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basis of their avowed motto, "An injury to one is an injury to all; and a benefit to one is a benefit to all." I have no space here to discuss at any length the debit and credit side of the labor union. It has its evils, and some of them have been very serious. But it has taught workingmen to coöperate in a common movement for the common good; it has compelled capitalists to pay respect to workingmen because they have become a force that must be reckoned with; it has made workingmen, in a small way, capitalists by contributing to the common fund, which has sometimes reached considerable proportions; it has won for the workingman shorter hours, better wages, and improved conditions which otherwise he would not have obtained; and, by training in habits of coöperation and combination, it has laid the foundation for a future perfected industrial democracy. Perhaps the most valuable contribution to industrial democracy made by the trade unions is the increased respect for the workingmen which they have won from the employers. For in democracy good will is of little value unless it is founded on respect. So far from promoting future class war, by the power to wage successful war which these organizations have created, they have laid solid foundations for future and final industrial peace
Conservation, the single tax, the growth of corporations, the beginnings of profit-sharing through stockholding, the development of the industrial virtues, thrift and temperance,— and of industrial intelligence, and the growth of labor unions, are unconsciously coöperating movements toward industrial democracy. The progress which has been made in the last quarter-century is little realized even by students of economic life. It does not come within the scope of this book to enter upon a balancing of statistics. I believe, however, in spite of some indications to the contrary, that we are living in an age of increasing distribution of wealth; that the statement of Edward Bernstein is abundantly justified: "The number of the possessing classes is to-day not smaller but larger. The enormous increase of social wealth is not accompanied by a decreasing number of large capitalists but by an increasing number of capitalists of all degrees.' The French Revolution broke up the great feudal estates of France into small holdings. The recent land legislation of Great Britain is producing the same effect, at least in Ireland. The Civil War has had a similar tendency in the South, and I am informed on very good authority that recently emancipated negroes now own a total amount of 1 Evolutionary Socialism, Introduction, p. xi.
land equal in area to the whole of the New England States. I have already pointed out the fact that the corporation makes possible the division of industrial wealth among a large number of owners, and Mr. Edward Bernstein and Mr. Charles B. Spahr have shown that this division is actually taking place. Recent legislation and recent court decisions point out to us how we can redistribute the wealth which has been concentrated in too few hands and how we can prevent such concentration in the future. The Courts have held that a progressive inheritance tax is constitutional; so eminent a capitalist as Mr. Andrew Carnegie has commended it as inherently just and wise. By such a tax we may take from the estate of the multi-millionaire a considerable proportion of the amount of wealth which has really been created largely by the community, and can return it to the community again. These great accumulations have been for the most part made by railways and by land operations. We can bring, and we are bringing, the railways under such Governmental control as will make them, after paying a reasonable tax to the owners, give the remainder of their profits to the public, either through a franchise tax or through lower rates, and both methods have been declared constitutional by the Courts. What the
Courts have declared legal the conscience of the best and ablest of the railway managers is beginning to recognize as just. Said Mr. William Henry Baldwin, Jr.: "The exact fair cost should be capitalized, and after capital has had its fair return and business efficiency is maintained, the surplus is to go where it belongs, to the public." 1
We can collect a rental in the form of a tax for the landowner (the public) from the landholder, and in the form of a royalty on all timber cut and all minerals extracted from the soil; and England's recent Budget is a movement, and a successful movement, in this direction. We can prevent stock-watering, and can discourage, if we cannot altogether prevent, stock-gambling; and the recent legislation against other forms of gambling, and the increasing popular condemnation of gambling in all its forms, give reasonable hope of a time when the attempt to get something for nothing, whatever form it takes, will be accounted as immoral, even if it cannot by law be made as criminal, as theft, forgery, and embezzlement.
Said Abraham Lincoln in 1861: "Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the
1 J. G. Brooks, An American Citizen, p. 126.
superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of the community exists within that relation.... There is not of necessity any such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition of life. Many independent men everywhere in these States a few years back in their lives were hired laborers. The prudent penniless beginner in the world labors for wages a while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just and generous and prosperous system which opens the way to allgives hope to all, and consequently energy and progress and improvement of condition to all.” In these sentences Abraham Lincoln points
the way toward the solution of our labor problem. What many independent men have done as individuals in transferring themselves from the laboring class without capital to the capitalistic class, yet still continuing their labor, I hope to see laborers as a class do for themselves. I hope to see a state of society in which there will be few or no capitalists who do not have to labor, and few or no laborers who are compelled to remain all their