Take, since you bade it should bear,
These, of the seed of your sowing—
Sweet though they be not, or fair,
Blossom or berry or weed.
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,
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?
prosperity through freedom, equality, local
autonomy and respect for the commons.
The Science of Political Economy
Prefatory Note to the Original
Edition / 1898
THIS WORK, begun in 1891, after
returning from a lecturing tour through Australia and a trip around the
world, grew out of the author's long-cherished purpose to write a small
text-book, which should present in brief the principles of a true
political economy. This Primer of Political Economy was to
set forth in direct, didactic form the main
principles of what he conceived to be an exact and indisputable
science, leaving controversy for a later and larger work.
Before proceeding far, however, the author
difficulty of making a simple statement of principles while there
existed so much confusion as to the meaning of terms. He therefore felt
impelled to change his plan, and first to present the larger work,
which should recast political economy and examine and explicate
terminology as well as principles; and which, beginning at the
beginning, should trace the rise and partial development of the science
in the hands of its founders a century ago, and then show its gradual
emasculation and at last abandonment by its professed teachers --
accompanying this with an account of the extension of the science
outside and independently of the schools, in the philosophy of the
natural order now spreading over the world under the name of the single
Soon after this work had got well under way the author
laid it aside to write a brochure in reply to a papal encyclical (The
Condition of Labor, 1891), and again later to write a book
exposing Mr. Herbert Spencer's recantation of principles on the land
question (A Perplexed Philosopher, 1892). Save for these
interruptions, and occasional newspaper and magazine writing, and
lecturing and political speaking, he devoted himself continuously to
his great undertaking until he entered the mayoralty campaign, toward
the close of which death came, October 29, 1897.
The Science of Political Economy, if entirely
finished as planned by the author, would have shown Book V, on Money,
extended, and the nature and function of the laws of Wages, Interest
and Rent fully considered in Book IV; but the work as left was, in the
opinion of its author, in its main essentials completed, the broken
parts, to quote his own words a few days before his death, "indicating
the direction in which my [his] thought was tending."
The author's preface is fragmentary. It bears in the
manuscript a penciled date, "March 7, 1894," and is here transcribed
from a condensed writing used by him in his preliminary "roughing-out"
Aside from the filling in of summaries in four chapter
headings (indicated by foot-notes), the addition of an index, and the
correction of a few clerical errors, the work is here presented exactly
as it was left by the author -- the desire of those closest to him
being that it should be given to the world untouched by any other hand.
Henry George, Jr.
New York, February 1, 1898