Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

LOOKING BACKWARD.

By Edwahd Bkllamt. I London: William Reeveß, Fleet street, la 3d by post, Is 9d, This is a thought-provoking book. Every cycle of intellectual and social thought seems to crystallise itself into some dream, which sums itself up into the reality of some world representative man's forecasting. Plato's Republic was ancient experience filtered through Grecian culture. St. Augustine's Celestial City was the focus of Christian aspiration. More's Utopia was the fulfilment of Dante's Monarohia and the forecasting of modern fact. ' Looking Backward' epitomises the social longing of to-day. It presents an economical, equitable, aod Christian solution of our bocial difficulties, which He deeper than moat people imagine. Briefly, our author would have the Government not only assume control of all industry, but organise the population into an industrial army, graded according to tho kind of labor to be performed and the capacity or tastes of the workers. All under 21 years of age are to be kept in the State schools, receiving a thorough industrial and educational training. From 21 to 45 the man or woman works for tho State, not for money or wages, but labor tickets of equal value, entitling the holder to a certain shate in the combined product of industry. All are to have suitable work provided. The profits arising from this combined labor are to be so divided that there shall praotically be equality of income. The sick, tho halt, the blind, the aged and iuflrm are to be cared for by the Government. Competition, as we understand it, is to be abolished. A loftier individualism is to prevail. Keally the earnestness and moral tone of the book'are catching, and one's interest is bubtained throughout. The author puts life into an otherwise dull subject by constructing a weird sto/y wherein the hero, Rip Van Winkle like, somehow gets projected into the year 2,000, and tells in a strikingly origiaal manner the state of tinners then existing, which is Paradise compared with what exists now. And other characters explain in detail how the change was wrought, which was evolutionary tind not revolutionary. If what this book says be true, no settlement like that of the late strikes can last. I have long thought something must be wrong when one can stjrve in a worlJ where—with the aid of machinery, which should be a blessing instead of, as some think, a curse—we can produce considerably ra»re than every man, woman, ami child need*, and that those williug to work should often not get it. Why. if the bulk of any community were unemployed one month, it would almost mean starvation. But tnis will go on as long aH the "survival of tho fittest" prevails. Ia other words, com- J petition, means that humanity must struggle on : and on under conditions unfit for the proper ] growth of religion or morality, only in tho oud to eee the Jay Goulds and Vanderbilts and powerful sjndicat-s obtain much more than they need, while the mauy go short, and others sink into crime, diseaso, and a pauper's grave. This sort of individualism n,ust have an end some day. . . What creates this unspintual scramble for wealth ? The fear of poverty- of not being able to provide for one'd self and family. Remove thi* by guaranteeing all the necessities of life, providing each givos just that kind of work to the State for which he is fitted, and the stiuggle would cease, and money would be useless, because unnecessary. * Looking Backward' shows ! how all this cati be done compatible with tho j growth of a nobler individualism, and how everybody can have enough, and to spare, of everything that ministers to his wants. So far political economy offers no solution of our social troubles. Nothing but destructive socialistic ideas are abroad. A constructive socialism guided by able, cautious, and religious men is wanted. Our author furnishes an admirable platf>rm ; its simplicity is its greatest va'ue. When understood it will be generally accepted, though tho time may not bo ripe now. A otate of society where the greatest good of all is supreme and no one injured, but everybody provided 'or, must be infinitely superior to that who3e highest aim, theoretically, is the "greatest good of the greatest number," the "greatest number" very of ten being number one. I confidently recommend this clever little book to the publio. Even if its theories are not accepted it is very instructive, and no one will find it dull. Whon I read it four months ago I ordered 500 copioi to come at stated intervals. A supply arrived a few days ago, but nold immediately. Two hundred and fifty will arrive next mail. „ JOSEPH BRAITHWAITB. —[Advt.]

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891019.2.38.8

Bibliographic details

LOOKING BACKWARD., Evening Star, Issue 8042, 19 October 1889, Supplement

Word Count
781

LOOKING BACKWARD. Evening Star, Issue 8042, 19 October 1889, Supplement

Working