|Wealth and Want|
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Louis Post: Outlines of Louis F. Post's Lectures, with Illustrative Notes and Charts (1894) — Appendix: FAQ
Rev. A. C. Auchmuty: Gems from George, a themed collection of excerpts from the writings of Henry George (with links to sources)
Henry George: The Great Debate: Single Tax vs Social Democracy (1889)
Mr Hyndman quarrels with competition. (Hear, hear.) He wants to abolish it, but to abolish competition would be to abolish freedom. (Loud applause and cries of “No, no.”) How can you abolish competition except by saying to man, “Thou shalt not”? How can you abolish competition save by preventing men from doing what they have a perfect right to do – (“No, no,” and hear, hear) – and what it is for the interest of the community that they should do? Why, today, what are the grievances that the working classes everywhere justly complain of? The restriction of competition. It is monopoly, and monopoly simply means the restriction of competition. (Hear, hear.)
How is competition to be abolished? We have a right to ask the Social Democrats what they propose to do, and how they propose to do it. All I can find in their platform that goes to the social question is this: “The production of wealth to be regulated by society in the common interests of all its members.” (Cheers.) “The means of production, distribution, and exchange to be declared and treated as collective or common property.” (Hear, hear.)
They propose to take everything – (laughter and hear, hear) – not merely that which belongs of natural right to all men equally – namely, the land – but also that which by natural right belongs to the man who has produced it. (Hear, hear.) How are they to get possession of it? By buying it or by taking it? If by taking it, it is a big job. (Hear, hear and laughter.) If by buying it, what are you doing but taking the capital from the masses in order to give it to those people whom you now say hold the capital?
You say the nation ought to abolish competition. Why you could not abolish competition without subjecting man to the worst form of tyranny – (Hear, hear and “No, no”) – and without stopping all progress.
What we want is full competition. (Hear, hear.) What we want to do is to abolish monopolies, and it is to these monopolies, and not to the earnings of capital, that the great fortunes to which my opponent has alluded are due. ...
Capital is wealth produced by labour from land, used again in increasing the production of wealth. And not only will it not hurt labour to leave to capital its full reward but we must leave to capital its full natural reward, if we would have a progressive community – (cheers) – and if we would give each what is his due. (Hear, hear.) What the labourers have to fight against is not competition – (hear hear and “Yes”) – but the restriction of production to their injury. Let there be competition all around from the highest to the lowest, fencing in no class against competition. Abolish monopoly everywhere, put all men on an equal footing and then trust to freedom. In that way we would have the most delicate system of co-operation that can possibly be devised by the wit of man.
The fight of labour is not against capital; it is against monopoly. Why just think of that state of things. when all the means of production belong to the community and all production is regulated by the State, when every individual would have, his work, his time of work, and everything else prescribed for him; when it would be utterly impossible for men to employ themselves! To abolish competition you must have restriction; you must call on the coercive powers of the State. How else are you going to do it? Supposing you organise industry in the way our friends dream of, if any individuals go outside of this organization and propose to compete with it, how are you going to stop their competition but by coming in with the strong arm of the law, and putting an end to it? Why such a state of society, instead of being the ideal to which the Anglo-Saxon community ought to aspire, would be going back to a worse despotism than, that of ancient, Egypt. (Applause and cries of “No, no.”) ...
What I want to know is about the other things. How are all trades going to be organised? You are going to begin with one here and there, you are going to end competition a little at a time·– a piece here and a piece there. Wherever you end competition you give some special privilege. Monopoly in what does it consist? In the abolition of competition. What are the things of which you complain in Government? The absence of competition. Your House of Lords is not opposed to competition; it is fenced in by monopoly (Loud applause.) So wherever you find a special privilege, there you find it a special privilege because competition is excluded.
What was the essence of slavery to which Mr. Hyndman has alluded? The prohibition of competition; so no one else could employ the slave save his owner – the slave was not free to compete with owner. (Hear, hear.) If you men seriously think of these things you will see that the Social Democratic Federation vaguely proposes, if it were possible to carry it out, would inevitably result in the worst system of slavery. (Loud cries of “No; no,” and “Order”)
Simply imagine a state of things
which no one could work save under State control, in which no one
could display any energy save under the control of a board of
officials, and ask yourselves who this board of officials are likely
to be. Socialism begins at the wrong end; it pre-supposes pure
government; its dream is simply of a benevolent tyranny (“No,
no.”) ... Read the entire article
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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper