Robert Schalkenbach Foundation Hires Josephine Faass as Executive Director
Robert Schalkenbach’s Board of Directors is very pleased to announce that it has selected Josephine S. Faass as our new Executive Director. Ms. Faass has a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Public Policy from Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University. After working as a researcher, she has spent the last few years in academic administration. She comes to RSF with considerable administrative, development, and management experience, familiarity with policy analysis, and a commitment the foundation’s mission and our vision of world of liberty and equality of opportunity arising from economic, social and environmental justice.
Josie will join RSF as Executive Director on April 22nd, 2019. Most recently serving as the Director of Academic Affairs at the Institute for Advanced Study, she has provided leadership in a diversity of roles, ranging in focus from environmental protection to institutional advancement. Josie learned about land value taxation in her graduate program, and pursued it further to learn about Henry George and the broader policy implications of his philosophy. As Robert Schalkenbach Foundation nears its centenary, Josie looks forward to collaborating closely with the Board to envision an exciting new chapter for this venerated institution, while remaining ever faithful to its founding commitment to support and promote the ideas of Henry George.
Josie replaces RSF’s retiring Administrative Director, Mark Sullivan, who has worked for RSF since 1992. Mark came to RSF having worked for a number of Georgist organizations, including the Council of Georgist Organizations, as Staff and Secretary/Treasurer, and the Henry George School (as librarian, outreach coordinator, class teacher, and newsletter editor) from 1981 to 1992. He became RSF’s Administrative Director in 2004. He was elected as CGO Vice-President in 1994 and later served as President, until 2005. He continues to serve on the board of the Henry George Institute (where he has been for decades) and Common Ground – USA. Mark has been the American Journal of Economics and Sociology Secretary/Treasurer since 2004. RSF is grateful for his years of dedicated service.
These are exciting times for Georgist solutions. The public is increasingly focused on wealth inequality and is looking for solutions. Following the subprime crisis of 2007 and the ensuing recession, policy analysts and the public at large have begun to recognize the role of real estate and land markets in the business cycle and in inequality. Land value taxation and Henry George’s name have appeared with increasing frequency in the mainstream press, including two cover stories in The Economist during 2018. The foundation intends to capitalize on this moment, and will have a growing voice in media and public policy debate surrounding these issues.
For 70 years, trailblazing economist Mason Gaffney ’48 has championed land over capital.
By Mamie Stevenson ’12 | December 7, 2018
Photo by Kendrick Brinson
Mason Gaffney ’48 is a cowboy. Known for his weathered Stetson, genteel swagger, and comprehensive understanding of American terrain, he has ridden outside the herd of mainstream economists for the better part of the last century, arguing that the discipline’s traditional emphasis on capital and commerce is a tragic mistake.
Over the last half-century, business interests and philosophical libertarians have formed a powerful alliance. Business leaders frequently claim to be libertarians and draw on the rhetoric of the free market to criticize government regulation. In turn, libertarians frequently defend businesses against what both groups see as an overbearing regulatory state. The connection is best represented by the Koch brothers, who call themselves libertarians and fund libertarian scholars through their foundation, and at the same time operate one of the largest businesses in the United States. Silicon Valley tech titans also frequently claim to be libertarians, and argue that their internet companies advance liberty by enabling people to communicate freely and form organizations while limiting the reach of government censorship and control.
Adam Smith (1723-1790) and Karl Marx (1818-1883) were extremely influential economic philosophers. Both remain secular patron saints today, Smith for capitalists, and Marx for communists. (Some critics jest that atheistic communists believe “there is no God, and Marx was his true prophet.”)
Smith and Marx had much to say but have been ill-served by uncritical followers. Marx complained, quoting Heinrich Heine, that “I have sown dragons’ teeth and harvested fleas.”
The most unfortunate thing about them today is that they deflect attention from an American whose ideas deserve serious attention.
There are two versions of Christianity. They are not compatible and they cannot be reconciled. The “Sermon on the Mount” or Christic version is inspired by Jesus of Nazareth who taught the nonviolent love of friends and enemies. This version proclaims the jubilee justice laws and holds the land as the “koina” made by the Creator to be fairly shared for the self-reliant livelihood of all.
The Constantine version originated in the third century AD councils convened by the Roman emperor of the same name. These councils codified Christian beliefs in order to guard against heresy. Theologians of this version condone the “just war” theories of Cicero, Ambrose and Augustine. Constantine Christianity’s land laws are based on Roman “dominium” and legalized land acquired by conquest and plunder – “might makes right.”
These two conflicting versions of Christianity will be the focus of several speakers (details below) participating in Ethics, Morality and the Land Question, a one-day forum being held in Baltimore on Thursday, August 30, at the Holiday Inn Inner Harbor. The forum is sponsored by the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation (RSF), Earth Rights Institute and the Council of Georgist Organizations. RSF will have a book table. Register via Eventbrite.
Charles R. Avila received his master’s degree in philosophy from the Divine Word Seminary in the Philippines and is author of the now classic book Ownership: Early Christian Teachings. He is the Executive Director of the Confederation of National Coconut Farmers’ Organizations of the Philippines, Director for Social Justice of the Lay Society of St. Arnold Janssen and staff writer of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ IMPACT magazine for social transformation. A former mayor of the town of his birth (Tanauan Leyte), he has served as Consultant of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, as Secretary-General of the 18-nation Asian Cultural Forum on Development, a Research Fellow at the Centro Intercultural de Documentacion in Mexico, at the Institute for Food and Development Policy in San Francisco, a Staff Writer of South Magazine in London, a lecturer on agrarian reforms at the Land Reform Training Institute in Taiwan, and Deputy Secretary General of the Philippine Congress of Agrarian and Industrial Workers. Based in Manila he continues to be involved in the coconut levy funds case, mining issues, and the cause of the peasantry.
