William Simpson.

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

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under its yoke, has prevailed, without the enactment of
any sincere and effective law to assist and sustain it in
its unequal contest. On the contrary, your statute books
are filled with oppressive laws against the labor class ;
and while in your most civilized districts these unjust
enactments are nearly obsolete, there yet remains an
average over your planet of such legal and social suppres-
sions of the class whose strong arm supports you, as to
be reckoned by us as the most unhappy and discreditable
feature of your social state.

It matters not how your economists may examine and
discuss the relations of labor with its co-operative interests,
so long as they offer no proposals of relief to it in the
unjust burthen it bears of the hardships of life. Your
common view that labor must be unavoidably submitted
to the law of supply and demand, and that, consequently,
eighty per cent of your people are to be helplessly left to
take their chances of distress and suffering at each
unfavorable turn of the labor market, is peculiar to the
planet upon which you live, and is one of the most
mistaken and unwise conclusions among you. This
heartless notion of yours is plainly the inheritance of your
early cruel ages. With such a state of things you can

144 'TH^ ^^^^N FROM MARS.

never have a very high state of civilization. With so
many of you constantly under the vicissitude of such
adverse changes of condition, there can be no steady pro-
gress of the whole, and but little encouragement to thrift ;
a lack of ambition must prevail in all the higher purposes
of life, and a general surrender to improvidence and the
\dces which follow. For that class which has created
your wealth, and is constantly renewing it, and which
constitutes so large a portion of your whole population,
you can show nothing of legislative effort in its favor
except indirectly, through some of the purposes to
smooth the way and increase the profits of capital. The
opportunities of your comparatively small capitalistic
class to use for its purposes, in an entirely heartless way,
the larger body of wealth producers, have been made
easy by natural conditions which would have been
removed or corrected long ago, under a more humane and
unselfish administration of your affairs, and if your
governments had not been exclusively in the hands of the
smaller class mentioned. We know of nothing more
heartless and cruel of the governing classes of the Earth,
than their careless submission of its wage -earners to the
unrestricted influence of competition for employment.


under the compromising condition of a necessity for bread.

In our philosophy we recognize only two honest ways
of accumulating wealth. One is the saving of wages,
and the other the profits of capital ; and our legislation
has been chiefly directed to make the chances of wealth
by these two methods as even as possible. To perform
this service effectually, our greatest efforts have been
directed toward the labor interest. We feel ourselves
justified in this, because the welfare of about seven-
eighths of our people is connected with this interest ;
because to the labor class is entirely due the creation and
constant renewal of all the wealth on our planet.
Because, also, that capital has natural advantages over
labor, which are first, its choice of time and place for
investment ; second, its capacity to wait for opportunities
without the risk of physical suffering by its owners, and
the leisure for thought and knowledge it affords to those
who control it. Also, that capital, holding the position
of a voluntary employer, naturally assumes the rights
and privileges of master, which labor, in its constrained
and dependent situation, is obliged to acknowledge.

We have long since considered these unequal relations
and tendencies, and have proceeded to remedy them.


Our legislation in behalf of the labor classes is the happi-
est and most satisfactory of any that we have. Without
it our present civilization would be impossible. Before
describing our methods, let me direct your attention to
the immediate and indirect causes which bear down upon
the labor classes of your planet.

Prominent among these is the promiscuous ownership
of land. The surrendering of the Earth's surface to the
control of individual ownership is one of the most serious
mistakes of your civilization. It is not to be mentioned
alone as the greatest objection to this, that the planet
upon which you were born is the natural inheritance of
all of you, from whose surface each and every one of you
is destined to derive a sustenance, and that a monopoly
of it by the few is as plain a violation of justice as it
would be to hold the atmosphere in private use by sec-
tions, were such a thing possible. But it is chiefly to be
taken into consideration, that your land policy enables
the few to dominate the many, suppresses one class and
elevates another, and insensibly transfers an undue por-
tion of the earnings of labor into the pockets of your
landholding classes.

Almost every influence now at work in the progress of


your society tends to throw money into the hands of your
land holders, not fairly earned by themselves. While
the products of labor are cheapening from day to day,
partly due to increased skill, and the appliance of machin-
ery in their manufacture, and partly, also, by the compe-
tition of labor, owing to increase of population, j^et even
by these very operations the value of landed property
goes up.

You already estimate rent as a considerable element of
cost in the production of your food materials, and you
are gradually approaching a period, when by the growth
of population the cost of food will be very much increased
by rent charges. You have all along submitted to this
monopoly of land from causes plainly apparent. In the
early days of your history all private ownership of land
was acquired and held by force, and it may be safely
asserted that no title at present exists in any of your
older countries that is not founded on violent conquest,
and that has not been maintained by an organized and
armed authority, whose existence depends upon retaining
the system of ownership in vogue. It is plain to see
that when the demand of justice to all shall be the basis
of political action, and especially when the cost of your


food supply shall become greatly increased by the charges
of rent, your present S3''steni will not be quietly endured.

