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not mistaken. The Journal has received, if I remember rightly, articles from M. Gide; it has even admitted M. Paul Lafargue, the son-in-law of Karl Marx; I have myself had a controversy with him, in the Journal, concerning the celebrated agitator, his father-in-law. M. Gide and his colleagues afterward founded their own review, but they had trouble in sustaining it, and called foreign economists to their aid, especially German writers. Do they really imagine that it will suffice to read from time to time a fragment of Schmoller, of Brentano, or of others of that shade of thought, in order to penetrate the spirit of men so different from themselves? Then I pity them; they will labor in vain, they and more especially their disciples.
In these observations just made, I do not depart from my task, which consists in presenting the movement of economic ideas in France. I regret, however, that I have been compelled to add a bit of polemic. But is it my fault if a professor of economics adopts the attitude of an assailant and proceeds with a violence that would encourage the belief that he regarded himself as the victim of some conscious deception?
Besides the thirteen professors of Faculties of the State, some of whom might be somewhat disposed to imitate the German professors, if their books were accessible to them, there are the professors of four Catholic Faculties. I have questioned the most distinguished among them, M. Claudio Jannet, whose merit is recognized even by those who do not share his religious beliefs. He expresses himself substantially thus: Catholic economists are slow to profess a science other than that which the masters in these studies have formulated at the cost of long and conscientious labor. Natural economic laws are to them the expression of the plan by which God governs the world, while respecting the liberty of individuals. There can then be a priori, no discord between
He has published among other books: (1) "Le Socialisme d'état et la réfome sociale." Second edition, 1890, Paris: Plon Nourrit et Cie. (2) “Le Capital, la spécu. lation et la finance," 1892; published by the same firm.
these laws and the precepts of religion, which have the same God for their author. It is for loyal, scientific observation to seek these laws. Catholic economists therefore strongly repel that empiricism which holds that there is not a natural and permanent economic order, tending continually to reproduce itself. They reject the pretensions of socialists of all denominations who think they can organize society according to the conceptions of their own imaginations. Yet they emphasize particularly the necessity of struggling against the evil which tends incessantly to seize upon society as well as upon the individual. Recognizing the action of this tendency to evil and knowing that the development of human life is not bounded by this earth, they are not astonished at the imperfections of economic order nor at social suffering; and they consider that a constant effort toward good and a continual increase in virtue and individual morality, will tend to advance economic order and to ameliorate the social state. It is above all in questions of "economic policy,"* that the Catholic writers show their distinct character. Forced to give attention to the historic considerations which formerly rendered useful the guild system and the seignorial regime, they nevertheless recognize the superiority of the modern plan founded upon freedom of labor, exchange and contract; but this regime exacts, perhaps, a still greater display of moral qualities to prevent antagonism from developing among men, when each has become more conscious of his rights and of his own value. So they recommend the practice of assistance ( patronage) on the part of the heads of workshops and establishments, mutual benefit societies, co-operation, professional associations; and as there will always be some who suffer, they regard with favor mutual aid societies (patrimonies corporatifs) for the assistance of small proprietors, artisans and their journeymen. They consider that charity, not imposed, but directed and animated by the Church, has always an important place in the economic order.
*Volkswirthschaftspolitik, in German.
This is the view of a very religious man. All liberal economists agree as to the necessity of giving assistance to those who suffer; but the majority are of the opinion that the economic domain, where one produces, or acquires by means of labor or exchange, should be separated from that of charity, where necessities are obtained, not by production or exchange, but by free gift. It is at least a question of method; and is, perhaps, a question of division of labor.
