“To discover of the conditions which allow every individual to find a fulfilling life is the true goal of Economics”
In The Science of Economics Raymond Makewell presents the three-year Economics course prepared by Leon MacLaren for the School of Economic Science in London in the late 1960s. Revised with contemporary, international examples, the core material remains the same.
MacLaren (1910–1994) was a barrister, politician, philosopher and (with the aid of his father, a Member of Parliament) founder of the School of Economic Science in 1937 when the world was struggling to emerge from the Great Depression. In 1939 he was selected to stand against Winston Churchill in the election that was cancelled by the outbreak of war.
Had the election not been cancelled, Churchill would have faced an awkward challenge as to why he had abandoned the principles he had so brilliantly expounded in support of Lloyd George’s People’s Budget in 1909 when he was a Liberal Cabinet Minister. These were the principles the School of Economic Science was founded to teach.
Rather like Adam Smith in his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, MacLaren took his inquiry back to first principles. Instead of making supply and demand the starting point, he begins with the simple observation that all material wealth is ultimately derived from land, and, where goods are exchanged, the first requirement is trust, or a system of credit. The major characteristics of the modern economy are examined in terms of the conditions that govern how and why they evolved and how they operate today. Particular attention is given to the system of land tenure and the concepts of property evolved in the English-speaking world, the role of government in economic affairs, and the degree of economic freedom. This reveals how the current economic situation denies millions access to all that they need to work and produce wealth for themselves. Injustice is the inevitable result and poverty its inseparable companion.
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This thesis is not only a restatement of the social price of inequality (such as Joseph Stiglitz The Price of Inequality, or Richard Wilkinson The Spirit Level). There is something deeper: humanity has lost touch with its spiritual roots, and with the ‘covenant’ which ancient wisdom saw in the triangle of relationships between humanity, the earth and God. – Bishop David Atkinson, Church Times
For the full review click here and go to page 23.
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The Traumatised Society by Fred Harrison has been selected for the Non-fiction Spring 2013 People’s Book Prize Collection. Voting will be open until the 20th May. If Fred Harrison gets enough votes, he will go through to a second vote to determine the winner of the non-fiction prize between 20th and 29th May. To vote go to www.peoplesbookprize.co.uk.
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George Monbiot began an article in the Guardian ‘You can learn as much about a country from its silences as you can from its obsessions. The issues politicians do not discuss are as telling and decisive as those they do … the loudest silence surrounds the issue of property taxes … the simplest, fairest and least avoidable levy is one that the major parties simply will not contemplate. It’s called land value tax. The term is a misnomer. It’s not really a tax. It’s a return to the public of the benefits we have donated to the landlords. When land rises in value, the government and the people deliver a great unearned gift to those who happen to own it.’ Click here for the full article.
In 1909 Winston Churchill explained the issue in a remarkable speech which pointed out, as Adam Smith and many others have, that those who own the land skim wealth from everyone else, without exertion or enterprise.
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In the Guardian on New Year’s Eve, the economics correspondent, Phillip Inman, wrote:
Why, when the UK economy is in a dreadful state, with its core lending banks strapped for cash, would anyone in their right mind think property prices could rise? But as Fred Harrison, research director of the London-based Land Research Trust, points out in his new book, The Traumatised Society, rent-seeking by a wealthy class of people hooked on accumulating even greater wealth is the cancer that has brought down many more civilisations than the present one.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the Institute for Fiscal Studies have in the past couple of years concluded that only an annual tax on land can end the obsession with property. Once landowners face a tax, they will free up land they are sitting on, rather than wait for a rising market to make a killing.
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Buy this book:
Leon MacLaren (1910–1994) was a barrister, politician, philosopher and the founder of the School of Economic Science. He considered the true goal of Economics to be the discovery of the conditions which allow every individual to find a fulfilling life. In his view, science was a study of laws that exist in nature, whilst economics was a study of the humanities, with the interaction of human nature and the natural universe at its heart.
MacLaren defined economics as ‘the study of the natural laws which govern the relationships between people in society’.
This book is based on a three-year course prepared by MacLaren for the School of Economic Science in London in the late 1960s. The editor, Raymond Makewell, presents the original subject matter revised with more recent examples and statistics from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and USA.
Instead of making supply and demand the starting point, it begins with the simple observation that all material wealth is ultimately derived from land, and, where goods are exchanged the first requirement is trust, or a system of credit. From this starting point the major characteristics of the modern economy such as banking, companies or corporations, international trade, taxation and trade cycles are examined in terms of the conditions that govern how and why they evolved and how they operate today.
The framework in which the economy operates is examined in terms of how the system of land tenure and the concepts of property evolved in the English-speaking world, the role of government in economic affairs, and the degree of economic freedom. This reveals how the current economic situation denies people access to all that they need to work and produce wealth for themselves.
Injustice is the inevitable result and poverty its inseparable companion.
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The new internet magazine Justice carries a review of The Fair Tax stating ‘This slim volume argues for a tax which could do more to bring about social and economic justice than any other step a government could take.’
Unfortunately Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, ignored the advice in his Budget statement last week. To read the full review click here and turn to page 39.
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This message is from the Irish Site Value Tax campaign, which started the petition “Finance Minister, Michael Noonan: Stop the government imposing an unfair residential property tax in the 2013 Budget.”:
The 5th of December is budget day and all the leaks from the government would indicate that the government went against their own best advice and opted for a value based, residential, property tax instead of a Site Value Tax. This petition is an attempt to hold the government to account for their actions or lack there of, on this issue. If we must have some sort of property tax we want the government to know that a Site Value Tax is a much better option for all involved. To find our more about SVT click here.
Send this to as many people as you can by email, facebook and twitter today! If we just get two people each and they get two people each, we will have a couple of thousand signatures by Friday, the 7th of December.
Thank you very much for your support on the important issue of property tax.
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The launch of our latest book, The Traumatised Society: How to Outlaw Cheating and Save our Civilisation was held in St James’s Church, Piccadilly on 28th October. The author, Fred Harrison, explained the threat to Western civilisation from rent-seeking, which he identified as the cause of the collapse of great civilisations in the past.
The opening paragraph of an article by John Kay in the Financial Times (27th Dec 2009) gives a succinct explanation of rent-seeking: ‘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.’
Harrison identifies rent-seeking as cheating and shows how it may be outlawed so that our civilisation need not suffer the same fate as others. To avoid the unpleasant consequences of that fate, he advocates a great awakening because we cannot rely on politicians, policy-makers and economists to lead us out of danger. We have to take our future into our own hands.
‘Many people are all too aware that there is something badly wrong with our current economic system, but they are less clear about how it got so bad, what an alternative might look like, and how we can make the change. This profound book admirably fills that gap.’ Bernadette Meaden in Ekklesia
The launch was the first in a series of events to help stimulate the great awakening. Future events already scheduled are:
January 26th 2013 School of Economic Science, 11 Mandeville Place, London W1U 3AJ
April 6th 2013 St Mary Aldermary, City of London
May 4th 2013 Christ Church Blackfriars Rd. London SE1
June 1st 2013, St James, Piccadilly, London W1
Extracts from the Traumatised Society were read by the actors, Jemma Redgrave, Jennifer Wiltsie and Carlo Nero (Vanessa Redgrave’s son).
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