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SCI LIBRARY

Socialism, The Slave State

Max Hirsch



[Part 2]


Startling Examples of Bureaucratic Inertia.

Let me give you a few examples. The discovery that lemon juice was a preventive and cure for scurvy was made in 1593. From that day on it was frequently used in ships, and gradually maritime vessels began to carry it habitually. The British Admiralty did not adopt it till 1795, when the safety of the Channel fleet was endangered by scurvy, of which the sailors were dying like flies. That is, it took 200 years to move the Admiralty officials to take this step, and more deaths were caused by this official reluctance to go outside the beaten grooves than were caused by battles, wrecks, and all other casualties at sea put together.

Similarly, the British Admiralty stuck to paddies, and could not be induced to adopt screw-propellers for men-of-war, for fourteen years after their use had become general in the mercantile marine.

Again, the Admiralty left the plates of their ships unprotected by anti-corrosive paint for many years after its use had established itself on all other iron ships.

Again, it was not until the breakdown of many ships' engines, and years after it had been generally adopted, that the Admiralty consented to adopt Silver's governor for marine engines.

Similarly with the Post Office, of which Sir Charles Siemens, the great electrical engineer, used to complain that it was almost impossible to get it to adopt any improvement in telegraphy.

It needs no more examples. This tendency of State departments to remain in a groove is so distinct and universal that it has become proverbial. Yet this tendency must be infinitely greater under Socialism, owing to the total absence of the stimulating example of private industry, and owing to the absence of any motive on the part of others to overcome the inertia or hostility of officials.

Stagnation and Retrogression.

As I have pointed out, the difficulties in the way of the adoption of any invention are very great, even under the existing competitive system. They generally are overcome by men who expect to share in the reward of the inventor, and inventors gladly share their prospective reward with the man who gets their inventions adopted. When no such reward can be obtained, the motive to overcome the difficulties will be gone, and no such effort will be made.

Still another danger arises. Under Socialism the adoption of any new invention or process depends upon the will of officials; no pressure of competition can induce it. Suppose such officials have made an error -- have adopted a new invention or process which is less useful than those that were discarded. If this is done under the existing competitive system -- as it is frequently done -- loss of competitive power and of trade quickly compels the abandonment of the failure. But under Socialism there is nothing but the conscientiousness of the officials to cause a failure to be abandoned, while their self-interest might easily cause them to refuse to do so.

Let me now recapitulate. We have seen that, through absence of reward, and through want of time and means to make experiments, the number of inventions and discoveries would be much diminished; that, as officials cannot personally benefit by the adoption of successful inventions, they would be reluctant to adopt any, partly because it would, for a time, increase their work; partly because they would have to risk reproof and loss of credit for possible failures; partly because they would have to overcome the reluctance of workmen; and partly because it is nobody's interest to persuade them to adopt new machinery and processes.

In addition, we found that no guarantee exists under Socialism, as is the case now, that new machinery and processes are more useful than those discarded. Clearly, then, Socialism would put an end to the marvellous progress which, during the course of the last hundred years, has changed the face of the earth; which has endowed men with previously unimagined power; which has chained the forces of nature to man's triumphal car.

We know now that the marvels which have been achieved are but an earnest of the marvels yet to come; we know that, proud as we may be of the achievements of the immediate past, we are but standing on the threshold of nature's treasure house. But that threshold will never be passed, the inner sanctuary of nature will never be entered, if Socialism is adopted, for the heavy hand of its officialdom will crush the budding powers of man, will put an end to further progress, will call a bait to the upward march which otherwise would lead man to uncover the most deeply-hidden secrets of nature, and to compel them to do his will. Instead of progress, we would have stagnation, soon to fall into inevitable retrogression.

All Inducement to Exertion Killed.

Permit me now to deal with the next question -- the efficiency of labor under Socialism. The only motive for industrial exertion is the desire to reap its fruits. If men could satisfy their material desires without industrial exertion, they would gladly abstain from it. They would equally abstain if all reward were withheld from them. The motive for industrial exertion, therefore, is strongest when men receive the full reward of their labor.

But if it is all the same to men whether they work hard and efficiently, or little and inefficiently, they will inevitably choose the latter course. This divorce between exertion and reward is the main reason for the universally recognized inefficiency of slave labor.