In your own more favored region of the Earth may be
found temporary conditions which tend not only to toler-
ate your present laud ownership system, but to render it
popular. Your large area of unoccupied agricultural-
surface, from which any of your citizens are permitted at
small cost to select a portion with a title in perpetuity,
destroys for the time being the monopolizing character of
private ownership ; and while these governmental acts of
land distribution are the most remarkable concessions to
labor in human history, we fail to discover anything in
the practice but a temporary compromise between the
interests of capital and labor. As your society progresses
you must arrive at the time when your landless class will
be as effectually excluded from the privilege of ownership
as they are at present in the older countries of the world.

Your own country in the newness of its human posses-
sion, by the lavish distribution of its territory into private
hands, has alleviated the burdens of labor elsewhere, as
well as within itself. It has effected this in two ways :
first by withdrawing from the surplus population of
densely inhabited districts abroad, and second by supply-


ing from its rich agricultural lands a cheaper food supply-
to the older countries of the Earth than they were able to
furnish from their own soils. But the most unreasonable
among you cannot fail to perceive the speedy limit to
these operations in the interests of labor, which after all
must be considered as merely effecting a truce between
that conflict of the laboring and landless many and the
land-holding few which your people will surely witness in
time. We manage these things very differently on Mars.



The planet Mars is held to be the inheritance of those
who are born upon it. Admitting the self evident and
uncontrovertible justice of this view, our government
ages ago assumed the ownership and property control of
it in trust for the equal benefit of all. It has proceeded
in accordance with this view to grant its uses for all the
purposes of industry and pleasure, in such a manner as to
bestow the income of its rent equally upon every living
inhabitant. I can only give you some outlines of our
admirable manner of accomplishing this purpose.

Our agricultural districts are divided into small farms,
even in size, with graded rents in accordance with the
richness of their soils, and other conditions. Sub-letting
is not allowed, and a chief purpose in making these allot-
ments is, that the family residing upon each farm will be
able to perform all the labor required. This is in accor-
dance with a principle which our government carries out
in all possible ways, to bring labor and capital into part-
nership. The cultivator of the soil goes on with bis


improvements, in the assurance that they are as secure to
him as though his title were perpetual ; for in the event
of a change of tenancy, which is exceedingly rare, a fair
value is returned to him for all the fixed property which
is the product of his labor. It is provided that there
shall be no competition in the occupancy, and as the rent
is but a nominal sum, he feels no insecurity in his posses-
sion. Agricultural rents are graded annually, and are
payable shortly after harvest. They may be either higher
or lower than those of the preceding year, depending
entirely on profits.

I^andlordism, as it exists with you, is unknown amongst
us. The rapacity which under your unjust system is
admitted to an ownership in which no competition can
possibly exist, and at the same time is permitted to avail
itself of that unlimited competition which the pressure of
public necessity induces, has neither foothold nor abiding
place upon our planet. Under our system, you will
perceive that any increase of the profits of land is met by
the tenant with an increase of rent, and all those natural
causes which advance the value of landed property add to
the government income, and in that way are shared by
all. Our government derives its sole support from rent,


and no other tax or exaction is known. With a percent-
age of the profits from the use of the land, which is never
burdensome to the tenant, it has been enabled, and has
found it to its interest, to carry out agricultural and muni-
cipal improvements and enterprises which individual
ownership would never undertake. It has drained our
marshes, and reclaimed our desert lands in the most
efficient manner, without the necessity of creating, as
with you, an exacting monopoly, which would claim of
industry its lion's share of profits from the work.

The government interest in our municipal progress,
by virtue of its holdings, has led it to carry out in the
most complete manner those sanitary enterprises which
render city life safe and enjoyable. With its advantages
of sole ownership of city land, it is enabled to enforce
certain uniform rules of taste in house and street construc-
tion, which have made our cities as complete and harmo-
nious as single works of art ; their symmetrical combina-
tions of lines and curves as consistently meeting each
other as in a separate architectural elevation.

As I have already hinted to you, a cultivation of the
beautiful in art and nature is a part of our religion, and
we indulge in the gratification of esthetic inclinations as


one of the greatest charms of life. Cur government
erects no buildings except public ones, and in their con-
struction and fittings is manifested that universal love of
the grand and beautiful which everywhere prevails.
Your imagination is scarcely able to conceive the magnifi-
cence of our temples of worship, and the charming
perspectives of our streets and highv/ays. Yet even our
industrious attention to all this pleasing effect for the eye
is held to be a matter of secondary importance, when
compared with the health-giving measures and regula-
tions which prevail.

