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And it is
even possible that practically all the present tenants may some day be
provided for.

By maintaining or creating small farms then, or providing for a system
of long leases and small-sized allotments of governmentally owned land,
guaranteed against any raise in rents during the term of the lease,
capitalist governments may gradually succeed in firmly attaching the
larger part of the struggling small farmers and farm tenants to
capitalism. While still in the individualistic form capitalism will
establish, wherever it can, privately owned small farms; when it will
have adopted the collectivist policy, it will inaugurate a system of
national ownership and long leases.

Even the small farmer who hires no labor, and does not even own his
farm, will probably be held, as a class, by capitalism, but only by the
collectivist capitalism of the future, which will probably protect him
from landlordism by keeping the title to the land, but dividing the
unearned increment with him by a system of long leases, and using its
share of this increment for the promotion of agriculture and for other
purposes he approves.

Socialists, then, do not expect to include in their ranks in
considerable numbers, either agricultural employers or such tenants,
laborers, or farm owners as are becoming, or believe they will become,
employers (either under present governments or under collectivist
capitalism).

Only when the day finally comes when Socialism begins to exert a
pressure on the government adversely to the interest of the capitalist
class will higher wages and new governmental expenditures on wage
earners begin to reverse conditions automatically, making labor dearer,
small farms which employ labor less profitable, and a lease of
government land less desirable, for example, than the position of a
skilled employee on a model government farm. All governments will then
be forced by the farming population itself to lend more and more support
to the Socialist policy of great national municipal or county farms,
rather than to the artificial promotion or small-scale agriculture.

For the present and the near future the only lasting support Socialists
can find in the country is from _the surplus_ of agricultural laborers
and perhaps _a certain part_ of the tenants, _i.e._ those who cannot be
provided for even if all large estates are everywhere divided into small
farms, all practicable works of reclamation and irrigation completed,
and scientific methods introduced--and who will find no satisfactory
opportunity in neighboring countries. It must be acknowledged that such
tenants at present form no very large part of the agricultural
population in the United States. On the other hand, agriculturists are
even less backward here than in Europe, and there is less opposition
between town and country, and both these facts favor rural Socialism.

If, however, the majority of farmers must remain inaccessible to
Socialism until the great change is at hand, this is not because they
are getting an undue share of the national wealth or because they are
private property fanatics, or because agriculturists are economically
and politically backward, or because they are hostile to labor, though
all this is true of many, but because of all classes, they are the most
easily capable of being converted into (or perpetuated as) small
capitalists by the reforms of the capitalist statesman in search of
reliable and numerically important political support.

I have shown the attitude of the Socialists towards each of the
agricultural classes--their belief that they will be able to attach to
themselves the agricultural laborers and those tenants and independent
farmers who are neither landlords nor steady employers, nor expect to
become such. But what now is the attitude of laborers, tenants, etc.,
towards Socialism, and what program do the Socialists offer to attract
them? Let us first consider a few general reforms on which all
Socialists would agree and which would be acceptable to all classes of
agriculturists. Socialists differ upon certain _fundamental_ alterations
in their program which have been proposed in order to adapt it to
agriculture. Aside from these, all Socialist parties wish to do
everything that is possible to attract agriculturists. They favor such
measures as the nationalization of forests, irrigation, state fire
insurance, the nationalization of transportation, the extension of free
education and especially of free agricultural education, the
organization of free medical assistance, graduated income and
inheritance taxes, and the decrease of military expenditures, etc. It
will be seen that all these reforms are such as might be, and often are,
adopted by parties which have nothing to do with Socialism. Community
ownership of forests and national subsidies for roads are urged by so
conservative a body as Mr. Roosevelt's Commission on Country Life. They
are all typical "State Socialist" (_i.e._ State capitalist) measures,
justifiable and indispensable, but not intimately related with the
program of _Socialism_. The indorsement of such measures might indeed
assure the Socialists the friendly co÷peration of political factions
representing the agriculturists, but it could scarcely secure for them
the same partisan support in the country as they have obtained from the
workingmen of the towns.

