All posts by Bryan Kavanagh

I'm a real estate valuer who worked in the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) before co-founding Westlink Consulting, a real estate valuation practice. I discovered, by leaving publicly-generated land rents to be privately capitalised by banks and individuals into escalating land price bubbles, this generates repetitive recessions and financial depressions. We need a tax-switch: from wages, profits and commodities onto economic rents/unearned incomes, if we are to create prosperity and minimise excessive private debt.

HOW THE WEST WAS LOST

At the outset of the 1890s, Christian socialists, Fabians, and socialist atheists were able to get together to form labour parties and unions based on the ‘single tax’ ideas of Henry George.

This paralleled what was ocurring within liberal parties. In the western world significant social progress had been made. At this point, Karl Marx was rarely heard of. *

Things progressed swimmingly until Marx’s ideas of began to impact upon socialist thinking; and what about this Henry George promoting individual freedom in addition to the land tax? That doesn’t seem to be very revolutionary!

Maybe George was only half right?

Neoclassical economists were meanwhile fudging land in with capital, so liberals, too, began thinking maybe land wasn’t such a great big deal.

We’ve come to a sorry pass. We now consider there are only two options: what’s the better of failed capitalistm and failed communism?

The ‘divide and rule’ suits rent-seekers down to the ground, of course.

It’s quite a sorry story how socialists and the liberal left came to mislay the critical third alternative, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Land tax? What’s that? You want yet another tax?

*

ECONOMISTS: A VALUER’S EXCHANGE ON THE LONGWAVE LIST (1998)

Sat, 01 Aug 1998 18:13:27 +1000
Bryan Kavanagh (bryank@earthsharing.org.au)

At 10:31 PM 7/31/98 -0700, Chas wrote:

>As we say in academia, “to sociologists, Galbraith is an economist; to
>economists, Galbraith is a sociologist.”
>
>Chas

I realise you’re partly joshing about Galbraith, Chas, but the snubbing attitude of some economists does exemplify the profession’s problems. In my opinion, it’s hidebound, is unduly suspicious of ideas affecting distribution, and runs the risk of disappearing up its own most exclusive fundamental orifice. (Are they sweeping enough rash generalisations? 🙂 )

I don’t know whether the following illustrates my point or not, but at the same time the University of Illinois was conducting a national conference on how to get butts on seats in the economic major on 25 October last year, I was delivering the Centenary Henry George Commemoration Address at the Melbourne Town Hall. The irony was not lost on me, because when I was invited to deliver a guest lecture on Henry George and Economic Depression to post-grad students at RMIT a couple of years ago, they couldn’t get enough of it. They stayed back well over an hour after the lecture to discuss George with me – and I can assure you it’s not because I am a ‘silver tongue’. These were grown-ups, and they were positively excited: “How come we’re at this stage of our studies and we haven’t heard of him?” one ventured. “You tell me”, I said.

While Marx or Galbraith are only a little on the nose in academic economics, with a few notable exceptions, the practical ideas of Henry George remain positively verboten.

So much for the intellectual rigour of universities.

– Bryan Kavanagh
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To lift people out of poverty, all we have to
do is to let them keep more of what they earn.
>>>>>>> http://www.earthsharing.org.au/ <<<<<<<
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A (late-2022) postscript

I should mention that I’ve been heartened more recently by arrival on the scene of sturdily heterodox economists who’ve been challenging the neoclassical mindset. Interestingly, these include John Kenneth Galbraith’s son, James K Galbraith :-

“His (Ben Bernanke’s) lecture does not dwell on his own work. It is far more notable as an avatar of a much larger phenomenon, to wit the massive, stubborn, fiercely-defended and never-corrected ignorance of ‘mainstream’ economists on money, banking and finance.”

And ‘land’, James?

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

And here’s hoping for a 2023 where we see the stupidity of all of us having to serve banking and finance: finance should be our servant, not vice-versa.

#VIMMLBUTT works for me.

We don’t need the 2026-32 financial depression.