William Simpson.

The man from Mars; his morals, politics and religion online

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custom, to convey its possession by will ; and it is more
generally the case on our planet than on yours, that a
piece of land is held for generations in the same family.


Our government exercises some rights of interference, to
the end that the size of a farm shall conform, as near as
possible, to such dimensions as to employ no great excess
of labor over that capable of being supplied by the family
of the occupant. In a general way, the tenant enjoys
the same rights of ownership which are held by your
individual holders in fee, except that he cannot convey
title, and does not take to himself any emolument arising
from increased value. His rent is simply an equivalent
to your tax, with the very important difference, that its
amount depends entirely on the season's productiveness,
and is never a burden.

Once decided upon, the proposed city becomes the sub-
ject of universal interest. Its plans are submitted and
approved, just as your proposals for a single edifice. All
its parts must conform with each other ; the choice of its
location chiefly depends upon drainage and water supply,
and it possesses these advantages in the highest perfection.
Every house must be erected in conformity with rules.
Work is commenced by the erection of public buildings
in the center, and the laying of drain, water, heat and
electric conduits through its newly surveyed streets.
People come to it, as they cbme to your new cities, for the


purpose of gain in trade and industry, and locate them-
selves as they choose under a fixed and uniform land
rental. They erect edifices as you do, varying them as
they like in their internal structure, but strictly conform-
ing in their outer elevations to the style adopted by our
architectural commission, which supervises also the
material employed, and the safety and durability of the
work. Any disreputable or depraved quarter is of course
impossible under this plan ; nor could such an encourage-
ment and propagation of crime exist in one of our cities,
as they do in yours, even had we the class of tenants to
people them. It must be charged among the evils of
your landlordism, that it not only promots vice through
its tendency to impoverish your masses, but is ready at all
times to multiply it, by affording quarters for convenient

The spectacle of our city in course of construction is
very different from yours. The government has set aside,
what may be computed in your way as millions of money
for the institution of various works designed for the
health and comfort of the new population, and people are
arriving in thousands from all quarters to do the work.
Every one of them is impressed with that feeling and


interest which can only arise from ownership, and there
is not a single one of them who is not performing some
of the work. No one of them has a hope for honor and
wealth by getting a monopoly of the land. No rich man
comes with his accumulations to get a perpetual lien upon
the industries that are just now springing up, and to hold
for himself and his descendants the privilege of exacting
daily for all time a larger share of the earnings of labor
than your slaveholders derive from their human chattels.
All choose to work, because it is both honorable and
profitable to do so, and also because it is a duty, the con-
scious fulfillment of which is attended with a feeling of

The systematic and regular use of the voluntary mus-
cles, without excessive fatigue, has not only an important
influence on health, but assists as well to develop perfect
and well rounded brains, out of which can only come
those evenly balanced minds which create, out of the
power of intelligence, the blessings of human progress ;
whence only come those level headed men, who are dis-
tinguished among yourselves as being never wholly the
product of learning. It is an axiom with us, that he who
does not produce has no right to consume, and this doc-

the; man from mars. 187

trine has been so carried out in our society that physical
inertia, no matter how much attended with wealth, is
exceedingly rare. As a consequence, affluence with us is
not beset with the terrible penalties of ill health. The
muscular body in all conditions of life is made to act with
the brain and nerves.

We shall suppose, now, our city has reached a period
of its growth equal in time to your decade. Its grand
temple is not quite completed. Its streets stretch away
in the distance, none of them narrower than a hundred
of your feet, and some of them more than twice as wide,
to accommodate the airships and the larger warehouses.
The lines of uniform house fronts, relieved on the street
coroners by elevated towers, reach out sufficiently far into
the gradually changing suburbs to give a hint of the long
and beautiful perspectives that are to come. From the
center outwards there are reserved, at intervals of about
a half mile, spaces corresponding ^with the area of two
blocks, which make a circular belt around the whole.
These are cultivated and embellished in the highest style
of gardening and landscape art. Here are located our
public baths, statues, monuments, conservatories, and
arenas for athletic sports. These pleasure grounds, so


convenient and accessible, diversify our city life with a
taste and flavor of the country. Our city grows in a solid
expansion. There are no straggling suburbs, like yours.
Blocks are erected together, and always in continuation
of the appropriated space adjoining them. The inter-
course and demeanor of our population are, as you may
expect, unlike yours. The general air of serenity and
contentment, the uniform politeness, and the absence of
degradation, with its frequent unpleasant and disgraceful
episodes, mark the difference between your city popula-
tion and ours.

