While "the remedy" is
not a panacea, most Georgists see it as a necessary reform if we are ever
to resolve many of our most serious
social problems. Necessary, if not sufficient.
Henry George: The
Increasing Importance of Social Questions (Chapter 1 of Social
 The intelligence required for the solving of social problems
is not a thing of the mere intellect. It must be animated with the religious
sentiment and warm with sympathy for human suffering. It must stretch
out beyond self-interest, whether it be the self-interest of the few
or of the many. It must seek justice. For at the bottom of every social
problem we will find a social wrong. ...
read the entire essay
Henry George: Political Dangers (Chapter 2 of Social Problems, 1883)
 Beneath all political problems lies the social problem of the distribution
of wealth. This our people do not generally recognize, and they listen to quacks
who propose to cure the symptoms without touching the disease. "Let us
elect good men to office," say the quacks. Yes; let us catch little birds
by sprinkling salt on their tails! ...
read the entire essay
Mason Gaffney: Privatizing
Some of our unresolved problems
- rising homelessness,
counterpart of low affordability of housing. This problem persists in
spite of massive subsidies and tax breaks for housing that make America
"overhoused" next to, say, Japan.
- Unemployment persists.
- Income and especially wealth
distributed with increasing inequality.
- American industry grows obsolescent faced with foreign
competition: replacement is too slow, as in later 19th Century Britain.
Britain then at least saved and exported capital, but America's net
domestic capital formation is dangerously weak, leading to capital
imports and alienation of American wealth.
- Real wage rates are level or falling.
- Crime rates are frightening, with many Americans choosing
in an underground economy.
- Anomie and substance abuse are everywhere.
- National security hangs on precarious foreign oil.
- A large piece of our financial system has just collapsed,
rest looks shaky.
There is much to be humble and
Western capitalism has shown the
world that "personal interest is
the irreplaceable motive power of production and progress." Let us
trumpet this showing with pride, and preach to the world. Let us also
allow that personal interest can, if badly handled, lead to inhumane
excesses and abuses. A worthy goal is to combine capitalist drive
and efficiency with socialist egalitarianism. How? Synthesis does not
mean some vaguely compromising "middle way," but the best
constructive combination of workable elements from each way. The
specific centerpiece of policy proposed here is social collection of
land rent, coupled with private collection and retention of incomes
drawn from labor and from creating capital. ... read the whole article
Fred Foldvary: The Rent,
the Whole Rent, and Nothing but the Rent
The public and community
collection of rent puts
land at its most productive use, maximizing the wages of workers while
minimizing sprawl as well as boom/bust cycles. We need to understand
rent to fully understand the market process and the cause and remedy of
many of today's social problems. ... Read the
Williams: Social Justice In
Australia: ADVANCED KIT
going to look at some
of our worst social problems and reflect on the extent to which they
might arise from our economic and social systems.
Many good, caring parents bring up children who turn out to be a
mess. There must be something wrong, somewhere, with a society where so
many people become depressed, cynical, disenchanted, hopeless,
alienated etc. as to resort to drugs, vandalism, suicide (the
escalating youth suicide figures are deliberately under-reported) or
just end up apathetic or anti-social. And it could be argued that
rampant, mindless and expensive consumerism is a low-intensity but
widespread indicator of underlying discontent.
One can see some pretty obvious causes, but it still doesn't add
Institutionalised religions (or, at least, its purveyors) have clearly
failed to supply an adequate explanation of our current dilemma, let
alone offer just solutions, as people continue to turn away from it in
droves. Our cynicism of politicians is somewhat justified, as even a
few of the best seem to sell out once they get into power. The
bombardment of advertising and trash culture, with all its emphasis on
glamour and image, must screw up a lot of impressionable kids. I like
the graffiti sprayed on a Melbourne wall stating: " Obedient sheep love
No, it still doesn't add up, but here's a partial explanation
the aforementioned problems take place in an economic environment which
simply is not and cannot be understood, and for that reason can never
be respected. In particular, taxation - which hits us in the hip pocket
more than anything else - springs from a mass of legislation completely
beyond the capacity of any individual to understand. In
there's disrespect for our tax (and governance) system because there's
no clear rationale or validation for its principles. Compared to the
elegant beauty of Pay for what you take, not what you make, the present
tax system is seen as a necessary nuisance at best, but more commonly
as an arbitrary means of milking us. Furthermore, the economic and tax
systems make cynics and cheats of us all. Cynics - the
workforce, both blue and white collar - stand in disgust as they
witness the rich getting richer as they confiscate the economic rent.
