Woman and Socialism. August Bebel
The Socialisation of Society

Chapter XXII.
Socialism and Agriculture.

1. – Abolition of the Private Ownership of Land.

Land, being the prime raw material for all human labor and the basis of human existence, must be made the property of society, together with the means of production and distribution. At an advanced stage of development society will again take possession of what it owned in primeval days. At a certain stage of development all human races had common ownership of land. Common property is the foundation of every primitive social organization; it is essential to its existence. Only by the rise and development of private property and the forms of rulership connected with it, has common property been abolished and usurped as private property, as we have seen, not without severe struggles. The robbery of the land and its transformation into private property formed the first cause of oppression. This oppression has passed through all stages, from slavery to “free” Wage-labor of the twentieth century, until, after a development of thousands of years, the oppressed again convert the soil into common property.

The great importance of the soil to human existence was the reason why the ownership of the soil constituted the chief cause of conflict in all social struggles of the world – in India, China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Christian middle ages, the realms of the Aztecs and Incas, and in the social struggles of modern times. Even at the present day men like Adolf Samter, Adolf Wagner, Dr. Schaeffle, Henry George, and others, who do not believe in other forms of common property, favor the common ownership of land.[1]

The welfare of a population depends primarily upon the cultivation of the soil. To develop this cultivation to the highest degree is eminently to the interest of all. That this highest degree of development cannot be attained tinder the rule of private property, has been shown. To obtain the greatest possible advantage from the soil, not its cultivation alone must be taken into consideration. Other factors must be considered to which neither the largest private owner nor the most powerful association is equal, factors that may exceed even the jurisdiction of the state and require international consideration.

2. – The Amelioration of Land.

Society must consider the land in its totality, its topographical condition, its mountains, plains, forests, lakes, rivers, ponds, heathers, swamps and moors. Besides the geographical location, which is unalterable, this topographical condition exerts a certain influence upon the climate and the nature of the soil. This is a vast field of activity, where much experience is still to be gained and much experimentation still to be performed. Until now the state has accomplished but little along these lines. Only moderate means have been applied to such tasks of civilization, and even if the state desired to adopt effective measures, the large landed proprietors, who have a decisive voice in legislation, would prevent the carrying out of such measures. Without interference with private property nothing effectual could be done. But since the state is founded on the “sanctity” of private property, and since the large owners of private property are its chief supporters, it is prevented from proceeding in the manner that has been designated. It would be necessary to undertake the amelioration of land on a grand scale, to plant forests here and cut down forests there, to irrigate and to drain; to mix different kinds of soil, to break ground and to plant, in order to attain the highest degree of fertility.

A highly important, factor in the amelioration of the land would be an extensive system of rivers and canals, to be conducted according to scientific principles. The question of cheap transportation by water, so important to present-day society, would be of minor importance to the new society. Nevertheless transportation by water will be regarded as a very convenient means of transportation, requiring the least expenditure in strength and material. But of the greatest importance an extensive system of rivers and canals will be for purposes of irrigation and drainage, for the transportation of manure and other materials for the amelioration of the land, and for the distribution of the crops.

It has been determined by experience that countries where water is scarce, suffer much more from cold winters and hot summers than countries having an abundant water supply. For this reason maritime countries rarely suffer from extremes of temperature. Such extremes of temperature are neither advantageous nor agreeable to plants or human beings. An extensive system of canals, combined with measures for the preservation of forests, would have a beneficial influence. Such systems of canals and large basins, to collect and preserve masses of water, would prove especially beneficial, when the melting ice and snow in spring, or heavy rain-falls cause rivers and streams to rise and to overflow their banks. The construction of similar canals and basins would be required for the mountain torrents. Floods, with their ravaging effects, would then become impossible. Extensive surfaces of water and the increased evaporation would probably also cause rain to fall more regularly. These improvements would also make it possible to establish pumps and lifting apparatus for an extensive irrigation of the land whenever necessary.

Wide stretches of arid land might be made fertile by artificial irrigation. Where at present the grazing sheep barely find sufficient nourishment and where, at best, only emaciated looking trees stretch their lean branches skyward, an abundance of crops might be raised and a dense population might obtain nourishment and enjoyment. It is, for instance, only a question of the amount of labor employed, to transform the stretches of sandy soil of the March, humorously called “the sandbox of the German Empire,” into an Eden of fertility. This was pointed out by one of the lecturers at the German agricultural exhibition, in Berlin, during the spring of 1894.[2] But the landowners of the March do not have sufficient means to undertake the building of canals. irrigation, amelioration of the land , etc., and so, just beyond the walls of the national capital wide stretches of land remain in a condition that will seem incredible to coming generations. On the other hand, by means of canalization, wide stretches of swamps, moor-land and marshes might be drained and won for cultivation; thus, in northern and southern parts of Germany, the canals might further be used for the breeding of fish, and small communities that are not located near rivers might use them to erect bathing establishments.[3]

A few examples will suffice to show the influence of irrigation. In the vicinity of Weissenfels, 7½ hectares of irrigated meadows yielded 480 cwt. of hay, while 5 hectares, located beside these, that were not irrigated, yielded only 32 cwt. The former produced more than ten times as much as the latter. Near Riesa, in Saxony, 65 acres of irrigated meadows increased the net proceeds from 5,850 to 11,100 marks. By an investment of 124,000 marks for irrigation of the arid lands at the right bank of the Lippe, an annual gain of approximately 400,000 marks was obtained. The amelioration of the land undertaken in Lower Austria cost about one million crowns and increased the value of the produce by about six million crowns. The expensive improvements paid. Other parts of Germany, besides the March have an exceedingly sandy soil, and here the harvests are only fairly satisfactory, after a rainy summer. If these vicinities could be furrowed with canals, properly irrigated and ameliorated, they would shortly bring forth five and ten times their present amount. Examples are at hand in Spain, showing that well-irrigated soil brought forth 37 times as much as soil that had not been irrigated. So water is all that is needed to bring forth fresh masses of nourishment from the soil.

