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Notables on Henry George

Leo Tolstoy



C. Beard


D. Brandeis



href="#_Nicholas_Murray_Butler">Nicholas Murray Butler



Princess Alice of Greece


A. Beard


Haynes Holmes



E. F.

B. Hayes



D. Roosevelt




Lloyd Wright

href="#_Franklin_D._Roosevelt_1">Franklin D. Roosevelt








B. Cobb, Jr.



Howard Kunstler

Utne Reader

for Local Self-Reliance

E. Daly



Charles Avila

de Mille

American Heritage

Leo Tolstoy (1828 - 1910) Christian anarchist, pacifist, author
"War and Peace," "Resurrection,"Anna Karenina;" widely
regarded as one of the greatest novelists of all time:

The only indubitable means of improving the position of the
workers, which is at the same time in conformity with the will of God, consists
in the liberation of the land from its usurpation by the landlords. …The most
just and practicable scheme, in my opinion, is that of Henry George, known as the
single-tax system.

Leo Tolstoy:

This sin (of land ownership) can be undone, not by
political reform, nor Socialist schemes for the future, not by revolution in
the present, and still less by philanthropic assistance or government
organisation for the purchase and distribution of land amongst the peasants
….The method of solving the land problem has been elaborated by Henry George to
a degree of perfection that under the existing state organisation and
compulsory taxation, it is impossible to invent any better, more just,
practical and peaceful solution.

Leo Tolstoy:

People do not argue with the teachings of George, they
simply do not know it. And it is impossible to do otherwise with his teaching,
for he who becomes acquainted with it cannot but agree.

Leo Tolstoy:

The only thing that would pacify the people now is
the introduction of the Land Value Taxation system of Henry George. The land is
common to all; all have the same right to it.

Emma Lazarus

(1849-87) A famous poet in her
day, authored the lines inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free.

Addressed to the "wretched refuse" of the earth in
1883, she tried to welcome them as equals in the American dream. She was a strong
supporter of Henry George and his land rights and land tax policy proposals.

José Martí

Leader of the Cuban independence movement and noted poet and of the most cogent and audacious thinkers:

George's book was
a revelation not only for the workers, but also for the intellectuals. Only
Darwin, in the natural sciences, left an impression comparable to that of
George in the social sciences. ...His devotion can be compared to the love of
Nazareen, expressed in the language of our times.

Daniel C. Beard (1850-1941) American naturalist
who founded the Boy Scouts of America:

I believe in Henry George...
I have long been a worker for the Single Tax cause.

Samuel Gompers (1850-1924), founded the
American Federation of Labor and who campaigned for George:

I believe in the Single Tax. I count it a great
privilege to have been a friend of Henry George and to have been one of those
who helped to make him understood in New York and elsewhere...

Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941) United States
Supreme Court Justice:

I find it
very difficult to disagree with the principles of Henry George... I believe in
the taxation of land values only.

Clarence Darrow (1859-1938) Lawyer of Scopes
Monkey Trial fame:

Henry George was
one of the real prophets of the world; one of the seers of the world... His was
a wonderful mind; he saw a question from every side... When we learn that the
value of land belongs to all of us, then we will be free men – no need to
legislate to keep men and women from working themselves to death; no need to
legislate against the white slave traffic.

Silvio Gesell (1862-1930) German reformer,
earned fame for the successful application of his monetary reform in Austria
between the world wars. In his main work, "The
Natural Economic Order" through Free Land and Free Money, Gesell rejected
the association of "blood" with "land"

The whole earth is
an integral organ; everyone should be free to travel and settle anywhere."
Gesell advocated an open world market without monopolies, customs frontiers,
and colonial conquest. Inspired by Henry George, whose Single Tax on land value
had become known in Germany, Gesell called upon government to buy land and
lease it to the highest bidder and to forgo taxation. Since the amount of Rent
depends on population density, Gesell would distribute Rent to mothers, freeing
them from working fathers, letting the sexes relate for love.

