Beyond Henry George
to an Unfolding World

Ian T.G. Lambert

[An autobiographical paper describing his introduction to the writings of Henry George and subsequent involvement in the Georgist movement. October, 1996]

This paper is a highly personal record of my experiences as a Georgist. If it interests even only one person beyond the author, it will have done its job.

I attended my first Georgist conference in Philadelphia in 1989. The Georgist conference at Ottawa in 1996 closes a seven year stretch in which I have attended every one of the North American Georgist conferences, and more.

The Nagging Questions

The story begins, however, not seven years ago but seventeen. In 1979, I went up to Trinity College, Cambridge to read Mathematics. I was lucky enough to win the Cambridge Union Society's Freshmen's Debating Cup in (for me) a nerve-wracking debate before a packed chamber, including Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Geoffrey Howe and former Foreign Secretary Dr. David Owen, and judged by Lord (R. A.) Butler. My victory launched me into a world of current affairs and debates, and a host of subjects. One thing became clear to me quite early on. Every political issue seemed at bottom to be politico-economic. I knew absolutely nothing about economics, and consequently felt at a significant disadvantage. Distinguished economists would come and go, blinding us with science, and leaving me thoroughly dissatisfied.

I determined to do something about my ignorance. I talked to undergraduate friends who were economists. One changed to read Law, another to read English. One of the Mathematicians changed to read Economics. It seemed that, at Cambridge at least, Economics was a branch of Applied Mathematics. Not only did this make it extremely complex, it meant the subject was based on all sorts of premises that I found very troubling. What was it like at Oxford, I thought, where the subject was still (at least nominally) "Politics, Philosophy and Economics"?

I bought a copy of Samuelson, but could not "get into it". I switched directions and read E.F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful, which had a cult following with certain environmentalists. I also thrashed around in Philosophy, Theology and Religion.

And that was that.

After two years of Pure Mathematics, I switched to read Law, providing me four years in total at Trinity College. I took an interest in philosophy and jurisprudence, and contract law gave me a new perspective on the economy.

After a year's professional qualification as a solicitor, I went to the City of London, where I became an articled clerk with the renown commercial firm of Linklaters and Paines. Tax interested me and, as well as spending time in the firm's Tax Department, I decided to read for the Institute of Taxation's exams, becoming an ATE in 1987.

But the interest in economics did not go away. By now, it was a kind of frustration. No economist seemed to "speak my language" or address (let alone answer) the questions that interested me.

And then it happened.

I can vividly remember standing on the platform of a London Underground station, and staring blankly across the tracks at the bill poster opposite, when I suddenly awoke to what I was looking at.

The advert had a list of 10 Questions, such as "Why Are There Food Surpluses in a Hungry World?" and "Why is There Unemployment When There is Work to be Done?". It exhorted the reader that, if he wanted to find out the answers to these questions, he should attend a series of Economics lectures at The School of Economic Science, in Kensington.

So off I went, not knowing what to expect. Judging by the questions which were clearly as political as they were economic, I suspected this was a Left Whig organisation, and we'd be invited to sell copies of the Trotskyite "Militant" newspaper in shopping malls on Saturday mornings!

Mr. Woolf

It is common experience, I think, that many of us owe our love of a subject to our love of the teacher, lecturer or tutor who first introduced us to it. Conversely, it requires great dedication to have and pursue a subject which is taught by someone one finds repellent.

The School of Economic Science is in Queen's Gate, Kensington. By day, I believe, the rooms are used as children's classrooms. That first Tuesday evening, I walked into a classroom with a lectern at front and wooden chairs laid out in amphitheatre style. The gathering was a very pleasant social cross-section: a schoolboy, some housewives, some retired people, a few unemployed, some students, some businessmen, and more. The lecture began on schedule. A gentleman in a dark suit, well groomed, came to the lectern. He was personally authoritative, without being intimidating. His manner made it clear to me he was a "teacher" not a lecturer, and certainly not a self-proclaimed "expert" with all the egotism that brings with it.

To this day, I still admire those lectures as much as any I have ever attended. Why? They were not particularly "brilliant"; they were not very "exciting"; they were not "entertaining". They were, quite simply, an education. As someone who taught A Level Mathematics and Physics to a class of highly mixed ability, I could not but admire Mr. Woolf s determination to take everyone in our class with him on our journey of discovery into the economy. He spoke to everyone. In the Socratic style, he would stop and throw out questions. He would stop half-way through and get someone to agree they were now hopelessly lost and perhaps they had better go back over the ground just covered, together. The man loved his subject, but more importantly he loved his audience. Tolerant and appreciative of everyone there, he was also skilled (a rare gift) at not letting particular individuals divert the class on to their own pet obsession.

The lecture, as I dimly recall, would go on for about an hour. There would then be a break of fifteen or twenty minutes, and the second part would last half to three-quarters of an hour. In the break, we would adjourn to the basement, where tea and open sandwiches were graciously served, and there was a bookstall, mostly full of philosophy (and spiritual) books, but also a goodly number of economics works.

The Unbounded Savannah

In one of Mr. Woolf s lectures, he read from a chapter written by some American, entitled "The Unbounded Savannah". Wow! Who was this guy? I had a sense of homecoming. Here was somebody I could relate to. In the break, I discovered his name was Henry George, and the chapter was from a book called Progress and Poverty. True to my "winning formula", I purchased a copy of the condensed edition from the bookstall.

And this was IT.

I had read some of Adam Smith, whose prose was superb, and whose writing insightful. But with Henry George there was a powerful continuation of passion -- a passionate longing for justice - and the coolest head for logic. Here there was anger - anger at injustice and complacency - unlike Smith, but no hatred - unlike Marx.

And so I was launched. I read the condensed edition of Progress and Poverty. I read the complete edition. I read Protection or Free Trade. I read Social Problems. All by Henry George. By then I had exhausted the bookstall, and so I hunted down the British Georgists at 177 Vauxhall Bridge Road.

And then I became aware of something lingering from the past. The School and 177 had obviously gone their separate ways some time previously. The School had seemed to react to Georgist fanaticism, by rather down-playing George, and indeed economics, and embracing philosophy - which (unlike economics) attracted large audiences. The School thrived. The Georgists seemed to want more political action and to want to confine their focus on economic theory to George's work. They became more and more fanatical. All this was, and still is, pure speculation on my part. But the estrangement between the two I found rather sad.

Undaunted, however, from 177 I obtained a copy of George's last work The Science of Political Economy, which I still maintain is his best theoretical work, easily his most philosophical.

Go West Young Man

At this time, my outside interests fascinated me, but professionally I felt "stuck in the slow lane".

