Modern Science and Anarchism.
System in its turn. And with it, individual property had also
to go. Private ownership and Authority were not immutable
institutions. Property had already undergone several modifications in the course of history, and new changes, having become
necessary, would have to be made.
The abolition of private property—they wrote—could be done
gradually, by a series of measures (of which the Great Revolution
had already begun to take the initiative), enabling the State to
appropriate, in the shape of inheritance duties, a steadily growing
proportion of the estates transmitted by inheritance. Individual
inheritance being thus more and more reduced, so as to be
eventually abolished, and the rich people themselves seeing their
own advantage in abandoning privileges which belong to a dying
stage of civilisation, "the State would finally become the sole
owner of all the lands and industrial concerns, as also the
supreme regulator of all labour, the head and the absolute
regulator of the three main functions of social life—Art, Science,
and Industry." *
Every one, being a worker in one of these branches, would
thus be a functionary of the State. As to the Government, it
would be composed of a hierarchy of the " best men "—the best
men of science, the best artists, the best industrialists.
The distribution of the commodities produced would be
made, under this system, in virtue of the principle: To each one
according to his capacity, to each capacity according to its works.f
The Saint-Simonist school, and still more so the Positivist
philosophy to which it gave birth, produced a number of quite
remarkable historical works, in which the origins of authority, of
property, and of the State divided into classes were discussed in
a really scientific way, and which up till now have retained their
value. The Saint-Simonists severely criticised at the same time
the so-called classical political economy of Adam Smith and
Ricardo (which was known later on as the Manchester school of
"non-intervention of the State"). But while combatting the
principle of commercial and industrial individualism and competition, advocated by these economists, the Saint-Simonists fell
into the error which they themselves had combatted at the
outset, when they severely criticised the military State and the
' j' •""• ■■ .■■.,...... ., -—_»
* V. Cousiderant, "Le Socialisme devant le Vieux Monde," 1848, p. 36.
I use here the very words of Considerant, to show how Saint-Simonism
was understood by the Socialists in 1848, and how many of its ideas are
still retained in the teachings of the Social Democrats.
t I translate verbally the Saint-Simonist formula.