The Theory of Social Revolutions eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 153 pages of information about The Theory of Social Revolutions.

These considerations rather lead me to infer that the extreme complexity of the administrative problems presented by modern industrial civilization is beyond the compass of the capitalistic mind.  If this be so, American society, as at present organized, with capitalists for the dominant class, can concentrate no further, and, as nothing in the universe is at rest, if it does not concentrate, it must, probably, begin to disintegrate.  Indeed we may perceive incipient signs of disintegration all about us.  We see, for example, an universal contempt for law, incarnated in the capitalistic class itself, which is responsible for order, and in spite of the awful danger which impends over every rich and physically helpless type should the coercive power collapse.  We see it even more distinctly in the chronic war between capital and labor, which government is admittedly unable to control; we see it in the slough of urban politics, inseparable from capitalistic methods of maintaining its ascendancy; and, perhaps, most disquieting of all, we see it in the dissolution of the family which has, for untold ages, been the seat of discipline and the foundation of authority.  For the dissolution of the family is peculiarly a phenomenon of our industrial age, and it is caused by the demand of industry for the cheap labor of women and children.  Napoleon told the lawyers who drafted the Code that he insisted on one thing alone.  They must fortify the family, for, said he, if the family is responsible to the father and the father to me, I can keep order in France.  One of the difficulties, therefore, which capital has to meet, by the aid of such administrative ability as it can command, is how to keep order when society no longer rests on the cohesive family, but on highly volatilized individuals as incohesive as grains of sand.

Meditating upon these matters, it is hard to resist the persuasion that unless capital can, in the immediate future, generate an intellectual energy, beyond the sphere of its specialized calling, very much in excess of any intellectual energy of which it has hitherto given promise, and unless it can besides rise to an appreciation of diverse social conditions, as well as to a level of political sagacity, far higher than it has attained within recent years, its relative power in the community must decline.  If this be so the symptoms which indicate social disintegration will intensify.  As they intensify, the ability of industrial capital to withstand the attacks made upon it will lessen, and this process must go on until capital abandons the contest to defend itself as too costly.  Then nothing remains but flight.  Under what conditions industrial capital would find migration from America possible, must remain for us beyond the bounds even of speculation.  It might escape with little or no loss.  On the other hand, it might fare as hardly as did the southern slaveholders.  No man can foresee his fate.  In the event of adverse fortune, however, the position of capitalists

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The Theory of Social Revolutions from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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