Monday, April 10, 2006



191. We have now arrived at a point from which we are prepared to discover and appreciate the higher results of the Cost Principle. The view, however, which I shall but slightly open, of the grand and enchanting prospects foreshadowed for the race by so simple a means as the mere enactment of justice in the daily transactions of man with man will be left intentionally incomplete. The mass of mankind have but little toleration for Utopias. Those who are ready to believe in them, and who simply demand, as the basis of their faith, a more solid foundation than airy fancies, will trace, it is hoped, for themselves, the outlines of the future, upon slight hints drawn from the more obvious operations of fundamental principles. Those who are still more credulous will feel still less need for elaborate demonstrations. The great mass of those who have some aspirations after reform have no ideal beyond the first stage of the results of true principles. Their present conception will be filled by relations of justice,--the extinction of crime, frauds, pauperism, and the generally discordant features of our existing social arrangements. They have little thought of the positive construction of harmonic society. There is danger that such persons would be repelled, rather than attracted, by any high-wrought pictures of the future. They can best be left to work out a higher conception by their own intuitions and reflections while laboring for the realization of what they now perceive. There are others, especially among the admirers of Robert Owen, Saint Simon, and Fourier, whose mental vision is accustomed to the contemplation of brilliant pictures, and who will be not unlikely to complain of the Science of Society, as here presented, on the ground that it does not begin by dealing with palatial structures, magnificent ornamental grounds, operate performances, sculpture, and abundant luxury of all sorts. To those among this latter class who trace effects back to their causes, and causes forward to their effects, who can listen with pleasure to the dry preliminary details of rigid science, the Cost Principle will, on examination, become a mine rich in treasures of the kind they are seeking. They will discover that by means of it we are planting the roots from which will inevitably grow all the higher harmonic results in society which they have ever contemplated. They will perceive that true society is a growth from true principles, not an artificial formation,--a growth from seeds implanted in the soil of such society as now exists,--the only soil we have. They will perceive that while their ends and purposes are true, and their aspirations prophetic, their methods have not been scientific; and such, perhaps few in number, will return with renewed zeal to the work of reform, through the more modest and unpretending instrumentalities of the Labor Note and the formation of Equitable Villages. Others, who have been too long dazzled by the splendor of that brilliant future in which they make their ideal habitation to be able to look with complacency upon any practical adaptation to the present wants of mankind, must bide their time.

192. My present labor is to commend the Cost Principle, as far as practicable, to each of these several classes without offending the prejudices of any. I shall therefore, as I have intimated, sketch merely in outline the tendencies of this principle to accomplish, in social relations, the highest results that have ever been dreamed of by any class of reformers, leaving at the same time intact, at every stage of progress, the freedom of the Individual. It is not those ulterior results with which the reformers of this day will have chiefly to employ themselves. Those who require to perceive them to find in the principles a sufficient stimulus to work for their realization, and with whom the beatific vision would serve rather as a stimulant than as a sedative, will be precisely those who can fill up the picture without foreign aid.

193. The principal among the higher results growing directly out of the operations of the Cost Principle may be generalized under the heads of: 1. Attractive Industry, 2. Cooperation Instead of Antagonism, and 3. The Economies of Cooperation and the Large Scale.

194. The main features of Attractive Industry are, as already shown, that each individual have, at all times, the choice of his own pursuits, with the opportunity to vary them ad libitum. This last, the opportunity to vary one's industry, results from the fact that all avenues are equally open to all by the extinction of speculation, and the adoption of Cost as the Limit of Price, whereby it becomes the interest of all that each should perfect himself in various occupations, thereby discovering those at which he can be most effective, and avoiding the liability to be employed at those for which he has no attraction or capacity. The freedom to vary involves the original freedom to choose, which stands upon the same basis. The variety of individual taste leads to a continual deviation on the part of single individuals from the common standards of estimate, according to which every article tends constantly to acquire, under the operation of the Cost Principle, a settled and determinate price. The ideas here suggested require, however, to be separately and more specifically considered.

195. How is there any equality established in the price asked by different people for the same kinds of labor, when the price is based upon the estimate which each one makes of the repugnance of that labor to himself or herself personally,--when, too, it is well known that there exists such variety of tastes, or attractions and repulsions in different individuals for various kinds of industry?

