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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/31

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less industrious than he, paid at the same rate. There are a few such devoted individuals now, and possibly in the dim future they will be numerous enough to make their mental processes serve as a basis for society. But for all purposes of practical reform, the Socialist principle, in the strict sense of the word, seems to be the only possible one.

The Socialists do not hope to distribute wealth equally among all the workers, or on the basis of the needs of the different individuals: they hold that this would be extremely inadvisable, at least without a long period of training under a system far more equitable than the present one. What they do hope to do is to distribute it in such a way that men will be rewarded as nearly as possible in proportion to the services they perform, and not, as is now the case, partly in proportion to the services they perform and partly in proportion to the lien on other men's work that they or their fathers have been able to establish through accumulations of capital.

The practical problem of how wealth is to be divided in proportion to the quantity and quality of the work performed is an extremely delicate and difficult one. The simplest solution seems to be that each individual should be required to give a fixed minimum of work to the community, and that he should be paid a minimum wage, large enough to guarantee a good average "standard of life." The exceptionally able or industrious man would contribute more work and would be