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In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, authors from newlyemerging scientific disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology, andpsychology, examined the purported naturalistic roots of religiousbelief. They did so with a broad brush, trying to explain what unifiesdiverse religious beliefs across cultures, rather than accounting forcultural variations. In anthropology, the idea that all culturesevolve and progress along the same lines (cultural evolutionism) waswidespread. Cultures with differing religious views were explained asbeing in an early stage of development. For example, Tylor (1871)regarded animism, the belief that spirits animate the world, as theearliest form of religious belief. Comte (1841) proposed that allsocieties, in their attempts to make sense of the world, go throughthe same stages of development: the theological (religious) stage isthe earliest phase, where religious explanations predominate, followedby the metaphysical stage (a non-intervening God), and culminating inthe positive or scientific stage, marked by scientific explanationsand empirical observations.
The difference between the motive powers in the economy of society under private property and under Communism would be greatest in the case of the directing minds. Under the present system, the direction being entirely in the hands of the person or persons who own (or are personally responsible for) the capital, the whole benefit of the difference between the best administration and the worst under which the business can continue to be carried on accrues to the person or persons who control the administration: they reap the whole profit of good management except so far as their self-interest or liberality induce them to share it with their subordinates; and they suffer the whole detriment of mismanagement except so far as this may cripple their subsequent power of employing labour. This strong personal motive to do their very best and utmost for the efficiency and economy of the operations, would not exist under Communism; as the managers would only receive out of the produce the same equal dividend as the other members of the association. What would remain would be the interest common to all in so managing affairs as to make the dividend as large as possible; the incentives of public spirit, of conscience, and of the honour and credit of the managers. The force of these motives, especially when combined, is great. But it varies greatly in different persons, and is much greater for some purposes than for others. The verdict of experience, in the imperfect degree of moral cultivation which mankind have yet reached, is that the motive of conscience and that of credit and reputation, even when they are of some strength, are, in the majority of cases, much stronger as restraining than as impelling forces—are more to be depended on for preventing wrong, than for calling forth the fullest energies in the pursuit of ordinary occupations. In the case of most men the only inducement which has been found sufficiently constant and unflagging to overcome the ever-present influence of indolence and love of ease, and induce men to apply themselves unrelaxingly to work for the most part in itself dull and unexciting, is the prospect of bettering their own economic condition and that of their family; and the closer the connection of every increase of exertion with a corresponding increase of its fruits, the more powerful is this motive. To suppose the contrary would be to imply that with men as they now are, duty and honour are more powerful principles of action than personal interest, not solely as to special acts and forbearances respecting which those sentiments have been exceptionally cultivated, but in the regulation of their whole lives; which no one, I suppose, will affirm. It may be said that this inferior efficacy of public and social feelings is not inevitable—is the result of imperfect education. This I am quite ready to admit, and also that there are even now many individual exceptions to the general infirmity. But before these exceptions can grow into a majority, or even into a very large minority, much time will be required. The education of human beings is one of the most difficult of all arts, and this is one of the points in which it has hitherto been least successful; moreover improvements in general education are necessarily very gradual, because the future generation is educated by the present, and the imperfections of the teachers set an invincible limit to the degree in which they can train their pupils to be better than themselves. We must therefore expect, unless we are operating upon a select portion of the population, that personal interest will for a long time be a more effective stimulus to the most vigorous and careful conduct of the industrial business of society than motives of a higher character. It will be said that at present the greed of personal gain by its very excess counteracts its own end by the stimulus it gives to reckless and often dishonest risks. This it does, and under Communism that source of evil would generally be absent. It is probable, indeed, that enterprise either of a bad or of a good kind would be a deficient element, and that business in general would fall very much under the dominion of routine; the rather, as the performance of duty in such communities has to be enforced by external sanctions, the more nearly each person’s duty can be reduced to fixed rules, the easier it is to hold him to its performance. A circumstance which increases the probability of this result is the limited power which the managers would have of independent action. They would of course hold their authority from the choice of the community, by whom their function might at any time be withdrawn