[Marxism] Piketty is No Piketty » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jun 20 07:51:44 MDT 2014
If you mention Henry George (1839-1897) these days, someone may chirp,
“Single Tax”, and that’s it!; his Progress and Poverty (1879) is now
largely forgotten. But about a year ago I chanced upon an eloquent
quotation about it. “From the banks of the Ganges..” it began and then
went ‘round the globe, citing men and women who, as they labored in
deepest poverty and ignorance, read and struggled to understand his
message that a full, prosperous, dignified life, then denied, was
already attainable for every man, woman and child in that 135-year ago
I “got it” when I finally read Progress and Poverty last fall. What is
most memorable is George’s beautiful and thrilling – no other words fit
– passion for human equality. Already at that early date his vision rose
beyond continent, nation, race and gender.
Apparently because of that, countless Henry George clubs sprang up –
‘From the banks of the Ganges’ to wherever else laboring people wrestled
with their fate. Thus clewed, I began to recall that a few of the
old-timer socialists, communists and IWW’s I had known way back had
mentioned being first tutored in progressive ways in one of those clubs,
or perhaps just by talking to an even older old-timer who had “learned
his (in two instances, her) Henry George”.
There is some curious affinity between George and Piketty. Both share
that economist’s preference for the ‘gated’ economic universe mentioned
earlier and which therefore shouldn’t be (George) or can’t really be
(Piketty) altered by political action from the outside. Accordingly,
both introduce what economists call an “externality” to fix things; in
George a single tax on land, in Piketty a single tax on wealth.
Different, but there is that affinity. First Henry George.
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