What Social Classes Owe to Each Other
After studying political science at Yale, French and Hebrew at Geneva,
ancient languages and history at Göttingen, Anglican theology at
Oxford, and working as an Episcopal clergyman in New York and New Jersey,
William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) served for 38 years as a professor of
political and social science at Yale University. With doctrines built
on the foundations of natural laws, Sumner advocated a democracy in which
no wealth would be forcibly distributed among different interest groups.
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other is a forceful
essay, profound in its insight and prophetic in its perception. Written
in 1883, it is as germane to political and economic life today as it was
one hundred years ago. It champions individual freedom and responsibility
and, just as insistently, condems political intervention in economic life,
as Frederic Bastiat had done in France a generation earlier.