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ECONOMICS AND POLITICS

intricate because many interests enter into it. Freight rates are the rate of return on capital invested and work done by the railroad company and they enter into the cost of production of the shipper. They also affect the relative profits of big shippers and little shippers and the relative prosperity of towns and ports. Freight rates are, therefore, in our country, a means of distributing returns on industry. In our present industrial organization, liberty is so great that the gains which are won conform to the degrees of talent which are put into the work. That is the proper result of liberty; it lets every force produce its due result. It is, therefore, at war with equality. But our statesmen want to produce equality; they dream of establishing conditions under which the little man shall stand equal with the man of genius. This they never can do without sacrificing liberty, and all the laws which are proposed aim to limit liberty by taxation, or the authority of a commission, or by special duties arbitrarily imposed. The statesman must always, in his laws, act upon an assumed state of facts, and he must always prescribe the same line of action for all cases. His enactments, therefore, act as limitations and trammels. But all our modern power and greatness has been developed under liberty. It is by setting free all the powers in the society that all of them have been developed up to the highest pitch and that the economic achievements have become so great. Then the men of ability who have led in the labor become great capitalists while other men remain poor. But that is offensive to the taste for equality and we hear endless lamentations over it. My argument does not require that I should deny that the masters of industry are often masterful, arrogant, and overbearing; I am told that they are so and I am quite ready to believe it; it belongs to their