Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Progress and Poverty” as Want to Read:
Progress and Poverty
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Progress and Poverty

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  336 ratings  ·  45 reviews
This classic work is an enquiry into the cause of industrial depressions and the persistence of poverty amid advancing wealth. Published in 1879, it was admired and advocated by great minds such as Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Leo Tolstoy and Sun Yat-sen in China.
Paperback, 598 pages
Published December 1st 1996 by Robert Shackelford Publisher (first published 1879)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Progress and Poverty, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Progress and Poverty

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  336 ratings  ·  45 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Progress and Poverty
Jennifer Foshee
Jul 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Left vs Right, Communism vs Capitalism, Marx vs Hayek -- this is the essential argument that has driven our global discussions and conflicts for the past century or two. The thing is, both sides are half-right, and both sides are half-wrong, ironically because both make the same essential mistake -- the failure to recognize that Land and Capital are two *very* different means of production.

Henry George saw the third way, and shows us how we can build a society that values both economic liberty A
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tolstoy believed Henry George would "usher in an epoch." Mark Twain proselytized for the cause, and Einstein, Aldous Huxley, and Milton Friedman have praised his ideas. John Dewey said, "It would require less than the fingers of the two hands to enumerate those who, from Plato down, rank with Henry George among the world's social philosophers."

That said, economic thought has made tremendous progress since this book was published. Keep that in mind in the early chapters. I rate this book highly
Brian Ross
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was a phenomenon in and beyond its time. Written in 1879, it is a book on political economy, specifically exploring why poverty not only remains but actually seems to increase, as societies become more wealthy. It is a work of logical precision yet leavened and enlivened with passion.In arguing his case, George incorporates economics, social philosophy, history, literary references, and commentary. In reading this I was reminded of my prejudices: assuming that "modern, progressive" thi ...more
Deborah Garvin
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: High School Students, Adults, anyone interested in Economics
Recommended to Deborah by: Dr. Cay Hehner, Ph D.
Not sure how this website is set up, but Progress and Poverty, an economic blueprint was written by Henry George in 1880, it has been reviewed, edited, and reprinted, with the latest being 2003.

Progress and Poverty speaks on much of what we see today, why it's happening, and a possible remedy for what it describes as the main problem detrimental to maintaining a politically vialable society. The epidemic of Poverty discussed in Progress and Poverty takes an analytical look at the political econo
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book. Fundamentally reworks an interpretation of Adam Smith which is surprisingly compatible with Mengerian economics-- that the value of land's production (the only thing that really determines interest, besides labor invested in creating capital) works itself into an increasing proportion of the good's price over time, because the increased productive efficiency of the denser population with land increases the quantity of wages, but the increased efficiency is partially absorbed in ...more
Eric Ruark
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read book for anyone who is even remotely politically aware today. Henry George could have been writing about our time when corporations like WalMart are making billions and their laborers are on food stamps.
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Still insightful today, Henry George's economic classic starts with a central puzzle; why, when unemployment increases, do interest rates drop?
He startlingly sees a natural alliance between the Wage-earner and the Capitalist, and makes a good case for it. And that's just the beginning of this book's points. Worth reading in 2011 for policy-makers and for the rest of us who have to live in the world those policy-makers make.
Otto Lehto
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If, instead of the red flags of Marx and Lenin, the people of Russia, China and Cuba had aggregated underneath the earthen banner of Georgism, 20th century would look very different. Had people only understood that social justice requires not only equal access to land and other natural resources but a progressive free market society in which the free endeavours of man can be pursued unhindered, the institutional excesses of state socialism might have been averted.

