Woman and Socialism. August Bebel
The Socialisation of Society
As soon as society has become the owner of all means of production, the duty to work of all able-bodied persons, regardless of sex, becomes a fundamental law of socialized society. Society cannot exist without labor. It therefore is justified in demanding that all who seek to satisfy their requirements, should also serve to the best of their physical and mental abilities in producing the commodities that are needful to satisfy the requirements of all. The silly assertion that the Socialists wish to abolish work is an absurdity. Lazy persons, shirkers of work, are met with in bourgeois society only. Socialism is agreed with the Bible in asserting that “he who will not work neither shall he eat.” But work shall be useful, productive activity. The new society will therefore insist that everyone choose some definite industrial, agricultural, or other useful activity, whereby he performs a certain amount of labor for the satisfaction of existing requirements. No enjoyment without labor, without labor no enjoyment.
Since all are obliged to work, all have the same interest in having three conditions of labor complied with. Firstly, that the work-day shall not be too long and that the work shall not require over-exertion; secondly, that the work shall be varied and as agreeable as possible; thirdly, that it shall be as productive as possible, since on this the length of the work-day and the number of obtainable enjoyments depend. But these three conditions again are determined by the number and the nature of the means of production and the workers; they are furthermore determined by the required standard of living. Socialistic society does not establish itself in order to lead a proletarian existence, but to abolish the proletarian manner of living of the great majority of people. It seeks to grant to everyone the fullest measure of the comforts and joys of life, and so the question arises: To what extent will the requirements of society grow?
In order to determine this an administration will be necessary that comprises all fields of social activity. Here our municipalities will form an appropriate foundation. If they are too large to permit of obtaining an insight, they may be divided into districts. As in primitive society, all members of the communities who are of age, regardless of sex, will participate in the elections and choose the persons who are to take charge of the administration. At the head o all local bodies there will be a central administration. This – let it be noted will not be a government with ruling powers, but an executive board of managers. Whether this board of managers is to be elected by the entire population or by the local boards is not essential. These questions will not be as important then as they are now, for election to these offices will not mean greater power and influence and a higher income. They will be positions of trust to which the fittest, be they men or women, will be elected, and they can be recalled or re-elected, as conditions may demand, or as it may seem desirable to the voters. All offices are temporary. The persons who hold these positions, therefore, cannot be regarded as officials. Their function is not a permanent one, nor is a hierarchical order of advancement provided for. Viewed from this standpoint, it also becomes a matter of indifference whether there will be any intermediate bodies between the central administration and the local administrations, as provincial administrations, etc. If considered necessary they will be instituted; if not, they will be omitted. All that will be determined by experience. If progress in the development of society should make old institutions superfluous, they will be abolished without any ado and without any conflict, since no one is personally interested in their maintenance, and new ones will be instituted instead. This thoroughly democratic administration is very different from the present. At the present time – what battles in the newspapers, what a warfare of tongues in the parliaments, what piles of documents in the government offices, to accomplish an insignificant change in the administration or government!
To begin with, the main task will be to determine the existing forces, the number and kind of means of production, factories, workshops, means of transportation, area of land, and the previous productivity. Further it will be necessary to determine the supply on hand and the number of articles and products required to supply the demand in a given length of time. As at present the state and the various municipalities annually determine their budgets, this will in future be done for the entire social demand, and changes made necessary by new or increased demands can be fully taken into consideration. Statistics here become the main factor. They are the most important auxiliary science in the new society, since they furnish the standard whereby all social activity may be measured. Statistics are being used for similar purposes at present on a large scale. The budgets of nation, state, and municipality are founded on a great number of statistical investigations that are annually undertaken by the various branches of administration. Experience of long duration and a certain stability in current demands simplify them. Under normal conditions every manufacturer and every merchant is also enabled to determine his requirements for the coming quarter of a year and in what manner he must arrange his production and his purchases. Unless excessive changes occur he can meet them readily and without much difficulty.
The experience that the crises are brought on by blind, anarchistic production; that is to say, because goods are produced without any knowledge of the stock on hand, the sales, and the demand for the various articles on the world market, has caused the captains of industry in various branches – as already stated – to form trusts. The object of these trusts is to determine prices on the one hand, and on the other to regulate production. By the producing ability of each individual concern and by the sales it is likely to make, the amount of goods to be produced for the coming months is determined. Failure to comply with these rules is punished by a fine and by proscription. The manufacturers form these agreements not to benefit, but to harm the public, and solely for their own advantage. Their purpose is to use the power of cooperation to insure the greatest advantage for themselves. By regulating production it becomes possible to exact the payment of prices that can never be obtained as long as the individual manufacturers compete with one another. So the manufacturer enriches himself at the expense of the consumer, who must pay the fixed price for the article that he needs; and, as the consumer is injured by the trusts, so also the worker. Regulation of production by the manufacturers releases a number of workers and employes, and these, in order to live, must underbid their fellow-workers. Moreover, the social power of the trust is so great that the labor unions, too can rarely cope with them. The employers, accordingly, enjoy a double advantage; they receive higher prices and pay lower wages. This regulation of production by associations of employers is the opposite of that which will take effect in Socialistic society. To-day the interest of the employers is the determining factor; in the future it will be the interest of the general public. But in bourgeois society even the best organized trust cannot overlook and compute all the factors. Competition and speculation on the world market continue to rage, in spite of the trust, and suddenly it becomes manifest that the calculation is faulty, and the artificial structure breaks down.
Like industry, commerce also possesses far-reaching statistics. Every week the large centers of commerce and seaport towns publish lists of the supplies on hand of kerosene, cotton, sugar, coffee, wheat, etc. Sometimes these statistics are not exact, because the owners of the goods occasionally have a personal interest in preventing the truth from becoming known. But, taken all in all, these statistics are pretty reliable and enable those interested to judge the probable aspect of the market in the near future. But here, too, speculation enters into consideration that frequently deceives and upsets all calculations and often makes it impossible to carry on an honest business. just as a general regulation of production is made impossible in bourgeois society by the conflicting interests of the countless private producers, so the regulation of distribution is made impossible by the speculative nature of commerce and by the conflicting interests of the great number of persons engaged in it. But what has been accomplished so far gives an idea of what can be accomplished as soon as private interests disappear and the common interest predominates. An example of this is, for instance, the harvest statistics compiled annually by various states, that make it possible to calculate the crops, the amount needful to supply the domestic demand, and the probable prices.
But in a socialized society conditions will be perfectly orderly, since the solidarity of society will have been established. Everything is carried out, according to plans, in an orderly way, and so it will be easy to determine the amounts required by the various demands. When some experience has been gained, everything will run smoothly. When the average demand for meat, bread, shoes, garments, etc., has been statistically determined, and when the output of the respective establishments of production is known, the average daily amount of socially necessary labor can be established. It, furthermore, can be determined whether more establishments of production are needed, or whether some can be dispensed with as superfluous and can be fitted out for other purposes.
Every individual chooses the branch of industry in which he wishes to be employed. The great number of very different realms of activity makes it possible to take the most varied wishes into consideration. If there is an excess of workers in one branch and a lack of workers in another, it will be the duty of the administration to make the necessary arrangements and to bring about an equalization. To organize production and to give opportunity to the various forces to be employed at the right place, will be the chief task of the elected administrations. As all perfect themselves in their particular tasks the wheels run more smoothly. The different branches of industry and sub-divisions elect their managers, who must control the work. But these are no slave-drivers, as overseers and foremen are to-day, but fellow-workers who simply practice the administrative function entrusted to them, in place of a productive one. It is not impossible that at a more advanced stage of organization and with a more perfect education of all its members, these functions will become alternating and will, in definite rotation, be overtaken by all persons concerned, regardless of sex.
Labor, organized on a basis of complete freedom and democratic equality, with one for all and all for one, will call forth a rivalry and a desire to create that are nowhere met with under the present industrial system; and this joy of creation will enhance the productivity of labor.
