5.11.14

This error is colossal, as well as strange. It will certainly make a difference whether the one swings his scythe in spring winds to make a green sward, or the other to drive the loom in fetid air to make red velvet; but as far as his pocket is concerned, it will have no effect. Neither does it concern him whether we consume the result by  walking on green velvet, or by wearing red, so long our consumption is wholly selfish.

If it’s otherwise, both our mode of consumption and the kind of article we need will interest him.

For instance, the labourer’s profit doesn’t depend an iron filing on whether he’s employed in growing a peach or forging a bombshell; but my probable mode of consumption of these matters seriously to him. If, in both cases I am ‘unselfish’, it will make a difference as to whether I bring his child a peach when I walk into his cottage, or drop the shell down the chimney and blow his roof off.

Unfortunately, the capitalist’s consumption of the peach is likely to be selfish and of the shell, distributive.

It’s a sad truth that unjust wars are entirely supported by the wealth of capitalists, as men’s bodies and souls (and the best tools of war for them) will both have to be bought. Most of the men who wage just wars will do so gratis. This makes an unjust war extremely costly, not to speak of the fear and angry suspicion that it breeds among nations. Unjust war is supportable only by pillage, or by loans from capitalists whose repayment will come through taxation of the people. The people appear to have no will in the matter, as the will of the capitalist is the primary root of the war; but the real root is the greed of a whole nation, thus rendering it incapable of faith, direct honesty and justice. In due time therefore, it brings about a separate loss and punishment to each person.

In all cases (and this is the broad and general fact) that on due commercial principles, somebody’s roof will be blown off in fulfilment of the bomb’s destiny. You may grow grapes or grape-shot for your neighbour and you will reap what you have sown.

It’s therefore the manner and issue of consumption which are the real tests of production. Production does not consists of things laboriously made, but in things being agreeably consumed.

The question for the nation is therefore not how much labour it employs, but how much life it produces; for as consumption is the end aim of production, so life is the end aim of consumption.

Now that the ground is sufficiently broken, I desire to leave this one great fact clearly stated: THERE IS NO WEALTH BUT LIFE.