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the accredited schedule of legal and moral rights, perquisites and obligations will also presently be brought into passable consistency with the ways and means whereby the community gets its living.

But it is also logically to be expected that any revision of the established rights, obligations, perquisites and vested interests will trail along behind the change which has taken effect in the material circumstances of the community and in the community's knowledge and belief with regard to these material circumstances; since any such revision of ancient rights and perquisites will necessarily be consequent upon and conditioned by that change, and since the axioms of law and custom that underlie any established schedule of rights and perquisites are always of the nature of make-believe; and the make-believe is necessarily built up out of conceptions derived from the accustomed range of knowledge and belief.

Out-worn axioms of this make-believe order become superstitions when the scope and method of workday knowledge has outgrown that particular range of preconceptions out of which these makebelieve axioms are constructed; which comes to saying that the underlying principles of the system of law and morals are therewith caught in a process of obsolescence," depreciation by supersession and disuse." By a figure of speech it might be said that the community's intangible assets embodied in this particular range of imponderables have shrunk by that much, through the decay of these imponderables that are no longer seasonable, and through their displacement by other figments of the human brain,

a consensus of brains trained into closer consonance with the latterday material conditions of life. Something of this kind, something in the way of depreciation by displacement, appears now to be overtaking that system of imponderables that has been handed down into current law and custom out of that range of ideas and ideals that had the vogue before the coming of the machine industry and the material sciences.

Since the underlying principles of the established order are of this make-believe character, that is to say, since they are built up out of the range of conceptions that have habitually been doing duty as the substance of knowledge and belief in the past, it follows in the nature of the case that any reconstruction of institutions will be made only tardily, reluctantly, and sparingly; inasmuch as settled habits of thought are given up tardily, reluctantly and sparingly. And this will particularly be true when the reconstruction of unseasonable institutions runs counter to a settled and honorable code of ancient principles and a stubborn array of vested interests, as in this instance. Such is the promise of the present situation, and such is also the record of the shift that was once before made from medieval to modern times. It should be a case of break or bend.



THE modern point of view, with its constituent principles of equal opportunity, self-help, and free bargaining, was given its definitive formulation in the eighteenth century, as a balanced system of Natural Rights; and it has stood over intact since that time, and has served as the unquestioned and immutable ground of public morals and expediency, on which the advocates of enlightened and liberal policies have always been content to rest in their case. The truths which it holds to be self-evident and indefeasible are conceived to be intrinsically bound up in an over-ruling Order of Nature; in which thoughtful men habitually believed at that time and in which less thoughtful men have continued to believe since then. This eighteenth-century order of nature, in the magic name of which Adam Smith was in the habit of speaking, was conceived on lines of personal initiative and activity. It is an order of things in which men were conceived to be effectually equal in all those respects that are of any decided consequence,

in intelligence, working capacity, initiative, opportunity, and personal worth; in which the creative factor engaged in industry was the workman, with his personal skill, dexterity and judgment; in which, it was believed, the employer ("master") served


his own ends and sought his own gain by consistently serving the needs of creative labor, and thereby serving the common good; in which the traders ("middle-men ") made an honest living by supplying goods to consumers at a price determined by labor cost, and so serving the common good.

This characterisation of the "obvious and simple system" that lies at the root of the liberal ideals may seem too much of a dream to any person who shuns "the scientific use of the imagination"; its imponderables may seem to lack that axiomatic selfsufficiency which one would like to find in the spiritual foundations of a working system of law and custom. Indeed, the best of its imponderables are in a fair way now to drop back into the discard of uncertified make-believe. But in point of historical fact it appears to have stood the test of time and use, so far as appears formally on the face of law and custom. For a hundred years and more it has continued to stand as a familiar article of faith and aspiration among the advocates of a Liberal policy in civil and economic affairs; and Adam Smith's followers the economists and publicists of the Liberal movement - have spoken for it as being the normal system of economic life, the "natural state of man," from which the course of events has been conceived to depart only under pressure of "disturbing causes," and to which the course of events must be pruned back at all hazards in the event of any threatened advance or departure beyond the "natural" bounds set by this working ideal.

However, the subsequent course of events has shown no indisposition to depart from this normal

system of economic life, this "natural state of man," on the effectual reality of which the modern point of view rests its inviolate principles of law and morals and economic expediency. A new order of things has been taking effect in the state of the industrial arts and in the material sciences that lie nearest to that tangible body of experience out of which the state of the industrial arts is framed. And the new order of industrial ways and means has been progressively going out of touch with the essential requirements of this established scheme of individual self-help and personal initiative, on the realisation and maintenance of which the best endeavors of the Liberals have habitually been spent.

Under the new order the first requisite of ordinary productive industry is no longer the workman and his manual skill, but rather the mechanical equipment and the standardised processes in which the mechanical equipment is engaged. And this latterday industrial equipment and process embodies not the manual skill, dexterity and judgment of an individual workman, but rather the accumulated technological wisdom of the community. Under the new order of things the mechanical equipment the "industrial plant "—takes the initiative, sets the pace, and turns the workman to account in the carrying-on of those standardised processes of production that embody this mechanistic state of the industrial arts; very much as the individual craftsman in his time held the initiative in industry, set the pace, and made use of his tools according to his own discretion in the exercise of his personal skill, dexterity and judgment, under that now obsoles

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