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Freeland by Theodor Hertzka

Part 9 out of 9

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Then are those who have been exploiters to retain undiminished the fruit of
their 'economic robbery'? Yes; but two things must be noted. In all ages it
has been held to be the right of the community to dispossess owners of
certain kinds of property without committing any offence against the
sacredness of property, provided full compensation was offered to the
owners. In the abolition of slavery, of serfdom, of certain burdens on the
land, and the like, no one has ever found anything that was reprehensible,
provided the owner of the slaves or of the land was compensated to the full
value of the property taken from him. In the second place, it is to be
noted that the community is bound to guarantee to the owners their
property, but not the profit which has hitherto been obtained from it.

If you apply these two principles to the acquired rights which the Free
Society found existing, you will find that, while the land is taken from
the landowners, the value of it must be paid; the Society has nothing to do
with movable capital, and the same holds good of the profit which the
employers have hitherto drawn from their relation to the workers. The
Society can also claim the right of obtaining possession of the movable
productive property, so far as it may appear to be to the public interest
to do this. Such an interest does not here come in question, for, apart
from the fact that movable means of production can be created in any
quantity that is required, there is no reason to fear that the owners will
hold back theirs when they find what is both the only and the absolutely
best employment for it in dealing with the associated workers. But, in the
future, capitalists will not receive interest for their property, or, if
they do, it will be only temporarily. There is as little occasion as there
is right to forbid the receiving of interest; but, as every borrower will
be able to get capital without interest, the paying of interest will cease
automatically. Just as little can or need the Free Society forbid the
former employers to hire workers to labour for them for stipulated wages;
such workers will no longer be found.

ALI BEN SAFI (_Right_): Where is the Free Commonwealth to obtain the means
to purchase all the land, and at the same time to furnish the workers with
business capital? It is possible that some rich countries may be able to
accomplish this by straining all their resources; but how could we in
Persia find the 125,000,000, at which the fixed property was estimated at
the last assessment, to say nothing of the hitherto totally lacking
business capital?

FRANOIS RENAUD (_Right_): On the contrary, I fear that the--from a legal
standpoint certainly unassailable--justice to the former owners will
occasion the greatest difficulties to just the richest countries. Their
greater means involve the heavier claims upon those means; for in
proportion as those countries are really richer will the value of the land
be higher, and the workers, because more skilful in carrying on highly
developed capitalistic methods of industry, will at once require larger
amounts of business capital, which the community will have to furnish. So
far, then, the greater strength and the heavier burden balance each other.
But to this it must be added that in the more advanced countries the amount
of mobile capital requiring compensation is far greater than that of poor
countries. As interest is to cease, all these numberless invested milliards
then bearing interest will be withdrawn: whence will the means be suddenly
obtained promptly to meet all these calls?

CLARK (_Freeland_): The last two speakers entertain unnecessary fears. The
sums required to get possession of the land, to pay back the circulating
capital, and to furnish the workers with more abundant means for carrying
on business, are certainly enormous--are at any rate larger than the
material advance of any country whatever can even approximately supply
quickly enough to place the country in a position to bear such burdens in
their full extent. Certainly, if the transition to economic justice were
followed immediately by its full results--if, for example, such transition
lifted any country at once to that degree of wealth which we enjoy in
Freeland--comparatively little difficulty would be experienced in
responding to the heavy demands that would be made; but this condition
would not be reached for years; the tasks you must undertake would be more
than you could perform, if you had at once to discharge the whole of your
responsibilities. But you have no reason whatever to fear this. Simply
because interest will cease will neither landowner nor capitalist have any
motive for insisting upon immediate payment, but will be quite content to
accept payment in such instalments as shall suit the convenience of the
community or the private debtors--should there be any such--and which could
be easily accommodated to the interests of those who were entitled to
receive the payment. When it is considered that the latter would be
compelled either to let their capital lie idle or to consume it, it will
appear evident that, if only the slightest advantage were offered them,
they would prefer to receive their property in instalments, so far as they
did not actually want to use it themselves.

You have quite as little reason to fear the demand which will be made for
supplying the workers with the means of carrying on business. If your
exploited masses already possessed the ability to make use of all those
highly developed capitalistic implements of industry which we employ in
Freeland, then certainly the Old World would have to renounce any attempt
even approximately to meet at once the enormous demand for capital which
would be made upon it. In such a case the milliard and a-half of souls who
would pass over to the new order of things would require two billions of
pounds; but the two milliards of men will not require these two billions,
because they would not know what to do with the enormous produce of the
labour called forth by such means of production. To dispose of so much
produce it would be necessary for every family in the five divisions of the
globe to possess the art of consuming a minimum of from 600 to 700 per
year, as our Freeland families do; and, believe us, dear friends, your
masses, just escaped from the servitude of many thousands of years, at
present entirely lack this art. You will not produce more than can be
consumed. You have not been able to do so yet, and will certainly not be
able to do it when the consumption of the workers is able to supply the
only reason for production. The extent and the intensity of production have
been and remain the determinating factors in the extent and kind of the
means of production. You will at any time be able to create what you are
able to make use of; and if here and there the demand grow somewhat more
rapidly than can be conveniently met out of the surplus acquired by the
continually increasing productiveness of labour, you must for a time be
content to suffer inconvenience--that is, you must temporarily forego the
gratification of some of your newly acquired wants in order the more
rapidly to develop your labour in the future.

For the rest, I can only repeat that the Freeland commonwealth will always
be prepared, in its own interests, to place its means at your disposal, so
far as they will go. We calculate that your wealth--that is, looking at the
subject from the standpoint of _our_ material interests, your ability to
purchase those commodities which we have special natural facilities for
producing, and your power of producing those commodities which we can take
in exchange for ours with the greatest advantage to you--will, in the
course of the next two or three years, at least double, and probably treble
and quadruple. From this we promise ourselves a yearly increase of about a
milliard pounds sterling in our Freeland income. We have determined to
apply this increase for a time, not to the extension of our consumption and
of our own investments, but to place it at your disposal, as we have
already done the unemployed surplus of our insurance reserve fund, and to
continue to do this as long as it may seem necessary. [Tremendous

The PRESIDENT: I believe I am expressing the wish of the assembly when I
ask William Stuart, the special representative of the American Congress,
who arrived at Eden Vale this morning, to state to us the proposals laid
before the congress of his country by the committee entrusted with the
drawing up of the scheme for adopting the _rgime_ of economic equality of

WILLIAM STUART: In the name of the representatives of the American people,
I ask the kind attention of this distinguished assembly, and particularly
of the representatives of Freeland who are present, to a series of
legislative enactments which it is proposed to make for the purpose of
carrying us--with the energy by which we are characterised, and, at the
same time, without injury to existing interests--out of the economic
conditions that have hitherto existed into those of economic equality of
rights. Our government found themselves obliged to take this step because
our nation is the first outside of Freeland--at least, so far as we are
aware--which has passed the stage of discussion, and is about immediately
to take action and carry out the work. The institutions of economic justice
are no longer novelties; we can follow a well-proved precedent, the example
of Freeland, and we intend to follow that example, with a few unessential
modifications rendered necessary by the special characteristics of the
American country and people. On the other hand, we lack experience; and as,
notwithstanding our well-known 'go-ahead' habits, we would rather have
advice before than after undertaking so important a task, I am sent to ask
your opinion and report it to the American Congress before the
recommendations of the committee have become law.