Then, just as surprisingly as my stumbling across The School of Economic Science, I opened the Times Newspaper in early 1987 and saw an advert for Maples and Calder, attorneys-at-law, in the Cayman Islands. I typed up a curriculum vitae overnight and mailed it off. Within a few months, I found myself one of two successful applicants out of 120, moving to the tax haven and financial center of Grand Cayman, to a firm thick with Oxbridge graduates who had left the City.

Being one hour due south of Miami, a hub well placed for springing off into the U.S.A., I got the contact names and addressed of Georgist organisations in America. The first two years, I spent reading a lot. I did a correspondence course with Vic Blundell at 177 Vauxhall Bridge Road in London, and having finished that I took up Bob Clancy's correspondence course, with the Henry George Institute in New York. I loved his course, and I loved his Georgist Journal. Both were clearly, for him, a labour (or should I say "labor"?) of love.

And then came the sesquicentennial Henry George Conference in Philadelphia in 1989, my first.

The Philadelphia Conference

This was my first conference, and I was really excited to be going. I can vividly remember meeting Michael Horsman, Mason Gaffney, Frank Peddle, Jack Schwartzman, Dick Noyes, Pat Aller, George Collins, Jim Busey and many others. But why were there so many old people there? And why did people dress quite so casually?

The Conference highlights included: the finest address I have ever heard at a Georgist conference, by Sir Richard Body M.P.; a visit to the birth-place of Henry George, in South 10th Street; the memorial tie and first day cover, and the silvery plaque with a quotation from George, distributed to us all at the banquet, which still hangs in my home.

In retrospect, this was (for me) one of the best organised conferences I have been to. It was great that the British and American organisers were able to put aside their differences and work together for our benefit. One excellent session included a lively debate between Georgists and Libertarians. The Libertarians steadfastly refused to move on the land question, but otherwise they were rather shocked to find out that Georgists agreed with much of their philosophical approach, and predated them!

The Journey of a Thousand Miles

I was rounding off my correspondence course with Bob Clancy. He recommended me to speak at the Santa Fe Conference in 1990.

This conference was a lot of fun. Jim and Marion Busey were excellent hosts, and I well remember, in an alcoholic stupor, helping Jim and friends push a piano across the College quad to our meeting room, only to find they had already found one!

Prior to the Conference, I wrote my first Georgist paper, and in many ways I think still my best. So what was it about?

Well, in the five years or so I had got to grips with Georgist economic theory, I was deeply attracted by its logic, its elegance and its harmony. How could anyone honestly disagree with this, I thought? Yet, disagree they did. The phenomenon was fascinating. While I was open to contrary arguments, I never received a cogent counter-argument. In most cases, I got the now-familiar resigned, or cynical, response: "It'll never work."

It was clear to me from my discussions with people that the conclusions of Georgism generated some conflict within their minds. The propositions contradicted some deeply held belief. As a mathematician, I was well-used to coming across conclusions that contradicted our view of the world; but I was also well-disciplined in the process of doggedly investigating that contradiction and determining: was the new proposition wrong or did we need to change our views about the world? Sometimes it was the former, but frequently it was the latter. But in the field of economics, people seemed to behave differently. As J.K. Galbraith wrote:

"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."

So, it struck me, and continues to strike me, that the power of Georgist ideas lies in getting people to discard existing fallacious beliefs which they cling on to. And the process is not giving new ideas or taking away existing beliefs, so much as encouraging people to drop their existing beliefs. In truth, you cannot take someone's beliefs away. They have to let them go (and in this sense it increasingly seems to me that a Georgist political movement may be almost a contradiction in terms).

The paper was entitled "Georgism: ideas that have fallen on stony ground", alluding to Jesus' parable of the sower. The stony ground was the ears and minds of people hardened by existing fallacious beliefs, and therefore not fertile soil hi which to sow the seeds of new Georgist ideas. It examined a number of beliefs about economics and the economy, which from a Georgist perspective are clearly fallacious, although they are sincerely held by many people in the world. The talk at the Conference was different. Generally, I do not like to read papers, and in any event the "stony ground" paper was far too long. I called the talk "The Journey of A Thousand Miles", alluding to Lao Tsu's saying: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step". Perhaps the heart of my talk lay in an Irish story of an American driving around Dublin, getting hopelessly lost in one-way streets and no-right-turns. Pulling over to the curb, he asked a bystander: "Excuse me, could you tell me the way to Cork?" only to get the reply: "Well, sure, if I was going to Cork I wouldn't go from here!"

The one step is a step towards the other person. It is reaching out to another. Jesus, for example, could have set himself up as a guru in palatial surroundings whom people came to as the fount of wisdom and healing; but he didn't. He wandered near and far, reaching out to people with much narrower horizons than his own. That is how a gospel message is spread, and Georgist ideas are a part of a new, yet timeless, social gospel. So, in the same way, as I outlined in my paper, one needs to reach and move out, to step into another person's world, and work with him (or her) from there. Saying "I wouldn't set out to understand Georgist ideas from the position you're in now" is nonsensical. The position they're in is the position they're in. And one might have to start with some basic themes, such as love, justice, honesty, responsibility, despair, and confusion.

Quite inconsistent with the spirit of my paper was an event at the Conference, which could have been of major importance. It was a debate between Georgists and Greens, which degenerated into Georgists "making Greens wrong" on just about the whole of their platform. It was a glorious chance missed. The Georgists really were not interested in hearing what the Greens had to say; the step towards the other person did not happen. It set me thinking: would we rather be right as Georgists, and yet have no-one listen to or agree with us, or do we have a real thirst for the truth, however unpalatable? Are we really martyrs, or perhaps just incompetents - and how would we know?

A Matter of Inherited Insolvency

Around this time, I composed a short piece entitled "A Matter of Inherited Insolvency". What intrigued me was that so many people and businesses seemed to be on a knife-edge commercially, but in countries where starvation or death by other natural means was not a major concern. What was this? Why did we seem to spend our lives just chasing our tails? The concept was very simple. Henry George had said that there were only two ways in which one generation could (in a legal manner) impose a burden on the next. One was through the tax system, the other through private land titles. If, as George argued, land titles had "value from obligation", and values from obligation do not enter into national or aggregate wealth, why did economists and statisticians proclaim increasing prosperity as a result of a land boom?

The paper explored this phenomenon, my conclusion being that whereas land is an asset that shows up in someone's balance sheet, the corresponding obligation to pay future rent shows up in no-one's accounts. One cannot tell who the future tenants might be -- they might not even be born yet. The same thing happens (conceptually) when governments borrow and spend into the economy. The money put in shows up as assets in the economy, the corresponding obligation to pay higher taxes in the future does not show up as a liability, so an illusion is created of growing prosperity (as in the USA under Reagan). This is just one of the ways in which Keynesians try to "con" the economy into picking up.

