Sue Walton writes in regarding the upcoming CGO conference:
Robert Schalkenbach Foundation is offering a special gift to all those who register for the CGO Conference before July 1, 2013. Early registrants can choose one of the following books:
—After the Crash: Designing a Depression-Free Economy, a collection of essays by Mason Gaffney (click here for more details) or
—Two Views of Social Justice: A Catholic/Georgist Dialogue, the proceedings of the 2007 conference at the University of Scranton (click here for more details)
The book of your choice will be placed in your conference packet.
Last month, Dr. Nic Tideman was a featured speaker at a special event sponsored by the American Monetary Institute and hosted at Cooper Union in New York City. Click the link below to access his presentation on The Monetary and Banking Reforms We Need.
Fred Harrison reveals why Jesus had to die. According to Fred, the New Testament parable of the vineyard (Mark 12) was the first lecture on public finance in history. Jesus explained that the rent of land was sacred income that had to be reserved for the common good. Its misappropriation was a form of cheating. The parable exposed the social elites who enjoyed the protection of the occupying Roman imperial military. These elites realized they had to silence Jesus — i.e., to preserve their powers and privileges. That’s why he was crucified.
edited by Ken Lord, Associate Dean, School of Management, University of Scranton
Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical Rerum Novarum (“On the Condition of Labor”) in 1891. Since then, Catholic Social Thought has encouraged political leaders to adopt programs to alleviate poverty by achieving a just distribution of property. Which types of property should be distributed equitably and which steps should be taken toward that goal have remained open questions. Georgists argue that the solution is clear: poverty arises only because the current system of land ownership drives down wages. Georgists and Catholics also share common concerns about other social issues, such as war and peace, community development, immigration, and obstacles to development. However, they differ in their diagnosis of the cause of social problems and in their recommended solutions. Catholics focus more on individual morality and conscience, while Georgists tend to think in impersonal categories of social ethics. Yet there is enough common ground to initiate a dialogue between these two traditions. The Council of Georgist Organizations organized a conference at the University of Scranton in 2007 at which eight Catholics and eight Georgists compared their views on a series of topics related to social justice and the common good. This book enables readers to get a good sense of the ways in which Catholics and Georgists can work together as well as the potential obstacles to cooperative action.
Since the collapse of major lending institutions in 2008, pundits have offered various ad hoc explanations of the economic crisis. They point to specific factors that preceded the rapid decline in housing prices and the instability of the financial sector, and claim they have found the cause of the crash. Lacking any sense of history, they treat every aberration in the economy as an isolated incident. As Mason Gaffney shows in this book, however, the crisis was predictable because it was caused by factors that have caused previous economic failures. Drawing upon Henry George’s diagnosis of periodic contractions in market economies based on land speculation, Gaffney goes a step beyond George and offers a more general explanation of the mechanism that causes economic crises. The central figure in his story is the rate of turnover of capital. Rapid turnover of capital promotes a healthy, full employment economy. By contrast, sluggish turnover leads to a decline of liquidity and flexibility in an economy, with the end result being a condition in which short-term lending virtually comes to a standstill, and the economy freezes. Since land does not depreciate and thus never turns over, channeling investments into rising land prices is the single biggest factor in creating the conditions for economic failure. Thus, land value taxation is an important ingredient in maintaining macro-economic health. But the principle applies more broadly to various forms of capital as well. Gaffney shows why the most important banking reform involves policies that would restore the “real bills doctrine,” the idea that lending should be limited to short-term projects that will not tie up capital for long periods. Gaffney criticizes the chimera of a 100% reserve requirement and similar plans to turn banking into a public enterprise. What is needed is a policy that allows the market to regulate the money supply automatically, not another potential source of failure by direct management. Thus Gaffney advises reformers to keep their eyes on the two most relevant variables in economic health: the price of land and the liquidity of the banking system.