Open main menu

Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/34

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

to me, however, that the first motive, the desire to accumulate a fortune for oneself, is more subtle in character than the individualists would have us believe. After the first necessities and comforts have been obtained, what most men really want to get out of life is success. But in almost all cases, success is vulgarly measured in terms of wealth, and so men seek wealth. But in the army and navy, in art, science, and literature, and in the English civil service and English political life, success is measured by the grade attained, by various rewards and decorations, by fame or authority over others, things that often bring no corresponding increase of wealth but that are as ardently pursued as wealth itself. They are the measure of success, and, as such, infinitely desirable.

As for the wish men have to leave a fortune to their children, this too may be attributed to two causes. In the first place, they want to know that their children will never lack the necessities and even the comforts to which they have been accustomed. If they are "self-made" men, they understand too well the difficult and precarious existence of those who have to face life with no resource but their own skill and labour: they wish to make certain that their children have the inestimably precious aid of a certain accumulation of wealth-producing wealth. But under the Socialist régime, where the "right to life" implies suitable work for all and a just and ample