It is proposed to declare all the land in the United States to be
ownerless, but to pay all the present owners the full assessed value. In
order to meet the cases of those who may think they have not received a
sufficient compensation, special commissions of duly qualified persons will
be appointed for the hearing of all appeals, and the public opinion of the
States is prepared to support these commissions in treating all claims with
the utmost consideration. It is proposed to deal with buildings in the same
way, with the proviso that dwelling-houses occupied by the owners may be
excepted at the owners' wish. The purchase-money shall be paid forthwith or
by instalments, according to the wish of the seller, with the proviso that
for every year over which the payment of the instalment shall be extended a
premium of one fifth per cent. shall be given, to be paid to the seller in
the form of an additional instalment after the whole of the original
purchase-money has been paid. The payment is not to extend over more than
fifty years. Suppose a property be valued at ten thousand dollars; then the
owner, if he wishes to have the whole sum at once, receives his ten
thousand, with which he can do what he pleases; but if he prefers, for
example, to receive it in ten yearly instalments of 1,000 dollars, he has a
right to ten premiums of 20 dollars each, which will be paid to him in a
lump sum of 200 dollars as an eleventh instalment. If he wishes the payment
to be in fifty instalments of 200 dollars, then his premiums will amount to
fifty times twenty dollars--that is, to 1,000 dollars--which will be paid
in five further instalments of 200 dollars. The national debt is to be paid
off in the same way.

The existing debit and credit relations of private individuals remain
intact, except that the debtor shall have the right of immediate repayment
of the borrowed capital, whatever may have been the terms originally agreed
upon. As the commonwealth will be prepared to furnish capital for any kind
of production whatever, the private debtor will be in a position to
exercise the right above-mentioned; but, according to the proposal of the
committee, the commonwealth shall, for the present, demand of its debtors
the same premium which it guarantees to its creditors. The object of this
regulation is obvious: it is to prevent the private creditors--in case no
advantage accrues to them--from withdrawing their capital from business and
locking it up. If those who needed capital had their needs at first
supplied without cost, simply upon undertaking gradually to repay the
borrowed capital, they would not be disposed to make any compensatory
arrangement with their former creditors, whilst, should the committee's
proposal be adopted, they would be willing to pay to those creditors the
same premiums as they would have to pay to the commonwealth.

The opinions of the committee were at first divided as to the amount of the
premiums to be guaranteed and demanded. A minority was in favour of fixing
a maximum of one in a thousand for each year of delayed payment: they
thought that would be sufficient to induce most of the capitalists to place
in the hands of the commonwealth or of private producers the property which
otherwise they must at once consume or allow to lie idle. Eventually,
however, the minority came over to the view of the majority, who preferred
to fix the maximum higher than was necessary, rather than by untimely
parsimony expose the commonwealth to the danger of seeing the capital
withdrawn which could be so profitably used in the equipment of production.
The voting was influenced by the consideration that we, as the first,
outside of Freeland, among whom capital would receive no interest, must be
prepared, if only temporarily, to stand against the disturbing influences
of foreign capital. That such disturbing influences have not been felt in
Freeland, though here no premium of any kind has ever been in force, whilst
interest has been paid everywhere else in the world, was an example not
applicable to our case, as we have not to decide--as you in Freeland
have--what to do with capital which we do _not_ need, and which, after all
conceivable demands on capital have been met, still remains disposable;
but, on the other hand, we have to attract and to retain capital of which
we have urgent need. But that the proposed one-fifth per cent. will suffice
for this purpose we are able with certainty to infer from the double
circumstance that, in the first place, the anticipated adoption of this
proposal, which naturally became known at once to our world of capitalists,
has produced a decided tendency homewards of our capital invested abroad.
It is evident, therefore, that capitalists scarcely expect to get elsewhere
more for large amounts of capital than we intend to offer. In the second
place, the capitalistic transactions which have recently been concluded or
are in contemplation show that our home capital is already changing hands
at a rate of interest corresponding to our proposed premium. Anyone in the
United States who to-day seeks for a loan gets readily what he wants at
one-fifth per cent., particularly if he wishes to borrow for a long period.
Such seekers of capital among us at present are, of course, in most cases
companies already formed or in process of formation.

Thanks to the fact that the election for the Constituent Congress has been
the means of universally diffusing the intelligence that it was intended to
act upon the principle of respecting most scrupulously all acquired rights,
productive activity during the period of transition has suffered no
disturbance, but has rather received a fresh impetus. The companies in
process of formation compel the existing undertakers to make a considerable
rise in wages in order to retain the labour requisite for the provisional
carrying on of their concerns; and as this rise in wages has suddenly
increased the demand for all kinds of production it has become still more
the interest of the undertakers to guard against any interruption in their
production. These two tendencies mutually strengthen each other to such a
degree that at the present time the minimum wages exceed three dollars a
day, and a feverish spirit of enterprise has taken possession of the whole
business world. The machine industry, in particular, exhibits an activity
that makes all former notions upon the subject appear ridiculous. The dread
of over-production has become a myth, and since the undertakers can reckon
upon finding very soon in the associations willing purchasers of
well-organised concerns, they do not refrain from making the fullest
possible use of the last moments left of their private activity. Even the
landlords find their advantage in this, for the value of land has naturally
risen very materially in consequence of the rapidly grown demand for all
kinds of the produce of land. In short, everything justifies us in
anticipating that the transition to the new order of things with us will
take place not only easily and smoothly, but also in a way most gratifying
to _all_ classes of our people.

The PRESIDENT asked the assembly whether they would continue the debate on
the fourth point on the Agenda, by at once discussing the message from the
American Congress; or whether they would first receive the report which the
Freeland commissioner in Russia had sent by a messenger who had just
arrived in Eden Vale. As the congress decided to hear the report,

DEMETER NOVIKOF (messenger of the Freeland commissioner for Russia) said:
When we, the commissioners appointed by the Freeland central government at
the wish of the Russian people, arrived in Moscow, we found quiet--at least
externally--so far restored that the parties which had been attacking each
other with reckless fury had agreed to a provisional truce at the news of
our arrival. Not merely the cannons and rifles, but even the guillotine and
the gallows were at rest. Radoslajev, our plenipotentiary commissioner,
called the chiefs of the parties together, induced them to lay down their
weapons, to give up their prisoners, to dissolve the seven different
parliaments, each one of which had been assuming the authority of exclusive
representative of the Russian people; and then, after he had furnished
himself for the interim with a council of reliable men belonging to the
different parties, he made arrangements for the election of a constituent
assembly with all possible speed.