Nicholas Murray Butler (1862-1947) President of Columbia University, Nobel Peace Prize:

Consider Georgist economics with a just sense of their permanent
importance and with regard to the soundness of their underlying principles.
Sound economists in every land accept and support economic opportunity as

Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), father of modern

The teachings of Henry George
will be the basis of our program of reform... The (land tax) as the only means
of supporting the government is an infinitely just, reasonable, and equitably
distributed tax... The centuries of heavy and irregular taxation for the
benefit of the Manchus have shown China the injustice of any other system of

Max Hirsch (1877-1968) Banker, investor,
and author:

Abolish special
privileges and Government interference in industry. Give to all equal natural
opportunities – equal rights to the inexhaustible storehouse of Nature – and
wealth will distribute itself in exact accordance with justice. This, the ideal
of Henry George, is what I would place before our people.

Princess Alice of Greece (1885-1967), Mother of Prince
Philip, the consort to the Queen of England:

I have studied Henry George.
The idea of a Single Tax could contribute to the economic restoration of our

John Dewey (1859-1952) Philosopher and

Henry George is one of the
great names among the world's social philosophers. It would require less than
the fingers of the two hands to enumerate those who, from Plato down, rank with
him... No man, no graduate of a higher educational institution, has a right to
regard himself as educated in social thought unless he has some firsthand
acquaintance with the theoretical contribution of this great American

Charles A. Beard (1874-1948) Historian and
author of "An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution":

Of all the American
economists since the early days of the republic, none treated as
comprehensively the interfiliation of economy and civilization as George

Albert Einstein (1879-1955):

Men like Henry George are rare,
unfortunately. One cannot imagine a more beautiful combination of intellectual
keenness, artistic form, and fervent love of justice.

Rev. John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964), co-founder of the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People:

"Progress and Poverty" was the most closely knit,
fascinating and convincing specimen of argumentation that, I believe, ever
sprang from the mind of man.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) (American

and lecturer,
the first title=Deafblindness>deafblind person to graduate from college:

Who reads shall
find in Henry George's philosophy a rare beauty and power of inspiration, and a
splendid faith in the essential nobility of human nature.

John Kieran (1892-1981) American writer, amateur naturalist and
radio and href=""
title="Television program">television href="" title="Radio personality">personality:

No one should be allowed to speak above a whisper or write more than
ten words on the general subject (of economics) unless he has read and digested
"Progress and Poverty".

E. F. Goldman Princeton historian:

For some years prior to 1952 I was working on a history
of American reform and over and over again my research ran into this fact: an
enormous number of men and women, strikingly different people, men and women
who were to lead 20th century America in a dozen fields of humane activity,
wrote or told someone that their whole thinking had been redirected by reading "Progress
and Poverty" in their formative years. In this respect no other book came
anywhere near comparable influence, and I would like to add this word of
tribute to a volume which magically catalyzed the best yearnings of our fathers
and grandfathers.

Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893), 19th U.S.
President, from his personal diary:

In church it occurred to me that
it is time for the public to hear that the giant evil and danger in this
country, the danger which transcends all others, is the vast wealth owned or
controlled by a few persons. Money is power. In Congress, in state
legislatures, in city councils, in the courts, in the political conventions, in
the press, in the pulpit, in the circles of the educated and the talented, its
influence is growing greater and greater. Excessive wealth in the hands of the
few means extreme poverty, ignorance, vice, and wretchedness as the lot of the
many… Henry George is strong when he portrays the rottenness of the present
system. We are, to say the least, not yet ready for his remedy. We may reach
and remove the difficulty by changes in the laws regulating corporations,
descents of property, wills, trusts, taxation, and a host of other important
interests, not omitting lands and other property.

Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), 22nd and 24th
president of the US, whom George worked with on trade:

I have always regarded Henry
George as a man of honest and sincere convictions and ever held a high opinion
of him.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), 28th president of the
US and founder of the League of Nations, said:

This country needs a new
and sincere thought in politics, coherently, distinctly and boldly uttered by
men who are sure of their ground. The power of men like Henry George seems to
me to mean that.

Wilson put Louis F. Post, a Georgist, into the post of
labor secretary who founded Labor Day on the Monday closest to George's

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd president of the
US said:

I believe that Henry George was one of the really great thinkers
produced by our country.

