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repeat at length an observation I made the Individualist foundation of all in my former paper, that one of the Trusts and Companies is even more greatest of existing Trusts, which the strikingly illustrated by the enterprise Fabians cite as a typical example, is- of Municipal bodies. Municipal Socialas with a curious naiveté they tell us-- ism has been rendered possible only-to directed by nine men, who own the quote the distinct admission of Mr. Sidlarger part of the stock. Two far more ney Webb, “ by the creation of a local important and more widely reaching debt now reaching over a hundred and facts to be noticed are, first, that the eighty-one million pounds." In other capital invested in these enterprises is words, it has been rendered possible the product of the previous application only by the fact that private ability had of other private capital, by the ability created all this capital, and created it of individuals whose main motive in —as the event shows-with the distinct producing it was its future investment object of employing it so that it should in enterprises of this very kind ; and, yield interest. If Mr. Sidney Webb secondly, that the men who direct these doubt this, let him ask himself whether enterprises, even if their position be those millions would have been forththat of mere hired managers, enjoy the coming, if the municipal authorities advantage which quintuples the moral had not only promised no interest on value of their salaries, and which, as them, but had distinctly declared that we have seen, it is the Socialist's pri- they bound themselves never to pay any mary aim to abolish—the advantage of -in fact, that whatever money was lent investing whatever they may be willing to them, they meant practically to conto save, or, in other words, of convert- fiscate. Mr. Webb knows, as well as ing it into private means of production, anybody, that if municipal enterprise and thus hereafter reaping from it an had attempted to establish itself on independent or anti-Socialist income. these Socialistic terms, or on any terms Does Mr. Shaw imagine that the man- which did not call to its aid the normal ager of any great railway company would and vital motives which have created consider his present salary to be as val. private capital, municipal enterprise uable a reward as it is, if one of the could never have established itself at conditions of its payment to him were all. I am not at this moment considthat he was at liberty to invest none of ering how it may extend itself in the it, or that any investment he made were future. I am doing what Mr. Webb to be ipso facto confiscated ?
does. I am speaking of it as it is; and The favorite, the proverbial example certainly as we know it at present, it is with the Socialists, of Socialism in oper- so far from being an instalment of Soation-namely, the Post Office, and the cialism, that it is a mere extension of municipal enterprises - distributive, as the immemorial functions of Governin the case of water, or distributive and ment, which has been made possible productive both, as in the case of gas- only by the assistance of Individualism, on which the Fabian essayists lay still and is, like the Income Tax, a witness greater stress, differ in one point from to the forces which Individualism repthe companies I have just alluded to, resents. and with this I shall deal presently. The case of the Post Office will enBut in every other respect their posi- able us to see into the matter yet fartion is the same. Every employé, either ther. I need hardly repeat, with referunder the Government or the municipal ence to the Post Office officials, what authorities, can convert his savings into I have said already about the employés private means of production, and derive of public bodies generally-namely, that interest from them ; and the rarer and no enterprise is really Socialistic which more valuable his ability, and the larger allows salaries to be saved and invested his salary, the more important as a mo- as private capital. I will merely point tive the hope of this saving is. And out the fact, to which I have drawn atnow let us look at the matter from an- tention in my recent volume, Labor and other point of view, and we shall see the Popular Welfare, that the Post that, on the admission of the Fabian Office, even when regarded under its writers themselves, what was said about most Socialistic aspect, is merely a film
of Socialism supported on the sinews picture-gallery. In a public gallery of Individualism. All the improved itself there is nothing new; and nothmeans of transport, the ocean steamers ing more Socialistic than there is in a which go to America and back in twelve cathedral. All we need consider is the days now, whereas sixty years ago the pictures; and do they represent Socialsame journey occupied a hundred and ism?