Since all work for one another, they are interested in having all objects well made and with as little waste of time and strength as possible, be it to save labor, or to gain time for the manufacture of new products destined to satisfy higher demands. This common interest will cause all to seek to improve, simplify and hasten the process of work. The ambition to discover and invent will be stimulated to the highest degree, and people will endeavours to outdo each other in new ideas and suggestions. So the opposite of what is claimed by the opponents of Socialism will be true. How many discoverers and inventors perish in bourgeois society! How many are exploited and cast aside! If intelligence and talent were to hold the foremost place in bourgeois society, instead of property, the greater part of the employers would have to make way for their workingmen, foremen, mechanics, engineers, chemists, etc. These are the men who, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, have made the discoveries, inventions, and improvements that are applied by the man with the full purse. How many thousands of discoverers and inventors have failed because they could not find a man who would furnish the money to carry out their discoveries and inventions, and how many meritorious discoverers and inventors are crushed by the social misery of daily life, is quite beyond our calculation. Not the persons endowed with a quick intelligence and a clear brain are masters of the world, but those endowed with ample means, which does not imply that a clear brain and a full purse cannot belong to the same person.
Everyone engaged in practical life knows with how much suspicion the workingmen regard every improvement, every new invention that is introduced to-day; and their suspicion is entirely justified. For, as a rule, not the workers but the employers are the only ones to derive any advantage from it. The worker must fear that the new machine, or the improvement, will make him superfluous and turn him out into the street. Instead of joyfully acclaiming a new invention that is a credit to humanity and ought to be a boon to him, he curses it. Many an improvement in the process of production invented by workingmen has never been introduced. The inventor keeps his invention to himself, because he fears that it will harm him, instead of benefiting him. Such are the natural results of conflicting interests.
In Socialistic society the conflict of interests will be removed. Everyone will develop his abilities to serve himself and will thereby serve society. At present, satisfaction of personal egotism and service of society usually are extremes that exclude each other. In the new society these extremes will not exist. Satisfaction of personal egotism and service of society will be harmonious; they will coincide.
The splendid influence of such a status of morals is obvious. The productivity of labor will rapidly increase. Especially will the productivity of labor grow, because the dissemination of forces among hundreds of thousands of tiny manufacturers with imperfect tools and insufficient means, will cease. It has been previously shown among how many small, medium-sized and large manufactories German industry is disseminated. By gathering in all the small and medium-sized manufactories into manufacture on a large scale in great establishments that will be furnished with all the most modern technical improvements, a tremendous waste of effort, time, material of all kinds (light, heat, etc.), and space will be removed, and the productivity of labor will be heightened. The difference that exists between the productivity of small, medium-sized and large manufactories, may be illustrated by an example from the industrial census of Massachusetts of 1890. There the factories in ten chief branches of industry are divided into three classes. Those that produced less than 40,000 dollars’ worth were placed in the lower class; those that produced between 40,000 and 150,000 dollars’ worth in the middle class, and those that produced over 150,000 dollars’ worth, in the upper class. This division presented the following figures:
Value of Production
Twice the number of small factories, compared to the large and medium-sized ones , turned out only 9.4 per cent. of the entire production, while the large factories, which formed only 23 per cent. of the total number, produced almost 2½ times the quantity of all the others. But even the large establishment’s could be organized much more rationally still, so that the total production might yield a still far greater quantity.
How much time can be gained by placing production on a rational basis? That has been shown by interesting calculations made by Th. Hertzka, in his book on “The Laws of Social Evolution,” published in 1886. He calculated how much time and labor power would be needful to satisfy the demands of the population of Austria, which was 22 millions strong at the time. For this purpose, Hertzka investigated the productivity of the large establishments in the various lines of industry and based his calculations on the results. This calculation includes the farming of 10½ million hectares of cultivated soil and 3 million hectares of pasturage, which should suffice to supply said population with meat and the products of agriculture. Furthermore, Hertzka included in his calculation the building of homes, in such a manner that every family might have their own house, with a space of 150 square meters, for a period of fifty years. It was found that, for agriculture. building, the production of flour and sugar, coal-mining, iron and machine industry, the clothing industry, and the chemical industry, 615,000 workers would be needed, who would have to work throughout the year for the present average number of hours daily. But these 615,000 workers formed only 12.3 per cent of the able-bodied population of Austria, not counting the women, nor the male inhabitants under 16 or over 50. If the 5 million men available at the time of the calculation were employed like the 615,000, each of them would have to work only 36.9 days, about six weeks annually, to supply the most needful requirements for 22 million human beings. But, if we assume 300 work-days annually, instead of 37, we find that, under the new organization it would be necessary to work only 13/8 hours daily to supply the most necessary requirements.
Hertza also takes the requirements of luxury of the better situated classes into consideration and finds that the manufacture of such articles, to supply the demands of 22 million people, would require 315,000 more workers. According to Hertzka, then, about 1 million workers, 20 per cent of the able-bodied male population of Austria, excluding those under 16 and over 50, would be needed to supply the entire needs of the population in sixty days. If we again take the entire able-bodied male population into consideration, we find that they would have to perform only about 2½ hours of work daily.
This calculation will not surprise anyone who is well acquainted with existing conditions. If we furthermore assume that, with such a short work-day, only the sick and the invalids must be excluded, while men over 50 might still work, and youths under 16 might be active to some extent, and that the women might also serve in industry, except those who are engaged in child-rearing, the preparation of food, etc., we find that the hours of work might be shortened still more, or that the demands might be greatly increased. Nor will any one deny that tremendous, incalculable progress may still be made in perfecting the process of production, a factor that will create further advantages. On the other hand, many requirements will be satisfied that only a small minority can satisfy to-day, and, with the higher development of civilization, new requirements will arise that will also have to be satisfied. It must be iterated and reiterated: The new society will not elect to lead a proletarian existence. It will demand the existence of a highly civilized people for all its members from the first to the last. But it shall not only satisfy all the material requirements, it shall also grant to all ample opportunity and time for the study of science and art, and for recreation.
In a number of other very essential points the socialistic co-operative system will differ from the bourgeois individualistic system. The cheap and poor goods that make up a large portion of bourgeois production, and necessarily must make up a large portion of it, because a majority of the customers can afford to purchase only cheap goods that wear out quickly, will be eliminated. Only the best will be produced that will last long and will not have to be renewed as often. The fads and follies of fashion that only favor extravagance and bad taste will disappear. Doubtless our wearing apparel will be better suited to its purpose and more tasty than today – for the fashions of the last century, especially those of the men, have been conspicuous by their bad taste – but new fashions will no longer be introduced every few months. The present follies of fashion are caused, on the one hand, by the competition of women among themselves, and on the other by conceit and ostentation and the desire to display one’s wealth. Moreover, a great many persons depend upon these follies of fashion today, and it is to their interest to encourage and stimulate them. Together with the follies of fashion in dress, the madness of fashion in the style of dwellings will disappear. Here eccentricity is rampant to-day. Styles that have required centuries to become evolved among various nations – we are no longer satisfied with European styles, but turn to those of the Japanese, Indians, Chinese, etc. – are used up in a few years and set aside. Persons engaged in mechanical arts hardly know what to do with all the designs and models. They have barely adapted themselves to one style, trusting to recover their expenses, when a new style appears that necessitates further sacrifices of time and money and of physical and mental forces. In this mad rushing from one fashion to another and from one style to another the nervousness of our age is vividly reflected. No one would claim that there is any sense or reason in this rush and haste, or that it might be regarded as a healthful state of society.
Socialism will give greater stability to the habits of life. It will make rest and enjoyment possible and will liberate us from the present haste and excitement. Nervousness, the scourge of our age, will disappear.
