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Fw: The Georgist News for April, 2008

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  • Wetzel Dave
    Hi I forward Jeff Smith s excellent newsletter. Nb Carol Wilcox s exellent letter published in The Times (London) and Fernando Scornik Gerstein s new book -
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2008
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      Fw: The Georgist News for April, 2008

      I forward Jeff Smith's excellent newsletter.
      Nb Carol Wilcox's exellent letter published in The Times (London) and Fernando Scornik Gerstein's new book - "Land Tenancy for a Fairer Society".
      I was particularly saddened to learn of the death of Everett Gross who I met at the CGO in London, Ontario a few years ago. Everett gave me one of my better stories re a factory owner, transport and land rent. He will be missed. 

      Best Wishes,

      Dave Wetzel
      Vice-Chair TfL
      Tel: 020 7126 4200

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: The Georgist News <gn@...>
      To: Wetzel Dave
      Sent: Wed Apr 02 03:24:18 2008
      Subject: The Georgist News for April, 2008


      Volume Ten, Number Ten, April 1, 2008

      Welcome to the April issue of The Georgist News and especially to renewed subscribers such as Godfrey Dunkley of Cape Town. Despite the date, we’re not fooling you about recent developments: governmental interest in Minnesota and Argentina, coverage by the Home Builders and Heartland Institute, and continued successful outreach in Britain and Nicaragua. Read the replies by readers on issues lately raised herein. Have you, dear reader, friends or coworkers who’d also like to subscribe? May this read improve your Tax Day and augment your Earth Day.


      1. News: Argentinean ministry publishes book; Minnesota to fund LVT study
      2. Good Press: Times of London; Chicago’s Heartland Institute, NAHB; APM
      3. Numbers: See articles published at the Progress Report
      4. Movement Progress: Nicaragua’s IHG; GB’s HG Fdn.
      5. Letters: How much rent; Blog central; Silva honored by Dominican president
      6. Obituaries: Clyde Cameron; Everett Gross
      7. Likable links: ALTER uploadings; Guardian; Short course material
      8. What You Can Do: Attend CGO conference; Write South Africa
      9. At the Margin: Quips and Quotes – HG on climate change
      10. Publication affairs: Contributors, About the Georgist News


      CGO conference chooses 2008 theme

      By Sue Walton, sns at swwalton.com, March 22, 2008

      First, the Council of Georgist Organizations would like to announce its new web address: we're now at www.cgocouncil.org

      Also, the Council of Georgist Organizations would like to announce the theme of its 2008 conference: The Value and Importance of Land. The conference is not just about the USA, it's about North America. We will have five Canadian presenters: Frank Peddle of the Canadian Research Committee, Frank DeJong of the Green Party of Ontario, John Fisher of the Henry George Foundation of Canada, Mike Nickerson of Sustainability Project / 7th Generation Initiative and Gerry Shaw of the School of Economic Science-Calgary will all be speaking. Watch this space for a link to our conference brochure.


      1a. News: Argentinean Ministry publishes geo-solution

      By Fernando Scornik Gerstein, madrid at scornik-gerstein.com, March 05, 2008

      A book containing two projects for Tax Reform for Argentina, drafted by Fernando Scornik Scornik Gerstein, one in 1975 and the other in 2001, has been Published in Argentina under the title "Tenencia de la Tierra para una Sociedad más Justa" (Land Tenancy for a Fairer Society).

      The two projects are based on a tax on land values in replacement mainly of VAT (21%to 30% in Argentina) and other indirect taxes. The first project was published by the Argentinean Ministry of Agricultura and Dr. Scornik Gerstein was appointed chair of a Task Group for Tax Reform in the Ministry of Agricultura, but the military coup in 1976 and the dictatorship of the Junta forced Dr. Scornik to leave the country. The second project was presented in 2001 to President Duhalde in the midst of Argentinean's terrible economic crisis. The project is still under "study". The book has a foreword of Dr. Héctor Sandler, a distinguished Georgist, politician, and University Professor.