Besides such legislative reforms as the above, the Socialists generally
favor legislative encouragement for every form of agricultural
co÷peration. Kautsky says that co÷perative associations limited to
purchase or sale, or for financing purposes, have no special connection
with Socialism, but favors _productive_ co÷peration, and in France this
is one of the chief measures advocated by the most ardent of the
Socialist agriculturist agitators, CompŔre-Morel, who was elected to the
Chamber of Deputies from an agricultural district. CompŔre-Morel notes
that the above-mentioned governmental measures of the State Socialistic
variety are likely to be introduced by reformers who have no sympathy
either with Socialism or with labor unions, and _as a counterweight_ he
lays a great emphasis on co÷perative organizations for production, which
could work with the labor unions and their co÷perative stores and also
with Socialist municipalities. In France and elsewhere there is already
a strong movement to municipalize the milk supply, the municipalization
of slaughterhouses is far advanced, and municipal bakeries are a
probability of the near future. Such co÷perative organizations, however,
like the legislative proposals above mentioned, are already so widely in
actual operation and are so generally supported by powerful
non-Socialist organizations that Socialist support can be of
comparatively little value.

There is no reason why a collectivist but capitalist democracy should
not favor both associations for productive co÷peration and friendly
relations between these and collectivist municipalities; nor why they
should fail to favor an enlightened labor policy in such cases, at least
as far as the resulting increase of efficiency in the laborer justified
it, _i.e._ as long as his product rises, as a result of such reforms,
faster than what it costs to introduce them.

Socialists also favor the nationalization of the land, but without the
expropriation of self-employing farmers, as these are felt to be more
sinned against than sinning. "With the present conservative nature of
our farmers, it is highly probable that a number of them would [under
Socialism] continue to work in the present manner," Kautsky says. "The
proletarian governmental power would have absolutely no inclination to
take over such little businesses. As yet no Socialist who is to be taken
seriously has ever demanded that the farmers should be expropriated, or
that their goods should be confiscated. It is much more probable that
each little farmer would be permitted to work on as he has previously
done. The farmer has nothing to fear from a Socialist rÚgime. Indeed, it
is highly probable," he adds, "that these agricultural industries would
receive considerable strengthening through the new rÚgime."

Socialists generally agree with Mr. A. M. Simons's resolution at the
last American Socialist Convention (1910): "So long as tools are used
merely by individual handicraftsmen, they present no problem of
ownership which the Socialist is compelled to solve. The same is true of
land. Collective ownership is urged by the Socialist, not as an end in
itself, not as a part of a Utopian scheme, but as the means of
preventing exploitation, and wherever individual ownership is an agency
of exploitation, then such ownership is opposed by Socialism."[228]

Exploitation here refers to the employment of laborers, and this is the
central point of the Socialist policy. To the Socialists the land
question and the labor question are one. Every agricultural policy must
deal with both. If we were confronted to-day exclusively by large
agricultural estates, the Socialist policy would be the same as in other
industries. All agricultural capital would be nationalized or
municipalized as fast as it became sufficiently highly organized to make
this practicable. And as the ground rent can be taken separately, and
with the least difficulty, this would be the first to go. Agricultural
labor, in the meanwhile, would be organized and as the day approached
when the Socialists were about to gain control of the government, and
the wages of government employees began rapidly to rise, those of
agricultural and all other privately employed labor would rise also,
until private profits were destroyed and the process of socialization
brought rapidly to completion.

But where the scale of production is so small that the farmer and his
family do the work and do not habitually hire outside labor, the whole
case is different. The chief exploitation here is self-exploitation. The
capital owned is so small that it may be compared in value with the
skilled worker's trade education, especially when we consider the small
return it brings in, allowing for wages for the farmer and his family.
Even though, as owner, he receives that part of the rise in the value of
his land due to the general increase of population and wealth and not to
his own labor (the unearned increment), his income is less than that of
many skilled laborers.

Two widely different policies are for these reasons adopted by all
reformers when dealing with large agricultural estates and small
self-employing farmers.



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Keywords: nationalization, either, increment, agriculture, little, education, employers, governmental, system, program
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