12. (2013 March) What You Can Do: WSJ Controversy

By now, some of our readers may be aware of the controversy regarding the portrayal of the Georgist cause in a recent Wall Street Journal article. While many thought that the Georgist philosophy and movement were unfairly portrayed, some contend that this is a useful moment to reflect upon the strategies we employ, the modes of communication we utilize to engage people outside the Georgist ranks, and our vision of the future. Below you’ll find a link to the original article. We invite you to add your comments to the growing chorus on the WSJ website. You’ll also find a letter from Mark Sullivan, Administrative Director of Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, offering some reflections on the incident and a special offer from RSF.



It’s a Lonely Quest for Land-Tax Fans, But, by George, They Press On
Acolytes of 19th-Century Economist Try Movies, Cartoon, Tours; ‘Uphill Struggle’
By Ianthe Jeanne Dugan (Wall Street Journal)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323826704578354733775359470.html



Dear Fellow Georgists,

These are my personal comments, but it concludes with an offer from RSF.

We are perhaps upset not so much by any errors in the WSJ article as by its facts, which are of course somewhat selective. The article revealed at least two disturbing facts: our minimal success in reaching and recruiting the general public and policy-makers; and our members’ by and large lack of support for the movement itself, as demonstrated by the mere $1,000 that Charles Ashira was able to raise for his proposed “Henry George – the Movie”. This support was to be raised via the Foundation for Economic Justice, as tax-deductible contributions (as well as via direct investment). Yet the response was embarassingly and hopelessly inadequate. I know this lack of support is not only a problem for Charles Ashira. The Georgist organizations I have been involved with (going back more than 30 years) all consistently have this problem. Georgists, by and large, are not putting their money where their mouth is. There are exceptions, generous Georgists, and we should be very grateful for them.

Polly spotted, and admirably corrected, the one statement we can honestly dispute as a matter of fact, and it was made by Lincoln’s Ingram, not by the author of the article, who simply reported the (again, selective) fact of Ingram’s statement. What else can we do to respond? And on what grounds? In its July 2003 issue, The American Journal of Economics and Sociology published a 50+ page symposium on “Henry George and His Legacy” (based on an EEA session that responded to Warren Samuel’s memorandum “Why the Georgist Movement Has Not Succeeded”). Is it time to revisit this issue in a similarly formal and organized fashion? It seems we are now doing it informally via the internet. In any case, RSF is willing to send a complimentary copy of this AJES issue, while the supply lasts, to each person who requests it. Please send any requests to books@schalkenbach.org. (RSF does not have the rights to reproduce it, so we cannot send electronic copies.) Perhaps we can turn the WSJ negative publicity into an opportunity to move forward.

Sincerely,
Mark

Mark A. Sullivan
Administrative Director
Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
90 John Street, Suite 501
New York, NY 10038
Tel: 212-683-6424 Fax: 212-683-6454
www.schalkenbach.org

13. (2013 March) What You Can Do: Commenting Around the Web

Take a look at these recent comments by Georgists on timely articles from around the internet. Why not add your voice to these or other relevant articles, op-eds, blog posts, etc.?

Wyn Achenbaum (commenting on Frank Bruni’s column about the election of a new pope):
I hope that when people re-read Rerum Novarum (Pope Leo’s encyclical), they will also take a careful look at the open letter that the American economist and social philosopher Henry George wrote in response, entitled “The Condition of Labor.” He challenged some of the points, taking a mega-pixel picture which contrasted with the encyclical’s less than precise thinking.

“The Condition of Labor” is available online, and I commend it to your attention. Henry George was among the most widely known and read Americans of his day, and all too little known now. (“Progress and Poverty” and “Social Problems” are the two books I’d encourage you to read; you might also look for his speeches “The Crime of Poverty” and “Thou Shalt Not Steal.”)

We’d be better off if more of our 99% were acquainted with his ideas.

Jeffery J. Smith (commenting on a favorable mention of land value tax in Slate):
The thing that many taxists and redistributionists might be overlooking is that once society recovers and shares all of its spending for land and resources and for privileges like patents and corporate charters, then there won’t any longer be any undue fortunes to envy, no longer any poverty to pity, and no need to tax at all since rents can be recovered via fees, dues, and leases. Still, it’s great to get a plug from an articulate commentator for any variant of geonomic reform. Thanks, Slate! 

