In Quest of Justice
[Reprinted from the Illinois Georgist, Vol.5,
No.1, Winter 1993]
After having completed the Henry George School's Fundamentals of
Economics course and the book, Progress and Poverty, I wanted
to put down in words what the course has meant to me.
It occurred to me the other day that my girlfriend, Leza Land, has a
last name that could be a real asset to a Georgist: Land. Then I began
thinking of ways it could be used. If she were to have a boy she could
name it Thomas. This would please her father and grandfather as
they're both named Thomas. Since the X is so popular these days his
middle name could be X. Like Malcolm X, he would be called Thomas X.
Then he could sign his name TX Land-the perfect name for a Georgist-TX
Leza can vouch for my assertion that nothing quickens my pulse more
than the hope provided by the free market system. Probably to her
consternation that is what excites me most. She's somewhat perplexed
to find herself, as I'm sure many Georgist spouses can relate, with a
partner whose driving passion is political economy. One night we were
sitting around the dinner table talking about politics as usual. I
told Leza that I was concerned about social justice. I thought she was
going to fall off her chair. That just goes to show how far the
liberals have gone in appropriating this term from the rest of us and
in doing so have taken the moral high ground. But with George's
philosophy we can reclaim this ground. With his prescription to end
monopolies, privileges and unequal distribution of wealth we have a
very powerful message indeed.
Back when I was 13 or 14 I had a vision. I had a vision of what i
wanted to do with my life that has changed little in twenty years.
Although I didn't have the words to describe my vision then, it
basically consisted of a picture of me sitting behind a large desk and
managing the fortunes of large railroads, factories and mining
companies. My favorite movie for a long time has been "Its a
Wonderful Life". In the movie, Jimmy Stewart played a child of
the depression who came of age during World War II, and wanted to be a
builder of bridges, factories and skyscrapers. I was a child of the
baby boom, came of age during the roaring 80's and wanted to finance
these projects. Basically I saw myself as Jimmy Stewart sitting in Mr.
This dream carried me through college, where I received both my
undergraduate and graduate degrees in Finance and through three years
of intense studying and test taking to receive my Chartered Financial
Analyst designation. My career dreams have largely been realized in my
current position as a bond trader for Lotsoff Capital Management here
in Chicago. Throughout these courses of study I was exposed to various
The ironic thing I discovered, was that although I began studying
political economy to reach my financial dreams what I received instead
was a coherent philosophy, a comprehensive view of the world that I
have found immensely valuable. To me nothing is more alien than the
notion of economics as the dismal science. This Is what I find so
attractive about Progress and Poverty. To me its message is
one of supreme hope and optimism. In it, George proves that population
is not limited by resources, that wages are not limited by savings,
that free men and women can achieve boundless prosperity when
unfettered by the claims of the landowners.
The Importance of having consistent political principles was recently
driven home to me while watching the third presidential debate this
fall. It's the one in which most of the media agreed that al three
candidates were in top form. After the debate I can remember vaguely
feeling that, gee these guys al seem nice enough and they al seem to
want what's best for the country, any one of them would make a good
president. Then I had to shake myself. Wait a minute! Did I Just
receive some sort of subliminal message from TV? What did I Just say?
-- I voted for Libertarian candidate Andre Marrou.
The social philosophy of Henry I George, his values of equality,
freedom, and progress are the values this country was founded on. They
resonate on a subconscious level with all Americans and they are
precisely the values we need to more consistently seek. To me this is
an exciting message that as a Georgist one should be very proud to
represent I join in bearing witness to its truth.