The answer is first practical: During the three years and upward of practice at TRIALVILLE, and during two previous experiments, one at Cincinnati, and one at New Harmony, Indiana, extending to six or seven years of the practice of the Cost Principle, and of the use of the Labor Note in connection with it, by several thousand people in all, the variation in all the different species of male and female industry has not been more than about one-third above and one-third below the standard occupation of corn-raising, each person putting his or her own estimate upon their labor. To explain: The standard labor being reckoned at twenty pounds of corn to the hour, as the yard-stick, or measure of comparison, no other labor performed either by man or woman —and it must be remembered that under the Cost Principle, men and women are remunerated equally has been estimated at more than thirty pounds of corn to the hour, nor at less than twelve pounds to the hours.

196. The further practical result is that every ordinary commodity, though liable to fluctuate in price with every change of circumstances, like a difference of locality, extraordinary difference in the productiveness of different seasons, etc., soon finds a general level, and has a known or fixed price in the community, which is never disturbed except for some obvious cause. Thus, for example, wheat has in this manner settled down by the common suffrage at TRIALVILLE to cost six hours of labor to the bushel, or to yield ten pounds to the hour. Milk is ten minutes labor to the quart,--the elements of the calculation including the whole cost of rearing a cow from the calf, the average length of a cow's usefulness for milking purposes, the cost of feeding, milking, and distributing the milk to the customers, etc. Eggs are twenty minutes to the dozen. Potatoes are an hour and a quarter to the bushel when cultivated by the plow exclusively, and three or four hours to the bushel when cultivated by the hoe. The manufacture of shoes, apart from the material, is from three hours to nine hours to the pair, according to the quality; boots eighteen hours, etc.

197. Another practical effect, as already observed, is that the principle of exact equity, when it enters into the mind, operates with such force that persons on all hands become over-anxious to ascertain the precise truth with regard to the relative cost of every article, while the general improvement of condition renders them less anxious about trifling individual advantage.

198. Although commodities thus settle naturally and rapidly to a standard price according to what is the average time bestowed upon their production, and the average estimate of the relative repugnance of each kind of labor,--in other words, the average of cost,--there are, or may be, individual differences in the estimate of repugnance, which will rise far above or sin below the average. These individualities of preference for one species of industry over another will probably become more marked in proportion as men and women can better afford to indulge their tastes and preferences, in consequence of a general improvement of their pecuniary condition. Again, those tastes themselves will become more developed with the increase of culture. The opportunity for their indulgence will be afforded also in proportion to the augmentation of the circle in which these principles are practices. Hence it follows that whatever is more exceptional or recondite in the subject must as yet be settled by recurring to the principles themselves, the circle in which they have hitherto been applied being too small to realize all the results.

199. The theoretical answer, then, deduced from the principle, in addition to the practical answer just given, is this: Whenever an individual estimates labor in any particular branch of industry as less onerous or repugnant than the standard or average estimate, he will present himself as a candidate for that kind of labor at a less price per hour than others, and will, in consequence, be selected in preference to others, unless the inferior price is more than counterbalanced by want of skill or capacity for that kind of labor. But preference for a particular kind of industry —especially when there are facilities for trying one's self at various kinds generally accompanies and often results from superior skill or facility in the performance of that kind of labor. Hence a taste or “attraction” for a particular branch of industry, by lowering the price at which a person is ready to undertake it, tends to throw that branch of industry, or rather that particular labor, into the hands of the individual who has that attraction.

200. In the next place, as these two properties —namely, a marked attraction and eminent ability for a particular kind of labor —accompany each other, it follows that the best talent is procured at the lowest instead of the highest price, apart from the case of an acquired skill, which has required a separate and unproductive labor for its acquisition, and which is, therefore, as we have seen, an element of cost and price. In other words, contrary to what is now the case, the man or woman who can do the most work of any given kind in a given time and do it best, will work at the cheapest rate, so that, both on account of the more and better work and of the less price, he or she will have the advantage in bidding for his or her favorite occupation, competition intervening to bring down the average of price to the lowest point for every article, but with none but beneficial results to any one, as will be presently more distinctly shown. (208.)

201. Such are the necessary workings of the COST PRINCIPLE, and hence follow certain extremely important results. I. Herein is the chief element of “Attractive Industry,” the grand desideratum of human conditions, first distinctly propounded by Fourier, and now extensively appreciated by reformers,--the choice by each individual of his own function or occupation, according to his natural bias or genius, and the consequent employment of all human powers to the best advantage of all.