The existing system, suffering from injustice in distribution, where the majority of men cannot hope to enjoy all the fruits of their labor, also largely reduces the efficiency of labor. But under Socialism -- entailing equal reward for unequal service -- this inefficiency of labor must grow to an appalling extent. All motive for exertion would cease to exist, for no exertion, mental or physical, could increase the reward of anyone.

Delusive Hopes of Socialists.

Socialists reply that equality of distribution by no means withdraws the motive for exertion, inasmuch as the amount which can be distributed depends upon the exertion of every individual, that the harder and more efficiently anyone works the greater will be the reward which he receives in common with all. This reply, while fully admitting the importance of self-interest as a motive for exertion, overlooks the fact that each individual can benefit himself but little by his own greater exertion when the reward of all is equal.

Take, for instance, Australia. There are about 1,500,000 adults, and therefore, under Socialism, the results of any man's greater exertions would have to be divided equally among all of them. Every one of them could only obtain the one million five hundred thousandth part of his greater exertion. If a worker wanted to increase his own reward by 1 d. a year, he would have to increase the product of his annual labor by 1,500,000 pennies -- that is, by 6,250 pounds. If he wanted an increase of 1 d. a week, he would have to increase his annual output to the extent of 325,000 pounds; and if he wanted a penny more per day, he would have to produce more wealth to the tune of l,875,000 pounds. Is it likely that these considerations will induce him to increase his exertions?

But it may be said that he knows that if all the others also increase their exertions in the same way, each will get all that his greater exertions produce. This is true, but scarcely effective. For no worker can know whether all the other workers labor as hard as he does. He cannot know it as to all the men in the same factory; still less can he know it with regard to the workers in all the other similar factories, and still less with regard to the workers in all the departments of national production.

Therefore, every worker will disregard the possibility of obtaining a share in the produce of the greater exertions of others; the only thing he sees is that, all others sharing equally in the produce of his greater exertions, the advantage to him of exerting himself will be unrecognizable. Therefore, he will not do so, and the efficiency of labor will suffer an enormous decline.

The Analogy of Slave Labor.

The absence of any individual motive for exertion on the part of the regulated workers has three consequences.

One is that the result of their labor will fall off both in quantity and quality. The produce of all the industries of the State will be less, and that which is produced will be less serviceable.

The second consists of waste of material. Careless work involves waste; and as all work would be careless under Socialism, the waste of material would be frightful.

The third consequence is, that the number of regulative officials must be largely increased, for men who work unwillingly and inefficiently want far more supervision than those who work willingly and efficiently. Again, slave labor suggests itself as an example. This increase in the number of regulative officials reduces the average output of industry still more. Every one of them would add to the product, if, instead of supervising, he were actually producing.

The Reign of Fear.

No doubt it will be replied that this increase in supervision would put an end to the tendency towards slack, careless, and inefficient labor.

But this can only take place to a small extent. The contention presupposes that laziness and inefficiency will entail punishment. What punishment? Weak, slow, lazy, or otherwise inefficient workers cannot be allowed to starve. Are men and women to be starved because they are weak or unfit for the work expected of them? Clearly, this would be their fate if they were dismissed, for there would be no other employer. Can their reward be lessened because they are less efficient, than others? This would also be impossible under Socialism, because no notice can be taken of degrees of efficiency -- all rewards must be equal.

The only punishment possible under Socialism, therefore, is the knout or the jail. Is it really believed that these will make labor efficient? Did they do so in the slave-gangs of the Southern States? Obviously, men cowering under the fear of such punishments cannot be, industrially, as efficient as free men, under no other stress than the natural pressure which links labor with life. Is fear as good a motive to industrial exertion as hope of reward; sullen resentment as good as cheerful anticipation; distaste as good as joy in one's work?

If they are not, then the efficiency of the labor of the regulated masses must suffer an incalculable decline under Socialism.

Lessons of Present Day Officialdom.

At least equally serious must be the decline in the efficiency of the regulating officials, for here also efficiency does not bring any greater reward; among them also all material motive for exertion will have disappeared.

Moreover, the efficiency of management must be reduced through other causes. Whenever an undertaking becomes so large that the man at the head cannot himself supervise the whole of it, strict regulations must take the place of personal initiative.

