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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Argument Of Happiness

Critics level two charges against capitalism:  First, they say, that the possession of a motor car, a television set, and a refrigera­tor does not make a man happy. Secondly, they add that there are still people who own none of these gadg­ets. Both propositions are correct, but they do not cast blame upon the capitalistic system of social cooperation.
People do not toil and trouble in order to attain perfect hap­piness, but in order to remove as much as possible some felt un­easiness and thus to become happier than they were before. A man who buys a television set thereby gives evi­dence to the ef­fect that he thinks that the possession of this contrivance will in­crease his well‑being and make him more content than he was without it. If it were otherwise, he would not have bought it. The task of the doctor is not to make the patient happy, but to remove his pain and to put him in better shape for the pursuit of the main concern of every living being, the fight against all fac­tors pernicious to his life and ease.
It may be true that there are among Buddhist mendicants, living on alms in dirt and penury, some who feel perfectly happy and do not envy any nabob. However, it is a fact that for the immense majority of people such a life would appear unbearable. To them the impulse toward ceaselessly aiming at the improve­ment of the external conditions of existence is inwrought. Who would presume to set an Asiatic beggar as an example to the av­erage American?  One of the most re­markable achievements of capitalism is the drop in infant mortality. Who wants to deny that this phenomenon has at least removed one of the causes of many people’s unhappi­ness ?
No less absurd is the second reproach thrown upon capital­ism—namely, that technological and therapeutical innova­tions do not benefit all people. Changes in human conditions are brought about by the pioneering of the cleverest and most en­ergetic men. They take the lead and the rest of man­kind follows them little by little. The innovation is first a luxury of only a few people, until by degrees it comes into the reach of the many. It is not a sensible objection to the use of shoes or of forks that they spread only slowly and that even today millions do without them. The dainty ladies and gentlemen who first began to use soap were the har­bingers of the big‑scale production of soap for the common man. If those who have today the means to buy a tele­vision set were to abstain from the purchase because some peo­ple cannot afford it, they would not further, but hinder, the popu­larization of this contrivance.*


Monday, July 28, 2014

The Anticapitalistic Front

From the very beginnings of the socialist movement and the endeavors to revive the interventionist policies of the precapitalistic ages, both socialism and interventionism were utterly discredited in the eyes of those conversant with economic theory. But the ideas of the immense majority of ignorant people exclusively driven by the most powerful human passions  of envy and hatred.
The social philosophy of the Enlightenment that paved the way for the realization of the liberal program—economic freedom, consummated in the market economy (capitalism), and its constitutional corallary, representative government—did not suggest the annihilation of the three old powers:  the monarchy, the aristocracy and the churches. The European liberals aimed at the substitution of the parliamentary monarchy for royal absolutism, not at the establishment of republican government. They wanted to abolish the privileges of the aristocrats, but not to deprive them of their titles, their escutcheons, and their estates. They were eager to grant to everybody freedom of conscience and to put an end to the persecution of dissenters and heretics, but they were anxious to give to all churches and denominations perfect freedom in the pursuit of their spiritual objectives. Thus the three great powers of the ancien régime were preserved. One might have expected that princes, aristocrats and clergymen who indefatigably professed their conservatism would be prepared to oppose the socialist attack upon the essentials of Western civilization. After all, the harbingers of socialism did not shrink from disclosing that under socialist totalitarianism no room would be left for what they called the remnants of tyranny, privilege, and superstition.
However, even with these privileged groups resentment and envy were more intense than cool reasoning. They virtually joined hands with the socialists disregarding the fact that socialism aimed also at the confiscation of their holdings and that there cannot be any religious freedom under a totalitarian system. The Hohenzollern in Germany inaugurated a policy that an American observer called mon­archical socialism.*  The autocratic Romanovs of Russia toyed with labor unionism as a weapon to fight the “bourgeois” endeavors to establish representative government.**  In every European country the aristocrats were virtually cooperating with the enemies of capitalism. Everywhere eminent theologians tried to discredit the free enterprise system and thus, by implication, to support either socialism or radical interventionism. Some of the outstanding leaders of present-day Protestantism—Barth and Brunner in Switzerland, Niebuhr and Tillich in the United States, and the late Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple—openly condemn capitalism and even charge the alleged failures of cap­italism with the responsibility for all the excesses of Russian Bolshevism.
One may wonder whether Sir William Harcourt was right when, more than sixty years ago, he proclaimed:  We are all socialists now. But today governments, political parties, teachers and writers, militant antitheists as well as Christian theologians are almost unanimous in passionately rejecting the market economy and praising the alleged benefits of state omnipotence. The rising generation is brought up in an environment that is engrossed in socialist ideas.
The influence of the prosocialist ideology comes to light in the way in which public opinion, almost without any exception, explains the reasons that induce people to join the socialist or communist parties. In dealing with domestic politics, one assumes that, “naturally and necessarily,” those who are not rich favor the radical programs—planning, socialism, communism—while only the rich have reason to vote for the preservation of the market economy. This assumption takes for granted the fundamental socialist idea that the economic interests of the masses are hurt by the operation of capitalism for the sole benefit of the “exploiters” and that socialism will improve the common man’s standard of living.
However, people do not ask for socialism because they know that socialism will improve their conditions, and they do not reject capitalism because they know that it is a system prejudicial to their interests. They are socialists because they believe that socialism will improve their conditions, and they hate capitalism because they believe that it harms them. They are socialists because they are blinded by envy and ignorance. They stubbornly refuse to study economics and spurn the economists’ devastating critique of the socialist plans because, in their eyes, economics, being an abstract theory, is simply nonsense. They pretend to trust only in experience. But they no less stubbornly refuse to take cognizance of the undeniable facts of experience, viz., that the common man’s standard of living is incomparably higher in capitalistic America than in the socialist paradise of the Soviets.
In dealing with conditions in the economically backward countries people display the same faulty reasoning. They think that these peoples must “naturally” sympathize with communism because they are poverty-stricken. Now it is obvious that the poor nations want to get rid of their penury. Aiming at an improvement of their unsatisfactory conditions, they ought therefore to adopt that system of society’s economic organization which best warrants the attainment of this end; they ought to decide in favor of capitalism. But, deluded by spurious anticapitalistic ideas, they are favorably disposed to communism. It is paradoxical indeed that the leaders of these Oriental peoples, while casting longing glances at the prosperity of the Western nations, reject the methods that made the West prosperous and are enraptured by Russian communism that is instrumental in keeping the Russians and their satellites poor. It is still more paradoxical that Americans, enjoying the products of capitalistic big business, exalt the Soviet system and consider it quite “natural” that the poor nations of Asia and Africa should prefer communism to capitalism.
People may disagree on the question of whether everybody ought to study economics seriously. But one thing is certain. A man who publicly talks or writes about the opposition between capitalism and socialism without having fully familiarized himself with all that economics has to say about these issues is an irresponsible babbler.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Capitalism As It Is And As It Is Seen By The Common Man

