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when French criticism shall raise its drooping head and have time to look about it—he will certainly take rank as one of the three or four most popular, influential, and gifted writers that the France of the nineteenth century has produced.
Art. VIII.-1. A Refutation of the Wage - Fund Theory of Modern Political Economy as enunciated by Mr. Mill, M.P., and Mr. Fawcett, M.P. By Francis D. Longe, Barrister-at
Law. London, 1866. 2. On Labour: Its Wrongful Claims and Rightful Dues ; Its
Actual Present and Possible Future. By William Thomas Thornton, Author of 'A Plea for Peasant Proprietors,' &c. Second Edition. London, 1870. 3. Pauperism : Its Causes and Remedies. By Henry Fawcett,
M.A., M.P., Fellow of Trinity Hall, and Professor of Political Economy in the University of Cambridge. London,
1871. 4. Systems of Land Tenure in Various Countries. A Series of Essays published under the Sanction of the Cobden Club.
London, 1870. 5. Land Systems and Industrial Economy of Ireland, England, and Continental Countries. By T. E. Čliffe Leslie, LL.B., of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister-at-Law, Examiner in Political Economy in the University of London, and Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economy in the Queen's University in
Ireland, and Queen's College, Belfast. London, 1870. 6. Programme of the Land Tenure Reform Association. With an Explanatory Statement by John Stuart Mill. London,
1871. 7. Trades' Unions Abroad, and Hints for Home Legislation, Reprinted from a Report on the Amsterdam Exhibition of Domestic Economy for the Working Classes. By the Hon. T. J. Hovell
Thurlow. Second Edition. London, 1871. W E have no objection to Utopias frankly set forth as such,
V whether in prose or verse.* The ideal aim of one age may become the realized possession of an age following. Nor have we any objection to enthusiasm which knows itself, and knows the workday world. Without enthusiastic motive-power, no great moral or social enterprise was ever accomplished. But there is an Utopianism which counts its chickens before they
* See a rather remarkable lyrical effusion, entitled “Labour's Utopia,' at P. 460 of Mr. Thornton's volume On Labour.'
are hatched, nay, cackles over chickens it expects to hatch from eggs that are addled. There is an enthusiasm which a writer before us, who yet avows himself an enthusiast, describes with great justice as follows :
- The besetting sin of enthusiasts, and notably of enthusiastic philanthropists, is a proneness to anticipate events, a desire to legislate as if mankind were already what it is barely conceivable that they may become, and to force upon them institutions to which they can only be fitted by long ages of training, instead of beginning by endeavouring to educate them into fitness for the institutions.'*
This is excellent sense, and we could only have wished that all the Utopianisms of the writer, as well as those of all his fellow-' enthusiasts' amongst contemporary economists, resembled the preceding extract in sobriety of sentiment and expression.
A former generation of political economists laid themselves more or less open to the charge of assigning to individual activity, exclusively occupied in the pursuit of wealth, the lion's share in the entire economy of nations. Thence in part the reaction which in these days we witness. Thence, in quarters where one would least have been prepared to look for them, the tendencies in a socialistic direction which have been very perceptible in some of the most remarkable economical publications of late years.
The school of political economists at present in the ascendant seem to have an implicit faith in legislative omnipotence, whenever it thinks fit to exert itself, to remodel all industrial and social relations in the supposed interest of the labouring classes. If Mr. Mill, the recognized leader of that school, is to be designated as an economical enthusiast :-or perhaps more properly as the founder and propagator of economic enthusiasm amongst the junior apostles of the philanthropic agrarianism he preaches (Mr. Thornton will scarcely rank as a junior, but rather as a senior prophet of that creed)— he has earned that designation more by the excessive exercise of the dialectical than of the imaginative faculty, and does not so much body forth to himself the forms of things unknown, as suggest to his disciples revolutions, unrealised even in imagination, of all existing relations between classes and sexes—as logically admissible, and not to be set aside as practically chimerical without actual experiment. His enthusiasm is the speculative passion of starting ever fresh game in the wide field of abstract social possibilities—philosophically indifferent to all objections drawn from the actual conditions
of men, women, or things in the concrete. Mr. Mill would be very capable, like Condorcet, of deriving from the doctrine of human perfectibility the inference that there was no demonstrable reason why the duration of human life might not be prolonged indefinitely by discoveries (hereafter to be made) in hygiene. And to all objections drawn from universal human experience of the growth and decay of vital power within a limited period, it would be quite in the character of his mind and temper to reply calmly that the life of man, like the genius of woman, had not hitherto been developed under such conditions as to draw out its capabilities to the full extent. Like Condorcet, too, while dealing perturbation all round him, Mr. Mill is imperturbable, and might be described as he was, as ' un mouton enragé-un volcan couvert de neige.
