by Jo Labadie
So as to get understanding in the discussion of economics there must be a fixity in terms. There must be that unyielding, exact rigidity in the defining and use of words as we find in mathematics if economics is ever to be worthy of the designation of a science. Words that may be construed to mean many different things are useless.
Interest, profit and rent—the trinity of usury—are the present curses of the world. Until they are wiped out, or rendered impossible by the abolition of the laws of State on which they stand, all the peace conferences imaginable, all the leagues of nations thinkable, are but houses of snow beneath a tropic sun!
Until the producer shall be the owner of his product there can be no peace, and there never should be any peace, now that the truth has gotten abroad in the world that labor is the sole producer of the wealth of the world.
Capitalism (the present system of State privileged, non-working owners, on the one hand, and their non-owning, poverty-stricken, excessively competing wage-workers on the other hand) has had its day. The fates have decreed that it must go, and it must go.
Two per cent of the people of this country, statistics show, absorb 65 per cent of its wealth production. It is unthinkable that 2 per cent of the people can produce 65 per cent of the wealth. Something is radically wrong—the product must belong to the producer. The present scheme can’t last long.
What is to be done? Land—all of the materials and forces of nature—must be taken out of the category of wealth or property and made free to those who will use it—occupancy and use being recognized as the basis of right of sole possession—no absolute, non-resident
property-ship in land as now. Landlordism, (our modern feudalism), must go.
Some of the proposals for taxation of what is called
economic rent might help some if the present system of land tenure remains unchanged, but they would meet with ten-fold the opposition that would rise against a proposition to annul, with or without consideration, titles to vacant land, or even to land unused by the owner, as the users, becoming new owners also, would more than check the opposition of the former legal, but wrongful, landlords. This would be but the denial of an indefensible property right, given, perhaps, by our unsophisticated ancestors, but not binding on us today, any more than slavery would be. He who owns no land is owned by the landlord.
But free land alone will not make the citizen free. There must be freedom all along the line. He must not only be free to apply his work to
natual resources, but must have the unhindered right to make his own medium of exchanging the wealth which results from the application of his work to land. We ought not to, if we could, go back to barter, when a free money system would make exchange so much easier. The opportunity to free banking must not be hindered. Free banking would destroy interest, or profit, in the banking business.
The abolition of the patent privilege would tend to destroy monopoly in machinery. This is necessary for a complete and harmonious free system.
Everything that stands in the way of freeing every human being must be destroyed, as without freedom a well-rounded human life is impossible.
The wealth that labor gets as wages is only that required for plain living expenses. The gain, to which he is entitled by moral right, is
filced from him subtly by his non-working, but owning, masters. See income tax reports. Those who wipe up thousands of dollars from wage-workers can and do accumulate the fat of the land. Under monopoly, the wage-worker is virtually a slave.