A Critical Examination of Socialism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 284 pages of information about A Critical Examination of Socialism.
He declares that inventors never wish to profit personally by their inventions.  Let the great capitalists, he says, who merely monopolise inventions, imitate the self-abnegation of the inventors, and Christian socialism will become a fact.
The confusion which reigns in the minds of sentimentalists like the author here quoted.  Their inability to see complex facts and principles, in their connected integrity, as they are.  Such persons herein similar to devisers of perpetual motions and systems for defeating the laws of chance at a roulette-table.
All logical socialistic conclusions drawn from premises in which some vital truth or principle is omitted.  Omission in the premises of the earlier socialists.  Corresponding omission in the premises of the socialists of to-day.
Origin of the confusion of thought characteristic of Christian as of all other socialists.  Temperamental inability to understand the complexities of economic life.  This inability further evidenced by the fact that, with few exceptions, socialists themselves are absolutely incompetent as producers.  Certain popular contentions with regard to modern economic life, urged by socialists, but not peculiar to socialism, still remain to be considered in the following chapters.


        Thejust reward of labour as estimated by its actual products

Modern socialists admit that of the wealth produced to-day labour does not produce the whole, but that some part is produced by directive ability.  But they contend that labour produces more than it gets.  We can only ascertain if such an assertion is correct by discovering how to estimate with some precision the amount produced by labour and ability respectively.

        But since for the production of the total product labour and
        ability are both alike necessary, how can we say that any
        special proportion of it is produced by one or the other?

        J.S.  Mill’s answer to this question.

        The profound error of Mill’s argument.

        Practically so much of any effect is due to any one of its
        causes as would be absent from this effect were the cause in
        question taken away.  Illustrations.

        Labour itself produces as much as it would produce were there no
        ability to direct it.

        The argument which might be drawn from the case of a community
        in which there was no labour.

        Such an argument illusory; for a community in which there was no
        labour would be impossible; but the paralysis of ability, or its
        practical non-existence possible.

        Practical reasoning of all kinds always confines itself to the
        contemplation of possibilities.  Illustrations.

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