문제 보고This book has a different problem? Report it to us
"네" 선택하시는 조건: "네" 선택하시는 조건: "네" 선택하시는 조건: "네" 선택하시는 조건:
파일 열기 성공했습니다
파을 내용은 책 (또는 만화)입니다
책 내용이 적당합니다
파일의 제목, 작성자와 언어가 책 설명과 일치합니다. 다른 필드는 보조이므로 무시하셔도 좋습니다.
"아니요" 선택하시는 조건: "아니요" 선택하시는 조건: "아니요" 선택하시는 조건: "아니요" 선택하시는 조건:
- 잘못된 파일입니다
- 이 파일이 DRM으로 보호돼 있습니다
- 파일은 책이 아닙니다 (예: xls, html, xml)
- 파일은 기사입니다
- 파일은 책에 일부입니다
- 파일은 잡지입니다
- 파일은 시험지 또는 테스트입니다
- 파일은 스팸입니다
책의 내용이 적당하지 않으며 차단되어야 한다고 생각합니다
파일의 제목, 작성자와 언어가 책 설명과 일치하지 않습니다. 다른 필드는 무시하셔도 좋습니다.
Change your answer
JOHN STUART MILL: GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMY ABRAM L. HARRIS The author is professor of economics and of philosophy at the University of Chicago. The paper was preparedfor presentation as a Sidney A. and Julia Teller Lecture at the School of Social Service Administration of the University of Chicago on November 19, 1962. The popular esteem accorded in our time to John Stuart Mill1 derives mainly from his famous discourse, On Liberty. His Representative Government, published in 1861, two years after On Liberty, is hardly read at all, except perhaps in university courses in which the purpose, more than likely, is to show how obsolete Mill's political theory has been made by recent studies focused upon the perme1 Mill, born in London on May 20, 1806, was the ation of the processes of democratic eldest son of James Mill, the author of the History of British India. He died at Avignon, France, May government by bureaucratic forma8, 1873, and was buried beside his wife, Harriet the party machine, organized Taylor Mill. The story of his life and his remark- tions, able education at the hand of his father is told in interest groups, and lobbyists. While his Autobiography. See Autobiography of John Representative Government cannot be Stuart Mill, with a Preface by John Jacob Coss, said to afford exact policy prescriptions ed. Roger Howson (New York: Columbia Univerfor present-day political affairs, its sigAnother edition with an appensity Press, 1924). dix of "unpublished" speeches under the editorship nificance in the development of the of Harold Laski was published in the "World's Western liberal theory of government Classics," No. 262 (London: Oxford University Press, 1924). For the influence of Harriet Taylor is certainly not less than that of Locke's Mill on the writing of the Autobiography, see Jack Civil Government or Tocqueville's DeStillinger (ed.), The Early Draft of John Stuart in America, which Mill reMill's Autobiography (Urbana, 111.: University of mocracy viewed and which is now exp; eriencing Illinois Press, 1961). The best critical analysis of the subject is Albert William Levi, "The Writing a revival of interest. Mill's explanation of Mill's Autobiography," Ethics, LXI (July, of why representative government is 1951), 284-96. On the question of Mill's relations with Harriet Taylor see F. A. Hayek, John Stuart ideally the best form of polity, his conMill and Harriet Taylor (London: Routledge S ception of the conditions necessary for Kegan Paul, 1951); H. 0. Pappe, John Stuart Mill its successful operation and continuand the Harriet Taylor Myth ("Australian Naand his tional University Social Science Monograph," No. ance, comprehensionof the dif19 [Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, ficulties confronting the representative I960]); and Michael St. John Packe, The Life of reveal a profound grasp, I John Stuart Mill (London: Seeker & Warburg, system of some of the fundamental is1954). In my work on Mill, particularly on his think, career in the Examiner's Office of the East India sues connected with government in a Company (1823-58), I have been aided by grants free society. Mill is no oracle to whom from the American Council of Learned Societies, we may go for solutions to concrete Social Science Research Council, American Philosophical Society, and, at the University of Chi- problems of contemporary government cago, the Dean of the College and the Committee and economic system. At times he was on Research in the Division of Social Sciences and inconsistent and confused, if not fallain the Division of Humanities. 134 This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). JOHN STUART MILL: GOVERNMENTAND ECONOMY cious. But I agree with the writer who described him as "one of the keenest, noblest and least expendable thinkers and doers of the XlXth century."2 Mill was both a political philosopher and an economist. In the first role he professed adherence to the utilitarian theory of morals and politics taught by Jeremy Bentham and by his father, James Mill; but he restated the theory and, in the process, was unaware of how greatly he had modified its complexion and substance. In his role as economist, he received his first lessons at the age of thirteen from his father, who was an intimate friend of David Ricardo, the great classical economist. There were no textbooks, so Mill received his instruction in the form of brief lectures on Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Malthus, on which he made written reports. The mature John Mill thought that, of all treatises on the subject, Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, though obsolete in many parts, invariably associated the principles with their application to practical questions and exhibited the author's great wisdom that even purely economical questions cannot be decided on "economicalpremises alone." Thus, in writing his Principles of Political Economy, with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy, Mill sought to combine Smith's practical mode of treating the subject with the increased knowledge since acquired of its theory —"to exhibit," in other words, "the economicalphenomenaof society in the relation in which they stand to the best social ideas of the present time," as Adam Smith did, "with such admirable 2Herbert Spiegelberg, "'Accident of Birth,: A Non-Utilitarian Motif in Mill's Philosophy," Journal of the History of Ideas, XXII (October, 1961), 475-92. 135 success, in reference to the philosophy of his century."3 The first edition of Mill's Principles appeared in 1848, and the seventh in 1871, two years before his death. When the third edition appeared, in 1852, the first stages of England's Industrial Revolution had passed. The industrial organization of the country was assuming greater complexity. Not only was industry expanding in its technical scale of operation, but partnership and individual proprietorshipas forms of ownership and control were being superseded by the joint stock company, the parent of the modern corporation, in railways and mining and to a lesser extent in manufacturing industry. From 1856 to the passage of the limited liability act of 1862, to which Mill lent his support, almost twenty-five hundred companies with limited liability were incorporated in England.4 Momentous changes in politics and in social thought and opinion were also taking place, paralleling and initiating changes in industry and economic life. The trade union in its modern form had begun to emerge, and along with it movements for greater political representation of the working class, social legislation, and universal suffrage were gathering momentum.Free trade was inaugurated with the abolition of the corn laws in 1844. Real wages had been rising but the increase of population, especially among agriculturaland unskilled workers, caused a persistence of mass pov8 W. J. Ashley (ed.), Principles of Political Economy (London: Longmans, Green, 1929), p. xxvii (hereinafter cited as "Principles"). * Bishop Carleton Hunt, The Development of the Business Corporation in England, 1800-1867 ("Harvard Economic Studies," Vol. LII [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1936]), p. 143. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). 