Equity or Equality—Which?
EQUITY OR EQUALITY—WHICH?
It is a fact, which everyone can verify for himself by observation, that each human being desires for himself the largest possible freedom. The equally evident fact that all human beings seek to gratify their desires with the least exertion, can be as universally verified. For it is a wellestablished fact in physics that motion follows the line of least resistance, and man, in his physical structure at least, is a mode of motion.
These two facts, practically self-evident, are sufficient premises for my arguments. Remember the facts are: First, that each person desires the largest possible freedom for himself, and second, seeks to gratify that desire with the least exertion; that is, to follow the line of least resistance in securing that freedom.
Were a man alone in a world, on a continent, or on an island, these facts would involve no difficulties. But wherever there exists more than one person these facts give rise to the questions: What constitutes the largest possible freedom for each ? And, How can such freedom be best secured and maintained? And wherever men come in contact with each other these questions underlie all other questions. All the social and business relations of men are based upon these facts and depend upon the manner in which these questions are answered.
So far in the history of man the records show that these questions have not been correctly answered. The millenium—the Utopia—of idealists of all ages can only come, if it ever does come, by means of a full application of the correct answer to these questions. These facts must be fully recognized and the questions squarely met before satisfactory results need be expected.
Obviously the question stated first must be the first answered. Before one can discover how to secure the largest possible reedom he must know what constitutes such freedom. In ascertaining what the limits of his freedom should be each person discovers that every other person desires as much freedom as he himself desires. From this observation it becomes selfevident that the largest possible freedom for each can be no more than the equal freedom of every other person. But he sees that this limitation upon his freedom consists in restraining his freedom in such actions only as would infringe the equal freedom of the others. This condition has been stated as "freedom to do whatsoever he will so long as he infringes not the like freedom of any other."
This is an altogether different thing from equality. A king, a president, or a majority might enforce a condition of equality upon the people which would curtail nearly all their freedom. A majority might even impose upon itself the same conditions as upon the minority. But, if those conditions restricted any activities of the individual which did not, in and of themselves, interfere with the freedom of others, such restrictions would constitute a limitation of the freedom of each to less than the largest possible freedom. Hence it would not be equal freedom, but equal slavery. For freedom does not consist in equal restrictions, but in the absence of restrictions. Therefore, that condition cannot correctly be said to be equally free which is not first free and then equal. That is, the freedom of each must be the largest possible to secure for each. The object desired is not the greatest amount of equality, but the largest possible freedom. It is not freedom in equality, but equality in freedom, which men desire. The equality desired is not the equality of individuals, but the equality of freedom. The latter is equity, the former may be, in fact, is almost sure to be. inequity.
The reason men tend toward socialism is because they do not recognize this distinction. However much men love ease and comfort; however desirous they may be to escape from the struggle for existence, when it comes to the test they have always shown that they prefer hardships with freedom to ease with slavery. For with the former there is always the hope of being able to lessen the hardships, while with the latter there is the certainty of increasing hardships. This is why the individual, whether socialist or not, desires freedom more than equality. But equality of individuals and equality of freedom are not the same thing. Far from it. For the more equal the freedom the freer will each be to develop his individuality—the less he will be controlled in his actions by others—and the more difference there will be in his minor desires. What "they" say, what "they" think, what "they" do, will have less weight in determining the direction of his thoughts and actions. No one will then do things simply because others do them. No one will be laughed at simply because he does not do as others do.
But, on the other hand, the more equal the individuals are the more alike they must be. Every difference would allow of the suspicion that those differing were more than equal in some things, so that the evidence of equality must necessarily manifest itself in equality of appearances and similarity of actions.
Thus the tendency of equality of freedom —that is, equal freedom—equity—would be to individualize men, to bring out the differences in character and actions, while the tendency of equality of individuals— that is, equality as conceived by such men as Bellamy—is to obliterate individual characteristics and to bring about uniformity of actions.
This tendency of socialism (a movement which aims, not at equality of freedom— equity—but at an equality of men) is thus described by Eltweed Pomeroy, himself a socialist:
"The latter ('Public Ownership') from its very nature is a great centralizing force. It is putting into effect the principle of combination, that a dozen men working together will produce more than the same number working separately. * * * This means reliance not on each one's individual initiative, but on the action of the whole. It trains good servants and administrators; it discourages individuality and private initiative. It tends to develop a system, a regimentation, a hierarchy at the expense of the individuals composing it. They become the units in the combination, and often tend to degenerate into mere ciphers, cogs in the machine. The spirit of routine, precedent and tradition often governs stronger than authority. Such centralizing, in its early history, usually produces a temporary period of great brilliancy and apparent prosperity because it gathers the individual initiatives into a focus. When it has worked out its sure course of weakening and destroying the initiative of the individuals composing that society, dry-rot sets in. * * * The tendency of Public Ownership is to centralize, to make a bigger and bigger machine, to bring more men to work in unison because the output is greater, oblivious of the fact that the men may be injured thereby, to conduct affairs on a national instead of a state and local scale, because the bigger scale appeals to the eyes of us all."
Having reached the conclusion that the largest freedom possible for all must be equal freedom, the question arises: How can equal freedom be secured and maintained? Herbert Spencer said that "as liberty to exercise the faculties is the first condition of individual life, the liberty of each, limited only by the like liberty of all, must be the first condition of social life." As the first essential to "liberty to exercise the faculties" is access to land—that is, as freedom of action depends upon freedom of access to land—equal freedom in the use of the earth must be the basis of equal freedom in all things else. For it must be evident to the most careless observer that if some have greater freedom of access to land than others they thereby have an advantage over those others which makes equal freedom impossible. Those who control access to the earth control all who live on the earth.
Equal freedom in the use of the earth means that access to the earth be equally free to all. If two men want to use the same location at the same time neither can forcibly exclude the other without denying that other equal freedom with himself. As exclusive possession is necessary to many uses of locations, exclusive possession must be secured by some means which will not deny equal freedom. This can be done by the exclusive possessors giving the excluded a satisfactory compensation. In the
case of two men desiring the same location, the one who can make the best use of that location will be willing to pay the other more to stay off than the other would be willing to pay him for the same purpose. The sum thus paid is rent. It is that part of the produce of labor which goes to pay for the privilege of exclusive possession of locations. Whatever tends to make a location more desirable tends thereby to increase rent—the price of the privilege of exclusive possession.
In a community of a million people it is obvious that, if each pays to all the rest the annual rent of the location he holds in exclusive possession, thereby compensating them for exclusion, equal freedom in the use of locations is thus secured. For the price of the privilege of exclusive possession represents the advantage of that privilege and varies as its advantages vary. So that if each holder of such privilege pays the rent into a common fund—the public treasury—to be used for the common weal, all advantages are neutralized and equality of freedom, as to locations, is secured. Each thus compensates all for all the advantages he derives from exclusive possession. Thus all advantages are balanced. Whatever else he gets from that location is the result of his own effort; it is the product of his labor; his wages. No part of it represents any special privilege or advantage, that part of his product representing privilege (monopoly) having already been taken in rent. Each location would thus be held by the one who could make the best use of it, and no locations would be held except for use.
Stating it in another way, each landholder would be taxed just as much for holding his location idle as for putting it to its best use. He would be taxed according to the value of the privilege of its exclusive possession, regardless of the use he made of it. His income from the location would then depend upon the use he made of it. It would be to his interest to hold no more land than he could put to its best use, and to put to its best use all he held. There would then be no incentive to hold land without using it, and every incentive to use in the best way all that was held. There would be nothing to gain by holding land to lease to another, for rent would be all he could get, and that being the price of the privilege of exclusive possession which he would have to pay to the public in taxes, he would have nothing left for his trouble. Thus landholding would be limited to use by an automatic method, and all unused land would be free to the first person desiring it.
This, of course, involves the abolition of all other taxation. For any other tax would fall on industry. A personal property tax is a tax on production. A tariff tax is a tax on consumption. A license tax is a tax on exchange. An income tax is a tax on earnings. The single tax is the only tax that would not fall more heavily on the user than on the exclusive possessor—that would not be a tax in proportion to exertion, but in proportion to monopoly—privilege. The following story by Dr. Henry S. Chase illustrates this principle:
"Where I lived when a boy, in Vermont, there were plenty of chestnut trees in the woods. We boys could go where we pleased on the hills around the village and gather nuts without asking the possessor of the land. There were five good trees in Pulsifer's pasture that he claimed for himself. Some of the trees would yield more chestnuts than others.
"One summer day Pulsifer told Gilbert Grant, Marshall Grant, Henry Hitchcock, Bill Pulsifer and Henry Chase—five boys albout eight or nine years old—that he wanted them to turn hay in the afternoons, and that if they would work good they might gather all the chestnuts from those five trees in the fall. Well, I tell you, we did pitch in, and helped him 'hay' in the field just back of my father's barn. We watched the chestnuts grow on those trees, and after a while we began to dispute which tree each boy should have; for by the middle of October, after some heavy frosts, it was near time to gather the nuts. Bill Pulsifer said that he ought to have the biggest tree, because he was a few months older than the other boys, and the land was his father's. The other boys did not see justice in his arguments, and besides, we all saw how he shirked work that day in his father's hay field. Gilbert Grant
liver nearer old man Pulsifer than the other boys, so he went to the Pulsifer farm house one evening to 'see about it." The interview concluded by requiring all the five boys to be at Pulsifer's house next Sunday at 3 o'clock. You may be sure the boys were all there.
"Mr. Pulsifer then told us that he had concluded to sell the choice of those trees at auction. 'The choice of trees shall be sold to the highest bidder, to be paid in quarts of chestnuts.' We told him that we thought it was mean in him to make us pay for the nuts when we had once paid for them in the hay field. 'Oh no, boys, you shan't be cheated. All the nuts the trees sell for I will divide equally among you after the nutting,' said Mr. Pulsifer.
"The first choice of trees sold for sixteen quarts of nuts, the second choice for eight, the third choice for six, the fourth choice four quarts, and the fifth got his for nothing, as there could be no bidder but himself.
"Now, I think that story very well illustrates the 'land question.' Rent of land is the commercial bid for exclusive possession. The price goes into the common treasury of the bidders, and is divided up among them in the shape of necessary government expenses. The use of the chestnut trees belonged to the boys in common. One had as much right to the best tree as the others. Those boys might have worked all together and gathered the nuts from all the trees and then divided them equally. But that would not have been quite just, for one boy was more lazy than all the rest, and some were not as capable, and had not earned an equal share in the hay field and could not earn an equal share in the nut gathering. But in selling the exclusive right to crop the best tree, and from that to the least valuable, the record of each boy's labor was as near exact justice as we can get things."
