International Union Meets in Spain
GroundSwell, May-June 2004]
This report is based on the author's notes and available
texts, with apologies that time did not permit more thoroughness or
accuracy. All italics used were in the original. Texts or excerpts
of some speeches may be published later.
The International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade
held its 24th conference in Madrid, Spain, 27-30 May, 2004. This was
exactly 91 years after Georgists from all over the world met at a
conference sponsored by the Spanish League for the Single Tax in
Ronda, Spain, partly financed by industrialist Joseph Fels, who had
supported major land value tax drives in the United States before
World War I.
Unlike most previous conferences, arranged by IU headquarters
staff in London, this was prepared by AEPERS (Asociacion Espanola
para el Estudio del Regimen del Suelo y los Recursos Naturales),
under the direction of Fernando Scornik-Gerstein, attorney and
former advisor to the Argentine government, who lives and works in
Spain and the Canary Islands, and serves as AEPERS president.
Although the number of Spanish Georgists was decimated during
Spain's civil war, Scornik has helped to rebuild the movement there.
He also attracted Argentine Georgists to the conference. More than
50 people attended, from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark,
England, France, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, and the United
States. Simultaneous translation was provided in Spanish and
Scottish Parliament Sends Greetings
The Scottish Parliament sent the following message, signed by ten
members of Scottish Green, Scottish Nationalist and Scottish
Socialist Party groups in the Scottish Parliament:
"We send you our best wishes and support in your
deliberations in Madrid this year. Some of us enjoyed and took part
in your last conference in Edinburgh in 2001.
"Scotland is in the throes of releasing itself from the
shackles of a historical inheritance of landed privilege. You will
know that the Parliament has committed itself to 'investigating the
contribution land value taxation might make to the cultural,
economic, environmental and democratic renaissance of Scotland.' We
believe that the private appropriation of the value of our common
resources--such as land-- is a privilege which can no longer be
"On a global scale, the failure to share equitably the value
of our common birthrights can grow awful grievances, which bring
terrible consequences, such as was visited upon your host city. Our
sorrow rests with the heavy hearts of Madrid's citizens going about
their daily business around you today.
"But we must make practical changes to our social systems.
We believe that the taxing of land values will be a key policy
reform for the twenty-first century. Scotland must adopt it. We as
Scottish Parliamentarians will be endeavouring to bring about this
fundamentally just and badly needed reform."
Speeches and discussions ranged from the pragmatic to the
philosophic. The tragic history of Georgism in Spain in the 20th
century was a conference highlight.
Alannna Hartzok, IU's main Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)
representative to the United Nations, Council of Georgist
Organizations vice-president, and Earth Rights Institute
co-director, opened the sessions on 27 May with "The Need for
an Earth Rights Democracy." This was an incisive examination of
local and national socioeconomic issues in USA and a hard look at
the same globally.
Jeff Smith (Forum on Geonomics founder/director and The Geonomist
editor) spoke on the history of speculation and corruption in
America, including privileges and tariffs for the elite, now that
government can no longer give them land.
Spanish Ministry of Finance
Before the conference, Smith had arranged to meet Professor Pedro
Herrera Molina, of the Spanish Ministry of Finance, and other
department officials. He and Hartzok presented them with the
advantages of land value taxation. They showed great interest and
one was able to attend the conference. Following the conference,
several Georgists, including two from Spain, met with the officials
again. Smith later conferred with the supervisor of those officials,
Isabel Especjo Poyato, who asked for a copy of his speech and more
specifics on how LVT could benefit Spain. While in Madrid, he also
met with Spanish architects and a computer programmer.
The next day Scornik formally welcomed IU members, other
Georgists, and visitors, and introduced IU president, Tatiana
Roskoshnaya, UN-Habitat Inter-Regional Adviser on Eastern Europe and
Economies in Transition, stationed in Nairobi, Kenya. (During later
IU business meetings, she was re-elected, and many other IU business
topics were discussed, including site and time of the next
conference, as yet undecided.)
Roskoshnaya led a panel on the global crisis and housing. She
stated that the former Soviet Union nations now had the highest
poverty growth rate in the world, ranging from 20 to 80% of each
nation's population. She recalled for the audience the UN Millennium
Development Goals, which include reducing the number of people in
extreme poverty and also reducing the number of slum dwellers by
100,000, by 2015. A project is underway in Nairobi, Kenya, to
provide housing for a giant slum from which landlords collect pure
rent, because they provide no infrastructure. If residents get new
housing, they're likely to sell it, further enriching landlords.
