Puslapio vaizdai

only to become sufficiently familiar with the idea and advantages of the public control of industry to embrace it. with a readiness and even enthusiasm that will surprise its most ardent supporters.

The progress of municipal and state Socialism is not precipitous; it injures no one; it occasions no disturbance of business; it is a perfectly natural developement in the industrial evolution. All things have led up to it, but so naturally and gradually that it is not generally recognized as anything new or strange. It is only when the movement is pointed out and analyzed, and a name sought to be given to it, that the attention is arrested. Then the changes at once seen to be logically involved are so radical, so contrary to tradition, historical precedent, and deep and wellworn grooves of social thought and industrial action, that prejudice and opposition are aroused which have to be overcome before one can calmly consider the new movement on its merits.

The recent and rapid progress of political and municipal Socialism in the United States fully justifies the statement of Professor Fawcett made a few years ago in opening a course of lectures in Oxford, "That if the growth of the Socialistic political vote progressed in Germany and in the United States for the next fifty years as it has for the last fifty, capital can do nothing effectual against Socialism."1

So marked and universal is the tendency toward state control of social forces that the German economist Wagner designates it as "the law of the increasing function of government." Washington Gladden confirms this opinion: "Laissez-faire is at the present time losing ground because of evolutionary tendencies which neither political power nor social philosophy can resist; the government must assume a larger share of duties, and laissez-faire must so far stand aside." 2

1 "Socialism" (Cook), p. 17.

2 As quoted in "Applied Christianity" (Gladden), p. 76.

III. Industrial Progress of Socialism.

"The Socialistic tendency in trusts and other artificial monopolies admits of no doubt."- PROFESSOR R. T. ELY.

Since Socialism is the opposite of individualism in industrial operations, the principle of association is of the very essence of Socialism. All combinations of capital and labor in which the management is social instead of individual, such as partnerships, co-operations, trusts for the management of capital, or labor unions and organizations which bring labor and laborers under a social and central control, are Socialistic in character and tendency. "The Socialistic tendency in trusts and other artificial monopolies admits of no doubt." The only logical or possible outcome is Socialism, which means simply the largest possible application and utilization of the principle of association in the production and distribution of economic goods. This association both of labor and capital is one of the most remarkable of modern industrial phenomena. 1. The association of capital.

The association of capital has indeed been going on for a much longer period than that of labor, for the reason that capital has been powerful to secure legislation in its own favor and prejudicial to labor.

Recently a great impulse has been given to the principle of association, resulting in vast consolidations of capital under the name of trusts, in which all parties in the country, whether individuals, firms, or corporations, engaged in a certain industry unite their interests. The trust fixes the amount of production, prices and wages, and thus controls in its own interest as against the people the necessaries and comforts of life. Transfer this institution to the State, and let the people instead of private parties have the benefits, and you have Socialism. "Socialism I will define, then, as the exclusive management of all production and distribution by a single trust on behalf of the people.":

1 "Problems of To-day (Ely), p. 109.

2 R. T. Ely in "The National Revenues" (Shaw), p. 58.

Trusts, however objectionable in some of their features, are a perfectly legitimate result of the development of the capitalistic system. Given steam, machinery, division of labor, concentration of private capital, contract, and free competition, all expanding and progressing, and in due time the trust follows as naturally and necessarily as the earing of corn follows the blade, and Socialism will follow the trust as surely as the full corn in the ear succeeds the earing.

There is one industry that deserves separate treatment because of its rapid growth, its vastness, and its Socialistic tendency. We refer to the railroad system. Mr. Chauncey M. Depew said of the railroads of the United States: "When you take the 700,000 railroad employees and their families, giving them an average of six each, and the million of men who are engaged in the manufacture of railroad supplies and their families, and the men, women, and children who are dependent upon the income from the $8,000,000,000 invested in railroads, you have of the 60,000,000 people in the United States, one-half of them living upon the railroad."

