December 2017

Given a community with republican institutions in which one class rolls in wealth and the many seethe with discontent at a condition of things they know not how to remedy, and power must pass into the hands of demagogues who will seize and wield it for a time, only to be displaced by worse demagogues. — Henry George

CGO 2018: Renewing Baltimore

Monday, August 27th to Friday, August 31st, 2018

The 2018 CGO conference will take place in Baltimore’s vibrant Inner Harbor. Our hotel, the Holiday Inn Inner Harbor, is just two blocks from the Camden Yards Stadium (where the Orioles will be playing while we’re there!) and just blocks away from numerous museums, restaurants, the National Aquarium, street performers in the daytime and live music at night.

Though Baltimore is troubled, and has lost a third of its population since 1970, it is also very proud of its history, and has more buildings on the national historic register than any other US city. Baltimore has long been known as the “city of neighborhoods” and its people take pride in their friendly hospitality. And, Baltimore is city where dedicated activists and local officials have been working for over a decade to enact the LVT reform that Baltimore desperately needs. Clarence Davis, former Maryland state legislator and AARP president, has been a leader in this effort and will be a key speaker at our conference.

Our conference will begin with a special charrette, a brainstorming session in which folks from many fields will envision the probable effects of collecting Baltimore’s land rent for public revenue. One day will be devoted to panels on the morality of property in land, featuring Charles Avila, author of Ownership: Early Christian Teachings.

Stay tuned for more news as this event takes shape!

Henry George’s Birthplace for Sale

 The Henry George birthplace, 413 S. 10th St. in Philadelphia, has been owned by the Henry George School for many decades. Georgist classes were held there through the 1960s and 1970s, and in 1989 the building was restored and opened as the Henry George birthplace Museum. It housed a number of artifacts from Henry George’s life, as well as a library – and classes were still held there. In recent years, the birthplace continued to house the Henry George artifacts, served as an archive for historical materials collected by the school, and served for a time as the headquarters of the Center for the Study of Economics.

Recently the HGS has announced its intention the birthplace on the market. It has offered to sell it to the Robert Schalkenbach foundation for the “market price” of $720,000. Over the years a number of bequests and other donations have been made to the Henry George School which were targeted and restricted to the Philadelphia birthplace. The Schalkenbach foundation estimates the current value of these restricted funds to be approximately $700,000. Recently the HGS has removed all of the Henry George memorabilia and artifacts from the birthplace, placing them in storage in New York.

Because of this building’s importance to the Georgist movement, the Schalkenbach foundation has urged the Henry George School to simply transfer ownership so that it can keep Henry George’s birthplace as a shrine and educational center for our movement’s use. So far, the HGS has made no response.

P&P Launch Event in Vancouver

On December 1st, at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, was held second in a series of lectures and discussions on the The Annotated Works of Henry George. Volume II is the new edition of Progress and Poverty, edited by William Peirce, who contributed an introduction on the historical context of P&P, placing. George’s argument within the framework of the economic theories of his day. This event, hosted by the Henry George Foundation of Canada, included presentations by Frank Peddle and Brendan Hennigan.

Progress and Poverty in German

A brand new translation of Henry George’s classic appeared this year, translated, and with an introduction, by Prof. Dirk Löhr. german readers have eagerly welcomed this new book. For many decades, the only German translation of Progress and Poverty was in an archaic German script, which few now read.

 

Henry George Institute Secures College-Credit Recertification

Since 2012, the Henry George Institute’s three-course series in Principles of Political Economy as been recommended for college transfer credit. This year, the certifying body, the National College Credit Recommendation Service, a division of the University of the State of New York, required its periodic recertification. Expert reviewers Fred Foldvary and Kris Feder went through the HGI’s curriculum and enthusiastically recommended that it be recertified. Students who complete the three-course series receive an official transcript from Excelsior College, an accredited college in New York State. The first course in the series, Understanding Economics, is free and self-based. Anyone can enroll at www.henrygeorge.org.

Articles You Don’t Want to Miss!

This Month’s Featured Blog

The Devon (England) Henry George Society’s blog isn’t the least bit flashy – but it’s well worth a good chunk of your time. It features commentary, analysis and reviews by articulate Georgist writers, with an occasional guest post from across the pond. It clearly announces itself as part of a larger movement, having chosen to associate itself with the “Earthsharing” brand, and offering a smartly-curated list of associated sites in the right-hand margin. Visit! Scroll! Read, comment & Share! You’ll be glad you did.

July 2017

The Henry George Program

If you haven’t heard yet, the ideas of Henry George have a new outlet through Stanford University Radio’s The Henry George Program. It’s been a great opportunity to form new partnerships and spread the Georgist message among influencers as well as the general public.

Recently, the show featured Jamie Galbraith, son of John Kenneth Galbraith, who in our discussion said that even if we found ways to increase aggregate demand, land rent would rise to claim a great deal of the benefit. Therefore, he thinks increasing aggregate demand and land value tax together is important. Of Mason Gaffney, Dr. Galbraith said:

“This is a very remarkable thinker of our time. Every time I come across one of his essays, I’m enchanted by it… he’s clearly a remarkable presence in our intellectual lives and policy discussions. I’m a great fan of Mason Gaffney.”

The show has also recorded interviews with public representatives, as well as Nobel Prize winners, leaders at large companies, and other influencers.

 

News Highlights

San Francisco Is Burning

“The past few years have seen sustained tech-worker colonization. Property prices have skyrocketed, and something strange and terrible has started happening: a spate of mysterious fires. There were 45 of them in 2015 and 2016, displacing 198 people and killing three, including a child.

“Legal evictions in San Francisco are costly and difficult, and so a lot of locals have started wondering: Could there be a plot by landlord arsonists to clear out the district to make way for the tech people?”

Bengaluru Gets It Right – Land Value Tax To Finance The Metro

“Bengaluru is using a variation of land value taxation to fund the construction of a metro station. The basic insight being that the construction of a metro line adds value in the areas served by it. Thus a reasonable method of financing the construction is by trying to capture some of that rise in the land value. The value rise is largest at the actual stations of course, so that’s the right place to try to be charging the owners for the uplift in land values.

