These notes are what we’ve gleaned about the state of the world from the stolen time of a couple of years since we read, and have been energised by, Progress and Poverty.
And we well know that there’s so much we don’t know. Still agog at what we do know. And there are surprises all the time. And, completely following our nose, there are, as stated, huge areas that would have been expected to have been included in such a review of history, we have scarcely mentioned and many not at all. There’s all sorts of history going on that we haven’t touched, as lines drawn on the world long ago are starting to unravel.
We haven’t yet mentioned the hugely central issue of world agriculture, now being driven by the brutal commercial logic of Agribusiness companies who seek to control nature under their copyright, to produce seeds which don’t produce viable seeds, and just produces debt and thralldom for farmers. It is horrific. Half of the global population live in cities now, where it’s easy to forget that agriculture is, by far, the most important industry there is. The drive of science, and faux science, in the employ of commercial interests, is to conquer nature, to own it, to control it and manipulate it, to put a price on everything that comes naturally.
This link is to a review of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth by Steven Druker, which is a very important book that has to be hugely influential.
We keep seeing things all the time that we should have mentioned that would have filled the picture more. So, this is a very partial view centred on the progress of the ideological distortions of the truth, as we have progressed looking at these.
Whilst we can say that we have taken care to check every quote, fact and figure used, no one must take this as an authoritative text (that probably does go without saying.) It’s an authoritative text only about how we’ve received what we’ve read in a couple of years of this fevered cramming, and how it seems to us and what’s driving this band. And, as we’ve said, we hope we’re at least partially wrong, that it isn’t really as downright rotten as it all seems. And we hope that the world’s scientific community are way off beam with their analysis of the state of the biosphere.
We don’t claim to be speaking with any authority whatsoever about the history in all this, but it’s all checkable. The chances that we haven’t said something here that isn’t complete rubbish is probably slim, but we have to try. We’re only ordinary people here, that have been suddenly shocked into action by a book, and excited to make the enquiries we’ve been making and make notes, and it’s not been easy. It’s just notes about our confusion amid a glut of new information and considerations, within a framework of certainty of what has been revealed to us by Henry George. We never come across a critique of Henry George, there just isn’t any arguing with him.
We haven’t always referenced all of this properly as thoroughly as we should have done, but we’ve made it clear where we haven’t fully checked something and who we’ve ever been cribbing from and if anyone did want to check which source any fact or figure we’ve found ourselves quoting came from and it wasn’t made clear, email us and we will get around to getting back to you. And do tell us where you think we’re going wrong and have misunderstood any of the history referred to here.
And to underline an earlier point, whatever merit this ramble has or hasn’t, it would have been utterly beyond us without the World Wide Web (and the word processor, another fairly recent blessed technological development.) (A big // to TimBL.) And like nearly anything else on the Web, this should be taken only as a pointer, a lead, as there’s a bit more work you have to do to be able to rely on the truth of something beyond reasonable doubt. Blessings to Wikipedia again, who give sources and citations and state where they’re missing.
This is all copyright-free material, please use as you will, paste it into your homework, whatever. This is our small thank you to Tim BL and all the creative spirits who have given their talent to the collaborative construction of the Web, We wish to celebrate the Web and share your optimism about humanity. And it's our thank you to Henry George, for freeing us from confusion and explaining things properly.
So, that’s our take on where the world went instead of embracing justice, and what has become our state of the world address. And, in any terms or measure, the time since the world turned away from economic justice has been an unmitigated disaster for the most part. We’re in the grip of a bad meme, a system, which has been busy consolidating and embedding itself. We’ve been under a bad spell, and now we need some good magic.
There’s a feeling that the world is poised on a fine edge; poised between great uplift and economic emancipation, or slow descent, widespread misery, even destruction. Who knows where we’re going? Perhaps some mixture. There is so much to feel positive about and so much to feel negative about.
We’re going to try, and maybe Staneb, or maybe you, the reader, can be like the butterfly in the valley whose wings beat a tiny vibration that rises in a little spiral and nudges a breeze that’s perfectly on the edge of one state and another, and tilts the wind that then chases the storm out to sea, opening the land to golden sunlight. As a band, we’re going to try and stir up some good magic.
And, as a band, we think that, until conditions of economic equity can be established, we need some emergency reaction to the clear trauma the world is in. We need a return to the constructive and protective regulation of the post-war years, when universal human welfare and prosperity genuinely did seem to be the goal. Most of all, we need emergency wartime-like action to mitigate whatever biosphere distress possible, which means immediate conversion to natural energy generation. We need debt-free money, if only governments realised they could do that. We must reflect on how global trade would have developed under the Bancor system. We need incorporation to once again apply only to non-profits. We need to cancel Third World Debt; we need to reflect on Calvin’s letter on usury, we need to reflect on everything. And the destination must be that when conditions of true economic equity can be established, there will be truly free trade.
But this is not to say that implementation of the correct analysis should be put off for another day, indeed, its utilisation is urgent, and it always has been, but the necessary changes are well suited to be changed gradually, implemented partially, with no shocks. The land value taxation of idle urban land would be a great place to start. Much of the necessary change could be effected quickly and painlessly, for this truly is good for everyone. It frees us all from a false and malign system.
And we are definitely purists about HG’s teaching. We don’t think the remedy is partially correct in some respects, we believe in exactly the remedy Henry George proposed. If not exactly, why not? What exactly is the qualification?
Georgism has been accused of intellectual and economic naiveté by the custodians of the prevailing order, and will be again. And if it’s naïve, then exactly why it is naive needs to be brought into the light, spelt out, what exactly are the horrendous underlying assumptions and laws of power that we’re living by.
What we’re certain of is that Henry George has distilled the moral truth of it. We’re certain that in Henry George’s work we have been exposed to the absolute truth, and, as ever, the truth demands testing, it is its nourishment.
We think the starting point for everything is the reading of Progress and Poverty, we urge you to urge people to read it, however you can. This must be it and humanity’s century.