Is there a movement?

So here we are, slouching to the close of eight years of unmitigated political disaster, bogged down in two theatres of conflict, watching the economic ball drop. For Georgists the downturn is bitterly sweet in the way it confirms our analysis, but it’s bitter, anyway, for everybody. The steady stream of bad news might explain the rather gripy tone of conversations that have recently been popping around the Geoist aether: “Eh, Georgist movement, what Georgist movement? We don’t have a movement; we just have a bunch of aging club members — and they might not even want the club to get bigger!” There may, in some circles, be an element of truth to that. Nevertheless, it occurs to me that people, among whom Georgists probably should include themselves, have gotten so in the habit of complaining about the constant stream of bad news that they (we) have forgotten to look on the bright side of… well, pretty much anything.

I submit that we do have a Georgist movement. The articles in this issue testify to the healthy variety of vectors along which it operates: economic, philosophical, historical and topical. It might have scandalously squandered its resources; its organizational linchpins might be firmly cemented right smack in their own way; it might be uncoordinated and snipy; it might have overwhelming forces arrayed against it — but it exists. It is maintained, and, against all odds, it slowly grows. Gordon Hoover observes herein that in the hard sciences, good ideas keep resurfacing until they are accepted. He laments that things are not that way in political economy — but I’m not so sure. If the ideas are there — if you can find them on Wikipedia, if you can take an online course in them, if somebody, somewhere holds an annual conference to discuss and demonstrate them — and they are; newcomers are discovering them every day via those avenues and others — then there is a movement, regardless of whether the mainstream deigns to give it any notice. I think that’s worth remembering. I also think that, even if I might personally think that some of my colleagues’ efforts are just too silly for words (and they might think the same of mine), every single bit of sincere work for the Georgist cause deserves the benefit of the doubt, and our appreciation.

— Lindy Davies

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