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A Real-Assets Model of Economic Crises: Will China Crash in 2015

Henry George proposed that land speculation creates boom-bust cycles. I propose a real-assets model of economic crises, loosely based on George’s theory, in which land prices play a central role. Swings in land prices affect the entire economy by three mechanisms: construction on marginal sites, partial displacement of circulating capital by fixed capital investment, and the . . . → Read More: A Real-Assets Model of Economic Crises: Will China Crash in 2015

Appendices for Oil and Gas Leasing Policy: Alternatives for Alaska in 1977

Technical Appendices A-L for Oil and Gas Leasing Policy: Alternatives for Alaska in 1977, 8 of them by Mason Gaffney. Others by Michael Crommelin, Richard Norgaard, and . . . → Read More: Appendices for Oil and Gas Leasing Policy: Alternatives for Alaska in 1977

Capital Gains and the Future of Free Enterprise

So called “capital gains” are actually unearned income, economic rent. Expanding tax favors for capital gains worsens inequality and impairs . . . → Read More: Capital Gains and the Future of Free Enterprise

How a Water Market Might Work

This will not be a perfect market. There will be only one seller, and the buyers will surely form a user’s association. But this should not deter us. No human institution is perfect, except some that are perfectly awful. The present water market is one of these, and the point is to make it less awful. Maximum feasible improvement is the . . . → Read More: How a Water Market Might Work

Oil and Gas Leasing Policy: Alternatives for Alaska in 1977

The purpose of this report is to be of service to the Alaska State Legislature and the Department of Natural Resources in their review of oil and gas leasing policy. It is written from the State’s viewpoint. It treats the State’s interests as being frequently adverse to those of the State’s lessees, without being hostile to them. Where the . . . → Read More: Oil and Gas Leasing Policy: Alternatives for Alaska in 1977

Policies and Practices Affecting Urban Land Costs as an Element of Housing Costs

Land is a major cost element of urban housing. Site values of improved urban lots are about 20 percent of the total value of new single unit dwellings. However, this ratio varies significantly between neighborhoods and regional areas in the United States. For example, for the third quarter, 1967, FHA data for proposed one-family homes to be financed under Section . . . → Read More: Policies and Practices Affecting Urban Land Costs as an Element of Housing Costs

Proposition 13: An Alternative Reform

What is the “message” of Proposition 1 3? Everyone was invoking it this past summer to fill his sails, but what was really blowing in the wind?
Howard Jarvis had been fighting property taxation for a score of years with minimal success. Philip Watson, until recently more prominent, led two property tax limitation initiatives to defeat. All these prior efforts were tax shifts, . . . → Read More: Proposition 13: An Alternative Reform

Rent-Seeking and Global Conflict

National governments originate historically to acquire, hold and police land. Other functions are assumed later, but sovereignty over land is always the first business. Private parties hold land from the sovereign: every chain of title goes back to a grantor who originally seized the land.
When economists today speak of “rent—seeking” they usually are thinking not of basic land rent, but in . . . → Read More: Rent-Seeking and Global Conflict

The Partiality of Indexing Capital Gains

In 1986, Congress made realized capital gains fully taxable, in the spirit of uniformity animating the 1986 reform. Now we are witnessing a major effort to revive the exclusion of part or all of capital gains from taxable income, partly on the grounds that much of the gains are “phantom” income, an illusion of . . . → Read More: The Partiality of Indexing Capital Gains