202. II. By this means competition is directed to, and made to work at, precisely the right point. Competition is spoken of by those who live in and breathe the atmosphere of the existing social order, as “the life of business”,--the grand stimulant, without which the world would sink into stagnation. It is spoken, of, on the other hand, by the reformers of the Socialist school, who loathe the existing order, and long earnestly for the reign of harmony in human relations, as a cruel and monstrous principle, kept in operation only at the sacrifice of the blood and tears of the groaning millions of mankind. In point of fact it is both; or, more properly, it is either one or the other, according to the direction in which it is allowed to operate. Competition is a motive power, like steam or electricity, and is either destructive or genial, according to its application. In the existing social order it is chiefly destructive, because it operates upon the point of insuring security of condition, or the means of existence. It is, therefore, desperate, unrelenting, and consequently destructive. Under the reign of equity it will operate at the point of superiority of performance in the respective functions of each member of society, and will, therefore, be purely beneficent in its results. In the scramble between wrecked and struggling seafarers for places in the life-boat, we have an illustration of competition for security of condition. In the generous emulation between those safely seated in a pleasure-boat, who think themselves most competent to pull at the oar, you have an illustration of genial or beneficent competition--—competition for superiority of performance--under such circumstances that, whoever carries off the palm, the interests of the whole are equally promoted. In either case it is the same motive power, the same energy-giving principle, working merely at a different point, or with a different application, and with a different stimulus. (159.)

203. Competition in the existing social order is, therefore, chiefly destructive, because there is now no security of condition for any class of society. Among the less fortunate classes, competition bears more upon the point of getting the chance to labor at all, at any occupation, which, inequitably paid, as the labor of those classes is, will afford the bare means of existence. Among the more fortunate classes, increased accumulation is the only means now known of approximating security of condition; hence competition bears upon that point. Among all classes, therefore, the competition is chiefly for security of condition, and therefore merciless and destructive. It is only occasionally and by way of exception, wherever a little temporary security is obtained, that examples are found at the natural and beneficent competition for superiority of performance. That, however, springs up with such spontaneous alacrity, so soon as the smallest chance is given it, as abundantly to prove that it is the true spirit, the indigenous growth of the human soul, when uncontrolled by adverse circumstances and condition.

204. Under the operations of the COST PRINCIPLE, which will be the reign of equity, the primary wants of each will be supplied by the employment of a very small portion of their time, and the ease and certainty with which they can be supplied will place each above the motives now existing to invade the property of others. This condition of things, together with the substitution of general cooperation and abundance for general antagonism and poverty, will furnish a security of person and property which nothing else can produce. To this will be added such accumulations as each may, without the stimulus of desperation, choose to acquire.

205. In this condition of security, natural and beneficent competition will spring up; that is, such as bears upon the point of superiority of performance,--not only for such reasons as exist and occasionally develop themselves in the existing society, but also because, under the operation of the COST PRINCIPLE, every person is, as we have seen, necessarily gratified with the pursuit of his favorite occupation, in proportion as his superiority of performance renders him the more successful competitor for employment in that line,--not hindered by asking a higher price for his greater excellence, as now, but aided, on the other hand, by his readiness to perform it at a lower price, consequent upon his greater attraction or his want of repugnance for that kind of industry, according to what has been already explained. This, then, is the second grand result of the varying tastes for different occupations, under the operation of the COST PRINCIPLE,--namely that competition is directed to, and made to work at, the right point,--superiority of performance, not security of condition.

206. Under the operation of Cost as the Limit of Price, things will be so completely revolutionized that, strange as it may seem, it will be to the positive interest of every workman to be thrown out of his own business by the competition of any one who can do the same labor better and cheaper. In the nature of the case it is an advantage for every body that the prices of every product should become less and less, until, if that be possible, they cease, through the general abundance, to have price altogether. Under the present false arrangements of commerce we have seen that it is not for the benefit, but for the injury of many, that such reduction of price should occur, either through competition, the invention of new machines, or otherwise. (160.) Some of the reasons of that unnatural result have been pointed out. (161, 162.) It is, in fine, because the workingmen are reduced below the ability of availing themselves of what should be, in the nature of things, a blessing to all mankind. When the market is said to be overstocked with coats and hats made than there are backs and heads to wear them. Not at all. It is only that there are more than there is ability to buy. Those who have earned the means to pay for them do not possess the means. They have been robbed of the means by receiving less than equivalents for their labor. Hence, though they want, they cannot buy, and hence, again, those who produce must stop producing. They are therefore thrown out of employment, and it is falsely said that there is over-production in that branch of industry. In the reign of equity, where all receive equivalents for their labor, this cause of what is called over-production will not exist.

