August Bebel

Society of the Future

I. Basic Laws of Socialist Society


As soon as society is in possession of all means of production the duty of all able-bodied people, irrespective of sex, to work becomes the basic law of socialised society. Society cannot exist without labour. It, therefore, has the right to demand that all who wish to satisfy their needs, shall, in accordance with their physical and mental capacities, take part in the production of the articles required for the satisfaction of general needs. The stupid claim that socialists want to abolish work is an unparalleled absurdity. Non-workers, idlers exist only in bourgeois society. Socialism agrees with the Bible when it says "if any would not work neither should he eat." But, work should be useful productive activity. The new society will, therefore, demand that each person pursue some craft or definite industrial, agricultural or other useful activity, by which he contributes a certain effort to the satisfaction of existing needs. No enjoyment without work, no work without enjoyment.

All being obliged to work, all are equally interested in seeing that three conditions of work be fulfilled: first, that working hours be moderate and overtax none; secondly, that work be as pleasant and varied as possible; thirdly, that it be as productive as possible, because the working hours and the measure of enjoyment depend on that. These three conditions depend in their turn on the nature and amount of means of production and labour force available, and on the living standard society demands for itself. Socialist society does not come into being so that men shall live in proletarian conditions but to abolish the proletarian way of life for the vast majority of the people. It seeks to afford to each as high a measure of the amenities of life as possible, and this gives rise to the question: how high will be the demands society will advance?

To be able to determine this there must be an administration that embraces all fields of social activity. Our municipalities afford an effective basis for this; if they are too large to allow of easy supervision, they can be divided into districts. As once in primitive society, all adult members of the community, irrespective of sex, will participate in elections and appoint the people to whom they entrust the work of administration. At the head of all local administrations stands the central administration, not a government, let it be noted, that dominates by force, but an executive administrative collegium. It is immaterial whether the central administration is appointed directly by the whole nation or by the local administrations. In future these questions will not possess the importance they have today, for it will not be a matter of filling positions affording greater power and influence and a higher income, but of filling positions of trust, for which the fittest, male or female, will be chosen, and who will be recalled or re-elected if this is demanded by circumstances or the electors deem it desirable. All positions will be held only for set terms. The holders of these posts will have no special "bureaucratic qualities", there will neither be any permanent tenure of office nor any hierarchic order of promotion. Hence it is also immaterial whether there are intermediate stages between the central and local administrations, such as provincial administrations, etc. If they are deemed necessary, they will be established, if not, they will be let alone. All this is decided by the requirements practice reveals. If social advance has made old organisations redundant, they are abolished without farther ado since no one is personally interested in their continued existence, and new ones are set up. This administration, resting on the broadest democratic foundation, differs basically from the one we have today. What a battle in the newspapers, what a war of tongues in our parliaments, what heaps of documents in our offices over the must trivial change in the administration or the government!

The main and most urgent task will be to determine the size and the nature of the available labour force, the number and kind of the means of labour, factories, workshops, means of communications, land, etc., and their present productivity. The next task will be to establish what stocks are on hand and what amount of articles and supplies is needed to cover requirements over a given period. In a manner similar to that used by the state and various public bodies to establish their annual budgets, in future similar assessments of all society's needs will be drawn up taking into account the changes resulting from increased or new requirements. Statistics play the main role in this; they are the most important auxiliary science in the new society for they furnish the measure of all social activity.

Statistics are used extensively for similar purposes even today. The imperial, state and municipal budgets are based on a large body of statistical data, which is collected each year by the individual branches of the administration. Long experience and a certain stability in current requirements facilitate their collection. Every owner of a larger factory, every merchant, is normally able to determine accurately his requirements for the coming quarter and how he should regulate production and purchases. Unless the changes which ensue are excessive, he can easily adapt his plans accordingly.

The experience that crises are caused by blind, anarchic production, that is, because production is carried on without a knowledge of the stocks, sales and demand for various articles on the world market has for years now caused large industrialists in the most diverse branches to amalgamate in cartels and trusts, partly so as to fix prices and partly so as to regulate production on the basis of previous experience and orders received. Estimates based on the production capacity of each individual establishment and its probable sales stipulate how much each should produce over the next few months. Excesses are punished by high penalties and proscriptions. Entrepreneurs enter into these agreements not for the benefit but to the detriment of the public and to their own advantage. Their purpose is to use the power of the coalition to gain the greatest advantages for themselves. This regulation of production is designed to exact from the public prices which could not be obtained if there were competitive struggle between individual entrepreneurs. They enrich themselves at the expense of the consumers who must pay the demanded prices for products they need. Like the consumer, the worker is also victimised by cartels, trusts, etc. The regulation of production by entrepreneurs deprives part of the employees and workers of their jobs, who in order to live are obliged to underbid their fellow workers. Besides, the social power of the cartels is so great that workers' organisations are seldom able to prevail against them. The entrepreneurs thus have a double advantage: they receive higher prices and pay lower wages. This regulation of production through associations of entrepreneurs is the reverse of the regulation which will take root in socialist society. Today the interests of the entrepreneurs are the determining factor, in future the public interest will be decisive. For all that, in bourgeois society even the best organised cartel is unable to make allowances for and to control all factors; competition and profiteering run riot on the world market despite the cartels, and thus it suddenly emerges that there is a flaw in their computations, and the artificial structure collapses.

Like large-scale industry, trade too makes use of extensive statistics. Every week the big trading centres and ports publish reviews on stocks of petroleum, coffee, cotton, sugar, grain, etc., which, admittedly, are often inaccurate, because the owners of the goods have often a personal interest in preventing the truth from being publicised. On the whole, however, these statistics are quite accurate and give those who are interested an idea of how the market will shape in the near future. But here too speculation steps in and distorts and upsets all computations and often makes all real business impossible. However, just as general regulation of production is impossible in bourgeois society because of the many thousands of private producers with their conflicting interests, regulation of distribution is equally impossible because of the speculative nature of commerce, the great number of merchants and their conflicting interests. What has been achieved up to now indicates what could be dune when private interest disappears and the common interest alone holds sway. Evidence for this is to be found, for example, in the state harvest statistics issued yearly by all advanced countries, which make it possible to estimate yields, supplies needed to cover the domestic demand and the probable prices.

In a socialised society, however, conditions are fully regulated and the whole of society is bound in solidarity. Everything proceeds according to plan and order and the measure of the demand for various products is easily determined. With a little experience the task soon becomes child's play. Once the average demand, for example, for bread, meat, shoes, linen, etc, has been statistically ascertained, and we know the exact productivity of the relevant establishments, the average daily duration of socially necessary labour can be ascertained. This provides furthermore information as to whether more establishments are necessary for the production of specific articles, or whether some can be closed as superfluous, or re-equipped for other purposes.

Each individual decides on the type of work he wishes to engage in. The great number of diverse fields of activity makes it possible to take account of the most varied wishes. If it appears that there is a surplus of labour in one field and a shortage in another, then the administration has to make arrangements to establish an equilibrium. To organise production and to give the various workers the chance to be used in the right place, this will be the main task of the elected functionaries. As workers grow accustomed to working with each other, so the mechanism begins to function more smoothly. The various branches of production and departments choose organisers, who are to take over management. They are not taskmasters like the inspectors and stewards of today but comrades who exercise an administrative function specially entrusted to them instead of a productive function. It is conceivable that with the attainment of advanced organisation and a higher educational standard by all those participating is production, these functions will be alternated and taken over in certain order by all concerned regardless of sex.


Labour organised on the basis of complete freedom and democratic equality, where it is each for all and all for each, hence, where full solidarity reigns, will generate a desire to create and a spirit of emulation not to be found anywhere in the economic system of today. This creative impulse affects the productivity of labour as well.

Furthermore, since all work for each other's benefit, all are interested in producing articles of the best possible quality with the least effort and in the shortest possible time in order to save labour time and gain time for the production of new articles to satisfy higher needs. This common interest induces all to bend their thoughts to improving, simplifying and accelerating the labour process. The ambition to invent and to discover is stimulated to the highest degree, and each will seek to outdo the other in suggestions and ideas.(1) Hence, there will occur precisely the opposite of what the adversaries of socialism claim. How many inventors and discoverers meet their ruin in bourgeois society! How many are exploited and cast aside! If talent and intellect were to head bourgeois society instead of property, the majority of entrepreneurs would have to make room for their workers, foremen, technicians, engineers, chemists, etc. These are the people who in 99 cases out of 100 make the inventions, discoveries and improvements which are then exploited by the money-bag. How many thousands of discoverers and inventors have been ruined because they could not find anybody willing to provide the means to implement their inventions and discoveries, how many outstanding inventors and discoverers have been crushed by the social misery of the daily rut eludes all computation. It is not the men with a clear head on their shoulders and sharp intellect but those possessing large wealth who rule the world, while this does not imply that a clear head and the ownership of a well-filled purse are never united in one person.

Everyone who is concerned with practical affairs knows how suspicious the worker is today of every improvement, of every invention that is to be introduced. And he is right. As a rule, it is not he who enjoys the advantage it offers, but his employer; he cannot help but fear that the new machines, the improvements being introduced, will throw him out into the street as superfluous. Instead of welcoming an invention which does honour to mankind and offers it advantages, he only has a curse on his lips. And how many production improvements discovered by workers are not introduced. Workers keep silent about them for they fear lest they should derive harm, not benefit, from them. Such are the natural consequences of the antagonism of interests.

In socialist society the antagonism of interests is removed. Each develops his abilities in his own interest and thereby benefits the community. Today the gratification of personal egoism and the commonweal are for the most part antagonistic, the one excludes the other; in the new society these antagonisms are removed, the gratification, of personal egoism and the promotion of the commonweal go harmoniously hand in hand card coincide.(2)

The wonderful effects of such a moral condition are clear. Labour productivity will grow enormously. It will grow in particular owing to the abolition of the enormous dispersion of the labour force into hundreds of thousands, even millions of dwarf establishments using imperfect tools and means of production. Everybody knows how vast is the number of petty, medium and big establishments into which German industry is broken up. The amalgamation of small and medium establishments into large ones, which will enjoy all the advantages the most modern machinery can provide, will eliminate the present enormous waste of effort, time, all sorts of materials (light, heating, etc.) and space, and will increase labour productivity many times over.

The difference between the productivity of small, medium and big establishments can be illustrated by figures taken from the industrial census in the state of Massachusetts in 1890. The establishments in the ten basic branches of industry were divided into three categories. Those producing less than $40,000 worth of products were classified as belonging to the lower category, those producing between $40,000 and $150,000 worth were placed in the medium category, and those manufacturing over $150,000 worth in the upper category.

The results were as follows:

Categories Number of
Percentage of
Output of individual
categories in value
terms (dollars)
Percentage of the
total value of
3,696 100 549,346,552 100

The small establishments numbering more than twice those of the middle and upper categories accounted for only 9.4 per cent of the total output, and the large establishments making up only 23 per cent of the total produced almost two and a half times as much as all the other establishments taken together. But the big establishments could also be rationalised considerably, so that if the whole of production were to be organised in accordance with the most advanced technology, a much larger quantity of work could be done.

How much time can be saved by placing production on a rational basis has been shown by the interesting calculations made by Th. Hertzka in his book The Laws of Social Development, published in 1886. He investigated how much labour and time was needed to satisfy the requirements of the population of Austria then numbering 22 million, by means of large-scale production. For this purpose Hertzka gathered information on the capacity of big enterprises in various branches and based his calculations on that data. These calculations cover the cultivation of 10.5 million hectares of arable land and three million hectares of pastures, which should suffice to satisfy the requirements in agricultural products and meat of the above-mentioned population. Hertzka included in his calculations the provision of housing on the basis of a small house of 150 square metres and five rooms, strong enough to last 50 years, for each family. It appeared that 615,000 workers would be required to work the present average working day throughout the year in agriculture, the building industry and the production of flour, sugar, coal, metal, machinery, clothing and chemicals. These 615,000 workmen, however, accounted for only 12.3 per cent of Austria's able-bodied population, after excluding all women us well as the male population under 16 and over 50 years of age from production. If all the five million men available at the time of the investigation were to work instead of the above 615,000, then each one of them would have to work only 36.9 days, about 6 weeks, to produce the means of subsistence for 22 million people. If we take 300 working days a year instead of 37, then, with the new organisation of labour, and estimating the duration of the present working day as eleven hours, it would require only 1 3/8_ hours to satisfy the most essential requirements.

Hertzka also computed the demand for luxury articles by those comfortably situated and found that the production of such articles for 22 million people would require a further 315,000 workers. In all, according to Hertzka, who made allowances for the fact that some industries were not sufficiently represented in Austria, about one million workers, equal to 20 per cent of the able-bodied male population, excluding those under 16 and over 50, would be required to satisfy all the requirements of the population in 60 days. If, again, we take into account the entire able-bodied male population, the latter would have to work an average of only two and a half hours a day.

This computation will not surprise anybody with a clear grasp of the conditions. If we now assume that men over 50, except the sick and disabled, could still work such moderate hours, and that youths under 16 could be active, as well as a large proportion of the women, in so far as these are not engaged in bringing up children, preparing food, etc., even these hours could be considerably shortened, or else requirements could be considerably raised. Nobody would deny that very significant progress, the scale of which is even hard to foresee, is being made in perfecting production processes, which will provide still greater advantages. On the other hand, the point is to satisfy the mass of wants felt by all, which today can be satisfied only for a minority, and as culture develops ever new wants emerge, which should also be satisfied. It should be repeated over and over again that the new society does not want to live in a proletarian way, that it demands a life fit for highly civilised people, and this for all its members, from the first to the last. It should satisfy not only the material wants of all but should also ensure sufficient time to all for their education in all the arts and sciences, as well as for recreation.


The socialist communal system of economy will also differ in other, highly significant respects from the bourgeois individualistic system. The principle "cheap and bad", which is and must be the principle underlying a large part of bourgeois production, because most consumers can afford only inexpensive goods that soon wear out, is also abolished. Only the best will be produced, goods that will wear longer and have to be replaced less frequently. The follies and vagaries of fashion, which only promote waste and often tastelessness as well, will stop. People will undoubtedly dress more practically and more attractively than they do today — let us say in passing that fashions over the last century, especially men's fashions, have been distinguished by utter tastelessness — but new fashions will no longer be introduced every quarter, a stupidity, which, on the one hand, is closely linked with the rivalry between women and, on the other, with ostentation, vanity and the urge to display one's wealth. At present a great number of people depend for their livelihood on these follies of fashions and are compelled in their own interests to stimulate and foster them. Together with the folly of fashion in dress the folly of fashion in interior decoration will disappear. This is where eccentricity thrives at its worst. Styles that gradually evolved over the centuries and among the most different nations — people no longer content themselves with European styles but turn to Japanese, Indian, Chinese and other styles — are exhausted in the space of a few years and rejected. Our artists and craftsmen are at a loss where to turn with all their samples and models. No sooner have they stocked up in one style, and hope to be able to recover their outlay, then a new "style" appears which again demands great sacrifices of time and money, mental and physical effort. This scramble and chase from one fashion to the other, and from one style to the other, reflects the nervous tension of our age most graphically. No one would want to assert that there is sense in this rushing and scurrying, or sec it as a sign of the health of society.

