Sue Walton sends a very important bit of news for anyone attending the 2013 CGO Conference in Pittsburgh:
The CGO was notified on April 26th, that the Holiday Inn Pittsburgh Airport would be closing on July 15, 2013. The hotel was bought by Robert Morris University who will be converting the hotel into dorm rooms. The CGO officers and staff have actively been seeking a replacement hotel for the past 3 weeks and now we are pleased to announce that we have found a replacement:
THE SHERATON FOUR POINTS PITTSBURGH AIRPORT One Industry Lane Pittsburgh, PA 15275 Tel: 724-695-0002 Toll-free: 1-888-627-8968
The conference program remains the same. However, the hotel rate will be $95 and will include breakfast. The new hotel is $4 less per night and includes a morning breakfast. The hotel has complimentary Wi-Fi and airport shuttle as well as shuttle to service to the close-by Robinson Town Center shops and restaurants. There is a seasonal outdoor heated pool and a 24 hour fitness center, as well as a Business Center. The hotel is closer to downtown Pittsburgh and can be reached from downtown by taking the same 28X Bus to the airport and call for the hotel shuttle. Please mention that you’re attending the Georgist Conference in order to receive the special discount pricing.
You must make your CGO reservation before July 10th. (Please call the hotel at 724-695-0002 or toll-free at 1-888-627-8968.)
Jacob Shwartz-Lucas recently represented RSF at the Eastern Economic Association conference and the American Monetary Institute special event at Cooper Union, both in New York City. Jake writes:
This past week I attended the Eastern Economic Association (EEA) annual conference and an American Monetary Institute (AMI) event in NYC. At the EEA, I was able to see the Stand Up Economist Yoram Bauman, and get free copies of his comic book guides to macro and microeconomics. I also did a great deal of networking with leaders of the Basic Income Grant (BIG) Coalition. Proponents of a BIG believe that we should simply give everyone in society at least a small amount of money. The basic income is entirely unconditional. The rich and poor alike receive the same amount. BIG proponents favor funding such programs through land and other natural resource taxation.
In 2011, I stayed for a couple days in the village of Omitara/ Ojtivero, the site of the Namibian Basic Income Grant. Most households in the village pool their BIGs under an elder matriach, or “big mamma” as she is called. Each big mamma would allot part of the family funds to schooling, medical care, and small business ventures. Contrary to skepticism over whether the poor villagers would misuse their BIGs on drugs and alcohol, I saw a community that made extremely prudent financial decisions. My hosts were also overwhelmingly generous, serving me several meals and offering me their only bed.
The land the village is on is government owned, and the villager’s rent does not increase with the increasing living standards brought about by BIG. However, the village is very isolated. I asked my host “Where would you like to live?”. She replied “In Windhoek [the capital], but the rent is too high.” If there was a land value tax, without taxes on buildings and other forms of production, there would be a greater supply of living space closer to public amenities for these people. In the absence of a land value tax, communities enjoying no rent or fixed rent can quickly realize a significant increase in living standards. This is because the rent does not increase with the BIG in these situations. I suggested that BIG programs prioritize situations in which the rent will not increase.
The AMI event was scheduled to be held at the great hall at Cooper Union, but due to protests over a decision to start charging tuition, it was moved across the street. In brief, the problem addressed at the event was that of privately appropriated seigniorage, seigniorage being the difference between the value of money and the cost to produce and distribute it. Representatives of AMI believe that the interest obtained by private banks from loaning newly created money is an unearned privilege. Therefore, they propose that we move to a full reserve banking system and endow an independent monetary authority to determine the congressional budget limit. The government would then be allowed to spend up to that limit. It is an issue that many Georgists feel strongly about and it is one that perhaps we all should become at least somewhat familiar with. Overall, I had a very pleasant and productive experience this week.
World Bank hears lecture on aiding poor & stimulating business By Hunt Henion (Examiner.com)
During the annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, 700 leaders from around the world came to discuss “innovative approaches to follow up on recent global and regional initiatives…that contribute to poverty reduction, gender equality and sustainable economic growth.” One of the speakers was Alanna Hartzok of The Earth Rights Institute, who spoke in part on the value of untaxing production.
Austerity Is a War on Prosperity By Fred E. Foldvary (Progress Report)
“Austerity” is a policy of reducing beneficial government spending and raising harmful taxes. The taxes that have been increased in the name of austerity have been on goods, wages, value added, and the profits of entrepreneurs. The spending cuts are often on the infrastructure that make the economy more productive, or on the services that the poor depend on: education, medical services, housing, and food aid.
Last week, Mason Gaffney spoke on “Great Expectations: How credit markets twist the allocation and distribution of land” at the Eastern Economic Conference in Manhattan. Click the link below to read the text of his talk.
The American Monetary Institute held a special event at Cooper Union in New York City last weekend. Among the speakers was long-time Georgist and former RSF board member Bill Batt. Click below to read Bill’s address in its entirety.
Why have you never heard of Henry George? By Steve Muratore
Okay, maybe you have heard of him, but until very recently, I had not. Not while earning my bachelor’s degree in business administration (major in accounting) from Arizona State. Not from labor leaders, though I was a member of the United Telegraph Workers in the 1970s; nor from AFSCME, though I was a member in the 1990s.
Classical Economics, Now More Than Ever By Matthew Yglesias (Slate)
In the beginning, there were the classical economists—most famously Adam Smith and David Ricardo—who wrote about a mostly preindustrial economy. A little bit unfortunately for them, the Industrial Revolution turned out to be far and away the most important thing to ever happen in economy history.