from them; and this would make it necessary for them, even if not so required by the constitution of the community, to obtain the general consent of the body before making any change in the established mode of carrying on the concern. The difficulty of persuading a numerous body to make a change in their accustomed mode of working, of which change the trouble is often great, and the risk more obvious to their minds than the advantage, would have a great tendency to keep things in their accustomed track. Against this it has to be set, that choice by the persons who are directly interested in the success of the work, and who have practical knowledge and opportunities of judgment, might be expected on the average to produce managers of greater skill than the chances of birth, which now so often determine who shall be the owner of the capital. This may be true; and though it may be replied that the capitalist by inheritance can also, like the community, appoint a manager more capable than himself, this would only place him on the same level of advantage as the community, not on a higher level. But it must be said on the other side that under the Communist system the persons most qualified for the management would be likely very often to hang back from undertaking it. At present the manager, even if he be a hired servant, has a very much larger remuneration than the other persons concerned in the business; and there are open to his ambition higher social positions to which his function of manager is a stepping-stone. On the Communist system none of these advantages would be possessed by him; he could obtain only the same dividend out of the produce of the community’s labour as any other member of it; he would no longer have the chance of raising himself from a receiver of wages into the class of capitalists; and while he could be in no way better off than any other labourer, his responsibilities and anxieties would be so much greater that a large proportion of mankind would be likely to prefer the less onerous position. This difficulty was foreseen by Plato as an objection to the system proposed in his Republic of community of goods among a governing class; and the motive on which he relied for inducing the fit persons to take on themselves, in the absence of all the ordinary inducements, the cares and labours of government, was the fear of being governed by worse men. This, in truth, is the motive which would have to be in the main depended upon; the persons most competent to the management would be prompted to undertake the office to prevent it from falling into less competent hands. And the motive would probably be effectual at times when there was an impression that by incompetent management the affairs of the community were going to ruin, or even only decidedly deteriorating. But this motive could not, as a rule, expect to be called into action by the less stringent inducement of merely promoting improvement; unless in the case of inventors or schemers eager to try some device from which they hoped for great and immediate fruits; and persons of this kind are very often unfitted by over-sanguine temper and imperfect judgment for the general conduct of affairs, while even when fitted for it they are precisely the kind of persons against whom the average man is apt to entertain a prejudice, and they would often be unable to overcome the preliminary difficulty of persuading the community both to adopt their project and to accept them as managers. Communistic management would thus be, in all probability, less favourable than private management to that striking out of new paths and making immediate sacrifices for distant and uncertain advantages, which, though seldom unattended with risk, is generally indispensable to great improvements in the economic condition of mankind, and even to keeping up the existing state in the face of a continual increase of the number of mouths to be fed.
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A still more valuable resource than the common lands consists of the land owned by public bodies and endowed institutions. These possessions are not, in any sense whatever, private property. No one of those who profit by them has more than a life interest, most have not so much, and their interests can be bought up, or suffered to expire. All enlightened reformers acknowledge the moral distinction between private property and public endowments; and it is now an admitted doctrine among Liberals, that endowments, after a certain length of duration, are at the disposal of the State, which from that time should fix their destination. Many endowments are positively mischievous, and ought to be extinguished. Others, especially educational endowments, are highly useful, and under better management will, it may be hoped, become more so; and many, now worthless from abuse, only require to be properly looked after. A portion of the lands of the country, much larger and more valuable than the public in general are aware of, is thus at the disposal of the State. It can keep those lands together, and administer them either for the objects to which they are appropriated, or for such other objects as may be considered preferable, and permit them to be leased or occupied on such terms as it thinks fit by individuals or associations. It may, without injustice or detriment to any one, make use of them for any well-considered social or philanthropic experiments. Among the lands thus disposable is the soil of large portions of our great towns, and particularly of London. It is obvious what facilities their possession would give for promoting every improvement that tends to raise the condition of the mass of the people: sanitary works, improved dwellings, public gardens, co-operative buildings, co-operative agriculture, useful public institutions of every kind.
