Page:Conventional Lies of our Civilization.djvu/207

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The Economic Lie.




I.

Those circumstances of our civilization which affect the largest number of human beings, with the most painful and lasting results, are the .grievous errors prevailing in the economic world. There are plenty of people *?ho have never taken any interest in abstract question/?, to whom God is a matter of as much indifference as primal causes; the encyclical as uninteresting as the theory of evolution, whose faith or knowledge is alike superficial. Many people also are totally indifferent to the political problems of the day, and the number is much larger than is usually supposed, who do not care in the least whether they are governed in the name of a personal king or of an impersonal republic, so long as the State remains visible in the shape of public officials, tax-collectors and drill-sergeants. But on the other hand, there is not a single man of our civilization who is not daily confronted by the question of supply and demand. The circumstances of the economic world force themselves upon the dullest observation and the most secluded intelligence. Every human being possessed of consciousness, experiences certain wants and grumbles at the difficulty or rebels against the impossibility of satisfying them. With bitterness does he see the disproportion between his labor and the enjoyments he is able to purchase as the results of it, and compare his own share of the gifts of nature and productions