This little story illustrates a difference between socialism and the single tax—between equality and equity. If the boys had worked all together and gathered the nuts from all the trees and then divided the nuts equally they would have been applying the socialist theory. But, as Dr. Chase points out, some boys were lazier than others and would shirk work, and some, less capable, could not do as much as others. Manifestly such a method would have been very unfair to the energetic and capable boys. But the way they did do, each boy got the full earnings of his labor, and, the return depending upon his own efforts, his interests stimulated him to energetic efforts. And yet none had any advantage over any other. The opportunities were equal and the results, depending upon the efforts of each, were as unequal as the efficiency of the boys. Their wages were thus proportioned to their efforts, and the difference of trees was equalized by the payments made for exclusive possession. That was equity.
Now, if this common fund, resulting from the collection from each of the annual rent (for the privilege of exclusive possession) of locations, were used to maintain highways absolutely free to all, equal freedom in the use of common lands would be secured. Without highways— strips of land over which communications could be carried on—exclusive holdings would be impossible. If, then, each pays for the maintenance of free highways in proportion to the value of the privilege of exclusive possession of his location, equal freedom is secured, by this one means, in both exclusive possessions and public ways. Thus we would have public ways maintained by exclusive holdings, all other land entirely free, and equal freedom of access to the earth secured.
In a state of absolute freedom the individual has complete control of himself and the results of his own efforts. Whatever he makes is his. He can do with it as he pleases, to the extent of his powers. In the ability so to do lies his freedom. But as he comes into contact with other men this freedom is limited. He cannot throw a stone in every direction, but must first consider whether the freedom of another will be infringed by the throwing. The limit of his freedom is the extent of the freedom of others. He still recognizes his control of himself and his product. If another attempts to control him or his product he sees in this an interference with his freedom. His freedom depends upon his self-control—his self-sovereignty —his self-government. If another controls him he belongs to that other and not to himself. His very desire for the largest freedom possible is but the expression of his self-ownership. His freedom is manifested by, and measured in, the control of his products. Unless he can control the exertion of his labor and the disposition of his product he is not free. The more of this control he surrenders to others the more he is a slave to those others. The more fully he can retain this control the more completely free he is and, as each desires the largest possible freedom for himself, each desires the completest possible control of his own labor and products. Hence no social adjustment can be satisfactory to all which does not secure equal freedom in this matter. For anyone to assume to control the labor or products of another is for him to assume greater freedom for himself than he accords the other —that is, to deny the other equal freedom with himself. Thus no man nor set of men can, by any conceivable means, compel others to submit to a common control of the labor and products of all without denying to those so compelled equal freedom with himself or themselves. Therefore, society cannot control all the industries of a Country without either first obtaining the consent of every producer In that country or else denying the equal freedom of those not consenting. Society is composed of individuals, each of whom desires the largest possible freedom for himself—freedom of thought and action. Hence society can have nothing not derived from those individuals. And, as no one of them can control the labor or product of another without denying that other equal freedom with himself, so neither can he delegate to society the power to do so. If each individual in society cannot do so when acting singly, acting in unison with a majority of others cannot enable him to do so.
Freedom must be either equal or unequal. If unequal, then some have more than others. If a majority exerts itself in the production and distribution of wealth according to its own desires while compelling others (a minority), by any means whatsoever, to act with it against their desires, it is taking for itself greater freedom than it is according those others (the minority). Now, this is exactly what socialism would do. It would compel the minority to unite with the majority in production and distribution—in the exertion of labor and in the disposition of the products. No matter how many unite in accordance with their own desires, nor how few unite contrary to their own desires, so long as there is even one who does not unite voluntarily, equal freedom is denied. Therefore, socialism cannot accord with equity—cannot coexist with equal freedom—unless it is purely voluntary on the part of all participating.
But voluntary socialism is not what socialists are now preaching. They are preaching compulsory socialism. They would accomplish their object by the ballot box—by a majority vote, thus compelling the minority to submit to the majority in this matter. But majorities are not always right. The vote (or voice—expression of will) of a majority does not make anything right. Majorities may trample on the freedom of minorities as readily as minorities do upon the freedom of majorities.
That socialism, whether by majority or minority rule, can never be anything else than despotism is evident when we consider that, in order to so exist, it must deny some men as much freedom as it accords the abolition of existing restrictions and the simplification of methods. Freedom is not the result of government. Absolute freedom is the absence of government—the absence of restrictions. Equal freedom will result only from the reduction of government—of restrictions—to the least possible necessary to secure equality of freedom.
When a majority of men come to recognize the fact that equal freedom is the largest possible freedom for all; that no social adjustment can be satisfactory to all which does not secure equal freedom, and that anything short of equal freedom will give rise to continual social disturbances and thus threaten their own security—in short, that equal freedom is not only the best for the minority, but for themselves— then they will understand that their exercise of power must be limited to the securing and maintaining of conditions of equal freedom.
W. E. Brokaw.
In the January number of The Telegrapher W. E. Brokaw, writing under the heading of "Equity or Equality—Which?" in a rather lengthy article attempts to show us a flaw in the "equity" of Socialism. In the first place, the good brother shows a woeful lack of the knowledge of the true principles of Socialism, which in his case is undoubtedly—as we find true in almost every instance, where there is an objection to its teachings—viz., the prejudice within them, which even if they are studying the latest works on Socialism, keeps them from a full and true understanding of its real import. Not until we can grasp the sublime thought and are broad enough to stand, are we fully guaranteed that we appreciate in its true light the unrivaled beauty and matchless practicability of Socialism. Brother Brokaw says: "The fact that all human beings seek to gratify their desires with the least exertion, can be universally verified, that it is an established fact in physics that motion follows the line of the least resistance and that man in his physical structure, at least, is a mode of motion." Yet he would not have society combine for the elimination of labor, by the use of improved machinery, etc., for it is evident that society individually cannot own and operate gigantic and expensive machinery, but even if it were possible how could it be done with as little labor as is possible under constantly improving methods, for even now we can see that labor will be eventually greatly eliminated, if not practically abolished by ever improving cooperation. He says of the single tax: "Each land holder would be taxed just as much for holding his location idle as for putting it to its best use." Would this be freedom? It would seem to me that in so far as freedom is concerned in this regard, we have more freedom now than that. I own a small piece of land; no law says that I shall pay the same tax on it idle; that I should have to do if put to its fullest capacity; it might be to my personal pecuniary interest to cultivate it, but no more so in one instance than the other. But since it is a question of "freedom" that our brother is advocating, we will stick to our text. Now, as to his "chestnut" story. Let us say, for the sake of easy calculation, that there were 125 shocks of hay to be turned by the five boys —25 shocks each. If so divided, how then could the lazy or less competent individual avoid his full duty? And why the same method in gathering and dividing the nuts? Say there were five bushels; each boy would gather an equal amount, regardless of the difference in the yield of the trees; if the exact total yield could not be ascertained before the crop was gathered, why not each boy gather an equal measure full (an equal amount) until finished? The more ambitious or competent would not be compelled to wait on the lazy or less competent (under cooperation, as I will illustrate later on), but they that failed to do their full duty would be dealt with accordingly. But all this talk should be unnecessary; it does not illustrate the objects of Socialism. Undoubtedly Brother Brokaw has already asked himself the question, "But where is the benefit to be derived from to the boys by co-operative effort?" "Is this all that Socialism will do?" etc. Suppose a machine was to be had by which one boy alone could with its use turn in a given time, as well or better, as much or more hay as all five could by individual effort. Why not do so? More time for recreation, study, or other work, etc. Brother Brokaw says: "That all men will ever unite in common ownership and control of everything is simply preposterous." Let us see. We are as a nation united in the belief that the Postal Service is being better conducted by the Government (supposed to be the people) as a whole, far
more toward the equal justice and freedom of the whole people than if under individual or private control, even under our present corrupt system of laws and lawmakers. But under Socialism there woul 1 be no gigantic swindles by railroads or other boodlers as at present. But the brother will say: "This is only one instance." Very well; I am giving you an illustration of proof that we are united upon the one question, in which all are agreed upon its success, equality and freedom. The only thing that prevents it from being faultless is the present too much one-man power. Can you point out to me one instance wherein the Government has failed in such an undertaking in any industry? Dick Drummond, writing in the same (January) number of The Telegrapher under the heading, "A Defense of Socialism"—to which article every true Socialist will say amen), well illustrates the "equity" and equal freedom of Socialism. He says in part: "The scientific Socialist has no cut-and-dried theories regarding the details of the new order. He has a few broad principles, which he knows to be just and right, and he believes that they should become a ground work for a reconstruction of industrial relations between men. His corner stone is justice. His first work is to create a desire and a faith in the hearts of the people for better conditions and to show them that these conditions can best be realized through co-operative effort. He is perfectly willing to trust to the intelligence and fairness of his co-workers for the details—when once they have caught the spirit of the movement. To throw a slur at a co-operative colony, to raise an objection to an imaginary system of despotism, is not to answer socialistic logic." Now, Brother Brokaw, and all who may read these lines, take your January Telegrapher, turn to and read his article on to the close and you may catch the spirit of the grandest theme of the ages. But for fear some "doubting" Thomas may wish to go still farther, to thrust his very hand into its side, and ask for an individual idea, or a plausible theory, I would just say that every one will be required to do his or her duty (the one word covers all), no more, no less, simply his duty toward himself and society, just as any corporation or the public, the Government, or the people, who will then really be the Government, require service now, and refusing or failing would be punished by enforced idleness, or otherwise as a majority should decide. It stands to reason that only justice would be meted out, for a law would then really be made for yourself and yours, equally as well as for another who might break it. Thus we see that it must needs be all would share mutually of the benefits of the highest intelligence and equal justice. As to the less competent individual or the lazy, Socialism says: "Every one shall receive the full product of his or her toil. (About $10,000 per year, in labor products in any form in which labor fashions its skill. Its motto, "He that will not work shall not eat," or "everyone according to his deeds." It is only they who do not know what Socialism really is that object to it. Socialism is going to prove no less a blessing to the rich than to the poor, but those opposed to justice will never be convinced of it until its ushering in. The wily statesman or capitalist will not openly meet the Socialist in debate, for he realizes, whether you do or not, the indisputable practicability of it; thus his only method of defense is through misrepresentation, etc., but he makes a mistake (for capitalism) by referring to it at all, which he does at times simply through sheer fear of its power—this fear sometimes causes him to be indiscreet and to use abusive tactics, which can eventually but act as a boomerang, for it calls the attention of the people to the meaning and doings of Socialism, which is exactly what Mr. Capitalist most dreads and wishes to avoid, for in nine cases out of ten if thorough study be given the question it will turn out a fullfledged Socialist. I speak from experience. These facts alone should cause any thinking, reasoning man to investigate it thoroughly and without prejudice, for he should readily see that what is now to capitalistic interest is to the workers' detriment and one of these days he is going
to see it, and that in the near future, for if nothing else will make some of us sec, compulsion will, and when we all do sec it we are to know a new heaven and a new earth. It has the wrongs and the push of centuries, ay, of all time behind it. Its ultimate coming is as irresistible As the flight of time or the revolving of worlds in their orbit. Brokaw seems to be somewhat of an Anarchist in his beliefs— the Anarchist believes in no law—but he is far ahead of many of the lawmakers of our land, for he does believe in equal justice while they do not. The Anarchist is wrong, as is Brother Brokaw—only in his theories, only in his beliefs. The good brother would apparently have us go back to the time or methods of the scythe and the flail. Of course, he would object to this interpretation of his ideas, but if we would stand still we must retard—there can be no neutral ground, no half surrender; we have arrived at the parting of the ways; we must either choose the path to the right or the one leading to the left.
