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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/19

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principle of social expediency? He will ask himself whether it is well for the community that a premium should be given to the quality of smartness at the expense of the qualities of thrift and industry, a premium so great that its benefits accrue not only to the smart man himself but to his children and his children's children, who may have no socially valuable qualities whatever. Is it well for society that the trust organiser should have an income five hundred times as great as that of the college professor, that a good business head should get so much greater a return for its exertions than a fine scientific brain? And is it well that the son of a bank president should receive, as a reward for merely existing, a share of the common wealth two hundred times as great as that meted out to the civil engineer? Again the answer must inevitably be "no."

 

II

But this is not all. Not only are the material desires of the owners satisfied out of all proportion to the work they perform, but they also occupy a position of social superiority which practically divides society into groups of rulers and ruled.

The reason for this is to be found in the conditions under which wealth is created. The process is simple. To live a man must have not only the wealth that he consumes in food, lodging, and clothing to-day, but the means of creating a new supply of that same wealth to-morrow. His