Hardly a year passes in which not one or the other of the German states and provinces is ravaged by floods. Large tracts of the most fertile land are carried away by the force of the water; others are littered with stories, sand and rubbish, and are made unfertile for years to come. Entire orchards that have required decades to be grown are uprooted. Houses, bridges, streets and dams are washed away, railroads are ruined and human lives are sacrificed, flocks perish and crops are destroyed. Wide stretches of land that are exposed to frequent ravages from floods are not cultivated at all, or only slightly, since their owners do not wish to suffer constant loss. Devastation of the forests, especially on the mountains, and particularly by private owners, increases the danger from floods. The mad devastation of the forests, prompted by a desire for profit, has led to a diminution of the fertility of the soil in the,, German provinces of Russia and Pomerania, in Corinthia and Styria, as also in Italy, France, Spain, Russia, and other countries.

Frequent floods are the result of the devastation of forests on the mountains. The inundations of the Rhine, the Oder, and the Vistula are ascribed mainly to the devastation of forests in Switzerland, Galicia, and Poland. The same causes lead to the frequent inundations in Italy, especially of the River Po. As a result of the same causes, Madeira, large portions of Spain, the most fertile provinces of Russia, and stretches of land in Asia Minor, which were at one time fertile and blooming, have lost much of their fertility.[4]

At last even bourgeois society has begun to recognize that, in this respect, it will no longer do to maintain the policy of “laissez faire,” and that, by sensible measures, applied on a large scale, the destructive forces can be transformed into constructive ones. So the construction of large dams was undertaken to collect immense quantities of water and to utilize the water-power to supply electric power to industry and agriculture. The Bavarian state especially has undertaken to dam the mountain streams on a grand scale to obtain power for the running of electric railways and other industrial undertakings. Agrarian old Bavaria is thereby rapidly becoming a modern industrial state.

3. – Changed Methods of Farming.

It is self-understood that these great tasks cannot be accomplished at once; but the new society will devote all its strength to these and similar undertakings, since it will be the avowed purpose of this new society to perform tasks in the interest of civilization and to permit nothing to interfere with their performance. In the course of time it will accomplish works the very thought of which would make present-day society dizzy.

Measures and institutions like the ones described above will make agriculture much more favorable. Still other points are to be considered in connection with the improved methods of farming. At present many square miles of land are planted with potatoes to be used mainly for the distilling of whiskey, which is consumed almost exclusively by the poor and needy portion of the population. Whiskey is the only stimulant they can obtain, the only banisher of care. But among the truly civilized people of the new society the consumption of whiskey will disappear; the soil and the labor power will be employed to raise wholesome food. We have already pointed to the cultivation of sugar-beets and the manufacture of sugar for export. In Germany more than 400,000 hectares of land, best suited to the raising of wheat, are devoted to the cultivation of sugar-beets, to supply England, Switzerland, the United States, etc., with sugar. Our standing army, the scattered methods of production and distribution, the scattered methods of farming, etc., make it necessary to breed millions of horses, and large areas of land are required to pasture them. The thoroughly transformed social and political conditions will enable the new society to utilize most of this land for agricultural purposes. Recently areas of many square kilometers have been withdrawn from agriculture, entire villages have been wiped out, because the new long-range firearms and the new methods of combat necessitate drilling-grounds on which whole troops may manoeuvre. Such use will never be made of the land in the future.

The great realm of agriculture, forestry and irrigation has already been made the subject of discussion, and a considerable literature exists on the subject. No particular field has remained unconsidered. Forestry, irrigation and drainage, the raising of grain, the cultivation of vegetables, fruit, berries, flowers and ornamental plants, the raising of fodder for domestic animals, cattle-breeding, raising of poultry, fish and bees, the preparation of dung and manure, the use of waste materials in farming and in industry, chemical examinations of the soil, and its preparation for one or another kind of crop, the nature of seeds, rotation of crops, farm implements and machinery, proper construction of farm-buildings, conditions of climate, etc. – all these things have been made subjects of scientific discussion and investigation. Almost daily new discoveries and experiences lead to improvements along one line or another. Since the researches of Thaer and J. v. Liebig agriculture has become a science. Indeed it has become one of the first and foremost sciences and has attained a degree of importance that few realms of productive activity can equal. But if we compare this tremendous progress along all lines with the true status of agriculture, it must be admitted that, so far, only a small fraction of the private owners have been able to make use of this progress, and all only pursue their private interest, regardless of the public welfare. The great majority of our farmers, we may say about 99 per cent. of them, are quite unable to make use of the progress and the advantages offered by science and by technical improvements, because they lack the necessary means, or knowledge, or both. Here the new society will find a field that has been well prepared, both theoretically and practically, and that it will only need to organize to attain the grandest results.

4. – Agriculture on a Large and Small Scale. Electric Appliances.

While even among Socialists some persons still hold the opinion, that small farmers are able to compete with the large agricultural enterprises by means of their own thrift and that of their families, experts have come to hold a different opinion. By over-exertion the peasant may achieve his utmost, but from the standpoint of a civilized human being his position is a deplorable one. No matter how much he may achieve, the modern technical development and the science of agriculture can achieve more. But, above all, only by the appliance of science and technique does the peasant attain the full development of a civilized human being, while to-day he is the slave of his property and the helot of his creditor.

