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"Evolution." This author seems to be ignorant of the fact that "Evolution" is not a synonym of progress; Evolution comprehends childhood, youth, manhood, but it embraces also old age and decrepitude, which leads to death.
The word individualism is sometimes used to designate the doctrines of the classical school. If by that it is meant that the liberal economists are not socialists, then the expression is only a simple truism. If it is meant that the economists hold that society exists in the interest of the individuals which compose it, that is the expression of a truth which every one feels and acknowledges, and which does not prevent one from sacrificing himself for the general good. It has happened that lots have been drawn to determine who should devote himself to the general interest. Can we conceive of a society that is not composed of individuals? Socialistic society itself has no other aim than to procure more enjoyment for every one of the individuals who ranks himself under its banner.*
Economists opposed to the intervention of the State have also been called individualists. Some have pretended to believe that economists reject absolutely the intervention of the State, and it is in this manner that the famous motto of Gournay has been interpreted "laissez faire, laissez passer." But this is an exaggeration. The economist admits the intervention of the State whenever it is proper, and he has never recommended absolute "laissez faire." The word "absolute" is a textual falsification. Events have unfortunately rendered the debates between this school and others heated, and in a passion one always goes too far. The aggressors so far forget themselves sometimes as to employ arms which are little creditable.
Finally, competition is likewise a characteristic of the classical or liberal school; however, outside of the communists, all the schools are brought to respect competition more
* The opposition between the propositions: (1) Society is the whole, individuals are the parts of it; and (2) The individual is the fundamental element, a group of men forms the aggregate called society; a metaphysic subtlety; and the first proposition finds no practical application when the masses take part in legislation.
or less; it is impossible to avoid it. In reality, the new schools are distinguished only by the greater or less repugnance which they exhibit in submitting to this necessity. They avenge themselves by insults. The classical school has, for a long time, committed the error of not separating with sufficient clearness, pure science from its applications. If it had done this it would have suffered fewer attacks, for all schools admit the dicta of pure science, for they are forced to do so. É. de Laveleye has said that scarcity creates dearness, abundance brings cheapness. Every housekeeper knows this. Is truth less true because it is common? Every child knows as well as the most illustrious mathematician that two and two make four. What the housekeeper and the children do not know are the applications and deductions to which these elementary truths lend themselves.
Theory interests only a small number of studious men ; practice, that is to say, the applications interest every one. The effects of these applications extend further than one would suppose. In the first half of this century political economy, as it was taught in the books of J. B. Say, Bastiat, Molinari and others had to encounter but two kinds of adversaries-the socialists and the protectionists. But both were concerned more especially with the applications, with what the Germans call economic policy, and more recently, social policy, (Wirthschaftspolitik und socialpolitik).
Socialism dates far back in France, especially if we take account of the authors of Utopias. The St. Simonists were the first who attracted public attention, but without exercising any influence over the masses. The St. Simonists' doctrine seduced only certain youths of the upper class, for it was aristocratic; it proclaimed, "to each according to his capacity." It was too fine! Vertigo supervened; the chiefs of the school fell into fantasticalness and the meteor vanished; but not without some noise. Some of the adepts, followers of the school of St. Simon, Michel Chevalier, the brothers Pereire, became good economists in maturer life.
Pierre Leroux,* a mystic, who first employed the word socialism, did not create a school. Buchez, the author of a "Treatise on Politics," and of a collection of documents upon the Revolution of 1789, originated, after or about the same time as others, co-operation, which was then called partnershipt (association). His influence did not last. Fourier, the phalansterian, founded a school. His principle was very attractive. He wished to have labor become a pleasure and delight. Such a doctrine might have captivated the masses, but the masses had little knowledge of the works of Charles Fourier, for he wrote in a style intelligible only to cultivated men, who were willing to take the trouble to understand him. He had but few disciples, and among them Muiron, Considérant, Cantagrel, Pompéry, Pellarin, Bureau Tousserel, Bovier and some others made themselves known through their writings. Few partisans remain of this Utopian doctrine, which aimed at the happiness of the human race, an end, alas! very difficult to attain.
