Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/253

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FALLACIES OF MODERN ECONOMISTS.

own master. This, however, does not necessarily follow, for it assumes that each man would have both the ability and willingness to construct a machine. But suppose they did, would this be just? Is it any the less robbery for a man to steal another's brain produce—ideas—than to steal the products of his hands, commodities? Would the infringer not be obtaining something which he did not produce? If justice consists in giving to each man the product of his labor, and robbery consists in a man taking that which another produces, would those who copied the inventor's machine be any the less robbers?

If we are to accept the basis laid down by economists by which "rights" are determined, I do not see how you can escape from the system known as profits. You say this system is degrading and unjust. Granted. But, on the grounds that Mr. George and others have selected for determining what is right and what wrong, I can not see any escape from the "right" of profits. You may say it is inexpedient for society to continue it. That is a different matter entirely, and it may be for the welfare of society to abolish profit, rent, and interest. But, in the light of the "science of selfishness," there is nothing which shows it to be unjust, or those accepting such return as being robbers.

I have endeavored to select at random a few of the fallacies underlying many, if not all, of the modern schools of reform, that teach that the road to social bliss is by the science of economics. My contention is that much of the present evils which afflict society is due to too great a prevalence of Nature's laws, and to too little practice of the moral law. So long as reformers endeavor to work out their respective systems by an appeal to the so-called science of political economy, and persistently ignore the moral phase of the question, so long must society wait in vain for the realization of its dreams. The final teaching of economics would show that it is far more conducive to national wealth and prosperity to stimulate the production of machinery than of men!

This grand science of economy has surely had a wonderful effect. It has cheapened commodities and cheapened men, and men are now cheaper than the commodities! Since it has determined to work the problem of society out on this basis of the laws of supply and demand, and has taught man to buy in the cheapest and sell in the dearest markets, it has brought humanity itself to the same basis, and men find themselves immeshed in a web of their own weaving. The law of supply and demand now governs them, and men are bought and sold like the commodities themselves.

Is there, then, no solution to the great social problem of poverty? Can nothing be done to save humanity from itself? "It is