Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fred Harrison has published another great book, "The Traumatised Society".  He shows how taking away access to God-given Nature hurts not only individuals, but also societies, and eventually brings about their downfall.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Friend Walt Rybeck has written an article on Breaking the Boom and bust cycle, that is also a component of peaceful resolution of conflicts over natural resources, the principle cause of wars. The article is at:

He's also written a book "Resolving the Economic Puzzle" which deals with the issues of Poverty and Progress.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Guardian newspaper recognizes the predictability of the land value cycle following Henry George's principles

China's skyscraper craze 'may herald economic crash'

Tall-building boom may indicate impending disaster in China and India, claims report by Barclays Capital

China could be the next country to go bust, if its headlong rush to build ever-taller skyscrapers is a guide to its future economic health.

According to a study by Barclays Capital, the mania for skyscrapers over the last 140 years is a sure indicator of an imminent crash.

It points out that the construction boom that threw up New York's Chrysler and Empire State buildings preceded the New York crash of 1929 and Great Depression.

More recently, Dubai built a forest of skyscraping offices, hotels and apartment buildings, including the world's tallest, the Burj Khalifa, before it got into terrible financial difficulties. In 2010 Dubai had to be bailed out by its neighbour, Abu Dhabi, to avoid going bankrupt.

Bar Cap's report said: "Thankfully for the world economy, there is not currently a skyscraper under construction that is planned to overtake the height of the Burj Khalifa."

However, BarCap said the "unhealthy correlation" between construction of the world's tallest buildings and economic crashes was likely to ensnare China, which is home to half of the world's skyscrapers currently under construction.

India, which has just two skyscrapers, sometimes defined as buildings over 240 metres (787ft) tall, is also on the radar after giving the go-ahead to its first skyscraper building boom, with 14 under way, including the world's second-tallest tower in the financial capital, Mumbai.

Andrew Lawrence, director of property research at Barclays Capital in Hong Kong, said: "Building booms are a sign of excess credit."

Lawrence said that historically, skyscraper construction had been characterised by bursts of sporadic, but intense activity that coincided with easy credit, rising land prices and excessive optimism, but often by the time the buildings were finished, the economy had slipped into recession.

China is already showing signs of fulfilling the prophecy. Its largest quarterly business survey showed that confidence among property developers had collapsed to a point where it was worse than the lowest point in the 2008 recession.

More worringly, the same survey revealed that confidence among construction firms, while a little down on the previous quarter, remained bouyant. Capital Economics, the independent analysts, said Beijing's decision to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into construction projects, bypassing private developers, has prolonged the building boom and potentially stored up a bigger crash.

Even funds pouring into residential schemes are at risk following years of high-rise developments near factories and businesses dependent on the west for trade. A recession in Europe that drags the rest of the world into a period of lower growth will hurt Chinese exporters, jobs and demand for property.

BarCap said signs of trouble were escalating in China and India. China had the dubious distinction of being the world's "biggest bubble builder," as it erected ever more and higher towers, it said.

Home to 53% of the 124 skyscrapers now under construction globally, China is primed to increase its stock of them by 87%. About 80% of new buildings are going up in cities away from developed coastal areas of the Pearl river delta and Yangtze river delta, which Barclays called "evidence of the expanding building bubble".

Lawrence, who was lead author of the report, said China's property market is already wobbling.

The number of residential property sales had decreased by 40-50% in Beijing and Shanghai and developers had slashed prices by 5-20%, he said.

India, which has just two skyscrapers but is building 14 more, takes top honours for hubris: The second tallest building in the world, the Tower of India, is now under construction in Mumbai.

Nonperforming loans in India — a substantial number of them to real estate ventures — grew by nearly a third in the first half of this fiscal year, more than triple the average annual growth rate since 2006, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

BarCap said: "If history proves to be right, this building boom in India and China could simply be a reflection of a misallocation of capital, which may result in an economic correction for two of Asia's largest economies in the next five years."

A branch of economics founded by followers of US economist Henry George has charted property collapses over the last 100 years and found that booms create the conditions for a downturn around every 18 years.

Fred Harrison, a Georgist and research director of the Land Research Trust, wrote in his 1997 book The Chaos Makers that "by 2007 Britain and most of the other industrially advanced economies will be in the throes of frenzied activity in the land market … Land prices will be near their 18-year peak … on the verge of the collapse that will presage the global depression of 2010."


Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Facebook Page

I started a new Facebook page, called "Triangle Land Justice".
You're certainly welcome to visit and to comment.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tax on Work does not Create.....

Inspired by the energy, rhythm and tune of Kristin Andreassen’s Crayola Doesn’t make the Color of your Eyes or another version from Prairie Home Companion, I wrote this (the accents indicate the beat in the music):

I wént to sée the wíse one
our tówn was súch a méss
the lóngest línes to gét in
were át the DSS

He sáid, I cánnot fíx your tówn
But here’s sómething yoú can dó
máke a líst and flésh it óut
Of why your tówn is ín a stéw

Well, wé build róads; we rún the bús,
We try to cóntrol cróoks.
We buíld the párks and sídewalks
We gíve our stréets good lóoks

To dó these thíngs, we néed some wéalth
And so we táx the thíngs we sée
We táx the buíldings and whát you éarn
We hit búyers and séllers with a fée.

I guéss I réalízed,
shoulda cóme as nó surpríse
that táxes on wórk do nót creáte
a góod envíronmént.
Whát we táx, that we redúce
lét’s not kíll our jóbs,
Táxes on wórk do nót creáte
a góod envíronmént.

We’ll táx the lánd; that helps ensúre
that lánd is nót a wáger
It lówers the cóst to thóse who úse it
to creáte more jóbs per ácre

Collécting lánd rents méans
That the thíngs we as commúnity dó
are bénefíting éveryóne and
gó to áll, not tó the féw.

