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The enlightened element among the capitalists, composed of
those who desire a partnership rather than warfare with the government,
will soon represent the larger part of the business world.

Mr. Lincoln Steffens reflects the views of many, however, when he denies
that the financial magnates are as yet guided by this "enlightened
selfishness," and says that they are only just becoming
"class-conscious," and it is true that they have not yet worked out any
elaborate policy of social reform or government ownership. None but the
most powerful are yet able, even in their minds, to make the necessary
sacrifices of the capitalism of the present for that of the future. The
majority (as he says) still "undermine the law" instead of more firmly
intrenching themselves in the government, and "corrupt the State"
instead of installing friendly reform administrations; they still
"employ little children, and so exhaust them that they are poor
producers when they grow up," instead of making them strong and healthy
and teaching them skill at their trades; they still "don't want all the
money they make, don't care for things they buy, and don't all
appreciate the power they possess and bestow." But all these are passing
characteristics. If it took less than twenty years to build up the
corporations until the present community of interests almost forms a
trust of trusts, how long, we may ask, will it take the new magnates to
learn to "appreciate" their power? How long will it take them to learn
to enter into partnership with the government instead of corrupting it
from without, and to see that, if they don't want to increase the wages
and buying power of the workers, "who, as consumers, are the market,"
the evident and easy alternative is to learn new ways of spending their
own surplus? The example of the Astors and the Vanderbilts on the one
hand, and Mr. Rockefeller's Benevolent Trust, on the other, show that
these ways are infinitely varied and easily learned. Will it take the
capitalists longer to learn to use the government for their purposes
rather than to abuse it?

It is neither necessary nor desirable, from the standpoint of an
enlightened capitalism, that the control of government should rest
entirely in the hands of "Big Business," or the "Interests." On the
contrary, it is to the interest of capital that all capitalists, and all
business interests of any permanence, should be given consideration, no
matter how small they may be. The smaller interests have often acted
with "Big Business,"--under its leadership, but as industrial activities
and destinies are more and more transferred to the political field, the
smaller capitalist becomes rather a junior partner than a mere follower.
Consolidation and industrial panics have taught him his lesson, and he
is at last beginning to organize and to demand his share of profits at
the only point where he has a chance to get it, _i.e._ through the new
"State Socialism." Moreover, he is going to have a large measure of
success, as the political situation in this country and the actual
experience of other countries show. And in proportion as the relations
between large and small business become more cordial and better
organized, they may launch this government, within a few years, into the
capitalist undertakings so far-reaching and many-sided that the half
billion expended on the Panama Canal will be forgotten as the small
beginning of the new movement.

It is true that for the moment the stupendous wealth and power of the
"Large Interests," already more or less consolidated, threaten to
overwhelm the rest. Mr. Steffens does not overstate when he says:--


"To state correctly in billions of dollars the actual value of all
the property represented in this community of interests, might
startle the imagination to some sense of the magnitude of the
wealth of these men. But money is no true measure of power. The
total capitalization of all they own would not bring home to us the
influence of Morgan and his associates, direct and indirect, honest
and corrupt, over presidents and Congresses; governors and
legislators; in both political parties and over our political
powers. And no figures would remind us of their standing at the bar
and in the courts; with the press, the pulpit, the colleges,
schools, and in society. And even if all their property and all
their power could be stated in exact terms, it would not show their
_relative_ wealth and strength. We must not ask how much they have.
_We must ask how much they haven't got_."[31]


But over against this economic power the small capitalists, farmers,
shopkeepers, landlords, and small business men, have a political power
that is equally overwhelming. Until the "trusts" came into being, no
issue united this enormous mass. Yet they are still capitalists, and
what they want, except the few who still dream of competing with the
"trusts," is not to annihilate the latter's power, but to share it. The
"trusts," on the other hand, are seeing that common action with the
small capitalists, costly as it may be economically, may be made to pay
enormously on the political field by putting into the hands of their
united forces all the powers of governments.

If the principle of economic union and consolidation has made the great
capitalists so strong, what will be the result of this political union
of all capitalists? How much greater will be their power over
government, courts, politics, the press, the pulpit, and the schools and
colleges!

It is not the "trusts" that society has to fear, nor the consolidation
of the "trusts," but the organized action of _all_ "Interests," of "Big
Business" _and_ "Small Business," that is, of _Capitalism_.

A moment's examination will show that there is every reason to expect
this outcome. Broadly considered, there is no such disparity between
large capitalists and small, either in wealth and power, as at first
appears. All the accounts of the tendency towards monopoly have been
written, not in the name of non-capitalists, but in that of small
capitalists. Otherwise we might see that these two forces, interwoven in
interest at nearly every point, are also well matched and likely to
remain so. And we should see also that it is inconceivable that they
will long escape the law of social evolution, stronger than ever to-day,
toward organization, integration, consolidation.

Messrs. Moody and Turner, for example, finished a well-weighed study of
the general tendencies of large capital in this country with the
following conclusion:--


"Through all these channels and hundreds more, the central machine
of capital extends its control over the United States. It is not
definitely organized in any way. But common interest makes it one
great unit--the 'System,' so called.

"It sits in Wall Street, a central power, directing the inevitable
drift of great industry toward monopoly. And as the industries one
after another come into it for control, it divides the wealth
created by them. To the producer, steady conditions of labor; to
the investor, stable securities, sure of paying interest; to the
maker of monopolies and their allies, _the increment of wealth of
the continent, and with it the gathering control of all mechanical
industry_."[32] (My italics.)


Certainly the fundamental social questions in any country at any time
are: Who gets the increment of wealth? Who controls industry? No
objection can be taken to the facts or reasoning of this and some of the
other studies of the "trusts"--_as far as they go_. What vitiates not
only their conclusions, but the whole work, is that written from the
standpoint of the small capitalists, they forget that the "trusts" are
only part of a larger whole.

The increment of wealth that has gone to large capital in this country
in the census period 1900-1910 is certainly less than what has gone to
small capital. Farm lands and buildings have increased in value by
$18,000,000,000, while the increased wealth in farm animals, crops, and
machinery will bring the total far above $20,000,000,000. The increase
in city lands and houses other than owned homes, which has not been less
than that of the country in recent years, must be reckoned at many
billions, and these, like the farm lands, are only to a small degree in
the hands of the "Trusts." Even allowing for the more modest insurance
policies, and savings bank accounts, as belonging in part to
non-capitalists, small capitalists have piled up many new billions
within the same decade, in the form of bank deposits, good-sized
investments in insurance companies, in government, municipal, and
railway bonds, bank stock, and other securities. No doubt the chief
owners of the banks, railways, and "trusts" have increased their wealth
by several billions within the same period, but this is only a fraction
of the increased wealth of the smaller capitalists. It is not true,
then, that "the increment of wealth of the continent" has gone to--"the
makers of monopolies and their allies."

Let us now examine the question of _the control of industry_ from this
broader standpoint. It is admitted that the direct control of the
"Interests" extends only over "mechanical industry"--not over
agriculture. We have seen that it does not extend over the mine of
wealth that lies in city lands, nor over large masses of capital more
and more adequately protected by the government. It might be said that
by their strategic position in industry the large capitalists control
indirectly both agriculture, city growth, savings banks and government.
This would be true were it not for the fact that as soon as we turn from
the economic to the political field we find that not only in this
country, but also in Europe nearly all the strategical positions are
held by the small capitalists. They outnumber the large capitalists and
their retainers ten to one, and they hold _the political balance of
power_ between these and the propertyless classes.



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Keywords: within, between, organized, smaller, should, standpoint, rather, capitalism, enlightened, social
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