Progress and Poverty was a best
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this looking to understand HG's proposal as it relates to speculation/vacant lots/abandoned buildings in urban settings. I wasn't expecting to get such an eye-opening treatise on societal progress and disparities in wealth (although maybe the name should've clued me off). I highly recommend this - it's well written and very easy to follow (there's a little bit of drudging through 19th c. style but not too bad). HG starts to wander towards the end - I think reading the first 2/3 of the boo ...more
Kenny Guzman
Oct 16, 2014 marked it as to-read
I picked up this book at a Occupy Wall St movement rally back in 2011. They had tables lined up in different sections of the park, with crates full of books! Felt like a kid walking through toys'r'us for the first time. The spot basically looked like a library inside of zuccotti park. Picked up few books but this one book here, I was amazed to read Einsteins review on the back of it ; told myself, I want in. Look forward to delving into each page and learning its relevance to our universal dispa ...more
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Paradigm shifting stuff. Once you read it, you'll never see the world the same again. A work of genius.
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. I still remember when I first got ahold of a copy. I was in my uncle's study. He cannot walk very well, and so there are piles of books all around his desk. As I was looking through maybe the dozenth pile, I found a non-descript red book with black binding, the title faded with age. I'm glad that that was the book I took home because in it were ideas that I found so compelling I would make it my life's goal to help realise them.

The central idea of Progress and Poverty
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Some people engage in sexual sadomasochism, whilst I prefer an intellectual one. Henry is of course a progressive, and apart from the slight tendency to go off on a tandem, the book makes lots of sense. So, following in the steps of going off on a tandem, the past 500 years of human history is the repetition of the present reality. Few usurp everything, and let the rest of us to be slaves, then they call it democracy, opportunity, hard work or whatever else nice sounding name they can come up wi ...more
Brent Ranalli
The masterpiece of a wildly under-rated thinker. Every educated person ought to be acquainted with George's core ideas, which stand up well against the test of time (unlike, say, those of Marx, who can go take a bath). There are many abridged editions, which are probably fine for the casual reader. But even to read the long original is a pleasure, he writes with such polish and passion.
Sep 03, 2009 is currently reading it
Radical. Old ideas on economics and taxation who's time may have finally come.
Feb 21, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: skimmed-a-bit
taking a class at the Henry George School for free... interesting concepts...
Kevin Carson
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The treatment of Ricardian differential rent -- differentiated by location rather than fertility in his formulation -- is excellent. His "natural productivity" theory of interest is nonsense.
Eugene Kernes
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
The question that is being answered in this book is why does poverty follow wealth. Many wealthy urban cities, have citizens that are wealthy, but the city also has more people in poverty. The way wealth is divided, going to either interest (capital), wage (labor), and rent (landlord), determines how much poverty there is in the city. Rent is the enemy in this story.
Labor produces wealth by providing useful value to resources. Capital allows labor to be more productive. With capital, each worker
Ernest Barker
May 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
George fails to recognize that the people in poverty that live in a country that has made good industrial progress live far better than people that live in countries that are considered backward. Better medical care, more food, wide screen tv's cars, iPad, and smartphones. He mutters about education being denied. My eight-grade granddaughter along with all the other kids was given iPads to use for the school year. Reading this book was a total waste of time unless you are interested in fringe ec ...more
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
“Undoubtedly the most remarkable and important book of the present century.”
---Alfred Russel Wallace, 1892

"Progress and Poverty is not so much a book as an event. The life and thought of no one capable of understanding it can be quite the same after reading it."
---Emma Lazarus
Grim-Anal King
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Makes a cogent case for a land value tax, particularly in contrast to other forms of taxation, but goes rather overboard with the utopian social philosophy towards the end.
Don Lim
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Growing wealth and perpetual poverty. Henry George observed what many contemporaries today criticize as well. During the 19th century, Henry George saw increasing productivity due to technological innovation. Far from a Luddite, George recognized the benefits of machinery in agriculture, textile, manufacturing, and many other industries.

He also dedicates a substantial amount of the book explaining and criticizing the Malthusian trap: the idea that productivity grows linearly while population gr
David Wunderlich
The core ideas of the book are fascinating and compelling. I appreciated that this edition of the book was abridged with some linguistic updates for a modern audience.

