صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

obtained by the least possible collective rule. The peasant on his / own farm, the blacksmith at his own forge, needed only to be let alone to be allowed to follow their own individual desires as to the manner and duration of their work. But the organization of workers into huge armies, the directing of the factory and the warehouse by skilled generals aud captains, which is the inevitable outcome of the machine industry and the world-commerce, have necessarily deprived the average workman of the direction of his own life or the management of his own work. The middle class student, over whose occupation the Juggernaut Car of the Industrial Revolution has not passed, finds it difficult to realize how sullenly the workman resents his exclusion from all share in the direction of the industrial world. This feeling is part of the real inwardness of the demand for an Eight Hours Bill.

The ordinary journalist or member of Parliament still says: "I don't consult any one except my doctor as to my hours of labor. That is a matter which each grown man must settle for himself." We never hear such a remark from a working man belonging to any trade more highly organized than chimney-sweeping. The modern artisan has learnt that he can no more fix for himself the time at which he shall begin and end his work than he can fix the sunrise or the tides. When the carrier drove his own cart and the weaver sat at his own loom they began and left off work at the hours that each preferred. Now the railway worker or the power-loom weaver knows that he must work the same hours as his mates.

It was this industrial autocracy that the Christian Socialists of 1850 sought to remedy by re-establishing the "self-governing workshop" of associated craftsmen ; and a similar purpose still pervades the whole field of industrial philanthropy. Sometimes it takes the specious name of " industrial partnership”; sometimes the less pretentious form of a joint-stock company with one-pound shares. In the country it inspires the zeal for the creation of peasant proprietorships, or the restoration of " village industries," and behind it stalk those bogus middle class "reforms” known as

free land” and “leasehold enfranchisement." But it can scarcely be hidden from the eyes of any serious student of economic evolution that all these well-meant endeavors to set back the industrial clock are, as regards any widespread result, foredoomed to failure.

The growth of capital has been so vast, and is so rapidly increasing, that any hope of the great mass of the workers ever owning under any conceivable Individualist arrangements the instruments of production with which they work can only be deemed chimerical.*

• The estimated value of the wealth of the United Kingdom to-day is 10,000 millions sterling, or over 61,100 per family. The co-operative movement controls about 13 millions sterling. The total possessions of the 31 millions of the wageearning class are less than 250 millions sterling, or not 67 capital per family. The eight millions of the population who do not belong to the wage-ear ning class own all the rest; the death duty returns show, indeed, that one-half of the entire total is in the hands of about 25,000 families. For references to the authorities for these and other statistics quoted, see Fabian Tract No. 5, Facts for Socialists.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tha

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

This power of prepossession and unconscious bias constylers

. imiz the special eficulty of the Individualists of to-day. Aris die deel frumo testo contince himself and his friends that slavery free for ss simt necessary to civilization. The Liberty and Proper Detenee League has the more difficult task of convincing, not th siz OLIVER remietary class, but our modern slaves, who are electors and into MillionShemail the executive power of the community is more and Christ. more falling And in this task the Individualists receive ever less

Вт me help from the chief executive officers of the nation. Those

The forced directly upon their notice the larger aspects of the
priem, those who are directly responsible for the collective inter-
So the Community, can now hardly avoid, whether they like it
E, taking the Socialist view. Each Minister of State protests
grans Socialises in the abstract, but every decision that he gives in
bas department leans more and more away from the Indivi-
se side

Socialism and Liberty.
Some persons may object that this gradual expansion of the
Collective administration of the nation's life cannot fairly be styled

Socialistic development, and that the name ought to be refused
everything but a complete system of society on a Communist

But whatever Socialism may have meant in the past its real
ificance now is the steady expansion of representative self
coment into the industrial sphere. This industrial democracy
and not any ingenious Utopia, with which Individualists, if they

to make any effectual resistance to the substitution of col
e for individual will, must attempt to deal. Most political
ats are, indeed, now prepared to agree with the Socialist that

strictive laws and municipal Socialism, so far as these have yet
do, as a matter of fact, secure a greater well-being and general

than that system of complete personal liberty, of which the
of legislators have deprived us. The sacred name of liberty
Sed, by both parties, and the question at issue is merely one
Sod. As each "difficulty" of the present social order present

solution, the Socialist points to the experience of all advanced al countries, and urges that personal freedom can be obtained great mass of the people only by their substituting democratic ernment in the industrial world for that personal power

which strial Revolution has placed in the hands of the proprietary Bis opponents regard individual liberty as inconsistent with

control, and accordingly resist any extension of this "higher

of collective life. Their main difficulty is the advance of ducta

y, ever more and more claiming to extend itself into the
-acticabilitu af doing in the industrial what has already been
acustry. To all objections, fears, doubts, and difficulties, as

of the democratic answer is "solvitur ambu-
e's any time which is proved to be then

Sch advance is made as the progress in
1 6.2
OLIJOO its. But that progress is both our hope
of to of to

patic

[ocr errors]

owne bene of th.

perty form

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the a

mand

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Surp

class

a liv

[subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]

not to th

[subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

REPORT ON

19

[ocr errors]

the development of individual character is the ..ick" for the sake of which he seeks to win all

A democracy must therefore necessarily be gradual in its ent; and cannot for long ages be absolutely complete. The ay never arrive, even as regards material things, when indivi

entirely merged in collective ownership or control, but it is riter of common observation that every attempt to grapple with

difficulties” of our existing civilization brings us nearer to that goal.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

BASIS OF THE FABIAN SOCIETY.

