New York and elsewhere: The Robert Shalkenbach Foundation, Public Revenue Education Council, The Economics League, International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade, U.S. Department of State, John C. Lincoln, and other private publishers, c.1950s & 1960s. Various. Paperback. This unusual collection of nineteen pamphlets expounds progressive political and economic notions by Henry George and other like-minded scholars and political figures, including a pamphlet featuring the early progressive notions of Winston S. Churchill. The pamphlets, all undated, are circa the 1950s and 1960s. Many are published by The Robert Shalkenbach Foundation, but there are also perhaps half a dozen other publishers represented. All nineteen pamphlets are wire-stitched, varying in size from 9 x 6 inches (22.9 x 15.2 cm) to 7 x 5 inches (17.8 x 12.7 cm). Nearly all are very good plus or better condition, complete with only minor wear and soiling. On Human Rights by Churchill is near-fine, crisp and bright with no appreciable wear and only light exterior soiling. The Churchill pamphlet has a received date stamp at the upper left front cover corner reading “REC’D FEB 8-1965” - approximately two weeks after Churchill’s death.
The unifying theme of the collection is represented by the pamphlets containing an abridged array of the corpus of reformatory economic thought of Henry George (1839-1897), such as reprintings of “The Single Tax”, “Causes of Business Depression”, and “The Condition of Labor”. An intriguing outlier contextualized by the collection is the pamphlet by Churchill titled “On Human Rights”.
Churchill’s bibliographer, Ronald Cohen, dates the Churchill pamphlet (the second printing of the American edition) to July 1963. It includes excerpts from Churchill’s addresses of 3 May 1909 in the House of Commons and of 17 July 1909 at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh. Both speeches concern an issue central to Henry George and the Shalkenbach Foundation, land reform and redistribution, for which Churchill was at the time a strident, progressive voice. The speech excerpts were previously published under the title of “The Menace of Land Monopoly” in 1941 and 1942 before this third, re-titled American edition.
Considered by some to have done for economics what Darwin did for science, Henry George’s legacy significantly informed economic and political landscapes. His magnum opus, Progress and Poverty, which sold millions of copies, questions the once widely held notion that technological progress and social sophistication inevitably increases poverty. To ameliorate the disparity between what he called “the house of have and the house of want”, George propounded abolition of all taxes save one: a land value tax. His position was lauded by contemporaries as diverse as Thomas Edison and Mark Twain. Although George’s name is less common than theirs today, his notions influenced foundational public policy in many western countries.
Robert Shalkenbach was both a regarded printer and adherent of Henry George. Upon his death in 1925, a portion of Shalkenbach’s fortune was committed to ongoing promotion of Henry George’s ideas. An excerpt from Shalkenbach’s will reads: “Being firmly convinced that the principles expounded by Henry George in his immortal book, ‘Progress and Poverty’ will, if enacted into law, give equal opportunity to all and tend to the betterment of the individual and of society by the abolition of involuntary poverty and its attendant evils.” Nearly a century later, The Robert Shalkenbach Foundation continues to promulgate Henry George’s vision.
Titles in the collection include: The Labor Question; The Land for the People; The Single Tax: What It Is and Why We Urge It; The Study of Political Economy; Why the Landowner Cannot Shift the Tax on Land Values; Should Land Have Selling Value?; Why Put Up With Inflation; Capital, America vs. Russia: An Answer to Communism (two copies); Truth About Taxes; The Problem of Unemployment; Simplified Facts About Money; The Land Problem in the Americas; The Challenge of Australian Tax Policy; Causes of Business Depression; Land-Value Taxation in Denmark; Our Daily Bread; The Missing Factor in the Crusade for Freedom; On Human Rights.
Reference (On Human Rights): Cohen A140.3.b. Item #006097