The movement towards a new order: No effort is more suspect in our time than the criticism of the existing rights of property. It is wrong because it is subversive. It is futile because it is Utopian. It is erroneous because it runs counter to the eternal laws of human nature. But the existing rights of property represent, after all, but a moment in historic time.
They are not to day what they were yesterday, and tomorrow they will again be different. It cannot be affirmed that, whatever the changes in social institutions, the rights of property are to remain permanently inviolate. Property is a social fact, like any other and it is the character of social facts to alter. It has assumed the most varied aspects, and it is capable of yet further Chang’s.
The present system is inadequate from whatever angle it is regarded. It is psychologically inadequate because,for most, by appealing mainly to the emotion of fear, it inhibit the exercise of those qualities which would enable them to live a full life.It is morally inadequate, in part because it confers rights upon those who have done nothing to earn them, in part because where such rights are related to effort, this in its turn has no proportionate relevancy to social value.
It makes a part of the community parasitic upon the remainder, it deprives the rest of the opportunity to live ample lives. It the is economically inadequate because it fails so to i wealth it creates as to offer the necessary conditions of health, and security to those who live by its processes. in it has lost the allegiance of the vast majority of the people. Some regard it with hate the majority regard it indifference. It no longer infuses the State with if purpose through which alone a State can prosper.
There is nothing inherently wrong in the notion of private, prosperity. There is a sense in which it may be so held as genuinely to express personality and to contribute to enrichment. But, so to be held, it must be derived from personal effort organized in such a way as to involve an addition to the common welfare. It must never be so large amount that its owner exercises power by reason of its sheer magnitude, it must never be so small that its possessor cannot be himself at his best. The more equal its distribution, the more likely is the contribution of the citizen to be judged in terms of its social value, to become implicit with purpose as the way to recognition.
Regarded as the result of function, it falls naturally into its proper place in society. It ceases to dominate our minds. The excess of it no longer produces idleness and waste, the failure to win a living wage will no longer breed it men that sense of outlawry, as in some, or that feverish, as With others.
Men are no longer set over against society, either snatching from it some chance opportunity of advantage, or seeking to exploit it to some end which their conscience tell them to be mean and dishonorable. It does not exclude variety, though it transfers the emphasis of variety from material to spiritual things.
It does not prevent the necessary basis of unified action, since co-ordination for function creates a plane where men can meet in common. It doe not weave the pattern of organization on any uniform scheme. There can exist every diversity of method, from a bureaucratic treasury official to a master less craftsman, whose land-woven fabrics some few persons may choose to wear. It will have, doubtless, a different scale of moral values from the present order.
So large a change cannot but alter our judgment of good and bad. We shall think more of the creative artist because there will be more people with the energy of soul to appreciate him we shall think less, one imagines, oft the man who asks to be fudged by the size of what he can accumulate. It may even, in its early days, appear a materially poorer society. For it will take time to train men to the habits born of new principles, and some, refusing to be trained, will doubtless withdraw from their effort the spirit, that invigorates it. It may become a society in which there will be few wealthy men.
Their disappearance will involve the absence of that conspicuous display which has made so much of our social life seem crude and tawdry tut it will be a society of deeper spiritual values, from which the worst tyranny, that of man over man, will have been banished. For fellow ship is possible where men are won to a, common service, and they can, join together when that by which they live is in justice.