. An excellent idea - here's what I had to say on the subject a last summer: What if the problem isn't the property tax at all but rather, well, all other taxes? In 1879, Henry George, a brilliant if slightly crankish autodidact, published Progress and Poverty, a scathing polemic that blamed all economic ills on the private ownership of land. A staunch believer in laissez-faire economics, George found it perverse that we tax productive activities like work and innovative investment while letting landowners grow rich simply because they scooped up property at the right time. In that spirit, George called for a "Single Tax" on the unimproved value of land. There's a certain compelling logic to the Single Tax that stands the test of time... Take Reihan's observations with a grain of salt, says Reihan. www.nationalreview.com/agenda/231111/property-taxes/reihan-salam


2c. Good Press: Daly News Modernizing Henry George by Center for the Advance of Steady-State Economics, July 18, 2010 (via Harry Pollard) Better to follow Henry George and retain rent as a necessary price for measuring opportunity cost, but to then tax it away as unearned income to the landlords. The more we tax away rent the less we have to tax the value added by human labor and capital. http://steadystate.org/modernizing-henry-george/


2d. Good Press: IFTA journal by Phil Anderson, phil at glasswings.com.au, July 31, 2010 Email 22 attachment My article in the IFTA journal, "How the Technical Analyst can profit by understanding Real Estate" (page 22) can now be downloaded. Prestigious journal, worth a read: http://www.ifta.org/public/files/journal/d_ifta_journal_10.pdf


3. Numbers: De-fund Ethanol, Get Funds from Renewables 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: Free Press says subsidize the press (surprised?) while others in the press say lose subsidies for energy. "Use Tax Dollars for Public Media? For Oil? For ..." http://www.progress.org/2010/npr.htm


4a. Movement Progress: Common Ground - NYC Mid-Year update by Scott Baker - Author, Community Activist; President: Common Ground - NYC, ssbaker305 at yahoo.com, July 4, 2010 Our Common Ground - NYC Mid-year update is posted to the Files section of Common Ground's Google group. We are pressing for three anti-warehousing bills designed to tax vacant land at the same rate as built-upon land and outreach to residents of communities like Roosevelt Island to see if it's possible to stop gentrification, or at least slow it down, with a Georgist initiative. You can read more about this effort in the next issue of GroundSwell where I talk about my first 60 days as local president.


4b. Movement Progress: Conference at Syracuse by Mason Gaffney, m.Gaffney at dslextreme.com, Jul 5, 2010 Just returned from a Conference at Syracuse Univ. Lots of things there confirm suspicions raised in Corruption of Economics. I attach a family letter I wrote on returning. Ignore the family parts (for some odd reason I cannot erase them), but pick out the Syracuse parts, which are pretty damning! Syracuse U adorns a hilltop. It exemplifies the old saying, "Slums must create great centers of learning, because it couldn't possibly be the other way around". Students are calling the President of Syracuse U, Nancy Cantor, "The Shill on the Hill", for her courting of a major Wall St. Titan, Jamie Dimon, CEO and chair of JP Morgan Chase. (What else can she do? There's no money in Syracuse, or much of anything else except acres of parking lots, mostly empty.) The biggest building on campus is a HUGE inflated sports dome, modern panem et circenses. Syracuse' traditional color is orange, but the athletes must wear Nike logo's. They say Dimon gave $30 millions to S.U. - will they put his name on the dome? It was the Carrier Dome, but Carrier stopped donating so now it is just "The Dome", awaiting a new donor buying immortality. Beware: timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. Jamie Dimon is already creating a new business school program at SU, apparently designed to train more predatory lenders. Recent Chancellors have racked up an authoritarian and anti-union record. They make a point of holding down pay rates while expanding their real estate holdings roundabout. Students turned their backs on The Shill's banker when he spoke at commencement. New York State was also a hotbed of Fenianism. Wild young Matt Gaffney, a Civil War vet, joined their invasion of Canada in 1867 or so (my Canadian friends may not appreciate this). Double-dealing Washington politicians joined the Mounties in repelling this venture - grandfather escaped by swimming across the St. Lawrence, by his own account, although he loved to improve on a story - he had a lot of them! Ella Chapin was about 20 when she married the Rev. Matt Gaffney, who was then over 50. She survived him by about 25 years. She drew on his Civil War Vet's pension until she died in 1940 or so - the costs of war go on a long time! Pity the widows of Confederate vets, with nothing but shinplasters to use as wallpaper. Ella had a summer home, a big barn of a place on Lake Ontario. Just before dying she sold it for $750 or so. Big mistake! It was called Bonnicastle then, but now I hear has returned to its original German name, Bonn Castle, and is priced accordingly.


