In the Forest of Arden, Rosalind, in her male disguise, forms a teasing friendship with Orlando. Oliver, searching for Orlando, reforms after Orlando saves his life. Duke Frederick restores the dukedom to Duke Senior, who leaves the forest with his followers. From the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Characters in the Play. Orlando , youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys. Second Brother , brother to Orlando and Oliver, named Jaques. Adam , servant to Oliver and friend to Orlando. Rosalind , daughter to Duke Senior. Duke Frederick , the usurping duke. First Lord. Duke Senior , the exiled duke, brother to Duke Frederick.
If he obtains leave to till the fields, it is on condition of surrendering a quarter of the produce to his master, and another quarter to the government and the middlemen. And this tax, levied upon him by the State, the capitalist, the lord of the manor, and the middleman, is always increasing; it rarely leaves him the power to improve his system of culture. If he turns to industry, he is allowed to work — though not always even that — only on condition that he yield a half or two-thirds of the product to him whom the land recognizes as the owner of the machine.
We cry shame on the feudal baron who forbade the peasant to turn a clod of earth unless he surrendered to his lord a fourth of his crop. We call those the barbarous times. But if the forms have changed, the relations have remained the same, and the worker is forced, under the name of free contract, to accept feudal obligations. For, turn where he will, he can find no better conditions. Everything has become private property, and he must accept, or die of hunger. The result of this state of things is that all our production tends in a wrong direction. Enterprise takes no thought for the needs of the community.
Its only aim is to increase the gains of the speculator. Hence the constant fluctuations of trade, the periodical industrial crises, each of which throws scores of thousands of workers on the streets. The working people cannot purchase with their wages the wealth which they have produced, and industry seeks foreign markets among the monied classes of other nations.
In the East, in Africa, everywhere, in Egypt, Tonkin or the Congo, the European is thus bound to promote the growth of serfdom. And so he does.
But soon he finds everywhere similar competitors. All the nations evolve on the same lines, and wars, perpetual wars, break out for the right of precedence in the market. The roar of the cannon never ceases in the world, whole races are massacred, the states of Europe spend a third of their budgets in armaments; and we know how heavily these taxes fall on the workers.
It is idle to talk of studies to the worker, who comes home in the evening crushed by excessive toil with its brutalizing atmosphere. Society is thus bound to remain divided into two hostile camps, and in such conditions freedom is a vain word. The Radical begins by demanding a greater extension of political rights, but he soon sees that the breath of liberty leads to the uplifting of the proletariat, and then he turns round, changes his opinions, and reverts to repressive legislation and government by the sword. A vast array of courts, judges, executioners, policemen, and gaolers is needed to uphold these privileges; and this array gives rise in its turn to a whole system of espionage, of false witness, of spies, of threats and corruption.
The system under which we live checks in its turn the growth of the social sentiment. We all know that without uprightness, without self-respect, without sympathy and mutual aid, human kind must perish, as perish the few races of animals living by rapine, or the slave-keeping ants.
But such ideas are not to the taste of the ruling classes, and they have elaborated a whole system of pseudo-science to teach the contrary. Fine sermons have been preached on the text that those who have should share with those who have not, but he who would act out this principle is speedily informed that these beautiful sentiments are all very well in poetry, but not in practice. We accustom ourselves and our children to hypocrisy, to the practice of a double-faced morality.
And since the brain is ill at ease among lies, we cheat ourselves with sophistry. Hypocrisy and sophistry become the second nature of the civilized man. Thus the consequences which spring from the original act of monopoly spread through the whole of social life.
Under pain of death, human societies are forced to return to first principles: the means of production being the collective work of humanity, the product should be the collective property of the race. Individual appropriation is neither just nor serviceable. All belongs to all. All things are for all. Here is an immense stock of tools and implements; here are all those iron slaves which we call machines, which saw and plane, spin and weave for us, unmaking and remaking, working up raw matter to produce the marvels of our time.
