In Quest of Justice

David Hershey

[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 Land.

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. Potter's chair.

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 economic theories.

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.