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Neo-classical Economics as a Stratagem Against Henry George

Neoclassical economics is the idiom of most economic discourse today. It is the paradigm that bends the twigs of young minds. Then it confines the florescence of older ones, like chicken-wire shaping a topiary. It took form about a hundred years ago, when Henry George and his reform proposals were a clear and present political danger and challenge to the landed . . . → Read More: Neo-classical Economics as a Stratagem Against Henry George

The Philosophy of Public Finance

THE TREATMENT of rent as public revenue is part and parcel of an organic theory of the State.
In the contractual theory, government is a kind of business which extends services to landowners. They only need pay for benefits received, which are construed in the narrowest possible terms.
In the organic theory, landowners hold title to land as a privilege. In return, . . . → Read More: The Philosophy of Public Finance

Henry George, Dr. Edward McGlynn & Pope Leo XIII

IT WAS A DIFFERENT TIME, but often the same place (Cooper Union) in American life. No, it wasn’t radio, but the age of orators. One of the most spellbinding was Dr. Edward McGlynn; another good one was Henry George, who also wrote great books. They came together in 1886 to roil the waters of American politics and ideology. Through the . . . → Read More: Henry George, Dr. Edward McGlynn & Pope Leo XIII

Alfred Russel Wallace’s Campaign to Nationalize Land: How Darwin’s Peer Learned from John Stuart Mill and Became Henry George’s Ally

Alfred Russel Wallace rose to fame with Charles Darwin: They independently found the principle of natural selection. Wallace later focused on reforming Great Britain’s land tenure system, under which a few owners had come to control most of the land, while most citizens had little or none of their own. In Land Nationalization (1882) Wallace proposed for the state to acquire . . . → Read More: Alfred Russel Wallace’s Campaign to Nationalize Land: How Darwin’s Peer Learned from John Stuart Mill and Became Henry George’s Ally

Whose Water? Ours: Clearing Fallacies about Implementing Common Rights

The late Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana in 1922 suffered the fate of Oregon’s Congressman Al Ullman: he was retired by the voters for proposing a national sales tax. Thereafter, he mellowed into being a scholar and biographer. In these philosophical years he wrote “You know, I’ve learned in the Widener Library at Harvard that most of what I was taught . . . → Read More: Whose Water? Ours: Clearing Fallacies about Implementing Common Rights

Equity Premises and the Case for Socializing Rent

The Harvard Registrar reports the most popular undergraduate courses now are “Justice,” “Principles of Economics,” “The Concept of the Hero,” and “Literature of Social Reflection.” The “Me Generation” is passing; Justice, Heroism and Social Thought are “In.” Are economists ready for this future? I think not: changes must be made.
Classical political-economists were moral philosophers. They made distribution of wealth and income central . . . → Read More: Equity Premises and the Case for Socializing Rent

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

How to Revitalize a Failing City

GEORGIST POLICY HAS been shown as a means to revive dying cities, and in the process to reconcile equity and efficiency, to reconcile supply side economics with taxation, and to reconcile capital formation with taxation of the rich. It can be seen as a means of harmonizing collectivism and individualism, in the most constructive possible ways. I know of no other . . . → Read More: How to Revitalize a Failing City

Justice in Distribution

The classical political-economists made distribution of wealth and income the centerpiece of their discipline. This led smoothly, if unintentionally, into the socialist slogan, “The problem is not production, but distribution.” From about 1890, “neoclassical” economists preferred to downplay distribution. Distribution is troublesome, they said, because beliefs about it are often subjective and value—laden (“normative”), and there are numerous conflicting value—systems, hard . . . → Read More: Justice in Distribution

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