Archive for the ‘worth a look’ Category

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Moving back to “menace of privilege”

June 28, 2009

I’ve moved the entire contents of this blog to my new one, menace of privilege. Of course moving is never simple.  For instance, it turns out that all the blogroll links had to be moved manually, which I did, but that they are now all in a single category.  One of these days real soon now I shall get them organized. (Meanwhile, the separate “priceofprivilege” blog that I experimented with last year has been discontinued.)

This blog will stay up for a while, I guess, but please update your bookmark to the new site: http://menaceofprivilege.com/

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Progress and Poverty is fun to read

December 5, 2008

That’s what Michael Kinsley, a thoughtful journalist who seems to respect Henry George but dislike Georgists, says in December 12 This Week magazine.

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Presidential candidate endorses Georgist reform– sort of

October 18, 2008

The present adjustment of Henry George’s celebrated land tax could also be considered.

From Ralph Nader’s position on taxation.  Unfortunately it’s so far down in the document that even folks who read the position won’t likely notice it.  And I don’t quite know what “present adjustment” means.  Earlier in the text he does seek to replace taxes on “work and consumer essentials” with taxes on “the clearly addictive industries (alcohol and tobacco), pollution, speculation, gambling, extreme luxuries…[and] [t]iny taxes (a fraction of the conventional retail sales percentage) on stock, bond, and derivative transactions…”  Can’t say I agree with all of this, but at least there is some recognition that taxing work is a bad thing, and that Henry George might have something to contribute to today’s tax debates.  Which, as far as I know, puts him ahead of the other candidates.

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New Census Atlas

March 2, 2008

I just discovered that the U S Census Bureau has issued a new Atlas, which they say is their first since 1925. (The press release is dated January 31, did everyone else already know about this?) It’s downloadable chapter by chapter as pdf’s, which is great since it costs $165 in hardcopy. This is not new data, but a compilation of stuff that was already available, though I suppose many of the maps are newly-prepared.  One might ask why it takes almost eight years after census day to prepare a report, but this one will not.

My favorite section, so far, is Chapter 2 on population distribution. There’s a map showing when each county reached its maximum population. For hundreds, it was more than 50 years ago. Other county-level maps show population changes since 1980. These maps should be persuasive to any rational person who fears that the U. S. is becoming overpopulated. It is unfortunate that the Atlas doesn’t contain tabulations to go with the maps, so I cannot tell you how many counties reached their peak population before 1960, nor by how much the total population of these counties has declined since the peak.

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Capital Market Dysfunctionality

February 17, 2008

It’s not the way a Georgist would describe our main economic problems, but it doesn’t fit badly. Paul Woolley, a former (reformed?) investment manager and IMF official, has established his Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality.   One way he states the problem:

By most measures finance has become the dominant industry sector accounting, for example, for between 30% and 40% of the aggregate profits of the quoted corporate sector in the US, UK and globally, compared with only around 10% forty years ago

Not only does this mean a lot of money is being paid for a service which isn’t really central to our economy’s purpose, but also that much of the best talent in many fields is diverted to playing financial games rather than useful work.

Of course, in his talk he did not mention land.  Since his background is in finance, I guess he looks at the problem as a capital market problem rather than a land speculation problem.  As a Georgist, I tend to think that the problem can only be solved by making speculation in natural resources unprofitable.  Woolley however will probably show many ways in which the problem can be reduced, or at least postponed.   His site shows many papers related to the subject, many worth a look I think. (Of course quite a few of the papers are not available free.)

One reason I am inclined to think this is a serious effort to address the issue is that Woolley is apparently funding the work personally.