Eugene V. (Eugene Valentine) Brewster.

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If he be not too thorough in his reasoning he will
conclude that if the government operated the
Trusts, all their evil qualities would be elimi-
nated and their good qualities saved. It is a
convenient conclusion, yet it is unsound as I shall
presently proceed briefly to show.


Some writer has said, "Competition gluts our


markets, enables the rich to take advantage of
the necessities of the poor, makes each man
snatch the bread out of his neighbor's mouth,
converts a nation of brethren into a mass of hos-
tile, isolated units, and finally involves capital
and labor in one common ruin."

Successful competition denies competition, be-
cause the successful competitor must destroy his
rival, before he can be successful. Competition
is the antithesis of co-operation. The one means
isolated units, the other an organized combina-
tion of units. The Trust method of co-operation,
however, while it destroys competition among
industries, does not destroy competition among
men. Here lies an important distinction which
will develop as we proceed.


Contest and rivalry are inherent instincts in all
living things, — in vegetable and animal life alike,
and this struggle for existence determines which
shall survive. The law of survival of the fittest
determines which plant, which animal and which
man shall succeed. All these are struggling
among themselves for supremacy and nature is
the supreme arbitrator of the contest. The law
of natural selection cannot be overcome. It is as
fixed and immutable as the law of gravitation.


Men are not born equal. Nature never dupli-
cates, and never creates two things alike. Men
are unequal and different in nature, in stature,
intellect, frugality, desire, industry, perserver-
ance, hardiness and strength. A wise Creator
hath made it so.

Were all men alike they would all want the
same thing — to do the same thing, to create the
same thing, and to consume the same thing —
which would result in chaotic confusion. Again,
the inequality of conditions has been one of Na-
ture's greatest and most useful expedients in de-
veloping and perfecting the race. To assume an
equality among men is to assume that which
is impossible and that which would be unwise.
It has ever been the struggle for existence which
has urged men to move onward with vigorous,
earnest and persistent effort. The desire to sur-
pass, to outshine, his fellows has always been and
will ever be a potent factor in his development,
and when this rivalry is exerted in the struggle
for the means of sustenance then does this desire
develop into the power that moves the world.
Emulation, that milder form of competition, is
that which may be said to have for its object of
attainment the applause and approval of our fel-
lows. It has no influence in the struggle for
bread. The primary desire to sustain life and


perpetuate the species is the inherent instinct that
gives power to the secondary desire to excel or
emulate a rival, and hence bread is the one great
objective point. Take away the necessity to
struggle for food, clothing and shelter, and you
destroy that dynamic power that moves the


If contest and rivalry are inherent instincts,
and if the struggle for existence brings out men's
best efforts, then, any system which destroys the
opportunity for the free exercise of these in-
stincts in such a struggle is at cross purposes with
the basic principles of human nature, and is
therefore unsound and unscientific.

Socialism presupposes the government's taking
over and operating of every farm, factory, rail-
road, mine, telegraph, trade and industry. The
Goulds, the Rockefellers, the Morgans and the
Schwabs must then seek government positions
with a fixed wage not to exceed the wages of
their inferior officers and workmen. If they
were then to exercise their marvellous organiz-
ing powers, it would no longer be the fear of
poverty which now inspires them. They would
know that they could no longer aspire to excel
their fellows in wealth and social position, and


there would no longer be a struggle for existence.
Existence would be for everybody alike who is
willing to labor a few hours a day. Food, clothes
and shelter would be in abundance for the rich
and poor, regardless of one's abilities or attain-
ments. The one great incentive that has always
moved men to labor with energy, enthusiasm
and persistence will have vanished. The world
would soon go to sleep.


1. It would create an enormous and dangerous
power for the party in control, and would prob-
ably perpetuate its control over every industry in
the land.

2. It would destroy the instincts of rivalry,
contest and competition for the necessaries of
life, and that desire to excel and surpass our
fellows, which instincts now move the world.

3. It removes the incentives to progress by
eliminating the opportunities to acquire indi-
vidual affluence and social superiority.

4. It would result in stagnation of business.

5. It would cause deterioration in human char-
acter because of the removal of the incentive
which makes men strive to better themselves
mentally, morally and intellectually.

6. It is unscientific in that it does not com-


prehend the great inequality of men and the
necessity for the inequality of conditions.

7. It does not rest upon the fundamental law
of natural selection, because it diverts men from
their natural callings, since it is the struggle
for existence only that determines which is fit
to survive, and which is best fitted for certain

8. It is impossible of attainment except by con-
fiscation without just compensation to the owners
of the enterprises confiscated, and to this, modern
civilization would never consent.

9. It would create an industrial machine so
colossal, so complicated and so complex that it
would be entirely unmanageable.

