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It will be seen from the third table that the productive or working classes, numbering 10,000,000 including their families and children, have to support other 10,000,000 people, belonging to the unproductive classes. Deducting from each of these two classes two million on account of infants and very young children not yet capable of working, there are left on both sides 8,000,000 of able-bodied men, women, and children. If the 8,000,000 of the unproductive classes were united with the 8,000,000 of productive workers, the time occupied in work, now amounting to 300 working-days per annum, would be reduced to 150. How further reductions are practicable has already been demonstrated in previous chapters.
Carrying and Conveyance
'Stripped of big phrases about 'law' and 'order' and the 'basis of society' and all the claptraps so freely uttered by the great broadcloth and kidglove parties in the world, the real contest is between Idleness and Labour-between the drones and the bees."-Reynold's Newspaper, Jan. 18th, 1874.
Considerations on the Difficulty, Efficacy, and Gravity of the New Social Organisation; and Addresses to all Classes of Society in Support of Communistic Principles.
SUGGESTED AND ATTEMPTED SOLUTIONS OF THE
HE most important attempts made or proposed for the reconstruction of society in general, and especially aiming at the emancipation of labour from the thraldom of capital. relate to co-operation, national workshops, equitable exchange of labour, and miniature model communities.
CHAPTER XLIII.-I. Co-OPERATION.
-OPERATION, either for consumption or production, has been successfully tried in several localities, and has obtained a decided triumph in the conspicuous example which the Rochdale Pioneers have given in their co-operative association, both for production and consumption. Co-operative farming and mining have also been attempted with more or less success; and there is little doubt that co-operation might succeed in any branch of trade, if the means for a successful beginning could be procured.
Granting that co-operation can be successfully organised
and carried out, nevertheless it cannot be exclusively relied upon, because of the great length of time it would require to produce, by its action, any extensive amelioration in the condition of the working classes. Co-operation on a large scale, extending to all branches of labour, cannot be carried out without the absorption of all other property and capital not yet possessed by the co-operators. Let those who advocate cooperation as the only possible means of emancipating labour, think of the enormous amount of money, labour, and time it would require to attack, or even to successfully compete with, the gigantic power of capital. They should also seriously consider the close alliance between capital and property, especially in the possession of lands, mines, houses, ships, railways, canals, factories, harbours, etc.; and they will at once perceive the utter hopelessness of any early prospect of absorption by cooperation.
The task of absorbing private property and wealth by cooperative agencies becomes still more desperate through the continued increase of the already existing capital, which accumulates at a rapid ratio by means of lucrative investments, dividends, and interests on loans, especially those advanced to foreign states. The period of time that would allow co-operative capital to increase tenfold will suffice to augment private capital and wealth a hundred fold. Besides, insurmountable obstacles bar, in many instances, the acquisition of property by co-operative societies. Until they possess hundreds of millions in hard cash they will not be able to become large proprietors of land, houses, factories, mines, steamers, railways, etc.
The money it will require in order to make any successful inroad upon capital invested and realized in property and trade may be guessed by the following estimates:
Land and Houses.-There are in the United Kingdom 46,000,000 acres of cultivated land, which, at a rental of £2 an acre, afford an income of £92,000,000 per annum to the 36,000 landed proprietors.
The rental derived from houses is also estimated at £92,000,000 per annum. Both of these sources of income amount to £184,000,000, which at thirty years' purchase represents £5,520,000,000.
The yearly rental from land and houses being £184,000,000, will in ten years have accumulated to £1,840,000,000, not even including interest on this enormous sum, and will have been embarked in new sources of investments.
As the income-tax which farmers have to pay is levied on the half of their rental, the farmers' profits may be put down as amounting to £46,000,000, which in ten years will accumulate to £460,000,000 without interest.
Railways.-The capital invested in the construction and maintenance of 15,000 miles of railways in the Unite 1 Kingdom alone is said to amount to £400,000,000. The annual income derived in the shape of dividends being £24,000,000, will in ten years have produced £240,000,000.
Ships and Cargoes.-The value of the ships and cargoes that yearly arrive at and leave the ports of the United Kingdom is estimated by Mr. Simonds at £600,000,000; representing, at only 2 per cent., an annual income of £12,000,000, which in ten years will have accumulated to £120,000,000.
Products of Manufactures.-These amount, according to Mr. Simonds, in bulk to 400,000,000 tons, valued at £1,000,000,000. It is generally considered that on the value of manufactured goods ten per cent. may be allowed as the probable profits realized by manufacturers; which, according to this estimate, would represent a net yearly income of £100,000,000, or £1,000,000,000 in ten years.
Loans to Foreign States.-It has been computed that the total liabilities of the various states incurred between 1851 and 1873 amounted to £2,120,000,000. Of this the larger portion was contributed by England. The exact amount of English capital advanced to foreign states and colonial governments cannot easily be ascertained, but may safely be estimated at £2,000,000,000.* The profits derived from the dividends on foreign and colonial stocks, subject to income-tax payable in England, are already surprisingly high, rising to £20,000,000; representing, at five per cent., a capital invested of £400,000,000 £2,000,000,000 thus supplied to the wants of foreign states would indicate dividends to the enormous amount of £100,000,000 a year, or £1,000,000,000 in a decade.
* The Echo of Oct. 20th, 1874, gives the sum of £3,000,000,000.