The Society of To-morrow: A Forecast of Its Political and Economic Organisation

Gustave de Molinari
Molinari, Gustave de
(1819-1912)
BIO
Display paragraphs in this book containing:
Editor/Trans.
P. H. Lee Warner, trans.
First Pub. Date
1899
Publisher/Edition
New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Pub. Date
1904
Comments
Appendix by Edward Atkinson, Introduction by Hodgson Pratt, Prefatory letter by Frédéric Passy.

1. "The Foundations of Society," by John Wilson Harper.

Preface

2. Condorcet, "Esquisse d'un Tableau Historique des Progrès de l'Esprit Humain," p. 17.

3. The economist must riot confound interest with selfishness, still less with the satisfaction of such needs as are purely material. It signifies rather the sum of the requirements of human nature, material as well as moral. A man does not impose upon himself the sufferings which are inseparable from effort, nor abstain from enjoying the fruits of his toil, for the sole purpose of satisfying selfish wants, whether present or future. Altruistic intention is a frequent and often the more powerful factor in determining labours or abstentions. Altruism includes the love of family and the race, of truth and justice; and its scope is only limited by that of the moral sentiment. Under its spur men have died for each other, a cause, even a cherished idea. There is no real warrant for the opposition between interest and duty, a contradiction that has been too often reiterated. Duty is no more than the obligation to act in conformity with justice, the criterion of which is the general and permanent interest of the species. The sense of justice—in other words the moral sense—naturally predisposes us to conform action to duty. This sense is, no doubt, distributed most unequally. Certain individuals find that obedience to its dictates yields a joy which outweighs any pain, and such men pursue duty at all costs and in face of every obstacle; others are less conscious of the stimulus. A sense of obligation is often disobeyed, but every lapse is followed by that feeling of pain which is called remorse. Finally, there are many persons whose moral sense, the sense of justice, is quite rudimentary; they commit every kind of injustice or immorality to satisfy their passions or vices, and are a menace to society and the race. Mere self-defence compels society to supplement such enfeebled sense of the obligations. It therefore imposes penalties, regulating their incidence in such a way that the amount of pleasure obtained by comitting an injustice is more than neutralised by the punishment which follows.

Society's first duty is, therefore, to foster the sense of justice—the moral sense. And it is equally imperative to define the distinction between just and unjust, moral and immoral, since the hurt or benefit of society and the species is bound up with the opposition between these two ideas. The interests of the individual and the species are, in their regard, identical. (See the present author's "La Morale Economique," book i.—The Relation of Morality to Political Economy; see also his "Religion," chapter xii.—Religion and Science.)

4. See the author's "Les Notions Fondamentales de l'Economie Politique," Introduction, page 5.

5. It need scarcely be added that destruction in the interests of security is a necessary factor in production. The ability to destroy constitutes military value. Whether manifested in clearing a territory of the wild beasts which infested it, or as a guarantee against the incursions of predatory tribes, it roots itself in the soil, and forms, so to speak, the first grounds for attaching value to that soil. (See the author's "Les Notions Fondamentales d'Economie Politique," chapter iv.-The Produce of the Earth.)

6. See the author's "Cours d'Economie Politique," Third Lesson—Value and Price.

Part I, Chapter III

7. See the author's "l'Evolution Economique du XIXme Siècle" and also "l'Evolution Politique et la Révolution."

Part I, Chapter VI

8. This subject will be found, more fully developed, in the author's "Grandeur et Décadence de la Guerre."

Part II, Chapter I

9. See Appendix, Note A—The Czar and Disarmament.

Part II, Chapter IV

10. Extract from "La Production de la Sécurite," Journal des Economistes, February 15, 1849; also printed in "Les Questions d'Economie Politique et de Droit Public," vol. ii. p. 245.

11. "The fees of court," says Adam Smith ("Wealth of Nations," Book V., chap, i., part 2), "seem originally to have been the principal support of the different courts of justice in England. Each court endeavoured to draw to itself as much business as it could, and was, on that account, willing to take cognisance of many suits which were not originally intended to fall under it jurisdiction. The Court of King's Bench, instituted for the trial of criminal causes only, took cognisance of civil suits; the plaintiff pretending that the defendant, in not doing him justice, had been guilty of some trespass or misdemeanour. The Court of Exchequer, instituted for the levying of the King's revenue, and for the enforcing payment of such debts only as were due to the King, took cognisance of all other contract debts; the plaintiff alleging that he could not pay the King, because the defendant would nor pay him. In consequence of such fictions, it came, in many cases, to depend altogether upon the parties, before what court they would choose to have their case tried; and each court endeavoured, by superior dispatch and impartiality, to draw to itself as many causes as it could. The present admirable constitution of the courts of justice in England was perhaps originally, in great measure, formed by this emulation, which anciently took place between their respective judges; each judge endeavouring to give, in his own court, the speediest and most effectual remedy which the law would admit, for every sort of injustice."

Part II, Chapter V

12. Compare "Les Lois Naturelles de l'Economie Politique," chap. xiv: La Constitution Naturelle des Gouvernements; la Commune, la Province, l'Etat.

Part II, Chapter VIII

13. See the author's "Les Notions Fondamentales de l'Economie Politique," part ii., chapter iii.—Progress and Organisation of Commercial Undertakings.

Part II, Chapter IX

14. See the author's "The Solution of the Social Question," chap. iii.—The Corporation and the Slave.

15. See Appendix, Note B—Syndicates or "Trusts" and their Restrictive Action on Competition.

Part II, Chapter XI

16. See the author's "Cours d'Economie Politique," Tenth Lesson—The Place of the Workman.

17. See, in respect of our knowledge of the markets, the author's "Les Bourses du Travail," chapter xviii.—Progrès à Réaliser pour Agrandir et Unifier les Marchés du Travail.

Part II, Chapter XII

18. See Appendix, Note C—The Effects of Industrial Progress on Population.

Part II, Chapter XIII

19. See the author's "Les Notions Fondamentales," chapter v., part iii.—Self-Government and its Functions of Guardianship.

20. See the author's "Les Bourses du Travail," Appendix page 188; and "Les Notions Fondamentales," Appendix page 437—Abolition of Negro Slavery.

Part II, Chapter XIV

21. See Appendix, Note D—Cost and Profit of a Colonial Programme.

22. See the author's pamphlet, entitled, "La Conquête de la Chine," C. Mucquardt, Brussels, and Williams and Norgate, London, 1856.

Part II, Chapter XV

23. See the author's "l'Evolution Politique et la Révolution," chapter ix.—La Révolution Française.

24. See Appendix, Note E—"The Economic and the Socialistic Conception of the Society of the Future."

Part III, Note C

25. Rouxel, "A Critical Review of the Chief Recent Economic Publications"—Journal des Economistes.

Part III, Note D

26. Journal des Economistes—Yearly Summary for 1898.

Part III, Note E

* [The original (1904, G. P. Putnam's Son's), reads "Dii minores".—Econlib Editor]

27. Extracted from "l'Utopie de la Liberté"—A Letter to Socialists. Journal des Economistes, June 15, 1848.

Appendix, by Edward Atkinson

28. Increase about seven per cent. on each State to bring the figures to the present population.

End of Notes.

Return to top
Liberty Fund logo, amagi symbol
The cuneiform inscription in the Liberty Fund logo is the earliest-known written appearance of the word "freedom" (amagi), or "liberty." It is taken from a clay document written about 2300 B.C. in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash.
Contact Site Map Privacy and Legal http://www.econlib.org