The emergence of economics as a new branch of knowledge was one of the most portentous events in the history of mankind. In paving the way for private capitalistic enterprise it transformed within a few generations all human affairs more radically than the preceding ten thousand years had done. From the day of their birth to the day of their demise, the denizens of a capitalistic country are every minute benefited by the marvelous achievements of the capitalistic ways of thinking and acting.
The most amazing thing concerning the unprecedented change in earthly conditions brought about by capitalism is the fact that it was accomplished by a small number of authors and a hardly greater number of statesmen who had assimilated their teachings. Not only the sluggish masses but also most of the businessmen who, by their trading, made the laissez-faire principles effective failed to comprehend the essential features of their operation. Even in the heyday of liberalism only a few people had a full grasp of the functioning of the market economy. Western civilization adopted capitalism upon recommendation on the part of a small élite.
There were, in the first decades of the nineteenth century, many people who viewed their own unfamiliarity with the problems concerned as a serious shortcoming and were anxious to redress it. In the years between Waterloo and Sebastopol, no other books were more eagerly absorbed in Great Britain than treatises on economics. But the vogue soon subsided. The subject was unpalatable to the general reader.
Economics is so different from the natural sciences and technology on the one hand, and history and jurisprudence on the other hand, that it seems strange and repulsive to the beginner. Its heuristic singularity is viewed with suspicion by those whose research work is performed in laboratories or in archives and libraries. Its epistemological singularity appears nonsensical to the narrow-minded fanatics of posi­tivism. People would like to find in an economics book knowledge that perfectly fits into their preconceived image of what economics ought to be, viz., a discipline shaped according to the logical structure of physics or of biology. They are bewildered and desist from seriously grappling with problems the analysis of which requires an unwonted mental exertion.
The result of this ignorance is that people ascribe all improvements in economic conditions to the progress of the natural sciences and technology. As they see it, there prevails in the course of human history a self-acting tendency toward progressing advancement of the experimental natural sciences and their application to the solution of technological problems. This tendency is irresistible, it is inherent in the destiny of mankind, and its operation takes effect whatever the political and economic organization of society may be. As they see it, the unprecedented technological improvements of the last two hundred years were not caused or furthered by the economic policies of the age. They were not an achievement of classical liberalism, free trade, laissez faire and capitalism. They will therefore go on under any other system of society’s economic organization.
The doctrines of Marx received approval simply because they adopted this popular interpretation of events and clothed it with a pseudophilosophical veil that made it gratifying both to Hegelian spiritualism and to crude materialism. In the scheme of Marx the “material productive forces” are a superhuman entity independent of the will and the actions of men. They go their own way that is prescribed by the inscrutable and inevitable laws of a higher power. They change mysteriously and force mankind to adjust its social organization to these changes; for the material productive forces shun one thing: to be enchained by mankind’s social organization. The essential content of history is the struggle of the material productive forces to be freed from the social bonds by which they are fettered.
Once upon a time, teaches Marx, the material productive forces were embodied in the shape of the hand mill, and then they arranged human affairs according to the pattern of feudalism. When, later, the unfathomable laws that determine the evolution of the material productive forces substituted the steam mill for the hand mill, feudalism had to give way to capitalism. Since then the material productive forces have developed further, and their present shape imperatively requires the substitution of socialism for capitalism. Those who try to check the socialist revolution are committed to a hopeless task. It is impossible to stem the tide of historical progress.
The ideas of the so-called leftist parties differ from one another in many ways. But they agree in one point. They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process. The American union member takes his standard of living for granted. Fate has determined that he should enjoy amenities which were denied even to the most prosperous people of earlier generations and are still denied to many non-Americans. It does not occur to him that the “rugged individualism” of big business may have played some role in the emergence of what he calls the “American way of life.” In his eyes “management” represents the unfair claims of the “exploiters” who are intent upon depriving him of his birthright. There is, he thinks, in the course of historical evolution an irrepressible tendency toward a continuous increase in the “productivity” of his labor. It is obvious that the fruits of this betterment by rights belong exclusively to him. It is his merit that—in the age of capitalism—the quotient of the value of the products turned out by the process­ing industries divided by the number of hands employed tended toward an increase.
The truth is that the increase in what is called the productivity of labor is due to the employment of better tools and machines. A hundred workers in a modern factory produce per unit of time a multiple of what a hundred workers used to produce in the workshops of precapitalistic craftsmen. This improvement is not conditioned by higher skill, competence or application on the part of the individual worker. (It is a fact that the proficiency needed by medieval artisans towered far above that of many categories of present-day factory hands.)  It is due to the employment of more efficient tools and machines which, in turn, is the effect of the accumulation and investment of more capital.
The terms capitalism, capital, and capitalists were em­ployed by Marx and are today employed by most people—also by the official propaganda agencies of the United States government—with an opprobrious connotation. Yet these words pertinently point toward the main factor whose operation produced all the marvelous achievements of the last two hundred years:  the unprecedented improvement of the average standard of living for a continually increasing population. What distinguishes modern industrial conditions in the capitalistic countries from those of the precapitalistic ages as well as from those prevailing today in the so‑called underdeveloped countries is the amount of the supply of capital. No technological improvement can be put to work if the capital required has not previously been accumulated by saving.
Saving—capital accumulation—is the agency that has transformed step by step the awkward search for food on the part of savage cave dwellers into the modern ways of industry. The pacemakers of this evolution were the ideas that created the institutional framework within which capital accumula­tion was rendered safe by the principle of private ownership of the means of production. Every step forward on the way toward prosperity is the effect of saving. The most ingenious technological inventions would be practically useless if the capital goods required for their utilization had not been accumulated by saving.
The entrepreneurs employ the capital goods made available by the savers for the most economical satisfaction of the most urgent among the not-yet-satisfied wants of the consumers. Together with the technologists, intent upon perfecting the methods of processing, they play, next to the savers themselves, an active part in the course of events that is called economic progress. The rest of mankind profit from the activities of these three classes of pioneers. But whatever their own doings may be, they are only beneficiaries of changes to the emergence of which they did not contribute anything.
The characteristic feature of the market economy is the fact that it allots the greater part of the improvements brought about by the endeavors of the three progressive classes—those saving, those investing the capital goods, and those elaborating new methods for the employment of capital goods—to the nonprogressive majority of people. Capital accumulation exceeding the increase in population raises, on the one hand, the marginal productivity of labor and, on the other hand, cheapens the products. The market process provides the common man with the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of other peoples’ achievements. It forces the three progressive classes to serve the nonprogressive majority in the best possible way.
Everybody is free to join the ranks of the three progressive classes of a capitalist society. These classes are not closed castes. Membership in them is not a privilege conferred on the individual by a higher authority or inherited from one’s ancestors. These classes are not clubs, and the “ins” have no power to keep out any newcomer. What is needed to become a capitalist, an entrepreneur, or a deviser of new technological methods is brains and will power. The heir of a wealthy man enjoys a certain advantage as he starts under more favorable conditions than others. But his task in the rivalry of the market is not easier, but sometimes even more wearisome and less remunerative than that of a newcomer. He has to reorganize his inheritance in order to adjust it to the changes in market conditions. Thus, for instance, the problems that the heir of a railroad “empire” had to face were, in the last decades, certainly knottier than those encountered by the man who started from scratch in trucking or in air transportation.
The popular philosophy of the common man misrepresents all these facts in the most lamentable way. As John Doe sees it, all those new industries that are supplying him with amenities unknown to his father came into being by some mythical agency called progress. Capital accumulation, entrepreneurship and technological ingenuity did not contribute anything to the spontaneous generation of prosperity. If any man has to be credited with what John Doe considers as the rise in the productivity of labor, then it is the man on the assembly line. Unfortunately, in this sinful world there is exploitation of man by man. Business skims the cream and leaves, as the Communist Manifesto points out, to the creator of all good things, to the manual worker, not more than “he requires for his maintenance and for the propagation of his race.”  Consequently, “the modern worker, instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and deeper.... He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth.”  The authors of this description of capitalistic industry are praised at universities as the greatest philosophers and benefactors of mankind and their teachings are accepted with reverential awe by the millions whose homes, besides other gadgets, are equipped with radio and television sets.
The worst exploitation, say professors, “labor” leaders, and politicians is effected by big business. They fail to realize that the characteristic mark of big business is mass production for the satisfaction of the needs of the masses. Under capitalism the workers themselves, directly or indirectly, are the main consumers of all those things that the factories are turning out.
In the early days of capitalism there was still a considerable time lag between the emergence of an innovation and its becoming accessible to the masses. About sixty years ago Gabriel Tarde was right in pointing out that an industrial innovation is the fancy of a minority before it becomes the need of everybody; what was considered first as an extravagance turns later into a customary requisite of all and sundry. This statement was still correct with regard to the popularization of the automobile. But big-scale production by big business has shortened and almost eliminated this time lag. Modern innovations can only be produced profitably according to the methods of mass production and hence become accessible to the many at the very moment of their practical inauguration. There was, for instance, in the United States no sensible period in which the enjoyment of such innovations as television, nylon stockings or canned baby food was reserved to a minority of the well-to-do. Big business tends, in fact, toward a standardization of the peoples’ ways of consumption and enjoyment.
Nobody is needy in the market economy because of the fact that some people are rich. The riches of the rich are not the cause of the poverty of anybody. The process that makes some people richis, on the contrary, the corollary of the process that improves many peoples’ want satisfaction. The entrepreneurs, the capitalists and the technologies prosper as far as they succeed in best supplying the consumers.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Communism Of Broadway And Holly­wood