Brother Brokaw says, quoting from the greatest philosopher of our time—Herbert Spencer: "As liberty to exercise the faculties is the first condition of individual life, the liberty of each limited only by the like liberty of all, must be the first condition of social life!" But the Socialist does not object to that declaration, he approves of it. Perhaps Brother Brokaw is not aware that Herbert Spencer also says of Socialism, after its ushering in: "The wonder will be that such a system as the present could exist."
Ah, I tell you those are mighty words, coming as they do from the King of Thinkers, for Herbert Spencer occupies in 'our (time the position occupied by Aristotle in his day. The Bible and Aristotle were once burned—some would now do the same with Socialism — but of what would it avail them? The hand of the Almighty of Equal Justice cannot be forever witllstayed. But philosophy, dear reader, is not going to answer the demands of the people of this the Twentieth Century. Philosophy? What is it? Verily, I say unto .you that Socialism will one day be recognized by the world as the open door to all philosophy, but positivism is being demanded now, and is going to be had. Truth and the unclisputable proof with it is going to be had, and science is to give us both, for it is probing all theory, it is reaching out and upsetting all narrow creed, its field and power to work is limitless.
"For man has laid his scepter on the stars,
And is peering into the face of the Infinite."
Creeds are just what our editor, Brother Perham, shows us they are, in the January Telegrapher, under the heading of "Gleanings." It says:
"We should allow no creed to hinder us in our acceptance of truth. Creeds are only statements of truth as the writers saw it. Had the same writers lived in a later age, in the light of new discoveries, they would have made new statements."
I would that the world might realize the truth of it.
Some of the argument (?) that we hear now against Socialism will one day sound as ridiculous as does now the argument that was advanced by some people at the time of the advent of the steam engine in railroading. History, even our old school histories, records that some objected to railroads for the reason that the engines would retard agriculture by frightening the draft animals on the farm.
In the light of new discovery under modern science I am constrained to exclaim with Ella Wheeler Wilcox, when she says:
"Faith is not dead, though priest and creed may pass,
For thought has leavened the whole unthinking mass,
And man looks now to find the God within,
We shall know more of love, and less of sin, in this new era;
With awe I wait, while science leads us on,
Into the full effulgence of its dawn!"
I wish that every member of our order would take his January Telegrapher and
carefully re-read the editorial on the first page; perhaps it may set you thinking, and to think means to act. Then turn to page 34 and read the poem of "The Sower," by Edward Markham. I am glad our editor saw fit to publish that. I think it one of the grandest things I ever read, and I pity he who cannot see beauty and real significance in its every line.
The January Telegrapher is to my idea the most beautiful, from an artistic standpoint, ever gotten out. I congratulate our editor, Brother Perham, upon the beautiful design, its something to be proud of. And I think the boys will all back me in saying, We have a journal second to none, as ably edited and well gotten up as is published by any railroad organization. When it is so well deserved I do not see why our editor should not receive some encouragement occasionally as well as ourselves.
I am glad, indeed, to see a constantly and ever increasing interest in Socialism in The Telegrapher—and all of the other labor journals. I am glad that they are thus open for a free and impartial discussion of "the question of the age." I only wish that the people might look upon the corrupt conditions existing today in our Government, as a nation, as they are, and that for one brief instant the curtain of the future might be raised, allowing us to look upon the picture of the near future as it will appear under the God-given direction of a Social Democracy, the inevitable commonwealth, and our present system of wholesale legalized murder, robbery, and corruption would not last a moment. I cannot understand why it is that some of you noble hearted labor people will persist in scabbing at the ballot box. Socialism is our only future hope, but whether you will see it and aid us or not, it's coming, let the truth ring in your ears, coining. Let us, then, brothers, unite, heart and hand for its ushering in and speedy adoption, nor lay our armor down until mankind everywhere, the human race, shall have reached that grand stage of human perfection possible, approaching the ideal; the earth released from thraldom, the final brotherhood of man foretold realized, reaching from pole to pole around the globe, enveloping the world.
A Working Socialist.
EQUITY OR EQUALITY—WHICH?
Under the above caption Mr. W. E. Brokaw in the January number, 1901, Telegrapher, discusses the question of economic freedom. Mr. Brokaw is a single taxer and believes that rent absorbs all surplus wealth over a bare subsistence to the producer. He therefore proposes to bring about equality of opportunity by taxing away the economic rent value of land and the abolition of all other forms of taxation. There are certain industries that he classes as "natural" monopolies, in which the law of competition does not work. Such monopolies he would bring under public control and perhaps operation. All the rest of the vast field of industrial activity he would throw open to the free play of unrestricted competition. He believes in the absolute right of private economic initiative; the right to privately own and operate the tools and instruments of production. He is very severe on Socialism because it would abridge that right, and demands, with Herbert Spencer, that "All men shall have freedom to do as they please, provided they infringe not the right of others to do the same." This is what he calls economic freedom, the reverse of this would be Socialism—economic slavery.
Now, as a Socialist, I wish to say that I accept this definition of economic freedom, but shall try to show that private ownership of the machinery of production violates absolutely the equal freedom of all others to own them and share in the benefit of their use, and that equal freedom can only be assured by their common ownership. Mr. Brokaw will contend that land is the real "fundamental" monopoly; that land is limited in area and cannot be increased. That, on the other hand, wealth or capital being the product of labor ap
plied to land can be increased indefinitely; that with free access to land every member of society could apply his labor direct to land and produce his own machinery of production, and that, consequently, the talk of monopolizing machinery is a mere socialist bugaboo, which excites only the laughter of every intelligent single taxer.
We Socialists oppose the private monopoly, both of land and capital. But of the two, we claim that the monopoly of capital is the greatest cause for the oppression of labor—the denial of that "equal freedom" about which Mr. Brokaw prates so learnedly.
Socialists claim that the change from the small to the large system of production makes it impossible for each individual worker to own the new and improved tools of production, and that their ownership by a small class of capitalists compels the toolless workers to accept a subsistence wage or starve. To prove this I offer the following concrete illustration.
Imagine a society, say of seventy-five years ago, before the era of large production, in which the single tax was in effect. In this society absolute free trade would prevail, aH public revenue would be raised by a tax on land values that would absorb all economic rent. (By the way, I hope Mr. Brokaw will not contend that this is a fancy picture, not sufficiently realistic to base a sober illustration on). In this society, let us suppose that 100 shoemakers working at their individual benches, owning their own tools individually, are able to supply the demand for shoes, from the sale or exchange of which they were able to obtain the average standard of living of their class.
One of the shoemakers, having a head for mechanics, invents certain machinery, which, when operated by steam power, will with the labor of 40 men make as many shoes as the too shoemakers formerly did, and at such a reduction in cost as makes competition by the handworkers impossible. So one or more of the shoemakers having the necessary capital, build a shoe factory, put in the necessary power and machinery, hire 40 of the shoemakers and proceed to supply the demand for shoes. So far there has been no infringement of the law of "equal freedom," hut the Socialist here asks what is to become of the 60 shoemakers thrown out of work by the private shoe factory? "Oh," says 'Equal Freedom,' "what is to prevent the other shoemakers from starting rival factories and competing freely for a share of the trade ? Sure enough! So a few of the idle men start a rival factory. But the mere starting of another shoe factory does not increase the demand for shoes, one does not buy a new pair of shoes every time a new factory starts. So that 40 men, whether in one or two factories, still supply the effective demand for shoes. If the second factory is better managed and can make shoes cheaper than its rival, it may drive its competitor out of business, and having done so, it may become a monopoly and raise the price of shoes. Or, it may succeed in dividing up the trade with its rival. But as double the land and capital is now required to produce the same number of shoes, the price must be raised so as to make adequate return on the increased investment. But free competition still prevailing another factory is started, which does a share of the business for awhile, and as three factories cannot be operated as economically as one, it now requires 60 men instead of 40 to supply the demand for shoes.
Here is the labor of 20 extra men and the cost of two extra factories that must be taken into account in fixing the price of shoes, and an extra raise in price is necessary. Then commences fierce competition for the largest share of the trade, and wage cutting and consequent strikes take place, until finally one of the factories becomes bankrupt and the other two form a shoe "trust," close down two of the factories, discharge 20 men, and lo! competition ends logically in monopoly. There are now 60 idle shoemakers; what are they to do? "Why," answers our cheerful individualist, "go at something else." So a few of the idle shoemakers apply at a hatter's for work, but are informed that a new machine, recently introduced, is displacing many hatters. Others tried a printing office (a good shoemaker can, of course,
learn to set type in a few days), but are informed that a linotype machine was displacing one-third of the printers. Everywhere they applied they were told the same story—new machinery was displacing men. But, the land ! We will "back to the land !' the last and safe refuge of the single taxer. So a number of the idle shoemakers, hatters, printers, et al., take up each 160 acres of land, paying its economic rent value, say one dollar per acre, to the community, and proceed to make an independent living, selling their surplus product in exchange for the many commodities they do not produce. But along comes a chap with a good business head upon him and plenty of capital. Instead of taking up 160 acres he takes up 16,000, paying the same rent per acre. He buys the latest improved machinery, hires the minimum number of men during seed time and harvest, discharging the men in the interim, and proceeds to produce the staple cereals at one-half the cost of his smaller competitors. Here, as in the shoe business, the large system of production inevitably drives out the smaller.
The wealth of the capitalist owners of the means of production increase by leaps and bounds. Thousands of the displaced workers find work as lackeys and flunkeys for the capitalists. The men become cooks, house servants, coachmen, valets, etc., while many of the women find employment tending poodle dogs, while the furniture trade is boosted up by the demand for costly caskets to bury the poodles when dead.
This is the result of private ownership of the tools of production. This is what Mr. Brokaw means by "equal freedom," the right of economic initiative. This is why he dislikes Socialism, because it interferes with the "equal freedom" of a few to rob the many through the the monopolization of the instruments of production. This is what Socialists mean by the monopolization of capital, and why such monopolization is inevitable under private ownership, and why they contend that "equal freedom" can only be attained by the common ownership of the means of production and distribution of wealth, in other words, industrial democracy—Socialism.
W. H. Stuart.
TAXING LAND VALUES.
