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economy, till at last they become inferior thereto. Such inferiority, becoming more and more accentuated, results finally in destroying the flourishing system of compulsory association, to replace it, first with isolated economy, and then with a more efficacious form of associated production. An equally sad fate awaits the automatic economy of hired service, which by an organic deterioration is gradually dethroned from its primitive superiority over isolated production, and then becomes positively inferior to it, and is one day compelled to yield the sceptre of production to the isolated labourers, who, in their turn, will establish a definitive and fruitful form of associated labour " (639). It is not easy to gather what the new form will be; every existing form of co-partnership is weighed in the balances and found wanting (670, 675).
To Professor Loria, the appropriation of the land is the cause of all the phenomena of what he and others call “ Capitalism." To Marx the cause was the appropriation of the means of production, land included. We are in presence of two questions that social reformers have been asking and answering for themselves for the last twenty years in this country. The first is: If private property is the cause of our evils, can we rightfully limit its mischief to the case of land, or must we not attribute mischief to the private ownership of the other means of production also ? The second is : Can we rightfully ascribe our evils to private property at all? In this country, at least, progress in the healing of evils seems more likely to be secured in manufacturing industry, where the strongest heads and wills are at work, than in agriculture. But in any case we decline to admit that we are blindly following a benevolent or malevolent instinct. Not only in technical invention, but even in the organisation of industry, deliberate will and conscious reasoning are of some avail. May not the contrary view have sunk into the mind of the learned author from the political depression of his native country? If so, with the altered prospects which we all hope and expect for Italy, we may look for a brighter mood in its professors.
The Right to the Whole Produce of Labour ; the Origin and
Development of the Theory of Labour's Claim to the whole
DR. MENGER's book is an old friend and helper of such students of modern economic history as read the German language. In our times, when the circle of economic students seems on the whole to be widening, it is well that so good a book should be made accessible to all who can read English.
It is a fragment of a larger work, which we may hope the author will one day complete, on the general subject of Socialism from the lawyer's point of view,-Socialism as modifying the present laws, especially of property. Socialism may no doubt modify the marriage laws, but the unanimity of Socialists of all groups is far more decided in regard to its effects on the laws of property, and it is with their views on property that Professor Menger is concerned in the book before us. Unable to deal at present with the whole problem, the Professor deals with a part of it, the assertion by Socialists of the workman's right: (1) to the whole product of his labour; (2) to existence and subsistence; (3) to employment. These three rights, especially the two former, had formed an important and it was alleged an original feature of the doctrines of Rodbertus and Marx, the leaders of German scientific Socialism. Dr. Menger has no difficulty in showing that, long before the Germans took them up, they had been taught by the English Anarchists and Socialists, Godwin, Hall, Thompson, and by the French Socialists and St. Simonians. He shows too that Marx, whose studies included the English writers no less than the French, was disingenuous in professing to make for himself what he really found ready to his band. He gives a brief sketch of the later phases of Socialism in Eng. land, France, and Germany, and he concludes with two chapters of criticism. He is always trenchant, and he is sufficiently sympathetic to be a useful critic.
The translation is well done. In places it might be said that the emphasis has been shifted or lost. Thus, to go no farther than page 6,
6 the meaning of the last sentence but one is, probably, that the right to employment, although only a form of the right to subsistence, has become of greater historical importance than the latter because it was more obviously a step to Socialism. So on page 7,“A commodity should belong only to the individual by whose labour it was produced," seems to give the sense less exactly than when the original is rendered more literally as follows:-" When an article is produced by the labour of one single person, then the article should belong to this single person alone,”—for the next sentence proceeds to speak of the joint work of several persons and the allocation of the product in that much more difficult case. On page 32 it seems better to talk of the “ absurdity” than of the “bad taste" of Wolff's mathematical demonstrations. But, after all, translators may differ, as well as original authors. There is no doubt that the present translation deserves the high praise of being more compact than its original.
Professor Foxwell has added greatly to the value of the book. He has prefixed a discourse, to which the only objection is that it bears with Dr. Menger's preliminary remarks the same name of “ Introduction.” It contains a more detailed account of the English Socialists than
was possible for any one to give but the possessor of the finest English economic library in the world; and Professor Foxwell's comments on Socialism and on present social problems are always stimulating and often profound. “Not only is our age one of exceptionally rapid change, but our ideals are changing even more rapidly than our institutions, so that we live in an atmosphere of social ferment and revolutionary proposals. What makes the situation still more critical, and forms to my mind the peculiar danger of modern societies, is the startling contrast between their political and economic development. In politics, equality; in economics, subordination. One man, one vote; why not also one man, one wage ?” (xiv, xv.) “It is far more important and far more practicable to take care that the acquisition of new wealth proceeds justly than to attempt to redistribute wealth already acquired (cx.). This last is a "golden word."
Attention should be called finally to the Appendices. Appendix I. contains a translation of Karl Marx's Preface to the Critique of Political Economy published by him in 1859 and almost unprocurable now.
Appendix II. is probably the best bibliography ever yet formed of the writings of English Socialists from Godwin to the later Owenites. It includes books, periodical publications, biographies, and histories.
The whole volume is a joint contribution to economic literature in which all the collaborators may well feel a sense of satisfaction. There has seldom been so great value compressed into so small bulk.
Gesammelte Aufsätze von Lujo Brentano. ERSTER BAND :
Erbrechtspolitik. Alte und neue Feudalität. (Stuttgart.
1899. Cotta. XII. and 592 pp. 8vo.)
The essays published in this volume, though, as regards about half of them, historical in form, are all written with the purpose of support
, ing the author's opinions on certain legislative enactments and proposals which have recently occupied the politicians of several German States, and more especially the legislature of the Kingdom of Prussia.