Socialism alone will reintroduce greater stability in society's habits; it will make rest and enjoyment possible and free people from the bustle and excitement holding sway at present. Nervous tension, the scourge of our age, will then disappear.

But labour is also to be as pleasant as possible. This requires tastefully and practically equipped workshops, the utmost precautions against all danger, the removal of unpleasant odours, vapours, smoke, etc., in short, of all harmful and annoying factors. To begin with, the new society carries on production with the instruments and means of production it inherits from the old society. But these are inadequate. Numerous and scattered, in every respect highly inadequate workshops, faulty tools and machinery, at all possible stages of serviceability, suffice neither for the number of employed, nor for the satisfaction of their demand for convenience and comfort. The setting up of a large number of spacious, light, airy and adequately equipped and decorated workshops is, therefore, the most urgent requirement. Art and technology, mental and manual skills, immediately find an extensive field of application. All branches of engineering, tool production, building and the branches of industry linked with the internal fitting out of premises have ample opportunity for activity. Everything human inventiveness can create in the way of convenient and pleasant buildings, proper ventilation, lighting and heating, machinery and equipment, and cleaning installations is put to use. The saving in motor power, heating, lighting, time, effort and the various things that make work and life agreeable for all, demands that there be the most rational concentration of workshops at certain points. Dwellings will be separated from work premises and from the disagreeable features of Industrial activity, while suitable installations and provisions of all sorts will reduce these disagreeable features to a minimum, and will ultimately remove them altogether. In its present state technology has sufficient means at its disposal to eliminate all danger from the most dangerous trades, such as mining and the chemical industry. They are not applied in bourgeois society because they are expensive and because there is no obligation to do more for the protection of workers than is absolutely necessary. The discomforts experienced, for example, by miners could be removed by a different method of mining, by comprehensive ventilation, the installation of electric lighting, a considerable shortening of hours and frequent change of shifts. It requires no special insight to find safety measures that would, for example, make accidents on building sites practically impossible and make the work on them one of the most pleasant occupations. Thus, ample protection could be provided against the heat of the sun and against rain in the biggest building sites, and also in all other open air jobs.

Furthermore, in a society that would have an ample labour force at its disposal, such as socialist society, it would be easy to introduce more frequent change of shifts and to concentrate certain types of work at specific seasons and times of day.

The problem of removing dust, smoke, soot and odours could be completely solved by chemistry and technology even today: this is not done or done only in part because private entrepreneurs do not want to sacrifice the necessary funds. Hence, the workshops of the future, irrespective of their location; be they above or underground, will differ most favourably from those of today. In the system of private enterprise improved installations are first and foremost a question of money, of whether the business can afford them, whether they will pay or not. If they do not pay, let the worker perish. Capital does not participate where no profit can be made. Humanity is not quoted on the stock exchange.(3)

In socialist society the question of profit will have played out its role, this society will know no other consideration but the welfare of its members. What is useful to them and protects them must be introduced, and what harms them must be stopped. Nobody is forced to join in a dangerous game. When undertakings involving danger are embarked upon, one can be sure that there will be many volunteers, all the more so since such undertakings could never be aimed at the destruction but only at the promotion of culture.


The widespread application of motive power and the most up-to-date machines and tools, a far-reaching division of labour and rational grouping of the labour force will raise production to a level that will make it possible considerably to reduce the working time necessary for the production of the requisite amount of means of subsistence. Higher production is of advantage to all; the individual share in output rises with increased labour productivity, and growing production makes it possible to reduce the number of working hours defined as socially necessary.

Among the types of motive power now finding application electricity will probably assume the decisive place. Even bourgeois society is endeavouring everywhere to put it at its service. The more extensively and the better this is done, the more it promotes general progress. The sooner will the revolutionising effect of this most powerful of all natural forces burst the bonds of the bourgeois world and open the door to socialism. Only in a socialist society, however, will electricity find the fullest and broadest possible application. As motive power, as well as a light and heat source, it will make an immeasurable contribution to improving society's living conditions. Electricity has an advantage over every other form of power in that there is an abundance of it in Nature. Our rivers, the tides of the sea, the wind and sunlight provide untold horse-power, once we learn how to use them rationally and to the full.

"A wealth of energy, by far exceeding all requirements, is offered by the parts of the earth's surface on which the heat of the sun pours down so regularly — and precisely where in the main it is not used and even regarded as burdensome — that a regularly operating technical plant could be set up. It might not be an exaggerated precaution for a nation to secure itself a share of such areas now. This would not even require very big areas; several square miles in North Africa would suffice to cover the needs of a country as large as the German Reich. Very high temperatures can be obtained through the concentration of solar heat and this would provide everything else: transportable mechanical power, the charging of storage batteries, light and heat, or direct fuel by means of electrolysis."(4) The man who discloses these prospects is no idle dreamer but a very honourable professor of Berlin University and retired President of the Physico-Technical State Institute, a top-ranking scientist. In his opening address at the Seventy-Ninth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Winnipeg (Canada) in August 1909, the famous English physicist Sir J. Thomson said that the day was not far off when the use of sun-rays would revolutionise our life, would make man independent of the energy of coal and water, and when all big cities would be surrounded by powerful installations, regular sun-traps which would accumulate the heat of the sun and store the energy thus obtained in mighty reservoirs. "It is the energy of the sun, stored up in coal, in waterfalls, in food, that practically does all the work of the world. How great is the supply the sun lavishes upon us becomes clear when we consider that the heat received by the earth under a high sun and a clear sky is equivalent, according to the measurements of Langley, to about 7,000 horse-power per acre. Though our engineers have not yet discovered how to utilise this enormous supply of power, they will, I have not the slightest doubt, ultimately succeed in doing so; and when coal is exhausted and our water-power inadequate, it may be that this is the source from which we shall derive the energy necessary for the world's work. When that comes about, our centres of industrial activity may perhaps be transferred to the burning deserts of the Sahara, and the value of land determined by its suitability for the reception of traps to catch sunbeams."(5) This removes the fear that we shall ever run short of fuel. And since the invention of storage batteries enables us to harness large quantities of energy and to store them for use at any place and any time, it will be possible to store up and use, in addition to the power provided by the sun and the tides, the power provided by the wind and mountain streams, which only can be obtained periodically. In short, there is no human activity for which, if necessary, motive power would not be available.

Only with the help of electricity has it become possible to use water-power on a large scale. According to T. Koehn, the water-power available in eight European countries is as follows:

HP Per 1,000 of the population
Great Britain 963,000 23.1
German 1,425,900 24.5
Switzerland 1,500,000 138.0
Italy 5,500,000 150.0
France 5,857,000 169.0
Austria-Hungary 6,460,000 454.5
Sweden 6,750,000 1,290.0
Norway 7,500,000 3,409.0

Baden and Bavaria have the biggest water-power resources of the German federal states. Baden alone is able to harness about 200,000 h.p. in the Upper Rhine, Bavaria has over 300,000 untapped horse-power (in addition to the 100,000 h.p. now utilised). Professor Rehbock in Karlsruhe estimates the theoretical potential energy of all the running water on the earth's surface at 8,000 million h.p. If even a mere 1/16 of it could be used to advantage we should still be able to obtain 500 million constantly operating horse-power, that is, power which, according to rough computations, will exceed that obtained from coal mined in 1907 (1,000 million tons) more than tenfold. Although these estimates are as yet theory, they do show what results we can expect in future from "white coal". The falls on the Niagara river, which flows through lakes with a total area of 231,880 square kilo-metres — an urea equal to about 13 per cent of the surface area of the whole of Germany with its 540,000 square kilo-metres — can provide more water-power than England, Germany and Switzerland taken together. According to another estimate, quoted in an official report, there are no less than 20 million horse-power available in the United States of America — an equivalent of 300 million tons of coal a year. Moreover, the factories driven by "white" or "green" coal, by the power of roaring mountain streams and waterfalls will have no chimneys and no furnaces.

