ECONOMICS AND ETHICS
Again, interest we are told is the reward for abstinence. (The claim to remuneration, founded on the possession of food available for the maintenance of the labourer is of another kind — remuneration for abstinence, not for labour. If a person has a store of food, he has it in his power to consume it himself in idleness, or in feeding others to attend on him, or to fight for him, or to sing or dance for him. If, instead of these things, he gives it to productive labourers to support them during their work, he can, and naturally will, claim a remuneration from the produce. He will not be content with simple repayment; if he receives merely that, he is merely in the same situation as at first, and has derived no advantage from delaying to apply his savings to his own benefit or pleasure. He will look for some equivalent for this forbearance." “Principles of Political Economy,” Book I, chap. 1: John Stuart Mill
The absurdity of this statement is exposed by economists themselves. For wealth becomes capital only by employment. Wealth must be used and consumed in order to become productive. It is use or consumption, not abstinence, that is productive. — AK)
Now although the term "reward" is frequently used as meaning natural result, it is more often used to signify a gift, donation or present, i. e., something given to a person which does not naturally result from his labour or services as in absentee ownership schemes; stockholding or shareholding of every kind. The reward of labour is the term as used more often in the first sense, whilst a reward for bravery is used in the second. In which sense, then, is the term interest — the reward for abstinence — used? Let us see.
If I abstain from the practice of certain vices I escape the pain and misery that I should otherwise suffer. This is the "reward " or natural result of abstinence. If, on the other hand, I abstain from eating and drinking for a long time, I become weak and faint, and if abstinence is continued sufficiently long, I shall die. This is also the "reward," or rather the penalty of abstinence. Now by abstaining from the consumption or use of a thing, I can do no more than preserve it for a certain length of time, whereas by using or consuming it, I deprive myself of its future use, instanter or by degrees. Things do not grow, nor enlarge, nor develop by mere abstinence. "You cannot have your cake and eat it. Of course not; and if you don't eat it, you have your cake — providing the mice do not get at it during the night — ^but not a cake and a half." (Ruskin) On the contrary, things deteriorate without use. Iron will rust, wood decay, stone perish, cloth become moth-eaten, food will rot, metals oxidize, in fact, all of man and nature's products undergo dissolution sooner or later. There is no soch thing as unchangeableness in wealth. The natural result of abstinence is never more than temporary preservation of a thing we abstain from using or consuming; and in very many cases things are preserved longer by use than by withholding them from use, such as factories, houses, machinery, etc. In some cases use improves the condition of things. A machine will become more efficient in power after certain use, owing to the reduction of friction. A horse improves with judicious exercise. A steamship is not considered as good when first built as after several voyages.
The result then is this: That the natural result of abstinence, so far as abstaining from using or consuming wealth is concerned, is that in some cases wealth gradually deteriorates, and in others perishes utterly and instanter. In no case does mere abstinence create increase. What, then, is the meaning of the statement that interest is the "reward of abstinence?" Clearly it is not a natural result; it must, therefore, be a gift or present. Now to give voluntarily is a perfectly moral act; but to be compelled to give what we would otherwise not give, denotes the regime of injustice. A system enforcing or necessitating such involuntary giving is immoral; it is, in fact, a system for promoting robbery.
Again, what about labour? Why do economists exclude labour from demanding payment for use? Why do they refuse to treat this factor with the same consideration as the others? Wages are merely — nay scarcely — sufficient for labour's support. Why, then, is not labour entitled to a return for its use? For observe rent, the price of use of land, is not devoted to maintain land; this cost the tenant provides. He is compelled to fertilize the earth as well as to pay rent. Why then, should not capitalists who hire labour support the labourers and pay rent for their use? Are men of less consequence than plots of ground or piles of bricks and mortar?
