The latest book in our Jacobin Books series with Verso, Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State, is out today. In the following editorial, Samuel Stein lays out some of the key ideas in it. Capitalism and state planning have a complicated relationship. Capitalist ideology insists that markets are the best mechanism for economic, … Read more
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.
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.
So, you’re a Silicon Valley billionaire and you’ve already got the private plane. What you need next is a philosophy, something to live by, and to help finance, and—most important—to use to explain or justify yourself. Don’t just grab the next philosophy to come along. Chances are that will be Ayn Rand and her extreme form of capitalism, which she called objectivism.
Rand has a lot going for her, to be sure. First, you may have actually read her in high school and may have been genuinely influenced. Second, in a nutshell, she rationalizes greed, which you have nothing against. Third, she was into mildly kinky sex—something else you may have in common. Fourth, she was associated in some way you don’t quite follow with Alan Greenspan, who is respectability itself, whatever other Rand enthusiasts may have been up to. But you’re too late…
It’s not too late to plan for the 18th Global Conference on Environmental Taxation! The deadline for submitting abstracts in response to the Call for Papers has been extended to May 31, 2017. For information about the conference and the Call for Papers, click here.
This year the conference’s focus is: Innovation Addressing Climate Change Challenges: Local and Global Perspectives
We are in a pivotal and defining time for global discourse on public/private sector response at all levels of government (national, state, indigenous, provincial, municipal, city, and local), to the impacts of climate change. And, GCET18 is well-positioned in its role as the leading global forum for innovative exchanges on principles, practices, and policies with respect to environmental taxation and market-based instruments.
The conference will explore various topics :
Climate change policy, biodiversity protection, environmental stewardship, pollution control, water conservation, land degradation, renewable energy, mining and rehabilitation
Market instruments such as carbon pricing, emissions trading schemes, other environmental taxes, subsidies, direct action or spending programs and tax concessions both positive and perverse.
The conference this year will be hosted by the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, and the Conference Chair is Mona Hymel. If you have questions, please contact her at [email protected].
Treating nature as a sacred gift requires our full capacity to imagine ways to heal the split between humans and the earth. A comprehensive plan to protect nature while securing the human right to water means changing the rules that govern the current ‘operating system’ for planet Earth. ~Mason Gaffney, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, November 2016.
Sacred Water, Profane Markets should be of particular interest and provide ground-breaking insights to any professional, NGO, or others with an interest in or responsibility for managing, funding, using or caring for substantial bodies of water for municipal, domestic, commercial, agricultural, industrial, amenity, leisure or hydropower purposes.
Two of our speakers, David Triggs and Mary Cleveland, will address the economics and management of water. They will describe how a just system of charging for nature’s services can not only protect nature from excessive use but also make the market for produced goods and services healthier by preventing the development of monopolies that impede economic efficiency and destroy social harmony.
Drawing upon many years of practical experience in both developed and developing countries and extensive academic research they will show how a healthy balance of demand management and market forces may be used to ensure both safe drinking water for all in water-scarce cities and the optimum sharing of water between agricultural, industrial and commercial users of water. They will provide fresh thinking with regard to how the cost-benefit analyses that underpin major water-related capital projects throughout the world may be improved to avoid unnecessary waste of natural, human and financial resources. The principles underpinning this approach apply to wider economic and public revenue issues.
Our third speaker, David Michel, has researched and written about transboundary water governance, maritime resources management, and water conflict and cooperation. He is a co-author of Toward Global Water Security: US Strategy for a Twenty-First-Century Challenge. He will share his views about the water ethics and policy presented by the first two speakers and how these might make a valuable contribution to a global water grand strategy formulation. The intention of Dr. Michel’s current work on global water security is to maximize the potential for civil society and the private sector to speak with a cohesive voice on water ethics and policy.
Following the three main speakers, several designated respondents will draw on their own insights and experiences in water ethics and management in giving their input to the proposed reconciliation of Sacred Water and Profane Markets. The main speakers and the respondents will then participate in a plenary roundtable discussion on a number of key points and questions raised by forum attendees.
David Triggs is a Chartered Engineer and Management Consultant who studied Engineering at Imperial College London and Business Administration and Management at Henley -The Management College. For more than forty years he specialized in water and environmental management working throughout the UK and worldwide – mainly in developing countries on both small village projects and mega projects in capital cities. David has been a member of the School of Economic Science in London for more than fifty years where he has studied and taught Political Economy for a similar period. He is President of the International Union for Land Value Taxation and Chairman of The Henry George Foundation of Great Britain.