The many to whom capitalism gave a comfortable income and leisure are yearning for entertainment. Crowds throng to the theatres. There is money in show business. Popular actors and playwrights enjoy a six-figure income. They live in palatial houses with butlers and swimming pools. They certainly are not “prisoners of starvation.”  Yet Hollywood and Broadway, the world-famous centers of the entertain­ment industry, are hotbeds of communism. Authors and performers are to be found among the most bigoted supporters of Sovietism.
Various attempts have been made to explain this phe­nomenon. There is in most of these interpretations a grain of truth. However, they all fail to take account of the main motive that drives champions of the stage and the screen into the ranks of revolutionaries.
Under capitalism, material success depends on the apprecia­tion of a man’s achievements on the part of the sovereign con­sumers. In this regard there is no difference between the services rendered by a manufacturer and those rendered by a producer, an actor or a playwright.  Yet the awareness of this dependence makes those in show business much more uneasy than those supplying the customers with tangible amenities. The manufac­turers of tangible goods know that their products are purchased because of certain physical properties. They may reasonably ex­pect that the public will continue to ask for these commodities as long as nothing better or cheaper is offered to them, for it is un­likely that the needs which these goods satisfy will change in the near future.  he state of the market for these goods can, to some extent, be anticipated by intelligent entrepreneurs. They can, with a degree of confidence, look into the future.
It is another thing with entertainment. People long for amusement because they are bored. And nothing makes them so weary as amusements with which they are already familiar.  The essence of the entertainment industry is variety. The patrons applaud most what is new and therefore unexpected and surpris­ing. They are capricious and unaccountable. They disdain what they cherished yesterday. A tycoon of the stage or the screen must always fear the waywardness of the public. He awakes rich and famous one morning and may be forgotten the next day. He knows very well that he depends entirely on the whims and fan­cies of a crowd hankering after merriment. He is always agitated by anxiety. Like the master-builder in Ibsen’s play, he fears the unknown newcomers, the vigorous youths who will supplant him in the favor of the public.
It is obvious that there is no relief from what makes these stage people uneasy. Thus they catch at a straw. Communism, some of them think, will bring their deliverance. Is it not a sys­tem that makes all people happy? Do not very eminent men de­clare that all the evils of mankind are caused by capitalism and will be wiped out by communism? Are not they themselves hard-working people, comrades of all other working men?
It may be fairly assumed that none of the Hollywood and Broadway communists has ever studied the writings of any so­cialist author and still less any serious analysis of the market economy.  But it is this very fact that, to these glamour girls, dancers and singers, to these authors and producers of comedies, moving pictures and songs, gives the strange illusion that their particular grievances will disappear as soon as the “expropriators” will be expropriated.  There are people who blame capitalism for the stupidity and crudeness of many products of the entertainment industry.
There is no need to argue this point.  But it is noteworthy to remember that no other American milieu was more enthusiastic in the endorsement of communism than that of people cooperat­ing in the production of these silly plays and films.  When a fu­ture historian searches for those little significant facts which Taine appreciated highly as source material, he should not ne­glect to mention the role which the world’s most famous strip-tease artist played in the American radical movement.*