I spoke at the beginning of this article of the classical school, and we have seen that what characterizes it, is its scientific doctrines; for there can be a divergence of opinion in respect to actual practice, without necessitating withdrawal from the school. Science leaves nothing to arbitrariness, it exacts serious proofs; practice depends in a certain degree on individual calculation, and this in turn is influenced by events, by conjunctures, by environment, and why not also by the temperament of the individual, by his faculties and by the degree of his knowledge? The applied science, that is to say, the practical economics, tends frequently to react against theories. This tendency has been seen in Germany, and may now be observed in England, in France even; in fact to some extent everywhere, but without result. Fundamental principles have not been shaken. Wherever men have attacked principles they have had to content themselves by denying them purely and simply. But that produced little effect. Thus Cliffe-Leslie once discussed in the London Atheneum the principle of the least effort; he sought to prove that man does not try to obtain the greatest result with the least effort, but he convinced no one. Others have wished to question the influence of supply and demand, equally in vain. Has not this principle or this law a close relationship with the effects of scarcity (dearness) and of abundance (cheapness)? And these effects have very recently found their complete explanation in the final or marginal utility (Grenznutzen) of the Austrians.
In France certain statesmen and publicists have said: Let us leave science alone; it is too well established not to be
proof against our attacks; let us ignore it. Let us act as if it did not exist, and let us advance our practical ideas. is thus that State socialism has acted. There have been powerful arguments in favor of this course, and they are summed up in the power of universal suffrage. This power is very great, and is at once material and immaterial in its nature. It is of a material nature to the ambitious, for it is universal suffrage which procures the honors and advantages which those seek who follow a political career. It is of an immaterial nature in that it induces imitation. Imitation is a great social power; few persons resist the influence of example, above all, of a widespread example which has numbers to recommend it, if nothing else. Generally, one does not like to belong to the minority; some, because numbers awe them, numbers seem to them to guarantee truth, wisdom, or advantage, at any rate; others, because they feel themselves too much alone in a minority; they feel almost ridiculous, and a French proverb says, "Ridicule kills." But it is the socialistic influence which dominates now among the masses; not that they know the theories of Karl Marx well; have the masses in fact ever known thoroughly the dogmas of their religion? They believe in a general way, and follow the men who have their confidence; and these men promise them a greater share of the goods of this world. This is all that nine-tenths of the voters understand. The leaders make pretense of having a doctrine-collectivismbut they know that it is, in reality, impracticable and unrealizable. Every one of them, Karl Marx and all his successors, have recoiled before a compilation of a comparative table of skilled labor (how many days of unskilled labor equal in value a day of various classes of skilled labors of the locksmith, of the watchmaker, of the inventor of the physician, etc.); and so long as this table of labor is not made, collectivism is not applicable, for it is according to this list that social labor is valued and paid, and so long as the socialist leaders do not apply themselves to the preparation of such a table they show that they do not believe in he advent of collectivism.
Beside this rude socialism of the masses, there is that of the middle class, that of the upper classes; and this aristocratic socialism, this "good" socialism, is simply a modern garment given to venerable charity, or again, that utopian aureole which succeeds to the religious aureole which has always surrounded benevolence, humanity, love of one's neighbor. These utopian sentiments exercise to-day a great influence over men of the most diverse tendencies. Such sentiments are at least disinterested, or have that appearance. So, then, there is much economic practice without much attention to theory, and if theory looks as if it would grumble, the label is changed, and instead of "economic" "social"* is used; and if one has a tender heart, he deludes himself, and is persuaded that it is good. Even economists, well founded in their principles, allow themselves, if not to do as the Romans do, at least to make concessions. They can do this without a blush, for practice always leaves a certain-sometimes a great-latitude to individual taste: one can waive a portion of his rights. Upon the limit to place in this matter, nothing is yet decided. Opinions are fermenting; and we must wait until they are clarified. Only the masses or rather the demagogues-ask too much all that they ask cannot be given them. If there be a struggle, if violence occur, then economic laws will show that they may become dormant but do not perish, they punish those who transgress them.
I should have been glad in closing to mention a certain number of contemporary economic publications, to show to what measure the dominant influences had acted upon the authors of to-day who have remained faithful to liberal principles, while making concessions in the matter of practice. It would have been interesting to note these concessions, which may sometimes be involuntary and unconscious of the modifications of doctrine which are the result of reflection or of new experiment, of an "Evolution," as an
The distinction between economic and social is not, perhaps, so apparent in America as in Europe.