And whén a pérson wánts to wórk
she réaps the resúlts of her lábor
The bénefits of whát she dóes,
Not the óut-of-town land spéculátor

I guéss I réalízed,
shoulda cóme as nó surpríse
that táxes on wórk do nót creáte
a góod envíronmént.
Whát we táx, that we redúce
lét’s not kíll our jóbs,
Táxes on wórk do nót creáte
a góod environment.

So máybe we’ll shíft the táxes óff
The lábor yóu and I dó, you sée
And pút it on the lánd so nóne

can squeéze the blóod from yoú and mé.

That wáy they’ll bé more jóbs for thóse
who pút their bácks and bráins to wórk
We wóuldn’t háve to work so lóng,
To put a róof and wálls on Gód’s good dírt.

We woúldn’t need two jobs to féed
The móuths that we begét,
To hóuse and clóthe them and oursélves
And where we néed to gó, we’d gét.

I guéss I réalízed,
shoulda cóme as nó surpríse
that táxes on wórk do nót creáte
a góod envíronmént.
Whát we táx, that we redúce
lét’s not kíll our jóbs,
Táxes on wórk do nót creáte
a góod environment.

A cómpact tówn means we could wálk aróund
to get to shóps, to méet, to wórk for gáin
And éven walk to párks nearby
where quíet, jóy, and beauty réign.

We wouldn’t need a big back yárd,
or frónt ones with their láwns to mów.
We’d háve a sháre in cómmon lánd,
Where our sóuls, spírits, and bódies grów.

I thínk we’ll solve the próblem of unemplóyment línes
of bárely éarning whát we néed.
We máy not háve the hárvest yet,
But wé have sówn the séed.

I guéss I réalízed,
shoulda cóme as nó surpríse
that táxes on wórk do nót creáte
a góod envíronmént.
Whát we táx, that we redúce
lét’s not kíll our jóbs,
Táxes on wórk do nót creáte
a góod envíronmént.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bait, does it work?

The movie "Inside Job" won the Oscar for best documentary feature in 2011. The winner of the Oscar made the comment that no bank executives have been arrested for their role in the recent economic collapse. A question we need to ask is "How do we prevent such a tragedy in the future?" One response is that we have more surveillance over the banking industry. But then we have to ask "Who is going to appoint a commission to do this surveillance?" The effectiveness of such a commission would depend, among other things, on who was appointed. Presumably, at a national level, the commission would be appointed by the current or future US president. Obviously this would be influenced by the appointing president's emphases and politics. Also such a commission would be looking for anomalies in books, for illegal actions, and could only act after the crime had been committed.

It seems to me that a better approach would be to see what bait we leave for those seeking to profit at some else's expense. The biggest bait is the expectation of profit on land, either by extracting from the renters a fee for the use of the land, or in the expected increase in value of the land. Most of the shenanigans in the recent economic implosion has to do with mortgages on land. By shifting our tax basis from work to land, we shorten the time that a person has to work to gain access to a given piece of land, since the person who really needs it is already paying a previous landowner, and that previous landowner really hasn't done anything to increase the value of the land (the building, yes, but not the land. The community increases the value of the land with infrastructure improvements, and by improving the neighborhood.

Leaving bait for land profiteers makes about as much sense as leaving a bike unlocked where thieves are known to operate.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Who Benefits? Who Pays? Who Decides?

Whenever we need to think about a program, especially a public program, these three questions (Who Benefits? Who Pays? Who Decides?) can be very helpful. It will help us discover if there are any social costs, or any unintended consequences to our actions or proposals. An example would be a city mandating that house lots be of a certain minimum size, as is often the case with zoning. The people who would benefit form such legislation would be the ones who think that they need to preserve a certain lifestyle that existed when there were fewer people on this planet. The people that would pay would be young people who have limited incomes and could not afford to buy or to pay rent on the larger houses that would be built on the larger lots that are mandated by such zoning. And, the decision would be taken out of the hands of the younger or poorer people and placed in the hands of the more influential and wealthier people.

Another example would be activities that pollute. If I perform an activity that pollutes, even though I may not want it, I will cause expense or difficulty to another person. My driving a vehicle which consumes petroleum releases noxious fumes into the atmosphere. This has a detrimental effect especially on people whose bodies are sensitive to pollutants. Also my driving a larger vehicle at higher speeds means that people who walk, who bike, who are or even others who drive need to pay a cost for my driving. Certainly driving a car is convenient, and fast, but it is not efficient with respect to energy, land use or pollution. This needs be remembered when there is talk of limiting the gas tax. If we limit or reduce the gas tax, we will need to do at least one of three things: we will need to cut government programs, we will need to increase other taxes, and/or we will need to increase the debt.

One activity that does not have negative effects on anyone is the exchange of labor. If I can wire a house for someone and that person can fix the plumbing for me, an exchange of labor is beneficial for both parties. That is one reason that the so-called fair tax has so many negative consequences. It is a tax on new goods and services, including food, clothing, medical services, and building materials which are needed for shelter. On the other hand, Land Value Tax, the land portion of property tax excluding improvements, encourages frugal use of land, which leave more land available for others.

An example of what a shift to Land Value Tax could do would be to compare two properties, one of which is has only a destroyed building on it and another next to it that has an active shopping center on it. Since the destroyed building has zero value on the tax roles, the unused lot pays less tax than the active, job-producing shopping center. This discourages job creation, which is should be a priority of any public policy. If the unused property were to pay the same tax per acre as the well-used property, you can be sure that the holder of the unused property would either build a job-producing facility on that property or sell it to someone who would. This would certainly reduce unemployment.