      The book was presented at the Law School of the University of Buenos Aires in early December 2007, before a conference room crowded with over 120 persons, former Ministers and Secretaries of State, Professors and former High Officials of previous Argentinean Governments. In the presentation participated Monseñor Jorge Casaretto, one of the most distinguish Argentinean Catholic Bishops, the Economist Guillermo Sandler, Dr. Hector Sandler, and D. Fernando Scornik Gerstein.


      1b. News: Sharing the benefit, sharing the cost

      By Conrad Defiebre, Minnesota 2020, March 14, 2008; via Rich Nymoen

      A new state initiative is aimed at making lucky owners of land near major transportation improvements share some of their windfall profits with the taxpayers who finance the projects.

      A little-noticed provision of the transportation finance bill enacted last month over Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto authorizes a University of Minnesota study of “capturing the value of the benefits created” by road and transit projects for nearby property owners.

      “The Legislature finds that large public investments in state transportation infrastructure, such as constructing freeway interchanges, new highways and rail transit stations, can result in surrounding private land and other property increasing in value, sometimes by substantial amounts,” the legislation notes.

      It appropriates $325,000 for the study by the university’s Center for Transportation Studies. Its final report is due July 1, 2009, with a series of workshops for elected officials to follow.

      Check out the article: http://www.mn2020.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7BAD5C288C-EECD-48CC-9B04-3F4539AC04B5%7D&DE=


      2a. Good Press: Heartland’s 2008 Budget & Tax News

      By Sue Walton, sns at swwalton.com, March 27, 2008

      The April, 2008 issue of Heartland Institute's Budget & Tax News features an article by CGO President Ted Gwartney entitled "British Columbia Reforms Provide School Finance, Assessment Model" as well as a pro bono ad for our 2008 conference designed by Dan Sullivan. The issue is not yet on line, but should be by 4/1. Our thanks to Joe Bast, Heartland's president; Joe will be speaking at the 2008 CGO Conference on Saturday July 12th.


      2b. Good Press: Times of London, March 20, 2008

      By Carol Wilcox, Labour Land Campaign, Christchurch, Dorset

      Sir, It is puzzling (to me, at least) that, during this period of intense debate about the current financial crisis, one word is never mentioned: “land”.

      The unsustainable rise in house prices may be recognized as being at the heart of the crisis. Reference is made to previous property price bubbles, particularly that which has so afflicted the Japanese economy. But where is the debate about the land market which underpins property values?

      Land is not just any old asset. The price of gold or dot-com shares do not have any profound effect on workers or businesses, but land is part of the real economy and its price impacts on every one of us as owners and users. If the land market worked efficiently no one would own more land than they could use, there would be no waste – there could not be, given that land is a finite resource.

      A very simple permanent solution to land price bubbles is annual land value taxation. This collects as public revenue publicly created land values. This would remove any incentive for speculation. There would still no doubt be asset price bubbles but these wouldn’t have the capacity to rock the entire sector.


      2c. Good Press: NAHB devotes precious pages to LVT

      The National Association of Homebuilders commissioned a massive report on affordable housing. Joshua Vincent, Executive Director of the Henry George Foundation USA/Center for the Study of Economics, authored pp 149-154 on shifting the property tax landward (kudos, Josh). He asks, “Well, if a hard-headed group like this can be educated about LVT, why not the rest of the world?” Why not, indeed?



      2d. Good Press: Tell APM how to fix the economy

      By Linda Fantin, American Public Media, lfantin at mpr.org

      How would you fix the economy? American Public Media, producer of Marketplace, Marketplace Money, Weekend America, Speaking of Faith, American RadioWorks and other programs, is gathering ideas for repairing the economy. Do you have suggestions? If so, write them. They have created the Idea Generator. It’s an online forum where you can research, rank, and share ideas to transform the economy. Help inform the way they cover economic issues.

      By Ed Dodson, ejdodson at comcast.net, Mar 26, 2008

      A few days ago, I submitted the following to public radio. "SOLVE THE RIDDLE OF BUSINESS CYCLES: Economists consistently fail to describe the primary cause of business cycles because 20th century economic theory has treated nature (i.e., land) as just another form of capital good. Neo-classical theory asserts that price clears all markets; however, where nature is concerned rising prices stimulate hoarding and speculation rather than an increase in supply. Our system of taxation rewards hoarding and speculation and penalizes the production of goods and services. This causes economic instability, inflation and periodic crashes. Changing the source of public revenue from wages and returns to capital goods to economic rent would go a long way to creating a full employment society without inflationary drivers."

