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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/596

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cerned; it will increase further in the interests of the health, the happiness, and the morals of the working class; so in like manner the tendency to assume industrial functions on the part of the central or the local government will increase. Nevertheless, this tendency will not increase fast nor go far, unless a second tendency, which we have now particularly to consider, should develop and show itself socially mischievous.

The second tendency is that toward the increased massing together or concentration of capital which has been going on all through this century, at first as a consequence of the industrial revolution and the needs of the large scale of production, then by the undertaking of ever larger enterprises requiring vast sums of capital, as in the making and working of railways—a tendency which first showed itself in the instance of the great individual capitalist, then in the company or union of capitalists, and lastly, within the past few years, in the syndicate or union of companies. This second tendency does exist; it is likewise an increasing tendency, and, under certain circumstances of abuse into which it would be tempted to fall, it might lead to socialism, not because of its affinities, since it is the very opposite of socialism, but by way of repulsion; it might lead to excessive government regulation, or to the superseding of the syndicates by government management in the interest of the public.

But, before considering the circumstances which might lead to such state socialism, it is necessary to clear away a mistake as to the concentration of capital, to point out a mistaken tendency, which, if it really did exist, would probably lead to socialism by a far shorter road—the mistake that the increasing concentration of capital, which is an undoubted fact, is an increasing concentration or accumulation in ever fewer individual hands; a mistake made conspicuously by Karl Marx, which was indorsed by Cairnes and Fawcett, and which lies at the bottom of all their desires to change the present industrial organization by substituting for it universal collectivism, as Marx would wish, or cooperative production, as the other two prefer.

According to Karl Marx, socialism will come when the process of evolution has resulted in a few colossal capitalists face to face with millions of exploited and expropriated proletarians, including many smaller capitalists who have been undersold and driven into the ranks of the proletariate. "When the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital has resulted in a few gigantic ones with a growing mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, and exploitation"; and when, in addition, "the working class, increased in numbers, organized, disciplined, and united by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself, is animated with a spirit of revolt," then, he declares, "the