The advantages of farming on a large scale are immense. To begin with, the area that can be utilized is considerably enlarged, because the numerous paths and roads and ridges necessitated by the disjointed properties, disappear. Fifty persons, working on a large farm – regardless of the more rational implements used by them – can accomplish much more than 50 persons working on scattered farms. Only farming on a large scale makes it possible to combine and direct the forces so as to obtain the best results. To this must be added the immense advantage derived from the application of all kinds of machinery, the use of the produce for industrial purposes, the more rational methods of cattle and poultry breeding, etc. Electric appliances especially furnish advantages to agriculture that overshadow every other method of cultivation. P.Mack[5] has ascertained that the introduction of machinery led to a saving of over 5,000 days’ labor by horses, and that a single investment of 40,000 marks capital led to a cheapening of the product of over 12,000 marks’ or 48 marks per hectare. This computation did not even take into consideration the increase in produce from the introduction of deep ploughing, or the more exact cultivation by machinery.[6]

Deep ploughing led to an increase of from 20 to 40 per cent in the cultivation of grain, and up to 50 per cent in the cultivation of potatoes, turnips, and the like. Taking an average of only 20 per cent, Mack showed that, on the farm under consideration, this meant a gain of 55.45 marks per hectare; together with the saving referred to above, this made a gain of 103.45 marks per hectare. Mack pointed out that it was necessary to establish a sufficient number of power plants, whereby not only all the machinery employed could be set in motion, but heat and light could also be supplied. By means of the electric plants, the dwellings; streets, stables, barns, storehouses and factories can be lighted, and if it should become necessary, crops can be reaped at night. Mack calculated that, by the general introduction of electricity, two-thirds of the animals employed for drawing and carrying loads (1,741,300) heads) might be dispensed with, which would imply an annual net profit of 1,002,989,000 marks.

The application of electricity makes agriculture more and more a purely technical, industrial process. The following compilation shows the manifold applicability of electricity in agriculture:[7] The following can be run by electric motors: 1. Machines that heighten the gross proceeds: A. for tilling: seed-assorter and electric ploughs. B. for the harvest: mowing-machines with binders; machines for reaping potatoes; irrigation-works. 2. Machines for reducing the cost of production: A. lifting machines, unloading machines in barns, grain elevators, pumps for liquid manure. B. means of transportation: groves, straps and bellows, field-railways, spindles and cranes. C. for utilization: straw-presses, corn-mills, chaff-cutters. 3. Machines of agricultural industry: A. distillery machines and machines for the manufacture of starch; water-pumps for various purposes. B. dairy implements: refrigerators, centrifuges, churners, kneaders, presses, etc. C. saw-mills, circular-saws and saw-frames. D. drills, turning-lathes, machines for wheel-making. 4. Food-chopping machines, for cattle-breeding: chaff-cutters, turnip-choppers, meal, potato and oat-grinders, etc.; squeezers, water-pumps. Investigations have shown that about 15 per cent of all farm-labor can be performed in this economical way, by the aid of electric motors.

The amount of manual labor power required for the threshing and preparation of 1000 kilograms of grain was ascertained:

Number of hours required.
1. When all the work was done by hand 104    
2. When small thrashing-machines and riddling machines were employed 41.4
3. When an electric thrashing-machine of 20 horse-power was employed 26.4
4. When a giant electric thrashing-machine with winnowing and riddling machine, elevators, etc. was employed 10.5

There is nothing to prevent the general introduction of electric ploughs. Like the electric railway, the electric plough has already attained a high degree of development. The heavy and expensive steam-plough can be rationally employed only on large areas and for deep ploughing. It is especially serviceable for heightening the crops of potatoes, etc. But the electric plough can be used equally well for deep and shallow ploughing. It makes it possible to cultivate the soil on steep inclines, where it is difficult to plough with horses, or oxen even. It is a great labor-saving device, as may be seen from the following comparison of expenses for ploughing, when horses, oxen, a steam-plough and an electric plough were used:

Cost per acre for ploughing number of inches of medium depth
4 6 8 11 14
Horses 2.50 3.00 4.20 7.70 13.30
Oxen 3.65 4.65 5.80 7.90 10.20
Steam-plough, rented, from 6.00 6.70 7.60 9.15 10.70
to 7.50 8.40 9.35 11.00 12.55
owned, from 4.50 5.00 5.85 7.30 8.85
to 6.00 6.70 7.60 9.15 10.70
Electric-plough, horse power 40 2.70 3.55 4.60 6.25 7.95
            60 2.65 3.40 4.30 5.70 7.10
            80 2.50 3.15 3.90 5.20 6.50

The simple supply and distribution of electric energy, the ease and simplicity with which electric machines can be run and kept in order, make their advantages to agriculture paramount, especially as a thin wire suffices to supply the power to extensive areas. As the employment of electric machines would necessitate a network of electric wires across the country, electric motor-power in agriculture could easily be combined with electro-cultivation, the direct influence of electricity an the growth of plants.

During recent years plant physiologists, as also practical agriculturists, were eagerly engaged in studying the influence of electricity on the growth and fructification of plants, especially the various kinds of grain. The task was accomplished by the late Professor R. S. Lemstroem (died 1906). He spread a net of wire across a large area of cultivated ground which, by means of a battery, he charged with positive electricity, while the negative pole remained on the ground, and subjected a field, or part of one, to an electric current during its entire period of vegetation, while an adjacent field, which was under observation also, remained uninfluenced. The experiments were tried upon various areas of different size, and, wherever carried out properly, they all showed the same favorable results. Firstly, the crop increased from 30 to over 100 per cent; secondly, it ripened in a shorter time, and thirdly, the quality was considerably improved.

There were still a few practical short-comings connected with this method, which Newman, an English agriculturist, succeeded in removing. He succeeded in interesting a famous English physicist, Oliver Lodge, in Lemstroem’s method. According to recent reports from Lodge these experiments have been successively tried from 1906 to 1908; the area under observation has been extended to ten hectares, and it was satisfactorily proven that the charged wire net may be spread as high as five meters above the ground, without lessening the favorable influence of the electric current on the harvest. This altitude makes it possible to drive loaded wagons beneath the wire net and to perform all agricultural tasks without interference, while Lemstroem’s net was not to be more than 40 centimeters above the plants to be influenced by the electric current.[8] Several millers instituted comparative baking experiments, and the electrified wheat was found to make better flour that that which had not been electrified. So the new method is ripe for being successfully introduced into agriculture and horticulture.

