Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/324

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

The anarchists for their part do not desire the concentration of industry and the rule of it from the centre by anybody, working man or not—and they think the social democrats quite wrong in believing the concentration inevitable. They point to the fact that at the present moment there is a partial revival of domestic industries, assisted by gas and electricity. These are the small industries of people with small means; they make a less imposing figure before the public than the great trusts, such as the Steel Trust, and the Shipping Trust. The sums involved are so immense that it might seem impossible for competitors to cope with the trusts; therefore, it is thought, the trusts will soon rule alone, and, lest they should rule ill, the state should take their place. A great combination approaches monopoly, and a far-reaching, wide-stretching monopoly (say of the carrying trade) might mean a public danger. Should we listen to our friends the socialists and avert the danger by making the state the monopolist?

There seems no proof of the necessity of this extreme step. Where there is political danger the old-fashioned method of regulation and control by the state seems quite equal to the occasion. As yet the trusts are on their trial and their success is not certain, still less their abuse of the success when it comes. Their monopoly is not an absolute monopoly; and they have a wholesome consciousness of the possibility of competitors. A government trust would have none such. In some instances there would be the further difficulty that to prevent political friction it would need to be a trust of several nations—an idea difficult to realize on such a scale and in such matters.

The English mind does not turn readily to state trusts; but it finds no difficulty in municipal and local trusts. Private local monopolies, like those of the water companies in London, were as troublesome to the locality as any universal monopoly of the article could be; and the remedy which even London must find for the troubles will be the municipal trust. There are few instances in England of successful appropriation by the state of a business formerly competitive; railways are still only regulated. But there are so many examples of successful appropriation by the local authorities that the future absorption by them or the central authority of habitually unruly companies which have contrived in any way to abuse their monopoly may be deemed almost certain. The great demand of the scientific socialists is thus likely in England at least to break up into smaller separate demands that will obtain their answer separately by patient political action.

Socialism is making progress, but not to any great extent state socialism. New Zealand itself, where it has perhaps done most and best, is not a proof to the contrary, the province of Ontario in Canada having twice the area and population. Rather is it true that the state is more decidedly regulative. The ultimate result, to judge by the old countries, may be that each nation will include a community of groups more or less socialistic in organization, but will not itself be a socialistic state. The socialistic experiment is more likely to be tried by provinces than by states, by districts than by provinces, by towns than by districts. They all get their compulsory powers, as delegated to them, from the central authority; but the central authority itself has shown little power of originative action, and it lacks the minute knowledge of the people on the spot. The one or two great industries and businesses (railways, post office, telegraphs, forests, census, coinage, in some countries) that have formed the chief public works that are everybody's business and nobody's business, will probably remain a state concern; but the limits to the state's activity except in regulation soon arrive. On the other hand, there is no visible assignable limit to municipal or local socialism, as long as the state's parliament leaves it a free course. If the localities choose to make social experiments there seems no rule of general policy to prevent them, if we put aside experiences of financial failure or of the tendency to corruption. The great fear conjured up by the vision of socialism has been the fear of a new despotism. The despotisms of some hundreds of local bodies are likely to checkmate one another, or at least always likely by their varieties of pattern to provide a means of escape for individuals unhappy under the rule of any one of them.

Anarchism, when at all rational, resolves the state into its component municipalities and small groups. The question which carries us beyond anarchism is how such groups can last and be secure without a central state. They could only be so on the assumption of a change in human nature of which their is no sign. It seems not improbable that in the far future the strong central government will be so democratic and at the same time so wise with the wisdom of a great representative council that all that is sound in the contentions and aspirations of anarchists and socialists will be secured by it. Before such a future arrives, we can best prepare for it by seeing to it whether in a new country or an old that our representative system represents us at our best. Our small councils and our great councils will not of themselves become cleaner for having larger powers. If they are not clean they are a public danger. If they are clean, the coming socialism, whatever be its precise complexion, need have no terrors. It too will represent the people at their best.

Bibliography.—For the writings of Owen, Marx, &c., see under

their names. For the general history see John Rae's Contemporary Socialism. For German socialism more particularly W. H. Dawson's German Socialism and Ferdinand Lassalle. See also Karl Marx and the Close of his System, by Böhm Bawerk (translated by Mrs J. M. Macdonald, 1898), Der Verein für Socialpolitik und seine Wirksamkeit auf dem Gebiete der gewerblichen Arbeiterfrage, by Dr E. Conrad (1906). For English recent developments, J. Ramsay Macdonald's Socialism and Society, and S. Ball's Progress of Socialism in England; also articles in The Times (London) during January 1909. For Australia and New Zealand, W. P. Reeves's State Experiments in Australia and New Zealand (1902). For the United States J. G. Brooks's Social Unrest (1903). For municipal socialism see Major Darwin's Municipal Trade (1903), and Dr F. C. Howe's Municipal Ownership in Great Britain (Bulletin of U.S. Bureau of Labor); also Municipal and Private Operation of Public Utilities (Report of National Civic Federation, New York, 1907) and Municipal Corporations (Reproductive Undertakings) (Return to House of Commons, 1902), 141 pages of statistics. On the nationalizing of railways see debate in House of Commons 11th February 1908; also the article Railways: Economics. For Italy, Bolton King's “Recent Social Legislation in Italy,” Economic Journal (1903); and for France, J. L. Jaurès' Histoire du socialisme, and Ch. Gide's “Economic

Literature in France,” Economic Journal (1907).

(J. B.)

SOCIAL SETTLEMENTS, associations of men and women of the educated classes who take up residence in the poorer quarters of great cities for the purpose of bringing culture, knowledge, harmless recreation, and especially personal influence to bear upon the poor in order to better and brighten their lives. Practically, the watchword of such settlements is personal service. To Arnold Toynbee (q.v.) may be given the credit of leading the way in this direction, and the Hall which Canon Barnett established (in 1885) to his memory in the east end of London was the first material embodiment of the movement. Since then many settlements of the same or similar nature have sprung up in Great Britain and America, some too on the continent of Europe and some in India and Japan. The sympathies of young men at the universities have been enlisted towards the movement, and an Oxford house, a Cambridge house, and other university missions have been founded in London. There are also many in connexion, with various religious bodies. The practical spirit is shown in the formation of gilds, camps and institutes. Lads and girls, and even children, are gathered together; efforts being made to organize for them not only educational and religious opportunities, but harmless recreation, while the dwellers in the settlements share in the games and identify themselves most sympathetically with all the recreations. Many of the residents take also a considerable share in the work of local administration. Women's settlements probably are more general in the United States than in Great Britain; but in both countries they carry out a great variety of useful work, providing medical mission dispensaries, district nurses, workrooms for needle-women, hospitals for women and children, &c.

See W. Reason, University and Social Settlements (1898); S. Coit,

Neighbourhood Guilds (1892); G. Montgomery, Bibliography of

College, Social, University and Church Settlements (Boston, 1900).