Mary M. (Polly) Cleveland is Adjunct Professor of Environmental Economics at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs where she teaches courses on Poverty, Inequality and the Environment. She writes a blog called “Econamici,” and posts to the Dollars & Sense website and to the Huffington Post. A former board member of United for a Fair Economy (UFE) and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, she holds a Ph.D. In Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkeley where her dissertation titled Consequences and Causes of Unequal Distribution of Wealth showed how unequal distribution of wealth lowers economic productivity and growth. She has also worked as the controller of a small family company, taught accounting and computer systems at Rutgers University, and renovated and managed two small Manhattan apartment buildings.
David Michel is Nonresident Fellow at The Stimson Center in Washington, DC, and Executive-in-Residence with the Global Fellowship Initiative at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Michel has researched and written about transboundary water governance, maritime resources management, and water conflict and cooperation. He has led research projects for the National Intelligence Council and the Department of State and most recently with Oxford Analytica. He currently collaborates with the Geneva Water Hub and the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace. Dr. Michel is co-author, along with Peter Engelke, of Toward Global Water Security: US Strategy for a Twenty-First-Century Challenge. He was educated at Yale University, the École Des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
Dr. Quisia D. Gonzalez was born in La Ceiba Honduras, Central America of indigenous/afro descent (Garifuna). After receiving her medical degree from Universidade de Pernambuco in Brazil she came to deeply understand the connection between health and economic conditions. Now a fervent activist for economic justice Dr. Gonzalez serves the Garifuna community in their struggle for land, water and other basic human rights. She is a United Nations ECOSOC NGO delegate for the International Union for Land Value Taxation and a board member of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.
Christiana Zenner Peppard is an expert on the ethics of freshwater and problems of climate change, social justice, and sustainability and a public/social media educator. She is the author of Just Water: Theology, Ethics and the Global Water Crisis; co-editor of two volumes, including Just Sustainability: Ecology, Technology, and Resource Extraction; and the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles on environmental ethics in an era of economic globalization. Her public media work includes venues such as TED-Ed, The New Republic, Public Radio International, The Washingon Post, MSNBC, and CNN.com. In 2013 she was named one of Microsoft’s “Heroes in Education.” Dr. Peppard holds a Ph.D. in Ethics from Yale University, Department of Religious Studies, and a Bachelor’s in Human Biology from Stanford University.
Alex Beauchamp is the Northeast Region Director at Food & Water Watch. Based in the Brooklyn office, Alex oversees all organizing efforts in New York and the Northeast. Alex works on issues related to fracking, factory farms, genetic engineering, and water privatization. His background is in legislative campaigning, and community and electoral organizing.
David Ward is chair of Trinity Church Wall Street’s Environmental Justice Committee. The committee recently contributed to the planning of the 2017 Trinity Institute conference on Water Justice. David has been Senior Director of Facilities and Capital Planning for the performing arts center, New York City Center since 1995. In addition to planning and running building restoration projects, he is responsible for energy efficiency and environmental safety. Mr. Ward holds an MFA degree from the Yale School of Drama (1975) in Theater Design & Technology.
Forum Sponsors: The International Union for Land Value Taxation, a United Nations ECOSOC NGO; The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation; and The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.
Co-Sponsors: Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations, Center for New National Security, Center for the Study of Economics, Common Ground, USA, Council of Georgist Organizations, Earth Rights Institute, Earth Sharing, Food & Water Watch, School of Cooperative Individualism, Trinity Church Wall Street’s Environmental Justice Committee, We The World
(Additional forthcoming, co-sponsors may place their literature on tables and are inviting their members to register to attend Sacred Water Profane Markets.) Event Sponsors: The International Union for Land Value Taxation, a United Nations ECOSOC NGO; The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation; and The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.
April 27th Thursday 2017 Panel Discussion, “Progress and Poverty: Confronting Economic Inequity in America,” marking FDU Press publication of The Annotated Works of Henry George: Progress and Poverty, Volume II, edited by Francis Peddle and William Peirce with Alexandra Lough, with panelists Mary (Polly) Cleveland, environmental economics, Columbia University, and Daniel Cassino, political science and director of experimental research, PublicMind™, moderated by Edward Dodson, senior researcher, Henry George Birthplace Archive and Historical Research Center.
