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of natural gifts with which he has chanced to be endowed by
nature," in the shape of ancestors, who themselves have had to thank untold generations of men for the faculties they possessed and for the whole social environment which has made them what they were—he it is, forsooth, whose lot ought to be bewailed, and not that of the workman who, by his toil, gives effect to inventions which but for him would be dead devices! Dr. Crozier himself admits, besides, the Socialist contention that “ hundreds or thousands of minor workers have been engaged in building up the successive steps to every great scientific discovery and invention, before the single discoverer with whose name the great invention is identified has planted his flagstaff on the summit.” And how is Dr. Crozier going to find these out, be they few or many? No invention is isolated. It is inextricably bound up with innumerable other inventions and with the general scientific knowledge of its time. All this does not, of course, alter the fact that, as things are in present society, the actual inventor of any industrial process has a greater claim on its results than the mere man of money, the Capitalist, who exploits his invention. But this is as far as I, or probably any other Socialist, would be prepared to go. The idea of the machine as elaborated by its inventor would be as useless to him (the inventor) as the machine itself would be to the Capitalist, without the labour of the workman. Socialists can see no justice, economic or other, in the man who has had the good fortune, without any exertion of his own, to find himself in the possession of great natural gifts, being allowed in addition to absorb, as an individual, a disproportionate share of the world's wealth. Dr. Crozier affects to sneer at anything so immaterial as “honour” being a sufficient stimulus or reward to any man for exercising natural faculties which it would be probably a deprivation to him not to exercise. And yet he can hardly deny, one would think, that of all the great inventions of the last century there is hardly one in which ambition and honour did not play a far larger part with the inventor than any hope of mere material gain. It would be interesting, by the way, to know precisely how Dr. Crozier proposes to indemnify his precious "Inventor” after all is done. I suppose a perpetual patent, transmissible to “heirs and assigns," &c., is what he has in view. If so, would he make such a patent law retroactive? Would hypothetical claims to patent rights in the plough-share or the loom be admissible for examination? Or, again, does Dr. Crozier's large heart open out equally to the artist, the composer, and the author? Would he grant a perpetual literary copyright, for example, likewise with retro-active effect? In that case we may expect some interesting points to
arise when the population of the Minories lays siege to the High Court with its claims on the copyright of the Old Testament. No, no, Dr. Crozier, in vain is the snare laid in sight of the bird? Your plea for the “ Inventor" is too thin. We can all see through this pathetic figure. We can all appreciate the fact that his theatrical entrance upon the scene of controversy is an ingeniously conceived device designed to confuse the issue by offering an object of counter-interest to that accusing figure—the working-man. However, Dr. Crozier is welcome to canvass for all the crocodile tears the bourgeoisie may have at its disposal, to be expended on the man who considers he has a right to place an indefinite charge for all time upon that labour without which his invention would be as useless to himself or to society as the fish that remain at the bottom of the sea are to the fisherman. The Socialist will certainly never discover any justice, economic or otherwise, in his demand, still less feel his heart moved to any sympathy with such a fellow, or his “heirs and assigns."
Now let us consider the indications afforded us by Dr. Crozier of the extraordinary "scheme" he seems to think Marx of all people in the world, and with him all revolutionary Socialists, have up their sleeve. In the first place it may surprise him to hear that modern Socialism, and least of all Marx himself, does not offer any
"scheme" at all. Individual Socialists may elaborate "schemes," but these, whether right or wrong, good or bad, represent only their own personal opinions. Socialism as a doctrine, as recognised by the Socialist party as a whole, proclaims tendencies, the main lines upon which political and economic action must take to be effective in bringing us nearer the goal, namely, the complete communisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange, which is the fundamental economic aim of Socialism. But as regards the immediate practice on which the detail of action or policy rests at any given time or at any particular phase of social progress, the guiding maxim of Socialism is pre-eminently solvitur ambulando-always, of course, within the limits of the economical, political, and ethical bases of the party-programme. But I am aware of no individual Socialist even of any note who has ever put forward a scheme involving the absurdities attributed to the unfortunate Marx and his followers by my respected opponent in the present controversy. As usual with the critics of Socialism, Dr. Crozier confuses between current Capitalist conditions and Socialist conditions. He tacitly assumes the whole framework of existing society and the existing state, and interpolates into it a measure supposed to represent the carrying-out of some principle of Socialist society. The incompatibility being obvious, it only
remains for him to exclaim, “Behold the absurdity, behold the monstrosity, of this proposal !” He cannot see that just as a statement of the main features of modern Capitalist society, rehearsed by some prophetic seer to a feudal baron of the twelfth century, would have involved preposterous absurdities to the mind of the latter simply because he crudely judged them by the conditions and standard of the society in which he lived; so he, Dr. Beattie Crozier, finds a difficulty in placing himself at the point of view of the principles enunciated by the scientific-Socialist seer of to-day, being equally incapable with our hypothetical feudal baron, of divesting himself of the prepossessions derived from the society around him in which he has been all his life immersed.