Fowler’s steam-plough, with two compound locomotives, requires an area of 5000 hectares for its satisfactory application, which is larger than the cultivated area of most peasant communities. It has been calculated that, if the soil under cultivation in 1895 had been cultivated with the application of all available machinery and all other modern advantages, a saving of 1600 million marks would have been realized. According to Ruhland[9] the successful combating of the diseases of grain alone would make the import of grain into Germany superfluous. in his book on “Our Meadows and Produce of the Fields,” Dr. Sonnenberg informs us, that Bavarian agriculture suffers a loss of 30 per cent. annually, owing to the spread of weeds in the fields. On two areas of 4 square meters each, one of which was full of weeds, while the other had been kept clear of weeds, Nowatzki attained the following results:

Stalks. Grains. Crop of straw.
On the area with weeds 216 180 239 grammes
On the area free from weeds 423 528 1,077 grammes

Dr. v. Ruemker, Professor at the Agricultural Institute of the University of Breslau, declares that a careful economy of the nourishment of the soil is almost entirely wanting in Germany. The cultivation of the soil and the sowing are done in such a thoughtless manner, according to old, acquired habits, and by means of such insufficient and imperfect tools, that the returns of all the labor must remain poor and unsatisfactory. He claims that the German farmers do not even perform the easy task of rationally assorting their seed. Professor v. Ruemker showed by the following table how the harvest can be increased per hectare by assorting the seed:

Wheat furnished Not assorted
per hectare
Assorted kilograms
per hectare
Number of
kilogr’s more
from ass'd seeds
Entire crop 8,000 10,800 +2,800
Grain 1,668 2,885 +1,217
Straw and chaff 6,332 7,915 +1,583
Weight in hectoliters of crop 77.2 78.7 +1.5

So, according to this table, 1200 kilograms more of corn might be obtained per hectare by properly assorting the seed, which, valued at 15 marks per cwt., represents a gain of 180 marks. Estimating the cost of assorting 4.40 marks per hectare at the most, there still remains a clear cash profit of 175.60 marks per hectare for the grain alone, not counting the additional gain in straw and chaff. By a number of experimental cultivations, Ruemker furthermore ascertained that by selecting that kind of grain best suited to each particular vicinity, the harvests might be increased and the gross receipts improved, on an average, as follows:

Rye by 300-700 kilogr’s of grain or by 42-98 marks per hectare
Wheat 300-800 45-120
Barley 200-700 34-119
Oats 200-1200 26-156

The gain obtained from assorting the seed and from a proper selection of the kind of wheat taken together, would, in the raising of wheat alone, increase the harvest by 1,500 to 2,000 kilograms of grain, or by 220 to 295 marks per hectare.

In a paper on “The Future of German Agriculture,” it has been shown how tremendously all agricultural products could be increased by sufficient and appropriate fertilization, by supplying mineral manure, as hypophosphate, phosphoric acid, etc. The German harvest of wheat might be increased on an average of 36 cwts. per hectare, and the harvest of rye by 24 cwts. per hectare. Moreover, a considerable portion of the land used for the cultivation of rye at present, might, by proper manuring, be used for the cultivation of wheat, so that the average harvest of grain for bread – two-fifths of wheat, three-fifths of rye – might amount to 28.8 cwts. per hectare, After the deduction of seed and of grain of inferior quality, there would still remain 26 cwts. per hectare to feed the nation. The 7.9 million hectares that are planted with wheat and rye at present might be increased by an additional 1.5 million hectares of pasture, fallow-ground, heaths and moor-land, so that, with an average crop of 26 cwts. per hectare and a cultivated area Of 9.4 million hectares, a production Of 251.92 million cwts. of grain for bread might be obtained. With an annual consumption Of 175 kilograms for every person, enough grain for bread could be raised to supply the needs of 144 million persons. At the time of the census of 1900, Germany had a population of approximately 56,345,000 inhabitants, and even at that time science and technics were sufficiently far advanced that the German soil might have supplied a population two and a half times as large with bread. Under the present agricultural system, with the scattered private ownership of land, Germany is obliged to import annually about one-ninth of its requisite supply of wheat and rye. If, under the present agricultural system, similar quantities were to be raised, it would mean so great an increase in the cost of articles of food, that a majority of the people could not afford to buy them, and that would not answer the purpose. These results can be obtained only by communistic methods, when carried out on the largest scale; but of course the authors quoted above do not think of that possibility. According to calculations made by them, by means of an intensified cultivation of the soil, the products of German agriculture might be increased as follows:

Rye and wheat by 145.1 million cwts.
Potatoes 444.0
Oats, barley, peas and beans 78.7
Hay 146.2
Fodder 110.0
Turnips (for cattle) 226.0

If we furthermore take into consideration the suggestions by Mack, quoted above, showing that a very great number of animals for drawing and carrying loads might be dispensed with by the introduction of electric power, we find that the breeding of cattle for nourishment might be considerably increased, or that much of the land used for pasture might be planted with food for man.

