Progressive societies outgrow institutions as children outgrow clothes.
--Henry George, economist, journalist, and philosopher (1839-1897)
(70:5.1) Every human institution had a beginning, and civil government is a product of progressive evolution just as much as are marriage, industry, and religion. From the early clans and primitive tribes there gradually developed the successive orders of human government which have come and gone right on down to those forms of social and civil regulation that characterize the second third of the twentieth century.
(81:6.39) Society is not a divine institution; it is a phenomenon of progressive evolution; and advancing civilization is always delayed when its leaders are slow in making those changes in the social organization which are essential to keeping pace with the scientific developments of the age. For all that, things must not be despised just because they are old, neither should an idea be unconditionally embraced just because it is novel and new.
Henry George was an American political economist and journalist. He promoted the "single tax" on land, though he avoided that term. His writing was immensely popular in the 19th century America, and sparked several reform movements of the Progressive Era. He inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism, based on the belief that people should own the value they produce themselves, but that the economic value derived from land (including natural resources) should belong equally to all members of society. He argued that a single tax on land would itself reform society and economy.
His most famous work, Progress and Poverty (1879), sold millions of copies worldwide, probably more than any other American book before that time. The treatise investigates the paradox of increasing inequality and poverty amid economic and technological progress, the cyclic nature of industrialized economies, and the use of rent capture such as land value tax and other anti-monopoly reforms as a remedy for these and other social problems.
The mid-20th century labor economist and journalist George Soule wrote that George was "By far the most famous American economic writer," and "author of a book which probably had a larger world-wide circulation than any other work on economics ever written."