The Executive committee of the Council of Georgist Organizations is seeking nominations for its Economic Justice Award. Prior winners include: Mason Gaffney, Lindy Davies, RSF, Center for the Study of Economics, Mike Curtis, Herb Barry, Al Katzenberger, Gil Herman, Nic Rosen, Nadine Stoner, Walt Rybeck, Alanna Hartzok, Dan Sullivan, Ted Gwartney, Herb Barry and Steve Cord to name a few.
I’d like to nominate____________________ for the CGO’s 2014 Economic Justice Award. Deadline for nominations is January 1, 2014.
Importance of the CGO Conference- Sue Walton
The CGO conference is the primary conference in the US that strengthens our cohesion by bringing us together face-to-face. As hotel and travel costs have risen, we have worked hard to choose locations that are both accessible and affordable.
Robert Schalkenbach Foundation and The Henry George School of Social Science have steadfastly supported the conference for many years, despite their own budgetary challenges in difficult times. If the CGO is to continue to maintain its present practices, we need other funders to come forward. Do you know of any other organizations that have an interest in our cause that might be willing to contribute? If so, please let us know.
We try to fund conference expenses for those who do the necessary conference work and could not otherwise attend. This also helps us bring people into the movement who do good work but cannot afford to attend on their own. Donations to our scholarship fund also help us contain conference costs for everyone by relying on these volunteers instead of paid staff. Please contribute if you are able, and consider nominating those whom you think we should help with conference costs. We depend entirely on conference fees, membership dues, donations and contracts.
Please send donations to: CGO, PO Box 57, Evanston, IL 60204. All donors will be listed in the onsite conference program.
This year’s CGO conference was an exciting one, brimming with potential from a younger generation of Georgists attending their first conference: Nate Blair, Irisha Johnnyl Johnson & Nathan Johnson, Andrew Perry, Ben Harp, and Jeff Dean. Returning youngins included David Harrell, Ashely-Eve Downs & Edward Miller, Martin Adams, and Jacob Shwartz-Lucas. An estimated 20% of attendees were under 40 years old, full of energy and new ideas, all enthusiastic about collaboration. The conference was a great opportunity for them to finally meet after over a year of facebooking, and video conferencing.
Left to right: Nate Blair, David Harrell, Edward Miller, Jacob Shwartz-Lucas, Andrew Perry, Jeff Dean, Ben Harp
A diverse and stimulating range of topics were covered at the conference including:
Land policy in US history
Pittsburgh’s land tax history
Experiences with LVT and Pennsylvania’s Assessments
The Politics of Assessing
How the 1913 Income Tax Divided the Georgist Movement
A Hundred Years of Georgist Songs
The Commons Movement: A Civil Right to the Commons
Introducing our Vision to Average Communities
Transportation and Land Value
Social Media Outreach
Subway-stop Taxpayer Lots in New York City
Sue Walton, chief organizer of the conference, had this to say:
The Council of Georgist Organizations would like to thank everyone who attended its 2013 Conference in Pittsburgh. We would like to recognize all of the Team CGO volunteers, especially Osamu Uehara who organized and cooked up a storm at our “happy room” (formerly known as our hospitality suite). The CGO would also like to thank Jacob Shwartz-Lucas and others from the social media community for their efforts in bringing a large bunch of younger Georgists to the event. We look forward to seeing you next July in California!