The Fabian Society consists of Socialists.

It therefore aims at the re-organization of Society by the emancipation of Land and Industrial Capital from individual and class ownership, and the vesting of them in the community for the general benefit. In this way only can the natural and acquired advantages of the country be equitably shared by the whole people.

The Society accordingly works for the extinction of private property in Land and of the consequent individual appropriation, in the form of Rent, of the price paid for permission to use the earth, as well as for the advantages of superior soils and sites.

The Society, further, works for the transfer to the community of the administration of such Industrial Capital as can conveniently be managed socially. For, owing to the monopoly of the means of production in the past, industrial inventions and the transformation of surplus income into Capital have mainly enriched the proprietary class, the worker being nu dent on that class for leave to earn a living If these measures 1

(though not without such relief

seem fit to the commun

Rent labor, the id

of others

rily disappear,

unity will

ed

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

Hence it is that irresponsible personal authority over the actions of others-expelled from the throne, the castle, and the altar-still reigns, almost unchecked, in the factory and the mine. The " captains of industry,” like the kings of yore, are indeed honestly unable to imagine how the business of the world can ever go on without the continuance of their existing rights and powers. And truly, upon any possible development of Individualistic principles, it is not easy to see how the worker can ever escape from their beneficent” rule.

The Growth of Collective Action. But representative government has taught the people how to gain collectively that power which they could never again individually possess. The present century has accordingly witnessed a growing deniand for the legal regulation of the conditions of industry which represents a marked advance on previous conceptions of the sphere of legislation. It has also seen a progress in the public management of industrial undertakings which represents an equal advance in the field of government administration. Such an extension of collective action is, it may safely be asserted, an inevitable result of political democracy. When the Commons of England had secured the right to vote supplies, it must have seemed an unwarrantable extension that they should claim also to redress grievances. When they passed from legislation to the exercise of control over the executive, the constitutional jurists were aghast at the presumption. The attempt of Parliament to seize the command of the military forces led to a civil war. Its control over foreign policy is scarcely two hundred years old. Every one of these developments of the collective authority of the nation over the conditions of its own life was denounced as an illegitimate usurpation foredoomed to failure. Every one of them is still being resisted in countries less advanced in political development. In England, where all these rights are admitted, each of them inconsistent with the "complete personal liberty" of the minority, the Individualists of to-day deny the competence of the people to regulate, through their representative committees, national or local, the conditions under which they work and live. Although the tyranny which keeps the tramcar conductor away from his home for seventeen hours a day is not the tyranny of king or priest or noble, he feels that it is tyranny all the same, and seeks to curb it in the way his fathers took.

The captains of war have been reduced to the position of salaried officers acting for public ends under public control; and the art of war has not decayed. In a similar way the captains of industry are gradually being deposed from their independent commands, and turned into salaried servants of the public. Nearly all the railways of the world, outside of America and the United Kingdom, are managed in this way. The Belgian Government works its own line of passenger steamers. The Paris Municipal Council opens public bakeries. The Glasgow Town Council runs its own common lodging houses, Plymouth its own tramways. Everywhere, schools, water

[ocr errors]

works, gas-works, dwellings for the people, and many other forms of capital, are passing from individual into collective control. And there is no contrary movement. No community which has once "municipalized” any public service ever retraces its steps or reverses its action.

Such is the answer that is actually being given to this difficulty of Individualism. Everywhere the workman is coming to understand that it is practically hopeless for him, either individually or co-operatively, to own the constantly growing mass of capital by the use of which he lives. Either we must, under what is called “complete personal freedom," acquiesce in the personal rule of the capitalist, tempered only by enlightened self-interest and the “gift of sympathy,” or we must substitute for it, as we did for the royal authority, the collective rule of the whole community. The decision is scarcely doubtful. And hence we have on all sides, what to the Individualist is the most incomprehensible of phenomena, the expansion of the sphere of government in the interests of liberty itself. Socialism is, indeed, nothing but the extension of democratic selfgovernment from the political to the industrial world, and it is hard to resist the conclusion that it is an inevitable outcome of the joint effects of the economic and political revolutions of the past century.

Competition. Individualists often take refuge in a faith that the extension of the proprietary class, and the competition of its members, will always furnish an adequate safeguard against the tyranny of any one of them. But the monopoly of which the democracy is here impatient is not that of any single individual, but that of the class itself. "What the workers are objecting to is, not the rise of any industrial Buonaparte financially domineering the whole earth—though American experience makes even this less improbable than it once was—but the creation of a new feudal system of industry, the domination of the mass of ordinary workers by a hierarchy of property owners, who compete, it is true, among themselves, but who are nevertheless able, as a class, to preserve a very real control over the lives of those who depend upon their own daily labor.

Moreover, competition, where it still exists, is in itself one of the Individualist's difficulties, resulting, under a system of unequal incomes, not merely in the production, as we have seen, of the wrong commodities, but also of their production in the wrong way and for the wrong ends. The whole range of the present competitvie Individualism manifestly tends, indeed, to the glorification, not of honest personal service, but of the pursuit of personal gain--not the production of wealth, but the obtaining of riches. The inevitable outcome is the apotheosis, not of social service, but of successful financial speculation, which is already the special bane of the American civilization. With it comes inevitably a demoralization of personal character, a coarsening of moral fibre, and a hideous lack of taste.

« السابقةمتابعة »