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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

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

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

Taxes, Capital and Jobs – Revised

We hear a lot these days about the need for more capital to make jobs. Some of what we hear and read we may discount as self-serving, lobbying for more preferential tax treatment of profits. Yet there is a case argued by sincere and public-minded people on objective grounds which we must take seriously.
It had better be a good . . . → Read More: Taxes, Capital and Jobs – Revised

Taxes, Capital and Jobs

We hear a lot these days about the need for more capital to make jobs. Some of what we hear and read we may discount as self-serving, lobbying for more preferential tax treatment of profits. Yet there is a case argued by sincere and public-minded people on objective grounds which we must take seriously.
It had better be a good . . . → Read More: Taxes, Capital and Jobs

Time, Taxes, Turnover and Intensity

A reply to comment by Henry Goldstein and Procter Thomson on my “Tax-induced Slow Turnover of Capital,” published in Western Economic J. WEJ editors returned it for shortening. Meantime Anthony Chisholm replied on my behalf, using some of this material. I have incorporated it into  to be polished . . . → Read More: Time, Taxes, Turnover and Intensity

Taxation and the Functions of Urban Land Rent

MANY, IF NOT ALL economists now agree that the fisc may tax away rent without impairing any economic function. It is only necessary that the tax be independent of landowner behavior.
What is less widely understood is that not taxing rent obstructs its proper functioning. Untaxed landowners through the centuries have manifested a propensity for passive withdrawal that is simply too . . . → Read More: Taxation and the Functions of Urban Land Rent