Henry George quotes

  • What has destroyed every previous civilization has been the tendency to the unequal distribution of wealth and power.
    -- Henry George

    #Civilization #Wealth #Prosperity

  • Social reform is not to be secured by noise and shouting; by complaints and denunciation; by the formation of parties, or the making of revolutions; but by the awakening of thought and the progress of ideas. Until there be correct thought, there cannot be right action; and when there is correct thought, right action will follow.
    -- Henry George

    #Party #Ideas #Progress

  • To prevent government from becoming corrupt and tyrannous, its organization and methods should be as simple as possible, its functions be restricted to those necessary to the common welfare, and in all its parts it should be kept as close to the people and as directly within their control as may be.
    -- Henry George

    #Simple #Government #Organization

  • Laissez faire (in its full true meaning) opens the way to the realization of the noble dreams of socialism.
    -- Henry George

    #Dream #Noble #Realization

  • The great work of the present for every man, and every organization of men, who would improve social conditions, is the work of education the propagation of ideas. It is only as it aids this that anything else can avail. And in this work every one who can think may aid first by forming clear ideas himself, and then by endeavoring to arouse the thought of those with whom he comes in contact.
    -- Henry George

    #Thinking #Men #Organization

  • Man is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal that is never satisfied.
    -- Henry George

    #Philosophy #Men #Animal

  • There is danger in reckless change, but greater danger in blind conservatism.
    -- Henry George

    #Change #Growth #Blind

  • There are three ways by which an individual can get wealth-by work, by gift, and by theft. And, clearly, the reasons why the workers get so little is that the beggars and thieves get so much.
    -- Henry George

    #Littles #Way #Thieves

  • Liberty calls to us again. We must follow her further; we must trust her fully. Either we must wholly accept her or she will not stay. It is not enough that men should vote; it is not enough that they should be theoretically equal before the law. They must have liberty to avail themselves of the opportunities and means of life; they must stand on equal terms with reference to the bounty of Nature.
    -- Henry George

    #Mean #Opportunity #Men

  • That which is unjust can really profit no one; that which is just can really harm no one.
    -- Henry George

    #Unjust #Economics #Harm

  • It is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal rights of each from aggression on the part of others, and the moment governmental prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very ends they are intended to serve.
    -- Henry George

    #Religious #Men #Rights

  • The equal right of all men to the use of land is as clear as their equal right to breathe the air it is a right proclaimed by the fact of their existence. For we cannot suppose that some men have a right to be in this world, and others no right.
    -- Henry George

    #Men #Air #Land

  • No person, I think, ever saw a herd of buffalo, of which a few were fat and the great majority lean. No person ever saw a flock of birds, of which two or three were swimming in grease, and the others all skin and bone.
    -- Henry George

    #Swimming #Thinking #Two

  • What protectionism teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.
    -- Henry George

    #War #Enemy #Teach

  • Let no man imagine that he has no influence. Whoever he may be, and wherever he may be placed, the man who thinks becomes a light and a power.
    -- Henry George

    #Leadership #Men #Thinking

  • Poorly paid labor is inefficient labor, the world over.
    -- Henry George

    #World #Economics #Labor

  • The fundamental principle of human action, the law, that is to political economy what the law of gravitation is to physics is that men seek to gratify their desires with the least exertion
    -- Henry George

    #Men #Law #Political

  • It is not from top to bottom that societies die; it is from bottom to top.
    -- Henry George

    #Bottom

  • In all the new states of the Union, land monopolization has gone on at an alarming rate, but in none of them so fast as in California, and in none of them, perhaps, are the evil effects so manifest.
    -- Henry George

    #Land #California #Evil

  • How can a man be said to have a country when he has not right of a square inch of it.
    -- Henry George

    #Country #Men #Squares

  • Poverty is the openmouthed relentless hell which yawns beneath civilized society. And it is hell enough.
    -- Henry George

    #Poverty #Hell #Enough

  • It is too narrow an understanding of production which confines it merely to the making of things. Production includes not merely the making of things, but the bringing of them to the consumer. The merchant or storekeeper is thus as truly a producer as is the manufacturer, or farmer, and his stock or capital is as much devoted to production as is theirs.
    -- Henry George

    #Understanding #Producers #Farmers

  • Private ownership of land is the nether mill-stone. Material progress is the upper mill-stone. Between them, with an increasing pressure, the working classes are being ground.
    -- Henry George

    #Land #Class #Progress

  • The ideal social state is not that in which each gets an equal amount of wealth, but in which each gets in proportion to his contribution to the general stock.
    -- Henry George

    #Wealth #Social #States

  • That amid our highest civilization men faint and die with want is not due to the niggardliness of nature, but to the injustice of man.
    -- Henry George