Roskoshnaya and a colleague have introduced the idea of researching
the land values in the slum.
Fred Harrison and other Georgists, she added, introduced LVT to
the nation of Russia, even if it's misunderstood. As a result,
President Vladimir Putin is on record in favor of collecting
resource rents. She added that the UN, through covenants and other
documents, has declared a universal right to housing.
Peter Gibb (chief executive, Henry George Foundation, UK and one
of Land Reform Scotland's directors) cited figures showing that
housing costs have risen much faster than wages. Home ownership is
out of reach of many middle-income and nearly all low-income people.
At the same time, more high-income people own two homes. He foresees
Japanese-style intergenerational mortgages unless the situation
improves. Many empty houses in UK are untaxed. But he expects the
Scottish Ministerial Review to include LVT in its recommendations.
Scornik, discussing the situation in Spain, stated that housing
costs rose twice as much as salaries in the last 20 years.
Dave Wetzel (Labour Land Campaign chair and London University
Transport Studies Society former president) described United Kingdom
housing tenure varieties and believes housing experts are finally
looking at LVT. He likened Georgism to a ball on a giant snooker
(billiards) table. If it's hit right, it could cause a ricochet
among the others. In addition to housing, UK needs more green space,
Bill Powell (Liberal Democrat official and local council housing
advisor) said the mortgage system is part of the problem. Using
slides, he demonstrated how renters can't afford to buy when they
retire at reduced incomes. Perhaps, he suggested, people should
share risks with banks, as some religions have done. An individual
could pay rent and buy ownership shares in the same monthly check, "purchase
in partnership." This could be Rent/Own or Rent/Maintain, as
the person prefers. At any rate, this benefits the individual and is
not a subsidy.
Dark Picture of Russia
A dark picture of contemporary economic failure is painted in "Twelve
Years of Liberal Reforms in Russia," by Galina Titova, UN
consultant on water and fisheries, from Russia. (Roskoshnaya
summarized or read parts of the paper, as Titova was unable to
attend.) Titova blames perverse or ignorant economics and laws for
catastrophic decline in production and quality of life since 1990. "These
laws," she said, " allowed new Russian oligarchs and
transnational corporations to enrich at the expense of natural rent."
Titova castigated both her fellow citizens and the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank for policies of "shock"
economics that enabled overnight privatization of Russia's natural
resources, which, by rapid exploitation, became the source of the
new export economy, cutting jobs in infrastructure and light
industry and leading to higher poverty and death rates. It further
damaged the economy by frightening prudent foreign investors, while
adding Russian capital--seeking safe havens or riches--to the export
"Government is ruled by copybooks of monetarism. Its main
task now is to service the foreign debt and to protect interests of
large-scale business," Titova explained.
The ordinary Russian was cheated by vouchers to buy their
state-owned dwelling or make other purchases, because these sank in
value. Budget shortages have caused drops in the quality of
education and scientific research, both needed for modern economic
growth. Teachers' and professors' salaries average $70 and $200
monthly, respectively. Fisheries concentrate on luxury fish for
overseas markets and have largely abandoned processing catches for
both domestic and foreign consumption, losing more than 190,000
jobs, many then created in importing nations.
Titova compared Russia's downward economic spiral since 1990 with
changes in China since 1978. China adopted a "double track"
method, taking into account its historic interests and cultural
traditions, thus avoiding an economic collapse. GDP has increased
each year, while Russia's has declined.
Likewise, Poland avoided catastrophe by rejecting IMF advice. "Success
in market reforms in Poland are also a result of delin[ing] of
Washington consensus doctrines....The main task of reforms is to
create conditions for sustainable and dynamic economic growth,"
she explained, and called IMF/World Bank economics "bankrupt."