Still more is this the case when an undertaking is so large as to require an extensive and graduated managerial organization, for then each grade in the regulative machinery is more or less fettered; lower grades appeal to higher; these transmit the request to still higher. Much time and labor is wasted before a decision is arrived at, and, therefore, invariable practice takes the place of flexibility.

This graduation, limitation, and inflexibility is greatest where many separate and distinct departments are subject to one graduated managerial organization, such as is the case with all State departments to-day. For here ultimate decisions rest with officials having no personal knowledge of the circumstances guiding the proposals of subordinates. Hence results the red-tape of all government departments, such as has been so aptly described by the Public Service Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Dealing in his annual report with the question of civil service circumlocution, Mr. D. C. McLachlan quotes from Baron Stockmar's "Memoirs" the following with regard to the procedure in the English Royal Household: "If a pane of glass on the door of a cupboard in the kitchen needs mending the process is -- (1) A requisition must be prepared and signed by the chief cook; (2) this must be countersigned by the clerk of the kitchen; (3) it is then taken to the Master of the Household; (4) it must next be authorized by the Lord Chamberlain's Office; (5) being thus authorized, it is laid before the clerk of the works under the office of woods and forests. So that it would take months before the pane of glass in the cupboard door could be mended." Mr. McLachlan says further that it cannot be denied that the above is, mutatis mutandis, an unexaggerated description of what has been perpetrated in many of the public offices of these States.

Let me give you one more example.

We have learned lately that the contract post-offices in Australia no longer keep duty stamps for sale, and thus, the country population being unable to obtain them easily, serious inconvenience is caused. This state of affairs has arisen since the Postal department has been transferred to the Commonwealth. As the Victorian Government has no longer any guaranteed contract with the people who keep these post-offices, it insists upon being paid in advance for all stamps. The contractors say that the commission is too small to enable them to lay out their capital, and thus there is a deadlock.

Now, if a private person had experienced this difficulty, he would have ended it in an hour. He would have notified the contractors at once -- "All right. Get two decent citizens to guarantee us against loss to the extent of, say 10 pounds, and we will give you that amount of stamps on credit." But that was too simple a solution for a government. So we have had a prolonged correspondence between the Victorian and the Commonwealth Governments; have had this mighty question debated for years; and, meanwhile, the country people have suffered every kind of inconvenience, and the end is not yet.

Now, if this red-tape, this roundabout working, this waste exists, as it does exist, in every governmental service, surely it must receive an incalculable increase under Socialism. For not only would the stimulating example of private industry be lost, but, compared with the huge extent of the undertakings conducted by officialdom under Socialism, those so conducted at present are infinitesimal.

The wheels within wheels, therefore, would be added to to an incalculable extent, and would gradually crush all efficiency out of the managing organization.

Round Pegs in Square Holes.

Moreover, both the regulated masses and the regulating bureaucracy will be exposed to yet another cause creating loss of efficiency. Labor is most efficiently performed when its character is in accord with the innate tendencies of the laborer. A youth may make an excellent teacher when he would be but a wretched cook; another's services might be far more valuable as a farmer than as an engraver; still another would make an excellent engineer when he would be but a sorry physician. Unfortunately, even to-day, the number of round pegs in square holes is very great. But many, perhaps the greatest number, either from the start or ultimately, find the holes for which they are best fitted.

Under Socialism, however, this would only occur here and there through accident or favoritism. Choice of occupation by aspirants being impossible, it is equally impossible for the regulative bureaucracy to discover the special aptitudes of the numerous aspirants for employment. Their various tasks must be allotted to them by rote, and they may be transferred from occupation to occupation, not as they desire, but as the necessities of the State or the caprice of officials may dictate.

With possibly a few exceptions, therefore, all special aptitudes will be neglected, and those capable of doing exceptionally good work in one direction will be compelled to work at tasks in which they are less efficient.

Subserviency, Flattery and Toadyism.

Seriously as this cause must reduce the efficiency of the regulated masses, still more must it affect that of the regulators. For how will these be selected? By election from below, by the people? Will anyone contend that managerial efficiency, and not other qualities, would determine the popularity of a candidate? Or is it by appointment from above by superior officials? Again I ask, would not subserviency, flattery, and toadyism be a surer way to preferment than managerial ability and merit?

Ultimately, however, as I shall prove later, the bureaucracy would become an hereditary class whose ranks would be closed to all outsiders. But whether this would be the case or not, this much is clear, that organizing and managing aptitude would be rarely the special faculty of the members of the Socialist bureaucracy.