      They accepted my short write-up and came back to me with the following: Dear Edward, Congratulations. Your idea has been posted on the Idea Generator: Your Economy. This is a good time to tell others more about the genesis of your proposal. What personal experiences shaped your idea? Do you have research that would help others understand your perspective? To share additional insights, click the link above, then go to "comment on this idea," and post them as supporting arguments. Many thanks, Linda Fantin, Associate Director, Public Insight Journalism, American Public Media Link:

      APM's Idea Generators provide a collaborative space online for large numbers of people to research, argue and propose solutions to social problems. The aim is to generate fact-based discussion on important issues, and surface new ideas, trends, or knowledge for public radio news coverage. The most recent Idea Generator topic is "Your Economy", part of public radio's 2008 election coverage. http://americanpublicmedia.publicradio.org/engage08/


      3. Numbers: Crash on course

      Editor’s note:
      For up-to-date news and numbers, please visit www.progress.org. Some recent titles:
      * Landowners have the power to enslave fellow human beings, but appeals to conscience meet success. ?Free Enslaved Pygmies in the Congo
      * Breathing can be fatal for asthmatics and children, until we quit smogging up the air in American cities. ?EPA lowers smog limits -- but not enough
      * Scientists testing the compounds in spices report encouraging results in fighting germs, even cancer. ?The Best Home Remedies May Be Sitting in Your Spice Cabinet


      4a. Movement Progress: Nicaragua pushed to need reform

      By Paul Martin, nssmga at ibw.com.ni, Mar 6, 2008

      We just finished the CE XXXVIII course with 49 grads. All signed the IHG petition. We'll see how many of the 19 superior-level grads show up for the follow-up meeting. The second draft of my all-new Spanish language abbreviated P&P is 60% done.

      The IHG building is looking a bit more complete, but we still have a ways to go, maybe three more months before we can move in.

      Editor’s note: For the rest of this fascinating newsletter, please email its author.


      4b. Movement Progress: HGF of GB update

      By Peter Bowman, HGF London, drbowman at btinternet.com, March 21, 2008

      Following his very successful course on Henry George's "Science of Political Economy" David Triggs, chairman of the Henry George Foundation in the UK, is running a 10 week course on "Protection or Free Trade." The course will be held at the School of Economic Science's premises at 10, Mandeville Place, London W1, beginning on Wednesday 30th April. The idea is to have a similar format to the previous course: to study the text of the book and then explore the application in modern-day cases of the principles Henry George identified.

      For further details see www.henrygeorgefoundation.org

      The School of Economic Science, a member of the CGO, is continuing to run its "Economics with Justice" evening courses at Mandeville Place, Tuesday to Friday evening and Saturday morning starting the week beginning April 28th. This is a fresh and innovative approach to economics influenced by Henry George's teachings and his love of economic justice. For more details visit

      The Henry George Foundation in London is promoting this important new book, just published: “A New Model of the Economy” by Brian Hodgkinson.

      A hundred years Georgist and conventional economics parted company and since then each has largely gone their separate ways. In that time conventional economics has gained a reputation as a theoretical construct that has become divorced from the real world.

      This book is a rewriting of conventional economics that re-connects it to the real world by including the fundamental role played by land, the significance of credit and the banking system and the crucial impact of the method of taxation.
      It shows how conventional micro- and macro theory can be adapted to include the thinking of Ricardo and George on the role of land in economics and also recognizes the way bank money is created through credit.

      The resulting analysis yields a thoroughly revised version of the contemporary model of a capitalist economy, so that a genuine ‘third way’ is revealed. This is not a mere modification of the present system of absentee ownership, with all the attendant evils of unemployment, monopoly and maldistribution of wealth and income. Instead a model is presented of a system based upon natural law, exhibiting economic security for all, fair distribution of output and, above all, the opportunity for self-fulfillment through work.

