Pages I refer to often

  • Income Distribution in the US
    How is our income distributed? Well, it is pretty concentrated. How concentrated? Take a look.
  • Progress and Poverty, by Henry George
    Here are links to online editions of George's landmark book, Progress & Poverty, including audio and a number of abridgments -- the shortest is 30 words! I commend this book to your attention, if you are concerned about economic justice, poverty, sprawl, energy use, pollution, wages, housing affordability. Its observations will change how you approach all these problems. A mind-opening experience!
  • Wealth Concentration Tables from 2004 SCF: Bottom 90%, Next 9% and Top 1%
    Aggregated data by net worth quantile, for various kinds of wealth. With calculations you won't find anywhere else!
  • Wealth Concentration Tables from 2004 SCF: 50-40-5-4-1
    These tables show how concentrated the ownership of various kinds of assets are. With calculations you won't find anywhere else! This version is less aggregated: Bottom 50%, Next 40%, Next 5%, Next 4% and Top 1%.


Books I Value

  • Henry George: Progress and Poverty: An inquiry into the cause of industrial depressions and of increase of want with increase of wealth ... The Remedy
    This is perhaps the most important book ever written on the subjects of poverty, political economy, how we might live together in a society dedicated to the ideals Americans claim to believe are self-evident. It will provide you new lenses through which to view many of our most serious problems and how we might go about solving them: poverty, sprawl, long commutes, despoilation of the environment, housing affordability, wealth concentration, income concentration, concentration of power, low wages, etc. Read it online, or in hardcopy.
  • Bob Drake's abridgement of Henry George's original: Progress and Poverty: Why There Are Recessions and Poverty Amid Plenty -- And What To Do About It!
    This is a very readable thought-by-thought updating of Henry George's longer book, written in the language of a newsweekly. A fine way to get to know Henry George's ideas. Available online at and

Where Else Might You Look?

Sites I enjoy

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« Tishman Speyer Surrenders Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper | Main | The Great 18-year Real Estate Cycle »

January 26, 2010


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"Whatever be the increase of wealth, the masses will still be ground toward the point of bare subsistence"

Indeed. This is the core of "seeing the cat" -- the more productive we become, the more this wealth is plowed into real estate valuation. And not the fixed capital "housing", but the exact opposite, the intangible land usage rights.

The more "affordable" we try to make housing, via tax breaks, low interest rates, or more lenient lending standards, the more unaffordable housing becomes!

I first saw the problem living in the dotcom era in the Bay Area. I saw old, crappy apartments that had been around since before I had been born quickly skyrocket in value simply due to the influx of highly-paid dotcommers.

This struck me as unusual, the landlords were getting something for nothing, but this was prior to finding the Georgist argument, so I could not conceptualize anything other than private profit from public value, and that was perfectly normal and to be expected in anything under a socialist, central-planned economy.

Then, later, I found Dr Gaffney's "The Corruption of Economics" and everything became rather clear. Our system is horrifically compromised, and quite possibly intentionally so, by the conflation of land with capital.

It is quite frustrating seeing the problem, knowing the solution, yet unable to win converts. I try, but I have zero expectation that the split tax will gain any headway.

If anything, we are heading toward a worsening of the situation. The teabaggers think low taxes are the solution, but if my thinking is correct, low taxes will just result in higher land values and we will be back where we started but with less government services.


Keep bothering, please.

Nicholas D. Rosen

I don't often comment, but I do read your blog, and sometimes I've linked to it on mine.

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