Henry George. Ludwig Von Mises and the Problem of Free Will

At the Philadelphia Conference, during the session with the Libertarians, I overheard one man saying to a small group gathered around him that, if they were to read only two books, they should be Progress and Poverty by Henry George and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Dutifully, I started to read Rand, whose work -- particularly her non-fiction -- I continue to find fascinating. As a thinker, she is a true system builder in the tradition of the Greats in the History of Philosophy. In my view, it is only by academic convention that she is dismissed as a philosopher -- as George was and is by economists.

Rand's work led me to various objectivist and libertarian catalogues, and through them to Ludwig Von Mises. As a mathematician, I found (and still find) Mises' whole approach stimulating and congenial. Reading the first part of his treatise on Human Action, I realised that he and George had reached complementary conclusions on the problem of free will in the social sciences, working from opposite ends. The result was my paper "Henry George, Ludwig Von Mises and the Problem of Free Will", which was eventually published by Frank Peddle's "Institute of Speculative Philosophy" in its journal "Eleutheria".

I still think that the test of any politico-economic theory is whether it addresses properly the age old issue of free will versus determinism. Much modern economic theory -- almost all econometrics -- is based on a mathematical determinism that effectively negates the possibility of any free will. Mises faced up to this issue philosophically, George in a more practical, but equally rigorous sense.

For George, our concept of causation is derived from our own personal experience of our own ability to cause something to happen (or not) by intentionality, by exercise of our will. Without that, we would not experience or understand causation. So for George the concepts of free will and causation are really opposite sides of the same coin. Mises, on the other hand, takes a more philosophical approach. His point is that until we understand cause and effect in some sense, we are not able to act in any meaningful sense, and cannot exercise our free will in any meaningful sense. So Mises sees the same two-sided coin, but back-to-front.

For both thinkers, the apparent contradiction between free will and determinism is essentially illusory. Indeed, the whole point of learning about causes and effects is so that we can acquire knowledge which will enable us to act more effectively, and thereby produce different effects. But if everything in the world is pre-determined then so is our learning and our acting and our apparent freedom of choice, including an economist's decision to study and research in economics, so that the economist becomes an automaton in his own world. It is not surprising, therefore, that so many people find modern economic theory dehumanising. It is precisely that.

But for George and Mises it is different. We do have free will. In particular, George would have agreed we have the freedom to decide which questions are important and worth investigating and which are not. That is a crucially important issue, the sovereignty over which most universities have in this century abandoned to "the market", and thereby to vested interests, rendering them increasingly conservative and sterile. Awkward truths are evaded by ensuring that the questions are no longer asked.

This paper is one of my earliest and my most basic. I still look on its theme as a bedrock fundamental to building a sound theory of political economy. It also lay the ground for two later papers, which I was to give in France.

Henry George's Theory of Value

Along came 1991. Around Easter, I attended the I.U.L.V.T.F.T. Conference, originally planned for Israel, but moved to London because of the Gulf War, and at that time met my future fiancee, Gill Edwards, who had won the British Sales and Marketing Award in 1987.

In the spring, Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania hosted a joint conference with CGO. The first two days were an academic symposium, which was followed by CGO's conference. For the symposium, I prepared my longest and most taxing paper, on "Henry George's Theory of Value and Concept of Wealth". It included an elaboration of all the major theories of value put forward by political economists up to Keynes, in whom the quest for an objective theory of value finally ended, with its total abandonment.

For me, George's theory of value is one of the most important aspects of his whole theory, which is still largely misunderstood. One actually only needs the theory of value to debunk a lot of politico-economic theory. Sadly, in my view, George had not been able to read the Austrians in English, and only had second-hand reports of their theories. The Austrians saw George as an old labour-value theorist, in the tradition of Ricardo and Marx, which was quite wrong, since George emphasised the subjective and psychological aspect of the labour saved or "commanded". To George, the Austrians were mere subjectivists who were undermining the project of finding an objectively true theory of political economy. I was (and still am) convinced that the differences between the two camps were in many respects more of style, approach, and indeed nomenclature, than anything else.

One important corollary of George's theory of value was his concept of wealth, as something essentially material, separate from land (the natural environment) and labour (the human person). Those who produce services -- now a large part of the economy in any country -- can be divided into three broad categories: first, those whose service directly helps and promotes the production of wealth, e.g. an accountant engaged by a shoe manufacturer; secondly, those whose services are immediately consumed as a consumer item, e.g. a performing musician or other artist providing consumer satisfaction; and thirdly, those whose services result in no further, additional or enhanced wealth production, or real consumer satisfaction.

George would have been the first to point out that this third category is essentially parasitic on the economy, and that while service-providers in it may boast that they work as hard as anyone and that their returns (to employees and staff) are only wages, in truth all these service-providers are just sharing in economic rent. As an example, think of the landlord's agent, who shares in the economic rent which accrues to his employer. He may consider he is paid wages, but in a politico-economic sense he and his employer are collectively sharing the rent.

I believe that George would argue today that it is in this way that a huge amount of economic rent is masked in the economy, and that the real economic rent is far greater than any national statistics will indicate.

The Georgist theory of value, and the confusion with the Austrians in particular, set me thinking on the possibility of another paper that might reconcile the Georgist and Austrian theories (which I eventually gave in Australia).

Three Further Papers

Three further papers from that period were: "Where the Georgists, the Greens and the Indians Meet", which effectively explored whether there is a Georgist justification for "severance" taxes; "Liberty: Where the Georgists and the Austrians Meet", in which I stretched out a hand of friendship to our Austrian friends (it is still stretched out); and "A Perplexed Libertarian", which was never presented or published. It was a Georgist response, paragraph by paragraph, to the outrageous non-sequiturs of Murray Rothbard's "Power and Market".

Some Modern Canons of Taxation -- Adam Smith Revisited

In January, 1992 I traveled to Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, to present at a new (for me) conference: the Congress of Political Economists. I chose as the title of my paper "Some Modern Canons of Taxation -- Adam Smith Revisited" and it was sub-titled "Is Taxation Just Democratic Theft?".

As a pure mathematician by training, I have always been interested in the mathematician's solution of problems by generalising them first, then solving them, thereby providing a solution to every specific or particular problem in that field. It is the unique power of mathematics.

The modem taxation system is too complex to be fair or efficient. A Georgist economist could write volumes in criticism of any one of the current taxes we have. But to do so only adds to the inertia and the preservation of the status quo. While a complex tax system is a terrible drag on an economy over all, there are many who benefit by its very complexity. Indeed, the complexity is compounded by the fact that lawyers, accountants and economists all have different conceptions of what a "simpler" tax might look like.

Adam Smith himself had noticed that the complexity and haphazard nature of a taxation system has little to do with its being exhaustive in its pursuit of justice and far more to do with special pleading from vested interests. Complexity muddies the waters, which is very convenient for some. In this regard, Smith, being the speculative philosopher he was, had devised some canons or principles of taxation according to which taxes could be assessed and criticised. There were only four canons and they were very simple.

