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existence are impossible of attainment; in which the pleasures within reach are reduced to brutality and drunkenness ; in which the pains accumulate at compound interest in the shape of starvation, disease, stunted development, and moral degradation; in which the prospect of even steady and honest industry is a life of unsuccessful battling with hunger, rounded by a pauper's grave.... When the organization of society, instead of mitigating this iendency, tends to continue and intensify it, when a given social order plainly makes for evil and not for good, men naturally enough begin to think it high time to try a fresh experiment. I take it to be a mere plain truth that throughout industrial Europe there is not a single large manufacturing city which is free from a vast mass of people whose condition is exactly that described, and from a still greater mass, who, living just on the edge of the social swamp, are liable to be precipitated into it."
Land Reform a Partial Remedy Only. How far would land restoration alone remedy this? If it were possible to nationalize soil apart from capital, the ground rents recovered for the nation might possibly amount to the present sum of our imperial and local taxation, £240,000,000, or thereabouts.* The pecuniary relief certainly could not amount to more. Land nationalization might further immensely benefit society, where it now suffers from the curmudgeonism of private owners. But so long as capital continued to be used for the exploitation of the workers, so long would their economic slavery continue. Those who retain the capital, without which the earth and all its products cannot be worked, will step into the place of the landlord, and the tribute of “interest” will be augmented. Society will be relieved, but not freed.
Objections to Socialism. But the practical" objector may ask : Does not the capitalist now administer his capital and direct industry? Was not this admitted above ? And is not capital, the product of labor, maintained and augmented by saving? How will Socialists provide for the administration and increase of capital ?
“Management.” The question is being answered by the contemporary development of industrial organization. How much of the “ management of land” is done now by the landlords, and how much by the farmer and the agent or the bailiff? The landlord's supposed function in this respect is almost entirely performed by salaried professional men. As to capital, who manages it ? The shareholders in the joint stock companies, who own nearly five-sixths of the whole industrial capital? No! The shareholding capitalist is a sleeping partner. More and more every day is the capitalist pure and simple, the mere owner of the lien for interest, becoming separated from the administrator of capital, as he has long been separated from the wage worker employed therewith. The working partner, with. sleeping partner drawing interest, is every day passing into the forms of the director of a joint stock company. More and more is the
• "Statistical Abstract of the United Kingdom," Cd—3691, 1907.
management of industries falling into the hands of paid managers, and even the “directors" emphazise the fiction that they are not mere money-bags and decorative M.P.'s by the humorous practice of taking fees for their labors at board meetings.
The administrator of capital can be obtained at present for a salary equivalent to his competition value, whether the concern to be managed be a bank, a railway, a brewery, a mine, a farm, a factory, a theatre, or a hotel. The transfer to the community (national or local) of the ownership of the main masses of industrial capital need make no more difference in this respect than does the sale of shares on the Stock Exchange at the present moment.
"Saving.”. As for the saving of capital, what does that mean? The artificial instruments of production which form the bulk of property exist certainly only because human labor has been devoted to the production of forms of wealth other than those which are for immediate consumption. Every man in receipt of an income has the option of taking out his claim on the labor of society in the form of immediate enjoyments, passing and perishing in the use, and leaving the world no richer-as luxuries of all kinds, leisure for amivement or travel, service of menials, royal wedding illuminations, gror and skittles, or else in the form of more permanent products or of instruments which can be used for further wealth-production. All that he spends on the latter class of product is said to be saved—and at least one hundred and seventy-five million pounds annually, according to Sir R. Giffen, are “saved" in this way by the creation of new houses, docks, railways, roads, machinery, and other aids to future labor. If a man's income represents the competition value of work done by him, it is said that he has “ produced ” the amount of saving so made, and has some title to its ownership.
But just as the productive qualities of land are only maintained by the continuous application of human industry, so the most permanent forms of capital are perpetually wasting and being repaired, whilst, of the less durable forms, such as machinery, raw material, and farming stock, the whole is incessantly transformed, consumed, replaced and renewed. The capital saved by the original investor has long since disappeared.
There are, however, very few forms of consumable wealth which can be “saved" at all. Food, clothing, ordinary comforts and luxuries, amusements, and all that makes up our daily life, admit of little storage.
When we say that a man has saved so much wealth, we simply mean that he has abstained from taking out a claim which he had on society, and that its payment is by agreement deferred to the future. But the wealth which is to meet that claim does not at present exist. It is to be produced by the workers, when, where, and in the form asked for.
