Socialism and Modern Science (Darwin, Spencer, Marx) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 177 pages of information about Socialism and Modern Science (Darwin, Spencer, Marx).


[55] ARDIGO, La formazione naturale, Vol.  II. of his Opere filosofiche, Padua, 1897.

[56] My master, Pietro Ellero, has given in La Tirrandie borghese, an eloquent description of this social and political pathology as it appears in Italy.

[57] RICHTER, Ou mene le socialisme, Paris, 1892.

[58] M. Loria, in Les Bases economiques de la constitution sociale, Paris, 1894, part 1st, demonstrates, moreover, that in a society based on collective ownership selfishness, rightly understood will still remain the principal motive of human actions, but that it will then be the means of realizing a social harmony of which it is the worst enemy under the regime of individualism.

Here is an example of this, on a small scale, but instructive.  The means of transportation have, in large cities, followed the ordinary process of progressive socialization.  At first, everybody went on foot, excepting only a few rich persons who were able to have horses and carriages; later, carriages were made available for the public at a fixed rate of hire (the fiacres which have been used in Paris a little more than a century, and which took their name from Saint Fiacre because the first cab stood beneath his image); then, the dearness of fiacre-hire led to a further socialization by means of omnibuses and tramways.  Another step forward and the socialization will be complete.  Let the cab service, omnibus service, street railways, bicyclettes, etc., become a municipal service or function and every one will be able to make use of it gratis just as he freely enjoys the railways when they become a national public service.

But, then—­this is the individualist objection—­everybody will wish to ride in cabs or on trolleys, and the service having to attempt to satisfy all, will be perfectly satisfactory to no one.

This is not correct.  If the transformation had to be made suddenly, this might be a temporary consequence.  But even now many ride gratis (on passes, etc.) on both railways and tramways.

And so it seems to us that every one will wish to ride on the street cars because the fact that it is now impossible for many to enjoy this mode of locomotion gives rise to the desire for the forbidden fruit.  But when the enjoyment of it shall be free (and there could be restrictions based on the necessity for such transportation) another egoistic motive will come into play—­the physiological need of walking, especially for well-fed people who have been engaged in sedentary labor.

And so you see how individual selfishness, in this example of collective ownership on a small scale, would act in harmony with the social requirements.

[59] Thus it is easy to understand how unfounded is the reasoning among the opponents of socialism that the failure of communist or socialist colonies is an objective demonstration of “the instability of a socialist arrangement” (of society).

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