4c. Movement Progress: Course growing by Alanna Hartzok, earthrts at pa.net, July 28, 2010 Two weeks ago I participated in a direct action for land rights for homeless in Washington, DC where several of us put up a tent city on a city owned vacant lot that had been promised for affordable housing, now likely for upscale condos. During this adventure I met up with African Americans who are dreaming of establishing a CLT ecovillage. Two of them will be visiting with me in Pennsylvania next week. Also, just found out about Growing Power community food systems: http://www.growingpower.org/ And the online course I developed under contract with UN Habitats Global Land Tool Network now has several hundred people enrolled from 68 countries. I need more class facilitators! www.course.earthrights.net


4d. Movement Progress: IHG Nicaragua Project by Paul A. Martin, Director, Centro Educativo Internacional Henry George (CEIHG), Managua, NICARAGUA, Boston phone (until August 9th or so): 617-527-1821, July 28, 2010 We are happy to announce that our new facility is finally functional to facilitate IHG educational activities. The Director of the IHG proyect incorporated Nicaragua Spanish Schools, SA (nssmga.net) in Nicaragua. NSS is intended to be the revival of the Director's past successful Spanish language immersion program. The NSS will operate to help raise operating funds for the CEIHG project while educating international students and facilitating their investigation into Nicaraguan economic, political, and cultural reality from an explicitly Georgist perspective. As of this moment, the CEIHG project is organized as a private non-profit project of the project director. In the short-term, it may be considered a project of NSS as well. For reasons of long-term stability, cost-effectiveness, and functionality, we have determined that the best plan would be to establish the CEIHG project as a registered international NGO under the auspices of a US-based NGO. We are currently investigating the requirements for starting an NGO based out of the CEIHG Director's home state of Massachusetts. The only thing we are missing would be an in-State board director who could provide a physical address in Mass, keep the NGO's legal papers, and facilitate some initical correspondence for the NGO process in Nicaragua. Another alternative would be to establish the NGO in another State with the help of a board director there. If you know of any dedicated georgist in Mass or another state who might be able and willing to act as a board director for our start-up NGO, please let us know as soon as possible. When I get back to Nicaragua, the CEIHG will be offering its 41st P&P economics course. If you can help us out with the replacement of our defunct class laptop (which runs the projected visuals) with $ or the donation of a reliable windows XP based laptop, or with the purchasing of 20 plastic tables ($35 a pop) for our classroom, we would appreciate it. This seems like a good place to say: Special thanks to Nicholas Rosen for his recent donation, and to the HGI NY and the HGS of NY for all their ongoing support!


5a. Letter: The Law of Rent? by Michael Hawes, copyline at ntlworld.com, July 2, 2010 Many thanks latest edition. [13-1] I am a humble student of economics and devotee of HG living in Newark on Trent, England. Can I take issue with you on: 7. Likable link: The Short Run, by John Sorrentino, April 14, 2010: "A Keynesian website of note explains economic rent:" The explanation, to my mind, is awful if not appalling! Is economic rent 'the price paid for use of land'? as the article states in the first para? Some time ago I wrote a piece attempting to explain the LoR concisely. I'll look it out and take an objective view - but I don't think I will change my mind about the site you recommend!!! Just to show I mean no hard feelings (!) I am sending you a hymn I wrote for this weekend - July 8th being tax freedom day in the UK. Please feel free to use if you can find an outlet. Vee ay tee is our sales tax VAT. By the way, have you heard about the latest discovery of a natural resource that will solve all the UK economic problems? The news is published on www.landvaluetax.org.


5a. Letter: Albany CGO conference a great success! by Ted Gwartney, July 23, 2010 The 2010 CGO conference was a Great Success! The CGO officers and staff would like to thank everyone who presented! They would especially like to thank the 2010 host Bill Batt for all of his hard work on the project. Watch this space for details of next year's event.