It has been urged, [says Mr. Leslie,] even by economists of eminence, . . . . that the best security the public can obtain for the good management of land is the personal interest of its private holders. The desire of wealth, it is urged, must impel the possessors of land, like the owners of capital in trade, to make the best commercial and productive use they can of their possessions. Political economy, I must affirm, countenances no such assumption. The desire of wealth is far from being a productive impulse under all circumstances; it is, on the contrary, sometimes a predatory the fundamental assumption of political economy with respect to it is, that men desire to get wealth with the least possible trouble, exertion, and sacrifice; that besides wealth, they desire ease, pleasure, social position, and political power; and that they will combine all the gratification they can of their other desires with the acquisition of wealth. The situation of the inheritor of a large landed estate is entirely different from that of the trader, of whom (trained to habits of business, exposed to competition, and influenced not only by the desire of gain, but by the fear of being driven from the market altogether by better producers) it is true that the best security the public can have for the good management of his capital is his own private interest. It is as contrary to political economy as to common sense to assume that a rich sinecure its possessor industrious and improving; and the landholders of this country are the holders, not only of rich sinecures, but of sinecures the value of which tends steadily, and often rapidly, to increase without any exertion on their part. . . . . The interest of the proprietors of land is, according to the assumption their own conduct compels us to make, to get as much, not only of money, but of amusement, social consideration, and political influence as they can, making as little sacrifice as they can in return for any of those advantages, in the shape of leases to their tenants, the improvement of their estates, or even residence upon them when other places are more agreeable. That they are frequently guided solely by their interest in this sense is borne out by notorious facts; by absenteeism, by the frequent absence of all improvement on the part of the landlord and the refusal of any security to the tenant, by the mischievous extent of the preservation of game and the extension of over what once was cultivated land. The single circumstance that tenancy from year to year, a tenure incompatible with good agriculture, is the commonest tenure both in England and Ireland, affords positive proof that the interest of the landlord is no security to the public for the good management of the land in the absence of all interference of law. (Pp. 123-6.)
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Those individuals who make lad culture work, and make sense of mutual recognition through repetition and creating exclusive social reality makes members of the lad culture perceive their performativity expressed in the form of rituals to be natural and without a credo. Performativity is rigidly confined within historical dimensions resulting in this particular model of ritualised performance. Men who may not naturally embrace the lad culture may ‘subvert’ their own subjectivity to fit in to that model so as not to be excluded. (Butler, 1999: 108, 186)
Before scientists developed their views on cosmology and origins ofthe world, Western cultures already had an elaborate doctrine ofcreation, based on Biblical texts (e.g., the first three chapters ofGenesis and the book of Revelation) and the writings of church fatherssuch as Augustine. This doctrine of creation has the followinginterrelated features: first, God created the world exnihilo, i.e., out of nothing. Differently put, God did not needany pre-existing materials to make the world, unlike, e.g., theDemiurge (from Greek philosophy), who created the world from chaotic,pre-existing matter. Second, God is distinct from the world; the worldis not equal to or part of God (contra pantheism or panentheism) or a(necessary) emanation of God’s being (contra neoplatonism).Rather, God created the world freely. This introduces a radicalasymmetry between creator and creature: the world is radicallycontingent upon God’s creative act and is also sustained by God,whereas God does not need creation (Jaeger 2012b: 3). Third, thedoctrine of creation holds that creation is essentially good (this isrepeatedly affirmed in Genesis 1). The world does contain evil, butGod does not directly cause this evil to exist. Moreover, God does notmerely passively sustain creation, but rather plays an active role init, using special divine actions (e.g., miracles and revelations) tocare for creatures. Fourth, God made provisions for the end of theworld, and will create a new heaven and earth, in this way eradicatingevil.
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