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A Severance Tax on California Oil?

California has long been and remains a major oil-extracting state. It is the largest gasoline consumer by far, at the highest prices. Its fields were yielding up hydrocarbons not long ago when oil was at $10/bbl or less, and natural gas was a drug on the market. There is much economic rent there. And yet California is the only . . . → Read More: A Severance Tax on California Oil?

Al Rodda, RIP

Dear Georgist historians, and other good people

We have lost former Cal state Senator Al Rodda, senate leader and Georgist stalwart. Perhaps it was time: he lived his 3-score years and 10 plus 27 more, but he left footprints in the sands of time. Anyone caring to write him up, start with www.thebackbench.blogspot.com.

Al graduated . . . → Read More: Al Rodda, RIP

America’s Low Saving Rate: What Can We Do?

Insights Column in Groundswell . . . → Read More: America’s Low Saving Rate: What Can We Do?

Answer to Futilitarians

Constructive problem-solving is when one takes problems and dilemmas and composes them into solutions. A simple example is when two lonely, longing people meet and marry. Another, more prosaic, is when a producer converts wastes into useful by-products. Another, more general, is whenever demand meets supply.

An address by Mason Gaffney at a meeting of . . . → Read More: Answer to Futilitarians

Corporations, Democracy, and the US Supreme Court

On Jan 21 2010 our High Court shocked Americans by ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission that a corporation may contribute unlimited funds advertising its views for and against political candidates of its choice – in practice, the choice of its CEO or Directors. . . . → Read More: Corporations, Democracy, and the US Supreme Court

Denying Inflation: Who, Why, and How?

Henry George warned that landowners might take a growing wedge of the national “pie”, or product. Labor’s wedge might grow absolutely, as the whole pie grows, but still fall as a fraction.
In our times, George’s grimmer scenario is coming true. Since about 1975, labor’s wedge of the pie is shrinking as an absolute. “Real” wage rates . . . → Read More: Denying Inflation: Who, Why, and How?

Empty Spaces: How Our Tax Policies Caused the Present Seizure by Unbalancing Hard and Soft Capital

Why we have more buildings than we use.
Many stores have closed in the last year; they stand empty behind signs reading “Available”, “For lease”, or “First month free”. So have many industries, their gates padlocked, their girders rusting. The capital in them is wasted, poured down a rat-hole. Multi-million dollar freighters are mothballed at Subic Bay, with no cargos . . . → Read More: Empty Spaces: How Our Tax Policies Caused the Present Seizure by Unbalancing Hard and Soft Capital

George’s Economics of Abundance

It is part of George’s genius that his proposals solve one problem by resolving it with another, turning two problems into one solution. It is something like tuning up the orchestra for a concert, turning dissonance into harmony, and keeping the beat together, turning cacaphony into rhythm. It is the mark of good solutions . . . → Read More: George’s Economics of Abundance

How Religious Awakenings Presage Radical Reforms

(Presented at History of Economics Society Annual Meeting, Syracuse, New York, June 2010)

Religious upheavals have generally preceded waves of radical reform and reaction in U. S.  history, thus serving at least as leading indicators, and perhaps as causative explanations. As these waves rise and swell, crest, crash and ebb, they sweep and tumble most individuals along, . . . → Read More: How Religious Awakenings Presage Radical Reforms

How to Thaw Credit, Now and Forever

Working capital is the bloodstream of economic life. It is physical capital, the fast turning inventories of goods in process and finished goods that supply materials to the worker, and feed and clothe her family. Short term commercial loans and trade credit buy it, but the capital is “real”—a fact often forgotten in the paper and virtual worlds of . . . → Read More: How to Thaw Credit, Now and Forever