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involve an upset of present property arrangements, compared with which Socialism is a mere trifle; yet science must perforce declare that the expectation of any but the slowest real improvement in general moral habit is absolutely without warrant. Forms of egoism may change, and moral habits vary; but, constituted as we are, it seems inevitable for healthy personal development that an at best instructed and unconscious egoism should preponderate in the individual. It is the business of the community not to lead into temptation this healthy natural feeling, but so to develop social institutions that in. dividual egoism is necessarily directed to promote only the well-being of all. The older writers, led by Rousseau, in the reaction against aristocratic government, saw this necessary adjustment in absolute freedom. But that crude vision has long been demolished. “It is, “.indeed, certain," sums up Dr. Ingram,* ( that industrial society will “ not permanently remain without a systematic organisation. The
mere conflict of private interests will never produce a well-ordered commonwealth of labour,"
Is there then no hope? Is there no chance of the worker ever being released from the incubus of what Mill called, t "the great “social evil of a non-labouring class,” whose monopolies cause the "taxation of the industrious for the support of indolence, if not of “plunder ?"
Mill tells us how, as he investigated more closely the history and structure of Society, he came to find a sure and certain hope in the Progress of Socialism, which he foresaw and energetically aided. We who call ourselves Socialists to-day in England, largely through Mill's teaching and example, find a confirmation of this hope in social history and economics, and see already in the distance the glad vision of a brighter day, when, practically, the whole product of labour will be the worker's and the worker's alone, and at last social arrangements will be deliberately based upon the Apostolic rule ignored by so many Christians, that if a man do not work, neither shall be eat.
But it must clearly be recognised that no mere charitable palliation of existing individualism can achieve this end. Against this complacent delusion of the philanthropist, Political Economy emphatically protests. So long as the instruments of production are in unrestrained private ownership, so long must the tribute of the workers to the drones continue : so long will the toilers' reward inevitably be reduced by their exactions. No tinkering with the Land Laws can abolish or even diminish Economic Rent. The whole series of Irish Land Acts, for instance, have not reduced its amount by a single penny, however much they have altered its distribution. The whole equivalent of every source of fertility or advantage of all land over and above the very worst land in use, is necessarily abstracted from the mere worker. So long as Lady Matheson can "own" the island of Lewis, and “ do what she likes with her own, it is the very emphatic teaching of Political Economy that the earth
Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. xix. p. 382.
may be the Lord's, but the fulness thereof must, inevitably, be the landlord's.
There is an interesting episode in English history in which James the First, disputing with the City Corporation, then the protector of popular. liberties, threatened, as a punishment upon London, to remove the Court to Oxford. “ Provided only your Majesty “ leave us the Thames," cleverly replied the Lord Mayor. But economic dominion is more subtle than king-craft : our landlords have stolen from us even the Thames. No Londoner who is not in some way a landlord obtains one farthing of economic benefit from the existence of London's ocean highway: the whole equivalent of its industrial advantage goes to swell our compulsory tribute of 37 millions sterling-London's annual rental.
And it is precisely the same with industrial capital. The worker in the factory gets, as a worker, absolutely no advantage from the machinery which causes the product of his labour to be multiplied a hundredfold. He gets no more of that product as wages for himself, in a state of free and unrestrained competition, than his colleague labouring at the very margin of cultivation with the very minimum of capital. The artisan producing shoes by the hundred in the modern machine works of Southwark or Northampton gets no higher wages than the surviving hand cobbler in the bye street. The whole advantage of industrial capital, like the whole advantage of superior land, necessarily goes to him who legally owns it. The were worker can have none of them. “ The remuneration of labour, as such," wrote Professor Cairnes in 1874,*. “skilled or unskilled,
can never rise much above its present level."
Nor is it the increase of population which effects this result. During the present century, indeed, in spite of an unparalleled increase in numbers, the wealth annually produced in England per head has nearly doubled. If population became stationary tomorrow, other things being equal, the present rent and interest would not be affected : our numbers determine indeed how far the margin of cultivation will spread (and this is of vital iniport); but, increase or no increase, the unrestrained private ownership of land and capital necessarily involves the complete exclusion of the mere worker, as such, from all the advantages of the fertile soil on which he is born, and of the buildings, railways, and machinery he finds around him.
