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THE SINGLE-TAX.

BY JOHN Z. WHITE.

LL HUMAN things do require to position, it was under the necessity of it

have an ideal in them,” said self demonstrating this dishonesty. The Carlyle. This is true. But, like the tariff reformer is compelled to show the sayings of so many philosophers, it is but essential dishonesty of a high tariff, and partial truth. Human things, like all to do this must advocate the principle of other things, require poise, balance, equi- free trade. Having proved his case, he librium; that is, a due proportion of their proceeds to assure his hearers that he has essential constituents. Without oxygen no intention of practicing honesty, but we have no water. Without ideality we would utilize the theory he has just overhave nothing human. Just as surely, thrown-pleading, however, that he will with oxygen, minus other essentials, we be content with a less amount of plunder. have no water; and with ideality, minus Free coinage of silver, with gold at a other attributes, we have nothing human. given ratio, is not so bad as gold mono

Things human must contain an ideal; metalism, but is it anything more than to as certainly they must involve emotions; say to the mine-owners: “You shall have just as emphatically, they must be prac- a market, maintained by law, for all you tical. Without ideality, justice will be may dig from the earth; but those who wanting-and justice alone is permanent. dig vegetables must take the chances of Power is requisite to all achievement, traffic”? What ideal is here presented and power is found in emotions alone. other than the ideal involved in tyranny ? Still, no matter how great be the power, The reader will perceive that the critino matter how just the cause, failure will cism applies with still greater force to the be the certain issue in the absence of gold-standard policy. practical method.

In spite of the manifest insufficiency of Most appeals for a better adjustment most proposals offered for social relief, of social forces, because of over-empha- some will insist that our troubles find their sis of one essential, have failed of success source in the limitations and perverse tenthrough lack of equilibrium.

dencies of human nature. To this oftFor example, consider the tariff agita- repeated assertion one can only reply, tion. Emotion was excited, to be sure, Human nature, so far as we know, is as it although it was the emotion of wrath always was and will always be. People against oppression, not the emotion of joy will act differently in different circumor pleasure aroused by contemplation of stances. To a degree we control our enthe normal or beautiful. When present. vironment. Let us give our attention to ed in the guise of free trade, this appeal that same environment and accept human has always lacked the essential of prac- beings as we find them. If there is anyticability, for free traders of the usual thing wrong with them, you, my friend, sort have not proposed a rational method may rest satisfied that you did not make for providing an adequate revenue. them. You did not know enough. When presented in the guise of tariff Therefore in that direction you are not rereform the appeal has lacked ideality, sponsible. for it proposed a distinctly dishonest plan We make articles of food, clothing and for raising public funds. Not only did shelter. Therefore, know

how. tariff reform propose to continue a dis- Therefore, again, it is possible for us to honest system, but, to maintain its own examine the processes by which they are

we

made and to arrive at a conclusion which interfering with the legitimate industry of shall be based on assured knowledge other men. Law can also establish and not guessed at.

maintain an honest system of land-holdLooking over the field, we find that for ing. Beyond these, law can do nothing many years the press has furnished tales other than to hamper and hinder industry. of public wrong, involving, of course, In order, therefore, that we may obtain private misfortune and often misery and a comprehensive view of industrial affairs, wretchedness—even death. Some years let us call to mind those fundamental ago we were told of Tweed; riders on facts of human life which we all know, river and harbor bills—not to inquire too but usually choose not to admit, even to particularly as to the bills themselves; ourselves. The constitution of the State credit mobilier; whiskey frauds; later of Illinois very truthfully expresses the of Carnegie armor-plates, Cuban post- thought that a frequent recurrence to office steals, embalmed beef, etc. Just first principles is necessary for the presat present it is the System, whether as ervation of liberty. unearthed by Folk, defeated by LaFoll- The most obvious fact of human existette, Dunne or Douglas, or exposed by ence is that each man, woman or child Miss Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens or Lawson. must consume certain physical things

For relief what are we offered that will or die. (There is always the alternative comply with the requirements of “things suggested by Epictetus and endorsed by human ” ? Populism is suggested, and Schopenhauer.) These physical things besides being aggressive, it has polled are known as food, clothing and shelter. many votes. It tells us that bankers Each of these articles is a product of charge too much interest; therefore the human toil. But human toil alone cangovernment must become a money-lender. not produce. The toiler must be in posOil refiners exact too high prices; there- session of the elements (or some of them) fore the state must become an oil refiner. of which the earth is composed. This Warehouse managers speculate in and simple, obvious fact is overlooked (or falsely grade cereals; therefore the gov- evaded) by nearly all who complain of, ernment-but why continue? This is or attempt to explain, existing social conmerely patchwork. It is the adoption by ditions. It is vastly to the credit of Carpopulists of the socialistic method of cut- lyle that he neither overlooked nor evaded. ting knots they are unable to untie. He said: “It is very strange, the degree