Work will be made as agreeable as possible. To accomplish this, the places where production is carried on will be furnished practically and tastily, every means will be resorted to that danger may be eliminated, and that evil smells, smoke, etc., and all unpleasant and harmful factors will be done away with. At first the new society will produce with the means of production taken over from the old society. But these are insufficient. The workshops are scattered and are not properly constructed or furnished, and tools and machinery do not come up to the demands of the great number of persons employed and their desire for safety and comfort. To create a great many large, light, airy, well-equipped workshops becomes an imminent necessity. The arts and crafts, genius and skill, are immediately given a vast realm of activity. All branches of machine manufacture and the manufacture of tools, the building trades and the trades of interior decoration find ample opportunity for occupation. Whatever the human mind is able to invent in the way of convenient and agreeable buildings, appropriate ventilation, lighting and heating, and technical and mechanical improvements, will be instituted. To save motor-power, light and beat, as well as time and labor, and to insure the comfort of the workers, it will become desirable to concentrate the workshops in definite places. The dwellings will be separated from the workshops and freed from the unpleasantness of industrial activity; and the unpleasantness will be diminished and finally abolished by all sorts of institutions and appliances. Even the present status of technical knowledge gives us sufficient means to deprive the dangerous occupations, like mining, the chemical trades, etc., of their dangers entirely. But these means are not applied in bourgeois society, because they entail a heavy expense and because no one is duty bound to do more for the protection of the workingman than is absolutely necessary. The dangers of mining, for instance, could be removed by working the mine in a different manner, by a thorough system of ventilation, by the installation of electric light, by a considerable shortening of the hours of work, and by a frequent change of shifts. It does not require special ingenuity to find safety appliances that will make accidents in the building trade next to impossible and to make this sort of work particularly agreeable. For instance, ample contrivances might be made to shield the workers at large buildings and at all out-of-door work from the sun and the rain. In socialistic society, which will control an abundance of labor power, it will also be a simple matter to have frequent relays of new workers and to concentrate certain tasks upon definite seasons or definite hours of the day.
The problem of abolishing dust, smoke, grime and unpleasant odors, can also be solved entirely even to-day by chemistry and mechanics. But it is not done, or insufficiently done, because the private employers do not care to meet the heavy expense. The future places of production, wherever they may be, below the earth or above, will differ most favorably from the present ones. In private industry improved appliances are mainly a question of money. If they pay they will be established. If they do not pay, the health and life of the workingman are of no concern.
In socialistic society the question of profits will have ceased to exist. This society will recognize no other consideration but the welfare of its members. What is to their advantage must be established. What is likely to harm them must be refrained from. No one will be compelled to enter into dangerous undertakings. If tasks are undertaken that entail dangers one may be assured that there will be many volunteers, all the more so because the undertakings will not serve destruction but the advancement of civilization.
A far-reaching appliance of motor-power, and of the most perfect machines and tools, a detailed division of labor and a skillful combination of the various forces will so heighten the productivity of labor that the necessary quantities of all commodities can be produced, notwithstanding a considerable shortening of the hours of work. Increased production will be to the common advantage of all. The share of each individual increases with the productivity of labor, and the increased productivity of labor again makes it possible to reduce the time required for the performance of socially necessary labor.
Among the motor powers that will be applied, electricity will most likely hold the foremost place. Bourgeois society everywhere presses it into service, and the more this is done the better it is for general progress. The revolutionizing effect of the most powerful of all natural forces will only hasten the overthrow of the bourgeois world and help to usher in Socialism. But only in socialistic society will the force be generally applied and turned to the best advantage. Both as a motor-power and as a source of light and beat it will contribute largely to the improved standard of living of society. Electricity is distinguished from every other force by the fact that it exists in nature in abundance. Our streams, high and low tide of the sea, wind and sunlight will furnish countless horse-powers when we shall thoroughly understand how to apply them.
“A wealth of energy that by far exceeds all demands is furnished by those parts of the surface of the earth that are so regularly subjected to the heat of the sun that it might be applied to regular technical operations. Perhaps it would not be an exaggerated precaution if a nation would even now secure a share in such places. The required areas need not even be very large; a few square miles in Northern Africa would suffice for the requirements of a country like the German Empire. By concentrating the heat of the sun a high temperature can be produced, and thereby everything else – portable mechanical work, charging of batteries, light and heat, and, by electrolysis, even fuel.” The man who opens up these vistas is not a dreamer, but an appointed professor at the Berlin University and president of the Royal Physical and Technical Institute, a man who ranks high in the scientific world. At the 79th congress of the British Association in Winnipeg (during August, 1909), the famous English physicist, Sir S. Thompson, said: “The day is not too far distant when our life will be revolutionized by applying the rays of the sun. Man will liberate himself from his dependence upon coal-and-water power, and all large cities will be surrounded by immense apparatus, real sunbeam traps, into which the heat of the sun will be gathered, and the obtained energy will be stored away in tremendous reservoirs. It is the force of the sun, stored away in coal, in waterfalls, in nourishment, that performs all the world’s work. How great is this tribute of force that the sun pours down upon us becomes evident when we consider the fact that the warmth received by the earth when the sun is high and the sky is clear, according to the researches of Langley, equals an energy of 7,000 horse-powers per acre. Although our engineers have not yet found the way to apply this gigantic source of power, I do not doubt that they will ultimately succeed in finding it. When the supply of coal in the bowels of the earth has been exhausted, when the water-powers will no longer suffice to meet our requirements, then we will obtain from this source all the energy needed to complete the work of the world. Then the centers of industry will be removed to the glowing deserts of Sahara, and the value of the land will be measured by how well it is suited to the erection of the great ‘sunbeam traps.’” According to this, our anxiety that we might at some time lack fuel, is removed. The inventions of the accumulators would make it possible to store a large quantity of force away for future use at any time and place; so that, besides the power furnished by sun and tide, the power furnished by the wind and by mountain torrents, which can be obtained only periodically, might be stored and applied. So there may finally be no human task for which motor power cannot be supplied if necessary. Only by the assistance of electricity has it become possible to employ water-power on a large scale. According to T. Koehn, eight European states have the following supply of water-power at their disposal.
|Horsepowers||Per 1000 inhabitants|
|Austria and Hungary||6,460,000||454.5|
Of the German states, Baden and Bavaria control the largest amount of water-power. Baden alone can obtain 200,000 horse-powers at the Upper Rhine. Bavaria has at its disposal 300,000 horse-powers that have so far not been applied, besides 100,000 that are applied. Professor Rehbock estimates that the theoretical energy of the entire amount of water flowing upon the surface of the earth amounts to eight thousand million horse-powers. If only the sixteenth part of this could be efficiently applied, 500 millions of permanently serviceable horse-powers could still be won, an amount of energy ten times as great as the energy obtained by the mining of coal during the year 1907, approximately calculated at 1000 million tons. Although such calculations are of a purely theoretical character at present, they still show what achievements we may anticipate in the future from the use of “white coal.” The Niagara Falls alone, which flow from lakes covering an area Of 231,880 kilometers – about 43 per cent. of the entire area of Germany – might furnish more water-power than exists in England, Germany and Switzerland combined.” According to another calculation quoted in an official report, the United States have water-power at their disposal of no less than twenty million horse-powers, which represent an equivalent of three hundred million tons of coal annually. The mills that will be driven by means of this white or “green” coal, with the force of the gushing mountain streams and waterfalls, will have no smokestacks and no fire.
Electricity will also make it possible to more than double the speed of our railroads. At the beginning of the nineties of the last century, Mr. Meems, in Baltimore, declared it to be possible to construct an electric car that would make 300 kilometers an hour, and Professor Elihu Thomson, in Lynn, believed that electric motors could be constructed that would make it possible to cover 260 kilometers in an hour. These expectations have nearly been realized. The trial-rides made on the military railway Berlin-Zossen, during 1901 and 1902, showed the possibility of speed up to 150 kilometers an hour. During experiments made in 1903, the Siemens car attained a speed of 201 kilometers, and that of the General Electric Company, 208 kilometers. In the succeeding years steam locomotives have also attained a speed of 150 kilometers an hour, and more. The present aim is to attain 200 kilometers per hour. Already, August Sherl has entered the arena with his new project of rapid transit, which relegates the existing railway lines to freight service and proposes to connect the large cities by monorail train service, with a speed of 200 kilometers.
