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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/14

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manufactured. For them the best books are written, the best plays acted, the fastest steamers hurry across the seas, and all the discoveries of science are applied. It is they who live to the full, it is they who enjoy, who develop mentally and spiritually through their contact with the beauty and civilisation of their own and other worlds. They are the ones who can pay. But the other nine tenths are condemned not only to physical discomfort but, far more tragically, to a stunting even of their capacity for the higher forms of enjoyment. They cannot pay.

The philosopher will naturally try to discover the reason for this abyss which, in dividing the nation into owners and non-owners, divides it also into two civilisations. He may be tempted to accept the easy generalisation current in society which will run somewhat as follows:

"Wealth is in the first instance a reward of industry. It comes to a man as the natural result of the work he performs. If he is very industrious or very skilful and earns more wealth than he needs to satisfy his immediate wants, or if he is very thrifty and sacrifices some of his less pressing desires, he is able to accumulate wealth. This accumulation he will use to create more wealth, and he then becomes a capitalist. The capitalist, therefore, is either an exceptionally industrious, an exceptionally skilful, or an exceptionally abstemious man. In any case he is an exceptionally