Hosted by FDU Press, Robert Schalkenbach Foundation and Monninger Center for Learning and Research; Wroxton Room, Student Center, 3:30–5 p.m. Florham Campus 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940 free, light refreshments served, RSVP necessary, to RSVP and for information email [email protected]
Fairleigh Dickinson University 1000 River Road, Teaneck NJ 07666 | 800-338-8803
Benjamin Howells was first elected to the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation board in June 1999, and he served until June 2010. Ben was well-liked by both the board and staff members of RSF, and only stepped down from the board upon having fulfilled the mandatory term limit of nine consecutive years.
Ben provided a positive, wise, and reconciling influence in RSF board deliberations, and at times found himself in the role of peacemaker. He often quoted, and acted on, a motto adopted by the Moravian and Presbyterian churches: In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity. One had a sense that Ben lived his life according to this motto.
Ben’s devotion to economic justice and the tax reforms advocated by Henry George went back several decades before he joined the Foundation. In 1970-71, he served on the Mayor of Allentown’s advisory committee on tax reform. He became keenly interested in land value taxation. He was elected five times to the Allentown City Council, and was several times the President. Before the end of his fifth term in 1991, he resigned from City Council to become the City of Allentown Municipal Planner, in which position he served until 1994.
Early in his tenure on City Council, he puts together a proposal authorizing two-rate property taxation, which would allow the city to lower or even abolish the tax rate on building and improvement values while taxing land values at a separate if not higher rate. The Council passed the authorization seven times, only to have it vetoed by the Mayor.
In 1994, the Council requested and the electorate approved a charter reform commission. The commission added two-rate taxation to the charter, which was passed by the electorate in 1995. The Fairgrounds Association, the largest holder of vacant land in Allentown, challenged the charter amendment by running a referendum, which was defeated. We all witnessed increased economic activity in Allentown after the charter amendment went into effect.
In addition to his work for civic reform, Ben was trained in engineering and physics, and worked for Bell Labs for 30 years, retiring in 1990. The work of the Foundation benefitted greatly from Ben’s retirement years, which he devoted so strongly to our shared mission.
Ben passed away at age 86 leaving his wife, Ellen, three children and two grandchildren. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. Ben was greatly loved and admired by his Robert Schalkenbach Foundation colleagues, and his noble, kind, and generous spirit will be greatly missed by all of us who had the privilege of serving with him.
Ted Gwartney, President Robert Schalkenbach Foundation
From The AllentownMorning Call PDF of the News Paper page
Benjamin Howells, an Allentown councilman for nearly two decades, died Tuesday April 4th 2017 in the afternoon at his city home. He was 86.
Howells, a Democrat, was a fixture on Allentown City Council from 1973 to 1992, when he was an advocate for the city’s land-value tax and helped to write the city’s Historic Preservation District ordinance. Howells served two separate terms as council president.
“He was a Renaissance man,” his daughter Leslie Howells of Seattle said Friday. “He was a man of lifelong curiosity and service, and a kind man.”
At the same time he held public office, Howells worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Allentown. He retired from Bell Labs in 1990 as a senior technician.
In August 1992, Howells left City Council after his fifth consecutive term to take a job as city planner under Democratic Mayor Joseph Daddona’s administration. Critics claimed Howells took the job to boost his city pension but Howells dismissed the idea. He was removed from the post in April 1994 by Republican Mayor Bill Heydt.
Howells was a member of the Pennsylvania League of Cities for 17 years, serving terms as treasurer and vice president. He was also a member of the National League of Cities. Howells served at least 12 years on the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and four years on the city Planning Commission.
He was active with what is now the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Allentown Redevelopment Authority, the Allentown Housing Authority and the Allentown Economic Development Corp. He also was a member of the Schalkenbach Foundation, a tax reform think tank in New York City.
In 1999, Howells made a failed bid for Lehigh County commissioner, running on a platform that was critical of what he called a reliance on a “good-old-boy network.”
Born in upstate New York, Howells moved with his family and grew up in the Nanticoke and Wilkes-Barre area of Luzerne County. According to his daughter Leslie, he obtained a pilot’s license when he was 16, before he had a driver’s license.
He was a graduate of Nanticoke High School and Penn State University. He served a short time in the Army in the early 1950s.
Howells is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ellen (Morris) Howells; three children, Allen, Leslie and Sarah; and four grandchilden.
Funeral services will be private. A public memorial service is planned, but no date has been chosen. Information on the memorial service will be available from the family at [email protected].