“It’s worth noting that the extension of London’s Tube to Battersea is being largely financed in this manner. The people redeveloping the Battersea Power Station have chipped in a couple of hundred million to extend the line. On the grounds that the extension produces more than that value uplift to their development. The earlier extension of the Jubilee Line out to Canary Wharf was also paid for, largely, by the developers of Canary Wharf.”

Land value soars 13.5 percent, raises question of tax

“The value of land beneath Australians’ homes has increased to more than 70 per cent of the value of their entire real estate holdings, the highest share in history and almost double the level in the late 1980s.

“Land is now the biggest item on Australians’ aggregate balance sheet, ahead of superannuation assets of $2.66 trillion and bank deposits and currency of just over $1.06 trillion. Unimproved land makes up slightly under half of Australian households’ net worth, according to the ABS.

“A 0.7 per cent a year land tax should be phased in in NSW to replace stamp duties, concluded a recent report obtained under FOI laws by The Australian, authored by retired economics professor Peter Abelson.”

Ohio farmers pushing for changes to land value formula

“Property taxes are on the increase, and local farmers are taking a hit in their wallets.

“Farmers across the state who are enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program have watched as taxable value of their land has increased.

“Changes could be on the horizon for farmers in the CAUV program as Senate Bill 36 has passed the Senate and is heading to the Ohio House for a vote. The proposal would allow for changes to the formula to address non-farm influences that tend to raise CAUV values. Farmers also would not be penalized for adopting conservation practices to protect water quality.”

John FitzGerald: Tax on hoarding land would incentivise building

“The really scarce factor of production is zoned and serviced building land, and land prices are rising rapidly in response to the increased sale price for housing.

“Increasing the supply of land zoned for development would certainly cut its price. Simplifying and clarifying the planning process would also help. There is currently huge uncertainty about what will be acceptable to planners, and this uncertainty raises costs and inhibits supply.

“There is also evidence of land hoarding in expectation of even higher prices in future. If Budget 2018 brought in an appropriate tax on such land, this would incentivize owners to make it available for building now.”

BOOKS

The Annotated Works of Henry George Vol 2

Volume II of The Annotated Works of Henry George presents the unabridged text of Progress and Poverty, the most influential work. The original text is supplemented by a new index and by notes that explain textual changes George made during his lifetime, as well as his many references to history, literature, and economics.

Young George and the Dragon: An Economic Fairy Tale

Have you ever wondered why the rich get richer and the middle class and poor keep falling behind? The fault lies not in the stars but in our human created economic system!

This simple fairy tale introduces readers to an economic philosophy that, if implemented, could reverse this trend toward growing poverty and, instead, create a win-win economic and political system that promotes free enterprise prosperity, economic justice, and an ecologically sustainable future.

The story of Young George and the Dragon should be read not only by young adults but by aging politicians too! It is about time that everyone should discover the “Holy Grail of Economics”.

 

Earth Sharing

Stand Up Economist -Young Georgist Conference

BIL: Oakland 2016 Recession Generation was an Earthsharing.org conference in Oakland, California last year. Yoram Bauman, who declares himself the world’s first and only stand-up economist, took the opportunity to present a humorous interlude before a featured panel on optimal taxation.

Bauman told some hilarious jokes, the full stand-up set you can see here.

A New Resource For Advocacy And Education 

EarthSharing.org has compiled a database of high-quality research on LVT. This is serious academic work that scrutinizes LVT alongside other tax structures and has reached the same conclusions. Consider the following from a 2015 OECD publication:

“Property taxes can underpin sustainable land use. A pure land tax can help contain urban sprawl and foster the conversion of developed land instead of greenfield development. The land-use effects of property taxes – which also tax investment – are more ambiguous. Specifically designed “green” property taxes (soil-sealing taxes, development charges, etc.) can further help internalise land-use externalities.”

 

June 2017

 HIGHLIGHTS

Encouraging Progress in the UK -A Light On Land Value Tax

The U.K. snap election ended with the confusion and dissatisfaction of a hung parliament today, as the Conservative Party lost its majority and the Labour Party made significant gains. Results aside, this 51-day election campaign has been a huge test for public perceptions of Land Value Taxation. Labour’s manifesto proved hugely popular and was a major talking point of the …

Read more.

EVENT: Bridging the Right-Left Divide

July 27-31, 2017  |  St. Louis

 Register Now!

 

The Henry George Program -James Hughes: Techno-progressivism

After featuring the techno-libertarian Zoltan Istvan a few weeks prior, we spoke with professor James Hughes, a self described Techno-progressive.

Hughes is an American sociologist and bioethicist. He is the Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, which he founded with Nick Bostrom, the philosopher who strongly influenced Elon Musk.

Read more.

ACTIVISM

Rethinking the Economy

On June 10 in Toronto, Earthsharing Canada held a book launch and panel discussion about contemporary income inequality, social injustices, and ideas for economic reform with a focus on housing bubbles and unaffordability.

Watch & Listen: Sacred Water, Profane Markets

On May 19, the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation co-sponsored an event in New York with the International Union for Land Value Taxation, a United Nations ECOSOC NGO, the Center for the Study of Economics and The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Click to watch the full event.

IN THE NEWS

The Strong Case For A Land Value Tax

“Rents must stop taking the money needed for food, fuel, water and other necessities. Several parties’ manifestos gave land value tax a nod. The advantages are that land cannot be placed tax-free in an overseas bank, taxing land forces into use the 600,000 plots of unused land owned by the big builders, it is progressive, it relieves the incomes of hard working people and companies by enabling the abolition of inefficient taxes such as council tax, business rates, and stamp duty.”

