The Inevitability of Socialism

We are told by the poet that:—

”Two principles in human nature reign,
Self love to urge and reason to restrain.”

Another principle which manifests itself as an essential feature of our common human nature is sentiment or altruism.

Now if we take these three principles and apply them to our everyday lives do we find anything in them which would lead us to hope for greater progress towards Socialism in the future than in the past? It is natural that man should strive to secure the good things of life—as he understands them—for himself. It is a platitude that the human heart is buoyed up with selfishness. Everywhere we are told that man is ready to secure his own advantage at the expense of his fellow.


is that he naturally envies his fellow who is more richly endowed with the good things of this life. When therefore we have a class who are living in a condition of inferiority to another class we must expect that sooner or later the former will seek for as good conditions as the latter. The working-class in every capitalist country finds itself situated in such a condition of inferiority. Whether it is the means for satisfying the physical, intellectual or emotional side of his nature, the worker is faced with the fact that he receives not the best but the worst which his time and country produces.

It is true that the rich are not altogether free from the evil results of their own advantages. A condition of their class privilege is the exploitation, or robbery, of the worker. When the worker has by his labour turned the raw material into manufactured product the employer takes the whole of the finished article as his own. Out of its value he offers—if he sees the possibility of personal gain—a small fraction to the worker to continue the work of producing.


is cheap clothing, cheap food, insanitary housing, all of them conditions making for the germination of disease. But alas ! it is impossible for the capitalist to give the worker a complete monopoly of disease. The air, impregnated with its germs, is carried by all the winds of Heaven even into the palatial residences of the rich. Here it meets with women and children possessing a hot-house culture, and the results are that the capitalist conscience is for a brief moment awakened. Soon, however, the heart of our modern Pharaoh is hardened, and the conscience is again lulled to sleep. With the worker, however, the trouble is everlasting. Disease is always with him and he tends to become angry with conditions which mean the loss of some loved one through the ravages of a remediable disease.

The spirit of altruism—the desire for the welfare of his fellows is a characteristic of the modern man. We all know how quickly he responds to the telling of the story of some good deed, how he sympathises with the pathos, aye, and with the bathos of many a life history. His heart thrills when he hears of brave men risking their lives for the lives of their fellows, his most popular literature is that wherein


Vicious and cruel actions raise a storm of indignation within him.

True, all these emotions are futile to prevent him from wrong doing, from, under the influence of competitive conditions, harming as much as possible those with whom he competes. But it shows that man once rid of his sordid capitalist environment would rise to a higher level both of self-esteem and of altruism than is possible in a society based upon the individual ownership of property.

When self-love and altruism combine in the mind of the worker to force him to seek a betterment of the economic conditions of his class he can by the exercise of his reasoning faculties acquire a knowledge of the means whereby such betterment is to be secured. He looks around him and sees the actual conditions of existence—the worker poor, the non-worker rich—and he is constrained to ask why those who do the work of the community are deprived of the fullest measure of enjoyment from the fruits of that work.

This question can only be answered by an investigation into


of wealth production. This study is two-fold, historical and economical. From historical research the student learns that present day methods of production are of no great antiquity. It is by no means permanent in its nature. He analyses the processes which have led from the old local handicrafts system with its mysteries and jealousy between rival towns to the worldwide capitalist production which now prevails. He sees that in the evolution which led to this result a revolution in industrial processes has occurred, and that the relations of those engaged in industrial operations have also been revolutionised.

Under the handicraft system the worker was the owner of his tool, and of the product of his labour; to-day the worker has ceased to own his tools. The machine has become the most important factor in production, and this is owned by a class who do not take any part in the production. As a result of this


from his means of production, and of his possessing nothing but his power of working, a condition has arisen whereby he can be forced to sell himself in order to maintain his life.

Examining the actual methods of this capitalist system our student finds that so long as the system of capitalist production with its individual ownership of the means of wealth production prevails, so long must the worker sell his activity—become a slave—and so long must the corollaries of this slavery, disease, misery, want, poverty, and degradation continue.

The worker bringing his reason to bear upon the facts acquired by a historical and economic examination of wealth production will be forced to the conclusion that the element which is the cause of all the trouble is the fact that wealth is individually owned, and individually controlled. As a result of this control the owners of wealth are enabled to monopolise all the benefits accruing from science and invention—while the worker is given


based upon the knowledge of two centuries ago.

When he realises this he will conclude that it is only by removing this refractory element from our modes of wealth production, and taking social possession of what has become a social service, that is to say of the community taking complete ownership and control of the whole of the material conditions of life that a remedy can be obtained from the evils which beset us.

That this time is coming rapidly nearer is every day more apparent. A society based upon the communal ownership of wealth is coming every day more and more near. This society of the future will be based upon a condition which will prevent


between man and man. Competition for profit will have vanished. The antagonism of classes will have disappeared, and it will be possible for man to really harmonise his self-interest with the interest of his fellows in a society which satisfies his reason.

Life in such a society where man dominates machinery and wins more and more power over nature, wresting from her her innermost secrets not for the benefit of a few but for the good of all, will be pleasant and men will pass from the cradle to the grave free from any of the carking cares of capitalism. Such a life is possible only when Socialism is achieved, and it is the duty of every man to hasten the day which shall give humanity so great in need of joy.


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