The question of transforming railroad service from steam into electricity is a current topic in England, Austria, Italy, and America. Between New York and Philadelphia an electric train is to run at a speed of 200 kilometers an hour.
The speed of ocean vessels will increase in the same manner. Here the determining factor is the steam turbine. “It holds the foremost place in technical interest at present. It seems destined to displace the piston. While most engineers still regarded the steam turbine as a task of the future, it had become a present-day problem that attracted the attention of the entire world of technics by its success. It remained for electrotechnics, with its rapidly running machinery to create a large field for the practical application of this new power engine. The by far greatest number of all steam-turbines in use today serves to drive dynamos. The turbine has especially proved its superiority over the piston in navigation. The English steamship “Lusitania,” which is equipped with steam-turbines, during August, 1909, made the journey from Ireland to New York in 4 days 11 hours and 42 minutes, with an average speed of 25.85 knots an hour. The steamship “America,” constructed in 1863, the fastest vessel at the time, made 12.5 knots an hour. The day is not distant when the problem of electric propellers for large vessels will be satisfactorily solved. They are already in use with smaller vessels. Simplicity, safety, good self-regulation, and absence of shaking make the steam-turbine the ideal power for the creation of electric energy on board. Electricity will eventually be generally applied to both railway and steamship service.
By electricity the technics of moving loads has also been revolutionized. “Steam-power, having made it possible to construct lifting-engines with natural force, electric transmission of power led to a complete revolution in the construction of lifting-machines by giving these machines freedom of motion and constant readiness for use.” Electric power has, among other things, led to a complete transformation in the construction of the cranes. “With its massive curved beak of rolled iron, resting upon a heavy foundation of stone-masonry, with slow motions and the hissing noise of the puffed-out steam, the steam-crane conveys the impression of resembling a gigantic, prehistoric monster. When it has grasped a load it exhibits a tremendous power for lifting, but it needs the assistance of human beings, who, by means of chains, fasten the weights to its hook. Owing to its clumsiness and slow motions it is serviceable only for the lifting of very heavy loads, but not where quick action is needed. Even externally the modern electric crane presents an entirely different aspect. We behold graceful steel trellis-work stretched above the hall, and from this is stretched out a slender pair of tongs, which is movable in all directions. The whole mechanism is controlled by a single man. By means of a gentle pressure on the levers, he directs the electric currents and drives the slender steel limbs of the crane to rapid action.
Unaided, they grasp the glowing steel and whirl it through the air, while no other noise is heard but the low buzzing of the electro-motors.” Without the aid of these machines the steadily increasing transportation of masses of goods would not be possible. By a comparison of the wharf-crane at Pola and that at Kiel, the development, in regard to the increase of lifting-power from the middle to the end of the nineteenth century, may be judged. The lifting-power of the former was 60 tons, that of the latter, 200 tons. The manufacture of Bessemer steel only is possible when rapidly working lifting-machines are at hand, for otherwise the tremendous quantities of liquid steel that are produced in a short time could not be transported in the casting-moulds. In the iron-works of Krupp, in Essen alone, 608 cranes are in action, having an aggregate lifting-power of 6,513 tons, equal to a freight train of 650 cars. The low cost of freight, which is a condition of present-day international commerce, would not be possible, could not the capital invested in vessels be put to such intense use by the rapid process of unloading. The equipping of a vessel with electric cranes led to a reduction in the annual cost of traffic from 23,000 to 13,000 marks, almost by one-half. And this comparison takes into consideration – only the progress of a single decade.
The technics of navigation and transportation present new achievements almost daily along all fines. The problem of aerial navigation, which seemed insoluble but two decades ago, is practically solved. At present the dirigible balloons and flying machines do not serve the easier and cheaper transportation of the masses, but only sport and military purposes. But later on they will enhance the productive forces of society. Great progress has also been made by wireless telegraphy; its industrial value grows each day. In a few years, accordingly, traffic will be placed on a new basis.
Mining, too, is in a state of transformation at present that still seemed inconceivable ten years ago. Electricity has been introduced and has revolutionized the machines, the pumps, and the winding-engines.
Marvelous are the prospects revealed by the former French minister of public instruction, Professor Berthelot (died March 18, 1907), in an address on the future significance of chemistry, delivered at a banquet of the syndicate of manufacturers of chemicals. In this address, Mr. Berthelot depicted the possible achievements of chemistry in the year 2000, and, though his description contains some humorous exaggerations, it also contains much that is true, of which the following is a brief synopsis. Mr. Berthelot gave a resumé of what chemistry had accomplished in a few decades and enumerated, among other things: The manufacture of sulphuric acid, of soda, bleaching and dyeing, beet-sugar, therapeutic alcaloids, gas, gilding and silvering, etc. Then came electro-chemistry, which completely transformed metallurgy, the chemistry of explosives, which provided mining and warfare with new engines, and the marvels of organic chemistry in the manufacture of colors, perfumes, therapeutic and antiseptic remedies, etc. But all this, said the lecturer, was only a beginning. Far greater problems would soon be solved. In the year 2000, agriculture and peasants would have ceased to exist, as chemistry would have made cultivation of the soil superfluous. There would be no coal-mines and, accordingly, no miners’ strikes. Fuel would be replaced by chemical and physical processes. Tariff and warfare would be abolished; aerial navigation, employing chemicals as a means of locomotion would have done away with these antiquated institutions. The problem of industry consists in finding sources of power that are inexhaustible and can be renewed with the least possible amount of labor. Until now, we have generated steam by the chemical energy of burned coal. But the coal is difficult to obtain, and the supply is diminishing daily. It becomes necessary to utilize the heat of the sun and the heat inside the earth. There is good reason to hope that both these sources will find unlimited application. Thereby the source of all heat and of all industry would be made accessible. If water-power were also applied, all imaginable machines might be run on the earth. This source of power would barely diminish in centuries. By means of the warmth of the earth many chemical problems might be solved, among others the chemical production of food. Theoretically this problem is already solved. The synthesis of fats and oils is long since known, sugar and the hydrates of carbon are known also, and the synthesis of the nitrogen-compounds will soon become known. The problem of food is a purely chemical one. As soon as the necessary cheap power could be obtained, by means of carbon from carbonic acid, oxygen and hydrogen from water, and nitrogen from the atmosphere, food of all kinds would be produced. What had heretofore been done by the plants would henceforth be done by industry, and the products of industry would be more perfect than those of nature, The time would come when every one would carry a box of chemicals in his pocket from which he would satisfy his need of nourishment in albumen, fat and hydrates of carbon, regardless of time and seasons, of rain and drought, of frost, hail and destructive insects. This would lead to a transformation that was as yet beyond our conception. Orchards, vineyards and pastures would disappear. Man would become more gentle and humane, because he would no longer live upon the murder and destruction of living beings. Then the difference between fertile and unfertile regions would also disappear, and perhaps the deserts would become the favorite resorts of man, since they are healthier than the damp and marshy plains where agriculture is carried on at present. Then art and all the beauties of human life would attain their fullest development. The earth would no longer be disfigured by the geometrical figures drawn on its surface by agriculture, but would become a garden in which grass, flowers, shrubs and forests might be grown at will; all humanity would dwell in plenty, in a golden age. But man would not fall a victim to laziness and corruption. Work is needful to happiness, and man would work as ever, since he worked for his own welfare, for the development of his mental, moral and aesthetic possibilities.
