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mitted to decide without appeal the conditions upon which property shall be created by those who labor for him? We often hear it asked by the manufacturer: “ Have I not the right to manage my own business?" That is not the question. If the manufacturer will set himself to work to produce something with his own hands, nobody will question his right to control his own business. But something more is implied by his question. If he would put the question fairly he would ask, not“Háve I not the right to manage my own business?" but rather “Have I not the right, in managing my business, to regulate the lives, the liberty, the hopes, the happiness of those whom I employ?” But to ask the question in this form would be to suggest a negative answer, while he demands an affirmative answer.
Those who claim the right to arbitrarily determine the hours, the wages and the conditions of labor demand the right to arbitrarily determine the status of the laboring man and fix to the conditions that are to surround him and his posterity. Is it an interference with property rights to demand that the la. boring man shall have a fair share of the proceeds of his own toil-a fair share of the property which he creates?
His right to accumulate property should not be ignored. Not only should he be allowed to accumulate property, but he should have leisure to enable him to enjoy communion with his own family and to fit himself for intelligent participation in the affairs of his government. By what authority will the capitalist put his claim to larger dividends above the rights of the wage earners, and the welfare of the wage earner's children?
Just now the trust magnates are hurling epithets at those who seek to destroy the trusts. They assume to be the special custodians of property rights, and charge anti-monopolists with communistic, socialistic and anarchistic designs upon “the thrifty and the successful." As a matter of fact, the reformer has never been more grossly misrepresented than he is now by the monopolists. It is the trust magnate, not the opponents of the trust, who is striking at property
rights. He trespasses upon the property rights of the small manufacturer and the retailer, and heartlessly drives him into bankruptcy. He trespasses upon the property rights of the consumers, who have a right to purchase what they need in a free market at a reasonable price. The monopolist simply appropriates the property of others. The trust magnate often trespasses the property rights of the employe, whose skill and muscle he utilizes. He encourages the employe to invest in a home and then he sacrifices that home if he engages in a war with his laborers or finds it profitable to dismantle his plant. Even the property interests of the stockholders are not safe in the hands of the trust magnate, for he has been known to depress the market for the purpose of freezing out his associates, or in order to buy more stock at a low price. Those who, believing that “a private monopoly is indefensible and intolerable," are la boring to restore competition and to protect the small producer, the consumer, the merchant and the skilled laborer-these, not the trust magnates, are the real defenders of property rights.
The railroad presidents are also very much concerned now, lest their particular form of property will be injured by legislation, and they are quick to describe as demagogic all arguments that are intended to inform the public intelligence and to arouse the public conscience on the railroad question. What is the position taken by the railroad presidents? They deny the right of the public, acting through government officials, to fix rates, or they deny that these officials are competent to fix rates. As to the right there can be no question. The rates charged by a railroad to a large extent determine the value of the land contiguous to the railroad. When a railroad manager materially increases the rate on an important article of commerce he increases the revenues of the road, and in increased revenue increases the price of the stock. He therefore has it in his power to increase the value of the railroad property, but when he increases the railroad property by increasing the transportation rate, he lessens the re
road property the only property to be considered? Because comparatively few persons enjoy the benefits of an increase in the value of railroad stock, while the evil effect of exorbitant rates is distributed over a large territory, many seem
take a tenable position when they insist that only railroad officials are competent to fix rates. If they would but apply to this question the rule which they apply to other questions, they would know that the railroad managers, instead of
being especially fitted to arbitrarily of the cruelties which the masses prefix rates, are in reality specially unfitted viously suffered at the hands of the arisfor the work. The bias caused by pe- tocracy
This is his language: cuniary interest is everywhere recog- “Along the Paris streets, the death nized. A judge is not permitted to sit carts rumble, hollow and harsh. Six in his own case, and a juror is excused tumbrils carry the day's wine to La if he has the slightest pecuniary in- Guillotine. All the devouring and interest in the result of the trial. And satiate monsters imagined since imaginyet railroad managers impudently as- ation could record itself, are fused in sert that those who have the largest the one realization, Guillotine. And pecuniary interest in the fixing of the yet there is not in France, with its rich rates are just the ones to be trusted variety of soil and climate, a blade, a with this important task.
