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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 3
    especially for those who began to understand their condition of poverty New explanations were then needed and just at that time these new explanations made their appearance These appeared in the form of the science of political economy which asserts that it has found the laws according to which labor and the use of its products are distributed among men These laws according to the doctrine of this science consist in the distribution and use of labor depending on supply and demand capital interest wages prices and profit and in general on invariable laws which condition men s economical activity There were in a short time just as many books and pamphlets written and lectures delivered on this theme as there had been on the previous theme and even now they incessantly write mountains of books and pamphlets and deliver lectures on the same subject All these books and lectures are just as misty and incomprehensible as the theological treatises and sermons and like the theological treatises they attain their end to give an explanation of the existing order of things such as would make it possible for one set of men to be at rest to not work and to enjoy the labors of other men They did not take the condition of the men of the whole world during all its historical existence as a model of the general order but only the condition of men in small England as it existed under exceptional conditions at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century They did not in the least interfere with the recognition of the truth of the propositions arrived at by the investigators of this science even as endless disputes and differences of its leaders could not produce any agreement as to

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 4
    frequently dangerous and pernicious conditions in city barracks that are full of temptations and immorality doing slave work for other people The hours of work have been reduced recently and the pay has been increased but this reduction of the hours of labor and increase of pay have not improved the condition of the working people if we do not consider their more luxurious habits a watch and chain silk kerchiefs tobacco wine meat beer and so forth but their real welfare their health their morality and above all their freedom In the factory of silk articles with which I am acquainted twenty years ago mainly men worked there for fourteen hours a day and earned fifteen rubles clear a month which they generally sent home to their families in the country Now it is mostly women who work there They work eleven hours a day and earn sometimes as much as twenty five rubles per month or more than fifteen rubles clear They generally do not send the earnings home but spend them here chiefly on dresses drunkenness and debauchery The reduction of hours of labor only increases the time passed by them at the inns The same in a greater or lesser measure takes place in all the factories and plants Everywhere their health is injured as compared with those doing agricultural work in spite of the reduction of the hours of labor and the increase of pay The average length of life is diminished and morality is lost Indeed it cannot be otherwise when we consider how they are removed from the conditions most conducive to morality and family life and from free healthy varied sensible agricultural labor It may be as some economists assert that with the reduction of hours of labor the increase of wages and the improvement of sanitary conditions in the factories the health of the working people and their morality is improved as compared with the condition in which the factory hands used to be formerly It may be even that of late and in certain localities the condition of the working people in the factories has in external conditions been better than the condition of the rural population But this is true for only some localities and is due to the government and society doing under the influence of the propositions of science everything that can be done for the deterioration of the rural population and for the improvement of the condition of the factory hands If the condition of the factory hands is better than the condition of rural laborers in certain localities and only in external conditions this only proves that it is possible to reduce a life to wretchedness through all kinds of oppression and that there does not exist so unnatural and bad a condition but that a man can adapt himself to it and remain in it for several generations The wretchedness of the condition of the factory hand and of the city workman in general

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 5
    such that the production of the factories will remain the same so that the comforts of life which they will enjoy will also remain the same In demanding a complete transference of the implements of production to the working people even the most advanced men of science the socialists assume that the production of the same or nearly the same articles as at present will be continued in the same or similar factories with the present division of labor According to their conception there will only be this difference then it will not be they alone but also everybody else who will enjoy those comforts which they are now enjoying all by themselves They have a dim idea that with the socialization of the implements of labor they themselves the men of science and in general the men of the ruling classes will have a share in the work but for the most part in the shape of managers scholars and artists But they are silent as to who will make white lead with muzzles on their faces and who will be the stokers the miners and the privy cleaners Or they assume that all these things will be so perfected that even work in the sewers and underground will be pleasant occupations Thus they present to themselves a utopian concept of economic life such as Edward Bellamy s Looking Backward According to their theory the working people having all united into unions and societies and having been educated in solidarity will finally by means of unions strikes and participation in parliaments arrive at the possession of all the implements of production including the land Then they will feed so well will dress so well and will enjoy such amusements on Sundays that they will prefer life in the city

