Originating as a field trip for students completing our Progress & Poverty course, this stroll thru downtown Chicago examines some of the ways that average people, and the community as a whole, are deprived of their just earnings. Among other things we’ll see who benefits from the expensive infrastructure and “economic development” projects, how Thomas Jefferson wanted Chicago to fund its public schools, what happens when a well-located building burns down, and how land speculators get their taxes paid by productive workers. Hardcopy sourced notes will be provided. Expect to walk about 2 km; maybe we’ll stop for snacks (individual settlement) along the way.
A $10 donation is requested from those who are not recent or current HGS students or donors, but nobody will be excluded due to lack of funds. If you have a paypal account, you can make your donation by credit card using the link below, or better yet bring cash or a check.
This is a special presentation for students at DePaul, Loyola, and Dominican Universities. If you meet this requirement and you’re interested in solving the problem of poverty, you’ll get $20 (or a free course voucher if you prefer) by attending this program. RSVP is essential. Others may attend on space-available basis.
Our Curious Georgists go to the Movies series continues with a film based on Theodore Dreiser’s novel Sister Carrie (1900), but with the first word removed so American and British audiences wouldn’t expect a film about a nun or a nurse. Set in Chicago just after Henry George’s time, the book had been entitled The Flesh and the Spirit, but was renamed before publication.
Sister Carrie went against social and moral norms of the time, as Dreiser presented his characters without judging them. Dreiser fought against censorship of Sister Carrie, brought about because Carrie engaged in affairs and other “illicit sexual relationships” without suffering any consequences. [Wikipedia]
This 1952 film version was directed by William Wyler, and stars Jennifer Jones and Laurence Olivier. Carrie received two Academy Award nominations: Costume Design (Edith Head), and Best Art Direction (Hal Pereira, Roland Anderson, Emile Kuri). Additionally, Laurence Olivier received a BAFTA nomination for his performance. It was screened as part of the 13th Venice Film Festival official program.
Carrie is completely unrelated to subsequent films of the same name released in 1976, 2002, and 2013.
Directed by William Wyler–USA–1952–118 minutes
As is our custom, the showing is free and will include light refreshments and subsequent discussion.
Would Rube Goldberg have been able to design a less straightforward system of funding government than the U S Federal income tax? In this presentation, HGS instructor Bob Jene looks at what it costs to collect this revenue. The direct cost to the government of operating the Internal Revenue Service is only a small part, as the burden put on the taxpayer, and the diversion of effort from productive uses, should also be considered.
Bring your own bicycle (or rent a “shared” one from Divvy) and join HGS Instructor Bob Jene for a leisurely roll thru the near south area, including Grant Park, Museum Campus, Central Station, Prairie Avenue, and South Michigan Avenue. Taxpayers spent hundreds of millions for infrastructure and amenities serving these areas, resulting in redevelopment but also higher costs for housing, commercial and even parking spaces. Bob will discuss these effects, who benefits and who pays, and how equity might be improved.
The modern-day Four Horsemen continue to ride roughshod over the people least able to protect themselves. The film criticises the system of fractional reserve banking, debt-based economy and political lobbying by banks, which it regards as a serious threat to Western civilisation. It criticises the War on Terror, which it maintains is not fought to eliminate al-Qaeda and other militant organizations, but to create larger debt to the banks. As an alternative, the film promotes a return to classical economics and the gold standard. Among the 23 “international thinkers” interviewed are are Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist at the World Bank; Noam Chomsky, linguistics professor; John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man; Herman Daly, economy professor; and Max Keiser, TV host and former trader.
In Time Out London Derek Adams wrote: “Instead of bombarding us with sensational imagery and scaremongering, this competently narrated, intelligibly structured and cleverly illustrated film presents its case via a succession of insights from a group of smart, rational orators…”
Written by Ross Ashcroft and Dominic Frisby. Directed by Ross Ashcroft — UK — 2012 — 97 minutes.
(above largely based on Wikipedia)
As usual, this event is free (donations to help with expenses are appreciated), with light refreshments and discussion following. Organized by Bob Matter and Bob Jene.
An injudicious tax offers a great temptation to smuggling. But the penalties of smuggling must rise in proportion to the temptation. The law, contrary to all the ordinary principles of justice, first creates the temptation, and then punishes those who yield to it…
– Adam Smith
Book V of Adam Smith’s classic is entitled “Of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth,” includes the above as well as many thoughtful passages about what we nowadays call public finance. Our Political Economy Book Club will discuss this final part of Wealth of Nations on Wednesday, November 12. You can download or read the book on line from several sources, borrow it from many public libraries, or purchase a copy inexpensively.
For further information or to let us know you’re coming, email PEBC coordinator Bob Matter or call 312 450 2906.
As farmland yields to “higher-value” uses, how (and how well and how inexpensively) will we eat? Bob Jene reviews data from a leading agricultural preservation organization, the American Farmland Trust (AFT). Among other things they buy development rights from landowners to insure continued farming use, and attempt to facilitate community supported agriculture which makes family farms more viable. A Georgist fiscal reform encourages more conservative and productive use of all land and reduces sprawl, thus preventing encroachment on farmland. An alliance with AFT would benefit us both.
Right on the streets of every American community, robbery takes place every working day. You might not realize how much value the people of Chicago (and every other community) create, simply by going about our daily activities. What is this wealth, how do we create it, and where does it go?
Originally conceived as a field trip for Progress & Poverty students, this stroll — about 2 km and 90 minutes — presents some answers for those interested in finding out. Additionally, we’ll take a look at recovered loot of a long-ago theft, learn how Thomas Jefferson would have solved the problem of financing Chicago’s public schools, and see an economic development incentive that costs less than nothing. We might stop for snacks along the way (individual settlement).
Detailed sourced notes will be provided. The requested $10 donation is waived for anyone who in the past two years has taken any Henry George School course, or made a donation to the School; it is also waived for anyone who cannot afford it.
Americans generally like to hear good news. They like to believe that a new president will right old wrongs, that clean energy will replace dirty oil and that fresh thinking will set the economy straight. American pundits tend to restrain their pessimism and hope for the best. But is anyone prepared for the worst?
Meet Michael Ruppert, a different kind of American. A former Los Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter, From the Wilderness, at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial. Director Chris Smith has shown an affinity for outsiders in films like American Movie and The Yes Men. In Collapse, he departs stylistically from his past documentaries by interviewing Ruppert in a format that recalls the work of Errol Morris and Spalding Gray.
(from the film website)
Light refreshments and discussion following.
Directed by Chris Smith — USA— 2009— 82 minutes
"Men like Henry George are rare, unfortunately. One cannot imagine a more beautiful combination of intellectual keenness, artistic form, and fervent love of justice."
- Albert Einstein