    #Men #Civilization #Want

  • There can be to the ownership of anything no rightful title which is not derived from the title of the producer and does not rest upon the natural right of the man to himself.
    -- Henry George

    #Men #Titles #Doe

  • one sex of voice in public matters, and that we could in no way so increase the attention , the intelligence and the devotion which may be brought to the solution of social problems as by enfranchising our women .
    -- Henry George

    #Sex #Voice #Attention

  • The man who gives me employment, which I must have or suffer, that man is my master, let me call him what I will.
    -- Henry George

    #Men #Giving #Suffering

  • So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real and cannot be permanent.
    -- Henry George

    #Real #Luxury #Long

  • I am firmly convinced, as I have already said, that to effect any great social improvement, it is sympathy rather than self-interest, the sense of duty rather than the desire for self-advancement, that must be appealed to. Envy is akin to admiration, and it is the admiration that the rich and powerful excite which secures the perpetuation of aristocracies.
    -- Henry George

    #Powerful #Self #Envy

  • The word capital, as philologists trace it, comes down to us from a time when wealth was estimated in cattle, and a man's income depended upon the number of head he could keep for their increase.
    -- Henry George

    #Men #Numbers #Income

  • The state, it cannot too often be repeated, does nothing, and can give nothing, which it does not take from somebody.
    -- Henry George

    #Giving #Doe #States

  • As Mazzini said ... it is around the standard of duty rather than around the standard of self-interest that men must rally to win the rights of man. And herein may we see the deep philosophy of Him who bade men love their neighbors as themselves. In that spirit, and in no other, is the power to solve social problems and carry civilization onward.
    -- Henry George

    #Philosophy #Winning #Men

  • Whoever becomes imbued with a noble idea kindles a flame from which other torches are lit, and influences those with whom he comes in contact, be they few or many. How far that influence, thus perpetuated, may extend, it is not given to him here to see.
    -- Henry George

    #Ideas #Flames #Torches

  • Capital is a result of labor, and is used by labor to assist it in further production. Labor is the active and initial force, and labor is therefore the employer of capital.
    -- Henry George

    #Used #Results #Force

  • We have made, and still are making, enormous advances on material lines. It is necessary that we commensurately advance on moral lines. Civilization, as it progresses, requires a higher conscience, a keener sense of justice, a warmer brotherhood, a wider, loftier, truer public spirit.
    -- Henry George

    #Civilization #Justice #Brotherhood

  • Abolish all taxation save that upon land values.
    -- Henry George

    #Land #Taxation #Values

  • If you would have the slave show the virtues of the freeman, you must first make him free.
    -- Henry George

    #Politics #Firsts #Slave

  • It is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly.
    -- Henry George

    #Religious #Men #Fool

  • He who sees the truth, let him proclaim it, without asking who is for it or who is against it.
    -- Henry George

    #Truth #Asking

  • Progressive societies outgrow institutions as children outgrow clothes.
    -- Henry George

    #Children #Clothes #Progress

  • How vainly shall we endeavor to repress crime by our barbarous punishment of the poorer class of criminals so long as children are reared in the brutalizing influences of poverty, so long as the bite of want drives men to crime.
    -- Henry George

    #Children #Men #Class

  • The value of a thing is the amount of laboring or work that its possession will save the possessor.
    -- Henry George

    #Entrepreneur #Possession #Values

  • The people must think because the people alone can act.
    -- Henry George

    #Thinking #People

  • Social progress makes the well-being of all more and more the business of each.
    -- Henry George

    #Business #Progress #Social

  • Discovery can give no right of ownership, for whatever is discovered must have been already here to be discovered. If a man makes a wheelbarrow, or a book, or a picture, he has a moral right to that particular wheelbarrow, or book, or picture, but no right to ask that others be prevented from making similar things. Such a prohibition, though given for the purpose of stimulating discovery and invention, really in the long run operates as a check upon them.
    -- Henry George

    #Running #Book #Men

  • I do not think that any sorrow of youth or manhood equalled in intensity or duration the black and hopeless misery which followed the wrench of transference from a happy home to a school.
    -- Henry George

    #Home #School #Thinking

  • A good, very good, not to say admirable schoolmaster, but then he is only a schoolmaster.
    -- Henry George

    #Very Good #Admirable

  • No theory is too false, no fable too absurd, no superstition too degrading for acceptance when it has become embedded in common belief. Men will submit themselves to torture and to death, mothers will immolate [burn] their children at the bidding of beliefs they thus accept.
    -- Henry George

    #Faith #Mother #Children

  • How many men are there who fairly earn a million dollars?
    -- Henry George

    #Men #Dollars #Million Dollars

  • Compare society to a boat. Her progress through the water will not depend upon the exertion of her crew, but upon the exertion devoted to propelling her. This will be lessened by any expenditure of force in fighting among themselves, or in pulling in different directions.
    -- Henry George