A few days ago I received a January number of The Railroad Telegrapher which contained a marked article by W. E. Brokaw, favoring the single tax and opposing socialism. I beg to be allowed a few thoughts on these subjects.
One difficulty which we meet with in the discussion of this single tax is the fact that the most of its advocates do not adhere definitely to any particular statement as to in land or make it accessible to the people, the great object which it is claimed the single tax would accomplish. It must take all the rent in order to accomplish this, for so long as there remained a margin of profits between what the taxes were and what the land would rent for, present owners would hold on to their land and secure this margin of profits. Unless it took absolutely all of the rent for taxes, it would not be any barrier to those who would hold land for the purpose of renting it out to others. It would, of course, confiscate a portion of the value of the land of those who owned it at the time such a law came into force, but it would be no barrier to those who might, after it became a settled policy, wish to buy land to rent to others or deter them in the least from doing so. If the tax was made so high as to take half the profits of the present land-owners, land would quickly fall to half its present market value. A given sum of money would buy twice as many acres as it now does, which would yield a purchaser the same income on the money invested. And so on with any portion which the tax might take off the rental value of the land, it would reduce the market value of the land in like proportion, but it would yield an investor the same income on the money invested as it would under present conditions. Even should the tax be made to take the full rental value of the land, there is nothing in the single tax to prevent a person buying land for the purpose of gaining a monopoly on improvements that might be on it. As all value would be taxed out of the land itself, he would only have to pay the value of the improvements, but his title to the land would give him absolute control of it and prevent others from having access to it, except under such terms as he might dictate. The land itself would cost him nothing, and as he would make his tenants pay the tax, he could well afford to hold it for the monopoly it would give him on the improvements. Under the single tax he would be exempted from paying taxes on these improvements and possession of the land would give him power to manipulate them in his own interest. [merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
Further than this, such a measure would be unjust, because it would confiscate the value of the land just in proportion as the tax was a part of the rental value of the land.
A large proportion of the value of farms and much city property consists of land values. Such a measure would practically confiscate the value of many homes for which the owners, perhaps, had spent the best part of their lives to procure, and reduce such owners to the level of mere renters.
Unless they, in some way that the system does not now provide for, limit the amount of land which one person or company could control, it would encourage, rather than discourage the landlord and tenant system, and it seems that a great landlord and tenant system is what Henry George must have contemplated when he proposed to leave owners of land a percentage of the rent as being the most economical method of collecting it.
None of these objections would hold good against the single tax if its friends would consent to make it a graduated tax on land values. Such a tax could be made to limit the amount of land that one person could hold to any amount that was thought desirable, according as the scale would be made to ascend, more or less rapidly, or the unit on which it was fixed was made greater or less.
Under such a system land could be made to bear the whole burden of taxation or any part of it, as was seen fit.
Such a law would not confiscate the value of any one's property. Land would be worth just as much in small or reasonable sized tracts as under the present system, and those who owned more than the limit of profitableness would allow could sell off such surplus.
There is nothing which has been claimed for the single tax which would not be better acomplished by the graduated tax on land values. The whole influence of such a law would be to encourage people to make the best possible use of land and improve ;*, rather than buy much land.
It is consistent with the idea that all have an equal right to the use of natural resources; for while some might have less than their just share of these resources, they would be compensated for this by the very small amount of taxes they would have to pay, which would be made up by the extra amount which those who held more than theie share would have to pay. While nobody could know just how much of natural resources each person's share was, the graduated tax would automatically equalize the differences.
As such a law would make it unprofitable to hold very large landed estates, those who held "such estates would be compelled to sell off a part of these estates. This would give others access to the land, and, as wages are determined to a very great extent by what the wage-earners could earn if working for themselves on land, it follows that by thus giving the people easier access to land the standard of wages would be raised.
As the land would still have to be bought by those who wanted it there would continue to be those who for want of the means to do so, would be compelled to work for wages. Such must look for the bettering of their condition to the fact that, if conditions began to grow unsatisfactory for wage-earners, those of them in better circumstances would drop out and employ themselves in some occupation on land, giving those without means a chance to rise.
Now as to socialism. I fear that I am prejudiced against it, yet I hold many idea? in common with Socialists. I feel, as Mr. Biokaw does, that so long as there was any one who opposed it, it would not be consistent with a high idea of personal liberty to force him into such a co-operative commonwealth. However, this objection may not be well grounded, for at the present time there is great eagerness displayed on the part of most people to enter public service. Then again, the fact that it is proposed under such a system to assure to every person a maintenance, would be a strong inducement for people to accede to such a system. Undoubtedly, the prospects of obtaining a pension if they get back alive has
much to do with inducing many people to enter military service.
Unless such a system could be brought about gradually, I fear that no human power would be able to pilot the ship of state through the transition period without wrecking it. There is danger even that many who might be induced to vote for a socialistic party, at the first light plunge of the vessel, would become panic-stricken and contribute towards its final wrecking.
Can we not come around to it in a gradual way and learn as we go? Let us begin by taking the banking business entirely under government control. Through the banks the government could borrow money of the people to either buy the railroads, telegraph, and telephone lines, or build new ones. Extend the business of the postomcc to include that now done by the express companies. Extend government control to mining operations and the exchange of products.
Leave agricultural production until the last to be brought under socialistic control, but secure equal opportunity in this by a graduated tax on land surface values; leaving minerals, oil and the like in the possession of the government. This would give the people an opportunity to exercise a choice as to whether they wanted to work for the government "or pursue an individual occupation. Of course there need be no restraint placed upon any one pursuing any business or occupation, if he chose to buck against Uncle Sam's business methods. When we had reached this stage in the development of the socialistic system, then we could decide whether it would be wise to go on and socialize agricultural production, or reserve the privilege to the people of a choice between individual occupation or employment by the commonwealth. .
There are many operations in connection with agriculture, such as drainage and irrigation, which should be carried on under the socialistic system in order to make a high degree of success of them; but this could be done and still maintain individuality in agriculture by the government charging the individual for such service. [graphic][merged small]
There are great possibilities for agriculture under such a system. The ground could all be underlaid with pipes, which could have plugs at regular intervals, through which rain could be caused artificially when needed. Great reservoirs could be constructed, in which to store surplus water in rainy times, and from which it could be pumped into standpipes, as is now done in our cities. By a system of pipe lines the sewage of our cities also could be distributed to agricultural lands for fertilizing purposes, instead of Being turned into rivers to contaminate the water.
When I contemplate all that might be I am somewhat inclined to the opinion which Edward Bellamy hints at. that this would be the millennium. We are taught that man lost his first happy estate through his own disobedience, and I believe that it will be largely through his own efforts that he will regain that estate. When that time comes, Christ will come and reign in the hearts of his people, and we will all rejoice to see Palestine given to the Jews, that they may restore the former grandeur of Jerusalem.
When we quit wrangling about what nation should control the Nicaragua Canal it will soon be an accomplished fact, and in the region about Lake Nicaragua will grow up the largest city on the face of the earth. It will be the commercial center of the whole world. Perhaps it will be the new Jerusalem that we read about in Revelations. Yours truly. B. U. Hiester.
A REPLY TO CRITICS.
The March Telegrapher contains criticisms of "Equity or Equality—Which?" by "A Working Socialist," and W. H. Stuart. I have a decided advantage over both in thoroughly understanding the socialist position, while neither of them, as their criticisms show, understand the equitist position.
To be prejudiced is to have pre-judged— to have formed an opinion without investigation. I am not prejudiced, as "A Working Socialist" assumes, for I carefully studied socialistic theories in order to form an opinion. When he says I "would not have society combine for the elimination of labor, by the use of improved machinery," he assumes that I object to co-operation. I do not. What I object to is compulsory cooperation.
In regard to taxing persons as much for holding land idle as for putting it to its best use, he says: "Would this be freedom ? It would seem to me that in so far as freedom is concerned in this regard, we have more freedom now than that. I own a small piece of land; no law says that I shall pay the same tax on it idle that I should have to do if put to its fullest capacity; it might be to my personal pecuniary interest to cultivate it, but no more so in one instance than the other." This shows that he did not read understandingly what preceded the passage he quoted. As no man has any right to exclude any other from any portion of the earth at any time—and it would be interesting to see "A Working Socialist" attempt to prove the contrary—it necessarily follows that he who holds exclusive possession of any location can do so equitably only by compensating the excluded to the full value of the exclusion. If he refuses to so compensate them he thereby assumes greater freedom than he accords them. When he has so compensated them they cannot tax him according to the use he makes of the location without denying him that "liberty to exercise the faculties" which "is the first condition of individual life." The only object in holding land idle is to get something for nothing, that is, to appropriate rent If all the profit of land holding was in the use and to the user no one would desire to hold land idle. And if "to the producer belongs his product" in the use and to the user should be all the profit of land holding. But this can be made possible only by requiring each exclusive possessor to pay to the excluded the full value of that privilege, regardless of the. use he makes of it. There is no other way by which men can be equally free in their relation to locations which are held in exclusive possession.
His remarks upon the chestnut illustration show that he considers it equitable that each should receive "an equal amount, assuming that it can be so arranged that each will produce an equal amount. To do so the element of time must be eliminated. This is impossible.
Whatever "we as a nation" may be united in, I do not believe that the postal service is better performed than it would be by private control. It is certainly not as equitable as it could be under free competition. Herbert Spencer gave illustrations showing how inferior the British postal service was to private service and asserted that the government could not compete in that, or any other business, with private enterprise, but had always to prohibit competition in order to retain the business itself.