As production and trade were nearly at a standstill, the misery was
boundless. To be an employer was looked upon by several of the extreme
parties as a crime worthy of death; hence no one dared to give workers
anything to do. In most parts of the empire the ignorant masses, who had
been held down in slavish obedience, were altogether incapable of
organising themselves; and as the most extreme of the Nihilists had begun
to guillotine the organisers of the free associations as 'masters in
disguise,' it seemed almost as if mutual slaughter could henceforth be the
only occupation that would be pursued in Russia.

The proclamation, in which Radoslajev called upon the people to elect an
assembly, and in which he insisted upon the security of the person and of
property as _conditio sine qu non_ of our continued assistance, calmed the
minds of the people, but it did not suffice to produce a speedy growth of
productive activity. When, therefore, the constituent assembly met,
Radoslajev proposed a mixed system as transition stage into the _rgime_ of
economic justice. In this mixed system a kind of transitory Communism was
to be combined with the germs of the Free Society and with certain remnants
of the old industrial system.

In the first place, however, order had to be restored in the existing legal
relationships. During the reign of terror previous to our arrival, all
fixed possessions were declared to be the property of the nation, without
giving any compensation to the former owners. All existing debts were
simply cancelled; and the first business now was to make good as far as
practicable the injury done by these acts of violence. But at first the new
national assembly showed itself to be intractable upon these points. Hatred
of the old order was so universal and so strong that even those who had
been dispossessed did not venture to endorse our views. The private
property of the epoch of exploitation was considered to be merely robbery
and theft, the claims for compensation were so obnoxious to many that a
deputation of former landowners and manufacturers, headed by two who had
borne the title of grand-duke, conjured Radoslajev to desist from his
purpose, lest the scarcely sleeping nihilistic fanaticism should be awaked
anew. The latter, nevertheless, persisted in his demands, after he had
consulted us Freelanders who had been appointed to assist him. He announced
to the national assembly that we were far from wishing to force our views
upon the Russian nation, but that, on the other hand, Russia could not
require us to take part in a work based--in our eyes--upon robbery; and
this threat, backed by our withdrawal, finally had its effect. The national
assembly made another attempt to evade the task of passing a measure which
it disliked: it offered Radoslajev the dictatorship during the period of
transition. After he had refused this offer, the assembly gave in and
reluctantly proceeded with the consideration of the compensation law.
Radoslajev drafted a bill according to which the former owners were to be
paid the full value in instalments; and the old relations between the
debtors and creditors were to be restored, and the debts discharged in full
also in instalments. However, Radoslajev could not get this bill passed
unaltered. The national assembly unanimously voted a clause to the effect
that no one claim for compensation should exceed 100,000 rubles; if debts
were owing to the owner, the amount was to be added, yet no claim for
compensation for debts owing to any one creditor was to exceed 100,000
rubles. For property that had been devastated or destroyed a similar
maximum of compensation was voted.

In the meantime we had made all the necessary arrangements for organising
production upon the new principles. Private undertakers did not venture to
come forward, though the field was left open to them; on the other hand,
free associations of workers, after the pattern of those in Freeland, were
soon organised, particularly in the western governments of Russia. The
great mass of the working population, however, proved to be as yet
incapable of organising themselves, and the government was therefore
compelled to come to their assistance. Twenty responsible committees were
appointed for twenty different branches of production, and these
committees, with the help of such local intelligence as they found at their
disposal, took the work of production in hand. The liberty of the people
was so far respected that no one was compelled to engage in any particular
kind of work; but those who took part in the work organised by the
authorities had to conform to all the directions of the latter. At present
there are 83,000 such undertakings at work, with twelve and a-half millions
of workers. The division of the profits in these associations is made
according to a system derived in part from the principles of free
association and in part from those of Communism. One half of the net
profits is equally divided among the whole twelve and a-half millions of
workers; the other half is divided by each undertaking among its own
workers. In this way, we hope on the one hand to secure every undertaking
from the worst consequences of any accidental miscarriage in its
production, and on the other to arouse the interest of the workers in the
success of each individual undertaking. The managers of these productive
corporations are paid according to the same mixed system.

The time of labour is fixed at thirty-six hours per week. Every worker is
forced to undergo two hours' instruction daily, which instruction is at
present given by 65,000 itinerant teachers, the number of whom is being
continually increased. This obligation to learn ceases when certain
examinations are passed. Down to the present time, 120,000 people's
libraries have been established, to furnish which with the most needful
books a number of large printing works have been set up in Russia, and the
aid of the more important foreign printing establishments has also been
called in; the Freeland printing works alone have already supplied
twenty-eight million volumes. And as the teaching of children is being
carried on with all conceivable energy--780 teachers' seminaries either
have been or are about to be established; large numbers of teachers, &c.,
have been brought in from other Slav countries, particularly Bohemia--we
hope to see the general level of popular culture so much raised in the
course of a few years that the communistic element may be got rid of.

In the meantime, the control provisionally exercised over the masses who
willingly submit to it will be utilised in the elevation and ennoblement of
their habits and needs. Spirituous liquors, notably brandy, are given out
in only limited quantities; on the other hand, care is taken that breweries
are erected everywhere. The workers receive a part of their earnings in the
form of good clothing; the wretched mud huts and dens in which the workmen
live are being gradually superseded by neat family dwellings with small
gardens. At least once a month the authorities appoint a public festival,
when it is sought to raise the aesthetic taste of the participators by
means of simple but good music, dramatic performances and popular
addresses, and to cultivate their material taste by viands fit for rational
and civilised beings. Special care is devoted to the education of the
women. Nearly 80,000 itinerant women-teachers are now moving about the
country, teaching the women--who are freed from all coarse kinds of
labour--the elements of science as well as a more civilised style of
household economy. These teachers also seek to increase the self-respect
and elevate the tastes of the women, to enlighten them as to their new
rights and duties, and particularly to remove the hitherto prevalent
domestic brutality. As these apostles of a higher womanhood--as well as all
the teachers--are supported by the full authority of the government, and
devote themselves to their tasks with self-denying assiduity, very
considerable results of their work are already visible. The wives of the
working classes, who have hitherto been dirty, ill-treated, mulish beasts
of burden, begin to show a sense of their dignity as human beings and as
women. They no longer submit to be flogged by their husbands; they keep the
latter, themselves, and their children clean and tidy; and emulate one
another in acquiring useful knowledge. Thanks to the maintenance allowance
for women, which was at once introduced, an incredible progress--nay, a
veritable revolution--has taken place in the morals of the people. Whilst
formerly, particularly among the urban proletariate, sexual licence and
public prostitution were so generally prevalent that--as our Russian
friends assure us--anyone might accost the first poorly clad girl he met in
the streets without anticipating refusal, now sexual false steps are seldom
heard of. Moreover, it is particularly interesting to observe the
difference which public opinion makes between such offenders in the past
and those of the present. Whilst the mantle of oblivion is thrown over the
former, public opinion has no indulgence for the latter. 'The woman who
sold herself in former times was an unfortunate; she who does it now is an
abandoned woman,' say the people. The woman who in former times was a
prostitute but is now blameless carries her head high, and looks down with
haughty contempt upon the girl or the wife who, 'now that we women are no
longer compelled to sell ourselves for bread,' commits the least offence.