Curtailment of National Capital.

I have to point to another cause tending in the same direction. The efficiency of the national labor is largely determined by that of the available instruments of production and their amount. All these instruments made by labor must, from time to time, be replaced by labor. Every year large numbers of workers must be set to produce materials which, after a lapse of years, may appear as tools or machines, which again, after a lapse of years, deliver goods which satisfy men's wants.

This production of capital, ever increasing, and providing for wants of an even later date, is a function which existing society performs unconsciously through pressure of competition. Under Socialism it would have to be performed consciously.

The regulative authority would have to determine each year how much of the national labor shah be exerted in directions which after a lapse of years, may replace and extend the national industrial capital. The labor so employed is withdrawn from the production of goods which can be distributed in the near future, and directed towards the production of goods which can only be distributed in the distant future -- that is, the reward of all laborers next year is largely reduced in order that its level may be maintained in some distant future year. No man, or body of men, can have the prescience and knowledge required to perform this stupendous task efficiently.

But suppose they do possess this prescience, will they act up to it? The probability is all the other way. The majority of any people are shortsighted and improvident, unwilling to buy future ease with present abstinence. Still more is this the case when they themselves cannot obtain the fruits of abstinence. Those who are improvident -- the majority -- will desire the greatest possible dividend from the national labor, in order to enjoy it. Those who are abstinent will still desire the same, because, under Socialism, private property in consumption goods will continue. These, therefore, can be saved individually, while nothing else can be so saved.

A proper replacement and extension of the national capital will, therefore, be universally unpopular, and this must lead to its insufficient replacement and extension.

This tendency will be increased through the inefficiency of labor, already pointed out, for the officials can for a time conceal the reduction in the amount of the national product by abstaining from the proper replacement or extension of the national capital. They would thus maintain their credit, while the loss might not be felt for years.

These two causes must combine to produce a tendency, not only to abstain from adding to the national capital, but actually to curtail the national capital, which course must ultimately lead to such curtailment of the product of the national labor as is scarcely imaginable.

A Host or Evils.

Many powerful causes must thus co-operate to reduce the efficiency of labor, and to decrease the products of labor under Socialism.

They are: Owing to the withdrawal of any reward for inventions and discoveries, and through want of time and means to engage in costly researches and experiments, these, the greatest factors in industrial progress, will diminish. Of those, that will still be made, few, if any, will be adopted. If any are adopted, no certainty exists that they are not failures, or that such failures will be discarded.

While these causes will produce a discontinuance of the progressive increase in productive capacity which distinguishes modern industry, other causes will actually and enormously diminish productive capacity. They are:

The divorce between labor and its proportional reward; the substitution of fear for expectation of reward; the neglect of special aptitudes; the absence of managerial ability among officials; the red-tape and boundless waste of effort inherent in all governmental departments, greatest where they are most numerous; and the insufficient replacement of industrial capital.

Of these causes, all co-operating to reduce the efficiency of the national labor and to diminish the output of the national industries, only a few affect the efficiency of State-conducted industries at the present time. The red-tape and waste of effort arising from graduated organizations exist; to some extent, also, the stimulus to effort is wanting which exists in private industries. But all the other evils are absent, and, nevertheless, the inefficiency of industry under the direction of Government officials has become a by-word and a reproach. Allow me here to give a few illustrations.

Government Muddling of the Present.

Let us begin with New South Wales. At a place named Collarendebrey, the Government put down a bore, and got an ample supply of artesian water. The surrounding settlers then let a contract for cutting drains to make the water available, the price being 16 pounds per mile. However, the sapient Government interfered, took the matter out of the settlers' hands, and caused the drains to be cut by day labor, under the direction of officials of the Public Works department. The cost of cutting a mile of drain on this system came to 96 pounds, though the wages of the day laborers were no higher than the earnings of the contractor's men, who worked at piece-work rates. That is, the stimulus of proportionate reward being absent, and the supervising officials having no direct interest in snaking the supervision efficient, the productive capacity of the labor employed fell off to just one-sixth of what it was before. The contractor's men produced exactly six times the amount of wealth that the men employed under official supervision did.

