Using Henry George’s Philosophies to Solve Today’s Economic Issues
Nishu Mehrish’s essay received the first-place prize in the 2023 Henry George in the 21st Century Writing Contest for College/University & Graduate Students level. Congratulations on this remarkable accomplishment!
This essay on poverty perpetuation focuses on identifying and analyzing the multiple determinants of poverty, the reasons for its perpetuation, and its impact on economic growth. Sir Henry George, a century and a half back in his book, “Progress and Poverty” provided an insight into the mechanism of Poverty Perpetuation. George explained why the progress of modern technology, social services, and education failed to alleviate poverty, and why the growing wealth of industrialized economies tended to stay concentrated in the hands of the few (george_1987_henry). He believed that poverty originated from the inherent trends of injustice and inequality in any market economy. The problems of, poverty amidst plenty, the corrupt relation between wealth and political power and the suffocated social order, that the world today faces, aligns with the problems George sought to address.
In this essay, using contemporary economic theories and models, I want to revitalize George’s doctrine and seek to address such determinants that are distinct from the traditional assumption of poverty being driven by overpopulation, the lack of investment, and capital accumulation. This essay is an inquiry and assessment of the circular relationship between the causes and consequences of poverty that trigger a trap for sustained economic stagnation and deprivation. Reviewing poverty thresholds and take-offs, (Semmler & Ofori, 2007) I inspect various growth models to understand the steady state of rich and poor economies and their technical issues. Through this essay, I also investigate the correlation between poverty, ecological imbalance, and climate change to highlight the threat of poverty to sustainable development.
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