Homes Sweet Homes: A Brick By Brick Breakdown Of The Housing Manifestos

“Promising to transform the Homes and Communities Agency into a centralised housing delivery body, Labour says it would establish a new Department of Housing, presumably with its own dedicated minister, and remove the crippling restrictions on councils building their own homes for rent. There is a welcome raft of measures to improve the lives of the most vulnerable, undoing a range of Tory policies that have left thousands living in precarious situations and savagely displaced long-standing communities. It would scrap the Conservatives’ ban on long-term tenancies, abolish the bedroom tax and end the right to buy, except where councils can prove that one-for-one replacements are possible, as well as reinstate housing benefit for 18- to 21-year-olds, removed under the Tories.”

Tax On Homes ‘To Treble Under Labour Plans For Land Value Tax’

“The Labour manifesto contains plans for a Land Value Tax to replace council tax, which would hit people with gardens the hardest.

The manifesto contains no detail of how the tax would be applied, but the Conservatives claim tax on the the average family home would go up from £1,185 to £3,837 per year, an increase of £2,651 or 224 per cent.

Opponents of the tax say it would cause house prices to plummet, putting homeowners at risk of negative equity and forcing families to sell off their gardens to developers to lessen their tax burden.”

We’ve Been Playing Monopoly Wrong – It’s A Protest Against The Rich

“It turns out tears, anger and frustration are intended consequences of our most contentious board game.

Monopoly is one of the most popular board games ever invented, but it originated out of a movement to inspire fear, injustice and ultimately change in the way America’s economy worked.

The United States in the mid-1800s was a landlord’s world. Workers struggled to feed their families on low pay, long hours and horrid conditions, while land owners such as JP Morgan and John D Rockefeller collected fortunes from owning industries.

A class struggle formed and out of it came economist Henry George’s book Progress and Poverty, which called for a single tax on land ownership that would be so big all other taxes could be abolished.”

Fixing The New Urban Crisis

“Clustering is the key driver of economic growth, and it is absolutely critical that we effectively harness it to create the broadest possible economic and social benefits. As we have seen, the problem here revolves around the urban land nexus: Land is scarce precisely where it is needed the most. We can’t make more land, but we can develop the land we have more intensively and efficiently.

So-called market urbanists argue that the best way to do this is by eliminating restrictive zoning and building codes that limit the market’s ability to build as needed. They make an important point: Zoning and building codes do need to be liberalized and modernized. We can no longer allow NIMBYs and New Urban Luddites to stand in the way of the dense, clustered development our cities and our economy need.”

Why Are Economists Giving Piketty The Cold Shoulder?

“When it was first published in English in the spring of 2014, Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century was a surprising bestseller. For a book that contains mathematical equations, it saw unthinkable sales, clearly resonating with readers and eventually even the political system, as it provided a respectable background to mounting dissatisfaction with the economic status quo in both the United States and Europe…

Matthew Rognlie—then a doctoral student, now an assistant professor at Northwestern—took up that line in even greater detail in an article that eventually appeared in the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, to which he added that the rising capital-to-income ratio in Piketty’s data is disproportionately the result of the price appreciation of certain scarce stores of wealth, primarily housing and the land it sits on, not the quantity accumulation of productive capital that is the subject of the neoclassical theory of economic growth.”

Rognlie’s work, critiquing Piketty’s thesis, was taken up on a recent episode of The Henry George Program

Who’s In Charge Of Outer Space?

“The final frontier is starting to look a lot like the Wild West. As more companies announce ambitious plans to do business beyond Earth, serious questions are emerging about the legality of off-planet activity.

The limitless expanse around us has been a peaceful arena for the past 50 years, but the complex relationships between major space-faring powers like Russia, China and the U.S. are unlikely to remain Earthbound. A lunar land grab could make the dispute over man-made islands in the South China Sea look simple.”

JOIN OUR ONLINE COMMUNITY

Join our Facebook discussion group.

To start discussing Land Value Tax (LVT), and other ways of making a difference in the world, join our discussion group on Facebook. Here, you can ask questions about Earth Sharing, LVT, ending poverty, and protecting the environment. You will be able to talk with professors and regular people in the larger Earth Sharing community. It is also a gateway to other discussion groups, a marketplace of ideas for making the world a better place.

We don’t necessarily endorse any of the viewpoints in these discussions on Facebook, but they are thought-provoking!

BOOKS

The Annotated Works of Henry George Vol 2

Volume II of The Annotated Works of Henry George presents the unabridged text of Progress and Poverty, the most influential work. The original text is supplemented by a new index and by notes that explain textual changes George made during his lifetime, as well as his many references to history, literature, and economics.

Young George and the Dragon: An Economic Fairy Tale

Have you ever wondered why the rich get richer and the middle class and poor keep falling behind? The fault lies not in the stars but in our human created economic system!

This simple fairy tale introduces readers to an economic philosophy that, if implemented, could reverse this trend toward growing poverty and, instead, create a win-win economic and political system that promotes free enterprise prosperity, economic justice, and an ecologically sustainable future.

The story of Young George and the Dragon should be read not only by young adults but by aging politicians too! It is about time that everyone should discover the “Holy Grail of Economics”.

 

May 2017

THE HENRY GEORGE PROGRAM
STANFORD UNIVERSITY RADIO

EarthSharing.org has been collaborating with KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM to create a weekly radio show. The Henry George Program is a platform for interviews, roundtable discussions, and debates on economic justice and policy.

Tune in for challenging content on housing, economic stagnation, wealth inequality, and environmental degradation ― can Henry George’s ideas offer a path forward that unfettered capitalism and incremental socialism lack?

Listen to a growing list of shows with exciting and influential guests!

 

 IN THE NEWS

Corbyn opens door to wealth taxes with attack on elites

Jeremy Corbyn launched Labour’s general election campaign with an impassioned attack on the “establishment” and a focus on wealth inequality. He also repeatedly attacked the distribution of wealth in Britain, pursuing a line that suggests Labour’s manifesto may seek to tax the accumulated wealth of landowners rather than simply their income. Wealth taxes would mark a significant shift in the nature of taxation in Britain.