207. The point here asserted will be rendered still more clear under the following head. (208.) Along with the extinction of speculation, by Cost as the Limit of Price, competition will cease to be a desperate game played for desperate stakes. It will not relate to procuring the opportunity to labor, as that will be the common and assured inheritance of all. It will not relate to securing an augmentation of Price, because Price will be adjusted by Science and guarded by Good Morals, public opinion and private interest concurring to keep it at what science awards. It will relate solely, in fine, to excellence of performance,--to the giving to each individual of that position in life to which his tastes incline him, and for which his powers of mind and body adapt him, even the selfishness that might otherwise embitter such a strife being tempered, or neutralized, by the equilibrium of a greater price for more repugnant labor.

208. III. Competition is rendered cooperative instead of antagonistic. This may not at first seem to be a distinct point, but it is really so. It was shown before that competition is made to work at the right point,--namely excellence of performance. But that excellence or superiority might still ensure exclusively or chiefly to the benefit of the individual who possess it. Such is now the case, to a fearful extent, with machinery, which has the first of these properties,--namely, that it competes with labor at the right point, excellence of performance,--but has not the second; that is, it is not cooperative with unaided human labor, but antagonistic to it, turning out thousands of laborers to starve, on account of its own superiority.

The point to be shown now is, that under the operation of the COST PRINCIPLE, excellence of performance--the point competed for, whether by individuals or machinery--—enures equally to the benefit of all, and hence that competition, rightly directed, and working under the true law of price, is cooperative and not antagonistic; although, as respects machinery, the demonstration will be rendered more perfect when we come to consider the legitimate use of capital. (243.)

209. Illustrations of practical operation will be better understood if drawn from the affairs of the small village than if taken from the more extended and complex business of the large town.

Suppose, then, that in such a village A is extraordinarily adept with the axe. He can chop three cords of wood a day, C and D are the next in facility at this labor to A, and can chop two cords and a half a day. Now, under the operation of this principle, as shown previously, if they are employed at all in chopping, they will all be paid at the same rate per hour. If there is any difference, it will probably be that A, along with this superior ability, will have an extraordinary fondness for the kind of labor as compared with other kinds, or, what is the same thing, he will have less repugnance for it, and that he will, if thoroughly imbued with the principle, place his labor at a less price than the established average price for wood-chopping. The consequence will be that the services of A will be first called into requisition for all the wood-chopping in the village, so long as there is no more than he can or is willing to do. It will only be when the quantity of labor is greater than he can or will perform that the services of C and D will be required, then those of the next grade of capacity, and so on. The point now to be illustrated is that it is the whole village that is benefited by the superior excellence of A, and then of B and C, etc., in this business, and not those individuals alone. While A can chop all the wood for the village, the price of wood-chopping is less or, in other words, wood-chopping is cheaper to the whole village than it is when the inferior grades of talent will have to be brought in; because he does more work in the hour, and is paid no more in any event, and perhaps less for it. Consequently, again, the cost and hence the price of cooking, and hence again of board, is all less to every consumer. So of heating rooms. So of the blacksmith's work, the shoemaker's work, and, in fine, of every article of consumption produced in the village; because the manufacturers of all these articles, while engaged in the manufacture, consume wood, which wood has to be chopped, and the cost of which enters into the cost of their products; and inasmuch as these products are again sold at cost, it follows that the price of every article manufactured and consumed is reduced by the superior excellence of A as a wood-chopper. In this general advantage A is merely a common participant with the other inhabitants; but then, in turn, the same principle is operating to place each of those others in that occupation in which he excels, and their excellence in each of these occupations, respectively, is operating in the same manner to reduce the price of every other article which A, as well as others, has to purchase. Hence it follows that the very competition which crowds a man out of one occupation and fills it with another, on account of his superior performance, turns just as much to the benefit of the man who is put out of his place, as it does to that of the man who is installed in it, all avenues being open to him to enter other pursuits, and there being labor enough at some pursuit for all. Hence it follows that under the operation of the COST PRINCIPLE competition is rendered cooperative, and that cooperation becomes universal instead of the now prevailing antagonism of interests.

