Works by M. Mason Gaffney

Mason Gaffney Brief Biography Mason Gaffney first read Henry George when a high school junior. After he served in the S.W. Pacific during W.W. II, this interest led him back to get a Ph.D. in Economics at Berkeley, where he tried to meet his teachers’ skepticism and apathy with a dissertation, “Land Speculation as an Obstacle to Ideal Allocation of Land.” Since then he has published many books and articles on land use, economics, taxation, and public policy. He has been a Professor of Economics at several Universities; a journalist with TIME, Inc.; a researcher with Resources for the Future, Inc.; the head of the British Columbia Institute for Economic Policy Analysis, which he founded; an economic consultant to several businesses and government agencies; and a frequent speaker on economic topics, domestic and foreign, and in political campaigns. He has been Professor of Economics at U.C. Riverside since 1976.Dr. Gaffney has six children and one grandchild. He and his wife, Letitia Atwood, live in Riverside, CA, in the middle of an avocado grove.
Great Expectations: How credit markets twist the allocation and distribution of land

May 2013

PDF Version

Henry George likened the aggregate effects of land speculation to those of a cartel of landowners.  What do cartels do? They control enough of a resource to affect price, and withhold part of the resource from use, or from its full and best use.
Europe’s Fatal Affair with VAT
January 2013PDF version
World lenders have dismissed warnings from credit rating firms and kept buying and holding U.S. Treasuries for security.  The likely reason is that our tax system is stronger than Europe’s.  The major difference is that Europe has come to rely heavily on VATs, while the U.S. stands alone in not having any. VAT’s broad tax base is not succeeding in maintaining revenues, even as tax rates climb.  J.S. Mill faulted general sales taxes like VAT for taxing capital itself, not just its income, for turning over; Frank Ramsey and A.C. Pigou for ignoring different elasticities of supply and demand. Gaffney refutes the idea that such taxes foster capital formation.
Containment Policies For Urban Sprawl pdfUrban sprawl can be contained by not subsidizing infrastructure extensions, and by taxing central land to encourage more intensive central development
Full Employment And The Environment“So long as employment is insecure and uncertain, so long will the environment be sacrificed to it, along with price stability, a measure of freedom, and a measure of world peace.” Fortunately, it is possible to secure both full employment and a livable environment.

Henry George 100 Years Later: The Great Reconciler

Showing how Henry George’s economic ideas offer an alternative to the bitter trade-offs of neo-classical economics.
How to Thaw Credit, Now and ForeverOctober 25 2008
Working capital is the bloodstream of economic life. It is physical capital, the fast turning inventory of goods in process and finished goods that supplies materials to the worker, and feeds and clothes her or his family.
The Great Crash of 2008October 17 2008
This crash is The Big One; it has the signs of becoming a Category 5. How do we know? We’ve “been there and done that” so many times before, roughly every 18 years over the last 800 or more. Major wars and, rarely, plagues have broken the rhythm, along with the little ice age, reformation and counter-reformation, political revolutions and reactions, the rise of nation-states, the enclosure movement, the age of exploration, massive European imports of stolen American gold, the scientific and industrial revolutions, the Crusades, Mongol and Turkish invasions, and other upheavals.
Land Planning And The Property TaxRevised version of a paper presented at the 1968 Conference of the American Institute of Planners in Pittsburgh, and published in the Journal of the American Institute of Planners, May, 1969.
Opportunities For International Financial Centers In The 21st CenturyA Response to the Recent OECD Report on “Harmful Tax Competition”.
The Property Tax Is A Progressive Tax pdfThe property tax is a much more progressive tax than an income tax, because property ownership is much more concentrated.
Property Taxes And The Frequency Of Urban Renewal
From The Fifty-Seventh National Tax Conference of the National Tax Association, held at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 14-17, 1964.
Study Guide

Henry George’s Progress and Poverty
Notes by Mason Gaffney

The Taxable Capacity of Land & The Dead Weight of TaxationThe Scottish Government has appointed a Commission on Local Tax Reform to search for fairer systems of local taxation. Glasgow, February 25, 2015
The Taxable Surplus Of Land: Measuring, Guarding And Gathering ItSpeech before the Russian Duma, January 19, 1999.
The Triangle Of Global Power
Multinational Corporations, Corrupt Dictators, and U.S. Military Power. Is defense a “public good”?
Who Owns Southern California?Notes on the concentration of land ownership. (1997)
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