Henry George shared Smith's dislike of complexity in taxation, but never seems to have formulated principles of taxation, as such. Perhaps this was because for him, land value taxation was so morally compelling that it did not need a system of taxation principles to bolster it.

In my paper, I took Smith's four canons and expanded them to sixteen. Some were simple: "Taxation must be simple" was the first. That meant real, dead simple. Like the US$10 (per head) departure tax at Grand Cayman Airport -- that simple. Others were perhaps less obvious, but in my opinion are a very sharp tool indeed, for example: "Continuous variations in circumstances should not result in discontinuous variations in the amount of tax levied" and "The points at which taxation ceases or starts to be payable should be drawn along borders of economic substance, not legal form".

The final principle was, and still is for me, the most important, because it provides the moral bedrock on which any tax system should be built:

"Since there is no contractual basis for taxation, taxation should be based on the principle of restitution, and should therefore restore to the taxing community the value bestowed on the taxpayer by that community."

I still think this paper was and is one of my most far-reaching. The ideas it lay down could bear fruit over many decades. Any country that seriously pursued a tax system based on those principles could steal a march on the rest of the world. They could become a tax haven almost overnight. But it is too radical for most people -- too radical for socialists, capitalists or liberals, even for libertarians.

The Rest of 1992

In June, I traveled to Santo Domingo and spoke on the subject "Marketing Georgism in the Culture of Contentment" (alluding to J.K. Galbraith's recent book). I still think Georgism needs to be marketed -- all part of taking that step towards the other person. But the paper was a bit dry.

Around that time, I had devised my Georgist symbol and produced some high quality cards. I still think symbols are an extremely powerful way of getting through to the popular imagination. The swastika, for example, will be a reminder of the Nazis long after faces, names, buildings and theories have faded into oblivion.

In November, I traveled with Gill to stay with Professor Robert Andelson, and his wife Bonnie, in Auburn, Alabama. We met Jim Dawsey, who had co-authored From Wasteland to Promised Land with Bob, and I addressed his New Testament ethics class on the topic "Christianity and the language of rights -- did the Victim have a right to be saved by the Good Samaritan?" Is it possible to talk of being under a duty where there is no corresponding right? In my view, one of the cardinal errors of socialism is the attempt to create and promote bogus rights of this kind, in an attempt to create equality, rather than to unwind the system of privileges which has created the inequality in the first place. Giving everyone the right to rob their neighbour creates neither a just society nor a prosperous one, although it can in a twisted sense be said to be based on some "equality" -- but equality is not a primary value.

Around this time, musing further on George's and Mises' work, I composed another piece entitled "You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat it Too", which led me part of the way to reconciling the Georgist and the Austrian theories of value. It paved the way for my 1994 paper in Australia on the topic, as indeed my Christian ethics paper on rights paved the way for my 1995 presentation on rights in Denmark.

How the Economy Affects Economists

In January, 1993, Gill and I flew for the COPE Convention in Paris. It was here that I started my practice of delivering two papers at each COPE convention, so I could cover one subject effectively in two more detailed halves.

The theme really led on from my early paper on George, Mises and free will. Modern economists divorce themselves from their subject, in the name of objectivity and "value-free" social science. The more I contemplate this, the more pathological it seems. If economists subscribe to strict determinism, what is the point in economics? Is it merely so that we can try to profit privately from the inevitable? Surely the only reason for acquiring knowledge is so that one can act more effectively; one makes decisions, acts and changes how things would otherwise have turned out; and one can act individually or collectively.

The first paper was entitled "Economics and the Poverty of Determinism", and set the scene for my second: "How the Economy affects Economists". This latter was presented directly after a paper by Gill on the theme "How Economists affect the Economy", which explored how economists' predictions of woe, in particular, may serve to deepen and prolong a recession. The purpose of my paper was to bring a shift to how economists see themselves. Most economists are like nineteenth century physicists, who pretend they are looking at an objective, independent, real world "out there". But economists are a part of the very economy they study, and profoundly interact with it.

What most economists, and many universities, have abandoned is any profound contemplation of the criteria according to which subjects of study are chosen within a field of inquiry. There is more than we can possibly find out and know; therefore, we must decide ahead of time what is worth inquiring into, what is worth teaching, and what is not. This is necessarily a value-based decision. Many economists flee from this decision in horror. The result is they either research into and teach what they personally like at the time (an abandonment to pure subjectivism) or research into and teach what others (the university, government, fee-paying students etc.) are prepared to pay for (an abandonment to the market).

George saw this coming more than one hundred years ago. Political economy would be corrupted and effectively neutered by powerful vested interests. Real debate would be silenced by ensuring the important, the radical, questions are never asked -- not by legal and political censorship, but by an equally effective economic censorship, where the right to inquire and speak freely is formally upheld, but the radical fields of inquiry are starved of resources.

On the aeroplane back, I found myself sitting next to Prof. Ted Lowi of Cornell University, who (quite unprompted by me) mentioned that, in his opinion, the two most effective commentators on the nature of American society had been Alexis de Tocqueville and Henry George, whom he deeply regretted nobody read any more.

Out of the Crisis

I had met Drew and Matt Harris at the Lafayette College Conference. Drew had mentioned to me that he was studying with the famous management consultant, Dr. W. Edwards Deming (whom I had not heard of). He was convinced that there was a significant tie-in between George's politico-economic ideas and Deming's ideas on quality. After all, George's critique of modern society and the modern economy would be that it is hugely inefficient, unjust and leaves people with an overall low quality lifestyle and general environment.

Inspired, I obtained a copy of Deming's great book Out of The Crisis. After much reading, reflection and doodling, I came up with a paper called "Out of the Crisis with George, Mises and Deming", which the British Deming Association published in the Spring of 1993. I was also asked to present at their conference, and chose the topic "From the Deming Company to the Deming Economy and the Win-Win Society".

The presentation went badly. I made the mistake, as Georgists often do, of getting too far ahead of my audience. I was not in touch with them. The presentation came across as too idealistic and impractical. To borrow a phrase from LandMark, I was not "speaking into their listening".

Still, Dr. Henry Neave had been very keen on my "Out of The Crisis" paper, so I duly followed up with a rough draft of another, entitled "Education, Competition And The Bureaucratic Mentality". I forwarded it to him for his thoughts, and received an extraordinary response. He apologised that he had not read the draft paper, but had given it to friends who had. They admonished me for thinking too much for myself and said that I should try to read and learn more from Deming's writings. The letter still makes me shudder when I think of it. It seemed so contrary to the spirit of Deming, whose thought was constantly evolving. I didn't receive a single comment on any of my ideas or propositions. Ayn Rand would never have written such a letter - even if my paper was hopelessly flawed. Oh well, I thought, and pressed ahead.

