From Max Hirsch:
Democracy versus Socialism (1911)
Content of Part IV
CHAPTER I — The unconscious Growth of Social Structures
CHAPTER II — The Unconscious Discharge of Social Functions
CHAPTER III— The Industrial Organisation of the Socialist State
CHAPTER IV — The Political Outcome of Socialism
CHAPTER V — The Industrial Outcome of Socialism
CHAPTER VI — The Family under Socialism
CHAPTER VII — The Ethical Outcome of Socialism
CHAPTER I —
The unconscious Growth of Social Structures
A WANDERING tribe of savages is merely a transitory assemblage of human beings. Possessing no social structures, no framework around which its units can cluster, the horde can and does easily divide into parts, each of which henceforth leads a separate existence. Increase of numbers, scarcity of food, dissensions, frequently provide the occasion for such division, and the resulting smaller groups carry on their lives as easily as before.
This transitory human assemblage becomes a social organism when, and in so far as, it acquires separate structures. As these structures increase in number and definiteness, social life increases in coherence. For the multitudinous parts of the social organism, each performing a separate function necessary to the full life of the whole, are then bound together by mutual dependence. Separation into parts then becomes impossible, because the parts, though distinct, are dependent upon reciprocal aid for the continuance of their lives.
Social evolution, like all evolution, therefore, proceeds by the gradual accumulation of small changes, from the structureless state, through a state of few and vague structures, to a state of multiform and definite structures. Among savages there is no unlikeness of occupations except that, which is imposed by difference of sex. Every adult male is a hunter, warrior, armourer, and builder. Every adult female digs roots, catches fish, prepares skins, and acts as a beast of burden.
Civilisation, even of the most rudimentary kind, presupposes some division of labour, and advances as these divisions multiply. Farmers and agricultural labourers, manufacturers and operatives, wholesale and retail dealers and their employees, the several professions and the various governmental agencies, as well as innumerable other divisions and their several subdivisions, form differentiated but mutually dependent groups, making the social organism variegated in the highest degree. Groups of men are thus made unlike each other by the discharge of unlike functions in maintaining the lives of all.
This multiplication of social structures is accompanied by a like growth in the definiteness of each of them. In civilised societies each group, carrying on separate and differentiated occupations, is clearly defined and specialised.
The inhabitants of towns no longer cultivate fields; farmers no longer spin their own yarn and weave their own clothes, are now abandoning even the making of butter. Nor do weavers now carry on agriculture as a subsidiary means of earning a livelihood; goldsmiths no longer act as bankers, nor builders as architects. Nay, the process of specialisation has proceeded so far that special groups devote themselves to the making of parts of things only.
This multiplication of increasingly definite structures results in greater interdependence and consequently greater coherence. Each structure as it becomes more efficient in the discharge of its particular function becomes less capable of performing any other function. Each structure, therefore, depends for the efficient discharge of its function upon the efficient discharge of their respective functions by all other structures. The groups which carry on mining, manufacturing, transporting, and exchanging, as well as those discharging other social functions, depend upon the agricultural group for their food supply; while the agricultural group would be unable to efficiently produce food without the assistance of the mining, manufacturing, transporting, and exchanging groups. Similarly all forms of manufactures depend upon mining and agriculture for the supply of raw material; while mining depends again upon manufactures for its machines, tools, explosives, and other necessaries. Similarly close is the interdependence of the various groups of manufactures, and their dependence, as well as that of all other producing groups, upon the transporting and exchanging groups. The latter, conditioned in its turn by the producing groups, has evolved interdependent groups of wholesale and retail dealers, brokers and agents, and the existence of this exchanging system implies the existence of roads, railways, canals; of vehicles, ships, and boats; of posts, telegraphs, and telephones; and of the separate organisation of the carrying trade. The development of this system of transport and communication is in its turn conditioned by and dependent upon that of the various producing groups and of the exchanging organizations, which connect them with each other and with those social groups, which provide for the satisfaction of other than material desires. All this mutual dependence upon reciprocal aid is made possible by the existence of still other groups, which, ensuring efficient defence against external and internal aggression, are in their turn maintained by the efforts of all other groups.
A social organism is thus a highly complex compound of multitudinous, specialised, interdependent, and mutually conditioned structures akin to those of which animal organisms are compounded. And as, when in animal organisms any structure ceases to perform its functions, there results either the cessation of the performance of their respective functions by all other structures, i.e. death, or at least such. a strain on other structures as adversely affects the whole organism, so like results follow if any social structure ceases to perform its functions. And as no structure of any animal organism can carry on its activities when separated from the rest, so are the groups forming each social structure unable to carry on their activities when separated from all other groups.
This growth in the number and definiteness of structures is not confined to the industrial life of a nation. The chief of a small tribe may easily perform all governmental functions while producing his own sustenance. When, however, the social organism has grown into a compound of several tribes, the greater number of the governed and their dispersion over a wider area puts obstacles in the way of this personal and only partially differentiated form of government. The compounding of tribal groups into nations and their re-compounding into still larger nations renders it impossible. There arises a multiplication of highly specialised governing agencies, each of which confines its activities to the discharge of its particular function. These several groups, legislative, administrative, judicial, and military, are again differentiated into sub-groups, each discharging its particular function. Out of the original homogeneous and indefinite governing structure there is thus evolved a heterogeneous and definite structure, composed of multitudinous highly differentiated substructures.
Still other social structures make their appearance. The professions differentiate from each other, and either render specialised aid to the industrial groups in the performance of their respective functions or minister to the immaterial wants of all groups. And further still, innumerable companies and associations, unions, societies, and clubs, subserving politics, industry, insurance, art, philanthropy or amusement, make their appearance, as well as educational, artistic, and philanthropic institutions voluntarily maintained by groups of citizens.
The path of social evolution, as of all evolution, thus leads from homogeneity to heterogeneity; from indefiniteness to definiteness; from incoherence to coherence. Its originating cause and motive power is the desire of all the units forming the society to satisfy their wants, material, intellectual, and emotional, with the least exertion. Men select those occupations which, under given conditions, external and internal, promise to yield a satisfactory living with the least drain on their physical and mental power, i.e. which they deem most suitable for themselves, and engage in such other co-operative activities as their emotions prompt and which promise the best results.
As far as the social organism is concerned, the evolution of all social structures is an unpremeditated and unconscious evolution. As animal organisms evolve new structures to meet new conditions without conscious direction from the organism itself, so the evolution of social structures is a process unconsciously performed. It proceeds, not under the direction of the organism, acting through its governing agencies, but through the undirected action of the units, which compose the organism. The motive, which induces it is, not the wellbeing of the social organism, but that of individuals. The latter alone is consciously aimed at, though the former is unconsciously subserved. The State, therefore, has had no part in the evolution of the wonderful compound of innumerable structures, which forms a developed social organism. No king and no parliament has evoked it, though they have frequently hindered its evolution and are still hindering its further evolution. It has grown and is now growing, without any conscious direction, through the spontaneous action of individuals, each seeking to satisfy his desires with the least exertion. Small changes thus gradually accumulate into new structures which, remaining as long as they are socially useful, decay and ultimately disappear when this utility has departed from them.
The transformation by which, in the course of ages, men’s occupations have become so differentiated and specialised that each, assisting in satisfying the desires of some of his fellows, has his own desires satisfied by part of the efforts of numerous others, is a spontaneous and unpremeditated growth. The knowledge, grown into science, which guides industrial activities, and the inventions and discoveries, which condition these activities, likewise are the result of individual exertion undirected by State agencies. So has been created that vast mass of literature, which gratifies the emotional desires of men, as well as that ever-growing mass of periodical literature which co-ordinates their social actions.
Nor is it otherwise with the evolution of the governing agencies themselves. Though these are generally regarded as the result of conscious action, they have nevertheless also been evolved in conformity with the general law of evolution, i.e. by the slow accretion of small changes useful under the conditions in which the life of the social organism had to be carried on. The automatic growth of the British Constitution, nay, of the British Empire itself, as well as the spontaneous growth of law and the equally spontaneous differentiation of the several departments of government, are now accepted facts, and are similarly true of every other nation. Not the will of individual rulers, of the great men of history, but the natures of the individual citizens, as derived through heredity and conditioned by the past history of the race, and the conditions now surrounding them, determine the form and character of the government of every nation.
A survey of the field of social structures thus shows that human society is an ever-changing organism, owing its growth to no premeditated plan, but to the spontaneous action of the units which compose it; each of whom, efficiently seeking to gratify his own desires, unconsciously contributes to the gratification of others’ desires and to the ever-changing structural organisation of the society to which he belongs. The governing agencies, themselves the outcome of this unconscious action, may in some directions modify this spontaneous growth. Compared with the innumerable instances of hindrance of social growth by governmental interference, those, which show furtherance are very rare.
Socialism disregards the history of social evolution, the unconscious growth here inadequately sketched; involves its discontinuance and the substitution for it of a conscious and premeditated further evolution. For if the State conducts all industries, future changes in the organisation of industries can only be made under the direction of the State. No longer would changes of structures result from spontaneous individual action directed towards the satisfaction of individual desires. Such changes could then come only from State action consciously directed towards structural changes. And as the State conduct of industries and equality of distribution involve the control by the State of the professions, of all scientific and artistic bodies, in fact of all social structures, no changes in any of them could arise except through the conscious action of the regulative agency. Unconscious evolution would thus be supplanted by consciously directed evolution throughout the social organism. Can the latter process supply an efficient substitute for the former?
As in all other organisms, the gradual and spontaneous evolution of structures serviceable to human society is equaled by the gradual and spontaneous decline of structures no longer serviceable. The evolution of new and more serviceable structures frequently displaces older and less serviceable structures, while it may stimulate the growth of other structures.
Thus the growth of the bicycle industry has adversely affected various other industries, as the manufacture of pianos, of music, and of silken fabrics, while stimulating that of certain woolen dress materials. The manufacture of matches has put an end to that of steel, flints, and tinder; the manufacture of coal-tar colours has reduced the cultivation of indigo and madder, and the preparation of cochineal; the rise of mechanical weaving almost annihilated hand-loom weaving; and railways have largely displaced the transport of goods and passengers over roads.
The accumulation of knowledge, of discoveries and inventions, is partly the result and partly the cause of structural evolution. The gradual improvement of primitive tools into modern machinery would have been impossible in the absence of differentiation of occupations; and each improvement in implements and processes has made possible, if not necessary, further differentiation. As long as a spinning-wheel and simple hand-loom were the most efficient implements in general use for the conversion into fabrics of wool, flax, and cotton, a farmer’s wife and daughters could usefully devote some of their time to spinning, while weavers could, with equal advantage, use their unemployed time in agriculture. But the invention and extended adoption of spinning machinery and powerlooms made such subsidiary occupations economically disadvantageous. Specialising and extending the spinning and weaving industries, these inventions also rendered the occupation of farming more specialised. Similarly, the invention of cream-separators, while specialising and extending the manufacture of butter, has, by reducing the manufacture of home-made butter, still further specialised the occupation of farming.
While thus furthering the specialisation and growth of existing structures, inventions and discoveries cause the rise of new and additional structures. The numerous groups engaged in the manufacture of electrical appliances and in the supply of electric light and power; those who are engaged in the manufacture of bicycles, of motor-cars, and of refrigerating machinery; others which supply frozen, desiccated, compressed, and tinned foods, are recent examples of this causation.
Change in demand, induced by the supply of new and more useful services or by mere changes in desire, is the proximate cause of the growth of structures, either in addition to or at the expense of other structures. Thus changes in desire have reduced the mohair industry to meagre proportions, while fostering the manufacture of cashmeres, and have almost terminated the manufacture of crinolines and roller-skates.
Change in demand is, however, not the ultimate cause of the evolution of new structures. For before a change in demand, or an additional demand, can arise, the demanded thing must be known. Some supply must, therefore, precede demand. Hence, new structures are created by individuals or groups of individuals, who endeavour by the production of some new thing to satisfy their desires with less exertion. If the new structure proves serviceable to others, their increasing demand causes its growth and may consequently cause the decline or disappearance of other structures. If the new structure prove unserviceable, the absence of demand rapidly causes it to disappear again. But it is of importance to observe, that before the new structure can prove its utility, it must have begun to discharge its functions. Change in demand, therefore, while inducing alterations in the relative size and importance of existing structures and the disappearance of useless structures, cannot be the originating cause of new structures. The origin of new structures is due to the initiative of intending suppliers. While not undervaluing the importance of the structural changes induced by the former cause, it is nevertheless evident that those induced by the latter are of greater importance.
Structural changes, due to the action of individual suppliers, are impossible in the socialist State. As all industries are managed by the State, inventions and discoveries can only be adopted by the governing agency. This change, combined with equality of reward, must reduce to a minimum the most important feature of social growth, the addition of new structures and the supersession of old structures by new structures.
As every man and woman must be compelled to work at his or her appointed task a given number of hours every working day, the researches and experiments which result in discoveries and inventions would be largely restricted. No one, except those appointed by the State to do such work, could carry on researches and experiments during working hours, and all other intending discoverers and inventors would, therefore, be restricted to their spare time for such work. At the same time no private person would possess the necessary means for lengthy and costly researches and experiments. By far the greater part of the inventive and scientific genius of the nation would thus be rendered fruitless.
Moreover, the remainder would be rendered less fruitful, because Socialism would withdraw the most powerful motive, or at least one of the most powerful motives, which induce men to devote their energies to the invention of new processes and implements. For as equality of material reward is one of the fundamental tenets and an absolute necessity of Socialism, inventors and discoverers could not receive any pecuniary reward for additions to the wellbeing of society, however great these might be.
Socialists generally maintain that, in the absence of such pecuniary reward, men would be impelled to make discoveries and inventions, partly by the necessities of their nature and partly by the honourable distinction which success would confer upon them. However true this may be of some exceptional men, it cannot be true of all inventors and discoverers. Moreover, even in the case of the exceptions, the impossibility of obtaining any material reward obviously withdraws one of the main motives, which stimulate their efforts. Two causes would thus be active in reducing the number of those who otherwise would devote their labour to the mostly thankless task of improving the appliances and methods of industry. Fewer men therefore would do so, and these would be impelled less powerfully in this direction. Hence the number of inventions and discoveries would be enormously reduced.
At the same time the adoption of such discoveries and inventions as might still be made would be largely hindered. The adoption of new processes and appliances frequently involves the discarding of existing processes and appliances. Employers are loth to do so, on account of the pecuniary sacrifice involved, and workmen generally object to change the system of working to which they have been accustomed. The stimulating action of competition overcomes these obstacles. The employer who first adopts an invention or new process does so in the expectation of gaining an advantage over his competitors; while other employers subsequently adopt it in order to minimise the advantage, which the former has gained. Workmen waive their objection, either in response to the expectation of higher earnings, or forced by the insecurity of employment.
