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the labor which alone makes fruitful the capital be queathed by generations of social industry.
What does it give to the many ?
Their portion is poverty. This is the inevitable outcome of their competition for wages, and none know 80 well as the workers the full burden of that terrible and long-continued demoralisation which is brought about, not merely by the poverty of a generation, but by generations of poverty. With the smallest of chances the poor are expected to display the greatest of virtues. On scanty and uncertain wages they must struggle to main. tain the independence, self-respect, and honesty of men and women, and to put by something for the rainy day that is sure to come.
Let the least depression take place in the labor mar. ket, and the worker is pitted against his fellow. The poverty of one is underbid by the greater need of another; and the competition for work reduces the highest wage of some and the lowest wage of all occupations to a pittance just above the starvation point, at which the least failure of health or work leads to pauperism.
This happens to nearly every worker; whilst the capitalist often retires with a fortune on which he, his children, and his children's children live without useful industry. Here is one out of many instances. The son of an owner of ironworks is now in the House of Lords ; he has a fine town house and two or three country man. sions ; his children are brought up in ease and luxury. But where are the children of those whose work made the fortune? They toil from morning to night for a bare living as did their fathers before them.
This ceaseless labor of the workers continually enriches those already rich, until extreme wealth enables a privileged minority to live in careless luxury, undisturbed by the struggle for existence that goes on beneath them.
when capitalists think fit, and on such terms as competition may determine ? If the competitive standard of wage be the true one, why is it not applied all round ? What, for instance, would be the competitive value of a Duke, a Bishop, or a Lord-in-Waiting?
Do economists, statesmen, and sociologists stand hopeless before this problem of Poverty ? Must workers continue in their misery whilst professors and politicians split straws and wrangle over trifles ?
Nol for the workers must and will shake off their blind faith in the Commercial god Competition, and realise the responsibility of their unused powers.
If Capital be socialised, Labor will benefit by it fully; but while Capital is left in the hands of the few, Poverty must be the lot of the many.
Teach, preach and pray to all eternity in your schools and churches : it will avail you nothing until you have swept away this blind idol of Competition, this misuse of Capital in the hands of individuals.
You who live dainty and pleasant lives, reflect that your ease and luxury are paid for by the misery and want of others! Your superfluities are the parents of their poverty. Surely all humanity is not burnt out of you by the gold your fathers left you !
Come out from your ease and superfluities and help
You who suffer, think of this also; and help forward the only cure for these evils. The time approaches when Capital can be made public property, no longer at the disposal of the few, but owned by the community for the benefit of all. You can help to do this; without you it cannot be done. The power is in your hands, and chances of using that power are constantly within your reach. Neglect those chances, and you and your children will remain the victims of Competition and Capitalism-ever struggling-over poor!
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1.—The Nation's Income. The annual income of the United Kingdom has been estimated by the following authorities : Sir Louis Mallet, K.C.S.I. (India Office),
1883-4, National Income and Taxation
London), Times, January 13th, 1885... 1,274,000,000
sity), Report of Industrial Remunera-
p. 320, Income for 1889 ... ... 1,285,000,000 Sir Ř. Giffen, The Wealth of the Empire,
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of Statistics, University of London),
Mail Year Book, 1908; Income for
1907 ... ... ... ... ... 1,750,000,000 The gross assessments to income tax have risen from £601,450,977 in 1881-2 to £925,184,556 in 1905-6 (Inland Revenue Reports, C.4,474 and Cd.-3,686). Allowing for a corresponding rise in the incomes not assessed and in the wages of manual labor, we may estimate the income for 1905-6 at not less than £1,920,000,000. The population in 1901 being nearly 41,500,000 (Cd.—1,727), the average annual income is about 6 467 per head, or £185 per adult man.* In 1840 it was about £201, and in 1860 £264 per head (Mr. Mulhall, Dictionary of Statistics, p. 245).
These figures (which are mainly computed from income tax returns and estimated average rates of wages) mean that the price in money of the commodities and services produced in the country
* It has been assumed throughout that one person in every four is an adult malc and that there are, on an average, five persons to each family group.