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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/696

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

own labor are recognized as his," On the island where Mr. Spencer lives, we might say that almost from the beginning the product, and part of the time both producer and product, have been recognized as belonging to the lord of the manor. At present the bulk of the products belong to the lords of the factories—the "captains of industry"—and nobody but the socialist fails to recognize both the fact and its propriety.

So in the first chapter of Dr. Chapin's recast of Wayland's "Political Economy" we find it stated, as the third of the fundamental principles of the science, that "the exertion of labor establishes a right of property in the fruits of labor, and the idea of exclusive possession is a necessary consequence." And Mark Hopkins, in his "Law of Love" (chapter iii), says that "with no right to the product of his labor, no man would make a tool or a garment, or build a shelter, or raise a crop. There could be no industry and no progress."

Now we must accept or reject the theory supported by this formidable and indefinitely extensible array of authority, because it does or does not conform to the facts; not because it leads to the conclusion that property ought to keep even pace with production in its development toward communism; not because it justifies some in opposing property m land on the ground that land is not a product of labor; not because it leads Prof. Perry and his school into confusion in their effort to prove that property in land is right because the value of land is the product of the labor of its owner. If production confers on the producer the divine or otherwise particularly sacred right of property in the product, I propose to accept the truth as soon as convinced of it, whatever agreeable or disagreeable conclusions it may lead to. I do not know that there is any absolute and infallible criterion of truth or reality. Perhaps "persistence in consciousness" may be one. But, at any rate, I have lived long enough to know that "agreeableness" is not."

The fact known to everybody is that the vast army of those who work for wages or salaries do not acquire the slightest proprietary interest in the particular things with which they "mix their labor." Neither do the transportation companies nor the draymen of the streets. It may be said, in defense of the theory, that their interest is bought off in advance, or that, having sold their labor, it is no longer theirs, but does, in fact, belong to the owner of the product.

But this is not the statement of the economists and philosophers we have quoted, and would slur over the laws by which the rate of pay for salaried services is governed. It is much less confusing and more rational to look at the matter as the great majority of people look at it—as all look at it, in fact, until they are