(_End of Fifth Day's Debate_)



The business begins with the continuation of the debate upon point 4 of the

IBRAHIM EL MELEK (_Right_): The very instructive reports from America and
Russia, heard yesterday, afford strong proof that the transition to the
system of economic justice is accomplished not merely the more easily, but
also the more pleasantly for the wealthy classes, the more cultured and
advanced the working classes are. In view of this, it will cause no wonder
that we in Egypt do not expect to effect the change of system without
painful convulsions. The nearness of Freeland, with the consequently speedy
advent of its commissioners, who were received by the violently excited
fellaheen with almost divine honours, has preserved us from scenes of cruel
violence such as afflicted Russia for weeks. No murders and very little
destruction of property have taken place; but the Egyptian national
assembly, called into being by the Freeland Commissioners, shows itself far
less inclined than its Russian contemporary to respect the compensation
claims of the former owners. In this I see the ruling of fate, against
which nothing can be done, and to which we must therefore submit with
resignation. But I would exculpate from blame those who have had to suffer
so severely. Though no one has expressly said it, yet I have an impression
that the majority of the assembly are convinced that those who have
composed the ruling classes are now everywhere suffering the lot which they
have prepared for themselves. As to this, I would ask whether the
landlords, capitalists, and employers of America, Australia, and Western
Europe were less reckless in taking advantage of their position than those
of Russia or Egypt? That they could not so easily do what they pleased with
their working classes as the latter could is due to the greater energy of
the American national character and to the greater power of resistance
possessed by the masses, and not to the kindly disposition of the masters.
Hence I cannot think it just that the Russian boyar or the Egyptian bey
should lose his property, whilst the American speculator, the French
capitalist, or the English lord should even derive profit from the

LIONEL SPENCER (_Centre_): The previous speaker may be correct in supposing
that the wealthy classes of England, like those of America, will come out
of the impending revolution without direct loss. There cannot be the
slightest doubt that in England, as well as in France and in several other
countries in which the government has had a democratic character, nothing
will be taken from the wealthy classes for which they will not be fully
compensated. But I am not able to see in this the play of blind fate.
Observe that the sacrifices involved in the social revolution everywhere
stand in an inverse ratio to what has hitherto been the rate of wages,
which is the chief factor in determining the average level of popular
culture. Where the masses have languished in brutish misery, no one can be
surprised that, when they broke their chains, they should hurl themselves
upon their oppressors with brutish fury. Again, the rate of wages is
everywhere dependent upon the measure of political and social freedom which
the wealthy classes grant to the masses. The Russian boyar or the Egyptian
bey may be personally as kindly disposed as the American speculator or the
English landlord; the essential difference lies in the fact that in America
and England the fate of the masses was less dependent upon the personal
behaviour of the wealthy classes than in Russia and Egypt. In the former
countries, the wealthy classes--even if perhaps less kindly in their
personal intercourse--were politically more discreet, more temperate than
in the latter countries, and it is the fruit of this political discretion
that they are now reaping. It may be that they knew themselves to be simply
compelled to exercise this discretion: they exercised it, and what they
did, and not their intentions, decided the result. Those that were the
ruling classes in the backward countries are now atoning for the excessive
exercise of their rights of mastership; they are now paying the difference
between the wages they formerly gave and the--meagre enough--general
average of wages under the exploiting system.

TEI FU (_Right_): The previous speaker overlooks the fact that the rate of
wages depends, rot upon the will of the employer, but upon supply and
demand. That the receiver of a hunger-wage has been degraded to a beast is
unfortunately too true, and the massacres with which the masses of my
fatherland, driven to desperation, everywhere introduced the work of
emancipation are, like the events in Russia, eloquent proofs of this fact.
But how could any political discretion on the part of the ruling classes
have prevented this? The labour market in China was over-crowded, the
supply of hands was too great for any power on earth to raise the wages.

ALEXANDER MING-LI (_Freeland_): My brother, Tei Fu, thinks that wages
depend upon supply and demand. This is not an axiom that was thought out in
our common fatherland, but one borrowed from the political economy of the
West, but which, in a certain sense, is none the less correct on that
account. It holds good of every commodity, consequently of human labour so
long as that has to be offered for sale. But the price depends also upon
two other things--namely, on the cost of production and the utility of the
commodity: in fact, it is these two last-named factors that in the long run
regulate the price, whilst the fluctuations of supply and demand can
produce merely fluctuations within the limits fixed by the cost of
production and the utility. In the long run as much must be paid for
everything as its production costs; and in the long run no more can be
obtained for a thing than its use is worth. All this has long been known,
only unfortunately it has never been fully applied to the question of
wages. What does the production of labour cost? Plainly, just so much as
the means of life cost which will keep up the worker's strength. And what
is the utility of human labour? Just as plainly, the value of what is
produced by that human labour. What does this mean when applied to the
labour market? Nothing else, it seems to me, than that the rate of
wages--apart from the fluctuations due to supply and demand--is in the long
run determined by the habits of the worker on the one hand, and by the
productiveness of his labour on the other. The first affects the demands of
the workers, the second the terms granted by the employers.

But now, I beg my honoured fellow-countryman particularly to note what I am
about to say. The habits of the masses are not unchangeable. Every human
being naturally endeavours to live as comfortably as possible; and though
it must be admitted that custom and habit will frequently for a time act
restrictively upon this natural tendency to expansion in human wants, yet I
can assert with a good conscience that our unhappy brethren in the Flowery
Land did not go hungry and half-clad because of an invincible dislike to
sufficient food and clothing, but that they would have been very glad to
accustom themselves to more comfortable habits if only the paternal wisdom
of all the Chinese governments had not always prevented it by most severely
punishing all the attempts of the workers to agitate and to unite for the
purpose of giving effect to their demands. Workers who united for such
purposes were treated as rebels; and the wealthy classes of China--this is
their folly and their fault--have always given their approval to this
criminal folly of the Chinese government.

I call this both folly and crime, because it not merely grossly offended
against justice and humanity, but was also extremely detrimental to the
interests of those who thus acted, and of those who approved of the action.
As to the government, one would have thought that the insane and suicidal
character of its action would long since have been recognised. A blind man
could have seen that the government damaged its financial as well as its
military strength in proportion as its measures against the lower classes
were effective. The consumption by the masses has been in China, as in all
other countries, the principal source of the national income, and the
physical health of the people the basis of the military strength of the
country. But whence could China derive duties and excise if the people were
not able to consume anything; and how could its soldiery, recruited from
the proletariate, exhibit courage and strength in the face of the enemy?
This oppression of the masses was equally injurious to the interests of the
wealthy classes. While the Chinese people consumed little they were not
able to engage in the more highly productive forms of labour--that is,
their labour had a wretchedly small utility because of the wretchedly small
cost at which it was produced.

