May. 23rd, 2017

To continue with the book launch for RENT UNMASKED: Essays in Honor of Mason Gaffney, Professor Nicolaus Tideman spoke, first about Chapter Twelve, "The Cries of the Wild," by Peter Smith. Smith says that we should collect rent for all uses of natural opportunities, and that agricultural subsidies lead to the farming of marginal land, and hence the destruction of wilderness. We should have appropriate regulation; mad cow disease was the result of feeding cattle parts of sheep carcasses, especially neural tissues infected with prions.

Then Professor Tideman spoke about his own contribution to the book, Chapter Fourteen, "The Needed Moral Revolution." The first moral revolution in the past couple of centuries was against slavery. The second, when he was growing up in the 1950's, was to extend rights to minorities and women. Now, rights are being extended to people with same-sex romantic attraction, very different from twenty years ago. The next needed moral revolution, like that against slavery, involves property, recognizing that the Earth belongs equally to all. International and intergenerational equity are required, as the only path to a peaceful world.

He spoke of how slavery ended in the U.S. in the 1740's, all colonies had slaves (more in some than in others). A Quaker named John Woolman went around convincing a few people, and then a few more, in Pennsylvania and then in other colonies. Dolley Madison's family freed its slaves in 1786, and became rather poor as a result.

The Quakers ended up saying, "You can't be a good Quaker if you own slaves." And so the idea spread.

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