210. Let us take an additional illustration. In wood-chopping the chief point of superiority is in the rapidity of performance. In other occupations it is different. Take the case of a clerk or copyist. Here there are three or four points of excellence,--speed, elegance, legibility and accuracy. All this does not in the least affect the principle. The competition may be for the combination of the greatest excellence in each of these properties, or it may be, in case there is enough of the business to divide itself into branches, for the particular kind of excellence which is wanted in the particular branch. There is some copying in which speed is of far more importance than elegance, and vice versa. It is still, in the same manner, to the mutual advantage of all that those persons shall be employed in writing, and in each branch of writing, who are most expert in it, because that reduces to everybody the price of making out titles to property, keeping records, and the like, and, as these expenses enter again into the Cost, and consequently into price of houses and rent they enter again into the price of board, and so of every article, rendering the competition again cooperative and not antagonistic.

211. It has now, I think, been sufficiently shown that competition, under this system of principles, is really cooperative, and therefore purely beneficent, provided the two conditions above-stated are sufficiently secure: first, that the avenues be open to every individual to enter any pursuit according to his tastes without artificial obstacles; and, secondly, that there be at all times labor enough for all.

Every body will, therefore, be naturally and continually aided, from the common interest, by every body around him, in placing himself in that position where he has most capacity to act, which, as has been stated, will, in the end, be that also, if he has the opportunity to try himself at different occupations, for which he will have the greatest fondness or appetency. The avenues to employment must therefore be all open to all persons. It will be as much to the interest of all that they should be so, as it is now their interest to prevent it. Now men wish to monopolize certain occupations which are profitable, because it is to their pecuniary advantage to do so. Then men can have no other motive for doing so than their preference for exercising these occupations themselves, which preference must be indulged, if indulged at all, by keeping out better qualified men, adversely to their own pecuniary interests and the interests of the whole community around them.

212. But when antagonistic competition is out of the way, similar industrial tastes form one of the strongest bonds of friendship. In a community constituted upon these principles, to keep any person out of his true industrial position, by conspiracy of any sort, would be both a dishonest and a dishonorable act. Hence it follows that pecuniary interest, natural sympathy with those of similar tastes, morality, and the sense of honor would all conspire to overcome any personal preference for a particular occupation such as would otherwise exclude better qualified men. This combination of motives will be sufficient to keep a fair and open field for the contest of merit in every department of industry. In the existing social disorder men are, for the most part, thrust by chance into the positions which they occupy and the pursuits which they follow. Nobody but the man himself feels the slightest interest in his being in that place in which he can make the best use of his powers. If his position happens to be a fortunate adaptation to his capacities, the gain is his own. It is monopolized by him through the operation of the value principle, or the benefit, if felt at all by the public, is so remotely felt that there is no general interest manifested in the matter, and it is accordingly left entirely to chance. Consequently, men, considered merely as instruments of production, are now employed as much at random as the implements of a farm would be, if a savage, smitten with a taste for agriculture, had installed himself in the farm-house, and begun by using the barrow for a hetchel, the hand-saw for an axe, the sickle for a pruning-hook, the rake for a hoe, and so on. Hence, under the operation of the COST PRINCIPLE, the superior excellence of each individual in that occupation in which he excels secures his employment in it, both because that is the point upon which competition bears, and because the advantage of his being employed in it inures directly to the benefit of every member of society by lowering the price of the article which he produces rendering every one anxious to see him so placed and ready to aid him by every means to place himself there.

213. It has been stated, and partially demonstrated, that the idea of the liability to an excess of human labor is on a par with the obsolete notion of an excess of blood in the human system. (161.) With the prevalence of a thorough and varied industrial education on the part of the whole people, such as is rendered possible by the Cost Principle, but the details of which do not belong to this volume; with the removal of all artificial obstacles to the free entrance by all upon all industrial pursuits; with adequate arrangements for knowing the wants of all,and for distributing the products of all, so as skillfully to subserve those wants through a scientific adjustment of supply to demand; with that complete removal of the hindrances to the free interchange of commodities now occasioned by the scarcity and expensiveness of the circulating medium, which will result from the Labor Note as a currency, converting all labor at once into cash, and the means of commanding the results of all other labor the world over,--with all these conditions, and various others of less moment, operated by these principles, the infinitely varying wants of humanity, perpetually expanding under culture, together with the tendency to rest and simply enjoy, on the part of those who can, fostered by conscious security of condition, may be implicitly relied upon to call into use every degree and quality of human labor which any body will be found willing to render, even down to the lowest grades of skill, notwithstanding the fact that those who thus come in, as it were, last will be best paid.