About financing transportation, he wrote, 1939:

man who, by good fortune, sells a narrow right-of-way for a new highway makes a
handsome profit through the increase in value of all of the rest of his land.
That represents an unearned increment of profit – a profit which comes to a
mere handful of lucky citizens and which is denied to the vast majority.

Raymond Moley (1886-1975) One of the three economists of U.S. President Franklin
D. Roosevelt's Brain Trust (which was so important that reputedly even FDR had
to have an appointment to meet with them), a leading "New Dealer" who became its bitter

The basic assumptions of Henry George are sound. Nothing could be more
useful than to bring these fundamentals to the attention of perplexed

Henry Ford (1863-1947) Founder of the Ford Motor Company
and father of modern assembly lines used in mass production:

We ought to
tax all idle land the way Henry George said – tax it heavily, so that its
owners would have to make it productive.

First Viscount Philip Snowden (1864-1937) British economist
and politician, British Chancellor of the Exchequer:

There never was a time when the need was greater
than it is today for the application of the philosophy and principles of Henry
George to the economic and political conditions which are scourging the whole
world. The root cause of the world's economic distress is surely obvious to
every man who has eyes to see and a brain to understand. So long as land is a
monopoly, and men are denied free access to it to apply their labor to its
uses, poverty and unemployment will exist. Permanent peace can only be
established when men and nations have realized that natural resource should be
a common heritage, and used for the good of all mankind... I am of the opinion
that rent belongs to society and that no single person has the right to
appropriate and enjoy what belongs to society.

1st Viscount Phillip Snowden:

There never was a time when the need was greater than
it is today for the application of the philosophy and principles of Henry
George to the economic and political conditions which are scourging the world …
Permanent peace can only be established when men and nations have realised that
natural resources should be a common heritage

Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959), architect who'd
design structures to avoid removing trees, wrote in "The Living City":

Henry George showed us the only organic solution of
the land problem

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 - 1945) President of the United States:

I believe that Henry George
was one of those really great thinkers produced by our country.

Kirkpatrick Sale, New York Greens founder and a
NATION columnist, in his "Human Scale" (1980):

The Georgist principles
provide a way for a community to secure its financial interest in a rational
economy of usufruct

Ernest Callenbach, Author of "Ecotopia",
wrote in 1988:

If I'd heard of
Georgism before publishing (his classic), I would have incorporated Georgist
tax policies into its economic system

Paul Ekins, with Mayer Hillman and Robert
Hutchinson in "The Gaia Atlas of Green Economics" (1992):

Taxes need to be shifted away from labor and on to
the use of resources and the environment. One such tax, first proposed by the
American reformer Henry George more than a hundred years ago, is land value

Jonathan Porritt, Co-founder of the British Green
Party in his "Seeing Green" (1984):

The Liberals have given up trying to get across the ideas of Henry
George. And that's a pity ... the only way to break the monopoly of
landownership (is) some form of land tax

Mike Nickerson, Author and operator of Canada's
Sustainability Project which with members of parliament promoted the
"Well-Being Measurement Act":

another book will have to wait. The Georgian perspective will be included
without doubt

Brian Czech, in "Shoveling Fuel" (2000)
cited both the tax shift and the social salary and later added:

If I had read Dr. Mason Gaffney's Corruption of Economics prior
to writing Shoveling Fuel, I also would have had a lot more to say about Henry
George. After reading Corruption and a paper by Bill Batt from New York, I can
see the connection of Georgist to ecological economics.

Matthew Fox, Founder of creation spirituality, in "A Spirituality Named
Compassion" (1979):

Henry George sees his
movement as an alternative... By taxing land more than we do and in a special
way, we will be able to tax work and income derived from it considerably

Theologian John B. Cobb, Jr. with Herman Daly in their "For
The Common Good" (1989):

(George's) specific proposal
about taxation can be supported on the basis of a shared rejection of the idea
of land as only a commodity... Since this tax would rise as the value of the
land rose, or would fall as it fell, there would be no basis for speculation in
land... farmers would have no reason to oppose zoning that kept taxes on
agricultural lands appropriate to the profits that can be realized from
farming... Whereas a higher tax on buildings encourages holding land unused or
allowing buildings to deteriorate, a higher tax on land encourages efficient
use of the property

Harold Gilliam, San Francisco CHRONICLE
environmental columnist (Aug 20, 1989):

Another way out of the
(land) cost dilemma might be to look for some variation on the proposals of
that 19th century San Francisco economist and prophet-ahead-of-his-time, Henry
George, author of the classic "Progress and Poverty"... Why not a land
tax--paid when the land changes hands--to capture some portion of the increase
in value resulting from population growth? And why not channel that revenue
into incentives for affordable housing?"

