Winter holidays offer an opportunity to slow down (for a moment, anyway!), take stock of the year that’s drawing to a close, and set intentions for the one to come.
Here at RSF, we have a number of reasons to look back fondly at 2023. This year, we welcomed our second cohort of Scholars and Fellows. When we set out to create our Progress of Ideas Scholarship, and soon after, had the opportunity to partner with Tufts University to support their Neighborhood Fellows program, I expected those efforts to put us in contact with some amazing people. It wasn’t until we started actually meeting the students, however, that I realized just how amazing! RSF is truly fortunate to be able to support students like Chellamal Keshavan, whose studies and careers are dedicated to making a positive difference in the world.
Of course, the work of academia (and the research community more broadly) extends beyond the education of students to the production of original knowledge. RSF’s program of research grants is our way of helping expand humanity’s knowledge base in ways that align with our mission of realizing increased economic equity through natural resource rent collection and sharing. In 2023, we made a number of research grants designed to realize this goal, and the results of one such effort – a real world experiment that employed blockchain technology to facilitate affordable housing discussions in a small Massachusetts town – are featured here.
And because the production of knowledge is an iterative process, forever returning to the ideas and truths of the past for inspiration and validation, we continued to grow the collection of free texts and other resources in our Engel Georgist Library throughout the year. Take a look at our online catalog, and I’m sure you’ll find something worth delving into. Are you interested in unique historical texts? We have them, in spades. Did a Google Scholar search point you towards an interesting reference in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology (AJES)? Sign up for a free subscription to the Journal on our website and easily access every article published since it was founded by RSF in the 1940s. And if you’re a fan of renowned Georgist scholar, Mason Gaffney, take a look at our Gaffney Digital Collection, which, thanks to support from the Danica Foundation, is nearing completion and includes everything from the Professor’s many publications to his personal correspondence.
The final component of our programming is Resource Justice (RJ): RSF’s own small team of researchers with the freedom to design and execute projects that advance the Foundation’s goal of realizing Georgist ideas through real world applications. RJ’s efforts throughout 2023 were largely focused on Land Value Taxes, and in addition to directly supporting officials and advocates in Richmond, VA in their exploration of the policy, we also produced a number of public-facing work products, including the Colorado Primer featured below. Our subject matter areas have expanded to include climate change and its impacts, particularly on economically disadvantaged and traditionally marginalized communities. Two of the articles included in this newsletter (one on the planned relocation of Louisiana’s Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw nations, the other on post-Superstorm Sandy buyouts in New York), reflect this new, important area of emphasis.
So, what does 2024 have in store? Our scholarship program is accepting applications right now, and we’ll be selecting the next class of scholars in late spring. The grant application portal will open soon, with funding announcements to follow. The Gaffney Collection will be completed this year, so please be on the lookout for that announcement. And the RJ team will continue its work to bring Georgist ideas to life in today’s world.
It’s not all business as usual, though. Much of the behind-the-scenes work of 2024 will actually be looking forward to next year. Why? Because 2025 will be a momentous one at RSF: our centennial anniversary. Not many organizations have the privilege of reaching this milestone, and we hope you’ll join us in toasting “Cheers to 100 years of RSF!” by taking part in the celebrations we’ll be planning!
As 2023 draws to a close, it’s tempting to look at the state of the world and focus on the uncertainty, the turmoil, the strife. But this year was also a time of hope and hard work. My wish for each of us is that this holiday season brings opportunities to pause, reflect, and celebrate our collective commitment to making the world a better, more equitable place for all people.