And this leads me to note the admiration "A Working Socialist" has for Herbert Spencer, whom he calls the "King of Thinkers." The quotation he imputes to Mr. Spencer is so stated as to leave it an open question as to what idea it is intended to convey. Certain it is that there is nothing in Herbert Spencer's "Social Statics"—either the original or the lately abridged editions— to allow of the inference that he ever even thought favorably of socialism. In his work entitled "Justice." he says: "Indeed,
it is instructive to observe how, in France, where the idea of equality has always subordinated the idea of liberty; and where, under the guise of a free form of government, citizens have all along submitted without protest to a bureaucracy which has been as despotic under the republican form of government as under the monarchical, and where reversions to the completely militant type of structure have more than once occurred; the industrial freedom of the individual, in common with other freedoms, has never been established as fully as here" (England). Again: "For the extreme case in which men use their so-called political rights to surrender their power of preserving their rights properly so called, as by the plebiscite which elected Napoleon III., to the cases in which men let themselves be coerced into sending their children to receive lessons in grammar and gossip about kings, often at the cost of underfeeding and weak bodies, we find none of the supposed identity. Though the so-called political rights may be used for the maintenance of liberty, they may fail to be so used, and may even be used for the establishment of tyrannies." Again: "As repeatedly shown, the positive element in the conception is liberty; while, the negative element is the limitation implied by other's equal liberty. But the two rarely co-exist in due proportion, and in some cases do not co-exist at all. There may be liberty exercised without any restraint, resulting in perpetual aggressions and universal warfare. Conversely, there may be an equality in restraints which are carried so far as practically to destroy liberty. Citizens may be all equally coerced to the extent of enslaving them, by some power which they have set up—nay, in pursuance of philanthropic or other ends, be severally deprived by it of large parts of that freedom which remains to each after duly regarding the liberty of others. Now the confusion of thought above pointed out, which leads to this classing of so-called political rights with rights properly socalled, arises in part from thinking of the secondary trait, equality, while not thinking of the primary trait, liberty. The growth of the one has been so generally associated with the growth of the other, that the two have come to be thought of as necessary concomitants, and it is assumed that if the equality is obtained the liberty is ensured. But, as above shown, this is by no means the case. Men may use their equal freedom to put themselves in bondage; failing, as they do, to understand that the demand for equality taken by itself is fulfilled if the equality is in degrees of oppression borne and amounts of pain suffered. They overlook the truth that the acquirement of socalled political rights is by no means equivalent to the acquirement of rights properly so called. The one is but an instrumentality for the obtainment and maintenance of the other; and it may or may not be used to achieve those ends. The essential question is—How are rights, properly so called, to be preserved—defended against aggressors, foreign and domestic? This or that system of government is but a system of appliances." And yet "A Working Socialist" says that "it stands to reason that only justice would be meted out, for a law would then really be made for yourself and yours, equally 'as well as for another who might break it." And he quotes with approval another socialist's statement that "the scientific socialist has no cut-and-dried theories regarding the details of the new order. He has a few broad principles, which he knows (?) to be just and right, and he believes that they should become the ground work for a reconstruction of industrial relations between men."
Bellamy seems to be the only socialist who has had the courage to try to tell us how socialism would work. His success (?) has not encouraged others to try. His industrial slaves—disfranchised until forty-five years of age in order to enforce the necessary discipline—are not just what laborers care to become. Yet no one else has told us how "everyone will be required to do his or her duty, no more, no less, simply his duty toward himself and society."
But that "King of Thinkers," Herbert Spencer, also said, in "Justice:" "So long as the power to make conquests abroad is supposed to give rights to the lands taken, there must of course persist at home the
doctrine that an Act of Parliament can do anything—that the aggregate will may rightly impose' itself on individual wills without any limit." Again: "All-embracing State functions characterize a low social type; and progress to a higher social type is marked by relinquishment of functions." Again: "The compulsory co-operations by which governmental actions are effected, instead of direct relations between function and nutrition, show us highly indirect relations. Public departments, all of them regimented after the militant fashion, all supported by taxes forcibly taken, and severally responsible to their heads, mostly appointed for party reasons, are not immediately dependent for their means of living and growing on those whom they are designed to benefit. * * * In consequence of this indirectness of relation between benefits yielded and payments received, governmental agencies may continue to exist and draw funds for years, and sometimes for generations, after they have ceased to be of service; and when they are weak, or careless, or slow, the inefficiency has to be rectified by pressure exerted through the governmental machine—a machine so cumbrous and complex that only great pressure exercised with great patience can effect the needful change."
In his "Abridged and Revised" "Social Statics," which was published about ten years ago, that "King of Thinkers" said: "In the same way that our definition of State duty forbids the State to administer religion or charity, so likewise does it forbid the State to administer education. Inasmuch as the taking away, by Government, of more of a man's property than is needful for maintaining his rights, is an infringement of his rights, and therefore a reversal of the Government's function toward him; and inasmuch as the taking away of his property to educate his own or other peoples' children is not needful for the maintaining of his rights, the taking away of his property for such a purpose is wrong." In his "The Man versus The State," he said: "If men use their liberty in such a way as to surrender their liberty, are they therefore any the less slaves? If people by plebiscite elect a man despot over them, do they remain free because the despotism was of their own making? Are the coercive edicts issued by him to be regarded as legitimate because they are the ultimate outcome of their own votes?" Again: "Indeed the more numerous public instrumentalities become, the more is there generated in citizens the notion that everything is to be done for them, and nothing by them. Each generation is made less familiar with the attainment of desired ends by individual actions or private combinations, and more familiar with the attainment of them by governmental agencies; until, eventually, governmental agencies come to be thought of as the only available agencies."
"A Working Socialist" says: "Socialism says: 'Everyone shall receive the full product of his or her toil.' " By what means? Again he says, "everyone according to his deeds." How? The fact is that socialism, by its main principle, denies the right of everyone to "receive the full product of his or her toil" by denying his or her ownership of products. The first essential to one's receiving the full product of his toil is his being equally free with every other person— free to produce and free to exchange. This socialism denies by making him a part of a great governmental machine and by the abolition of private property in products.
Like most socialists, "A Working Socialist" assumes that I would "have us go back to the time or methods of the scythe and the flail." He cannot conceive of men voluntarily co-operating under freedom. He can conceive only of men co-operating under compulsion. As Adam Smith, in his "Wealth of Nations," repeatedly states in various ways, "The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on tne society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operation."
Mr. Stuart is a lift!? too previous in assuming that because I advocate the single
tax I therefore believe that "there are certain industries that he (i) classes as 'natural' monopolies, in which the law of cornpetition does not work." I know of none such. There is no business which could not be privately conducted if men were secured equal freedom in the use of the earth. I do not oppose "the private monopoly of land." I oppose the private monopoly of rent. To exclusively hold land is to monopolize it. Many uses of land require exclusive possession for varying lengths of time. Such exclusive use can be made equitable only by means of the single tax, whereby the possessor compensates the excluded. Herbert Spencer, in the tenth chapter of his unabridged "Social Statics," in arguing the application of the "law of equal freedom." draws very distinctly and exactly the line between what society can and cannot justly take from the individual and what the individual can and cannot justly claim from society regarding land and products. He says that for the individual to assume possession and refuse to pay the rent to society is for him to assume greater freedom than he accords others, and thereby to infringe the law; and that for society to take anything more than the rent of land is for it to break the law. Thus it may be seen that the single tax will accomplish what Herbert Spencer pointed out as the basis of all equity—equal freedom in the use of locations. But it does so by securing the individual in his monopoly of the location and preventing his monopolizing the rent.
Mr. Stuart's illustration does not prove his contention; it merely begs the question, for it assumes the point at issue. His statement is that the ownership of improved tools of production by a small class of capitalists compels laborers to accept a subsistance wage or starve. In order to do so it must be possible for the tool owner to employ the laborers on his own terms. If he cannot do this then they have some other alternative than acceptance or starvation. To prove his case, Mr. Stuart pretends to assume a single tax condition. It must be borne in mind that such a condition is on» in which no one holds any more land than he can put to its best use under the then existing state of civilization and population, because the profit of land holding could only come from use and according to use—the expense of holding being the same whether it was used or not. Under such conditions there would be immense areas of unused and therefore unpossessed—free—land. Bearing this in mind, it is only necessary to call attention to conditions as they actually did exist in America over a hundred years ago, when conditions were far from being as free as they would be under the single tax; when trade was subject to many restrictions and land was not subject to the single tax; but when land was much freer than it is to-day. Adam Smith, in "The Wealth of Nations," book IV, chapter VII, part II, says: "The colony of a civilized nation which takes possession either of a waste country, or of one so thinly inhabited that the natives easily give place to the new settlers, advances more rapidly to wealth and greatness than any other human society. * * ;* Every colonist gets more land than he can possibly cultivate. He has not rent and scarce any taxes to pay. No landlord shares with him in its produce, and the share of . the sovereign is commonly but a trifle. He has every motive to render as great as possible a produce which is thus to be almost entirely his own. But his land is commonly so extensive that, with all his own industry, and with all the industry of other people whom he can get to employ, he can seldom make it produce the tenth part of what, it is capable of producing. He is eager, therefore, to collect laborers from all quarters, and to reward them with the most liberal wages. But those liberal wages, joined to the plenty and cheapness of land, soon make those laborers leave him, in order to become landlords themselves, and to reward, with equal liberality, other laborers, who soon leave them for the same reason that they left their first master. The liberal reward of labor encourages marriage. The children, during the tender years of infancy, are well fed and properly taken care of, and when they are grown up the value of their labor greatly overpays their maintenance. When arrived at maturity, the high price of labor and the low price of land enables them to establish themselves in the same manner
as their fathers did before them. In other countries, rent and profit eat up wages, and the two superior orders of people oppress the inferior one. But in new colonies the interest of the two superior orders obliges them to treat the inferior one with more generosity and humanity, at least where that inferior one is not in a state of slavery. Waste lands of the greatest natural fertility are to be had for a trifle. The increase of revenue which the proprietor, who is always the undertaker, expects from their improvement constitutes his profit, which in these circumstances is commonly very great. But this great profit cannot be made without employing the labor of other people in clearing and cultivating the land; and the disproportion between the great extent of the land and the small number of the people, which commonly takes place in new colonies, makes it difficult for him to get this labor. He does not, therefore, dispute about wages, but is willing to employ labor at any price. The high wages of labor increases population. The cheapness and plenty of good land encourage improvement, and enable the proprietor to pay those high wages. * * * Plenty of good land, and liberty to manage their own affairs their own way, seem to be the two great causes of the prosperity of all new colonies. * * * The plenty and cheapness of good land, it has been already observed, are the principal causes of the rapid prosperity of new colonies. The engrossing of land, in effect, destroys this plenty and cheapness. The engrossing of uncultivated land besides, is the greatest obstruction to its improvement. * * * To prohibit a great people, however, from making all that they can of every part of their own produce, or from employing their stock and industry in the way that they judge most advantageous to themselves, is a manifest violation of the most sacred rights of mankind. Unjust as such prohibitions may be, they have not hitherto been very hurtful to the colonies. Land is still so cheap, and, consequently, labor so dear among them, that they can import from the mother country, almost all the more refined or more advanced manufactures cheaper than they could make them for themselves." [graphic]
What Smith here said of colonies in general he, in the fore-part of his work (Book I, Chap. VII) declared to be the case in America. "But though North America is not yet so rich as England," he says, "it is much more thriving, and advancing with much greater rapidity to the further acquisition of riches. * * * Labor is there so well rewarded, that a numerous family of children, instead of being a burden, is a source of opulence and prosperity to the parents." He also says that "the scarcity of hands occasions a competition among masters, who bid against one another, in order to get workmen, and thus voluntarily break through the natural combination of masters not to raise wages." Also: "When in any country the demand for those who live by wages, laborers, journeymen, servants of every kind, is continually increasing when every year furnishes employment for a greater number than had been employed the year before, the workmen have no occasion to combine in order to raise their wages."
