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A SOCIALIST'S REPLY TO JOHN MOODY.
By ALLAN L. BENSON,
ITH the spirit of John Moody's er, these plants were in competition with
article in the October ARENA, each other, and the capital represented every lover of justice must be in sym- by them was not regarded by any Socialpathy. Entitled “The Conservation of ist as the equivalent of monopoly; and Monopoly,” its purpose was to point the for the simple reason that there was no way toward the destruction of the power monopoly in the steel business at that that private monopoly now gives to a time. After the merger the capital repfew to exploit the rest of the people. But resented in every plant that entered the here, the present writer at least, must trust was regarded by every Socialist as cease his praise. For in the article men- monopolistic capital, for the reason that tioned, the distinguished author of The the capital thus merged was controlled Truth About the Trusts falls into some of by private individuals for the purpose of the most amazing errors in outlining the creating a monopoly of the steel business. attitude of the Socialists toward private Is it not, therefore, plain that while monopoly and their remedy therefor; monopoly-power, as Mr. Moody says, and he also does strange things in the “is neither capital, labor nor land," it name of logic in trying to demonstrate arises from the control of all of these facthat the Socialist plan would fail while tors to a greater or lesser extent, so far as the Single-Tax plan would succeed. concerns the purpose of a given industry ? The first question that seems seriously
Then again: to puzzle Mr. Moody is the source of
“While the majority of trusts possess monopoly-power. “It is not capital, labor, nor land,” says he, and then he monopoly-power in one form or another," asks if it is a fourth factor in “produc says Mr. Moody, “ yet all do not, and it tion,” or rather wealth-diversion, as he is universally true that where a trust posafterwards puts it. He says it is a fourth
sesses no monopoly-power at all, it cannot factor in trust parlance and the remainder be broadly or permanently harmful to
the community of the article shows that this opinion is also his own.
And then he illustrates this statement "The 'scientific' Socialist,” he adds, by citing the careers of the coal-trust and “holds that capital and monopoly are the steamship-trust, so-called, the first one, but he ought to know better.” of which has achieved a great monopoly
The “scientific” Socialist not only success while the latter has not. ought to know better," but he does Is it not true that a trust achieves the know better than to hold that “capital full possibilities of the purposes for which and monopoly are one,” notwithstanding it was formed only to the extent that it the fact that Mr. Moody accuses him of creates a monopoly in the line of business such an error. He holds no such belief. in which it is engaged? Are trusts formOn the contrary, he holds that there is a ed for anything else except to curtail comvast difference between competitive capi- petition, and actually to destroy it if postal and cooperative capital. “As an illus- sible? Of course, the few trusts of which tration of the Socialist view of this matter, Mr. Moody speaks that have no monopoly the various plants that were afterwards power cannot be “broadly or permanently merged into the United States Steel Cor- harmful to the community.” They canporation may be used. Before the merg
Before the merg- not be broadly or permanently harmful
to the community for the simple reason note to Mr. Moody's article, the Editor of that having failed to secure a monopoly THE ARENA called attention to the wellthey are unable to practice the extortions known fact that the Socialists look upon that monopoly makes possible, because regulation" as an utter delusion, while they are still in a competitive struggle in an editorial were given some of the with the others engaged in the same in- abundant reasons for believing that the dustries. According to Mr. Moody's monopolists are not in favor of the reguown statement, the failure to secure a lation of their monopolies by the governmonopoly was the very reason why the ment. The present writer does not fully steamship-trust fell so far short of its agree with either gentleman on the latter possibilities as a trust. “It was obliged point. He believes that on general printo operate from the start on a competitive ciples, no monopolist wants to be regubasis,” he says. And why was it com- lated, either by the introduction of new pelled to operate from the start on a com- competitors into his field, or by the govpetitive basis, when the coal-trust, which ernment. But he also believes that in neither does now, nor ever has owned all certain emergencies, regulation is not only the coal-mines, was enabled to whip its welcomed but sought, as a means of escompetitors into line and compel them to cape from apparently impending evils maintain prices even if they continued to that appear even more menacing than operate as individuals ? Is it not possible regulation. It is sometimes safer to take that the fact that the coal-trust owned the chances on regulation and name the all the railroads leading from the mines “regulator" at Washington, than it is to had something to do with it? If the keep before the legislatures of forty-five steamship-trust had owned the oceans states the temptation to do the regulating over which its competitors wished to sail, themselves. is there any reason to suppose that its In discussing the present agitation for success would have been less signal than the governmental regulation of monopoly, that of the coal-trust? Then why seek Mr. Moody makes the point, and we think to convey the impression that a trust may quite correctly, that monopoly can no be eminently successful without the pos- more be eliminated by restrictive and session of monopoly-power, when all the regulating legislation “than the sunlight facts point irresistably to the conclusion can be regulated by statute law.” Parathat such a trust has “gone wrong," so doxical as it may seem, trace monopoly to speak, and has been a disappointment back to its origin and it is to be found in to its promoters? There can be only unrestricted competition. Unrestricted two reasons for the formation of any trust, competition was possible so long as the to make possible more economical pro- machinery of production was inadequate duction by eliminating the wastes of to supply the demands of the people for competition and to exercise the powers of the things produced. New plants were monopoly and extortion that an absence being erected to fill these demands and of competition gives. And thus far, the there was thus an opportunity for comevidence is all to the effect that the latter petition without the annihilation of the is the more potent consideration in bring- competitors. Competition was not fierce. ing about mergers.
