John Dewey on Henry George

Charles Joseph Smith

[Reprinted from Land and Freedom, July-August 1941]

Dr. John Dewey, America's foremost philosopher, has written a Foreword to the new Guide for Teaching the Principles of Political Economy, published by the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation (See the Foundation's report elsewhere in this issue). The Guide is a student's manual based upon Henry George's Progress and Poverty, and in his Foreword Dr. Dewey has the following to say: Progress and Poverty is one of the world's classics. While it falls technically in the field of economics, it is one of the comparatively few books in that field that link economics with politics, sociology, and ethics, and, in consequence, it is required study for the student of government, social affairs and morals, as well as economics.

Domestic conditions have for a long time forced attention to the need of free access by the inhabitants of a country to land, in which are included the natural resources of mines, forest and water-power as well as farms and building-sites. Present international conditions, the world war included, point with intense emphasis to the fact that the problem is of equal importance in all questions and issues arising in the intercourse of the nations of the earth with one another. That person lives in a dream-world who believes war can be permanently averted and helpful cooperative relations of the peoples of the earth established until the question is faced of free access of populations to the resources nature has provided for the common use of mankind.

Because of my conviction that no person is properly educated today without acquaintance with the problem and with the solution advanced by Henry George, I am happy to write this Foreword. Whether study of the book leads or does not lead a student to acceptance of the views put forth by George, it will immensely widen and broaden his understanding of the world in which he lives and equip him to deal with the menacing problems it presents.

The Guide which is here offered bears on its face the proof that it is a careful and competent aid to any student who is given the great opportunity of becoming acquainted with a book which will enable him to see domestic and international problems in a vitally important perspective which might otherwise escape his vision.