William Simpson.

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

. (page 9 of 14)
Online LibraryWilliam SimpsonThe man from Mars; his morals, politics and religion → online text (page 9 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

We shall say now that yotir city contains a half million
of inhabitants. Its surface is not extended in proportion
v/ith its increase in population, the cost of space inducing


a greater crowding of houses and people. Your labor
products, and the land upon which they rest, have been
so constantly receding from each other in values, that
now, with all the forced economy of space, your piles of
goods, merchandise, and houses, if sold at their market
value, would not furnish more than a quarter enough of
money to purchase the ground beneath them. This
enormous increase in the value of your city land is mostly
the result of the opportunities its owners enjoy to prey
upon the industries, and at this stage the following very
remarkable conditions may be observed : While the
city's capital, properly so called, is about three hundred
millions of dollars, and the number of its workers in
industrial pursuits about one hundred thousand, the
aggregate earnings of both labor and capital combined have
one quarter of the whole swept away by the demands of
your landlords, estimating ground rent alone. And this
enormous exaction, remember, is imposed without ren-
dering any service in return. None of your economists
v.'ill deny that this large drain does not come directly from
the industries of your people, and its exhausting effects
are daily seen in the gradually hardening lines in the lives
of those who toil. In an early period, twenty persons in


every hundred of your workers owned a portion of your
city's surface. Now only four per cent are land owners,
and within a few decades not more than five in a thousand
will dwell or pursue their avocations without the virtual
consent of some superintending ground owner, upon
whose mercy in abstaining from ejectment or extortion
they will remain in constant uncertainty.

The ownership of your city lots will now have gone
almost exclusively into the hands of your leisure class ;
and the vast sums of money drawn monthly for rent,
instead of being, as formerly, partly returned as capital,
to assist labor in the various industrial enterprises is now
either dissipated in luxur>% expended in new possessions,
or invested in some of the many monopoly undertakings
of the day. The effects of this unjust burden are daily
apparent. It reduces the possible savings of labor and
the accumulations of industry to such a minimum that
success in these is the exception rather than the rule. It
is mostly because of this monopoly of land that hfe
among your masses is a continuous and uninterrupted
struggle; and to this more than all else is due that
unequal distribution of wealth which affords only the
few that cultivation and knowledge which elevates them,


and that dooms the many to an unceasing wear of nerve
and muscle to sustain themselves.

You cannot fail to have observed, as one of the most
promising signs of your destiny, that wherever humanity
in the midst of civilization is freest from the cares of sus-
tenance supply, it inclines to devote its leisure to a culti-
vation of the mind. The crudeness and vulgarity of
some, and the refinement of others, are entirely due to
difference in opportunities of development, and between
these two there must always exist a great repulsion.
What good can you therefore expect of mankind as a
v/hole, so long as by your methods a few only are vouch-
safed the opportunities for knowledge ?

The forces at work within your society have now, we
we will say, brought up your population and general con-
ditions to the standard of those which may be found in
the older portions of the Earth, Your poverty is more
intense and widespread, with its corresponding increase in
crime, while your wealth has become more munificent and
ostentatious. Impelled by the necessities of life and a
brave emulation, all your industries will be found in the
highest strain of action. The accumulated products of
labor and its multiplied activity have given to you a sem-


blance of prosperity and success. But while in the course
of your progress you have created new necessities and
wants, you have made no just provision by which they
could be, as near as possible, equally shared ; and as a
consequence the apparent as well as the silent and con-
cealed miseries of human life were never greater.

There is to be observed now a marked increase in the
spread and influence of your religion. As the hope of
success in life becomes lessoned, and as the heartaches
and distresses increase by your uneven struggles, the
suffering and disappointed masses turn naturally to
another existence for what has been denied them in this ;
and it can be said of all your religious theories, that their
contrivances to make you suffer uncomplainingly the out-
rages of authority are the best that could have been
devised. The few among you enjoying the bounties of
life, surrounded by that want and privation whose voices
they cannot escape, and whose strong arms they cannot
fail to observe, turn instinctively to your religious doctrines
with a sense of safety and protection. The few favored
ones, looking over the vast multitude of their less fortun-
ate brothers, are conscious that the superabundance they
enjoy has been doubtfully acquired, and they are quick to

the; man from mars. 167

embrace that convenient justification, which ascribes the
greater ills and burdens of the many to a preconceived
and unalterable arrangement of the divine will.



