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Sunday, 28 March 2010 16:43

The Silver Bullet

Fred Harrison is a British author and one of our favorite Georgists. He is a graduate of University College, Oxford, where he read Politics, Philosophy & Economics. He started his career as a journalist (where he succeeded in persuading the police to re-open 'the moors murders' case). For ten years he worked as an economic consultor in Russia (unfortunately, leading only to disappointment).

Harrison currently is Research Director of the London-based Land Research Trust. As "The Renegade Economist", he exposes the myths and falsehoods espoused by "experts" who claim to represent the people and the truth.

In this wonderful book, he explores the nature and origin of Poverty, all around the world, from whole countries of the poor South, to the back streets, slums and trailer parks of the rich West.

"The good intentions, the money, the rhetoric, the pity and the media histrionics are but pinpricks to a world-rampaging monster. They say there is no silver bullet. Neither Geldof or Bono, nor the United Nations, nor the vast assembled hosts of international aid and development agencies have the answer. Doesn't every citizen of the world have an equal right to the good life? With so much wealth in the world, why are so many of us so poor, when we could rid ourselves of this monster? And the fact is, there is only one way to kill poverty..."

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Boom Bust

In "Boom Bust: House Prices, Banking And The Depression of 2010" Fred Harrison predicted the Global Financial Crisis years before it started (in fact, In 2009, Dirk Bezemer, a Professor of Economics at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, pointed out that Fred Harrison was the first and earliest economist to have predicted the global financial crisis, as far back as 1997, well before other economists such as Steve Keen, Robert Shiller, Peter Schiff or Nouriel Roubini).

Fred Harrison proves the existence of an 18 year business cycle which coincides with the boom bust phenomenon that sweeps the global markets. He also explains why the land market is the most crucial element in all this.

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Future work & Beyond The Dependancy Culture

The following two books are written by James Robertson, a British-born political and economic thinker and activist, became an independent writer and speaker in 1974 after an early career as a British civil servant. After serving on British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s staff during his "Wind of Change" tour of Africa in 1960, Robertson spent three years in the Cabinet Office. Following that he became Director of inter-bank research for the big British banks. In the mid-1980s Robertson was a prominent co-founder with his wife, Alison Pritchard, of The Other Economic Summit (TOES) and the New Economics Foundation. He is a member of Feasta and a patron of SANE (South Africa New Economics Foundation), which was set up following his visit there in 1996.

These books explore what an alternative society could look like, and how we could accomplish these goals.

Future work : jobs, self-employment and leisure after the industrial age

The theme of this book is that a possible future for work, and the one we should seek to create, is its liberation. In the age of slavery and the age of employment, most people have had to work for people and organisations richer and more powerful than themselves. But in the age of ownwork it will be accepted as normal that most people will work independently for themselves and one another, and the institutions of society will enable them to do so instead of depending on employers for jobs.

Beyond The Dependancy Culture: People, Power and Responsibility

Sixteen papers and lectures dating from 1977 to 1996 on the need for a new path of progress based on co-operative self-reliance and not on the further growth of dependency. Topics include; a conserving society, work, health, welfare, money, politics, energy , a post-modern worldview,and a post-marxist strategy for change.

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A Philosophy For a Fair Society

Michael Hudson is Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC). He is also a Wall Street analyst and consultant as well as president of The Institute for the Study of Long-term Economic Trends (ISLET) and a founding member of International Scholars Conference on Ancient Near Eastern Economies (ISCANEE). Prof. Hudson received his Ph.D. from New York University in 1968 (economics). His dissertation was on American economic and technological thought in the nineteenth century. He received his M.A. also from New York University in 1963 in economics, with a thesis on the World Bank's philosophy of development, with special reference to lending policies in the agricultural sector. He was a philology major with a minor in history at the University of Chicago, where he received his B.A. in 1959.

With the eclipse of the New Right, politicians now admit that society is in crisis. Something must be done, but, explain the authors, governments will fail again unless they shake off the economic orthodoxy which is now one of the problems rather than the means to a solution. This book investigates the roots of the problem, both historically and theoretically. Dr Michael Hudson draws on archaeology and history, from Bronze-Age Mesopotamia through Rome to Byzantium, to show how a destructive virus crept into the body politic. This led to a breakdown in man's relationship to the environment, and divided society into a wealthy ruling oligarchy and an impoverished majority. The Welfare State seeks to remedy this man-made injustice, but, despite the escalating cost to taxpayers, it has failed to stop the widening gap between rich and poor. Drawing on medical evidence, Dr George Miller demonstrates that not only have the poorest grown poorer relatively, but their health has suffered disproportionately, so that people born into the lowest classes still have a greater chance of dying before they can enjoy their pensions. A century ago, Henry George, in his world-famous "Progress and Poverty", asked why there still was poverty, when the Industrial Revolution had made it possible to manufacture in a day what had taken weeks or months previously. Dr Kris Feder shows how the Georgist paradigm provides an ideal way of tackling the many ills besetting the industrialized and third worlds. It is recommended by three Nobel prize-winning economists as the way forward for Russia. Dr Feder clears away misrepresentations of George's thesis, and explains how it would not only lead to a fairer distribution of wealth, but would also simplify the tax system.

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The Corruption of Economics (Mason Gaffney & Fred Harrison)

Mason Gaffney, Ph.D. is an American economist and a major critic of Neoclassical economics from a Georgist point of view. .

Neoclassical economics is the idiom of most economic discourse today. It is the paradigm that bends the twigs of young minds. Then it confines the florescence of older ones, like chicken-wire shaping a topiary. It took form about a hundred years ago, when Henry George and his reform proposals were a clear and present political danger and challenge to the landed and intellectual establishments of the world. Few people realize to what a degree the founders of Neoclassical economics changed the discipline for the express purpose of deflecting George, discomfiting his followers, and frustrating future students seeking to follow his arguments. The stratagem was semantic: to destroy the very words in which he expressed himself.

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Creating New Money: A Monetary Reform for the Information Age (James Robertson & Joseph Huber)

Joseph Huber is the chair of economic and environmental sociology at Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. He has written influential papers on monetary policy, for instance "Seigniorage Reform and Plain Money". Known widely as one of the founders of ecological modernization theory and a proponent of a steady state economy.

In the information age, money has mainly become information, electronically stored and transmitted. Monetary policies that serve the public interest can no longer be founded on a smoke-and-mirrors fiction that "real money" lurks behind the information. The authors propose a simple reform, and spell out its practicalities step-by-step. The economic, social and environmental arguments for it are very strong. The public purse, private households and businesses will all benefit from it.

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Progress And Poverty

Progress and Poverty is of course the absolute Georgist classic, written by Henry George, in 1879. The book is a treatise on poverty and the cyclical nature of an industrial economy and its remedies. Progress and Povery seeks to explain why poverty existed notwithstanding widespread advances in technology and even where there is a concentration of great wealth such as in cities. Soon after its publication, over three million copies of Progress and Poverty were bought, and it became to most succesfull book on economics in history ever. Economist HENRY GEORGE (1839-1897) was, at the height of his popularity in the 1880s and 1890s, considered the third most famous American, behind Mark Twain and Thomas Edison, and his liberal philosophies on taxation, copyrights, poverty issues, and more continue to influence progressive movements today.

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Social Problems

Here, in this Henry George work that has been called George's "fighting book," gathers together essays that first appeared in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and so incensed readers that the editors turned against him. George's ragings against the corrupting influence of money and power in politics, the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, rampant unemployment, and other pressing societal matters are not only passionate and muckraking, they also offer proposals for righting wrongs, making George a thinker of continuing importance in today's still-unequal world.

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