She cited Joseph Stiglitz, former WB economist, and five US Nobel
Prize economists of the "Economic Transition Group" who
opposed "shock" reform. Yet today Russia's economy is
still measured by IMF indicators, which ignore decline in quality of
life, widening income gaps, environmental damage, and the like,
while counting as positive the huge profits in Russia's natural
"[H]opes for rent socialization (that has been promised by
Putin for many years) will hardly be answered while monetarists are
kept in the head of economics offices.....[N]othing is done to bring
order to the use of nature and to create a single state system of
natural wealth and their taxable potential accounting. Without
accomplishing this task, the forecast for the Russian future is
dark....All successful [Russian] monarchs paid great attention to
increase of the efficiency of governmental control over use of both
lands and other natural resources and their fiscal assessment. There
is still no clear signal that V. Putin will follow them."
China's Land Policies
Turning to China, Scornik reported on a variety of land laws. He
said that when he met with the Chinese, they made it very clear that
land will never be sold, using Hong Kong's leasing of land as an
example. While he doubts they grasp the significance of rent, the
government does realize that privatization is unnecessary. The
nation owns much of the land, although there is some speculation.
Leases of up to 70 years are available for defined uses, according
to "The Legal Status of Land in China," a compendium of
laws which he distributed.
In summary, he said, "[T]he right of use of land can be
mortgaged and legally transferred, but what is very important -
Article 43 - states that 'the land user as described in the clause
shall pay land-use tax in accordance with the Interim Regulations of
the People's Republic of China on Land Use Taxation in Cities and
Towns.'...This is reinforced by Article 49, which says that 'land
users shall pay taxes in accordance with state tax laws.'
"[T]he Income Tax in China is low (about 15%) and there is a
Business Tax of 5%. It is obvious that the People's Republic do not
have a policy in the sense of making the rent of land the sole
source of revenue. Nevertheless, the income coming from land,
although we do not have precise figures, must be important enough to
keep other taxes low."
South Africa Housing Rights
Peter Meakin (a trustee of the South African Constitutional
Property Rights Foundation, SACPRIF, and property broker and
appraiser, email@example.com) spoke on "Constitutions and
Land Reform: The South-African Case." He described his
organization's attempt to "restore both western and traditional
property rights in the Republic so that every South African over 18
years of age can secure affordable access to sufficient of South
Africa's natural resources as to give validity to the constitutional
values of equality, dignity and freedom."
The organization's strategy document states, "SACPRIF's
chief aim is to bring about a change in South Africa's land tenure
laws and practices, on the grounds that these contradict the
constitutional rights to human dignity, equality and
freedom....[L]egislative measures to date have not provided poor
South Africans with meaningful access to land. Furthermore, these
measures fail to address the landless of this generation who fall
outside of the net of restitution, redistribution and tenure-reform,
as well as those countless generations to come who will find
themselves landless unless a holistic solution is found....For the
last ten years SACPRIF has lobbied government officials and
parliamentarians to adopt its approach, to no avail. SACPRIF now
wants to consider a legal challenge to the government's land reform
programme, arguing that it is in violation of the Constitution of
the Republic of South Africa, and that, therefore, the courts may
Section 25(5) of the Constitution provides that the state must
take reasonable steps, within its resources, to foster conditions
which enable citizens to gain access to land equitably. The Mineral
and Petroleum Resources Development Act states that "Mineral
and petroleum resources are the common heritage of all the people of
South Africa..." The late Sir Kenneth Jupp, retired High Court
of England judge and author of some Georgist works, advised
SACPRIF's attorney to consider indigenous as well as common law
views and practices on land ownership and holding.
Meakin explained that the new Constitution does not limit the
right to land values, as some think, and added that LVT advocacy,
including that of Fred Harrison, has had results. He closed with a
plea for financial assistance to pursue the suit, which, if lost,
will cause him and other Georgist backers serious loss.
History of Georgism in Spain
On 29 May, Ana Maria Martin Uriz, Spanish philologist at the
University of Madrid, specializing in the English language, spoke on
"Perspectiva historica del legado de Henry George en Espana:
Formacion y evolucion en el pimer cuarto del siglo XX,"
(Historic Perspective on the Legacy of Henry George in Spain:
Formation and Evolution in the First Quarter of the 20th Century).