136 ABRAM L. HARRIS erty. Overstockedlabormarketsled to Wakefield'sscheme of colonizationin New Zealand.Karl Marx had become an Englishresidentin 1849. But in the 1850's and 1860's his analysis of the capitalist system of productionbased on English conditions,his prediction concerningthe fate of the system, and the proletariansocialismof the Communist Manifesto had attracted little general attention. Nevertheless,other socialisticprograms—ofRobertOwen, St. Simon,andLouisBlanc—weregaining adherents,mainly,however,among middle-classintellectualsand sympathizersof the workingclass. The effect of these changes upon opinion,thought,and actionis reflected in successiverevisionsof the Principles and also in Mill's other writings,inBut of cludinga vast correspondence. greatersignificanceis the fact that, as a thinkerwhobelievedthe highestideal of philosophyis the unionof wisdomor theoretical knowledge with political practice, Mill sought to influencethe thoughtand actionof his time in terms of his conceptionof a liberalor free society. The rockfoundationof his political and economicliberalismis freedom, whichin the essay, On Liberty,is necessarily definednegatively,that is, as the absenceof restraintby othersin the pursuitof one's own interestsin one's ownway, all beingpossessedof a similar or equal freedom.In economicand politicalactivitiesthe corollaryof freedomis voluntarism,and Mill held that, without a generalacceptanceand observanceof voluntarism,or voluntary co-operation,typically exemplifiedin economicrelationsby the market,civil and personal freedomcould not long endure.Thus, in discussingthe province of government,he laid down the rule that, in the commonaffairsof industry and commerce, "laissez-faire . . . should be the general practice: everydeparturefromit, unlessrequired by some greatgood,is a certainevil."5 THE FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT Mill's laissez faire position should not be identifiedwith the view that the governmentwhich governs least governs best. In agreementwith Bentham, he held that "the proper functionsof governmentare not a fixed thing, but differentin differentstates of society; much more extensive in a backward than in an advancedstate." By this he meantthat in an advancedstate the magnitudeof governmentalfunctions is less, relativeto the thingsengagedin by private individualsand voluntary associations.He explained: [In] the particular circumstances of a given age or nation, there is scarcely anything really important to the general interest, which it may not be desirable, or even necessary, that the government should take upon itself not because private individuals cannot effectually perform it, but because they will not. At some times and places there will be no roads, docks, harbours, canals, works of irrigation, hospitals, schools, colleges, printing presses, unless the government establishes them. This is true, more or less, of all countries inured to despotism and particularly of those in which there is a wide distance in civilization between the people and the government: as in those which have been conquered and are retained in subjection by a more energetic and cultivated people. But, he maintained: A good government will give all its aid in such a shape as to encourage and nurture any rudiments it may find of a spirit of individual exertion. It will be assiduous in removing obstacles and discouragements to voluntary enterprise, and in giving whatever facilities and whatever direction and guidance may be nec5 Principles,p. 950. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). JOHN STUART MILL: GOVERNMENTAND ECONOMY essary.. . . Governmentaid, whengivenmerely in default of private enterprise,should be so given as to be as far as possible a course of educationfor the people in the art of accomplishinggreatobjectsby individualenergy and voluntaryco-operation.6 137 matter of indifferenceor of arbitrary choice,whetherthe governmentshould or shouldnot take uponitself the functions in question;but only that the expediencyof its exercisingthemdoesnot amountto necessity."It is in the assumptionof these functionsthat governmentsare likely to overstep their properprovinceand, by doing so, endanger individual freedom. Hence it is necessaryto fix rules whereby the exercise of optional functionscan be limited. While Mill's oppositionto governmentinterferencefollowedin the tradition definitivelyestablishedby Adam Smithin 1776,his view of the functions of governmentinclude objectives not contemplatedby that author'ssystem of Natural Liberty.7And, unlike Herbert Spencer,Mill neverheld that the duties of governmentshould or could GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE be confinedto the preventionof force In consideringthe optionalfunctions and fraud.There are in civilizedsociof Mill differentiated what ety, he thought, functions which are he government, termed "non-authoritative"from eitherinseparablefromthe idea of govinterferences.The nonernmentor are exercisedhabituallyand "authoritative" authoritative interferences consist in without objectionby all governments. inforand advice giving disseminating He distinguishedthese necessaryor inor mation individuals "when, leaving dispensablefunctions from those he freeto use their ownmeansof pursuing considered"optional"and aboutwhich, of as exercisesof government, thereis wide any object generalinterest,the governmentnot meddlingwith them, but diversityof opinion.By "optional"he not trustingthe object solely to their did not mean that "it can ever be a care,establishes,side by side with their 6 Ibid., p. 978. arrangement,an agencyof its own for 7 Mill's list of the necessary functions of governa like purpose."Accordingly,the state ment contains the following: raising the public revenue by taxation and borrowing; provision of a may provideschoolsand collegeswithsystem of judicature and police, the latter including out interdictingprivate instructionor the armed forces; defining the substance of prop"publichospitals without any restricerty or the things in which a person may have tions upon private medicalor surgical property rights (e.g., in movable or immovable inthings, or in other persons), and determining the practice."In contrast,authoritative power of testamentary disposition; enforcing con- terferenceslimit and control the free tracts but also determining what contractual arof individuals.Under this type rangements shall be enforced or entered into, e.g., agency laws prohibiting involuntary servitude, concerning the government"mayinterdictall permarriage and divorce, making possible voluntary sons fromdoingcertainthings,or from association or combinations such as the partnerthem without its authorization; ship and the limited liability corporation, and doing laws concerning insolvency and bankruptcy; and or may prescribeto themcertainthings providing public works and conveniences, e.g., the to be done, or a certainmannerof docoinage of money; a system of weights and measing thingswhichit is left optionalwith ures; the paving, lighting, and cleaning of streets; them to do or to abstain from."Such building or improving harbors and lighthouses; making surveys in order to have accurate maps interference presentsthe greatestdanand charts; and raising dikes and river embankments. ger to individualfreedomand, there- This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). 138 ABRAM L. HARRIS fore, "requires a much stronger necessity to justify it in any case; while there are large departmentsof life from which it must be unreservedly and imperiously excluded." Two questions should be raised concerning Mill's opposition to governmental interference. The first is: On what basis did he justify his opposition? The second is: How is his opposition to be reconciled with his advocacy of such measures as the public ownership or regulation of natural monopolies, in which he included railroads; redistribution of incomes by means of inheritance taxation; compulsory and publicly supported elementary education; and public assistance to the able-bodied involuntarily unemployed—all of which obviously require various degrees of governmentalintervention?These questions can be best discussed after some attention has been given to Mill's explanation of the causes and conditions of good government. Government,accordingto Mill, is "at once a great influence acting on the human mind, and a set of organized arrangements for public business."8 On 8 Considerations on Representative Government (People's Edition; London: Longmans, Green, 1919), p. 14 (hereinafter cited as "Representative Government"). If the difference between Mill's experience theory of knowledge and Plato's intuitive theory is overlooked, there appears to be a striking affinity between Mill and Plato concerning the relationship between "character" and social institutions. This is not strange. As one writer notes, in Mill's purely secular education Plato took the place of the Bible (Mill, Four Dialogues of Plato, ed. Ruth Borchardt [London: Watts, 1946], p. 8). What Mill most admired in Plato's philosophy was the Socratic dialectic as a method of educational discipline and the educational theory, itself, whose purpose was the union of wisdom or theoretical knowledge with practice (ibid., pp. 36-37; and Mill, "Grote's History of Greece," in Dissertations and Discussions [3 vols.; London: Longmans, Green, Reader 4 Dyer, 1867], II, 511-54, and "Grote's Plato," ibid., Ill, 275-379). At the age of twenty- the basis of these characteristics the "first element of good government" is "the virtue and intelligence of the human beings composingthe community"; and "the most importantpoint of excellence which any form of government can possess" is "to promote the virtue and intelligence of the people themselves."9 The government which best fosters in the members of the community the desirable moral, intellectual, and active qualities is likely to be best "in all other respects, since it is on these qualities . . . that all possibility of goodness in the practical operations of the governmentdepends."10The other constituent element of good government is the quality of the machinery or arrangementsfor conducting the collective affairs of the community, "that is the degree in which it is adapted to take advantage of the amount of good qualities which may . . . exist, and make them instrumental to right purposes." The machinery is good when, among other conditions, well-contrived checks are provided against the abuse and misuse of official power. But Mill maintained that political checks will not act of themselves. six, Mill had discarded his father's image of Plato, in which knowledge and virtue are identical, on the grounds that "no arguments . . . have power to make those love or desire virtue who do not already. . . . Nor is this ever to be effected through the intellect . . . but through imagination and affections." For Mill, the highest virtue is not wisdom but temperance (sophrosyne), "a reasonableness which reveals itself in every action and attitude," and saves the individual from "physical excess . . . extravagance in thought and word . . . the arrogance that exaggerates his capacities, and the ambition that overleaps itself" (Four Dialogues of Plato, p. 9). The "prudence" which recurs in Mill's references to human character appears to be an expression of temperance on a low level of thought and action. 