Even so, the book could use a full overhaul for the modern age. The prose still comes off as a bit stuffy, old fashioned, and at times difficult to read. It engages in utopian and absolutist proclamations that aren’t in fashion anymore. He at once talks of the equality of all people while declaring some to be “savages” and occasion
Neon Snake
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edwin Rios
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most readable economics books I have read thus far. Although dense, every page was important to the great thesis examining the underlying causes of inequitable distributions of wealth that is still relevant today even though it was written more than a hundred years ago. The world and the economy has changed, as well as how wealth is generation; nevertheless, the idea of justice still rings true that by owning limited resources, like land and other wealth, where the owner earns wealth ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really important historically. Not entirely sound reasoning at all times - he didn't seem to have any clue about the role of elasticities.

But his thinking is sound enough and quite relevant to the role of property in urban centers today. The landowners will suck away any excess profits by raising rents. True story.

And taxing land is a pretty efficient tax. We tax labour & capital and by doing so we discourage them. If we must tax for purposes of raising revenue (and we must), we should aim at th
M.A. Stern
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George makes a strong case for the root cause of poverty emanating from the monopolistic nature of land ownership and that only by implementing a tax on land values can the problem be remedied. George additionally comes off as very much ahead of his time in his assessment of human societal progress (in the age of racial hierarchy he argues that it is circumstance rather than color that determines how people turn out) and criticism of social Darwinism. I do not wholly agree with his assessment (t ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
A book on political economy written in 1879 by an outsider to the field. Interesting perspective from that time. Much was explained clearly, some I could not follow, and some bits I question. Still much of it rings true. It is not always an easy nor a short read, but definitely worthwhile for a glimpse into the subject and for the logical progression of thought.
Viktor O.
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a very influential book from all points of view! I was introduced into the Henry George ideas by Mr. Bob Clancy in 1990. In 1996, I had an opportunity to read this edition of Progress and Poverty by Henry George. I think that everyone will agree with and share the Henry George ideas!!! Great book!!!
TJ Petrowski
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourite-books
An incredibly well-written book. Although I disagree with the author's conclusions, and Marx himself found them laughable, Henry George is a fantastic writer and his arguments against Malthus are an important read.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Great Crash of 1929
  • The 33 Strategies of War
  • The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War
  • Melancholy Order: Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders
  • All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays
  • The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire
  • The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities
  • The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories
  • Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis
  • Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
  • The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
  • Eumeswil
  • The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics
  • The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008
  • A Guide to Philosophy in Six Hours and Fifteen Minutes
  • Ferdydurke
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles
  • GDP: A Brief But Affectionate History
See similar books…
Henry George was an American writer, politician and political economist, who was the most influential proponent of the land value tax, also known as the "single tax" on land. He inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism, whose main tenet is that people should own what they create, but that everything found in nature, most importantly the value of land, belongs equally to all humanity. His ...more

Related Articles

Famous people! Are they really just like us? In the case of these individuals, the answer is a resounding yes when it comes to loving book...
63 likes · 9 comments
“There is, and always has been, a widespread belief among the more comfortable classes that the poverty and suffering of the masses are due to their lack of industry, frugality, and intelligence. This belief, which at once soothes the sense of responsibility and flatters by its suggestion of superiority, is probably even more prevalent in countries like the United States, where all men are politically equal, and where, owing to the newness of society, the differentiation into classes has been of individuals rather than of families, than it is in older countries, where the lines of separation have been longer, and are more sharply, drawn.” 3 likes
“There is this difference where a man works for himself, or where, when working for an employer, he takes his wages in kind, his wages depend upon the result of his labor. Should that, from any misadventure, prove futile, he gets nothing. When he works for an employer, however, he gets his wages anyhow—they depend upon the performance of the labor, not upon the result of the labor.” 1 likes
More quotes…