Thus the Chinese employer could pay but little for labour, because the
worker was prevented from demanding much in such a way as would influence
not merely the individual employer, but the labour market in general. The
individual undertaker could have yielded to the demands of his workers to
only a limited degree, since he as individual would have lost from his
profits what he added to wages. But if wages had risen throughout the whole
of China, this would have increased the demand to such a degree that
Chinese labour would have become more productive--that is, it would have
been furnished with better means of production. The employers would have
covered the rise in wages by the increased produce, not out of their
profits; in fact, their profits would have grown--their wealth, represented
by the capitalistic means of labour in their possession, would have
increased. Of course this does not exclude the possibility that some
branches of production might have suffered under this general change, for
the increase of consumption resulting from better wages does not affect
equally all articles in demand. It may be that while the average
consumption has increased tenfold, the demand for a single commodity
remains almost stationary--in fact, diminishes; but in this case it is
certain that the demand for certain other commodities will increase more
than ten-fold. The losses of individual employers are balanced by the
proportionately larger profits of other employers; and it may be taken as a
general rule that the wealth of the wealthy classes increases in exact
proportion to the increase of wages which they are obliged to pay. It
cannot be otherwise, for this wealth of the wealthy classes consists mainly
of nothing else than the means of production which are used in the
preparation of the commodities required by the whole nation.

Perhaps my honoured fellow countryman thinks that in the matter of rise of
wages we move in a circle, inasmuch as on the one hand the productiveness
of labour--that is, the utility of the power expended in labour--certainly
cannot increase so long as the nation's consumption--that is, the amount
which the labour power itself costs--does not increase, while on the other
hand the latter increase is impossible until the former has taken place. If
so, I would tell him that this is just the fatal superstition which the
wealthy classes and the rulers of so many countries have now so cruelly to
suffer for. Since, in the exploiting world, only a part, and as a rule a
very small part, of the produce of labour went to wages, the
employers--with very rare exceptions--were well able to grant a rise in
wages even before the increase of produce had actually been obtained, and
had resulted in a _universal_ rise in wages. I would tell him that,
especially in China, on the average even three or four times the wages
would not have absorbed the whole profits--that is, of course, the old
profits uninfluenced by the increase of produce. The employers _could_ pay
more, but they _would not_. From the standpoint of the individual this was
quite intelligible; everyone seeks merely his own advantage, and this
demands that one retains for one's self as large a part of any utility as
possible, and hands over as little as possible to others. In this respect
the American speculators, the French capitalists, and the English
landlords, were not a grain better than our Chinese mandarins. But as a
body the former acted differently from the latter. Notwithstanding the fact
that the absurdity that wages _cannot_ be raised was invented in the West
and proclaimed from all the professorial chairs, the Western nations have
for several generations been compelled by the more correct instinct of the
people to act as if the contrary principles had been established. In theory
they persisted in the teaching that wages could not be increased; in
practice, however, they yielded more and more to the demands of the working
masses, with whose undeniable successes the theory had to be accommodated
as well as possible. You, my Chinese brethren, on the contrary, have in
your policy adhered strictly to the teaching of this theory: you have first
driven your toiling masses to desperation by making them feel that the
State is their enemy; and you have then immediately taken advantage of
every excess of which the despairing people have been guilty to impose
'order' in your sense of the word. Your hand was always lifted against the
weaker: do not wonder that when they had become the stronger they avenged
themselves by making you feel some small part of the sufferings they had

This does not prevent us in Freeland--as our actions show--from condemning
the violence that has been offered to those who formerly were oppressors,
and from trying to make amends for it as well as we can. Hence we hold that
the people of Russia, Egypt, and China--in short, everybody--would do well
to follow the example given by the United States of America. We think thus
because this wise generosity is shown to be advantageous not merely for the
wealthy classes, but also for the workers. Unfortunately it is not in our
power at once to instil into the Russian muzhik, the Egyptian fellah, or
the Chinese cooley such views as are natural to the workers of the advanced
West. History is the final tribunal which will decree to everyone what he
has deserved.

As no one else was down to speak on this point of the Agenda, the President
closed the debate upon it, and opened that upon the fifth point:

_Are economic justice and freedom the ultimate outcome of human evolution;
and what will probably be the condition of mankind under such a rgime?_

ENGELBERT WAGNER (_Right_): We are contemplating the inauguration of a new
era of human development; want and crime will disappear from among men, and
reason and philanthropy take possession of the throne which prejudice and
brute force have hitherto occupied. But the apparent perfection of this
condition appears to me to involve an essential contradiction to the first
principle of the doctrine of human blessedness--namely, that man in order
to be content needs discontent. In order to find a zest in enjoyment, this
child of the dust must first suffer hunger; his possessions satiate him
unless they are seasoned with longing and hope; his striving is paralysed
unless he is inspired by unattained ideals. But what new ideal can
henceforth hover before the mind of man--what can excite any further
longing in him when abundance and leisure have been acquired for all? Is it
not to be feared that, like Tannhaser in the Venusberg, our descendants
will pine for, and finally bring upon themselves, fresh bitternesses merely
in order to escape the unchangeable monotony of the sweets of their
existence? We are not made to bear unbroken good fortune; and an order of
things that would procure such for us could therefore not last long. That
the world if once emancipated from the fetters of servitude will again cast
itself into them, that the old exploiting system shall ever return, is
certainly not to be feared, according to what we have just heard; even a
relapse into the material misery of the past through over-population is out
of the question. But the more irrefragably the evidence of the
impossibility of the return of any former kind of human unhappiness presses
upon us, so much the more urgently is an answer demanded to the question:
What will there be in the character of man's future destiny, what new
ideals will arise, to prevent him from being swamped by a surfeit of

The PRESIDENT (Dr. Strahl): I take upon myself to answer this question from
the chair, because I hope that what I am about to say will close the
discussion upon the point of the Agenda now before us, and consequently the
congress itself. From the nature of the subject we cannot expect any
practical result to follow from the debate upon this last question, which
was added to the Agenda merely because our foreign friends wished to learn,
by way of conclusion to the previous discussions, what were our ideas as to
the future. No mortal soul can have any definite ideas as to the future,
for we can know only the past and the present. I venture to make only one
positive assertion--namely, that the order of things which we propose to
inaugurate will be in harmony with the general laws of evolution, as every
foregoing human order has been; that it cannot be permanent and eternal;
and that consequently it will by no means put an end to human striving and
change and improvement. This holds good even with respect to the material
conditions of mankind. In the future, as in the past, labour will be the
price of enjoyment, and there is no reason to fear that in future the wish
will lag behind the effort necessary to realise it. Thus mankind will not
lack even the material stimulus to progress and to further striving. But
man possesses intellectual as well as material needs, and the less
imperative the latter become, so much the more widely and powerfully do the
former make themselves felt. Intellectual hunger is a far more influential
stimulus to effort than material hunger; and at present at least we are
forced to believe that the former will never be appeased.