Consideration of political economy from all sides, shows us that it is thoroughly unscientific. It does not accomplish what it professes, it fails to solve the problems with which it deals, it refuses to harmonize with established science, it is incoherent, illogical, irrational. When we consider how different are the results of the operations of many of its teachings from those predicted, we shall see that it has, on the whole, not even reached the stage of undeveloped science, i. e., qualitative prevision. In fact, political economy [economics], as taught and practised, is simply in the elementary stage of empiricism [and nothing has changed much in 120 years either]. Whilst there must necessarily be serious incompleteness in all sciences in their formative stages, still we can hardly conceive that system to be scientific which, in proportion as it is developed, becomes more and more opposed to some other branch already established. This, however, political economy does. It is openly and professedly at variance with the science of ethics. The question then arises, is political economy incapable of development into an exact science? Admitting, as we must do, the comparative worthlessness of the present "incoherent ensemble of theories to which the name of political economy has been officially given for more than a century" (make that now more than TWO centuries and we're still being conservative) must we despair of raising it to the utility of the physical sciences? I think not.
I purpose demonstrating the cause of past failure, and showing the utter futility of endeavouring to build a science on the lines prescribed by economists. I shall also endeavour to point out what, in my judgement, is the only true road to success.
With Proudhon "I affirm the reality of an economic science. I affirm the absolute certainty as well as the progressive nature of economic science."
Let us at the outset clearly understand what political economy is, what it deals with, what is its aim, and what it should seek to accomplish.
The term "economy" comes from the Greek, oikos, a house, and nomos, the law. Hence "economy,” the law regulating the household — a term which to the Greeks signified all the goods in possession of the family. Political comes from polis, the state. Political economy, therefore, signifies the law or laws governing the goods in the possession of the State or of society; or as we would now say, the laws governing social wealth. This may be so, but we obviously have some reservations concerning natural attributes of “states,” which for the time being, we will defer from obvious critique.
The term wealth is of Saxon origin, and means literally "weal" or "well-being." Political economy deals then with the production and distribution of those things that tend to social weal or well-being. It will now become evident that a true science of economics must necessarily be a moral science, and any system of wealth production and distribution that is contrary to the principles of justice cannot be a system of economy at all, but of extravagance, or wastefulness.
To begin with, moral conduct is that line of human action, conformity to which tends to promote the life, happiness and well-being of society and its members. And as we have seen, economics deals with the production and distribution of those material things that tend to the life, happiness and well-being of society and its members. Hence the same test that is applied to ethical teachings must be applied to economic teachings. (Note here how Ayn Rand and her supporters sought to warp this to their advantage; making selfishness a virtue. Recall our strict definitions.)
Do they tend to the maintenance of a complete social life for the time being? And do they tend to the prolongation of social life to its full extent? To answer yes or no to either of these questions is implicitly to pronounce these teachings true or false. (Principles of Ethics. Herbert Spencer 1820-1903, chap. 6, §31.) To say that “moral considerations have nothing to do with economics" is to imply that economic conduct is not necessarily moral conduct. Then it may be immoral conduct. And to say that immoral conduct is conducive to the economic production and distribution of wealth is to say that immoral conduct tends to promote human happiness, which is contrary to the definition.
Consideration of the conditions favourable to the growth of wealth will also demonstrate the fact that economics is a moral science, for the growth of wealth is dependent upon maintaining the efficiency of the factors of production, and the degree of efficiency is proportional to the degree of equity shown in distributing the products of industry. In communities where a man's property is insecure, or where the fruits of his toil are taken entirely from him, where labour goes unrewarded, where the land does not receive its due return of nitrogenous matter, where capital is subjected to continuous raids by some more powerful neighbour, wealth does not increase, but nations continue in a low state of living. As Spencer has shown, it is where the regime of status is superseded by the regime of contract, where militancy gives place to industry, where men reap and can retain the fruits of their labour, that wealth becomes most abundant, and this condition is most favourable to the growth of morals.