All is for all! If the man and the woman bear their fair share of work, they have a right to their fair share of all that is produced by all, and that share is enough to secure them well-being. Well-being for all is not a dream. It is possible, realizable, owing to all that our ancestors have done to increase our powers of production.
We know, indeed, that the producers, although they constitute hardly one-third of the inhabitants of civilized countries, even now produce such quantities of goods that a certain degree of comfort could be brought to every hearth. Finally, we know that contrary to the theory enunciated by Malthus — that Oracle of middle-class Economics — the productive powers of the human race increase at a much more rapid ratio than its powers of reproduction. The more thickly men are crowded on the soil, the more rapid is the growth of their wealth-creating power. Thus, although the population of England has only increased from to by 62 per cent, its production has grown, to say the least, at double that rate — to wit, by per cent.
In France, where the population has grown more slowly, the increase in production is nevertheless very rapid. Notwithstanding the crises through which agriculture is frequently passing, notwithstanding State interference, the blood-tax conscription , and speculative commerce and finance, the production of wheat in France has increased fourfold, and industrial production more than tenfold, in the course of the last eighty years. In the United States the progress is still more striking. In spite of immigration, or rather precisely because of the influx of surplus European labour, the United States have multiplied their wealth tenfold.
However, these figures give yet a very faint idea of what our wealth might become under better conditions. For alongside of the rapid development of our wealth-producing powers we have an overwhelming increase in the ranks of the idlers and middlemen. Instead of capital gradually concentrating itself in a few hands, so that it would only be necessary for the community to dispossess a few millionaires and enter upon its lawful heritage — instead of this Socialist forecast proving true, the exact reverse is coming to pass: the swarm of parasites is ever increasing.
In France there are not ten actual producers to every thirty inhabitants. The whole agricultural wealth of the country is the work of less than seven millions of men, and in the two great industries, mining and the textile trade, you will find that the workers number less than two and one-half millions.
But the exploiters of labour, how many are they? Strictly speaking the creators of the goods exported from Britain to all the ends of the earth comprise only from six to seven million workers. And what is the sum of the shareholders and middlemen who levy the first fruits of labour from far and near, and heap up unearned gains by thrusting themselves between the producer and the consumer, paying the former not a fifth, nay, not a twentieth, of the price they exact from the latter?
Nor is this all. Those who withhold capital constantly reduce the output by restraining production. We need not speak of the cartloads of oysters thrown into the sea to prevent a dainty, hitherto reserved for the rich, from becoming a food for the people. We need not speak of the thousand and one luxuries — stuffs, foods, etc. It is enough to remember the way in which the production of the most necessary things is limited. Legions of miners are ready and willing to dig out coal every day, and send it to those who are shivering with cold; but too often a third, or even two-thirds, of their number are forbidden to work more than three days a week, because, forsooth, the price of coal must be kept up?
Thousands of weavers are forbidden to work the looms, though their wives and children go in rags, and though three-quarters of the population of Europe have no clothing worthy the name. Hundreds of blast-furnaces, thousands of factories periodically stand idle, others only work half-time — and in every civilized nation there is a permanent population of about two million individuals who ask only for work, but to whom work is denied. How gladly would these millions of men set to work to reclaim waste lands, or to transform illcultivated land into fertile fields, rich in harvests!
A year of well-directed toil would suffice to multiply fivefold the produce of dry lands in the south of France which now yield only about eight bushels of wheat per acre. But these men, who would be happy to become hardy pioneers in so many branches of wealth-producing activity, must stay their hands because the owners of the soil, the mines, and the factories prefer to invest their capital — stolen in the first place from the community — in Turkish or Egyptian bonds, or in Patagonian gold mines, and so make Egyptian fellahs, Italian exiles, and Chinese coolies their wage-slaves. So much for the direct and deliberate limitation of production; but there is also a limitation indirect and not of set purpose, which consists in spending human toil on objects absolutely useless, or destined only to satisfy the dull vanity of the rich.
