Happy Henry George's Birthday! And Labor Day! And Fall Equinox!
Celebrate the leadership of a UK Labour candidate. Absorb the
letters from the Congressional Research Service. And help welcome
aboard new subscriber Steve Proffsl in Bowling Green Kentucky, a
self-employed desktop publisher/computer programmer with three
threads on Geoism in Google groups if you'd like to join him. If you
know anyone else who'd happily be a reader, please put them in
1. News: UK Labour leader & Common As Air
2. Good Press: Pravda, Guardian, and a documentary
3. Numbers: The Buyout of America
4. Movement Progress: IHG Nicaragua Project
5. Letter: Dodson, Wetzel, Hungerford, Metalitz, Goldwater, Walton,
6. Likable link: Review of RSF film; LandValueScape
7. What You Can Do: Endorse; Comment; Writer letter; Attend AMI
8. At the Margin: Quips and Quotes
9. Publication affairs: Contributors, About the Georgist News
1. News: Housing Crisis, System Failure & A Republic of Letters
UK Labour leader Andy Burnham calls for a higher tax rate on land
value and cutting other unpopular taxes.
"Shadow health secretary calls for higher land taxes"
Intellectual property as an issue may be resolved by history. In
'Common as Air,' Lewis Hyde shows that Franklin, Adams, Jefferson,
and Madison all argued against its privatization.
"Revolution, Art, and Ownership"
To keep up with the latest in the world of economic justice, visit
the daily news site, The Progress Report, where such articles
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: Pravda and Entering the Debate
By Fred Harrison, August 27, 2010
Pravda is now citing fiscal reform: http://tinyurl.com/249xz5w
I knew that I would not be popular with mainstream economists, in
claiming - back in 2005 - that the world was heading for a
depression. Now, 3 years into the downturn, commentators are finally
coming to terms with the reality. This means the discourse on what
needs to be done just might be allowed to open up to allow new ideas
to enter the debate:
2b. Good Press: British Guardian
via Carol Wilcox
Letters in Saturday's Guardian, August 14, 2010
From Eric Deakins, London
Peter Wilby congratulates, with obvious great effort (gritted
teeth?) some of the US mega-rich on their philanthropic intent. In
the rest of his article, he lambasts them for tax avoidance and
evasion, not paying fair wages, etc. It is sad that an experienced
journalist can miss the point. We should not rely on the good nature
of the mega-rich to help create a fairer society. This is a task for
our democratically elected governments. Are any Labour leadership
candidates listening? We need a government with appropriate policies
- for example an annual wealth tax and a tax on land values for
starters. These would help ensure that all the mega-rich (and the
not quite so rich) make a realistic contribution to the costs
High house prices not caused by shortage
From Ken MacIntyre, Leatherhead, Surrey
There is no evidence that high house prices are caused by a shortage
of homes (Editorial, 6 August). With over a million properties
suitable for housing lying empty in England alone, it makes no sense
to talk of a shortage. There are two factors causing inflated house
prices: the failure to tax land values; and the ability of banks to
create unlimited credit, leading to leveraged speculation in land.
In 1970, the average house price (more accurately, it is the land on
which it stands which increases in value) was £4,400. Now it's about
£180,000 - an average rise of 9% a year. Speculation depends upon a
constant supply of ever more indebted buyers - a pyramid scheme,
whose final collapse is inevitable.
A land tax would tax unearned gains from rising values and so
discourage speculation and encourage idle resources to be used,
cutting the blight of boarded-up properties. It would provide the
government with the bulk of its revenue, enabling taxes on income
and property taxes, such as council tax, to be phased out. A land
value tax is advocated by the Green party, the Co-operative party
and even some members of the cabinet.
2c. Good Press: Monopoly Documentary
by Bob Matter, Co-curator, "Curious Georgists Go to the Movies",
Chicago IL, August 20, 2010
A new documentary is being released in September and October 2010
titled "Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story." About Monopoly's
origins: their web site says: "Few people realize that the game began
as an anti-capitalist political platform thirty years before it
evolved into a game about getting rich and took the world by storm
in the depths of the Great Depression."
3. Numbers: The Buyout of America
Private Equity firms have billions yet get government credit to buy
up others and charge their investors high fees
"Can Private Equity Cause the Next Big Credit Crisis?"
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:
4. Movement Progress: IHG Nicaragua Project
by Paul A. Martin, Director, Centro Educativo Internacional Henry
George (CEIHG), Managua, NICARAGUA, director at ceihg.org,
August 29, 2010
"Build it and they will come." The CEIHG is now up and running. Our
first "Comprender la Economía" (Understanding Economics) course
since March 2009 started this month with 65 students. Thanks to
those of you who responded to our request for assistance in
obtaining equipment for our CE course! We now have a live connection
to the internet and can use google satellite maps to show students
in class what the land tenure situation looks like in Nicaragua.