The fear that our race will sink into stagnation when the aims which have
hitherto almost exclusively dominated its circle of ideas have been
attained, is like the fancy of the child that the youth will give himself
up to idleness as soon as he escapes the dread of the rod. It would be
useless to attempt to make the child understand those other, and to him
unknown, motives for activity by which the youth is influenced; and so we,
standing now on the threshold of the youthful age of mankind and still half
enslaved by the ideas of the childhood of our race, cannot know what new
ideas mankind will conceive after the present ones have been realised. We
can only say that they will be different, and presumably loftier ones. The
new conditions of existence in which man will find himself in consequence
of the introduction of economic freedom, will bring to maturity new
properties, notions, and ideas, which no sagacity, no gift of mental
construction possessed by anyone now living, is able to prefigure with
accuracy. If, nevertheless, I venture to indicate some of the features of
the future, I ask you not to attach to them any greater importance than you
would to the fancies of a savage who, standing on the threshold leading
from cannibalism to exploitation, might thousands of years ago have
undertaken to form a conception of those changes which the invention of
agriculture and of slavery would produce in the circumstances of his
far-off successors. In this respect I have only one advantage over our
remote ancestor: I know his history, while that of his ancestors was
unknown to him. I can, therefore, seek counsel of the past in order to
understand the future, while for him there was merely a present. I will now
make use of this advantage; the course of human evolution in the past shall
give us a few hints as to the significance of that phase of evolution into
which we are now passing.

The original condition of mankind was freedom and peace in the animal
sense--that is, freedom and peace among men, together with absolute
dependence upon nature. The first great stage in evolution reached its
climax when man turned against his fellow-men the weapon which had in the
beginning been employed only in conflict with the world of beasts:
dependence upon nature remained, but peace among men was broken.

The second stage in evolution is distinguished by the fact that man turns
against nature, who had hitherto been his sovereign mistress, the
intelligence which he had employed in mutually destructive warfare. He
discovers the art of compelling nature to yield what she will not offer
voluntarily--he produces. The chain by which the elements hold him bound is
in this way loosened; but the first use which man makes of this gleam of
deliverance from the bonds of merely animal servitude is to place fetters
upon himself. The relaxing of dependence upon external nature and the
alleviation of the conflict among men themselves--these are the acquisition
of the second period.

The third stage of development begins with the dominion over nature
gradually acquired by controlling the natural forces, and ends with the
deliverance of mankind from the bonds of servitude. Independence of
external control, freedom and peace among men, are its distinguishing

Here I would point out that the theatre of each of these phases of human
progress has been a different one. The original home of our race was
evidently the hottest part of the earth; under the tropics, in our
struggles with the world of animals, we gained our first victories, and
developed ourselves into warlike cannibals; but against the forces of
nature, which reign supreme in that hot zone, we in our childhood could do
nothing. Production, and afterwards slavery, could be carried on only
outside of the tropics. On the other hand, it is quite as certain that man
could not remove himself very far from the tropics so long as the
productivity of his labour was still comparatively small, and he could not
compel nature to furnish him with much more than she offered voluntarily.
It is no mere accident that all civilisation began and first flourished
exclusively in that zone which is equally removed from the equator and from
the polar circle. In that temperate zone were found united all the
conditions which protected the still infantile art of production from the
danger of being crushed on the one hand or stunted on the other by the
overwhelming power or the parsimony of nature. But this mean temperature,
so favourable to the second phase of evolution, proved itself altogether
unsuitable to the last step towards perfect control over nature. As human
labour met with a generous reward, there was nothing to stimulate man's
inventiveness to compel nature to serve man by her own, instead of by
human, forces. This could happen only when the civilisation, which had
acquired strength in the temperate zone, was transplanted into colder and
less friendly regions, where human labour alone could no longer win from
reluctant nature wealth enough to satisfy the claims of the ruling classes.
Then first did necessity teach men how to employ the elemental forces in
increasing the productiveness of human labour; the moderately cold zone is
the birthplace of man's dominion over nature.

But when the third phase of evolution has found its close in economic
justice, there will be, apparently, yet another change of scene. It might
be said, if we cared to look for analogies, that this change of scene will
be of a double character, corresponding to the double character of the
change in institutions. The perfected control over nature will be seen in
the fact that the whole earth, subjugated to man, has become man's own
property; on the other hand, peace and freedom--which in themselves
represent nothing new to mankind, but are as it were merely the return of
the primitive relation of man to man--will find their analogies in the
return to the primitive home of our race, the tropical world. That vigorous
nature, which had formerly to be left lest civilisation should be killed in
the very germ, can no longer be a hindrance, can only be a help to
civilisation now that man, awaked to freedom, has attained to a full
control over those forces which can be made serviceable to him. It will
probably need several centuries before the civilised nations, whose
northern wanderings and experiences have made them strangers in their
birthplace, have afresh thoroughly acclimatised themselves here. In the
meantime, the charming highlands which nature has placed--one might almost
believe in anticipation of our attempt--directly under the equator, offer
to the wanderers the desired dwelling-places, and, at any rate, the
agriculture of the now commencing epoch of civilisation will have its
headquarters here. Slowly but surely will man, who henceforth may freely
choose his dwelling-place wherever productiveness and the charms of nature
attract him, press towards the south, where merely to breathe and to behold
is a delight beyond anything of the kind which the north has to offer. The
notion that the torrid zone engenders stagnation of mind and body is a
foolish fancy. There have been and there are strong and weak, vigorous and
vigourless peoples in the north as well as in the south; and that
civilisation has celebrated its highest triumphs under ice and snow is not
due to anything in chilly temperatures essentially and permanently
conducive to progress, but simply to the temporary requirements of the
transition from the second to the third epoch of civilisation. In the
future the centres of civilisation will have to be sought in proximity to
the equator; while those countries which, during the last centuries--a
short span of time--have held up the banner of human progress will
gradually lose their relative importance.

That man, having attained to control over the forces of nature and to
undivided proprietorship of the whole planet, will ever actually take
possession of and productively exploit the whole of the planet, is scarcely
to be expected. In fact, past history almost tempts us to believe that the
population of the earth has undergone scarcely any material change since
civilisation began. Certainly, Europe to-day is several times more populous
than it was thousands of years ago; and in America--putting out of sight
the unquestionable extraordinary diminution in the population of Mexico and
Peru--there has undeniably been a large increase in the number of
inhabitants. Against all this we have to place the fact that large parts of
Asia and Africa are at present almost uninhabited, though they formerly
were the homes of untold millions. Thus, taking everything into
consideration, the variations in population can never have exceeded a few
hundred million souls. But assuming that the introduction of the new order
of things, with its sudden and general diminution of the death-rate, will
produce a revolution in this respect, that man's control over nature will
be connected with a general increase in the number of the earth's masters,
yet it may be considered as highly improbable that this increase will be
particularly rapid, and that it will go on for any great length of time.

