Progress and Poverty

Why doesn’t economic progress bring an end to poverty? Why instead does it seem to make the problem even more intractable, with increasing numbers of workers unable to earn enough to support their families or even themselves? And by the way, why do economic recessions still occur, unpredictable but seemingly inevitable?

These are the questions that Henry George set out to answer in his famous and still-astounding book, Progress and Poverty. The problems remain with us in the 21st century, and George’s explanation is still valid. In addition to explaining the causes, he provides a remedy which we can evaluate against today’s conditions.

This course uses George’s text to structure our study. After describing the problem, we examine the principles by which wealth is produced and distributed, paying careful attention to a few key concepts. We use this understanding to see why scientific, technological, and organizational progress has not eliminated poverty. As the remedy becomes evident, we evaluate it against standards of both justice and effectiveness, and discuss how aspects of it have worked in practice.

To satisfy a range of interests and learning and teaching styles, we offer this course in different versions.

People unable to attend classes may choose our Internet or correspondence courses through the Henry George Institute, which cover essentially the same material under a different name, and are taught by some of the same instructors.