But there came a day when the capitalProceeding next to the subject of gov- ists realized that too many plants and too ernmental regulation or supervision of much machinery had been brought into monopolies, it is necessary only to men- being; that the tendency was toward tion Mr. Moody's statement that the “over-production” and the periodical Socialists are in favor of such regulation industrial depressions that accompany br supervision and that the monopolists the inability of the manufacturers to find really want to be regulated. In a foot- markets for their goods. And when that day came, the era of the trust dawned. and inevitably through the enforced Instead of building more machinery with abandonment of competition, Socialists which to intensify competition, capitalists contend that the only question that is engaged in the same line of industry worth while to discuss in this connection sought to pool their interests, close such is not whether we shall attempt the imof their superfluous plants as were not possible by trying to make men compete needed to supply the trade, and fight any- at a loss, but how can we make coöperaone else who wanted to build more. All tion, which we have and cannot escape, of these things were done because the in- a public benefit instead of a public curse stallation of more than enough plants to for the enrichment of a private few ? keep pace with the people's ability to buy Plainly, they say, the course is to supplant their products had brought about a feroc- the private coöperators, who by virtue of ity of competition that made production their opportunities as monopolists bewasteful and profits infinitesimal. Thus come extortioners, with public coöperawas the trust born out of necessity—the tors in whose hands monopoly would not necessity of killing death-dealing com- be an evil, since monopoly is not to be petition and supplanting it with life-giving feared—notwithstanding Mr. Moodycoöperation; and having been born, the unless it be used for extortion; and pubtrust magntes, Yankee-like, at once pro- lic monopolists could not use monopoly ceeded to make a virtue out of necessity for extortion, for the simple reason that by putting to the fullest use their new- there would be no advantage in the people found
powers of extortion that came to trying to extort money from themselves. them through monopoly when competi- In other words, the Socialist plan is to tion died. The line of reasoning is there have all industry owned and managed by fore this: Unrestricted competition is no the people through the government for longer industrially possible; coöperation the benefit of all the people, with all prodis the next step in industrial evolution, ucts sold at the cost of manufacture and and being the law of nature, cannot be no profits for any private capitalist. repealed by the act of an earthly legis- But this cannot be done, says Mr. lature.
Moody. In a qualified manner he exNow if the principle of industrial co- presses the opinion that governmental operation be accepted—and the great ownership of railroads would be of benefit capitalists themselves are the most em- to the people, but he balks at governmentphatic defenders of this principle—the al ownership of the coal-mines, for inonly question is whether the coöperation stance, on the ground that the monoposhall be by a few for the benefit of those lists would certainly control the governfew at the expense of all or whether it shall ment and thus fry the fat out of the peobe coöperation by all at the expense of ple in a different way. none for the benefit of all. We now have “They (the monopolists) do not worry in the trusts the first kind of coöperation, much about the programme of the Socialfor the simple reason that industrial evo- ists,” says Mr. Moody. What the molution has made competition impossible opolist thinks of Mr. Moody's remedy of and in enforcing coöperation has created the initiative and referendum, combined a situation--new and not understood by with the Single-Tax, is difficult to disthe people—that has given the private cover from his article, for in the same coöperators an opportunity to practice paragraph he says that the referendum the extortion powers of monopoly until * will be ridiculed, cried down and poohsuch time as the people shall understand poohed by every monopolist,” while four the beneficent character of coöperation lines later he says that “ Propose the referand apply its possibilities to their own endum plan and he (the monopolist) is use. Monopoly-power arising naturally up in arms at once." Now while I do not quite understand how the monopolist ownership of railroads to be correct in could have such instantaneous and widely principle, but objects to the public-ownconflicting emotions immediately upon ership of coal-mines and other industries the mentioning of Mr. Moody's plan of on the ground that the monopolists would the initiative and referendum, it is the control the government and use their conopinion of the writer that the monopolist trol for their own benefit and against the is in fact thoroughly alarmed at the pro- welfare of the people? How could they posal of either the Socialist plan or the do it, when the Socialists have long advoinitiative and referendum plan. In fact, cated the initiative and referendum, which every well-informed capitalist knows that Mr. Moody says would leave the monopthe initiative and referendum plan is an olists shorn of all political power and “put integral part of the Socialist plan; that it the power to do in the hands of the people is in every Socialist platform, together as nothing else ever can”? Either the with the demand for the right to exercise initiative and referendum would not be the imperative mandate; and that every as powerful as Mr. Moody believes it is, Socialist speaker emphasizes the fact that and as we Socialists believe it is, or else it governmental ownership is of no value if becomes necessary for him to discover the government is to continue to be domi- new objections to Socialism if he wishes nated by the great capitalists and not by to continue to oppose it. the people; as he also knows that in this If Mr. Moody's logic be faulty, as the connection, Socialist speakers always present writer believes it to be, his errors instance the case of Russia where there unquestionably arise from his desire to is governmental ownership of the railroads, eliminate monopoly”—to destroy it. which is of no value to the people because And his error in this respect plainly arises the people do not control the government. from a confusion of terms. We submit
But to get back to Mr. Moody's plan that monopoly, in itself, is beneficial to of the initiative and referendum.
