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The LVTC blog, by Henry Law

The comments in the LVTC Blog are a personal view of our Hon. Secretary Henry Law and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Campaign.

This is a place for personal observations and comments on politics, economics, current affairs, on-going discussions on the potential for LVT to remedy some of the current ills, and the impact on Society of any of the above. 

Please read and enjoy, and feel free to respond to Henry if you have any thing you would like to add.

Who or what to blame?

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Who or what is to blame for the present economic crisis? How about sloppy thinking? Such as using the phrase "Capitalist System" without being precisely clear what the terms Capital and Capitalism mean.

So in a sense, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Most supporters of the movement for land value taxation - I will call it the "Single Tax movement" as shorthand - are 50+. They learnt their economics whilst in their twenties, at institutions such as the School of Economic Science or the Henry George School of Economics in the years after World War II. In the 1970s, for instance, the Henry George School started two of its twelve-week classes three times a year at its premises in Vauxhall Bridge Road, with fifteen or so students in each class, whilst students thronged to the SES courses. What happened? Interest died out during the Thatcher years, when young people were encouraged to go out and make money and that there was no such thing as society. But was that the reason or is it just that people got into the habit of staying at home with their computers? The result is that the Single Tax movement has a demographic problem.

There is a a huge volume of debate on the net, in blogs and in the comment pages of newspapers. Land value tax and the theories that underpin it receive hardly a mention. Today I had the opportunity to post a response to one of the Guardian journalists, and it went like this...

US election

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Republican candidate McCain says he will clean up Wall Street. His opponent Obama says that he does not subscribe to the Republican economic philosophy which has led to the unfolding economic disaster. So what are they going to do about what now looks as if it will be the worst economic dislocation since the 1930s. And would they do to prevent a recurrence? They aren't saying, are they?

But one question that comes to mind is this. Vast numbers of people work in financial services. How many of them are doing a useful and necessary job in directing funds to where they can be used most effectively and how many are just running in what is nothing more than a casino, and imagine that they can create wealth by moving money hither and thither? It will be painful for the individuals concerned, but a shake-out is overdue and perhaps they do not deserve too much sympathy.

What prospects for LVT?

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Having been out of the UK for several months, I have had an opportunity to get a sense of what the politics of the country is, viewed from the outside. It does not look good. The economy of the UK is undoubtedly in a bad way, but neither politicians nor economics commentators seem to have much idea about what is going on. William Keegan and Will Hutton, who write for the Observer, are ureconstructed Keynesians, and even when their account of events is perceptive, they have nothing to offer apart from old failed policies. The FT commentators stand out from the mass but even they offer little that sounds convincing. Particularly depressing is the general quality of the comments made in response to columnists' blogs, even on the sites of the "quality" newspapers, again with the exception of the FT. With rare exceptions these display an outstanding level of ignorance. They are the views either of The Man in the Pub or unreconstructed Marxists in the Arthur Scargill mould. These are the people whose opinions would have to be shifted if LVT were to enter the field of public debate.


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac nationalised

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It is curious how people with an absolute faith in the free market have suddenly turned into socialists now that things have turned nasty. But the market points to a reality - that US housing values (in reality, the price of the land that houses stand on), was just a bubble value. Either the price must adjust to reality or the currency must be debased to the point that inflation has the same effect. Nationalisation is just delaying the inevitable for a while.

What is reality when house prices are concerned?

Should Labour ditch Brown?

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Following Labour's defeat at the Glasgow East by-election, there is naturally talk about whether to replace him. The problem for the party is that nothing any government can do will prevent the coming recession, and Labour is bound to get the blame. Now it is not exactly true to say that they caused the present economic problems. What they are to blame for is never having put in place the necessary measures to minimise the effects of the land-based economic cycle, of which land value taxation would have been a key measure soon after they were elected in 1997. But then, why should they have done?

Labour loses one of safest seats in by-election

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Labour's loss of Glasgow East to the SNP should surely be seen as marking the end of the New Labour project? It is probably too late for the party to save itself before the next election. Even if Brown was replaced, the party has become too homogeneous to give room for another way of thinking to emerge. It will need to be out of office for at least a decade for that to happen. What happens next?

House price trends 2008

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HouseHenry, what's your take on house price movements through to the end of this year ?

More Articles...

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