A brief digression is in order here: We saw how Ayn Rand (supported by her backers) attempted to set up a new morality based on the so called “scientific” laws of economics as known by Smith, Mill and for that matter both Marx and Keynes. Rand stated many times that she supported selfishness, which we have precisely defined as actions to deliberately take advantage of others for one's own benefit; a predatory mentality considered everywhere and always as criminal. All traditional economists supported or at least failed to properly criticize the practice of usury, the “Austrians” included. It has been determined that borrowing money at interest results in theft by the money lenders of more than the money supply can sustain, a mathematical FACT that cannot be sustained in any honest monetary system. We excluded Rand's red herring concerning a bourgeois morality based on sacrifice, because other intentions were clearly behind that dodgy false philosophical imposition. When we speak of morals being “scientific,” what we assert is that honesty matters and truth matters and that contracts based on honest and truthful dealings matter. Anything moral is by practical usage the safest course. We state further that it can be demonstrated through repeat experiment that dishonesty leads to undesirable outcomes for most and gain for the few who happen to have control of the machine of money and banking. We state frankly that ANY system whatsoever that allows usury is dishonest and hence immoral; it does not satisfy the desired science of political economy, and is hence and therefore an attempt to hijack a legitimate human pursuit, the study of economic behaviour, and turn it into a mask for frauds, deceits, and lies. Anyone who still suspects otherwise may be an idiot or a fool, certainly a clown if they continue to argue in support of usury. Understood? Kitson resumes with numerous references to Spencer.
In fact, "the recognition of the right of property is originally recognition of the relation between effort and benefit." (Justice, Spencer)
The law of nature which implies the survival of the fittest, "that individuals of most worth shall have the greatest benefits, and inferior individuals shall receive smaller benefits or suffer greater evils," is the law to which a scientific system of economics must necessarily conform. Now the ethical interpretation of this law is, “that each individual ought to be subject to the effects of his own nature and resulting conduct," (ibid, Spencer) and the economical and ethical teachings are summed up in the Christian declaration, "If any will not work, neither shall he eat.” And this is the law of justice.
That benefits received should be proportional to merits, is as essential to a sound economic system of distribution of wealth as to the development of species.
Confirmation of this is found in the animal kingdom. "Instance the destruction of the drones when no longer needed by the working bees." If you have never seen this before, you probably should. See it here "It is said that from a colony of beavers, an idler is banished, and thus prevented from profiting by labours in which he does not join." Idleness is, however, so rare in the animal world, that few instances can be cited.
Although economists professedly ignore the moral aspect of economic questions, and notwithstanding that when considered as a whole, the present system is opposed to morality (note that statement well), yet, in one or two of its distinct branches, theoretically speaking, ethics plays an important part.
Note here also the implied direct connection between morality and ethics. Ayn Rand and her crowd would perhaps wish the rest of us to accept as inevitable, some unethical conduct, and would wish to bring this general acceptance about through hijacking morality and warping it to suit their yes, selfish, interests. We never have nor ever shall accept such compromises, just as we would not seek to whitewash lying, stealing and cheating as anything other than what they are. We prefer accepting the truth; that there has always been some unethical and hence immoral conduct among bankers and financiers and that as a matter of scientific evidence, such conduct routinely places the entire monetary system in jeopardy.
Representation of an exchange transaction, for instance, assumes the principle of equity. A simple exchange is represented by the sign of equality, thus:
Commodity A == Commodity B.
As J. B. Say 1767-1832 remarks: “In all fair traffic, there occurs a mutual exchange of two things, which are worth one the other at the time and place of exchange." Here there is recognition of justice, and although in the commercial world practice is far from corresponding with theory, knowledge of what should be tends to elevate practice above what it otherwise would be. Again the economic importance of the moral qualities is unquestionably great. "The moral qualities of the labourers"' says J. S. Mill "are fully as important to the efficiency and worth of their labour, as the intellectual." (Mill, "Principles of Political Economy,*' Book I, chap. 7) We're glad he thought so. This is a far cry from the attitude represented by Rand in her John Galt speech.
