Rev. A. C. Auchmuty: Gems from George,
a themed collection of excerpts from the writings of Henry
George (with links to sources)
WITH profits this inquiry has manifestly nothing to do. We want to find
what it is that determines the division of their joint produce between land,
labor, and capital, and profits is not a term that refers exclusively to
anyone of these three divisions. Of the three parts into which profits are
divided by political economists — namely, compensation for risk, wages
of superintendence, and return for the use of capital — the latter
falls under the term interest, which includes all the returns for the use
of capital, and excludes everything else; wages of superintendence falls
under the term wages, which includes all returns for human exertion, and
excludes everything else; and compensation for risk has no place whatever,
as risk is eliminated when all the transactions of a community are taken
together. — Progress & Poverty — Book
III, Chapter 1: The Laws of Distribution: The Inquiry Narrowed to the Laws
of Distribution — The Necessary Relation of these Laws
INTEREST, as an abstract term in the distribution of wealth, differs in
meaning from the word as commonly used, in this: That it includes all returns
for the use of capital, and not merely those that pass from borrower to lender;
and that it excludes compensation for risk, which forms so great a part of
what is commonly called interest. Compensation for risk is evidently only
an equalization of return between different employments of capital. — Progress & Poverty — Book
III, Chapter 3: The Laws of Distribution: Of Interest and the Cause of Interest
... go to "Gems from George"
Peter Barnes: Capitalism
3.0 — Chapter 4: The Limits of Privatization (pages 49-63)
Socially Responsible Corporations
To survive over time, every organization needs to take in more money than
it spends. (The only possible exception may be the U.S. government.) This
means that even nonprofit organizations must, in a sense, make a profit.
But making a profit isn’t the same as maximizing profit. In the first
instance, profit is a means to an end; in the latter, it’s the purpose
that trumps all others. Millions of organizations earn enough money to
stay alive, yet pursue goals other than profit. Is it possible for publicly
traded corporations to be like that? Can they have multiple bottom lines?
Can they, in other words, rise above their profit-maximizing algorithm?
There are several ways this might be possible: enlightened managers might
choose a higher goal than profit, shareholders might insist on it, and government
might require it. Let’s consider each possibility. ... read
the whole chapter
Peter Barnes: Capitalism
3.0 — Chapter 10: What You Can Do (pages 155-166)
This third version of capitalism is a logical successor to the first two.
In Capitalism 1.0 we had a shortage of goods, in Capitalism 2.0 a surplus.
In Capitalism 3.0 we’ll have plenty, but not too much. We’ll
have more things we truly need — healthier ecosystems, communities,
culture — and fewer thneeds. We’ll have a proper balance between
our “me” and our “we” sides. We’ll be more
connected and less isolated, more secure and less stressed. Overall, I’d
venture, we’ll be happier.
We’ll have some new traffic rules on this road. Rights now enjoyed
exclusively by private capital will be matched, or even trumped, by rights
held in trust for future generations. Similarly, the ability of private wealth
owners to receive income and inheritances will be matched by the ability
of everyone to receive them. And risks we now face individually, such as
illness, will be tempered by shared risk pools that exclude no one.
The biggest change will be in the third algorithm I described in chapter
4: the price of nature will no longer be zero. Instead, the price of nature — or
at least, of the scarcest and most endangered parts of nature — will
gradually rise. This will compel corporations (and consumers) to internalize
many of the costs they now externalize.
This, in turn, will drive them to invest and consume in ways that, over
time, do less harm to nature. Businesses will invest in clean and renewable
energy technologies. Farmers will use fewer chemicals, and local food will
outcompete food grown far away. Consumers will shift from driving alone in
gas-guzzlers to more convivial forms of transport and less dashing about.
Housing will move from sprawling suburbs to small towns and tall cities.
Not everything, however, will change. Winners in the marketplace will still
enjoy privileges. Government won’t overregulate our private lives or
businesses. Nobody’s private property will be expropriated. Markets
will remain dynamic.
And, for businesspeople, here’s the best part: Capitalism 3.0 will
preserve the driving force of American capitalism, the profit-maximizing
algorithm. It will do this not only by leaving the algorithm alone, but also
by giving all Americans, via the American Permanent Fund, a financial stake
in its success. All Americans will benefit both from nature’s health
and from the health of corporations. ... read
the whole chapter