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Interview on After the Crash, 2009

At a time when most everyone has an opinion about the state of the U.S. economy and the quality of decision-making in Washington, D.C., the voice of esteemed economics professor and former TIME magazine journalist Mason Gaffney is an important one. Currently teaching at the University of California, Gaffney has been publishing vital
contributions to economics since his PhD dissertation in 1956. . . . → Read More: Interview on After the Crash, 2009

Logos Abused: The Decadence and Tyranny of Abstract Reasoning in Economics

The writer acknowledges the role and value of abstract reasoning in economics. He has done his share of it, and is not reacting against rationalism or marginalism. Abstract, however, should not mean abstruse or obscure; theoretical should not mean irrelevant or impractical; ideal should not mean intolerant or imperialistic. Theorists are increasingly scorning those rules and . . . → Read More: Logos Abused: The Decadence and Tyranny of Abstract Reasoning in Economics

Property Taxation and the Frequency of Urban Renewal

History has imposed a curious double standard on deliberations of tax alternatives. Most taxes are adopted because they raise revenue. Land taxes are rejected because they are no panacea. If they simply raise revenue without doing much damage they are a great improvement over what we have now. If they offer additional benefits, so much the better, but let us not . . . → Read More: Property Taxation and the Frequency of Urban Renewal

Repopulating New Orleans

How did San Francisco do what a top economist says New
Orleans cannot?

Our latest Nobelist in economics, Thomas Schelling, offered the following advice in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: “There is no market solution to New Orleans. It is essentially a problem of coordinating expectations… .” By that he meant simply that each . . . → Read More: Repopulating New Orleans

Reverberations between Immoderate Land-Price Cycles and Banking Cycles

Paper delivered at Annual Meetings, Association for Evolutionary Economics (AFEE), Chicago, January 8, 2012

Major Outline

The Pecora Hearings, 1933.  Another 10 days that shook the world.
Hearings sponsored by a dying Republican Congress.  Role of Hoover, seeking scapegoat.  Role of Senator Norbeck of S.D., an echo of earlier progressive Republicans of the Bull Moose Party.
Pecora was a surprise, . . . → Read More: Reverberations between Immoderate Land-Price Cycles and Banking Cycles

Sleeping with the Enemy: Economists who Side with Polluters

Coasians and other defenders of “property rights” have captured mainstream economics to the detriment of public interest in our shared environment.. A personal story:

Sleeping with . . . → Read More: Sleeping with the Enemy: Economists who Side with Polluters

Stimulus: the False and the True

“Stimulus” is the buzzword du jour of domestic policy, but its old metaphors ring with sad satiety: kick-start the motor, jump the battery, prime the pump, shot-in-the-arm, wake-up call, jolt, multiplier, ripple effect, … . Fact is, “we’ve been there and done that” several times for generations back. We have been doing it again for seven years now – that . . . → Read More: Stimulus: the False and the True

Tax Reforms to “Promote” Saving would Backfire

There is a strong movement afoot to tax just consumption rather than all income. The “good reason” for this is to promote saving and investment, and thus enhance domestic capital formation, said to be the main force for economic growth, poorly defined but assumed to be a good thing. A battery of well-financed pols, . . . → Read More: Tax Reforms to “Promote” Saving would Backfire

The Danger of Favoring Capital over Labor

This paper deals with an anomaly one meets when seeking to teach and apply the ideas promoted by Henry George. How does one forward the interests of labor by untaxing capital? George left some unanswered questions, and later writers and activists have not met them.

Mason Gaffney, 2004, in Lindy Davies (ed.), The . . . → Read More: The Danger of Favoring Capital over Labor

The Four Vampires of Capital

Vampire #1 is public debt.

Vampire #2 is land value.

Vampire #3 is housing and land values conjoined.

Vampire #4 is the corporation.

Land and Liberty, Summer 2009

. . . → Read More: The Four Vampires of Capital