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Resentment Of The “Cousins”

On the market not hampered by the interference of external forces, the process which tends to convey control of the factors of production into the hands of the most efficient people never stops.  As soon as a man or a firm begins to slacken in endeavors to meet, in the best possible way, the most urgent of the not yet properly satisfied needs of the consumers, dissipation of the wealth accumulated by previous success in such endeavors sets in.  Often this dispersion of the fortune starts already in the life­time of the businessman when his buoyancy, energy and re­sourcefulness become weakened by the impact of old age, fa­tigue, sickness, and his ability to adjust the conduct of his af­fairs to the unceasingly changing structure of the market fades away.  More frequently it is the sluggishness of his heirs that fritters away the heritage.  If the dull and stolid progeny do not sink back into insignificance and in spite of their incompetence remain moneyed people, they owe their prosperity to institutions and political measures which were dictated by anticapitalistic tendencies.  They withdraw from the market where there is no means of preserving acquired wealth other than acquiring it anew each day in tough competition with everybody, with the already existing firms as well as with newcomers “operating on a shoestring.”  In buying government bonds they hide under the wings of the government which promises to safeguard them against the dangers of the market in which losses are the penalty of inefficiency.*
However, there are families in which the eminent capaci­ties required for entrepreneurial success are propagated through sev­eral generations.  One or two of the sons or grandsons or even great-grandsons equal or excel their forebear.  The ancestor’s wealth is not dissipated, but grows more and more.
These cases are, of course, not frequent.  They attract atten­tion not only on account of their rarity, but also on account of the fact that men who know how to enlarge an inherited business enjoy a double prestige, the esteem shown to their fathers and that shown to themselves.  Such “patricians,” as they are some­times called by people who ignore the difference between a sta­tus society and the capitalistic society, for the most part combine in their persons breeding, fineness of taste and gracious manners with the skill and industriousness of a hard-working business­man.  And some of them belong to the country’s or even the world’s richest entrepreneurs.
It is the conditions of these few richest among these so-called “patrician” families which we must scrutinize in order to explain a phenomenon that plays an important role in modern anticapitalistic propaganda and machinations.
Even in these lucky families, the qualities required for the successful conduct of big business are not inherited by all sons and grandsons.  As a rule only one, or at best two, of each gen­eration are endowed with them.  Then it is essential for the sur­vival of the family’s wealth and business that the conduct of af­fairs be entrusted to this one or to these two and that the other members be relegated to the position of mere recipients of a quota of the proceeds.  The methods chosen for such arrange­ments vary from country to country, according to the special provisions of the national and local laws.  Their effect, however, is always the same.  They divide the family into two cate­gories—those who direct the conduct of affairs and those who do not.
The second category consists as a rule of people closely re­lated to those of the first category whom we propose to call the bosses.  They are brothers, cousins, nephews of the bosses, more often their sisters, widowed sisters-in-law, female cousins, nieces and so on.  We propose to call the mem­bers of this second cate­gory the cousins.
The cousins derive their revenues from the firm or corpo­ration.  But they are foreign to business life and know nothing about the problems an entrepreneur has to face.  They have been brought up in fashionable boarding schools and colleges, whose atmosphere was filled by a haughty contempt for banausic money-making. Some of them pass their time in night clubs and other places of amusement, bet and gamble, feast and revel, and indulge in expensive debauchery.  Others amateurishly busy themselves with painting, writing, or other arts.  Thus, most of them are idle and useless people.
It is true that there have been and are exceptions, and that the achievements of these exceptional members of the group of cousins by far outweigh the scandals raised by the provoking be­havior of the playboys and spendthrifts.  Many of the most emi­nent authors, scholars and statesmen were such “gentlemen of no occupation.”  Free from the necessity of earning a livelihood by a gainful occupation and independent of the favor of those ad­dicted to bigotry, they became pioneers of new ideas.  Others, themselves lacking the inspiration, became the Maecenas of artists who, without the financial aid and the applause received, would not have been in a position to accomplish their creative work.  The role that moneyed men played in Great Britain’s in­tellectual and political evolution has been stressed by many his­torians.  The milieu in which the authors and artists of nine­teenth-century France lived and found encouragement was le monde, “society”.
However, we deal here neither with the sins of the playboys nor with the excellence of other groups of wealthy people.  Our theme is the part which a special group of cousins took in the dissemination of doctrines aiming at the destruction of the mar­ket economy.
Many cousins believe that they have been wronged by the ar­rangements regulating their financial relation to the bosses and the family’s firm.  Whether these arrangements were made by the will of their father or grandfather, or by an agreement which they themselves have signed, they think that they are receiving too little and the bosses too much.  Unfamiliar with the nature of business and the market, they are—with Marx—convinced that capital automatically “begets profits.”  They do not see any rea­son why those members of the family who are in charge of the conduct of affairs should earn more than they.  Too dull to ap­praise correctly the meaning of balance sheets and profit and loss accounts, they suspect in every act of the bosses a sinister at­tempt to cheat them and to deprive them of their birthright.  They quarrel with them continually.
It is not astonishing that the bosses lose their temper.  They are proud of their success in overcoming all the obstacles which governments and labor unions place in the way of big business.  They are fully aware of the fact that, but for their efficiency and zeal, the firm would either have long since gone astray or the family would have been forced to sell out.  They believe that the cousins should do justice to their merits, and they find their complaints simply impudent and outrageous.
The family feud between the bosses and the cousins concerns only the members of the clan.  But it attains general importance when the cousins, in order to annoy the bosses, join the anticapi­talistic camp and provide the funds for all kinds of “progressive” ventures.  The cousins are enthusiastic in supporting strikes, even strikes in the factories from which their own revenues originate.*  It is a well-known fact that most of the “progressive” magazines and many “progressive” newspapers entirely depend on the sub­sidies lavishly granted by them.  These cousins endow progres­sive universities and colleges and institutes for “social research” and sponsor all sorts of communist party activities.  As “parlor socialists” and “penthouse Bolsheviks,” they play an im­portant role in the “proletarian army” fighting against the “dismal system of capitalism.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Resentment Of The White-Collar Workers

