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The medicalization of everyday life selected essays
The asks of every human being to distrust coercion as a bad instrument, morally and materially for achieving progress and supplying wants. It asks them to recognize the great truth that progress abhors the dull spiritless uniformity which follows upon every form of coercion. It asks them to have faith in the all-creating power of the intellectual and moral forces, and to believe that no true living development of these forces can take place until men set themselves to reason and persuade instead of coercing, until each man asks no more for himself than to go to his own way, while he in turn concedes the same perfect liberty to his neighbor, and until every variety of thought, experiment, and system are allowed to compete freely with each other. It bids those who are of Anglo-Saxon blood to remember and cherish the special genius that belongs to their race—the personal initiative, the spirit of adventure, the steadiness in danger, the power to stand alone and resist adverse opinion. It bids them not to exchange these things for the nerveless abject life of an administered crowd. It bids them not to grasp at passing material advantages at the price of injuring themselves mentally and morally. It bids them reject all huge universal systems, not only as discouraging freshness and vigor of thought, but as necessarily fatal to the best classes of citizens, because they place these best classes under conditions framed to meet the requirements of the lowest class of citizens, and, therefore, pedantically sacrifice all the soundest and worthiest part of the people, on whom progress depends, for the sake of the least worthy—who indeed are very slightly, probably not at all, improved by the restrictions upon them. then calls upon the people to end the bitter strife, and the false state of progress, which must continue to exist, as long as men struggle to rule over each other. It calls upon them to get rid of the compulsory state, and replace it by the voluntary state. It holds that it is only under the voluntary state that in any true sense men can befriend each other, or work for the public good; for under the compulsory state all such services are tainted by the compulsion of those who compel, and the submission of those who submit.
The medicalization of everyday life selected essays.
Every trade restriction is war declared upon other trades. All attempts of one class of workers to restrict their own special industry are treason against their fellow workers, because every restricted trade implies the effort to get an artificial or heightened price for the product of such trade, while the workers in it enjoy the product of other unrestricted trades at free trade (or unrestricted) prices. They are, therefore, guilty in the great exchange of the world of taking more and giving less, and so far as they temporarily benefit themselves—and it can only be temporarily—they do it by placing a tax upon all their fellow workers in the unrestricted trades. Nor is the universal restriction of all trades less hurtful than the partial restriction of some trades. Where all professions and trades are restricted, everybody alike—worker or non-worker—is injured, because: (1) everybody has to pay the higher price that results indirectly as well as directly from such restriction; (2) all production is rendered sickly by losing the vitalizing effects which accompany free trade—the constant introduction of new methods, the constant inflow of capital brains and energy; (3) each set of restrictions in turn fails and is then succeeded by a new set of restrictions, created to make the first set more effective, and thus a state of hopeless entanglement presently results; and (4) the workers and their children cannot readily pass to the trades for which they have an aptitude or liking, and a great mass, owing to such impeded movement, is slowly formed of unemployed, incapable and indigent, who under free trade would be healthily absorbed. Such restriction, like restriction in every other matter, prevents the true solution of labor questions. The true solution can only come, as in international affairs, through friendly disarmament of opposed forces; through making the individual the pivot of all action; through creating that freedom of action, which on the one hand allows capital to work in the easiest manner, to adapt itself to new circumstances, to develop new branches of production, and, just because it is unharassed and secure, to take the lowest profit; and on the other hand allows labor not only to improve its own position constructively through its own associations—its energies being no longer misdirected and its savings no longer wasted in useless warfare—but to obtain the highest wage possible, because such highest wage depends upon the following factors: (a) peaceful, continuous production with increased amount of products for distribution; (b) improved methods, economizing labor and material; (c) the constant inflow of new capital, and the competition of capital against capital to obtain laborers—this competition being at its keenest, and the employer's profit being at the lowest, where capital enjoys perfect security. High wages and security for capital go together. Whenever an employer feels insecure he recoups himself by a higher rate of profit. At the same time it should be remembered that under a state of free trade and free movement there cannot be successful combination amongst employers to maintain profit at the expense of wages; since a high rate of profit must lead to the formation of cooperative and joint-stock companies and to the increased bidding for labor with raised wages.