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“Eloquent, timely and challenging, it soon became and remains the all-time best seller on economic theory and policy.” – New Palgrave on Progress and Poverty

GEORGE, HENRY. Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions, and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth–the Remedy

San Francisco: Wm. M. Hinton & Co., Printers, 1879

512 pp.  Original bright blue cloth (the scarcest binding color variant).  Minor wear.  Near fine.

FIRST EDITION, styled the “Author’s Edition” on the spine and title-page.  Unable to find a publisher for his book, George self-published Progress and Poverty in an edition of only 200 copies (some sources say 500 copies).  The book met with such success that Appleton’s reprinted it in New York in 1880, and it became an instant American classic and best-seller.

“The most influential of American works on economics, this book gave its author an international reputation as prophet and reformer.  He proposed to abolish poverty and secure fair distribution of the rewards of labor by appropriating all economic rent by taxation, and abolishing all taxation except upon land values.  Today the slogan of the single tax still unites the followers of Henry George” (Grolier/American).  “He was not only perfectly original, but he accomplished a synthesis and gave his message a singular force and beauty” (DAB).

Eloquent, timely and challenging, it soon became and remains the all-time best seller on economic theory and policy . . . The idea that environment is a common heritage for future generations is pure Georgism.  ‘Spaceship Earth,’ common property, and rights of the unborn are his very phrases . . . [O]n the conservative side, George was a pioneer of tax limitation, insisting that land rent set an upper limit on government spending.  The resurgence of libertarianism and supply-side economics may set a new stage for George, whose program was mainly oriented to increasing production in the private sector . . .” (New Palgrave).

John Dewey wrote, “Henry George is one of a small number of definitely original social philosophers that the world has produced” and added, “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.”

AN OUTSTANDING ASSOCIATION COPY, from the library of Stephen J. Field, one of the outstanding justices of the United States Supreme Court in the nineteenth century.  Field, who sat on the Supreme Court from 1863 to 1897, “was the leader of the Court’s movement toward reading laissez faire into the Constitution” (Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court).  Field played a central role in elevating private property as an inalienable right, and he established bulwarks against federal action against corporations.  He opposed a federal income tax as but the first step in a slide into communism.  Thus Field’s copy of the first edition of Progress and Poverty is one of the most attractive nineteenth-century political and social policy association copies imaginable.

Grolier One Hundred Influential American Books 81.

$6,500