So much the orthodox economists tell us clearly enough. Where then is the Socialist hope ?
In the political power of the workers. The industrial evolution has left them landless strangers in their own country; but the political evolution is about to make them its rulers. If unrestrained private ownership of the means of production necessarily keeps the many workers permanently poor without any fault on their part, in order to make a few idlers rich without any merit on theirs (and this is the teaching of economic science), unrestrained private ownership will inevitably go. In this country many successive
* Some Leading Principles of Political Economy," p. 348. + Mulhall's Dictionary of Statistics,” p. 245.
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inroads have already been made in it; and these constitute the Progress of Socialism. * Three hundred years ago, for fear of the horde of sturdy beggars,” which even hanging had failed to extirpate, the wise Ceçil was led to institute the general system pf poor relief, a deduetion from rentand interest for the benefit of those who were excluded from directly sharing in them. But the industrial evolution had not yet made this condition universal; and little further progress was made in Socialism until the beginning of our century. Then, indeed, the acme of indi. vidualism was reached. «No sentimental regulations hindered the free employment of land and capital to the highest possible personal advantage, however many lives of men, women, and children were used up in the process. Capitalists still speak of that bright time with exultation. It was not five per cent. or ten per cent.,' says one," but thousands per cent. that made the fortune of Lancashire." But opinion turned against Laisser faire fifty years ago. Mainly by the heroic efforts of a young nobleinan, who lately passed away from us as Lord Shaftesbury, a really effective Factory Act was won; and the insatiate greed of the manufacturers was restrained by political power, in the teeth of their most determined opposition. Since then the progress has been rapid. Slice after slice has, in the public interest, been,cut-off the profits of land and capital, and therefore off their value, by Mines Regulation Acts, Truck Acts, Factory Acts, Adulteration Acts, Land Acts, Slice after slice has been cut off the already diminished incomes of the classes enjoying rent and interest, by the gradual shifting of taxation from the whole nation as consumers of taxed commodities to the holders of incomes above £150 step political power and political organisation have been used for
1 Dow average family income of the Kingdom. Step by industrial ends, until a Minister of the Crown is the largest
' men, not counting the army and navy, are 'directly in the service of the community, without the intervention of the profit of any middleinan. All the public needs supplied by the labour of these 'public servants were at one time left to private enterprise, and were a source of legitimate individual investment of capital. Step by step the community has absorbed thein, wholly or partially; and the area of private exploitation has been lessened. Parallel with this progressive nationalisation or municipalisation of industry, a steady elimination of the purely personal element in business management has gone on the older economists doubted whether anything but banking could be carried on by jointstock enterprise : now every conceivable industry, down to baking and milk-selling, iş successfully managed by the salaried officers of large corporations of idle shareholders. More than one-third of the whole business of England, measured by the capital employed, -is now done by jointstock companies, whose shareholders 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.com Besides its direct supersession of private tenterprise, the State
* See Mr. Giffen's statement of capital, in Capital and Land?' (Fabiar Tract, No. 7).
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now registers, inspects, and controls nearly all the industrial functions which it has not yet absorbed. The inspection is often detailed and rigidly enforced. The State in most of the larger industrial operations prescribes the age of the worker, the hours of work, the amount of air, light; cubic space, heat, lavatory accommodation, holidays, and meal-times; where, when, and how wages shall be paid ; how machinery, staircases, lift-holes, mines, and quarries are to be fenced and guarded; how and when the plant shall be cleaned, repaired, and worked. Even the kind of package in which some articles shall be sold is duly prescribed, so that the individual capitalist shall take no advantage of his position. On every side he is being registered, inspected, controlled; eventually he will be superseded by the community, and he is compelled in the meantime to cede for public purposes an ever-increasing share of his rent and interest.*
This is the rapid progress of Collectivism" which is so noticeable in our generation. England is already the most Socialist of all European communities, though the young Emperor of Germany is now compelled by the uneasy ground swell of German politics to emulate us very closely. English Collectivism will, however, inevitably be Democratic-a real Social Democracy" instead of the mere Political Democracy with which Liberals coquet. As the oldest industrial country, we are likely to keep the lead, in spite of those old-fashioned politicians who innocently continue to regard Socialism as a dangerous and absolutely untried innovation. Are there not still, in obscure nooks, disbelievers and despisers of all science? The schoolmaster never penetrates into all the corners in the same generation.