Probably half of all the transportation of goods and travel is due to the sea-saw methods of capitalistic production. Commodities are carried all over the country and finally consumed in the very place where they were produced. Socialism would save this enormous waste. Another more serious matter is suggested. Among these 30,000,000 living on the railroads, and having vital common interest, the grossest inequality prevails. A few magnates own and control the entire business. It is this glaring inequality that renders the socializing of industry a necessity. There are 600 railroad corporations in the United States, but they are rapidly consolidating, and nationalization is the certain and near result.

Mr. Webb says, "The older economists doubted whether anything but banking and insurance could be carried on by joint-stock enterprise; now every conceivable industry down to baking and milk-selling is successfully managed by salaried officers of large corporations of idle share-hold

ers. More than one-third of the whole business of England, measured by the capital employed, is now done by joint-stock companies whose share-holders could be expropriated by the community with little more dislocation of industry than is caused by the daily purchase of shares on the Stock Exchange." 1

It should be observed that there is no essential difference in the various associations of capital from simple partnerships to the gigantic trust. The difference is mainly of size, and consequent power and oppression. It may be said in general that the larger the concentration the cheaper the cost of production and distribution, and the greater the possible economic utility in all directions.

That the people do not have the benefit of this utility, that prices to the consumers are higher than they should be in view of the reduced cost of production, is due to private monopoly. Of this nature are the associations of manufacturers and dealers in particular commodities, such as plumbers' materials, steam fittings, etc., for the purpose of preventing the consumer from purchasing directly of the manufacturers or dealers, thereby saving the middlemen's profits.

The writer recently attempted to purchase certain plumbing goods in Boston, only to be told by the proprietor that he could "sell only to the trade." A remark about freedom of contract was met with a gracious and patronizing smile. We said nothing against paying the commission house and wholesaler's profits, the manufacturer's profits, and the dealer's profits, but we naturally demurred at being compelled to pay for the support of a fifth party, and suggested that we could find a dealer who would sell to us, whereupon the proprietor remarked, "If he does, we'll fix him;” that is, any dealer who sold directly to the consumer would be boycotted or black-listed in some way in such cases made and provided. Now, the reason given for this arbitrary proceeding is that unless the producers and distributers of the particular line of goods thus combine

1 "Socialism in England:" Publications of the American Economic Association, April, 1889, p. 62.

"the trade will be ruined." The middlemen, who live by taking toll of both producer and consumer, will find their occupation gone, and so they must be provided for whether society has any need of them or not.

Let this principle be extended to other branches of trade and observe how it would work. The dry-goods dealer would sell only to professional dress-makers, milliners, and seamstresses; private citizens could no longer purchase medicine, as the druggist would sell only to physicians, and so on through the whole list of necessary commodities. Now, does any one imagine that free men will submit to any such industrial tyranny and waste, when once they become aware of its real character? And yet this sort of association and monopoly is perfectly legitimate under the capitalistic system. Competition leads directly to private monopoly, and private monopoly is essentially tyrannous; and when it becomes insupportable it will be transferred to the people to whom it belongs, which will end the industrial strife by restoring economic harmony and social justice. We call attention to trusts, railroad consolidations, and other forms of associated capital, simply to show the increasing tendency in this direction. Association per

fected is Socialism.

2. The association of labor.

A still more remarkable factor in the industrial progress toward Socialism is the rapid growth of labor organizations. We have long been familiar with various forms of associated capital, and new methods of combination excite comparatively little attention; but the general federation of the different classes of laborers against capital constitutes the most astonishing feature of modern industrial development. Disguise it as we may these labor unions are shaking the present system to its very foundations.

We are in the midst of an industrial war to which history furnishes no parallel. There is not a secular day in the year in which some great wheel of industry is not brought to a stand-still, and business paralyzed by the joining of the hostile forces. No war more relentless or bitter was ever waged between hostile armies. On the one side

« AnkstesnisTęsti »