It is impossible to reckon in figures the extent to which wealth is restricted indirectly, the extent to which energy is squandered, that might have served to produce, and above all to prepare the machinery necessary to production. But over and above this we must take into account all the labour that goes to sheer waste, in keeping up the stables, the kennels, and the retinue of the rich, for instance; in pandering to the caprices of society and to the depraved tastes of the fashionable mob; in forcing the consumer on the one hand to buy what he does not need, or foisting an inferior article upon him by means of puffery, and in producing on the other hand wares which are absolutely injurious, but profitable to the manufacturer.
What is squandered in this manner would be enough to double our real wealth, or so to plenish our mills and factories with machinery that they would soon flood the shops with all that is now lacking to two-thirds of the nation. Under our present system a full quarter of the producers in every nation are forced to be idle for three or four months in the year, and the labour of another quarter, if not of the half, has no better results than the amusement of the rich or the exploitation of the public.
We have enough coal and bread and raiment! Let us rest and consider how best to use our powers, how best to employ our leisure. No, plenty for all is not a dream — though it was a dream indeed in those old days when man, for all his pains, could hardly win a bushel of wheat from an acre of land, and had to fashion by hand all the implements he used in agriculture and industry. Now it is no longer a dream, because man has invented a motor which, with a little iron and a few pounds of coal, gives him the mastery of a creature strong and docile as a horse, and capable of setting the most complicated machinery in motion.
But, if plenty for all is to become a reality, this immense capital — cities, houses, pastures, arable lands, factories, highways, education — must cease to be regarded as private property, for the monopolist to dispose of at his pleasure. This rich endowment, painfully won, builded, fashioned, or invented by our ancestors, must become common property, so that the collective interests of men may gain from it the greatest good for all. Expropriation, such then is the problem which History has put before the men of the twentieth century: the return to Communism in all that ministers to the well-being of man.
But this problem cannot be solved by means of legislation. No one imagines that. The poor, no less than the rich, understand that neither the existing Governments, nor any which might arise out of possible political changes, would be capable of finding a solution. We feel the necessity of a social revolution; rich and poor alike recognize that this revolution is imminent, that it may break out in a very few years.
A great change in thought has been accomplished during the last half of the nineteenth century; but suppressed, as it was, by the propertied classes, and denied its natural development, this new spirit must break now its bonds by violence and realize itself in a revolution. Whence comes the revolution, and how will it announce its coming? None can answer these questions. The future is hidden.
But those who watch and think do not misinterpret the signs: workers and exploiters, Revolutionists and Conservatives, thinkers and men of action, all feel that the revolution is at our doors. We have all been studying the dramatic side of revolution so much, and the practical work of revolution so little, that we are apt to see only the stage effects, so to speak, of these great movements; the fight of the first days; the barricades.
But this fight, this first skirmish, is soon ended, and it is only after the overthrow of the old constitution that the real work of revolution can be said to begin. Effete and powerless, attacked on all sides, the old rulers are soon swept away by the breath of insurrection. Yet and I were only insurrections. Its upholders fly the country, to plot in safety elsewhere and to devise measures for their return. The former Government having disappeared, the army, hesitating before the tide of popular opinion, no longer obeys its commanders, who have also prudently decamped.
The troops stand by without interfering, or join the rebels. The people remain. This is how a revolution is ushered in. In several large towns the Commune is proclaimed. Everywhere there is plenty of goodwill and a keen desire to make victory certain. It is a time of supreme devotion. The people are ready to go forward.
All this is splendid, sublime; but still, it is not a revolution. Nay, it is only now that-the work of the revolutionist begins. Doubtless the thirst for vengeance will be satisfied.
The Watrins and the Thomases will pay the penalty of their unpopularity, but that is only an incident of the struggle and not a revolution. Socialist politicians, radicals, neglected geniuses of journalism, stump orators, middle-class citizens, and workmen hurry to the Town Hall to the Government offices, and take possession of the vacant seats.
