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
You’re welcome to come to the first class session without registering or paying. Optional pre-registration is here. You might want to read or listen to the first few chapters of the text prior to the first session. Class meets each Tuesday January 6 thru February 10. Makeup sessions and tutorials can be arranged if you have a schedule conflict.
The total cost for the entire course is just $25, and can be waived for anyone who prefers to provide labor in advance.
During the period of Irish history known as The Land War, tenant farmers were being squeezed dry by absentee English landlords. Some resorted to the gun to achieve justice, but others, inspired by the Irish statesman Charles Stewart Parnell (played in a cameo role by Robert Donat), shunned violence and adopted a form of passive resistance. The farmers are led by Hugh Davin (Stewart Granger), who, with the help of the local priest, Father McKeogh (Alastair Sim), encourages his fellow tenants to ostracize their land agent, the bombastic Captain Boycott (Cecil Parker). The resultant stand-off attracts international news coverage and will ultimately introduce a new word – boycott – to the English language. It means “ostracism applied to a landlord or land-agent ” and was first published in the Chicago InterOcean, October 12, 1880. (source: Joyce Marlow, Captain Boycott and the Irish, cited in Wikipedia)
Directed by Frank Lauder — UK — 1947 — 93 minutes
How does a Georgist and a futurist evaluate the future of the single tax movement? Learn how futurist techniques can advance the cause. Among the tools employed by futurists, scenarios and projections are considered. This Power Point® and audio presentation is followed by an exercise in scenario building with discussion.
Even more than in Chicago, the cost of living is too high in New York. Manhattan activist Scott Baker has taken a look at how poor assessments and unwise tax practices have exacerbated this problem, and shows how smarter policies could cut poverty and homelessness. A similar study could be done in Chicago. Hosted by Bob Jene.
We sometimes describe Henry George’s fiscal proposal as a “smart tax,” unlike the inefficient anti-prosperity taxes that fund most government programs today. Similarly, there can be “smart” transit facilities, which are distinguished from dumb ones because they are cost less and provide more service. Perhaps the most prominent recent smart transit proposal is the CTA Gray Line, whose creator, Mike Payne, will be our speaker tonight.
From the CTA Gray Line web page:
Launching the Gray Line would provide a brand new CTA Rapid Transit (‘L’) service (on EXISTING facilities) to Grant Park, the Museum Campus, the newly renovated Soldier Field, and McCormick Place (with a connected station under the McCormick Place South Bldg.)
Also service to Bronzeville, Hyde Park, the Museum of Science & Industry (with an ADA compliant station 1 1/2 blocks away), the University of Chicago, Woodlawn, South Shore, South Chicago, Chatham, Chicago State University, Pullman, Roseland, Blue Island, and Hegewisch; again almost all Gray Line facilities are in place, and operating RIGHT NOW TODAY.
. . .
There is N O need for costly and time consuming design and engineering, right-of-way acquistion, condemnation, demolition, clearing, materials acquisition, delivery, and major construction; the CTA Gray Line ‘L’ System could be up and providing CTA ‘L’ service to the Far South Side WITHIN O N E YEAR, rather than waiting until 2016 for completion of the Red Line Extension.
Come to this free presentation to meet and question a prominent transit activist, and think about what could be done with all the public money saved by smart projects like the CTA Gray Line.
An evening with Bob Jene to compare the Georgist fiscal reform to the TARP bailout, “Fair Tax,” Flat Tax, Bush tax cuts and government money creation. A gist of each proposed or attempted solution to the “great recession” will be given including QE I, QE II and QE III. Attendees will rank the proposed remedies on a scale of 1 to 10 based on 8 criteria.
"If people tried to understand economic laws and respect them the same way they respect the laws of physics, we would certainly live in much saner– and more prosperous– societies."
- Michel Kelly-Gagnon