|The Prosperity Paradox: The Economic Wisdom of Henry George, Rediscovered. Foreword & compiled by Dr. Mark Hassed. Victoria, Australia: Chatsworth Village Pty Ltd., copyright 2000. Paperbound, 174 pages.|
reviewed by Hanno T. Beck
Mighty WordsLet's start with a little background concerning a different book. Why, in spite of inventions and scientific advances, in spite of an abundance of food and other products, do we on Earth still find it so hard simply to make a decent, comfortable living - - and count millions of children in miserable poverty? Henry George found the fundamental flaw in our economic system and its easy remedy, and wrote a book that shocked the world. It was called Progress and Poverty, and was completed in 1879. Fo r many years after that, Progress and Poverty was discussed all over the world and no book except the Bible circulated more copies.
That book is still shocking, still important. But there's a problem -- it is 565 pages long and offers no steamy love scenes to keep you turning the pages.
So how is a modern audience going to become familiar with the main ideas of Henry George? There now exist abridged versions of Progress and Poverty that attempt to give the most important points. That is good. Dr. Mark Hassed is trying a diff erent approach -- assembling key speeches where Henry George described his own views, colorfully and with brevity.
The result is the new book, The Prosperity Paradox. In this book, whose 174 pages will not intimidate potential readers, Hassed has brought together ten speeches given by Henry George. Each is short enough to read in a single sitting.
This book shows a lot of attention to detail. A fabulous front cover design, astounding "blurbs" on the back cover (I assure you, you will be astounded), and a very pleasing, modern, easy-to-read type style make this book a quality piece of work. Also, Hassed has kept true to his goal of letting Henry George speak for himself. Other than an informative brief foreword and a short biography of George, the book is purely Henry George, speaking to you, telling stories, calling forward the best in ea ch of us, to seek worldwide economic justice.
The Prosperity Paradox is full of power, and will change the life of any reasonably intelligent person who picks it up. In fact, Hassed's compilation is so successful that I think this book may be missing an opportunity. Henry George, like all gr eat public speakers, reaches out to his audience, brings them all together sharing the same emotions and feelings, and then, if successful, issues a call to action. The Prosperity Paradox should issue a specific call to action as well.
When a reader sets down this book, in his or her mind will be the question, "Now what can I do?" It would have been handy for The Prosperity Paradox to name a World Wide Web site for further discussion, to include a list of organizations that prom ote Henry George's approach, or a list of WWW sites devoted to this topic. Of course, if the publisher or distributor wishes to do this, it's not too late -- insert a slip of paper or a little card in each copy of the book, offering some places to contac t, or ideas for what to do next.
The Prosperity Paradox hits like a hammer. If you are ready for a strong, powerful communication, one that touches your feelings as well as your brains, then get this book. Or purchase more than one, because you will want friends and colleagues t o see it too, to share the ideas, to feel what you feel.
You can order The Prosperity Paradox from Prosper Australia's secure online site and they accept credit cards in any nation's currency, so the process is easy.
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