This was excerpted from her longer introduction to Progreso y
Miseria (Progress and Poverty), issued in 1985 by the Spanish
government (after dictator Gen. Francisco Franco's death) as one of
a series of "agrarian classics." The paper, in Spanish, is
too important to summarize here. One hopes a translation of the
paper and/or the introduction will bring this heroic history to
Her paper had four parts: Spanish history, creation of the
Spanish League for the Single Tax, Georgist progress in Spain, and
Georgism's tragic end there. At the beginning of the 20th century,
Spain was an agrarian nation with huge lands held by a few wealthy
people. Farm work was badly paid, and much land was idle - untaxed,
unworked. Rising social consciousness led to Spanish translations of
Progress and Poverty and various movements-agrarian, socialist,
anarchist, regional, and separatist. The Spanish League for the
Single Tax was created and published a review for 10 years. The
League's La Ronda meeting in 1913 (which the Franco government
denied took place) brought many groups together, but differences,
especially from those who espoused regionalism, separated them.
While the idea, but not the practice, of LVT made headway, and
Georgists had some influence on the Second Republic, others were
oppressed, even assassinated. When Franco came to power he executed
Blas Infante, regionalist, imprisoned others (one died in prison),
and exiled more. Those who went to Argentina helped revive interest
in LVT there, but others, in Spain and elsewhere, ceased writing and
planning. [Even during Franco's regime, Spanish Georgists ordered
books from the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.]
Scornik added that his father was among those exiled and that,
while Georgists have always been oppressed, they were treated the
worst by Spain.
Problems of Introducing LVT
The practical problems of introducing land value taxation in
their respective nations were discussed by Gibb, Saul Martinez
(chair, Provincias Unidas, a socioeconomic studies foundation. and
former head, Highways Department, Argentina), and Karl Williams
(editor, Progress, Australia).
Williams listed some Green party concerns about LVT, including
possible financial strain on retirees, mortgage questions, belief
that the income tax is fairer, and "the 6 o'clock swill."
He explained the last by telling the story of old Australia, whose
social contract included affordable housing, a living wage, tight
credit, and no drinking after 6. The last induced a crowded bar as
each jostled to get his before the bar closed. Today, without that
contract, it's whatever the market will bear, and, Williams opined,
"We have not a housing crisis but a property boom! A great way
to run a casino but not a society. A long way from the social
Martinez was fired the day after he advocated LVT to defray costs
of one road. He called his nation "a laboratory demonstrating
the development of Georgist ideas." Physiocrats influenced the
Argentine revolution, and slavery and the sale of land were
abolished in 1810 (or 1813), under Argentina's first president,
Bernardo Rivadavia, whose ideas resembled those of George. Civil
wars followed and the law was revoked in 1857. Since great plots of
land had been acquired by individuals even before the revolution,
this further legitimized land monopolies and speculation. Sporadic
attempts have been made since to enact or apply LVT, but there is no
Fred Foldvary (author and economics professor, USA) criticized
economists who dismiss LVT because they say land and value can't be
separated perfectly. Recapture by government of even some of the
excess, deadweight burden justifies using that tax, he claimed. For
greater equity, he advises an assessment board composed of all
levels of government, local, higher, and state or federal. He's
written about privatizing communities, if they wish, so that they
pay for their own services, and he urged Georgists to change
politics and voting structures.
Don't Drive in London!
Wetzel recounted, with Power Point, "The Success of the
London Congestion Charge and How It Relates to Land Value Taxation."
At first, he said, even his own Labour party opposed the idea. The
charge is Lb.S. 5 per day, Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 6 PM, on a
car entering central London ("clean" or emergency
vehicles, and those driven by disabled persons excepted). Now there
are 15% fewer cars, 30% less congestion, and London's treasury is
Lb.S. 70 million richer each year. Those who don't pay are subject
to accelerated fines.
But Wetzel is more concerned with land. "If we continue
allowing 10% to control earth, expect a revolution!"
A geo-confederacy was proposed by Foldvary as "The Solution
to Territorial Conflict: Pay Rent." He related his remarks to
land disputes between Israel and Palestine, India and Pakistan,
factions in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo, and those Basques
who wish to separate from Spain.
"When two nations claim the same territory, and both claims
have merit, partition may not sufficiently resolve the conflict...A
better alternative is to make the land common property. Individuals
could choose which nation to affiliate with, without having to move.
The possession of land would be in the form of leaseholds which pay
rent to a confederation of the nations. The rent reflects the
benefit of the land and would compensate the others for the exlusive
use of a site."