It concerns us most, however, to make a comparison of
our wealth producing agencies, and the channels of their
distribution, and for this purpose we shall take our
metropolis as it stands in its maturity. It contains, now,
like your city of advanced growth, about three hundred
thousand inhabitants. Its land rentals have been sub-
jected to constant modification, and are in some places
very much higher than they were at first. In certain
localities, where trade has concentrated, the public fund
has been increased by a considerable advance of rent to
store keepers, but there is no exorbitant demand of rent
for such favored places as there is with you. The purpose


of rent with us being only to meet the expenses of gov-
ernment, its total is limited ; and consequently, while in
the mercantile and trade districts, where wealth and
capital are most heavily engaged, it has been materially
advanced, a corresponding reduction has taken place in
the residence portions. The direct and immediate effect,
therefore, of an appreciation of land value, is to reduce
living expenses among the masses by curtailing their
rents. In the absence of any monopoly of private owner-
ship, there is no case, even in the most concentrated
places, where rent forms anywhere near so large a pro-
portion of business expense as with you. By your land
ownership methods, landlords have an access to both
pockets of the tenant. Out of one they take to the limit
of their greed whatever sum they choose for the privilege
of business quarters, or a dwelling place, and from the
other a tithe on everything consumed by the enhanced
cost of its distribution.

As our material wants and needs are very much like
5-ours, it is not hard to make a comparative estimate of
the savings of industry. We produce more wealth than
you in a given time, even with our shorter daily periods
of work, because, with few exceptions, all are engaged in


the business of production. By this increased produc-
tiveness every consumer is richer. He is able by a smaller
amount of labor to procure a greater amount of the
objects of desire. Our production is more perfect than
yours, by the use of more perfect machinery. Our
division of labor is more complete than yours. Our
workmen having abundant leisure for intellectual
development, all the practical advantages of knowledge
and science are immediately brought into efifect. By
avoiding your great waste of capital by excessive gov-
ernment expenditures, it is constantly so abundant with
us that its proportion to labor makes labor remunerative.
We have now assumed for the purpose of comparison
that the two cities, one of Mars and one of the Earth,
have each three hundred thousand inhabitants ; and that,
allowing for women and children not engaged in produc-
tive industry, one hundred thousand of each city is
actively engaged in industrial pursuits. As the general
prosperity of each city depends upon the earnings of this
one hundred thousand, and the accumulations in capital
and wealth upon the amount saved by these productive
classes, let us make a relative estimate of the opportuni-
ties each possess in individual savings. Having no com-


mon medium of exchange upon which to base our estimate,
let us take the value of a day's labor for that purpose.
The income of a city is derived from two sources, the
aggregate wages of its inhabitants, and the combined
profits of its capital. The latter, however, being entirely
derived from consumers, is largely contributed to by the
inhabitants themselves. And for the reason that all
imported products, as well as those exported, bear the
profits of capital in their rates of sale, we may safely say
that an amount very nearly equal to the whole profits of
capital of a city is paid by the consumers within its limits
as capital profits. The chief source of your city's yearly
income then is about thirty-one million days' labor. Out
of this you must pay for expenses, under your system,
two million days' labor for government taxes, fifteen
million days' labor for ground rent, two million days'
labor for water, two million days' labor for insurance, and
with the balance of ten million days' labor you must pay
the cost of food, raiment, fuel, the portion of rent esti-
mated in buildings, together with the various incidentals
of furniture and house lights. You will observe that all
these expenses except the first are largely loaded with the
profits of capital, so that with the income and expense as


set forth you may be in a progressive condition, as that
term is defined by 3'ou. That is to say, your capital may
increase, and your wealth may be very greatly aug-
mented. The enormous proportion of your earnings
carried away by rent, although drawn very largely from
your business districts, is contributed equally by the
whole in the increased cost of all products consumed.
Of your one hundred thousand producers, it is safe to say
that twenty thousand of them have capital investments.
Among these is divided the whole of the surplus of the
city's earnings. The eighty thousand engaged in the
business of directly creating wealth are doomed, under
your cruel system, to sweat and toil from sun to sun with-
out accumulations. You accept this condition of things
as inevitable, and your economists contend that the real
or natural remuneration of labor is the bare means of sub-
sistence. We have seen the unrighteous origin of this
prodigious fund, which absorbs one third of the earnings
of labor at least : let us examine its perpetual effects upon
the interests of those who toil.

lyooking upon your civilization, we find in its modern
aspects a wonderful increase in all the appliances and con-
ditions which accumulate wealth. Among these may be


specified a better and more economical division of labor,
the discoveries of science, labor saving inventions, and
altogether as a result, greatly increased productiveness.