Corbyn recently said the party was considering a Land Value Tax (LVT) to replace business rates, which caused problems for the government this year when small businesses in London and the South East found they would be hit by sharp increases in tax.

An LVT would hit landowners rather than tenants, based on the value of land rather than the income drawn from it. Andy Burnham has previously given his backing to the policy, while many left-wing economists argue that taxing wealth is required in order to reduce inequality.

Google’s controversial groundwater withdrawal sparks question of who owns South Carolina water

Google wants to draw 1.5 million gallons per day from an aquifer under the coastal region to help cool the servers after a planned expansion — a volume that would make it the third largest aquifer user in the three counties around Charleston, according to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control records.

The price of tap water has risen faster than gold or real estate since the 1990s, according to Datacenter Dynamics, an industry analyst. The water drawn from aquifers, on the other hand, is free. Current state regulations of aquifer use are almost non-existent.

A Google spokesman in 2008 cited the access to cheap electricity and water in South Carolina as among biggest reasons why the company chose Goose Creek for its plant. The company apparently pays about $250,000 per year for its tap water, according to a Post and Courier estimate from a report by Berkeley County Water and Sanitation.

VIDEO: They’re not making it anymore

Land is a necessity for human existence and remains the original source of all wealth. Yet bankers, economists, and politicians have simplistically lumped land and capital together, so apparently now they mean the same thing. So why, as a society, have we chosen to eliminate land from the economic calculus? The consequences have been far reaching. Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by writers and economists Laurie MacFarlane and Josh Ryan-Collins.

Petroleum Resource Rent Tax: Activists riled as federal review recommends no royalties, industry relieved

The Tax Justice Network says it is dismayed that the Federal Government’s review of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) will not include a new royalties regime.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison initiated the review in November 2016 and said its outcomes would be considered as part of the upcoming budget.

However, Mr Morrison now says it was not part of budget deliberations and gave Treasury and PRRT review chief Michael Callaghan until September to offer up a final report.

Of concern to the Tax Justice Network (TJN) is the recommendation that existing royalty regimes will not be changed.

Royalties are generally paid to the state in which mining or gas extraction is taking place as state governments, and the people of the states, own the resources.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) commissioned independent modelling on the proposal for the 10 per cent royalty on projects that currently only come under the PRRT and corporate tax.

NEW BOOKS

The Annotated Works of Henry George Vol 2

Volume II of The Annotated Works of Henry George presents the unabridged text of Progress and Poverty, the most influential work. The original text is supplemented by a new index and by notes that explain textual changes George made during his lifetime, as well as his many references to history, literature, and economics.

Young George and the Dragon: An Economic Fairy Tale

Have you ever wondered why the rich get richer and the middle class and poor keep falling behind? The fault lies not in the stars but in our human created economic system!

This simple fairy tale introduces readers to an economic philosophy that, if implemented, could reverse this trend toward growing poverty and, instead, create a win-win-win economic and political system that promotes free enterprise prosperity, economic justice, AND an ecologically sustainable future.

The story of Young George and the Dragon should be read not only by young adults but by aging politicians too! It is about time that everyone should discover the “Holy Grail of Economics”.

Perfect Timing

Accidentally transported to the future, caterer Crik escapes house arrest with Tepper, his possible distant descendant. While pursued by volunteer vigilante Voltak, goofball Crik explores Geotopia—where buildings grow, people incorporate animal powers, smartphones know it all, and vehicles defy gravity—seeking clues.

If he can discover, understand, and articulate the future’s public policy that works right for everybody, he can prove he was their founder, the lone agent of change who put society on its path toward universal prosperity and harmony with nature. If he fails to convince the Futurite Authorities, they wouldn’t return their unexpected visitor to the exact second he left—something their law requires—to the moment when a hail of gunfire was bearing down on the luckless caterer and college dropout…would they?

 GLOBAL EVENTS

July 27-31, 2017  |  O’Fallon, Illinois

Bridging the Right-Left Divide
The 37th Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations

Hilton Garden Inn

The 37th Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations is sure to be an unmissable event. The conference is focused on networking, meeting old friends, recharging and enriching understanding. Speakers include Don Killoren, Andrew Theising, Erich Jacoby-Hawkins, Ted Gwartney, Gordon Abiama, Jeff Graubart, Nic Tideman, Karl Widerquist, Vitnarae Kang, Anthony Werner, Bill Batt, Brendan Hennigan, Dan Sullivan, John Kelly, Mike Curtis, Josh Vincent and Lindy Davies.

September 27-29, 2017  |  Tucson, Arizona

The Global Conference on Environmental Taxation (GCET)18
Innovation Addressing Climate Change Challenges: Local and Global Perspectives

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law invites you to submit abstracts for the 18th Global Conference on Environmental Taxation (GCET18).

Every Sunday  |  San Francisco, California

Land, villains, and revolutionaries: a social movement history
A walking tour by the Henry George School of San Francisco

312 Mason Street @ 9:30am 

Every Sunday  | San Francisco, California

Tales to Wrest your Soul Free
A walking tour by the Henry George School of San Francisco

San Francisco Civic Center, 685 Ellis St @ noon

 EARTH SHARING ARTICLES


Reversing Sprawl

Why is it that, every year, the average American spends almost an entire work week stuck in traffic? We are wasting so much time, money, and resources making our daily rounds, but when exploring better ways of doing things, conversations tend to be dominated by improvements to public transportation and more fuel-efficient cars. But to focus solely on…

Read more.

The Cause of Global Inequality:
Comparing Jared Diamond and Henry George

 

Can inequality within and between societies be explained in terms of merit and intelligence, or are the most important determinants of inequality beyond individual control? Both economist Henry George and geographer Jared Diamond essentially asked this same question, examining the fundamental forces that have shaped human history. They come to startlingly similar conclusions. These similarities have not, until now, been …

Read more.

Who Owns Geosynchronous Orbital Pathways?