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 6
    stuffs that S makes perfumes smooth cards and face powder which saves the complexion and that Popov distills delicious whiskey This is very advantageous both for the proprietors of the establishments where they are produced and for their consumers But cannon perfume and whiskey are desirable for those who want to conquer the Chinese markets or like drunkenness or are interested in the preservation of their complexions and there will always be some people who will find the production of these articles injurious And to say nothing of such articles there will always be some people who will find that exhibitions academies beer and meat are unnecessary and even harmful How are these men to be compelled to take part in the production of such articles But even if people shall find a means for having all men agree to manufacture certain articles though there can be no such means except compulsion in a free society without capitalistic production competition or supply and demand who will determine upon what articles the forces are chiefly to be directed Who will decide what is to be produced first and what later Are they first to build a Siberian road and fortify Port Arthur and then lay out a highway through the counties or vice versa Which is to be provided for first electric lights or the irrigation of the fields And then again there is the insoluble question in connection with the freedom of the working people as to who shall do this or that work Obviously it will be most pleasant for all people to busy themselves with the sciences or with drawing rather than to be a stoker or a privy cleaner How can people be made happy in this distribution No statistical data will answer these questions There can only be a theoretical solution to these questions a solution such that there will be men to whom the power will be given to manage it all One set of men will decide these questions and other men will obey them But in addition to the question of the division and direction of production and the choice of work in the socialization of the implements of production there also appears the chief question as to the degree of the division of labor that may be established in a society organized on socialistic principles The present division of labor is conditioned by the wants of the working people A workman agrees to live all his life underground or all his life to produce one hundredth part of a certain article or all his life to monotonously swing his arms amidst a rumble of machines only because without that he will not have any means of support But a workman who shall be in possession of the implements of production and who therefore will not be suffering want will have to be compelled to enter into labor conditions which dull and kill all their mental capacities and under which people work now

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 7
    left them in dependence on the landowners or on corvées and taxes so now the most advanced men demand the liberation of the working people from the capitalists and the socialization of the implements of production but leave the working people in dependence on the present distribution and division of labor which in their opinion must remain invariable The teaching of economic science which is followed without a comprehension of its details by all the well to do people who consider themselves enlightened and advanced at a superficial glance appears liberal even radical in that it contains attacks upon the rich classes of society But in its essence this teaching is in the highest degree conservative coarse and cruel In one way or another the men of science and with them all the well to do classes want by all means to retain the now existing distribution and division of labor which make it possible to produce the large quantity of articles used by them The men of science and with them all the men of the well to do classes call the existing economic structure civilization and they see in this civilization the railways telegraphs telephones photographs x rays clinics exhibitions and above everything else all the appliances of comfort something so sacred that they do not even admit the idea of changes that may destroy all or even a small part of it Everything may according to the teaching of that science be changed except what they call civilization Meanwhile it becomes more and more evident that this civilization can exist only by compelling the workingmen to work But the men of science are so convinced that this civilization is the highest good that they boldly say the very opposite of what the jurists used once to say Instead of Fiat justitia pereat mundus they now say Fiat cultura pereat justitia 3 They not only say so but even act so Everything may be changed in practice and in theory except civilization except all that which takes place in foundries and factories and above all things is sold in shops But I think that enlightened men who profess the Christian law of brotherhood and love of their neighbors ought to say the very opposite It is all very nice to have electric illumination telephones expositions and all the Arcadian Gardens with their concerts and shows and all the cigars and matchboxes and suspenders and motors but may they go to perdition and not only they but also the railways and all the calico and cloth factories in the world if for their production it is necessary that ninety nine percent of men should be in slavery and should perish by the thousand in factories which are necessary for the production of these articles If to light London or St Petersburg with electricity or to erect the structures of an exhibition or to produce beautiful dyes or to get beautiful stuffs woven quickly and in great quantity it is