But some will be inclined to say, "This is not what we thought " Socialism meant? We imagined that Socialists wanted to bring " about a sanguinary conflict in the streets, and then the next day “ to compel all delicately nurtured people to work in the factories 61 at a fixed rate of wages."
It is not only in the nursery that bogey-making continues to be a very general though quite unnecessary source of anxiety. Socialists do but foretell the probable direction of English social evolution; and it needs nothing but a general recognition of that development, and a clear determination not to allow the selfish interests of any class to hinder or hamper it, for Socialism to secure universal assent. All other changes will easily flow from this acquiescent state of mind, and they need not be foreshadowed in words.
“But will not Socialism abolish private property ?” It will certainly seriously change ideas concerning that which the community will lend its force to protect in the personal enjoyment of any individual.
It is already clear that no really democratic government, whether consciously Socialist or not, will lend its soldiers or its police to enforce the “rights" of such an owner as Lord Clanricarde. Even Matthew Arnold declared the position of the mere landlord to be an *6 anachronism.' “Landlordism” in Ireland is admittedly doomed, and opinion in England is rapidly ripening in favour of collective control over the soil. The gradual limitation of the sphere of private property which has been steadily taking place will doubtless continue; and just as courts of justice, private mints, slaves, public offices, pocket boroughs, votes, army commissions, post offices, telegraph lines, and now even continental' telegraph cables landing on English shores, have ceased to be permissible personal possessions, so will the few remaining private gasworks, waterworks, docks, tramways, and schools be quickly absorbed, and an end be also made to private railways and town ground-rents." - Ultimately, and as soon as may be possible, we look to see this absorption cover all land, and at least all the larger forms of industrial capital. In these, as Herbert Spencer pointed out forty years ago as regards land, private ownership will eventually no more be possible than it is now in a post office or a court of justice, both of which were once valuable sources of individual profit. Beyond the vista of this extension of collectivism, it is at present unnecessary to look ; but we may at any rate be sure that social evolution will no more stop there than at any previous stage.
* More detailed partioulars of this largely unconscious adoption of Collectivism will be found in the “Fabian Essays in Socialism” (Scott), and in “ Socialism in England” (Sonnenschein).
This is the Progress of Socialism. To an ever growing number of students of history and seience, its speedy acceleration appears at once our evident destiny and our only hope. Political Economy, at least, whatever the economist may think of Socialism, now recognises no other alternative. So long as land and industrial capital remain in unrestrained private ownership, so long must the subjection of " labour to capital, and the enormous share which the possessors of the - instruments of industry are able to take from the produce inevitably continue, and even increase. The aggregate product may continue to grow; but“ the remuneration of labour as such, skilled or unskilled, can never rise much above its present level.”
The only effectual means of raising the material condition of the great mass of the people, is for them to resume, through their own public organisations, that control over their own industry which industrial evolution has taken from them, and to enter collectively into the enjoyment of the fertile lands and rich mines from which they are now so relentlessly excluded. This is the teaching of economic science; and, however little individual economists may relish the application, the workers are rapidly coming to appreciate it.
In this direction, too, is the mighty sweep and tendency of social evolution. Without our knowledge, even against our will
, we in England have already been carried far by the irresistible wave. What Canute will dare to set a limit to its advance? One option we have, and one only. It is ours, if we will, to recognise à rising force, to give it reasonable expression, nay, within limits, even to direct its course. This is why we are Socialists, and why you must become so. For if the conscious intelligence of the natural leaders of the community lag behind the coming thought; if it ignore the vast social forces now rapidly organising for common action if it leave poverty and repression and injustice to go on breeding their inevitable births of angry brutality and fierce revenge : then, indeed, social evolution may necessarily be once plished by social cataclysm. From this catastrophe, our gradual adoption of Social Democracy is the path of escape. ' ; 'H.