The gist of these extracts is to the effect that the easy access to land coupled with the freedom of individual activity enabled the laborers who came to America then to demand and receive high wages, which soon enabled them to employ themselves; that the easy access to land rendered laborers so independent of employers that there was always more demand for laborers by employers than for employment by laborers. But Mr. Stuart assumes just the opposite. He assumes that men under single tax conditions would be just as dependent upon tool owners for employment as they are now, whereas the dependence would be the other way. Just as the toolless men of Europe, after selling themselves into slavery for a term of years to pay for their transportation to America, became independent of the combined land and tool owners of America—as Adam Smith points out, solely because of cheap land—so the toolless men of to-day would become independent of tool owners when there ceased to be land owners, by reason of the single tax making land easy of access to all. Every step of Mr. Stuart's illustration necessitates that condition in which there are more men than jobs. Such a condition is absolutely impossible where free land is accessible to the masses.
Both of my critics, as all socialists seem to, ignore the basis of all property. Neither of them touched upon the vital objection to socialism—the freedom of the individual to control his own labor and product. Do they deny, what I asserted, that "for anyone to assume to control the labor or products of another is for him to assume greater freedom for himself than he accords the other— that is, to deny the other equal freedom with himself. Thus no man nor set of men can, by any conceivable means, compel others to submit to a common control of the labor and products of all without denying to those so compelled equal freedom with himself or themselves. Therefore, society cannot control all the industry of the country without either first obtaining the consent of every producer in that country or else denying the equal freedom of those not consenting."
There is nothing in my arguments implying that men could not or should not co operate. In fact, the most efficient co-operation can take place only under the freest conditions, and such are necessarily conditions of equal freedom.
Socialists, by proposing to take possession of all the machinery of production and distribution by means of majority vote and conducting the same by the same means, practically assert that it is right for a majority to control the efforts and products of the minority. By so doing they destroy the only just foundation for ownership of property. To the producer belongs the product because he belongs to himself and not to another and because the product is the result of his own effort. The ownership of property is evidence that the owner owns himself. As Adam Smith said: As .he has some property, he cannot himself be the property of a master.' Self ownership is thus seen to be manifested in property ownership. The slave owns nothing because he owns not himself. As Adam Smith again says: "A poll-tax upon slaves is altogether different from a poll-tax upon freemen. The latter is paid by the persons upon whom it is imposed; the former by a different set of persons." This distinction has been universally recognized by all but socialists. They assume that men can be free—when freedom consists in being able to reap the results of one's own efforts—without being able to own anything. More paradoxical still; they assume that these propertyless people—people incapable of owning property —can, by simply dropping bits of paper in a ballot box, become the united owners of everything. Either individuals can or cannot own the products of their labor. If they cannot, then no sum or multiple of them can, and common ownership is impossible. If they can, then there must be some cog
ership is common only to those who exercise the control of it, not to those who hold or use it merely by suffrance and direction of the majority. Such ownership, while voluntary on the part of those assenting, is robbery as against those dissenting.
From the foregoing it is evident that Mr. Stuart does not state the truth, whatever he may suppose, when he says: This is why he (Mr. Brokaw) dislikes socialism, because it interferes with the 'equal freedom' of a few to rob the many through the monopolization of the instruments of production." I object to socialism because it robs the individual by denying him undisturbed control [...]
nizable basis for such ownership. That basis, universally recognized as such, is the individual's ownership of himself. Because he owns himself he owns the results of his own effort. If the individual cannot own himself he cannot own his product, and property in products—whether private or public property in them—becomes impossible. Equity does not admit of any other property basis. Property can become common to all only by every individual voluntarily surrendering his private ownership. An ownership resulting from the will of the majority—no matter how expressed—is not, nor can be, common ownership. Such own of the results of his own labor. The monopolization of the instruments of production result from the private appropriation of rent. Do away with the latter, thus freeing the passive factor of production, land, and do away with the legal restrictions of individual freedom of action which now hamper him, and both the active and passive factors of production will be free. Monopolization of the result is impossible. Land and labor produce all wealth. Free them and the result cannot be a monopoly. Adam Smith pointed out the way by which Great Britain's trade could be restored to "that natural, healthful, and proper proportion which perfect liberty necessarily establishes, and which perfect liberty can alone preserve." Again, in speaking of the school of French economists, he says: "And in representing perfect liberty as the only effectual expedient for rendering this annual production the greatest possible, its doctrine seems to be in every respect as just as it is generous and liberal." Again he says: "All systems of preference or restraint, being thus completely taken away, the obvious and simple system of natural liberty establishes itself of its own accord. Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man, or order of men. The sovereign is completely discharged from the duty, in the attempting to perform which, he must always be exposed to innumerable delusions, and for the proper performance of which no human wisdom or knowledge could ever be sufficient; the duty of superintending the industry of private people and of directing it towards the employments most suitable to the interest of the society." No one need accuse me of quoting Adam Smith as a single tax authority. Nowhere in his great work, "The Wealth of Nations," did he show that the idea ever crossed his mind that it might be possible that landlords did not have a natural right to the rent of land. So obvious did the landlord's right to the rent seem to him that he seems not to have even thought it necessary to explain how they came to have the right. In Book V, Chapter II, Part I, he says: "the rent of land, that portion of the produce which belongs to the proprietors." In spite of this he did see that the landlord absorbed the laborer's product, for, in Book I, Chapter VI, he says: "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce. The wood of the forest, the grass of the field, and all the natural fruits of the earth, which, when land was common, cost the laborer only the trouble of gathering them, come, even to him, to have an additional price fixed upon them. He must pay for the license to gather them; and must give up to the landlord a portion of what his labor either collects or produces. This portion, or, what comes to the same thing, the price of this portion, constitutes the rent of land."
The land of America has, practically, all become private property.
W. E. Brokaw.
A PERPLEXED SINGLE TAXER.
W. E. Brokaw. in a "Reply to Critics." in the May Telegrapher, informs its readers with characteristic modesty that he has ' a decided advantage over both (his critics) in thoroughly understanding the socialist position, while neither of them, as their criticisms show, understand the equitist position."
A sufficient answer to this boast is the fact that Mr. Brokaw has not dared to answer, or even make an attempt to answer, the problem I placed before him in the March Telegrapher. He completely ignored it, showing that he did not understand the socialist argument in regard to monopoly of machinery, or, understanding it, knew that it was unanswerable, and, therefore, ignored it. Assuming what is most probable, that Mr. Brokaw is merely not informed, I shall restate the problem and give him a second chance to show his knowledge of the "socialist position."
Single taxers contend that land monopoly is the cause of the present unequal distribution of wealth; that rent of land absorbs all surplus wealth over a bare subsistence to the actual producer. The "sovereign remedy" proposed by Henry George was to make land "common property," but to do that he explained that "it is not necessary to confiscate the land, we can confiscate rent." Therefore, single taxers propose, in lieu of all other taxes, a tax on land values sufficient to absorb economic rent. Having made lan'd common property by the state confiscation of economic rent, they hold that all forms of industry not in their nature "natural monopolies," i. e., monopolies requiring a franchise, might be left to the action of free competition. Natural monopolies they would socialize for the common benefit of all.
Socialists believe in the common ownership of all the means and instruments for the production and exchange of wealth. That is to say, while single taxers believe in the common ownership of land, and of natural monopolies, socialists believe in the common ownership of both land and capital ; that is, in the land and wealth used to create more wealth. Land and wealth not so used to remain private property, as at present. It being understood that no rent, interest or profits could accrue to the private owner of land or wealth.
The single taxer contends that land, being then "fundamental monopoly" upon which all other monopolies rest, that if abolished other forms of injurious monopolies would be impossible; that under such conditions of "freedom" and "free competition." that monopoly of machinery would he impossible: that all having free access to natural resources, on equal terms, that every member of society could apply his labor to land and produce his own machinery, or work for those who had it, in either case obtaining the full product of their labor.
The socialist denies this point blank. He points to the fact that monopoly of capital is far more potent in the oppression of labor than the monopoly of land: that even
if land monopoly was abolished, the laborer would still remain in economic servitude to the private owners of the tools of production ; that to be really "free" the laborer must not only own in common the land, but also the machinery of production and exchange.
The socialist admits that during the era of small production, when the worker, a shoemaker, for instance, owned and operated the tools of his trade, that the adoption of the single tax would have established, substantially, economic justice. But the change from the small system of production, by hand tools, to the use of complex and costly machinery propelled by steam or electric power, has divorced the worker from his tools and forced him into economic servitude to the capitalist owner of the machine. The socialist contends that as it is now impossible for every workman to own individually the modern instruments of production, he can only again get control of them by common ownership in them. That is to say, that as every weaver cannot own a factory of his own, he must either work for the capitalist owner at a competitive wage that never permanently exceeds the amount necessary to maintain the standard of living of the time and country, or he must own the factory and its machinery in common with all other workers. There is no other alternative.
To prove the soundness of the socialist position I offered in the March TelegraPher a concrete ill stration of what socialists mean by the private monopolization of machinery. My object was to show that even under the common ownership of land effected through the confiscation of economic rent, the private owners of capital would still be able to maintain econnomic supremacy; that the toolless worker would still be subject to the "iron law" of wages: that even on free land the man without capital could not compete successfully with the large capitalist. That no matter under what conditions of tenure land was held, large combination of capital would undersell and drive out of business their smaller competitors, no matter what the business or industry was. whether it was making shoes or raising wheat.
The illustration 1 used, and to which die attention of Mr. Brokaw was invited, was intended to illustrate the effect on industry and on the worker by the transition from the small to the large system of production. There is nothing fanciful in the picture. It represents the concrete facts in the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century. I assumed the single tax was in operation under the era of. small production, say seventy-five years ago. Although, as a matter of fact, if I had assumed land to be so plentiful as to have no rental value whatever, it would not have altered in the least the force or point of my argument. In the illustration I assumed that one hundred shoemakers working at their individual benches, owning their own tools and the product of their labors, supplied the demand for shoes, from the sale or exchange of which they were enabled to maintain the average standing of living of their class. Machinery was invented which, propelled by steam power, made as many shoes with the labor of forty men as was formerly done by the one hundred handworkers, and at such a reduction in cost as made competition by the latter impossible.
A shoe factory with the necessary machinery was started, forty of the handworkers hired to work in the factory, the capitalist owner or owners of which proceeded to and did supply the demand for shoes.
It was asked what was to become of the sixty idle shoemakers who were displaced by the shoe factory. It was assumed that the believer in "free competition" would suggest starting an opposition factory. So another factory was started, but as the mere starting of a new factory does not increase the demand for shoes, forty men, whether in one or two factories, continued to supply the effective demand for shoes. Then a third factory was started by a chap with more money than brains, with the only result that it took twenty more men distributed in three factories to do the work formerly done in one factory. This system nf wasteful "free competition" thus made necessary 50 per cent, more labor, and double the amount of capital, and double the area of land necessary for actual pro
duction. This waste made necessary a large increase in the cost and price of shoes to pay interest on the unnecessary investment in land and capital. Then a competitive war or struggle took place between the three factories for the largest share of the business, with the result that, becoming tired of the competitive struggle, they formed a shoe trust, closed down two of the factories, discharged twenty of the men, and monopolized the shoe business, dividing among the stockholders the saving in rent, interest and wages effected through non-competitors and economical production. This left sixty idle shoemakers to hunt for jobs. But everywhere they applied for work they found that privately owned machinery had displaced workers in other trades.
