ancient historians, that the Aryans sojourned first in the region of the Danube, and that Thrace was civilized before Greece. Notwithstanding this example, agriculture seems to have been generally more ancient in the temperate part of Europe than we would be ready to believe from the accounts of the Greeks, who were disposed, like some modern peoples, to make all progress appear to start from their nation. In America, if we may judge from the civilizations of Mexico and Peru, which do not go back even to the first centuries of the Christian era, agriculture was not, probably, as ancient as in Asia and Egypt. But the immense dispersion of certain kinds of cultivation—as that of maize, of tobacco, and of the yam—leads us to assign an antiquity of nearly or about two thousand years to it. History fails us in this case, and we have no resource for ascertaining anything about it, except from discoveries in archæology and geology.
IT is no marvel that labor and capital are in conflict; and yet they are necessarily co-operative factors to the same end. What benefits capital should also benefit labor, and vice versa, and there is essential harmony between them, as Bastiat, Carey, Perry, and other economists insist; but the theoretical harmony thus so obvious fails in practice, and we are compelled to acknowledge the fact of actual discordance. The interests of labor are in the hands of one class, and the interests of capital in the hands of a very different class, and they naturally enough contend about a certain margin of profit, since what one class gets of this the other must necessarily do without. The war is really between laborers and the employers of laborers; and it is quite likely in the course of events that this war will become a source of anxiety and suffering far beyond what one would expect from such apparently peaceable forces. There is hardly any doubt that, if the wealthy classes in this country could have their unrestrained way in all things, they would build up an aristocracy as oppressive and disdainful as ever existed anywhere. If the so-called working-classes (not embracing those who are their own employers) could have their way, they would do even worse by precipitating the conditions of universal poverty.
I speak of labor and capital as antagonists; and this is true, though the owner of capital is not always a party to the conflict; he is so only when he uses his own capital in the employment of labor. Very largely the employer of labor is a borrower of capital, paying for the use of
- From "Reforms: their Difficulties and Possibilities." New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1884.