Fallacies in Progress & Poverty

by William Hanson (1984)

NO well-informed person will deny that among the wage-workers of all nations there is an immense amount of privation and consequent misery. This destitution cannot be wholly ascribed to improvidence, or to the transgressions of hygienic or physiological law. For in these respects the rich, equally with the poor, are guilty. To other causes must we therefore trace the wretchedness observable in the midst of unremitting toil.
The author has given eighteen years of constant thought to a solution of this difficult problem. Sympathy for the distressed is the motive force of this protracted investigation. He has found that the Political Economists are contradictory, inconsistent, and illogical. They seldom agree upon anything, and are therefore scientifically unreliable. Nor can the writer see that God is the author of these miseries; rather must they be traced to a transgression of His laws. Nor, in the opinion of the author, does the recognition of, or a belief in a Supreme Being, detract in the least from the scientific quality of his essays. Agnosticism has its legitimate uses and merits respect.
So long, however, as there are Laws of the Universe, and a moral order discoverable, it is legitimate to infer the existence of a supreme and infinite cause.
There are those who maintain that Economics have nothing to do with morals. From this opinion the author dissents in toto. The Industrial Problem demands a moral solution, and this it must have, ere a settlement can be gained. The author, therefore, invites a careful examination of the Inductive and Deductive demonstrations of his book, and prays that a perusal will convince the intellect, and quicken the heart of the reader to an abiding sense of his own moral obligations.

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