The pictures have been either five-the development of railways and bought by the municipality, or pretelegraphs, and more recently of the sented to it by persons who have bought telephone-all of these are the children them ; or it is conceivable that some of of private ability, allied with private them may have been the gifts of muniti capital ; and the Post Office, as com cent artists. But even these last-if pared with these, is a child riding on such there are-represent, not Socialthe shoulders of a giant. And what ism, but private munificence. Mr. holds good of the Post Office at the Webb will hardly maintain that there present moment, has been true of it, in is no difference between Sir John Milå marked degree, throughout its entire lais making Manchester a voluntary history. The main improvements in present of a great picture, and Sir John its service have been due to private in- Millais having the same picture seized itiative, from the days when Murray by two armed officers of a Socialist corand Dockwra, and after them Povey, poration, set to watch him as he workstarted successively a penny and a half- ed, and to deprive him of it as soon as penny post for London, and when John the last touch had been given. While Allen, who rented the cross-posts in the if-to take the typical case--the piccountry, trebled the business by his or- tures are bought and paid for, the ganization of it, to the days when mail money ultimately comes from an Indicoaches were started by a private Mem- vidualist income on the one side, and ber of Parliament.
goes to swell an Individualist income And now, let us go back for a mo on the other. The production of picment from Imperial enterprise to mu tures can be socialized in two ways only nicipal ; and take three of the special -either by depriving the artist of any examples which Mr. Sidney Webb gives. property in his own work, by rendering “ Bradford,” he says, " supplies water it penal for him to possess his own picbelow cost price." Mr. Webb entirely tures ; or else by each hundred county misses the meaning of this statement. or parish councillors setting to paint å It either means that the municipality masterpiece with a hundred brushes bemakes a losing business of the water- tween them. supply ; or else, that the loss is made The more we examine the instances good by a tax on incomes which are given by the Fabians of the actual evoproduced by Individualistic enterprise.lution and development of Socialistic Therefore the Bradford water-supply is institutions, the more apparent does it either unsuccessful Socialism, or it is become that these institutions represent not Socialism at all. Secondly, Mr. no new Socialistic development at all ; Webb tells us that “Liverpool provides and that the only new feature or new science lectures ;” and, thirdly, that vitality to be observed in them are due “ Manchester stocks an art gallery." to the very forces which Socialism would The first statement really means that supersede or smother. I ain not forLiverpool secures the services of indi- getful of the fact that in institutions vidual men of science, who give lectures. like the Post Office, or municipal gasThe municipality either pays the lec- works, there is an element which in turers, or it does not. If it does pay strict truth may be said to partake of them, it pays them out of a rate on In- Socialism. But as I shall show presdividualist incomes--so here again is ently there is in none of these instituanother tribute to Individualism. Or, tions anything which in any way points if it does not pay them, there is no mu to the evolution of Socialism as a worknicipal Socialism in the matter. We ing principle. There is an evolution of have simply an instance of the intellect- sentiment and of incomplete thought, ual charity of the lecturers. And now, which results in a belief among many lastly, let us turn to the Manchester that Socialism can be made to work.
But the actual evolution of events—and country, such as the suppression of the the class of events especially which the monasteries, the growth of the wool Fabian writers cite=proves the exact trade and sheep-farming, which led to contrary of what the Fabian writers the development, on the one hand, of think. I shall make this presently far a class of landless laborers, and on the more clear, but I must first turn from other of a capitalistic middle class, the Socialists' misreading of modern which hired these laborers as its instruhistory, to consider their treatment of ments : and this process, as they point the history of social evolution gener- out, continued till the middle of the ally.
last century. Then the epoch of modIII.
ern scientific inventions dawned, and
the new motive powers and machinery MISCONCEPTION BY THE SOCIALISTS OF
introduced by men like Arkwright and THE NATURE OF INDUSTRIAL Evolu
Watt, acting on the industrial condiTION GENERALLY.
tions which had by that time evolved, Following the example of Karl Marx, resulted naturally and inevitably in the the entire Socialist school begin their modern factory system. In place of historical review of what they call the the old mediæval organization, which evolution of Socialism, with the state of at once secured and fixed each man in society which prevailed in Europe, or the position he was born to, industrial rather in this country, five hundred society had been at last metamorphosed years ago : for it is to this country espe- into a small body of irresponsible emcially, which Marx called the “classic” ployers, and a vast and fluid body of example, that all their writers turn. proletarian laborers, who could only live Mr. Bernard Shaw, in the Fabian vol- by working at the employer's bidding. ume, treads in the exact foot-prints of From an historical analysis like this the his predecessors. “I shall,” he writes Socialists argue that just as the social in his essay on Historical Transition, rule of Feudalism has given place to “ begin at the beginning. I shall make the individual rule of the capitalist, so no apology for traversing centuries by the rule of the capitalist over the laleaps and bounds at the risk of sacrific- borers will, by a process precisely siming the dignity of history to the neces- ilar in nature, give place to the rule, sity of coming to the point as soon as under Socialism, of the laborers over possible. Briefly, then,” he continues, themselves.