6. Obituary: Alice Tang by Cliff Cobb, cliff.cobb at gmail.com , July 5, 2010 Alice Tang died recently (within the past couple of months). I believe she had some form of cancer that advanced very rapidly.


7a. Likable Link: Scott on the Spot's by Scott Baker, June 30, 2010 The new Geoist comic Tax and the City in short vignettes shows how a Land Value Tax could benefit New York City apartment renters, store owners, and commuters, and the more detailed text pages have lots of useful and clickable links to Georgist sites - including The Progress Report! Learning about Land Value Taxes has never been so entertaining! Tax and the City can be downloaded from both of our Common Ground Websites in full, glorious color: http://groups.google.com/group/common-ground-nyc (in the Files Section) and http://www.commongroundnyc.org/ from the homepage. Also, a new book by two economists encompasses 800 years of booms and busts. It's called "This time, It's Different" and you can read a review here: http://tinyurl.com/325gmrv It is more historical than analytical, offering no insights other than that booms and busts keep happening and "no one seems to know why." Well, we know why. Perhaps some comments/reviews are in order on the Amazon page (you can't do either in the NY Times article). Also, I just started a Georgist petition on Change.org supporting Frank D. Walker's initiative titled, "Support Reform That Will Revitalize California's Economy and End The Public Finance Crisis". You can sign the petition in less than 30 seconds by clicking the link below: http://tinyurl.com/358f9u4


7b. Likable Link: HousePriceCrash HousePriceCrash.co.uk, owned by Fubra Limited, an Internet media company, acts as a counterbalance to the positive spin the housing market receives in the main media and provides up-to-date data and commentary. Its forum has over 10,000 users a day. Some there extol sharing rent via a Citizens Dividend: www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=148262


8a. What You Can Do: Advise England by David Chester, July 10, 2010 The British government is interested on ideas and opinions on revoking old laws and introducing new ones as replacements. Nick Clegg, the new deputy Prime minister (LIB-PROG) has opened a site for the expression of this freedom: http://www.number10.gov.uk This popular site shows what the interested e-mail user is feeling about the British Laws. Inside the site tabs "communicate" and "freedom" and a search for "land value" will take you to what I wrote on LVT.


8b. What You Can Do: Join the Forum W7TF "territorial anchorage" by Martine Theveniaut, martine.theveniaut4 at orange.fr, Aug 4, 2009 This Forum follows the Workshop 7 at the Lux'09 Forum. Its theme: "Democratic participation and anchoring the Solidarity Sustainable Economy at the territorial level." Workshop 7 was prepared by visits to regional territories and by a "collective intelligence" process of over 2 years, as part of an EU work platform, hosted by the French network Pactes Locaux, which exists since 1998 (www.pactes-locaux.org). The conclusions of Workshop 7 have made "territorial anchorage" a theme of its own to prepare for the Asian Forum for Solidarity Economy in November 2009 and the International Forum for Globalization of Solidarity in 2013. Following up on from the conclusions of the Workshop 7, this Forum places the territorial approach at the highest level. We plan to establish an international think-tank of 15-20 people to expand exchanges for collective learning, to collectively bring forward these proposals in 2013.


8c. What You Can Do: Attend AMI Conference by Stephen Zarlenga, July 17, 2010 Register now to obtain the $120 discount on the 6th annual AMI Monetary Reform Conference ($275 instead of $395). Conference dates are Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. As usual we'll have a top notch line-up of speakers: Prof. Steve Keen, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Dr. Michael Hudson, Prof. Nic Tideman of Virginia Tech, Michele St. Pierre, Robert Poteat, Dick Distelhorst, Ben Dyson, Jamie Walton, and Will Abram.


9. At the Margin: Quips and Quotes If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you strap toast on the back of a cat and drop it? - Stephen Wright This land is your land and this land is my land, sure, but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway. - Bob Dylan I asked a Burmese why women, after centuries of following their men, now walk ahead. He said there were many unexploded land mines since the war. - Robert Mueller


10. 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 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 http://www.Georgist.com/.


The Georgist News, Volume Thirteen, Number Two, August 1, 2010