VICTOR S. YARROS – A PRINCELY PARADOX
Prince Kropotkine’s effort at fixing the “Scientific Bases of Anarchy” for the benefit of instruction-seekers in the London “Nineteenth Century” was at once a source of great disappointment and genuine pleasure to me. The disappointment was caused by the fact that the essay leaves me as completely in the dark as I was prior to its perusal in regard to that peculiar and mysterious trick by which men who are in the habit of daily offering worshipful prayers to the heavenly queen of Liberty manage to sandwich in a big slice of Communistic slave-heresy between their Anarchistic professions.To the uninitiated it has always seemed that absolute liberty – individualism – and the climax of despotic regulation, – communism, – like tow parallel lines, can never come in contact, and “Communistic Anarchism” sounded like a square triangle, an honest government, a right wrong, a Scientific State Socialist, or an autonomistic marriage.
No amount of diligent research has thrown any light on this puzzling subject, and I was almost prepared to turn away from it in disgust, when the announcement of the appearance of Kropotkine’s article again revived my hope, only, as I remarked, to end in disappointment. But it is precisely this fact that no logical justification, no rational explanation, and no “scientific” reasoning has been, is, will be, or can be advanced in defence of that unimaginable impossibility, Communistic Anarchism, that makes me as jubilant as one who discovers his strongest adversary’s most fatally weak point should be. Prince Kropotkine is undoubtedly the most prominent Anarchistic writer and agitator in Europe; and, if ever he utterly fails to account for the presence of Communism in his philosophy, it evidently does not belong there.
First of all, we are given a definition of a Kropotkian Anarchist which is truly original. An Anarchist is a person who, on the one hand, arrives at the “ultimate conclusion of Socialism, – that is, at a complete negation of the wage system and Communism, – and, on the other, at the conclusion that the ultimate aim of society is the reduction of the functions of government to nil.” Those who may be inclined to foster the suspicion that such an individual has been driven mad by learning during the long and exhausting process of arriving at such an extraordinary combination of conflicting conclusions will be reassured when they are informed that this Anarchist start out with the conviction, “common to all Socialists, that the private ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time.” Not only is such “private ownership or requisites for production neither just nor beneficial,” but, aside from all considerations of this kind, we are compelled to recognize that we are reduced to a state of pitiful helplessness before the “tendency towards integrating our labor for the production of all riches in common, so as to finally render it impossible to discriminate the part due to the individual.”
Of course, when it comes to that, rather that commit suicide, we shall probably accept the inevitable in a spirit of due resignation, and be content to dance to the music of “to each according to his needs,” etc.; but, while it is yet not impossible to discriminate the part due to the individual, shall we be suffered to make our own terms and take what we can without any examination as to our needs, as to whether we are entitled to such things as cigars, bouquets, and theatre tickets, which the scientific and intellectual rank of the Avelings made needful to them, or whether bread and water fully satisfy our vulgar needs? No, frowns Kropotkine, “canals, railways, machines, and works of art, all these have been created by the combined efforts of generations past and present. Who is then, the individual who has the right to say I have produced this, it belongs to me?” In a word, nobody can claim anything. It is clearly evident that there is no use for us to resist any longer. We belong to society, to which we must consecrate all our powers and capacities, while society has to take care of us, marry us, prescribe the number of children we are to bring into the Communistic world, and dispose of our remains after merciful death relieves us from this bondage (or perhaps society will also fix the time and mode of our deaths.)
But, to the serious, is it not discouraging to have to witness the at once sad and comic spectacle of such a man as Prince Kropotkine exhausting his power in the attempt to ride two horses with the result of finding himself stretched on the ground, terribly bruised and disfigured, at the very starting point, when he could safely and speedily “get there” riding that noble animal, Liberty? Why is it that people will not see the truth, which is so simple and plain? What the Anarchistic Communists really want is equality of opportunities, and if they should make a determined and special effort to understand themselves, they would probably succeed in clearing up the fog and confusion which prevent them from grasping the idea that free competition not only destroys the vitality of idle capital end secures to the laborer his natural wages, – an exact equivalent of his product, – but also places “at the disposal of all” the “means of production and of satisfaction of all needs of society.” Under Liberty the idle capitalist will have nothing but his accumulations to draw upon, and the laborer will receive neither more nor less that the full value of his product, – which will be equal to its cost ; hence all those things which have been “created by the combined efforts of generations past and present” are in the danger if being monopolized by any one individual or set of individuals. It is not necessary of us to “discriminate the part due to the individual.” What our chief concern should be is the establishing of such conditions as will naturally tend to accomplish this result, – the giving of his due to each producer. And these conditions are found in the “dissolution of government in the economic organism.”
Debt is Capitalism’s Dirty Little Secret
Why is the number of debtors continuously growing? The bankers and regulators are very aware that the debt isn’t good for anyone’s long-term interests. It’s just because capitalism’s dirty little secret: There was a time when wealth was limited to the hands of an elite and the regulatory authorities thought of going for excessive lending to make things easier for a vast majority of people.
However, the results show that it has also benefited the rich people by making them richer while the rest of the population has benefited from this step. A report says that there has been a significant change in the inflation-adjusted income of earners in the US since 1970 while it has fallen more than ten percent for others.
A recent report has revealed that the Walton family is wealthier than 100m Americans. These are the statistics that show a clear difference in the elite and the rest. In simple words, only the plutocrats have taken advantage of the economic growth while a huge part of the population is deprived of it. But you do not see any revolution there.
It’s just because they provided a solution to the entire population in the form of debt. It means if somebody doesn’t have money to buy something, they can borrow it. The financial institutions made cheap financing widely available for the people. The process became easier with the help of financial innovations like the asset-backed securities market.
The lenders were also restricted to keep their interest rates lower because the population would have never welcomed this step with higher interest rates. The government tried to reduce the burden from its people. And now they have made things possible for every other person that doesn’t even have the ability to buy something.