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freedom entirely, and places every action of every member of the community under command.
I am aware it may be said that the great majority of the species already suffer, in the existing state of society, all the disadvantages which I ascribe to the Communist system. The factory laborer has as monotonous, indeed a more monotonous existence, than a member of an Owenite community; working a greater number of hours, and at the same dull occupation, without the alternation of employment which the Socialist scheme provides. The generality of laborers, in this and most other countries, have as little choice of occupation or freedom of locomotion, are practically as dependent on fixed rules and on the will of others, as they could be on any system short of actual slavery ; to say nothing of the entire domestic subjection of one half the species, to whom it is the signal honor of Owenism and most other forms of Communism that they assign equal rights, in all respects, with those of the hitherto dominant sex. Again, it may be said of almost all laborers, on the present system, namely, of all who work by the day, or for a fixed salary, that laboring for the gain of others, not for their own, they have no interest in doing more than the smallest quantity of work which will pass as a fulfilment of the mere terms of their engagement. Production, therefore, it may be said, should be at least as inefficient on the present plan, as it would be from a similar cause under the other.
To take the last argument first, it is true that, for the very reason assigned, namely, the insufficient interest which day-laborers have in the result of their labor, there is a natural tendency in such labor to be extremely inefficient; a tendency only to be overcome by vigilant superintendence on the part of persons who are interested in the result. The “ master's eye” is notoriously the only security to be relied on. If a delegated and hired superintendence is found effectual, it is when the superintendents themselves are well superintended, and have a high salary and a privileged situation to lose on being found neglectful of their trust. Superintend them as you will, day-laborers are so much inferior to those who work by the piece, that the latter system is practiced in all industrial occupations to which it is conveniently applicable. And yet it is by no means true that day-laborers, under the present arrangements, have no inducements of private interest to energetic action. They have a strong inducement, that of gaining a character as workmen, which may secure them a preference in employment; and they have often a hope of promotion, and of rising in the world, nor is that hope always disappointed. Where no such possibility is open to the laboring classes, their condition is confessedly wrong, and demands a remedy. With respect to the other objections which I have anticipated, I freely admit them. I believe that the condition of the operatives in a well-regulated manufactory, with a great reduction of the hours of labor and a considerable variety of the kind of it, is very like what the condition of all would be in a Socialist community. I believe that the majority would not exert themselves for anything beyond this, and that unless they did, nobody else would; and that on this basis human life would settle itself into one invariable round. But to maintain even this state, the limitation of the propagative powers of the community must be as much a matter of public regulation as everything else; since under the supposed arrangements prudential restraint would no longer exist. Now, if we suppose an equal degree of - regulation to take place under the present system, either compulsorily, or, what would be so much preferable, voluntarily; a condition at least equal to what the Socialist system offers to all, would fall to the lot of the least fortunate, by the mere action of the competitive principle. Whatever of pecuniary means or freedom of action any one obtained
beyond this, would be so much to be counted in favor of the competitive system. It is an abuse of the principle of equality to demand that no individual be permitted to be better off than the rest, when his being so makes none of the others worse off than they otherwise would be.
4. These arguments, to my mind, conclusive against Communism, are not applicable to St. Simonism, a system of far higher intellectual pretensions than the other; constructed with greater foresight of objections, and juster appreciation of them; grounded on views of human nature much less limited, and the work altogether of larger and more accomplished minds, by most of whom accordingly, what was erroneous in their theory has long ago been seen and abandoned. The St. Simonian scheme does not contemplate an equal, but an unequal division of the produce; it does not propose that all should be occupied alike, but differently, according to their vocation or capacity; the function of each being assigned like grades in a regiment, by the choice of the directing authority, and the remuneration being by salary, proportioned to the importance, in the eyes of that authority, of the function itself, and the merits of the person who fulfils it. For the constitution of the ruling body, different plans might be adopted, consistently with the essentials of the system. It might be appointed by popular suffrage. In the idea of the original authors, the rulers were supposed to be persons of genius and virtue, who obtained the voluntary adhesion of the rest by mere force of mental superiority, through a religious feeling of reverence and subordination Society, thus constituted, would wear as diversified a face as it does now; would be still fuller of interest and excitement, would hold out even more abundant stimulus to individual exertion, and would nourish, it is to be feared, even more of rivalries and aniVOL. I.
mosities than at present. That the scheme might in some peculiar states of society work with advantage, I will not deny. There is indeed a successful experiment, of a somewhat similar kind, on record, to which I have once alluded; that of the Jesuits, in Paraguay. A race of savages, belonging to a portion of mankind more averse to consecutive exertion for a distant object than any other authentically known to us, was brought under the mental dominion of civilized and instructed men, who were united among themselves by a system of community of goods. To the absolute authority of these men they reverentially submitted themselves, and were induced by them to learn the arts of civilized life, and to practice labors for the community which no inducement that could have been offered would have prevailed on them to practice for themselves. This social system was of short duration, being prematurely destroyed by diplomatic arrangements and foreign force. That it could be brought into action at all, was probably owing to the immense distance in point of knowledge and intellect which separated the few rulers from the whole body of the ruled, without any intermediate orders, either social or intellectual. In any other circumstances it would probably have been a complete failure; and we may venture to say that in no European community could it have even the partial success, which might really be obtained by an association on the principle of Communism. It supposes an absolute despotism in the heads of the association; which would probably not be much improved if the depositaries of the despotism (contrary to the views of the authors of the system) were varied from time to time according to the result of a popular canvass. But to suppose that one or a few human beings, howsoever selected, could, by whatever machinery of subordinate agency, be qualified to adapt each person's work to his capacity, and proportion each person's remuneration to his merits-to be, in fact, the dispensers of distributive justice to every member of a community, were it even the smallest that ever had a separate political existence—or that any use which they could make of this power would give general satisfaction, or would be submitted to without the aid of force—is a supposition almost too chimerical to be reasoned against. A fixed rule, like that of equality, might be acquiesced in, and so might chance, or an external necessity; but that a handful of human beings should weigh everybody in the balance, and give more to one and less to another at their sole pleasure and judgment, would not be borne unless from persons believed to be more than men, and backed by supernatural terrors.
5. There has never been imagined any mode of distributing the produce of industry, so well adapted to the requirements of human nature on the whole, as that of letting the share of each individual (not in a state of bodily or mental incapacity) depend in the main on that individual's own energies and exertions, and on such furtherance as may be obtained from the voluntary good officers of others. It is not the subversion of the system of individual property that should be aimed at; but the improvement of it, and the participation of every member of the community in its benefits. The principle of private property has never yet had a fair trial in any country; and less so, perhaps, in this country than in some others. The social arrangements of modern Europe commenced from a distribution of property which was the result, not of just partition, or acquisition by industry, but of conquest and violence; and notwithstanding what industry has been doing for many centuries to modify the work of force, the system still retains many traces of its origin. The laws of property have never yet conformed to the principles on which the justification of private property rests. They have made property of things