In no state of human nature that any persons now living, or the grandchild of any person now living, will witness, could such conditions be permanent. Their temporary realization might be accomplished; but if it were, the able men would not be satisfied with either the low grade of civilization inevitable unless they worked, or with being robbed of the large share of production that must result from their work. The more intelligent of the rank and file, too, would rebel against the conditions inevitably lowering the general prosperity, and they would soon realize the difference in industrial leadership between “political generals” and natural generals. Insurrection would follow, and then anarchy, after which things would start again on their present basis, but some generations behind.
But I for one do not expect these experiences, especially in America: for here probably enough men have already become property holders to make a sufficient balance of power for the preservation of property. If not, the first step toward ensuring civilization, is helping enough men to develop into property holders, and continue property holders, which general experience declares that they will not unless they develop their property themselves.
During the last twenty years New Zealand has tried many social and economic experiments; these experiments have been made by her own Legislature, and her own people; and as a rule they have been remarkably successful: during the last few months she has had the experience of a new one conducted by strangers, and made at her expense. Fortunately there is reason to believe that this one will be found to have resulted in benefit to New Zealand and its people, while it may prove of service to older and larger countries. It is probable that the most widely known of New Zealand’s experiments is that which aimed at doing justice to employers and employees alike by the substitution for the Industrial strike of a Court of Arbitration, fairly constituted, on which both Workers and Employers were equally represented. This law has been branded by the supporters of the usual Strike policy with the name of “Compulsory Arbitration,” the object being to discredit it in the eyes of the workers, as an infringement of their liberty. The title is unfair and misleading. Unlike most laws, it never has been of universal application either to Workers or Employers, but only to those among them that chose to form themselves into industrial Unions, and to register those Unions as subject to the provisions of the Statute. The purpose of the Statute was an appeal to the common sense of the people, by offering them an alternative method of settling disputes and securing that fair-play for both parties which experience had shown could seldom be secured by the strike. The law, which was first introduced in 1894, had gradually