Interesting comments on a number of things, including doctors, slaves, soldiers, income inequality, sobriety, thrift, poverty,
Bad as we are, I believe that if we all understood how we are living, and what we are doing daily, we should make a revolution before the end of the week. But as we do not know; and as many of us, forseeing unpleasant revelations, do not want to know; I can only assure you that I am in perfect concord with standard economists when I state that competition is the force that makes our industrial system self-acting. It produces the effects which I have described without the conscious contrivance or interference of either master on the one hand, or slave on the other. It may be described as a seesaw, or lever of the first order, having the fulcrum between the power and the weight.
The so-called right of private property is a convention that every man should enjoy the product of his own labour, either to consume it or exchange it for the equivalent product of his fellow labourer. But the landlord and capitalist enjoy the product of the labour of others, which they consume to the value of many millions sterling every year without even a pretence of producing an equivalent. They daily violate the right to which they appeal when the socialist attacks them. Nor is their inconsistency so obvious as might be expected. If you violate a workman's right daily for centuries, and daily respect the landlord's right, the workman's right will at last be forgotten, whilst the landlord's right will appear more sacred as successive years add to its antiquity. In this way the most illogical distinctions come to be accepted as natural and inevitable. One man enters a farmhouse secretly, helps himself to a share of the farm produce, and leaves without giving the farmer an equivalent. We call him a burglar, and send him to penal servitude. Another man does precisely the same thing openly, has the impudence even to send a note to say when he is coming, and repeats his foray twice a year, breaking forcibly into the premises if his demand is not complied with. We call him a landlord, respect him, and, if his freebooting extends over a large district, make him deputy-lieutenant of the country or send him to Parliament, to make laws to license his predatory habits.
MR. G. BERNARD SHAW ON SOCIALISM.