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The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice by Leacock

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THE UNSOLVED RIDDLE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE

BY STEPHEN LEACOCK

=B. A., Ph. D., Litt. D., F. R. S. C.=

_Professor of Political Economy at McGill University, Montreal_

Author of "Essays and Literary Studies," Etc.

NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD TORONTO: S. B. GUNDY: MCMXX

BY STEPHEN LEACOCK

FRENZIED FICTION FURTHER FOOLISHNESS BEHIND THE BEYOND NONSENSE NOVELS LITERARY LAPSES SUNSHINE SKETCHES ARCADIAN ADVENTURES WITH THE IDLE RICH ESSAYS AND LITERARY STUDIES MOONBEAMS FROM THE LARGER LUNACY THE HOHENZOLLERNS IN AMERICA

Copyright, 1920,

By John Lane Company

_CONTENTS_

CHAPTER PAGE I. The Troubled Outlook of the Present Hour 9 II. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness 33 III. The Failures and Fallacies of Natural Liberty 48 IV. Work and Wages 66 V. The Land of Dreams: The Utopia of the Socialist 88 VI. How Mr. Bellamy Looked Backward 103 VII. What Is Possible and What Is Not 124

THE UNSOLVED RIDDLEOF SOCIAL JUSTICE

_I.--The Troubled Outlook of the Present Hour_

THESE are troubled times. As the echoes of the war die away the sound of a new conflict rises on our ears. All the world is filled with industrial unrest. Strike follows upon strike. A world that has known five years of fighting has lost its taste for the honest drudgery of work. Cincinnatus will not back to his plow, or, at the best, stands sullenly between his plow-handles arguing for a higher wage.

The wheels of industry are threatening to stop. The laborer will not work because the pay is too low and the hours are too long. The producer cannot employ him because the wage is too high, and the hours are too short. If the high wage is paid and the short hours are granted, then the price of the thing made, so it seems, rises higher still. Even the high wages will not buy it. The process apparently moves in a circle with no cessation to it. The increased wages seem only to aggravate the increasing prices. Wages and prices, rising together, call perpetually for more money, or at least more tokens and symbols, more paper credit in the form of checks and deposits, with a value that is no longer based on the rock-bottom of redemption into hard coin, but that floats upon the mere atmosphere of expectation.


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