Another field of agricultural activity that might be developed to a far greater extent, is poultry breeding. The value of eggs imported by Germany annually amounts to 149.7 million marks (1907), and that of live poultry to over 40 million marks. The institutions for raising and breeding poultry are still sadly undeveloped. The concentrated methods of agriculture on a large scale will lead to the concentration of farming establishments, such as stables, store-houses, ice-houses, fodder and feeding; much time, labor and material be saved, and practical advantages will be obtained that are inaccessible to small and medium-sized establishments, and are but rarely enjoyed by large ones. How insufficient, for instance, are the hygienic institutions in most stables, how inadequate are the provisions made for the feeding and care of the cattle and poultry! That cleanliness, air and light are as necessary to animals as to human beings and have a favorable influence on their condition, is a fact known but little among peasants of the twentieth century. It is self-understood that, by a general dissemination and application of this knowledge, milk, butter, cheese, eggs, honey, meat, etc., will be obtained under far more sanitary and favorable conditions than at present. By a skillful combination and application of human labor power and machinery, not only the cultivation of the fields, but also the reaping of the harvest will be done by ways and means unknown to us to-day. The erection of great halls for shelter will make it possible to gather in the crops during any kind of weather, and, by bringing them in quickly, the enormous losses will be avoided that are so frequent now. According to v. d. Goltz, during one single unfavorable harvest-time, 8 to 9 million marks are lost on crops in Mecklenburg, and in the government district of Koenigsberg, from 12 to 15 million marks,

5. – Vine-Culture of the Future.

The cultivation of fruit and berries and horticulture will also attain a degree of development in the future that hitherto seemed almost impossible. To what extent the cultivation of fruit is still neglected in Germany, although the German climate is particularly favorable to the cultivation of orchards, especially apple-orchards, may be seen from the fact that more than 40 million marks’ worth of fresh fruit and more than 20 million marks’ worth of dried fruit are imported annually. One look at the poor condition of our fruit-trees in the greater part of Germany, even in countries like Wurtemberg, which are famed for their orchards, makes this easily understood. Here a wide field presents itself to agricultural and horticultural activity. The cultivation of berries is just begun and presents a no more favorable aspect.

By applying artificial heat and moisture in large, sheltered halls, it becomes possible to raise vegetables, fruit and berries in large quantities during any season of the year. The florists’ show-windows in our large cities present as gorgeous an array of flowers in mid-winter as they do in summer. Wonderful progress in the line of artificial cultivation of fruit, is marked by the artificial “vineyard” of Garden-Director Haupt, in Brieg in Silesia, which has since been imitated elsewhere, and already had been tried in other countries; for instance, in England. Its equipment and the results achieved were so enticingly described in the “Vossishe Gazette,” of September 27, 1890, that an extract of this description follows:

“The glass-house is situated upon an approximately square field of 500 square meters. It is from 4.5 to 5 meters high, and its walls face exactly north, south, cast and west. It contains twelve rows of double fruit-walls, running from south to north, 1.8 meters apart, which at the same time serve as supports to the flat roof. In a bed 1.25 meters deep, resting on a bank of earth 25 centimeters strong, which contains a net of pipes for drainage and ventilation of the soil, a bed, whose heavy ground has been made loose and fertile by the introduction of chalk, rubbish, sand, manure, bone-dust and potash, Mr. Haupt planted 360 grapevines of the kinds that yield the best grape-juice in the Rhine Province: White and red Riessling and Traminer, white and blue Moscatelle and Burgundy.

The ventilation of the place is effected by several apertures in the side walls and by slats 20 meters long attached to the roof, which can be opened and closed by a lever, and afford protection from the storm in any position. Twenty-six showers serve to water the vines. They are attached to rubber pipes 1.25 meters long that are suspended from a tank above. But Mr. Haupt has introduced still another truly ingenious contrivance for quickly and thoroughly watering his ‘wine-hall’ and his ‘vineyards’: an artificial generater of rain. Under the roof four long copper tubes are attached that contain fine perforations half a meter apart. Through these perforations fine streams of water are driven upward, strike small round sieves made of gauze, and, by being filtered through them, are scattered in fountains of a fine spray. It takes several hours to water the place thoroughly by means of the rubber tubes; but one need open only one faucet, and throughout the building a gentle, refreshing rain falls down evenly upon the vines, the ground and the granite walks, Without any artificial heating, only by the neutral qualities of the glass-house, the temperature can be raised from 8 to 10 degrees R. above the outside air. In order to protect the vines from their most dangerous and destructive enemy, the vine-louse, in case one should appear, it will suffice to close all the drain, pipes and open all the faucets. Thereby an inundation of the vines will be caused which, as is well known, this enemy cannot resist. The glass walls and roof protect the vineyard from storm, cold, frost and superfluous rain. A fine wire netting, spread over roof and walls, affords protection from hail. The artificial rain contrivance is a safeguard against draught. The wine-grower in such a vineyard makes his own weather and can mock the dangers of all the incalculable whims and treacheries of indifferent or cruel nature that threaten with ruin the fruit of the wine-grower’s toil and care.”

Mr. Haupt’s expectations were fully realized. The vines thrived splendidly in the even temperature. The grapes ripened to their fullest perfection, and in the fall of 1885 yielded a juice that was not inferior in richness and sweetness to any obtained along the Rhine. The grapes thrived equally well in the following year, and in that most unfavorable year, 1887. When the vines have attained their full height of five meters and bear an abundance of grapes to their very top, in this establishment about 20 hectoliters of wine can be produced annually, and the cost of wine per bottle to the producer will not exceed 40 “pfennige” (10 cents).

There is no reason why this new and most favorable system of vine-culture should not be introduced on a large scale. Glass-houses like this one, covering one-fifth of an acre, can without doubt also be erected on areas of one acre, or more, equipped with the same contrivances for ventilation, drainage and artificial rain. Here the vegetation will set in some weeks earlier than in the open air, and during the time of bloom the young vines will be protected from May-frosts, rain and cold; while the grapes ripen they will be protected from drought, from pilfering birds and thieves and excessive moisture; during the entire year they will be protected from the vine-louse, and the berries will remain safely on the vine until November or December. In an address delivered before the Society for the Advancement of Horticulture, in 1888, from which I have taken several technical terms in this description of Haupt’s “vineyard,” the inventor and founder of same closed with the following alluring perspective of the future: “Since this vine-culture can be carried on throughout Germany, also on otherwise barren, sandy or stony soil (as, for instance, in the March), after it has been made arable and watered, it becomes evident that vine-culture under glass becomes a matter of national interest. I would like to call this method the vine-culture of the future.” The author then described how the wine obtained form the grapes had met with the highest approval of experts, and added – “The vineyard also left sufficient room for the cultivation of other plants. Thus Mr. Haupt, between every two vines raises one rose-bush, which presents a wealth of bloom during April and May. On the eastern and western walls he also raises peaches, and during April their luxuriant blossoms must impart to this glass palace a fairy-like appearance.”

