arrogant bastardsWe Georgists are sometimes deemed to be “arrogant bastards” because we don’t apologise for having a panacea for the vast array of problems confronting the modern world.

[BTW, I say modern world, because a feudal form of Georgism was widespread in the 15th century and first part of the 16th, when the humble English labourer with a family of five still retained almost two-thirds of his wages after providing food, clothing and shelter for his family. Those were indeed the days of “Merrie England” which Wikipedia unfortunately now appears to believe were mythical.]

People who consider we are arrogant, or bastards, or both, need to explain how we were able to forecast this depression. Is not the ability to forecast accurately, having reconciled theory with practice, the very proof of any scientific explanation?

So, they ought to try getting to grips with our arguments instead of dropping epithets upon us.

Maybe dropping antagonistic labels on Georgists is a necessary reaction from purportedly intelligent people who, on coming into contact with the Georgist case, find a gaping hole in their education?  And that’s such a shock to the nervous system it sometimes elicits derision or abuse?

There are comparisons can be made with abolishing the slave trade or the Corn Laws: both were once considered normal, too. To acknowledge such reforms requires a 180 degree change in mindset.

As I was completing my real estate valuations course at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in the early 1970s, I came across a small shop in Hardware Lane which had in its windows booklets proclaiming the benefits of land taxes. “What would this little outfit, the Henry George League, know about land tax?” thought the presumptuous near-graduate. I’d been told about Karl Marx ….. but who’s this Henry George?

An introduction to George either induces derision or humility. After forty years’ inquiry into the question, I’ve been led to conclude that this little outfit knew much more than my alma mater had been prepared to pass on to me. It has been my greatest eye-opener. It lets me see where libertarians have merely taken the first steps, where Marxists have never got their heads around “surplus value,” and where those who look to reforming money or credit need first to distinguish between on what it is expended: productivity or asset bubbles?

It all comes down to what economists often speak about, but rarely understand: rent-seeking. Increased rent-seeking generates economic depressions and social collapse.

Evidence? Europe, MENA countries, the USA.

China and Australia will also pay a heavy penalty for having promoted rent-seeking to an art form.


  1. I agree with all this, its an excellent response to the McNab ad hominem, written by Professor Hudson.

    But have you gone far enough? Remember what henry George said:

    “If what we find in our investigations runs counter to our prejudices, let us not flinch”

    Suggesting that now we are certain of the rent cycle, we are obliged to start investigating the next stage deeper, else be victim become perpetrator.

    The next stage is to as WHY the vast majority of people like pyramid selling when they know it will harm their children.

    Do you agree?

  2. “China and Australia will also pay a heavy penalty for having promoted rent-seeking to an art form.”

    I agree with your sentiments 100% Bryan. In fact, as I wondered around one of the eastern seaboard’s major capitals this afternoon, I was taken aback by the amount of ‘For Lease’ signs that had sprung up everywhere (breeding like rabbits it appears). There is a clear economic cancer eating away at Australia which the 1% can’t bear to witness: high land prices.

    In order to get their windfall capital gains, it is apparently necessary that business close down, labour not be employed, everyone bear higher living costs that are factored in (passed on) by all businesses, yet more money circulating within the FIRE economy who DO NOT share their income with others, but usually just recycle into further loans and gambling on financial instruments (the other elephant in the room ignored today) etc. All of these points were eloquently outlined by Dirk, Mason and the other eloquent chaps you have recently linked.

    The Australian rentier economy disgusts me, because we must not only abide it, but apparently celebrate it with ‘bread and circuses’ in the form of low wages and brain-injuring reality TV such as ‘The Block.’

    Not much hope I’m afraid for this shallow country in the early 21st century. No innovation, no hard work, no research, no entrepreneurial spirit – just a rentier, get rich mentality that is repeated everywhere: mining, land squatters, property ‘investors’, private monopolists and so on.

    Thus, until the politicians start talking about these issues, the rest is just rhetoric. Perhaps a good dose of economic recession or depression is just what is needed to bring the reality home to all these ‘get rich quick’ chumps who will soon experience severe debt deflation.

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