Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

B12, B31, I3

Key Words

Georgism, Henry George, Poverty, Progress and Poverty, Single Tax


This inquiry seeks to establish that Henry George’s writings advanced a distinct theory of political economy that benefited from a meteoric rise in popularity followed by a fall to irrelevance with the turn of the 20th century. During the depression decade of the 1870s, the efficacy of the laissez-faire economic system came into question, during this same timeframe neoclassical economics supplanted classical political economy. This inquiry considers both of George’s key works: Progress and Poverty [1879] and The Science of Political Economy [1898], establishing the distinct components of Georgist economic thought. This rise in ‘Georgism’ is evinced through the broad distribution of his first book that clearly tapped into American sentiments after the depression decade. The decline in popularity of his ideas appears related to the misinterpretation and the misrepresenting of his ideas


© Justin Pilarski

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