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Harvard. Single Tax, Socialism, and Anarchism. Final Exam. Anderson, 1918



Perhaps some last-minute re-staffing of courses was required during the 1917-18 academic year because of colleagues joining the war effort in Washington, D.C. All I know is that the survey course on schemes of social reform that was solidly in the teaching portfolio of Thomas Nixon Carver was taught by Benjamin M. Anderson during his last year at Harvard. Carver’s own  course outline with reading assignments for 1919-20 and the corresponding final examination questions from 1920 have been posted earlier. This posting shows the deviation between the original course announcement (Carver to teach Economics 7b) and the ex post staffing and course enrollment report for the year in the annual report of the Harvard president (Anderson taught Economics 7b). 

Judging from the examination questions, it would appear that the Russian Revolution was not yet incorporated into the Harvard economics curriculum. Marxian economics did rate one of the ten questions on its own and shared another question with everyone from Henry George Single Taxers through Anarchists, Utopians up to and including the American Federation of Labor.


Course Announcement

7b 2hf. The Single Tax, Socialism, Anarchism. Half-course (second half-year). Mon., Wed., Fri., at 10. Professor Carver.

A critical study of the theories which underlie some of the more radical programmes of social reform. An examination also of the social utility of private property in its various forms; also some attention to the concept of justice in economic relations; the concept of progress; the significance of conservatism and radicalism.

Source:   Division of History, Government, and Economics 1917-18, Official Register of Harvard University, Vol. XIV, No. 25 (May 18, 1917), p. 62.


Course Enrollment

[Economics] 7b 2hf. Asst. Professor Anderson.—The Single Tax, Socialism, Anarchism.

Total 21: of which 5 Seniors, 12 Juniors, 1 Sophomore, 3 Others.

Source: Harvard University. Report of the President of Harvard College 1917-18, p. 54.




Answer nine questions

  1. “Society is to blame when the individual goes wrong.” Discuss critically.
  2. Indicate resemblances and differences: Single Taxers; Kropotkin; Emma Goldman; Marxists; Syndicalists; Fabians; American Federation of Labor; Fourier.
  3. Discuss the theory of price-fixing under war conditions in America today.
  4. Explain the contract theory of society. What ideas are usually associated with this theory? Criticise this body of ideas.
  5. Outline the main argument of Progress and Poverty. Indicate the points of strength and weakness in the argument.
  6. What reading have you done for this course?
  7. Outline A. S. Johnson’s plan for the public capitalization of the inheritance tax.
  8. Discuss the doctrine that the unearned increment is a stimulus to the building trade.
  9. Discuss the doctrine that all taxes except the land tax are a burden on industry and raise prices.
  10. Outline the main points in Marx’s system. How much of it can stand?

Source: Harvard University Archives. Harvard University Examinations. Papers Set for Final Examinations in History, History of Religions, … ,Economics, … , Fine Arts, Music in Harvard College. June, 1918. (HUC 7000.28, vol. 60 of 284).

Image Source: Benjamin M. Anderson, Jr. from Harvard Class Album 1915.

Irwin Collier

Posted by: Irwin Collier