My next example is taken from Western Australia. The Coolgardie Water Scheme had been carried out by day labor under official direction. As its cost was found to be enormous, a Royal Commission was appointed to investigate the cause. I shall quote a few sentences only from the report of this Commission:

"The pipe trench and man-hole excavations have cost about 3s. per cubic yard on this work, instead of 1s. 6d., for which it could have been done under contract. How much of this excessive cost was due to weak supervision, and how much to government stroke, this Commission is unable to decide."

The concluding portion of section 4 (pipe laying and jointing), reads:

"It seems probable that the ultimate cost of this branch of the work will be about 100,000 pounds more than the estimate, which appears to have been fair."

State Tobacco Monopoly in France.

The most instructive example of the inefficiency of State-conducted industry, however, comes from France. I have lately made a close study of the financial results of the State Tobacco Monopoly in the several countries where it exists. I will lay before you the results, taken from official reports, of the monopoly in France, stating, however, that in the other countries the monopoly of which I have been able to investigate, the results are even worse in several respects.

In France, the taxation imposed on tobacco, in its price, is five times the value of the tobacco. In Australia, the average taxation is between two and three times the value of tobacco. The ordinary quality of tobacco, that which is most largely consumed, is sold to retailers in France at 4s. 6d. per lb; in Australia, Havelock and Yankee Doodle, the most largely consumed brands, are sold to retailers also at an average of 4s. 6d per lb. In France, the cheapest tobacco is sold at 2s. 10d. per lb; in Australia at 2s. 6d per lb., wholesale each.

As would, appear from these facts, and is notorious, this French tobacco is of vile quality while the quality of this Australian tobacco is excellent. Wages in the French State factories average 40 per cent lower than wages in Australian tobacco factories, and the hours of labor are one-fourth longer in France.

Moreover, no private manufacturer or dealer makes any profit on tobacco in France. Therefore, the profit of the French Monopoly should be at least two or three times as large as the revenue derived from tobacco duties by the Commonwealth. As a matter of fact, they are almost equal, being, per pound of tobacco consumed, 3s. 1-3/4d. in France, and. 3s. 1/4d. in Australia.

These facts prove clearly that the inefficiency of State management wastes all the advantages arising from higher taxation, lower quality, lower wages, longer hours, and saving of private profit. The production of wealth in Australian tobacco factories is, therefore, between two and three times that of French tobacco factories.

This enormous waste, moreover, takes place when the activity of the officials is stimulated by the advantage and teaching of the private tobacco industry of other countries and of other private industries in France herself. Clearly, the waste would be far greater if this stimulus were absent, and if, all the industries of the State being nationalized, all workers had become inefficient.

Equality in Poverty.

How speedily any serious reduction in the production of wealth would bring about general poverty can be easily demonstated. I find in Coghlan, "Seven Colonies," that the whole Australian production in the year 1902 -- that of our mines, farms, pastures, factories, forests and fisheries -- came to 29,987,000 Pounds, which gives an average of 24 Pounds 16s. 10d. for every inhabitant, men, women and children.

In order to make these figures quite clear, it must be said that a considerable amount of wealth produced is not included in these figures, but all such wealth is of a nature which cannot be distributed, is industrial capital. Such is the building, improvement, and repairs of railways and roads, sewerage and irrigation works, and others of like nature. On the other hand, the figures cited also embrace a good deal of industrial capital, such as machinery, tools, locomotives, and similar things. If, then, we take the figures as they stand, we are rather overstating the wealth that can be distributed.

Yet, even so, it amounts to only 24 Pounds 6s. 10d. per head, or, a family of five persons, to 124 Pounds a year, or, say 47s. 6d. per week. If, then, owing to the causes which I have described, the productivity of the national labor were to decline seriously, it is obvious that, though all shared equally, that though rent, interest, and profit were abolished, the share coming to every citizen would be materially less than that enjoyed now by the average artisan. There would then be equality, but equality in poverty.

The Dreary Raiment of Socialism.

Finally, another tendency must be described. Modern industry not only provides an infinite variety of kinds of goods, but also an infinite variety in each kind, of qualities, designs, and colors, and this variety is being constantly added to by invention and discovery. Not only is an infinity of existing and individually varying desires thus catered to, but new desires and wants are being constantly stimulated.

As examples of the latter fact, I need only point to the invention of bicycles and motor cars. This possibility of satisfying the numerous desires of men, varying not only between individuals, but also varying from time to time as to the same individual, lends to life the color and variety which are among the chief causes of human happiness.

