Outdoor Advertising Association of America.

Land and freedom (Volume 28) online

. (page 6 of 44)
Online LibraryOutdoor Advertising Association of AmericaLand and freedom (Volume 28) → online text (page 6 of 44)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Blackstone



Arnold Bennett's

Typical Landlord

TN his novel entitled "Lord Raingo," Arnold Bennett
* sneers at the Single Tax. A fiction writer, like a poet,
must be allowed some license, and Bennett appears to
disregard consistency when it suits his literary necessity.
In his novel, " The Old Adam," in which he continues the
adventure of that British Mr. Babbitt, Edward Henry
Machen, Bennett attacks landlordism radically as follows:

" Lord Waldo was one of the richest of human beings
in England. * * * He owned a great deal of the land be-
tween Oxford and Regent Street, and a number of valuable
squares north of Oxford Street were his; and as for Edg-
ware Road just as auctioneers advertise a couple of miles
of trout-stream or salmon-river as a pleasing adjunct to a
country estate, so, had Lord Waldo's estate come under the
hammer, a couple of miles of Edgware Road might have
been advertised as among its charms. Lord Waldo owned
four theatres, and to each theatre he had his private en-
trance, and in each theatre his private box, over which the
management had no sway. The Waldos in their leases
had always insisted on this.

" He never built in London; his business was to let land
for others to build upon, the condition being that what
others built should ultimately belong to him. Thousands of
people in London were only too delighted to build on these
terms: he could pick and choose his builders. It was
constantly happening that under legal agreements some
fine erection put up by another hand came into the absolute
possession of Lord Waldo without one halfpenny of expense
to Lord Waldo. Now and then a whole street would thus
tumble all complete into his hands. The system, most
agreeable to Lord Waldo and about a dozen other land-
lords in London, was called the leasehold system ; and when
Lord Waldo became the proprietor of some bricks and mor-
tar that had cost him nothing it was said that one of Lord
Waldo's leases had ' fallen in,' and everybody was quite
satisfied by the phrase.

" In the provinces, besides castles, forests and moors,
Lord Waldo owned many acres of land under which was
coal, and he allowed enterprising persons to dig deep for
this coal and often explode themselves to death in the
adventure, on the understanding that they paid him six-
pence for every ton of coal brought to the surface, whether
they made any profit or not. This arrangement was called
' mining rights ' another phrase that apparently satis-
fied everybody."

CARL MARFELS, of Heidelberg, Germany, has in
preparation a translation of Will Atkinson's Out-
lines of Progress and Poverty, and a Spanish translation
of the same little work is under way.



LAND AND FREEDOM



25



Activity in Boston

UNDER the active leadership of Mrs. Alice Caporn the
Economic Forum has been formed i Boston and is
off to a good start. The initial meeting was attended by
abou fifty composed of representatives of the Fellow-
ship of Youth, the Theosophical Society, and Proportional
Representation League, together with a number of old
time Single Taxers.

The purpose is to get together the people who are in-
terested in economic discussions. The members of the
Fellowship of Youth are interested in abolishing war and
recognize the part economics plays in international conflicts.
Our friends are not going to ask contributions to keep the
Forum alive from any of those groups until the organiza-
tion is well under way.

At the first meeting of the Forum John S. Codman
was chairman, and Wm. Lloyd Garrison led off by giving a
resume of the national and international situation with
its economic significance. Among other speakers were
Robt. B. Capon, Louis Weston and Mrs. Caporn.

Meetings will be held every first and third Wednesdays
at 717 Boylston Street.

Speaking of Subways

nr^HE problem of financing future facilities is acute. Here
-i New York made one mistake which other communities
would do well to avoid. It should have put part of the burden
of new construction on property directly benefited. As the
Chairman of the Board of Transportation has pointed out,
rapid transit lines have everywhere doubled, and in some
cases tripled, local property values. Of course the city has
profited by increased valuations, and the owner has had to
pay increased taxes, but they are not an adequate measure
of the benefit which he first capitalized.

-N. Y. Times, Dec. 4, 1927

THANKSGIVING was started by the Pilgrims who
would give thanks every time they killed an Indian
and took more of his land. As years went by and they
had all his land they changed it into a day to give thanks
for the bountiful harvest, when the boll weevil and the
protective tariff didn't remove all cause for thanks.