None of these motives actuates the officials of the State. They can gain no personal advantage from the adoption of inventions and discoveries which must impose upon them additional exertion and responsibility and may expose them to unpopularity, not only on account of the expense involved, but also on account of resulting changes in working methods.
Moreover, inventions do not generally spring perfect from the brain of man. On the contrary, when any industrial difficulty invites the application of inventive genius, many unsuccessful attempts at its solution generally precede the successful one. The successful inventor, however, has almost always profited by the failures of his predecessors. As a socialist writerhappily expresses it :—
“The earlier increments of a great invention make no figure in the annals of history because they do not pay, and the final increment which reaches the paying point gets all the credit, though the inherent importance and the inventive genius of the earlier attempts may have been as great or greater.”
This almost certainty of many failures before a successful solution can be found must still further discourage State officials from adopting inventions. They would be blamed for failures while another might reap the praise for success to which their failures had contributed. It would be far safer to do nothing than to run this risk. Hence, to the absence of all inducement to experiment with new inventions there are added several motives on the part of officials, supported by widespread motives on the part of regulated workers, discouraging the adoption of inventions. Not only the inertia of officials, but their active opposition and that of the units composing the older structures, has to be overcome, before a new structure can arise or an old structure be removed. Those who oppose the adoption of new processes and appliances are numerous, organised, and consequently powerful; while those who urge it, having mostly no personal interest to serve, are few; unorganised, and therefore comparatively powerless. The opposition, moreover, has a powerful argument in the uncertainty of success of the contemplated change, which as yet has no practical proofs to offer. Under such circumstances, officials wedded to routine and dreading additional trouble and responsibility will generally decide in favour of things as they are.
Even at the present time, when the example or competition of private industry stimulates the action of State officials, their adoption of inventions and discoveries lags far behind. Innumerable examples might be quoted of State departments refusing for many years to use processes and appliances, which privately conducted industries had proved to be advantageous. This tendency of State departments to remain in a groove is so distinct and universal that it has become proverbial. Yet this tendency must be infinitely greater under Socialism, on account of the total absence of the stimulus, which the existence of private industries provides.
Not only would Socialism largely reduce the discoveries and inventions, which produce new industrial structures and supplant older ones, but it would also raise almost insuperable obstacles to the adoption of those, which would still be made. It would, therefore, largely hinder if no entirely prevent the further growth of the social organism.
One more consideration must be glanced at. In the rare cases in which the predisposition of some powerful official might overcome these obstacles, another danger arises. As already pointed out, the growth of a new structure frequently involves the decline of one or more other structures. When demand is free, the growth of the new and the decline of the old structure can only take place on condition that the former is more serviceable than the latter. The whole body of consumers determines this question; and if their verdict is unfavourable to the new structure, it disappears. Under Socialism, however, the body of consumers is not free to give a verdict. The administration may cease to produce an old and preferred article in favour of a new and less acceptable one. Yet the consumers will be compelled to accept the latter in place of the former. Or—and here the danger is greater still—the administration may supersede a less laborious and costly process by one more laborious and costly. Neither the consumers nor any other agency could prevent such action. There is, therefore, no guarantee under Socialism, such as is now provided by the action of competition, that new structures would be more serviceable than the older structures, which they displace. Not only would the evolution of new structures be rare, but such as did evolve might result in retrogression instead of progression.
There remains to be considered the influence of the socialist State on the alterations in the relative size and importance of structures, which originate in changes of demand. Considerations advanced in the last paragraph show that, in the absence of private and competing industries, consumers are compelled to accept such goods and services as the State supplies. Freedom of demand would, therefore, be seriously restricted, and changes in the relative growth of structures would no longer be determined by their relative utility as proved by the action of individuals desiring their services. Such changes might be determined by the will of officials who might err as to the relative utility of structures, or who might be actuated by other considerations.
Nay, the State will be compelled largely to disregard the utility of structures as shown by the infallible test of demand, and will be compelled to abolish multitudinous structures, which render social services. In order to regulate supply, the central regulative agency must determine how much of every kind and quality of goods will be required and shall be produced. Changing individual tastes and changing fashions render it impossible to make an even approximately correct calculation, while the regulative influence of changing values is lost. Therefore, the State would be compelled to abandon the infinite variety of qualities, designs, and colours which private industry supplies under the pressure of individual tastes. The desires of the consumers would be disregarded, the products of State industry would be confined to as few qualities, designs, and colours as possible, and these would inevitably become permanent. Not only would changes in the relative growth of structures be reduced, but the number of socially useful structures would be diminished. This diminution would, moreover, be added to by the disappearance of all those structures, which subserve the wants of the wealthier classes.
The reduction in the number of socially useful structures and subsequent stagnation would, however, extend beyond the industrial field. As previously pointed out, science, art, and literature must be placed under State regulation if equality of remuneration is to be maintained. Not those best qualified, but only those selected by the regulating agency, would follow these pursuits. Instead of the eager and vigorous scientific, artistic, and literary life of today, with its ever multiplying and expanding structures, there would arise Egyptian and Chinese conditions of barren formalism, monotony, and stagnation. A free press is likewise incompatible with the fundamental tenets of Socialism. The production of newspapers, like every other form of production, must be carried on by the State through paid officials. An enormous reduction in the number of daily, weekly, and monthly journals, and the utmost servility of the remaining ones, would thus be inevitable, reducing periodical literature to the same barrenness and stagnation as that inflicted upon general literature, science, and art.
The growth of a social organism, like that of all other organisms, is conditioned by the flexibility of its structures. Where permanency of structure has been attained, the growth of the organism ceases; where growth ceases, decline begins. The permanency and want of flexibility of structures which have been shown to be inevitable in the socialist State would, therefore, not only lead to the cessation of all further social progress, but to the loss of much of the progress achieved in the past. Stagnation, rapidly to be followed by retrogression, therefore, would be the lot of the nations, who, lacking the courage to undergo the strenuous exertion, which the wellbeing of the race demands of them, would seek an inglorious repose in the enervating embrace of Socialism.
CHAPTER II —
The Unconscious Discharge of Social Functions
THE separate and unlike structures of the social organism, like those of all other organisms, discharge separate, unlike, and interdependent functions. The due performance of its function by one structure is conditioned by the due performance of their respective functions by other structures. Thus, that the manufacturing groups may produce, a due supply of raw material and food must be supplied to them by the extracting groups, which process is dependent upon the supply by the manufacturing groups of machines, tools, various prepared materials, clothing, and like necessaries. This, as well as all the other interchanges, cannot be carried out without the due discharge of their functions by the transporting and exchanging groups, which again are dependent upon their being supplied with food, clothing, and other necessaries by the extracting and manufacturing groups.
The interdependence of functions here indicated pervades the whole social organism in endless ramifications, and, stretching beyond national limits, combines all the nations of the earth into one larger. social organism. Growing in extensity, it also grows in intensity. For, as structures multiply, each becomes more specialised with regard to the function, which it discharges, and increased specialisation renders the discharge of other than the habitual function more difficult and ultimately impossible. The due discharge of any function thus becomes more and more dependent upon the due discharge of all other functions. Should any function remain undischarged, the life of the social organism is rendered less full and may even be extinguished. The reciprocal aid resulting from the due discharge of mutually dependent functions by the several structures is co-operation in its highest form.
All increase in the power of man over that with which nature endows the individual comes from the co-operation of individuals, from the co-ordination of their efforts towards a common end. The co-ordination of efforts may, however, take place consciously or unconsciously.
Where there is no differentiation of structures there is little interdependence and co-operation. Among savage tribes co-operation is consequently mainly confined to the activities involved in war and hunting. The activities co-ordinated for these purposes in order to be effective must be guided by the will of one man towards a premeditated end. The immediate object aimed at being the benefit of the tribe as a whole and not that of any particular individual, participation in this form of cooperation becomes compulsory. This trait of compulsion is an inherent necessity of all co-operation which is consciously directed towards public ends, i.e. of all co-operation directed by governmental agencies. The organisation and regulation of an army displays it most clearly. Not only must the State, if necessary, be able to enforce the participation of all fit individuals in military activities, but the army must be so organized that the will of the supreme commander makes itself felt throughout all ranks. Implicit obedience to the orders of superiors being an indispensable condition of efficiency, individual volition must be disregarded, and abstention from co-operation must entail punishment. Similar compulsion distinguishes the organisation spreading through the whole body of society, which either enforces actions deemed necessary for the wellbeing of society or inhibits actions deemed detrimental to the wellbeing of society.
Closely akin to this socially organised co-operation is that kind of industrial co-operation which by a similar combination of individual efforts aims at the accomplishment of tasks, which exceed the physical power of the individual. Whether the result aimed at is the simple one of moving an object too heavy for the physical power of anyone of the co-operators, or whether it is the infinitely more complicated one of altering the course of a sailing vessel, this kind of industrial co-operation involves the subjection of many wills to one will in the conscious achievement of a common and premeditated object.
All co-operation which consists in the combination of efforts, therefore, has the following traits :—
(1) The common object and not the individual benefit of the co-operators is consciously and immediately aimed at.
(2) Efficiency requires the subjection of the individual volitions of the many to the will of a regulative agency.
(3) Except in its simplest forms such co-operation is compulsory also in the sense that those who engage in it are not free to abandon it when and where they please.
(4) It neglects to utilise the mental power of the regulated many, and utilises their physical power alone under the mental direction of the regulators.
While this form of co-operation has its social uses in securing certain limited results, it fails to secure others, which involve a longer series of more delicate and complicated conjoint actions. Whenever, in the course of social growth, individuals find their wants better satisfied by exchanging goods which they can make best, or services which they can perform best, for other goods or services in the making and rendering of which they are less skilled, or for which they are less suitably circumstanced, there arises a different kind of co-operation which consists of the separation of efforts. This separation of efforts enables one individual to perform for many individuals tasks, each of which does not require the full power of an individual. When, for instance, one specially skilled in the making of weapons confines his efforts to the object of making weapons for many, he relieves these others of a task which does not require the full power of each of them. Lacking the special aptitude of the one, and still more the added skill which constant repetition of a given action evolves, the many find it advantageous to obtain weapons from the one. Confining themselves to pursuits for which they possess special aptitudes, they also acquire additional skill by repetition, and, exchanging part of the produce of their skilled labour for part of the produce of the skilled labour of the weapon-maker, the desires of all are satisfied more skillfully, i.e. the desires of all of them are satisfied with less exertion, or an increased number of desires can be satisfied without increase of exertion.
The advantages thus derived from co-operation through the separation of efforts cause the gradual evolution of the social organism from the state of few and vague structures to the elaborate structural and functional differentiation dependent upon reciprocal aid, which distinguishes civilised societies. That one group of individuals can devote all their labour to the production of watch-springs is made possible, primarily, by the fact that other groups devote their respective labour to the production of some other component part of watches, and that still other groups devote their labour to combining the several parts into complete watches. Ultimately, however, the performance of this social function by the composite group of watchmakers depends upon the due performance of other social functions by other groups similarly or still more elaborately compounded. Food must be produced by some groups, clothing by others, furniture and buildings by still others; books must be written and printed by the co-operation of several other groups; multitudinous groups forming the transporting and exchanging system must perform their several functions, as well as many others too numerous to mention. These many groups are themselves interdependent, the performance of the function of each of them being conditioned by the performance of their respective functions by all other groups. Moreover, this simultaneous co-operation of many groups is accompanied by a successive co-operation. For each consumptiongood is the ultimate result of the successive co-operation of groups, each devoting its efforts to the production of an intermediate good, as in order that bread may appear there are successively produced iron, agricultural machinery, wheat, milling machinery, flour, and baking appliances. This co-operation, consisting of the separation of efforts in time and space, is distinguished in other respects from the kind of co-operation, which consists of the combination of efforts. The latter consciously and directly aims at the attainment of a common benefit, leaving individual benefits to result indirectly from the attainment of the common benefit. The former consciously and directly aims at the attainment of individual benefits, leaving the common benefit to result indirectly from the attainment of individual benefits. Everyone of the innumerable millions who participate in this co-operation has no other object in view than the satisfaction of his own desires and those of his immediate dependents, the maintenance of his and their lives. Yet it is impossible for any of them to attain this object without contributing to a corresponding extent to the satisfaction of others’ desires and the maintenance of their lives. Each of them thus consciously aims at the attainment of an individual and proximate object, and in the measure of its attainment he unconsciously contributes to that of a social and ultimate object.
Moreover, because the individual and not the common object is immediately aimed at, there is here an absence of the regulation and compulsion which were found to be essential conditions of the co-operation which aims directly at common objects. For the object of each co-operator being the satisfaction of his desires with the least exertion, his attainment· of this object being dependent upon the extent to which his efforts enable others to satisfy their desires in like manner, it follows that the social object, the satisfaction of the desires of all with the least exertion, is attained automatically.
Yet another difference must be pointed out. The co-operation, which consists of the combination of efforts more or less fails to utilise the mental power of all but those who form the regulative agency. Obedience to orders required of the regulated precludes the use or full use of their mental power, and claims only the conjunction of their physical efforts towards the achievement of the common task. The reason may be found in the fact, that while the physical power of a group of men, intelligently directed, is equal to the sum of the physical powers of all of them, their mental powers cannot be so compounded. Ten men pulling at a rope can draw ten times as much as one man; but ten men cannot reason ten times as well as one man. Their reasoning power, therefore, can only be utilised if each of them works at a separate task; it must be neglected when they combine their efforts towards the accomplishment of a common task. The combination of the physical efforts of a group of men under the mental direction of one, therefore, necessarily involves the neglect of the intelligence of all but one man. As far as the object in view is concerned, the rest might be devoid of any greater intelligence than is required for the understanding of the commands of the one man.
The unconscious co-operation, which consists of the separation of efforts, however, utilises both the physical and mental powers of all the co-operators. Each chooses his own occupation, and within this occupation brings his mental as well as physical power to bear upon his individual task. It is true that each sub-group exhibits to some extent the relation of regulator and regulated, of the captain and the privates of industry, and that the former alone determines the immediate objective of the common efforts of the sub-group. This regulation, however, is far different from that previously considered. For as the co -operation results from separation of efforts, each regulated co-operator has still to use his mental power in the accomplishment of his separate task, while the regulator uses his intelligence in the co-ordination of their several tasks. Moreover, no superior authority co-ordinates the labour of the several sub-groups, which co-operate unconsciously towards the achievement of the ultimate social object. Hence, while conscious co-operation utilises only an insignificant part of the intelligence of the co-operators, unconscious co-operation utilises the whole sum of their individual intelligences. The latter, therefore, is a higher and more efficient form of co-operation, and its product must be superior to that of the former. It consists of the unconscious, voluntary, and reciprocal discharge of social functions by individuals and groups of individuals, all of whom, in the conscious pursuit of their individual ends, conjoin their mental and physical powers in unconsciously maintaining the life of the social organism with the least exertion on the part of all.
