Prosper Australia

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ProsperLogo+Tag web200.png
Founded 1890 (as the Single Tax League of Victoria)
Type NGO
Focus Land economics, economic rent, public finance, Georgism
Location
Product Progress magazine
Method Education, publications, submissions, research
Subsidiaries Earthsharing Australia, Land Values Research Group
Revenue
Membership, subscriptions, donations, events, grants*
Slogan This land is your land.
Website www.prosper.org.au
  • Henry George Foundation (Australia)

Prosper Australia is a non-profit, privately funded Georgist association incorporated in the State of Victoria, Australia. Founded in 1890 as the Single Tax League of Victoria, it was later known as the Henry George League of Victoria, then as Tax Reform Australia, before adopting its present name in 2000. Its mission, as stated on its website, is to "To replace all existing taxes with an annual charge on government granted privileges and natural resources, including land" and this will primarily be achieved by "educating society in economics"[1] Its journal, Progress, has been published since 1904.

History[edit]

Activities[edit]

Education[edit]

At its Melbourne, Victoria premises, Prosper Australia maintains a reception desk, a bookshop, a library, a seminar room, and office facilities for use by staff and volunteers. Occasional public presentations, delivered by members, staff or guests, are held in the seminar room or at external venues.[citation needed]

Foreign academics and activists, with varying degrees of sympathy for the Georgist cause, have visited Melbourne and other Australian cities at the invitation of Prosper Australia. American financial economist Michael Hudson,[2] Jeffery J. Smith,[3]Alanna Hartzok, Frank de Jong and Fred Foldvary are some of the guests who have visited Australia at the invitation of the organisation.[4]

Publications[edit]

Progress, the official journal of Prosper Australia, has been published continuously by volunteer editors, sometimes monthly and sometimes bimonthly, since May 1904. The 1000th issue of Progress was dated November/December 1993. While the organisation has changed its name several times, the journal has retained its original title. The inaugural issue was four pages in length and during the first decade after inception, the number of pages grew to 16, including advertisements. The journal eventually reached a guaranteed circulation of 20,000[5] and in 2014 consists of about 36 pages; however, its circulation is greatly reduced to several hundred readers.[citation needed]

Other Prosper Australia publications include articles and letters in mainstream and alternative media, occasional booklets and pamphlets, submissions to public inquiries, and frequent postings on in-house websites.[citation needed]

Research[edit]

The "Land Values Research Group" (LVRG), which was founded in 1943 as a separate association, is now part of Prosper Australia, but maintains its own website. Its initial research focus was the influence of municipal rating policy on economic activity, especially construction.[6] Such research became more difficult to conduct in the 1990s, as amalgamations of Victorian local governments reduced both the number of municipalities and the variety of their rating systems.[7]

The LVRG claimed to possess evidence that the land market is a leading economic indicator—in particular, it stated that a high ratio of property sales to GDP is a warning of an economic bubble,[8] and that recessions tend to be preceded by falling land prices, which in turn are preceded by falling sales.[9] Both the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and the early 1990s recession were, to some extent, predicted by members of the LVRG.[10]

Outreach[edit]

Earthsharing Australia is the name used by Prosper Australia for activities involving outreach to activists and young people.[citation needed] These activities include:

The title "Earthsharing", which is meant to evoke "responsibility to share access to natural resources equitably",[12] was trademarked in 1995,[13] while Prosper Australia was still known as "Tax Reform Australia". The "Earthsharing Australia" website, online since 1996,[14] is older than the "Prosper Australia" website.

Funding and material support[edit]

In addition to membership dues, magazine subscriptions, donations and occasional cover charges for events, Prosper Australia receives a sustaining grant from the Henry George Foundation of Australia (HGFA), which was founded in 1928 by the osteopath Dr. Edgar William Culley (1871–1958), who endowed the Foundation with a large donation to fund public education in Georgist economics.[15]

Prosper Australia's office accommodation in Melbourne is provided by Henry George Club Ltd, which was founded in 1918 by Royden Powell and Walter Burley Griffin to house the Victorian Georgist movement. The Club became operational in 1920, with Culley as one of its directors.[16]

Confusion with unrelated organisations[edit]

Social Credit[edit]

The Georgist movement, by definition, believes that the economic rent of land should be captured for public purposes using the power of taxation. The Social Credit movement, from its foundation, has opposed any form of taxation of real property. Georgism and Social Credit are therefore fundamentally irreconcilable, and neither Prosper Australia nor any other Georgist organisation can be classified under Social Credit.

