Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/523

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Examples of property which is apparently not the result of accumulated or of any labor, and so militating against these conclusions, will doubtless suggest themselves: such, for instance, as a diamond found upon the seashore, land squatted upon and obtained by preemption, bank stock, patent rights, copyrights, anuities obtained by gift or purchase, franchises, monopolies, and debts; but an examination will soon prove that the objections embodied in them are more specious than real. Thus, in the case of the diamond accidentally picked up, which is perhaps one of the most striking of all the examples that can be adduced in favor of the position that property can come into existence without the agency of labor, it may be said: first, that an exceptional fact like this can not constitute an adequate basis for the enunciation of a principle; and, next, that the value of this accidental diamond is solely determined by and represents the value of the labor which has been required to obtain all other existing diamonds. The moment the fact ceases to be exceptional, the moment diamonds can be had in abundance by merely picking them up, that moment their value will simply represent the cost of the physical effort requisite to pick them up. Again, if land squatted upon has any value as property whatever in the first instance, it is because it is the embodiment of the labor required to discover it, to conquer it, to defend and protect it; to effect all of which, taxes, which are the results of labor, may have been paid for centuries. If it acquires any additional value beyond this, after it has been

    another, say the same thing. Accepting under such circumstances an entire misconception of the true meaning of the word labor, the popular mind has been drawn to the conclusion that hand labor or muscular exertion is the producer of all value; and has added the corollary that hand labor is therefore entitled to the entire value thus produced. But when closely examined, the true meaning of the word labor will be found to be, all that a man can do, either with his muscle or his brain. On this crude misconception of the meaning of words, philanthropic systems have grown up, under which the weaker ones have lost heart, and the stronger ones have grown desperate, because the hard sense of humanity does not accept their theories. Also, through their influence, these ideas have reacted and are reacting on the laborers themselves, with rather lamentable results. Thus it is a very general complaint of the present time that the ordinary workman, the person commonly understood by the word "laborer," puts so little mind into his or her work that it is perfunctory to the last degree; concerns itself very little with results, but expends its efforts in a function whose sole end is to escape blame or actual discharge, and to get along with the least possible exertion; when the fact is, that the three functions of capital (which is accumulated labor), labor (in the muscular sense), and management (or brain power) must as a rule act conjointly, in order to insure the best results. "In more recent times, a truer appreciation of this word has arisen, but even yet has not been so absorbed into the general fund of knowledge as to bear practical fruits; and it needs to be constantly dwelt upon, set forth, reiterated, and explained, until it shall become a common possession of those who think." The reason why more attention has not been given to this subject by the earlier economists has been assigned to the fact that they drew their illustrations from a very primitive life, where the bow and spear figured prominently.—Address, American Social Science Association, 1893, by F. J. Kingsbury, LL. D.