There is a curious playing at cross-purposes between the recent economical champions of the claims of labour to rank as something else than labour, and receive as its reward something that shall not be called wages, and the practical assertors for their class, so far as combined in Trades' Unions, of the simpler claim of a maximum of wage for a minimum of work. The former (we borrow the words of Mr. Mill) cannot think that the working classes will be permanently contented with the condition of labouring for wages as their ultimate state. They may be willing to pass through the class of servants in their way to that of employers, but not to remain in it all their lives. On the other hand, the whole action of the latter—the Trades' Unionists—tacitly assumes for all who enter their combinations (and rightly assumes in the great majority of cases) the position of life-long wage-receivers. If Unionism is an authentic expression of the views and wishes of the more stirring section of the working classes, it is an expression contradictory of the views and wishes which the school of political economists, headed by Mr. Mill, think those classes must entertain.
Never did a pair of poor correlative terms become the subject of such unreasoning or wrong-reasoning animosity as those of Labour for Wages. In the novel vocabulary of national and international labour-leagues, work for wages by manual labourers in the employ of capitalists is denounced as a badge of slavery, and political economists who swear by Mr. Mill are taking up the same strain in milder language. Whereas the only man who works not for wages, as M. Edmond A bout justly observes, is the slave.* Labour for wages—for pay received as the equivalent of work done—as the same lively and acute
* • A, B, C du Travailleur,' p. 234. Paris, 1868.
writer says with perfect truth—is the general rule of service, public or private, in the whole social hierarchy; and the one class incited by some who should know better to revolt against that rule as a special injustice and indignity to itself is precisely the class whose simple manual service comes most distinctly under it.
If wage-receiving labour, according to the new doctrine, is the slave, wage-paying capital (according to the same doctrine) is the tyrant of the modern organization of industry. Here, again, that doctrine is precisely the reverse of truth. Everywhere, and at all times, capital is labour's most submissive 'help' or servant. Everywhere, and at all times, the advances of capital are at the service of the effective worker: and to give proof of possession of the qualities of the effective worker is to command the power of the purse. The tyranny of capital is only true in the sense that, by laws as old as the world, those must obey who have not qualities to command ; those must be soldiers who are not fit to be officers in the army of industry. Mr. Mill bas said that the labourers need only capital, not capitalists.'* Like most smart sayings of the social-revolutionary sort, this is quite beside the mark. What labourers need, speaking generally, is neither capital nor capitalists, so much as the qualities which inspire confidence in capitalists, or even confidence in each other. Capital is always, at least as eagerly as labour, in quest of employment; and, so far from tyrannizing over labour, is always willing to serve it at the lowest living wages, if only coupled with security. It is that security which the ordinary manual labourer is unable to afford. He must look somewhere above him, not so much for capital as for guarantee and guidance. Somebody must be found, whom the capitalist, not himself employing his capital, can feel himself morally safe in trusting with funds to employ profitably in his stead. That somebody is not the hand-worker but the head-worker—the 'captain of industry' in the now well-worn Carlylian phrase. He it is who can alone afford a moral guarantee to the capitalist that the funds entrusted to him shall be employed with a discretion ensuring their replacement with a profit. And everywhere the man who can be trusted with capital is the man whom capital helps to wealth. Working men may organize trades-unions against him, abuse him as their tyrant, echo Mr. Mill's dictum that they want capital only, not capitalists; but work under him they must, if they would have their hand-labour facilitated in its processes, and forwarded to its markets, by the
* • Fortnightly Review,' June, 1869, p. 689.
aid of capital, machinery, and commercial knowledge and connection.
As to Mr. Mill's notion that the working classes generally are not likely to be permanently contented with the condition of labouring for wages as their ultimate state, it may be replied, firstly, that men and classes are seldom contented with any state in which they happen to find themselves; but, secondly, that what men or classes may be willing,' and what they may be able for, are apt to be two different things. Few people perhaps, at the outset of life, would be found exactly willing to accept what, nevertheless, proves to be their ultimate place
firstly, that they happen may be went things; exactly wit place
No anticipated organization of the labour of the future can be more ungrounded on any induction from the past than that which imagines the main body of the employed as merely passing through the class of servants in their way to that of employers. These latter must always be the élite of their class in industrial and intellectual faculties. While there is a mass of manual labour to be done, those must continue to do it, whose economical circumstances or intellectual culture raise them least above their work. Certainly the lowest stratum in the social order should not be a caste; and when Mr. Mill talks of two hereditary classes, employers and employed,' he assumes the existence of that which does not exist in any free country—some impassable barrier of caste forbidding the ascent of superior minds to superior positions. But there always must remain a lowest social stratum naturally forming the manual labouring class, the reward of whose labour inay as well be called wages as by any other name, the thing to be named requiring to be distinguished in degree, if not in nature, from the profits of capital, or the payment of managerial direction and superintendence.
We have said, in degree if not in nature, since, in truth, of no class in a free country can it be said with accuracy that it is a class exclusively devoted to labour, and destitute of capital. As the exertion of the comparatively rare faculties required for the superintendence of industrial establishments, and the conduct of commercial transactions, entitles capitalist employers (or employers whose credit commands the use of capital) to the title of labourers of the most elevated and the most indispensable order, so the fact of having made savings, or acquired skill, at more or less cost of training, entitles provident and skilled labourers to the designation of capitalists. It is one of the most weighty and serious accusations brought against Trades' Unionism, that it is an actual, if not avowed part of its system,