Growing up with a musically gifted mother, Courtney Dowe began writing songs from a very early age. She does not think of her relationship to music as a career as much as a calling. Courtney has performed in places as humble as subway stations and as legendary as The Filmore in San Francisco. Her interest in human rights has inspired songs ranging from the subject of police brutality in the United States to the persecution of Falun Gong in China. She is the founder of WILL – Women’s International Living Library – and Earth Rights Institute’s Project Manager for Itsodi, a School of Living community land trust in western Virginia. In recent years, she has felt called to repair her relationship with the Earth and hopes to support many others in doing the same. To hear some of her performances visit her Youtube channel.
Dr. Quisia Gonzalez trained as a medical doctor in Brazil and practiced medicine in Honduras before moving to the United States in 1989. She is Vice President for Honduras for the International Union for Land Value Taxation (the IU) and also the IU’s Main Non-Governmental Organization Representative to the United Nations holding consultancy status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council. She has worked extensively in the field of education and is active in the Proyecto de Los Trabajadores Latinoamericanos, advocating for fair wages and immigration reform. An educator and advocate for Georgist economics, Dr. Gonzales has a major focus on land rights for her fellow indigenous Garifuna people. .
Alanna Hartzok is International Liaison for the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, Administrative Director and a UN NGO representative for the International Union for Land Value Taxation, and co-founder/co-director of Earth Rights Institute. She received the Radical Middle Book Award for her book The Earth Belongs to Everyone, a collection of 30 of her articles and essays. In the 1990s she initiated and assisted with the nearly unanimous passage of land value tax enabling legislation by the Pennsylvania state legislature. Hartzok is a recipient of the International Earth Day Award presented by the Earth Society Foundation in a ceremony in the UN’s Rose Garden. Currently she is working on land value taxation imple-mentation projects based on the public finance recommendations of the UN’s New Urban Agenda.
Rev/Doctor Heber Brown is Founder/Director of the Black Church Food Security Network which envisions a sustainable, community-centered, food system supported by black churches and black producers, led by those most directly affected by food inequity in Baltimore. He is also Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church and works with community organizations addressing homelessness, poverty, racism, worker’s rights, environmental justice, peacemaking, and national/international social justice concerns. A regular voice in local media outlets, he explores the intersection of religion, policy and activism on his blog, Faith in Action. Pastor Brown is the recipient of the Ella Baker Freedom Fighter Award, the Kingdom Ambassador Award, and in 2007, The Baltimore Afro American newspaper identified him as one of the “25 Under 40 Emerging Black History Leaders.” However, he says his greatest achievement is being a husband and a father.
Rev. Yolanda D. Brown, a Minister of Economic Development for more than two decades, has parlayed her professional experiences in banking, brokerage and technology into a mission for empowerment and community development in Texas, Chicago, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York. Rev. Brown is the founding President/CEO of Imani’s Quest Ministries, a faith-based community economic development organization whose mission is to “arrest the trends of poverty by creating pathways to economic dignity.” IQM is centered on neighborhood development strategies, and the innovations in workforce development. Rev. Brown is the Senior Pastor of the Center of Destiny Christian Fellowship, a Sabbath worship experience on a journey of becoming, being, living and breathing the purposes of God. A fourth generation Brooklynite, Rev. Brown currently lives and serves in New York City where she was first introduced to the principles of Georgist economics in 2003.
James M. Dawsey, PhD, is currently the Wolfe Chair and Professor of Religious Studies at Emory & Henry College, Virginia, where he has also served as Provost and Academic Dean. Dawsey is author or co-author of several books of theology and social justice including Peter’s Last Sermon: Identity and Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, The Confederados: Old South Immigrants in Brazil, From Wasteland to Promised Land: Liberation Theology for a Post-Marxist World, and The Lukan Voice: Confusion and Irony in the Gospel of Luke. Among his eighty articles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese several have a focus on the economic teachings of Henry George including “Liberation Theology and Economic Development” and “The Path to Justice: Following in the Footsteps of Henry George.” Dawsey also enjoys writing fiction and believes that stories relay truths not easily encompassed by prose. “We live our lives by stories,” he claims. “It’s no secret why Jesus and other great religious leaders were storytellers.”
Alexandra W. Lough, PhD holds a degree in American History from Brandeis University. She previously served as the director of the Henry George Birthplace and Archive in Philadelphia and currently works as an assistant editor on the Annotated Works of Henry George. Alexandra serves on the board of directors of the American Journal of Economics and Sociology.
8:45 – 10:00 am – Dr. Alexandra Lough and Dr. James Dawsey – Henry George’s Engagement with the Church as Explored in New Annotated Issues of Henry George Books
Henry George’s 1879 book Progress and Poverty articulated the problem felt by many people during the Gilded Age — that despite the booming economy, many people were left behind in poverty. The book was a bestseller, and George became wildly popular, eventually being drafted to run for Mayor of New York City in 1886 as a candidate for the United Labor Party. Henry George’s message about the haves and the have nots helped ignite a movement of working people that swept the nation. Filmmaker Sarah Colt introduces Henry George.
This video from Ed Dodson contains comments on President Trump’s State of the Union message on January 20, 3018 to the U.S. Congress and American people. The issues addressed in this video relate to the economy and the worsening problems of income and wealth concentration and the continued growth in public debt.