Some rejoice their hearts with galloon, admire themselves in ministerial mirrors, and study to give orders with an air of importance appropriate to their new position.
They must have a red sash, an embroidered cap, and magisterial gestures to impress their comrades of the office or the workshop! Others bury themselves in official papers, trying, with the best of wills, to make head or tail of them. They indite laws and issue high-flown worded decrees that nobody takes the trouble to carry out — because the revolution has come. To give themselves an authority which is lacking they seek the sanction of old forms of Government.
Elected or acclaimed, they assemble in Boards or in Communal Councils. Possibilists, Collectivists, Radicals, Jacobins, Blanquists, are thrust together, and waste time in wordy warfare. Honest men come into contact with ambitious ones, whose only dream is power and who spurn the crowd whence they sprung. Coming together with diametrically opposed views, they are forced to form arbitrary alliances in order to create majorities that can but last a day.
Wrangling, calling each other reactionaries, authoritarians, and rascals, incapable of coming to an understanding on any serious measure, dragged into discussions about trifles, producing nothing better than bombastic proclamations, yet taking themselves seriously, unwitting that the real strength of the movement is in the streets. All this may please those who like the theatre, but it is not revolution.
Nothing yet has been accomplished Meanwhile the people suffer. The factories are idle, the workshops closed; industry is at a standstill. The worker does not even earn the meagre wage which was his before. Food goes up in price. With that heroic devotion which has always characterized them, and which in great crises reaches the sublime, the people wait patiently. The people suffer. While the worker was suffering in from the general stoppage of trade the Provisional Government and the House were wrangling over military pensions and prison labour, without troubling how the people were to live during this crisis.
And could one cast a reproach at the Paris Commune, which was born beneath the Prussian cannon, and lasted only seventy days, it would be for this same error — this failure to understand that the Revolution could not triumph unless those who fought on its side were fed, that on fifteen pence a day a man cannot fight on the ramparts and at the same time support a family. It seems to us that there is only one answer to this question: We must recognize, and loudly proclaim, that every one, whatever his grade in the old society, whether strong or weak, capable or incapable, has, before everything, THE RIGHT TO LIVE, and that society is bound to share amongst all, without exception, the means of existence at its disposal.
We must acknowledge this, and proclaim it aloud, and act up to it. It must be so contrived that from the first day of the revolution the worker shall know that a new era is opening before him; that henceforward none need crouch under the bridges, with palaces hard by, none need fast in the midst of food, none need perish with cold near shops full of furs; that all is for all, in practice as well as in theory, and that at last, for the first time in history, a revolution has been accomplished which considers the NEEDS of the people before schooling them in their DUTIES.
This cannot be brought about by Acts of Parliament, but only by taking immediate and effective possession of all that is necessary to ensure the well-being of all; this is the only really scientific way of going to work, the only way to be understood and desired by the mass of the people. We must take possession, in the name of the people, of the granaries, the shops full of clothing, and the dwelling houses. Nothing must be wasted.
We must organize without delay to feed the hungry, to satisfy all wants, to meet all needs, to produce, not for the special benefit of this one or that one, but to ensure that society as a whole will live and grow. Let us have the courage to recognize that Well-being for all , henceforward possible, must be realized. When the workers claimed the right to work in , national and municipal workshops were organized, and workmen were sent to drudge there at the rate of 1s.
Rest now, brave toiler, after your lifelong struggle for food! Very different will be the result if the workers claim the right to well-being! In claiming that right they claim the right to possess the wealth of the community — to take the houses to dwell in, according to the needs of each family; to seize the stores of food and learn the meaning of plenty, after having known famine too well. They proclaim their right to all wealth — fruit of the labour of past and present generations — and learn by its means to enjoy those higher pleasures of art and science too long monopolized by the middle classes.