Then they raised the cry of "back to the land," and leaving the over-crowded factories they struck out for the rich level prairies of Illinois, Iowa or Montana, and. taking up the best quality of land at a low rental, or at none at all—it doesn't matter which—they applied their labor direct to "natural resources," and commenced life anew. But along comes other chaps with good business heads and plenty of capital. Instead of taking up one hundred and sixty acres each, they took up 16,000 or 60,000 acres, paying the same rental, or more, as the others, and purchasing the best and most costly labor-saving machinery, proceeded to raise wheat and other cereals at one-half or one-third the cost of the smaller farmers. Thus doing in agriculture what had formerly been done in the shoe business, and for exactly the same reason, viz.: the private ownership of capital. For it will be obvious that while there is no legal prohibition against every man employing capital in production, in competition witli others, there is an economic restriction that makes the investment of surplus capital unprofitable. That is to say, every farmer cannot own a bonanza farm, no more than every shoemaker can own a shoe factory. Only a very small number can profitably own bonanza farms or shoe factories; the great mass of workers must work for these few capitalists, and under such fierce competition for work that a bare subsistence is the most they can successfully demand.
Under socialism the bonanza farm, the -hoe factory and all other forms of indus-' try would be operated co-operatively by society as a whole. The introduction of machinery would displace no laborer. The only result would be to enable society to produce more wealth or reduce the hours of labor, or both.
This was the problem I presented to Mr. Brokaw, and which he entirely evaded. He prates glibly about the right of every man to the "full product of his labor," claiming that under socialism he would be denied that right. This is the shallowest nonsense, that even a single taxer should be ashamed of. Under modern methods of shoe-making it takes sixty-five different workers in a shoe factory to make a pair of shoes. How is the individual worker, under the present or a single tax regime, to acertain or demand the "full product of his labor?" Would not the capitalist owner, under the single tax, buy labor in the competition market just as he does now, at its cost of subsistence and reproduction? If not, why not?
Mr. Brokaw says he is not opposed to "voluntary" co-operation, but is opposed to "compulsory" co-operation, i. e., to socialism. He says that so long as one man was opposed to what he calls "compulsory co-operaticn" it would be unjust to deprive him of his right to individual production. Yet we are living under a system of compulsory political democracy. There isn't a titled King, Emperor or Czar in the country. Is this an unjust infringement of the political rights of those who prefer the rule of a King, Emperor or Czar? What would we say to one making such a complaint? Merely this, that the complainant could move to where the political conditions suited him better. Similarly, under a democratic administration of industry, the man who objects to riding on the people's railroad will not be compelled; he will be just as free to walk then as now. The same with the shoemaker. If he objects to the tyranny of working in the people's shoe factory, where eleven minutes' labor makes a pair of shoes, what v.-ill prevent him flocking by his lonely and spending a couple of days doing the work done in the factory in a few minutes? The price of the shoes
made by the factory is $1.00; wages, say $5.00 per day. Under such conditions, does Mr. Brokaw suppose there will be any idiots so in love with their "equal freedom" nonsense that he will be willing to work sixteen hours to earn $1.00 by himself on a shoe bench when he could earn $15.00 in the factory in the same time?
But it is really laughable to hear an individual whine about the sacred right of economic initiative, under free competition, when that right is already gone under theregime of concentrated wealth in trusts. In what way would the single tax affect the shoe trust? Would free trade stop it? Why, we are now selling shoes in foreign markets against a hostile tariff. Is the flour trust, the cotton-seed oil trust, the leather trust protected by a tariff?
Would "free access" to natural resources in the shape of copper mines enable the average miner to compete successfully with the large corporation controlling millions of capital, and the most costly and effective mining machinery? Could not the latter pay the individual miner twice the wages he could make applying "his labor direct" to natural resources, and still explant him out of two-thirds the value of his labor? If not, why not?
How about the telegraph monopoly, in which the readers of this journal are specially interested? Is the telegraph monopoly due to an exclusive charter from the government that forbids free competition? Or does the protective tariff (i) on domestic telegrams, by excluding the foreign product, cause the monopoly? Or is it due to land monopoly in the shape of private monopolization of all the land suitable for postholcs that gives the Western Union a practical monopoly of the telegraph business?
Most of the stockholders in the telegraph monopoly wouldn't know a duplex machine from a side of sole leather. Does Mr. Brokaw believe that "equal freedom" of all in that business, or in any other, is best subserved by a system in which a few capitalists own but do not operate the machinery of production, or by a system in which the actual workers are also the actual owners of the machinery of production? Are the capitalist class, as such, any more necessary for the production of capital than a land-owning class are for the production of land?
Those are practical questions that go to the very root of the economic problem. An economic theory that does not answer them -atisfactorily and in accordance with social justice is a fraud. These questions cannot be answered by quoting Herbert Spencer or Adam Smith. No one now reads the "Wealth of Nations." A man who believed in private ownership of land is poor authority for a single taxer. Herbert Spencer is a discredited as well as a "perplexed" philosopher. His theories, no more than the single tax theory, is accepted by any man of national reputation as a political economist or statesman in any country in the world.
The single tax is a shallow theory. It offers no solution to the economic problem. It is only believed in by those too intellectually indolent to get beyond the platitudes of "Progress and Poverty." Those formerly single taxers, gifted with the critical faculty, are now in the ranks of the socialists. Might we urgently invite Bro. Brokaw to come in out of the wet?
W. H. Stuart.
SOCIALISM VS. SINGLE TAX.
According to Bro. Brokaw's article in the May issue of The Telegrapher he is an unwilling slave to our postal system. If nothing else can be said that is remarkable about Bro. Brokaw's position it is unique. He does not believe that its work is better performed and certainly not as equitable, he adds, as it would be under free (?) competition. He would like to see Morgan and Rockefeller get a swipe at it; it would be so much more equitable if we could pay them ten cents postage on a letter instead of letting Uncle Sam carry it for the actual cost of operation. Bro. Brokaw believes that the single tax would be a deadener on "sich." If Rockefeller controlled the postal system he would have just as much a lead pipe cinch on dictating to us our postal rates as he now enjoys in the steel industry—and could at any time advance the price of carrying our mail just as easily as he lately raised the price of the tin can trust 25 per cent, which was owing to cheapened production caused by organization. According to the Detroit News, a late dispatch says: "J- P- Morgan, J. D. Rockefeller and Vanderbilt, who control the anthracite coal trust, have decided to add $75,000,000 to their profits—one-third this sum they gain through economic methods made possible by combination and by raising the price of coal one dollar per ton which is paid by the consumer—they will reap $50,000,000 more." Is it any wonder Bro. Brokaw is so taken up with it? It's so free—glorious competition. It would be awful if a majority of us voted for government ownership of the mines and the nation acquired them, while Bro. Brokaw voted "agin" it, and socialism blessed him so materially that he got his coal for the actual cost of production—virtual slavery that—better by far die by the glorious free ( ?) and equal (?) competition.
When we, the people and producers, awake (as the trusts have done) and combine for the avoidance of waste by this very competition (that Bro. Brokaw is so enthusiastic about) due to a conflict of interests, we will get the full product of our toil by exchanging our labors' product for
its equivalent in any of the necessities or luxuries of life.
Bro. Brokaw doesn't want a government position; he would rather work for a private corporation, where he feels so secure under this great competition. He says he doesn't object to co-operation, but to compulsory co-operation. Now I don't object so much to competition as I do to the effects of compulsory combination in which I am left on the outside, while Rockey, Morgan & Co. are on the inside. I say no one who really understands co-operation objects to it, when men truly understand it there will be no more compulsion necessary than there is at present to cause them to breathe. I say that under national and international cooperation no one will object to it who does not object to equity and equality. Take even Mr. Rockefeller or Mr. Morgan; what incentive would there be for them to want more than amply enough for their needs when they could no longer engage in the present exciting game of "Git all you can and keep all you dare, and leave the producer just enough to live on and produce more on which they might speculate."
Jack London, in the Cosmopolitan magazine last year, writing under the caption, "What communities lose by the competitive system," says in part: "A water company has the necessary water supply, the necessary facilities for distributing it, and the necessary capital with which to operate the plant. It happens to be a monopoly and the community clamors for competition. A group of predatory capitalists invade the established company's territory, tears up the streets, parallels the older company's mains and digs tunnels and dams in the hills to get the necessary commodity. In view of the fact that the other company is fully capacitated to supply the community, this is just so much waste of effort; and equally so some one must pay for it. Who? Let us see. A rate war ensues. Water becomes a drug on the market. Both companies are operating at ruinous losses which must ultimately destroy them. There are three ways by which the struggle may be concluded. First, the company with the smallest capital may go under. In this case the capitalists have lost the money invested. the community the labor. But this rarely happens. Second, the wealthier company may buy out the poorer one. In this case it has been forced to double its invested capital. Since it is now become a monopoly and since capital requires a certain definite rate of interest, the communities water bills must raise to satisfy it. Third, both companies being of equal strength and a Kilkenny cat conclusion being impossible, they combine with double capital which demands a double return. In one of these three ways the competition of corporations must invariably result; nor can the community escape the consequent loss, save by the cooperative operation of all such industries." Again he says: "Because of the individual performance of many tasks which may be done collectively, efforts entail a corresponding costliness, since much that might have been included under this head has been previously discussed, such labors as may be purely individual shall be here handled. In the field of household economics there are numerous losses of this nature. Of these, choose one, contemplate that humble, but essentially necessary item, the family wash. In one hundred houses on washday are one hundred toiling wives, one hundred homes for the time being thrown out of joint. One hundred fires, one hundred tubs being filled and emptied, and so forth and so on, soap, powder, blueing and fixtures, all bought at expensive retail prices. Two men in a well-appointed small steam laundry, could do their washing for them year in and year out at a tithe the expense and toil, disregarding the saving gained by the wholesale purchase of supplies, by system and by division of labor; these two men by machinery alone increase their power tenfold. By means of a proper domestic cooperation, if not municipal, each of these housewives would save a sum of money which would go far in purchasing little luxuries and recreations. Again, consider the example of the poorer families of a large town, who buy their food and other necessities from at least one hundred shops of one sort or another. Here the costliness of effort for which they pay is not theirs, but that of the people they deal with. Instead of one large distributing depot, these
one hundred petty merchants, each order and handle separate parcels of goods, write separate letters and checks, and keep separate books, all of which is practically unnecessary. Somebody pays for all this, for the useless letters, checks, parcels, clerks, bookkeepers and porters, and assuredly it is not the storekeeper. And aside from all this suppose each shop clears for its owner $10 per week—a very modest sum—or $500 for the one hundred shops. This would equal $50,000. And this the poorer members of the community must pay. The people have come to partially recognize this, however. To-day no man dreams of keeping his own fire-fighting or street-lighting apparatus, of keeping his own policeman, of keeping his own street in repair or seeing to the proper disposition of his sesverage. Somewhere in the past his ancestors did all this for themselves, or else it was not done at all; that is to say, there was greater friction or less co-operation among the units of society than now."
