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28 Reviews
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February 21, 2011

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February 21, 2011

What is attractive about the Georgist economic paradigm is that it comports not only with all the textbook principles of sound economic theory, but it reflects as well a system of justice that is easily understood. The idea that we own what we make with our hands or minds and that which is given to us by nature is the birthright of all, and should be shared by all, restores to society a simple and clear system of justice. The Center for the Study of Economics is effective because it has the skill to use computers and available data to show how these ideas can be effectuated. Until the advent of computer power, such ideas needed to rely on rhetorical argument alone. And they were largely dormant for a century. This is now changing. And fast! I am proud to be a part of this movement.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have served not only as a board member, but have led conferences, spoken on countless occasions, researched and written widely, and have been closely involved in the advocacy of the Georgist idea. I've seen enormous growth in its interest and acceptance in the twenty years that I've been involved.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would find more means to solicit financial support for its work. Most people, if they understood its program, would support it whole-heartedly.

February 21, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 21, 2011

This organization is working for structural change that tackles the root issues of poverty and environmental degradation. Most policy tools fail because they do not address the problem at a deep enough level. keep up the great work CSE!! the next step is to start mobilizing a larger constituency base that can lean on decision makers.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

their testimonies to the tax reform commission in philadelphia.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

hire someone with social movement theory and campaign development expertise

February 21, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 21, 2011

While trendy issues come and go, the Center for the Study of Economics (CSE) tackles an issue in Anglo-American law that is as old (and as difficult) as the Enclosure Acts: how the monopolization and under-taxation of land creates housing bubbles, drags down economies, creates unemployment and lowers wages.

Educating both the public and government officials has been the task of 32 organizations in the United States (including our own) and of dozens more in other countries, but, in the past three decades, only the work of the CSE has led to actual policy changes, followed by positive economic results. Over 20 Pennsylvania taxing jurisdictions (most of them cities) have shifted their property taxes to fall more on land values and less on improvements, and all that had done so at least three years ago enjoyed construction surges that greatly exceeded trends in nearby, comparable cities. Home owners in every city saved (compared to the cost of conventional property taxes), and mortgaged home-owners saved even more.

Altoona, PA has just become the first city with no municipal or school property taxes on buildings whatsover, and took this step based on the analysis provided by CSE.

CSE takes a rather dry, pragmatic and analytical approach to this reform compared to the other 31 organizations, which tend to be more ideological and passionate. However, the dry approach is working, and the rest of us would not have evidence of how effective this approach to land reform is if not for the accomplishments of CSE.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing their presentations and seeing city after city improve its economic vitality after following their advice.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have them hire someone who does nothing but organize constituencies, publicize results and raise money. Their staff is overly focused on getting results rather than promoting those results. I don't think they have a talent for self-promotion, and I don't know that one can keep an adequate focus on the task before them while constantly shifting gears between production and promotion.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

What is unique about this organization?

It tackles one of the oldest, most badly ignored and most fundamentally important justice issues, and it gets results. It is quietly succeeding where Adam Smith, William Penn, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Henry George, Tom Johnson (mayor of Cleveland), Fiorella La Guardia (mayor of New York) and Winston Churchill all failed, and where other organizations (including my own), dedicated to the same reforms, do not accomplish change.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

February 20, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 20, 2011

I heard of the Center for the Study of Economics and its sibling the Henry George Foundation of America when I was a teenager. I had read Henry George's "Progress and Poverty," and been persuaded; my father spotted an ad in "The New Republic" from CSE/HGFA. I've been in touch ever since. The CSE has been helpful in doing studies and making presentations, causing over a dozen towns in Pennsylvania to switch from a conventional property tax to a two-rate tax. In some cases, they also cut wage taxes. It isn't obvious to most people why this matters. Feeding the hungry is clearly good, but reforming taxes matters in the long run because it enables people to feed themselves. We should tax land, which is not produced by human effort, instead of buildings that people work to erect, and instead of the wages that they earn. The CSE educates people about this, and performs studies on the results when this kind of tax reform is at least partially implemented. The CSE is very cost effective; on a budget of about $100,000 per year, it has helped transfer millions of taxes off the backs of wage-earners, tenants, and homeowners onto landholders, who are on teh average richer.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Getting Georgist tax reform on the agenda in a number of towns, educating councilmen, assessors, neighborhood association leaders, clergymen, and others about what should be done, and why it matters.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would make it much larger; I would have hundreds of thousands of people informed about its work, and demanding Georgist tax reform from their elected leaders. There actually was a situation like that in the late 19th century.

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