The essential difference between these two kinds of co-operation may be most fully perceived when the method of provisioning an army is contrasted with that of provisioning a great city. In the former case the head of the Commissariat Department decides upon the kinds, quantities, and qualities of the necessary supplies, as well as upon the delivery of stated quantities at given times and places. His orders are transmitted to a set of officials, each of whom takes control of the execution of a part of them by transmitting corresponding commands to other and carefully graded sets of officials. A closely graded and extensive regulating mechanism is thus consciously set in motion by one man, and more or less successfully accomplishes the purpose, which he preconceived.
The task of supplying a great city with all its innumerable daily requirements is accomplished without such preconception, regulation, and direction. Wholesale merchants, each dealing with a few kinds and qualities of goods, and with only a small part of the required quantity of these, without concert among themselves, each consciously intent, not on the ultimate object, the supply of the city, but only on the immediate object, the earning of his own living, set in motion the machinery which brings the daily supplies. From the stores thus collected retail merchants purchase their supplies; each again being more or less ignorant of what his fellows are doing, and intent only on his own advantage through the satisfaction of some of the desires of his clients. Yet, though there is no conscious direction and no compulsory regulation, though the ultimate purpose which all these agencies subserve is not consciously before the mind of anyone of them, the wants of a great city are satisfied with unfailing regularity, while the provisioning of an army is rarely a complete success, and frequently a more or less startling failure.
Nevertheless, the latter task is far less complicated and difficult than the former. For an army is mainly composed of males in the prime of life, and no attempt is made to supply more than is absolutely necessary to keep them in health and strength. The variety of goods with which the commissariat of an army deals is, therefore, exceedingly limited, while the quantity required of each is known, and the task to be performed is correspondingly simplified.
The inhabitants of a large city comprise on the other hand individuals of all ages, of both sexes, and of infinite variety of condition. The variety of goods to be supplied is, therefore, infinite in kind and quality, and the amount required of each kind and quality of goods varies almost from day to day. The task which unconscious co-operation fulfils with unfailing regularity is, therefore, infinitely more complex than that which conscious co-operation rarely succeeds in fulfilling.
N or is the success of the one and the comparative failure of the other a mere accident which might be avoided by better organisation. For the more important and regularly recurring functions of all organisms are discharged unconsciously, while less important and irregularly recurring functions only are consciously discharged. Animal organisms direct consciously only such activities as their rate of motion and alimentation, while the more important activities, as respiration, circulation of the blood, digestion, and others, are discharged unconsciously. No amount of training could enable any man to efficiently discharge such functions consciously; the wisest and most careful of men could not escape premature death if he had to consciously direct these processes.
Likewise, a social organism can efficiently undertake the regulation of certain ‘functions of minor importance or irregular occurrence. But the most important of all social functions, the satisfaction of the constantly recurring and innumerable wants of its component units, cannot be safely withdrawn from the department of unconscious activities and placed under the conscious direction of the social organism itself. For just as even a temporary interruption of the respiratory process or the circulation of the blood is fatal to the animal organism, so even a temporary interruption of the process by which a social organism is supplied with the means of satisfying its wants would be destructive of its life. Such interruption is difficult, nay, almost impossible, where the supplies originate in innumerable, self-directed, and independent groups; it is comparatively easy when supplies originate in the mandate of a centralised agency. Apart, however, from this consideration, the co-operative process is so intricate and involved, so far surpasses the power of control of any individual or set of individuals, that it cannot be efficiently directed by them even under ordinary circumstances.
Consider what is involved. A nation wants vegetable and animal food, clothing, furniture, houses, literature, artistic enjoyments and amusements, wants teaching, healing, and many mental stimuli. The wants comprised under each of these heads are of infinite variety and varying quantity, and are largely dependent for their satisfaction upon the uncertain response of nature to man’s efforts. The central agency regulating the cooperative mechanism must nevertheless predetermine the kinds, qualities, and quantities of goods, and services which may be required at a given future time, and must so direct production that all of them may be supplied. Many processes of production involve the lapse of years between their initiation and completion. The directing agency must, therefore, be able to successfully estimate the requirements of distant years in order to determine the amount of labour, which shall be devoted to the present initiation of their production.
Besides this productive process, that of distribution has to be carried out. The kinds, qualities, and quantities of goods required at any point in the national territory have to be determined beforehand, their transport to such points must be accomplished, and they must there be distributed in such equitable manner as has been decided upon.
Among other difficulties, insuperable in the absence of the competitive process, that of determining the value of every kind and quality of goods at a given time has to be overcome.
Nor is even this all. For the production and distribution of all these requisites of infinite variety, millions of men and women similarly varying in character and aptitudes must each be allotted his or her appointed task, and must be superintended in, and if necessary compelled to, the performance of their respective functions. This selection, regulation, and compulsion must be exercised by the central agency through innumerable subordinate agencies, the component units of which are mostly unseen by and unknown to the central agency. Even if each unit entering into the composition of the regulated body and of the regulative machinery were actuated solely by the desire to efficiently perform his or her task, efficient regulation of the co-operation of all of them would transcend the power of any man or body of men. But when every unit is actuated by many and frequently conflicting motives, when many, if not most, are actuated by desires the satisfaction of which conflicts with the efficient performance of the task allotted to them, as will and must be the case, efficient regulation from without is so obviously hopeless, that it is difficult to understand the frame of mind which can contemplate its possibility.
As the task of consciously organising and performing the industrial functions of a society is beyond the power of any man or body of men, so it is equally impossible to consciously organise the performance of the scientific, artistic, and literary functions. Science has conquered so wide a field that no one mind can grasp a tithe of its volume. The individual scientist, restricted to the cultivation of a small part of the scientific area, can only do so to advantage if its selection is left to his individual predilection and predisposition. He may then advance human knowledge by contributing a mite, which, in due time, will swell the general stock. If, however, a regulative agency organises science, as under Socialism it must, individual aptitude cannot be considered. The future scientist must be selected at a comparatively early age, and must be ordered to fit himself for such branch or branches as, to the selectors, seem most in need of recruits. Should the regulative agency be of opinion that the number of investigators in one branch is excessive while in another it is deficient, some must be transferred. By accident some men may do the work for which they possess special aptitude; as a rule they will be compelled to neglect the researches for which they are specially fitted and engage in others for which they are less fitted or unfitted. Stagnation and retrogression, therefore, must take the place of the active progress in all branches of science, which distinguishes our period. For in science, and still more in art and literature, Hegel’s dictum is supremely true: “Subjective volition, passion, it is that sets men in activity; men will not interest themselves in anything unless their individuality is gratified by its attainment.”
Art and literature, though giving the most complete expression to national sentiments, are nevertheless still more dependent upon the fullest freedom of the individual to express himself or herself. To consciously select the youths who shall be trained as artists and writers, to afterwards prescribe to each of them the particular branch of art and literature, which he or she shall cultivate, is a task, which, even if it could be accomplished, would kill all art and literature.
Moreover, while the task of consciously directing the performance of these social functions vastly transcends the power of the best and wisest of men, experience proves that those who would be entrusted with it would be neither the best nor the wisest of the men available. Democracies have produced men of great ability and of conspicuous honour to deal with great questions of State. But where democratic governments have undertaken the conduct of industrial functions, the task has generally fallen into unreliable and incompetent hands. Universal experience proves that the more detailed governmental functions become, the more they deal with industrial matters, the less lofty is the type of politician. Abuse of power, neglect of duty, favouritism and jobbery have been the almost universal accompaniment of industrial politics. Yet the temptations in the way of the conductors of national industries are so great and numerous, the task is so complicated, that even greater and loftier qualities are required by them than by those who conduct the wider affairs of the State.
In the Australian colonies governments have for many years exercised industrial functions which cannot with safety or justice be left to the conduct of individuals without due compensation. Railways, telegraphs, telephones, the postal service, the supply of gas and water, as well as other functions, have been and are performed by governmental agencies. Yet there is universal discontent with the management of these comparatively simple industrial undertakings, a discontent in the expression of which the journalistic and political advocates of the conduct of all industries by the State have been and are loudest.
The foremost aim of Socialism is to substitute this conscious discharge of social functions for their unconscious discharge; to supersede the world-wide voluntary and undirected industrial co-operation by a compulsory and regulated co-operation under the direction of the State. The foregoing exposition proves that the co-operation at which Socialism aims is inferior in type and less efficient than that which it desires to displace, and that the success of the endeavour would enormously reduce the opportunities of happiness. Before contemplating in greater detail the social results, which the establishment of the industrial system of Socialism must produce, it is necessary to examine the form which its organisation must assume.
The Industrial Organisation of the Socialist State
REGULATION from without is necessary to ensure the welfare and continuance of the social organism in the measure in which the self-regulation of the units composing it is defective. As self-regulation grows in extensity and intensity, regulation from without, becoming less necessary, may be correspondingly reduced; were selfregulation complete and universal, all regulation from without might be abolished with absolute, safety. Moreover, unnecessary regulation from without, all that which is in excess of the amount necessitated by the deficiency of self-regulation, is not merely useless but socially harmful. The maintenance of regulative agencies in excess of those required for social wellbeing diminishes the maintenance available for socially beneficial agencies, and thus hinders their growth. Worse still, self-regulation being ethically preferable to regulation from without, marking a higher stage of social evolution, persistence of unnecessary regulation from without hinders the further growth of this higher social sentiment. Hence it is that, as we ascend from lower to higher types of human society, regulation from without, political, ecclesiastical, parental, and industrial, decreases in extent and coerciveness. From the sanguinary despotism of Dahomey, or the all-pervading pressure of the Roman administration, to the freedom enjoyed under the British and American constitutions; from the ecclesiastical tyranny of an African witch-doctor, or a medieval bishop, to the comparatively small influence of ecclesiastical authority on the life of modern Europe; from the parental absolutism of an early Roman or Teutonic housefather to the equitable relations between parents and children among the Anglo-Saxon nations to-day; from slavery and serfdom to the free contract by which modern workers in combination bargain for the conditions of their employment, the upward march of mankind has been long and weary. Distant as the goal of fullest freedom as yet is, the progress of the past contains the promise of its attainment. Every step in this upward progress is the sign of a preceding advance in the adjustment of man’s nature to the conditions of social life; every reduction of regulation from without—of compulsory regulation—has been made possible by the evolution of better regulation from within-self or voluntary regulation.
Moreover, compulsory regulation does not tend to disappear because it has become excessive, useless, and injurious. The removal of excessive regulation, the attainment of greater freedom, is always difficult, and frequently entails great sacrifices on the part of the regulated. For the regulating agency, like any other group of men, is mainly actuated by self-regarding sentiments. Not the performance of useful functions, but the maintenance of its members, is its principal object. Therefore it uses all its power to defend any of its component parts, regardless of the question whether the functions performed by them are necessary and beneficial or needless and detrimental to the social organism. In every progressive community, therefore, regulation from without is in excess of what social wellbeing requires, and not more but less compulsory regulation is a necessity of further progress.
Here also Socialism disregards the teaching of universal history-runs counter to’ the course which the evolution of human society has taken. Instead of aiming at less regulation, it aims at more regulation; instead of reducing the coerciveness of regulation from without, it must increase it. For the supersession of the unconscious and voluntary co-operation of to-day by a system of compulsory cooperation consciously directed by State agencies, involves universal regulation of the most minute and despotic kind.
Not without reason do socialists speak of “an industrial army” as the type of organisation at which they aim. In structure and in the sentiment animating it the industrial organisation of Socialism must form a complete parallel to the organisation of an army. There must be the same graduated regimentation to convey orders and superintend their execution, and there must be the same subordination to secure the working of the machine. Unquestioning obedience, being as necessary in the industrial army of the socialist State as in the militant army, must, as in the latter, be enforced with unyielding rigour.
Socialist writers and speakers, as a rule, are reluctant to set forth their idea of the form, which the organisation of labour must take in the socialist State. They plead in excuse of this reluctance that it is impossible to foresee the exact character of an organisation, which must change with the changing conditions of industry. True as this plea is with regard to the details of organisation, it is not true as regards its type. Just as change in weapons, and other conditions of warfare, while constantly altering the details of military organisation, has left its type unaltered, so changes in industrial conditions do not materially affect the type of industrial organisation. For the type is determined solely by the object immediately aimed at, i.e. whether general or individual benefit is the proximate object. If, as is the case with Socialism, the general benefit is consciously aimed at, industrial activities must be regulated, as Socialism proposes to regulate them, by a central agency-national for industries of national importance, municipal for industries of merely municipal importance. The number of the individuals and the extent of the operations to be regulated then also impose a graduated series of regulating agencies, culminating in the central agency. Whether the subordinate regulative agencies derive their authority from the central agency, or whether their authority is derived from the same source as that of the central agency—say popular election—or whether each superior agency derives its authority from the agency immediately below it by delegated election, will profoundly affect the efficiency and strength of the whole organisation. But as in every army, under all conditions of warfare, there must be a central commanding agency which transmits its orders through subordinate commanding agencies, and as the efficiency of an army depends upon the blind obedience of each subordinate agency, and of the soldiers which it commands, to the dictates of the central agency, so must the same regimentation and subordination prevail in the industrial army of the socialist state, whatever the changing conditions of industry may be.
The few socialist writers who have dared to picture the industrial organisation, which Socialism necessitates, much as they differ in detail, agree in admitting this contention. Laurence Gronlund describes it as follows :—
“Appointments will be made from below. … Under Socialism … the letter-carriers will elect their immediate superiors; these, we will say, the postmasters; and these, in their turn, the postmaster-general. … The workers in a factory should elect their foreman; teachers their superintendent, etc. This is the only method by which harmonious, loyal co-operation of subordinates with superiors can be secured. No one ought to be a superior who has not the goodwill of those he has to direct. Understand also that appointment from below does not necessarily imply removal from below. …
“Every directing officer should be responsible not alone for the work he himself does, but also for the work of his subordinates. He must see to it that they do their work well. Is not this a sufficiently good reason why every directing official should be given the right instantly to dismiss anyone of his subordinates for cause assigned, inefficiency being, as already stated, the very best of causes? When, then, a foreman was inefficient, he would be removed instantly without trial by his superintendent; he, again, might be removed by his bureau-chief, perhaps for abuse of power in removing the foreman; this bureau-chief, again, by his department-chief. … Suppose we make every department-chief (head of a whole industry) liable to removal by the whole body of his subordinates … and that he be removed from office the moment that the collective judgment of the whole department is known, if that judgment is adverse to him. Then the bureau-chiefs immediately elect another chief of department, who can be removed in like manner if he should not suit the workers.
