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Page:Earth-Hunger and Other Essays.djvu/159

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not only was liberty in the primitive state of society, but that liberty did not then mean competition. There was not therefore, either monopoly or competition, but something else which has never been analyzed or defined. They seem to regard both competition and monopoly as products of civilization, and they denounce both at the same time. They also seem to think that monopoly and competition are at opposite poles, wide asunder, completely distinguishable.

Monopoly is a condition of things in which there is no scope for individual energy to be exerted so as to advance individual welfare, while competition is the state of things in which individual energy may be exerted so as to advance the welfare of the individual. These two combinations of social circumstances meet and to some extent intertwine; they are not separated by any gulf; in the middle ground where they meet, there are many cases which present mixtures of the two. We have limited monopolies with all degrees of limitation: almost all our railroads are limited monopolies; protected industries are monopolies which are limited in very various degrees, according as they are carried on by one, few, or many persons, making organization and combination easy or difficult.

In primitive states of society, monopoly prevails to such an extent that there is scarcely any scope at all for the application of individual energy to the effort for ameliorating one's position. It has been one of the longest and most painful achievements of civilization to open chances for the exertion of individual energy, and to give guarantees that the results of such exertion shall be secured to the one who made it. The progress in that direction within a hundred years has been enormous in proportion to any achievement in the same