In one respect, certainly, there can and will be a sudden and considerable
increase in the number of the living. In consequence of the greater
longevity which will be the necessary result of rational habits of life,
generations that have hitherto been consecutive will then be
contemporaneous. In the exploiting world, on the average the father, worn
out by misery, toil, and vice, died ere the son had reached maturity; in
the future the parents will be buried by their great-grandchildren, and
thus the number of the living will be speedily rained from a milliard and
a-half to two milliards or to two and a-half, without any increase in human
fecundity. But assuming that there be for a time an actual growth in
population over and above that caused by this greater longevity, I hold it
to be in the highest degree improbable that this growth can be a rapid one,
and still less a continuous one. My opinion--based, it is true, upon
analogy--is that a doubling of the population is the utmost we need reckon
upon, so that the maximum population of the world may grow to five
milliards. This number, very small in proportion to the size and productive
capacity of our planet, will find abundant room and food in the most
beautiful, most agreeable, and most fertile parts of the earth. Ninety-nine
per cent. of the land superficies of the earth will be either not at all or
very sparsely populated--so far as the population depends upon the
production of the locality--and ninety per cent, will be cultivated either
not at all or only to a very trifling extent.

That under the new order the earth will be transformed into a swarming
ant-hill of thickly crowded inhabitants, that complete control over the
elemental forces will lead to a destruction of all primitive natural
fertility, there is therefore no reason whatever to fear. On the contrary,
the more rationally distributed inhabitants will not crowd upon each other
in the way in which they do at present in most civilised countries; and the
greater fertility of the cultivated land of the future, in connection with
the improved methods of cultivation, will make it possible to obtain from a
smaller area a ten-fold greater supply for a double or a triple number of
people than can be now obtained by the plough. The beauty and romance of
nature are exposed to no danger whatever of being destroyed by the
levelling instruments of future engineers; nay, it may be anticipated that
a loving devotion to nature will be one of the chief pleasures of those
future generations, who will treasure and guard in every natural wonder
their inalienable and undivided property.

It is impossible to predict what course the development of material
progress will take under the dominion of the new social principle. So much
is evident, that the spirit of invention will apply itself far more than it
has hitherto done to the task of finding out fresh methods of saving
labour. This is a logical consequence of the fact that arrangements for the
sparing of labour will now become profitable and applicable under all
circumstances--which has hitherto been the case only exceptionally. But it
is probable that the future will surpass the present also in its
comparative estimate of intellectual as more valuable than material
progress. Hitherto the reverse has been the case: material wealth and
material power have been the exclusive aims of human endeavour;
intellectual culture has been at best prized merely as the means of
attaining what was regarded as the real and final end. There have always
been individuals who looked upon intellectual perfection as an end in
itself; but there have always been isolated exceptions who have never been
able to impress their character upon the whole race. The immense majority
of men have been too ignorant and rude even to form a conception of purely
intellectual endeavour; and the few who have been able to do so have been
so absorbed in the reckless struggle for wealth and power, that they have
found neither time nor attention for anything else. In fact, it lay in the
essence of the exploiting system that under its dominion intellectual
interests should be thrust into the background. In the mutual struggle for
supremacy only those could succeed in becoming the hammer instead of the
anvil who knew how to obtain control of material wealth; hence it was only
these latter who could imprint their character upon the society they
dominated, whilst the 'impractical,' who chased after intellectual aims,
were forced down into the great subjugated herd. And the teaching of the
history of civilisation compels us to admit that in the earlier epochs the
chase after wealth could legitimately claim precedence over purely
intellectual endeavour. It is true that intellectual perfection is the
highest and final end of man; but as a certain amount of wealth is an
indispensable condition of success in that highest sphere of effort, man
must give to the acquisition of wealth his chief attention until that
condition of higher progress is attained. That condition has now been
attained, that amount of wealth has been acquired which makes the supply of
the highest intellectual needs possible to all men; and there can be no
doubt whatever that man will now awake to a consciousness of his proper
destiny. That which he has hitherto striven after only incidentally, and,
as it were, accidentally, will now become the object of his chief

That this intellectual progress must produce a radical revolution in the
sentiments and ideas of the coming generations is a matter of course. This
holds good also of religious ideas. These have always been the faithful and
necessary reflection of the contemporary conditions of human existence. In
primitive times, so long as man carried on the struggle for existence only
passively, like the beasts, he, like them, was without any religious
conceptions. When he had taken the first step towards active engagement in
the struggle for existence, and his dependence upon nature was to some
extent weakened, but peace had not yet been broken with his fellow-men, he
began to believe in helpful higher Powers that should fill his nets and
drive the prey into his hands. When the war of annihilation broke out
between man and man, then these higher Powers acquired a cruel and
sanguinary character corresponding to the horribly altered form of the
struggle for existence; the devil became the undisputed master of the
world, which, regarded as thoroughly bad, was nevertheless worshipped as
such. Next the struggle for supremacy superseded the struggle of
annihilation; the first traces of humanity, consideration for the
vanquished, showed itself, and in harmony with this the good gods were
associated with the gods of evil, Ormuzd with Ahriman; and the more the
horrors of cannibalism were forced into the background by the chivalrous
virtues of the new lords of the world, the more pronounced became the
authority of the good gods over the bad. But since it was the dominant
classes who created the new faith, and since they needed for their
prosperity the obedience of the subjugated, they naturally transplanted the
principle of servitude into their heaven. The gods became severe, jealous
masters; they demanded blind obedience, and punished with tyrannical
cruelty every resistance to their will. This did not prevent the rulers
from holding this to be the best of all worlds, despite its servitude and
its vices; for to _them_ servitude was well-pleasing, and as to the vices,
they would be rid of the 'evil gods' if only the last remnant of resistance
and disobedience--the only sources of all evil--were rooted out.

This kind of despotism was first attacked when the slaves found spokesmen.
The most logical of these was Buddha, who, as he necessarily must from the
standpoint of the slaves, again declared the world to be evil, and thence
arrived at the only conclusion consistent with this assumption--namely,
that its non-existence, Nirvana, was to be preferred to its continued
existence. Christ, on the other hand, opposed to the optimism of domination
the optimism of redemption. Like Buddha, he saw evil in oppression, not in
disobedience; whilst, in the imagination of other nations, the good gods
had fought for the conquerors and the bad ones for the subjugated, he now
represented the Jewish Jehovah as the Father of the poor and Satan as the
idol of those who were in power. To him also the world was bad, but--and
this was the decisive difference between him and Buddha--not radically so,
but only because of the temporary sway of the devil. It was necessary, not
to destroy the world, but to deliver it from the power of the devil, and
therefore, in contrast to Buddhistic Quietism, he rightly called his church
a 'militant' one. Both founders, however, being ignorant of the law of
natural evolution, were at one in regarding the contemporary condition of
civilisation as a permanent one, and therefore they agreed that oppression
could be removed only by condemning riches and declaring poverty to be the
only sinless state of man. The Indian king's son, familiar with all the
wisdom of the Indians of his day, saw that reversion to universal poverty
meant deterioration, therefore destruction, and, in his sympathy with the
oppressed in their sorrow, he did not shrink from even this. The
carpenter's Son from Galilee held the equality of poverty to be possible,
and He was therefore far removed from the despondent resignation of His
Indian predecessor--He proclaimed the optimism of poverty.

