Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/46

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
44
MELBOURNE AND MARS.

for pound the new plants were as good as the old ones; that it would not pay to run the wires into the soil each time the ground was planted.

All our experiments were submitted to experts appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, and when at the conclusion they were pronounced satisfactory, my father and I each received the Order of Freedom, the outer insignia of which is a badge and a gold medal, and the significant meaning of which is that the wearers are free to visit all workshops, mines, and places of interest in any part, to work when and where we chose, and to call on anyone to assist in making experiments, removing plant, and, in short, doing anything to assist in furthering useful projects; to travel by underground lines, by canals, by sea or by air ship just when we please and as far as we choose; to make use of any hostel or caravansary as long as we like; in short, to have no expenses charged to our debit, to have all that the planet can afford as free as air.

We cannot have a patent right, cannot sell our invention, cannot give it any monetary value; but when once recognised as of great public utility an inventor, or signal benefactor of humanity, receives this order, which practically places all the resources of a civilisation that has been growing for one hundred thousand years at his disposal. What millionaire could have so much?

The wearer of this badge has no account to render of his work. He might retire from active pursuits for the remainder of his days, and pass the time enjoying himself and travelling at will, for the privilege extends to his wife and family. But this has never been known to happen: the men who have the Freedom are generally active mid enterprising, and by their labors the most profitable members of the human family. For my own part, as I am only just over eight years of age, I will spend a year in learning to make electrical machinery. Five hundred days is reckoned a working year. Our actual year is six hundred and eighty-seven days, of twenty-five hours each. Of these each fifth day is a rest day, our Sabbath, but not wholly devoted to public worship. This leaves us five hundred and forty-nine working days. Of these five hundred are claimed for work, the odd days are used for travelling and recreation, if you see fit. Married men will generally take their families for an outing twice a year. The working hours of a day are five, and even these could be reduced, for owing to the great skill of our highly trained population, and to the extensive use of machinery and the unlimited electrical power at our disposal, our productions are so abundant in all directions that every person on the planet, is supplied, and yet we have orders at times to cease producing and manufacturing for a while.

We have no armies, no police, no aristocracy of a nonproductive kind, and no middle men to live on the labors of the producer by the processes of buying, selling and making a profit. Thus it comes to pass that everyone has all needs supplied, and out of the general abundance has many luxuries.