The biggest conceptual impediments to the acceptance of Henry George’s central insight that large-scale private land monopoly drives wages to the starvation point are the Wages Fund Theory and its adjunct, the Malthusian Theory. The former posits that wages are drawn from a fixed fund of capital, forcing laborers to compete with each other for a piece of that pie. The latter claims that population increase naturally outstrips the ability of nature to support us. Although George compellingly debunked both theories in the late nineteenth century, they are alive and well in popular and academic thought, especially today. They thus continue to fuel widespread fear of competition from both foreign and domestic workers and divert attention from land policy.
In this talk, Steve Sklar reviews the ways in which George disproved these theories. He discusses how George’s thinking challenges the popular view that to get ahead individuals must adopt a dog-eat-dog approach to social interaction.