By Colin Read
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Additional resources for The Public Financiers: Ricardo, George, Clark, Ramsey, Mirrlees, Vickrey, Wicksell, Musgrave, Buchanan, Tiebout, and Stiglitz
George sent his manuscript ﬁrst to Appleton and Company in New York City, the publisher of Herbert Spencer’s (April 27, 1820–December 8, 1903) radical but popular theory of social Darwinism. The publisher declined 44 The Public Financiers George’s manuscript. George then asked his brother Thomas to take the book to the New York publishing house of Harper’s and Scribner’s.
There, he found occasional work printing and writing, but their family lived in poverty, unable to regularly pay the rent. Henry George wrote of his poverty, of his strong feelings for the abolition of slavery, and for his concern that the progress and wealth creation of the settlement of the West often attracted the poorest immigrants 32 The Public Financiers and resulted in a labor surplus and lower wages for the working class. Henry George’s proletariat sympathies, harbored since his teenage years, were again occupying his mind and featuring strongly in his occasional writings.
The landlord could not raise his rent, because he would leave unaltered the difference between the produce obtained from the least productive land in cultivation, and that obtained from land of every quality. Three sorts of land, No. 1, 2, and 3, are in cultivation, and yield respectively with the same labour, 180, 170, and 160 quarters of wheat; but No. 3 pays no rent, and is therefore untaxed: the rent then of No. 2 cannot be made to exceed the value of ten, nor No. 1, of twenty quarters. Such a tax could not raise the price of raw produce, because as the cultivator of No.