Before bringing into comparison one of our cities it
will be necessary to explain to you some of the processes
which have rendered our present civilization possible.
You already have a hint, from what I have said, of the
very striking difference between the society of Mars and
that of the Earth, in their handling of labor interests.
While with your careless and indifferent treatment, labor
remains degraded, we have raised it to a point of honor.
We have arrived at our methods of its treatment by that
philosophical induction which has interpreted to us the
many reliable and unerring decrees of the divine will.
Nature, upon whom we depend for all we know of the
supreme wishes, has furnished indubitable signs that physi-
cal diligence is a saving and wholesome quality, insepar-
able from intelligence, in its extended sense as we know it,
upon which the very existence of all material things rests.
But even the activities of nature are not more indispensa-
ble to the firmness of the Earth, than individual mental
and physical energy is to the well-being and progress of


your society. Since one of these energies is as useful as
the other in the economy of the world, we can conceive
no reason why you should allow one of them to dominate
the other; nor how you can justify yourselves in bestow-
ing upon one all the honors and emoluments, while to the
other you pursue a course denying opportunities, and in
all ways bringing upon it an inferior social scale.

We met these natural tendencies ages ago, by a deter-
mination to equalize, as far as possible, the burdens of life
among all classes, and to this end we have chiefly directed
our effbrts to sustain the interests of those who, by a
struggle for the necessities of life, are obliged to toil.
Some very remarkable results have followed. We have
achieved that degree of justice where the skillful artisan,
by virtue of his manual cunning alone, can acquire a
certain elevation in our society, and whose occupation is
not subordinated by any other on our planet. We have
a very numerous class amongst us, known by the best
interpretation of your language as officers of industry,
who secure truer and more lasting honor than your mili-
tary heroes. Our admiration of them arises from the fact
that they assist to build up and restore the waste of those
industrial products which sustain our lives. The official


grades among these compare somewhat with your military-
system. Their insignia of office is permanently worn on
their dress, and to achieve distinction in this line is the
hope of all, since without having worn the badge of office
in some of these grades, social or political distinction is
difficult. By methods, long ago in vogue, we have united
our intellectual and manual training so that there should
be no social separation between them. But while equal
distinction awaits the skillful pursuit of either path, the
highest honors are achieved by those who excel in both.
Consequently our youth, encouraged by their parents and
teachers, become emulous of the qualities of physical
endurance attached to labor, and serve their terms among
the toilers with a will that nothing but a high ambition
could create. This greater respect and consideration for
physical industry than yours would have been impossible,
were it not that we have avoided the various causes which
either suppress or degrade it. In the first place, we have
decreed that it shall receive a fair share of its earnings.
Chiefly in furtherance of this, we have ordained that no
individual holder of land shall rob it by taking to himself
that appreciation in values which its diligence produces.
To this end also we have provided that wealtb and capital


shall not bear down upon it in the various monopoly-
exactions common with you. But a measure of justice,
scarcely less eflfectual than these to elevate and sustain
labor, is our governmental system of fixing its rates of

From what has been said it will not be hard for you to
believe that a working man holds a very different position
in society with us than with you. Upon the Earth,
driven by the necessities of life, and a cruel and unre-
strained competition, he is obliged to forego nearly all
those opportunities which refine and elevate the mind.
He has little of leisure, without the depression of muscular
fatigue. His habiliments are the badges of inferiority in
your social scale, and he trudges along on his tiresome,
hopeless journey, bearing his condition as one under the
prohibition of better things by an inexorable fate. No
competency rewards his unremitting toil, though with the
skill of his hands he is building the wealth of the world.
To the sordid and cunning comes fortune in possessions
and estates ; while to him comes only the privilege to
dwell in another's house, and to partake of that fare
whose chief quality shall be its capacity to restore the
wasting energies of his body.


With US the pursuit of manual labor is attended with
better conditions. By securing to industry its rightful
rewards, it has been adopted by choice instead of com-
pulsion, as the best way to gain independence. Having
no road to wealth, except through the sterling qualities
of industry and prudence, industry and probity are the
indispensable qualities which lead to the upper stratum of
our society. Thus, you will perceive, the natural laws
of progression and development are encouraged to work
out their beneficial results in the life of every individual.

Since, from the cradle to the grave, all are surrounded
with the living rewards of goodness, we have no need of
sermons. We know no gilded vice. It bears no fruits
with us but destruction. You preach against it and
reward it in the same breath. You denounce it in empty
words, and at the next moment honor it with a bow.
You sanction the wholesale injury which your system
inflicts upon each one, hoping in the scramble to pocket
the losses of others. The most desirable condition of life
with you is that in which the attainment of wealth shall
furnish personal gratification, the accomplishment of
which, in most cases, is through a line of public and
private wrongs. The better conditions of life with us are


acquired in the fertilization of innumerable schemes for
the common welfare.