Buenos Aires

Out of the blue, I was invited by Dr. Hector Raul Sandler to travel and present at a symposium in Argentina on the broad theme of ecology and social justice. While I have many Georgist friends, I have few Georgist heroes and mentors, but two are: Dr. Hector Sandier from Buenos Aires; and Professor Mason Gaffney from the University of California at Riverside. Hector has survived threats and attempts on his life while living in Argentina, and lived in exile in Mexico for a decade. All his life, he has championed Georgist ideas, but was quite wrongly branded a "communist" by political adversaries.

The trip was one of the most inspiring of my Georgist "career" (if I can be allowed to use such a pretentious expression). Hector had surrounded himself with a small, but ever growing, group of very impressive young men and women. They were well-educated, well-mannered, incisive in thought, lively in conversation, dedicated to Georgist ideas, but not mere followers or pawns.

My paper in Buenos Aires was entitled "Beyond Eurocentrism to a Green Political Economy", and I ended up delivering it in Buenos Aires University and in the delightful University town of Cordoba. George's vision is extraordinarily holistic, yet individualistic. With George, you realise that our economic system is both inefficient, unmoral and ecologically harmful and that all three aspects are merely different manifestations of the inherent deficiency. In this respect, socialism and communism rank no better than capitalism. Communist countries have an appalling environmental record.

By contrast, there is a system that can be economically efficient, moral and just, and ecologically protective, if we could but generate the moral will to embrace it.

I enjoyed that trip, perhaps more than any other Georgist conference or event. Partly, it was our hosts, Hector and his young friends. Partly, it was the excellent organisation. Partly, it was the excellent company -- Jim Dawsey, Bob Andelson and Dick Noyes. We worked together as a very effective team. I recall with particular fondness a long conversation with Jim on the aeroplane back from Buenos Aires to Miami.


In July I flew with Gill to the CGO Conference in L.A. I am very glad I went to that conference, if only because it introduced me to Dr. Irene Hickman, the hypnotherapist, and her work on past lives and depossession. Gill presented at the Conference, I did not. I was preoccupied with various chaotic business matters. I was starting to find the Georgist Conferences rather enervating. They were becoming like veterans' reunions. They were perhaps a little too familiar, too safe. Was it just me? It's not always easy to tell. As CGO Conferences go, this was one of the better ones, including an excellent cultural evening. Our hosts, Mason Gaffney and the Shapiros, were to be congratulated.

But was America really that interested? In an age of narcissism, a profoundly unideological age, Georgism just did not hit the "spirit of the age", I thought.

Later that year, in October, I visited London (where Gill and I painfully broke up), and joined Fred Harrison and some of his group on their trip to Moscow, including Sir Kenneth Jupp.

Adam Dixon had kindly arranged for some of my papers to be published in Russia, mainly by journals interested in agricultural economics. It was a start. I looked forward to visiting Moscow, if only for a few days.

I have never felt as spiritually uncomfortable generally as I felt in Moscow. There was a palpable spiritual vacuum. It was as if the soul of Russia had been exorcised but it was not clear whether the Holy Spirit or other demons would make their dwelling there. I had a deep-seated sense of foreboding. Not that anything dramatic would happen. Quite the reverse. That Russia would stagnate and slowly rot, its economy dominated by organised crime. Or was it just my imagination?

The disappointment of my trip was that I never got a chance to speak, despite indications to the contrary. It highlighted to me the truth that, just as there is no land but our land, there is no time but our time. Time is a peculiar Georgist blindspot. Georgists are frequently not on time (certainly at conferences), frequently run over time, and monopolise others' time. So eager to tell our good news, we do not seem eager to share others', by listening. Perhaps the spirit was just teaching me to listen in Russia.

I still cherish from the visit to the Academy of Sciences, a copy of Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" in Russian translation. It was a good meeting there, and I only wish we had had the chance to speak more with the Russian lady, particularly about Tolstoy, Kropotkin, Ouspensky and other Russians.

I came away from Russia wondering whether we were speaking into their listening. There had been a large conference, the very time we were there, on the subject of freedom of speech. But we were not there. The Russians instinctively understand the idea that the land belongs to us, but they do not understand - certainly not profoundly - the free market. A free market cannot exist in an unfree society. Markets depend for their efficiency on basic freedoms, in particular the free flow of information, for which freedom of speech is essential. Was the spirit of Henry George, I wondered, really with that conference, or with us? How would we have known? Were we, through our listening, providing the space for people to open up and raise and speak about the problems and issues that most deeply touched them? I thought not. We were too closed, too much "true believers", too evangelical, too confident that we already had the answer ahead of time. We, unlike Henry George, were "Georgists".

Georgian as a Form of Social Psychotherapy

In January, 1994,1 flew to Sydney, to attend the COPE Convention, the last to be hosted by Prof. Tej Saini before his sudden death. The Georgist presence at the conference was substantial: Prof. Lowell Harris, who gave the Banquet speech, Dr. Jim Horner from Oklahoma (an Institutionalist Georgist), Dr. Fred Foldvary, Dr. Joe Horton from Pennsylvania (an Austrian Georgist), myself and Bernard Rooney and various other Australian Georgists. There were more papers on Georgist themes than any other topic.

The hotel, in central Sydney, was one of the best I have ever stayed at. Owned and run by Japanese, it epitomised the difference between a quality service and a luxury service. Luxury it was, but more importantly it was very high quality.

Before the Conference started, I traveled to the seedy Georgist headquarters (the contrast with the hotel was striking), where I gave an exploratory paper with the title "Georgism as a form of social psychotherapy". This was a turning point in my life -- both personally (I had recently broken my engagement) and philosophically.

In the latter part of 1993,1 had also had a recurring dream of a monk in a green robe. It was a static image, of a man climbing a goat path directly up a mountain. He wore simple brown leather sandals and a simple green habit or robe. The face was not clear. Was it me, I wondered? I discussed it with a dear friend of mine who is a Church of Ireland priest and chaplain at Christ Church, Oxford: Rev. Dr. Michael Jackson. I told him I thought I was the monk in the dream. The message seemed clear to me. A religious person lives his beliefs, tries to embody his ideas in who he is. His life speaks more profoundly than what he says. I told Michael I was thinking of having a green habit made, with sandals, and I would see where it would take me. Was I mad? No, Michael did not think so, at least not necessarily. I now realise the important thing for me was to "be" with the question of what the dream meant. Maybe, it had no answer; maybe it did not "mean" anything; maybe it was an opportunity, just a catalyst for change. To me, the green habit has a profound message for today. St. Francis wore a brown habit eight hundred years ago. Its simplicity represented the simplicity of Christ's life, its rags demonstrated closeness with the poor and less fortunate, and the brown represented closeness to the earth and those closest to the earth. In a symbolic form, Francis urged the Medieval Church that it had become disconnected from the poor and the earth. But what was profound and useful in the past may become gradually sterile. For me, all our metaphors and symbols for the earth, for our natural environment and for everything that is alive, are now green. So, in some ways I think a green habit might today be closer to the spirit of St. Francis than a repetitious brown.