10. It would result in chaos and confusion
because of the assumed equality of very great


There is much in socialism that is good and
true. In fact, it may be that it is nine-tenths
true; but the other one-tenth is fatal — it out-
weighs the other nine-tenths.

I have heretofore in my public life, and could
now, set forth many convincing arguments in
favor of the government ownership idea. If I
did so now it would necessitate answering them


by repeating and enlarging upon that which I
have just set forth, which is not the purpose of
this essay. In my opinion there has been no
argument for socialism yet produced that can
overcome the force of the foregoing truths.

As times and conditions change, so do opinions,
and thus has it been with the writer. Change is
the only thing that is constant — strange paradox
— and mutability is the one immutable law of the



Most people agree that the Trust is the result
of an evolutionary development. If this be true,
it is quite certain that the movement will continue
and that the Trusts will multiply in number and
in size, and thus even greater injury will be
wrought than is now complained of, and the
problem will become the more complex and the
more pressing for solution. If the Trust is the
result of a natural movement it is idle to talk of
such manifestly inadequate suggestions as tariff
revision, government ownership, the single tax,
and publicity as Trust destroyers; for, if It is
natural, the Trusts will grow and thrive in spite
of these. But, should we listen for a moment
to those who seek to exterminate the Trust?



1. It performs the same function in civiliza-
tion as improved machinery — lightening and
lessening the toil of the human family.

2. It organized the industries, eliminates use-
less labor, allays waste and economizes in the use
of nature's materials.

3. It makes less labor necessary, and there-
fore tends to reduce the hours of work.

4. It makes enormously greater profits, com-
paratively, than individual enterprises, and
therefore makes higher wages possible.

5. It reduces the cost of production to the
minimum and therefore makes possible the low-
est prices.

6. It is impossible to destroy the Trust with-
out legislating against the co-operative and part-
nership principle, and this would be futile as
well as demoralizing.


If then we are not to destroy the Trust, and
if we are not to adopt the government owner-
ship idea, and if the Trust cannot safely be let
alone because of the injuries it is now working,
and because of the still greater injuries which


it threatens to inflict upon society in the future,
what shall be done with it? What can be done
with this unmanageable monster to destroy its
faults and yet not spoil its virtues? How can we
conquer the giant without slaying him?


One more phase of the question requires con-
sideration before proceeding with conclusions.
In Gloversville, N. Y., and near vicinity, about
three-quarters of the inhabitants are engaged in
the glove industry, and in Troy, N. Y., the same
conditions obtain as to collars and cuffs. All
over the country, we find the inhabitants of cer-
tain localities devoted almost exclusively to one
industry, such as pork-packing, manufacturing,
fishing, and mining, and even in our cities we find
certain sections devoted exclusively to banking,
shipping, shopping, dry-goods, manufacture, and
commission brokerage. The people of a certain
town, having for generations devoted themselves
exclusively to the manufacture of say, bricks,
have become proficient and expert in that indus-
try. They have invented or obtained control
of the best machinery, they have trained their
children from infancy to become proficient in
the industry, and they have ever been alert to
seize upon the best and nev/est ideas that always


come to those who devote their lives and fortunes
to the perfection of any one thing. Besides, natu-
ral advantages such as water power, accessibility
to navigable streams, climatic or geological con-
ditions, and geographical situation often attract
and confine the people of a locality to one indus-
try. Racial limitations and advantages also
determine to some extent what calling a man
shall follow. The thick-skulled negro would not
be a success in the icy regions of Alaska, and the
oily Esquimo would be a failure in the cotton
fields of the South. Again, nature has adapted
certain regions to the growing of cotton, or to-
bacco, or fruits, and in others it has deposited
vast quantities of coal, or iron, or oil.

These, in brief, are some of the facts which
render irresistible the conclusion that localiza-
tion of industries and specialization of men is
the natural and inevitable condition of the future.

Now, if every locality shall in the future have
its specialty and other localities will not compete
with it, as we have shown they often cannot,
then locality monopolizes that specialty.

Thus the people of Gloversville will probably
obtain a monopoly of the glove industry, likewise
the people of Troy of the collar and cufif indus-
try, the people of Wilkes-Barre of the coal in-
dustry, and the people of Omaha, Kansas City


or Chicago, of the meat-packing industry, and
the people of Haverstraw of the brick industry
— not only because of their training and experi-
ence, but because of natural adaptation, or of
geological or geographical advantages.

Here, then, are natural monopolies at many
points, and we may as well legislate to stop the
tides from rising and falling as to resist this
natural economic movement. While not nec-
essarily a Trust, it partakes of the nature of the
Trust in effect, and it may properly be classed
with the Trust for all present purposes.

Thus, monopoly results from two known
causes: the operation of the laws of co-opera-
tion, and the operation of the laws of localiza-
tion and specialization.