Electricity will make it possible to more than double the speeds on our railways. While Mr. Meems of Baltimore in the early nineties of the last century thought it possible to build an electric car able to travel 300 kilometres an hour, and Professor Elihu Thomson of Lynn (Massachusetts) also believed it possible to construct electric motors, which, given suitable reinforcement of the permanent way and corresponding improvements in the signalling system, would reach speeds of up to 260 km/hr these assumptions have by now, almost been confirmed. The trial runs made in 1901 and 1902 on the military Berlin-Zossen line have proved that it is possible even now to attain a velocity of up to 150 kilometres per hour. Then, in the trial runs made in 1903 the Siemens car reached a velocity of 201, and the AEG model that of 208 kilometres. In the trial runs of express steam trains made in subsequent years speeds of 150 kilometres an hour and more were also reached.

The target now is 200 kilometres an hour. And August Scherl has already appeared on the scene with his new project for express trains, according to which existing lines are to be allocated to freight traffic while large towns are to be linked by monorail trains travelling at 200 kilometres an hour.(6)

The question of the electrification of railways has been placed on the agenda in England, Austria, Italy and America. An electric express capable of speeds up to 200 kilo-metres an hour is to link Philadelphia and New York.

The speed of steamers will also increase and the decisive factor in this is the steam turbine.(7) "It stands today in the forefront of technical interest. It appears to be destined to oust the piston-type steam-engine in extensive fields of application. While most engineers were still regarding the steam turbine as a proposition of the future, it had become a problem of the present, which by virtue of its success attracted the attention of the entire technical world .... It was only electrical engineering with its fast machines that created a vast field of application for the new power-driven machine. The vast majority of all steam turbines operating today serve to drive dynamo machines."(8) The new steam turbine has shown its supremacy over the older piston-type steam-engine particularly in ocean crossings. Thus, in August 1909 the English ocean liner Lusitania, equipped with steam turbines, made the trip from Ireland to New York in four days, 11 hours and 42 minutes, at an average speed of 25.85 knots (about 48 kilometres) an hour. The America built in 1863, the fastest ship in its day, travelled at a speed of 12.5 knots (23.16 km).(9) The day is not far off when a satisfactory solution will be found to enable big ships to use electric propeller drives. They are already being used in small ships. Simple maintenance and high safety in operation, good self-regulation and smooth running make the steam turbine the ideal propelling power for the generation of electricity on board. Thus the electrification of all shipbuilding will go hand in hand with the electrification of the entire railway network.

Electricity also revolutionises hoisting equipment. "While steam power first made it possible to build hoisting machines using natural power, electric power transmission has completely transformed the construction of hoisting machines, since it alone made these machines mobile and constantly ready for operation." Electric drive has led, among other things, to extremely far-reaching changes in the design of cranes. "With its massive curved beak of rolled iron, resting on a foundation of heavy square slabs, with its slow movements and hissing of steam it puffs out, the steam crane is reminiscent of a prehistoric monster. Once it has taken hold it works up an enormous leverage, but it needs people as understrappers who attach the load to its hook with chains. Because its gripping movement is unwieldy, slow and clumsy, the steam crane is only suitable for heavy freight but not for the rapid transfer of loads. Even the exterior of the modern steel crane driven by electric power creates a very different impression: we are confronted with a delicate steel lattice-work girder reaching across the work premises, and protruding from it a slender, pincer-like beam that can be moved in all directions; the whole thing is operated by one person, whose gentle pressure on the control lever regulates the electric currents and with their help makes the slender steel members of the crane carry out rapid motions, so that they, without the assistance of an understrapper, grip the glowing block of steel and swing it through the air. No noise is heard except the soft humming of the electric motors."(10) Without the help of these machines it would be impossible to cope with the steadily growing loads. The development of the hoisting capacity between the middle and close of the 19th century can be illustrated by comparing the capacity of the dock cranes at Pola and Kiel. The hoisting capacity of the first was 60 tons, of the second 200 tons. The running of a Bessemer steel works is possible only if rapidly operating hoisting-machines are available, otherwise the enormous quantities of molten steel, which are produced in a short time, could not be transported in moulds. In the Krupp Works in Essen alone there are 608 cranes with a total hoisting capacity of 6,513 tons, equal to the capacity of a goods train of 650 trucks. The low cost of sea-freight, a vital factor in communications in the modern world, would be impossible if the capital invested in ships could not be used so intensively thanks to rapid unloading. The equipment of a ship with electric deck cranes reduces annual operating costs from 23,000 to 13,000 marks, that is, almost halves them. Moreover this comparison applies to the progress made in the space of a mere ten years or so.

Each passing day brings epoch-making successes in all fields of communications technology. The problem of flight, which two decades ago still seemed insoluble, has already been solved. And if dirigible airships and various types of flying apparatus do not yet make mass transport easier and cheaper, but serve only sports and militarism, the day will come when they too will multiply society's productive forces. Important progress is also being made by wireless telegraphy and telephony; each day they are finding wider industrial application. In a few years all communications will be placed on a new footing.

Mining, with the exception of the hewing process, is today being revolutionised to an extent that would have been inconceivable ten years ago. This revolution consists in the introduction of electric drive for drainage, ventilation, underground transport and hoisting. The electric drive has revolutionised working machines, pumps, winches and hoisting equipment.

In a speech delivered at a banquet of the Association of Chemical Manufacturers in the spring of 1891, Professor Berthelot (died March 18, 1907), the former French Minister of Public Instruction, outlined fantastic prospects for chemistry's future. Berthelot described the probable position of chemistry in the year 2000, and although his speech contains many a droll exaggeration, it also has much that is apt and we shall therefore give some excerpts from it.

Monsieur Berthelot described chemistry's achievements over the past few decades and among them mentioned the following: "The manufacture of sulphuric acid and soda, bleaching and dying, beet-sugar, therapeutic alkaloids, gas, gilding and silvering, etc.; then came electrochemistry, which radically transformed metallurgy, thermal chemistry and the chemistry of explosives, which supplies the mining industry, as also warfare, with new sources of power, and the wonders of organic chemistry in the manufacture of dyes, perfumes, of therapeutic drugs and antiseptics, etc. This is, however, only a start, soon much more important problems are to be solved. By the year 2000 there will be no more agriculture and no peasants, for chemistry will have put an end to the present forms of agriculture. There will also be no more coal mines and, hence, no miners' strikes. Fuels will be replaced by chemical and physical processes. Duties and wars will have been abolished: aerial navigation, which will use chemical substances for motive power, will have pronounced the death sentence upon those obsolete institutions. Industry's problem will be to find sources of energy which are inexhaustible and can be restored with a minimum of effort. Until now we have produced steam with the help of chemical energy released by burning coal; but coal is difficult to mine and its deposits decrease from day to day. Man should turn his thoughts to the utilisation of solar heat and heat from the earth's interior. There is reason to hope that both sources will be used boundlessly. To bore a well of 3,000 to 4,000 metres is not beyond the powers of present-day engineers, let alone those of the future. The source of all heat and of all industry will thus be unlocked and if water is taken into consideration as well, all imaginable machinery on earth could operate, and there would not be any noticeable decrease in this source of energy in hundreds of years.