the public and not harmful. It is the “ This is the first thing,” he says, “and power of extortion that may be derived until this is done, nothing is done. This from private monopoly that is a menace to puts the power to do in the hands of the the public interests
. Monopoly, in itself, people as nothing else ever can. Then, Absence of competition means the elimi
means merely absence of competition. briefly, having once gotten the actual power nation of the tremendous wastes of comto do, let the community not seek to preserve, conserve or cherish this element of petition and the effecting of the numerous
economies that may be brought about by monopoly, but rather seek measures to eliminate and wipe it out. The Socialist would be of benefit to the public if the
means of coöperation. All of these things thinks you cannot do this; but the Social
public were the monopolists and in a ist does not know, he only thinks.”
position to buy their commodities more The italicised words show plainly that cheaply. Yet these beneficent effects of Mr. Moody has no doubt of the ability coöperation become a positive injury to of the people to wrest control of the gov- · the public when the economies of coernment from the monopolists if they be operation are not only appropriated by given the initiative and referendum. In private coöperators, but additional sums this every Socialist will agree with him, are also extorted through the exercise of because every Socialist is preaching the the powers of extortion made possible by same doctrine every day. But if this the existence of private monopoly. much be admitted, what becomes of Mr. Is it not clear, then, that it is the exMoody's objections to the Socialist plan tortion made possible by private monopoly of the public-ownership of all capital ? and not the monopoly itself that is harmHe admits that he believes the public- ful to the public? Mr. Moody says: “The Socialist thinks you cannot eliminate ing the Socialist plan of making all momonopoly; but the Socialist does not nopolies public monopolies and thus preknow, he only thinks.” Wrong again. serving their good features while destroyThe Socialist does not think anything of ing the possibilities for wrong use in the kind. On the contrary, he knows private hands. that it is within the range of human pos- Yet the present writer can understand sibilities to “eliminate” almost anything how Mr. Moody holds his acknowledged except the earth, the air and the surround- views. The same views are held by ing planets. Civilization itself can even many men of the highest intelligence who be "eliminated”; it has been done before need yield to no others in their love for now, and it is therefore not an impossible their kind and their desire for their highthing to eliminate monopoly. But why est welfare. But the circumstance that should we want to eliminate monopoly, is not so easy to understand is how a man when it is only extortion that we want to of Mr. Moody's acknowledged standing kill? Why should we try to force men as an expert on certain economic matters who say they can not do business on a could err so grievously and so often in competitive basis to return to it, when the attempting to define the attitude of the facts plainly show that the time for com- Socialist party—a party that is worldpetition is past? At the present develop- wide in its scope, universal in its cardinal ment of industry it is a wasteful, suicidal, principles, millions strong in its adherents cut-throat method. Yet it is Mr. Moody's and a persistent circulator of hundreds method, as it must be the method of every- of tons of pamphlets declaring that it does one who would free the people of not advocate the things that Mr. Moody the effects of an extortion born of the says it advocates. ALLAN L. BENSON. power of private monopoly without adopt- Detroit, Mich.
THE WHIPPING-POST FOR WIFE-BEATERS.
By R. W SHUFELDT, M.D,
several of the New York daily community which annually terminate in newspapers the statement that there are the dissolution of the bonds of marriage at the present time some sixty thousand in the case of married couples. They, wives in that city who have been deserted too, run far into the hundreds and perby their husbands, and that, owing to this haps thousands, and are calculated to state of affairs, there are no fewer than lead any thoughtful and well-informed one hundred thousand children who are person to believe that there must be someat this moment lacking all parental sup- thing radically wrong in the whole scheme port.
of our marital relations, and, indeed, the Apart from all sentimental aspects that entire institution of monogamic marriage. may attach to this truly unprecedented For, be it known, these desertions, be the record, if it be really true, its causes are case one of a man deserting his wife or deserving of the closest study on the part vice versa, and these divorces, are by no of students of human nature, mankind, means restricted to any particular plane and sociology. This is all the more im- of society, as they occur among people portant when one comes to consider the in all conditions of life.