Left to right: Daniel Syddall (UK), Alanna Hartzok (US), Luka Achi (Nigeria), Niels Charlier (Belgium), Jacob Shwartz-Lucas (US), Vitnarae Kang (South Korea)
Left to right: Niels Charlier (Belgium), Peter Smith (UK)
For several reasons, the 28th conference of the International Union for Land Value Taxation – www.theIU.org – will be remembered as among the best in living memory by the roughly fifty-five people that were in attendance. There were some seventy people initially registered, but many could not make it at the last minute due to health issues, visa problems, and other conflicts. Those coming to London from beyond the UK represented almost half of those present, together representing seventeen countries. All this made for some interesting and even compelling exchanges. The theme was Economics for Conscious Evolution, subtitled A Geo-Justice Conference, and all aspects of this title were fully evident with some thirty-seven speakers from every country represented. Conference session topics included:
Land and Geo-Justice
Land Rights Prospects and Realities in Africa
Sharing the Commons: Land, Land Rent and Money
Critique of Current Financial Policies
Claiming Water, Fish & Oil Commons
Why Socializing Rent & Untaxing Production is Good for Labour
Case Study: Argentina – From Public Debt to Abundance for All
The Socialist Case for Supporting an Annual Land Value Tax
Climate Change and New Economics
Inequality: Cause and Cure
Land Trusts & Eco-villages
Saturday, July 27, David Triggs organized an informative and fun river and bus tour of London’s high points as related to matters of economic justice. Not least were visits to the revitalized Docklands, the British Museum holding a copy of the Magna Carta, and the Guildhall, the home of the London’s Corporate seat for some 800 years. The day-long tour finished at the notable Hyde Park “Speakers Corner,” with the few drops of rain not dampening the attention of attendees and passers-by in any significant way as speakers representing many countries supported the 1949 IU Declaration for Human Rights including the right to share land wealth.
The meeting was held at Mandeville Place, the home of the School of Economic Science – www.schooleconomicscience.org. The building is a gorgeously appointed structure with space fully adequate for the conference sessions, coffee and lunch breaks, and book displays. While our conference was in session, other activities were continuing without interruption.
No account here can be complete given the number of sessions. Besides the listing above, one might mention the possible legal challenge to South Africa’s Constitution that is now looming, suggestion of airport landing slot rent collection as a solution to the growing congestion at Heathrow, Gatwick and other London Airports, the growing power of a rejuvenated Georgist movement in Australia, the utility of computers and the internet in our movement, and the appeal of Georgism to all dimensions of the political spectrum.
Dan has also created graphics online that explain how land value taxation works in dynamic format. These can be viewed here: http://www.geogebratube.org/material/show/id/12785. They are powerful explications of the relationship between land rent, labor and taxation. Dan was also able to impart much of this technological skill to others at the conference so that we can expect to see its wider application soon elsewhere.
Indeed, our conference made more use of visual materials than ever before. Most presenters had PowerPoint presentations, maps, diagrams, statistical graphics, YouTube segments, and photographs. The presentations of this conference have been collected and will shortly be online and downloadable in addition to the video-streamed presentations. Records of all the other conference programs going back to its founding in 1926, will also soon be available on theIU website (www.theIU.org), and last year’s 2012 Buenos Aires conference is now available.
Every conference shows an improvement, and the biennial conference being discussed for the year 2015, perhaps in Seoul Korea, will offer a still wider array of material than even this meeting had.
A sideline feature of this conference was the number of newly available books written by members of the Georgist movement. RSF had its mini-catalogue available for book purchases. Alanna Hartzok’s collection of published articles, The Earth Belongs to Everyone, was available at the registration desk, as was the DVD of the film, The End of Poverty, sponsored by the Schalkenbach Foundation three years ago. The exhibit table also carried a reprinted edition of Leon MacLaren’s The Science of Economics. Along with his father Andrew, MacLaren was the Founder of London’s School of Economic Science in 1937. One needs also to note Fred Harrison’s several books, including his newest, The Traumatized Society. The conference speaker and Irish author of The Fair Tax, Emer O’Siochru, had her book on the table for the first time as well. John Stewart, who portrays his Georgist philosophy through fictionalized accounts, had not only all his books present but was honored by the conference for his long involvement in the movement. We are fortunate to have a close working relationship with the Shepheard-Walwyn publishing house and its director Anthony Werner. Anthony had the books in its ethical economics series on the exhibit table for the full conference.
The conference acknowledged the outstanding contributions promoting LVT and working with TheIU over many years by awarding trophies to Ole Lefmann (UK/Denmark), Fernando Scornik Gerstein (Spain) and Hector Raul Sandler (Argentina).
A few other items are worthy of note. Shortly before the conference, the news of the second revolution in Egypt was broadcast. The interim Prime Minister appointed by the intervening military was a venerable elder-statesman and well-known liberal economist. Hazem Beblawi, who had earlier served as vice-prime minister and minister of finance, was now head of the provisional coalition. His past writing shows a very clear understanding of rentier states, and edited a book in 1987 titled The Rentier State. A letter was drafted and signed by all the attending members of the IU urging Mr. Beblawi to press the new leadership to tax resource rents as a way to revitalize the Egyptian economy. This letter is now available on the IU website.