"Terrestrial heat would help to solve numerous chemical problems, including the supreme problem of chemistry, the production of food. In principle, the problem has already been solved. The synthesis of oils and fats has been known for a long time, sugar and carbo-hydrates are also known, the method of compounding nitrogen elements will soon be learned. The food problem is a purely chemical one; the day the necessary cheap power is obtained it will be possible to use the carbon from carbon dioxide, hydrogen and oxygen from water and nitrogen from the atmosphere to produce foods of all kinds. What plants have done up to now will be carried out by industry and more effectively than by Nature. The time will come when everybody will carry with him a box of chemicals in his pocket from which he will satisfy his daily quota of protein, fat and carbo-hydrates, paying no heed to the time of day or season, to rain and drought, frost, hail and insect pests. A revolution will then set in which is inconceivable today. Orchards, vineyards and pastures will disappear; man will gain in gentleness and morality, because he will no longer live by the murder and destruction of living beings. Then the difference between fertile and barren areas will disappear, the deserts may become man's favourite habitat, because they are healthier than the infested alluvial land and foul swampy plains where agriculture is now practised. When art and all that is beautiful in human life will come into their own as well. The earth will no longer be, as it were, marred by geometrical shapes now drawn by agriculture, but it will be a garden in which grass and flowers, bushes and woods can be allowed to grow as they please, and in which mankind will live in abundance in a golden age. People will, therefore, not sink into indolence and corruption. Work is necessary for happiness, and man will work as much as ever before, because he will be working only for himself, in order to raise his mental, moral and aesthetic development to the highest possible level."

The reader may accept what he wishes in Berthelot's speech; however, it is certain that in future progress in diverse fields will enormously increase the quality, volume and variety of products and that for future generations the good things in life will be improved to an almost inconceivable degree.

Professor Elihu Thomson agrees with Werner Siemens, who as early as 1887, at the Berlin Conference of Naturalists, expressed the view that it would be possible with the help of electricity to transform chemical elements directly into food. While Werner Siemens was of the opinion that it would be possible, even if in the remote future, to produce artificially a carbo-hydrate such as grape-sugar, and later also starch, so closely related to the former, which would enable people to make "bread out of stones", the chemist Dr. V. Meyer claimed that it would be possible to use wood fibre as a source of human food. In the meantime (1890) Emil Fischer has actually produced grape-sugar and fruit-sugar artificially and thus made a discovery which Werner Siemens thought possible only "in the remote future". Since then chemistry has made further progress. Indigo, vanillin and camphor have all been artificially produced. In 1906, W. Löb succeeded in assimilating carbon dioxide as far as the sugar stage outside plants by means of high voltages. In 1907, Emil Fischer obtained one of the most intricate synthetic substances, one very closely related to natural protein (an albumen). In 1908, R. Willstätter and Benz produced pure chlorophyl and proved that it is a magnesium compound. In addition, a series of important substances that play a role in reproduction and heredity have also been produced artificially. The solution of the main problem of organic chemistry — the production of protein — can thus be expected in the not too distant future.


A need deeply implanted in human nature is to be free to choose an occupation and to change it at will. Just as constant repetition makes the choicest dish repulsive, so does the treadmill of a repetitive occupation day in day out render the mind dull and slack. Man works only mechanically, does what he has to do without any higher inspiration and enjoyment. In every man there are latent abilities and inclinations which only need to be awakened and developed to produce the most beautiful results. Only then will man become full man. Socialist society will offer full opportunities for the satisfaction of this need for variety. The enormous growth of the productive forces in conjunction with the increasing simplification of the labour process makes it possible not only considerably to reduce working hours but also facilitates the acquisition of the most diverse skills.

The old apprentice system has outlived its usefulness even now, it exists and is possible only in the most backward, outdated modes of production, such as handicrafts. Since these disappear in the new society, all the establishments and patterns inherent in them disappear at the same time. New ones take their place. Even now every factory shows how few of its workers are plying the trade they were apprenticed in. The workers ply the most diverse trades and mostly only a short time is needed to train them for a single operation, in which they then, in accordance with the prevailing system of exploitation, exert themselves for long hours, without change or regard for their inclinations and while working at their machines become machines themselves.(11) This state of affairs will also be eliminated by the new organisation of society. There will be ample time for the acquisition of manual dexterity and artistic skills. Large training workshops, equipped with every comfort and first-class technical appliance, help young and old to acquire skills. Chemical and physical laboratories, satisfying all the demands of these sciences at the level reached by then, will be provided and likewise adequate numbers of teaching staff. Only then will people realise what a world of ambitions and abilities the capitalist mode of production was stilling, or by what false methods it let them develop.(12)

It is not only possible to take into consideration this need for variety, it must be the aim of society to satisfy this need, because it is one of the factors upon which hinges man's harmonious development. Faces that betray men's professions which are to in found in present-day society — whether these be professions involving some kind of set uniform actions or indolence — will gradually disappear. At present there are extraordinarily few people who have the opportunity to vary their occupation. Occasionally we find some favoured by circumstances who are able to escape the monotony of an everyday occupation, who after having paid tribute to physical work are able to recuperate by engaging in mental work. Conversely, now and then, we find people engaged in mental work who take up some kind of handiwork, gardening, etc. That a pursuit involving an alternation of mental and manual labour has a beneficial effect will be confirmed by every hygienist, it alone is natural, provided that every activity is carried on with moderation and that it corresponds to the strength of the individual.

In his article "The Significance of Science and Art" Count Leo Tolstoi lashes out at the hypertrophic and unnatural character that art and science have assumed in the unnatural conditions prevailing in our society. He sharply condemns the contempt for physical labour that has taken root in present-day society and recommends a return to natural conditions. Everybody who wishes to live naturally and find enjoyment should spend the day by engaging, first, in physical labour in agriculture, secondly, in handicrafts, thirdly, in mental work, fourthly, in enlightened social Intercourse. No-one should do more than eight hours physical work in a day. Tolstoi who himself practises this way of life and who, as he himself says, only feels human since he has taken it up, overlooks only the fact that what is possible for him — a man of independent means — is under present conditions impossible for the majority of people. A man, who has to put in ten to twelve, and sometimes even more, hours of hard physical labour every day to secure the most meagre existence and who is brought up in ignorance, is unable to follow the Tolstoian way of life. Neither can those, who have to carry on a struggle for existence and submit to its demands, while the few who, like Tolstoi, could afford it do not for the most part experience the need to do so. It is one of the illusions Tolstoi indulges in: the belief that preaching and example can change social systems. The experience gained by Tolstoi with his way of life proves how rational it is, but to introduce it as the general practice there must be different social conditions, a new society.

The future society will provide these conditions, it will have an abundance of scholars and artists of every kind, but each of them will do physical work for part of the day and, in keeping with his tastes, devote the rest of the time to his studies and the artistic pursuits, to sociable intercourse.(13)

The existing antithesis between mental and physical labour, an antithesis the ruling-classes intensify to the utmost in order to secure for themselves in addition the intellectual means of domination, will therefore have to be abolished.


From the above it also follows that times of crisis and unemployment will be impossible in the future society. Crises arise from the fact that capitalist production, lured on by profit and without a reliable gauge for actual demand, creates a glut on the commodity market, results in overproduction. The commodity nature of products in the capitalist economic system, which their owners endeavour to exchange, makes the consumption of commodities subjects to the consumers' capacity to buy. This capacity is, however, very limited since the vast majority of the population is underpaid for their labour and cannot put it to use at all if their employer is unable to squeeze surplus value out of it. The capacity to buy and the capacity to consume are two different things in the bourgeois world. Many millions are in want of new clothes, shoes, furniture, linen, food, beverages, but they have no money, and their wants, that is, their capacity to consume, remain unsatisfied. The commodity market is overstocked, but the masses starve; they want to work but can find no one to buy their labour, because the entrepreneur does not gain anything from doing so. "Perish, rot, become a tramp, a criminal, I, the capitalist, cannot change things, I cannot use commodities for which I cannot find a purchaser to buy them with a corresponding profit." And in his own way the man is quite right.