Recently Belgium has bestowed special attention upon this method of fruit-culture. But in Germany also it is being extensively applied, for instance, in raising pineapples. Nothing will prevent the establishment of similar hot-house plantations for various kinds of plants, so that, with many products of the soil, we may enjoy the luxury of a double or threefold harvest. At present these undertakings are primarily a question of profit, and their products are enjoyed only by the favored few. But in Socialistic society the only question will be whether sufficient labor-power is obtainable. This being the case the task will be accomplished to the common advantage of all.

6. – Measures to Prevent Exhaustion of the Soil.

So we see that, even under present-day conditions, a thorough transformation in the methods of procuring food is taking place. But the utilization of all these discoveries is extremely slow, because powerful classes – the agrarians and their social and political supporters – are profoundly interested in suppressing them. Although in spring weekly prayers are offered up in all churches for a good crop, individual members of the congregations may feel like that pious man who implored his patron saint: “St. Florian, protect my house, set others on fire!” For if the crops turn out well in all countries the prices are lowered, and this possibility is dreaded by agrarians. What is advantageous to others is harmful to him, and therefore lie is a silent opponent of every discovery or invention that benefits others besides himself. Our society dwells in constant discord with itself.

In order to maintain the soil in a fertile condition and to improve it, sufficient manure is essential. To obtain same will be an important task for the new society also.[10]

Manure is to the fields what food is to man, and just as not every kind of food is equally nourishing to man, so not every kind of manure is of equal value to the soil. The ground must be given exactly the same chemical substances that have been withdrawn from it by the reaping of a crop, and such chemical substances, as are required for the cultivation of a certain kind of plant, must be introduced in large quantities. Therefore the study of chemistry and its practical application will develop to an extent unknown to-day.

Now animal and human excrements contain the very chemical substances that are suited to the cultivation of human food. Therefore it is important to obtain and properly distribute them. Little is done in this respect at present. Especially the cities and industrial centers, which receive large quantities of food, return very little of the valuable offal to the soil. As a result the farms that are situated far from the cities and industrial centers and that annually ship the greater part of their products into these, suffer from want of manure. Often the offal obtainable on the farms does not suffice, because the human beings and animals from which it is obtained have consumed only a small portion of the crops. So an exhaustion of the soil would be sure to take place, unless the want of natural manure were made up for by artificial manure. All countries that export agricultural products and receive no manure in return, will sooner or later be ruined by the impoverishment of their soil. This is the case with Hungary, Russia, the Danubian principalities, etc.

In the middle of the last century, Liebig solved his theory of the reproduction of substance for arable soil, which led to the use of concentrated manure. Schultze-Lupitz proved that certain plants, although not given manure containing nitrogen, still added nitrogen to the soil, a phenomenon that was explained later by Hellriegel. He showed that the millions of bacilli, acting on certain leguminous plants, obtain the nitrogen for the nourishment of the plant directly from the air.[11] Chemistry constitutes one phase of modern, scientific agriculture, and bacteriology constitutes the other. In its deposits of potash, Thomas-slag, hypophosphate and phosphoric acid, Germany possesses a number of inexhaustible sources of mineral manure. A proper application of these, combined with an appropriate tilling of the soil, makes possible a production of enormous quantities of food.

An idea of the importance of the various kinds of artificial manure may be gained from the following figures: During 1906 Germany consumed about 300 million marks’ worth of artificial manure. Among these were sulphate of ammonia for 58.3 millions; nitrate of soda for 120, and the rest was expended for Thomas-slag, hypophosphate, potash, guano, etc. The most important of these fertilizers are the ones containing nitrogen. The great importance of this substance may be seen from the following: Investigations made by Wagner showed that crops of oats from a field in Hessia diminished by 17 per cent. when there was a dearth of phosphoric acid; by 19 per cent. when there was a dearth of potash, and by 89 per cent. when there was a dearth of nitrogen. The net profits for one year per hectare were: When the fertilizer contained all the needful ingredients, 96 marks; when the potash was omitted, 62 marks; when phosphoric acid was omitted, 48 marks; when nitrogen was omitted, 5 marks. It has been calculated that if German would double its nitrogen-manure, it could produce not only sufficient grain and potatoes to supply the demand of its own population, but could also export considerable quantities. And the chief sources of this valuable manure, the deposits of nitrate soda in Chili, like the deposits of guano, are rapidly being used up, while the demand for nitrogen preparations constantly increases in Germany, France, England, and, during the last ten years, in the United States of America also. As early as 1899 the English chemist, William Crookes, propounded this question and designated it as one of greater importance than the possibility of proximate exhaustion of the British coal mines. He therefore regarded it to be one of the most important tasks of chemistry to manufacture nitrogen fertilizers from the tremendous nitrogen reservoir of the atmosphere. It must be remembered that the quantity of air covering one square centimeter of ground, weighs approximately 1 kilogram, and that four-fifths of it are nitrogen. From this may be calculated that the nitrogen contained in the atmosphere of the earth, amounts, in round figures, to 4000 million tons. The present annual consumption of nitrate of soda is, in round figures, 300,000 tons. So even if the nitrogen in the atmosphere were not replaced, it would suffice to supply the demand of the entire earth during 14,000 million years. This problem has been practically solved. In 1899, A. Frank and N. Caro produced cyanide of potassium that contains from 14 to 22 per cent. of nitrogen. The new fertilizer has been introduced upon the market under the name of calcareous nitrogen. But Frank’s and Caro’s method is not the only one. In 1903 the Norwegians, C. Birkeland and S. Eyde, succeeded in transforming the atmospheric nitrogen into nitric acid by combustion, by means of electricity. This second method furnishes a product that is equal to Chili nitrate of soda in every respect and even superior to it for certain kinds of soil. In 1905 Otto Schoenherr succeeded in finding a method still superior to that of Birkeland and Eyde. For, besides the electric power, only the cheapest materials are required, i. e., water and limestone. So agriculture ,has been given a new fertilizer that can be obtained by a purely technical industrial process, and has an unlimited supply at its disposal.[12]

