Fabian essays in socialism - PDF by Bernard Shaw

 Fabian essays in Socialism 

Fabian essays in Socialism
 Bernard Shaw

From preface:

Since 1889 the Socialist movement has been completely transformed throughout Europe, and the result of the transformation may fairly be described as Fabian Socialism. In the eighteen-eighties, when Socialism revived in England for the first time since the suppression of the Paris Commune in 1871, it was not at first realized that what had really been suppressed for good and all was the romantic revolutionary Liberalism and Radicalism of 1848, to which the Socialists had attached themselves as a matter of course, partly because they were themselves romantic and revolutionary, and partly because both Liberals and Socialists had a common object in Democracy. Besides this common object, the two had a common conception of method in revolution. 

They were both catastrophists. Liberalism had conquered autocracy and bureaucracy by that method in England and France and then left the industry to make what it could of the new political conditions by the unregulated action of competition between indi\aduals. Briefly, the Liberal plan was to cut off the King's head and leave the rest to Nature, which was supposed to gravitate towards economic harmonies when not restrained by tyrannical governments. 

The Socialists were very far ahead of the Liberals in their appreciation of the preponderant importance of industry, even going so far as to maintain, with Buckle and Marx, that all social institutions whatever were imposed by economic conditions, and that there was fundamentally only one tyranny: the tyranny of Capital. 

Yet even the Socialists had so far formed their political habits in the Liberal school that they were quite disposed to believe that if you cut off the head of King Capital, you might expect to see things come right more or less spontaneously. 

No doubt this general statement shows the Revolutionaries of 1848-71 as simpler than they appear on their own records. Proudhon was full of proposals: one of them, the minimum wage, turns out to be of the very first importance now that Mr and Mrs Sidney Webb have put the case for it on an invincible, basis of industrial fact and economic theory. Lassalle really knew something of the nature of law, the practice of Government, and the mind of the governing classes. Marx, though certainly a bit of a Liberal fatalist (did he not say that force is the midwife of progress without reminding us that force is equally the midwife of chaos, and chaos the midwife of martial law?), was at all events no believer in Laisser-faire. 

Socialism involves the introduction of design, contrivance, and co-ordination, by a nation consciously seeking its own collective welfare, into the present industrial scramble for private gain; and as it is clear that this cannot be a spontaneous result of a violent overthrow of the existing order, and as the Socialists of 1848-71 were not blind, it would be impossible to substantiate a claim for Fabian Essays as the first text-book of SociaKsm in which catastrophism is repudiated as a method of Sociahsm. Therefore we must not say that the Revolutionists and Inter-nationalists of 1848-71 believed in a dramatic overthrow of the capitalist system in a single convulsion, followed by the establishment of a new heaven, new earth, and a new humanity. 


The basis of socialism: Economic, by G.B. Shaw; Historic, by Sidney Webb; Industrial, by William Clarke; Moral, by Sydney Olivier.--The organization of society: Property under socialism, by Graham Wallas; Industry under socialism, by Annie Besant.--The transition to social democracy: Transition, by G.B. Shaw; The outlook, by Hubert Bland.--Index

the book details :
  • Author: Bernard Shaw
  • Publication date: 1911
  • Company: Boston: Ball Pub. Co.

  • Download 14.7 MB

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