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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

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

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

The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land: Enough and to Spare

A tax based on land value is in many ways ideal, but many economists dismiss it by assuming it could not raise enough revenue. Standard sources of data omit much of the potential tax base, and undervalue what they do measure. The purpose of this paper is to present more comprehensive and accurate measures of land . . . → Read More: The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land: Enough and to Spare

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

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

Is the Bailout Justified?

QUESTION: We hear that the feds HAD to bail out Fannie and Freddie because of the terrible consequences of letting them fail. How much of that is real and how much is bunk? I’d have thought that if the companies go bankrupt, their stock sells for pennies on the dollar and the . . . → Read More: Is the Bailout Justified?

THE GREAT CRASH OF 2008

This crash is The Big One; it has signs of becoming a Category 5. How do we know? We’ve “been there and done that” so many times before, roughly every 18 years over the last 800 or more. Major wars and, rarely, plagues have broken the rhythm, along with the little ice age, reformation and counter-reformation, political revolutions and . . . → Read More: THE GREAT CRASH OF 2008

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

Keeping Land in Capital Theory: Ricardo, Faustmann, Wicksell, and George

Most economists today live in a two-factor world: There is just labor and capital. Land, so central to classical political economy, has been swallowed into capital and “disappeared.” This paper surveys some of the better historical treatments of land and capital, their interrelations, and how they support modern Georgists and Greens who want land to reappear. . . . → Read More: Keeping Land in Capital Theory: Ricardo, Faustmann, Wicksell, and George