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Vivienne Westwood and Her Cure for the Boom/Bust Cycle

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

I want to pay tribute to Dame Vivienne Westwood, who passed away at the age of 81 on 29 December.

Her passing received wide media coverage.

The global icon was responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream, helping launch and clothe the Sex Pistols, and having a tremendous influence on how thousands of men and women dressed throughout the years.

However, Westwood was, at heart, an activist.

In her autobiography, Vivienne Westwood, written with Ian Kelly, she said:

The way I thought about “punk” politics was this: at the time, we were just becoming aware of these terrible politicians torturing people…
I’m thinking of Pinochet, for instance … 
The idea was that kids would try to put a spoke in the wheel of this terrible killing machine. I wanted to confront the rotten status quo through the way I dressed and dressed others…
I just use my fashion as an excuse, to say what I think about politically and culturally.

So why mention her here?

Well, despite global media coverage of her passing, there’s not been one mention that Vivienne Westwood was, in fact, a Georgist.

Yes, Westwood supported the ideas of Henry George, the 19th century political economist who electrified the world when he published his magnum opus Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth in 1879.

The book started as a potential magazine article written to address the paradox of why poverty rises in tandem with progress.

When it was published 17 months later — during an industrial depression — George not only identified the underlying cause of the boom-and-bust cycle, he also provided a practical remedy.

Put simply, tax land — not man.

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