Citing John Locke's Second Treatise on Government, that each
person equally has ownership of his own person, Foldvary argues, "But
self-ownership does not apply to land, so human beings equally
properly own the land in common. However, the possession of land is
required in order to apply labor, and production is most efficient
with a market economy and private control of property. Locke wrote
that the first owner may claim possession, but he may only claim the
yield due to land with the proviso or condition that there be land
of equal or better quality available to others. If such land is not
available, then human equality requires an equal benefit from the
land. The economic benefit is reflected in the rent of land, and so
an equal sharing of the land rent satisfies the Lockean proviso....
"Without a global sharing of the natural land rent, the next
best policy is for it to be shared by those in a country....We can
call this plan a 'geo-confederacy.' It consists of a confederation
of states together with the collection of the land rent....Where two
countries dispute a portion of their land, a just solution is joint
sovereignty as well as a provincial confederation. Both states whold
have equal sovereignty, and the residents would be free to decide
which country to be a citizen of. The site holders would pay land
rent to a legislature that is elected by all the residents....
"[G]eo-confederacy combines choice of citizenship,
confederation of nations, joint sovereignty over disputed land, and
the sharing of the land rent....A geo-confederacy offers freedom and
equality of association and equal benefits from the land."
Argentinean Crisis: Its Roots
Hector Sandler (University of Buenos Aires professor of law and
social philosophy and Institute of Economics Training (ICE)
director) spoke on "Unveiling the Mystery: Roots of the
Argentinean Crisis," dedicated "To my dear friend Bob
Andelson," former IU president, Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
member, and philosophy professor, who died December, 2003.
Sandler pointed out that in Argentina, a large nation rich in
natural resources, land monopoly has stifled efficient development
by making land too expensive for poor citizens, thereby inhibiting
the immigration that helped the United States progress. In 1810,
legislation forbade land sales, with a few exceptions, and slavery.
However, this was revoked 1857, and 1865 laws transformed land into
goods in comercio, leading to concentration of 85% of the land in
the hands of 300 landowners, fewer than 1% of the population. The
same ratio is true today, except that the landowners have become
corporations, paying no taxes or taxes on undervalued land.
"The current legal system has transformed land into the base
of any speculative business... instead of being at disposal of work
and investment of capital," says Sandler.
Argentina is an exporting nation - of beef, leather, grain, wool
- all from rich ranchers, who use their profits to increase their
ranching and to consume riches. As the proportion of poor people
grew, Argentina had to borrow from the International Monetary Fund
to pay for national and subnational services. Its debts ballooned,
culminating in its recent defaults. Sandler stated that, regardless
of whether conservatives or radicals governed, their policies
ignored the effects of land speculation, land concentration, and
escape of capital for development, concluding, "Argentineans
should realize that land rent cannot be in private hands, because it
is the basic underside of public treasure. If land rent is
collected, it is possible to eliminate the taxes that hinder work
and investment....[W]ithout this there will never be a new
Are Universities to Blame?
Sandler also spoke on "Higher Education and Social Problems,"
dedicated to Professor Iredell Jenkins, Princeton University, USA,
with the object of "finding a philosophical basis for the
political theories whose aim is to achieve a fairer human society"
and "to expound upon the mistaken roads that Law and Economics
science are marching upon."
For example, Sandler referred to Argentina's economic problems as
due, not to lack of resources, "but because of a wrong legal
structure of necessary fundamentals to constitute prosperous and
healthy social and public economics....the result of wrong or
inadequate knowledge in the fields of economics and juridical
science. If this thesis is true, it is possible that higher
education is, in great measure, responsible for the current
disorder. That's why - in this case - the university system has a
moral duty and a great task in the effort to reestablish the harmony
lost in our society."
Critical of over-specialization in philosophy, law, and
economics, Sandler pointed out that, until the mid-20th century,
most political leaders, legislators, and many in the executive
branch of government had law degrees. Since then, however, he says,
economists have displaced lawyers there and also dominate financial
and global institutions.
"[I]t's not even noticed that it is a concern of Law, not of
Economics, to establish the fundamentals of the economic order."
Sandler continues, "One of the main causes, if not the main
one, of social, political and economic problems that many countries
bear - among them, in quite a remarkable way, Argentina - is the
prevailing bias, standardized at universities, of legal and economic
science since the second half of the 20th century."
Specialization, he adds, leads to quite exclusive knowledge of
fragments of reality, and this often leads to the teaching of
distorted, even wrong, concepts.