“Can the foreman also dismiss any of his workers for inefficiency or other cause? … For such cases a trial by his comrades might be provided, the issue of which might be removal to a lower grade or some sort of compulsion.
“Instead of any term of office long or short we shall have a tenure during good behaviour.”
The same author states:“Do not, however, suppose that there will be no subordination under the new order of things. Subordination is an absolute essential of co-operation; indeed, co-operation is discipline.”
Sir Henry Wrixon also furnishes valuable testimony in this direction. He states:—
“One of the ablest thinkers and advocates of the socialist cause in England favoured me by giving me more than one interview, at which he explained his opinions very clearly. He said: ‘… In the social State there must be strict discipline; the ranks of workmen would not be allowed to elect their own heads; they would only have their vote for the general election of representatives. The idle would be subjected to some form of penal discipline.’ ”
The same author makes the following statement: —
“Mr. Sidney Webb, in a lecture, declared: ‘To suppose that the industrial affairs of a complicated industrial State can be run without strict subordination and discipline, without obedience to orders, and without definite allowance for maintenance, is to dream, not of Socialism, but of anarchism.’ ”
Equally decisive is the utterance of one of the foremost leaders of the social democracy of Germany, August Bebel:—
“After society has entered into exclusive possession of all the means of production, the equal duty of all to labour, without distinction of sex, will become the first fundamental law of the socialistic community. … Socialists maintain that he who will not work has no right to eat. But by work they do not understand mere activity, but useful, i.e. productive work. The new society demands that each of its members shall execute a certain amount of work in manufacturing, in a handicraft, or in agriculture, by which he contributes a given quantity of products for the satisfaction of existing needs.”
These authorities agree in declaring that necessity of regimentation, subordination, and compulsion in the socialist organisation of labour, which we deduced from general principles. The ordinary worker, the vast mass of the male and female population, would, therefore, be exposed to conditions, uniform for all of them, and widely differing from those of the average artisan even under existing unjust social arrangements. For though the individual artisan does not enjoy any great independence, he possesses in his union the means of bargaining for the conditions under which he will work, and even in matters too small for combined action, he can escape irksome conditions, such as the chicanery of a foreman or employer, by changing from one factory to another. Large sections of the people—farmers, shopkeepers, professional men, merchants, hawkers, and others, as well as most women—carry on their labour without the supervision of anyone, and without the slightest industrial subordination. Moreover, within certain limits, every man is free to choose his occupation, and the place of his abode, and all are free from any outside compulsion with regard to the amount of labour, which they desire to perform.
Under Socialism all this would be changed. The determination by the central regulating agency of the kinds, qualities, and quantities of commodities to be produced, involves of necessity the further determination of the number of workers to be employed in each occupation, and of the place where their labour may be most usefully exercised. When the number of labourers required in any occupation and place has been obtained, others must enter such occupations and in such localities as the administration may decide. If, through any change in demand, or in methods of production, the number of workers in any occupation becomes excessive, the surplus, which must be selected from the total number by officials, must enter such other occupations and leave for such other localities as the administration may decide. Furthermore, no youth can be allowed the choice of his occupation, as otherwise some occupations would become overcrowded, while others, equally necessary, would be neglected. The administration, therefore, must decide the occupation of every youth, male and female. Freedom of movement, the right of anyone to choose his or her place of abode and labour, as well as freedom of choice with regard to the occupation, which anyone desires to follow, would be absolutely abolished. Socialists, while appearing to contest this conclusion, nevertheless fully admit it. Thus August Bebel states:—
“Everyone decides for himself in which branch he desires to be employed; the large number of various kinds of work will permit the gratification of the most various wishes. If a superfluity of workmen occur in one branch, and a deficiency in another, it will be the duty of the executive to arrange matters and readjust the inequality.”
The second sentence in the foregoing quotation obviously contradicts the first, for if the executive is to “readjust the inequality” arising from “a superfluity of workmen in one branch and a deficiency in another,” the executive must have power to compel the superfluous labourers to change their occupation, and if the deficiency has arisen in another locality, to compel them to work in this other locality. The second sentence, therefore, fully admits the conclusion we have drawn. Gronlund in like manner is forced to admit this contention, while endeavouring to deny it. He states:—
“It is, as we have stated, for the Commonwealth to determine, in its character of statistician, how much of a given product shall be produced the coming year or season. … Suppose in a given industry production will have to be narrowed down to one-half the usual quantum. It follows that, in such case, the workmen can only work half the usual time, and that there will only be one-half the usual proceeds to be distributed among them.
“What must be the result? Evidently the men’s remuneration will have to be reduced one-half, or a corresponding number of workers will have to pass over to some other employment—for the consequences of such disorder which may be permanent, and is not the result of either miscalculation or misfortune, will certainly not be borne by society at large; and the Commonwealth, while it guarantees suitableemployment, can certainly not guarantee a particularemployment to anybody.
“A change of employment will, however, in that Commonwealth be tolerably easy for the worker, on account of the high grade of general education, and because all will have passed through a thorough apprenticeship in general mechanics.
“Certain critics of Socialism object that no person under it will have any effective choice in regard to employment. The above shows how little foundation there is for such criticism. But we should like to know how much ‘effective choice’ the vast majority of men now have in regard to employment, or wages, or place of abode, or anything else.” Whether a change of employment, at the dictate of some spiteful official, or as a disguised punishment for opposition to the regulative agency, from, say the manufacture of optical instruments to the work of a navvy; from leader-writing on a governmental newspaper to breaking stones; or, for a woman, from teaching literature to working at a power-loom or a spinning-mule, is “tolerably easy,” as Gronlund asserts, appears to be questionable. There can, however, be no doubt that if the State, having abolished all competing employment, does not guarantee the “particular” employment anyone desires, but merely “suitable” employment, i.e. suitable in the opinion of some official or officials; and if workers will have to change the character and place of their occupation whenever the administration deem it necessary, free choice of occupation and abode is abolished.
This subjection to the will of the executive agency, depriving the individual of the right to choose the place of his labour, deprives him also of all power to escape from specially onerous conditions of employment. For as he must go from one factory to another if a superior officer so decides, so he must remain in a given factory unless he receives permission to transfer himself. He, therefore, is unable to escape from the chicanery of local officials, from the annoyances, injuries, and punishments which may become his lot, should he have roused the illwill of any of his local superiors or of the administration as a whole.
Moreover, equality of reward has as its necessary corollary equality of service by both men and women, as Bebel admits.But how is this equality of service to be enforced? Apart from the difficulty of arriving at an equation of effort in different occupations, how are all men and women to be induced to do the amount of work decided upon? If the standard is fixed at a level suitable to weak women, it will enormously reduce the productivity of men’s labour. If it is fixed so low as to suit the slowest or laziest of workers, the productivity of the labour of all superior workers will be reduced. If it is fixed higher than this-as it inevitably must be-say so as to suit the men of average industry, ability, and strength, most women and many men will be unable to comply with it, while others will be unwilling to do so. Are they all to be compelled to work up to the standard of efficiency, regardless of the question whether their failure results from inability or laziness?
Socialists generally avoid the discussion of these difficulties, or escape from it by the unreasoning assertion that there will be no weak or lazy members of the socialist State. Thus Bebel writes:—
“And what becomes of the difference between the industrious and the idle, the intelligent and the stupid? There will be no such differences, because that which we associate with these conceptions will have ceased to exist. … As all will carry on labour under conditions of perfect equality, and each will be occupied with the kind of work for which his tastes and faculties best qualify him, it is evident that the differences in the quality of the work done will be extremely small.”
Even if it were the case, which it is not, that” each will be occupied with the kind of work for which his tastes and faculties best qualify him” or her, it would not follow that the difference in the quality and amount of work done would be “extremely small.” For the difference in faculties, mental and physical, must result in corresponding difference in the work done, and as the former differences are great, so must the latter be. Moreover, those who have framed any conception of the slow adaptation of individuals to the conditions of social life; those who see that even where all the advantages to be reaped from conscientious work go to its performer, large numbers fail to work conscientiously; those who have witnessed the shirking of work by members of co-operative industrial undertakings and the consequent collapse of the latter,—all these will hesitate to adopt the conclusion that Socialism, i.e. working, not for their individual advantage, but for that of the community, can produce such a sudden transformation of character as to make all men and women conscientious, industrious, and able.
Bebel himself states:“He who will not work has no right to eat,” and it follows that he who works less than his fellows has less right to eat, i.e. must receive less, or must be compelled to work as much. The existing organisation of industry, with all its faults, at least produces some measure of equality between service and reward. The worker who is unable or incorrigibly lazy is discharged, and the less able or less industrious workers receive lower pay than their more able or industrious fellows. This indirect coercion is not available in the socialist State. Monopoly of employment by the State and equality of reward render either discharge or reduced pay impossible. Penal regulations, culminating inevitably in personal chastisement, are the only means by which the socialist State can enforce its labour regulations. The prison and the knout, therefore, threaten all who, regarded as capable of work by their official superiors, are nevertheless unable or unwilling to perform the task allotted to all alike.
The great mass of the population, all those who do not form part of the regulating hierarchy, will be subjected by Socialism to such regimentation, discipline, and compulsion as prevails in militant organisations. The slow and painful evolution which in the course of centuries has rescued the masses of the people from such a state of subjection; which has created the comparative freedom for which past generations have gladly ventured life and fortune; which, superseding authority by individual responsibility, has yielded the opportunity for the moral elevation of man, would thus be turned upon itself. Man would again become part of a social mechanism which, disregarding individual desires and aspirations, would suppress all individuality, personal initiative, and aspiration.
Not the misuse of the powers conferred upon the regulative agency, but the conscientious exercise of such power for social wellbeing, must inevitably lead to this result. Whether such misuse will take place, and to what extent, must, however, largely depend upon the control, which the regulated masses can exercise over the regulative agency. The following chapter will, among others, deal with this question.
CHAPTER IV —
The Political Outcome of Socialism
A GREAT landowner, attached to the sport of his youth, brings to Australia a few pairs of rabbits, and within a few years the plague of rabbits has half-ruined the landowners of the country, while enforcing great expenditure to avert total ruin. A settler, fond of watercress, introduces the plant in New Zealand, and before a generation has passed, it has spread to an extent, which threatens to choke watercourses and rivers. A governor’s wife, fond of Lantana blossoms, brings a plant to Ceylon, where it spreads over large areas of fertile land, making them useless for cultivation.
These examples of man’s want of foresight and inability to control the natural forces, which he sets in motion might be multiplied almost indefinitely. Still more numerous are the examples of his inability to control the social forces which he sets in motion, and his want of foresight regarding their tendencies. Laws, which approximately achieve the objects for which they were passed achieve additional results not aimed at; and, with like frequency, laws fail to achieve the object contemplated, while achieving other and unexpected results.
Equally true it is, that governmental structures once created have a tendency to escape control and to achieve unexpected results. Like all other groups of men, those forming governmental agencies judge of the general wellbeing through their own, and desire to extend the functions and power of the agency to which they belong. The separation of their functions from those of the rest of the population produces a spirit of caste, and makes them impatient of any control except that exercised by members of their caste, while their separate interests are placed before the general interest. At the same time, the graduated organisation and centralised authority of such agencies enable them to persistently pursue their separate interests, and to overcome the sporadic resistance of the unorganised regulated masses divided by apparently conflicting interests. The tendency of all such agencies to thus enlarge their functions and escape from popular control, to convert derivative authority into absolute authority, is universally visible. It is shown no less in the rise of more or less formally elective chiefs into hereditary and absolute kings, or in that of humble deacons and presbyters into princes of the church and popes, than in the power of party machinery in the United States. For though the people of the United States enjoy all the forms of control over their several governments; though popular election is still the method of appointment to all legislative and many of the important administrative positions, it is nevertheless a notorious fact that all real control by the people has been lost. It has passed into the hands of an organisation created for the purpose of causing popular control to be exercised with efficiency—the party machine. The party machinery, directed by an irresponsible and generally corrupt person, the “boss,” nominates the candidates for office in towns, states, and union; to the electors remains but the inglorious and frequently distasteful task of ratifying the nominations of one machine or the other. The organisation created for one end has achieved another and contrary end; the servants of the people have become the masters of the people.
The same tendency has made its appearance in the great organisation of the Co-operative Stores, which culminates respectively in the English and Scottish Cooperative Wholesale Societies :—
“The Co-operative Stores of each district hold meetings periodically to decide questions of business and policy. In these district meetings the Wholesale Directors are represented by two of their own number; and with their wider experience and central prestige they find it an easy matter usually to control the local delegates. Nominally, the Wholesale is under the control of the delegates chosen by the societies which hold shares in it, and for whose convenience it was constituted; but, practically, I was assured by its critics, popular control is gradually becoming a mere name. The Central Government has become so large that its own public cannot deal with it.”
More instructive still are the difficulties which trade unions experience in their endeavour to limit and control the growing power of their elected officials. The testimony of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb is of peculiar value on this point, not only on account of their exhaustive study of trade unions, but also because they may be regarded as unwilling witnesses to the despotism, which Socialism must engender. Dealing with the evolution of trade-union organisation, they make the following statements:—
“It was assumed that everything should be submitted to ‘the voices’ of the whole body, and that each member should take an equal and identical share in the common project. As the union developed from an angry crowd, unanimously demanding the redress of a particular grievance, into an insurance company of national extent, obliged to follow some definite trade policy, the need for administrative efficiency more and more forced itself on the minds of the members. This efficiency involved an ever-increasing specialisation of function. The growing mass of business and the difficulty and complication of the questions dealt with involved the growth of an official class, marked off by capacity, training, and habit of life from the rank and file. Failure to specialise the executive function quickly brought extinction. On the other hand, this very specialisation undermined the popular control, and thus risked the loss of the indispensable popular assent. The early expedients of rotation of office, the mass meeting, and the referendum proved, in practice, utterly inadequate as a means of recovering genuine popular control. At each particular crisis the individual member found himself overmatched by the official machinery, which he had created. At this stage irresponsible bureaucracy seemed the inevitable outcome. But democracy formed yet another expedient, which in some favoured unions has gone far to solve the problem. The specialisation of the executive into a permanent, expert civil service was balanced by the specialisation of the legislature, in the establishment of a supreme representative assembly, itself undertaking the work of direction and control for which the members at large had proved incompetent. We have seen how difficult it is for a community of manual workers to obtain such an assembly, and how large a part is inevitably played in it by the ever-growing number of salaried officers. But in the representative assembly these salaried officers sit in a new capacity. The work expected from them by their employers is not that of execution, but of criticism and direction. To balance the professional civil servant we have, in fact, the professional representative. …
“How far such a development will … promote collective action, and tend to increasing bureaucracy; how far, on the other hand, it will increase the real authority of the people over the representative assembly, and of the representative assembly over the permanent civil service; how far, in fine, it will give us that combination of administrative efficiency and popular control which is at once the requisite and ideal of all democracy,—all these are questions which make the future interesting.”