let us commence by glancing at the The plausibility of this piece of philosMiddle Ages." And when he men- ophizing rests entirely, not on its inactions the Middle Ages, what is he spe- curacy, but on its superficiality and its cially thinking of ? His next sentence incompleteness. Let us consider its intells us.
It is England. “There,” he completeness first. If we are to derive says, "you find, theoretically a much any profit from the historical study of more orderly England than the Eng- economics, from the comparative methland of to-day.” Of no other country,
Of no other country, od, and from the theory of evolution, of no other civilization, is there the it is absolutely useless to confine oursmallest mention. This singular lim- selves to a few isolated centuries in the itation of their historical vision is char- life of an isolated nation, Our study acteristic of the entire science of the must be extended, so far as our means Socialists. To whatever they give their permit, to the civilizations and barbaattention they se; only a fraction of it; risms of the human race as a whole, and and here, though they may be said to the most distant countries and the most have actually pointed the way-as I distant periods must be compared. For have before observed to the historical any fragment of history, such as that study of economics, they have been not to which the Socialists confine themonly the pioneers of the true scientific selves, is not only a history of certain method, but a warning example of the events, individuals and populations ; it puerile and unscientific application of is a history also of human nature, huit. The Socialistic theorists, with very man character, human capacities : and great ingenuity, trace a whole series of it is only in so far as it throws light historical steps in the history of this upon these that it can afford us any
ground for even a plausible conjecture alluded is the direct consequence of as to the possibility of any fundament- this. For the moment we realize that al social change in the future. The all the events of history are but so many Socialists will of course say that the manifestations of the force of human five centuries of English history from nature, and the moment we describe which they argue do show us an exam the transition from the Feudal to the ple of this very thing—that is to say, a Capitalistic systems so as to show what fundamental social change in the past. is at once its most general and its most The answer to this brings us to the root essential character, so as to exhibit it of the matter. The answer is, that if as a change in the relations between the we look below the surface, and regard many and the few, we at once see that the history of these centuries as a his- it was no isolated occurrence, but that tory of human nature, they reveal to it has had its counterpart in every age us no fundamental social change at all. and country; and that the rudest or They show us many su perficial changes, the earliest civilizations, however unlike many changes of form, but no change ours on the surface, really offer to our in those underlying human forces by study precisely parallel cases. Whenwhich all the changes in form and cir human beings have risen from the cumstance are produced. This will be most abject savagery, and in proportion at once apparent if we summarize the as they have risen from it, we find prehistorical argument of the Socialists in sented to us a fact which is everywhere terms of its real meaning. Its real essentially identical-namely, the fact meaning is this. In the Middle Ages of the many being under the control of the many were controlled by the few, the few. The form of the control vaaccording to a certain elaborate and ries; but the fact of it never varies. peculiar system. In the course of time Its basis is sometimes military, somethis system changed so completely that times religious, sometimes economic ; the old controllers of the many lost the sometimes it is of all three kinds towhole of their original power. Power gether; but there the control is. In of that kind, in fact, ceased to belong the early pastoral ages we have patrito anybody. A new kind of power, archs with flocks, and herds, and serresting on a new basis, was developed, vants. In ancient Egypt and Babyand centred itself in a different class of lonia, in ancient Greece and Rome, persons; and the many, emancipated through countless differences there apfrom the government of one minority, pears this same phenomenon. Groups became subject to the government of of men have been cast on distant counanother. Similarly, so the Socialists tries, compelled to build up their social argue, by a new process of change, the life from the foundations. They have many emancipating themselves from been cast among new circumstances and this second minority as from the first, opportunities that have been the same will cease to be under the government for all. But whatever their history of any minority at all.