Let us take Dr. Crozier's assumption, which troubles him, like so many other would-be refuters of Socialism, to wit, the assumption anent "payment" of labour, to the effect that a rigid beggarly pittance is to be the lot of all, including even that gentle and oppressed creature " the inventor." Now here again we have a confusion between Socialism as a realised ideal of Society and Socialism in the making, between Socialism still militant and Socialism triumphant. For a completed Socialist society this question of payment does not arise ; for such a society it is an anachronism. A Socialist society, as such, with its production for the use of all its members and not for the profit of the few, implies the requirements of life being equally within the reach of each and all. In such a society, therefore, the bogey anent the amount paid in wages will disappear since the wage-system itself will have disappeared, the whole wealth of the Socialised World being created for the needs of the inhabitants of that world. Some may require more of the “good things of life,” others less, just as some men now require three full meals a day, while the writer of the present article is content with what amounts to about one and half. Again, some may require more in one direction, less in another; one may require things which minister to his intellectual needs, but be indifferent to the quantity and the quality of those things pertaining to his animal requirements; another may be just the reverse ; a third may be a man of the juste milieu all round. But whatever the requirements of the Socialised world may be, a communistic production, distribution, and exchange, with the power man has acquired, is acquiring, and must further acquire, over the powers of nature, will afford abundant means of satisfying each and all. Then for the first time in history the mass of mankind will have at least the opportunity of leading that higher life of which we hear so much. Socialists hold that they have grounds for believing that this economic change will be followed by a corre
sponding intellectual change, and that the “ three parts animal,” of which Dr. Crozier speaks, will tend to disappear as the sphere of the human extends itself. Hitherto economic conditions have effectually hindered this transformation of the animal into the human.
But what Dr. Crozier probably has in his mind when he is troubled as to scales of payment is not the completed Communistic Society above referred to, but the earlier stages of the transformation of Civilisation into Socialism. Here necessarily a modified form of the wage system, and hence of payments, must continue to survive. It might be alleged, of course, that it were incorrect to term such a transitional state of Society Socialism at all. In this I am unable to agree. I hold that as soon as the conscious aim of the directive and administrative forces of Society is towards Socialism, then Socialism may be deemed to have begun. Herein I adhere to the statement in Socialism, its Growth and Outcome (p. 285), which reads :-“ It is clear that the first real victory of the Social Revolution will be the establishment, not indeed of a complete system of communism in a day, which is absurd, but of a revolutionary administration whose definite and conscious aim will be to prepare and further, in all available ways, human life for such a system-in other words, of an administration whose every act will be of set purpose with a view to Socialism." This definition clearly shuts out mere Socialistic legislation, such as may obtain to-day within the framework, economic and political, of present Capitalist society, from the right to be described as Socialism, as is often done by“ practical politicians." Well, it is to this earliest phase of Socialism proper that, I take it, Dr. Crozier is referring when he expresses himself with so much concern as to his heart's love, the "inventor,
inventor," having to subsist on the wages of the unskilled labourer. But who, I would ask, informed Dr. Crozier of any such hard and fast line as he supposes, having been drawn and decreed by Socialism? Certainly not Karl Marx, for nowhere in his writings, so far as I am aware, does he discuss points of constructive detail such as these. So long as the work of Socialisation is incomplete and the system of wage-payments for work done continues, such payment would doubtless be determined, to some extent at least, by the conditions of a stillsurviving “market.” And even apart from this it would probably be regulated in some proportion to the needs of the special class of worker. That there would be a strong tendency to “ levelling up” on the one side and “levelling down ” on the other is undoubtedly true. But if it could be shown that a certain class of work, owing to its being more exhausting or for
any other reason, required a different standard of living from other classes of work, this fact would doubtless be an element in the determination of the rate of payment for such work. To each “ according to his needs " is a doctrine of the old Utopian Socialism which will never intrinsically lose its application. The dummy Marxian street-corner stalwart of Dr. Crozier's imagination may, notwithstanding, possess his soul in peace as regards the danger of any differences of actual remuneration at this stage bringing back “ all the old inequalities of fortune and all the old exploitations again." In proportion as the Socialisation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange progressed, the possibility of the Capitalisation of individual savings, and hence of their becoming the nucleus of a new exploitation of labour for private profit, wouid diminish in an increasing ratio day by day. Any positive material advantage that one man had over another at this stage could for practical purposes only take the form of consumable wealth, which would be a matter of little consequence one way or the other.
I cannot enter at length into Mr. Crozier's psychology of human nature or his dogmatic assumptions as to the yearning of mankind, bien entendu of all mankind, I suppose, that was, or is, or is to come, for Inequality! I would only remind him that early humanity lived for ages under conditions of primitive communism without experiencing, so far as we can see, any of that yearning for inequality which seems to be a ground principle” in the “human nature ” postulated by Dr. Crozier's psychology. The ideal indicated by the latter is that of human life as based universally upon the gambling principle, though the intensive application of the principle may be subjected to some sort of quantitative regulation. Now, I am no sympathiser with the Nonconformist conscience or with its ascetic theory of morals, and in consequence I have not the smallest objection to gambling as a pastime, any more than to any other pastime not involving cruelty, and pursued with reasonable moderation. I have no sympathy with the hypocrisy which persecutes gamblers for amusement and suppresses games of chance, while tolerating and approving the gigantic system of gambling involved in modern business life. But it is precisely this principle of gambling which the present organisation of Society involves as an essential element that Dr. Crozier would apparently consecrate as being proper to human nature for all time. Need I remind the reader that it is this very condition out of which all the ethical elements of our time, some of them not even avowedly Socialistic, are professedly striving to raise humanity. And yet this same appears to Dr. Crozier, who would probably, like a good Christian gentleman, regard roulette or baccarat as very wicked and demoralising,