The preceding extracts show that Mr. and Mrs. Webb are by no means certain that the measure which, they state, has to some extent curbed the excessive and still-growing power of the elective officials in some “favoured” trade unions, will be equally effective in curbing the power of the bureaucracy which Socialism will create. The following considerations, showing that the doubt is more than justified, censure the levity which regards as merely “interesting” a future replete with dangers :—
A trade union is a voluntary organisation, which men can join and leave without serious sacrifice. If a minority is dissatisfied with the conduct of the union’s affairs, they may leave in a body and create another union. If, on the other hand, the malcontents form a majority of the members, they can dismiss all existing officials and elect new ones. Autocratic conduct on the part of officials may all the more readily provoke this result on account of the paucity of officials compared with the number of members; of the absence of any close and graduated organisation comprising the officials of all unions; of the paucity of the officials’ relatives and interested friends among the members of the union; of the absence of official patronage and consequent inability to bribe or terrorise numerous members.
The regulative agency which Socialism must create and the relation between it and the regulated members of the State contrast in all these respects with the regulative agency of a trade union and its relation to the body of members. A dissatisfied minority cannot possibly set up a new state for itself, nor can it in any other way escape the compulsion, and even aggression, of the regulative organisation. Even the dissatisfaction of a majority might, and probably would, be unable to curb its power. For this regulative agency, exceedingly numerous, would also be highly regulated and organised, and its full power would be wielded from one centre. The influence and power, even of existing bureaucracies, comparatively small in number and restricted in functions, are only too visible in such countries as France and Germany. The far greater number and all-embracing functions of the socialist bureaucracy, therefore, must result in its yielding a vastly greater power.
Nor is this all. A regulative agency grows at the expense of the regulated. Every unit added to the former is taken from the latter, and, adding to the aggressive power of the regulators, weakens the resisting power of the regulated. The transfer of power is, however, much greater than the number of the transferred units would indicate. For not only is the transfer from an unorganised body to an organised, but there are included in the transfer the relatives and friends of the new officials whose sympathy and support still further strengthen the official organisation.
Further still, this exceedingly numerous official class, closely organised and centrally commanded, supported by still larger numbers of interested adherents among the regulated, has absolute control over the population, the land, the means of production, and of all available consumption-goods. Wielding, on the one hand, an unexampled power of bribery, it, on the other, wields an equally unexampled power of terrorism. Where gratitude for favours, past and to come, fails to silence the expression of discontent, fear of vengeance might well produce this result. For, as already pointed out, control of production involves control of the producers. The administration must have the power to shift workers from one locality and occupation to other localities and occupations. What easier than to separate husband and wife, parents and daughters, under the plea of industrial necessity? How will the malcontent resist, who is transferred from an agreeable locality and occupation to a disagreeable locality and exhausting occupation, when the administration alone can judge of the necessity of such transfer?
Nor does even this exhaust the oppressive powers of the socialist bureaucracy. Journalism and the production of periodical literature generally, like every other occupation, must be carried on under its control. It is alleged that a body of discontented individuals might join to produce a journal expressing their opinions. No such action, however, can be permitted, if the fundamental principles of Socialism are to be maintained. For the establishment of such a journal would be a return to the “profit-mongering” system, which Socialism is to displace. The subscribers, owning the paper, would be in the position of shareholders, and would receive the profit from the venture, if any. If not they, but some one else owned the paper, this owner would be the profit receiver. If this is permissible with regard to a newspaper, why not in the case of factories also? Apart, however, from this consideration, no journal hostile to the bureaucracy could possibly maintain itself. Its machinery, paper, ink, type, and all other requisites could not otherwise be obtained than from State magazines. If the hostile paper were not speedily extinguished through the constantly recurring difficulties and delays in obtaining supplies, which the bureaucracy could create at will, other and more drastic measures might easily scatter its producers and subscribers, and thus end its existence. Thus the whole of the daily and other periodical press would be under the absolute control of the bureaucracy; press criticism of its doings would be impossible; its misdeeds would be concealed from all but those directly affected, while all news and reflections would be “edited’ to suit its purposes.
If it is suggested that, in the absence of an independent press, combined public action can be promoted by means of correspondence and secret personal agitation, it is overlooked that the all-pervading power of the socialist bureaucracy would again block the way. A powerful and numerous bureaucracy, having representatives on every farm and in every mine, factory, and workshop, would inevitably know every disaffected individual, nor would it hesitate to open and read their correspondence passing through the post-office. The knowledge thus obtained would speedily lead to the suppression of their correspondence and to the administrative harassing of the writers and addressees. On the other hand, the impossibility of leaving the place of occupation without official permission would prevent personal agitation elsewhere, while such local agitation as might be attempted would be speedily interrupted by shifting the principal agitators to distant localities.
If, then, as we witness today in continental countries, a comparatively small body of officials having a restricted sphere of influence and only partial control over the press, wielding also but small power of bribing or injuring private individuals, possess nevertheless a formidable power over the public whose servants they profess to be, it is obvious that the far more numerous and coherent socialist bureaucracy, actuated by common interests and acting under one central authority, exercising unlimited powers of interference, of bribery and of intimidation, controlling absolutely the whole newspaper press and whatever armed force there may be, would wield a power absolutely irresistible to an incoherent and widely scattered public, having no settled policy, no habits of united action, and no means of communicating with each other.
To check and control such overwhelming power by means of an elective assembly is an idle dream. As Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb themselves point out, even in the elective assemblies of trade unions, which have been formed to control their elected officials, “a large part is inevitably played by the ever-growing number of salaried officers.” How can anyone, aware of this fact, hope to prevent the legislature of the socialist State being composed mainly of officials or of unofficial nominees of the bureaucracy selected for their devotion to the cause of the latter? As the power of the socialist bureaucracy would exceed that of any existing bureaucracy, so must its influence with the electors exceed that of the latter. How great that power is, is shown no less by every election in Germany and France than by Napoleonic plebiscites. An elective assembly composed as that of the socialist State must be, far from being a check on the power of the bureaucracy, and the abuse of that power, would be the keystone in the arch of bureaucratic absolutism.
If it is replied that France and Germany are not truly democratic countries, the rejoinder is that a like state of affairs prevails in the most democratic countries. It is well known that the influence of the machine in American politics is largely based on its co-operation with officeholders and expectant office-holders. A still better objectlesson is furnished by the Australian Colonies and appeared most clearly during the general elections of 1894 in Victoria. A ministry, determined to reduce the annual deficit by curtailing the number and salaries of a somewhat excessive but by no means overpaid civil service, appealed to the country. For the first time in the history of the colony the public service, otherwise divided in politics, unitedly and actively supported the opposition. The result was a disastrous defeat of the ministerial party, attributed by a general consensus of opinion to the active opposition of the public service.
What is possible to a numerically small and comparatively uninfluential public service in a British colony would be the merest child’s play to a socialist bureaucracy. The elective assembly would merely be a counterpart of the bureaucracy in which the people who nominally elected it would have no influence, just as election of the officials by the people would fail to ensure their control over the bureaucracy, as Mr. and Mrs. Webb admit.
Similar objections apply to another method, also suggested by Mr. and Mrs. Webb: —
“As miner, mechanic, or mill operative, the worker is and must be the servant of the community. From that service Socialism offers no escape. All it can promise is to make the worker, in his capacity of citizen, the joint proprietor of the nation’s industry and the elector of the head officers who administer it.”
There are two methods of electing head officers; one is that the persons employed in each industrial department elect the head officer of their industry, or that the whole people elect the head officers of all industrial departments. In either case a constituency spread over the whole country would have to elect one or more candidates. In order that a candidate may be elected he must be known to possess the requisite qualifications, i.e. capacity and experience to manage, not merely one factory, but all the industrial establishments comprised in one department, say the textile industries.
Such men are rare always, and under no circumstances can they be found among the number of ordinary workmen under Socialism. There may be some among them who possess sufficient natural ability, but having occupied no administrative post, they cannot possess, and still less can they be known to possess, the requisite experience. Such experience cannot be found outside the ranks of the socialist bureaucracy. Some officials, having reached high rank by long service, alone can be selected. The ideas and interests of such men would be congruous with those of their fellow-bureaucrats, and a reform of the bureaucracy, therefore, cannot be expected from them. The people may change their despots, but they cannot escape despotism.
Suppose, however, the people, made reckless by oppression, determined to risk all consequences and to elect some ordinary workers in spite of their inexperience; candidates willing to brave the vengeance and honest enough to withstand the bribery of the bureaucracy will be difficult to find. But how are they to be found and their trustworthiness made known throughout the vast constituency? Known within one factory, their names are utterly meaningless anywhere else, and cannot be distinguished from those of the creatures of the bureaucracy whom the latter would put forward. For, as the press is in the hands of the bureaucracy, as it can control correspondence and all other means of communication, the ordinary workers, as already pointed out, have no means of organising combined action.
Not only, therefore, would the election of head officers by the workers be a farce, but it would materially strengthen the hands of the bureaucracy in making itself absolute. The board of head officers, being elected by the people, would derive its power from the same authority as the legislature. Individually their power would have a superior foundation to that of the legislators, as being derived from a largely superior number of electors. Even in the unlikely case of their confederates not controlling the legislature, they would thus be in a better position to fight and conquer the latter than if their authority were derived from an inferior source than that of the latter.
Is there then no possibility of controlling the power of the socialist bureaucracy in other ways? An examination of the several ways other than election for appointing officials will show that there is no such possibility. The first of these is the modification of elective appointment by dismissal through superiors, suggested by Laurence Gronlund.This modification must obviously destroy the last vestige of control, which the electors might retain.
For, once appointed, the official would have to fear nothing from his electors and everything from his superiors, at whose mercy he would be placed. Abject servility towards superiors, combined with insolent disregard of the wishes and interests of the regulated masses, would be the result. At the same time, the election of the heads of departments, who would form the chief and central authority, by their immediate subordinates, would ensure the composition of this supreme authority by men pledged to uphold the interests of the bureaucracy under all circumstances. This proposal, therefore, offers no escape from the dilemma in which Socialism finds itself.
An alternative method may be found in admission to the service by competitive examinations, advancement by seniority or by recommendation from superiors, dismissal at the recommendation of a judicial board after trial, and appointment of a central agency by the legislative assembly. This method, however, is obviously unable to destroy the homogeneity and power of the administration, nor would it offer any guarantee against the misuse of that power as long as the bureaucracy can influence popular elections and the appointment of the judicial board.
The only other method is suggested in the Fabian Essays.It is there stated :—
“I do not think that the direct election of the manager and foremen by the employees will be found to work well in practice or to be consistent with the discipline necessary in carrying on a large business undertaking. It seems to me better that the Commune should elect its council—thus keeping under its control the general authority-but should empower the council to elect the officials, so that the power of selection and dismissal within the various subdivisions should lie with the nominees of the whole Commune instead of with the particular group immediately concerned.”
This method also overlooks the influence over the election of the council, which the numerous body of officials would exercise. The selection of the officials by an elective body is, moreover, a task for which such bodies are peculiarly unfitted, as the experience of Australia proves; would, considering the number of officials in the socialist municipalities, offer serious difficulties to the council of a municipality, and would be absolutely impossible when all the innumerable officials conducting State industries had to be selected by the elective assembly. For such an assembly could not be conversant with the capacity of the many thousands of applicants nor with the requirements of the many thousands of posts to be filled. The assembly would, therefore, be compelled to make appointments at haphazard, or to merely sanction the nomination of some other body conversant with the facts, i.e. a body composed of superior members of the bureaucracy.
Socialism, therefore, possesses no means by which can be controlled the Frankenstein which it must call into being. What, then, would the socialist bureaucracy do with the absolute power, which it would wield? That it would use it sooner or later for the purpose of serving the self-interest of its members cannot be doubted; for the units composing it will be of the average type, inclined to selfishness and injustice. If it were otherwise, if all men were just and unselfish, there would not and could not be any injustice in the distribution of wealth, and the creation of the vast machinery of Socialism would be obviously unnecessary. Though socialists hold the irrational belief that the compulsory system which they aim at will hasten the ethical development of man, even those among them who are least sanguine with regard to the time necessary for the full development of the system, cannot seriously entertain the hope that the interval will suffice for the full adjustment of man to social conditions. Therefore the regulative agency of the socialist State must be composed of men who on an average are like to, or differ but little from, the present average man. Such men, possessing absolute control over the resources of a whole nation, will sooner or later use these resources for their own advantage. “The equality of distribution,” “the equal reward of labour,” might be continued for the regulated masses, but, in ways devious or open, the regulators would appropriate for their own use a far larger than the average share. The bureaucracy would live in Roman luxury, marked off in startling ways from the correspondingly increased poverty of the subject masses.
Furthermore, the love of offspring will not be extinguished by any social rearrangement. Men will still endeavour to secure to their children the same or higher positions than they themselves occupy. Hence the way of the socialist bureaucracy will be through nepotism to hereditary succession. A carefully graded hereditary caste, culminating in a hereditary despot, wielding absolute power over a people reduced to monotonous and slavish equality and deprived of all political and economic independence, would be the inevitable result. How easy it is to bring about such a revolution under democratic forms when a powerful bureaucracy aims at it, may be seen no less in the capture of nearly all the superior positions in the French army by members of the old aristocracy than in the coup d’état of December 1851. Nor can it be denied that the socialist bureaucracy would infinitely exceed in power that wielded by the civil and military bureaucracy of France.
Apart from and additional to these organised usurpations, there will inevitably arise unorganised aggressions, which, prompted by the dishonesty, selfishness, and evil passions of individual officials, would nevertheless be shielded by the whole bureaucratic organisation. The inevitable spirit of caste pervading every organised bureaucracy would be strengthened by still more powerful motives when the inevitable corruption had made sufficient way. At present, a male worker having incurred the enmity of foreman or manager, or a woman persecuted by the unwelcome attentions of one of them, may escape the consequences by changing his or her place of labour. No such evasion would be possible under the socialist regime, and even if, by official transfer, a man or woman escaped from the rod of a particular tyrant, nothing would be easier than to so mark his or her papers’ as to expose them to the like tyranny of new superiors. No man’s life and liberty, no woman’s honour, would be safe from the rancour or desires of officials.