If we admit the fairness and advantage of guaranteeing to every man the equivalent of the result of his own industry, we should
deny that there is adequate social advantage in a system which permits him to convert this claim into a lien for a perpetual annuity, an enduring tribute from the workers for the use of that which only their using can keep from perishing, while he retains undiminished all the time his claim to the repayment of the original “ saving."
The "saving" of capital, the increase of the instruments of production and of permanent commodities by the abstention from consumption of all wealth produced, is undoubtedly an advantage to society. If any individual, for the sake of rendering such advantages to society, abstains in any year from himself consuming all that he has earned, by all means let him be repaid in his old age, or whenever he wants the equivalent of his past activity. Why should we not, as a transitional expedient, treat such economizers as we treat inventors, and if they will not work without such a precise guarantee, if they are still purely individualist in their motive for activity, give them such a reward as we give individualist inventors * in their patent rights, so long as such encouragement is necessary for the creation and interest of our capital. But let that which society has maintained and fructified invariably pass to society within a limited period. So much may bisyossary for the present to promote saving out of earned inccneecap. saving out of the unearned incomes of rent and interest socie, on even now take its own measures by taxation for the increase of public capital. As soon as industrial capital is owned by those who use it, provision out of income for all necessary maintenance and increase of the instruments of production will be an ordinary and obvious element in its administration, as it is now in a joint stock company, and our present precarious dependence on the caprice or acquisitiveness of individuals will be superseded.
We appeal, therefore, to Land Nationalizers to consider their reason for hesitating to work with us for the
Nationalization of Capital, on the ground that the evolution of industry has rendered land and capital indistinguishable and equally indispensable as instruments of production, and that, holding with J. S. Mill that the “deepest root of the evils and iniquities which fill the industrial world is ... the subjection of labor to capital, and the enormous share which the possessors of the instruments of industry are able to take from the produce,"t we see clearly that if they would make any improve. ment in the condition of the agricultural laborer and his fellow wageslave in the towns, they will be forced to abandon the illogical distinctions that are sometimes drawn between the instruments with which they work.
* Non-individualist inventors are those who, like the late Thomas Stevenson (lighthouse engineering), Michael Faraday (industrial chemistry and electricity), Sir William Simpson (anästhetics), and a host of others, return gratuitously to society the fruits of their inventive genius, and take out no patents. † Quotation from Feugueray, in Principles of Political Economy, p.477, edn. of 1865.
As instruments of production, the use and value of land and capital alike are due to human labor ; alike they are used for the hindrance or exploitation of industry by their proprietor ; alike they are limited in quantity, and consequently subject to monopoly; alike they enable a private monopolist to exact tribute from the workers for the use of that which the workers have produced.
The Political Situation. We appeal to political reformers of all parties to work with us in the spirit which is more and more merging politics in Socialism. However much they may hold aloof from the Land Nationalization movement and resent the imputation of Socialistic tendencies, they have yet been, and still are, and will be, forced to modify our social system in the Socialist direction. What were the Tory Factory Acts, the Truck Acts, the Mines Regulation Acts, the Workmen's Compensation Acts, but limitations of the power of capital ? What are the Adulteration Acts, the Merchant Shipping Acts, the Employers' Liability Acts? What was the abolition of the Corn Laws ? The Mark Lane Express has told us—a confiscation of the property" of the landlords. What are the Irish Land Acts and the action of the Land Commissioners? What are the proposals of official Liberals for a "just taxation of land values and ground rents," and "taxation” (apparently not necessarily "just") " of mining royalties,"'* and of politicians of both parties for a sliding scale of income tax, but projects for the partial recovery for the nation of the toll which property takes from industry? What are the Small Holdings and Allotments Acts, but the beginning of provision for the municipalization of land ?
In what respect, then, do the supporters of these measures differ from us on grounds of principle ?
Why are these reformers not Socialists? Why do they hesitate to join the only party of social reform which has definite principles of action, and a clear vision of the course of economic evolution ? Have they not paved the way by their progressive restrictions of the despotism of the private employer? And are they not constantly extending the sphere of social industry in the post office, the telegraphs, telephones, tramways, docks, harbors, markets, schools, the supply of gas, water, and electricity, and many other public undertakings ? Are they not steadily increasing the local taxation of realized property, and recovering rent for public use, by the rates on rent for education, parks, free libraries, public baths, and other social conveniences ?
All these are Socialistic measures, that is, they tend either to the recovery of some portion of the tribute which landlord and capitalist now levy, or to the assumption by the community of the control of land and industrial capital. "These measures we would mul. tiply by increased taxation, and by the extension of such communal administration, in the hope of leavening the Individualist society in
* National Liberal Federation Resolution, 1891.
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