1. (2013 August) Book: Sharing the Earth

What if you could live in a world where everyone had enough? Where financial struggle would not exist, and where involuntary unemployment and poverty could become a thing of the past? A world where our economies are thriving, yet our ecologies are sustained?

Sharing the Earth not only shows that such a world is possible, it also shows how it can be accomplished. This book builds a case for a detailed and comprehensive economic reform of unprecedented scope, and it does so with both sound logic and a passion guaranteed to draw in anyone who has ever dreamed of a brighter future and a better world, for ourselves and future generations.

Martin Adams has done a masterful job of perspicuously explaining the Earth Sharing paradigm in a manner that is as intellectually rigorous as it is inspiring. Martin has done a great deal of research, drawing on academics and a large community of concerned citizens. Many individuals from the online Georgist community collaborated directly with Martin on this publication, editing the book together on google docs. This book has drawn on the power of social media to create community, a mutually supportive community that works together towards tangible gains.

Sharing the Earth has been published as both a hardcover and a paperback. It is also available as an ebook with considerably more features than the physical editions. Please help support Martin’s work by purchasing a physical copy of the book from Robert Schalkenbach Foundation’s website. It can also be read for free on the beautifully designed SharingtheEarth.com. Ebooks are available using the links below:

http://earth.sh/ebook-kindle
http://earth.sh/ebook-ipad
http://earth.sh/ebook-smashwords
http://earth.sh/ebook-nook

RSF Bookstore:
http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=93&rn=694&action=show_detail

 

8. (2013 June) Book Review: Two Views of Social Justice

A Catholic/Georgist Dialogue

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.

Buy Two Views of Social Justice

9. (2013 June) After the Crash

Designing a Depression-Free Economy

By Mason Gaffney; edited by Clifford Cobb

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.

Buy
Paper back After the Crash
Hard back After the Crash

9. (2013 February) Book Review: Plutocrats by Chrystia Freeland

The Rise of the New Global Super Rich
Outrageous fortunes abound in this absorbing study of the world’s wealthiest men
By Ian Birrell, The Guardian

There has always been a gap between rich and poor but this is just one sign of how the gulf has widened into a chasm over the past few decades. Creaming off more and more wealth is a new elite, a transglobal class of mainly self-made men carving out unimaginable fortunes. They are the subject of this timely and absorbing analysis by former Financial Times deputy editor Chrystia Freeland.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/nov/01/plutocrats-super-rich-freeland-review


For more on the specifically Georgist elements in Chrystia Feeland’s book, see the next item in this month’s The Georgist News.

To buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/Plutocrats-Rise-Global-Super-Rich-Everyone/dp/1594204098

7. (2012 December) Book Review: The Traumatised Society

Fred Harrison’s The Traumatised Society: How to Outlaw Cheating and Save our Civilisation
Many people are all too aware that there is something badly wrong with our current economic system, but they are less clear about how it got so bad, what an alternative might look like, and how we can make the change. This profound book admirably fills that gap.
By Bernadette Meaden

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17330

 


To purchase Fred Harrison’s book, click here.