9 Representative Government, p. 12. 10Ibid. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). JOHN STUART MILL: GOVERNMENTAND ECONOMY [For, if] the checking functionaries are as corrupt as those whom they ought to check, and if the public, the mainspring of the whole checking machinery, are too ignorant, too passive, or too careless and inattentive to do their part, little benefit will be derived from the best administrative apparatus.11 The criteria Mill sets up for determining the merit of any set of political institutions are thus twofold in character. There is first the question of the influence of the form of government upon the development of human character—the degree, in other words, to which the form of governmentpromotes "advancement in intellect, virtue, and in practical activity and efficiency" of the individual members of the community. There is next the effect the form of government has upon present wellbeing—the "good management of the affairs of the existing generation," or the degree of perfection with which the moral, intellectual, and active capacities existing in the community are organized so as to operate with the greatest effect on public affairs.Judging the forms of government by these criteria, Mill concludedthat the representative system is "ideally the best." He described the representative system as one in which "the sovereignty, or supreme controlling power in last resort, is vested in the entire aggregate of the community; every citizen not only having a voice in the exercise of that ultimate sovereignty, but being, at least occasionally, called on to take an actual part in the government, by the personal dischargeof some public function, local or general."12With respect to "present well-being," the superiority of the representative system rests, he thought, upon two principles: (1) that the "rights and interests of every . . . u7ta*.,p.l3. 139 person are only secure . . . when the person interested is himself able, and habitually disposed to stand up for them," and (2) that "the general prosperity attains a greater height, and is more widely diffused, in proportion to the amount and variety of personal energies enlisted in promotingit." In other words, Mill contended that "human beings are only secure from evil at the hands of others, in proportion as they have the power of being, and are selfprotecting,"and that "they only achieve a high degree of success in their struggle with Nature, in proportion as they are self-dependent, relying on what they themselves can do, either separately or in concert rather than on what others do for them."13 In judging the influence of the representative form of government upon character, Mill began with the premise that there are two general types of personality, the active and the passive. He then reasoned that it is the active, energetic, "striving," and "go-ahead"14 character that contributes most to human progress. And he seemed inclined to attribute economic progress in England and the United States to the predominance of this active type of character. Mill conceded that the desires of 12 Ibid., p. 12. The strong motif of individualism in RepresentativeGovernment is moderated by Mill's belief concerningthe socializingeffect of the participationby privatecitizensin publicfunctions, The citizen "is called upon, while so engaged,to weigh interestsnot his own; to be guided,in case of conflictingclaims,by anotherrule than his private partialities;to apply, at every turn,principles and maximswhichhave for theirreasonof existence the commongood: and he usually finds associated with him in the samework mindsmorefamiliarized than his own with these ideas and operations, whose study it will be to supply reasons to his understanding"(ibid., p. 27). 13 Ibid., p. 22. 14Ibid., 26. p. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). ABRAM L. HARRIS 140 the energetic, enterprising type of individual may be "low-placed,"extending "little beyond physical comfort and the show of riches," while the immediate results of the energy may consist of nothing more than "the continual extension of man's power over material objects." But, he argued, "even this makes room, and prepares the mechanical appliances, for the greatest intellectual and social achievements." He believed that "the desire to keep moving, to be trying and accomplishingnew things for our own benefit or that of others, is the parent even of speculative, and much more practical, talent. . . . The test of real and vigorous thinking, the thinking which ascertains truths instead of dreaming dreams, is successful application to practice."15It should be evident, he concluded, that "self-benefiting qualities are on the side of the active and energetic character" and, while not so evident, "the habits and conduct which promote the advantage of each individual must be at least a part of those which conduce most in the end to the advancement of the community as a whole." Why is the active type of character best fostered by representative government? MilPs reply is that the individual is less subject to the will of the rulers, since the ultimate power resides in the people themselves, and the exercise of this power causes the interests of the rulers to be more closely identified with those of the people than in any other system. Wide areas are thus left open for the free agency of individuals in making experiments and in assuming the responsibility involved in the management of practical affairs. Although Mill upheld representative 15ibid. government as ideally the best form of polity, he consideredit to be confronted by some difficulties common to all forms of government,in addition to infirmities peculiar to itself. He pointed to the necessity of having an executive power as giving rise to a difficulty shared by the representative system with the other forms. It is the executive branch, he stated, that "wields the immediate power, and is in direct contact with the public; to it, principally, the hopes and fears of individuals are directed, and by it both the benefits, and the terrors and prestige of government, are mainly represented to the public eye." He concluded that, therefore, unless "the authorities whose office it is to check the executive are backed by an effective opinion and feeling in the country, the executive has always the means of setting them aside, or compelling them to subservience, and is sure to be well supported in doing so. Representative institutions necessarily depend for permanenceupon the readiness of the people to fight for them in case of their being endangered."16But the people should know when—and when not—to interfere. And this brings us to problems Mill thought peculiar to popular government. PROBLEMSOF POPULAR GOVERNMENT In a representative democracy, Mill declared, the accountability of government to the people takes from the rulers the power of prosecuting their own interests at the expense of the people's by means of force. But there is left to the rulers "the whole range and compass of fraud"17or deceit, of which dis16 Ibid., p. 29. 17"De Tocquevilleon Democracyin America," London Review, II (July and January, 1835-36), 110-11. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). JOHN STUART MILL: GOVERNMENTAND ECONOMY 141 sembling,the suppressionor manipula- sus the rule of men is slurredover by tion of news, and officialpropaganda Mill in the one place in whichhe speare amongthe milderpresent-dayex- cifically takes account of it. What he amples.Mill admittedthat the identity said about it, though,is quite in symof interestsbetweenrulerand ruledcan pathywith views recentlyexpressedby in fact. It would such writersas F. A. Hayek and the only be approximated be perfect,he stated, "onlyif the peo- late Henry Simons.20Mill noted that ple wereso wise, that it shouldno long- with the advanceof society new legiser be practicableto employdeceitas an lation is requiredand, also, expansion instrumentof government—apoint of of the function of the state. But he advancementonly one stage belowthat thoughtthat "new laws commonlyreat whichthey coulddo withoutgovern- quireto ensuretheirexecution,only the mentaltogether." ordinarytribunals."The extensionof The idea of a rational democracy, legislation,while causingsomeincrease Mill explained,is certainlynot that the of public functionsand patronage,will peoplethemselvesgovern,but only that not make it necessarythat "thoseapthey have security for good govern- pointed to watch over the observance ment. The meansof this security,that of . . . laws . . . shouldhave adminisultimatecontrolis vestedin the people, trative control."He held that the increatesotherdifficultiespeculiarto pop- crease of legislation"in itself implies ular government."Thepeopleoughtto no fresh delegationof powerto the exbe the masters but they are masters ecutive,no discretionaryauthority,still whomustemployservantsmoreskillful less control,still less obligationto ask than themselves."18 Thus, if ultimate permissionof the executive for every controlbecomesthe meansof interfer- new undertaking."21 Mill agreed with Tocqueville that ing on every occasionof grievance,real or imaginary, and, in consequence, under popular governmentindividual "making their legislators mere dele- freedommay be imperiledby a tyranny gates for carryinginto execution the of the majority emanating from the preconceivedjudgmentof the major- sheerpowerof numbers.But he insisted ity," the people mistaketheir own in- that what is formidableis not the "unterest.Sucha government,he observed, controlledascendancyof popularpow"is not the kind of democracywise men er." It is rather the uncontrolledasdesire."19But if the rulers are agents cendancyof any single powerwhatsoand not meredelegates,as Mill clearly ever. Thus, for all of Mill's admiration recognized,the rulersmust necessarily for the intellectualelite and his desire exerciseconsiderablediscretionaryau- for its greaterinfluencein politics,unthority. This circumstancedoes not like Plato and Comte he would not rest easilywithMill'simplicitpostulate make a learnedclass the rulingpower that good governmentunder a repre- 20 Cf. Henry Simons,EconomicPolicy for a Free sentative constitutionconsists of the Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, "rule of law" ratherthan the "rule of 1948), pp. 17-20 and chap, vii; and Friedrich A. men."This issue of the ruleof law ver- Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (Chicago: of 18Ibid. 19Ibid. University ChicagoPress, 1960), chap.xv. 21 "Centralization,"Edinburgh Review, CXV (1S62), 345-46. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). 142 ABRAM L. HARRIS in society. Education or mental culture, he said, "would seem to have a better title than . . . anything else, to rule the world with exclusive authority; yet if the lettered and cultivated class, embodied and disciplined under a central organ, could become in Europe, what it it in China, the Government—unchecked by any power residing in the mass of citizens, and permitted to assume a parental tutelage over all the operations of life—the result would probably be a darker despotism, one more opposed to improvement, than even the military monarchies and aristocracies have in fact proved."22There is "no one power in society, or capable of being constituted in it, of which the influences do not become mischievous as soon as it reigns uncontrolled , . . by being able to make its mere will prevail, without the condition of a previous struggle." If, then, society is to progress rather than stagnate, there must be ample room for diversity, spontaneity, innovation, and individuality. In brief, it is not only political freedom that should be desired, for freedom in this sense, while assuring a certain form of political organization, is compatible with a "more complete subjection of every individual to the State, and a more active interference of the ruling power with private conduct, than is the practice of . . . the most despotic government." The progress of society necessitates "individual freedom of action" as well as freedom of thought and conscience; but with the understanding that acts can never be as free as thought and belief. The type of activities and character that Mill thought representative government fosters are those commonly associated with the enterprise system23 based upon the freedom of individuals to employ their resources of labor or property in ways they consider most advantageous to themselves. And at least two of the arguments employed by Mill in the Principles to defend economic freedom, or, to put it negatively, to oppose government intervention, are implied in his discussion of the superiority of popular government and the practical difficulties it encounters as a going concern. In one of these arguments, Mill repudiates the idea that "a governmentof sufficientpopular constitution might be trusted with any amount of power over the nation, since its power would be only that of the nation over itself." He contended that "experience, however, proves that the depositories of power who are mere delegates of the people, that is of a majority, are quite as ready (when they think they can count on popular support) as any organs of oligarchy to assume arbitrarypower and encroach unduly on the liberty of private life."24 Furthermore,"presentcivilization tends so strongly to make the power of persons acting in masses the only substantial power in society, that there never was more necessity for surrounding individual independence of thought, speech and conduct, with the most powerful defenses, in order to maintain that originality of mind and individu- 23Cf. Alfred Marshall,Principlesof Economics (London: Macmillank Co., 1916), AppendixA, "The Growth of Free Industry and Enterprise," ^"Guizot's Essays and Lectures on History," pp. 723-53; also Talcott Parsons,The Structureof EdinburghReview (October, 1845), reprintedin SocialAction (New York: McGraw-HillBook Co., Dissertationsand Discussions (3 vols., 1867), II, 1937), chap.iv. 24 238. Principles,p. 945. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). AND ECONOMY JOHNSTUARTMILL: GOVERNMENT ality of character, . . . the only source of any real progress,... and of most of the qualities which make the human race superiorto any herd of animals."25 It is, therefore, "no less important in a democratic than in any other government, that all tendency on the part of public authorities to stretch their interference and assume a power of any sort which can easily be dispensed with, should be regarded with unremitting jealousy." In the next argument, Mill presented what he considered "one of the strongest of reasons against the extension of government agency." In this he maintained that even "if the government could comprehend within itself all the most eminent intellectual capacity and active talent of the nation, it would not be less desirable that the conduct of a large portion of the affairs of society should be left in the hands of the persons immediately interested in them." He defended this position on the following grounds: The business of life is an essential part of the practical education of a people; without which, book and school instruction, though most necessary and salutary, does not suffice to qualify them for conduct, and for adaptation of means to ends. Instruction is only one of the desiderata of mental improvement; another, almost as indispensable, is a vigorous exercise of active energies; labor, contrivance, judgment, self-control: and the natural stimulus to these is the difficulties of life. . . . The only security against political slavery is the check maintained over governors by the diffusion of intelligence, activity, and public spirit among the governed. . . . It is therefore of supreme importance that all classes of the community, down to the lowest, should have much to do for themselves; . . . that the government should not only leave as far as possible to their own faculties the conduct of whatever concerns themselves alone, but should suffer 25Ibid. 143 them, or rather encourage them, to manage as many as possible of their joint concerns by voluntary co-operation; since this discussion and management of collective interests is the great school of that public spirit, and the great source of that intelligence of public affairs; which are always regarded as the character of the public of free countries.26 In addition to these reasons, two others are offered by Mill "in favour of restricting to the narrowest compass the intervention of public authority in the business of the community." The first is that the expansion of government agency causes the employment of a numerous bureaucracy of technical experts whose operations the public is illequipped intelligently to criticize and their elected representativesequally illequipped to control.27The second rea28 Ibid., p. 949. 