You are not to make the mistake by supposing that our
society has arrived at the dead level of equality. We
have no castes, as you have, holding apart from each
other with marked distinctions of wealth. But we have
social grades, as you have, with the great difference that
each one enjoys unenvied the pleasures within reach ; not
the least of which is to share the cares as well as the
delights of life with each other. The feeling of contempt
for one another is entirely unknown among the people of
Mars. We have provided that there shall be no unlet-
tered and vulgar substratum in our society to pity or
condemn, as you have. The even justice of our system
has bestowed upon all equal opportunities of knowledge
and cultivation. As a result, there is no individual living
upon our planet who is superior to another, except by a
more assiduous exercise of mental or physical gifts, or a
higher cultivation of his spiritual nature.

A marked indication of our advanced social develop-
ment is, that we utterlj' refuse the performance of any act
which is an injury, even in a remote degree, to our fellows ;
while in the intense selfishness of your present state, j'ou


are constantly sacrificing each other's interests. With
sentiments like these prevailing, it is easy for you to
understand why we have no class among us perpetually
under less favored conditions than another class, and why,
acting under the great lesson of nature which has sent us
all into life upon an equality, we have ordained in all
possible ways that the journey thereafter shall be fair and
equal to all.

It is not possible for you to thoroughly understand or
appreciate what I am to lay before you, in a description of
our society in municipal life, without a further knowledge
of some of our methods. One of the most important of
these, is the perfection which we have brought to our
science of statistics, and the indispensable service it is
made to perform in our political economy. This branch
of science is pursued by us as the most serviceable and
practical of all. "We learn from it in a positive way many
truths which your economists fail to reach, and we have
discovered by it many errors which have existed as the
result of sophistical reasoning. We use it as a rule and
square to measure the speculations of philosophy, as well
as an every-day guide in the practical affairs of life. Its
better value for us lies in the fact that our conclusions


from it are adduced out of the records of centuries. It is
to social science what analysis is to chemistry. It is only
by a systematic and orderly record of the occurrences of
nature, and the changes and events of society, that we
have arrived at the many profound truths so deeply
concerning our lives. By it we have discovered how
astonishingly nature holds, concealed from common eyes,
so many of her processes, coquetting with us, as it were,
in withholding her greatest favors without prolonged and
incessant interrogation. But although our store of scien-
tific knowledge has been increased by these statistical
labors, we hold them of no less importance in managing
the practical affairs of life.

Our bureau of statistics is without question the most
valuable department of our government. It has been
brought to its perfected condition by centuries of practice
and improvement, and upon it rests, in a great measure,
the prosperity and happiness of our people. By it, mainly,
we are enabled to save our population from the distresses
of overproduction, and the chance occurrences of uneven
labor demand. Your experience has shown you that in
times of depression the causes were plainly apparent.
We have merely arranged to anticipate these causes, to


sound the general alarm, and to forestall them. Outside
of the defects of your currency, and your speculation,
which are most prolific sources of industrial disaster,
comes that blind over-production, entirely undirected bj^
any reliable or authoritative knowledge of the existing
capacity to consume. You are having at times a large
amount of misdirected labor in the form of products slow
of sale ; and for the time being a suppl}-, so much in
excess of demand, does not return a full equivalent for
the labor invested. These frequent errors of production
depress wages, and are altogether more calamitous to labor
than to capital ; because labor is variously skilled, and
cannot readily transplant itself from one department of
production to another, and is obliged, under the condi-
tions, either to accept reduced wages or to remain idle.
Capital does not suffer as labor does in these constantly
occurring over-supplies. On the other hand, it finds its
opportunity, either by waiting from a low to a high
market for its returns, or by changing its field of invest-
ment. In these frequent partial or complete suspensions
in the production of over-supplied commodities, labor is
therefore the chief sufferer.

We have nearly a complete remedy for this in our


system of statistics. Our planet in all its habitable parts
is divided into districts, in each of which is kept an
accurate and systematic record of all available labor, as
well as an account of its different classes, with the sepa-
rate capacity of each for production. In connection
therewith is also kept an account of all products turned
out. The information furnished in this way determines
the surplus or deficiency of all commodities produced.
We are enabled thereby to know, almost at a glance,
the drift of all labor energies, and to direct them safely
from any great redundancy of supply. When engaged
in the producion of food supplies, where nature becomes
of necessity a party to this great co-operative arrange-
ment, we have devised a method that saves those who
toil from the embarrassment and the frequent distress of
an intermittent cost of living. We had observed that the
tendency of cheap food to lower the wages of labor, and
of dear food to raise them, was not equal, wages being
much more easily lowered than raised under this natural
influence. Our government has undertaken therefore to
establish a fair and equitable adjustment between the cost
of living and wage rates, to be modified when occasion