According to A. Mueller, a healthy adult secretes annually on an average of 48.5 kilograms of solid and 43.8 kilograms of liquid matter. Estimated by the present prices of manure, these materials represent a value of about 5.15 marks. The great difficulty in fully utilizing this material lies in the establishment of large and appropriate contrivances for collecting same and in the high cost of transportation. A great portion of the excrements from the cities is conducted into our rivers and streams and pollutes them. In the same way, the offal and refuse from kitchens and industrial establishments that might also be used for manure, are usually carelessly wasted.

The new society will find ways and means to prevent this waste. It will solve the problem more easily, because the large cities will gradually cease to exist owing to the decentralization of the population.

7. – Removal of the Contrast between City and Country.

No one can adjudge our modern large cities a healthy product. The prevailing economic and industrial system constantly attracts great masses of the population to the cities.[13] They are the chief seats of industry and commerce, and there all the highways of traffic converge. There the owners of great fortunes reside, and there the civil, judicial and military authorities are located. In the cities are found the great institutions of learning, the academies of art, the places of enjoyment and recreation, exhibitions, museums, theatres, concert-halls, etc. Thousands are attracted by their occupations, thousands by pleasure, and thousands of others by the hope of greater gain and a more pleasant life.

But this formation of great cities, figuratively speaking, reminds one of a man whose girth is constantly increasing while his legs are constantly growing leaner, until they can no longer carry the load. In the immediate vicinity of these cities all the villages assume an urban character also, and here the proletarians flock together. These usually poor municipalities must tax their members to the utmost and still are unable to meet all demands. When they have finally extended close to the large city they are swallowed up by it, as a planet that has come too close to the sun. But thereby the conditions of life are not improved. On the contrary, they become more unfavorable by the crowding of masses in congested dwellings. These gatherings of masses are necessary in present-day development and, to a certain degree, form the centers of revolution; but in the new society they will have accomplished their purpose. Their gradual dissolution will be inevitable, for then the contrary will take place. The population will migrate from the large cities to the country, will form new communities adapted to the changed conditions, and will combine industrial and agricultural activity.

As soon as the urban population, as a result of the development of the means of transportation, methods of production, etc., is enabled to transfer to the country all its accustomed requirements of culture, its institutions of learning, museums, theaters, concert-halls, libraries, social centers, etc., the migration will begin. Life will offer all the advantages of the former large city without its disadvantages. The dwellings will be far More sanitary and pleasant. The rural population will participate in industry, and the industrial population will participate in agriculture and horticulture, a variety of occupations that only a few persons can enjoy at present, and only by excessively long and hard labor.

As on all other fields, the bourgeois world is paving, the way for this development, as each year a greater number of industrial establishments are transferred to the country. The unfavorable conditions prevailing in the large cities, high rents and high wages, compel many manufacturers to transfer their establishments to rural districts. On the other hand, the large landowners are becoming industrialists (manufacturers of sugar, distillers, brewers, manufacturers of cement, earthenware, bricks, woodwork, paper, etc.) Even to-day tens of thousands of persons who work in the large cities have their homes in the suburbs, because the improved means of transportation enable them to live in this manner.

By the decentralization of the population the present contrast between urban and rural population will be removed. The peasant, this modern helot, who, until now, in his isolation in the country, has been excluded from all modern cultural development, will then become a civilized being[14] in the fullest sense of the word. The wish once expressed by Prince Bismarck, that he might see the large cities destroyed, will be fulfilled, but in a different sense than he anticipated.[15]


1. During the centuries when common ownership of land still predominated, but the robbery of land assumed ever greater portions, fathers of the church. popes and bishops have also preached communistic doctrines. Of course, the syllabus and the encyclical letters of the nineteenth century no longer contain references of this sort, and the popes too have become subservient to bourgeois society and rise to defend it against the Socialists. Bishop Clemens I (died 102 A. D.) said. “The use of all worldly things should be common to all. It is wrong to say: This is mine, this belongs to me, and that to someone else. It is this which has caused dissention among men.” Bishop Ambrosius of Milan, who lived around 374, exclaimed: “Nature gives all blessings to all men in common; for God has created all things for the common enjoyment of all, that the earth should be common property.. Nature accordingly has created the right of common ownership, and only unfair usurpation creates the right of private property.” In his Book of Homilies directed against the wickedness and depravity of the people of Constantinople, St. John Chrysostomus (died 408) wrote: “Let no one call anything his own. From God have we received everything for common enjoyment, and mine and thine are words of falsehood!.” St. Augustin (died 430) said: “Because we have private property, we also have law suits, hostility, dissention, wars, rebellion, sin, injustice, murder. Whence come all these scourges? Only from property. So, my brethren, let us refrain from owning things, or let us, at least, refrain from loving what we own.” Pope Gregory the Great (about 600) exclaimed: “Let them know that the earth whence they come and of which they are made is common to all men, and that the fruits which the earth brings forth should therefore belong to all without distinction..” Bossuet, the famous bishop of Meaux (died 1704), says in his “Politics of the Holy Scripture:” “Without the governments the earth and its products would belong to all men in common, just as air and light. According to the prime right of nature, no one may lay claim to anything. All things belong to all. From bourgeois government property derives its origin.” The last sentence might be more clearly expressed in the following manner: because common property became private property, we have obtained bourgeois governments that must protect it. One of the moderns, Zachariae, says in his “Forty Books on the States:” “All sufferings of civilized nations may be traced to the private ownership of land. ” All the men quoted above have more or less correctly recognized the nature of private property. As St. Augustin says: Since its existence it has brought into the world law suits, hostility, dissention, war, rebellion, sin, injustice, murder, – evils that will disappear again by its abolition.