214. IV.--This brings us to the next point,--namely, the Economies of Cooperation and of the Large Scale. Of the first branch of this subject, the economies of cooperation, including attraction, it cannot be necessary that much should be said. Illustrations have already been given of the waste of human exertion consequent upon antagonism, and the want of adaptation between the man and his pursuit. (151, 212.) The genius of any reader is adequate to filling up the hideous catalog to repletion. Equity destroys antagonism, and opens the way to the performance of every function in the most economical way.

215. The economy resulting upon the performance of labor upon the large instead of the small scale is well understood and highly appreciated in our present stage of civilization, just so far as the application of the principle chances to have been made. It is known, for example, that a thousand persons can be profitably transported at a trip, upon a magnificent steamboat, from New York to Albany, a distance of one hundred and sixty miles, at fifty cents for each person, while to run the same boat, or any boat with like elegance and conveniences, ten miles, for the accommodation of one individual, would cost several hundred dollars. It is not yet generally understood that the same principle applied on land may, and will yet, house the whole population in palaces, and cause the masses of mankind to enjoy an immunity from want heretofore enjoyed by the privileged classes only. The glorious truth is not yet generally understood that every man, woman, and child may, by a scientific arrangement of the appliances for the production and distribution of wealth, be rendered infinitely richer than any, even the most privileged individual, is now. After having seen that lucifer matches can be manufactured and sold at a penny a bunch by carrying on the manufacture as a business upon the large scale, the absurdity would immediately appear-—-the waste of human exertion would be too obvious to escape attention--if every housekeeper in a large city were to rise each successive morning, go out and purchase a few splinters of pine, with a little pot of sulfur, and manufacture, by the expenditure of half an hour's time from one to a half dozen matches with which to kindle her fire the following day. It is not so readily perceived, however, as it will be at a future day, that the absurdity is of the same sort when seventy-five thousand women are engaged daily, in the city of New York, and twice a day, in boiling three quarters of water each in a tea-kettle. The benefits of labor-saving machinery are derived from the operation of this principle, the essential economy of the large scale. In the isolated household those benefits can never be applied to cooking, washing, ironing, house-cleaning, and the like. Hence, in the isolated household, the drudgery to which woman is now condemned can never be materially alleviated. The facility with which these tiresome labors are now performed in the large American hotels, in some of our charitable institutions, and even in prisons, is a standing irony upon the wretched and poverty-stricken arrangements of our domestic establishments. Any system of social reorganization which should involve the necessity of individual or family isolation would be, therefore, essentially faulty, while, on the other hand, every individual must be left entirely free to seek and enjoy as much solitude or privacy as he or she may choose, assuming for themselves the additional cost of such indulgence.

216. While the public at large have not pushed their investigations into the wonderful results which are yet to come from new applications of this principle of economy,--in the immense augmentation of wealth, leisure, luxury, and refinement to be participated in by the whole people,--Social Reformers have not failed to do so. Many of them have reveled in their brilliant imaginings of the future until they have become maddened at the stupidity of the world, and denounce with a vehemence, which seems insanity to their less appreciative fellow-men, the folly and absurdity of our existing social arrangements. The folly is, however, by no means confined to the Conservative. The Socialist has proposed no method of realizing the splendid social revolution which he advocates, other than combinations, industrial associations or extensive partnership interests. The Conservative has rightly seen in such arrangements insuperable difficulties of administration, and ruinous surrender of the freedom of the individual. The demand is now urgent for a solution of this imbroglio. The Cost Principle furnishes that solution in that method of its operation which I am about to specify. Herein, then, is the conciliation of the seemingly conflicting truths of Socialism and Conservatism.

217. It has been already stated that the individualization or disconnection of interests insisted upon by us has in it none of the features of isolation,--that there is, in fine, in these principles, nothing adverse to the largest enterprises, and the most thorough organization in every department of business. The disconnection relates to the methods of ownership and administration, not to the aggregation of persons. It is adverse alone to sinking the distinction or blending the lines of individual property, but in no manner to the closest association, the most intimate relations, and the most effective cooperation between the owners of the interests thus sharply defined. We affirm, indeed, that it is only out of this prior and continuous rigid ascertainment of rights that mutual harmony and beneficial cooperation can ever accrue. To obliterate the lines of individual property and administration is always and everywhere to plunge into utter and hopeless confusion. Such is the sin of Communism. To interlock and combine the several interests of a community so that the will of one party, in the management of his own, can be overborne by the will of another individual, or any majority of individuals in the world, or his conduct in the administration of that which is his subjected to the authorized criticism of others, is a species of multiplication in which confusion and despotism are the factors, and the natural and inevitable product, in all delicately constituted and well-developed minds, abhorrence and disgust. Such is the sin of all partnerships. Trades' Associations, and Fourieristic Phalansterian joint-stock arrangements whatsoever.