27"If every part of the businessof society which requiredorganizedconcert, or large and comprehensiveviews,werein the handsof the government, and if governmentofficeswere universallyfilled by the ablest men, all the enlargedcultureand practiced intelligencein the country, except the purely speculative,would be concentratedin a numerous bureaucracy,to whom the rest of the community would look for all things: the multitudefor direction and dictationin all they had to do; the able and aspiringfor personaladvancement.. . . Under this regimenot only is the outsidepublicill-qualified, for want of practicalexperience,to criticize or checkthe mode of operationof the bureaucracy, but even if the accidentsof despoticor the natural working of popular institutions occasionallyraise to the summit a ruler or rulers of reforminginclinations,no reformcan be effectedwhich is contrary to the interest of the bureaucracy.. . ." Where "everythingis done through the bureaucracy, nothing to which the bureaucracyis really adverse can be done at all. The constitution of such countriesis an organizationof the experience and practicalability of the nationinto a disciplined body for the purposeof governingthe rest" ("On Liberty,"in The EnglishPhilosophersfrom Bacon to Mill, ed. Edwin A. Burtt [New York: Modern Library, 1939], pp. 1038-39). For a recent statement sympatheticto Mill's view on bureaucracy, see Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: Universityof ChicagoPress, 1962), pp. 186ff. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). 144 ABRAM L. HARRIS son is expressed in the idea that "in any of the common operations of industry and commerce" a government agency is generally less efficient than an individual agency or voluntary association. This is proved, Mill thought, by the fact that, if individuals possess the necessary means and degree of industrial enterprise, a governmental agency is seldom able to maintain itself with them in open competition. Throughout the greatest part of the business of life the popular maxim holds true that "people understandtheir own business and their own interests better, and care for them more than the government does, or can be expected to do." Accordingly, Mill concluded, "the great majority of things are worse done by the intervention of government, than the individuals most interested in the matter would do them, or cause them to be done, if left to themselves."28 This last argument of Mill's is concerned primarily with the problem of efficiency as it relates to the main functions29 of the economic system. One function is the organization of productive resources in the form of human services, or labor, and property. This function has two aspects, comprising (1) the allocation of these resources among different firms and industries so that in every use each resource contributes more to output than it would if it 28 Principles, p. 947. Cf. Friedman, op. cit. 29Five primary functions are enumerated by Frank H. Knight: fixing standards in determining whose wants and which wants are to be given preference; organizing production which includes allocation of the available productive forces and materials and the effective co-ordination of them in each industry; the distribution of the value product among the owners of the resources used in producing it; economic maintenance and progress; and the adjustment of consumption to production within short periods (The Economic Organization [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1933]). had been employed somewhereelse, and (2) the co-ordination and direction of the resources within plants and industries. Another function is the distribution or division of the value product in the form of income among the owners of the resourcesused in producingit. In the enterprise system, these and other related functions are guided by the price system operating impersonally by means of market competition, that is, by voluntary exchanges for mutual advantage. Mill thought that, however well intended government interferences with the allocative and distributive functions of the market, the consequences are usually bad. He described the various forms of protection to industry as "mischievous interferences with the spontaneous course of industrial transactions"that result in an employment of labor and capital which is disadvantageous to the community. Again, when the state attempts to lower food prices by regulating them, a similar misdirection in the use of resources takes place. "The price of a thing," he explained, "cannot be raised by deficiency of supply beyond what is sufficientto make a corresponding reduction of consumption; and, if a government prevents this reduction from being brought about by a rise of price, there remains no mode of effecting it unless by taking possession of all food, and serving it out in rations as in a beseiged town."30In other words, to succeed in its price-fixing objective, the government would have to control the conditions both of supply and of demand. Similarly, minimum-wage laws designed to remedy low wages by fixing them above the rate the market otherwise decrees must result in unemploy30 Principles, p. 931. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). JOHN STUART MILL: GOVERNMENTAND ECONOMY ment. According to Mill, the only way to prevent this result is by restricting the supply of labor, which means restraining the growth of population. Mill would not, however, leave the relief of the destitute able-bodied to voluntary charity. It is highly desirable, he thought, that the certainty of subsistence should be held out to them by law, but that the condition of those supported should be kept considerably less desirable than that of the self-supporting. The problem is "how to give the greatest amount of needful help, without the smallest encouragement to undue reliance on it." The danger is that if people are guaranteed"a certain payment either by law, or by the feeling of the community . . . no amount of comfort that you can give them will make either them or their descendants look to their own self-restraint [in producing offspring] as the proper means of preserving them in that state." He predicted: "You will only make them indignantly claim the continuance of your guarantee to themselves and their full complement of possible posterity."31 In MilPs theory of distribution,wage rates are competitively determined by two interacting conditions: on the demand side, by that part of the invested capital employers set aside for the hire of labor—the wages fund, as called by the classical economists; and, on the supply side, by the number of competing workers at their customary standard of subsistence. Thus the wage rate is simply the ratio obtained by dividing the wages fund by the number of workers employed. The rate can change but only by changes in the accumulation of capital and in the growth of population by which the number of workers in the 31 Ibid., p. 365. 145 labor supply is determined. Although it is more or less fixed in short-runperiods, the amount of capital used to employ labor will increase over time if the effective desire for accumulation and the return on investment are not adversely affected by legislation. But, if the habitual tendency in the working class to produce large families is not restrained,the numberin the labor supply will increase more rapidly than the accumulationof the capital. If the number so increases, there will be either full employment of the labor supply at a reducedrate of pay, or unemployment at a higher rate. In either event the level of subsistence is reduced and the customary living conditions deteriorate. With most defective analytical tools, namely, the erroneous wages-fund doctrine and a population theory in which long- and short-run market situations tend to be confused, Mill sought to demonstrate that legal or trade-unionaction designed to raise wage rates above those fixed by competition under the given conditions of supply and demand will set in motion forces that prevent the realization of the well-intended objective. The only situation in which wages can be raised by trade-unionaction, he contended, is one in which a small knot of highly skilled workershas secured a monopoly by restricting entry into the industry. Nevertheless, he opposed laws restraining the organization of trade unions as an infringement upon the freedom of voluntary association. He believed that the efforts of unionists to raise wages should be encouraged rather than condemned because the experience would teach them the futility of such efforts and reveal the real circumstancesupon which their welfare depends. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). 