The IU business meeting addressed still other matters, in due course. The election of officers began by thanking Fernando Scornik-Gerstein for his service as president for the past seven years, and the election of Dave Wetzel as the new president. Vice presidents for some twenty other nations were chosen as well. It was also formally agreed that the IU should aim to have a conference every second year.
The most contentious measure involved whether to change the name of the organization by deleting reference to “Free Trade.” From its inception, the name has been ‘The International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade,’ even though it is widely understood that the words “Free Trade,” have today become linked to an economic philosophy of neoliberalism essentially opposite to that in 1926. Free trade advocacy for Georgists has always been premised on the assumption of the universal institution of taxation of land rents, which would then provide greater efficiency, equity, and a harmonized level playing field among nations. For this reason, and the fact that current usage of free trade in our title acts as a barrier when discussing LVT within the UN and other places, a majority of those present and voting argued for the elimination of the words “and Free Trade.” But altering the IU constitution requires a 2/3 majority, and the vote fell just one short of that number. As a result the informal agreement arrived at was to explore other wording for a special General Business Meeting early next year.
Lastly, no conference report can be complete without mention of the role that Alanna Hartzok played as the newly-engaged General Secretary for the IU. She performed not only as the pivotal person in the conference management but also kept discussion of the executive committee on track in its many prior Skype conference calls and email exchanges. The organization now faces the task of generating a budget that will allow the operations of the IU to continue at the new level of accomplishment and success it has now reached.
32nd Annual Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations An Effective Role for Every Georgist
The thirty-second annual conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations was held from July 30 to August 3, 2012 at the Camp Hill Radisson in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Attendees were greeted with a rousing and inspiring welcome from Mayor Linda Thompson.
The 2012 conference was largely an internal conference with many concurrent sessions repeating over the course of the conference in groups of three at any one time. These sessions featured passionate presentations from Alanna Hartzok, who spoke about her Light Rights Online Course and proclaimed that she would go to jail fighting for land value and other issues that she believes in, as well as from Jacob Shwartz-Lucas and Edward Miller, who despite poor hotel Wi-Fi managed to incite participants to be more deeply involved in social media. Lindy Davies was an able substitute for Mason Gaffney when he and Canadian Erich Jacoby-Hawkins discussed sales taxes, tax evasion and market distortion in Canada. Erich also gave an insightful presentation on how Georgists can make the best use of Wikipedia. Although the conference turnout was small compared to previous conferences, there was a significant number of dedicated newcomers who made valuable contributions to the proceedings.
Conference organizer and newly elected CGO President, Dan Sullivan, along with his programming team performed miracles when several invited speakers did not show up to debate the property tax. Fortunately, Dan was able to get former Pittsburgh City Council member and current Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Auditor General, Jack Wagner, to drive from Pittsburgh to speak about Pittsburgh and land tax.
The 2012 hospitality suite was dynamic and was the scene of much eating and networking thanks to Osamu Uehara who brought nearly his whole kitchen with him. Osamu made fresh dips each evening including guacamole and hummus and for the sweet-tooth s’mores.
Wednesday’s bus trip featured Josh Vincent showing conference participants the before and after effects of LVT in Harrisburg. Thursday evening’s banquet speaker was the Honorable Stephen Reed, former Harrisburg mayor, who explained to conference participants how LVT changed Harrisburg for the better. Reed exhorted Georgists keep their message present in today’s world. Reed received an enthusiastic standing ovation, and Banquet MC Ted Gwartney thanked Reed and said it was the best banquet speech so far in CGO history.
RSF was on hand with a large selection of books for sale and other materials for free. Contact email@example.com for the new mini-catalogue of “Special Offers” that was distributed to all conference participants.
Next year’s conference will be held from August 6 to 10, 2013 when the Council will be in Pittsburgh to celebrate one hundred years of land value taxation in Pennsylvania.
(Compiled by Sue Walton, Dan Sullivan, Mark Sullivan and Ted Gwartney.)