Who owns outer space? Our most idealistic visions of the future require us to transcend our narrow personal or nationalistic interests, but increasingly, space seems likely to be divvied up among the powerful, as has so often happened with the Earth. Can space be managed to serve the common interest? Managing a Commons Space is generally thought of as a …Read more.

Won’t Somebody Think of the Family Farmer?

My father’s side of the family were peanut farmers and Angus ranchers in west Texas and east New Mexico. I grew up riding horses, and was active in both 4-H and Future Farmers of America. I even took part in junior bull riding. I thought that Willie Nelson was just about the greatest guy ever. Ok, let’s admit it, Willie …Read more.

April 2017

REMEMBERING

Benjamin Howells

“Benjamin Howells was first elected to the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation board in June 1999, and he served until June 2010. Ben was well-liked by both the board and staff members of RSF, and only stepped down from the board upon having fulfilled the mandatory term limit of nine consecutive years.”

“Ben passed away at age 86 leaving his wife, Ellen, three children and two grandchildren. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. Ben was greatly loved and admired by his Robert Schalkenbach Foundation colleagues, and his noble, kind, and generous spirit will be greatly missed by all of us who had the privilege of serving with him.” –RSF President, Ted Gwartney

Read more via the link provided.

GLOBAL EVENTS

Sacred Water, Profane Markets
Register on Eventbrite Now

Friday, May 19th, 9:00 am – Noon
22 East 30th Street, New York, NY 10016

We would like to invite you to an exciting event in New York City on how natural resource policy has created enormous environmental and social problems. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of this vital ethical and economic debate that will shape policy dialogue for years to come. You can also register to join the event via live stream. For further information email: alanna@centurylink.net

Bridging the Right-Left Divide

Thursday, July 27 to Monday, July 31, 2017
Hilton Garden Inn, O’Fallon, Illinois
Organized by the Council of Georgist Organizations

The 37th Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations is sure to be an unmissable event. The conference is focused on networking, meeting old friends, recharging and enriching understanding. Speakers include Don Killoren, Andrew Theising, Erich Jacoby-Hawkins, Ted Gwartney, Gordon Abiama, Jeff Graubart, Nic Tideman, Karl Widerquist, Vitnarae Kang, Anthony Werner, Bill Batt, Brendan Hennigan, Dan Sullivan, John Kelly, Mike Curtis, Josh Vincent and Lindy Davies.

2017 Urban Economics and Public Finance Conference

May 5, 2017
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
113 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

The economic growth and development of urban areas are closely linked to their revenue sufficiency and fiscal prospects. This research seminar offers a forum for new academic work on the interaction of these two fields.

Walking tour: Land, villains, and revolutionaries: a social movement history

Saturdays 9:00pm  
American Youth Hostel, 312 Mason Street 
Organized by the Henry George School of San Francisco

EVERY MONTH, SECOND TUESDAY

May 9: Illinois Is Not Broke
Organized by the Henry George School of Social Science Chicago


LITERATURE

The Annotated Works of Henry George Vol 2

RSF is proud to offer The Annotated Works of Henry George Vol 2 for purchase on the RSF bookstore (link above). The work presents the unabridged text of Progress and Poverty, the most influential work. The original text is supplemented by a new index and by notes that explain textual changes George made during his lifetime, as well as his many references to history, literature, and economics.


IN THE NEWS

SNP conference backs call for land taxation to transform Scotland #SNP17

“In a historic step forward for the land reform movement in Scotland, the party’s spring conference unanimously backed calls for a tax on ownership to end the feudal ownership system that has endured in the country for centuries.”

“The amended motion said the government “must include exploring all fiscal options including ways of taxing the value of undeveloped land” in its gradual land reform programme.”

Mainstream Economics Has Become a Celebration of the Wealthy Rentier Class

“These views largely depend on whether they view the One Percent as innovative, smart and creative, making wealth by helping the rest of society – or whether, as the great classical economists wrote, the wealthiest layer of the population consist of rentiers, making their income and wealth off the 99 Percent as idle landlords, monopolists and predatory bankers.”

“A case in point is the Scottish economist Angus Deaton, author of The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality. (2013). Elected President of the AEA in 2010, he was given the Nobel Economics Prize in 2015 for analyzing trends in consumption, income distribution, poverty and welfare in ways that cause no offense to the wealthy, and in fact treat the increasingly inequitable status quo as perfectly natural and in its own kind of mathematical equilibrium.”

‘Universal Basic Assets’ A new economic model that could save the other 99%

“The social instability caused by vast economic disparities is likely to only grow deeper under the pressures of climate change and automation.”

“We urgently need to design a new framework that delivers greater social and economic equity. Some economists and activists are proposing Universal Basic Income, a guaranteed minimum payment for everyone, as a way to ensure a guaranteed minimum for people to live on. We believe that a universal basic income is only the first step in making our economic system more equitable.”

“In designing Universal Basic Assets we take into account access to traditional physical and financial assets like land and money, as well as the growing pools of digital assets (data, digital currencies, reputations, etc.). We also recognize and assign value to exchanges we engage in as a part of maintaining the social fabric of our society but that do not currently carry with them monetary value (caring, creative output, knowledge generation, etc.).”

How to Fix San Francisco’s Housing Market

“The real problem is an emasculated housing market unable to absorb the new arrivals without shedding older residents. The only solution is to take supply off its leash and finally let it chase after demand.”

“Discretionary permitting limits how quickly the housing stock can grow. Land use restrictions can increase the price of housing by as much as 140% over construction costs. Relaxing–if not abolishing–these types of restrictions would be hugely beneficial.”

“The most realistic plan would be to retire San Francisco’s property tax in favor of a land tax and make the change revenue-neutral. Considering the city’s property tax rate is barely over 1%, a revenue-neutral land tax probably wouldn’t deliver the sun, the stars, and the moon like it would at much higher levels. That said, it would still be an improvement over the existing property tax.”