Since one can no longer make his own shoes
alone and must summon the aid of thousands of
his fellows in this simple industry, so must he
have the assistance of many more thousands of
his fellows to supply him with the numerous
other articles needed for his comfort. In ex-
change for their aid he gives his own labor in
his chosen calling, and thus does he and every
other man become a necessary unit in the vast
universal organization. All men and all indus-


tries are interdependent. Without the steel in-
dustry, the shoe industry fails for want of nails,
eyelets and machines. Without the paper in-
dustry the steel industry fails for want of paper,
car-wheels, books, stationery, the mails and the
telegraph. Without the silk and cotton indus-
tries the glove industry cannot thrive, and so on
throughout the entire list.


Thomas Jefferson, the father of the present
Democratic party, was an individualist. He was
opposed to the expenditure of public money in
repairing highways, to building state canals and
to establishing even a national university. He
was strongly opposed to the government owner-
ship principle, and maintained that that govern-
ment is best which governs least. The keynote
of his philosophy was ''free individual enter-

Alexander Hamilton represented the opposite
school of political philosophy. He was for con-
centration, and centralization of power. At the
root of the Hamiltonian theory is the belief that
the people are not competent to govern them-
selves, — hence the idea of ruling from above. At
the root of the Jeffersonian theory is the home


rule principle and absolute confidence in the wis-
dom of the people. The Republican party today
is somewhat consistent with the Hamiltonian
philosophy, while the Democratic party is con-
sistent with no one theory, and is composed of an
heterogeneous collection of philosophers (?)
from divers schools ; but, assuming that the Dem-
ocratic party is mainly Jeflfersonian, it should
be the last party seriously to suggest the govern-
ment ownership idea. Yet, if we are to follow
Jefferson's "Free individual enterprise" philos-
ophy, we cannot consistently destroy the Trust,
for that would be interfering with free individual
enterprise. The word "free" was used by Jefifer-
son in the sense of freedom from governmental
interference. However, there are those who
claim that the Trust destroys free individual en-
terprise because of special governmental favors,
such as tariffs, patent and copyright laws and
legislative discrimination, which contention is
more or less well founded, and these persons
therefore wish the government to refuse these
favors, claiming that then the Trust cannot exist,
and that then there will be free individual enter-
prise. But this appears to be an erroneous con-
clusion, in view of the enormous advantages and
economies of co-operation, and by no manner of


logical reasoning is it possible to construct a per-
manent remedy from such proposed action.

Briefly, there is nothing to be found in the tra-
ditions and philosophy of either the Democratic
or the Republican party, nor the various socialist
parties, to meet the situation.

Whether we approve of the collectivist school
of philosophy, of which Karl Marx was the illus-
trious head, or of the individualistic school, of
which Proudhon was perhaps the ablest expon-
ent, whether we are followers of Hamilton or
Jefferson, we find we must seek out a new ground
or a middle ground somewhere, for the old the-
ories will not meet the situation and solve the

There is some truth and virtue in everything
that is false and evil, just as there is some evil in
everything that is good. We must discover and
appropriate the virtues of Jefferson and Proud-
hon, Hamilton and Marx, and carefully discard
their faults.



A family was once shipwrecked upon a large
island. There were five members of the family
all able to work, and by a proper division of their


labor they managed to provide themselves with
food, clothes, and shelter. After a time another
family was shipwrecked upon the same island.
The second family followed the example of the
first, and each prospered independently of the
other. During the next year a third and fourth
family were also stranded upon the same island,
for it was unmarked on the charts and many a
ship had met its fate upon its rocky shores. As
each family developed and multiplied, each hav-
ing selected a different part of the island, four
little villages, some distance apart, sprang up.
During the daily hunts several other similar vil-
lages were discovered in the interior, each rep-
resenting a shipwrecked family of previous years.
As time wore on, and each village grew, and
other shiploads of people from all nations were
deposited upon the island, it came to pass that
the island became quite densely inhabited, and
the villages almost touched one another at their

One day a philosopher mysteriously made his
appearance; and after touring the island, he
asked all of the inhabitants to meet him in b.n
open field. When the appointed day came, the
entire adult population was there, and the phi-
losopher spoke as follows:

"You have a fine country here, and fine people.


