Puslapio vaizdai

Socialism, backed by ethical science, declares the judgment day to be at hand.

15. We have seen that the interest which the laborer took in his work would, under Socialism, be an important factor in determining the measure of his reward. This objection, that Socialism would impair the motive to effort, derives a fictitious importance, because based on a false conception of Socialism, which is thus formulated by Mr. Rae: "Under a Socialistic régime, they [laborers] cannot by any merit acquire more property than they enjoy in daily use, and they cannot by any fault fail to possess that." This is the substance of only half, and the purely communistic half, of the formula adopted by Louis Blanc : "Each produces according to his faculties, and consumes according to his wants." Mr. Rae's inference, ignoring the half that demands the best effort of the laborer, and asserting that the same reward would be to the worthy and the unworthy, is an unwarrantable disjointing and perversion of this formula, and of the teaching of Socialism.

16. The argument that State-help would impair the motive to effort is fallacious. It employs the term State-help as the equivalent of charity. It contrasts State-help with self-help under the capitalistic régime, and assumes that Socialism will render all citizens objects of charity, quasi paupers, and as such socially demoralized. This is a strange mistake. The very object of Socialism is to render Statehelp in this sense unnecessary. There is a sense in which the State helps and must help its members. Property, as now conceived, can neither be acquired nor held without the aid of the State through its laws. State-help, in protecting life and limb, is demanded by all. Economically speaking, men are becoming more and more dependent upon the help of each other. "In his economic position, in the manner and in the success of his economic activity, in all that pertains to his income and to his resources, the individual becomes dependent upon the economic activity and acts of others." 2

1 "Contemporary Socialism," p. 364.

2 Schönberg, as quoted in "Political Economy" (Ely), p. 26.

Indeed, all communication by mail, telegraph, or telephone, is through State-help. We cannot go anywhere, nor transport anything, nor engage in any business, without the assistance and security of the laws; that is, without Statehelp. This is the nature of State-help which Socialism will render to individuals. It will help them to help themselves. It will encourage them by removing obstacles which society now puts in their way. It will help them, as Statehelp, by its roads and regulations, now assists a traveller on his way, and enables him to reach his destination.

In no sense is the State-help which Socialism would render, a charity tending to impair economic motive and pauperize its recipients. On the other hand, multitudes who now receive State-help as charity, would become self-supporting and self-respecting citizens. Mr. Joseph Cook says, "You may pour in State-help, ages and ages, without filling the Socialistic bag; and until self-help gives it a bottom, the filling will be useless."1 He ignores the fact that State-help even now renders self-help effective or even possible. Co-operation is the first and last principle of Socialism; not communistic, but socialistic co-operation. Whenever tried, co-operative-help has intensfied the spirit of self-help. Mr. Cook admits this, and says "Co-operation:

1. Obviates strikes.

2. Stimulates the workmen to industry and carefulness. 3. Incites him to frugality.

4. Improves his moral, social, and political character. 5. Provides for him employment, independent of the will of the middleman.

6. Gives him the middleman's share of the profit." 2

If co-operative-help can do all this for workmen in the face of the present bitter and implacable economic forces, what may we not expect from co-operative-help when its grand principle becomes fully developed and perfected in the co-operative commonwealth?

This is State-help if you please, but it is nevertheless selfhelp. It is difficult to see the logical force of Mr. Cook's 1 "Socialism," p. 87. 2 Ibid., p. 117.

distinction between the "Socialist" who depends on Statehelp, and the "co-operator" who depends on "self-help; " it would seem to be a distinction without a difference, or with a difference decidedly in favor of Socialism. Socialists have no sympathy with pauperism. They abhor it; they are all self-helpers, and in this way helpers of others. The opposite of self-help is not State-help, but each-other-help. Socialism says to every able-bodied man, "You must work." Is this State-help? Individualism says to the idle millions that constitute parasitic society, "You need not work; you need not depend on self-help, nor State-help, nor the help of the Almighty, as I have got society so organized that you can compel the toiling multitudes to earn your bread, and you can live in idleness." The pauper spirit is one that seeks to get what another has earned, and it is disastrous to society, whether it accomplishes this through the exploitation of the laborer, or begs from door to door.

