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A large part of it, and in certain cases the main part, consists in so supervising and correlating the actions of these numerous units that errors on their part may be minimised, and when occurring may be at once corrected, and that no energy may be wasted by intervals of forced idleness due to the want of correspondence in the various related tasks.
It will thus be seen, when we consider the matter closely, that in the first place the genius displayed in the act of imaginative invention is merely a part, and a part in itself useless, of the faculties involved in the super-direction of labour; and that if inventors fail to secure
; a reward equal to that which goes to their more practical coadjutors, the reason generally is that the inventors are not practical men, and that their inventions, taken by themselves, are utterly immature and useless, like the poems conceived by a poet who is unable to write them. It will be seen in the second place that the inventor, unless he happens to be a practical man himself—as some inventors are, and a great many are not-is bound to ally himself with some partner or partners, whose natures, if less lofty, are more virile and strenuous than his own. It will further be seen that even these men of practical genius would be unequal, if they stood alone, to the business of directing labour on any important scale. They must secure a hierarchy of subordinates; and the faculty which enables some men to select the subordinates most fitted for the posts severally assigned to them is one of the most important of the many associated faculties which go to make up the great director of labour.
The degrees of importance attributable to the various faculties thus comprehended in the category of directive ability will be found to vary in different enterprises and industries. A complete science of economics will deal with this question in detail. Here it can only be illustrated by a few simple examples.
Let us first take the case of a private household or an hotel. As every housekeeper knows, and as every manager of an hotel knows, the cost of the food consumed in either kind of establishment, apart from its amount and quality, varies very greatly according to the manner in which the business of supplying it is managed. In an hotel, meals identical in price and character, can, under one manager, be supplied to visitors at a profit, whereas under another they will involve systematic loss. Here we have a kind of ability whose action begins and ends with a direction of labourers which must be renewed from day to day. When the director ceases to direct, the specific results of his direction come to an end also. They are not embodied in any external form which will enable his talents to remain operative when he has himself ceased to exert them.
Let us next take the case of some structure such as the Forth Bridge. For the successful construction of such a bridge three kinds of ability are necessary. First, we have the inventive effort involved
in the conception of the cantilever—the root idea by which the whole undertaking is dominated. Then we have the effort involved in that combination of various knowledge by means of which this idea is translated into terms of iron and steel, and pluralised into thousands of separate manual tasks. Lastly, we have the effort of personal supervision, just as we have in the case of the hotel manager, by means of which, when the task of every labourer has been specified, the punctual and accurate performance of each task shall be secured. But in a case such as this we have what in the case of the hotel manager we have not. We have a permanent something which survives the cessation of that active ability to which its existence is due, and which indeed only begins to be useful when the active exertion of that ability has ceased.
I have chosen as an illustration the case of a great bridge, rather than that of some manufacturing mechanism, because it brings into clearer light a fact which the logic of Socialism always tends to ignore. Persons like Mr. Hyndman, when they speak of the perfected machine,' and describe it as a social product' which is given automatically to the labourer, imagine that when it has once been made it will multiply itself according to circumstances in the same automatic way. The want of practical knowledge involved in such an idea could be easily shown by a not very elaborate analysis, but in the case of great bridges it can be shown without any analysis at all. The truth is revealed to us in the form of acted drama.
The first great railway bridge which was thrown over the Tay was, it will be remembered, blown down by a storm, and a train with all its passengers was lost in the waves below. What was the cause of this catastrophe? With whom did the fault lie? It did not lie with the labourers. These, we may safely assume, were not less skilled or more stupid than those employed in the construction of the Tay Bridge that now stands. The fault lay, as was shown with the utmost detail, first with the men who were responsible for the general design of the structure ; and secondly with those who were responsible for the completeness of the separate parts. Inventive ability was at fault, and managing ability was at fault-and for this reason the labour of thousands of labourers was wasted. Quite recently another
enormous bridge, precisely similar to the Forth Bridge in general i design and principle, was begun in America, and while it was in course
of construction a great part of it tumbled down. Why did it tumble down ? Not because the labourers performed their separate tasks unskilfully. It tumbled down, not owing to any defect in their labour, but owing to some defect in the ability of those by whom their labour was directed.
How, then, oan those faculties of design, of constructive knowledge and invention, on which even Mr. Hyndman perceives that the efficiency of 'simple hand-labour' depends, be described in any VOL. LXV-No. 387
practical sense as generalised social products, when they failed to exert themselves otherwise than in a disastrous manner on one of the greatest of recent occasions which have challenged them to achieve a triumph ? How can powers in any sense be called social if, after they have given us the monumental permanence of the Forth Bridge in Great Britain, they cannot prevent the counterpart of that bridge in America from collapsing before it was finished ? Nothing could show more clearly than this particular tragedy of engineering that the powers which make up ability, however to the speculative philosopher they may seem to be social in their origin, have for practical purposes no existence whatever except in so far as they are embodied in the isolated brains of individuals: and in proportion as the operations of labour generally are submitted to the direction of those individuals whose powers of will and intellect are most fitted to direct them, the wealth of the community, in relation to its numbers, increases, and having increased is maintained, and preserved from immediate shrinkage.
