Peace, Justice, and Economic Reform

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The Henry George Lecture at St. John’s University: March 18, 1997

Nicolaus Tideman

There is a bumper sticker that says, “If you want peace, then work for justice.” At a superficial level, this simple slogan contains an important half-truth. At a deeper level, it contains a more profound half-truth. To understand these half-truths and why they are only half true, we need to know what peace is, what justice is, and we need to understand the relationship between the two. So in this talk I want to explore the meanings of peace and justice, their relationship, and the role of economic reform in attaining both.

Proposition 13

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Mason Gaffney, Professor of Economics, University of California

What happens when a state radically slashes its property tax?

California can show you 17 years of experience. Here is what has happened since California passed Proposition 13 in 1978.

The obvious direct results have been to cut public services, raise other taxes, and lose credit rating.

Our school support fell from #5, nationally, to #40 in 1985 when last seen, still falling. County road maintenance is down to where my county (Riverside) is repaving its roads at an annual rate of once every 130 years. Once in 20 years is recommended here, and up north you generally need higher frequency. You can’t just build infrastructure and then stop paying for it, it’s a perpetual commitment. Thanks to urban scatter, a high fraction of our population now depends on these county roads.

City Life and Country Life

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by Emily Blyth

Early in 2005 I traveled as a volunteer to Thailand for a month to work on a project with students from Melbourne University. The Banana Project (now evolved into the Ripple Effect) has been running for over five years, it is connected with community development groups in Thailand and gives four students, (one student is the translator), the chance to really work within underprivileged communities. During the year, students spend their time fundraising around Victoria (rotary clubs are most helpful in this), then the students travel to Burriram Province in North Eastern Thailand to distribute the money to schools that have submitted development projects that need our funding to run.

Orderly Progress & Fair Shares

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‘Orderly progress & fair shares.’ Too good to be true?

by Fred Harrison

WILL Tony Blair, Britain’s reforming leader of New Labour, learn the “secret” of full employment? He emphasises the need to re-skill the workforce, but will that be enough in the 21st century?

There are large variations in the public money devoted to training people. Britain spends much more than the US, with poorer results. Sweden, which makes a point of the state supporting the education of employees, is suffering from an economic malaise every bit as intractable as countries that spend a great deal less of taxpayers’ money on training programs.

Roots Revolution

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by Steve Wall (UK)

For me, there are times when spreading the green gospel can seem like wading up to your nose in a sea of apathy and wilfull ignorance, buoyed up solely by a slowly deflating faith in human nature. Sometimes it seems as if nothing short of a major catastrophe will penetrate the thick-skulled silent majority’s complacency, upon which they will bestir their feeble minds and demand to know why they weren’t warned. Then again, learning of yet another ecological cock-up, I sometimes feel if only we could accidentally release one of our marvellous new lethal diseases that only affect humans, is virulent, incurable and unbelievably contagious, what a happy place this earth would be; but it passes.