Page:Instead of a Book, Tucker.djvu/491

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

of most of the others emphasizes my constant contention that the labor problem is to be settled between extreme State Socialism and extreme Anarchism, and that the struggle will become clear and direct in proportion as all compromises disappear and leave an open field. When this struggle comes, the weak point in Mr. Bellamy's position will be located. I point it out in advance. It lies in his enormous assumptions that laborers, in order to receive the profits which now go to the employers, must become their own employers, and that the only way by which they can do this is to assume through their salaried agents the conduct of industry. The Anarchistic solution shows that there is no such must and no such only. When interest, rent, and profit disappear under the influence of free money, free land, and free trade, it will make no difference whether men work for themselves, or are employed, or employ others. In any case they can get nothing but that wage for their labor which free competition determines. Therefore they need not become their own employers. Perhaps, however, they will prefer to do so. But in that case they need not assume the conduct of industry through their salaried agents. There is another way. Any of them that choose will be enabled through mutual banking to secure means of production whereby to conduct whatever industry they desire. This other way, being the way of liberty, is the better way, and is destined to triumph over Mr. Bellamy's way, which is the way of authority and coercion.

I have reserved to the last the only remaining answer among those printed in the Herald, that of Frank K. Foster, editor of the Labor Leader. This, too, I give in full, because of its significance.

The prime factors making toward the unjust distribution of the products of labor are profits, rent, and interest. In his direct relation to the employer, or buyer of labor,—not necessarily a capitalist,—the laborer has a remedy in every agency that gives him greater equality of bargaining power. The scope of this remedy is limited by the margin of profit on the joint product of the laborer and the "captains of industry." In this class of agencies are to be reckoned the trades unions, and their influences of agitation and education. Incidentally, the problems of immigration, of mobility of labor, and of the unwise and selfish competition (between the laborers themselves) for employment, are allied to this branch of the subject. Broadly speaking, in the field of adult labor, the principle of free association may be trusted to supply a remedy that shall adjust the supply of labor to meet the demand, and, by raising wages and regulating conditions, obtain for the laborer his just share of the profits of production. As wage earners, it is with this economic side of the question we have mainly to do.

The problems of rent and interest are not, m the same sense, class