|Wealth and Want|
|... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.|
|Home||Essential Documents||Themes||All Documents||Authors||Glossary||Links||Contact Us|
Henry George: The Wages of Labor
A strong, absolute ruler might hope by such regulations to alleviate the conditions of chattel slaves. But the tendency of our times is toward democracy, and democratic States are necessarily weaker in paternalism, while, in the industrial slavery growing out of private ownership of land that prevails in Christendom today, it is not the master who forces the slave to labor, but the slave who urges the master to let him labor.
Thus, the greatest difficulty in
enforcing such regulations
comes from those whom they are intended to benefit. It is not, far
instance, the masters who make it difficult to enforce restrictions on
child labor in factories, but the mothers, who, Prompted by poverty,
misrepresent the ages of their children even to the masters and teach
the children to misrepresent. ... read
the whole article
Henry George: The Land for the People (1889 speech)
... WHAT I ask you here tonight is as far as you can to join in this general movement and push on the cause. It is not a local matter, it is a worldwide matter. It is not a matter than interests merely the people of Ireland, the people of England and Scotland or of any other country in particular, but it is a matter that interests the whole world. What we are battling for is the freedom of mankind; what we are struggling for is for the abolition of that industrial slavery which as mud enslaves men as did chattel slavery. It will not take the sword to win it. There is a power far stronger than the sword and that is the power of public opinion. When the masses of men know what hurts them and how it can be cured when they know what to demand, and to make their demand heard and felt, they will have it and no power on earth can prevent them What enslaves men everywhere is ignorance and prejudice.
If we were to go to that island that we imagined, and if you were fools enough to admit that the land belonged to me, I would be your master, and you would be my slaves just as thoroughly, just as completely, as if I owned your bodies, for all I would have to do to send you out of existence would be to say to you "get off my property." That is the cause of the industrial slavery that exists all over the world, that is the cause of the low wages, that is the cause of the unemployed labor. Read the whole speech
Henry George: In Liverpool: The Financial Reform Meeting at the Liverpool Rotunda (1889)
Henry George: Thou Shalt Not Steal (1887 speech)
We are selling land now in large quantities to certain English lords, who are coming over here and buying greater estates than the greatest in Great Britain or Ireland. We are selling them land; they are buying land. Did it ever occur to you that they do not want that land? They have no use whatever for American land; they do not propose to come over here and live on it. They cannot carry it over there to where they do live.
It is not the land that they want. What they want is the income from it. They are buying it not because they themselves want to use it, but because by and by, as population increases, numbers of American citizens will want to use it, and then they can say to these American citizens: "You can use this land provided you pay us one-half of all you make upon it." What we are selling those foreign lords is not really land; we are selling them the labor of American citizens; we are selling them the privilege of taking, without any return for it, the proceeds of the toil of our children.
So, here in New York, you will read in the papers every day that the price of land is going up. John Jones or Robert Brown has made a hundred thousand dollars within a year in the increase in the value of land in New York. What does that mean? It means he has the power of getting many more coats, many more cigars, dry goods, horses and carriages, houses or much more food and wine. He has gained the power of taking for his own a great number of these products of human labor.
But what has he done? He has not done anything. He may have been off in Europe or out west, or he may have been sitting at home taking it easy. If he has done nothing to get this increased income, where does it come from? The things I speak of are all products of human labor — someone has to work for them. When a man who does no work can get them, necessarily the people who do work to produce them must have less of the products of human labor than they ought to have. ... read the whole article
Gems from George, a themed collection of excerpts from the writings of Henry George (with links to sources)
to email this page to a friend: right click, choose "send"
Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper