Abbildungen der Seite

expect that the savings will be greatly increased - an expectation which is abundantly justified by the history of other countries. The anti-saloon wave which is springing up over the country at the present time gives further justification for this faith in the economic future of the common people of America. For this movement is, in part at least, an economic one; a protest against the waste involved in the drink traffic; a protest against a traffic which produces, as has been well said, not public wealth, but public illth.

A right to labor and an opportunity to labor are barren rights without capacity to labor. He who can contribute to the world's wealth only the product of muscular toil contributes very little. For science has learned how to set nature's forces to work, and the muscles of man compete at great disadvantage with the muscles of nature. That is not a healthy individual who labors only with his hands while his brain lies fallow, nor is he healthy who labors only with his brain while his hands are idle. The brain and the muscle were given by the Creator to the same man that he might use them both. To divide society into brain-workers and hand-toilers is to make a social order contrary to nature. This we are beginning to see. Very slowly and afar off we are following Germany, whose recent unexampled industrial development is partly due to her recognition of the value of industrial education, which occupies in her system equal place with literary education. When our educational processes, intellectual and moral, equip as thoroughly and as broadly for so-called industrial as for so-called professional pursuits, we shall give to workingmen that equality of capacity which is really essential to equality of opportunity. The progress which we have made and are making in this direction is one of the hopeful signs of the times. In my college days there was not, I believe, an engineering school in the country, and there was practically no laboratory work in the colleges. Now in all our more progressive communities there is the industrial as well as the literary High School. Thus democratic America is, in spite of some opposition and more indifference, gradually abolishing what is called the proletariat, by giving to all men the opportunity and developing in all men the capacity, intellectual and moral, to be sharers in the wealth of the community.

While in the corporations men are learning to coöperate on the basis of mutual trust and confidence in great industrial enterprises, in labor unions men who live chiefly by the industry of their hands are learning how to coöperate on the 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.

" 1

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

« ZurückWeiter »