Economist Josh Ryan-Collins: How Land Disappeared from Economic Theory

“Anyone who has studied economics will be familiar with the ‘factors of production’. The best known ‘are ‘capital’ (machinery, tools, computers) and ‘labour’ (physical effort, knowledge, skills). The standard neoclassical production function is a combination of these two, with capital typically substituting for labour as firms maximize their productivity via technological innovation.”

“But there has always been a third ‘factor’: Land. Neglected, obfuscated but never quite completely forgotten, the story of Land’s marginalization from mainstream economic theory is little known. But it has important implications. Putting it back in to economics, we argue in a new book, ‘Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing’, could help us better understand many of today’s most pressing social and economic problems, including excessive property prices, rising wealth inequality and stagnant productivity.”

“Today’s economics textbooks – in particular microeconomics – slavishly follow the tenets of marginal productivity theory. Even progressive economists such as Thomas Piketty have fallen in to this trap. Once you strip out capital gains (mainly on housing), Piketty’s spectacular rise in the wealth-to-income ratio recorded in advanced economics in the last 30 years starts to look very ordinary.”

Utopian thinking: to ‘take back control’ of England, we must find out who owns it

“Understanding who owns this country has been a utopian project for at least a century and a half. In 1872, in an effort to disprove radicals’ claims that only a tiny elite dominated the landed wealth of the nation, Lord Derby – a major landowner himself – asked the government to undertake a proper survey. The Return of Owners of Land – or “Modern Domesday”, as it became known – was the first comprehensive assessment of land ownership in Britain since William the Conqueror’s swag list after the Norman conquest. But far from dousing the demands of the radical land reformers, the survey lit a fire under the issue.”

“So if the answer to who owns England isn’t available from existing public data, how to find out? Well, the Victorian land reformers did leave us one other legacy: the Land Registry, whose job it is to gradually register who owns all land in England and Wales. Yet 150 years after it was founded, it’s still not completed its task – around a fifth of all land remains unregistered. And though the Land Registry has thankfully just survived a government attempt to privatise it, it remains a very closed public service: you have to pay £3 just to find out who owns a single field. Paying to find out who owns the whole country would cost a fortune.”

“The government’s recent housing white paper heralded some welcome steps in this direction – announcing that the Land Registry would soon make freely available its datasets on land owned by UK companies and offshore firms. But that’s only a fraction of the total. Aristocratic families, who almost certainly still own the great majority of England, will be exempt – since their huge estates are invariably registered in an individual’s name, if they’re registered at all.”

Tax land, not labour -Dominic Frisby

“Each parcel of land in the UK is assessed for its potential annual rental value. Remote, rural farmland will have a low rental value. Prime city centre real estate will have a much higher rental value. A tax is then levied based as a percentage of the annual rental value of that land (in its unimproved state).”

Join our Facebook discussion group.

To start discussing Land Value Tax (LVT), and other ways of making a difference in the world, join our discussion group on Facebook. Here, you can ask questions about Earth Sharing, LVT, ending poverty, and protecting the environment. You will be able to talk with professors and regular people in the larger Earth Sharing community. It is also a gateway to other discussion groups, a marketplace of ideas for making the world a better place.

We don’t necessarily endorse any of the viewpoints in these discussions on Facebook, but they are sure to make you think.

March 2017

 Obituary of Andrew Mazzone

“The Henry George School of Social Science mourns the loss of Andrew B. Mazzone, president and CEO of its board of directors. Andy, who was born in Massachusetts and resided in New York City, died February 21, 2017. His vision and passion heralded many successes for the school, founded in 1932 to establish economic justice and sustainable prosperity.”

Why Britain’s disastrous housing shortage is the economy’s top threat

House prices are far too high relative to earnings in most parts of the U.K., property costs are gobbling up too much of national income, reducing productivity and denting economic growth, and the latest homeownership figures make for grim reading.

The Housing Crisis Is Not Inevitable

New York City can’t tackle its housing crisis without taking on real estate speculation. The theory that an imbalance between supply and demand has created a housing crisis makes some intuitive sense. But this simplistic account overlooks the role of speculators and other producers, who play a major role in creating this demand and the rising prices that go with it, along with the inevitable gentrification and displacement of poorer residents that follows.

Gentrification and soaring rents are not inevitable. There is an alternative to de Blasio’s approach. But if the city is serious about bringing down housing costs, it has to be willing to acknowledge and take on speculative real estate development. In the absence of federal funds for public housing, the new buildings could be created as part of community land trusts, limited equity co-ops, or mutual housing — proven models that would keep the units off the commercial market and render them permanently affordable.

What is Indonesia’s Progressive Tax on Idle Land Ownership?

Sofyan Djalil, Indonesian Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning, says the progressive tax on land that is deemed idle will not disturb the investment climate of Indonesia because industrial estates and land that has a clear development purpose are exempted from this tax (this includes land destined for property development projects). Through the progressive land tax, the government wants to combat speculative land buying, something that has become a problematic phenomenon in Indonesia.

New forecasting tool suggests one-quarter of single-family homes in Vancouver could be torn down by 2030

To create the teardown index, the researchers used municipal data and BC assessment records on Vancouver single-family homes purchased and sold between 2005 and 2015. With the data, they compared land value, building value and property sizes with factors including if the property was torn down a couple of years before or after being bought or sold.

With Vancouver’s recent rise in home values, the tool predicts one-quarter of detached homes in Vancouver could be torn down between now and 2030. Right now, half of single-family homes have relative building values (RBVs) below 7.5 percent, which is the value of the building relative to the total value of the land and buildings. Ideally, a new development’s RBV should be between 60 and 70 percent. The researchers discovered that when the RBV of homes drops below 10 percent, there’s a significant rise in the number of teardowns. “It’s a little bit more than one in four that get torn down at 10 percent relative building value.”

The Georgist News: February 2017

IN THE NEWS

The short life of Pennsylvania’s radical tax reform

The town of Altoona began trying out the land value tax in 2002 on the recommendation of the Center for the Study of Economics. From 2011, land value tax completely replaced taxes on buildings.

Nevertheless, five years later, land value tax advocates don’t have clear examples to point to of projects or investments in the city that would have been made without the tax system in place, and the reform has been undone.