Or was it all just an ego trip?

In any event, for me as a Georgist I had experienced a profound shift. "Georgism as a form of social psychotherapy" explored that shift. One theme was that politics may be a form of psychopathology. The politicians' message is typically disempowering, urging that you cannot experience change and transformation without their help. They will take away the external obstacles. It also struck me that dabbling in politics was often a distraction or escape from one's personal problems. Also, that the public elect and follow politicians who tell them the lies they want to hear. A core theme of the paper was the idea of "addictive thinking".

Where did Georgism fit into this? Perhaps less as a political movement or philosophy than as a form of social psychotherapy, urging people in society to take back responsibility for their own lives, urging them to see through and reject short-term economic "wonder drugs". Do we have to adopt Georgist policies? No, you don't have to do anything except die. But if you don't, if you evade the real issues, if you evade your own responsibilities, there is inevitably a price that has to be paid.

For me, having trodden the Georgist path, the conclusion was like this: you have walked the wilderness in the hope that there is a "promised land"; finally, you reach the top of a cliff; you look across and see the promised land; it is there; it exists; there is a feeling of tremendous euphoria; but then you notice the cliff, which leads down into a ravine, with a raging river, and there is no apparent way across; your euphoria collapses into despair; for me, that is the Georgist temper of soul, a peculiar mixture of euphoria and despair; but maybe that is just a projection of the temper of my own soul.

The Georgist politico-economic system is a promised land. It is an ideal, an end state. I suspect that is why so many people do not find it useful. They want something that can help them in the present. Such an ideal could be a guiding light, like the quest to build the kingdom of heaven on earth, the inspiration of a whole way of life. Or it can be used as a constant excuse for business and social failure, effectively a loser's philosophy. The problem may be less in the Georgist ideal than in how it is used by us.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Australian Georgists, although stimulated by the talk, were not sure quite where it left them. It was certainly not a speech to rally the troops and put them on the streets.

Subjective Labour Value Theory

In terms of economic theory, the two papers I presented at the COPE Conference in Sydney are perhaps the most important. The first was on the subject "Economics as A Form of Synthetic Axiomatic Truth", arguing that economics is not an empirical science. Like Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises, I see economic truth as essentially a priori, but not in the sense of abstract logic. Economic truths are derived by careful reasoning from axiomatic concepts and propositions - from "the way things are".

This means that the test of truth in political economy is the most rigorous sifting of our premises and our reasoning. Experiments and data sampling provide no ultimate test. Nevertheless, one does need to test one's theories in practice, only because if they do not produce the intended results, that should prompt the most rigorous soul-searching of our ideas.

This is exactly how George worked. He took common everyday truths - the way things were -- and reasoned from there. He may not, strictly speaking, have reasoned from axiomatic propositions or concepts; he just worked from propositions agreed by his audience. George had no great theory of epistemology, not because he was inept, but because there was not the same crisis of method in the social sciences that there is today. To George, it would have seemed absurd to argue in favour of his common sense approach, although it is clear from his last work The Science of Political Economy that he foresaw the chaos the social sciences would descend into.

In this respect, economic truths are rather like proverbs. What are proverbs but portable wisdom? They are of no consequence if of no practical use. No-one would carry out formal empirical experiments to test the validity of a proverb, they would simply apply it in life. Proverbs both inform about, and are derived from, human nature. Proverbs that embody truth and are useful last, and are spread and kept current through practical use. Those that do not rapidly disappear. But in an age that insists that there is no truth beyond logical tautology and falsifiable empirical science, there is no real room for wisdom. Knowledge displaces wisdom, and in due course information displaces knowledge -- hence Deming's talk of the need to develop a "system of profound knowledge".

The second paper was entitled "Subjective Labour Value Theory - Georgist and Austrian Theories Reconciled". In many ways, I think it is the most important of my papers on pure economic theory. I personally believe that the Georgist and Austrian theories of Value to date have been imperfect formulations of a subjective labour value theory which could lay the basis of a whole new economic theory, in which the Austrians' preoccupation with man's being in relation to time and Georgists' preoccupation with man's being in relation to the natural world, would be united.

That June, my father died. I traveled back to England for his funeral; half of his ashes were to be interred in the old country graveyard close by my parents' cottage in Oxfordshire. In September, I traveled to Ulster with my third brother Robert, to our old cottage in the Mourne Mountains, where the other half of my father's ashes were to be scattered. It was a moving journey, prefaced by a paper delivered at my old school, in honour of my father and my late prep-school headmaster, on the subject "Beyond Capitalism and Socialism to a New Vision of Society", taking a bigger picture approach to the possibility of a Georgist society, in the vein of an Alvin Toffler. It formed the inspiration for a Sixth Form Essay Prize which I was to sponsor at the School in 1995, on the topic "A New Vision of Society in Ulster".

It was the first time I wore my green habit, and sandals, in Europe, and I felt very comfortable in them, very much at peace. In October, I wore them for the first time hi America, at the Georgist Conference in Fairhope, Alabama.


In January, 1995,1 finally decided not to fly to the COPE Convention at the University of Korea in Seoul, but I sent two long papers to be presented by Jim Homer and Joseph Horton in my absence: "The Economics of Henry George and Space-Time Physics" and "Henry George, Ludwig von Mises and the Idea of Mathematical Economics". In the former, I pointed out how George in his great book The Science of Political Economy had anticipated the major concepts put forward by Albert Einstein in his theory of relativity, twenty years before Einstein.

The latter was a profound attempt to rescue George's and Mises' reputations from the smear that they were not mathematical. As a pure mathematician, I experienced George and Mises as true to the spirit of mathematics in a way that econometrics is not. Modem mathematical economics is essentially deterministic and tends to undermine its own usefulness for that very reason. Could mathematical economics predict its own advent? Can it predict its own future theories or discoveries? If not, does the work of the economist stand outside the rest of the economy, and if so, what else does? The paper thus drew on themes explored in Paris and in my paper on free will.

Georgian And The Bahai Faith

On the way back from Australia in 1994, I had spent two days in the Cook Islands, and there I had stumbled across the Bahai Faith, and its guiding principles, including the oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the essential unity of religion and science. Upon my return to Grand Cayman, I discovered that there were Bahais in Cayman, and since then I have irregularly attended their Bahai Firesides on a Thursday night.