Added to these contributions of knowledge and science
in the interest of the working class, you have, during the
last century, experienced the most remarkable acquisi-
tion in favor of labor that was ever known upon your
planet. I allude to the accession of new and fertile lands,
over which the boundaries of civilization have been
extended, and out of which, by the new methods and
contrivances both of husbandry and transportation, the
food supplies of the Earth have been made to flow in a
steady stream toward the districts of their consumption.
These immense advantages could not fail to have, in some
degree, a beneficent effect upon your labor class. Inas-
much as your workmen of to-day are enabled to obtain
more of the comforts of life than formerly, real wages may
be said to have considerably advanced. Their share,
however, of the wealth produced is as small a portion as
formerly. By the modern necessities which custom has
rendered diificult to avoid, they have become larger
consumers, which in itself has enabled your capital, with
its undue advantages, to increase its store out of all

194 '^^^ ^^-^^^ FROM MARS.

proportion to a fair division of the wealth produced. But
the greater and cheaper food supply, and the abundant
capital of your recent times, while serving to neutralize
the depressing effect of increase of population in the
labor ranks, and to institute a condition of general pros-
perity in trade and mercantile pursuits, has at the same
time ofifered to all your monopolists of land the opportu-
nity to extort, under the pressure of competition, the
whole surplus of the earnings of your workmen. Pre-
cisely the same happy conditions which have brought a
modicum of prosperity to them have created a richer field
for your monopolists, and especially for those of them who
by their ownership of city land can exact from the
extended demands of business, and a rapidly multiplying
population, an unfair portion of the wealth produced.
The unlimited privilege of appropriating to themselves
the utmost share of the profits of industry, gives a specu-
lative value to the holdings of your landlords, and serves
in turn to furnish them the excuse of a parallel in their
charges for rent to the current rate of interest on money.
If industry can be forced to make over to them a third of
its earnings now, the possibilities of the future shadow
golden dreams, which promise no less to them than the


power of your imaginary Midas— dreams which encour-
age an easier wealth-making than was possessed by your
olden barons, who by force of arms were enabled to
hold,— what your modern law and custom equaUy
allows,— the privilege of sapping the industry of millions
of busy hands of all else but a bare sustenance and a
shelter from the elements.

That rent does not to any great extent enter into the
cost of your agricultural products, is due to the abun-
dance of new land coming constantly under cultivation,
and to that equalizing of situations which your railroads
promote. An increase in the demand for food, and the
promise of an advance in its price, brings under cultiva-
tion lands of lesser fertility or those more remote from
your markets. The monopoly power of agricultural land
ownership is thereby effectually destroyed. So long as
these favorable conditions exist, the cost of your food
staples will be governed by the value alone of the labor
employed. The profits of capital, therefore, take no part
in them until they leave the hands of the producer.
There is no value in your cultivated lands of the lesser
fertiUty, except in the opportunity they afford for labor
to exchange its services for money. This class of land


fixes the price of and cheapens the food of the Earth.
The value of all lands from these upwards in degrees of
fertility is estimated by the amount of produce derived
from a given amount of labor, and except in a few favor-
ite situations there is as yet no monopoly value in your
cultivated lands. To this, more than anything else, is
due the comparativecheapnessof your food, and the steady
and unrestricted increase of your population. In time,
however, for reasons to obvious to require mention, rent
must enter into the original element of cost among your
food staples, just as it now so largely takes a part in the
cost of their distribution. The fullest manifestation of
the evils of your private ownership system will then take
place. The signs of what may occur at that rapidly
approaching critical period are to be seen in the complete-
ly merciless character of 5'our wealth holders, who, in the
face of a divine intelligence, which has so charitably
provided an even abundance to all, attempt to subvert the
natural laws of trade by unfair combinations, known
among you as trusts and syndicates, wherein the common
welfare is made a sacrifice to their determined and unscru-
pulous love of gain.

You have perhaps not fully considered how it has come


to pass that your wealth is so generally without the best
feelings and impulses of humanity. The desire to accu-
mulate which prevades all classes can accomplish nothing
in the ranks of labor, except for those who possess it in
an inordinate degree. The anxiety for gain must be so
intense as to overwhelm the wish for gratifications within
reach, and to produce a fortitude of restraint which denies
every dispensable want and pleasure. Is is only the few
who have this power of abstinence that can escape a life
of drudgery. The ranks of capital and wealth are
largely recruited from this body of abstainers. Under
the depressing effects of your monopolistic condition,
ordinary prudence and moderate abstemiousness are not,
as a rule, capable of laying the foundation of wealth.
You have, consequently, by a natural process of selection,
the ranks of your moneyed classes filled up, for the most
part, by the most aggressively mercenary and acquisitive
of your race ; while the better part of humanity, where
the self-sacrificing and generous impulses most prevail,
must pay the penalty of its virtues in unrelieved depen-
dence. Your successful moneyed class, coming in time
to that place of power which its wealth procures for it,
shapes and directs your legislation ; which, as you might


expect, instead of being devoted, as it should be, chiefly
to the support of measures to equalize and ameliorate the
conditions of all classes, works the machinery for govern-
ment for its own selfish ends, making easy and com-
fortable paths for those schemes which multiply its