You are industrious and simple. Each little vil-
lage is independent of the other villages, for each
can provide itself with everything its people actu-
ally need. You never ask favors from your
neighboring villages. Each village has its own
corn field, its own carpenters, woods, cows, sheep,
horses and stores. But I find that you have no
music, no books, no art, no places of amusement
and very little ingenuity. You all work from
morn till night and you have no time for these
things. It is a constant, ceaseless struggle for
all of you to keep body and soul together. Each
of you men and women is an isolated unit. Each
village is an isolated unit. You are all isolated
from the great commercial countries far beyond
the seas. Now, in travelling through your
island, I found that one village had a coal mine
and all the people there used coal for fuel, while
all the other villages have to hew great trees,
chop them up, and burn wood, in order to get
heat. In one village I found oil wells and the
people there burn oil, while all the other vil-
lages have to use bullrush torches. In one vil-
lage I found the soil of clay, so that the people
made their houses of bricks, while the other
villages have to use blocks of wood, or logs. In
another village I found iron ore and their people
have sharp tools, while other villages have to


use sharpened stones. And so on, for I found
each village has some peculiar and natural ad-
vantage over the other. Now, my friends, why
do you keep these God-given advantages to your-
selves? You villagers who have coal know that
there is enough for all the island, and so with
you who have the iron, bricks, or cotton, or fruits,
or silks, or furs. Why don't you exchange what
you make or raise for the products of your neigh-
bors? The whole island must have so many hats,
so many shoes, and so many houses, and if yoi;
divide your labors and freely exchange your
products with one another, you will find that
you will all have more comforts, and you won't
have so long to work each day. And when
you have more leisure, you will begin to invent,
and plan, and enjoy yourselves, and write books,
and visit one another to exchange ideas. The
gross amount that all you people produce each
year is really very, very small. If you should
co-operate, you could create many times as many
commodities as you now produce."

The philosopher disappeared. The people
talked about it for weeks thereafter, and they
finally began to adopt his plan. They built rail-
roads, and they freely exchanged products with
one another. Money then came into use. With
money one could do almost anything. It repre-


sented bread and butter. Every man tried to get
all he could, — not only to provide against future
wants, but that he might outshine his neighbors.
There w^as gradually a great division of labor on
the island, and a great saving in work. The peo-
ple no longer worked fifteen hours a day. They
did not have to. Men who had strong arms
moved to the village where they were doing
something which required strength. Men who
had thick skulls moved to the cotton fields to
work under a hot sun. Men who had sharp eyes
moved to the manufacturing village. Men with
executiveness became foremen, and superintend-
ents, and presidents. And so every village grad-
ually became adjusted to the changed plans.
Every man sought that village or field best
adapted to his physique or abilities. Every man
and every village finally became a specialist.
In the coal village they did nothing else but
mine and transport coal. In the oil village they
only produced and shipped oil. In one
village they had several swift streams run-
ning through to the coast, and this village
was in the middle of the isle and not far
from the iron and cotton villages. It be-
came the manufacturing village. This vil-
lage was divided into many different districts,
and was very large. In one section, the Man-


chester-like climate and misty atmosphere, and
nearness to the cotton fields, made it a natural
cotton manufacturing center. Another section
was adapted for making steel and iron goods.
And so on.

As time wore on, every industry on the island,
localized, and every man became specialized.
Inventions and machinery multiplied. But every
new labor-saving machine saved labor, of course,
and produced better goods than hand labor. So
every new machine took a job away from several
workmen. There was much complaint about this
but new inventions kept coming. There were
now twenty different hat factories in the manu-
facturing village, each trying to undersell the
other. One day they combined and built a large
addition on the largest factory building. Then
they moved most of the other hat factory ma-
chinery in, and destroyed the old buildings and
the machinery they did not want. They also dis-
charged nineteen engineers, nineteen foremen,
fifty bookkeepers, two hundred drivers and pack-
ers and many other men, because they no longer
needed them. These poor discharged workmen
did not know what to do, for they had spent their
lives at that business and knew no other First,
there was a great hue and cry raised by all the


little villages, for they all felt sorry for the
poor discharged workmen.

But soon, this big partnership concern began
to sell the same hats for far less than formerly,
and they told the people that they could afford
to because they did not have so many men to
pay, so much rent, so much advertising, and w^eire
running things more economically. Other big
partnerships were formed all over the island,
and after a while, so great was the economy of
combination that many men could not get any
work to do. Every big partnership soon took
in all the little concerns on the island, or else
it drove them out of business by competition.

Some men became discouraged and began to
drink rum, and others even began to cheat and

One day, some of the big partnerships had a
banquet, and they talked things over and they
said: "We're making money and getting rich,
but we could do it faster if we did not have to
pay so much wages. Let us raise prices and cut
wages down." This they did, and finally the
workingmen got together into a partnership of
their own. They organized, and they all said
they must have just so much wages or they would
not work at all. This forced the big partnership
people to pay better wages for a while, but the


two partnerships, employer and employee, were
always quarrelling. One day a very serious
thing happened in the coal village. The work-
men refused to work because they thought they
were not getting enough wages. They stopped

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Online LibraryEugene V. (Eugene Valentine) BrewsterWhat's what in America → online text (page 7 of 12)