may have been, it has been the history As soon as their case is thus stated, of this one thing--the evolution of a the flaw in the argument becomes ap- governing minority, and its relation to parent; for we see that the logic of it the governed. And what makes this really amounts to this. Because the fact all the more striking, is the paralmany were formerly under the rule of lel fact, that generally—though not unia minority of one kind, and are now versally—the many have constantly been under the rule of a minority of another rebelling against the few, attempting kind, we may therefore conclude that to make some change in the social presently they will be under the rule of structure ; and that in every case the no minority at all. But the palpable end has been just the same-they may absurdity of this reasoning is no mere have sometimes changed masters, but defect in formal logic. It is the result they never have got rid of them. Nor and the sign of that superficial view of is this true of the old world only. history which fails to see what, at bot- Among the most startling and instructom, the subject-matter of history is, tive of all the facts of recorded history, and the limitation of view to which I are the conditions of civilization which
the first discoverers of America found indication that in this respect things existing among the most advanced na- will ever change in the future. tive races. Certain writers have cited The real change underlying the great the empire of the Incas as affording an industrial transition, on which the Soexample of vast and successful com- cialists build what they take to be their munism ; and so far as the majority of scientific theory, was simply a gradual the people were concerned there is some change in the kind of personal superijustification for this view of the mat- ority
required by the age in pursuit of ter. But such writers forget how this its changing ideals and its ambitions. Communism was maintained. They During the Middle Ages the required forget to mention that the majority superiority was mainly military. It were under the rule of a king and a was of more importance to defend indouble aristocracy, as powerful and ex- dustry than to organize it. As time clusive as any that could have been went on the situation slowly reversed found in Europe ; that equality among itself, and it became more important to the people was an equality of the most organize industry than to defend it. In rigid poverty, though not of want; and the medieval world valor employed inthat all the wealth and luxury produced dustry; in the modern world industry in the entire empire was produced for employs valor. And now let us look the king and the priesthood and the below the surface a little deeper, and we noble classes only.
shall see that the great mental event, Had the Socialistic theorists realized of which these outer changes were the the above great and universal fact, they expression, was the gradual withdrawal would have seen that their attempt to from war of the strongest intellects and understand the nature and causes of characters, and their concentration on Capitalism by a mere study of one iso- the business of production, supplementlated fragment of human history, was ed by the development of faculties of about as rational as an attempt to ex. many new kinds, which now found uses plain man's mortality by examining the never before open to them, and which accident or the illness which caused the placed their possessors among the podeath of a particular individual. This tentates of the new era. In a word, the might be small-pox, or it might be a military ability of the minority has donkey's kick ; and if we reasoned gradually turned into, or has given about life as the Socialists reason about place to, the industrial ability of the economic history, we shall inevitably minority. And this, again, is but the come to the conclusion that human expression of another fact that is deeper beings would be immortal if they were and wider still — the fact that no matter all vaccinated, or if there were no don. what the special faculties may be which keys to kick them. And, indeed, if we under any given circumstances are most had only the case of one man to study, useful to a community, these faculties, such a conclusion would be by no means in their highest degree and their most irrational. It is shown to be irrational serviceable forms, are found to exist only only because we see that, as a matter of among comparatively few persons; and fact, all men die, however various their by an inevitable and natural process circumstances; and that in each spe- . these few persons become the rulers, cial case, accident, debility or disease is and Democratic forms of government the proximate cause of a death, but is may conceal this fact, or modify certain not the cause of Death. In the same of its results, but they never fundamentway, the circumstances which led in ally alter it. this country to the change from Feudal The events then which the Socialists ism to Capitalism were merely the proxi- bave mistaken for an evolution of the mate causes of the transfer of power economic rule of the many out of the from one minority to another. They economic rule of the minority, has were not the causes of that great uni- really been nothing but the evolution versal fact that power, under all circum- of a new minority out of the old ; and stances, is in the hands of a minority the evolution of a minority whose spealways; nor do they offer the smallest cial faculties and functions not only as