WILL ROGERS.

THE medical officer at Hessle, a residential suburb of
Hull, reported that a woman and her son were living
in a shed which "scarcely provided shelter for a donkey
let alone a human being."

The District Council decided "to take the necessary
action to compel the occupiers to vacate the shed." Very
helpful to those "occupiers"! Presumably they are now
free to look for another shed.

Commonweal, London, England_



All Equal In Heaven

MR. JOHN WHEATLEY, M.P. former Labor Minister
of Health, speaking at Liverpool, on Sunday, is
reported by the Daily Herald to have said: "Christianity
taught that the wealthy man and the poor man would be
equal in heaven. What was wrong with having them
equal in Liverpool? "

Christianity draws its picture of heaven on the assumption
that there will be no Earl Sefton or Earl Derby there to
charge the other inhabitants rent for seating accommoda-
tion on the damp clouds. Neither does the picture include
any stupid Liberal or Labor politicians addressing mass
meetings of poor and unemployed angels, and urging these
to vote for Cloud Policies proposing compensation to Cloud
Lords, whose theft of their Clouds is denying them their
right of equal opportunity. There can be no equality in
Liverpool while there are Land Lords there.

Commonweal, London, Eng.

AS most people are aware, the Henry George club men
are the foremost champions of Pittsburgh's graded
tax law.

That law, which has been a gradual process fixed the tax
on buildings at just one-half the rate levied on land, has
attracted marked attention throughout the country.

It encourages building, and discourages (and penalizes)
holding land unimproved and out of use.

But it applies to our municipal taxes only. It does
not affect the school tax.

The Henry George men would like to extend the graded
tax to our school taxation, and they asked Mr. Aaron
if he would join them in recommending it.

He pointed out that as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia
are in the same constitutional school class and governed
by the same school code, any change in our school taxation
would involve change in Philadelphia also.

There were other complications, too, Mr. Aaron declared.
So he declined, at least for the present, to commit himself.

Pittsburgh Press.

What Do You Most

Admire In A Man?

THE late Henry George put the above query to his
wife, which brought the reply: 'Courage."
"But why, 'Courage?'" inquired the husband. "Be
cause it is the manly quality."

"But," exclaimed Henry George, courage might seem
to go with physique and I am a small man. How do
you find courage in me?"

"I do not mean physical courage," replied the wife,
"but moral courage that impels a man who sees his duty
to follow it, though it mean to make sacrifices to stand
up against the world."

Irish News, Belfast, Ireland.



26



LAND AND FREEDOM



To Relieve Housing Shortage
Italy Exempts Dwellings

A SPECIAL cable dispatch from Rome, published in
^ * the New York Sun of January 25, says that by royal
decree all homes throughout Italy, built between 1925
and 1935, will be exempt from taxation; and this regard-
less of cost or rent charged, or whether rented or occupied
by the owner. The exemption includes houses occupied
partly by small stores. This sweeping measure, says the
dispatch, has been adopted as a measure for solving the
housing shortage. Further details will be awaited with
much interest.

Where Faith Begins

TTENRY GEORGE was one among the millions of
* -*- thinkers who tried to fathom the ultimate meaning
of life, only to arrive at the place where all must stand
before a closed door. Reasoning, he followed the scrip-
tures of the men who have been and gone the Bibles,
esoteric doctrines of old philosophers, the inner mean-
ing of grotesque religions, the dogmatic constitutions of
Ecumenical Councils, the preachings of Foxes and Wesleys,
the traditions of red Indians and black savages.

Now for a true quotation of this man's own words: "And
out o the chain of thought we have been following there
seems vaguely to rise a glimpse of what they vaguely saw
a shadowy gleam of ultimate relations, the endeavor to
express which inevitably falls into type and allegory. A
garden in which are set the trees of good and evil. A vine-
yard in which there is the Master's work to do. A passage
from life behind to life beyond. A trial and a struggle,
in which we cannot see the end."

Harrisburg, (Pa.) Telegraph Editorial .