And while asserting their right to live in comfort, they assert, what is still more important, their right to decide for themselves what this comfort shall be, what must be produced to ensure it, and what discarded as no longer of value. The right to well-being is the Social Revolution, the right to work means nothing but the Treadmill of Commercialism. It is high time for the worker to assert his right to the common inheritance and to enter into possession.
Mike Watt releases on Record Store Day have become an annual tradition, and for good reason. I'm In Control The amendment failed by just 12 votes, to , in the House. Wreck A Sea Shanty With his lawsuit against MLB in particular, Alex Rodriguez is following Armstrong down the disastrous road the fallen cyclist took last year in his own bid to escape a doping ban. Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer team up to cover two T. Title Theme D2.
Every society which has abolished private property will be forced, we maintain, to organize itself on the lines of Communistic Anarchy. Anarchy leads to Communism, and Communism to Anarchy, both alike being expressions of the predominant tendency in modern societies, the pursuit of equality. Time was when a peasant family could consider the corn which it grew, or the woollen garments woven in the cottage, as the products of its own toil.
But even then this way of looking at things was not quite correct. There were the roads and the bridges made in common, the swamps drained by common toil, and the communal pastures enclosed by hedges which were kept in repair by each and all. If the looms for weaving or the dyes for colouring fabrics were improved, all profited; so even in those days a peasant family could not live alone, but was dependent in a thousand ways on the village or the commune.
But nowadays, in the present state of industry, when everything is interdependent, when each branch of production is knit up with all the rest, the attempt to claim an Individualist origin for the products of industry is absolutely untenable. The astonishing perfection attained by the textile or mining industries in civilized countries is due to the simultaneous development of a thousand other industries, great and small, to the extension of the railroad system, to inter-oceanic navigation, to the manual skill of thousands of workers, to a certain standard of culture reached by the working classes as a whole, to the labours, in short, of men in every corner of the globe.
The Italians who died of cholera while making the Suez Canal, or of anchylosis in the St. Gothard Tunnel, and the Americans mowed down by shot and shell while fighting for the abolition of slavery have helped to develop the cotton industry in France and England, as well as the work-girls who languish in the factories of Manchester and Rouen, and the inventor who following the suggestion of some worker succeeds in improving the looms. Looking at production from this general, synthetic point of view, we cannot hold with the Collectivists that payment proportionate to the hours of labour rendered by each would be an ideal arrangement, or even a step in the right direction.
Without discussing whether exchange value of goods is really measured in existing societies by the amount of work necessary to produce it — according to the doctrine of Smith and Ricardo, in whose footsteps Marx has followed — suffice it to say here, leaving ourselves free to return to the subject later, that the Collectivist ideal appears to us untenable in a society which considers the instruments of labour as a common inheritance.
Starting from this principle, such a society would find itself forced from the very outset to abandon all forms of wages. The mitigated individualism of the collectivist system certainly could not maintain itself alongside a partial communism — the socialization of land and the instruments of production. A new form of property requires a new form of remuneration. A new method of production cannot exist side by side with the old forms of consumption, any more than it can adapt itself to the old forms of political organization.
The wage system arises out of the individual ownership of the land and the instruments of labour. We hold further that Communism is not only desirable, but that existing societies, founded on Individualism, are inevitably impelled in the direction of Communism. The development of Individualism during the last three centuries is explained by the efforts of the individual to protect himself from the tyranny of Capital and of the State.
For a time he imagined, and those who expressed his thought for him declared, that he could free himself entirely from the State and from society. In fact, alongside this current of Individualism, we find in all modern history a tendency, on the one hand, to retain all that remains of the partial Communism of antiquity, and, on the other, to establish the Communist principle in the thousand developments of modern life. As soon as the communes of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries had succeeded in emancipating themselves from their lords, ecclesiastical or lay, their communal labour and communal consumption began to extend and develop rapidly.
The township — and not private persons — freighted ships and equipped expeditions, and the benefit arising from the foreign trade did not accrue to individuals, but was shared by all. The townships also bought provisions for their citizens. Traces of these institutions have lingered on into the nineteenth century, and the folk piously cherish the memory of them in their legends.