In the future society this contradiction will no longer exist. It does not produce "commodities" to be "bought" and "sold", but produces the necessaries of life that are used up, consumed, and have no other purpose. In the new society the capacity to consume is not limited by the individual's ability to buy, as it is in bourgeois society, but by the collective capacity to produce. If the instruments of labour and the labour force are available every need can be satisfied. The social capacity to consume is limited only by the consumers' saturation point.

There being no "commodities" in the future society, neither call there be any money. Money appears as the antithesis of the commodity, but it is a commodity itself. Yet money, even though itself a commodity, is at the same time the social equivalent, the measure of value for all other commodities. The future society will not produce commodities but only articles for the satisfaction of needs, use values, whose production requires a definite amount of social labour time. The average labour time required for the production of an article is the only measure by which its social usefulness can be measured. Ten minutes of social labour time spent on an article are equal to ten minutes of social labour time spent on another article, no more no less. Society does not want to "profit", it only wants to organise among its members the exchange of articles of equal quality, equal use value, and ultimately it does not even need to establish a use value — it simply produces what it needs. If society should find that for the production of all necessary products it needs a three-hour working day, it will introduce one.(14) Should methods of production so improve that requirements can be covered in two hours, a two-hour working day will be introduced. Should society conversely require the satisfaction of higher wants which, despite the increase in the labour force and higher labour productivity, cannot be satisfied in two or three hours, a longer working day is introduced. Its will is its kingdom of Heaven.

The amount of social labour time required for the production of every single article is easily calculated.(15) The ratio of the part to the whole of the working time is measured accordingly. Some sort of a certificate, a piece of printed paper, gold or tin testifies to the number of hours worked and enables the owner to exchange this token for all manner of articles. Should he find that his wants come to smaller total than he has received for his efforts, he correspondingly works a shorter time. Should he want to give away what he has not consumed himself, there is nobody to stop him from doing so; should he wish to work for somebody else to enable that person to indulge in dolce far niente, or should he wish to share his title to the social products with him, there is nobody to prevent him from doing so. But no one can compel him to work for another's advantage, no one can withhold from him any part of his title to the social products he has earned. Everyone can satisfy all his fulfillable wishes and claims, but not at the expense of others. He receives the equivalent of what he has given to society, neither more nor less, and he is free from any exploitation by third parties.


"But what about the difference between the lazy and the industrious, between the intelligent and the stupid?" — such is one of the main questions of our opponents, and the answer to it causes them the greatest headache. That, for example, no distinction is made in our civil service hierarchy between the "lazy" and the "industrious", the "intelligent" and the "stupid", but that it is the length of service that decides the size of salaries and in most cases also promotion as well, except when special training is needed for some higher post, this is something to which none of these artful schemers and "wiseacres" ever give any thought. Teachers, professors — the latter in particular asking most naive questions — take up posts because of the salaries attached, not because of their qualities. It is common knowledge that in many cases promotion in our military, civil service and academic hierarchies goes not to those best qualified but to those blessed with advantages of birth, relatives, friends, the favour of women. That wealth is not measured by diligence and intelligence is strikingly illustrated by the Berlin innkeepers, bakers and butchers, who are sometimes unable to distinguish the dative from the accusative, but vote in the first class of the Prussian three-class electoral system, whereas the Berlin intelligentsia, men of science and senior civil servants of the Reich vote in the second or third class. No distinction will be drawn between the lazy and the industrious, the intelligent and the stupid, because the concepts these terms convey will have disappeared. Society considers as "lazy" him who has been thrown out of work and forced to become a tramp, and who in the end actually does become one, or him who after being deprived of a decent upbringing goes to the dogs. But he who calls one who is rolling in money and frittering away the day with idleness and debauchery a "lazy" fellow heaps insults on an "honourable" man.

How do things stand in the future society? All develop under equal conditions, and each is active according to his inclinations and skill and, therefore, the differences in performance will be insignificant.(16) The atmosphere of society which stimulates each to excel the other also helps to even out these distinctions. If someone discovers that he cannot do as much as others in some field, he chooses a different one, more in keeping with his strength and abilities. Those who have worked together with a large number of people in an establishment know that men who proved unfit and useless for a certain activity after being transferred to different posts carried out their jobs extremely well. There are no normal people who cannot satisfy even the highest demands in one activity or another, if only they are placed in the right job. By what right does one claim precedence over another? If somebody has been treated by Nature so step-motherly that with the best will in the world he is unable to do what others can, society cannot punish him for the faults of Nature. If, conversely, someone has received from Nature abilities which raise him above others, society is not obliged to reward what is not his personal merit. In socialist society, it should be remembered, all will enjoy identical living conditions and opportunities for education, and each will be afforded the opportunity to develop his knowledge and abilities in accordance with his talents and inclinations, which guarantees that not only the level of knowledge and abilities will be much higher in socialist than in bourgeois society, but also that they will be more evenly distributed and yet more varied.

When Goethe while on a journey along the Rhine was studying the Cathedral of Cologne, he discovered in the building acts drat the architects of old had paid their workmen equal wages for equal working hours; they did this because they wanted to get good and conscientious work from them. To bourgeois society this seems in many respects an anomaly; it introduced a piece-work system by which the workers compel each other to overwork, and this makes it all the easier for the entrepreneur to underpay his workers, and to lower wages. The same also applies to mental work. Man is a product of the time and circumstances in which he lives. A Goethe born under conditions equally favourable to his development in the fourth, instead of the 18th century, would probably have become, instead of a famous poet and natural scientist, a great Father of the Church, who might have put St. Augustine in the shade. If, on the other hand, Goethe had come into the world as the son of a poor cobbler in Frankfort, instead of being the son of a rich Frankfort patrician, he would hardly have become a Minister of the Grand Duke of Weimar, but would most probably have remained a cobbler and would have died an honourable master of the craft. In his Wilhelm Meister Goethe himself acknowledged the advantage of his having been born in a materially and socially favourable station which enabled him to develop his capacities to such a high level. If Napoleon I had been born a decade later, he could have never become Emperor of France. Gambetta, too, would never have become what he did without the war of 1870-71. If a naturally gifted child of intelligent parents is placed among savages he, too, will become a savage. In short, man is what society has made of him. Ideas are not a product that springs from the mind of the individual as a result of inspiration from above, but they are produced in the mind of the individual by the social life and activity around him, by the Zeitgeist. An Aristotle could not have come up with the ideas of a Darwin and a Darwin inevitably reasoned differently from an Aristotle. Each thinks as the spirit of the age, as his environment and its phenomena force him to think. Hence the observation that different people often arrive at identical ideas simultaneously, and that identical inventions and discoveries are made simultaneously in places far apart from each other. Hence also the fact that an idea proclaimed fifty years too early left the world cold, but when repeated fifty years later, sets the whole world astir. In 1415, Emperor Sigismund could dare to break his word to Jan Hus and have him burned in Constance; in 1521, Charles V, though much more of a religious fanatic, was obliged to allow Luther to depart from the Diet of Worms unharmed.(17) Ideas are a product of social interaction, of social life. What is true of society in general, is true in particular of the various classes that in a given historical epoch compose society. Because every class has its specific interests, it also has its specific ideas and views, which lead to the class struggles, which abound in the annals of history and which have reached their climax in contemporary class antagonisms and class struggles. Therefore, not only the age a man lives in, but also the social stratum, to which he belongs in that age, is important since it moulds his sentiments, thoughts and actions.

Without modern society, there are no modern ideas. This we regard as clear and obvious. It should be added that in the future society, the means each uses for his development are the property of society. Hence, society cannot consider itself obliged to honour especially that which it itself has made possible and which is its own product.