Yet Bro. Brokaw tells you that I cannot conceive of men voluntarily co-operating under freedom, that I can only conceive of them as co-operating under compulsion. In a sense you are right, Bro. Brokaw. At present a majority of the people are too narrow-minded and prejudiced to see the great benefits of cooperation as presented to them by socialistic logic and common sense reasoning and they are waiting until compulsion—self-preservation from the wiles of capitalism reaches their more vulnerable point—the stomach. No one under national (or international) co-operation is going to object to it. Bro. Brokaw does not object to co-operation or socialism—only what he believes it to be. Once established, once tested, we will need no Morgans or Rockefellers to force us into a commonwealth. We are facing now the greatest crisis of any age. I would appeal to the young men—to the thinkers—to rise equal and superior to your environment and take such steps now, as future generations will praise you for until the end of time. You have the opportunity in your vote, your present actions are making history. Don't make a fatal mistake, one you will ernment, the men's wages have been doubled. Belgium tells the same story— fares and freight rates cut down one-half and wages doubled. Yet these railroads pay a yearly revenue to the government of $4,000,000.
Here is a recent experiment of London, England, with one of the tram lines of that city, which may be taken as a fair criterion in summing up the advantages of public ownership as compared with private ownership of public utilities. In 1899 the county council decided to operate the line under direct municipal management. Under private ownership the men employed on the line had to work from fourteen to sixteen hours per day, seven days a week and furnish their own uniforms, badges, etc. The fare was one English penny (equal to two American cents) and the service rendered to the public was such as to provoke frequent and vigorous complaints. Mark the change under municipal ownership and management: Immediate action was taken to so equip the line that first-class public service could be rendered. The employes were furnished uniforms free of cost, their wages were increased, their hours of employment were reduced to ten per day, and they were only required to work six days per week. A half-penny fare was established, and yet in a single year this cityowned tramway line added $170,000 to the municipal revenues of London. But when some wild-eyed fanatic in free (?) America proposes public ownership in our cities, some henchman of private monopoly will exclaim: "You can't do it," and the enthusiasm which has been aroused for a plan thai would benefit everybody (except private monopoly) is simply permitted to subside.
In Germany on government-owned lines you can ride four miles for one cent; yet wages are 125 per cent higher than they were when private capital owned them, and during the last ten years the net profits have increased 41 per cent. In 1809 these government roads paid the German government a net profit of $24,000.000.
In America under free (?) competition— private ownership—we have paid the railroads billions of dollars both in land and
money, and we are now paying them millions yearly for carrying our mail; yet our freight and passenger rates remain so extortionate.
A recent paper says, most of the laws that monopoly gets passed are for the purpose of legalizing theft. But when I say that under co-operation a law would reili be made for yourself and yours equally as well as for another who might break it, and that it for this reason stands to reasoning that only justice would be meted out (on account of a harmony of interests) Bro. Brokaw seems to imagine that he scored a point when he says' that previously I had approved a saying of some one else who said: "The scientific socialist had no cut and dried theories of his own, etc." In the first place there is not a man living on top of earth who will publicly admit that it is not right that a law shall be made equal (there are lots of laws that are not, but those who are the sole beneficiaries will not admit it). Have I, then, proposed a cut and dried theory of my own? Some socialist writer says, quoting from Emerson: "No man can learn what he has not preparation for learning, however near to his eyes is the object." The writer then adds: "That is a truism if you will consider it, and it explains why some people do not comprehend what to you is the simplest, plainest thing on earth. You will have to develop such people before they can understand the universal benefits that will come by reason of socialism. A chemist may tell his most precious secrets to a carpenter and he will never be the wiser—the secrets he would not utter to a chemist for an estate.
Before people can understand socialism they must have their moral sense developed ; they must have simple expositions first, and later they will grasp the most abstruse social problems."
"He further says: "The demand for municipal ownership is the first awakening even under capitalism of the socialist desire. It will lead millions on to the goal of socializing all industries, for when they get interested and begin to investigate they will see the good in it. Should direct legislation be enacted the people would at once become greater than the legislator, congress and the courts. (It don't look that way under the present system to me.) Direct legislation simply gives the people an opportunity tu review any law that may be made, or to make any law they may wish to make. This being constitutional because emanating from the power that makes constitutions.
Nothing is constitutional unless endorsed by the people. At present it is left with a handful of judges (who may be venal) to say what the will of the people really is. The initiative and referendum doctrine does not mean that the legislator shall tack onto every little bill- it passes a provision that it shall not go into effect until it has been voted on; but that the people snail have the right to petition for a vote on any act the legislature passes, or for the passage of any law they may desire. This is quite a difference, but one which some people seem unable to comprehend. Had we direct legislation we would not have the columns of the press full of the scandalous history of bribery cases among our State and national legislatures. You and I know that such cases are almost constantly occupying newspaper comment, and it has become so common and frequent that people have ceased to regard it as being remarkable.
Herbert Spencer in his latest work was forced to admit that socialism was the only means by which the human race might hope to obtain happiness.
Will Bro. Brokaw still insist that it is an open question as to what the "Kings of thinkers" intended to convey? Perhaps it may begin to dawn upon the mind of the good brother "why" I consider Spencer the "King of Thinkers." He was opposed all his life, according to the various works from his pen, to co-operation, but he was broad and liberal-minded enough when he saw his error to acknowledge it, for which I thrice honor him. Don't you?
Bro. Brokaw says Bellamy is the only man who has had the courage to tell us how socialism would work. I don't think he could have made a better socialistic argument. If Bellamy's first work was so invulnerable as lo have successfully withstood all criticism (of the open as well as misrepresenting kind) that the socialist speaker
is unable to find old party debaters to go into the ring with them and point out its fallacies for love or money. I don't know what more they can ask of us. Do you? Neither is Bellamy the only writer who has told how it will work.
Bro. Brokaw asks: "By what means is every one to reap according to his deeds and secure the full product of his toil?" Vet he in another place claims to have an advantage over another comrade and myself in thoroughly understanding the socialist position, while he accuses us of ignorance as to the stand of the equitist. Bellamy has told us how it will work; others after him have told us. The socialist press of this and every foreign country are every day of the world answering questions of every conceivable kind, and you notice it is very rarely indeed that the inquirer needs a second explanation to enable him to grasp its truths. As the Northern Pacific brother said in the March Telegrapher "Socialism needs no defense; it is impregnable." All it needs, my friend, is to be explained. To have it explained to your thorough satisfaction, all you need to do is to write the Appeal to Reason, Girard, Kan., or The Challenge, Los Angeles, Cal., and you may have any and every question answered.
Lately several single taxers have been attempting to confuse the editor of The Challenge, and the way the editor (Comrade Wilshire) has these fellows falling over each other in order to get the "other" fellow to go up and be sacrificed is something real funny. Here is a little question he lately put to the single taxers. Perhaps Bro. Brokaw will answer it for us through the columns of The Telegrapher. What I am after is the truth, no matter from whence it comes. Here is one of his latest:
The single taxers idea is that if we had a system of taxation that would skin off all monopoly profits. This would institute a condition of industry that would be "good enough." It would be no "millennium." but it would be so much better in their estimation, than present day affairs that it would be quite good enough. Then they think that this would be so much easier to get than socialism that we had better try for it than to chase rainbows. They are all very much annoyed at the socialists telling them that the rainbow is chasing us, and that we could not miss finding it even if we wished. The evolution of society means nothing to them. They have no conception of dynamic sociology. Their ideas of the present social system are purely static. Of course, with people differing so fundamentally with you it is difficult to find a common arena for debate. I f<!el as if I were a Darwin discussing the Origin of Species with the reverend colored gentlemen of the "Sun do Move" fame. It's a waste of time and fruitless. However, I will put just one conundrum to the whole bunch of them.
Suppose we have the single tax in perfect operation. Now, everyone knows the larger the industrial plant the more economical its operation, hence we must assume that with the future production, whether under the single tax or any other tax, will be concentrated as at present, that one huge concern will produce sugar, another iron, an.other salt, etc., etc. If the single taxer doesn't believe that this is the future, then he must think that we are going back into the days when the wife spun her wool at home. There is no compromise. Now, if we have these huge industrial plants it becomes either a question of letting private owners like Rockefeller and Morgan own and run them, or having the people collectively, the State own and manage them for the benefit of the people. I cannot see what benefit it would be to the people to have Rockefeller own and manage the iron mills and produce just what iron he thought we needed, and we relying on controlling him by taxation. We could not insist on his running his mills if he did not want to do it. We could only tax him for the ground value upon which the mills stood. If any one else should start opposition mills he could crush them out just as easily as ' he does to-day, if it is supposed that he has any property to fight with. If, on the other hand, the taxing power is exercised to the extent that it has no value remaining, why should he care to remain in ownership of something which has no real value? He would say: "If I cannot make anything from my ownership of the mills, then
the State had better take them over at once," and this would institute the very socialism which the single taxers so dread.
Then, as industry is to-day, there is coming soon a time when the capitalist will have no place to invest his profits. We are saturated with capital, as the late David A. Wells so well expressed it. What would the single taxer say to such a condition? What would become of the surplus product under the single tax? What would the State do with the enormous revenue it would gather in as the result of taking in all the capitalist made? It would have an income above and beyond what it has today of thousands of millions of dollars. After it had spent as much as it possibly could, there would still be an enormous surplus; in fact, all the money that now flows as profits to the Rockefellers and Morgans. What would the State do with all this money? That's what I ask the single taxer. Would it not be absurd to let Rockefeller make it and then take it away from him by tax, and then give it away in the shape of a State pension to the workers to supplement their wages paid by Rockefeller? Would it not be much simpler for the people to inaugurate a democratic system of industry, and to pay the workers on the co-operative plan, on the basis of what they earned? What do we want with Rockefeller as an intermediary?
At the risk of repetition, I say: Not until we can grasp the sublime thought and are broad enough to stand, are we fully guaranteed that we appreciate in its real light the marvelous beauty and matchless practicability of socialism. It's a higher step, so vastly broad and deep it not only touches, revolutionizes everything. "Nor poet's dream can tell, or pen portray, The wond'rous beauties of the coining day."
A Working Socialist.