One would imagine, from the solicitude of the defenders of capitalism lest self-help should be imperilled by Socialism, that it was the corner-stone of the capitalistic régime. On the contrary, self-employment is becoming more and more difficult, and has already entirely disappeared among large classes of laborers; and the sad accompaniment is a loss of hope, of patriotism, of faith in God, of noble emulation, and of all motives save such as minister to the satisfaction of animal wants. Socialism, it is confidently believed, would revive the hope and courage of these disfranchised classes and restore them to their inheritance.

Besides these sixteen considerations which bear directly on the question before us, and render it at least improbable that in the co-operative commonwealth the motive to effort would be impaired, production diminished, and progress retarded, another phase of the subject is worthy of attention. We will pass by the fact that, even if the incentive to effort should be somewhat weakened, the large number of present non-producers which would be added to the army of workers would greatly increase production; and the further fact that the immense waste of capitalism, to which we have called attention, would be saved under Socialism, and tend

still further to the total production. Suppose, then, that material "progress" was retarded; what would happen? Is it absolutely certain that society could not survive the terrible consequences should it slacken its pace in "making haste to be rich"?


The most recent and significant voice of political economy says, "To show that a practical measure will create wealth is not enough to commend it. The main question is, what effect will it have on the entire life of the nation, also of humanity? The true starting-point in economic discussions is the ethical community, of which the individual is a member." This is well and bravely said. The race of nations is not always to the swift. This country would live longer if it lived more slowly. Our mushroom growth, however flattering to our vanity, is anything but assuring to the students of history. The result of economic zeal under capitalism is the vast accumulation of private riches; and this, if history repeats itself, will be the signal for national decay and dissolution. Not until "silver was in Jerusalem as stones," was the powerful kingdom of the Israelites divided and destroyed. Mighty Babylon succumbed, not to the armies of Cyrus, but to the fatal revelry begotten of her wealth and splendor; and the wonder of the whole world became "an astonishment and a hissing, without an inhabitant." The glory of Sparta departed with the acquisition of wealth. A single sentence of the historian reveals the cause of her fall: "The primitive simplicity of Spartan manners had been completely destroyed by the collection of wealth into a few hands, and by the consequent progress of luxury."2 The rise and power of the different states of Greece were contemporary with the industrious habits of all the people. Chiefs and nobles at first performed manual labor, and their wives and daughters not only wove and spun, but assisted their slaves fetching water and washing garments; but with the accumulation of wealth, and the consequent weakening of physical and moral fibre, came national decay and ruin.

1 "Political Economy" (Ely), p. 84.

2 "History of Greece " (Smith), p. 530.

Gibbon dates the decline of the Roman Empire from the accession of Commodus, when the wealth of all Europe, Asia, and Africa lay at her feet. In more recent times when Spain began to overflow with gold under Charles V., her national power and glory began to ebb. Professor Ely says truly, "Economic forces are prominent in the decay of civilization." History furnishes abundant evidence that in all ages cities and countries become popular and powerful, then perish from their riches and consequent moral rottenness.


Mr. Rae tells us that "Socialists ignore the civilizing value of private property and inheritance." A more important question in the light of history is, do political economists and advocates of the capitalistic system appreciate the demoralizing and ruinous tendencies of these institutions?

If all social "progress" depends on the amassing of property, at what point does society begin to progress backwards?

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This word "progress may yet break the back of free institutions. The notion is now practically limited to materialism in its broadest and grossest sense: it suggests gigantic financial schemes, the development of natural resources, the utilization of the forces of nature, and the material aggrandizement of individuals and nations; in a word, the enthronement of physical science as paramount to all other considerations, temporal or eternal. Moral and psychological science of infinite importance to the race is comparatively neglected and ignored. We do not worship "the good old times," nor do we care to have civilization set back to primitive times; but we have no objection to going back to what was good, and better than now. We forget that the world got along fairly well without steamengines, railroads, electric wires, and printing-presses. Plato was something of a traveller and writer. Socrates succeeded in getting around Athens without an elevated railway, and he understood tolerably well the art of con1 "Political Economy," p. 131. 2" Contemporary Socialism," p. 364

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