The experience of the United States may again be cited in illustration of this danger. Out of the vast mass of available material I select one-the misuse of their power by the police of Chicago, a misuse, which is fully equalled in other cities of the Union. The constitution of this force rests upon a democratic basis. The Mayor is elected by universal suffrage. He appoints the Chief of Police, who, in his turn, appoints the officers and men of the force. The Chief can be dismissed by the Mayor at any time, and, in his turn, can dismiss officers and men for cause shown. The whole force is thus placed as much, and more, under the control of the electors as if every police officer were directly chosen by them. Yet not only is this force generally regarded as corrupt, but it uses its power with absolute disregard of law, decency, and fairness to the poorer electors, as the following account will show. It is taken from a pamphletpublished by Mr. John P. Altgeld, Governor of Illinois, in which state Chicago is situated :—
“There had been labour troubles, and in several cases a number of labouring people, guilty of no offence, had been shot down in cold blood by Pinkerton men, and none of the offenders were brought to justice. The evidence taken at coroners’ inquests and presented here shows that in at least two cases men were fired on and killed when they were running away, and there was, consequently, no occasion to shoot, yet nobody was punished; that in Chicago there had been a number of strikes, in which some of the police not only took sides against the men, but, without any authority of law, invaded and broke up peaceable meetings, and in scores of cases brutally clubbed people who were guilty of no offence whatever.”
Mr. Altgeld supports this latter statement by citing the summing-up of Judge M’Allister in the case of The Harmonia Association of Joiners versus Brenan et al., as follows :—
“The facts established by a large number of witnesses and without any opposing evidence are, that this society, having leased Turner Hall for the purpose, held a meeting in the forenoon of said day in said hall, composed of from 200 to 300 individuals, most of whom were journeymen cabinetmakers, engaged in the several branches of the manufacture of furniture in Chicago; but some of those in attendance were the proprietors in that business, or delegates sent by them. The object of the meeting was to obtain a conference of the journeymen with such proprietors, or their authorised delegates, with the view of endeavouring to secure an increase of the price or diminution of the hours of labour. The attendants were wholly unarmed, and the meeting was perfectly peaceable and orderly, and while the people were sitting quietly, with their backs to the entrance hall, with a few persons on the stage in front of them, and all engaged merely in the business for which they had assembled, a force of from fifteen to twenty policemen came suddenly into the hall, having a policeman’s club in one hand and a revolver in the other, and making no pause to determine the actual character of the meeting, they immediately shouted, ‘Get out of here, you …; and began beating the people with their clubs, some of them actually firing their revolvers. One young man was shot through the back of the head and killed. But to complete the atrocity of the affair on the part of the officers engaged in it, when the people hastened to make their escape from the assembly room, they found policemen stationed on either side of the stairway leading from the hall down to the street, who applied their clubs to them as they passed, seemingly with all the violence practicable under the circumstances.”
Another instance of similar conduct, supported by numerous affidavits, is thus summed up by Governor Altgeld :—
“There was a strike on the West Division Street Railway, and some of the police, under the leadership of Captain John Bonfield, indulged in a brutality never equalled before; even small merchants standing on their own doorsteps and having no interest in the strike were clubbed, then hustled into patrol waggons and thrown into prison on no charge, and not even booked. A petition, signed by about 1000 of the leading citizens living on and near West Madison Street, was sent to the Mayor and City Council, praying for the dismissal of Bonfield from the force, but on account of his political influence he was retained.”
When such brutal and illegal conduct on the part of officials, appointed by the election of the people, can go unpunished under existing conditions in the United States, where the bureaucracy is not numerous and powerful, how can it be prevented under the conditions which Socialism will create? Even prominent advocates of Socialism have some slight perception of this danger, as is shown in the following statement made by Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb: —
“Though it may be presumed that the community as a whole would not deliberately oppress any section of its members, experience of all administrations on a large scale, whether public or private, indicates how difficult it always must be, in any complicated organisation, for an isolated individual sufferer to obtain redress against the malice, caprice, or simple heedlessness of his official superior. Even a whole class or grade of workers would find it practically impossible, without forming some sort of association of its own, to bring its special needs to the notice of public opinion and press them effectively on the Parliament of the nation. … In short, it is essential that each section of producers should be, at least, so well organised that it can compel public opinion to listen to its claims, and so strongly combined that it could, if need be, as a last resort against bureaucratic stupidity or official oppression, enforce its demands by a concerted abstention from work.”
The suggestion that aggrieved individuals might, “as a last resort against bureaucratic stupidity or official oppression,” enforce their claims “by a concerted abstention from work,” startlingly exhibits the want of comprehension, from which all socialists appear to suffer, of the concomitant changes in social conditions, which the establishment of Socialism must engender. For how are men to declare and maintain a strike in the face of a bureaucratic power such as Mr. and Mrs. Webb themselves deem it possible to arise under Socialism? Apart from direct punishments, which might easily be inflicted for such an act of insubordination, how are the strikers to maintain themselves for a single week? All supplies, food, clothing, materials for heating and cooking, and the many other daily requirements of a household, are in the possession of the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy would, therefore, have no difficulty in practising Bebel’s maxim, that “he who will not work has also no right to eat.” A mere mandate to refuse supplies to the strikers and their dependants would either enforce immediate submission, or would end the trouble of officialdom by the speedy death of the strikers.
The ultimate social and political outcome of Socialism, therefore, must be an all-pervading despotism on the part of the rulers, and a degree of slavery on the part of the ruled masses, such as has not existed in Europe even during the worst times of Roman and medieval oppression. The slavery, which accompanied Communism in ancient Peru would be reproduced, in an aggravated form, among the nations of Europe. Inevitably the time would come when, all initiative, all individuality, and patriotism having been crushed out, a catastrophe, like that which destroyed the Inca state, would overwhelm the nation, forming, perhaps, the starting-point of a new evolutionary process, by which, through a like apprenticeship as that of the last thousand years, the people might re-arrive at the point at which they now stand, and choosing a worthier course, would enter upon the road to a wider and truer freedom, from which Socialism endeavours to seduce them.
CHAPTER V —
The Industrial Outcome of Socialism
THE socialist organisation of industry, substituting Stateregulation for self-regulation, compulsory co-operation for voluntary co-operation, equal reward for reward according to service rendered, must also rely upon other motives for exertion than those prevailing under a system of universal contract.
The motive, and only motive, for industrial exertion is the desire to enjoy its fruits. If men could satisfy their material desires without industrial exertion they would not undergo such exertions. Likewise would they abstain if all reward were withheld from them. When men receive as a reward the full result of their mental and physical industrial exertions, the motive for such exertion is strongest. It becomes less active as a greater part of the result of their exertion is withheld from them. The efficiency of labour, therefore, other things being equal, is dependent upon the system of distributing the results of labour. In so far as this system is unjust; in so far as the reward of one falls short of the services rendered by him, and the reward of another exceeds the value of his services; in so far it must also reduce the efficiency of labour. For the men who are uncertain whether their exertions will meet with their due reward, and still more those who are certain that their due reward will be withheld, will not exert themselves to the fullest extent and their labour will fall short of its fullest efficiency. Still more will this be the case with those who expect or know that their reward will not be substantially affected if they fail to labour efficiently. This divorce between exertion and reward is one of the main reasons for the universally recognised inefficiency of serf and slave labour. The existing system, suffering from injustice in distribution, largely reduces the efficiency of labour. Under Socialism, however, the reduction in efficiency must be very much greater. For though under the existing system the great majority receive rewards of less value than that of the services rendered by them, yet this reward generally falls and rises with the value of their services. The motive for exertion, while lessened, is not rendered inactive. Under Socialism, postulating equal rewards for unequal service, however, this motive would cease to exist. As no one could hope to increase his reward by increased mental and physical exertion, so no one could fear to lessen his reward by reduced exertion. Labour would, therefore, become infinitely less efficient than it is under existing conditions.
Socialists urge two replies to these arguments. They contend that the desire for material reward is not the only motive for industrial exertion, and that self-interest will continue to stimulate individual exertions under a system of equal rewards.
In support of the first contention, they cite the conduct of soldiers; who, though no material reward may await them, yet eagerly contend for the immaterial reward which valorous conduct brings. There is, however, no analogy between exhibitions of valour and industrial exertion. Other things being equal, the most courageous soldier is also the most popular with his comrades. If cowardice were admired as courage is, few would be guilty of acts of exceptional courage. Even if it were admitted that, under Socialism, exceptional exertion in industry would secure to him who habitually exhibits it as much admiration as acts of valour do now, the motives for exertion would still be largely reduced. For such popularity can and always would coexist with justice in distribution, and the expectation of increased material reward is, therefore, an additional motive to the expectation of popularity. As one is less than two, the withdrawal of the former motive must lessen the inducement to exertion by at least one-half, even if it were admitted that in its absence popularity would attend exceptional exertions.
Exceptional exertion, however, fails to secure popularity in the absence of justice in distribution. Among clerks in Government offices, he who earnestly strives to fulfil his duties, who wastes no time and renders the greatest service, is, as a rule, unpopular with his colleagues. This trait is still more pronounced among industrial labourers. In the gang system, prevailing in American boot-factories, the quickest workman is placed at the head of the gang, and the succeeding ones must keep pace with him or the material accumulates before them. This man, far from being popular, is generally the most unpopular. The reason is, that his greater exertion imposes a like increase of exertion upon his fellows without any addition to their wages. This rule holds good throughout. The more efficient workmen are generally unpopular with their fellows, because their presence raises the standard of efficiency expected from all without addition to their reward.
Under Socialism this tendency would be much stronger, unless, as some socialists assert, self-interest will continue to induce increased exertion under their system of distribution. This, the second contention alluded to, is, that, as the reward of each is determined by the total divisible product of all labour, this reward, though equal with that of all others, is nevertheless affected by the amount which the labour of any individual contributes to the common stock. If, for instance, the number of those amongst whom the social labour product is divisible is one million, then the reward of an individual labourer is augmented by the one-millionth part of the product of any increased exertion he may undergo.
This argument admits, what socialists elsewhere deny, the importance of self-interest as a motive for industrial exertion. For if, as this argument alleges, the receipt of an infinitesimal part of the produce of his exertion is sufficient to stimulate every labourer, how much more stimulating must be the certainty of receiving all of it. An individual worker who, under Socialism, must divide the product of his additional exertion with millions of others, cannot from this knowledge derive as much inducement to additional exertion as if he individually obtained the whole. Nor can his conduct be affected by the expectation that the special exertion of all others will equally swell his reward and that of each of them. For the individual worker does not know whether all the workers in the same factory are exerting themselves equally with him. Still less do the workers in one factory possess such knowledge with regard to the workers in other similar factories, or the workers in one department of industry with regard to all the workers in all other departments. The tendency, therefore, will be in the opposite direction, and disregarding the possibility of obtaining a share of the product of the additional exertions of others, each worker will only see the share, which he contributes to the reward of others.
Under Socialism, therefore, still more than under the existing system, every worker would exert himself as little as possible. Any workers who were to put forth greater exertions than the majority of their fellowworkers would become unpopular, because their example would raise the standard of exertion which foremen and managers would expect from all. Not only would the motive for exertion arising from coequal reward be absent, that of self-interest, but there would also be absent the other motive, which socialists want to substitute for it, the approval of fellow-workers. On the contrary, self-interest would cause efficiency to be regarded with disapproval.
The only substitute for voluntary co-operation is compulsory co-operation. Where men cannot hope to receive an increased individual reward for increased exertion, the only alternative, capable of inducing exertion, is compulsion. Fear must take the place of hope; sullen resentment that of cheerful anticipation; distaste for exertion that of joy in the work produced. The feelings and opinions of the slave-gang, cowering under the lash of a driver, must displace all other motives to exertion, and the efficiency of labour under Socialism must sink to the inefficiency, which is the universal attribute of slave-labour.
The factors, which thus tend to reduce to the lowest ebb the efficiency of the regulated labourers would likewise tend to reduce the efficiency of the regulating organisation.
All experience proves that industries are most efficiently conducted by individual undertakers. Where associations of capitalists, acting through paid managers, conduct industries, the efficiency of management is generally impaired. Where the industry, so conducted, is based on a monopoly, the loss of efficiency is still greater, and it is most serious in industries conducted by governmental agencies.
Various reasons account for these differences in efficiency. The individual undertaker is stimulated to the greatest mental and physical exertion by the knowledge that his income will vary with the efficiency of the services rendered by him, and by the fear that competitors, rendering more efficient service, will deprive him of part or the whole of his income.
The manager of a public company, whose income varies less directly and fully with variations in the efficiency of the services, which the company renders, is under the domination of this motive to a smaller extent. Nevertheless, inasmuch as the directly interested shareholders watch his conduct through some of their members, the board of directors, the manager’s exertions are stimulated to some extent through hope of additional reward and fear of loss of position and reputation.
Where an industry is based on monopoly, the income of the company conducting it does not necessarily vary with the efficiency of the services rendered by it. Such companies as, for instance, railway and tramway companies, may even increase their net earnings by rendering service of less efficiency. Hence the pressure of shareholders and directors on the managers in the direction of efficiency is either reduced, or absent, or pressure in the direction of less efficiency is substituted.
When an industry is conducted by a governmental agency, no one is directly dependent for his income upon the efficiency of the services, which the industry renders. The main motive stimulating mental and physical exertion in the conduct of industries owned by private individuals and public companies being thus withdrawn, the management, almost invariably, becomes least efficient.
Other causes co-operate in producing these variations in efficiency. Where one or more individuals, directly affected by the result, supervise the conduct of an industry, personal initiative is least fettered and great flexibility possible. The wishes of individual clients can be easily responded to, new situations can be met quickly and easily, and the industry can adapt itself to changing conditions with the least friction.
When an industrial undertaking is so large as to require an extensive and graduated managerial organisation, much of this flexibility and adaptability is lost. Fixed rules, limiting the authority and prescribing the action of every unit in the organisation, must be substituted for personal initiative. Each grade in the regulative machinery is more or less fettered; the lower grades cannot grant unusual requests or adopt new methods without applying for permission to officers of superior grade; these again transmit the request to still superior officers; and invariably practice, more or less, takes the place of flexibility.
This graduation, limitation, and inflexibility is greatest where an industrial undertaking forms merely a part of a still wider graduated organisation. For where this condition exists, the ultimate decision rests with officials generally possessing no personal knowledge of the circumstances, which induce the proposals of subordinates. Unwillingness to accept responsibility on the advice of subordinates, therefore, generally leads to the rejection of their proposals; and even when they are adopted, the unavoidable delay frequently retards action till the conditions it was to meet have again changed. Invariable routine, involving great loss of efficiency, therefore, is the almost universal attribute of industries, the regulative agency of which forms part of the general governmental agency.
These two causes combine to reduce the efficiency of governmental industrial undertakings to the lowest level, even when, as at present, they are exposed to comparison or competition with similar private undertakings of greater efficiency. When, however, all industries are conducted by the State, when even this last stimulus is withdrawn-when, moreover, the regulative agency is no longer exposed to the stimulating influence of criticism in Press and Parliament,— the loss of efficiency in management must be infinitely greater than that exhibited by governmental industrial undertakings at the present time.