So much for the qualification of physical and mental work. It follows that there can also be no distinction between "higher" and "lower" work, such as is often found today, for example, when a mechanic thinks more highly of himself than of a day-labourer who carries out road maintenance and similar work. Society allows only socially useful work to be carried out; hence, all work is of equal value to society. If work that is unpleasant and repulsive cannot be carried out by mechanical or chemical means and cannot through some process or other be changed into pleasant work — in view of the progress made in the technical and chemical fields this prospect will undoubtedly materialise — and if it should be impossible to find the necessary workers to carry it out voluntarily, the obligation will lie upon each member of society to do his share of such work when his turn comes.

There will then be no false shame and no senseless contempt for useful work. These exist only in our society of drones, where idleness is regarded as an enviable lot, and where the worker is the more despised, the more arduous and unpleasant his work and the more essential for society. Today the more unpleasant work is, the worse it is paid. The reason for this is that we have a great number of workers who are kept down at the lowest cultural level and who, as a result of the constant revolutionising of the production process, are thrown out into the street to form a reserve army, and that these workers in order to live are willing to do the most wretched work at wages so low that it is even "unprofitable" to introduce machinery for it. For example, stone-breaking is proverbially one of the worst paid and most disagreeable kinds of work. It would be a trifling matter to have stone-breaking done by machinery, as is the case in the United States, but we have such a lot of cheap labour that such machines would not "pay".(18) Street and sewer cleaning, refuse clearance, underground work and similar jobs could already at our present level of development be done with the aid of machinery and technical equipment so that they would lose every trace of the disagreeableness often associated with them for workers. Actually, a worker who pumps out sewers in order to protect people against harmful miasmas is a very useful member of society, whereas a professor who expounds falsified history in the interests of the ruling class, or a theologian who seeks to cloud men's minds with supernatural transcendental teachings, are very harmful individuals.

The learned fraternity of today, blest with high office and honours, represents for the most part a guild designed and paid to defend and justify the domination of the ruling classes with the authority of science, to make it appear just and necessary, and to preserve existing prejudices. Actually, this guild to a large extent engages in sham science, mind-poisoning, work detrimental to civilisation and mental wage-labour in the interests of the bourgeoisie and its clients.(19) A state of society that will make the existence of such elements impossible will be promoting the liberation of mankind.

On the other hand, genuine science is often connected with very unpleasant and repulsive work, such, for instance, as when a doctor makes an autopsy on a decaying corps or operates on suppurating parts of the body, or when a chemist investigates excrement. These jobs are often more repulsive than the most repulsive jobs day-labourers and un-skilled workers perform, but nobody ever thinks of admitting this. The difference is that one type of work requires extensive studies to be performed, while the other can be done by anyone and does not involve long studies. Hence, the entirely different appraisal. However, in a society where, owing to the wide opportunities for education afforded to all, the distinctions between the "learned" and "uncultured" have disappeared, the antithesis between skilled and unskilled work will also disappear, particularly since, due to technological progress, there will be no limits for the replacement of manual work by machinery or technological processes. We need look no further than the development of our arts and crafts as, for example, copperplate engraving, xylography, etc. Just as the most unpleasant jobs are often the most useful ones, so also our ideas regarding agreeable and disagreeable work, like so many other conceptions of the bourgeois world, turn out to be superficial ones, based, on nothing but externals.


As soon as all production in the future society is placed on a basis like the one outlined above, it no longer produces, as we already mentioned, "commodities", but only articles to satisfy society's needs. Trade ceases to exist except in such cases where contact with other peoples still living according to bourgeois principles makes trade along the old lines necessary, that is, trade of a kind that can only exist and is only justified in a society based on commodity production. This releases a large army of people of both sexes for productive activity. This large army, free to engage in production, now produces consumer goods and makes possible an increase in their consumption or else its utilisation promotes a reduction of the socially necessary labour time. Today these people subsist more or less as parasites on the product of the labour of others and often have to go to a lot of trouble and work diligently, this we shall not deny, without being able to eke out an adequate living. In the future society they will be superfluous in the role of merchants, innkeepers, brokers and intermediaries. Instead of the dozens, hundreds and thousands of shops and trading establishments of all sorts, which every community now has in proportion to its size, there will be large municipal supply centres, elegant markets, whole exhibitions, requiring relatively small administrative staffs. All trading activity becomes a centralised, purely administrative activity, which will involve extremely simple functions and which will be simplified still further through the centralisation of all social institutions. The entire communications system will undergo a similar reorganisation.

The telegraph and telephone systems, railways, postal service, river and marine fleets, trams, lorries and cars, airships and other flying apparatus — and whatever kinds of contrivances and vehicles there may be which make up society's communications — now become social property. In Germany many of these institutions, such as the postal services, the telegraph and telephone systems and most railways are already state institutions, their transformation into social property is only a formality. No private interests will be hurt in these cases. If the state continues to direct its efforts in the present direction, so much the better. But these state-administered establishments are not socialist establishments, as some mistakenly assume. They are establishments which are exploited by the state in just as capitalistic a way as if they were in the hands of private entrepreneurs. Neither the officials nor the workers employed in them gain any special advantage therefrom. The state treats them just as any private entrepreneur; when, for example, orders are issued in the establishments of the imperial fleet and the railway administration not to take on workmen over 40 years of age, this measure vividly demonstrates the class nature of the state as a state of exploiters, and cannot but incense the workers with indignation against the state. These and similar measures that proceed from the state in its role as employer are much worse than they would be if they proceeded from a private entrepreneur. As compared with the state, the latter is a small employer, and the employment he denies may be granted by another. The state, on the other hand, in its capacity of monopolistic employer, can by such rulings at one stroke reduce thousands of people to misery. That is not socialist, it is capitalist behaviour, and the socialists have every reason to take steps to prevent modern state establishments being regarded as socialist establishments and as the realisation of socialist aspirations.

Just as the millions of private employers, merchants and middlemen of all kinds will be replaced by big centralised establishments, so the entire transport system will also assume a new form. The millions of small shipments, which are sent every day to almost as many proprietors and which lead to a great waste of work, time and materials of every sort, will be replaced by large shipments dispatched to municipal depots and production centres. Thus, the work is greatly simplified in this sphere as well. As, for instance, the transportation of raw materials to an establishment employing a thousand workers is a much simpler undertaking than transporting them to hundreds of scattered small enterprises, so centres of production and distribution for whole communities, or their parts, will make possible considerable economies of all kinds. This will benefit the whole of society and every individual as well, for communal and personal interests will coincide. The face of our production centres, of the communication system and, especially, of our habitations will, as a result, be completely changed and they will acquire a much more pleasing appearance. The nerve-racking noise, hustle and bustle of our big cities with their thousands of vehicles of all sorts will in the main be done away with. Road-building, street-cleaning, the whole system of housing and living conditions, and the intercourse between people will all be radically transformed. It will be easy to carry out hygienic measures impossible today, or possible only in part and at great cost, which, more often than not, are undertaken only in the quarters of the rich.

The system of communications under such conditions is bound to attain the highest level of perfection, perhaps aviation will then become the chief means of transportation. The latter are the arteries that conduct the entire exchange of products — the blood circulation — through the whole of society, that facilitate personal and mental intercourse between people, and they are highly suitable to establish an equal level of well-being and education throughout society. The extension and ramification of the most perfect means of transportation to the remotest corners of the land is, therefore, a necessity and a matter of general social interest. The tasks confronting the future society in this field vastly exceed those which our present society can take upon itself. This greatly perfected system of communications will also promote the decentralisation of the vast numbers of people now crowded into the big cities and industrial centres, and their redistribution over the whole country; it will thus become a factor of decisive importance in promoting health as well as spiritual and material progress.