BOOK REVIEWS

POLITICAL MYTHS AND ECONOMIC REALITIES*

In these days of rapid-fire treatment of historical problems by
glorified reporters like Wells and Van Loon it is a relief to come across
a work which is a serious attempt to consider events in the light of
principles that determine them and to build, however imperfectly,
a philosophy of history by which we may interpret historical pheno-
mena.

We are far from endorsing what seem to us the extravagant en-
comiums which this book has received. But we are glad to record
that as far as M. Delaisi has travelled his journey has been a profitable
one to the reader, for it has carried him to the point where political
formulas have broken down and economic facts are given their due
proportion and significance. We say this is a far step in current specu-
lation which hitherto has not even given us that much.

The title is an arresting one. But what our author sometimes mistakes
as myths are after all only the conflicts which have arisen in history
between the principles of democracy and the arrogant claims of priv-
ilege. This struggle M. Delaisi does not always see as phenomena
of progress. Perhaps his formula has been a little too much for him ,
and has exercised a constraining influence upon the freedom of his

Political Myths and Economic Realities. By Francis Delaisi. 446 pp. Cloth bound
Price $4. The Viking Press, New York City.



speculations. Beneath what he calls myths is something much more
fundamental than he indicates, and the "economic realities" might
be made more real if he had been able to discover the chief of these
realities in all its relations. He sees it in many forms, it is true, but
being unable to trace these to their paternity his speculations leave some-
thing lacking. He remains a captive to formula.

Had our author been able to trace the progress of mankind as a
struggle to escape from slavery, and to discern in the failure of the
struggle what it really is that brings so many of these efforts to naught
really the divorcement of men from their rights to the use of the
earth he would not descant thus on the Russian Revolution, (page 52).

"It is true that all the workers, the intellectuals, the people with
generous and vague aspirations who suddenly declared themselves
"Bolsheviks" were totally ignorant of the circumstances of the Russian
Revolution and of its true history. They were attracted neither by
Lenin's method nor by its results; it was the latent myth within their
minds which suddenly blazed out under the action of an apparently
successful event."

What our author has done and it was a work needing to be done
is to dissipate the myth of nationalism (in the economic field) and
demonstrate interdependence in the economic realm. He has demon-
strated the fixity of the economic laws and the constant transform-
ation of political forms.

Governments erect institutions in ignorance of economic influences.
Constitutions and laws which statesmen fondly imagine embody finali-
ties are slowly modified in obedience to the economic urge. They see
established rules of law slowly yielding to a silent authority whose
decrees determine their existence and duration. These are the political
myths, and the stern realities are those economic truths which modify
or destroy political theories.

Republics, democracies, monarchies, dictatorships are merely
political forms in which there is neither stability nor efficacy. Nor
do they contribute to the happiness of the people. Seeing this the
debate has run along endlessly as to the comparative merit of these
forms of government. The question is still unsettled. And the reason
is clear. Economic realities are still ignored in the world, though
they are imperative and insistent causes, which every now and then
destroy institutions in violent revolutions.

Here is a suggestive thought on page 155:

'The natural tendency of every landowner is to "round off his land"
by the inclusion of his neighbor's field. There are always excellent
reasons why he should; the coveted strip forms an enclave and hampers
cultivation, or it may be advisable to join together pasture land and
cornfield whose produce complement each other. Given that the
soil is the source of all wealth the common ambition is for each to in-
crease his own portion.

" Nations are subject to the same law. So long as they were merely
an aggregate of farmers or landowners living by the revenues of the
land their ambitions were territorial.and the general tendency of their
policy was to annex the border provinces."

The author makes clear that these territorial ambitions, eumphe-
mized as "historical rights" what else are they but the landowning
interests? are directly responsible for most of the wars that have
made Europe a bloody battleground. But he does not amplify this
thought and is too apt to treat it as negligible as he proceeds with his
more elaborate and intriguing thesis.

A heading to one of the chapters is "Free Trade as the Doctrine of
Interdependence." The author holds that with the abolition of the
Corn Laws in Great Britain, which he calls the "defeat of the land-
lords," a new episode in history had seemingly begun. "Interde-
pendence had secured a triumph over economic nationalism and
reality over myth."