All that has disappeared. But the rural township still struggles to preserve the last traces of this Communism, and it succeeds — except when the State throws its heavy sword into the balance. Meanwhile new organizations, based on the same principle — to every man according to his needs — spring up under a thousand different forms; for without a certain leaven of Communism the present societies could not exist.
The bridges, for the use of which a toll was levied in the old days, are now become public property and free to all; so are the high roads, except in the East, where a toll is still exacted from the traveller for every mile of his journey. The tramways and railways have already introduced monthly and annual season tickets, without limiting the number of journeys taken; and two nations, Hungary and Russia, have introduced on their railways the zone system, which permits the holder to travel five hundred or a thousand miles for the same price. It is but a short step from that to a uniform charge, such as already prevails in the postal service.
In all these innovations, and a thousand others, the tendency is not to measure the individual consumption. One man wants to travel a thousand miles, another five hundred. These are personal requirements.
There is no sufficient reason why one should pay twice as much as the other because his need is twice as great. Such are the signs which appear even now in our individualist societies. Moreover, there is a tendency, though still a feeble one, to consider the needs of the individual, irrespective of his past or possible services to the community.
We are beginning to think of society as a whole, each part of which is so intimately bound up with the others that a service rendered to one is a service rendered to all. When you go into a public library — not indeed the National Library of Paris, but, say, into the British Museum or the Berlin Library — the librarian does not ask what services you have rendered to society before giving you the book, or the fifty books which you require, and he comes to your assistance if you do not know how to manage the catalogue.
By means of uniform credentials — and very often a contribution of work is preferred — the scientific society opens its museums, its gardens, its library, its laboratories, and its annual conversaziones to each of its members, whether he be a Darwin, or a simple amateur. At St. There are the tools; interest others in your idea, join with fellow workers skilled in various crafts, or work alone if you prefer it.
Invent a flying machine, or invent nothing — that is your own affair. You are pursuing an idea — that is enough. In the same way, those who man the lifeboat do not ask credentials from the crew of a sinking ship; they launch their boat, risk their lives in the raging waves, and sometimes perish, all to save men whom they do not even know.
And what need to know them? Thus we find a tendency, eminently communistic, springing up on all sides, and in various guises, in the very heart of theoretically individualist societies. Suppose that one of our great cities, so egotistic in ordinary times, were visited to-morrow by some calamity — a siege, for instance — that same selfish city would decide that the first needs to satisfy were those of the children and the aged.
Without asking what services they had rendered, or were likely to render to society, it would first of all feed them. Then the combatants would be cared for, irrespective of the courage or the intelligence which each has displayed, and thousands of men and women would outvie each other in unselfish devotion to the wounded.
This tendency exists and is felt as soon as the most pressing needs of each are satisfied, and in proportion as the productive power of the race increases. It becomes an active force every time a great idea comes to oust the mean preoccupations of everyday life.
How can we doubt, then, that when the instruments of production are placed at the service of all, when business is conducted on Communist principles, when labour, having recovered its place of honour in society, produces much more than is necessary to all — how can we doubt but that this force already so powerful will enlarge its sphere of action till it becomes the ruling principle of social life?
Following these indications, and considering further the practical side of expropriation, of which we shall speak in the following chapters, we are convinced that our first obligation, when the revolution shall have broken the power upholding the present system, will be to realize Communism without delay. It is the synthesis of the two ideals pursued by humanity throughout the ages — Economic and Political Liberty. Whenever European societies have developed up to a certain point they have shaken off the yoke of authority and substituted a system founded roughly more or less on the principles of individual liberty.
And history shows us that these periods of partial or general revolution, when the governments were overthrown, were also periods of sudden progress both in the economic and the intellectual field. Now it is the enfranchisement of the communes, whose monuments, produced by the free labour of the guilds, have never been surpassed; now it is the peasant rising which brought about the Reformation and imperilled the papacy; and then again it is the society, free for a brief space, which was created at the other side of the Atlantic by the malcontents from the Old World.
