AFJM Coffeehouse Study Stack

What Henry George’s analysis of political economy offers to proponents of Just Money Reform

with Ed Dodson

Content: Link to Recording / Introduction / About the Speaker / Highlights / The Study Stack

What Henry George's analysis offers to Just Money with Ed Dodson
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The 19th-century political economist Henry George tackled what many of his predecessors and contemporaries argued was the great inequity of all time: the private appropriation of rent. At the same time, George provided a similar analysis of the roles of money, banking and credit played in fostering or impeding a just distribution of wealth in any society. While his solution to "the land question" came to be called "the Single Tax," his contributions to monetary theory recognized the strong relation between the land and money questions.
Ed Dodson is a long-time member of the Henry George School’s faculty. Since 1997 he has directed the online education and research project called the School of Cooperative Individualism. He is the author of a multi-volume work, “The Discovery of First Principles” and is a contributor to several publications promoting the perspectives of Henry George. After his retirement in 2005 from Fannie Mae, where he held various management and analyst positions in the Housing & Community Development group, he has lectured and taught courses at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Philadelphia. Beginning in the Fall of 2014 he joined the faculty of the Learning Is For Everyone program at Burlington County College in New Jersey. He also serves as Senior Researcher with the Henry George Historical Center in Philadelphia. Ed is a graduate of Shippensburg and Temple Universities in Pennsylvania.
Some Highlights of the Presentation
  • Ed posted Steven Zarlenga's paper, Henry George's Concept of Money And Its Implications For 21st Century Reform, exploring the remarkable thinking of Henry George, who lived through the Civil War and knew first-hand about Lincoln’s Greenbacks and the political movement that followed.
  • Ed explained very briefly George’s category of scholarship, which included Economics. George's book, Progress and Poverty, became one of the most popular of the 19th century.
  • Ed prepared an excellent slideshow that synthesized the economic shortcomings of the past and the slow inadequate changes since George’s time. George's analysis could have addressed these issues.
  • A key element was George’s analysis of taxation. He wished to tax economic rent (unearned income) and not tax productive human labor (earned income).
  • Ed posted a book, The Corruption of Economics, on his website by a well-known Georgist Economist, the late Professor Mason Gaffney. He shows how the entrenched privileged fought Henry George’s proposals.
  • Ed reviewed some key elements in the development of banking, such as putting ridges on coins to prevent shaving them. He noted the establishment of historic banks like the Bank of Amsterdam and Bank of England were related to the Tulip Bubble and fractional reserve banking.
  • The Depression proved that the 1913 changes were not enough; many banks crashed. While the Chicago Plan authors inspired several changes, Fed Chair Marriner Eccles was a key part of saving the system.
Some Highlights of the Discussion
  • Dan Sullivan summarized his synthesis of Georgism and Monetary Reform. For a deeper dive, this extended article by Dan is very informative.
  • Ed explained that the banks were afraid of losing the power to issue credit.
  • John Howell’s question about the impact of Georgism on farmers was very useful in understanding the analysis.
  • Ed explains in about 5 minutes why Georgism and Monetary Reform need to work together, particularly on the subject of affordable housing.
  • Ed not only endorsed debt-free money but also the social policies of the Need Act.
  • Ed states that if we do not fix the system soon we risk a massive financial crisis sometime between 2026 and 2028.
Dodson, Edward J. 2002. The Discovery of First Principles. iUniverse.

Eccles, Marriner. 1951. Beckoning frontiers: Public and personal recollections. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
Franklin, Benjamin. 1729. The Nature and Necessity of a Paper-Currency. Philadelphia, PA: New Printing-Office.

The School of Cooperative Individualism.

Twells, John. 1857. Bank Charter Act. East Retford, England.
Twells, John. 1875. How Can Paper Money Increase the Wealth of a Nation?.
London, England: W. Skeffington.
Caveat: The views and opinions expressed in AFJM Coffeehouses are those of the presenters and participants and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Alliance For Just Money.
AFJM is an organizational member of the
International Movement for Monetary Reform

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