The reader may accept as true from this address of Berthelot whatever he chooses. The fact remains that future development will lead to a tremendous improvement in the quantity, quality and variety of products, and that the comforts of life of coming generations will increase to a degree that we can barely conceive to-day.
Professor Elihu Thomson agrees with Werner Siemens, who declared at the convention of scientists in Berlin, in 1887, that it would become possible by means of electricity to transform the elements directly into food. Werner Siemens held the opinion that it might be possible, at a remote time, to produce artificially a hydrate of carbon, as grape-sugar or starch, whereby the possibility would be given “to make bread of stones.” The chemist, Dr. H. Meyer, declared that it would be possible to make ligneous fibre a source of human nourishment. In the meantime (1890), Emil Fisher has actually produced grape-sugar artificially, and has thereby made a discovery that Werner Siemens considered possible only “at a remote time.” Since then chemistry has made still further progress. Indigo, vanilla and camphor have been artificially produced. In 1906, W. Loeb succeeded in achieving the assimilation of carbonic acid, outside of the plant up to the production of sugar by means of electric tension. In 1907 Emil Fisher obtained one of the most complicated synthetic bodies that is closely related to natural protein. In 19o8 Willstatter and Benz produced pure chlorophyl and proved it to be a compound of magnesium. Thereby the main problem of organic chemistry – to obtain albumen – may find its solution in a future not too far distant.
A need, deeply rooted in human nature, is the desire for freedom of choice and for the opportunity of a variation of occupations. just as the best food becomes disgusting if the same thing is constantly placed before us, so an occupation repeated daily in treadmill fashion weakens and dulls. Man performs his task mechanically and does what he must do, but without enthusiasm or joy. A number of talents and abilities are innate in every human
being that need but to be awakened in order to find expression and produce favorable results. Only thereby man becomes a perfect human being. Socialistic society will offer ample opportunity for the satisfaction of this desire for variation. The immense increase in productive forces, combined with a simplified process of work, will not only make it possible to limit the hours of work considerably, it will also make it easy to master a number of varied accomplishments.
The old system of apprenticeship has already been abandoned. It still exists, and is possible only among undeveloped and antiquated forms of production, as represented by small manufactures. But as these will completely disappear in the new society, all forms and institutions peculiar to them will disappear also. New ones will take their place. Even at present it can be seen in any factory how few workingmen have learned and practice a definite trade. The workingmen employed in some line of production or other may have learned the most varied trades. Usually a short time is sufficient for them to gain experience in one detail of the process of production, and to this one detail they are tied down then, according to the prevailing system of exploitation, for long hours, without the slightest variation, and without any regard for their personal tastes and inclinations. At the machine they become machines. This state of affairs, too, will be removed by the new social order. There will be ample time to practice manual skill and to develop the mechanical arts. Large, splendidly equipped polytechnical schools will make it easy for both young and old to learn an occupation. Chemical and physical laboratories, in keeping with the standards of these sciences, will be erected, and capable teachers will be on band. Only then will people fully recognize what a wealth of talent and ability has been suppressed or wrongly developed by the capitalistic system of production.
Not only will it be possible to satisfy the desire for variation, it must be regarded as the purpose of society to satisfy this desire, since the harmonious development of man depends upon it.
The professional types that we meet with in present-day society – be these types the product of a definite, one-sided occupation or of laziness – will gradually disappear. There are exceedingly few persons to-day who possess the possibility of a variety of occupations. Rarely one finds persons so favored by special circumstances, that they can escape the monotony of their daily task and can, after the performance of physical work, recuperate by mental work. On the other hand, we sometimes find mental workers who devote part of their time to some manual work, gardening and the like. The beneficial effects of an occupation founded on a variation of mental and physical work are obvious. Such occupation is the only one adapted to natural needs. It is taken for granted, of course, that every occupation must be practiced with moderation and according to individual strength.
In his book on “The Significance of Science and Art,” Count Leo Tolstoi condemns the hypercritical and unnatural character that art and science have assumed as a result of our unnatural social conditions. He roundly condemns the fact that present-day society holds physical labor in contempt and advises a return to natural conditions. He asserts that every human being who wishes to live naturally and to enjoy life should spend his day – firstly, at physical work in agriculture; secondly, at some manual trade; thirdly, at some mental occupation, and fourthly, in intellectual social intercourse. No human being should perform more than eight hours of physical work. Tolstoi himself lived up to this ideal and claimed that he has only become truly human since he adopted this mode of life. But Tolstoi overlooks that what is possible for him, the man of independent means, is not possible for the vast, majority of people under present-day conditions. A man or woman who must work ten or twelve hours daily, and sometimes longer, to make a bare living, and who has grown tip in ignorance, cannot adopt Tolstoi’s mode of life. Neither can all those adopt it who are in the midst of the struggle for existence and must conform with its requirements; and of the few who might live in this manner, many would not wish to. It is one of the illusions in which Tolstoi indulges, to believe that exhortations and examples might transform societies. The experience made by Tolstoi, in regard to his mode of life, proves it to be a rational one. But to make this mode of life general, different social conditions, a new society, will be needed.
The coming society will establish such conditions. It will produce countless scientists and artists, but all of these will devote a part of the day to physical labor, and the remainder of the day they will devote to their studies, their arts and to social intercourse, according to their tastes and wishes.
The present contrast between mental and manual work, a contrast that is intensified by the ruling classes, who are anxious to secure their mental superiority also, will, accordingly, have to be removed.
The above enumerated facts prove that panics, crises, and unemployment will be impossible in future society. Crises arise because capitalistic production, incited by the desire for profit, and without any reliable means of estimating the true demand, leads to over-production and to over-stocking of the market. Under capitalism the products assume the character of goods that their owners endeavor to exchange, and the consumption of goods depends upon the consumer’s purchasing ability. But this purchasing ability is very limited among a vast majority of the population who are not paid the full value of their labor and whose services are not wanted if their employers cannot squeeze profits out of them. Purchasing ability and the ability to consume are two entirely different matters in bourgeois society. Many millions are in need of new clothes, shoes, furniture, linens and articles of food, but they have no money, and so their needs, their ability to consume, remains unsatisfied. The market is over-stocked, but the masses are hungry; they wish to work, but cannot find anyone willing to purchase their labor-power, because the employers can derive no profits from employing them. Perish, become a vagabond, a criminal, I, the capitalist, cannot help it, because I cannot use goods that I cannot sell at a profit. In his position the capitalist is entirely justified in taking this attitude.
In the new society this contradiction will be removed. The new society will not produce “goods” to be “bought” and “sold,” it will produce commodities for consumption, not for any other purpose.[A] The ability to consume will not be limited by the purchasing ability of each individual, but by the common ability to produce. If there is sufficient labor-power and sufficient means of production, every want can be satisfied. The social ability to consume knows no bounds except the satisfaction of the consumers.
If there will be no “goods” in the new society there will ultimately be no money, either. Money appears to be the counterpart of goods, but is goods itself. Yet, at the same time, money is the social equivalent, the standard of value for all other goods. But the new society will not produce goods, if will produce commodities whose manufacture will require a certain measure of social working-time. The average time required to produce a given commodity is the only standard by which it will be measured for social consumption. Ten minutes of social working-time at one commodity equal ten minutes of social working-time at another commodity, no more and no less. Society will not wish to “earn,” it will merely wish to bring about the exchange of commodities of the same quality and of the same value among its members, and eventually it will not even be necessary to determine the value. Society will simply produce what it needs. If it should become evident, for instance, that three hours of work daily are necessary to produce all the required products, three hours will be the fixed time. If the means of production should be improved to such extent that the supply can be furnished by two hours of work, it will be two hours. If, on the other hand, the demands should grow and the increased productivity of the process of work would not suffice to satisfy these demands, the working-time would be lengthened.
It can easily be calculated how much social labor will be necessary for the manufacture of each product.
Thereby the relation of this portion of work to the entire working-time can be calculated.