12. (2013 February) What You Can Do: Screening of DIRT! The Movie

DIRT! The Movie – directed and produced by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow – takes you inside the wonders of the soil. It tells the story of Earth’s most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility–from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation.

Date: February 23, 2013
Venue: Queens Library at Broadway
Address: 40-20 Broadway, Astoria (New York, NY)
Time: 3:15pm – 5:15pm

http://www.thedirtmovie.org/about/the-film/
http://www.thedirtmovie.org/event/free-dirt-th3e-movie-screening/

13. (2013 February) What You Can Do: A Theology of Land and Its Implications for Contemporary Economics

http://god-and-the-goodlife.eventbrite.com/

God and the Good Life
This will be the first of three interrogations that specify the terms of the economic covenant with God that would create the Good Life on Earth. We remember this covenant gave rise to the three Abrahamic religions. The speakers will explore the relevance of a theology of covenant in today’s contemporary economic and spiritual context.

Planned speakers include Alastair Macintosh (Author of Soil and Soul), Jonathan Tame (Director of the Jubilee Centre Cambridge), Canon Peter Challen (Christian Council for Monetary Justice) and Fred Harrison (Author of The Traumatised Society).

This event is being held as partnership between the Moot Community at the Guild Church of St. Mary Aldermary, the Christian Council for Monetary Justice and the Land Research Trust.

The aim of the day conferences is to inspire and enable participants to understand and affirm the need for united action concerning social, economic justice and structural change.

There is a series of three, one day conferences and gatherings.

Honouring the Theology of the Land
1. April 6th – God & the Good Life: The Audit at The Guild Church of St. Mary
2. May 4th – Great Awakenings: The Application at Christ Church North Southwark
3. June 1st – Holy Land: The Affirmation at St. James Piccadily

10. (2012 December) What You Can Do: Sustainable Economics for the 21st Century

Sustainable Economics for the 21st Century

A Five Part Teleseminar Series Now Available for Replay
Co-Hosts: Alanna Hartzok and Wendell Fitzgerald

“Consciousness in its fulfilled, developed state will bring the ‘dismal science’ of economics to an evolved and higher level — to the status of Enlightened Economics.” ~Ron Robins

Teleseminar keywords: commons trusts, the wealth divide, earth rights, jubilee laws, the end of poverty, earned versus unearned income, cooperatives, sharing the world’s resources, new land ethic, person/planet finance, ethical markets, new economics, PROUT, resource rent and land value taxation, environmental justice, common assets funds, from war to peace, from crisis to transformation.

Session One: Economics and Conscious Evolution

·   Exploring the relationship of economics to physical, mental and spiritual health.
·   What is “political economics”?
·   Land rights and the person/planet relationship.
·   PROUT’s social psychology and evolution of the social cycle.
·   Guest Presenters: Michael Towsey (Australia) and Acharya Santoshananda (India)

 Go to: http://attendthisevent.com/?eventid=33395637

Session Two: The Wealth Divide

·   Current realities of poverty and economic inequality, both within the US and worldwide.
·   Focus on Africa, enclosures, the “resource curse.”
·   The corruption of economics.
·   The land problem and the “law of rent.”
·   Cooperatives.
·   Guest Presenters: Acharya Maheshvarananda (Venezuela) and Gordon Abiama (Nigeria)

Go to: http://attendthisevent.com/?eventid=32626596

Session Three: Sharing the Commons

·   Separative consciousness and genocide.
·   Unity consciousness and commoning.
·   Land value capture and commons trusts.
·   Jubilee justice public finance policies.
·   Guest Presenters: Kevin Annett (Canada) Lisinka Ulatowska (USA)

Go to: http://attendthisevent.com/?eventid=33631509

Session Four: Economics of War and Peace

·   Land and resource wars.
·   Financial domination.
·   From “full spectrum dominance” to “full spectrum sharing.”
·   The money question.
·   Resource rent for public revenue.
·   Geo-confederation.
·   Earth rights democracy.
·   Guest Presenters: S. Brian Willson, Frank Dorrell, Fred Foldvary (all USA)

