Review and Comments on film Inequality for All

Response to Inequality for All

The Georgist Gild  had great attendance for the March 20th, 2014 showing of the Robert Reich Film; Inequality for All. It was a big success.  What it proves, in fact, is that people are concerned with inequality and poverty. The movie illustrates the problems but leaves out the key root of it, which is access to Land. Georgists have an understanding of the causes and offer the solution.  This is Mike Curtis’s summary of it:

The primary message of the Robert Reich film, Inequality for All was that wages do not go up with the increase in productivity.  The rich get richer while the poor stay poor.  Have you ever heard of that before?  A rising tide does not raise wages.

How we got to that reality was — in the opinion of Robert Reich — was because we stopped raising the Minimum Wage, and we no longer gave labor unions the legal sanctions they had in the 60s.

Reich’s answer is raise the Min. Wage, give labor unions the power they once had, and invest in education.

Henry George saw this tendency in 1879 when he wrote Progress & Poverty.  The free land, which had given America the highest wages in the world, was about gone.  By 1890, After the Oklahoma land rush, it was officially gone.

We can see that an increase in the general level of education will increase productivity, but it won’t raise the number of people who are above average, and it won’t raise the general level of wages.

Productivity is four times what it was at the end of WWII, but the general level of wages has tended to remain the same.

We can raise the Minimum Wage to keep up with inflation, and require employers to pay for healthcare and retirement.  We can protect the right of labor unions to collective bargaining, and these are very helpful to workers, but none of those things will diminish unemployment, much less prevent recessions.

There is only one solution that will create jobs without causing a fall in productivity.  And that solution is the Single Tax on the value of land returned to the community at large.  It is only a penalty if you hold land idle and don’t have anyone living or working on it.

There is only one solution that will raise the general level of wages without increasing unemployment, and that is to apply the Single Tax to the entire country.

You don’t need to wait for the next class to be held in Arden, you can type: henrygeorge.org in your web browser, and take a course on line.

Mike Curtis