In 1971 the Australian League of Rights, a Social Credit-influenced organisation, was accused of trying to infiltrate the Australian Country Party.[17] The Federal deputy leader of the party at that time was Ian Sinclair. In 1996 Mr. Sinclair told a journalist: "What bothered us about the League was its racial bigotry and its strange economic theories of George Henry..." [18] Thus he confused Social Credit founder Clifford Douglas with Henry George, got the latter's name back-to-front, and possibly also confused the League of Rights with the Henry George League.[19]

Such confusion was further encouraged by Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, whose much-cited book on minor political parties in Australia, published in 1998, incorrectly placed the Commonwealth Land Party, the Henry George Justice Party and the Henry George Party under the "Social Credit" heading.[20]

Tax Reform Ltd.[edit]

In the mid-1990s, while Prosper Australia was known as Tax Reform Australia, the domain name "taxreform.org.au" was claimed by an unrelated organisation called "Tax Reform Ltd.", which advocated a cascading turnover tax to replace all other taxes. This proposal, renamed "EasyTax", became the tax policy of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party for the 1998 Federal election. Prosper Australia opposes any such tax[21] and disclaims any association with Hanson, her party or its policies.[22]

In Brisbane, Australia on 4 October 1997, Hanson's supporters held a so-called "Prosper Australia Rally",[23][24] but this was unrelated to the organisation Prosper Australia, which was not known by that name until 2000.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Our Mission "Prosper Australia". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  2. ^ Nature and Society Forum (Canberra), ""What's on". Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  3. ^ The Geonomist, vol.11, no.4 (Spring 2003).
  4. ^ Past Events "Prosper Australia". Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Progress, No.1061 (Centenary Issue, May–June 2004), p.5.
  6. ^ "LVRG Archive". Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  7. ^ P. Anderson, Victoria's Municipal Rating System (Melbourne: Australian Institute of Urban Studies [Victoria Division], 1996).
  8. ^ Bryan Kavanagh, "The Coming Kondratieff Crash: Rent-seeking, income distribution & the business cycle", Geophilos (London), No.01(2), Autumn 2001, pp. 84–93.
  9. ^ Putland, G.R. (1 June 2009). "From the subprime to the terrigenous: Recession begins at home". LVRG Blog. 
  10. ^ "LVRG Scrapbook". Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "Speed renting may be just the right move for homeless". The Age (Melbourne). 20 September 2008. 
  12. ^ "Introduction". Earthsharing Australia. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  13. ^ Australian Trade Mark 678016, 15 November 1995 
  14. ^ "About". Earthsharing Australia. Retrieved 9 December 2009.  The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine confirms the presence of the site since April 1997.
  15. ^ "History of the HGFA". Henry George Foundation of Australia. Retrieved 9 December 2009. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Australia A–L". School of Cooperative Individualism. Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  17. ^ The Age (Melbourne). 9 August 1971. p. 3, 9. 
  18. ^ Greason, David (3 March 1997). "The League of Rights: a reply to Brockett". Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History. 
  19. ^ Lafayette, Cf. Lev (25 January 2010). "Education for Politicians". Tax Reform Australia. 
  20. ^ Jaensch, Dean; Mathieson, David (1998). A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. p. 140. 
  21. ^ Putland, G.R. (7 November 2005). "Critique of the Debits Tax and Turnover Tax". Prosper Australia. 
  22. ^ "About Prosper". Prosper Australia. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  23. ^ Sunday Mail (Brisbane). 5 October 1997. 
  24. ^ "Archives". News of the Day. 10 October 1997. 
  25. ^ Cf. Progress (Melbourne), Nos. 1039 (Jul.–Aug., 2000) and 1040 (Sep.–Oct., 2000).

External links[edit]