Hello Fellow Economic Reformers!
Many of you are new to this Newsletter, some by way of the Occupy Movement. In honor of that, and to bring those of you who haven't experienced what we* support at your particular Occupy encampment, here are some recent Occupy site presentations that support what we are aiming for:
-- Ellen Brown speaks about Public Banking at Occupy L.A. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Sp8oREsvW0&feature=uploademail
-- Ralph Nader @ Freedom Plaza Speaking on "Occupy Movement" (especially the part about value capturing the "commons" - note his figure of 30-50% "rent" agrees with most economic scholars http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pRZmF7dzvh8)
-- Me on Livestream, at the 55:50 mark, summarizing the 4 major reforms below
* By 'We' I mean those who support broad and comprehensive Economic Reform, including, but not limited to:
- State, or Public, Banking
- Georgism/Geoism replacement of taxes with a Single Tax on Location and resource use/abuse
- CAFR Reform to discover how much assets the governments own - NOT the same as current revenues - and whether that should be distributed back to the People.
- Monetary Reform, inc luding re-issuance of United States Notes
For more, see here http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EconomicReform/
I met some of the student creators at last summer's class at the Henry George School in New York City when this was just a bare-bones 10 second animation. Great job, guys! Let's publicize this.
( Attention All Professors! This is your chance to change how Economics is taught! )
Continuing on in their open letter to the instructor of the introductory course on Economics, the students complain that nothing was being offered besides Adam Smith models - and even those, as many readers of this newsletter know, are open to wide interpretation; Adam Smith called for a tax on Land too, for example. They then say
Professors especially , should click on the link above and see if we can re-broaden the soul-deadening, quantitative, instruction of economics, and also provide something that will provide:
Students who complete this course will learn how to:
1) Read, understand, and evaluate diverse concrete examples of economic reasoning
2) Interpret quantitative data as presented in diverse formats
3) Use basic accounting concepts to analyze concrete economic problems
4) Distinguish between microeconomic and macroeconomic problems, and the appropriate tools of analysis for each
5) Understand the basic institutional structure of the American economy, and the outlines of its 20th century historical development
No study of economics before the 20th century! No study of what economics is actually for . No mention of the relative roles of the factors of production. Well, maybe they are just not mentioned...
Going back to first principles, J.B. Clark and others took the classical 3 factors of production: Land, Labor and Capital, and combined them into 2: Labor and Capital (Gaffney points out elsewhere that there is even a move to reduce the factors to just 1: Capital, as in "Human Capital" for Labor!).
Land (classically defined as ALL the natural elements of the universe) is nearly the opposite of Capital:
- Land is finite. Capital (goods) are only limited by Labor and Land availability.
- Land typically appreciates over time and from population pressure. Capital depreciates over time and can be replaced.
- Land was created by nature. Capital is created by humans.
- Land is indispensable to life: without Land, you die...instantly. Capital is important, but not vital. You CAN, if pressed, get water and food with your bare hands, and live in the wild like our cave-dwelling ancestors did. It's hard, but we did it throughout most of human history.
Unless we understand First Principles, nothing else matters. It's like trying to practice physics without accounting for gravity, or heat.
Update on the Highline Park: a Generous Offer or just Looking Out for Themselves?
Communities Rebel Against Cuomo's Cap on Local Taxes
This tax-spender rebellion should be recognized by the voters for what it is, not as an attempt to avoid hard spending decisions, but a recognition that cuts have already been made to the bone, and now would go to the very heart of what it means to live in a society, with public education and civil services. The answer is not to cap property taxes, but to redefine them as a tax on land only: click here
and former bank regulator Bill Black weighs in as well, calling the Federal Reserve regulators who approved this deal either complicit in fraud or "brain-dead" as to its consequences. (I go with the former opinion myself):
This is an unbackable debt, even if some of the notional value cancels itself out (if it's that safe, why is BofA trying to insure it with the FDIC?). Even half of this debt would bankrupt or fatally inflate every country in the First World. Years ago, at the depths of the financial crisis, I wrote a short article advocating canceling out all derivative debts made with counter-parties where one or both cannot be realistically expected to pay, on the theory that a party should do due diligence to know if a counter-party can pay its obligations (no more AIGs). It's still a good idea: click here
Take a look at Stephen Zarlenga's work on George:
and search for "Greenback"
However by age 44, in Social Problems (1884), George demonstrated a fully developed concept for how an advanced monetary system ought to operate:
Think about countries like Britain, Japan and the United States, which have large debts and deficits yet remain able to borrow at low interest rates. What's their secret? The answer, in large part, is that they retain their own currencies, and investors know that in a pinch they could finance their deficits by printing more of those currencies. If the European Central Bank were to similarly stand behind European debts, the crisis would ease dramatically.
Wouldn't that cause inflation? Probably not: whatever the likes of Ron Paul may believe, money creation isn't inflationary in a depressed economy. Furthermore, Europe actually needs modestly higher overall inflation: too low an overall inflation rate would condemn southern Europe to years of grinding deflation, virtually guaranteeing both continued high unemployment and a string of defaults.and today: click here
But why play around? Why not vote for an outright Greenbacker...
Bill Still Declares Candidacy for President, under the Libertarian Party
Promising to end Federal Government borrowing by returning the power to create money to Congress, where Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution puts it, financial historian and documentary producer Bill Still declares his candidacy for President, under the Libertarian Party:
Hmmm, he also promises to end the income tax, arguing it too is unconstitutional. He wants to return to tax systems of the first 100 years or so of the Republic. Might this include a Land Value tax? I did ask him, but he wrote back that he is too involved in organizational issues to consider it right now. He also asked if I'd like to work on his behalf in New York. Any volunteers?
Still says he will also abolish the IRS and return taxes to what they were before the 16th Amendment (which he would try to have repealed).
I don't agree with all of the Libertarian platform since I think Government does have a role to play in big national projects and just as a safety net (not to mention a dumbness-barrier, since some states would probably start teaching the world is 6,000 years old if they were allowed to), but if Still supports Greenbacking (yes) and the Single Tax (maybe), we're a good bit to where I and a number of Geo-libertarians want to go.
A 51St State For Armed Robotic Drones
Apparently, the military's special forces unit needs a place to practice with their new de facto fifth branch of the armed services - the Robotics Division, specifically, the Drone Squad. In fact, they want 70 million acres, including 60 million of air space! This is an area straddling New Mexico and Colorado about as big as either state themselves! The courts have ruled against them. The Congress has refused to fund them. An unusual coalition of ranchers, environmentalists, and just plain citizens is vehemently opposed. So, what will happen? Says the site, Not One More Acre :