This color and variety must disappear under Socialism. The upward tendency of man towards the conception and satisfaction of an ever greater number of wants will be converted into the downward tendency of an ever decreasing satisfaction of wants, and for these reasons:

I have shown that, under Socialism, all production must be regulated by a central agency. This agency, one man or a board, must determine the different kinds and qualities of goods to be produced and the quantities of each, for many years in advance. To do this with even an approximate degree of efficiency surpasses the wit of the ablest men who ever lived, as long as the existing variety of goods, qualities, designs and colors are maintained. Still less is it possible when these are constantly added to.

But there is absolutely no guarantee that the directing agency will be composed of even exceptionally able men. On the contrary, every consideration leads to the conclusion that they will be selected for other reasons than great organizing ability.

The whole industrial system, therefore, would fall into inextricable confusion unless it were materially simplified. This simplification can only take place through an enormous reduction in the variety of goods to be produced. The variety of kinds, as well as the variety in qualities, forms, designs, and colors, in each kind must be largely sacrificed.

This tendency must be largely added to by the decline in the efficiency of national labor. As labor becomes less productive, the production of goods required for comfort or ornamentation must be curtailed, in order that a sufficiency of bald necessaries may be obtained. With every further loss of efficiency, this process must be extended, till the national dividend, receivable by every citizen, will consist of a far smaller quantity and variety of goads and services than is now at the disposal of average artisans.

Monotony and Poverty.

Monotonous uniformity, in addition to general poverty, is thus the inevitable result of Socialism, even if its bureaucracy remained honest and clean-handed.

The average man and woman would not only find that desires, now easily satisfied, must go without satisfaction, but that even those desires, which would still find some satisfaction, would find it only partially.

Equality of income would be realized, at least among the regulated masses of the people. But it would not be done by raising the means of enjoyment of all to a. level above that enjoyed today by the great majority of the people. On the contrary, the means of all would be reduced to the level of that portion of the people whose condition now appeals most strongly for relief.

Monotonous equality in unavoidable poverty would be the condition of the whole people in the Socialized State.

THE POLITICAL AND ETHICAL OUTCOME OF SOCIALISM

The Vast Power of Socialist Officials.

I have tried to picture the economic and industrial consequences that must result from the adoption of the fundamental proposals of Socialism, those proposals on which all Socialists are agreed. I showed that it must lead to industrial retrogression, that it must lead to an enormous reduction in the productivity of labor, and, therefore, to universal poverty. Now I shall endeavor to picture the political consequences which the adoption of these same proposals must bring about.

We found that the absolutely indispensible condition for the State carrying on and managing the industries of the country, is the creation of a managing officialdom -- a numerous, strongly organized, carefully graduated and strongly disciplined body of officials, culminating in one central all-directing agency.

We further found that in order that this central agency may regulate industry and determine in what kinds and what qualities and what quantities goods shall be produced, it must also have the power to control every man and every woman in the country with regard to the occupation which they are to follow, with regard to the place where they are to reside, with regard to the intensity with which they are to work; and we further found that the same officials must also manage every printing establishment, and, therefore, must have the monopoly of the production of all books, all newspapers, all magazines, and other literature.

Therefore Socialism, in order that it shall manage the whole of the industries of the country, must give to its officialdom a power which has never yet been possessed by any governing agency in this world; an unprecedented power of daily and hourly interference with every detail of the life of the whole population. Not the Czar of Russia, not the Sultan of Turkey, not Imperial Caesar in the hey-day of his might, ever had such a power over the subject peoples as will thus be given to the officials of the Socialized State.

If that power were carried out with absolute honesty, if the Socialist officials were actuated by nothing else but the greatest care for the public interest, and never looked after their own interests; if there were never any organized attempt to exceed the powers which have been given to them -- those powers nevertheless which Socialism must give, would constitute the utmost despotism on the part of the officials and corresponding slavery on the part of the whole community.

But is it to be expected that such a power as this will be carried out honestly? That is the next question which I ask you to consider. I. ask you to consider what will the officials of Socialism do with the tremendous power which the people will have handed over to them.

Tyranny Inevitable.

