Page:Democratic Ideals and Reality (1919).djvu/22

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DEMOCRATIC IDEALS AND REALITY

life, but only at the cost of the serfdom of the many. Even the so-called Democracy of Athens and the Platonic Utopia were based on domestic and industrial slavery. But the modem world is rich. In no small measure man now controls the forces of nature, and whole classes, formerly resigned to their fate, have become imbued with the idea that with a fairer division of wealth there should be a nearer approach to equality of opportunity.

This modem reality of human control over nature, apart from which democratic ideals would be futile, is not wholly due to the advance of scientific knowledge and invention. The greater control which man now wields is conditional, and not absolute like the control of nature over man by famine and pestilence. Human riches and comparative security are based to-day on the division and co-ordination of labour, and on the constant repair of the complicated plant which has replaced the simple tools of primitive society. In other words, the output of modern wealth is conditional on the maintenance of our social organisation and capital. Society is a 'going concern,' and no small part of our well-being may be compared with the intangible 'goodwill' of a business. The owner of a business depends on the habits of his cus-