5a. Letter: School of Cooperative Individualism newsletter
by Ed Dodson, ejdodson at comcast.net, July 29, 2010
Contact me for a copy of the latest issue. Thanks.
We continue to struggle to move our principles out of the wilderness
and into the mainstream, but despite our best efforts, we continue
to decline in number. At various times I have described us as
consultants, the remnant of the movement initiated by Henry George
and the thousands who embraced his message. Today, at least, we have
technologies and communication tools that allow us to reach
audiences all around the globe.
For quite a few years now, I have been studying the historical
record left us in the writings of our predecessors. They struggled
with many of the same issues that we face. There were intense and
repeated arguments over theory, over what the message to others
ought to be and how it ought to be delivered, over the importance of
education versus activism, whether to align with existing political
parties or establish an independent party, and so on. There is much
to be learned from these early exchanges, and I have spent a great
deal of time resurrecting the writings of both prominent and obscure
members of the movement.
Two key persons in the drama were Joseph Dana Miller and Charles
Joseph Smith. Miller founded the Single Tax Review in 1901 (the name
of which was changed in the mid-1920s to Land and Freedom) and
remained its editor until his death in 1939. Charles Joseph Smith
succeeded him as editor until the Land and Freedom ceased
publication in 1943. The articles written by these two individuals
over this period are instructive and illuminating. I have arranged
them chronologically in the "Biographical History" listings for
Miller and Smith in the School of Cooperative Individualism website.
5b. Letter: Martin Wolf and the Mayor of London
by Dave Wetzel, Transforming Communities, August 5, 2010
Re last issue, [Vol.13 #2] 2a. Good Press: British mainstream media
Martin Wolf has been appointed to a Government Treasury Committee so
maybe he will have more influence now.
Also, the Mayor of London is adopting a new London Plan. Nic
Ferriday from Friends of the Earth wants facts and figures to help
him give evidence to the London Plan Inquiry. He is arguing that
improved sustainable standards for buildings (especially houses)
will cost more to build but will not increase the price of housing
as this extra cost will be deleted from the land price to be paid to
landowners. Nic needs statistics showing the percentage of land
price to building price and examples where higher standards have
been introduced with no adverse effect on house prices. Can you
5c. Letter: GINI or concentration of rent
August 17, 2010
To show that rents (for land, resources, spectrum, privilege) flow
largely into a few pockets (of rich people), which official
statistical source(s) is (are) the best? Sure, it's commonsensical,
but don't people new to the idea need such sources of data?
The best answer to date:
I do not have ginis for the various components of income. The Census
Bureau website does have some income inequality information, but I
don't know if they examine the various source of total income; you
can check their website. I would imagine it may hard to get a gini
for rent (which includes rent, royalties, and income from trusts &
estates) because so few people receive income from this source.
Thomas L. Hungerford, Ph.D.
Congressional Research Service
Government and Finance Division
101 Independence Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20540
August 17, 2010
5d. Letter: Anyone read "This Time Is Different?"
by Chuck Metalitz, taxpayer at fastmail.us, August 7, 2010
It's getting a lot of interest on various blogs and podcasts I see,
and right now is #443 on Amazon. I had assumed this to be another of
those books that ignores or misunderstands the role of land. But now
I see an assertion that "Reinhart and Rogoff's recent influential
study of financial crises finds a recurring root - the country's
property markets." So, is there anything useful here for geoists?
(No, I do not plan to read it myself, unless someone I respect
suggests that it is worthwhile. I'm in the middle of three books
now, and next on my list is America's Protectionist Takeoff
1815-1914 by Michael Hudson.)
5e. Letter: Thomas Spence
by Stewart Goldwater, August 9, 2010
Thomas Spence was born in Newcastle in 1750. Spence was the leading
English revolutionary of his day, with an unbudgeable commitment to
individual and press freedom, and to the common ownership of the
land. His scheme was not for land nationalization but for the
establishment of self-contained parochial communities, in which rent
paid to the Parish (wherein the absolute ownership of the land was
vested) should be the only tax of any kind. A Memorial for Spence
was unveiled on the 260th anniversary of his birth, 21st June 2010.