Speaking of other branches, Herbert Spencer writes: "While one of the settled conclusions of political economy is that wages and prices cannot be artificially regulated with advantage, it is also an obvious inference from the law of equal freedom that regulation of them is not morally permissible. On other questions, such as the hurtfulness and tamperings with banking, the futility of endeavours to benefit one occupation at the expense of others, political economy reaches conclusions which ethics independently deduces." (It may be well here to remark, that economists themselves are not universally agreed as to these conclusions which Mr. Spencer takes as settled. There is still a very large school that cling to the idea that State tamperings with trade, labour, and banking is beneficial — such as the American School for instance.) We note with some irony that by E. C. Riegel's time, these questions were considered “English” in their origins.
It can hardly be questioned that if Christianity had been true to its original doctrines, the social problems that today menace civilization would have been long since satisfactorily solved. However one need not draw back to Christianity for proof that rational and ethical relations among people are based on the scientifically provable efficacy of moral conduct. Matters concerning what one might believe about metaphysics or spirituality have no play in it at all. However... The basis for a true science of political economy is summed up in the teachings of Scripture regarding work, wealth and conduct.
For instance, in the command " If any will not work, neither shall he eat," we have the foundation for a scientific system of distribution, viz., that wealth should be distributed amongst its producers only. "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth," 1 Cor. X, 24, (“No one must seek for that of himself, but that of the other” is a better translation.) is an injunction which tends to the development of social wealth, by teaching us that in production we must ever keep in mind the good of society. It is an injunction which, if kept, would prevent individuals from becoming rich at the expense of society. And again, "Moreover, the profit of the earth is for all; the king himself is served by the field," Eccl. V, 9. (How came the Rev. Mr. Malthus to overlook this text? AK)
Nothing is clearer or more certain regarding early Christianity than that it strongly denounced and opposed interest or usury ( i. e., payment for use). Almost every utterance on this subject by Scripture shows abhorrence of the system which the church of to-day assists in supporting. Indeed, but usury is wrong due to its mathematical error; one cannot pay back what was never created without forcing everyone to wrest it from someone else and causing an artificial scarcity of money no matter how much money is actually created. Again, reliance on Christianity or any other belief system is irrelevant to the conclusive facts.
For instance, "And if thy brother be poor and powerless with his hands at thy side, thou shalt take his part upon thee. Thou shalt take no usury of him, nor anything over and above, and thou shalt fear thy God. I am the Lord, and thy brother shall live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money for usury; and thou shalt not give him thy food for increase." Also, "He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor." Here "usury" is classified with "unjust gain."
(Professor Thomas Huxley's views on Bible reading, called out through discussion in the London school board, are these: “Greatly to the surprise of many of my friends, I have always advocated the reading of the Bible, and the diffusion of the study of that most remarkable collection of books among the people. Its teachings are so infinitely superior to those of the sects, who are just as busy now, as the Pharisees were 1800 years ago, in smothering them under the 'precepts of men'; it is so certain, to my mind, that the Bible contains within itself the refutation of nine-tenths of the mixture of sophistical metaphysics and old world superstition which has been piled round it by the so-called Christians of later times; it is so clear that the only immediate and ready antidote to the poison which has been mixed with Christianity, to the intoxication and delusion of mankind, lies in copious draughts from the undefiled spring, that I exercise the right and duty of free judgement on the part of any man, mainly for the purpose of inducing other laymen to follow my example. If the New Testament is translated into Zulu by Protestant missionaries, it must be assumed that a Zulu convert is competent to draw from its contents all the truths that it is necessary for him to believe. I trust that I may, without immodesty, claim to be put on the same footing as a Zulu.'') It makes no difference to anyone whether my views are identical with Huxley's or opposed for the purposes of this discussion.
