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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/755

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THE COMING SLAVERY.

owner the slavery is heavy, and if but little it is light. Take now a further step. Suppose an owner dies, and his estate with its slaves comes into the hands of trustees, or suppose the estate and everything on it to be bought by a company; is the condition of the slave any the better if the amount of his compulsory labor remains the same? Suppose that for a company we substitute the community; does it make any difference to the slave if the time he has to work for others is as great, and the time left for himself is as small, as before? The essential question is, How much is he compelled to labor for other benefit than his own, and how much he can labor for his own benefit? The degree of his slavery varies according to the ratio between that which he is forced to yield up and that which he is allowed to retain; and it matters not whether his master is a single person or a society. If, without option, he has to labor for the society, and receives from the general stock such portion as the society awards him, he becomes a slave to the society. Socialistic arrangements necessitate an enslavement of this kind; and toward such an enslavement many recent measures, and still more the measures advocated, are carrying us. Let us observe, first, their proximate effects, and then their ultimate effects.

The policy initiated by the Industrial Dwellings Acts admits of development, and will develop. "Where municipal bodies turn house-builders, they inevitably lower the values of houses otherwise built, and check the supply of more. Every dictation respecting modes of building and conveniences to be provided diminishes the builder's profit, and prompts him to use his capital where the profit is not thus diminished. So, too, the owner, already finding that small houses entail much labor and many losses—already subject to troubles of inspection and interference and to consequent costs, and having his property daily rendered a more undesirable investment—is prompted to sell; and, as buyers are for like reasons deterred, he has to sell at a loss. And now these still multiplying regulations, ending, it may be, as Lord Grey proposes, in one requiring the owner to maintain the salubrity of his houses by evicting dirty tenants, and thus adding to his other responsibilities that of inspector of nuisances, must further prompt sales and further deter purchasers—so necessitating greater depreciation. What must happen? The multiplication of houses, and especially small houses, being increasingly checked, there must come an increasing demand upon the local authority to make up for the deficient supply. More and more, the municipal or kindred body will have to build houses, or to purchase houses rendered unsalable to private persons in the way shown; houses which, greatly depreciated in value as they must become, it will, in many cases, pay to buy rather than to build new ones. And then, when in towns this process has gone so far as to make the local authority the chief owner of houses, there will be a good precedent for publicly providing houses for the