The incentive created by the city’s land value tax was limited because the county and the school district imposed property taxes. Another major problem was that the tax system was so unusual that potential residents and businesses struggled to understand the potential benefits of moving to or investing in the city.

In some cases, businesses might have been turned off by the relatively high rate of tax on land, not understanding that there was no rate of tax on structures.

Britain has enough land to solve the housing crisis – it’s just being hoarded

The UK’s biggest house building firms are sitting on 600,000 plots of land that have planning consents – four times the number of new builds in the UK last year.

Land is often bought and sold many times over before construction goes ahead, and many owners have no intention of every building. The result is speculation and very expensive housing.

The average price of agricultural land in England is £21,000 per hectare, whereas land that has residential building consent is valued at close to £6 million per hectare.

Narendra Modi has made it extremely unappealing to be a landlord in India

The Modi government is introducing measures to encourage first-time home buyers, introducing tax incentives for self-occupied properties and rentals.

In the past, these tax incentives were capped for owner-occupied houses but not for rentals. Therefore, a landlord could book the loss they suffered on lower rent, which helped in reducing their overall taxable income. 

It is expected that this will bring new real estate to the market in turn bringing the prices down, which have already fallen by 30 percent after the demonetisation.

Mayor positive about a Land Value Tax trial

With the release of the London Finance Commission report, Assembly Member Tom Copley called for a Land Value Tax to replace the three basic property taxes: council tax, business rates and stamp duty land tax.

Copley said a Land Value Tax would discourage land banking, where developers sit on land waiting for its value to rise without building on it. This would incentivize the building of news homes quickly while raising much needed funds for investment.

Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue

Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away 640 million acres of national land to state governments. Critics fear this could eliminate mixed-use requirements, limit public access and turn over large portions for energy or property development.

The oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could soon be up for sale. States with small budgets may be unable to invest in the management of these lands and decide to sell them off.

Areas at stake are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, and contribute to more than $600 billion each year in economic stimulus from recreation and 6.1m jobs.

Not Dirt-Cheap: 10 Cities Where Land Is Worth More Than the Home on It

A home for sale last year in San Francisco’s Sunset District came perilously close to redefining the very concept of a “fixer-upper.”

The place was not inhabitable in any way, and yet it sold for just under $1 million last February after just a short time on the market. In space-strapped San Francisco, the real value of real estate lies in the land.

Could Land Value Tax reduce the tax bill for 99% of us?

Calculated based on a total land value in England of £1.842 trillion, residential properties would pay 79.5 percent of the tax, businesses 15.5 percent and agriculture 4.8 percent. Current Council Tax is unfairly distributed because it uses property bands.

On this basis, the top 1% of property wealth owners would be liable for 54% of the residential part of the tax assuming the tax is introduced at a flat rate for all. Land Value Tax, unlike Council Tax, is not a residency tax it is an ownership tax, so people in rented accommodation do not pay the tax. 

Infrastructure Australia says tax land not property to capture value

Infrastructure Australia recommends that governments gradually get rid of stamp duties and tax land values over the long term, arguing it is the “fairest” way of raising money for new infrastructure.

A new train line that makes it faster for people to get to work will typically attract people to buy houses nearby, increasing land values. IA’s report said “there are serious challenges for any form of value capture based on property prices rather than underlying land values.”

Why Falling Home Prices Could Be a Good Thing

Instead of looking at homes as investments, what if we regarded them like a TV or a car or any other consumer good? They would be somewhat cheaper in most places, where population is growing slowly. But they would be profoundly cheaper in places like San Francisco. That was the conclusion of a recent paper by the economists Ed Glaeser of Harvard and Joe Gyourko at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The paper used construction industry data to determine how much a house should cost to build if land­ use regulation were drastically cut back. Since the cost of erecting a home varies little from state to state — land is the main variable in housing costs — their measure is the closest thing we have to a national home price.

President’s Letter & New Literature

Dear Georgist News Subscribers,

We hope you have enjoyed the articles, videos, and other media we have released over the past year. Spreading these fundamentally important ideas offers hope for a world without extreme poverty and environmental destruction. This work is truly a labor of love for us all. Thank you for being part of it and we look forward to getting you more involved in our fight for justice.

One such way to get more involved includes becoming more informed. Our parent organization, Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, is offering books on various facets of Georgism (follow the link to see book images and descriptions), in return for donations to help us achieve our vital mission. If you have ever been curious about the economic forces that shape the distribution of wealth on the planet, and how we can protect our environment for future generations, these books offer fresh new insight.

Please see the annual letter from RSF President Ted Gwartney. The letter contains highlights of what we have been up to over the last year. All donations are tax deductible. If you would like to donate or purchase the books, please snail-mail us this form. Further instructions for doing so are provided here.

 

Sincerely,
Jacob Shwartz-Lucas
Editor, Georgist News

Conference videos, new books, and more!

2016 CGO Videos

Presentation videos of many of the Council of Georgist Organization’s 2016  Conference in Orlando, Florida are now available online. The conference examined and celebrated the role of land trusts and intentional communities in the movement for economic justice and prosperity. Watch the videos here.

Kim-Mai Cutler – The San Francisco Bay Area: A Modern Housing Crisis

This past July, Earth Sharing organized an event in Oakland, California entitled: BIL Oakland 2016: The Recession Generation, a project of Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. The aim was to help millennials navigate the uncertainties of economic life in the aftermath of the financial crisis. One of the speakers at the event was Kim-Mai Cutler, a technology reporter and columnist for TechCrunch, best known for her work on the intersection of technology and culture in the Bay Area. Cutler has worked for Bloomberg, VentureBeat, and the Wall Street Journal. In her talk, she discusses the insights of history on the Bay Area housing crisis. From local governance issues to land value taxation, Cutler gives an in-depth analysis of what’s needed to fix the crisis. Prior to the event, Cutler wrote this article about Georgism in the Bay Area.

Click here to view Cutler’s speech.