1. "... But the power also of emulation, in exciting to the most strenuous exertions for the sake of the approbation and admiration of others, is borne witness to by experience in every situation in which human beings publicly compete with one another, even if it be in things frivolous, or from which the public derive no benefit. A contest, who can do most for the common good, is not the kind of competition which Socialists repudiate" (John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy). Every union, every association of persons pursuing identical aims and aspirations, likewise furnishes numerous examples of such higher aims, which pursue not material but only moral rewards. The emulators are moved by the ambition to distinguish themselves, by the desire to serve the common cause. This type of ambition is a virtue, its pursuit promotes the general benefit, while also bringing the individual satisfaction. Ambition is harmful and objectionable only if it is pursued to the detriment of the community or at the expense of others.

2. In weighing the advantages and disadvantages of communism Stuart Mill writes in his Political Economy: "And no soil could be more favourable to the growth of such a feeling [that common and personal interests coincide], than a Communist association, since all the ambition, and the bodily and mental activity, which are now exerted in the pursuit of separate and self-regarding interests, would require another sphere of employment, and would naturally find it in the pursuit of the general benefit of the community."

3. "Capital is said by a Quarterly Reviewer to fly turbulence and strife, and to be timid, which is very true; but this is very incompletely stating the question. Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor a vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent. will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent. certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent, positive audacity; 100 per cent. will make it ready to trample on all human laws 300 per cent., and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged. If turbulence and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. Smuggling and the slave-trade have amply proved all that is here stated" T. J. Dunning, Trades' Unions and Strikes, London, 1860, pp. 35, 36.

4. Die Energie der Arbeit und die Anwendung des elektrischen Stromes, by Fr. Kohlrausch, Leipzig, 1900, Duncker & Humblot.

5. As early as 1861 Augustin Murchot attempted to make direct use of the heat of the sun for industrial purposes and designed a heliomotor, which was improved by Pifré. The biggest heliomotor is installed in California and is used to pump up water from a well at a speed of 11,000 litres a minute.

6. According to the new railway construction and traffic regulations of November 4, 1904, the speed limit for passenger trains with a thoroughgoing braking system has been set at 100 km/hr. In 1908, the Prussian Ministry of Public Works decided to replace steam traction on the Leipzig-Bitterfeld-Magdeburg and Leipzig-Halle lines by electric traction.

7. While the old steam-engine rotates the flywheel and driving wheels indirectly with the help of a piston moving to and fro, a steam turbine effects rotation directly, in the same way as the wind rotates a wind-wheel.

8. C. Matchoss. Die Entwicklung der Dampfmaschine, 2. Band, S. 606 bis 607, Berlin, 1908.

9. "In the fifties a trip to New York by sailing ship still took on an average six weeks, the steamer made the crossing in two weeks. In the nineties the distance was covered in a week, now it takes 5 1/2 days. As a result of this progress, the two continents have drawn closer to each other than were Berlin and Vienna a hundred years ago." E. Reyer, Kraft, S. 173, Leipzig, 1908.

10. O. Kammerer, Die Technik der Lastenforderung einst und jetzt, S. 260, Berlin, 1907.

11. "The generality of labourers in England and in most other countries have as little choice of occupation or freedom of locomotion, are practically as dependant on fixed rules and on the will of others as they could be on any system short of actual slavery" (John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy).

12. "A French workman, on his return from San Francisco, writes as follows: 'I never could have believed that I was capable of working at the various occupations I was employed on in California. I was firmly convinced that I was fit for nothing but letter-press printing .... Once in the midst of this world of adventurers, who change their occupation as often as they do their shirt, egad, I did as the others. As mining did not turn out remunerative enough, I left it for the town, where in succession I became typographer, slater, plumber, etc. In consequence of thus finding out that I am fit for any sort of work, I feel less of a mollusk and more of a man.'" A. Corbon, De l'enseignement professionnel, 2ième ed., p. 50.

13. What may become of people in conditions favourable to their development can be seen from the example of Leonardo da Vinci, who was an excellent painter, famed sculptor, sought-after architect and engineer, an excellent builder of fortifications, musician and extemporiser. Benvenuto Cellini was a famous goldsmith, excellent modeller, good sculptor, celebrated builder of fortifications, first-rate soldier and competent musician. Abraham Lincoln was a woodcutter, farmer, boatman, shop assistant and lawyer before he became President of the United States. It can be said without exaggeration that most people follow a trade that does nor correspond to their abilities, because it is not free will but force of circumstances that dictates their choice. Many a bad professor would do good work as a shoemaker and by the same token many a good shoemaker would make a good professor.

14. It should always be borne in mind that all of production is organised to the highest level of technical perfection and that all people are engaged in work so that under certain circumstances a three-hour working day may still be too long. Owen, who was a big manufacturer and can therefore be considered an expert, was of the opinion that in the first quarter of the 19th century a two-hour working day would suffice.

15. "The quantity of social labour contained in a product need not then be established in a roundabout way; daily experience shows in a direct way how much of it is required on the average. Society can simply calculate how many hours of labour are contained in a steam-engine, a bushel of wheat of the last harvest, or a hundred square yards of cloth of a certain quality. It could therefore never occur to it still to express the quantities of labour put into the products, quantities which it will then know directly and in their absolute amounts, in a third product, in a measure which, besides, is only relative, fluctuating, inadequate, though formerly unavoidable for lack of a better, rather than express them in their natural; adequate and absolute measures, time .... It will have to arrange its plan of production in accordance with its means of production, which include, in particular, its labour-power. The useful effects of the various articles of consumption, compared with one another and with the quantities of labour required for their production, will in the end determine the plan. People will be able to manage everything very simply, without the intervention of much-vaunted 'value'." (Frederick Engels, Anti-Dühring, Moscow, 1969, p. 367.)

16. "All generally well-organised people are born with an almost equal intellect, but education, laws, and circumstances make them differ from each other. The correctly understood individual interest merges with the common or social interest. Helvetius, On Man and His Education. Helvetius was right about the vast majority of people; but there is a difference in the natural aptitudes individuals have for diverse occupations.

17. In 1414, Jan Hus, leader of the Bohemian reformers, was treacherously seized and burnt at the stake at the Council in Constance despite a safe-conduct from the Emperor Sigismund. While Martin Luther was able to attend and leave unharmed the Diet of Worms in 1521.

18. "If, therefore, the choice were to be made between Communism with all its chances, and the present state of society with all its sufferings and injustices; if the institution of private property necessarily carried with it as a consequence, that the produce of labour should be apportioned as we now see it, almost in an inverse ratio to the labour — the largest portions to those who have never worked at all, the next largest to those whose work is almost nominal, and so in a descending scale, the remuneration dwindling as the work grows harder and more disagreeable, until the most fatiguing and exhausting bodily labour cannot count with certainty on being able to earn even the necessaries of life; if this, or Communism, were the alternative, all the difficulties, great or small, of Communism would be but as dust in the balance" (John Stuart Mill, op. cit., p. 128). Mill has tried hard to "reform" the bourgeois world, to make it see "reason". Naturally, in vain. And, therefore, he, as every intelligent person who realises the true state of affairs, ultimately became a socialist. He did not dare to admit this in his lifetime but made arrangements for his autobiography, containing his socialist credo, to be published after his death. His position was similar to that of Darwin, who in his lifetime did not want to be known as an atheist. Such is the comedy bourgeois society forces thousands to play. The bourgeoisie affects loyalty, faith in religion and authority, because its rule rests on the masses' recognition of these "virtues", but it laughs at them in its sleeve.

19. "Scholarship is as often the hand-maid of ignorance as of progress". Buckle, History of Civilisation in England.

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