3. (2014 November-December) Announcements: Basic Economic Literacy Course

Allen Smith, at the Henry George School of New York, is teaching a basic economic literary course for all concerned citizens who still have hope fore a just society. A $1,000 prize is being offered for any student who can logically and substantially refute any major point in the course text.

The course dates are November 10 to Dec 19, 2014,
Mon-Wed-Fri 3:00pm – 5:30pm (Thanksgiving week off).

http://georgist.com/files3/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/UEflyer10-14.pdf

4. (2014 November-December) Announcements: $33,000 prize for Economic Analysis

Special thanks to Gil Herman for the heads-up about a prize that Georgist researchers are primed to win:

The congregation of Bay Ridge United Methodist Church (BRUMC) in Brooklyn, N.Y., is offering an award of $33,000 to an economist, or group of economists, who identify the factors associated with the stronger economy in the period from 1946 to 1971, and the factors associated with the weaker economy in the period from 1972 to 2012.”

http://brumc.net/econaward/

1. (2014 January) Announcements: 2014 CGO Conference, Newport Beach

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Please join Mason Gaffney for his first book signing of The Mason Gaffney Reader, Monday, July 7th at 7:00 PM at the Newport Beach Radisson Hotel.  This is our first event for the opening of the 2014 CGO Conference.

We have just confirmed  Lenny Goldberg who will give a presentation entitled: “Land economics in action:  Where we’re going in California, how finally a Georgist policy is going to prevail, and how you can help.” Later that day, Lenny will debate someone from the Pro-Prop 13 movement.

“I expect to talk about what we’re doing in California to change Prop. 13, and it turns out that the politically feasible direction we’re taking involves restoring the taxation of land (and potentially taking it off new investment buildings).  The approach is only partial, but informed directly by land economics.” -Lenny Goldberg

A quick reminder, The Council of Georgist Organizations’ dues for both organizational and affiliate members must be paid ASAP either via our website www.cgocouncil.org or by mail: PO box 57, Evanston, IL 60204.

For more information, please contact Sue & Scott Walton, CGO Administrators at sns@swwalton.com

2. (2014 January) Announcements: NYC Seminars, January 18th

MORNING

Women, Earth and Economic Power

Sponsored by: Earth Rights Institute, Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations, and The Henry George School of Social Science

Saturday, January 18, 2014
10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
At the Chapel of Peace, Community Church
40 East 35th Street, New York City
(between Park & Madison Avenues in Manhattan)
Take the #6 Train to 33rd Street

RSVP and information: hiddenfromhistory1@gmail.com, alanna@earthrights.net and cccun@optonline.net

Speakers will describe the connection of women with the earth from their professional perspective and personal experiences, and elaborate on how this translates into a sense of “economic power”.  There will be time for group discussion following the presentations.

Moderator:  Alanna Hartzok, co-director, Earth Rights Institute

Presenters:

  • Lucy Webster, economist, board member & UN Rep, Economists for Peace and Security
  • Elizabeth Carll, PhD, psychologist and President, Communications Coordinating Committee for the UN
  • Stephanie Rosenberg, producer, New York
  • Amy Parekh Mehta, JD, LLM, Programme Management Officer, Permanent Observer Mission of  International Union for Conservation of Nature
  • Quisia Gonzalez, MD, medical doctor & Associate, Henry George School of Social Science
  • Teckla Negga Melchior, Development Officer, International Union for Land Value Taxation
  • Yolanda Brown, Christian minister, International Economic Development Council

AFTERNOON

Land Rights and Human Rights on Trial

Turning the Tables on Genocide and Ecocide

The Case of the Ahousaht People, Weyerhauser, and the United Church of Canada
A First hand Account and Dialogue with Rev. Kevin Annett
With respondents Quisia Gonzalez and Teckla Negga Melchior

Sponsored by The Henry George School of Social Science & Earth Rights Institute

 Saturday, January 18, 2014
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
At the Chapel of Peace, Community Church
40 East 35th Street, New York City
(between Park & Madison Avenues in Manhattan)
Take the #6 Train to 33rd Street