Go to: http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventid=34431294

Session Five: Sustainable Economics Local to Global

·   Financing the green economy – the Green Transition Scoreboard.
·   Holistic integrated green tax shift – Vermont Commons Assets for Public Finance.
·   The false housing shortage and what to do about it – Real Estate 4 Ransom.
·   The NINJA generation and new economics.
·   From the grand chessboard to the greatest game on earth.
·   Guest Presenters: Hazel Henderson (USA), Gary Flo (USA), Karl Fitzgerald (Australia)

Go to: http://attendthisevent.com/?eventid=35689719

Produced by: The Conscious Evolution Teleseminar Group

To register for 2013 teleseminars, contact: alanna@earthrights.net

 

9. (2012 November) What You Can Do: Living the New Economy Conference

Living the New Economy
Granville Island (Vancouver, BC)
Nov. 19-25

Living the New Economy is hosted by the Healing Cities Institute – a not-for-profit society dedicated to making cities places that enhance our physical, social, mental and spiritual health. Much of the Institute’s focus is on the importance of physical place, such as those things being explored in the program’s design charrette and walkshop. Since cities are made up of people and few things impact our social and mental health more than money, exploring ideas for different dimensions and approaches to the economy is key to the diversity, sustainable prosperity and health of any community.

Anchor speaker Charles Eisenstein will set the tone and open the conversation for the week drawing from his work for the book Sacred Economics, a lucid, clear and practical discussion of the history, issues and resolutions of our current economic state.

For information, go to http://neweconomy.ca/

7. (2012 October) What Can You Do: Update from CGO Social Media Community Manager

Jacob Shwartz-Lucas, Social Media Community Manager for the Council of Georgist Organizations, reports:

The following are ways you can help promote LVT by collaborating with others on the LVT Task Force page. Click on the the links to email the named individuals.

1. Lindy Davies via The Henry George Institute offers college credit for their courses…well, sort of. HGI offers courses that are recommended for college credit. They have secured a certification that makes it very likely that thousands of colleges will offer credit for their courses but they don’t give out those credits directly. To get college credit for HGI courses, the student has to be enrolled in an accredited college and sign up via correspondence.

We have been discussing how to involve the Henry George Schools, Alanna Hartzok’s Earth Rights Institute, and other groups that may be interested in attracting those interested in gaining college credit for learning about how to end poverty. This is an opportunity to mutually benefit all organizations. You can help by expressing your thoughts on how to collaborate, going to local colleges and giving them information about the HGI program.

2. Partner with the CGO for “CGO buddies” an opportunity for older more experienced Georgists act as mentors for younger Georgists, talking with them at scheduled times on a regular basis to pass on our intellectual heritage and enliven it with fresh perspectives. To help out write to Sue at sns@swwalton.com and sign up here.

3. Erich Jacoby-Hawkins, Edward Miller, and I would like to create a tag team for wikipedia editing, in which we will track our progress and pledge 20 minutes a week to attack, with proper citations of course, various pages on wikipedia, connecting popular topics back to Georgism. This is important becuase wikipedia pages get millions of views a day. Simply having a relevant reference and link will direct an immense amount of traffic to our websites.

4. Daniel Syddall and I are very interested in creating infographics demonstrating the validity of Georgist arguments . So far, Ted Gwartney, Joshua Vincent, and Bill Batt have been very helpful in amassing our best material. We are aware that the Australian Georgists (eg Karl Fitzgerald) may have very useful stats demonstrating the positive effects of LVT. We need help finding this data as do two students doing Georgist research for their college programs: Christina Vialpando and Pádraig Lam. These two students are good candidates for the CGO buddy program, and we should actively pester them to get involved in the movement. That starts with them buddying up with those who know the ropes.

5. As a recently elected board member at the Henry George School of Chicago, I’ve been looking into creating a logo or hiring someone to create a logo for the school with the intention that this might serve as a good branding tool for the Council of Organizations in general. It’s not something that would necessarily replace the existing logos but could serve at least as an add on for branding purposes. Something abstract may serve our interests best since the point is just to establish a symbol that makes people think of a body of ideas related to LVT. Different Georgists prefer different symbolism. We may be able to get around this problem by picking a logo that has no inherent meaning as a shape. However it will acquire a meaning of its own depending on how we continue to shape our movement.