Another factor must add to the loss of efficiency by both the regulated and the regulators. Labour is most efficiently performed when it accords with the innate tendencies of the labourer. A youth may make an excellent teacher when he would make but a wretched miner or bootmaker; another would render far more valuable services as a farmer than as an engraver; still another would make an excellent business manager or engineer, but a very bad physician. Under the existing system, the number of those who, having special aptitude for one occupation, are nevertheless compelled to enter other occupations, is very great. A still larger number, however, either from the start or ultimately, enter upon the occupations for which they are specially adapted.
Under Socialism, however, special aptitude can be but rarely considered. Choice of occupation by the aspirants being impossible, it is equally impossible for the regulative agency to discover the special aptitude of the numerous aspirants for employment. A few possessing influence may obtain access to occupations which they prefer. The great majority, however, must accept the occupation to which they are allotted, and from which they may be transferred to any other as the necessities of the State or the caprice of officials may decide. With a few and accidental exceptions, special aptitude will thus be neglected, and men capable of doing exceptionally efficient work in one direction will be compelled to work in other directions in which their labour is specially inefficient. The loss of efficiency hence arising—a loss the magnitude of which is appalling—must be added to the loss arising from the causes previously dealt with.
Yet another cause must tend in the same direction. The efficiency of the national labour is largely determined by that of the available instruments of production and their amount. These instruments, made by labour, must be replaced by labour. Every year large deductions are made from the amount of consumption-goods otherwise available, by setting labour to produce production-goods, the fruits of which may not ripen till many years hence. This production of capital, ever increasing and providing for wants of an ever later date, is one of the functions which our society performs unconsciously. Under Socialism it would have to be performed consciously. The regulative authority would have to determine each year how much of the national labour shall be employed in the replacement and extension of national production-goods. The labour thus employed is withdrawn from the production of goods, which can satisfy wants in the near future, and directed towards the satisfaction of wants which may arise in the distant future. A large and everincreasing deduction is made from the national dividend becoming divisible in any year, in order to increase the dividend, which may become divisible in distant future years. Will the officials be anxious to sustain such a far-sighted policy, and will the people welcome it? The probability is all the other way. The majority of any people are short-sighted and improvident, unwilling to renounce present enjoyment for future enjoyment. Still stronger is this tendency when the abstention from present enjoyment is not manifestly to their own individual advantage and that of their children. Those who are improvident will desire the largest possible dividend from the national labour in order to enjoy it. Those who are provident will desire the same in order to increase their individual savings. A large deduction from the national dividend for the adequate replacement, and still more for the extension, of the national capital will, therefore, be extremely unpopular with the large majority. Similar sentiments animate the official hierarchy, which, moreover, would derive no immediate and personal benefit from an action, which, nevertheless, would expose it to great unpopularity. Hence must arise a tendency, not only to abstain from adding to the national capital and to the length of productive processes, but to actually curtail the replacement of national capital and to reduce the length of productive processes, and, consequently, to a further reduction in the efficiency of the national labour.
Four powerful causes thus co-operate to reduce the efficiency of labour under Socialism. They are:—The withdrawal of all motive for mental and physical exertion in production when reward is divorced from the value of the service rendered. The substitution of compulsory co-operation for voluntary co-operation. The neglect of special aptitudes, and the reluctance to extend, if not the desire to shorten, processes of production.
The inevitable result of reduced efficiency is a reduction of the amount and a lowering of the quality of goods and services produced. As already pointed out,equality of reward and the determination by the regulative agency of the kinds and quantities of goods to be produced by the national labour, must inevitably lead to an enormous reduction in the kinds and qualities of goods produced. The tendency must be to confine production to as few designs, colours, and qualities of every kind of goods as practicable, and to make these permanent. The tendency towards monotony and uniformity thus arising would be supported and strengthened by the falling-off in production due to inefficiency. As labour becomes less productive, the production of goods required for comfort and for ornamentation must be curtailed, and labour must be concentrated upon the production of bald necessaries. With every further loss of efficiency this process must be extended, until the national dividend, receivable by every citizen, will consist of a smaller amount and variety of goods and services than is now at the command of average artisans. Not only monotonous uniformity, but general poverty, is thus the inevitable result of Socialism. Equality of income will be achieved at least among the regulated masses. But it will not be done by raising the income of all to a level above that enjoyed by the great majority of the people today. On the contrary, the income of all will be reduced to the level of that which is now the lot of those whose condition appeals most strongly for relief. Instead of raising the material condition of this unfortunate minority, Socialism must lower to their level the material condition of all. A monotonous equality in unavoidable poverty will be the condition of the whole people in the socialised State.
CHAPTER VI —
The Family under Socialism
RACE-PRESERVATION entails the subordination of the life of the individual to that of his offspring. In many of the lower forms of life this subordination is carried so far, that parental life ceases with the act of reproduction. During the course of the evolutionary process, however, the drain on parental life decreases, mainly by substituting postnatal care of offspring for stupendous fertility as a means of securing the continuance of the species. Post-natal care of offspring, moreover, involving the satisfaction of parental love, affords compensation for parental sacrifices. Among the most highly evolved animals, therefore, an approximate reconciliation is reached between individual interests and the interest of the species, through a great reduction in the drain on parental life, and in the compensation afforded by the experience of vividly felt parental pleasures.
In the human race the reconciliation between the life of the individual and the life of the race is carried still further, and it culminates in the most highly evolved races of men. Among savages parenthood begins at an early period; mortality of children is great and is compensated for by many births; the life of individuals is but little prolonged beyond the reproductive period; and parental pleasures are enjoyed only for a comparatively short time. Among the most highly civilised races, on the other hand, the period of life preceding reproduction is most prolonged; mortality during childhood and adolescence smallest; the number of births fewest; the period of life following cessation of reproduction longest; and the companionship of parents and children being longest, parental pleasures are enjoyed during a longer period and with greatest intensity. It follows that the highest ethical and sociological relation of the sexes is that which ensures the continuation of the race with the least sacrifice of parental life to the lives of progeny, while affording the greatest satisfaction of parental love.
The regular relations between the sexes among civilised nations and the corresponding sentiments are a result of evolution. Among the lowest savages these relations are unregulated and promiscuous. Chastity of either males or females is not valued; and even when the possessory instinct causes men to place a restraint on the women appropriated by them, they easily give their consent to temporary cohabitation with other men. As higher types of human society evolve, marital relations become more definite, and chastity, at least of females, comes to be valued. Among the highest types, the marital relation has become most definite and permanent, chastity has come to be regarded as a cardinal virtue in females, and its absence is beginning to be despised in men. Progress towards higher types of human society is thus inseparably accompanied by progress towards higher—more definite and permanent—marital relations.
At the same time, these relations have grown more into accordance with the recognition of equal rights. Polyandry grants a licence to women, which it denies to men, polygamy grants to men a licence which it denies to women. Monogyny alone recognises the equal rights of the two sexes.
The evolution of higher animal types is dependent upon the growth of parental feelings and the consequent prolongation and intensification of parental care. In the human race parental care is more elaborate and prolonged than in any animal species, and grows more elaborate and prolonged with every advance in type. Among the highest races it not only embraces the children while they reside in the parental home; not only employs complex agencies for physical and mental culture and moral discipline, but it follows children into the world and provides them with means for material wellbeing. With this elaboration and prolongation of parental care, the outcome of a greater intensity of parental love, there arises filial and fraternal attachment and love. Unknown among animals, feebly developed and short of duration among savages, filial and fraternal love and the consequent care of aged parents, of sisters and brothers, becomes gradually stronger as higher types evolve from lower, until among the most highly evolved members of the highest types of men it blossoms into lifelong gratitude and ardent filial and fraternal devotion.
The parental, marital, filial, and fraternal relations, thus binding together several generations, are sources of the greatest and purest happiness. Resting, not upon selflove, but upon the love of others, the happiness experienced by each is derived from the happiness conferred upon others. The greatest sum of human happiness, therefore, arises from those marital relations, which, most closely and permanently uniting the lives of husband and wife, parents and children, secure the continuation of the race with the least number of births.
The marital relation, which most efficiently subserves these objects is the permanent, monogynic relation, which, as a consequence, is that of all the highest types of human society. The permanent and exclusive companionship of one man and one woman, resulting in common interests, sentiments, and tastes, and involving mutual sacrifices, continuously intensifies the marital affections. Their common love for their joint children reflects upon the feelings of the latter and binds them together into fraternal affection. The absence of the jealousies and contentions, inseparable from polygynic unions, intensifies marital, parental, filial, and fraternal affections. The care of children being permanently assumed by both parents, both secure the largest measure of satisfaction of parental love, while securing the wellbeing of the children more efficiently than if, as in temporary unions, it devolved upon one parent alone. As a consequence, the mortality of children is reduced and a smaller number of births suffice to ensure the continuation of the race.
Socialism, modifying, to a considerable extent, the permanent monogynic relation of the sexes, must in this and other ways alter the constitution of the family, and, therefore, must lead to retrogression in this, the most important, as in other spheres of social life. As shown in Part I. chapter vi., among its immediate results are: the economic independence of women; the abandonment of separate family homes and the early separation of children and parents, and the transference of the former to the care of the State. The further results following upon these profound modifications of the constitution of the family must now be examined.
The separation of children from parents at a tender age destroys the opportunity for the development of parental love, which grows upon the daily and hourly self-sacrifice, which the care of young children demands. Still more must it destroy the opportunity for the development of filial and fraternal affections. The greatest and purest opportunities for happiness must thus be destroyed by Socialism.
The loss of this happiness must be accompanied by the loss of ethical training and sentiments of the highest order. The care of children, involving constant sacrifices of self-regarding desires, affords the highest training in altruistic sentiments. Hourly and daily the parents, and especially the mother, must subordinate their egotistic pleasures to the welfare of their children. This training in self-sacrifice, this evocation of unselfish emotions, influences the character of the race and, accumulating in influence from generation to generation, originates and furthers altruistic sentiments in other social relations. At the same time, the ethical standard is still further raised by the influence, which such self-sacrifice and the general purity of the home-life exercise upon children. The constant experience of and training in unselfish actions strengthens the altruistic sentiments hereditarily derived, and the love and reverence of sons for mothers and sisters is the foundation of the respect for womanhood in general.
As parental love is the source of all altruistic sentiments and emotions, so does the care of parents for children afford the highest training in altruism. Not only would the further evolution of altruistic sentiments be hindered by the early surrender of children to the State, but the individual training in altruism would also cease. The altruistic sentiments, which, however deficient as yet, have nevertheless made great progress, would thus gradually be lost again, and there must rise such selfishness as would ultimately threaten the very existence of human society. Just as higher types of human society have arisen through the better discharge of parental responsibilities, so must the non-discharge of such responsibilities by parents lead to the re-evolution of lower types, to the decadence of the human family into mere animalism.
Another consequence must arise. The bearing of children, connected as it is with physical restraint and intense suffering, is undergone reluctantly by all women. The only compensation for the sacrifices involved, the only consideration, which makes it acceptable to women, is the expected satisfaction of the maternal sentiment from the loving care for the new-born child. Will maternity be accepted with like willingness when this compensation is withdrawn; when the new-born babe is taken from its mother after a few weeks or even months; when during the agony of parturition the mother looks forward to the further agony of losing her child? That under such circumstances women will be willing to take upon themselves the suffering and sacrifices involved in the bearing of children seems unlikely. Under Socialism, therefore, the birth-rate is certain to contract, and in all probability will contract to an unprecedented extent. The socialist nations, instead of expanding, will become reduced in numbers, the birth-rate will fall below the death-rate, and Socialism will ultimately disappear because socialists have died out.
The general reluctance, if not refusal, of women to bear children must have further consequences. It robs the sexual relation of its ethical justification and value, and, therefore, leads to the degradation of both men and women. Marriage itself, when Nature’s design is deliberately frustrated, is hardly to be distinguished morally from prostitution, even when the relation remains permanently monogynic. But under the conditions created by Socialism it cannot remain so. Woman, deprived of the satisfaction of the emotions which the love and care of her children yields, will seek to fill the void in other ways. Failing to find full satisfaction for her yearnings—probably not fully understood—in the companionship of her husband, she will look for it elsewhere; and, still unsatisfied, will go further afield. Divorce and re-divorce will become so largely desired, that it must be made easy; and will be so largely availed of, that marriage generally becomes but a temporary arrangement.
Other considerations support this view. While the maternal sentiment is highly developed in most women, the majority of women as well as men do not feel other emotions very deeply. The love of which poets sing; the love, which laughs at all obstacles and possesses the soul to the exclusion of everything else, is not the lot of the common herd. Minor emotions, more fleeting and less ennobling than this, draw them to the great purpose of life—the continuation of the race. The great majority of marriages, therefore, as yet, are not and cannot be perfect unions. When the first delirium is over, the hero’s dimensions shrink to those of an ordinary man and the angel loses her wings. Then come the weeks and months, which try temper and nerves; during which both would gladly exchange the marital yoke for their former freedom. But there is no ground for divorce, and shame as well as pecuniary considerations prevents separation. Presently, approaching motherhood invests the wife with a new glory in her husband’s eye; his tenderness, as well as the further joy that awaiteth her, clothes life in its brightest colours. When the baby is born, its innocent hands constantly strengthen bonds which otherwise would yield under the strain, and its smiles forge other and more powerful ones. Gradually, under the influence of their common life-common interests and common love of children-husband and wife find each other, and the union, at one time so unpromising, becomes more perfect the longer it lasts, securing to both the utmost happiness of which their defective natures are capable.
It will be far different under Socialism. The pecuniary independence of women will cause them to be less patient with the ill-temper of a badly bred or exacting husband; the absence of a separate family home, involving public repasts and the spending of all spare time in public, prevents the close intimacy under which the nature of husband and wife mingle till they are one. The absence of children, or their removal from parental care, deprives the union of any ethical value and of the only bond, which can tie it securely. In the great majority of instances, therefore, to the unsatisfied maternal emotions there will be added actual dissatisfaction with their marital lot either on the part of husband or wife or both. These influences must tend to multiply divorces, while the influences tending towards restraint have been removed. Divorces and re-divorces, therefore, must tend to increase, till public opinion will see nothing shameful in the most frequent changes of marital relations. The chastity of women, already approaching perfection, and the chastity of men, which, though as yet far from perfect, has nevertheless improved and is still improving, will be lost again. Licence will take the place of restraint, a licence such as Rome indulged in during her decline, when reluctance on the part of women to bear children, accompanied by the utmost profligacy, prepared the downfall of the rulers of the world.
The influence of these conditions must deprive large numbers of women of all chance of permanent happiness. The attractiveness of woman to man, being more physical than that of man for woman, wanes earlier. Middle-aged men, therefore, may and frequently do attract young women, while in exceptional cases only do middle-aged women possess any sexual attractiveness for young or middle-aged men. Whatever, therefore, lessens the permanency of the marital relation must tend to deprive numbers of women of male companionship during their declining years. The condition, which Socialism must create, being that of extreme instability of the marital relations, must, therefore, react unfavourably on the lives of women to an incalculable extent.
