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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/18

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no other sort of ability, that gives a man a place on the moving sidewalk.

But it is impossible to establish any causal connection between the ownership of capital and its wealth-producing quality. It may be owned by a single man, or by a group of men, by an idle woman living in Europe, or by a little child: the owner, as owner, is a negligible quantity. And if the "smart man" is not an organiser or manager as well as owner, he contributes nothing to the process of creating the yearly return. The people who make the sidewalk move are those who apply their industry to capital: they are the managers and foremen, the mechanics, artisans, and labourers, the farmers and hewers of wood and drawers of water, all the thousands of men whose hands and brains are used to mould and transform wealth into new shapes, to move it from the place where it is created to the place where it is needed, who gather in the fruits of the earth and who labour to make it yield its increase. In so far as the smart business man uses his brain to help on this great productive process or to facilitate the exchange of the product, he has earned a share of the common wealth. But as a mere owner he is outside the creative process.

It is clear, then, that our philosopher must answer "no" to the question whether the division of wealth is just. It certainly does not go in due proportion to the people who have created it. But is it perhaps distributed according to some