218. Let it be observed distinctly, however, that in none of these proposed reorganizations of society is the fallacy to be found in the magnificent amplitude of dimensions, the complex variety of development, the intimate societary life, the general prevalence of wealth, luxury, and refinement, nor in the indispensable postulatum of universal cooperation. All this, and more, lies hid in the womb of time, and the hour of parturition is at hand. The futility of all these schemes of social regeneration is to be found alone in the want of individualization as the starting point, the perpetual accompaniment, and the final development of the movement, and the failure to discover that in harmonious juxtaposition with the complete severance and apparent opposition of individual interests lies the most liberal, perfect, and all-pervading system of mutual cooperation, developed through a process almost ridiculously simple,--the mere cessation of mutual robbery by the erection and observance of a scientific measure of price and standard of equivalents.

219. A single illustration will render clear the way in which, out of the limitation of all price to the mere cost of performance and production, grows the tendency to aggregation, and the doing of all work upon the large, and thereby upon the economical scale,--but without partnership interest or Combination in the technical sense of that term, as differing from Cooperation. (49, 50.) Take the case of an Eating-House conducted upon the Cost Principle. If fifty, one hundred, or five hundred persons eat at the same establishment, the economy is immense over providing the same number of people with the same style of living in ten, twenty, or one hundred separate establishments. Hence the large and elegant eating saloon, with cleanliness, order, artistic skill, and abundance, in the preparation of food, is a cheaper arrangement than the meager and ill-conditioned private table. The general facts in this respect are too well known to require to be specifically established. In the Eating-House, as it now exists in large cities, the economy here spoken of is actually secured,--that is, each boarder is fed at less actual cost than he could be in the isolated household; but the saving thus effected does not go into the pocket of the boarder, nor accrue in any manner to his benefit. On the contrary, he is ordinarily compelled to pay more than it would cost him to supply himself at home. Hence, there is no general and controlling influence of the eating house system to call the population out of their private establishments and induce them to live upon the large scale, at public saloons. There are conveniences and agreeable features in that mode of life which address themselves to certain classes of persons, bachelors with ample means, merchants whose business is at a distance from their homes, travelers, temporary citizens, etc., which overbalance the repulsion of enhanced price, and supply these establishments with a given amount of custom. They fail, however, on account of that enhanced price, to break up, as they would inevitably do if the price were much less instead of greater, the isolated household system of cookery, which is now one of the primary causes of the unmitigated drudgery and underdevelopment of the female sex.

220. As stated, then, the saving from the large scale now actually takes places, as it would do under the true system of administration; but, instead of going to the benefit of the boarders of the establishment, it does first in the form of profits to the keeper of the house, then in the form of rent from him to the party who owns the house, and, finally, it is probable, in the form of interest from the owner of the premises to the money-lender, who has loaned the capital to construct it, while at the same time the operation of the principle is restricted, and the amount of the saving diminished, by the cause which prevent the population generally from resorting to such establishments. Under the operation of the Cost Principle, all this is reversed. Nobody stands between the boarder and the saving which grows naturally out of the economical tendency of the large scale. Nobody receives the benefit but himself. The keeper of the house makes no profit, but is paid simply an equivalent for his labor, according to its degree of burdensomeness or repugnance,--less, if it is less repugnant, than an attendant on the tables, or a cook in the kitchen. The owner of the house receives no rent, in the nature of profit, but merely the wear and tear of the premises,--the cost of maintaining them in an equally good condition (241.); and, finally, there is no money-lender, levying an additional contribution for the supply of a circulating medium so scarce and expensive as to be capable of being monopolized. Hence, whoever lives at an Eating-House managed upon the Cost Principle lives either at a much cheaper rate than he can live in a private way, or else in a much better style, or else with both of these elements of attraction combined. Hence, again, there is a potent influence under that principle, operating upon the whole community to draw them out of their present solitary and poverty-stricken household arrangements into a larger sphere of elegance, comfort, and refinement, while at the same time their full freedom is preserved to remain as they are, at their own cost. The seeds of a great social revolution are planted, while no prejudice is shocked. There is no pledge demanded, no premeditated concert of action, no sudden overturn or derangement of social habits, no enforced conformity, no authorized espionage and criticism. The change is effected gently, gradually, unobtrusively, and considerately toward all existing habits and feelings.

