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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/27

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we must acknowledge that society is moving in the direction of justice.

It is then perfectly legitimate to try to understand the essential characteristics of the present form in which the struggle for life is embodied and to compare it with a standard of abstract justice. In so doing we are merely putting ourselves in line with the evolutionary process: we are trying to foresee and, if possible, to help to bring about the new and juster form.

 

IV

We may imagine that the philosopher with whom we began this enquiry has followed a line of reasoning somewhat like the preceding. He has seen that the creation of a new supply of wealth was due to the joint activities of thousands of individuals and not to the existence, inactive or otherwise, of a single individual who was called the owner of the original supply. Now if private ownership of capital is not a necessary factor in the production of new wealth, and if it is a necessary factor in the unjust distribution of that wealth, our philosopher will ask himself why the problem should not be solved by eliminating the individual owner from the scheme of production and distribution altogether, and by putting in his place society as a whole.

And when he has grasped this fact, that wealth is a social product, and that, being the product of