Excerpt: ...certain that human psychology does change and adapt itself; but the extent and rapidity of these changes are incapable of exact determination and are left to conjecture and opinion. Can they ever become the subject of exact calculation? If now we pass to considerations of another kind, not of what is desirable, that is of the ends and ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...certain that human psychology does change and adapt itself; but the extent and rapidity of these changes are incapable of exact determination and are left to conjecture and opinion. Can they ever become the subject of exact calculation? If now we pass to considerations of another kind, not of what is desirable, that is of the ends and means admired and thought good by us; but of what 99 under present circumstances, history promises us; i.e. of the objective tendencies of modern society, I really do not know with what meaning many free traders cast on socialism the reproach of being Utopian. For quite another reason socialists might cast back the same reproach upon free trade, if it were considered as it is at present, and not as it was fifty years ago when Marx composed his criticism upon it. Free Trade and its recommendations turn upon an entity which now at least, does not exist: i.e. the national or general interest of society; since existing society is divided into antagonistic groups and recognises the interest of each of these groups, but not, or only very feebly, a general interest. Upon which does free trade reckon? On the landed proprietors or on the industrial classes, on the workmen or on the holders of public dignities? Socialism, on the contrary, from Marx onwards, has placed little reliance on the good sense and good intentions of men, and has declared that the social revolution must be accomplished chiefly by the effort of a class directly interested, i.e. the proletariat. And socialism has made such advances that history must inquire whether the experience that we have of the past justifies the supposition that a social movement, so widespread and intense, can be reabsorbed or dispersed without fully testing itself in the sphere of facts. On this matter too I gladly refer to Pareto, who acknowledges that even in that country of free traders' dreams, in England, the system is supported not owing to people's 100 conviction of its...Read Less
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