Hardback Price £24.95

  • ISBN: 9780911312799
  • Pages: 616pp
  • Full edition 2003 (orig. 1879)

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Author Details:

Born in Philadelphia in 1839, Henry George went on to San Francisco and became a newspaper editor who addressed the social problems of his day. On a visit to New York, he was shocked by the contrast between wealth and poverty. He resolved to find a solution, if he could. The result was Progress and Poverty, published in 1879, which is said to be the all-time best selling book on economics.

Full edition hardback

A hundred and twenty-five years separate the statements of Henry George and Mandela below. Despite the well meaning efforts of philanthropists, charities, governments and international agencies to root out poverty, the disparity remains. In fact, the gap between rich and poor continues to widen, even in the affluent West.

‘Today we live in a world that is divided. A world in which we have made great progress and advances in science and technology. But it is also a world where millions of children die because they have no access to medicines. We live in a world where knowledge and information have made enormous strides, yet millions of children are not in school…It is a world of great promise and hope. It is also a world of despair, disease and hunger.’
Nelson Mandela, 2005

‘This association of poverty with progress is the great enigma of our times. It is the central fact from which spring industrial, social and political difficulties that perplex the world, and with which statesmanship, philanthropy and education grapple in vain. From it come the clouds that overhang the future of the most progressive and self-reliant nations.’

‘To remove the fear of want, to give to all classes comfort and independence – this would be like giving water to a desert. Consider the possibilities if society gave opportunity to all. Factory workers are now turned into machines; children grow up in squalor, vice and ignorance. They need but the opportunity to bring forth powers of the highest order. Talents now hidden, virtues unsuspected, would come forth to make human life richer, fuller happier.

‘Political economy has been called the dismal science. As currently taught, it is indeed hopeless and despairing. Yet, in its proper symmetry, political economy is radiant with hope. When understood correctly, the laws governing the production and distribution of wealth demonstrate that poverty and injustice are not inevitable.’
Henry George, 1879

As Mandela also pointed out: ‘Poverty is not natural, it is man-made and can be overcome by the action of human beings’. But how?

The twentieth century was dominated by the Marxist and Socialist attempts to tackle the problem. While they can claim some success in mitigating the worst levels of deprivation, the general standard of living lagged far behind the market economies. While the Capitalist system can be said to have triumphed over the Socialist/Marxist in producing wealth, the benefits are not shared by all and a third of the human race lives in abject poverty still.

The unique feature of Progress and Poverty is that Henry George reveals the cause of poverty, which is man-made, as Mandela says. George shows how the cause can be removed by a simple tax reform. This reform could be introduced in incremental stages to allow time to adjust.

‘The main, underlying idea of Henry George … is an argument that makes a lot of sense.’
Joseph Stiglitz. Nobel Laureate and author of Globalization and Its Discontents