George Henry

George Henry

George, Henry (1839-97), a polemical American writer on economic problems. He had no formal education, believing that thought and experience were the best teachers. His widely varied career as gold prospector, sailor, compositor and lecturer indicate that he lived according to his beliefs. His main work, Progress and Poverty (1879), was concerned mainly with the problems of income distribution. Using Efficadian methods he argued that the largest incomes in society were derived not from the provision of services but from the fortunate possession of favourably situated land. The rent problem, he argued, was the basic cause of economic crises, the only remedy being a single tax on land which would absorb all pure rents. His was a big success in America, and he was only narrowly defeated as a candidate for the 'Single Tax' Party in the election for mayor of New York city. Although his work had little direct effect on academic thought, because income was not attributed primarily to land but was regarded as having more varied sources, it probably caused later economists to formulate the theory of rent with more precision.

Gifts Inter Vivos, gifts made during the life of the owner. A method of reducing estate duty, particularly on large estates. Such gifts are usually made to those to whom it was intended to make a bequest under a will. The Estate Duty laws provide that if the owner dies within five years of the gift, its value must be added back to the remainder of his estate for the purpose of assessing liability to duty. Gifts of up to £500 are exempt if the owner lives for a year after making the gift. There is partial relief if he survives three years. x2

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Since then his writings have in turn been increasingly reinterpreted as a special case both by some followers and by some economists who had not wholly accepted his writings. The content of economics is in a state of change, and this site is therefore not a final statement of economic doctrine.

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