221. Nor is the social revolution thus foreshadowed less radical and entire than that which is aspired after by the most advanced of Social Reformers. It differs in the fact that it is a natural growth from simple roots implanted in the common understanding, in the form of principles or mere suggestions of honesty,--not a splendid and complicated a priori arrangement of details as a great work of art. The same principle here illustrated with reference to the Eating-House applies, of course, to the Public Wash-House, to the Infant School, or Common Nursery for the professional rearing, training, and development of children, and to every other advantageous arrangement of societary life. Relieved of the burden of cooking, washing, and nursing, except as her tastes lead her to participate in one or other of these pursuits professionally, it becomes competent to woman to elect and vary her career in life with as much freedom as a man. Then, and never until then, can woman become an Individual herself, instead of a mere hanger-on upon the destinies of another. Then, and not until then, can the intellect of the woman be developed so as to form the appropriate counterpoise to her affectionate nature. There is not, in our existing society, one woman in a hundred who knows as much at the age of forty as she knew at twenty. Confined, for the most part, to the same narrow circle of household affairs, with children, nurses, and housemaids as her associates, she shrinks mentally instead of expanding, and comes finally to nauseate, and to object with sickly fastidiousness to those changes in her condition which are essential to her emancipation. Hence it is only in the rare case of highly endowed and well-developed womanhood that the Social Reformer meets the hearty sympathy of the sex in those plans of domestic amelioration which are indispensable to the assumption by her of that rank in the social hierarchy for which nature has disposed her, and which, despite of herself, as it were, she is destined to attain.

222. Again, when these several domestic functions are performed severally upon the large scale, additional conveniences will be found to arise from combining the Eating-House, the Laundry, the Nursery, the Lying-in Department, etc., etc., in one unitary edifice, and conducting the whole upon a plan not inferior, perhaps, in magnificence and extent to the Phalansterian order of Fourier. It is not my purpose to trace out these ulterior developments of the principle. The social philosopher will, from this point, do that for himself. However magnificent may be the scale upon which the social order, growing out of these principles, shall finally adjust itself, there will be in it always the marked distinction from every Social Reform heretofore proposed,--that every grand public undertaking, whether it be an Eating Establishment to accommodate several hundred persons or families, a Hospital, a Public Laundry, a Hotel for the accommodation of travelers, a Factory, a huge Workshop, a Plantation, the complicated arrangements of transportation and navigation, or, finally, the Phalanstery itself, combining every convenience and all the functions of social life on the most extended scale, will still be a strictly individual enterprise, the out-birth of the genius and activity of a single mind. Hundreds of men and women may be engaged in the administration, some of whom will be at the head of the various departments, but all of them rigidly subordinate to the grand design of the project, or, who will be the despot of his own dominions, exercising, nevertheless, a beneficent despotism, wherein the highest and best expression of himself, wrought out in his work, redounds equally to the good of all others who are related in any manner to the transaction,--a self-elected governor of mankind, by the divine right of genius or super eminent ability to excogitate and perform. At the same time, whoever evinces the higher grades of inventive and organizing talent will have the command freely of the requisite capital to aid the execution of his designs, limited only by the aggregate amount of surplus capital in the community as compared with the number of such beneficent enterprises on foot. This effect will result from the fact that, under the operation of the Cost Principle, capital of itself earns nothing, and hence that all persons in the community who have surplus accumulations of wealth will prefer that such accumulations shall be entrusted to, and be administered by, those persons who demonstrate the greatest capacity for doing so, in that way which will contribute most to the public welfare; a benefit in which the owners of such capital will participate along with the whole public,--in addition to their right to withdraw their investments in such installments as they may require for their own use. The ideas involved in this paragraph will be further developed in the next chapter, in treating of Capital and the “"Wages System."” (230, 249.)

223. It follows, then, that by the simple operation of Equity attractive industry is secured, cooperation is rendered beneficent instead of destructive, all the economies are effected, and this still with a complete preservation, on all hands, of Individuality and the Sovereignty of the Individual. Cooperation is rendered universal by the same means, speculation is banished, antagonisms of all sorts are neutralized, a complete Adaptation of Supply to Demand is, for the first time in the world, rendered practicable, and mankind enter upon a career of harmony, development and happiness which the experience of all past ages has been but a painful preparation to enjoy by strong contrast, as dark shadows relieve the lights upon the canvas of the painter. Let the man or the woman who desires to participate in the work of installing the Reign of Harmony put his or her hand to the work.


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