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The Shrinking Dollar

In January 2006 Insights showed how successive administrations in Washington have doctored the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to conceal the real rise in the Cost of Living (COL). Self-defined “mainstream” economists have served as tools, some as active leaders and others as sheep in the herd. For Insights column in Groundswell December 2007 . . . → Read More: The Shrinking Dollar

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 . . . → Read More: Neo-classical Economics as a Stratagem Against Henry George

A Severance Tax on California Oil?

California has long been and remains a major oil-extracting state. It is the largest gasoline consumer by far, at the highest prices. Its fields were yielding up hydrocarbons not long ago when oil was at $10/bbl or less, and natural gas was a drug on the market. There is much economic rent there. And . . . → Read More: A Severance Tax on California Oil?

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… . . . → Read More: Repopulating New Orleans

New Life in Old Cities

Some cities have grown in notable spurts. Some of these cities were new; others have revived after decaying. Cities’ cells, like ours, metabolize and can refresh themselves constantly. Cities need not die like us. They can continue this cycle of renewal forever, when people remodel buildings and clear and renew sites. This can happen . . . → Read More: New Life in Old Cities

Denying Inflation: Who, Why, and How?

Henry George warned that landowners might take a growing wedge of the national “pie”, or product. Labor’s wedge might grow absolutely, as the whole pie grows, but still fall as a fraction. In our times, George’s grimmer scenario is coming true. Since about 1975, labor’s wedge of the pie is shrinking as an absolute. . . . → Read More: Denying Inflation: Who, Why, and How?

What Is “Consumption”?

To consume most goods and services is to eat them up, burn them, wear them out, see them break or rust out or crack or tumble down. But how about land, does anyone think of that? Land as space is not used up. To consume it is to preempt its service flow . . . → Read More: What Is “Consumption”?

America’s Low Saving Rate: What Can We Do?

Insights Column in Groundswell August-September 2005

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 . . . → Read More: Tax Reforms to “Promote” Saving would Backfire

The Sales Tax: History of a Dumb Idea

Commercial-capitalist civilization has progressed in step with people’s success in fending off sales taxes in their various guises. We might begin with The Enlightenment, late 18th Century, with its epicenter in Versailles. At the core were the philosophes; at their core were les économistes, or Physiocrats; and at their core was the . . . → Read More: The Sales Tax: History of a Dumb Idea