Besides being harassed by the general hatred of capitalism common to most people, the white-collar worker labors under two special afflictions peculiar to his own category.
Sitting behind a desk and committing words and figures to paper, he is prone to overrate the significance of his work.  Like the boss he writes and reads what other fellows have put on pa­per and talks directly or over the telephone with other people.  Full of conceit, he imagines himself to belong to the enterprise’s managing elite and compares his own tasks with those of his boss.  As a “worker by brain” he looks arrogantly down upon the manual worker whose hands are calloused and soiled.  It makes him furious to notice that many of these manual laborers get higher pay and are more respected than he himself.  What a shame, he thinks, that capitalism does not appraise his “intellectual” work according to its “true” value and fondles the simple drudgery of the “uneducated.”
In nursing such atavistic ideas about the significance of of­fice work and manual work, the white-collar man shuts his eyes to a realistic evaluation of the situation.  He does not see that his own clerical job consists in the performance of routine tasks which require but a simple training, while the “hands” whom he envies are the highly skilled mechanics and technicians who know how to handle the intricate machines and contrivances of modern industry.  It is precisely this complete misconstruction of the real state of affairs that discloses the clerk’s lack of insight and power of reasoning.
On the other hand, the clerical worker, like professional people, is plagued by daily contact with men who have suc­ceeded better than he.  He sees some of his fellow employees who started from the same level with him make a career within the hierarchy of the office while he remains at the bottom.  Only yesterday Paul was in the same rank with him.  Today Paul has a more important and better-paid assignment.  And yet, he thinks, Paul is in every regard inferior to himself.  Certainly, he con­cludes, Paul owes his advancement to those mean tricks and ar­tifices that can further a man’s career only under this unfair sys­tem of capitalism which all books and newspapers, all scholars and politicians denounce as the root of all mischief and misery.
The classical expression of the clerks’ conceit and their fan­ciful belief that their own subaltern jobs are a part of the en­trepreneurial activities and congeneric with the work of their bosses is to be found in Lenin’s description of the “control of production and distribution” as provided by his most popular es­say.  Lenin himself and most of his fellow conspirators never learned anything about the operation of the market economy and never wanted to.  All they knew about capitalism was that Marx had described it as the worst of all evils.  They were professional revolutionaries.  The only sources of their earnings were the party funds which were fed by voluntary and more often involun­tary—extorted—contributions and subscriptions and by violent “expropriations.”  But, before 1917, as exiles in Western and Central Europe, some of the comrades occasionally held subaltern routine jobs in business firms.  It was their experi­ence—the experience of clerks who had to fill out forms and blanks, to copy letters, to enter figures into books and to file pa­pers—which provided Lenin with all the information he had ac­quired about entrepreneurial activities.
Lenin correctly distinguishes between the work of the en­trepreneurs on the one hand, and that of “the scientifically edu­cated staff of engineers, agronomists and so on” on the other hand.  These experts and technologists are mainly executors of orders.  They obey under capitalism the capitalists; they will obey under socialism “the armed workers.”  The function of the capitalists and entrepreneurs is different; it is, according to Lenin, “control of production and distribution, of labor and products.”  Now the tasks of the entrepreneurs and capitalists are in fact the determination of the purposes for which the factors of production are to be employed in order to serve in the best pos­sible way the wants of the consumers, i.e., to determine what should be produced, in what quantities and in what quality.  However, this is not the meaning that Lenin attaches to the term “con­trol.”  As a Marxian he was unaware of the problems the conduct of production activities has to face under any imaginable system of social organization: the inevitable scarcity of the fac­tors of production, the uncertainty of future conditions for which production has to provide, and the necessity of picking out from the bewildering multitude of technological methods suitable for the attainment of ends already chosen those which obstruct as little as possible the attainment of other ends, i.e., those with which the cost of production is lowest.  No allusion to these matters can be found in the writings of Marx and Engels.  All that Lenin learned about business from the tales of his comrades who occasionally sat in business offices was that it required a lot of scribbling, recording and ciphering.  Thus, he declares that “accounting and control” are the chief things necessary for the organizing and correct functioning of society.  But “accounting and control,” he goes on saying, have already been “simplified by capitalism to the utmost, till they have become the extraordi­narily simple operations of watching, recording and issuing re­ceipts, within the reach of anybody who can read and write and knows the first four rules of arithmetic.”*
Here we have the philosophy of the filing clerk in its full glory.


