Henry George: Now, whence arises this difficulty of finding employment, this seeming excess of the supply of labor over the demand for labor? With every pair of hands that come into the world, does there not come one mouth? Is there not demand enough for labor in the wants of those whose power to labor is going to waste, because they can find no use for it? Too little demand for labor! when even of those at work so many are under-fed, under-clothed, and not half-sheltered; when the great majority of men in all civilized countries are harassed by wants they are unable to supply!
from George's chapter in McNeill's "The Labor Movement; The Problem of Today" (1887)
Paul Samuelson: The problem is no longer that with every pair of hands that comes into the world there comes a hungry stomach. Rather it is that, attached to those hands are sharp elbows.
-- Paul A. Samuelson, Newsweek, 12 June 1967
[LVTfan: Henry George recognized how wise taxation could blunt the force of those sharp elbows! I'm not sure George regarded the empty stomach as a problem, rather simply a statement of fact.]
What constitutes the rightful basis of property? What is it that enables a man justly to say of a thing, "It is mine?" From what springs the sentiment which acknowledges his exclusive right as against all the world? Is it not, primarily, the right of a man to himself to the use of his own powers, to the enjoyment of the fruits of his own exertions? Is it not this individual right, which springs from and is testified to by the natural facts of individual organization — the fact that each particular pair of hands obey a particular brain and are related to a particular stomach; the fact that each man is a definite, coherent, independent whole — which alone justifies individual ownership? As a man belongs to himself, so his labor when put in concrete form belongs to him.
And for this reason, that which a man makes or produces is his own, as against all the world — to enjoy or to destroy, to use, to exchange, or to give. No one else can rightfully claim it, and his exclusive right to it involves no wrong to any one else. Thus there is to everything produced by human exertion a clear and indisputable title to exclusive possession and enjoyment, which is perfectly consistent with justice, as it descends from the original producer, in whom it vested by natural law. The pen with which I am writing is justly mine. No other human being can rightfully lay claim to it, for in me is the title of the producers who made it. It has become mine, because transferred to me by the stationer, to whom it was transferred by the importer, who obtained the exclusive right to it by transfer from the manufacturer, in whom, by the same process of purchase, vested the rights of those who dug the material from the ground and shaped it into a pen. Thus, my exclusive right of ownership in the pen springs from the natural right of the individual to the use of his own faculties.
-- Progress and Poverty (1879)
Free Labor argues that, as the Author of man makes every individual with one head and one pair of hands, it was probably intended that heads and hands should cooperate as friends; and that that particular head, should direct and control that particular pair of hands. As each man has one mouth to be fed, and one pair of hands to furnish food, it was probably intended that that particular pair of hands should feed that particular mouth -- that each head is the natural guardian, director, and protector of the hands and mouth inseparably connected with it; and that being so, every head should be cultivated, and improved, by whatever will add to its capacity for performing its charge. In one word Free Labor insists on universal education.
-- Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 30, 1859
LVTfan here: "it was probably intended that that particular pair of hands should feed that particular mouth" hmmm. What of the children?