RSVP and information: hiddenfromhistory1@gmail.com and alanna@earthrights.net

2. (2013 December) Announcements: Annual RSF Fund Appeal

December 12, 2013

Dear Friends of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation,

When I sent out this letter last December the main issues in the mainstream media were the fiscal cliff and whether the debt ceiling would be raised. This year the spreading minimum wage strikes in the fast food industry are a prominent news item. Barely livable wages for the working poor and stagnant wages for the middle class are issues that are at the core of the economic philosophy of Henry George. The privatization of economic rent is a key factor in the suppression of wages. This fact is recognized only at the margins of public discourse.

Nonetheless, George’s name does appear in some mainstream publications such as the following recent statement by the Harvard political economist, Benjamin Friedman, in The New York Review of Books:

“It is nearly a century and a half since the American economist Henry George wrote Progress and Poverty. Much of his analysis no longer fits but the contradiction highlighted in his title resonates today as much as then.”

For Friedman the contradiction is increasing productivity amid rising unemployment. The privileging of economic rent by a few is the ultimate source of that contradiction. We must redouble our efforts to persuade gatekeepers like Friedman that George’s analysis of the modern paradox does fit.

The Foundation has recently made some significant decisions that require your support. In partnership with Fairleigh Dickinsen University Press and publisher Rowman & Littlefield, RSF has entered into an agreement to produce the critical, collected works of Henry George under the general editorship of Dr. Ken Wenzer. This hitherto undone task is central to the mission of the Foundation. It is a multi-year effort that is a significant financial commitment of the Foundation and for which we ask your financial support.

We are also continuing our more aggressive move into the realm of social media with greater use of short videos, blogging, Facebook, Google Hangouts, and recent upgrades to our website www.workandwealth.com. We have considerable human resource constraints, so your donation will go far in helping us expand our vital social media presence.

We have a dedicated staff in New York City and an active board of volunteer directors from all over North America. We are, however, stretched to the limit with available resources. If you are able, please make a generous contribution to the work of the Foundation. All contributions are tax-deductible.

Sincerely,

Francis K. Peddle
President
Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

Special Thank You Gifts for our supporters:
At no charge, we will send you:

For donations of $100 or more, one gift:

♦ The American Journal of Economics and Sociology (AJES):
Latest issue, November 2013, with “An Essay on Distributive Justice and the Equal Ownership of Natural Resources” by John Pullen

For donations of $250 or more, two gifts:

♦ AJES November 2013 (see above)

♦ AJES April 2001, 60th Anniversary Issue, including:
Introduction by Laurence S. Moss, Editor.
On the Origins of the AJES by Will Lissner, Founding Editor
A Symposium on Land and Rent with contributions by John Pullen,
John K. Whitaker, Kris Feder, and Robert V. Andelson.

For donations of $500 or more, three gifts:

♦ AJES November 2013 (see above)

♦ AJES April 2001, 60th Anniversary Issue (see above)

♦ Sharing the Earth by Martin Adams
First Edition, 2013.  Perhaps the first Georgist book written and edited via social media.  An exciting new presentation for a new generation.

Purchase Books

AJES November 2013:  $10

AJES April 2001: $10

Sharing the Earth: $14.95

The Mason Gaffney Reader: Essays on Solving the “Unsolvable”: $12.95

*Note: RSF will not be processing orders, including donation orders, between December 17th and January 7th.

Donation Link: http://bit.ly/1bDEXss

 

5. (2013 December) Announcements: HGS NYC December Seminar Series

Henry George School of Social Science
Open to all and tuition-free

Friday, December 6 at 6:30 PM
Lots of Luxuries, Lack of Necessities
The free market system does wonderful work providing luxury goods and services of all kinds. When it comes to the day-to-day necessities of life though, the free market often does not deliver the goods and services needed by society. Why? This seminar explores the range of scenarios where free markets fail and evaluates the actions typically taken to correct market failure.