Monday, July 21, 2014

The Anticapitalistic Bias Of American Intellectuals

The anticapitalistic bias of the intellectuals is a phenomenon not limited to one or a few countries only.  But it is more general and more bitter in the United States than it is in the European countries.  To explain this rather surprising fact one must deal with what one calls “society” or, in French, also le monde.
In Europe “society” includes all those eminent in any sphere of activity.  Statesmen and parliamentary leaders, the heads of the various departments of the civil service, publishers and edi­tors of the main newspapers and magazines, prominent writers, scientists, artists, actors, musicians, en­gineers, lawyers and physicians form together with outstanding businessmen and scions of aristocratic and patrician families what is considered the good society.  They come into contact with one another at dinner and tea parties, charity balls and bazaars, at first nights, and varnishing days; they frequent the same restaurants, hotels and resorts.  When they meet, they take their pleasure in conver­sation about intellectual matters, a mode of social intercourse first developed in Italy of the Renaissance, perfected in the Parisian salons and later imitated by the “society” of all impor­tant cities of Western and Central Europe.  New ideas and ide­ologies find their response in these social gatherings before they begin to influence broader circles.  One cannot deal with the history of the fine arts and literature in the nineteenth century without analyzing the role “society” played in encouraging or discouraging their protagonists.
Access to European society is open to everybody who has distinguished himself in any field.  It may be easier to people of noble ancestry and great wealth than to commoners with modest incomes.  But neither riches nor titles can give to a member of this set the rank and prestige that is the reward of great personal distinction.  The stars of the Parisian salons are not the million­aires, but the members of the Académie Française.  The intellec­tuals prevail and the others feign at least a lively interest in intel­lectual concerns.
Society in this sense is foreign to the American scene.  What is called “society” in the United States almost exclusively con­sists of the richest families.  There is little social intercourse between the successful businessmen and the nation’s eminent authors, artists and scientists.  Those listed in the Social Register do not meet socially the molders of public opinion and the harbingers of the ideas that will determine the future of the na­tion.  Most of the “socialites” are not interested in books and ideas.  When they meet and do not play cards, they gossip about persons and talk more about sports than about cultural matters.  But even those who are not averse to reading consider writers, scientists and artists as people with whom they do not want to consort.  An almost insurmountable gulf separates “society” from the intellectuals.
It is possible to explain the emergence of this situation his­torically.  But such an explanation does not alter the facts.  Nei­ther can it remove or alleviate the resentment with which the in­tellectuals react to the contempt in which they are held by the members of “society.” American authors or scientists are prone to consider the wealthy businessman as a barbarian, as a man exclusively intent upon making money.  The professor despises the alumni who are more interested in the university’s football team than in its scholastic achievements.  He feels insulted if he learns that the coach gets a higher salary than an eminent profes­sor of philosophy.  The men whose research has given rise to new methods of production hate the businessmen who are merely interested in the cash value of their research work.  It is very significant that such a large number of American research physicists sympathize with socialism or communism.  As they are ignorant of economics and realize that the university teachers of economics are also opposed to what they disparagingly call the profit system, no other attitude can be expected from them.
If a group of people secludes itself from the rest of the na­tion, especially also from its intellectual leaders, in the way American “socialites” do, they unavoidably become the target of rather hostile criticisms on the part of those whom they keep out of their own circles.  The exclusivism practiced by the American rich has made them in a certain sense outcasts.  They may take a vain pride in their own distinction.  What they fail to see is that their self-chosen segregation isolates them and kindles animosi­ties which make the intellectuals inclined to favor anticapitalistic policies.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

CBO Predicts a Hangover of Economic Proportions

 By Anne Hobson

According to the CBO, the Clairvoyant Bureaucratic Office, “federal debt will be growing faster than GDP, a path that would be ultimately unsustainable.” Our national debt is already bigger than our economy.
The key source of upward pressure on the federal debt is expanded federal spending in the form of Obamacare, its gluttonous siblings Medicare and Medicaid, and its senile cousin Social Security. Because of government encroachment into the health care industry, health care spending will double over the next twenty-five years to 14 percent of GDP.
In order to stop the Social Security trust fund from defaulting and return to sustainable levels of unfunded liabilities by 2025, future and current Americans will have to incur a 25 percent cut in their benefits.
The CBO hearing had the tone of a doctor’s appointment for a self-destructive addict. The doctor says, “You know you can’t keep overspending like this, America,” and the government nods sheepishly and then scampers off to print more money.

This news arrives in the same week congressional investigators revealed that the federal government made about $100 billion in “improper payments” to people who do not qualify for government services. The largest offender? The Department of Heath and Human Services. 
Such hemorrhaging of cash would be unacceptable for a business held accountable by its shareholders, but waste has become an acceptable part of government’s redistributive techniques. With all this talk of the “cost-saving benefits” of Obamacare, it’s easy to forget that it costs money to redistribute money.
During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt mandated that the current workforce pay for the older financially devastated population by promising workers they would get paid by future generations of workers, and so on and so forth. However, because the overall population is aging, there aren’t enough young workers to pay for old workers. The pyramid scheme has to collapse at some point. Whether it collapses gradually, in the form of less return on investment for each of us, or collapses all at once, is what remains to be determined.
Workers are forced to pay into the system in the form of FICA taxes withheld automatically from paychecks. Any excess money in the Social Security system is applied to buying Treasury bonds. In this way the government loans this surplus to itself, pushing the economic hangover further down the road.
“Isn’t this socialism?” Senator Gore asked Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins during a Senate Finance Committee about Social Security in 1935. When Perkins rebuffed him, Gore asked again, "Isn't this a teeny-weeny bit of socialism?"
Our $17 trillion debt is roughly equivalent to the combined GDPs of New York and D.C. times ten. We could start by selling both cities—comprising many of our financial and political miscreants—to the highest bidder as a way out of this mess. If we are going to be irrational, let’s at least be rational about our irrationality. That will kill two birds with one stone—or should I say “with one loan.” We can keep the Statue of Liberty.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Resentment Of The Intellectuals

The common man as a rule does not have the opportunity of consorting with people who have succeeded better than he has.  He moves in the circle of other common men.  He never meets his boss socially.  He never learns from personal experience how different an entrepreneur or an executive is with regard to all those abilities and faculties which are required for successfully serving the consumers.  His envy and the resentment it engenders are not directed against a living being of flesh and blood, but against pale abstractions like “management,” “capital”, and “Wall Street.”  It is impossible to abominate such a faint shadow with the same bitterness of feeling that one may bear against a fellow creature whom one encounters daily.
It is different with people whom special conditions of their occupation or their family affiliation bring into personal contact with the winners of the prizes which—as they believe—by rights should have been given to themselves.  With them the feelings of frustrated ambition become especially poignant because they en­gender hatred of concrete living beings.  They loathe capitalism because it has assigned to this other man the position they them­selves would like to have.
Such is the case with those people who are commonly called the intellectuals.  Take for instance the physicians.  Daily routine and experience make every doctor cognizant of the fact that there exists a hierarchy in which all medical men are graded according to their merits and achievements.  Those more eminent than he himself is, those whose methods and innovations he must learn and practice in order to be up-to-date were his classmates in the medical school, they served with him as internes, they attend with him the meetings of medical associations.  He meets them at the bedside of patients as well as in social gatherings.  Some of them are his personal friends or related to him, and they all behave toward him with the utmost civility and address him as their dear colleague.  But they tower far above him in the appre­ciation of the public and often also in height of income.  They have outstripped him and now belong to another class of men.  When he compares himself with them, he feels humiliated.  But he must watch himself carefully lest anybody notice his resent­ment and envy.  Even the slightest indication of such feelings would be looked upon as very bad manners and would depreciate him in the eyes of everybody.  He must swallow his mor­tification and divert his wrath toward a vicarious target.  He in­dicts society’s economic organization, the nefarious system of capitalism.  But for this unfair regime his abilities and talents, his zeal and his achievements would have brought him the rich re­ward they deserve.
It is the same with many lawyers and teachers, artists and actors, writers and journalists, architects and scientific research workers, engineers and chemists.  They, too, feel frustrated be­cause they are vexed by the ascendancy of their more successful colleagues, their former schoolfellows and cronies.  Their re­sentment is deepened by precisely those codes of professional conduct and ethics that throw a veil of comradeship and col­leagueship over the reality of competition.
To understand the intellectual’s abhorrence of capitalism one must realize that in his mind this system is incarnated in a defi­nite number of compeers whose success he resents and whom he makes responsible for the frustration of his own far-flung ambi­tions.  His passionate dislike of capitalism is a mere blind for his hatred of some successful “colleagues.”



Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Resentment Of Frustrated Ambition

Now we can try to understand why people loathe capitalism.
In a society based on caste and status, the individual can as­cribe adverse fate to conditions beyond his own control.  He is a slave because the superhuman powers that determine all becom­ing had assigned him this rank.  It is not his doing, and there is no reason for him to be ashamed of his humbleness.  His wife cannot find fault with his station.  If she were to tell him:  “Why are you not a duke? If you were a duke, I would be a duchess,” he would reply:  “If I had been born the son of a duke, I would not have married you, a slave girl, but the daughter of another duke; that you are not a duchess is exclusively your own fault; why were you not more clever in the choice of your parents?”
It is quite another thing under capitalism.  Here everybody’s station in life depends on his own doing.  Everybody whose ambitions have not been fully gratified knows very well that he has missed chances, that he has been tried and found wanting by his fellowman.  If his wife upbraids him:  “Why do you make only eighty dollars a week?  If you were as smart as your former pal, Paul, you would be a foreman and I would enjoy a better life,” he becomes conscious of his own inferiority and feels humiliated.
The much talked about sternness of capitalism consists in the fact that it handles everybody according to his contribution to the well-being of his fellowmen.  The sway of the principle, to each according to his accomplishments, does not allow of any excuse for personal shortcomings.  Everybody knows very well that there are people like himself who succeeded where he himself failed.  Everybody knows that many of those whom he envies are self-made men who started from the same point from which he himself started.  And, much worse, he knows that all other peo­ple know it too.  He reads in the eyes of his wife and his children the silent reproach:  “Why have you not been smarter?”  He sees how people admire those who have been more successful than he and look with contempt or with pity on his failure.
What makes many feel unhappy under capitalism is the fact that capitalism grants to each the opportunity to attain the most desirable positions which, of course, can only be attained by a few.  Whatever a man may have gained for himself, it is mostly a mere fraction of what his ambition has impelled him to win.  There are always before his eyes people who have succeeded where he failed.  There are fel­lows who have outstripped him and against whom he nurtures, in his subconsciousness, inferior­ity complexes.  Such is the attitude of the tramp against the man with a regular job, the factory hand against the foreman, the ex­ecutive against the vice-president, the vice-president against the company’s president, the man who is worth three hundred thou­sand dollars against the millionaire and so on.  Everybody’s self-reliance and moral equilibrium are undermined by the spectacle of those who have given proof of greater abilities and capacities.  Everybody is aware of his own defeat and insufficiency.
The long line of German authors who radically rejected the “Western” ideas of the Enlightenment and the social philosophy of rationalism, utilitarianism and laissez faire as well as the policies advanced by these schools of thought was opened by Justus Möser.  One of the novel principles which aroused Möser’s anger was the demand that the promotion of army offi­cers and civil servants should depend on personal merit and abil­ity and not on the incumbent’s ancestry and noble lineage, his age and length of service.  Life in a society in which success would exclusively depend on personal merit would, says Möser, simply be unbearable.  As human nature is, everybody is prone to overrate his own worth and deserts.  If a man’s station in life is conditioned by factors other than his inherent excellence, those who remain at the bottom of the ladder can acquiesce in this out­come and, knowing their own worth, still preserve their dignity and self-respect.  But it is different if merit alone decides.  Then the unsuccessful feel themselves insulted and humiliated.  Hate and enmity against all those who superseded them must result.*
The price and market system of capitalism is such a society in which merit and achievements determine a man’s success or failure.  Whatever one may think of Möser’s bias against the merit principle, one must admit that he was right in describing one of its psychological consequences.  He had an insight into the feelings of those who had been tried and found wanting.
In order to console himself and to restore his self-assertion, such a man is in search of a scapegoat.  He tries to persuade him­self that he failed through no fault of his own.  He is at least as brilliant, efficient and industrious as those who outshine him.  Unfortunately, this nefarious social order of ours does not accord the prizes to the most meritorious men; it crowns the dishonest, unscrupulous scoundrel, the swindler, the exploiter, the “rugged individualist.”  What made himself fail was his honesty.  He was too decent to resort to the base tricks to which his successful ri­vals owe their ascend­ancy.  As conditions are under capitalism, a man is forced to choose between virtue and poverty on the one hand, and vice and riches on the other.  He, himself, thank God, chose the former alternative and rejected the latter.
This search for a scapegoat is an attitude of people living under the social order which treats everybody according to his contribution to the well-being of his fellowmen and where thus everybody is the founder of his own fortune.  In such a society each member whose ambitions have not been fully satisfied re­sents the fortune of all those who succeeded better.  The fool re­leases these feelings in slander and defamation.  The more so­phisticated do not indulge in personal calumny.  They sublimate their hatred into a philosophy, the philosophy of anti-capitalism, in order to render inaudible the inner voice that tells them that their failure is entirely their own fault.  Their fanaticism in de­fending their critique of capitalism is precisely due to the fact that they are fighting their own awareness of its falsity.
The suffering from frustrated ambition is peculiar to people living in a society of equality under the law.  It is not caused by equality under the law, but by the fact that in a society of equal­ity under the law the inequality of men with regard to intellectual abilities, will power and application becomes visible.  The gulf between what a man is and achieves and what he thinks of his own abilities and achievements is pitilessly revealed.  Day­dreams of a “fair” world which would treat him according to his “real worth” are the refuge of all those plagued by a lack of self-knowledge.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Status Society And Capitalism