Any kind of certificate, a printed piece of paper, gold or tin, enables the holder to exchange same for various kinds of commodities. If he finds that his wants are less than what he receives for his services, he can work less, accordingly. If he wishes to give away what he does not use, nobody will prevent him from so doing. If he voluntarily chooses to work for another, so that the other one may idle, or if lie wishes to divide his share of the social products, no one will restrain him. But no one can compel him to work for another person’s advantage, no one can deprive him of a part of the share he is entitled to for his services. Everyone will be able to satisfy all desires and requirements possible of fulfillment, but not at the expense of others. He receives from society the equivalent of what he produces, no more and no less, and remains free from exploitation.
“But how will you discriminate between thrifty and lazy, intelligent and stupid persons?” That is one of the questions most frequently asked by our opponents, and the answer we give them puzzles them greatly. But these wise questioners never stop to think that, among our hierarchy of officials, the distinction between thrifty and lazy, intelligent and stupid persons is not made, but that the length of service usually determines the salary and promotion. Teachers and professors – many of whom are the most naive questioners – have their salaries determined by the position they fill, not by the value of their services. In many cases officials, military men and scientists, are not promoted according to their abilities, but according to rank, relationship, friendship, and the favor of women. That wealth is not measured either by intelligence and thrift, may be seen by the three-class electoral-system of Prussia. We find saloon-keepers, bakers and butchers, many of whom are not able to speak grammatically, enrolled in the first class, while men of intelligence and science, “he highest officials of the state and the nation, are enrolled in the second or third class. There will be no difference between thrifty and lazy, intelligent and stupid persons, because that which we understand by these terms will have disappeared. Society, for instance, calls some people “lazy” because they have been thrown out of employment, have been driven to a life of vagabondage, and have finally become real vagabonds. We also apply this term to people who are the victims of a bad education. But whoever should venture to call lazy the man of means who spends his time in idleness and debauchery would commit an insult, for the rich idler is a “respectable” man.
Now what aspect will matters assume in the new society? All will develop tinder similar conditions of life, and everyone will perform the task assigned to him by ability and inclination. Therefore the differences in achievements will be slight. The social atmosphere that will incite each to excel the others will help to level the distinctions. If a person should realize that he is unable to accomplish in one line of work what others accomplish, he will choose some other line better suited to his strength and his abilities. Everyone who has worked together with a great many persons knows that people who were inefficient at one task have proved very efficient when given another. By what right can anyone ask for privileges? If some person is so incapacitated by nature that it is quite impossible for him to accomplish what others accomplish, society cannot punish him for the shortcomings of nature. On the other hand, if some one has been endowed by nature with abilities that elevate him above the others, society need not reward him for that which is not his personal merit. It must, furthermore, be remembered that in Socialistic society all will have the same opportunities for education, so that all can develop their knowledge and ability in accordance with their talents and inclinations. As a result, knowledge and ability will be far more developed than in bourgeois society. It will be more evenly distributed and yet more varied.
When Goethe, during a journey along the Rhine, studied the Cathedral of Cologne, he discovered, by perusal of the architectural deeds that the architects of old had paid all their workingmen alike by time; they did so because they desired good workmanship conscientiously carried out. To bourgeois society this seems an anomaly. Bourgeois society has introduced the piece-work system, by means of which the workingmen compel or,,, another to overwork and make it all the easier for the employer to under-pay and to resort to a frequent reduction in wages. What is true of material productivity is equally true of the mental. Man is the product of time and circumstances. If Goethe had been born in the fourth instead of in the eighteenth century, under equally favorable circumstances, instead of becoming a great poet and scientist he would probably have become a great father of the Church who might have outshone St. Augustine. Again, if Goethe had not come into the world as the son of a rich patrician of Frankfort, but as the son of a poor shoemaker, he would hardly have become minister to the Grand-duke of Weimar, but would have lived and died a respectable master-shoemaker. Goethe himself recognized of what great advantage it was to him to have been born in a materially and socially favorable position which helped him to attain his development; he thus expresses himself in “Wilhelm Meister.” If Napoleon I had been born ten years later he would never have become Emperor of France. Without the war of 1870 to 1871, Gambetta would never have become what he has been. If a gifted child of intelligent parents should be placed among savages it would become a savage. Men are what society has made them. Ideas are not the product of higher inspiration sprung from the brains of a single individual, but they are a product, created in the brains of the individual by the social life and activity amidst which he lives and by the spirit of his age. Aristotle could not have the ideas of Darwin, and Darwin had to reason differently from Aristotle. We all reason as the spirit of our age – that is, our environment and its phenomena – compels us to reason. That explains what has been frequently observed, that different people sometimes follow the same line of reasoning simultaneously; that the same inventions and discoveries are made at the same time at places situated far apart. That also explains that an idea expressed fifty years ago may have found the world indifferent, but the same idea expressed fifty years later, may agitate the whole world. In 1415 Emperor Sigismund could dare to break the promise given Huss and to have him burned at the stake in Constance. In 1521, Charles V, although a far greater fanatic, had to permit Luther to go in peace from the diet at Worms. Ideas are the product of social co-operation, of social life. What is true in regard to society in general, is especially true in regard to the various social classes that compose society at any given epoch of history. Because every class has its peculiar interests, it also has its peculiar ideas and views. These conflicting ideas and interests have led to the class struggles that filled the annals of history and have attained their culmination in the class extremes and class struggles of the present day. The feelings, thoughts and actions of a person are, therefore, determined not only by the age in which he lives, but also by the class to which he belongs. Without modern society no modern ideas could exist. This is clear to everyone. In the new society – let it be remembered – the means that each individual will employ for his education and development will be the property of society. Society cannot feel obliged to reward particularly what it alone has made possible, its own product.
So much in regard to the qualification of physical and mental labor. From this the further conclusion may be drawn, that no distinction will be made between higher and lower grades of work; as, for instance, at present mechanics consider themselves superior to day-laborers who perform work on the roads, etc. Society will have only such work performed as is socially useful, and so every kind of work will be of equal social value. Should it not be possible to perform some kinds of dirty and disagreeable work by means of mechanical or chemical devices – which will undoubtedly be the case, to judge by the present rate of progress – and should there be no volunteers, it will be the duty of each worker to perform his share of such work when his turn comes. No false pride and no irrational disdain of useful labor will be recognized. These exist only in our state of drones, where idleness is considered enviable, and where those workers are the most despised whose tasks are the hardest and most unpleasant ones, and often the most needful to society. To-day the most disagreeable tasks are the ones most poorly paid. The reason for this is that we have a great many workers who have been maintained at a low level of civilization, whom the constant revolution in the process of production has cast out into the street, as a reserve force, and who, in order to live, must perform the lowest kinds of work, at wages that even make the introduction of machinery for such work “unprofitable.” The crushing of stone, for instance, is notoriously one of the most disagreeable and most poorly paid employments. It would be a simple matter to have this crushing of stones done by machinery, as is generally being done in the United States. But in Germany there is such an abundance of cheap labor, that the introduction of the stone crusher would not “pay.” Street-cleaning, the cleaning of sewers, collecting ashes and garbage, work in shafts and caissons, etc., might, even at the present time, with the aid of proper machinery, be performed in such a manner that most of the unpleasantness connected with them for the laborers, would disappear. But, as a matter of fact, a workingman who cleans sewers, to guard human beings against the dangers of germs of disease, is a very useful member of society, while a professor who teaches falsified history in the interest of the ruling classes, or a theologian who seeks to mystify the minds by the teaching of supernatural doctrines, are very harmful individuals.
A great many of our present-day scientists and scholars represent a guild that is employed and paid to defend and vindicate the dominance of the ruling classes, by means of the authority of science, to let this dominance appear just and necessary, and to maintain existing prejudices. In truth, this guild, to a great extent, poisons the minds, and performs work hostile to the advancement of civilization, in the interest of the bourgeoisie and its clients. A social condition that will henceforth make the existence of such elements of society impossible, will perform a liberating deed.