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 8
    into the full possession of the masters of factories and foundries Such slaves are also nearly all those farmers who without rest work in other people s fields taking other people s corn to other people s granaries or who work their own fields only to be able to pay interest on inextinguishable debts to the bankers Just such slaves are all those numerous lackeys cooks chambermaids janitors coachmen bath servants waiters and so forth who all their lives perform duties that are most improper to a human being and contrary to their own natures Slavery exists in full force but we do not recognize it just as at the end of the eighteenth century people did not recognize the slavery of serfdom The men of that time believed that the state of the people who were obliged to work the land of their masters and to obey them was a natural inevitable condition of life and did not call that state slavery The same is true among us the men of our time regard the state of the workingmen as a natural inevitable economic condition and do not call this state slavery The men of Europe slowly began to see at the end of the eighteenth century that the condition of the peasants who were in the full power of their masters was bad unjust and immoral though formerly it had seemed to be a natural and inevitable form of economic life and they demanded a change So now the people of our time are beginning to understand that the state of the working people which formerly used to be regarded as absolutely legal and normal is not such as it ought to be and demands a change The slavery of our time is now precisely in the same phase in which the serf law was in Europe at the end of the eighteenth century and serfdom in Russia and slavery in America were in the second quarter of the nineteenth century The slavery of the working people of our time is just beginning to be recognized by the advanced men of our society but the majority of people are still fully convinced that there is no slavery among us The men of our time are supported in this wrong idea of their condition by the circumstance that we have just abolished slavery in Russia and America In reality the abolition of serfdom and slavery was only the abolition of an obsolete useless form of slavery and the substitution for it of a more substantial form of slavery that embraced a greater number of slaves than formerly The abolition of serfdom and slavery was very much like what the Crimean Tartars did with their captives when they decided to cut open the soles of their feet and fill the rents with chopped bristles After performing this operation upon them they took off their fetters and chains Though the abolition of serfdom in Russia and slavery in America did away

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 9
    lack of land We can equally imagine the abolition of the taxes and their transference to the rich as is actually done in some countries But with the present economic structure it is impossible to imagine such a state that amidst the rich people there would not establish themselves more and more luxurious frequently harmful habits of life These habits would by degrees as inevitably and as irrepressibly as the water is taken up by the dry earth pass over to the working classes and would become so necessary that the working people would be prepared to sell their freedom in order to gratify them Thus this third condition in spite of its arbitrariness in spite of the apparent ability of a man not to submit to the temptations and in spite of the fact that science does not at all recognize it as a cause of the wretched condition of the workingmen forms the most permanent and most ineffaceable cause of slavery Living near the rich the working people are always infected by new needs and gain the possibility of always gratifying these needs but only in proportion to the hard labor they give for this gratification Thus the working people of England and America though occasionally receiving ten times as much as is needed for their support continue to be the same slaves that they were formerly These three causes according to the explanation of the working people themselves produce the slavery in which they are The history of the enslavement of the working people and the reality of their condition confirm the justice of this explanation All the working people are brought to their present state and are retained in it by these three causes These causes acting upon people from various sides are such that not

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 10
    they work In reality the very opposite takes place everywhere The right of the ownership of the land which the large owners have enjoyed more than anyone else has had the effect that the vast majority of the farmers are now in the condition of men who work somebody else s land from which they may be arbitrarily driven by those who do not work it Thus the existing right of the ownership of the land is by no means a protection of the farmer s right to the use of that labor which he puts on the land but on the contrary a means for taking from the farmers the land which they work and for transferring it to those who do not work it It is in no way a means for the encouragement of agriculture but it is on the contrary a means for deteriorating it Concerning taxes it is asserted that men must pay them because they are established by common though tacit consent and are used for public needs and the good of all Is that true The answer to this question is given by history and by the present state of affairs History says that taxes have never been established by common consent but on the contrary always as a consequence of certain men having gained power over other men by conquest or other means and having imposed tribute upon them not for public needs but for themselves The same thing is done even at the present time The taxes are collected by those who have the power to do so If a part of this tribute called taxes and imposts is now used for public works these public works are for the most part harmful rather than useful to the majority of men Thus for example one third of the people s income is taken away from the people in Russia but for the chief need the people s education only one fiftieth of the whole income is used and this too for education that stultifies and harms the people rather than doing them any good The remaining forty nine fiftieths are used for things that are useless or injurious for the people such as the arming of soldiers strategic roads fortresses prisons the maintenance of the clergy and the courts salaries for military and civil officials that is for the support of those men who aid in the seizure of the money from the people The same thing takes place not only in Persia Turkey and India but also in all the Christian constitutional governments and democratic republics The money is taken from the masses of the people not as much as is needed but as much as can be taken from them and quite independently of the consent of the taxed everybody knows how the parliaments are made up and how little they represent the will of the people it is not used for the common good but for what the

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