Before answering this question it is necessary to put into better relief the distinctive feature of capitalism as against that of a status society.
It is quite customary to liken the entrepreneurs and capital­ists of the market economy to the aristocrats of a status society.  The basis of the comparison is the relative riches of both groups as against the relatively straitened conditions of the rest of their fellowmen.  However, in resorting to this simile, one fails to realize the fundamental difference between aristocratic riches and “bourgeois” or capitalistic riches.
The wealth of an aristocrat is not a market phenomenon; it does not originate from supplying the consumers and cannot be withdrawn or even affected by any action on the part of the pub­lic.  It stems from conquest or from largess on the part of a con­queror. It may come to an end through revocation on the part of the donor or through violent eviction on the part of another con­queror, or it may be dissipated by extravagance.  The feudal lord does not serve consumers and is immune to the displeasure of the populace.
The entrepreneurs and capitalists owe their wealth to the people who patronize their businesses.  They lose it inevitably as soon as other men supplant them in serving the consumers better or more cheaply.
It is not the task of this essay to describe the historical con­ditions which brought about the institutions of caste and status, of the subdivision of peoples into hereditary groups with differ­ent ranks, rights, claims, and legally sanctified privileges or dis­abilities.  What alone is of importance for us is the fact that the preservation of these feudal institutions was incompatible with the system of capitalism.  Their abolition and the establishment of the principle of equality under the law removed the barriers that prevented mankind from enjoying all those benefits which the system of private ownership of the means of production and private enterprise makes possible.
In a society based on rank, status or caste, an individual’s station in life is fixed.  He is born into a certain station, and his position in society is rigidly determined by the laws and customs which assign to each member of his rank definite privileges and duties or definite disabilities.  Exceptionally good or bad luck may in some rare cases elevate an individual into a higher rank or debase him into a lower rank.  But as a rule, the conditions of the individual members of a definite order or rank can improve or deteriorate only with a change in the conditions of the whole membership.  The individual is primarily not a citizen of a na­tion; he is a member of an estate (Stand, état) and only as such indirectly integrated into the body of his nation.  In coming into con­tact with a countryman belonging to another rank, he does not feel any community.  He perceives only the gulf that sepa­rates him from the other man’s status.  This diversity was re­flected in linguistic as well as in sartorial usages.  Under the an­cien régime the European aristocrats preferably spoke French.  The third estate used the vernacular, while the lower ranks of the urban population and the peasants clung to local dialects, jargons and argots which often were incomprehensible to the educated.  The various ranks dressed differently.  No one could fail to rec­ognize the rank of a stranger whom he happened to see some­where.  The main criticism leveled against the principle of equality under the law by the eulogists of the good old days is that it has abolished the privileges of rank and dignity.  It has, they say, “atomized” society, dissolved its “organic” subdivi­sions into “amorphous” masses.  The “much too many” are now supreme, and their mean materialism has superseded the noble standards of ages gone by.  Money is king.  Quite worthless people enjoy riches and abundance, while meritorious and wor­thy people go empty-handed.
This criticism tacitly implies that under the ancien régime the aristocrats were distinguished by their virtue and that they owed their rank and their revenues to their moral and cultural superiority.  It is hardly necessary to debunk this fable.  Without expressing any judgment of value, the historian cannot help em­phasizing that the high aristocracy of the main European coun­tries were the descendants of those soldiers, courtiers and courte­sans who, in the religious and constitutional struggles of the six­teenth and seventeenth centuries, had cleverly sided with the party that remained victorious in their respective countries.
While the conservative and the “progressive” foes of capital­ism disagree with regard to the evaluation of the old standards, they fully agree in condemning the standards of capitalistic so­ciety.  As they see it, not those who deserve well of their fellowmen acquire wealth and prestige, but frivolous unworthy people.  Both groups pretend to aim at the substitution of fairer methods of “distribution” for the manifestly unfair methods prevailing under laissez-faire capitalism.
Now, nobody ever contended that under unhampered capital­ism those fare best who, from the point of view of eternal stan­dards of value, ought to be preferred.  What the capitalistic democracy of the market brings about is not rewarding people according to their “true” merits, inherent worth and moral emi­nence.  What makes a man more or less prosperous is not the evaluation of his contribution from any “absolute” principle of justice, but evaluation on the part of his fellowmen who exclu­sively apply the yardstick of their own personal wants, desires and ends.  It is precisely this that the democratic system of the market means.  The consumers are supreme—i.e., sovereign.  They want to be satisfied.
Millions of people like to drink Pinkapinka, a beverage pre­pared by the world-embracing Pinkapinka Company.  Millions like detective stories, mystery pictures, tabloid newspapers, bull fights, boxing, whiskey, cigarettes, chewing gum.  Millions vote for governments eager to arm and to wage war.  Thus, the en­trepreneurs who provide in the best and cheapest way all the things required for the satisfaction of these wants succeed in get­ting rich.  What counts in the frame of the market economy is not academic judgments of value, but the valuations actually mani­fested by people in buying or not buying.
To the grumbler who complains about the unfairness of the market system only one piece of advice can be given:  If you want to acquire wealth, then try to satisfy the public by offering them something that is cheaper or which they like better.  Try to supersede Pinkapinka by mixing another beverage.  Equality un­der the law gives you the power to challenge every millionaire.  It is—in a market not sabotaged by government-imposed restric­tions—exclusively your fault if you do not outstrip the chocolate king, the movie star and the boxing champion.
But if you prefer to the riches you may perhaps acquire in engaging in the garment trade or in professional boxing the satis­faction you may derive from writing poetry or philosophy, you are free to do so.  Then, of course, you will not make as much money as those who serve the majority.  For such is the law of the economic democracy of the market.  Those who satisfy the wants of a smaller number of people only collect fewer votes—dollars—than those who satisfy the wants of more people.  In money-making the movie star outstrips the philosopher; the manufacturers of Pinkapinka outstrip the composer of sym­phonies.
It is important to realize that the opportunity to compete for the prizes society has to dispense is a social institution.  It cannot remove or alleviate the innate handicaps with which nature has discriminated against many people.  It cannot change the fact that many are born sick or become disabled in later life.  The bio­logical equipment of a man rigidly restricts the field in which he can serve.  The class of those who have the ability to think their own thoughts is separated by an unbridgeable gulf from the class of those who cannot.