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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/667

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THE GROSS AND NET GAIN OF RISING WAGES.

Sale of land in occupation of an individual is an act indicating his intention to abandon it, a grant or conveyance being the means established by social law to signify this intention.

The purchaser, being the first acquainted with such purpose, seizes the vacant land and is the next taker by natural law. The consideration paid represents the capital and labor expended in the land by all occupants, and the justice of such payment is sustained by every principle of natural law and moral right, since the capital and labor so expended represent all the commercial value that the land possesses.

And, finally, to deprive the individual of his occupancy and possession, although it be to reinstate the owners in common, can only be in natural justice and moral right upon payment of the value of the capital and labor represented in the land, which is the whole commercial value of the land.

It follows, then, that the demands of natural justice and moral right would be ignored if all taxes were put upon land, because one form only of labor and capital would be thus compelled to bear the whole burden of taxation.

 

THE GROSS AND NET GAIN OF RISING WAGES.
By ROBERT GIFFEN.

IN the discussions to which former papers of mine on working-class progress have given rise, there are some criticisms which have interested me very much. They are made by members of the working class themselves, who are slow enough to admit the average increase of their money earnings in the last fifty years which the figures demonstrate. But, admitting some increase of money, they go on to say, and admitting, too, the low prices, the improvement after all is not without drawbacks, or, as I have suggested in the above title, it is mainly in the gross. There are drawbacks which take away much of the apparent advantage. A general statement like this, apart from particular allegations to support it, could not but excite my attention, although I have avoided hitherto any discussion of it. It is a good rule to do one thing at a time. An improvement of money earnings and no increase of prices appeared to be two points worth establishing, whatever the drawbacks of a less apparent kind, and which the working classes could themselves best appreciate, might be. But while avoiding the discussion hitherto, I have been none the less observant, for the simple reason that each class knows its own grievances as no others can, and that such complaints, though easy enough to prove unfounded, are apt to cover facts which