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Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry in the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth... The Remedy Paperback – December 12, 1997
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George's prescription, to fund government from land rents, or land value tax, had been espoused by many classical liberals, including Locke, Smith, Mill, Jefferson, Penn, Franklin, and the French "laissez faire" physiocrats. The most concise argument predating George was put forward in Tom Paine's essay, "Agrarian Justice." George's contribution, then, was not the idea of taxing land, but the economic analysis and compelling arguments for doing so. Similarly, many subsequent leaders and economists have agreed that land value tax is the best tax (and are listed on the earthharing website), but have not pursued the issue with the vigor shown by George.
George debunked several myths that are still propagated today, such as that population growth causes of poverty, that it is natural for capital to employ labor, that government control can effectively remedy poverty, and, most of all, that the economic dynamics governing capital can be blindly applied to land and natural resources.
Although it is clearly and logically written, the sentences are sometimes long and complex, requiring the reader to go back and parse them carefully. It is therefore a rather heavy read. The tone of the book is unique in that it is passionately assertive without comporomising its rigorous logic.
But for most modern readers, Henry George's original text is not easy going. It assumes a large vocabulary and includes enough classical references that recent editions have included an extensive glossary of mythological and historical terms. What Drake has done with this modernization is to make George's thoughts more accessible to today's audience, who will find that by understanding them they can much better comprehend the issues that affect the lives of us all.
Several of the Henry George Schools have begun using this book, with very encouraging results.
last half of the book first. Begin with Chapter 25, "The True Remedy." Once you've read through to the conclusion, the fire in your belly ought to be sufficient to carry you through the fine points of economic argument contained in the first twenty-four chapters. You won't be disappointed. As Bob Drake, Editor, notes in his preface, "Those who pick up this book are likely to share some concern about the problem of poverty; those who finish it may also find some cause for hope....It
was, and still is, a plan for peace, prosperity, equality, and justice."
The book's subtitle -- An Inquiry in the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth... The Remedy -- describes it beautifully: why we have the ups and downs of our economy, which cause incredible human misery, and why we have increasing poverty at the same time that there is hugely increasing wealth.
And Henry George provides a logical and workable -- even elegant -- remedy, one which will untangle many of the perverse incentives we cope with today: we say we value work, but we tax it. We say we want to promote sales, but we tax them. We say we want to encourage entrepreneurial effort, but we allow huge barriers designed to discourage the person with an idea from being able to execute it. We say we want a society that naturally creates more jobs, but we allow a relative few of us to pocket the funds which would create those jobs. We say we value initiative, but we reward the "dog in the manger" far more than we reward the laborer. We say that urban blight is a bad thing, but our tax code encourages it. We say we dislike urban sprawl, and long commutes, and low wages -- but we've failed to implement the simple tax reform that will correct these ills. We work longer hours than our counterparts in other countries, and have less to show for it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit of a flog really, written only a little after their Civil War the writer, although one that really did not miss a single opportunity to support his case has about it a... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ray
This excellent treatise on economics is the basis for the principle of "full value land taxation" implemented by California Treasurer Ivy Baker Priest (1967-1975). Read morePublished 11 months ago by John Stephens
I just don't think Henry George's thinking is valid at all.Published 16 months ago by Todd B. Marshall
Like another poster recommeded.....full and edited version available - Online Library of Liberty - with amazing introduction and background
Henry George wrote over... Read more
The blue print for anyone who wants to understand Justice in Economics, profound and comprehensive.Published 20 months ago by James Webster