From the ground rents alone of every municipality,
free and abundant water, light and heat are supplied to
every inhabitant ; and from the same source of income a
complete insurance is furnished against individual loss
from accidents, and all our dead are disposed of without
cost to relatives and friends. We place no dead bodies in
the earth as you do, considering such a practice not only
barbarous, but dangerous to the health of the living.
On the contrarj^ we extinguish them in a manner which
you cannot follow from a lack of the required advance
in chemical science. Ever since our discovery of the
elementary unit we have had the power to reduce all

154 '^'^'^ ^AN FROM MARS.

matter into its original state, and it serves us well, that
with our chemical appliances and due solemnity not a
vestige of the dead is left to be preserved, except their

For the purpose of exhibiting to you the marked
difference of effect on labor and industry between private
and government ownership of land, let us trace the insti-
tution and progress of one of your cities in comparison
with one of ours. These combinations of individual
enterprise are to be found upon your planet in all stages
of growth, and may be most conveniently observed by
you in this vicinity in their earlier periods of develop-
ment. They are instituted mostly with you in a fortui-
tous way, a few individual interests forming the nucleus
around which capital and labor are attracted, under the
outlook of increased population and trade, to supply and
create the various products of industry demanded. The
whole land surface of your new city, including its pros-
pective limits, is immediately appropriated at a trifling
cost, by a single one or a smaller number of owners,
under laws conveniently designed for their purposes.
From this time forward the most extraordinary exactions
from industry begin. Every stroke of the hammer and


revolution of the fly wheel adds to the value of these
possessions, until in a short time there is no limit to the
price or rent of them, but the ability of industry to stand
the tax.

During the earlier stage of your city's growth, condi-
tions exist which disappear later. Labor is specially
favored. The demand for it is as great as the supply, if
not greater, and its savings enable it to get a share, by
small investments, in the steady advance of land values.
Your new city, supposing it to be a metropolis, is invested
with all the elements of prosperity. Capital comes to it
abundantly from abroad, induced by the opportunities of
profitable investment, and labor is equally attracted by
high pay. Population increases, together with all the
enterprises of industry, and your land, conveniently
divided into small lots, changes hands from one purchaser
to another, each realizing a satisfactory and handsome
profit. The monopolizing influences of land ownership
are not generally felt, because of the large and unoccu-
pied area of surface, and the facility to all in the acquire-
ment of titles. Labor enjoys an era of remarkable
prosperity outside as well as within the limits of your
city. Your government has donated to it millions of


acres of fertile agricultural lands, whose surface, for the
most part, requires no great outlay of capital to fit it for
the uses of husbandry ; and altogether, the general
contentment and thrift indicate that all material interests
are equally equipped and uniformly successful in the
struggle of life. lyabor goes cheerfully to its daily toil,
and returns to its abundant board with a hope and ambi-
tion it has seldom known before. All human purposes
appear in a flourishing state, except, it may incidentally
be observed, that your religion at this period droops,
without its usual attention and support.

You are now, we shall suppose, at the end of the
second decade in the history of your city, and many
changes are observable, due to the progress of your
society and civilization. Your metropolis may contain
now about one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants.
The market value of its laud surface, about three miles
square, has increased, from the government price at
which it was purchased by the single or half dozen
purchasers, from about seven thousand to three hundred
and fifty millions of dollars, and the whole value of the
products of industry upon it may be reasonably estimated
at a like sum. With the privileges and partnership

the; man from mars. 157

which labor has enjoyed in this great increase of values,
it is so far quiet and satisfied; but unfortunately the
inevitable outcome is not so promising to it. The evil
effects of your private ownership become more and more
apparent as your city advances, and when, under the
promptings of human greed and selfishness, your land-
lords have fairly commenced their raid upon the indus-
tries of the city. They now exact from you a tax in the
form of land rent alone which consumes yearly the
twentieth part of all the products of industry upon their
possessions. This enormous tax is exacted without the
return of any service whatever except the privilege of a
dwelling place.

Your inhabitants are called upon also to provide for the
necessities of government, and an additional tax is levied
therefor, which takes from the profits of labor and capital
an amount equal to the tenth part of all their savings.
Because the privilege of becoming a land owner is equal
to all, and is the hope of most of you, you have permitted
the transformation of this gift of nature into a monopoly,
the most arbitrary and consuming that can be conceived.

