The problem of economic inequality and the uneven distribution of wealth has been scrutinized by philosophers, economists, and scholars for centuries, spawning numerous theories and assumptions. However, when considering the landmark pieces that have introduced an unexpected and even unprecedented interpretation of the subject matter and the influences that define its presence in the modern world, one should give credit to Henry George and his “Progress and Poverty.” By outlining the socioeconomic context in which poverty emerges, the author concludes that wealth is not intrinsically tied to economic progress and that the pace of and approach to urbanization should be deemed as the crux of the problem (George 8). By underlying the problematic aspect of economic strategies deployed by the government, the author conceded that the single tax on land values would help in managing the crisis.
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Henry George was a renowned American economist, who introduced an innovative perspective on the role of technology in the economy. Having had experience in journalism, he could infer the social effects of the observed change in the economy. Henry George was born in Philadelphia, his parents being members of the middle class. Although his father tried to exert his influence as the writer of religious texts on his son, Henry George convinced his parents to let him study economics instead (“Henry George Family Papers”). Having developed a clear understanding of the changes that American society was experiencing at the time, Henry George decided to express his concerns about the grandiose technological change that took place in the American market (“About Us”). Thus, his work “Progress and Poverty” was born.
Placing “Progress and Poverty” into the context of the time slot in which it was written is not only necessary; it is inevitable. “Progress and Poverty” was not simply a product of its time, but the work that could not have emerged at any other point in the development of the American market. With economic depression quickly becoming the impending doom for American society, the prerequisite for creating the approach that would help to address at least some of the risks by rearranging the resources and investing in the areas that could be seen as potentially profitable was a much-needed step. Therefore, the analysis of the American market and economy, in general, that Henry George provided in his “Progress and Poverty” was a direct response to the controversy that could be observed in the American economy at the time.
To learn about Henry George and his book, as well as research the historical context in which the work was produced, two sites were consulted. The DIA Library was used as the main repository of information about the author, his life journey, accomplishments, and other important data (“Henry George Family Papers”). Although the specified site is not dedicated to Henry George and his accomplishments specifically, it does provide a substantial and all-embracive overview of the key milestones of his personal development and professional growth. Since the website belongs to the University of Pennsylvania, it is a very reliable repository of information that can be used for a profound and thorough analysis of Henry George’s works.
Another important online resource, which was selected specifically for the exploration of Henry George’s theory on poverty and its nature, was the Henry George Foundation. The resource in question provided vast clarifications on the nature of Henry George’s theory, its connection to other theoretical frameworks, and the place that his philosophy holds in the modern studies of the economy (“About Us”). While technically not being a scholarly resource, the specified site was created by a well-known organization of the same name, which implies that the data provided at the site is accurate and trustworthy. Therefore, the site was included in the range of sources used for the analysis apart from the author’s book. Overall, the site seems to contain a vast amount of information about Henry George, and the resources located on it make the impression of well-researched analysis.
The material under analysis seems to be intended for economists, political analysts, students, and anyone interested in the connection between economic and social changes in America during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Similarly, the sources also target the people willing to explore the historical context in which changes occurring to the United States were taking place. The impact that technological progress produced on the levels of employment, coupled with the economic concerns that the American government was facing at the time, was analyzed thoroughly. The outcomes of this analysis could be utilized to understand the effects that technological advances have on the economy and society at large. Similarly, strategies for containing the negative influences of changes within a particular domain could be learned from the readings in question. Consequently, it would be reasonable to claim that the represented materials address their target audience successfully and invite a discussion of the unexpected effects that technological advances can produce. Being insightful and engaging, the reading allows learning important lessons about the management of changes in the economic landscape.
“About Us.” HenryGeorgeFoundation.org, www.henrygeorgefoundation.org/about-the-foundation/about-us.html. Accessed 26 Aug. 2019.
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George, Henry. Progress and Poverty. Cosimo, Inc., 2006.
“Henry George Family Papers.” DIA.Library.UPenn.edu, Web.