Molly Ivins (1944-2007) href="" title="United States">American
newspaper columnist,
, and title=Bestseller>best-selling title=Author>author:

Henry George must be in his grave spinnin' like a
cyclotron. We, the people at large, make the land more desirable; and then the
landowners want us to pay them because we won't allow them to poison the air or
to pollute the rivers.

James Howard Kunstler, former Rolling Stone editor and
contributor to New York Times Magazine, in his "Home From Nowhere" (1996):

Reform of our property tax system along the lines
advocated by Henry George is a straightforward means for restoring the economic
health of our ailing towns and cities - no smoke, no mirrors, no voodoo

The Utne Reader, in listing Pittsburgh among its
"Ten Most Underrated Towns in America", noted that the city's "unique
tax system, inspired by 19th-century economic theorist Henry George, assesses
land at a higher rate than buildings, thus encouraging historic preservation,
discouraging downtown parking lots, and reducing sprawl.

Institute for Local Self-Reliance:

Can a land tax reduce sprawl and strengthen urban economies? The
evidence is persuasive though not conclusive. Political economist Henry George
first proposed a land value tax over 100 years ago, as a way to eliminate land
speculation and make more land available for production.

Herman E. Daly, Ex-World Bank Economist in "Steady-State
Economics" (1977):

The windfall
Rent from higher resource prices would be captured by the government and become
public income - a partial realization of Henry George's ideal of a single tax
on Rent. Using Rent to finance a minimum income could substitute for a
considerable number of bureaucratic welfare programs

James Robertson, Ex-British cabinet economist.
Co-Founder of The Other Economic Summit in his "Future Wealth" (1989):

…tax the site-value of all land in its unimproved state. This tax was
first proposed by the 19th century American economist Henry George. We should
envisage the eventual removal of all taxes on incomes and value added, savings
and financial capital. Taxes will take the form of Rents and charges reasonably
paid in exchange either for the use of resources that would otherwise be
available for other people, or for damage caused to other people.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) in the preface to
his "Brave New World Revisited":

If I were now to rewrite the
book, I would offer a third alternative ... the possibility of sanity.
Economics would be decentralist and Henry Georgian.

Charles Avila

in his book "Ownership: Early
Christian Teachings":

On first reading Henry George
(Progress and Poverty) almost twenty years ago when doing research for this
volume, I was particularly struck by the similarity of his arguments, and even
analogies, to those of the fourth century Christian philosophers on the topic
of land ownership

Avila continues:

Henry George, the great American political economist and
land rights philosopher (1839-1897), eloquently confronted the enigma of the
wealth gap in his masterwork "Progress and Poverty" and set forth both an
ethical and practical method for holding and sharing the land as a sacred trust
for all. He made a clear distinction between property in land and property in
wealth produced by labor on land. He said that private property in human made
wealth belonged to the producer and that the state should not tax wealth
produced by human labor.

Agnes de Mille (1905-1993) Famous dance choreographer and grand-daughter
of Henry George:

We have
reached the deplorable circumstance where in large measure a very powerful few
are in possession of the earth's resources, the land and all its riches, and
all the franchises and other privileges that yield a return. These monopolistic
positions are kept by a handful of men who are maintained virtually with- out
taxation . . . we are yielding up sovereignty

"American Heritage" published a list of "ten
books that shaped the American character" (1985 April/May) compiled by
Jonathan Yardley. With George's classic "Progress and Poverty" were titles
by writers who endorsed his idea, such as "The Jungle" by Upton
Sinclair (1878-1968) and" The Shame of Cities" by Lincoln Steffens (1866-1936).