This gift of nature, however, is not the only one
diverted from its equitable distribution, and permitted to


become the material of unrighteous exaction. The
process of the water, heat, and light supply, so manifestly
among the duties of your government to institute and
superintend, is given, like your land, to the management
and control of private individuals ; thus converting these
indispensable elements of life and comfort into money
getters for wealth, and subtracting to an unnecessary
degree from the profits of industry and the savings of

We shall now suppose that your city has arrived at the
termination of its fourth decade. Its population has
increased two-fold, and its land value has quadrupled ;
but it is noticeable that your products of industy have
not kept pace in their value with this enormous apprecia-
tion, and your ground rents alone now consume every
ten years the whole cost of all buildings and their
contents. In other words, every vestige of the accumu-
lated labor of your city goes into the pockets of its land-
lords every ten years. Change now becomes apparent
in social life. Competition has now reduced the wages
of labor, and it has very nearly lost its ability to share in
some of the minor operations of capital. The struggles
of increasing numbers, precisely the same influence


which has depressed wages, have advanced land, Labor
has lost much of its old buoyancy and hopefulness.
While raiment and food, the products of its own industry,
have fallen in price, with a tendency to make up for its
reduced income, every other one of its living expenses is
greatly increased. Allowing it its proper place with
matrimonial ambitions and hopes, the remarkable propor-
tion of one fourth of its hard-earned wages is demanded
of it in land rent alone, for a dwelling spot in the midst
of a region which nothing else but its own energies have
produced from a wilderness. Ever^^ single one of the
bounties of nature, except the air and sunshine, are inac-
cessible without the charges of an intercepting medium.
The heat, and light-giving materials of the earth, together
with water, the most useful and abundant of all, are
served out to it burdened with all the costs and profits
levied by an organized and irresponsible few.

The capital engaged in your industries adjusts itself to
all these burdens, and is quiet under them, because it can
readily reimburse itself by transferring all expenses and
costs to prices. There is no such escape for labor, which
not only pays these monopoly exactions directly, but as a
consumer is obliged by an indirect method to foot a large


share of these bills for capital. Capital remains contented
under these extraordinary demands for another reason.
All monopoly enterprises, and especially that one of land,
furnish the safest and most profitable reservoirs of invest-
ment for its surplus earnings, and when it does not
already participate it looks forward to a partnership in
their profits.

You can readily understand, then, why the toilers of
5''0ur city, at this period of its historj'-, should show signs
of sinking back into that dependent condition which
characterizes them elsewhere upon your planet. A few
among them, with great fortitude of restraint and large
acquisitiveness, manage to lay by some of their earnings,
but the margin between income and expense is so narrow
that such a practice is not general. So that from the dis-
abling vicissitudes of life, and a carelessness of habit
induced by lack of ambition, comes that distressful state
of existence, unknown on our planet, but common enough
on yours, where a human being, with abundant stores of
food and raiment surrounding him, suffers for enough of
them to supply his moderate wants. Poverty', which
before had been only exceptional and sporadic, assumes
now the proportions of a numerous class among j'^ou, and


out of which, by a lack of the opportunities of knowl-
edge, crime as naturally appears as weeds in a neglected

Another and significant change now becomes apparent
in your social state. During the first stages of your city's
existence, there had been no money invested except as
capital. Every dollar laid out in that way had been
shared by labor. Any increase in the volume of capital
brings a corresponding prosperity to those who toil ; but
the accumulations from the profits of capital have not
generally been added to it, and in many cases the capital
itself has been led away into the many profitable monopoly
enterprises which abound. These now flourish as they
never did before. Increase of population and trade has
stimulated the various industries to increased supplies,
but the prices of all commodities instead of being raised
are lowered. The free and open competition within the
precincts of capital and labor has effected this ; not greatly
to the detriment of either, because the producer in one
department of industry is a consumer in many of the
others, and capital has increased its volume of business to
make up for smaller profits. But you have within the
borders of your city those money-making contrivances

t62 the man from mars.

peculiar to j^our planet, wherein the natural effect of
competition is entirely reversed, and where the universal
law of supply and demand is completely abrogated. The
worst and most disastrous of these is your system of land

Into this, and the other of your monopolies, capital
pours its surplus, and finally retires to them with its
accumulations, deserting its partnership with labor, and
appearing on the scene in the new form of wealth. From
a few instances, so rare as ta be conspicuous, your holders
of large money accumulations become now a numerous
and influential class. While your society at one end has
been sinking into poverty, it blooms at the other with
signs of unusual thrift. With an increase of luxury on
one hand, and of want on the other, your city is now
approaching the normal state, A few decades more it
will have established within itself those relations between
wealth, capital, and labor which are as inevitably the out-
come of your land ownership system, as drouth and
famine arfe the outcome of a lack of moisture in the soil.

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Online LibraryWilliam SimpsonThe man from Mars; his morals, politics and religion → online text (page 8 of 14)