Further, if we observe the present development of civilized peoples we see, most unmistakably, a movement ever more and more marked to limit the sphere of action of the Government, and to allow more and more liberty to the individual. This evolution is going on before our eyes, though cumbered by the ruins and rubbish of old institutions and old superstitions. Like all evolutions, it only waits a revolution to overthrow the old obstacles which block the way, that it may find free scope in a regenerated society.
The independence of each small territorial unit becomes a pressing need; mutual agreement replaces law, and everywhere regulates individual interests in view of a common object. All that was once looked on as a function of the Government is to-day called in question. Things are arranged more easily and more satisfactorily without the intervention of the State.
And in studying the progress made in this direction, we are led to conclude that the tendency of the human race is to reduce Government interference to zero; in fact, to abolish the State, the personification of injustice, oppression, and monopoly. We can already catch glimpses of a world in which the bonds which bind the individual are no longer laws, but social habits — the result of the need felt by each one of us to seek the support, the co-operation, the sympathy of his neighbours.
Assuredly the idea of a society without a State will give rise to at least as many objections as the political economy of a society without private capital. We have all been brought up from our childhood to regard the State as a sort of Providence; all our education, the Roman history we learned at school, the Byzantine code which we studied later under the name of Roman law, and the various sciences taught at the universities, accustom us to believe in Government and in the virtues of the State providential.
From the cradle to the grave all our actions are guided by this principle. Open any book on sociology or jurisprudence, and you will find there the Government, its organization, its acts, filling so large a place that we come to believe that there is nothing outside the Government and the world of statesmen. The press teaches us the same in every conceivable way. Whole columns are devoted to parliamentary debates and to political intrigues.
And when you read these newspapers, you hardly think of the incalculable number of beings — all humanity, so to say — who grow up and die, who know sorrow, who work and consume, think and create outside the few encumbering personages who have been so magnified that humanity is hidden by their shadows enlarged by our ignorance. And yet as soon as we pass from printed matter; to life itself, as soon as we throw a glance at society, we are struck by the infinitesimal part played by the Government.
Balzac already remarked how millions of peasants spend the whole of their lives without knowing anything about the State, save the heavy taxes they are compelled to pay.
Every day millions of transactions are made without Government intervention, and the greatest of them — those of commerce and of the Exchange — are carried on in such a way that the Government could not be appealed to if one of the contracting parties had the intention of not fulfilling his agreement. Should you speak to a man who understands commerce he will tell you that the everyday business transacted by merchants would be absolutely impossible were it not based on mutual confidence. The habit of keeping his word, the desire not to lose his credit, amply suffice to maintain this relative honesty.
The man who does not feel the slightest remorse when poisoning his customers with noxious drugs covered with pompous labels thinks he is in honour bound to keep his engagements. Another striking fact, which especially characterizes our generation, speaks still more in favour of our ideas. It is the continual extension of the field of enterprise due to private initiative, and the prodigious development of free groups of all kinds.
We shall discuss this more at length in the chapter devoted to Free Agreement. Suffice it to mention that the facts are so numerous and so customary that they are the essence of the second half of the nineteenth century, even though political and socialist writers ignore them, always preferring to talk to us about the functions of Government. These organizations, free and infinitely varied, are so natural an outcome of our civilization; they expand so rapidly and group themselves with so much ease; they are so necessary a result of the continual growth of the needs of civilized man; and lastly, they so advantageously replace governmental interference that we must recognize in them a factor of growing importance in the life of societies.
If they do not yet spread over the whole of the manifestations of life, it is that they find an insurmountable obstacle in the poverty of the worker, in the casts of present society, in the private appropriation of capital, and in the State. The history of the last fifty years furnishes a living proof that Representative Government is impotent to discharge the functions we have sought to assign to it.
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