If, then, economics is essentially a moral science ("That the moral law is the unchanging law of progress in human society is the lesson which appears to be written over all things.” Benjamin Kidd's 1853-1916 “Social Evolution.") its fundamental assumptions must be necessarily moral. No truthful results are possible from a system that has adopted assumptions contrary to ethical principles. And here we arrive at the cause of the failure of orthodox political economy, a system which is the development
of certain legalized institutions, such as the present method of land-ownership, of governmental privileges, the State monopoly of money, etc., which have been handed down from the superstitious ignorance and uncivilization of past ages; "institutions which" as Matthew Arnold 1822-1888 says, "are based upon the religion of inequality," that is, of inequity or injustice. And these institutions, economists and statesmen, aided by the church, have invested with an air of as much sacredness, solemnity and mystery as that surrounding the ark of the covenant or the Dalai Lama of Lhasa. For those who may not think so, try reading Rothbard's What Has Government Done to Our Money? And see for yourself that he certainly has done this with his gold based quantity theory of money.
The subject matter with which political economy deals is inextricably interwoven with human feelings and passions, and has been the most jealously guarded, the most carefully watched, and interference with which has been most relentlessly punished, of any subject of human inquiry. That in and of itself should make any genuine scientist suspicious.
To this also, in a measure, is attributable the cause of the unscientific nature of our present system. The path of economics has been indeed a stormy one. It has had, and still has the same, if not more bitter opposition to encounter than that which characterized the advancement of science during the middle ages. Even today the discussion of these economic subjects arouses the enmity of certain classes, particularly the land-holding capitalistic class and their tools — the legislators. In some of the American colleges, no professor is allowed to hold or teach doctrines opposed to the private interests of those whose wealth has been produced under laws passed for their especial benefit, and from whom such colleges derive their support. One should therefore have reasonable doubt as to the value in and of itself of any college education!
"In the domain of political economy," says Karl Marx 1818-1883, "free scientific inquiry meets not merely the same enemies as in all other domains. The peculiar nature of the material with which it deals, summons as foes into the field of battle, the most violent, mean and malignant passions of the human breast, the furies of private interest. The English Established Church will more readily pardon an attack on thirty-eight of its thirty-nine articles, than on the one-thirty-ninth part of its income. Nowadays, atheism itself is culpa levis as compared with criticism of existing property relations." (Preface to Das Kapital)
The result is that free scientific inquiry has been suppressed, and economists have become mere apologists for private interests. In place of investigating those fundamental assumptions upon which their science is built, they have been employed in attempting to justify the existence of certain institutions (the present machine). In fact, the whole science as it is now taught, is merely a development of so-called private rights and privileges, instead of the classification of laws governing the material progress of society. Instead of being what it professes to be, viz., the economy of the State or of society, modern political economy is a system of political extravagance. It is as Ruskin says, a mere mercantile economy, i. e., the economy of "merces" or of "pay"; "the accumulations in the hands of individuals of legal or moral claims upon, or power over, the labour of others; every such claim implying precisely as much poverty or debt on one side as it implies riches or right on the other. It does not therefore necessarily involve an addition to the actual property or well-being of the State in which it exists. It is a system by which wealth is produced by one part of society and taken by the other. It is the art of enriching individuals at the expense of the many, the art of establishing the maximum inequality in one's own favor." (John Ruskin 1819-1900, Fors Clavigera) That is, not merely of acquiring wealth for one's self, but of preventing one's neighbours from acquiring any. It measures wealth not solely by the quantity of good things possessed, but by the difference between the amount possessed by the individual and that possessed by the average citizen.
To the peculiar nature of its phenomena and its relation to human life, we may attribute, in a great measure, the present chaotic condition of the science! (Professor Jevons makes the confession that "one hundred years after the first publication of the 'Wealth of Nations,' we find the state of the Science to be almost chaotic.”) Small wonder, when, after searching investigation, it stands revealed as an organized system of robbery and poverty!
For the greater part of the world's history, of which we have knowledge, the commonest method of distributing wealth was for the strong to forcibly seize that belonging to the weak. This was the system that the ancient states of Greece and Rome practised, with such appalling results. As long as slavery existed, as long as the right of might was recognized, so long was it impossible to start with premises based upon existing conditions with any assurance of establishing a science of economy. NO SCIENTIFIC SYSTEM OF ECONOMICS IS POSSIBLE UNDER SLAVERY OR SERFDOM. Emphasis mine!
