The title of this 1883 classic of laissez-faire economics and sociology is ironic: the social classes do not, the author concludes, owe each other anything. Demolishing the theory of group obligation and fully embracing the concepts of dog-eat-dog social Darwinism, Sumner rages against the notion that the educated and wealthy have any obligation to the poor and uneducated, declares that the men should simply pull themselves out of poverty, deems taxes an obscenity and universal suffrage "immoral and vicious," dismisses the idea of "natural rights," and decries anything other than "every man for himself."A stunning evocation of modern libertarianism taken to its logical extreme, What Social Classes Owe to Each Other presents a bleak vision of contemporary industrial society... one valuable for those on all sides of the issue to understand and appreciate.American academic and author WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER (1840-1910) was an influential professor of sociology and politics at Yale College and president of the American Sociological Association from 1908 to 1909. He wrote numerous and varied books including Andrew Jackson as a Public Man (1882) and Folkways (1906).
A fascinating but often overlooked topic is the establishment of currency in a new nation. The process involves not only a host of unknown and complicated political factors, but also economics and the culture of the new nation. In A History of American Currency, Yale Professor William G. Sumner examines the development of the monetary system in the United States, from the colonial era through the Civil War. He noted that the earliest British settlers brought with them virtually no money; the English government wouldn't allow it, and the Puritans had little or no use for it. Gradually, the settlers traded wampumpeag with their Native American neighbors, and eventually currency was developed to pay soldiers, finance expeditions, and trade with other nations. Sumner also covers the English Bank Restriction of 1797, the Bullion Report of 1810, and the development of Austrian paper money.WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER was a professor of political and social science at Yale University and became known as a Social Darwinist and advocate of the laissez faire principle in economics. Besides writing a number of books on sociology, history, and economics, he was also influential in the movement to modernize the American university system.
Written in 1883, this political and economic treatise is even more pertinent today than at the time of its first publication. Sumner champions the rights of the individual over the state and organized pressure groups. He defines the important role that the "Forgotten Man" must play in our social and economic development.