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THE  CAPITALIST  THIEF           203

S. G. Hobson, edited by A. R. Orage), and " The
Meaning of National Guilds/' by C. E. Bechhofer and
M, B. Reckitt.

These authorities seem to agree in thinking (i)
that the capitalist is a thief, (2) that the manual
worker is a wage slave, (3) that freedom (in the sense
of being able to work as he likes) is every man's
rightful birthright, and (4) that this freedom is to
be achieved through the establishment of National
Guilds. As to (i) Messrs Bechhofer and .Reckitt
speak on page 99 of their book of the " felony of
Capitalism " as a matter that need not be argued
about. Mr Cole makes the same assumption by
observing on page 235 of the work already men-
tioned that "to do good work for a capitalist
employer is merely, if we view the situation ration-
ally, to help a thief to steal more successfully.'1
Well, this view of capital and the capitalist may be
true. Mr Cole is a highly educated and gifted
gentleman, and a Fellow of Magdalen. He may
have expounded and proved this point in some work
that I have not been fortunate enough to read. But
as the abolition of the capitalist is one of the chief
aims put forward by these writers it seems a pity that
they should thus first assert that he is a thief to be
stamped out, instead of explaining the matter to
old-fashioned folk who believe that capitalists are/
in the main, the people (or representatives of the
people) who have equipped industry, and enormously
multiplied its efficiency and output, and so have
enabled the greater part of the existing population
of this country (and most others) to come into being.