Even Mr. Roosevelt, in his late message to which these truisms are forgotten in declares that “the question of transpor- our day.” tation lies at the rooot of all industrial In short, land (meaning the elements success.' He seems wholly unconscious of which the earth is composed) and labor of the fact that things must be made be- (meaning human energy expended in fore they can be transported. Are there making articles of food, clothing and no essential conditions to this “making”? shelter) are the factors of all physical

Nor is this mental attitude peculiar to wealth. All physical things passing socialists and populists. The whole mass through the markets of the world are reof restrictive laws with which we are bur- sults of labor applied to land. Most dened is of the same parentage. Legal people will agree that land is used at the attempts to regulate interest; to improve beginning of all processes of production, morals; to promote trade; to compel but seem not clearly to perceive that it is posterity to pay part of the expense in- vital at every step. To make bread we cident to making public improvements, must use land to grow grain. Just as. are all exhibitions of the same sort of surely we must use land to transport it, stupidity. Law can keep the peace, or, to grind it, to bake it. The same is true in other words, prevent some men from in all forms of production. Labor and

no

wages; and

land are absolutely necessary at each fish. If he prefers a carriage, then his point in every productive process. toil at producing wheat is equivalent to

If each individual had equal opportu- mining iron and coal, making paint, mannity to join in the processes of production ufacturing all the various articles includit would seem that just distribution would ed in the finished vehicle. The growing certainly follow. But here is the rub. of wheat is thus equivalent to making Each individual has not this equal oppor- the carriage, because such toil secures, tunity. Land is private property. Pro- through exchange, possession of the veduction is absolutely impossible without hicle, just as would the direct applicaland. It inevitably follows that those tion to the making of the conveyance. who own land are able to demand from Wealth, then, is one, although of many laborers a part of the product in return forms, and is produced by the application for permission to use their land. For of labor to land, and is divided between this payment by laborers land-owners producers and land-owners. make return save permission as Rent is payment for the use of natural noted, and it will doubtless be admitted opportunity-for land. It follows from that this payment might possibly be great this division of wealth between producers enough to leave workers with a very and land-owners that the less of the total small remainder, a remainder so small, product of industry be taken as rent, the in fact, that they could properly be classed more will be left for

conversewith the “worthy poor.

ly, the more be taken as rent the less will That part of the product that is paid be left for wages. Those who own land to the land-owners is called “rent.” The

upon which production occurs divide rent balance is known as “wages "-being among themselves in proportion to the the return for industry, of whatever grade. value of land held by each. Those who It should be noted that payments made produce divide wages among themselves for the use of buildings are not rent-are, in proportion as each has contributed to instead, wages.

production. The term “wages” is used in common The ownership of the land thus having speech to indicate the reward of employed the same effect as the doing of work, that

But when considering industry is, ownership of the product, all are trying in general it must be given a wider mean- to become land-owners. As a result of ing. To illustrate. A man rents a farm, this endeavor, land is bought and held paying one-third of the crop to the owner. vacant in anticipation of future demand. The remainder is the reward of his toil, (This is characteristic of every city in the and is therefore his wages.

He

may have United States.) If, now, we observe the employed others to aid him, but his re

necessary conditions of production, we ward, as well as theirs, is wages. Again, shall know how very simple is the industhe Deering reaper concern is helping to trial problem. Men must use land-or gather grain, and therefore is a producer, die. Land is private property, with the and so is a receiver of wages as truly as necessary result that product is divided is its modest employer. Again, to pro- between land-owners and land-users. duce one thousand bushels of wheat worth Holding some land vacant reduces the one dollar per bushel is, through exchange, effective supply, and of course increases to acquire capacity to secure a diamond the value of that used—thereby artificially worth one thousand dollars. That is, to raising rent and reducing wages. produce wealth in one form is equivalent It is perfectly clear that the portion of to producing it, to like value, in all forms. wealth paid to land-owners is not theirs So, a man raising wheat in Dakota is in by right of toil—others did the work. effect catching fish on the banks of New- Because of this plain fact most of the foundland, provided, of course, he wants social reformers of history, under one or

men.

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