1900s >> 1906 >> no-22-june-1906

Do We Move?

How it is possible for people to still hold, as so many do, that what is has always been and must be, is very difficult to understand. This difficulty is increased when the rapidity with which change follows change is realised, along with the size and importance of the changes themselves. The vast alterations that have taken place in our social life through the linking of place to place by networks of railways in a manner undreamt of less than two generations ago ; the ease and facility with which one is enabled to travel over great distances of land and sea and the equal ease with which, goods can be carried, have practically resulted in the annihilation of distance as any great barrier between the peoples of the world. So much so, indeed, that the most lengthy journeys that would, but a comparatively short time ago, have been attended with a host of uncertainties and dangers are now undertaken as pleasure trips. The development of the telephonic and telegraphic systems has still further removed the difficulties and disabilities of distance. To-day news reaches us in a few hours that would have necessitated but yesterday a long sea trip lasting perhaps many months. Our postal system and its facilities for communication are essentially of recent date. The days of stage coaches and horse travel are not so far distant as some are prone to imagine.

To mention a few such changes suggests a host of others of a similar nature that will amply illustrate the fact that we are constantly going through a process of development and improvement. Each fresh addition suggests some further one, and like the proverbial snowball, the rapidity of growth increases with the growth itself.

Such developments, as those of transit, etc. which have been instanced, are not without their effect in other directions. Everything that tends in the direction of rendering more accessible a place that previously was inaccessible makes that place more eligible as a market for exporting countries. The spur thus given to competition among capitalists for the new market would hasten economic development and render more efficient the means and methods of producing wealth.

The altering social conditions resulting from any change in economic relations have been too frequently stated to need repetition here. Suffice it to say, that with the growth of the market catered for, grows also the scale on which production is conducted. The larger the business the greater are the economies effected through the medium of the sub-division of labour and the introduction of more and more perfect machinery. Such economic developments result in increasing the co-operative and social nature of production. The way is paved for the trust and the combine, which render still more necessary and easy the collective ownership and control of such industries, in place of the private ownership of such essentially social concerns.

The rapidity of development in the last half century (so insignificant a period in the history of the world and society), and the recognition of the fact that the speed increases rather than decreases, points to yet more startling and far-reaching developments in the future, which, with the conscious co-operation of the working class in the direction dictated by the development itself, will culminate in the readjustment of the Social structure to its altered economic basis, while some people are still mumbling “things are as they were, and will so remain.”

D. K.

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