2. An official report on the world’s fair in Chicago contained the following: “The utilization of water to raise fruit and vegetable becomes increasingly desirable. Water companies established for this purpose might transform deserts into edens.”

3. “In a highly cultivated part of the Austrian monarchy – in Bohemia – 656,000 hectares of farm land are in want of drainage. 174,000 hectares of meadows are either too moist or too dry. Of course, matters are much worse in those vicinities that are less developed agriculturally, as especially in Galicia.” Dr. Eugene v. Philippovitch – “Political Economy.”

4. According to Schwoppach, the forest is of immeasurable value by preventing of washing away the soil on the mountains and presenting the soil from becoming sandy in the plains. The devastation of forests in Russia is a chief cause why the cultivated land is becoming increasingly sandy.

5. P. Mack Althof-Ragnit. Cavalry-Captain and Owner of Manorial Estate – “The Development of Agriculture by Cheapening of the Cost of Production. An Investigation of the Service rendered Agriculture by Machines and Electricity.” Koenigsberg, 1900.

6. The packing into subterranean pits (Campbell) has become a very significant factor in recent years. In some regions of North America where rain is scarce, marvelous results have been obtained by this method.

7. Kurt Krohne – “The Expanded Application of Electricity in Agriculture.” “Journal of Electrotechnics,” 1908.

8. M. Breslauer – “The Influence of Electricity on the growth of plants.” “Journal of Electrotechnics,” 1908. A small plant for purposes of demonstration is being erected near Berlin under the direction of Breslauer.

9. Dr. G. Ruhland – “Fundamental Principles of Actual Agrarian Politics.” Tuebingen, 1893.

10. There is a recipe for the fertility of fields and the eternal duration of their crops: if properly applied it will prove more remunerative than any that has ever been resorted to by agriculture. It is the following: Every farmer who takes a bag of grain or a hundred-weight of rape, carrots, potatoes, etc. to market shall, like the Chinese coolie, bring back with him as much, if possible more, of the ingredients of his products of the soil and shall give them back to the field from which he has taken them. He shall not despise a potatoe peal or a blade of straw, but shall remember that one of his potatoes needs the peal and one of his ears of corn the blade, His expense for this import is slight and the investment is sure; no savings bank is safer, and no capital will bring a higher rate of interest. The surface of his field will bring forth the double amount in ten years. He will produce more corn, more meat and more cheese without spending more time of performing more labor, and he will not be in constant anxiety seeking new and unknown means to keep his field fertile by other methods. Old bones, soot and ashes, the blood of animals and all kinds of offal should be collected in establishments erected for this purpose and prepared for shipment. The administrative and police officials in the cities should see to it that by an appropriate arrangement of drains and cess-pools this waste of material is avoided. Liebig – “Chemical Letters.” Leipsic and Heidelberg, 1865.

11. “German Agriculture at the Close of the Century.” Address delivered by Dr. Max Delbruek at the Royal Academy of Agriculture, on January 12, 1900.

12. According to Prof. Benthsen on sulphuric acid of the atmosphere. Lecture delivered at the seventh international congress in London “Journal of Applied Chemistry,” 1909.

13. According to the census of June 12, 1907, Germany had 24 large cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants each. In 1816, there were only two cities in Germany having more than 100,000 inhabitants. In 1871, there were only 8 of them. The population of Berlin was, approximately, 826,000 in 1871; 1,880,000 in 1900; 2,040,148 in 1905. So its population had increased by 147 per cent in 34 years. “Greater Berlin” had 875,328 inhabitants in 1871, and 2,469,009 inhabitants in 1900. in 1907, 42 large cities had 1,790,000 inhabitants, and their proportion to the entire population now amounts to, approximately. 19 per cent. A number of these large cities found it necessary to admit into their municipalities a number of the suburban factory towns that, according to their population, were cities in themselves, and so they grew in leaps and bounds. During the period from 1895 to 1905, Leipsic increased from 170,000 to 503,672 inhabitants; Cologne from 161,000 to 428,722; Magdeburg from 114,000 to 240,633; Munich from 270,000 to 538,983; Breslau from 299,000 to 470,904; Frankfort on the Main from 154,000 to 334,978; Hannover from 140,000 to 250,024; Duesseldorf from 115,000 to 253,274; Nuremberg from 15,000 to 294,426; Chemnitz from 111,000 to 294,927; Essen from 65,074 to 239,692, etc.

14. Professor Adolf Wagner says in his “Text-book of Political Economy by Rau” that has been previously quoted – “The small farms constitute an economic basis that cannot be replaced by any other institution for a very important part of the population, an independent, self-sustaining peasantry and its peculiar socio-political position and function.” If the author would riot idealize the small farmer “A tout prix” to please his conservative friends, he would have to recognize the small farmer as the poorest of beings. Under existing conditions the small farmer is almost inaccessible to a higher culture. He works hard from dawn till darkness and lives like a dog. Meat, butter. eggs, milk that he produces are not consumed by him; he produces for others. Under existing conditions he cannot attain a higher status of life and so becomes an element detrimental to the progress of civilization. He who likes retrogression because it serves his own ends, may desire the continued existence of this social stratum, but human progress demands that it should cease to exist.

15. In the Union Parliament at Erfurt, in 1850, Prince Bismarck raged against the large cities because they were “hot-beds of revolution” and should therefore be demolished. He was right. In the modern proletariat bourgeois society produces its own “grave-diggers.”