Take, since you bade it should bear,
These, of the seed of your sowing—
Blossom or berry or weed.
Sweet though they be not, or fair,
That the dew of your word kept growing;
Sweet at least was the seed.
-- Swinburne to Mazzini
August Lewis of New York
Tom L. Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio,
who, of their own motion, and without suggestion or thought of mine, have
helped me to the leisure needed to write it,
I affectionately dedicate what in this sense is their work.
But let none expect any great promotion of the sciences,
especially in their effective part, unless natural philosophy be drawn
out to particular sciences; and again unless these particular sciences
be brought back again to natural philosophy. From this defect it is
that astronomy, optics, music, many mechanical arts, and what seems
stranger, even moral and civil philosophy and logic, rise but little
above their foundations, and only skim over the varieties and surface
of things, viz., because after these particular sciences are formed and
divided off they are no longer nourished by natural philosophy, which
might give them strength and increase; and therefore no wonder if the
sciences thrive not when separated from their roots.
-- Bacon, Novum Organum
For tho’ the Giant Ages heave the hill
And break the shore, and evermore
Make and break, and work their will;
Tho’ world on world in myriad myriads roll
Round us, each with different power
And other forms of life than ours,
What know we greater than the soul?
Bringing prosperity through freedom, equality, local autonomy and respect for the commons.
The Science of Political Economy
Preface to the 1981 Schalkenbach Edition
was as an individualist that Henry George, though with but little
schooling, caught the elegant truth contained in his magnum opus, Progress and Poverty.
A staunch believer in liberty, with a vigorous and brilliant mind, he
reached out and caught the theme of that book as though plucking a bolt
from the blue. His was truly an individual effort. Long after the
fundamental principles came to George, he was told that they had
occurred to others in previous times and in other countries. That book
is a work of art, excellent in its very shape and form, as in its
content, and no book on economic philosophy has been more widely
By contrast, it was as an erudite citizen of the world that he wrote The Science of Political Economy.
He was now widely read, a social philosopher of standing, comfortably
at home with many of the thinkers who had come before, and blessed with
the same astute mind. Yet he struggled with this book for seven years
until his premature death prevented his completing it. Thus, among the
bookk's many rich and lovely pages are a few where George's ideas seem
still unhewn. The distractions of the various activities into which his
fame forced him may help explain the difference. But it goes deeper
The Science of Political Economy is a bigger task than the one he pursued in writing Progress and Poverty.
George explains in his own preface how this book came about, and we
know from his son's Prefatory Note how quickly the work brought him to
a body of understanding which has since taken shape as a science of its
pages literally teem with evidence that George was probing an area now
known as General Semantics. He searches for meanings. He is aware that
Adam Smith wrote, not just the Wealth of Nations, but a
vigorous and imaginative "paper on the formation of languages." George
wresteles with the meaning of "value" and "space" and "time."
importantly, he believes that money is a sibling of language, and that
both of them are instruments of man's unique ability and willingness to
exchange. The Science of Political Economy does not stop with
the individual; it deals with his interaction with others. The
individual is the unit of society, and "no opera was ever written by a
committee." But that is not enough. No individual alone ever did or
ever could devise the language by which the opera could take form. And
no individual could comprise the assemblage within the four walls of a
theater to bring it alive.
is more evident than that the more mature man wants to bring us
together, and yet above all he wants us to keep our individuality
Richard Noyes, editor