      For more details and to see the preface, summary and contents visit http://www.henrygeorgefoundation.org/.
      Available in US from April.


      5a. Letters: How much rent? Some answers

      By Peter Meakin <mea44kin at iafrica.com> Feb 29, 2008

      Paul Martin had a good question about what percentage of GDP is land rent refers. What is wrong with Ricardo’s answer that rent is the surplus production over and above marginal land which can only support salaries and investment yields so there is no surplus? I addressed this question in my unpublished manuscript: “South Africa’s Free Land Options: Utopia or Chaos.”

      By Ole Lefmann <ole.lefmann1 at virgin.net> Mar 2, 2008

      I have studied this question through five decades and have arrived at the understanding that the size of rent of land cannot be described as an exact amount or a certain percentage of the General Domestic Product. It varies with several parameters in the social life.

      By Paul Metz <metz at integer-consult.com> Mar 2, 2008

      Paul’s question reminds me of the question often asked here in Europe: "how high should a carbon tax be?" I always answer with the counter question: "has the optimum level of any tax ever been calculated before it was introduced?" Of course not, it is a matter of trial and error, fine-tuning in a very complex fiscal and economic environment.
      Editor’s note: For the rest of the answers in any of these informative letters, please email its author. Thanks.


      5b. Letters: Geo-Blog Central?

      By Jock Coats - Secretary, Lib Dems ALTER (Action for Land-value Taxation and Economic Reform) jock.coats at taxshiftnow.org Mar 26, 2008
      Is there somewhere that anyone knows of where all us LVTers can link our blogs?


      5c. Letters: Lucy honored by her nation’s president

      By Alanna Hartzok, earthrts at pa.net, Mar 7, 2008

      One of our great Georgists - Lucy Silva - now near the end of her life due to cancer and in hospital in New York, is being lauded by Dominican Republic media for her work teaching Georgist economics to a quarter of a million people – the President promises to send a medical airplane to transport her there for her final days. See note below from Maria Acevedo.
      “Today the President called Clarisa (Lucy’s Attorney) and he will bring all the money and facilities to bring Lucy to Dominican Republic. Nick is very happy about this news and optimistic. All the media, radio, TV, newspaper, were talking about Lucy and her work teaching hundreds of people in this country through the Henry George School. Well, I’m going to keep you informed. Best wishes, Marilú, Mar 7, 2008”


      6a. Obituary: Clyde Cameron

      By John Massam, Georgist Education Assoc. Inc, East Perth, Australia, john.massam at multiline.com.au, March 17, 2008
      A tribute to former Federal Minister Clyde Cameron, of S.A., who was a lifelong follower of the tax reformer Henry George.


      6b. Obituary: Everett Gross

      By Nadine Stoner, NadStoner at aol.com, Mar 15, 2008

      A stalwart Georgist, Everett Gross of Crete, NE, died March 5, 2008. He was 88. His funeral was March 11, 2008 at Grace United Methodist Church, Crete, NE. Everett and his wife Mildred were honored as long time Georgists at the 2000 Council of Georgist Organizations conference in Des Moines, which their son Damon co-hosted. They had become Georgists after reading Progress and Poverty that the book club they joined had sent them. They saw a newspaper ad and attended a Georgist conference in 1950 and went to about three-fourths of the Georgist conferences after that. I met Everett at the Henry George School of Chicago conference in 1976. (Prior to the formation of the CGO in 1980 the schools and other organizations held their own conferences.)

      Everett had been an Army officer. He received his Masters degree in Physics and was a professor at Doane College (where Mildred was also a professor). Mildred died in April 2007. They raised three children, Damon (who had served on Common Ground-USA's board and is now on the Schalkenbach Foundation board), Donna Jaffe who serves on the Henry George Foundation Board (where Everett was a trustee emeritus), and Daniel who are all Georgists.

      Everett had been active in ISTA, as was his sister Elaine Coons. I recall at a Henry George Institute meeting that Everett gave us a glimpse of his upbringing, commenting that you can take the boy out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the boy. Everett for a number of years wrote newspaper columns for two Nebraska newspapers, some of which were published in a book Robert Clancy got published for HGI.