Joyous June, the birth month of Smith, Keynes, and quasi-geoists F.L. Wright and Rousseau, and the anti-geoist Prop 13. As a British colony, Hong Kong (existing on public land) began and ended, as did World War I, which ended the land tax in the British budget and the actual levy in some German towns. But we’re making a comeback. Note below what your cohorts are achieving – and what your intended audience would like to hear. “My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.” – H. Fred Dale. And if you know anyone else who’d enjoy the News, put them in touch. Thanks.
CONTENTS: * Coming Soon 1. News: Where Is the Housing Market? Could a Tax Fix It? 2. Numbers: The Battle Over CEO Pay 3. Good Press: Caught Cheating on the Property Tax 4. Movement Progress: One Man Movement! HGIEC Admin and Operations 5. Correction: Re: Labour Land Campaign President’s Report 6. Letters: Planning Magazine 7. Likable link: LandValueScape Update 8. What You Can Do: International Conference; Political Philosophy of Henry George 9. At the Margin: Quips and Quotes 10. Publication affairs: Contributors, About the Georgist News
* Coming Soon:
The 32nd North American Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations, July 30 – August 6, 2012, Next to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at the Camp Hill Radisson by Dan Sullivan, May 31, 2012
On Tuesday, July 31, at the Harrisburg Radisson Hotel, we intend to debate ANY responsible leader of the anti-property-tax movement. If nobody has the courage to support their claims in a debate format, we will analyze video clips made by David Baldinger, head of the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition, and other opponents of property tax reduction and show why their statements are mostly misleading and sometimes simply false.
Don’t miss the deadline to register; be included in our bus tour of Harrisburg and Hershey! www.cgocouncil.org
Biannual IU in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 15-18 Chief organizer Hector Sandler has recruited the ASAP, an NGO with over 300 members who all are graduates of public economy a major institution to affiliate with the International Union. Plus, other social NGOs will attend our conference.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE BUENOS AIRES, 15 TO 18 MAY 2012 AT THE SCHOOL OF LAW (UBA)
The International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade will hold its XXVIIIth International Biannual Conference, in the City of Buenos Aires, from 15 to 18 May 2012. The IU has appointed the Institute of Economic Training (Instituto de Capacitación Económica (ICE)) and the Argentine Association of Budget and Public Financial Administration (ASAP) as organizers of the meeting. Besides, it will support the International Association of Public Budget (ASIP) formed by a network of organizers similar to the ASAP, existing in different countries. The Conference will be held at the Main Hall of the School of Law, situated in Av. Pres. Figueroa Alcorta 2263, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. This International Conference is called to review topics corresponding to the content in the title:
HOUSING, LAND AND SOCIAL INCLUSION A TAXATION SYSTEM TO ACHIEVE IT
The objective is to enrich and spread scientific knowledge about the relevant factors in the task of building up a fair and progressive economic order. The participants will propose, based on their countries’ experience, operative and realistic measures that enable to achieve social peace, individual freedom, economic growth, equitable wealth distribution, democracy, and social justice. Due to its content, the Conference will be multisectoral and transdisciplinary, as the idea is to overcome the segmentation of knowledge and to be able to program socially shared and self-sustainable solutions. For that purpose, institutions and different groups, although coincident, will be called to set a social order where the economic, political, legal and cultural aspects of life are consistent to one another.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 2012 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE:
Individuals interested in submitting lectures at the Conference must send, before 30 December 2011, an abstract of their paper, with a maximum of 2,000 characters in A4 paper sheet size, with electronic support in Spanish, and, if possible, its translation into English. In addition, in a separate sheet, they must send their personal information to keep in contact with us. Those individuals only interested in attending the sessions of the International Conference, must send an email to the following email addresses, in order to receive the application forms and any other information needed: – ASAP: asap at asap.org.ar – ICE: ice_argentina at speedy.com.ar All the Georgists of Argentina hope that a crowd of Georgists from around the world will join them in Buenos Aires. To register for the conference, please contact Hector Sandler (hsandler at speedy.com.ar) and copy the accountant Gonzalo Lecuona (Secretary General of the ASAP) gonzalo_lecuona at me.com. Also, please send Hector the email addresses of others whom you think may like to receive an invitation. Thank you.