On the other hand, true science is often connected with very disagreeable and revolting work. For instance, when a physician dissects a corpse in a state of decomposition, or operates upon a purulent part of the body, or when a chemist examines fæces. These tasks are often more revolting than the most disagreeable work performed by unskilled laborers. Yet no one will admit that this is so. The difference is that the performance of the one work requires profound study, while the other work can be performed by anyone without previous preparation. This accounts for the great difference in their estimation. But in future society, where, by means of equal opportunities of education for all, the distinctions of educated and uneducated will disappear, the distinction between skilled and unskilled labor will disappear also. This is all the more so because the possibilities of technical development are unlimited, and much that is manual work to-day will be performed by machines and mechanical processes. We need but consider the present development of our mechanical arts; for instance, engraving, wood-cutting, etc. As the most disagreeable tests often are the most useful ones, so our conceptions, in regard to pleasant and unpleasant work, like many other conceptions in the bourgeois world, are superficial and founded entirely on outward appearances.
As soon as the new society will have placed production on the basis sketched above, it will – as we have already noted – cease to produce “goods,” and will only produce commodities to supply the social demand. As a result of this, trade will also cease to exist, as trade is needful and possible only in an organization of society founded on the production of goods. By the abolition of trade a great army of persons of both sexes will be mobilized for productive activity. This great army becomes one of producers; it brings forth commodities and enables society to increase its demands, or makes possible a still further reduction of the hours of work. To-day these persons live more or less like parasites on the products of the toil of others. Still they often work very hard and are burdened with cares, without earning enough to supply their wants. In the new society commercial men, agents, jobbers, etc., will be superfluous. In place of the dozens, hundreds and thousands of stores of all kinds that we find in every municipality to-day, according to its size, there will be large municipal store-houses, elegant bazaars, entire exhibitions, that will require a comparatively small number of persons for their administration. The entire bustle of trade will be transformed into a centralized, purely administrative activity. The discharge of its duties will be simple and will become still more simplified by the centralization of all social institutions. Traffic will experience a similar transformation.
Telegraph and telephone lines, railroads, mail service, river and ocean vessels, street-cars, automobile cars and trucks, air-ships and flying machines, and whatever all the institutions and vehicles serving traffic and communication may be called, will have become social property. In Germany many of these institutions, like the mail, the telegraph, the telephone system, and most railroads, have already been made state institutions; their transformation into public property is a mere matter of form. Here private interests can no longer be injured. If the state continues to operate in the present direction, so much the better. But these state-owned institutions are not socialistic institutions, as is erroneously assumed. These institutions are exploited by the state, according to the same capitalistic principles as if they were privately owned. Neither the officials nor the workingmen are particularly benefited by them. The state does not treat them differently from a private employer. When, for instance, in the bureaus of the national navy and the railroad administration orders are issued not to employ workingmen who are over forty years of age, that is a measure which proves the class character of the state as a state of exploiters, and is bound to rouse the indignation of the workers. Such and similar measures resorted to by the state in its capacity of employer, are much worse than when resorted to by private employers. The latter is always a small employer compared to the state, and the employment that he refuses may be granted by another. But the state, monopolizing certain branches of employment, may, by such maxims, with one blow drive thousands into poverty. These are not socialistic but capitalistic actions, and Socialists have every reason to protest against the assumption that the present state-owned institutions are socialistic in character and may be regarded as a realization of socialistic aims.
As large, centralized institutions will replace the millions of private dealers, and agents of all kinds, so the entire system of transportation will also assume a different aspect. The millions of small shipments that are sent out daily to an equal number of owners, and entail a great waste of work, time and material, will be absorbed by shipments on a large scale, sent out to the municipal store-houses and the large centers of manufacture. Here, too, work will become greatly simplified. As it is much simpler to ship raw material to a factory employing 1000 workingmen than to ship it to hundreds of scattered small factories, so the centers of production and distribution for entire municipalities, or for parts of same, will mean a considerable saving. This will be to the advantage of society, but also to the advantage of each individual, for public interest and personal interest will then be identical. The aspect of our places of production, of our means of transportation, and especially also of our residences, will thereby become entirely changed. They will obtain a much more cheerful aspect. We will be freed, to a great extent, from the nerve-racking noise, speed and confusion of our large cities, with their thousands of vehicles of all kinds. The building of streets, street-cleaning, the manner of living, the intercourse of people with one another – all will experience a great transformation. It will then be possible to carry, out hygienic measures easily, which to-day can be carried out only at a great expense and insufficiently, and often only in the residential quarters of the wealthy classes.
Under such conditions traffic and transportation must attain their highest development. Perhaps aerial navigation will be the favorite means of transportation then. The means of transportation are the veins that conduct the exchange of products – the circulation – through the entire body social, and are therefore particularly adapted to the dissemination of an equal standard of comfort and culture. To provide for the extension and ramification of the most perfect means of transportation to the remotest portions of the provinces will become a necessity to the public welfare. Here the new society will set tasks for itself that by far exceed those of present-day society . This highly perfected system of communication will also decentralize the masses of humanity that at present congest our large cities and centers of industry, and will scatter them broadcast over the land. This will not only be of the greatest benefit to public health, it will also have a decisive influence on the material and intellectual progress of civilization.
A. There is a serious translation error in this sentence. According to Marxist theory in socialist society there will be no “commodities” (in German “Waren”), goods produced for the market, because there will be no market in the economic sense. The German text (from the 62nd edition) is: “:Diese produziert nicht „Waren“, um zu „kaufen“ und zu „verkaufen“, sondern sie produziert Lebensbedürfnisse, die verbraucht, konsumiert werden, sonst haben sie keinen Zweck.” Literally in English: “:This [new society] will not produce “commodities” to “buy” and to “sell”, but will produce necessities of life, which will be used, consumed, otherwise they will have no purpose.”
1. “The force of rivalry that leads to supreme efforts to win the praise and admiration of others, has been shown by experience to be a useful one wherever persons compete with one another, even in regard to frivolous matters and such matters from which the public derives no benefit. But a rivalry as to who can best serve the common welfare, is a sort of competition that Socialists do not repudiate. “ – John Stuart Mill, “Political Economy.” Every society, every organization of persons having the same aims and a common cause. also furnishes many examples of a nobler endeavor that leads to no material success but to a purely ideal one. The persons vieing with each other are indeed impelled by the ambition of serving the common cause and of winning recognition. But this sort of ambition is a virtue since it serves the common good and at the same time gives satisfaction to the individual. Ambition is harmful only when it is satisfied at the expense of others or to the detriment of society.
2. v. Thuenen – “The Isolated State,” says: “The conflicting interests are the reason why proletarians and possessors are hostile to one another and will remain unreconciled as long as the discord in their interests has not been removed. Not only by the wealth of the employer, but also by invention in manufactory, by the building of roads and railways, and by the opening of new markets, the national income may be greatly increased. But in our present social order the workingman derives no benefit from this increase. His status remains the same, and the entire increase in income falls to the share of the employers, capitalists and landlords.” This last sentence is an almost verbal anticipation of a declaration by Gladstone in the English parliament, in 1884. He said: “This intoxicating growth of wealth and power (experienced by England during the last twenty years) has been limited exclusively to the possessing classes;” and v. Thuenen says: “in the separation of the worker from his product the evil lies.” – Morelly says in his “Principles of Legislation”: “Property divides us into two classes, the rich and the poor. The former love their property and do not care to defend the state. The latter can not love their fatherland for it gives them nothing but misery. But under Communism every one loves his fatherland for by it everyone obtains life and happiness.”
