If there is one thing more than any other which characterizes the modern world, it is the multiplicity of ‘isms’ and ‘ities’ in almost every branch of human activity. This growth of separate doctrines and movements reflects a tendency of the human mind as it faces the complex civilization of today with its mechanical progress and scientific discoveries. That tendency is one of bewilderment and confusion caused by this maladjustment of man to his environment. And as a cure for such maladjustment s various theories and doctrines are suggested which, it is claimed. will bring better adjustment and smoother working of human affairs However numerous the theories offered in the modern world might be, their one general quality is the desire to simplify the complexity of modern civilization. In an attempt to do so, man have gone to extremities and have committed themselves to doctrines which strangely enough, if followed to their logical conclusion, will result in yet more complexities and contradictions Socialism is only one example among many which illustrates this fact better than any other.
The vast and varied progress which science and its application to industry has mad in our way is singularly disturbing to reflect upon when we compare it with the army of the unemployed and the growing discontent of workers all over the civilized world. On one side there is plenty and on the other poverty. While our machines and factories are thundering in unprecedented production, our houses and colleges are presenting a spectacle of want and insufficiency of the most elementary of the human needs. Surely with such gigantic. production, there cannot be any want or poverty among us unless there is something wrong somewhere in our social and economic adjustment. That wrong is to be found in the manner in which the distribution of the production of our factories is made. Hence, socialism has come in offering us a means of equitable distribution to every single individual. The most advanced socialism provides to every one according to his needs, and takes labour from every one according to his capacity. This is the Leftist view of socialism which was criticized later on. For the present it is sufficient to note that the origin of socialism is to be traced in this desire for an equitable distribution of what is produced.
Theories of Socialism
In theory, socialism at adopting the collective action of humanity in place of the individual initiative so dear to the heart of the nineteenth century upholders of liberalism. In fact, may be laid down that socialism is the inevitable reaction of individualism. In the last century, it used to be thought that competition is the natural method of economic policy and that the state was therefore, held to be unjustified in interfering with the individual efforts of its citizens. This view of economic enterprise was largely influenced by the famous Darwinian theory of the struggle for existence and survival of the fittest in the natural world. Hence the extreme form of the economic liberalism of the east which has brought in the inevitable reaction of collective and cooperative economic effort in the present century. The beginnings of this reaction are to be found in the labour movement of the last century itself. Then came the social reformers like Robert Owen in England and Saint This Frenchman outlined a socialist community which was to be an aristocracy, of intellectuals, a body of experts regulating society in a scientific way. Robert Owen, however, was a more practical worker in socialism because he himself owned a factory and he calculated and introduced many attractive reforms to make the lot of the factory workers as happy as possible.
Forms of Socialism
But the most pronounced form of socialism, the most uncompromising in theory as in practice, came with Karl Marx, the prophet of modern communism as instanced in Russia today. His famous work Capital analyses the evolution of capitalism and infers its inevitable collapse, thus bring in the paradise of the classless society. His historic and historical method paradoxically enough disestablishes all established history Marx considers man first and last as an economic animal to the exclusion of all other aspects of his human personality. His theory is that just as capitalism overcame medieval feudalism capitalism itself will be replaced by socialism. According to him, capitalism produces its own enemy in the working class or the proletariat. As capitalist economy goes on with its competitive system, it produces so much that there will be no cor-responding consumption of the goods thus produced because each country produces in excess of its own wants. In this way, wars will have to be waged to capture foreign markets and to compel their goods to be sold Now all this (so Marx argues) while the actual workers under the capitalistic system will have been brought to the last limit of enduring the lowest wages which on account of competition, the capitalists are compelled to adopt in their payments to the workers. Thus comes about the economic revolution which the working class effects and which us here in the era of socialism in its extreme form. That is how Marx. the prophet of the Proletariat, puts it.
Stated thus it all seems so simple and invitable. But it is in this very simplicity that the fallacy of socialism as outlined here, manifests itself. As pointed out earlier, the danger of over-simplification is seen here in its plainest aspect. For to regard man as an economic animal, first and last, without considering the multifarious aspects of the human personality-social, political, religious and others to regard man like this is the greatest insult to our race. It makes us no more than beasts. Marx forgets that men live not by bread alone That apart, there is one more serious understatement in Marx’s over-simplification of the economic conflict of the classes. Hie whole theory depends upon a conflict between two, and only two classes, a namely, the capitalists at the proletariat. He leaves aside the intermediate classes of the craftsmen, the small scale owners, the shareholders of joint-stock companies. the professional classes such as the soldiers the lawyers and the doctors. All these classes are neither capitalist in the Marxian sense of the world nor proletarian, And in fact, in practice, it is the presence of these intermediate classes in many countries England, France and America that has successfully opposed the extreme form of socialism as propounded by Marx. And lastly. Marx has failed in yet another singular prophecy. According to him, the first country to go communist ought to have been England, for it is here that capitalism has developed along those very lines that, as Marx says, are necessary for bringing in the inevitable crisis and collapse. And Russia ought to have been the last to adopt communism because no industrial progress was ever made there as compared with England And yet the same history which Marx so confidently hoped to destory, tells us to day that he is a false prophet. The nemesis complete.
Let there be socialis
In a word, you cannot change society by getting up one fine morning and saying: ‘Let there be socialis’; for the sample reason that it will never be Men are man and not mere machines which could be made to work this way or that according to the wishes of a few visionaries, Socialism has failed because its ostrich like prophets are burying their heads under burning sands of gold and thus trying to avoid the fallacies inherent in their extreme of doctrinaire and dogmatic dicta. The try to bring about economic adjustment by robbing Peter to reimburse Paul, It cannot be done The most pronounced apologists of socialism have admitted its failure in practice. If mankind is mic is over to get equitable adjustment of its social and economic affairs, it should first of all change its hearts A wider and more. liberal education than at present obtained in the world is an indispensable preliminary to any human adjustment. A classless society can be found in bees and ants and other insets and so-called ‘lower’ animals. One does not know which is the higher and which the lower. Yet one fact is certain that man, is man and is neither an ant nor a bee. Hence, so long as we remain men. we must make a human approach to our problems, economic or other. And that means evolution and gradual adjustment and not revolution and chaos, which to bring in. an adoption of the extreme of socialism is likely to bring in.