Thursday, December 12 at 6:30 PM
Documentary Film and Discussion “The Killing Fields”

Tuesday, December 17 at 6:30 PM
Henry George for the Twenty-First Century
Ron Rubin explores how modern day economists, including Leon MacLaren, Herman Daly and Charles Eisenstein, have built upon Henry George’s framework of economic justice.

Wednesday, December 18 at 6:30 PM
Making Room for a Planet of Cities
.
Esteban Rodriguez outlines measures of urban growth, and the steps necessary to ensure and finance sustainable growth of urban areas.

Thursday, December 19 at 6:30 PM
Cheap Products, Human Misery
The relentless drive to produce cheap consumer goods has human and social costs, often for those in developing countries. This detailed case study of apparel manufacturing in Bangladesh examines various mechanisms to raise workers’ wages and standard of living.

Friday, December 20 at 6:30 PM
College Education: Certain Debt, Uncertain Income

Soaring costs for education, together with limited job opportunities and stagnant wage growth, place substantial financial and psychological burdens on students. Noted columnist and researcher Matt Leichter reviews tuition inflation, cuts in public funding and the business of lending to students. Mr. Leichter will also propose reforms to the system of financing college education.

Henry George School of Social Science
121 East 30th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues), New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212-889-8020 Email: hengeoschool@att.net
Online: www.henrygeorgeschool.org
Meetup group: www.meetup.com/Progress-and-Prosperity-Land-and-Liberty-New-York-City/

1. (2013 October) Announcements: 2014 CGO Conference

The 2014 CGO Conference in Newport Beach, California, July 7-12, 2014

Start saving money for your trip to the 2014 CGO Conference in Newport Beach, California, on July 8-11, 2014. The conference will take place near the Wayne Orange County Airport.  The fun doesn’t have to end with the conference though. Why not make your trip a vacation?

Visit: world class museums, two presidential libraries, beaches, aquariums, arboretums, botanic gardens, vineyards, missions, whale watching, La Brea Tar Pits, Santa Catalina Island, Queen Mary, Hollywood, Getty Villa, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, San Diego Zoo & Safari Park, Balboa Park and USS Midway.

There are also many amusement parks nearby including: Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld and Universal Studios.

Dine in the ethnic neighborhoods of: Olvera Street, Little Tokyo, Korea Town, China Town and Little Saigon.

Here is a map with important locations in bold: http://bit.ly/17eSWEB

6. (2013 October) Announcements: Fred Harrison’s New Website and Homage to Henry George

Fred Harrison has launched a new website, feeling strongly that the lexicon of the Georgist movement, particularly the word “tax”, is stifling progress. Though the site is still under construction, you may visit it at: http://sharetherents.org/.
The following statement, released a few days ago by Harrison, contains his rationale for the site:

Homage to Henry George
Fred Harrison

I have launched a new initiative for economic justice on www.sharetherents.org  This is based on the audit of my performance. I came to realise that there was never a chance of succeeding with the language and strategies that I inherited when I first walked into the London headquarters of the British Georgist movement back in the 1960s. So I celebrate my departure from the past with a homage to the activist who, in the 1880s, successfully launched the first global reform movement.

 

It was towards the end of a decade-long campaign to help the people of Russia that I realised why we had failed. I identified two reasons. First, the rent-seeking culture had become so deeply embedded that it would never allow fiscal reform anywhere in the world. Second, our tools undermined our ambitions. I share my reflections in case they are of value to others. I have road-tested them in China (last month) and the United States earlier this month). I was left encouraged.

 

(1) The assumption that ours is a rational society. If I and my colleagues strained hard to explain the integrity of land value taxation to policymakers and the media, reason would ultimately prevail. On the basis of deep historical research, I now understand that under no circumstances can the Georgist paradigm be negotiated into existence. I describe what I call the statecraft of greed in The Traumatised Society and in Ten Theses being serialised on www.sharetherents.org The agents of power have to be bypassed.