The later official Christianity has nothing at all in common with this
teaching of Christ. The official Christianity is the outcome of the
conviction, derived from experience, that the millennial kingdom of the
poor preached by Christ and the Apostles is an impossibility, and of the
consequent strange amalgamation of practical optimism with theoretical
pessimism. Jehovah now again became the gaoler of the powerful, Satan the
tempter who incites to disobedience to the commands of God; at the same
time, however, the order of the world--though instituted by God--was
declared to be fundamentally bad and incapable of improvement, the work of
redemption no longer being regarded as referring to this world, but merely
to the next. The exploiting world for the last fifteen centuries has
naturally adhered to the new doctrine, leaving asceticism to a few
anchorites and eccentric persons, whose conduct has remained without
influence upon the sphere of practical human thought. Not until the last
century, when the old industrial system approached its end, and the
incipient control of man over nature gradually made the institution of
servitude a curse to the higher classes, did pessimism--this time,
philosophic pessimism--lift up its head once more. The world became more
and more unpleasant even to the ruling classes; they were made to feel
fettered and anxious by the misery around them, which they had previously
been able easily to explain by a reference to the inscrutable counsels of
God; they were seized by a dislike to those enjoyments which could be
obtained only by the torture of their brethren, and, as they held this
system, despite its horrible character, to be unchangeable, they gave
themselves up to pessimism--the pessimism of Buddha, which looked for
redemption only in the annihilation of just those more nobly constituted
minds who did not allow themselves to be forced by the hereditary
authoritative belief to mistake a curse for a blessing.

But another change is now about to be effected. The gods can no longer rule
by terror over a race that has robbed the clouds of their lightning and the
underworld of its fire; and, now that servitude has ceased to be the basis
of the terrestrial order, it must also disappear from the celestial. The
fear of God is as inconceivable as pessimism of any kind whatever as a
characteristic of the coming generations, who, released from the suffering
of the world, will pass their existence in the enjoyment of a lifelong
happiness. For the great thinkers who, looking beyond their own times, give
expression to truths the full meaning of which is understood only by
subsequent generations, have never failed to see that this suffering, this
'original sin,' is based upon nothing else than the injustice of
exploitation. The evils which mankind brought upon itself--want and
vice--were what converted earth into hell; what nature imposed upon
us--sickness and death--can no more embitter life to us than it can any
other kind of living creatures. Sickness cannot, because it is only
transitory and exceptional, especially since misery and vice no longer
minister to it; and death cannot, because, in reality, it is not death, but
merely the fear of it, which is an evil.

But it will be said that this fear of death, foolish as it may be in
itself, is a real evil which is infinitely more painful to man, who
reflects upon the future, than to the animal that lives merely in the
present and knows of and fears death only when it is imminent. This was, in
fact, the case, but it will not continue to be so when man, by his return
to the innocence of nature, has won back his right to the painlessness of
death. The fear of death is only one of the many specific instincts by
which nature secures the perpetuation of species. If the beasts did not
fear destruction, they would necessarily all perish, for their means of
warding off the powerful dangers with which they are threatened are but
weak. It is different with man, who has not merely become king of the
living world, but has at last made himself master of the elements. In order
to preserve the human species from perishing, nature needed to give to man
the blind fear of death only so long as he had to defend himself against
himself and his fellow-men. So long as he was the victim of the torture of
subjection, man had also to think of death with emotions of invincible
shuddering if he would not prefer destruction to suffering. Just because it
was so painful, life had to be fenced round with the blind dread of death
even in the case of that highest species, man, which did not need
protection from external dangers. But now is this last and worst danger
overcome; the dread of death has become superfluous even as a protection
against suicide; it has no longer any use as a specific instinct of man,
and it will disappear like every specific character which has become
useless. This evil, also, will vanish with injustice from mankind; life
spreads out full of serene joyousness before our successors, who, free from
the crippling influence of pessimism, will spend their days in unending
progress towards perfection.

But we, my friends, now hasten to open the doors to this future!

Here closed the sixth and last day of the Universal Congress of Eden Vale.


The history of 'Freeland' is ended. I could go on with the thread of the
narrative, and depict the work of human emancipation as it appears to my
mental eye, but of what use would it be? Those who have not been convinced,
by what I have already written, that we are standing on the threshold of a
new and happier age, and that it depends solely upon our discernment and
resolve whether we pass over it, would not be convinced by a dozen volumes.

For this book is not the idle creation of an uncontrolled imagination, but
the outcome of earnest, sober reflection, and of profound scientific
investigation. All that I have described as really happening _might_ happen
if men were found who, convinced as I am of the untenability of existing
conditions, determined to act instead of merely complaining.
Thoughtlessness and inaction are, in truth, at present the only props of
the existing economic and social order. What was formerly necessary, and
therefore inevitable, has become injurious and superfluous; there is no
longer anything to compel us to endure the misery of an obsolete system;
there is nothing but our own folly to prevent us from enjoying that
happiness and abundance which the existing means of civilisation are
capable of providing for us.

It will perhaps be objected, 'Thus have numberless reformers spoken and
written, since the days of Sir Thomas More; and what has been proposed to
mankind as a panacea for all suffering has always proved to be Utopian.'
And I am willing to admit that the dread of being classed with the legion
of authors of Utopian romances at first filled my mind with not a few
qualms as to the form which I had chosen for my book. But, upon mature
deliberation, I decided to offer, not a number of dry abstractions, but as
vivid a picture as possible, which should clearly represent in concrete
conceptions what abstract ideas would have shown in merely shadowy
outlines. The reader who does not for himself discover the difference
between this book and the works of imagination above referred to, is lost
to me; to him I should remain the 'unpractical enthusiast' even if I were
to elaborate ever so dry a systematic treatise, for it is enough for him to
know that I believe in a change of the existing system to condemn me as an
enthusiast. It matters not, to this kind of readers, in what form I state
my proofs; for such readers, like fanatics in the domain of religion, are
simply disqualified to estimate aright the evidence which is pointed
against what exists.

The impartial reader, on the other hand, will not be prevented by the
narrative form of this book from soberly endeavouring to discover whether
my propositions are essentially true or false. If he should find that I
have started from false premises, that the system of freedom and justice
which I have propounded is inconsistent in any way with the natural and
universally recognised springs of human action--nay, if, after reading my
book, he should not have attained to the firm conviction that the
realisation of this new order--apart, of course, from unimportant
details--is absolutely inevitable, then I must be content to be placed in
the same category as More, Fourier, Cabet, and the rest who have mistaken
their desires for sober reality.

I wish once more expressly to state that the intrinsic practicability of my
book extends beyond the economic and ethical principles and motives
underlying it, to the actual stage upon which its scenes are placed. The
highlands in Equatorial Africa exactly correspond to the picture drawn in
the book. In order that 'Freeland' may be realised as I have drawn it,
nothing more is required, therefore, than a sufficient number of vigorous
men. Shall I be privileged to live until these men are found?

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