leaf, a root, a sprig, a pepper-corn, which If competition were free to work in will not grow to maturity under condithe fixing of railroad rates, the patrons tions more certain than those that have of the road could protect themselves, produced this horror. Crush humanity but there is no competition at all be- out of shape once more, under similar tween intermediate points, and the hammers, and it will twist itself into the rates are often fixed by agreement at same tortured forms. Sow the same competing points. It is as absurd to seed of rapacious license, and oppression say that the patrons should depend over again, and it will surely yield the upon the railroad managers for justice same fruit according to its kind. in rates, as it would be to say that a “Six tumbrils roll along the streets. plaintiff should submit his case to Change these back again to what they jury made up of defendants in the case. were, thou powerful enchanter, Time,
And so, no matter what question is and they shall be seen to be the carunder consideration, the reformer is riages of absolute monarchs, the equipalways misrepresented by those who pages of feudal nobles, the toilettes of find a profit in the existing conditions. flaring Jezebels, the churches that are
Not only is the reformer the real de- not my father's house but dens of fender of property rights, but he is the thieves, the huts of millions of starving best friend of the very persons who
peasants.” abuse him. Just as that physician is The French aristocrats who showed the best one who points out to his pa- their contempt for human rights were tient the dangers of the disease from very solicitous about property rights, which he suffers and proposes the best and yet they were in fact the deadliest remedy, no matter how severe, so those enemies of property and property rights, are the best friends of the rich who at- because their wantonness provoked the tempt to restrain excesses and to cor- attacks which followed. rect abuses.
The situation in this country to-day Jefferson, in his first inaugural ad- is not what it was in France prior to dress, describes the right of election by the revolution. The extremes of society the people as "a mild and safe correct. are not so far apart nor have the evils ive of abuses which are lopped off by the now complained of been carried so far. sword of revolution where peaceful rem- And yet no one who has studied the sitedies are unprovided." The reformer uation can be blind to the fact that the seeks by peaceful means to correct arrogance of our financiers, and greed abuses which, if not reformed by legis- of our railroad magnates and the avarice lation, are sure sooner or later to lead, of our monopolists are creating a gulf first to bitterness between the classes between productive wealth and predaand finally to violence. Dickens in tory wealth-between the very poor and his “Tale of Two Cities" gives his read- the very rich. The longer remedial legisers a picture of the French revolution, lation is delayed the wider the gulf grows, and points out that the horrors of the and the wider the gulf, the greater the revolution were but the natural result danger. The longer a needed reform is
delayed the more radical the remedy is likely to be and the more danger that the spirit of retaliation will make itself manifest.
It is time to call a halt. It is time to displace the corporate influences that now have such a powerful hold upon politics, and to return to a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” in which the property of the poor as well as the property of the rich, the life of the obscure as well as the
life of the conspicuous, and the liberty of all shall be protected by law. They are the best friends of both human and property rights who labor most earnestly and most intelligently to correct injustice in government wherever found; they are the most dangerous enemies of property rights as well of human rights who either turn the instrumentalities of government to private gain or who, for pecuniary advantage, resist needed medial legislation.
COMPETITION, ORGANIZATION, RECIPROCITY.
c. W. MC'CORMICK, IN PUBLIC POLICY..
They are practical questions that we are called upon to discuss every day, and at least one of them is applicable to every business transaction.
That competition is the life of trade, there can be no doubt, providing, however, that it is healthful, fair, honest and friendly; otherwise, it loses its true characteristic, and from a constructive it becomes a destructive force; from the building up and bettering of conditions to the tearing down and destruction of opportunity, or, to express it more forcibly, perhaps, but none the less truthfully, turning from profitable peace to unprofitable war.
When men allow the spirit of rivalry to run so high that they lose sight of all economic principles, and are only inspired with the desire to win at any cost, then they assume the attitude of the heathen, and reap the heathen's reward, which is simply the gratification of present desires at the expense of the fuller reward, that a decent regard for the rights of others and a due sense of respect for themselves would bring them in the future; for competition entered into with a view only of winning, and not for legitimate profit, becomes a destructive factor in the business world, affecting all interests alike, and such competition necess
essarily causes loss, and losses whenever and however made affect every trade and commercial interest in the community where such loss occurs.
Competition when fairly engaged in promotes industry and encourages every effort to build up and develop our material interests; it broadens and strengthens our intelligence, and makes for betterment in every branch of human effort. Competition between rivals in business is as natural as the breath of life, it is the law of trade, and becomes profitable so long as it is conducted upon reasonable, sensible lines, is decent and fair.
Profitable occupation is progress, growth, the sure results of economic competition, and when men forget what they are in business for, lose sight of its object-profit-and think only of putting a rival out of business, it is then that competition is swallowed up in war, with only wreck and ruin as the inevitable result; then after we have impoverished ourselves and our neighbors to the last degree, we declare a truce, hang out the white flag, and sue for peace.
Peaceful, just and righteous methods will always prevail, and they are the stepping-stones to branch of business, they are the fundamental principles of civilization, the benefits of which we are all trying to secure, but why is it, as seems to be the case, that we cannot, at least, do not, reach that coveted estate except through strife and loss and suffering?
To gain peace, we go to war, and after the smoke of battle has cleared away.