After much reading and reflection, I could see how Georgism and the Bahai Faith could complement one another. The Bahais believe in a spiritual solution to the economic problem, which is one way of saying that the economic problem is at heart a spiritual problem. As a Georgist, I believe our economic problems stem from a failure of the will -- sometimes a wilful refusal to do what is right, sometimes a wilful refusal to ascertain what is right. In may respects, our ignorance of economic truths is the result of wilful evasion and wilful deception.

To me it was fascinating to watch Georgism and the Bahai Faith arising at the same period, yet in the century since Georgism has declined to the vanishing point, whereas the Bahai Faith has spread throughout the world and today has six million adherents.

What lies behind the power of religion? Usually the power of one man's message, supplemented by the message of those who follow after him. But somehow the prophet-founder's message is far more than what he says. He embodies a new possibility; he is the incarnation, the embodiment, of something; and he encourages others to step into a new possibility for themselves. The message acknowledges and embraces the free will of its listener. It encourages voluntary change and transformation.

This contrasts with a political message, which is so often one of criticism and complaint. The spiritual leader comes not to judge, not "to make others wrong", but to give them hope, to invite them to step into a new possibility for themselves, to enroll them in their own lives. The message spreads of its own accord. People cannot wait to share it. It is directly and immediately empowering. At its most powerful, it gives them direct access to a new world.

All these themes came to a head in July 1995, with the CGO Conference being held in Chicago, site of the national Bahai Temple for North America. I visited the Temple with some Georgist colleagues, and met with some Bahai spokesmen and women. We had a very lively conversation, but were the Georgists really open to what the Bahais might have to say to us?

Dr. Robert Stockman, author of a history of the Bahai Faith in America, came to hear my Sunday talk: "A Spiritual Solution to the Economic Problem -- Where the Georgists and the Bahais Meet", which seemed to get a good reception. (It is the only one of my presentations which I have on video tape.)

But I left Chicago with the firm impression that Bahais and Georgists were more eager to prove themselves right, and others wrong, to explore their differences and argue, than to share and learn from one another. How profoundly antithetical this was to where I felt myself to be going. It led me back to a quote from the journal for 1941 of the great Trappist monk Thomas Merton:

"O Lord, I want nothing more than never to have to argue with anyone again as long as I live! Argument with words only strengthens us in our stubborn resistance to everything that gives us peace - only increases our own prejudices and does little for the truth at all. First we must argue by our example: and when we are totally devoted to God then we can speak truth, which is not our own opinion, but the truth we would rather die than violate or corrupt -- and then we will either keep silent, or only talk to praise what is good and true."

Nothing better expresses my own sentiments, then and now.


In July, I flew to the I.U.L.V.T.F.T. Conference in Denmark, where I presented two papers: "Righting Wrongs - An End to The Language of Political Rights And The Rebirth of Freedom"; and "The Spirit of Freedom And The Spirit of Monopoly". The Rights paper brought a number of things into focus since my presentation to the New Testament Ethics class in Auburn. The language of right might have been stimulating and helpful to Eighteenth Century Americans, but now it has become counter-productive. This is because it presumes that the creation and extension of more and more rights is a measure of social progress. Socialism is the language of rights, and the two have dominated the Twentieth Century.

Rights, when analysed, are really freedoms or entitlements to enforce the duties of others. So, instead of rights, we can talk in terms of freedom and duty. The creation or extension of rights may then be the recognition and protection of an important freedom ( e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of movement, labour and abode within the European Union) or the enactment of a legal duty, which may do no more than increase burdens on the economy and society. But socialism tends to do the reverse. It enacts rights where there are currently no freedoms or duties, then seeks to impose duties to carry those rights into effect. Often this is by increasing the tax burden. The proliferation of such rights, which are not freedoms, serves to create bigger and bigger government (what Mrs. Thatcher called "the Nanny State"), which becomes a growing drag on the economy.

The theme of righting wrongs was that, in America quite noticeably, land owning privileges had posed as "property rights". The failure to recognise that the earth belongs to all of us, to uphold and protect a man's freedom of movement, labour and abode, is the source of the great social dislocation, of poverty with progress.

I used the term "political rights" in the title not because I wished to deal with rights in the narrow political sense, but because I intend to title a subsequent paper (which is not yet written): "Towards A Psychological Bill of Rights". The theme here, taken from cognitive behaviour and other psychological theories, will be the personally empowering nature of affirmations to oneself of certain rights; for example "I have the right to change and grow", "I have the right to be angry with someone I love" or "I have the right to be uniquely me without feeling I'm good enough". This would then address those freedoms which we actually have but which for psychological reasons we feel inhibited from exercising.

A free society is built on freedoms, but if its members feel unable to exercise them, they become partially enslaved or imprisoned. This may be a significant reason why former countries where restrictions on freedoms have been abolished -- particularly in relation to the economy -- still have floundering societies. Merely telling a man he is no longer prevented from owning and running his own business does not make him into an entrepreneur.

The second paper, on the spirit of freedom and the spirit of monopoly, explored love as the spirit of freedom and fear as the spirit of monopoly. The Georgist programme sees the enactment of a system of land value taxation, or similar societal means of collecting the economic rent, as the primary goal; but we have been singularly unsuccessful. Perhaps the "enemy" (if that is not too pejorative a term) is not so much private land ownership or speculation as the spirit - a spirit of contest, thirsting for monopoly, a spirit of fear - that keeps it in place. Perhaps the battle is not so much political as spiritual in its broadest sense (i.e. not simply metaphysical). Is our most effective weapon not so much anger at injustice as the love that conquers all?

Money And Credit

In the Fall, I traveled to Texas for a Ludwig von Mises Institute weekend conference, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Houston, on the subject of money and credit, a subject on which Georgists are often very weak (myself included).

Shortly afterwards, I was in New York for a legal conference, and gave a paper at the Henry George School on "Henry George and the Real Balance of Trade Problem". My key point was that a nation (such as the USA) could restore their balance of trade with other countries through the sales of land and issuance of national debt instruments, which involved asset-stripping ("selling the family silver" it had been called in Mrs. Thatcher's time). This is the real balance of trade problem, and the mechanism whereby Americans can return to being the serfs of overseas (and domestic) landlords.

By contrast, however, if there was a proper LVT system and a free market, this problem could not arise in the same way.

South Africa

In November, I broke my leg and was unable to walk without crutches for ten weeks. I was supposed to go to the interim COPE Convention in San Francisco, but was unable to do so. I did not even send any papers. I did hope to go to the COPE Convention in South Africa, however, in August 1996.

But there was a sea change occurring. I found it more difficult to write. Did my papers make any difference to anyone? I now rather doubted it. Would I write the bestseller that Gill and others wanted me to? I had delayed, only because I knew the challenge was to make it as short as possible. It needed to catch the spirit of the times, in the way that "The Road Less Traveled" and "The Celestine Prophecy" seem to have done.

