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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

AN  UNSOCIAL  IDEAL             207

that would amuse my delicious leisure, but I doubt
whether any of them would be regarded by society
as a fit return for the pleasant livelihood that it gave
me. And human society can only be supplied with
the things that it needs if its members turn out, not
what it amuses them to make or produce, but what
other people want. And it is here that the National
Giiildsmen's idea of freedom seems, in my humble
judgment, to be entirely unsocial As things are,
nobody can make money unless he produces what
somebody wants and will pay for. Even the
capitalist, if he puts his capital into producing an
article for which there is no demand, will get no
return on it. In other words, we can only earn
economic freedom by doing something that our
fellows want us to do, and so co-operating in the
work of supplying man's need. (That many of man's
needs are stupid and vulgar is most true, but the
only way to cure that is to teach him to want some-
thing better.) The Guildsmen seem to think that
this necessity to make or do something that is wanted
implies slavery, and ought to be abolished. They are
fond of quoting Rousseau's remark that " man is
born free and is everywhere in chains/' But is man
born free to work as and on what he likes ? In a
state- of Nature man is boni—in most climates—
under the sternest necessity to work hard to catch or
grow his food, to make himself clothes and build
himself shelter. And if he ignores this necessity the
penalty is death. The notion that man is born with
a " right to live " is totally belied by the facts of
natural existence. It is encouraged by humanitarian