I was terribly, terribly upset when I didn’t rate a mention in Dr Dirk Bezemer’s list of those who forecast this global financial collapse.  [Sob!] After all, I did forecast that it would be with us by 2009 in the British journal Geophilos in 2001: likewise in a  videoed address at Melbourne Uni in 2005, and in Unlocking the Riches of Oz in 2007. [Sob!]

But maybe Dirk Bezemer was looking at economists only, in order to emphasise the point that so very few of these purportedly professional people were able to see this depression coming – so perhaps he wasn’t interested in people employed in real estate who foresaw it?

Of course, whatever we’re called, valuers-assessors-chartered surveyors, we ought to be at the top of any list of economic forecasters, because unlike economists we do understand that the real estate market leads and directs the economy.  Economists don’t, except for the handful on Bezemer’s list; that’s what distinguishes his tiny group from their more pedestrian confreres.  As Henry George once famously said, economists who can’t explain financial depressions are simply “mules packing a library”.

And I hope my two submissions to Australia’s Future Tax System, one of which I reproduce here, may have influenced the recommendations of Ken Henry’s committee.  You never know.


You say we need more funds to tackle poverty, homelessness, health, the environment, education and infrastructure? I say instituting the Henry Tax Review is a BIG step towards solving those problems.


  1. Yes, Magnus, opponents of the public capture of economic rent have done a good job on Georgists, simply by dismissing our arguments as “just Henry George”. I remember at the October 1996 ACCI-ACOSS summit in Canberra in the session on land tax, I claimed return of the federal land tax had a lot going for it. “Oh, but that’s just Henry George”, said the BOMA (now Property Council of Australia) rep. “Yes it is”, I admitted. “What did Henry George say?” asked a couple of other attendees. “Well, I’ll let the BOMA rep. tell you, because he seems to know all about him.”

    It turned out he knew absolutely nothing, except to try to dismiss any discussion of land tax simply by stating “That’s just Henry George”. After I had spent three minutes explaining Henry George to the group, including that he said we’d have recurrent recession and depression until we stopped privatising public land rent, our group actually went back UNANIMOUSLY recommending land tax to the plenary session. (Yes, that’s right, even including the BOMA rep!)

    Although the land tax recommendation was put in Fred Argy’s final communique, the real purpose of the ACCI-ACOSS summit was to pave the way for the GST – although Mike Schildberger (who chaired the summit) had another cute name for it back then (which now eludes me).

    And no, I certainly don’t mind your proposal to keep the bastards honest, Magnus.

  2. Excellent and clear submission Bryan, and yes, you should have been on that list, because your 2007 report is clear!

    Of course, this explains why everybody tries to paint the Georgists as crazy, because there would be blood in the streets tomorrow if they truly understood how the economy worked.

    Of course, land rent aside, the new economic paradigm requires numerous other rents be incorporated that have been dominated by private monopolists e.g. credit as usury, various wavelength/spectrum flogged off by government, any previous government monopolies which are now private monopolies e.g. electricity, water, patents (particularly on medicinal drugs) etc

    These categories are not insignificant, even if we can agree that land is unique because of all production taking place upon it etc

    I’ll be referencing your 2008 piece for a not insubstantial forthcoming economics piece if you don’t mind.

    And keep keeping the bastards honest…

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