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Progress and Poverty

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  422 ratings  ·  62 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)
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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.
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
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.
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. ...more
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
Dio Mavroyannis
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I spent the day reading this yesterday, I was already familiar with all of the points George made in this excellent book, however, I was blown away by the clarity. This is must obviously be partly due to Henry George himself but I also think that this edition has managed to filter through the essence of the points being made without using arcane language at any point. I think George is ultimately wrong, but it is nevertheless one of those classic works that should be read.
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. ...more
Sep 03, 2009 is currently reading it
Radical. Old ideas on economics and taxation who's time may have finally come. ...more
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. ...more
Feb 21, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: skimmed-a-bit
taking a class at the Henry George School for free... interesting concepts...
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the things I love about reading older economic texts is seeing how certain ideas come back again and again throughout history. His chapter on all the various solutions people propose to wage inequity is a great example of this - co-ops, unions, government intervention: all ideas people have been arguing about for a long time. George proposes instead that the root cause of inequity is profiting off of land, and that this mode of production should be owned and taxed by the state, vs private ...more
May 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid critique of Ricardo's theory of differential rent. Points out what's obvious to a lot of people now that progress can lead to poverty as land develops and rents rise faster than wages. ...more
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.
William Adams
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Henry George’s book, Progress and Poverty, was quite influential in its time, fueling progressive reform around the world. His thesis question was, why does poverty persist even in times of economic progress? The answer is land speculation. It all comes down to land, he says. By “land,” he means all natural materials “freely given” by nature, including water, minerals, fish, and so on.

What happens, George said, is that speculators buy land, and as cities grow up around it, the land becomes more
Caolan McMahon
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Why, despite advances in production, does poverty and low-pay persist? - This is the question Henry George tries to answer in Progress and Poverty.

Although originally published in 1879, his observations are so relevant it might have been published yesterday - that is, apart from the old fashioned language and weirdly religious conclusion.

Do any of these quotes strike a chord?

"The reason why, in spite of the increase of productive power, wages constantly tend to a minimum which will give but a b
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
Samuel Marete
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wanted my first review on this website to be about this seminal, epochal work, which is probably the most important secular book I will ever read.

I am someone who commenced a Masters in Economics, and I am the first to confess that I have not applied myself as I should have, which is why the Masters remains as yet unfinished. In the course of doing so, however, I did make the discovery that much of modern (“neoclassical”) economics is, in a word, bunkum. Hence began the eternal journey of the
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.
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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

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