11 Oct 2011

“OWS’s One Demand: Your Property”

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From Maksim.

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Throughout socialistic literature there is the well-known insistence upon the materialistic interpretation of history – a conception based upon a hunger for things of material enjoyment, and for more and more of them. Fundamentally, they have as much centred their aim on an increase in material possessions as the veriest Napoleon of finance in Wall Street. An existence in which the acquisition of more material wealth is of very large – if not of chief – importance is in the thoughts of both. The ends sought for by the socialists are not, in effect, different from those of the mass of non-socialists who are striving to acquire wealth in order to have ease and leisure for enjoyment. Agreeing in their aims, their differences – which seem to most persons to place them as wide apart as the poles – really consist in choosing different means of accomplishing their ends. The ordinary hustler for wealth, without or within the stock market, may have no definite moral restraint except the fear of the law (in fact, he may even contrive to escape the law), and he accepts existing institutions; but he plans to gain his end, if honest, by productive processes and trade; or, if dishonest, by a thousand ingenious ways of transferring to himself the wealth created by others. On the other hand, the socialist proposes to overturn industrial competition and the institution of private property in the hope – vaguely outlined and not economically analyzed – of transferring the use of wealth from those who have to those who have not. p613-614

“Socialism a Philosophy of Failure”, Laughlin, J.L., Scribner’s magazine, 1887


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