These enactments and proposals fall under two heads : (1) Those which intend to prevent the subdivision of peasants' holdings on the owner's death and are described by the general name of “ Anerbenrecht," “ Anerbe " being the designation of the person who takes the land on the decease of his ancestor or other predecessor ; (2) Those for the promotion of measures, facilitating the cutting up of large estates into peasants' holdings by allowing the purchase price of the latter to be converted into terminable or permanent rent-charges. The legislation serving that object is generally described as “Rentengütergesetzgebung,” the word “ Rentengut” being used to describe a holding subject to a rent-charge.
Anerbenrecht" in its older form has existed in many parts of
Germany. In this older form it meant, that the owner for the time being was much in the same position as an English tenant-in-tail in possession minus the faculty of barring the entail, the only difference arising from the fact that the brothers and sisters excluded from the inheritance were, as a general rule, entitled to the payment of portions of which they could not be deprived by testamentary disposition.
This older Anerbenrecht, as a legally recognised system, was in most parts of Germany swept away by the reforms introduced during the first half of the present century; but the actual custom seems to have lingered on in many places, and since 1874 legislation in several German States has attempted to revive it in a modernised form. In the kingdom of Prussia statutes providing for the re-introduction of Anerbenrecht were successively introduced for the provinces of Hanover ("74); Lauenburg ('81); Westphalia ('82); Brandenburg ('83); Silesia ('84); Schleswig-Holstein ('86); and for the district of Kassel ('77). This new “Anerbenrecht " differs from the former law in three important respects : (a) it is voluntary and applicable to such holdings only as are registered for that purpose by their respective owners, who, moreover, may cancel such registration at any time they think fit to do so ; (b) the existence of “ Anerbenrecht" does not in any way interfere with the freedom of division by will or "inter vivos; "the" Anerbenrecht"
“ becomes effective in the case of intestate succession only ; (c) the "Anerbe" takes the holding subject to the right of his brothers and sisters to receive their shares of the inheritance in money. In some provinces he takes a small addition to his share, in others the shares of all are equal. The share of the “ Anerbe” may be increased by testamentary disposition, but subject to the right of the brothers and sisters to receive their legitim portion at the least.
Except in the province of Hanover these statutes have been used to a very small extent only, and the adherents of "Anerbenrecht,”
” ascribing their failure to accidental causes, have for some time tried to replace the voluntary system by one that will be compulsory, and also to impress this new system with several characteristics which will bring it nearer to the law in its older form. These attempts have resulted in two statutes dated respectively 1896 and 1898, of which the first introduces compulsory "Anerbenrecht” for all holdings throughout Prussia subject to rent-charges by virtue of the legislation to which I shall have to refer below, whilst the second enacts that the system in question is to be applied to all holdings of a certain importance used for agricultural or forestry purposes within the province of Westphalia and certain adjacent districts (estates comprised in family settlements or subject to feudal rules of descent being however excepted). The “ Anerbenrecht” of these statutes differs from that of the previous ones, in respect of all the three characteristics to which we have referred, inasmuch as (a) it is compulsory; (b) freedom of alienation is considerably interfered with, more especially with reference to holdings subject to the provisions of the Statute of 1896 ;
(c) the preferential rights of the “Anerbe" are of a much more substantial character.
The legislation with reference to “Rentengüter" began in 1886, when the Prussian Government was authorised to expend the sum of 100,000,000 marks for the purchase of land in two of the eastern provinces, which land was to be sold in small holdings to colonists of German nationality at purchase prices which were converted into terminable or permanent rent-charges. The intention of this Act was the establishment of a popular force strong enough to stem the tide of Polish ascendency which had then become very perceptible in these provinces. It is unnecessary for my present purpose to discuss the result of this Act (which in 1898 was supplemented by a further statute opening a fresh credit for 100,000,000 marks for new purchases in the same area). Its importance with reference to the subject now under discussion, lies in the fact that it disregarded the principle established by the Redemption Act of 1850, according to which land was not to be subject to any permanent charges, and that this precedent was soon followed by the Statute of 1890, by which the sale of land in consideration of terminable or perpetual rent-charges was declared to be permissible throughout Prussia. There are thus
Rentengüter" under both Acts, and as regards both classes compulsory “Anerbenrecht” was—as mentioned above-introduced in 1896, the idea being that the newly created peasants' holdings should be protected against subdivision.
Professor Brentano is hostile no less to “ Anerbenrecht” than to “Rentengüter," and his arguments against these attempts to create a specially protected form of property, for the sake of facilitating the creation and securing the permanence of peasant holdings, are, in part, of a substantial and interesting nature. In the first article dealing with “The droit d'aînesse in France during and after the Restoration,” he describes the attempts which, during the reigns of Louis XVIII. and Charles X. were made to introduce primogeniture in France, and gives a most interesting account of the discussions to which they led in the Chambers and outside. He shows how some of the arguments which were then used by the supporters of the right of one heir-at-law to take the land exclusively have exactly the opposite tendency of those used by the modern defenders of privileged succession. Then he points out (p. 53) that, whilst it is now alleged that the growing migration from the country into the towns would be stopped by a further extension of the principle of preventing subdivision of holdings by artificial means, the French agrarians of 1820 urged the advantage of this kind of legislation as a means for checking overpopulation in the country districts.
On the other hand, he also demonstrates the hardy vitality of some misconceptions, as, for instance, the assumption that the system of equal division among all the children of deceased landowners leads to the “pulverisation of real property,” which experience has shown to be