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Page:Earth-Hunger and Other Essays.djvu/275

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In preceding pages I have analyzed and discussed some leading and typical forms of natural monopoly. It is easily perceived, upon a view of facts, that monopoly is in the order of nature, and that it predominates over all the most fundamental relations of man to the earth on which he lives. It is not a product of civilization, or a result of the capitalistic organization of society, or an invention of the bourgeoisie, as is so often asserted. If then any one desires to declaim against it, he must understand that he is at war, not with human institutions, but with facts in the order of the universe.

Civilization is in fact one long struggle against the natural monopolies which have been described, or, more accurately, it is an attempt to set one of them against another. When man domesticated animals, and made of them beasts of draught and burden, he got one of the natural monopolies on his side as an instrument with which to fight against the monopoly of the land; when he discovered fire, he got a natural force on his side which was of immense help to him in contending with all the other limitations of his position. Wind, falling water, steam and electricity are all natural agents which man has learned to subdue to his service in his contests with nature. Therefore, whatever emancipation from the extremest hardships of earthly existence—whatever liberty—man has won, has been won by civilization, and therefore also, at every new stage, the old natural monopolies have persistently reappeared, only in a much