"Government," continues Sandler, "as producer of
statute law, should apply all its power in the unceasing task of
eliminating obstacles, privileges and monopolies that generated
continuously at the very middle of society, hindering the process of
producing wealth and the fair distribution of the wealth produced."
He recalled that a 1912 bill proposed a land tax on unimproved land.
Though the bill failed, an active Land League, composed of
Argentinean governors, mayors, and other politicians and
intellectuals, published Revista del Impuesto Unico (Magazine of
Single Tax) from 1916 to 1926.
"These facts are ignored by those who teach Law and
Economics at our universities," he informed his audience,
advising them that even worse brainwashing occurred in USA,
documented in The Corruption of Economics. Neo-classic economics,
which considers only labor and capital-not land-as factors of
production, suppresses all mention of natural law and Henry George,
and is supported by gifts to universities by wealthy land
speculators and monopolists.
"[W]ith countless natural resources, an excellent population
with high cultural development, it cannot seriously be said that
Argentina has 'economic problems,' though most of its inhabitants...
do have them....What we suffer from is a bad legal structure of the
fundamentals of social and public economy. All the individual and
collective problems that bring despair to most of the population and
collapse governments have their root in our legal order....From this
point of view, universities and higher education have a great
responsibility and, in consequence, a great duty to perform."
George and German Idealism
Frank Peddle (Robert Schalkenbach Foundation board member, Henry
George Foundation of Canada treasurer, and Canadian Research
Committee on Taxation research director), spoke on "Dialectical
Philosophy and Henry George's Concepts Reconsidered." He urged
reprinting of George Geiger's The Philosophy of Henry George, issued
in 1931, saying nothing has been published in that area since. He
compared German idealism of Fichte, Hegel, Kant, and Schelling with
George's ideas, even though George misunderstood and maligned the
idealists. Peddle finds reshapings in such philosophers parallel to
reshapings in natural law, on the nature of capitalism, and the
The Science of Political Economy is Peddle's favorite among
George's works. Its methodology, definitions, and concepts, such as
holistic cooperation, are very like German idealism. One must
unpresuppose all that is presupposed, which also applies to
contemporary politics. Hermeneutics (the branch of philosophy
dealing with the theory of understanding and interpretation) is
important in today's European thought and therefore it is necessary
for Georgists also, as a way of continuing dialogue, he concluded.
Marginalists, Land, and George
Scornik spoke on "The Marginalist and the Special Status of
Land as a Factor of Production: Herman-Heinrich Gössen,
Friedrich von Wieser, Leon Walras and Vilfredo Pareto. He stressed
their views on the special status of land, ignored by most Marxists
(but not Marx) and most neoclassical economists, especially those of
the Austrian school. While he admitted that some of their ideas were
confused, each of the four recognized the importance of land.
"With this paper," he said, "we expect to
contribute, at least partially, to widen the vision of ideas of
these four marginalists and to have proved that...the subject of
land and natural resources was very specially considered, having in
certain cases - as that of Walras - a central and unmoveable place
in his proposals." Only highlights of this paper can be
included. Scornik finds that, for those cited, land was not simply a
form of capital. Yet George and also neoclassic, or neoliberal,
economists underrate this aspect of marginalism.
"Gossen states that 'it would be convenient that the
ownership of land would belong entirely to the community and that
the community would grant the exploitation of each plot to
whom[ever] offered to pay the highest rent,'" Scornik says,
adding that Gossen's ideas were ignored for years, and, when
rediscovered by W. Stanley Jevons, were cited for their mathematics
and not for the differential character of land ownership.
"In our opinion the most interesting thing in Wieser's
thought is precisely the changes he introduces to the Austrain
theory of value and bring him near in a remarkable way to the ideas
of Henry George or Leon Walras. As George, he was a great defender
of free trade as the way to press prices downwards," Scornik
Walras wrote, "...to leave lands to individuals instead of
keeping them for the State means to allow a parasitical class to
take advantage of the enrichment that should satisfy the always
growing demands of public services," and concludes that, if the
State repurchases privately held land, "we would have not only
saved the future but repaired the past." While he contradicts
himself, and, of course, George, in the way he would remedy
conditions, Walras sees socioeconomic justice in State land value
taxation, according to Scornik. Furthermore, Walras recognizes the
importance of free trade and "free concurrence," citing
Physiocrats on the latter.