Cheats, because everyone else is a cheat when it comes to
returns, so why should I be a mug and be honest?
WHERE INVESTMENT SHOULD GO
Lastly, social alienation is partly a result of an economic
cannot afford to invest in community-building amenities and
infrastructure. We have seen how such spending effectively disappears
into the black hole of landowners' pockets instead of being recycled
back to the community through LVT, and we have also imagined A Day in
the Life which illustrates what affordable community amenities could
bring people together. But the whole area of the personal and social
benefits conferred by a stronger community network is a vast and
debatable subject in itself, and is beyond the basics of Geonomics in
these kits. ... Read the
Mason Gaffney: Interview:
Is There a Conspiracy in the Teaching of Economics and History
within the American Education System?
TPR - If Earth's ecosystem
poorest people will
be the largest beneficiaries of the reform you advocate, how will it
ever gain public acceptance in America's increasingly money-driven
political system? If the press will never acknowledge it and the
education system is so lost and blind, how can this reform ever
happen? Are Georgists like the character in 1984?
MG - Every system must purify itself from time
time, or be destroyed. How long that takes depends on how strong a
base you started from, and how strong your rivals are. The USA
started from a strong base, built in part by the Progressives
(including many Georgists) and the New Dealers (in spite of some of
their destructive moves). Now, our leaders think we are riding high,
just because the stock market is rising, even though real wage rates
have fallen for 25 years, our debts are staggering, our liabilities
and contingent liabilities exceed our assets, our biggest growth
industry is building jails, our population is losing its literacy,
our major cities have decayed, and so on. Marx was right about one
thing, at least: the system carries the seeds of its own
Our leaders have done a good job of subverting our rivals, in
by forcing on them the ideas of neo-classical economics, the ideas
that originated as part of the anti-Georgist campaigns. Japan gave us
a good run for a while, but got suckered into aping our worst habits,
and hence a good old-fashioned American-style land boom and bust that
has knocked them out of the race for a while. Most of S.E. Asia has
now followed suit.
It's a delicate balance. The haves can brainwash the
just so long, until reality breaks through, as in 1929. When it does,
you want to be ready with a plan tailored to the times, which
Georgists at that time were not. Meantime, we keep the idea alive by
recording and publicizing important facts, such as that the
prosperity of Hong Kong was a product of Georgist policies; likewise
that of Taipei, Sydney, Johannesburg, and other great cities.
- We support object lessons like those in Allentown, Pa.,
for a really visible one like Philadelphia.
- We combat moves to raise sales and income and payroll
awaken people to the benefits of lowering them.
- We awaken people to the possibilities of including more
income, and less payroll income, in the base of the income tax.
- We support efforts to democratize the media.
- We alert people to the corruption of academia and the kept
think-tanks, and provide alternative venues by mobilizing the resources
of the few Georgist-oriented foundations.
- We get on social action committees of various churches,
to give their well-meant but often foggy-minded efforts some clearer
focus, with more punch and less platitude.
- We remind people of their common rights, and the history
common property in land.
- We expose and ridicule the inconsistencies and hypocrisies
kept economists, hoping that embarrassment will convert those whom
truth will not.
We avoid the temptation to play Jeremiah, but seek to join
system and make it work better, even as Henry George and his friends
did. ... read the whole article
Weld Carter: A Clarion Call to Sanity, to Honesty, to
... Our problem today, as yesterday, and the days before, back to the earliest
recorded times, is POVERTY.
There are times when this problem is lesser. We call these "booms." There
are also times when the problem is greatly exacerbated. These are called "busts." But,
as the Bible says, "the poor have ye always with ye."
The purpose of this paper is to explore the core of the problem. It is not
the position that there is only one single error afoot in our social organizations.
There may be several, there may be only a few things to remedy. The position
is, as stated earlier, that there is one basic cause of the problem. Therefore,
the removal of this one basic error is the first, the primary step, for the
that, until this basic social evil is eradicated, no other reform
will avail. ... read the whole essay