Meanwhile, the training of the children by the State, while adding to these tendencies, must produce further evils. This training must in the first instance be undertaken by professional nurses, to each of whom many infants must be entrusted. Though their training may give them a better knowledge of the treatment of infants than many mothers possess, yet that knowledge cannot compensate for the sleepless watchfulness of a mother and her constant care. The high death-rate of foundling hospitals, while to some extent accounted for by the origin of their inmates, is, nevertheless, largely due to this substitution of professional for’ maternal care. The death-rate in the State nurseries, therefore, will be similarly great, adding to the tendency to depopulation previously described.
The surviving children, from the earliest dawn of their intelligence, will be exposed to influences far different from those, which would have shaped their character in the parental home. For the training through sympathy will be substituted a training through fear. The elastic bounds to the natural wilfulness of children, which parental care accommodates to the proclivities of each child, will give way to fixed rules to which all children must accommodate themselves. The dawning intelligence of childhood, provoking constant questions in its endeavour to understand, will be repressed and confined to fixed and uniform lessons. Breach of rules will lead to punishment, but no expression of love will encourage and meet repentance. At the very time, therefore, when the intelligence of the future men and women is most easily impressed, when as a consequence the foundation of character is being laid, influences are at work, which must deteriorate character. Absolute, unquestioning obedience; abject fear of persons in authority; selfishness, untruthfulness, and moral cowardice, must be the attributes of persons whose early childhood has been exposed to such conditions.
The retrogression here sketched will be aided by another cause. As the children of those less adapted to the requirements of social life will be exposed to exactly the same conditions as the children of those better adapted, all will have an equal opportunity to survive.
Instead of the survival of the fittest, i.e. those best adapted for the requirements of social life, there will arise the survival of the physically strongest, regardless of other and socially more important qualities. Mere physical strength will supplant the socially beneficial qualities, adding hereditary retrogression to the retrogression induced by training.
Socialism, disregarding the lessons of evolutionary history in the sphere of the family, as it disregards them in other spheres, must bring the utmost evils on the nations, which adopt it. Nature inevitably punishes the breach of any of her laws; where the breach is great the punishment is great and terrible. All life arises from the due discharge of parental responsibilities, and only through the better discharge of such responsibilities have higher types of life been evolved. To disregard this law is to abandon the very foundation of social life. Retrogression, decay, and eventual extinction will inevitably follow upon such action; they are the fruits, which grow upon the tree of Socialism.
Lest it be said that the picture here drawn is unjust to socialists and Socialism, it may be prudent to cite some evidence that it is not so regarded by many leading socialists. A few quotations from the interminable mass available will, on the contrary, prove that these socialists aim at bringing about exactly such conditions as have here been shown to be the inevitable outcome of the adoption of Socialism. Nevertheless must it be remembered that the great majority of socialists may be and probably are out of sympathy with these aims and ignorant of the goal to which Socialism leads.
“Human beings’ must be in a position to act as freely, where their strongest impulse is concerned, as in the case of any other natural instinct. The gratification of the sexual impulse is as strictly the personal affair of the individual as the gratification of any other natural instinct. No one has to give an account of him or herself, and no \ third person has the slightest right of intervention. … All these checks, all these contradictions to nature, in the present position of women have led even persons who are not disposed to accept the further consequences of change in our present social state to recognise the justifiability of a perfectly free choice in love, and, if need be, of an equally free dissolution of the relationship, without any external hindrance.” 
“The present marriage system is based upon the general supposition of the economic dependence of the woman on the man, and the consequent necessity of his making provision for her, which she can legally enforce. This basis would disappear with the advent of social economic freedom, and no binding contract would be necessary between the parties as regards livelihood; while property in children would cease to exist. … Thus a new development of the family would take place—an association terminable at the needs of either party.”
“The present marriage laws hinder the socialist approach to the ideal. Because we hold Socialism will ultimately survive as the only tenable moral code, we are convinced that our present marriage customs and present marital law must alike soon collapse. … In a socialist form of government, the sexual relation would vary according to the feelings and wants of individuals. … Children apart, we hold it intolerable that Church or Society should in any official form interfere with lovers.”
“It would be the duty of the State to scientifically investigate the whole system of checks and to spread among its citizens a thorough knowledge of such as were harmless and efficient in practice.”
“Marriage is a life sentence, not even reducible to a term of twenty years. … Monogamic marriage—a thing obviously and by its nature degrading. … Perhaps the most decent thing in true marriage would be to say nothing, make no promises either for a year or for a lifetime. … It would be felt intolerable in any decently constituted society that the old blunderbuss of the law should interfere in the delicate relations of wedded life.”
CHAPTER VII —
The Ethical Outcome of Socialism
HUMAN beings are modifiable physically and mentally. Hereditarily derived qualities, by small changes, are brought into harmony with external conditions. Every theory of physical and mental training; every proposal to encourage virtue and to discourage vice; every attempt to develop moral sentiments and aesthetic perceptions, is based on the recognition of the fact, that the use or disuse of faculties is followed by an adaptive change in them, resulting in increase or loss of power.
Moreover, such modifications are inheritable. By the accumulation of small changes from generation to generation, constitutions are adapted to outward conditions. A climate, fatal to other races, is innocuous to the adapted race. Races have become immune to diseases previously fatal to them, and still fatal to other races. Powers of smell and sight have diminished among civilised races, while the strength of reason and the breadth of emotions have increased. Similarly, races sprung from the same stock have acquired different aptitudes and tendencies under the influence of different historical and geographical surroundings. This process of differentiation is going on at the present day in a manner easily recognisable. The people of the United States and of the Australian colonies, even those of purely British stock, are developing national characters and physical types, differing from those of each other and from those of the parent stock, under the influence of the new conditions in which they are placed. This process of adaptation is proceeding always and everywhere. It follows, therefore, that like adaptive modifications of character must follow every change in the social environment.
It is true that the ideas and sentiments of the individual members of a society tend to mould the character of that society into harmony with themselves. ‘It is, however, no less true that the control exercised by any society over its members tends to mould their ideas and sentiments into congruity with its character. Mutual modifications thus become cause of transformation in both. Changes in the nature of the individuals composing a social organism sooner or later find expression in corresponding changes in the structure of the organism; and changes in the structure of the social organism bring about corresponding changes in the nature of the individuals composing the organism. These changes find expression in the average feelings and opinions of individuals. Qualities, which are regarded as virtues in one state of society, come to be regarded as vices in another, and vice versa. Among savages, living almost exclusively on the produce of the chase, where the consumption of one must necessarily lessen the opportunity of all others to maintain themselves, where, as a consequence, unserviceable members of the horde are almost as great an evil as the encroachment of another horde on the tribal hunting-grounds, cruelty and treachery are regarded with supreme approval. The impossibility of carrying on military operations on a grand scale without strict discipline and obedience causes another set of sentiments to be valued amongst great military nations. Unswerving loyalty and unquestioning obedience are held to be supreme virtues, and disloyalty and disobedience are regarded as the worst of crimes. Among industrial nations, trained in the regime of contract, where service is exchanged for service, still another set of sentiments is valued. Resistance to unauthorised exercise of power, love of freedom and independence, justice and honesty, are regarded as cardinal virtues; while servile submission to the will of superiors and dishonesty are regarded with contempt, and cruelty with horror.
Innumerable and incongruous minglings of these several sets of sentiments correspond with the multitudinous stages in the transition from one to another of these several social states. They may be observed even among civilised nations. In Russia the preponderance of militarism causes loyalty and unquestioning obedience to authority to be regarded as the supreme virtues, and successful lying to be admired. Nevertheless, the small amount of industrialism, which prevails has to some extent created respect for honesty, love of freedom, and justice. In Germany, where industrialism is more highly developed, love of freedom, independence, and honesty are regarded as virtues of similar rank to loyalty and obedience. In Great Britain, and in her self-governing colonies, as well as in the United States, the preponderance of industrialism causes independence, honesty, love of freedom and of justice to be regarded as virtues of the first rank, without as yet entirely removing the respect thought to be due to loyalty and obedience.
Socialism, profoundly modifying the structure of society, must cause a like profound modification of ethical conceptions. The natures resulting from a life carried on under compulsory co-operation and equality of reward must differ widely from those resulting from a life carried on under voluntary co-operation and the conformity of reward to service rendered. While it is not possible to depict in detail the resulting ethical changes, the experience of the past, nevertheless, enables a general forecast to be made.
In a community in which all the affairs of life are regulated by governmental agencies, where men and women, from their earliest childhood, are accustomed to act in obedience to such agencies, they must come to forget that affairs can be otherwise regulated. The members of the regulated classes are not allowed, and from early childhood have not been allowed, to do anything except what some superior prescribes. These superiors themselves are bound by strict regulations, which cannot be suspended except by some official of a higher grade, and these, again, are dependent for unusual acts upon the permission of still higher authorities. Men whose every action has been and is thus controlled and regulated by more or less distant and generally unknown authority, lose the habit of acting upon their own impulses, and the consciousness that independent action is possible. Comparison of the numerous philanthropic, artistic, scientific, educational, and other objects achieved by the voluntary co-operation of private persons in Great Britain and the United States, with the paucity of such instances of individual initiative in Russia, and even in Germany and France, exhibits the tendency towards dependence upon authority which the exercise of authority engenders.
Socialism, with its necessarily minute regulation of every industrial action, and extensive regimentation of the regulative agency, must develop this tendency to an almost inconceivable extent. Personal initiative and enterprise having become impossible, the consciousness of their possibility and the habit of independent action must be superseded by passive reliance upon authority and dumb obedience to its orders.
The recognition of equal rights, and the sense of justice and independence, result from the relation of contract. Under this relation every benefit is consciously purchased by effort, by rendering some benefit in return. Every individual rendering a service is entitled to obtain from others such service in return as the value of the former warrants. The daily and hourly recurrence of such exchanges under agreement, and the consequent balancing of claims, involves the maintenance of selfrights and the sympathetic recognition of other rights. Hence arises habitual recognition of equality of rights, i.e. the sense of justice, of independence and love of freedom, leading to resistance to the exercise of unauthorised power and to acts of injustice.
Socialism, substituting status for contract, must also substitute related sentiments for those, which originate in the relation of universal contract. The cessation of contracts must terminate the constant recognition of the equal rights of the contracting parties upon which all contracts are based. The constant fostering of the assertion of self-rights, and of the recognition of others’ rights, therefore, is lost, and must ultimately lead to the loss of the correlated sentiments, the sense of justice prompting resistance to infringement of rights. Aggression thus made easy must still further obscure the sense of justice, and must weaken still further resistance to aggression, until slavish submission to every act of the governing authorities becomes the universal sentiment. Resistance to governmental acts of any kind then becomes disloyalty, and slavish obedience the cardinal virtue.
This tendency is strengthened by the substitution of compulsory co-operation for voluntary co-operation; of a universal “you shall” for “I will do as much for you as you will do for me.” No longer is it impersonal necessity, which compels men to work, but personal authority. Authority determines the hours, nature, and place of occupation of every man and woman, and none, among the regulated classes, can know the reasons which dictate the orders which they must obey. These orders may result from necessity or caprice, from benevolence or malevolence, but they must be obeyed all the same. Slavery, therefore, takes the place of the existing insufficient freedom, and from it must result the sentiments, which have accompanied slavery everywhere. Personal initiative is lost; the sense of freedom, the recognition of personal rights, must be lost; while blind obedience to orders is the one sentiment constantly fostered among the regulated masses.
This tendency is still further added to by the loss of all perception of impersonal causation in social affairs. When all such affairs are regulated by authority, the idea of self-regulation in social processes must disappear. Belief in personal causation must supplant the belief in impersonal evolution. Hence must result a still further belief in, and reliance upon, the omnipotence of the State, and a total loss of the perception that social ameliorations are brought about otherwise than through the compulsory action of governmental agencies.
With the loss of the perception of personal rights and of the sense of independence, loss of honesty and truthfulness must go hand in hand. To “speak the truth and fear no man” are correlated sentiments. Truthfulness is the direct outcome of self-respect, as self-respect is the outcome of the maintenance of personal rights. Where, as under Socialism, these rights are denied and lost sight of; where the individual from earliest infancy is placed at the command of a power which controls and regulates all his actions; where compulsory labour takes the place of voluntary labour, and fear of punishment is the only incentive to exertion,—honesty and truthfulness must disappear. Deceit and lying are the only weapons of defence under Socialism, as under every other form of slavery; and as, for this reason, they have become the universal trait of subject populations, so must they become the trait of the regulated masses under Socialism.
As shown in the preceding chapter, similarly related sentiments must arise from the destruction of family life. The sense of chastity must be lost; so must be lost the altruistic sentiments which, arising from parental solicitude, bind man to man and generation to generation. Brutal selfishness, wallowing in animalism, must submerge alike the brightest flowers and the unfolding buds of human evolution.
The members of the socialised State, becoming mentally and morally adapted to this State, become unadapted for any other. Instead of honesty, truthfulness, chastity, unselfishness, a high sense of justice and of independence, being regarded as the highest attributes, implicit obedience, faith in and submission to authority, must come to be regarded as supreme virtues; and injustice, unchastity, selfishness, untruthfulness, and dishonesty will provoke no censure and no repulsion. Instead of gradually rising to a higher moral state, mankind would fall back to the low level of ethical perceptions from which it has been rescued by the painful experience, the suffering and martyrdom, of untold ages.
Continued: The Single Tax
John A. Hobson, Evolution of Modern Capitalism, p. 57.
The Co-operative Commonwealth, pp. 166-176. (The italics are Gronlund’s.)
The Co-operative Commonwealth, p. 148.
Socialism, p. 129.
Ibid. p. 21.
Woman, p. 181. (William Reeves, London.)
August Bebel, Woman, p. 183.
The Co-operative Commonwealth, pp. 148, 149. (The italics are Gronlund’s.)
See quotation, pp. 293, 294.
Woman, pp. 194, 195.
**See quotation, p. 294.
Henry D. Lloyd, Labour Co-Partnership, pp. 274, 275.
Industrial Democracy, pp. 59, 60, and 70.
S. and B. Webb, Problems of Modern Industry, p. 275.
See quotation, p. 292.
Reasons for pardoning Fielden, Neebe and Schwab.
Industrial Democracy,pp. 824, 825.
Part IV. chap. ii.
Bebet, “Woman,” Woman in the Future, pp. 229, 230.
William Morris and E. B. Bax, Socialism, p. 199.
Karl Pierson, Socialism and Sex, pp. 5, 6, 8, and 14.
Ibid. p. 15.
Edward Carpenter, Marriage in Free Society, pamphlet published by The Labour Press Society.