    #Fighting #Water #Progress

  • That alone is wise which is just; that alone is enduring which is right.
    -- Henry George

    #Wise #Justice #Endure

  • He who by an exertion of mind or body, adds to the aggregate of enjoyable wealth, increases the sum of human knowledge, or gives to human life higher elevation or greater fullness - he is, in the larger meaning of the words, a " producer," a " working man," a " laborer," and is honestly earning honest wages.
    -- Henry George

    #Honesty #Men #Giving

  • The march of invention has clothed mankind with powers of which a century ago the boldest imagination could not have dreamt.
    -- Henry George

    #Imagination #March #Economics

  • The methods by which a trade union can alone act, are necessarily destructive; its organization is necessarily tyrannical.
    -- Henry George

    #Organization #Unions #Economics

  • Whence shall come the new barbarians? Go through the squalid quarters of great cities, and you may see, even now, their gathering hordes! How shall learning perish? Men will cease to read, and books will kindle fires and be turned into cartridges.
    -- Henry George

    #Book #Men #Cities

  • Trade has ever been the extinguisher of war, the eradicator of prejudice, the diffuser of knowledge.
    -- Henry George

    #War #Prejudice #Trade

  • For every social wrong there must be a remedy. But the remedy can be nothing less than the abolition of the wrong.
    -- Henry George

    #Honesty #Integrity #Character

  • As it becomes more and more difficult to get land, so will the virtual enslavement of the laboring-classe s go on. As the value of land rises, more and more of the earnings of labor will be demanded for the use of land, until finally nothing is left to laborers but the wages of slavery -- a bare living.
    -- Henry George

    #Land #Use #Wages

  • Passing into higher forms of desire, that which slumbered in the plant, and fitfully stirred in the beast, awakes in the man.
    -- Henry George

    #Men #Desire #Beast

  • The protection of the masses has in all times been the pretense of tyranny - the plea of monarchy, of aristocracy, of special privilege of every kind. The slave owners justified slavery as protecting the slaves.
    -- Henry George

    #Special #Aristocracy #Slavery

  • My primary object is to defend and advance a principle in which I see the only possible relief from much that enthralls and degrades and distorts, turning light to darkness and good to evil, rather than to gage a philosopher or weigh a philosophy. Yet the examination I propose must lead to a decisive judgment upon both.
    -- Henry George

    #Philosophy #Light #Evil

  • It is but a truism that labor is most productive where its wages are largest. Poorly paid labor is inefficient labor, the world over.
    -- Henry George

    #Wages #World #Truism

  • I propose to beg no question to shrink from no conclusion, but to follow truth wherever it may lead.
    -- Henry George

    #May #Conclusion #Propose

  • God showers upon us his gifts-more than enough for all; But like swine scrambling for food, we tread them in the mire, and rend each other.
    -- Henry George

    #Human Nature #Enough #Swine

  • Everybody works but the vacant lot
    -- Henry George

    #Vacant

  • For as labor cannot produce without the use of land, the denial of the equal right to the use of land is necessarily the denial of the labor to its own produce.
    -- Henry George

    #Land #Use #Denial

  • The tax upon land values is the most just and equal of all taxes. It falls only upon those who receive from society a peculiar and valuable benefit, and upon them in proportion to the benefit they receive.It is the taking by the community for the use of the community of that value which is the creation of the community. It is the application of the common property to common uses. When all rent is taken by taxation for the needs of the community, then will the equality ordained by nature be attained.
    -- Henry George

    #Fall #Taken #Land

  • It is as to whether its services or uses are to be exchanged or not which makes a tool an article of capital or merely an article of wealth. Thus, the lathe of a manufacturer used in making things which are to be exchanged is capital, while the lathe kept by a gentleman for his own amusement is not.
    -- Henry George

    #Gentleman #Tools #Use

  • There are people into whose heads it never enters to conceive of any better state of society than that which now exists.
    -- Henry George

    #People #States

  • As man is so constituted that it is utterly impossible for him to attain happiness save by seeking the happiness of others, so does it seem to be of the nature of things that individuals and classes can obtain their own just rights only by struggling for the rights of others.
    -- Henry George

    #Struggle #Men #Rights

  • When we consider that labor is the producer of all wealth, is it not evident that the impoverishment and, dependence of labor are abnormal conditions resulting from restrictions and usurpations, and that instead of accepting protection, what labor should demand is freedom. That those who advocate any extension of freedom choose to go no further than suits their own special purpose is no reason why freedom itself should be distrusted.
    -- Henry George

    #Special #Demand #Suits

  • Charity is false, futile, and poisonous when offered as a substitute for justice.
    -- Henry George

    #Justice #Charity #Substitutes