 

(2) The concept of “land value taxation” obstructs progress. I no longer use it. Here’s why:

 

(i) land: emphasis on this word distracted me from the other half of what people were excluded from when land was enclosed. Rent is the value of the services of both nature and society. People were excluded from society when they were deprived of their rights of access to the commons. By failing to demand the restoration of the right to create an authentic democratic culture, the void was left for other ideologies to fill.

 

(ii) land value: this term concedes the right to privately own the capitalised value of rent. This strengthened people’s determination to avoid public claims on “their” asset values.

 

(iii) taxation: “tax” shuts down people’s minds. Denial is the default position. I was embarked on Mission Impossible. And: by threatening a tax on “their” land, I implicitly conceded that government would only recover a part of the rent (a 100% charge would be resisted as confiscation, as a “taking”). I allowed myself to be co-opted by the rent-seeking agenda!

 

(3) Language By talking about “increases in the value of their land”, I misrepresented economic reality. The value of their land did not increase. It was the value of public services that were further enhanced by tax-funded investments. Derelict governments allowed land owners to capture enhanced rents. I reinforced rent-seeking by endorsing the myth that “their” land increased in value.

 

(4) Objectivity    My books presented an objective account of land value taxation without the passion that is required to reconstruct communities on the basis of freedom and justice. I ought to have offered visions of the future that might flow from the recovery of the community’s rents. Restoration of an authentic democratic culture would lead to ways of living significantly different from those bequeathed by the predators. My objectivity lacked the inspiration needed to overcome the despair and denial which, I now recognise, helps people to cope with the perverse laws of the land. Over the course of four generations, the Georgist paradigm was dumbed down.

 

(5) The Shift        We need a culture shift (facilitated by a tax shift) to control the geopolitical trends that pose an existential threat to humanity. I am exploring ways to mobilise people beyond the methods employed by most NGOs (which seek to ameliorate painful symptoms rather than alter the foundations of a corrupted social system).

 

Georgists from around the world pitched in to our Russian campaign. It was a wonderful exercise in collaboration. I do not want that effort to have been wasted. Failure to save the people of Russia will not have been in vain if the lessons are learnt. Today, in China, the World Bank is once again pushing to privatise land and rent. Reasoned discourse with the international financial institutions and sovereign governments will not yield change: their mandate is to protect the rent-seeking culture.

 

We need to foster what Mason Gaffney calls a Great Awakening: a renewal of humanity’s moral/spiritual heritage, the kind that preceded great reforms of the past. The way to achieve this is to excise the mind-bending language bequeathed to us by the culture that was incubated by the predators of the past. Their vitriolic values have all but erased the last traces of decency in our communities.

 

I am optimistic, for this reason. The next generation of activists will be unique in the history of our species. So far, humans have lived according to the rules of territoriality. This was a necessary evolutionary strategy. Territoriality, however, has been rendered obsolete. Time and space are overcome by clicks on keyboards. Cell phones mobilised tens of thousands of people into the squares of Arab cities, and their sheer numbers was sufficient to overthrow those who exercised monopoly power. But they were not equipped with the knowledge of what it would take to lay the foundations for a better future: hence the re-assertion of rent-seeking in Egypt by the military, the owners of one of the country’s largest landed estates.

 

Back in the 19th century, Henry George provided a clear exposition which empowered the people of the street. He even animated some policy-makers (who, at the turn into the 20th century, realised that they were faced with the opportunity to change the course of history). We now need a narrative that resonates with the realities of the 21st century. Those realities cannot be adequately articulated in the idioms that pass for economic and political discourse today. My effort to scope out new concepts is but one contribution to what I hope will be a fresh start to redeem the selfless sacrifices of four generations of activists.

 

If you view this initiative with sympathy, please check out the Cheating Index plan and register your support: http://sharetherents.org/the-cheating-index/

19 October 2013