You are not to expect me to go into detail in these
matters; but as it may seem impracticable to you, how
any arbitrary rate of wages may be made to rule fairly
among so many different people, I will give you some
account of our system of grading labor, by which this
diflSculty is overcome. We have formed out of the three
qualities of skii,l,, strength and activity a basis upon
which to reckon the value of all individual labor. Each
of these is divided into three grades, and the highest
valued workman is he who stands first in all. The first
grade in skill is considered equal to both the first and
second grades of strength and activity in estimating
wages; and there is no first grade of skill allowed, except
in those industrial operations requiring much manual

The workman begins his career usually in the lowest
grades of each, although at times strength and activity
are raised one grade at the beginning. The wages of all
labor are uniformly established by the government, in
accordance with the standing of the individual and the
certificate he holds, according him his status under this
method of estimating his ability. From middle life to
old age changes usually occur in his grade, and his


apportionment of wages is consequently modified; but so
long as he retains his skill it goes far to keep up the
allotment of fair wages against the loss of strength and

This is merely an outline of our system. Its import-
ance will be understood, when you consider that by it we
have established a uniform rate of wages for all, and have
saved our workmen from helplessly submitting themselves
to the natural competition of dependent numbers, and to
the exacting patronage of a selfish and independent few.
Although we have achieved this desideratum of uniform
wages we are not unaware of the economic impossibility
of rendering them constant, and we have accordingly
arranged that the rate shall be changed to correspond
with the varying cost of living. Each year therefore,
after the gathering of our harvests, our statistical bureau
makes a report of food supply ; when any change, if nec-
essary, is made in the rate of wages for the ensuing year,
thereby determining that labor shall enjoy a fair share of
the wealth which it produces.

Outside of the handicraft of the workmen, we have
established a scale for estimating a just rate of pay for all
employees in professional and business pursuits. This


arrangement is based upon the qualities of talent,
INTELLIGENCE and capability. Each one of these is
divided into three grades, and whoever stands first in all
of them is entitled, of course, to the highest pay for his
services. Usually, however, these high qualifications
secure a reward beyond the scale. This system of reward-
ing labor has a far-reaching efiect in our political economy,
and is a complete uniformity with the general tendancy of
our efforts to promote steady values. The most import-
ant element of cost in all commodities ofiered for sale is
labor, and that can never be cheapened. We have not a
single product of industry in our list which represents in
its labor cost, as many of yours do, the underpain, gaunt
and hopeless toil of some fellow creature struggling for
the scanty means to live.

Owing to our many concessions physical industry has
been curtailed of that excessively wearisome and exhaust-
ing character known to you. Without the oppressions
which bear down upon it on your planet, its pursuit
never reaches that forced extremity which brings the bent
form and care-worn face.

A considerate custom has fixed our period of daily
labor at six hours ; one-half of which, under the equit-


able adjustment of our wage rates, affords sufiicieut pay,
under ordinary circumstances, to furnish a liberal enjoy-
ment of life. Under our system three hours of work
each day affords a share of wealth somewhat in excess of
the share usually obtained by the workmen of the Earth
for their average of ten hours' labor. Our industrial
force has, therefore, a facility of expansion and contrac-
tion, without distressful results, which yours does not
possess. No serious changes are wrought with us by a
reduction of working force to half time, and consequent
half pay ; while more or less pinching and misery are sure
to follow such an occurrence with 5''ou.

From these careful attentions to the interests of labor,
we have brought it into repute as one of the most honor-
able as well as the most profitable pursuits of life. I have
endeavored to show you some of the ways by which this
grand purpose has been attained. I must not, however,
omit to remind you, that as our government takes upon
itself to perform innumerable enterprises, which on the
Earth are left to individuals and organizations of men, its
direct dealings with those who toil are more intimate and
extensive than yours. It is better enabled thereby to
carr}^ into operation those methods which distinguish our


system. The greater part of the energies of our govern-
ment and the wisdom of our statemanship have been
directed to this end of supporting labor, and out of it,
without question, comes the general serenity and content-
ment which prevail.



Whkn it is decided by our authorities that a new city
shall be built to meet the requirements of increasing
numbers, and to establish that convenient co-operation in
branches of industry and trade which close association
affords, its location is left entirely to the judgment of a
board of government officers, of sanitary and civil engi-
neering skill. If, as is frequently the case, the proposed
site is already occupied by one or more tenants in rural
pursuits, they are scrupulously indemnified in all losses
which result from their dispossession.

I wish to impress upon you here, that a tenant, under
our government, has even greater security of possession
than your land owners. The prevailing sense of justice,
and a widespread interest, have established the right of a
renter to hold and enjoy, against all competition, his allot-
ment during his Hfe. He has also the right, under our

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryWilliam SimpsonThe man from Mars; his morals, politics and religion → online text (page 9 of 14)