Now it Economics as Kitson understood it, still very much the same up to this very day is from the customs and privileges recognized by an age when slavery was legitimized, when brute force was the only law, and men still sunk in barbarism, that orthodox economy [Economics] takes its assumptions, accepting them as permanent conditions, removal of which must not be thought of.
Take, for instance, the system of land-ownership. "The course of nature," says Spencer, "red in tooth and claw, has been, on a higher plane, the course of civilization. Through 'blood and iron' small clusters of men have been consolidated into larger ones until nations have been formed. This process carried on everywhere and always by brute force, has resulted in a history of wrongs upon wrongs; savage tribes have been welded together by savage means. We could not if we tried trace back the acts of unscrupulous violence committed during these thousands of years; and could we trace them back, we could not rectify their evil results. Land-ownership was established during this process . . . The remote forefathers of living Englishmen were robbers who stole the lands of men who were themselves robbers, who behaved in like manner to the robbers who preceded them." (Appendix to Herbert Spencer's "Justice")
But while we may be powerless to rectify these evil results of the past reign of "blood and iron," it is not necessary to apologize for them, nor to attempt to build a science upon them. This is the falseness of the present science: It asserts that what ought to be, is; or, as Prof. Cairnes puts it, "political economy is a more or less handsome apology for the present order of things." Concisely put!
Here we see the need of — and what in my judgement is the first requisite before we can hope to establish economics as an exact science — an ideal standard, an absolute economic standard, analogous to that recognized by ethics. Before we can determine whether this or that measure is economically right or wrong, before we can know in what direction our efforts for a better economic system are to be turned, we must have an economic standard from which to judge.
The science of ethics, for instance, recognizes an ideal standard of right conduct which cannot under present conditions be fully realized. (See chapter on absolute ethics in Data of Ethics — Spencer) So with other sciences, ideal conceptions or assumptions of what ought to be, are considered not only allowable but absolutely essential. Civilizations require members of its society who will behave in a civilized manner. Political economy Economics, however, is remarkable by an absence of any analogous conceptions. Everything is of the earth, earthy. Indeed, any attempt to conceive an ideal system has been ridiculed and frowned down by economists, philosophers and statesmen, and dubbed with the euphemistic term “Utopia;” and yet it is in this way that other sciences have passed from empiricism to rationalism. Even juris-prudence, that "compilation of the rubrics of legal and official spoliation," has its ultimate ideal standard from which laws have been from time to time referred. Sir Henry Maine 1822-1888, speaking of certain dangers which threatened the development of Roman law, says: "But at any rate they had adequate protection in their theory of natural law. For the natural law of the juris-consults was distinctly conceived by them as a system which ought gradually to absorb civil laws without superseding them, so long as they remained unrepealed. . . . The value and serviceableness of the conception arose from its keeping before the mental vision a type of perfect law, and from its inspiring a hope of an indefinite approximation to it."
This sounds like idealism, but is not, but rather falls closer to a problem in limits in elementary Calculus: one always gets as close as one pleases without necessarily getting there. A true idealism demands ridged adherence of its followers. . . .
"Even an act of Parliament " says Chief Justice Hobart, "made against natural equity, as to make a man judge in his own case, is void in itself, for jura naturae sunt immutabilia, and they are leges legume. In defining a law of nature, Sir James Mcintosh describes it as 'a supreme, invariable and uncontrollable rule of conduct to all men. It is the Law of Nature because its general precepts are essentially adapted to promote the happiness of man, . . . because it is discoverable by natural reason, and suitable to our natural constitution, and because its fitness and wisdom are founded on the general nature of human beings and not on any of those temporary and accidental situations in which they may be placed.' “ (quotations will be found in Justice of Spencer's Philosophy)
Evidence of the need of a political standard is shown in the attempts made at various times to establish one, such as the Republic of Plato, Moore^s Utopia, the theory of Natural Rights of Hobbes and Locke, and of the French school of economists, beginning with Mably Gabriel Bonnot de Mably 1709-1785 and Morelly Étienne-Gabriel Morelly and culminating in Rosseau (sic) Rousseau; Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778. The recent revival of this theory by Henry George and his followers, and the extent to which it has been embraced, is further evidence of the want of some ideal.
