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Progress and Poverty (modern edition) [Kindle Edition]

Henry George , Bob Drake
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Why There Are Recessions and Poverty Amid Plenty—?and What to Do About It!

Finally, one of the world's best-selling books on political economy has been edited and abridged for modern readers.

Many economists and politicians foster the illusion that great fortunes and poverty stem from the presence or absence of individual skill and risk-taking. Henry George, by contrast, showed that the wealth gap occurs because a few people are allowed to monopolize natural opportunities and deny them to others. George did not advocate equality of income, the forcible redistribution of wealth, or government management of the economy. He simply believed that in a society not burdened by the demands of a privileged elite, a full and satisfying life would be attainable by everyone.

Author: Henry George
Editor: Bob Drake

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 433 KB
  • Print Length: 235 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Robert Schalkenbach Foundation (27 Jun. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0058JG5TI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,139,281 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, poorly edited 25 Aug. 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Somehow, I managed to buy this without spotting that the edition is abridged. And the editing is at least as annoying as the cover art.

The editor claims to have produced a "thought by thought" translation, cutting George's over-long nineteenth century sentence structures down to size. I have no real problem with that although, given that George was so widely read at the time and was supposed to be rather lucid, I think this shows a curious lack of respect for the modern reader. No, what I find bothersome, is the editor's anachronistic interventions - the owner of whaling ship and a mechanic are referred to as "she" for example. Now, I realise that these might be plausible in a contemporary context but it just sounds ridiculous in the mouth of any writer much before 1960. It sounds like a minor point but, in trying to make George a feminist avant le lettre, the editor merely reminds us that the text is being pushed about by a modern sensibility.

The use of the feminine pronoun is a minor irritant but others are worse. A list of items that Adam Smith regarded as items of capital is footnoted thus, "Smith's original list included two items that do not fit under George's definition of capital. See original text p.47" Since the reference is to the original text of Progress and Poverty, rather than to the Wealth of Nations, this would appear to suggest that the original text contains references to these examples and an explanation of why George disagrees with Smith. You might think that points of disagreement like this would be illuminating but the Bob Drake clearly doesn't. 50 pages on we find another such footnote, "Frederic Bastiat, French economist gave a well-known illustration of interest involving the loan of a carpenter's plane.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is an excellent and remarkably modern read given it was written 130 or so years ago. My edition is a paperback reprint (2003) of the 1979 edition which has prefaces from previous editions and also a good index and glossary (he uses many classical references - well at least more than the average modern reader like me could cope with without a glossary). I agree with the previous reviewer and can't see that the modern reader needs this abridging at all and so like him I give this 4 stars rather than 5 for that reason. Although not currently in print there is a kindle version of the 1979 edition available for about £3.50 at the time of writing.

George was, by trade, a journalist and worked outside the European or even the US metropolitan intellectual milieu of the time. That said he was clearly not in ignorance of it. I love the fact that he is not afraid of Ricardo, Smith, Mill and others - and takes them to task, and apart, carefully where he considers they have overlooked not understood or misunderstood something. Not being an Economist and writing in frontier San Francisco are only two reasons why mainstream economics seems to have ignored him. He could not and still cannot be placed in a faction, he was neither a socialist (his writings are just pre-Marx in English, though reviewed for later editions post Marx so forgive my use of that word) nor on the side of capital or the rentier class. His ideas are pro-enterprise and trade but are fresh, radical but above all practical and reach to the roots of the problems of political economy even now. Moreover the book is surprisingly PC and readable given it's age and subject matter.

Having become aware of the LVT concept and George's writings articles like the one I have just read on the BBC, [...
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Currently we penalized production and trade by levying a tax on Income (production) and Sales (trade). That is exactly what we Do NOT need to do to create economic growth and a stable economic society. George highlights this negative point.

The prime aim George put across, although not in so many words, is to reclaim commonly created wealth to pay for common services, eliminating harmful Income & Sale taxes, etc. Very simple so far and that is the base.

The confusing to many "economic rent",(where there is no enterprise or cost of production), the surplus created by others, can fall into many categories. The biggest form is the values of land. Currently there is a giant sluice that empties commonly created wealth into the land market and then being appropriated by freeloaders who never created the wealth in the first place.

Land value are created by the economic activity of a community not by the landowners. This is important to understand. So this is rife to be reclaimed and used instead of implementing penalizing Income & Sales taxes. In doing so the economic circle is complete.

This community created value is termed "unearned income" and "economic rent", or more easy to understand when appropriated by private individuals or organisations, "economic freeloading".

Geonomics goes further than Henry George's SINGLE TAX, as it focuses on Land a Capital reclaiming all "unearned income" and "economic rent" and also uses Pigovian taxes, eliminating freeloaders and promoting productive enterprise. However George describes affirm base.

In The USA the top 1% own more wealth than the bottom 90%. This indicates an economic system that is not working. Look at the how the top 1% got most of their wealth.
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