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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

The Root Cause of Labour Problems

page 7

The Root Cause of Labour Problems.

But an institution more prolific of in the world to-day is that which enables the private appropriation of rent under the guise of modern landlordism. In the beginnings of society, when primitive man was emerging from a state of tribal communism, I have no doubt that private land-ownership served a useful purpose. Even under the feudal system, with the paternal recognition of duties as well as rights on the part of the feudal lords, I think it may have had its advantages; but under modern conditions, gathering to itself as it does all the material advantages of an advancing civilisation, it is evil and only evil. It is the root cause of labour problems, private appropriation of rent, involving as it does the payment of interest and profits beyond the just reward of service for service, is the main cause of all the anarchy and chaos of which I have been speaking. Until the social values ereated by the community are taken by the community and used for community purposes, and all that rightly belongs to the individual is left sacredly to the individual, we cannot have order and harmony in society.

The problem we have to solve is how to secure social equality. The problem our fathers had to solve was how to secure political equality. They faced the question of their day and partially answered it. We must finish their work, and resotutely set to work and solve the problem of social equality. Political equality must lead to social equality. Social equality does not mean that we shall all be the same height and weight, the same intelligence and morality, or possess the same wealth, as some foolish people suppose. Social equality simply means equal social rights—the establishment of fair play between man and man in society. Liberty of thought and freedom of speech. Free men—that is the victory upon for us by our fathers. Free land—that is the victory we must win for our-selves. Land is the source of all wealth. We all live on and from the land. If a section of the community is allowed to control the land, it controls the life, the labour, and the liberty of the people.