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Would It Fail in Success ?
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Query: “A system that proposes to overturn securities ; to
Again : - Gladly admitting that, with a sneer and an epithet,
pay-roll good ? between plowing at a
Again :--Referring to Competition, Socialists say that, of
Again :-Do not the last message of President Taft, Decem-
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF!
POLITICAL SOCIALISM,-WHY IT WOULD FAIL INDULGENT READER :
If these preliminary pages be read without profit, have done with the book, and let it be cast straightway into the waste of the office-basket.
Doubtless you are aware, Noble Sir, that we are confronted with a live question,-a growing, forceful question,-one, all-embracing, attractive, yea fascinating, and not altogether devoid of mystery. Shall we not proceed to consider it as becomes a citizen, patiently, and wisely? Shall we not seek to define, to discuss, to comprehend, to judge, in the spirit of a Christian gentleman? As the question is economic it is thought best to proceed by a method not unfamiliar to the politician: WHEREAS:
Certain Finger-Boards,-in a figurative sense,-point toward the certain failure of a Socialist-State; therefore, the purpose herein is to indicate:
1. That, State-Socialism would fail because the business of the country is so widely diversified and the amount of productive industry so great, that the jointvolume of this industry and business, centralized under the control of a proprietary government, would be unwielding and unmanageable. Moreover, some branches of industry are yet formative while others are antagonistic.
2. That, State-Socialism would fail because to vest this prodigious joint-volume of business and industry, in the hands of politicians and theorists would multiply the opportunities for graft;-the more Official Departments, Bureaus, Divisions, Commissions, Clerkships, and Executive Machinery; the more supervisors, bosses, subbosses, foremen, chiefs, commissioners, directors, detectives, secretaries, and other executive officers ;-the
more opportunities for connivance, conspiracy and corruption;
3. That, State-Socialism would fail because its aim is to organize politics and business upon the same basis. This union of politics and business would open the door for extravagance and abuse of patronage. Under such a system it would be difficult to defeat a party in power or to dislodge a party-boss. This is not to say that Socialists are more dishonest than other people. It is to say that a majority of workmen would combine to elect a shop-man to be a shop-boss, by the same methods employed now to elect a ward-politician to be a wardspoilsman.
4. That, State-Socialism would fail because it assumes that all shops, mills, farms, mines, factories, and public utilities, run at a profit,—and that, a great profit. But, truth to be told, the number of men, who fail in business, equals the number who succeed. Many a Captain of Industry walks the floor at night, contriving to meet his pay-roll. In the Socialist-State, Labor would have this loss to bear.
5. That, State-Socialism would fail because, contrary to fact, it assumes that there would be no antagonisms. Instance the shoemaker, granting that the shoe is a "social product.”—The man who would do one-sixtieth of the work in producing a shoe, might honestly insist that he would do one-fortieth and demand one-fortieth of the proceeds. Countless disputes and contradictions would thus arise and ramify through the countless channels and complications of a State's industry and business. How tell the fraction of a shoe belonging to the wood-chopper who felled the tree to make the shoepegs? to the cattle-farmer? the tanner? clerk? freighthandler? A shoe is not divisible; its labor-values, direct and forwarding, may not be decomposed.—How reconcile buyer and seller? producer and consumer? importer, &c. ? Answer: By Arbitrary Power only–Despotism.
6. That, State-Socialism would fail because in the Socialist-State no man "would own his job.”. All jobs would belong to the State. Liberty would be a myth and freedom a mockery.
7. That, State Socialism would fail because it assumes that a general, public interest is stronger than a selfregarding, private interest. E. g. take Agriculture: It assumes that the Book-Farmer, theoretical and non-possessing, would be more efficient than the Field-Farmer who, as proprietor and possessor in fee-simple, operates the farm. It assumes that a government-agent would rotate crops; pick out seed-corn; select male-pigs; operate a 4-horse self-binder, and reap a field of grain, down, lodged, or swailed, better than the owner whose first work was doing chores at the barn and whose sole ambition is to succeed, counting success from the farmer's standpoint.
8. That, State-Socialism would fail because it seeks to destroy competition. Now, competition attracts, enlivens, stimulates, and develops. It embellishes and advertises. It urges. If competition be eliminated, shopwindows will go undressed. Store-fronts will not be illuminated. Electric signs will not flash in esthetic rivalry from house-tops, hills and road-ways. Goods will then be stored in long, dull ware-houses and distributed by indifferent state-agents.
The State will make the goods, determine the quality, fix the styles, set the fashions, and control distribution. Moreover, it is not necessary to overturn the government in order to do away with competition and its evils if any there be. Voluntary co-operation, the Industrial Democracy, of