146 ABRAML. HARRIS In his late years Mill threw overboard his early view concerning the power of trade unions to raise wages and, at the same time, renounced his adherence to the wages-fund doctrine. He now maintained (1) that labor markets are characterized by a considerable degree of monopsony and that, accordingly, a single worker is at a serious disadvantage with a single employer in wage bargaining; and (2) that nothing but a close combination among employees can give them a chance of successfully contending against employers. There is, accordingly, a wide range within which wage rates are indeterminate; and, in consequence, the "right and wrong" of the proceeding of trade unions is a "common question of prudence and social duty, not one which is peremptorilydecided by unbendingnecessities of political economy."32If it were possible to reconcile these with his earlier views concerning trade-union power and the 82"Thornton on Labour and Its Claims," Fortnightly Review (May, 1869), reprinted in Dissertations and Discussions (4 vols.; London: Longmans, Green, Reader k Dyer, 1875), IV, 24-86. The logic of Mill's position should have led him to an acceptance of government intervention in labor disputes. But his opposition to such intervention is unequivocal. "According to M. Dupont-White, as productive industry advances, there is a natural and growing antagonism of conflicting interests— land, capital and labour. Ought there, he asks, to be no moderator in these conflicts; no one to arbitrate between jarring self-interests, each equally inconsiderate of the reasonable claims of the others —and to prescribe, and if necessary enforce, some just rule, or to say the least, some admissible terms of compromise? To this question English thinkers almost unanimously answer—No. All the state should do is to maintain the peace. Competition in a free market can alone show what terms of accomodation are reasonable, and enforce those terms on the contending parties. If this were universally true, there would be an end to the question. That it is true for the most part, and that the onus of making out a case rests on those who contend for an exception, is indisputable" ("Centralization," op. cit.). characteristics of labor markets, Mill never made the effort. In fact, though, this reversal of position did not affect his fundamental principle respecting the relationshipbetween population growth, wages, and poverty. Mill never abandoned his belief that improvement in the conditions of life, particularly of the working class, depended mainly upon restraining the growth of population. The means of restraintwas forethoughtand prudence. Mill not only knew of the existing methods of birth control, but had as a young man of seventeen distributed literature on the subject and, for so doing, spent a night in jail charged with attempt "to corrupt the purity of English womanhood."33In all the rest of his life he was publicly silent34on the subject of contraception as a method of restrainingthe production of large families, but at no time did he think the exercise of prudence could be brought about by moralistic exhortation. Prudence resulted, he thought, from the development of habits and from what Alfred Marshall later termed the "standard of life"35that causes people 33 Packe, op. cit., p. 57. 34In an 1868 letter replying to a request for advice on the distribution of birth control literature, Mill stated: "Nothing can be more important than the question to which it relates, nor more laudable than the purpose it has in view. About the expediency of putting it into circulation in however quiet a manner you are the best judge. My opinion is that the morality of the matter lies wholly between married people themselves, and that such facts as those which the pamphlet communicates ought to be made known to them by their medical advisers. But we are very far from that point at present, and in the meantime everyone must act according to his own judgment of what is prudent and right." See Norman E. Himes, "John Stuart Mill's Attitude toward Neo-Malthusianism," Economic Journal ("Economic History Series," No. 4, Supplement [January, 1929]). 35 Op. cit. chap. xiii. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). JOHN STUART MILL: GOVERNMENTAND ECONOMY 147 to desire somethingmore than main- the labour market would be severely tainingtheirexistingcircumstances. condemned,as an offenceagainst the To effectan alterationin the habits commonweal."But he wouldnot trust of laboringpeople, Mill thought that to educationalone the achievementof twofoldaction was required,"directed thesepurposes. at theirintelligenceand theirpoverty": He stated: Educationis not compatiblewith extreme (1) "an effectivenationaleducationof the children,"and (2) "a system of poverty. It is impossibleeffectuallyto teach measureswhich shall (as the Revolu- an indigent population.And it is difficultto tion did in France) extinguishextreme make those feel the value of comfort who have never enjoyedit, or those appreciatethe povertyfor one wholegeneration."Nei- wretchednessof a precarioussubsistence,who ther form of action was preciselyde- have been maderecklessby alwayslivingfrom scribedby Mill. Fromhis referenceto handto mouth. the French Revolution of 1848, one Small means,Mill stated,do not merely surmisesthat the system of measures small effects,they produceno he had in mind was to be fashioned produce resultsat all. Unless, therefore,means after Provisional Government'sdroit could be contrived to raise the entire au travailand its ateliersnationaux.™ body of unskilledlaborersto a state of The purposeof the programof national tolerablecomfortand maintainedin it educationwould be: (1) the cultiva- untila newgenerationgrew up, nothing tion of commonsenseto judgethe tend- wouldbe accomplished. encies of actions; and (2) the forma- The first meansproposedby Mill to tion of a public opinion37"by which bringabout transformation in the conand of of of ditions the life masses of laborers intemperance improvidence kind would held be of was use the "all commonland,hereevery discreditable, and the improvidencewhichoverstocks afterbroughtinto cultivation,to raising This pro86"Vindication of the French Revolution of a class of smallproprietors." February, 1848," Dissertations and Discussions (3 posal, connectedwith his programof vols., 1867) II, 384. The droit au travail, or right land tenurereform,expresseshis belief to work, "gave no pledge that the State should in the valuableeffect of peasant profind work for A or B." The intention was "that in promotinghabitsof thrift when there was notoriously a deficiency of employ- prietorship ment, the State should disburse sufficient funds to and prudence.38 The secondmeanswas create the amount of productive employment of the emigration massesof laborersto which was wanting" (italics supplied). The only the new landsof New ZealandandAusthe to Mill objection idea, thought, was "that which is grounded on the principle of population" (ibid., to tralia, be financedby government pp. 385-86). loans in the first instance,but later re37If such an opinion were formed, Mill claimed, The "there would be then an evident justification for paid by the colonialgovernments. converting the moral obligation against bringing immediateeffect of the schemewould children into the world who are a burthen to the be to ease the pressureof populationby community, into a legal one." But there would be a effort. single However,the necessity no need of legal sanctions, he thought, if women were to acquire the same rights of citizenship as of checksuponpopulationwouldnot be men. "Let them cease to be confined by custom to dispensed with unless a permanent one physical function as their means of living and their source of influence and they would have . . . an equal voice with men in what concerns that function" (Principles, pp. 378-79). 88See Abram L. Harris, Economics and Social Reform (New York: Harper k Bros., 1958), pp. 69-72. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). ABRAM L. HARRIS 148 stream of emigration could be kept up sufficient to drain off the annual increase in excess of the rate of technical progress in the same period. EXCEPTIONS In Mill's view the reasons for noninterference or the laissez faire principle did not extend to governmentfinanced emigration or to compulsory and publicly supported elementary education. Emigration would transfer labor from places where it was less productive to places where its productivity was greater. This would improve the allocative operation of the market mechanism without any authoritative interference in its determination of wages or other prices. Compulsory elementary education would tend to have a similar effect upon the mobility of labor; but unlike state-financed emigration it infringes upon freedom and departs from the market ideal of voluntary exchange. Mill's argumentjustifying such infringement will be considered in a moment. But let me call attention first to his conception of the value of education. To Mill formal education and with it practical experienceare essential for the development of the individual's intellectual faculties and for shaping his feelings and desires. It is, also, the means for transmitting immaterial culture, or those common values which make human society possible and also progressivewithin a fairly stable framework of order. Thus he stated that there "are certain primary elements and means of knowledge, which it is in the highest degree desirable that all human beings born into the community should acquire during childhood."39If their 89 Principles,p. 954. parents or those on whom they depend fail to obtain this instruction for them, "they commit a double breach of duty, towards the children themselves, and towardsthe membersof the community, generally, who are . . . liable to suffer . .. from the consequencesof ignorance and want of education in their fellowcitizens." It is, accordingly, Mill concluded, "an allowable exercise of the powers of governmentto impose on parents the legal obligation of giving elementary instruction to children." But in securing the instruction parents should be left free to choose a private or public agency, with the state supplying the financialmeans when the parent is unable to do so. When, "unless had gratuitously, it would not be had at all, help in this form has the opposite tendency to that which in so many other cases makes it objectionable; it is help towards doing without help."40 There are two parts to Mill's defense of government intervention in the matter of education. The first is contained in his view, already mentioned, that the consequences of ignorance due to a want of education are too costly to society to leave the demand to the spontaneous choice of the individual and the supply to pecuniary enterprise. The second part, inseparable from the first, concerns the competency of the individual consumer to judge the value of differentsorts of commoditiesand services. He contended that the consumer is generally the best judge of material objects that satisfy some immediate physical want. But he explained that there are other things the value of which the consumer is incompetent to judge and of which the demand of the market is by no means a test. This is 40Ibid. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). JOHN STUART MILL: GOVERNMENTAND ECONOMY particularly true, he held, of certain immaterialthings that are useful chiefly in raising the character of human beings and that requirea sacrifice of present gratifications for a distant benefit. Education, Mill thought, falls into this class of things. "The uncultivated," he asserted, "cannot be competent judges of cultivation. Those who most need to be made wiser and better, usually desire it least, and, if they desire it, would be incapable of finding the way to it by their own lights." Thus, it "will continually happen, on the voluntary system, that, tie end not being desired, the means will not be provided at all, or that, the persons requiring improvement having an imperfect or altogether erroneous conception of what they want, the supply called forth by the demand of the market will be anything but what is really required."41This argument, I think, is most damaging to Mill's general opposition to governmental paternalism and compulsion. For it can always be argued, not only in the case of education, but in many other cases requiringprovision for the future, that people are shortsighted and improvident. With this sort of argument a strong defense can always be made for the very things Mill strongly opposed, namely, expanding the area for authoritative intervention by government with a progressive curtailment of the individual's freedom for the sake of his welfare and security, and the expectation of people of having everything done for them, "except what can be made an affair of mere habit and routine." The kind of society Mill sought to promote was one in which there is not only individual freedom of thought and 41 Ibid., p. 953 and note on p. 954. 149 action but also greater equality in the distribution of income. One means of achieving greater equality was education. Another was the taxation of inherited wealth and land rent. But if these means are to be successful in achieving the objective, the indispensable condition is a stricter restraint on population. If then, "this better distribution of property [is] attained, by the joint effect of the prudence and frugality of individuals, and of a system of legislation favouring equality of fortunes, ... consistent with the just claim of the individual to the fruits, whether great or small, of his or her own industry,"42society would exhibit these features, according to Mill: ... A well-paidand affluentbody of labourers; no enormous fortunes, except what were earnedand accumulatedduringa single lifetime; but a much largerbody of persons. . . not only exempt from the coarsertoils, but with sufficientleisure . . . to cultivate freely the gracesof life, and affordexamplesof them to the classes less favourablycircumstanced for their growth.43 Mill thought that it would be possible to bring about this kind of society without destroying the institution of private property and competition. He maintained: Nothingis impliedin [private]propertybut the rightof each to his (or her) own faculties, to what he can produceby them, and to whatever he can get for them in a fair market;togetherwith his right to give this to any other person if he chooses, and the right of that otherto receiveand enjoy it.44 Stated in modern terms, the essential principle of private property, as Mill saw it, is payment in accordance with the value of the product as determined 42 Ibid., p. 749. 48 Ibid., p. 750. " Ibid., p. 221. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). ABRAM L. HARRIS ISO by the market. But the principle, in Mill's view, falls short of an abstract or ideal standard of justice; for it is "really just," he thought, "only in so far as the more or less of the work done is matter of choice." But "when it depends on natural differencesof strength and capacity," it "is in itself an injustice," since it then involves "giving to those who have; assigning most to those who are already favoured by nature." Acceptance, then, of the principle of remunerationin proportion to work is purely expediential,accordingto Mill, "a compromisewith the selfish type of character formed by the present standard of morality and fostered by existing social institutions." But "until education shall have been entirely regenerated," the principle is far more likely, he held, to prove immediately successful than an attempt at a higher ideal. If we accept the principle of private property as a matter of expediency, we must also accept the consequences that are inseparable from its operation: the inequalities that arise from "unequal industry, frugality, perseverance, talents, and to a certain extent even opportunities."45But Mill insisted that the right of inheritance, as distinguished from bequest, forms no part of the essential idea of private property. He denied, therefore, that, whatever fortune a parent may have inherited or acquired, the parent owes to his children "to leave them rich, without the necessity of exertion." What the parent owes to society is "the endeavour to make the child a good and valuable member of it"; and to the child, provision for "such education, and such appliances and means, as will enable him to start with a fair chance of achieving 45 Ibid., p. 228. by [his] own exertions a successful life." Every child has a claim to this but to no more than this. Thus, to restrain "the accumulation of large fortunes in the hands of those who have not earned them by exertion," Mill would limit the amount any one person could acquire by gift, bequest, or inheritance. Following Bentham, he proposed that collateral inheritance ab intestato should cease and that the property escheat to the state.46But, in principle, collateral heirs, he contended, have no real claims, and there is no reason why collateral inheritance should exist at all. The tax upon inheritances should be graduated, but he opposed applying progression to uninherited incomes: "To tax the larger incomes at a higher percentage than the smaller is to lay a tax on industry and economy."47 What the public good requiresis a limitation on fortunes that are unearned, not on those that are earned.In the third edition of Principles, Mill described the progressive income tax as "partial taxation, which is a mild form of robbery." In subsequent editions this phrase is deleted and also the sentence: "A just and wise legislation would scrupulously abstain from opposing obstacles to the acquisition of even the largest fortune by honest exertion." Mill thought that land rent was unearned income like the income from inherited wealth. From Ricardo and his father, he inherited the erroneous view that, of the three so-called factors of 46 Ibid., p. 809. 