Review of the Book:

The Science of Political Economy
by Henry George

Arthur T. Hadley


Henry George was a great preacher. Progress and Poverty is one of the most eloquent volumes of sermons which has appeared in the English language. But in proportion as George passes from the field of oratory to that of science, his work becomes less good. He criticises his predecessors with no sparing hand; but he lays himself open to the same kind of criticism in far greater measure than they do. With all its claims of novelty, the book has little which is really new, unless it be a somewhat commonplace metaphysics within which the author tries to frame his economic system. Subtract this, and we have simply a new edition of Progress and Poverty, less well written, plus a number of rather disconnected utterances on money and kindred topics, logical enough when the author sticks close to Smith and Mill, and less so in proportion as he departs from those models. For this reason, it is quite impossible to review the book in cxtenso. This is not the first time that a good preacher has proved himself a poor controversialist. Those of us who have admired George for his brilliant earlier work and for his unblemished personal character can only regret that this last book was ever written and desire that it may be forgotten as soon as possible.