With Free Trade now established in Great Britain, with all its im-
plications accepted, and with the commercial treaties negotiated
in 1860 by Cobden with Michael Chevalier for Great Britain and
France, with similiar treaties with Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and
Holland and the Zollverein it seems to M. Delaisi that the world was
heading rapidly toward free trade, and he says: "The principle of free



LAND AND FREEDOM



27



trade by turning the economic interdependence of nations into a reality
would have eventually made for universal peace." But it was not
to be. As our author remarks historical events do not unfold in logical
sequence.

The author's treatment of free trade leaves little to be desired. One
of his phrases is "the homo economicus who acts internationally and
the homo politicks who thinks nationally." The deepest instinct of
the economic man is to act internationally, and this should teach our
protectionist that the normal and primal instict is to trade freely, and
that the exercise of this instinct results in bringing about the largest
general satisfaction in the production and enjoyment of wealth.

In the very manner of Henry George, M. Delaisi gives a striking
illustration of the benefits of cooperation made possible under our
modern system of exchanges in one day in the life of well-to-do Par-
isian :

"On awakening, M. Durand washes himself with soap manu-
factured out of Congo peanut and dries himself with a cotton towel
of Louisiana. He then proceeds to dress himself. His shirt and collar
are made of Russian linen, his coat and trousers of wool from the
Cape or Australia. He puts on a silk tie made of Japanese cocoons
and shoes whose leather is derived from the hide of an Argentine ox
and tanned with chemical product from Germany.

" In his dining room adorned with a Dutch sideboard, made of
wood from Hungarian forests he will find the table laid with plated
metal made of Rio-Tinto copper, tin from the straits and silver from
Australia. He will find a fresh loaf, made of wheat, which according tothe
season of the year, may come from Beauce, from Roumania or from
Canada. He will eat eggs newly arrived from Morocco, a slice of
frozen presale from the Argentine and preserved small peas which have
seen the California sun: his sweets will be English jam made of French
fruit and Cuban sugar, and his excellent coffee will come from Brazil.

" Restored to vigor he now goes to work. An electric tram run on
the Thompson-Houston system, takee him to his office. After making
a note of the quotations of the Liverpool, London, Amsterdam or Yoko-
hama exchanges, he dictates his correspondence, which is taken down
on an English typewriter, and he signs it with an American fountain
pen. In his workshop Paris articles are being manufactured out of
material of many origins, by machinery built in Lorraine, according
to German patents and fed with English coal. His instructions are
to send them to Rio by the first German steamer that puts into
Cherbourg.

" He then proceeds to pay in a cheque in guilders from a Dutch client
and to buy sterling to pay for English goods. The bank manager
will take the opportunity to point out that his account shows a con-
siderable balance and that oil shares are rising. Mr. Durand agrees
to the suggestion, but unwilling to place all his eggs in one basket,
he gives orders to buy at the same time four Royal Dutch shares and
ten of a French company affiliated to the Standard Oil.

"Satisfied with a profitable day, he proposes to spend the evening
at a show with his wife. She will don her best frock from Pauquin,
Ltd., her pretty fur or blue fox (Siberia), her diamonds from the Cape.
Then they will dine in an "Italian restaurant" and debate whether
to go to the Russian ballet or to a music hall to hear Raquel Meller,
or perhaps decide for one of d'Annunzio's plays acted by Ida Ruben-
stein with ddsigns from Bakst."

There is a chapter devoted to the international character of the
national genius in the production of literary and artistic masterpieces.
These are masterpieces not because they are national but because they
are human, and M. Delaisi points out the constant variations in
national taste. There is as little reality in the national literary myth
as there is in the political myth. When it assumes a common inheri-
tance from generation to generation, a literary system of unchanging
tradition, the belief becomes little short of a vulgar illusion. Our
author shows that this illusion is strongest among the least educated
classes. The chapter is well worth pondering, as is so much of the
contents of this really remarkable book, for its demonstration of the
essentially international character of all art, to which breadth and
liberality of culture contribute.