The first socialist who reached the masses was Louis Blanc. The first edition of his "Organization of Labor" (Organization du travail,) which has been reprinted nine times, bears the date, 1839: he also developed his ideas in many other publications; for example "Le Socialisme, Droi au travail," (The Right of Labor) third edition, Paris, 1849, and "Le catéchisme des Socialistes," (The Socialists' Catechism") Paris, 1850. He proposes a sort of communism with notions borrowed from St. Simon, Fourier and Owen. He sets forth the rights of labor and recommends the erection of national workshops. What has made his doctrine acceptable to so many men is, that he says, not "to each according to his works," but "to each according to his needs." I knew Louis Blanc well, and have always found him a false reasoner. He should have known that it is morally
*His principal work is "De l'humanité, de son principe et de son avenir," 2 vols.; Paris, 1839. Second edition, 1845. "Socialism" is discussed by him in the Revue Sociale (1845).
+ Sometimes a distinction has been drawn between partnership (association) and co-operation, but it has never been generally understood.
and physically impossible to procure for all men the satisfaction of all their “wants. There are so many fictitious "needs," and these multiply with the real or imaginary ease in satisfying them. This from the moral point of view, as to the physical possibility, one might, perhaps, promise dry bread to all men, especially in abundant years; but one could not give every one meat and wine. There would not be enough of these commodities upon the earth for each one to have his share. And how many other desirable things are still more scarce!
About the same time Proudhon appeared, a man with great talent as a writer and one who loved to astonish the reader with the grandeur of his paradoxes. Every one knows his famous pamphlet, "Property is Theft. " (La Propriété, c'est le vol!) He had a celebrated discussion with Bastiat upon interest as gratuity which did not reflect great glory upon him. With such an idea he could not gain very serious adherents, because those who possess and those who do not possess capital know equally well that property cannot be lent gratuitously (except through kindness to a friend) and the idea of creating money by means of a printing press could not take root in France, where so many families had been ruined by the assignats of the Revolution. The idea of exchanges in kind by means of certificates of labor (instead of money) was too retrograde to charm*. Proudhon also wrote "Economic Contradictions" (Contradictions économiques) but this work was not intended for the people. The author amuses himself in playing with hegelianism, thesis, antithesis, synthesis. It was not very interesting to the masses, but was, perhaps, suggestive to a small number. The book aroused discussion, but I do not believe that it contributed to the advancement of the science. One of his other books (they are so numerous that they cannot all be mentioned here) "Anarchism," helped, with the aid of Krapotkine's
* It is possible that it was from Proudhon that the socialists derived the idea of paying labor in paper certificates.
work, to bring into existence the anarchist class; and that will not add laurels to the memory of Proudhon.
In a word, the socialistic schools of French origin have exercised no sensible influence upon economic doctrines, nor have the advocates of protection. Moreover, the protectionists gave no attention to theory; they sought to prove the necessity of import duties by insisting on the superiority of English goods or on the need of preserving the home market. Thiers said: "Great energy is expended in discovering arguments for the system of protection, but there is but one, and that is very simple: it is the preserving of the home market." Among the writers in France who, previous to 1870, wrote in favor of protection, may be mentioned Lestiboudois, Fanconnier, Burat, de Mesnil-Marigny, H. Richelot (the translator of List), Hervé-Bazin, and even the former Duke de Broglie. But since it was a matter of practical questions, it was rather in parliamentary discussion and in the newspapers that the opponents of free trade expressed their views.
An exposition of these ideas is to be found in the wellknown works of the late M. Amé, former Director-General of Customs, upon the history of import duties in France (Paris, Guillaumin, 1877). We learn there that it is usually interested parties who defend their particular industries. Sometimes, too, they have taken occasion to attack the doctrines of the economists, but so vaguely that these attacks could be scorned. Take, for example, a passage from Amé (" Étude sur les tarifs des douanes," vol. ii. page 225, chap. xxi.). During an interpellation of the ministry in 1868, after the treaty with England, a deputy, M. Kolb-Bernard, attacked political economy in these words: "Humanity wishes enjoyment. There was formerly in the moral world a principle of sacrifice, from which rules of sobriety and moderation in the general practice of life, were derived. The spirit of sacrifice has been repudiated as an insult to the law of progress. For necessities, which have their moral limit, enjoyments have substituted, which have