Trickle-Up Economics Report Launch


Speakers: Dr. Gavin Putland & Dr. Polly Cleveland
Date: Wednesday, April 18
Time: 6pm
Location:  Prosper Australia Level 1, 64 Harcourt Street, North Melbourne

Company tax cuts are favoured by government, wage rises by the opposition. We all want a vibrant economy and the dignity of work.

What if there was a policy transition that turned the current reform agenda on its head? A prosperous society where the drivers of growth come bubbling up from the widest possible base…

Join us for the launch of Trickle-Up Economics: Assessing the impact of privatized land rent on economic growth. Essential reading for those who believe a fairer and more efficient economy is possible.

This sorely-needed report investigates how the GDP pie is split between the factors of production. Mainstream economics focusses on labour versus capital with barely a mention of the need for somewhere to do business – land.

This report reveals how Australia’s land boom has led to significant changes in who gets what.

The report is authored by Dr. Gavin Putland, former director of the Land Values Research GroupDr. Putland came to the study of economics from an engineering background. His work with the LVRG focussed on identifying land-based statistics that serve as “barometers” of the wider economy. 

We are very excited also to bring Dr. Polly Cleveland to Melbourne for the first time.

Dr. Cleveland is Adjunct Professor of Economics at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Economist and long-time activist for social justice, she is the Executive Director of the Association for Georgist Studies (AGS), named for the nineteenth-century American economist and reformer, Henry George.

Dr. Cleveland received a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984. Her dissertation, Consequences and Causes of Unequal Distribution of Wealth, addressed George’s basic questions in a modern model, showing how unequal distribution of wealth lowers economic productivity and growth.

Her website is, which contains her publications and her blog, Econamici.

Sydney-siders can hear Dr. Cleveland deliver the Walsh Memorial Lecture at Macquarie University this Wednesday, April 11. 


  1. Stephen Morris18-04-2018

    May I suggest that a distinction needs to be drawn between the relatively large number of moderately wealthy and the small number of VERY wealthy.

    Most of Bill Gates’s wealth or Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth is capitalised rent . . . and it’s NOT land rent!!

    The problem with land taxes is that the are hugely regressive.

    Consider two cases.

    Tech billionaire A has wealth of $50 billion of which $1 million is land.

    Struggling first home buyer B has wealth of $0.75 million, comprising 1 million of land, $0.5 million of debt, 0.25 million of other property.

    Let’s apply a 1% pa tax on land.

    Tech billionaire A pays $10,000 a year, or 0.00002% of his wealth.

    Struggling first home buyer B pays $10,000 a year, or 1.33% of his wealth.

    Why limit rent taxes to land. Why not tax ALL rent, either:

    a) through an explicit rent tax as proposed by the The Henry Review; or

    b) indirectly through an annual tax on NET wealth, as the Swiss cantons do.

    Wealth subject to the tax includes (see not just real estate but:

    – immovable assets (real estate);

    – movable assets (securities and other investments);

    – cash, gold, precious metals;

    – cash value of life assurance policies;

    – shares in undistributed inheritances;

    – business capital, shares in a partnership; and

    – motor vehicles, boats, etc.

    Pension funds are not considered as assets, and all liabilities can be deducted in order to determine net wealth. In some cantons there is an allowance depending on the status of the taxpayer (married, single, number of dependants) while in others an allowance is made in the tax rate.

    Taxpayers must declare worldwide assets belonging to all immediate family members. Foreign real estate and qualifying business interest are exempt but made be taken into account in determining the tax rate. Liabilities are allocated according to the location of gross assets.

    Typical assessments on CHF1,000,000 owned by a married couple are (from the same source):

    Zurich 0.188%

    Basel City [2010 rates] 0.58%

    Geneva approximately 0.5%

  2. Karl Fitzgerald
    Karl Fitzgerald19-04-2018

    Hi Stephen, I’m sorry you have that impression. Please read the Total Resource Rents of Oz. Our next edition of Progress Magazine discusses monopoly rents in a wider scope. Please try out a trial subscription here. I always enjoy your commentary on macro.

    In saying that, I imagine Catherine’s op-ed led you to that thinking. We only focus on land rents in this report as it is incredibly difficult to get the relevant data for state resource rents, spectrum etc back to 1910, to maintain consistency.

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