Upton Sinclair, ed. (18781968). The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
Wealth Against Commonwealth
By Henry Demarest Lloyd
(American social reformer, pioneer in what later came to be known as muck-raking; 18471903)
ONE of the largest stones in the arch of consolidation, perhaps the keystone, is that men have become so intelligent, so responsive and responsible, so co-operative, that they can be trusted in great masses with the care of vast properties owned entirely by others; and with the operation of complicated processes, although but a slender cost of subsistence is awarded them out of fabulous profits. The spectacle of the million and more employees of the railroads of this country despatching trains, maintaining tracks, collecting fares and freights, and turning over hundreds of millions of net profits to the owners, not one in a thousand of whom would know how to do the simplest of these things himself, is possible only where civilization has reached a high average of morals and culture. More and more the mills and mines and stores, and even the farms and forests, are being administered by other than the owners. The virtue of the people is taking the place Poor Richard thought only the eye of the owner could fill. If mankind driven by their fears and the greed of others can do so well, what will be their productivity and cheer when the interest of all sings them to their work?