Page:Rise and Fall of Society.djvu/170

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One Can Always Hope

sacrificing his betterment. He brings to bear on this natural modus operandi a peculiarly human gift, the faculty of reason. (It is this faculty that suggests a possible solution of the Society-State conflict, which we will discuss later.) His reason tells him that the business of multiplying satisfactions is best pursued by cooperation with his fellow man. Thus arises Society and its techniques: specialization and exchange, capital accumulations, competition. Society is a labor-saving device, instinctively invented; it is not a contractual arrangement, any more than the family is, but like the family it germinates in the composition of man.

The market-place method yields more for less labor than individual self-sufficiency does, yet the price it always demands is labor. There is no getting away from that. Still, it is a price paid with reluctance, and out of this inner conflict between cost and desires comes the drama of organized man. The impossibility of getting something for nothing, the summum bonum, does not banish hope or intimidate the imagination, and in his effort to realize the dream, man frequently turns to predation: the transference of possession and enjoyment of satisfactions from producer to nonproducer. Since men work only to satisfy their desires, this transference induces a feeling of hurt, and in response to that feeling the producer sets up a protective mechanism. Under primitive conditions, he relies on his own powers of resistance to robbery, his personal strength plus such weapons as he has at his disposal. That is his Government. Since this protective occupation interferes with his primary business of producing satisfactions, and is frequently ineffective, he is quite willing to turn it over to a specialist when the size and opulence of Society call for such a service. Government provides the specialized social service of safeguarding the market place.