47 According to Mill, a just taxation system is based upon equality of sacrifice and this equality is best achieved by proportional taxation. On Mill's principles of taxation, see Harry Kalven, Jr., and Walter Blum, The Uneasy Case for Progressive Taxation ("Reprint and Pamphlet Series," No. 11 [Chicago: University of Chicago Law School, 1952]), pp. 466 ff. This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). JOHN STUART MILL: GOVERNMENTAND ECONOMY production, land is unique. Its uniqueness was said to arise from the fact that the total quantity is limited to the surface of the earth and that land of inferior quality greatly exceeds the amount of superior land. Mill reasoned that with an increase in the growth of population the demand for the use of land in agriculture and for urban sites would also increase. Whether the landlord did or did not improve his land, competition would force payment for the use of it. The payment, pure rent, was held to be a surplus above the cost of production,which consisted of wages and profit on the invested capital. This surplus, according to Mill, is an unearned increment, which increases with the progress of society and is engrossed by the landlord through sheer ownership.48 Anticipating Henry George's Single Tax, Mill proposed that all future increases of land rent be acquired by the state by means of a tax especially designed for the purpose. He rather naively thought that constructing an equitable basis for such a tax was a rather simple matter. But he admitted that the "extra gains which any producer or dealer obtains through superior talents for business, or superior arrangements" are analogous to rent. Should these extra gains also be absorbedby the state? Indeed, Mill stated that all the advantages one competitor has over another, "whether natural or acquired, whether personal or the re- 151 suit of social arrangements . . . assimilate the possessor of the advantage to a receiver of rent."49If this is true, and I think it is, then the proposition that land and the income connected with its ownership are unique loses most of its force. And if differential advantage in otherwise competitive situations is as general as Mill's statement indicates, then the element of rent or an "unearned increment" would exist in any of the forms of income, includingwages. In Mill's declarations against unearned advantage, the persistent theme is that ethically all rewards should be in accordance with individual merit. Thus the only inequalities for which he can find ethical justification are those due to superiortalent and industry. But if the inheritance of property is eliminated there remains the cultural inheritance which, transmittedmainly by the family, is as great a source of inequality as inherited property. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to determine when differencesin talent, skill, and industry are due to nature and when to nurture. But if such a determination could be made, it would have no significance with respect to moral or ethical desert.50 49 Principles,pp. 476-77. 60Mill called attention to the benefits of social or cultural inheritancebut contended that those "who are born to the ownershipof property"have in addition to these benefits "a separate inheritance" (Principles,p. 877). It seems to me that he did not carefullythink throughthe distinctionbetween naturaland acquireddifferencesin capacity. 48The technicalrefinementsof the classicalrent In one place, he said, "Impartialitybetween comdoctrine have been omitted. For a discussionof petitors would consist in endeavoringthat they the doctrine,see OvertonH. Taylor, A History of should all start fair, and not in hanginga weight Economic Thought (New York: McGraw-Hill upon the swift to diminish the distance between Book Co., 1960), chaps, vii and viii. A critical them and the slow" (ibid., p. 868). In another analysis of the classicaltheory of distributionis place, he said, "In racing for a prize, the stimulus given by FrankH. Knightin "The RicardianThe- to exertionon the part of the competitorsis only ory of Productionand Distribution,"On the His- at its highest when all start fair, that is, when tory and Method of Economics(Chicago:Univer- natural inequalitiesare compensatedby artificial sity of ChicagoPress, 1956), pp. 37 ff. weights; and the complaintis, that in the race of This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). ABRAM L. HARRIS 152 Lack of space has made it necessary to omit discussion of a number of pertinent topics—for example, Mill's observations on industrial concentration, public ownership, voluntary socialism in the form of producers'co-operatives, and the Say-Ricardo-Malthus controversy on general overproductionas the cause of commercialcrises. The following brief comment deals with Mill's social philosophy as it relates to order and progress in Western capitalistic democracy. As seen by Mill, progress, in its material aspect, consists of the development of man's productive power which, facilitated by the accumulation of capital, finds expression in improved technology, the division of labor, expansion in the scale of production, the shifting of the pattern of consumption from conventional physical necessities to the consumption of services, and an increase of unproductiveworkers, that is, workers not directly employed in the production of physical output. When population has reached a density appropriate to full utilization of the division of labor, a further increase must be restrained if the general welfare is to be advanced. What lies back of material progress is man's character as an active, enterprising, self-reliant, and self-directing personality. A requisite of progress and also of freedom is order, or the impartial rule of law, commanding obedience, the cessation of private violence, and maintainingpeace. But too much order is the deadly enemy of enterprise and progress. Yet political freedom which is itself a historical outgrowth,as well as a condition of the idea and fact of progress, requires the enfranchisement of all literate adults. The insurgence of the democracyof the common man is thus irresistible and inevitable, and it necessitates the guidance and moderation of the power of numbers by enlightened conservatism and the influence of men of superior thought and vision. In Mill's social philosophy, progress and order are not antithetical but complementary. Innovations and social reforms must therefore be effected within a framework of commonly accepted values and political obligation without which there are chaotic struggle and conflict rather than compromiseand social union. Mill's philosophy is gradualist and pluralist but also romanticutopian51with respect to man's distant life all do not start fair; and that unless the State does something to strengthen the weaker side, the unfairness becomes utterly crushing and dispiriting" ("Centralization," op. cit.). On individual merit and social inheritance via the family, Mill's reference to his father's remarks on his [Mill's] own education is quite pertinent: "Whatever I knew more than others could not be ascribed to any merit in me, but to the very unusual advantage which had fallen to my lot, of having a father who was able to teach me, and willing to give the necessary trouble and time; that it was no matter of praise to me, if I knew more than those who had not had a similar advantage" (Laski, op. cit., P.29). 51In this description I have in mind such statements by Mill as the following: "The social problem of the future we [Mrs. Mill and himself] considered to be, how to unite the greatest individual liberty of action, with a common ownership in the raw material of the globe, and an equal participation of all in the benefits of combined labour. We had not the presumption to suppose that we could already foresee, by what precise form of institutions these objects could most effectually be attained, or at how near or how distant a period they would become practicable. We saw clearly that to render any such social transformation either possible or desirable, an equivalent change of character must take place both in the uncultivated herd who now compose the labouring masses, and in the immense ORDER AND PROGRESS This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c). JOHN STUART MILL: GOVERNMENTAND ECONOMY future. His thinking is permeated by both socialistic and individualistic tendencies, the latter being somewhat the stronger. He thought that all should start the race of life on fairly equal terms and, in consequence, that differential advantages produced by nature and social circumstances should be redressed by appropriatemeasures of distributive justice. But these measures should be of such character and scope that the incentive to individual enterprise, responsibility, and high achievement is not deadened. Mill was no starry-eyed egalitarian. He believed that distinctions in society are desirable, but that they should be fairly earned. Privilege should justify itself by demajority of their employers"(ibid., pp. 196-97). For equally visionaryremarks,see "Vindicationof the FrenchRevolutionof February,1848,"op. cit., pp. 386-90. 153 votion to the common good. His philosophy upholds the ideal of a kind of classless society, one in which all divisions except those of taste, interest, and ability are non-existent. The vision entertained by Mill was described by him in these words: All the grand sources . .. of human suffering are in a great degree, many of them almost entirely, conquerable by human care and effort; and though their removal is grievously slow—though a long succession of generations will perish in the breach before the conquest is completed, and this world becomes all that, if will and knowledge were not wanting, it might be made, yet every mind sufficiently intelligent and generous to bear a part, however small and unconspicuous, in the endeavor, will draw a noble enjoyment from the contest itself, which he would not for any bribe in the form of selfish indulgence consent to be without.52 ReceivedNovember19,1962 62 in Burtt, op. cit., p. 907. "Utilitarianism," This content downloaded from 128.252.067.066 on July 25, 2016 21:31:04 PM All use subject to University of Chicago Press Terms and Conditions (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/t-and-c).