Henry George, Anti-Statist

In this article, David S. D’Amato is critical of  Edward O’Donnell’s Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality, (available for purchase from Robert Schalkenbach Foundation) claiming it characterizes George as merely a Socialist or a Progressive. D’Amato claims that George’s ideas were more aligned with supporters of free markets.

However, D’Amato is making a similar mistake. He states: “And whereas O’Donnell is clearly repulsed by the libertarian Spencer (or at least the popular caricature of him), George, for a time, “regarded Spencer as a formidable ally in his crusade to abolish private land tenure” (see David Weinstein’s Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Spencer). George even cites Spencer favorably in Progress and Poverty’s acknowledgment of the theoretical desirability of “the abolition of government,” which he calls “the promised land of Herbert Spencer.” With “for a time,” D’Amato oversimplifies George too. In fact, George wrote a scathing attack on Spencer called A Perplexed Philosopher after Spencer changed his views on land. A Perplexed Philosopher is also available for purchase from Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

Annual Monetary Reform Conference,
Chicago, Sep 29 – Oct 2

Dennis Kucinich and fellow Georgist Nicholas Tideman will be speaking at the upcoming 12th Annual Monetary Reform Conference.  The conference is at the University Center in downtown Chicago, September 29th to October 2nd.

Remember there are no at-the-door registrations.  Sign up now online at www.monetary.org/2016-ami-monetary-reform-conference.


New Books!

Buy both books before October 1st, and receive 20% off the total price. Simply reply to this email.

Robert Schalkenbach Foundation recently releasted two exciting books: Rent Unmasked and the The Annotated ­­­­­­­­Works of Henry George: Volume One. They are both available for purchase on the Schalkenbach website (links below).

Rent Unmasked
Mason Gaffney Festschrift

“Rent Unmasked” honors Mason Gaffney for the quality of his lifetime’s work and dramatizes the way his economic insights would resolve contemporary economic and political concerns.

The book includes fifteen new essays on How to Save the Global Economy and Build a Sustainable Future as A Tribute to Mason Gaffney.

The Annotated Works of Henry George: Volume One

The six-volume edition of the works of Henry George assembles all his major works for the first time with new introductions, critical annotations, extensive bibliographical material, and comprehensive indexing to provide a wealth of resources for scholars and reformers.

“Volume 1” presents three major works by George and new essays to provide context: Our Land and Land Policy (1871), The Irish Land Question (1881) and Property in Land (1885).

 

Georgist News September 2016 (Basic Version)

2016 CGO Videos

Presentation videos of many of the Council of Georgist Organization’s 2016  Conference in Orlando, Florida are now available online. The conference examined and celebrated the role of land trusts and intentional communities in the movement for economic justice and prosperity. Watch the videos here.

Kim-Mai Cutler – The San Francisco Bay Area: A Modern Housing Crisis

This past July, Earth Sharing organized an event in Oakland, California entitled: BIL Oakland 2016: The Recession Generation, a project of Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. The aim was to help millennials navigate the uncertainties of economic life in the aftermath of the financial crisis. One of the speakers at the event was Kim-Mai Cutler, a technology reporter and columnist for TechCrunch, best known for her work on the intersection of technology and culture in the Bay Area. Cutler has worked for Bloomberg, VentureBeat, and the Wall Street Journal. In her talk, she discusses the insights of history on the Bay Area housing crisis. From local governance issues to land value taxation, Cutler gives an in-depth analysis of what’s needed to fix the crisis. Prior to the event, Cutler wrote this article about Georgism in the Bay Area.

Click here to view Cutler’s speech.

Henry George, Anti-Statist

In this article, David S. D’Amato is critical of  Edward O’Donnell’s Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality, (available for purchase from Robert Schalkenbach Foundation) claiming it characterizes George as merely a Socialist or a Progressive. D’Amato claims that George’s ideas were more aligned with supporters of free markets.

However, D’Amato is making a similar mistake. He states: “And whereas O’Donnell is clearly repulsed by the libertarian Spencer (or at least the popular caricature of him), George, for a time, “regarded Spencer as a formidable ally in his crusade to abolish private land tenure” (see David Weinstein’s Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Spencer). George even cites Spencer favorably in Progress and Poverty’s acknowledgment of the theoretical desirability of “the abolition of government,” which he calls “the promised land of Herbert Spencer.” With “for a time,” D’Amato oversimplifies George too. In fact, George wrote a scathing attack on Spencer called A Perplexed Philosopher after Spencer changed his views on land. A Perplexed Philosopher is also available for purchase from Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

 

Annual Monetary Reform Conference,
Chicago, Sep 29 – Oct 2

Dennis Kucinich and fellow Georgist Nicholas Tideman will be speaking at the upcoming 12th Annual Monetary Reform Conference.  The conference is at the University Center in downtown Chicago, September 29th to October 2nd.

Remember there are no at-the-door registrations.  Sign up now online at www.monetary.org/2016-ami-monetary-reform-conference.

New Books!

 

Buy both books before October 1st, and receive 20% off the total price. Simply reply to this email.

Robert Schalkenbach Foundation recently releasted two exciting books: Rent Unmasked and the The Annotated ­­­­­­­­Works of Henry George: Volume One. They are both available for purchase on the Schalkenbach website (links below).

Rent Unmasked
Mason Gaffney Festschrift

“Rent Unmasked” honors Mason Gaffney for the quality of his lifetime’s work and dramatizes the way his economic insights would resolve contemporary economic and political concerns.

The book includes fifteen new essays on How to Save the Global Economy and Build a Sustainable Future as A Tribute to Mason Gaffney.

The Annotated Works of Henry George: Volume One

The six-volume edition of the works of Henry George assembles all his major works for the first time with new introductions, critical annotations, extensive bibliographical material, and comprehensive indexing to provide a wealth of resources for scholars and reformers.“Volume 1” presents three major works by George and new essays to provide context: Our Land and Land Policy (1871), The Irish Land Question (1881) and Property in Land (1885).