Another idea is to offer a cash prize which will inspire interest in the underlying ideals in order to create a fitting logo, this may or may not be an abstract logo.

You can help by finding someone with graphic design capabilities or who is just generally artistic, and by weighing in on the discussion about how to craft such an image.

6. If you are interested in the idea of self perpetuating land trusts: Dan Sullivan, Ed Miller, Daniel Syddal, Nate Blair, and others have been partnering to lay down a written plan for doing so. Dan’s article on land trusts is a link at the top of the document. We are planning to integrate it with the rest of the constitution. Remember this is an overall plan that seeks to give colonies broad abilities to run themselves according to what they think will work. The precise rules of each community are detailed in the colonies’ charters.

7. Random 5: Hold weekly online meetings between randomized groups of five in which each participant explains to the group what they are doing to support LVT, and the ways in which they can help and be helped by others. This is a way to involve newcomers to the pages and seek new routes of collaboration. Sign up using this link.

8. Quotes from illustrious people: We are trying to find all the sources of the quotes floating around the internet from famous people endorsing LVT. This is very important for establishing legitimacy. Please help us cite all of these quotes by filling in this excel sheet.

9. Jonathan Pendelton, Ed Miller, Daniel Syddal, Nate Blair, Martin Adams, myself and others are laying down a plan for a very sleek new website we hope to use to aggregate all or most of the Georgist material from around the Internet in a coherent and easy to find manner. We have been meeting weekly via Google Hangout, a video conference website—the prototype of “Random 5”. We have hopes of giving all LVT proponents a stake in it so that we can present a very polished product to the public. The website will seek to integrate well with all of our individual websites and social networking opportunities.. We need to open a line of communication with all those interested in combining materials so that we can take some pressure off those with comparative advantages in other important aspects of promoting LVT, to liberate their energies for the activities they are best at. We have the aim of using the logo (item 5) for this website as well. .

For further information, please contact Jake at jacobshwartzlucas@gmail.com  or via his facebook page.

8. (2012 October) What Can You Do: 2012 Earthsharing Canada Conference

OPEN SOURCE ECONOMICS
2012 Earthsharing Canada Conference
October 27-28, 2012
http://earthsharing.ca/event/earthsharing-canada-conference

Open Source Economics means economics free of moribund academic bias, free from powerful interest groups, and beyond today’s prevailing dysfunctional conventional wisdom.

Ideas like:
– Business-friendly, job-friendly, innovation-friendly, planet-friendly taxation;
– Impotence of central bank monetary policy exposed;
– Amnesia-free academic rediscovery of basic laws of economics;
– Self-financing public infrastructure through land value taxation (LVT);
– Green economics to conserve resources, rebuild the Global Commons;
– Economics to stop sprawl, incent walkable communities, build affordable housing;
– Economic rent capture to break boom/bust cycle, reduce speculation, underground economy;
– Equitable wealth distribution, less re-distribution, reduced welfare state.

Saturday, October 27, 1PM – 5PM
Speakers, workshops, Q & A,…
“Economics as if the Economy Mattered” — Frank de Jong – President, Earthsharing Canada
“What is Economics?” — Paraic Lally, teacher, School of Philosophy
“Council of Georgist Organizations, Schalkenback Foundation” — Erich Jacoby-Hawkins, Green Party of Canada
“An Economic Snapshot of our Times” — Dr. Frank Peddle, President, Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
“Tips on Making Effective Videos and Podcasts” — Brendan Hennigan, videographer and producer

Sunday, October 28, 10AM – 1PM
Earthsharing Canada business meeting (open to members and guests)

Location:
School of Philosophy, 29 Madison Avenue, Toronto

Registration: no charge, all welcome
Please pre-register: fdejong@earthsharing.ca, 416-559-6941

9. (2012 October) What Can You Do: Screening of ‘The Vanishing City’

On October 30 there will be a special screening of the award-winning film The Vanishing City that documents the changing landscape of New York City and features powerful interviews with community leaders and concerned public officials. There will be a post-screening dialgoue with the directors. The Halloween-themed event will also feature costumes and a screening of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

What: The Vanishing City documentary film
When: Tuesday, October 30, 6-9pm
Where: Matthews-Palmer Playground (West 45th St. btwn 9th & 10th Ave) Manhattan, NYC