Of more than passing interest is the author's contention, we had
almost said his demonstration, that the disturbances and bloodshed
that have so often devastated the world and are attributed to religious
intolerance, were really due to other causes. He tells us that religious
myths are at their birth multiform, extremely variable and therefore



tolerant. Intolerance, he says, lies not in the myth itself, but springs
from its political function. When it has attained unity, and becomes
part of the social or political entity, dissidence in dogma is tantamount
to a blow struck at institutionalism. He says this law applies as much
to lay as to religious myths, and he reinforces his thesis with illustra-
tions drawn from a profoundly impressive knowledge of history.

When it becomes necessary to save social institutions institutions
of privilege for the most part the pretence of defending the religious
myth is invoked for the masses, a pretence readily discarded as soon
as it has served its purpose. The lesson is an important one as strik-.
ing at the very heart of the notion (a notion which breeds intolerance)
that one sect more than another in history has resorted to the weapon
of persecution, or that the inclination to do so is inherent in the nature
of religious sects.

Van Loon and Wells have sought to popularize history and in so
doing have cheapened it. M. Delaisi has tried to do something dif-
ferent and of greater value; he has started out to discover the solution
of existing problems of history, to search the heart of civilization, to
give an answer why it has not succeeded. The attempt is worthy of
all praise.

Yet the work fails tragically fails. The wisdom that has traced
so many economic realities has permitted the fundamental one to elude
him. It seems almost pitiful that the intelligence that has set off so
well the myth of nationalism against the ever pressing economic urge
should be so utterly oblivious to the great question that looms behind
all these very interesting speculations. Is there no such thing as a
Land Question? Are the natural resources of the earth, the struggle
for the ownership or control of which determines the policies of rulers
and their ministers, to be utterly forgotten? At the conclusion the
author writes:

"The world will only recover its equilibrium when, in the minds of
each producer, the idea of interdependence has acquired the same
value as that of salvation for the Christian, equality for the democrat,
and the fatherland for the citizen. But how are the masses to acquire
this consciousness? That is the vital problem which must be faced
by all who can look beyond the surface of events. "

Must it all then be summed up in this? And has the author actually
abandoned all his economic realities only to fall back on a myth of
psychology, lacking as little reality as the myths he indicates? Is it
all to be resolved into a state of mind? And is a new consciousness
to be evolved in the presence of these economic realities which have
muddled our political conduct, our international outlook, our social
life, and even the rationalizing of minds as keen and free from pre-
dilection as M. Delaisi's?

J. D. M.

WHAT IS COOPERATION?*

This is another of the Vanguard Press series treating of various phases
of social philosophies. Socialism, Single Tax, etc., are, as our readers
know, treated in books that have preceded it.

The author of this book is the outstanding authority on Coopera-
tion and president of the Cooperative League. Cooperative Democ-
racy published in 1923, and reissued in a revised edition in 1927, is the
larger work of the same author on which the present manual is based.

There is here everything the general reader will want to know of the
reasons for and history of Cooperation in the United States and in
Great Britain, in which latter country the movement has attained such
imposing proportions.

There is a chapter entitled "Criticism of Proposed Remedies" which
is, on the whole, not unfair. On the subject of the Single Tax the author
is in error in saying that " it would result in State ownership of the land."
Perhaps, however, the author means people-owned, and this would be
true in essence if not in form.

Mr. Warbasse says: "It would not change the motive nor method
of business. " He is silent, however, on whether it would or would not

What is Cooperation? By James Peter Warbasse. 170 -pp. Cloth bound. 55
Cents postpaid. The Vanguard Press, 80 Fifth Avenue. N. Y. City.



28



LAND AND FREEDOM



change the mater of distribution, and that is the important thing,
whether production be carried on cooperatively or competitively. Many
Single Taxers are affiliated with the Cooperative League, but most of us
regard it as only one of the proposals for economic betterment which
must be largely nullified as long as the source of all wealth the land
is the private possession of the few.

We may say that cooperation is better than the reasons given for it.
Under our present system it has its value; under a system where the
rent of land was taken by the people and all natural resources were
peopled-owned, there would be a vast extension of cooperative enter-
prises, and these would be largely substituted for individual enter-
prise, though cooperation would never wholly take its place for obvious



Online LibraryOutdoor Advertising Association of AmericaLand and freedom (Volume 28) → online text (page 6 of 44)