The next article will deal with the question of value, the respective relations of labour and ability to which will be considered in the light of the facts dealt with in the preceding pages.
W. H. MALLOCK.
IRELAND AND THE BUDGET
MR. LLOYD GEORGE has never read the Act of Union. He made this bewildering admission in a recent debate in the House of Commons, but, truth to tell, nobody seemed much bewildered. The Chancellor of the Exchequer does not hold an exclusive patent of ignorance on the subject. Probably not more than ten English members of the present Union Parliament have ever read two lines of the solemn treaty under which Mr. Pitt pledged them to govern Ireland. That is a fact of some gravity. It is one of those undeniable, incredible facts which intimate a deeper explanation of political history and political hatreds than any front-bench pronunciamiento. There is indeed comfort in it for a Nationalist, for it is one more witness to the bloodless and phantasmal character of the Act of Union. As a Home Ruler I feel the same lift of spirit in considering it as when I read in the sober and undemonstrative pages of Whitaker's Almanack for 1909 : 'The government (of Ireland) is semi-independent.' On the other hand, an admission of this kind will perhaps enable English people to understand the white indignation and hot protest which fiscal proposals invariably evoke from Ireland. Our complaint is that Ireland has never had a Union Budget. Lord Castlereagh’s Act is to us detestable on two grounds : first because it was ever carried, and secondly because it has never been carried out. The Act of Union is in the nature of a fundamental law; and we maintain that if there were in the United Kingdom as there is in the United States a Supreme Court to vindicate the constitution against the legislature we could have had every Finance Bill, certainly sinoe 1853, disallowed, so far as Ireland was concerned, on the ground that it violated the Treaty of Union. Such a tribunal would have quashed Mr. Gladstone's extension of the income tax to Ireland in 1853 as the Washington tribunal quashed Mr. Cleveland's Federal income tax in 1894. But we have enjoyed no such protection. We have been left to the hand-to-mouth methods of a Parliament which has never read the Act of Union; and treaty obligations have been steadily sacrificed to administrative convenience. It is an old story, and if I venture to recall it once more it is because of the extraordinary condition of affairs that must be presented by the Irish balance-sheet for 1909-10. That year will
3 L 2
be for our national finance, far more than for that of Great Britain, a year of crisis, surpassing in significance any that has slipped over us since 1800.
Nationalist Ireland in this matter takes its stand, as has been said, on the Act of Union; it is necessary, therefore to recall the principles and practical effect of that measure. The Act of 1800 effected only a partial and gradual Union of Great Britain and Ireland. It was partial, for while there was a Union of legislatures in 1800, there has never been a Union of laws, of administration, of judiciaries, or of military establishments. It was gradual, for Union of Treasuries did not come till 1817, Union of Customs till 1823, and Union of taxes until 1853. As for any deeper and more grounded union of hearts or of interests, that has never come. Ireland still is, as a French journalist once said in what he took to be the native manner, ' a toothache at the heart of the Empire.' The Empire still is a wet blanket swathed round our national life. But for the moment we are concerned only with budgets and finance, and upon this point the provisions of the Act of 1800 can be expressed in a clear and familiar formula. The rule it established between the coalescing units is that which a certain school of Socialism seeks to establish between individuals : From each country according to its resources, to each according to its needs. Ireland was to pay what she could, and to get what she needed. There was to be no separatism in disbursement, no division such as that now adopted in the annual White Papers into 'Irish Expenditure' and 'Imperial Contribution.' On the other hand, there was to be separatism in taxation. Fusion of Exchequers was explicitly postponed until certain conditions should be realised. It could not even be attempted in 1800 because of the balance in favour of Ireland. Our annual taxation and National Debt per capita in that year were only 12s. ld. and 51. 148. respectively as against 31. Os. 2d. and 421. 10s. in Great Britain. Fiscal uniformity, if ever effected, was to be subject to such particular exemptions or abatements in Ireland ’as circumstances should demand. Lord Castlereagh promised in terms that taxation would be founded on the principle of equality of sacrifice, and on the ascertained facts of respective taxable capacity. “Ireland, he declared,' has the utmost possible security that she cannot be taxed beyond the measure of her comparative ability, and that the ratio of her contributions must ever correspond with her relative wealth and prosperity.'
The essential element of the whole contract was that Ireland was o retain a corporate and separate existence for purposes of taxation. She was to continue to be, in the phrase of the Financial Relations Commission, ‘ a separate fiscal entity.' There was to be an Irish
'Scotland was also mentioned, but Scotland must speak for herself. She has never complained; while, on the contrary, the protest of Ireland has been maintained without cessation, especially since 1853 in one regard, and since 1896 in another.