3. In weighing the advantages and disadvantages of Communism, John Stuart Mill says in his “Political Economy”: “No field can be more favorable to this conception (that public interest and private interest are identical) than a communistic association, All the ambition as well as the physical and mental activity, that is at present directed upon the pursuit of sporadic and selfish interests, would demand a different sphere of activity, and would find it in the service of the common good of society.”
4. In his “False Doctrines,” Eugen Richter ridicules the enormous shortening of the hours of work predicted by us that would result if all were obliged to work and if the process of production were organized in accordance with the highest technical development. He tries to belittle the productivity of large manufacture and to enlarge the importance of small manufacture, in order to assert that it would not be possible to produce the required amount. To make Socialism seem impossible the upholders of the present “order” must try to discredit the advantages of their own social system.
5. “Capital,” says the “Quarterly Reviewer,” “flees tumult and quarrel and is of a timid nature. That is true, but it is not the whole truth. Capital abhors the absence of profits or very small profits as nature abhors empty space. With appropriate profits, capital becomes bold. If ten percent are insured, it can be applied everywhere; 20 percent, and it becomes aggressive; 50 percent, positively reckless; for 100 percent it tramples all human laws under foot; 300 percent, and there is no crime it will not risk even at the peril of the gallows. if tumult and quarrel bring profit, it will encourage both.” Karl Marx – “Capital.”
6. “The Energy of Labor and Appliance of the Electric Current” by Fr. Kohlrausch. Leipsic, 1900.
7. As early as 1864, Augustin Mouchot made an attempt to make the heat of the sun serve industrial purposes directly and constructed a sun-machine that was improved by Pifré. The largest sun-machine (heliomotor) is in California and serves as an apparatus for pumping. The water in the well is pumped up at the rate of 11,000 litres a minute.
8. T. Koehn – “Some Large European Water-Power Plants and Their Economic Significance.”
9. “Supply and Distribution of Cotton.” Washington, 1908.
10. In 1908, the Prussian department of public works decided to transform the steam-railways Leipsic-Bitterfeld, Magdeburg and Leipsic, Halle into electric railways.
11. “While the old steam-engine turns the driving-wheels in a roundabout way (by the transmission of the motion of the piston rods), the steam-turbine produces a direct rotary motion, like the wind turns the wind-mill.
12. C. Matchoss – “The Evolution of the Steam-Engine.”
13. During September, 1910, the Mauretania broke this record by hour and one minute. – Tr.
14. During the fifties of the last century, the sailing vessels took about six weeks to reach New York. The steamers crossed in two weeks. During the nineties, the voyage was made in a week, and now it is made in 5½ days. As a result of this progress, the two continents are brought nearer to each ether now than Berlin and Vienna were a century ago.
15. O. Kammerer – “The Technics of Moving Loads, Formerly and at the Present Time.” Berlin, 1907.
16. “The great mass of workingmen in England, as in most of the other countries, have so little free choice in regard to their occupation and place of residence, they depend so absolutely upon fixed rules and the will of others, as could be possible under any system with the exception of real slavery.” John Stuart Mill – “Political Economy.”
17. A French workingman, who has returned home from San Francisco, writes: “I would have never believed that I would be able to practice all the trades that I have practiced in California. I had been firmly convinced that I was good for nothing except printing. But in the midst of these adventurers who change their trade more readily than their shirt, I did as the others. Since mining was not sufficiently remunerative, I left and moved into the city. Here I successively became typographer, slater, plumber, etc. As a result of this experience of being fit for all tasks, I feel less of a mollusc and more of a human being.” Karl Marx – “Capital.” Vol. I.
18. What people may achieve under favorable conditions of development is shown, for example, by the life of Leonardo da Vinci. He was a splendid artist, a famous sculpturer, an able architect and engineer, a military engineer, a musician and an extemporizer. Benvenuh? Cellini was a famous goldsmith, an excellent modeller, a recognized military engineer, a good soldier and a capable musician. Abraham Lincoln was a wood-cutter, a farmer, a boatsman, a clerk and a lawyer, before he became president of the United States. It may be said without exaggeration that most people are engaged in occupations that are not suited to their abilities because their career has been shaped, not by choice, but by the force of circumstances. Many a poor professor might make a very competent shoemaker, and many a good shoemaker might become a good professor also.
19. It must be noted again and again that production will be organized according to the highest scale of technical development and that all will be engaged in it, so that, under favorable circumstances, a working-day of three hours may still prove too long. Owen, who was a large manufacturer and was therefore competent to judge, estimated – in the early part of the nineteenth century – that a working-day of two hours would be sufficient.
20. “The amount of social labor represented by a given product need not be determined in a round-about way; daily experience will show directly how much on an average will be required. Society will be able to calculate how many hours of work are represented by a steam-engine, a hectolitre of wheat of the last harvest, or a hundred square yards of cloth of a certain quality. Society will accordingly not think of expressing the quantities of work contained in the products – that will then be directly known – in the relative, fluctuating, uncertain manner of a third product, inevitable at present, instead of expressing them by their natural, adequate, absolute measure-time. It will be necessary to arrange the plan of production in accordance with the means of production, including labor-power. The usefulness of the various commodities, balanced with one another and with the amount of work necessary for their production will ultimately determine the plan. Everything will be adjusted in a very simple way without the intercession of the famous ‘value’.” Fr. Engels – “Mr. Eugen Duehring’s Transformation of Science.”
21. Mr. Eugen Richter in his “False Doctrines” is so amazed by the fact that in socialistic society the use of money will be dropped (it will not be abolished outright but will simply become superfluous because the products of labor will no longer have the character of goods), that he devotes a special chapter to this incident. The thing that especially puzzles him is that it will be immaterial whether the working certificate will be a printed piece of paper, gold or tin. He says: “With gold the demon of the present world order would enter the socialistic state again” (Mr. Richter obstinately overlooks that eventually there will be only a socialistic society, not a socialistic “state,” for a great deal of his argumentation would then loose ground), “for gold has independent value as a metal and can easily be hoarded, and so the possession of pieces of gold would make it possible to accumulate values to escape the duty to work and even to loan out money on interest.” – One must consider one’s readers very stupid to place such bosh before them. Mr. Richter who cannot free himself from the conception of capital, cannot see that where there is no capital, no goods, there can be no money, and that where there is neither capital nor money there can be no interest. We should like to know how a member of socialistic society could “hoard” his golden working certificate or could even loan it on interest, when all the others also own what the one offers and on which he lives.
22. “All normal well developed human beings are born with approximately the same degree of intelligence, but education, laws and circumstances make them differ from one another. Individual interest, properly understood, is identical with the common or public interest.” Helvetius – “Man and His Education.” In regard to the great majority of men, Helvetius is right; what does differ are the talents for various occupations.
23. If one had to choose between Communism with all its chances and the present social order with all its suffering and injustice; if it were a necessary result of private property that the products of labor should be divided as we see them to-day, almost in a reverse ratio to the work performed – that the largest shares fall to those who have never worked at all, the next largest to those whose work is almost nominal, and so on along the line, the remuneration becoming smaller as the work becomes more difficult and disagreeable, until at last the most wearing and exhausting labor cannot even be certain of earning the most needful means of existence; if, we say, the alternative would be: this or Communism, all scruples in regard to Communism, both great and small, would be like chaff in the scales.” – John Stuart Mill – “Political Economy.” Mills has honestly tried to “reform” bourgeois society and to “make it listen to reason;” of course, in vain; and thus like every rational human being capable of recognizing the true nature of conditions, he finally became a Socialist. He did not dare to confess to this during his life-time, but caused his autobiography, containing his socialistic confession of faith, to be published after his death. His position was similar to Darwin’s, who did not wish to be regarded as an atheist during his life-time. Bourgeois society drives thousands to such hypocrisy. The bourgeoisie feigns loyalty, piety and submission to authority, because their rule depends upon the recognition of these virtues by the masses, but inwardly they jeer at them.
24. “Learning often serves ignorance as much as progress.” Buckle – “History of English Civilization.”