Like all groups of men, those constituting governmental agencies -- the officials of the State -- desire to extend the functions, the power, and the privileges of the Agency to which they belong. While that is true of all classes of men, it is specially true, and to a very much larger extent, of government officials, because carrying out duties and performing functions which differ widely from the functions performed by the rest of the people, there inevitably arises among them a spirit of caste. Therefore, while all groups of men place their own special interests above and before the general interest, that is especially true of the officials of the State.

At the same time their close organization, their graduated regulation, the fact that they are commanded from one center, enables them to pursue their interests with persistency, and to overcome easily the sporadic resistance of the rest of the people, divided as they are by many apparently conflicting interests. The whole course of history, therefore, shows that governmental bodies constantly aim at extending their power, escaping control, and transforming derivative authority into absolute authority.

You can see it in the rise of petty elective chiefs of Teutonic tribes to absolute and hereditary kingship; you can see it in the rise of humble deacons and presbyters into princes of the church, and popes; you can see it to-day in the absolute power which has been acquired by the party machinery in the United States.

For while the people of the United States still enjoy all the forms of control over their several governments, while popular election is still the only road to all political and many administrative offices, nevertheless it is a notorious fact that the people have lost all control. It has been transferred to the party machinery -- the officers of the party, its bureaucracy, created for the purpose of making popular control effective. The party's officials, directed by some "boss," nominate the whole of the candidates for office, and to the people there is but left the inefficient, the inglorious, and frequently distasteful task of ratifying the nomination of either the one or the other of the two rival "bosses."

The machinery that has been created to attain one object has attained another and a contrary object. The servants of the people have become the masters of the people.

Co-operative Societies and Trades Unions.

Now this same tendency for officials to escape control and to wield a power that cannot be resisted by the people may also be studied in other than official directions. It has manifested itself already in the co-operative societies of Great Britain, culminating in the wholesale societies of England and Scotland.

Let me place before you what a careful observer, the late Henry Demarest Lloyd, had to say on that subject in his very interesting book called "Labour Co-partnership." First let me state that Mr. Lloyd cannot be objected to by Socialists, for he was an ardent Socialist himself. Nevertheless, speaking of the organization of these wholesale societies, be says:

"The co-operative stores of each district hold meetings periodically to decide questions of business and policy. In those district meetings the wholesale directors are represented by two of their own number, and with their wider experience and central prestige they find it an easy matter usually to control the local delegates.

"Nominally, the wholesale is under the control of the delegates chosen by the people who hold shares in it, and for whose convenience it was constituted; but practically, popular control is gradually becoming a mere name. The central government has become so large that its own public cannot deal with it."

Now let me bring you another proof. Let me bring before you the difficulties which the trades unions experience to control and limit the growing power of their officials. The evidence is taken from "Industrial Democracy," by Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Webb, surely witnesses that cannot be objected to by Socialists. Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Webb have made the greatest and most interesting study of the history of trades unionism. They are unwilling witnesses to what they here state, for they are leading Socialists themselves. Excuse the length of the quotation; it is so important that I cannot curtail it. Dealing with the evolution of trade union organization, they say:

"It was assumed that everything should be submitted to ‘the voices' of the whole body. ...As the union developed from an angrv crowd ... into an insurance company of national extent ... the need for administrative authority more and more forced itself on the minds of the members. ...The growing mass of business and the difficulty and complication of the questions dealt with involved the growth of an official class marked off by capacity, training, and habits of life, from the rank and file.

"Failure to specialize executive functions quickly brought extinction. On the other hand, this very specialization undermined the popular control. ...The yearly expedients of rotation of office, the mass meeting, and the referendum proved in practice utterly inadequate as a means of recovering genuine popular control. At each particular crisis the individual member found himself overmatched by the official machinery which he had created.

"At this stage irresponsible bureaucracy seemed the inevitable outcome. The democracy found yet another expedient, which in some favorite unions has gone far to solve the problem. The specialization of the executive in a permanent expert civil service, was balanced by the specialization of the legislature, by the establishment of a supreme responsible assembly, undertaking the work of direction and control. ...

"We have seen how difficult it is for a community of manual workers to obtain such an assembly, and how large a part is inevitably played in it by the ever-growing number of salaried officers. ...How far such a development will tend to increase bureaucracy; how far, on the other hand it will increase the real authority of the people over the representative assembly; and of the representative assembly over the permanent civil service. ...All these questions which make the future interesting."

Part 3 * Return to Part 1