“You can become wealthy by creating wealth or by appropriating the wealth created by other people. When the appropriation of the wealth is illegal it is called theft or fraud. When it is legal economists call it rent-seeking”
John Kay, Financial Times 27th Dec 2009
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, they cannot save the few who are rich.”
John F Kennedy, Inaugural Speech, Jan 1961
Governments still rely on economists steeped in orthodox thinking for advice. If things are to change, a clearer understanding of how the economy works is needed, not just by economists and policy-makers, but also by the wider general public – a voter who votes in ignorance forges the chains that bind him. Economists have erected round their subject an intimidating barrier of jargon and maths, but this site and the books in our catalogue are intended to give the layman, the voter, a grasp of the basic principles.
Anthony Werner, Publisher
Economic inequality has reached historic highs worldwide. Almost half the world’s wealth is now owned by just 1% of the population. Disparities in the distribution of wealth have grown far more extreme than disparities in income – and the gap continues to widen. This is the result of a broken ‘system’ and no amount of business-as-usual will solve it, the author argues.
ISBN 9780856835032 | Price: £14.95
It is no secret to many of our readers that an economy which ignores the vital contribution that a land value tax has to offer is subject to the peaks and troughs in the property market. Fred Harrison, the author of Boom Bust and other books predicted the crash of 2008 in 2005. He has recently being speaking to Joshua Philipp, a journalist for the International publication the Epoch Times. You can read the full article here. Some highlights from the piece are outlined below.
Josh’s article pulls together Fred’s predictions for the forthcoming economic downturns and Amar Manzoor’s suggestions about how business leaders should respond. Amar Manzoor is the author of The Art of Industrial Warfare.
‘Amar Manzoor has approached the looming financial crisis from the standpoint that governments aren’t likely to change the way taxes work. Instead of talking to governments about fixing it, he created the 7Tao system to allow businesses to weather it.
Manzoor has been running the 7Tao industrial warfare training method for U.K. businesses, in cooperation with the British government, but recently brought the system to the United States in cooperation with a company called Spectre.’
Fred Harrison has long focussed on identifying and predicting the likely peaks and troughs in the cycle of real estate with a view to persuading governments to respond with a change in their taxation methods. Several of his books expand on the theories made famous by Henry George and encouraged by many economists who follow in his footsteps.
‘The tax on land could theoretically break the 18-year cycle by disrupting the cycle of the real estate market, pricing people out. Since the tax is based on the value of the land only, exluding the value of improvements, it discourages the inflation of land prices.
“We’ve been so brainwashed into just not recognizing the significance of land and rent, that the economic cycle acts as it does, creating havoc, and it repeats itself when it could be so easily corrected,” Harrison said.’
Shepheard-Walwyn supports the Georgist concepts outlined within Fred’s books and others within the Ethical Economics programme. Manzoor’s pragmatic approach is to recognise that change is not easily made and that business leaders need to learn how to work with what they have. How do our readers think we can face the next downturn? We would be interested to hear your comments.
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You have to be pretty desperate to set yourself alight, as a young vegetable seller in Tunisia did in 2010, sparking the Arab Spring which has brought so much hardship in the Arab world, and now onto the shores of Europe. Tunisia itself seemed to offer a glimmer of hope that it had not all been in vain, but the Sunday Times reported (28/02/2016) that already this year there have been 17 self-immolations and 120 last year in protest at corruption and poverty. Tunisia, at least, is trying to improve things, but democracy is not in itself a solution to poverty and unemployment. What is lacking is an understanding of how to create a just society.
Communism, once the hope of the poor, has failed; bureaucratic socialism has fared better, but has burdened the State with high and growing debt and the citizens with a heavy tax burden; capitalism has demonstrated its ability to produce immense wealth, but is marred by huge wealth and income inequality; so is there another way?
Writing in the last quarter of the 19th century, Henry George offered an alternative and dedicated his Progress and Poverty ‘To those who, seeing the vice and misery that spring from the unequal distribution of wealth and privilege, feel the possibility of a higher social state and would strive for its attainment.’ Among those who responded to his invitation to strive for a higher social state were Winston Churchill, Leo Tolstoy, Sun Yat-sen in China and Albert Einstein.
The Shepheard-Wawlyn Ethical Economics list contains a selection of books exploring how the insights of Henry George could be applied to the conditions of today when the gap between rich and poor continues to widen, suggesting that the cause which he pinpointed in his book, is still in place. Even where there is no intention to apply the ‘remedy’, as he called it, the benefits even of a partial application are evident, as Hong Kong and Singapore show.
Just as the Soviet Union faced up to the failure of their economic system, so we now need to recognise the failure of the global economic system to provide work and a decent livelihood for all who share this planet and look for an alternative. Over the next six months, Shepheard-Walwyn will be publishing three titles which explore how such a change could take place.