The mission of the Henry George School of Social Science, a 501 (c) (3) corporation, is to promote economic and social justice based on the philosophy of Henry George, including his seminal work, Progress and Poverty.
Since 1932, tens of thousands of students have taken courses in economics and social philosophy at the Henry George School, gaining insights into the nature of society and practical solutions for our seemingly intractable social problems. Classes, offered in English and in Spanish, attract students from all walks of life, and all levels of academic achievement.
The major program of study, Principles of Political Economy, is comprised of three ten-week courses: Progress and Poverty: First Principles (which is the pre-requisite for all other courses), Applied Economics: The Issue of Globalization and Economic Science: Progress and Prosperity.
Our headquarters is a freshly remodeled townhouse with five comfortable classrooms. We're on 30th Street, between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue, two short blocks from the Lexington Ave. IRT stop at 28th St. For over seven decades, New Yorkers have made the Henry George School a regular stop for "learning for its own sake" in a friendly and energizing setting.
Why study political economy?
Many students at the Henry George School have already studied "Economics", but gained nothing from it that they could apply to help them understand their world. We refer to our courses as "political economy", rather than the more modern "economics", to stress our search for basic principles, true in all places and times, upon which a clear understanding of economic behavior can be built. This solid foundation is necessary for understanding any science. This work is vitally important -- for, unlike physics, botany or astronomy, political economy affects every person, every day: it is the science of how people make a living.
The basic question that Henry George sought to answer is still with us: Why in spite of all the inventions, innovations and marvelous increases in productivity, do wages not increase? Why are so many people who are willing and able to work, unable to exchange their labor for the products of other people's labor? Henry George approached the problem with clear logic, and he advanced a practical solution.
The School and the Georgist Movement
Although you don't have to become a "Georgist" to benefit from your experience at the School, the Henry George School was founded as part of a reform movement which sought to establish fundamental economic justice and sustainable prosperity for all. The "Single Tax" movement was inspired by Henry George's classic work Progress and Poverty (1879), "An inquiry into the cause of industrial depressions and the increase of want with the increase of wealth." Progress and Poverty was a runaway best seller and, to this day, is the all-time most widely-read book on political economy. A long list of eminent people, including Winston Churchill, Sun Yat Sen, Leo Tolstoy, John Dewey and Albert Einstein, endorsed George's proposals.
In its heyday, the Single Tax movement was large and vibrant, organizing political parties in the US and Great Britain, getting candidates elected to office, and achieving public-revenue policy reforms, notably in Denmark, Australia and Taiwan. But, world events, particularly World War I and the Great Depression of the 1930s, sapped the political strength of the Georgist movement. It became evident that more people had to follow Henry George's advice that:
"Social reform is not to be secured by noise and shouting, by complaints and denunciation; by the formation of parties, or the making of revolutions, but by the awakening of thought and the progress of ideas. Until there be correct thought, there cannot be right action, and when there is correct thought, right action will follow". - Social Problems, 1886.