Thomas Spence Society, http://thomas-spence-society.co.uk/
5f. Letter: Council of Georgist Organizations
by Sue Walton, August 15, 2010
The Council of Georgist Organizations is pleased to announce that Al
Katzenberger of St. Louis is the 2010 recipient of its 2010 Economic
Justice Award for his outstanding work on behalf of the Public
Revenue Education Council and the Georgist movement. Al received his
honor at the concluding banquet of the CGO's 2010 annual conference.
Changing of the guard: Ed Dodson has regretfully resigned as
President of the Council of Georgist Organizations effective on
September 1st, 2010 due to personal reasons. Ed will stay on as a
Program Advisor. Ted Gwartney, former CGO President and current CGO
Vice President, has resumed the role of Council President. Long time
CGO Advisor and Webmaster Lindy Davies has agreed to become Vice
President. Best Wishes to Ted, Lindy, and Ed on your new roles.
Watch this space: Within two months, the Council of Georgist
Organizations will be announcing the site for its 2011 conference.
5g. Letter: Latest Oz Newsletter
by Karl Fitzgerald, k2 at earthsharing.org.au , August 26, 2010
In the recent Earthsharing Australia email newsletter, read about
the annual dinner, independent parties, and more. To see it, write
the e-ddress above.
6a. Likable Link: Film review
by Scott Baker, August 1, 2010
Check out this recent review of the RSF film, The End of Poverty:
6b. Likable Link: Introducing Landvaluescape and the PLRG
by Tony Vickers, tonyvickers at phonecoop.coop, August 20, 2010
A new Entry entitled 'Introducing Landvaluescape and the PLRG' has
been published to LandValueScape: http://tinyurl.com/3yd8a6d
"LandValueScape News" is the newsletter of the Professional Land
Reform Group. Next PLRG talk is Thursday 16th September 6pm at LSBU
(Borough Road, SE1 0AA).
7a. What You Can Do: Save Stuyvesant Town/Cooper Village
by Scott Baker, President: Common Ground - NYC, ssbaker305 at
yahoo.com, Aug 4, 2009
I would like to send follow-up email to NYC Councilman Dan Garonick
and his office, and also CC Scott Stringer's office. I now have a
nibble of interest, nothing more. A follow-up would go a lot further
if I could include all of your names in the CC.
7b. What You Can Do: Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends ...
by Joshua Vincent, Executive Director, Center for the Study of
Economics, August 2, 2010
For New London Connecticut, your comments on the page appreciated!
Also, Transportation for America is soliciting comments about
provisions that should be included in the new transportation
legislation. Congress is working on reauthorizing the federal
transportation bill, a multi-billion dollar bill that has the power
to shape our communities for generations. Rick Rybeck wrote them to
suggest that state and local governments be allowed to place
congestion tolls on federally-funded facilities and that value
capture should be part of the funding strategy for all
transportation projects that result in higher land prices. We should
specify that value capture is best achieved through a special
assessment district where the tax is levied on land value only.
(Otherwise they will probably jump to the TIF delusion.) Let's see
if we can get some additional LVT input: http://tinyurl.com/2fdgww8
7c. What You Can Do: "Property Taxes" Trending on Yahoo
by Jason Bessey, August 7, 2010
The phrase "Property Taxes" is the 5th most searched term on
yahoo.com. Perhaps now might be the time for LVT proponents to
search that term, find today's news articles on the topic, and
(where applicable), leave posts on those articles explaining why LVT
is a superior alternative to property taxes. Might as well do it
when there are so many people searching for the term, eh?
7d. What You Can Do: Attend AMI Conference
by Stephen Zarlenga, Director, American Monetary Institute,
August 7, 2010
Please see the new 32 page brochure at our website designed to help
people understand monetary reform:
Printed copies are available.
The Lost Science of Money book has just been reprinted. Please view
the 1 minute video describing the book: http://tinyurl.com/23hunkn
and send me comments!
Check out AMI's YouTube channel which includes several videos of
William Black's outstanding presentation at last years conference:
Prof. Kaoru Yamaguchi, of Doshisha University in Kyoto Japan, has
created a macroeconomic model of our American Monetary Act and will
be presenting this paper at our conference this year.
The 6th Annual AMI Monetary Reform Conference schedule of speakers
and topics is taking shape nicely at:
8. At the Margin: Quips and Quotes
Where water is boss, the land must obey.
- African proverb
A billion here, a billion there - pretty soon it adds up to real
- Everett Dirksen, speaking to fellow senators on government
The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to
operate at a profit.
- Samuel Gompers (labor leader, friend of Henry George)
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 an
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it's free. Thanks.
The Georgist News is also available online: http://www.Georgist.com/
The Georgist News, Volume Thirteen, Number Three, September 1, 2010