Let it not be supposed that in advocating the usefulness of political and economic ideals, I endorse the system of a priori speculation and theoretical guesswork, which among the writings of reformers have become so prevalent. Generally speaking, however, in public as well as in private affairs, I believe that almost any ideal is better than no ideal at all. (as men's ideals are invariably better than their acts. — AK) Still, it should be remembered that an ideal to be of value must possess the elements of truth and be within the bounds of possibility. ...else we have idealism and ideology In the next chapter, I shall describe a standard of distribution, deduced from absolutely correct premises, an ideal unquestionably true, and I believe within the bounds of ultimate attainment. We should always be on our guard when someone makes such statements, and as we shall se our guard will have been well attended. While Kitson's critique may be within bounds, his solutions strain credulity to its breaking point.
The vast importance of such a standard will be found in solving problems that heretofore have been regarded as unsolvable, in explaining phenomena and clearing away the mysteries and ambiguities with which the problems of life have been enveloped, as well as in furnishing a guide for social progress, and for the material and moral welfare and happiness of mankind.
To sum up then. Consideration of the present so-called science of economics from all sides demonstrates that it is not a science at all; its results are not those originally aimed at; in its development its problems have become inverted; it has not arrived at the state of qualitative prevision; it is illogical and ambiguous; and lastly, it is out of harmony with the science of ethics. The cause of this is its fundamental assumptions, which recognize as permanent and as absolutely necessary certain institutions which are the results of centuries of injustice and oppression.
No science of economics is possible based upon injustice. Economics is a necessarily moral science, hence its principles and premises must be just. In championing private interests economists have entirely missed the goal towards which the science should naturally tend, viz., the well-being of society. Economics is not the science for enriching individuals at the expense of society. This, however, appears to be its interpretation in the minds of many. To rebuild scientifically, the first requisite is the establishment of a system evolved, not from the reign of " blood and iron," but from absolute truths derived from experience and observation science, and guided by the reasoning faculties. For as Spencer says: "No scientific establishment of relative truths is possible until the absolute truths have been formulated independently." (Data of Ethics - chapter on “Absolute Ethics” — Spencer) Only in this way can economics evolve from empiricism to rationalism, by knowledge of what ought to be, and this presupposes an ideal standard.
At present the science presents its subjects wholly from a capitalistic standpoint. Its vocabulary is entirely capitalistic as was Ayn Rand's. It aims at the largest immediate returns for the welfare of one or two classes. Such a system is false in its mission. It is in fact suicidal. It is productive of strikes, riots and panics. It causes periodical destructions of wealth with which, alas, we are only too familiar. To attain to the rank of truth and prevision, we must begin by an investigation of its most fundamental principles. Nothing must be taken for granted. The right to private ownership in land, of governmental monopolies, benefices, grants and privileges, must be subjected to the same discussion and criticism as any other matter of scientific inquiry, and if it be satisfactorily shown that such things are contrary to morality, economists must regard them as contrary to science, and therefore to the best interests of society.
Our present system, as I have shown, starts on a false basis by dividing society into classes whose interests are opposite. A truly scientific system will make society a unit in production and a unit in distribution. Under a scientific system, ambiguities, vagaries and contradictions will disappear, and with the growth of knowledge and the practice of scientific methods, instead of political expedients, poveity and its partner crime will cease to exist, material and moral wealth will be found finally joined, and the pursuit of the former will be found by the aid of the latter.
Finally, the true science of political economy will teach society how ''to produce incessantly, with the least possible amount of labour for each product, the greatest possible variety and quantity of wealth, and to distribute it in such a way as to realize for each individual the greatest amount of physical, moral and intellectual well-being, and for the race the highest perfection and glory."