August 2010 Archives

Dr Tony Vickers attended the Green Economics Institute's annual conference at Mansfiled College Oxford on 30th July, to present a paper jointly written by his two PhD supervisors and himself which drew heavily on his dissertation. This was an opportunity to publicise the PLRG among people who were thought likely to be sympathetic to the hypothesis that Land Value can be mapped and that Land Value Taxation is Green.

Although only able to attend one of three days of the Conference, Tony gained a good impression of the atmosphere. Great enthusiasm, many young interns from all over the world with determination to study, refreshingly different perspective on the world that challenged many assumptions.

The Proceedings of this Conference should soon be published on the GEI website. Tony has been invited to submit an extended version of the conference paper for the International Journal of Green Economics, which is in preparation and will be subject to peer review.

Is the word "landvaluescape" familiar to you? If so, it will almost certainly be for one of two reasons: (1) you have come across Tony Vickers in recent years, whose research website this is; (2) you have been interested in Land Value Taxation and the formation of a group of researchers and practising professionals in a variety of disciplines calling themselves The Professional Land Reform Group (PLRG). You may even be a member of PLRG.

Earlier this year, Tony became Hon Sec of PLRG and his first job in that capacity has been to establish its programme of activities, its website and a newsletter - which will, in this day and age, be dependent on the website. Note that the PLRG site is under development: this isn't it, yet.

What better than to call PLRG's newsletter "The Landvaluescape"! It gets over the problem of having to initially use Tony's personal website as the PLRG's, which was confusing some PLRG members. It also helps make PLRG and Landvaluescape more global and comprehensive in reach - just as the interest in Land Value Capture as a subject for professional discourse is becoming stronger and more global.

So while the website is under development to meet its wider function, this is the first of a re-launched "Landvaluescape News" since Tony finished his PhD fieldwork in 2004. By coincidence, that was the year that PLRG was conceived.

Tony's thesis on Value Mapping UK is now published. Some of you contributed to his Policy Delphi, which helped develop his ideas on the linkages between mapping and land taxes.

If, after reading this issue, you decide that you don't want to hear any more about Landvaluescape, just email Tony with "No More Landvaluescape" in the subject line.

If however, you would like to introduce a colleague to Landvaluescape, please send him/her the link and copy the email to

Our aim is to explore ways of "revealing the landvaluescape" in both the graphic and intellectual sense, so that it can be treated more seriously by policy-makers in an economic sense, as a sustainable source of public revenue. We believe that if the world is to avoid Global Recession as a result of massive spending cuts in the 'rich north' (that is sounding odd these days!) then there needs to be 'better' use of revenues from the economic rent of land and other renewable resources. The problem is (besides the politics): how do we do that?

A few snips from our more recent archive, with links:-

 Property Tax Reform in China - a fruitful area for study, also the topic of the next PLRG talk, on Thursday 16th September (6pm) at London South Bank University (Room B172), by PLRG Chair Dave Wetzel. Among the leading centres of research into land value capture in China is the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, in Cambridge MA USA. Several PLRG members are Lincoln research fellows.

Change of Government, change of mould? Any mention of Mansion Tax or Site Value Rating that were both in the Liberal Democrats' manifesto has been excised from the Coalition's programme - so far. But a Motion to be debated at next month's Lib Dem Conference in Liverpool will call on the Party's Ministers to seek research funding from Government specifically to study how to use land values to enable further decreases in taxes on earnings. Three Lib Dem members of the Cabinet are signed up supporters of the Party's Land Tax campaign group (for the time being anyway).

New Labour in Opposition, change of mind? Having studied but rejected any Land Tax several times in 13 years, also criticised the Lib Dems last year for suggesting the Mansion Tax, suddenly one Labour leadership contender - David Miliband - has come out in favour. 25 Labour MPs, sponsored by the Cooperative Party, are nominally signed up to a full Land Value Tax, as is the first ever Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. The prospects for LVT in this Parliament are set out by Mark Braund for readers of the "Renegade Economist" website.

As Australia goes to the polls this weekend, in an election triggered by the previous Labour PM's insistence on higher resource taxation, read what the Australian Government's Finance officials say about LVT. The issue could prove decisive.

If you have any news items for Landvaluescape, please let Tony have them by the end of this month if possible. We aim to produce a regular monthly issue, by email only (probably as either a PDF or HTML). We are currently holding bi-monthly talks at LSBU and hope to organise a one-day conference late next year.

When the website is overhauled, we will be seeking subscriptions again, at the rate £20/year. This will cover the cost of a personal webpage or link from the site to to a URL of choice.

We also seeking ideas and funding for research in this field, involving our members. Almost all our members are active in academia, or in private practice or public service in a variety of professions and organisations.

The next meeting of PLRG, on Thursday 16th September (6pm) at London South Bank University, will hear from its Chairman Dave Wetzel about Land Value Taxation in China. Dave has been invited several times to China to lecture in recent years at conferences and meet with public officials to discuss LVT. They are interested in ensuring that the benefits of new urban infrastructure are 'recycled' as public revenue.

I was already aware that there was a profound impact of Henry George's ideas in China a hundred years ago. In addition to the fluke that the barren rock of Hong Kong, occupied in the mid-nineteenth century (before HG wrote Progress & Poverty) led to it having almost no freehold land - and hence ensured that most of the wealth arising from its prosperity under British rule was recovered by the Crown and helped keep other taxes to a minimum - there was this later but more direct influence on China's emerging nationalists.

You might wish to read a fascinating article about how it came about that nationalists fleeing mainland China brought LVT with them - and what happened next - in an article published in America 10 years ago.

If you intend to come to Dave Wetzel's talk, please email Tony Vickers, PLRG Hon Sec. Space is limited

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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