In April 1996,1 attended the LandMark Forum, and in June, its advanced course. I was then sent to Hong Kong to help run our office out there for five weeks, over August; so I was unable to go to the COPE Convention in South Africa. Instead, I wrote two papers which were presented by Jim Horner and Joe Horton in my absence. The first was entitled "Why Stabilising The Price Level Leads to an Obsessive Desire for Economic Growth". It questioned the long-accepted wisdom of the monetarist prescription that the economy should be steadily inflated at the same rate as the natural fall in prices (of goods, in particular), so as to "stabilise the price level", principally because this falsifies the reality of workers. Everyone has a natural need to feel they are making progress in life. A worker who does the same job over time cannot realistically expect any increase in wages. But if the society and economy around him are progressing, the natural result is that prices of many things actually fall over time. So, the worker is able to make the same wages go further; he can afford a better quality car and compact disc player, watch better movies, etc. But this natural phenomenon of steady wages and falling prices is offset by hidden monetary inflation. This creates stagnant wages and prices and undermines a belief in economic progress. To break out of this, workers then insist on wage increases which can only be realised out of growth, which may or may not be desirable or even possible in mature industries and economies.

It is not a particularly good paper, but it may be the germ for something better from someone else in the future. Its moral thrust is that monetary inflation is immoral, period. It steals value from the community and the mere stability of prices cannot justify this theft. Theft is theft, and if done by the government, has pervasive consequences on its economy and society.

The second paper, which apparently was well received, was entitled "A New Vision For The South African Economy" and was an exposition on how the Georgist Paradigm could be implemented in South Africa.

LandMark and Bevond

And then there was LandMark. As of writing this paper, I have attended the LandMark Forum, the LandMark Advanced Course, and the first of its two Communication Programmes. They are all run by LandMark Education Corporation, an employee-owned corporation.

LandMark's orientation towards the world is the exact inverse of Georgism's. In this sense, the two may stand to complement each other quite well.

The Georgist vision is essentially of a society with a particular structure of means -- a politico-economic system of land-value taxation and the free market - working within which, the individual is freed to pursue his own freely chosen ends. Georgism does not prescribe ends for any individual. But, collectively, Georgists see the creation of a Georgist society as their collective end. Yet there is no agreed means (even among Georgists) for achieving that end.

Georgists have no particular strategy for bringing about a Georgist society. This is not entirely surprising because neither did Henry George himself. He wrote; he educated; he campaigned; he preached. He hoped people would do the right thing and embrace an honest system by democratic vote at the ballot box. George saw, and described graphically, the gradual process of decay within society, of increasing poverty with material progress. But he did not have a clear vision of the process of transformation reversing that decay. He does indeed have a very clear image of the end goal -- the "promised land" of a Georgist society - but not a very clear image of the path there.

Interestingly, this seems to tie in with man's relation to time being an essential blind spot for George and Georgists. Georgism is (by and large) not a dynamic system; it is not continually evolving or unfolding. A comment made to me by Drew Harris some time ago was that one of the most refreshing things about Dr. Deming was that he was always coming up with new ideas, new insights, new innovations, new (more powerful) formulations of his essential ideas. He was an educator. Drew felt that George had not really bequeathed the same thirst for knowledge and education.

In some ways, George did do so, but I personally feel that George's "achilles heel" -- his character flaw - was his predisposition to anger.

Anger is an important emotion. Dr. Edith Packer maintains that it is the emotion experienced when there is a mental evaluation that some injustice is being done to someone, or some thing, which is important to us. Anger is a valuable emotion. It prompts us to action. It may be that anger, more than anything else, drives people into politics.

For me, Henry George and Ayn Rand were uniquely angry people, in the same way that perhaps Ludwig von Mises was proud (or smug).

Anger, or "wrath", was, in Medieval times, one of the Seven Deadly Sins. By this, I do not think was meant that it is always wrong to be angry. Each of the Deadly Sins is a kind of perversion of a valuable emotion or way of being. Anger as a sin is exhibited as spontaneous, uncontrolled, and destructive wrath, or as constitutional anger, including impatience and bad-temperedness. The latter is a kind of "anger with God" -- a continual cry of "this shouldn't be!". Constitutional impatience is, in this sense, anger with God hi relation to time.

George, I see as someone who was prone to constitutional anger, and constant frustration that America (in particular) was not making the right decisions fast enough. There is, at times, an air almost of desperation in his writings. He can see the promised land -- and can share his vision with the people -- but is frustrated that society seems to be journeying gradually further and further away from it.

My conclusion -- and I should preface this by saying I am an enormous admirer of Henry George and his work; I do not put myself in quite the same class - is that he had no theory and technique of personal and societal transformation, and therefore no real strategy for ushering in a Georgist society. One gets the impression that in his view we should just enact the right laws and the Georgist free society will not be long in arising.

But what if the process of societal transformation was entirely different? What if you could transform the "world" and individual lives in it, even if reality has not changed, and even if the "worlds" of others has not changed. What is the possibility that you could live in and experience, a kind of "kingdom of God" now, in the present, and seek to bring that world to others, to share in and experience? As a "Georgist" -- if the term were to remain - I could create a Georgist world for myself - a Georgist "lifestyle" if you will - and seek to encourage others to do the same, in their own way, at their own time.

This necessarily embraces the free will of the listener. The conversation is not a "make wrong" or "you must" conversation. Perhaps our biggest stumbling block (certainly one of mine) is recognising people's right to vote against, to reject, the idea of a Georgist society -- and not just their "legal" right, but also their "moral" right, to do so. Georgist conversation rarely shows up as an invitation to step into a new possibility, much more often as a "what's wrong" conversation, and usually "what's wrong" conversations are not personally empowering.

This shift in attitude is a part of the whole LandMark approach to life and the world. It is centered on the possibility of transformation - first, personal transformation, then societal. This is achieved by transformational experience, through a series of interactive seminars or programmes. There are no writings, no papers, no books. The whole process is centered on the transformational power of conversation, of the spoken word. And the key to spreading thoughts, ideas and possibilities is their distinction "Enrolment".

But the possibility of transformation, of entering a world of the new and undiscovered, requires one to give up a fixed idea of how it must be, what it must look like. One has to open oneself up. Think back, for example, to a time before you knew of George and Georgism. What was your world like? In what sense did your world have the possibility for something like George and Georgism? In what sense were you a "clearing" for George and Georgism to come into your life, your world.

If we are to go beyond Henry George and Georgism, we must each constitute ourselves as just such a "clearing" again, in which we can discover new worlds as yet unknown. And the process starts with you and me - with the individual willing to take a lead.