      Condolences may be sent to:
      Damon Gross, 817 Western Avenue, Waterloo, Iowa, 50792
      Dan and Anne Gross, P O Box 1282, Solomons, MD 20688
      Donna and Lyle Jaffe, 2326 Massanutten Drive in Silver Spring, MD 20906
      Elaine Coons, 2932 N. Casa Tomas Ct., Phoenix, AZ 85016.


      7a. Likable link: The Liberal Democrats ALTER Updates

      By Tony Vickers, tonyvickers at phonecoop.coop , March 22, 2008

      A new entry entitled 'ABC: ALTER - Banking - Cable' has been published to The Liberal Democrats ALTER. View entry: <http://www.libdemsalter.org.uk/000125.php>
      entry Title: ABC: ALTER - Banking - Cable
      Publish Date: 2008.03.22 10:33:55

      Report of ALTER's Liverpool Conference Fringe .A new entry entitled 'Economics as if people mattered' has been published to The Liberal Democrats ALTER. View entry: <http://www.libdemsalter.org.uk/000124.php>
      entry Title: Economics as if people mattered
      Publish Date: 2008.03.22 09:49:28


      7b. Likable link: Latest Guardian

      By David Brooks, radical at aapt.net.au, Mar 29, 2008

      The March 2008 Guardian is available in .pdf at http://people.aapt.net.au/~radical/Guardian.html
      I trust you enjoy the reading.


      7c. Likable link: For a course on LVT

      By Fred Foldvary, ffoldvary at yahoo.com, Mar 28, 2008

      Want a short course on Land Value Tax? See my summary (4 pages) policy study
      and the full paper (36 pages)
      Paper copies can be ordered.


      8a. What You Can Do: Register for summer CGO Conference

      By Sue Walton, sns at swwalton.com, February 15, 2008

      For more information about the 2008 CGO conference and/or to register, please contact Sue or Scott Walton by email or at 847/475-0391.


      8b. What You Can Do: Tell South Africa how to fix the cities

      By Josh Vincent, Executive Director, <Joshua at urbantools.org> Mar 20, 2008

      The national ANC government of South Africa has forced cities to abandon LVT (or SVR) as of this year. The city has to accept the diktat of the national government. Comment to the city of Johannesburg:


      9. At the Margin: Quips and Quotes (not too long after winter solstice)

      Where do forest rangers go to “get away from it all”?

      What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

      "Like a bridge of hair is the line of temperature that we must keep. Investigators tell us of the existence of temperatures of thousands of degrees above zero and thousands of degrees below zero. But man's body must maintain the constant level of a fraction over 98 degrees above zero. A rise or fall of seven degrees either way from this level will kill him. With the permanent rise or fall of a few more degrees in the mean temperature of the surface of the globe it would become uninhabitable by us."
      – Henry George, in Science of Political Economy Book 1, Chapter 1, p. 13 (found by Joshua Vincent, circulated by Richard Biddle)


      10a. Publication affairs: Contributing to this issue

      Along with those acknowledged above with each blurb,
      Editor: Jeffery J. Smith
      Assistant Editor: Caspar Davis
      Archivist: Stewart Goldwater
      Owner: The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
      Founder: Adam Monroe

      Send your news and other interesting material to the Georgist News at jjs at geonomics.org or gn at progress.org. The deadline for the next issue is April 25.


      10b. Publication affairs: About The Georgist News

      The Georgist News, a project of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, is an email newsletter brought to you free of charge. Its purpose is to keep you updated on the latest news, citations, events, and initiatives of relevance to people who, like Henry George, seek a world free from special privilege and the causes of poverty.
      Do you know someone who’d enjoy reading the GN? Please forward them an issue and ask them to subscribe, or send us their eddress. As always, it’s free. Thanks.

      To stop receiving the Georgist News, simply send an email to gn at progress.org and ask to be removed from the list. Please specify at what email address you have been receiving the Georgist News.

      The Georgist News is also available on line at http://www.georgist.com/.

      The Georgist News, Volume Ten, Number Ten, April 1, 2008.


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