Letter to Gorbachev

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* FOUR of the West’s top economists – Nobel prize-winners Franco Modigliani, James Tobin, Robert Solow and William Vickrey – were among the signatories to an open letter to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990/1991. The economists urged the Soviet President to retain land in public ownership, and to raise government revenue by charging rent for the use of land.

* Had he acted upon their advice Gorbachev may have strengthened his hand, but was unceremoniously dumped in favour of Boris Yeltsin. The Russian people have an especially deep feeling for their motherland, and socialising land rents for revenue and slashing all other taxes may well have struck a sympathethic chord. Yeltsin too, however, has been told by western powerbrokers that he must sell Russia’s patrimony – ‘freehold’ her land – as a pre-condition for western assistance.

How To Abolish Unfair Taxation

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by Clarence Darrow, Attorney, Philosopher

Clarence Darrow of Chicago became known and respected the world round as a courageous and intelligent foe of special privilege and monopoly.

His social and economic philosophy rested on the same basic principles as those of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
Everybody nowadays is anxious to help do something for the poor, especially they who are on the backs of the poor; they will do anything that is not fundamental. Nobody ever dreams of giving the poor a chance to help themselves. The reformers in this state have passed a law prohibiting women from working more than eight hours in one day in certain industries – so much do women love to work that they must be stopped by law. If any benevolent heathen see fit to come here and do work, we send them to gaol or send them back where they came from.

The Corruption of Economics

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by Mason Gaffney, Professor of Economics, University of California, Riverside

The following is the introduction to Professor Gaffney’s paper Neo-classical Economics as a Strategem against Henry George, 5 July 1994.

The paper formed the basis of a book: The Corruption of Economics, Mason Gaffney and Fred Harrison, Shepheard-Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd, London, 1994.


Introduction: The Power of Neo-classical Economics

Neoclassical economics is the idiom of most economic discourse today. It is the paradigm that bends the twigs of young minds. Then it confines the fluorescence of older ones, like chicken-wire shaping a topiary. It took form about a hundred years ago, when Henry George and his reform proposals were a clear and present political danger and challenge to the landed and intellectual establishments of the world. Few people realize to what a degree the founders of Neoclassical economics changed the discipline for the express purpose of deflecting George, discomfiting his followers, and frustrating future students seeking to follow his arguments. The stratagem was semantic: to destroy the very words in which he expressed himself. Simon Patten expounded it succinctly. “Nothing pleases a … single taxer better than … to use the well-known economic theories … [therefore] economic doctrine must be recast” (Patten 1908, p.219; Collier, 1979, p.270).

FAQ

The following list comprises the most commonly asked questions and objections to the idea of using land and resource rentals as the best source of revenue for government. As you continue this study you will see the value in giving resources the respect they deserve and the benefits of freeing up labour, production and exchange. If you have any questions … Read More

Land Monopoly and Income Polarisation in Australia 1950 to 2000

By Tony O’Brien This essay examines the causes of and offers a just and equitable solution to the inequities inherent in the income gap between rich and poor, which has continued to expand in Australia over the last half century. It is based on an earlier essay, “The Pathology of Income Maldistribution – An index of the Wealth Poverty Gap … Read More