Posted April 1, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
“There is danger in reckless change, but greater danger in blind conservatism.”
– Henry George (1839-1897)
The post from Dr. Bramhall reblogged yesterday included an excellent video of a talk about practical reforms in banking and economics which offer humanity better outcomes than the current boom-and-bust ridden theories. At the end of that video talk, the speaker Clive Menzies shared some resources including websites, books, and visionary reformers. One of the visionaries he mentioned was Fred Harrison.
The talk given by Fred Harrison here is from a conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2012. Men and women may be unaware of Fred Harrison (I had never heard of him before watching the talk on Dr. Bramhall’s blog), but any doubts about his credentials are erased after learning that Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz spoke at this same conference.
Mr. Harrison gives an excellent talk and thoroughly explains why mankind needs to act fast to bring about major economic, and especially tax, reforms. He begins the talk with a stern warning that current conditions are essentially the same as conditions before World Wars I and II. His use of the words “I’m deadly serious” grabs the viewer’s attention and sharpens his or her listening focus in the process.
He believes that in the not-too-distant future, there is a high possibility that the human race will experience the 21st century version of world war. From his point of view, decision-makers mistakenly believe they can negotiate the way out of world depression conditions. He advises that people try to think about the possibility that time is of essence with regard to avoiding another world war.
He divides capitalism into two very distinct cultures:
A value-added culture of producers and workers who perform the tasks of companies
A predator culture that practices extraction of resources and wealth, a significant percentage without working, which has controlled and is now controlling the economic and financial system
Those who have accumulated great extracted wealth do not have to work, so there is no limit to how much they will spend or how far they will go to extract more and more. Those who do not work end up taking limitless amounts of rents. Historic periods between depressions have occurred where there were enough people working from the value-added culture to keep the rent-seekers happy.
The historic boom-and-bust nature of this form of economics and capitalism eventually sees mankind experience depression-like conditions, which then leads to the “solution” of grabbing land and natural resources – killing people in nations outside where the rent class resides. Mr. Harrison’s analysis helps to give a broader, fuller perception of why wars become fought. It dovetails with the actions of colonialism, where nations in the past have fought and killed the residents of regions and nations where land and natural resources become stolen.
He describes the colonialism of the past and today’s form of capitalism as fundamentally destructive, that it is a killing machine operating today. He states that we are seeing the results of a killing machine for making profits, a process that is not accidental but institutionalized. He then speaks on depressions and asks why they precede world wars. In the case of World War I it was fought because Germany and Italy were “latecomers” to the colonialism game.
According to Mr. Harrison, World War II followed the Great Depression and saw Germany, which had a greater negative experience because of obligations to pay war reparations, take military actions to accumulate other nation’s land and natural resources. Many millions of people died in World War II. After the war ended there was a period of economic growth that found people less stressed and living relatively normal lives.
In 2014, Europe as well as many nations are experiencing the modern depression-like economic conditions, so nations resort to what nations have historically done when harsh economic conditions come – look to gain land and natural resource wealth in other nations and regions. Mr. Harrison points out that there are factors today in 2014 which get in the way of the “tried and true” historical actions that nations have turned to for improving economic conditions.
Because those depression-era solutions of previous decades are blocked by circumstances absent decades ago, his view is that the risk of a forthcoming world war is very high.
In his view, there are two optional ways forward:
Let the present trends play themselves out, perhaps leading to conflicts over extraction of mineral resources under the Arctic, in the Middle East, and elsewhere.
Among the alternatives is for Britain to give up colonial expansion and financial colonialism. Instead of historical choices during harsh economic times, he says it’s possible to have intensive, vertical development. He points to rearranging ways of distributing income, allowing people to keep what they produce, and using rental income to fund necessary, economically beneficial projects. In his view, new socioeconomic models and policies have always been on the table, but politicians have thus far been unwilling to implement them.
Mr. Harrison gives the example of America around 1776, when famous economist Adam Smith offered the British the idea of a land value tax – as an alternative to going to war across the Atlantic with people who refused to pay taxes to Britain. Adam Smith’s advice was totally ignored, leading to the American War of Independence / Revolutionary War against the British.
He shares some more historical examples of economics that he sees resulting in these times as “the end of European civilization”.
Mr. Harrison points out that the Untied Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights spells out everything that human beings need to live decent lives but doesn’t mention one important human right: possession of land.
One enormous benefit of conversion to land value tax systems and policies is the end of trillions of dollars annually being lost to governments from tax evasion schemes and tax havens. It is impossible for large land owners to hide their wealth in post office boxes in the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Switzerland or any of the more than 70 tax haven locations around the Earth.
Finally, Fred Harrison says that metaphysical and spiritual concepts are part of the basis for urgent and necessary – major – economic, financial, and tax reforms.
His analysis sheds a very bright light of understanding on recent wars and military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Venezuela, the African continent, and other nations and regions.
All in all, Fred Harrison’s talk covers historic events and circumstances in a way that truly meets the meaning of “big picture”. Economics professors will spend semesters lecturing to their students, but those same students would probably gain a greater economic grasp by viewing this hour-long talk. University economics departments simply do not teach the information Mr. Harrison and others present. Alternative economic theories exist today that offer humanity many more positives than the current economically disastrous thinking. Academicians, politicians, and the media have to become transformed to bring about the changes that will prevent World War III.
Visit The International Union for Land Value Taxation @ theiu.org
(Thank you to geophilos at YouTube)