Pareto "does not even mention the solid proposals of Gossen
and Walras, which mathematically demonstrate the benefit that
nationalization would give to the state, even paying compensation to
the owners,.... being more inclined to solutions based on taxation,"
Scornik explains. "Nationalization of land seems to him a
remedy worse than the sickness."
Scornik cautions Georgists to heed Pareto's income distribution
curves, which pessimistically find that income changes little,
regardless of economic system, and his forecast that no social
reform will last if human nature is not changed. In the discussion
that followed, Peddle asserted that Lorenz has found the curves
In correspondence with Aller after the conference, Scornik
stressed: "I do think that the reconsideration of Marginalists
and their perspective on George's basic idea that the rent of land
should be common property, is essential. As I explained in my paper,
George was not aware of the works of Herman Heinrich Gossen and Leon
Walras. I honestly think the attack that George delivers to
Marginalism in general is mistaken. The Marginalists do not say what
George accused them of saying."
Psychoanalysis, Mind, and Economics
Timothy Glazier (author of works on philsophy, social justice)
analyzed "Economics and the Modern Mind." He feels that
one reason people have trouble grasping George's ideas is that the
human mind has altered over the millennia. In denying an archetype
such as a bountiful earth, the shadows of fear of scarcity and of
greed have appeared in hunter-turned-farmer and later changes in
perception, and he cited Fred Harrison's works on the matter.
Alienation follows, resulting from dissociation from the real world.
Glazier believes humanity is in its adolescence and can eventually
A psychoanalytic approach to Georgist ideas and techniques was
presented by Jon Mendel (research intern, Henry George Foundation,
UK, and Ph.D. candidate, University of Newcastle) in his two papers:
"Own It: The Desire for Housing and the UK Housing Crisis"
and "Love the Accident! The 'War on Terror,' Network
Technologies and Radical Political Change." These require the
author's permission before citing and may be reviewed later. "Hacia
un Mundo Mejor," by Joseph Soler Corrales, in Spanish, is not
included because there was no time to translate it.
The UN, IMF, WB, and Georgists
Roskoshnaya and Hartzok closed the conference, 30 May, with
analyses of how LVT can be linked to UN, International Monetary
Fund, and World Bank policies. In May 2003, IU was granted
consultative status to UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC),
raising its number of NGO representatives at the UN from 2 to 22,
and greater Georgist impact on UN issues is anticipated.
Hartzok, who hopes to help develop a Nigerian eco-village, where
Georgist economics will be taught, cited Stiglitz's criticisms of
the World Bank: privatization of utilities, taken over by former
government cronies; capital market liberalization, especially in
real estate; market-based pricing which forces up costs of basics;
and so-called free trade. He proposed, as solutions, radical land
reform and taxing 50% of the oligarchs' crop rent.
Hartzok, who said she would like to sink or shrink IMF/WB because
of their systemic greed policies, focused on six: 1) structural
adjustment programs (SAPs), which increase poverty, 2) debt relief,
especially to poorest nations, which is a sham, 3) the worsening of
Russia's depression, the Asian financial crisis, and focus on banks'
bailouts, 4) the rise of AIDS, part of the rural-to-urban migration,
5) the effects on women, especially as SAPs cut safety nets, and 6)
depletion of natural resources, accelerated by dam building and land
grabs, which she called corporate welfare for environmental
destruction. She cited WB activity in Brazil, buying land and
creating mortgage debt, and mentioned that a US Senate investigation
of WB losses.
Roskoshnaya complained that WB had intervened when Habitat
attempted some LVT in the 1980s. Habitat now has a new Governing
Council, with greater Local Authorities (municipalities and cities)
participation. She urged Georgists to become involved with United
Cities and Local Governments and to try to get LVT included in one
of Habitat's two major drives, that for Secure Tenure. WB is also
studying LVT, she added, and Sweden, a chief Habitat donor, is
Scornik believes a newsletter for Spanish and Latin American
readers would have an extraordinary effect, and stated that the
Spanish Georgists need serious financial support. He criticized the
almost complete lack of funds from existing Georgist organizations
for the Madrid conference. The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
contributed $2,000 for simultaneous translation, a small fraction of
the aid requested.