While the wish to accumulate is acknowledged to be
the fountain head of all material progress, its accom-
plishment, under our system, is mostly the reward of
those qualities of the mind which are not safe lessons for
common acceptance. Your examples of material success
are not good studies, if charity and the true public spirit
are to be considered as worthy of being enlarged by



Our more advanced civilization and truer democracy-
exhibit themselves nowhere more strikingly, than in the
way in which we have determined the equal division of
land interests. With our city of three hundred thousand
inhabitants, and its income during the same period of
time as yours of thirty-one million days' labor, there is
assessed by our authorities about the sum as ground rent
equivalent to eight million average days' pay of our
workmen. For this amount in hand, our government
furnishes to its tenants, without further cost, perfected
streets in constant repair, abundance of Vv'ater for house-
hold and other purposes, lights both in houses and streets,
heat by our system (to you undiscovered), perfect drain-
age without cost or repair of conduits, insurance against
individual loss by fire or flood, free burial of the dead,
and a system of education bestowing upon every indi-
vidual the higher branches of study.

Besides this immense service, the government provides
religious edifices, buildings for public entertainment, and


pleasure grounds. And all this, you will bear in mind,
at a less cost to our population than j'our landlords exact
of you for ground rent alone. Adding to this four
million days' labor for rent, paid to private owners of
buildings, and we have left nineteen million days' labor
for living expenses not provided by our government, and
out of which come all the profit and accumulations of
capital, except those derived from rents of buildings.
You will see thereby, that with all the monopoly privi-
leges that have fastened themselves upon your system
done away with, capital has yet a full scope to exercise
its legitimate functions in the fields of production and
distribution, apart from which it has no rights and is
entitled to no legislative consideration.

It is only by expunging the demands and profits of
capital that the government is enabled to furnish all these
services mentioned at so small a cost. We hold it to be a
principle of justice, that the natural elements should not
be permitted to form the basis of corporate management
or monopoly control, and therefore instead of allowing
capital the fullest privilege to appropriate those bounties
of nature which are found ready for use, we have
restricted its operations to a mere partnership with labor.


where it justly belongs. In our endeavors to sustain
labor, and equalize its opportunities with capital, we have
gone much further than this. We hold that all public
necessities of general demand, in the supplying of which
large expenditures are required in fixed capital, and which
are not strictly in the line of production, should be pro-
vided for by the government. We remove the burdens
of labor, by relieving it of those large capital enterprises
which subsist on it, and which fail to share with it a reas-
onable portion of earnings. The large sums of money
and the special privileges required in these operations of
supply, of which your railroad, telephone and telegraph
lines are prominent examples, obstruct the natural ten-
dency of competition, and capital and wealth are thereby
permitted advantages over labor which they should not
of right have.

The unlimited privilege of capital in these directions
has been defended on the ground that it greatly accel-
erates your material progress ; that in private hands these
enterprises can be more economically managed ; and that
the centralization of power in a government would be
dangerously increased by the proprietorship of such
large undertakings. All of these allegations except the


first are without foundation in fact. The growing polid-
cal weight, especially in your representative governments,
of all monopoly combinations, by reason of their wealth
and large individual patronage, presents to you the choice
of either a government ruled by outside influences, which
cannot be held responsible for the evils it inadvertantly
inflicts by the irresistable pressure from without, or a
government entirely and absolutely liable, and to be held
to a strict accountability for all encroachments upon the
common welfare while handling these services of supply.
In the latter case your remedy is an easy one ; and may
be readily applied ; while in the former, nothing short of
a political convulsion will serve you. No advanced
government upon your Earth has ever undertaken a
public service of any magnitude for a long term, which
has not been systematized and improved by all the avail-
able knowledge and science of its time. The diSerence
between a public and a private supply of a common
demand is, that to one is added the costs and profits of
capital ; while the other, shorn of these oftentimes exces-
sive exactions, is furnished at the cheapest rate possible.
Any policy of your governments, no matter how
unwisely adopted, becomes in time a fixture which is


difficult to remove. The abuses which it may be known
to produce are tolerated long after its evil is understood.
Yet, there is scarcely one of these which has not had its
active defenders. The able defense of measures which
have long since been expunged for their flagrant injustice,
exhibit some of the most striking examples of mental
obliquity in your annals. No government of the Earth,
however, in its long legislative career, was ever known to
favor the laboring and landless over the interests of those
holding endowments of the Earth's surface. What seems

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Online LibraryWilliam SimpsonThe man from Mars; his morals, politics and religion → online text (page 10 of 14)