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trade, risky and unusual enterprises entered upon for the sake of more than ordinary profits, and in that sense there is attached to it, among merchants, a slight shade of imputation of dishonesty or disreputable conduct. As we are seeking now, however, to employ language in an exact and scientific way, we must find a more precise definition of the term. The line between ordinary and more than ordinary profits is too vague for a scientific treatise. At one extremity of the long succession of chance-dealing and advantage-taking transactions stands gambling, which is denounced by the common verdict of mankind as merely a more specious form of robbery. It holds the same relation to robbery itself that duelling holds to murder. Where is the other end of this succession? At what point does a man begin to take an undue advantage of his fellow man in a commercial transaction? It clearly appears, from all that has been shown, that he does so from the moment that he receives from him more than an exact equivalent of cost. But it is the constant endeavor of every trader, upon any other than the Cost Principle, to do that. The business of the merchant is profit-making. Profit signifies, etymologically, something made over and above, that is, something beyond an equivalent, or, in its simplest expression, something for nothing.
It is clear, then, that there is no difference between profit-making in its mildest form, speculation in its opprobrious sense as the middle term, and gambling as the ultimate, except in degree. There is simply the bad gradation of rank which there is between the slaveholder,
the driven the slave plantation, and the slave dealer, or between the man of pleasure, the harlot, and the pimp.
philanthropy of the age is moving heaven and ea to the overthrow of the institution of slavery. But avery has no scientific definition. It is thought to consist in the feature of chattelism; but an ingenious lawyer would run his peu through every statute upon slavery in existence, and expunge that fiction of the law, and yet leave slavery, for all practical purposes, precisely what it is now. It needs only to appropriate the services of the man by operation of law, instead of the man himself. The only distinction, then, left between his condition and that of the laborer who is robbed by the operation of a false commercial principle, would be in the fact of the oppression being more tangible and undisguisedly degrading to his manhood.
If, in any transaction, I get from you some portion of your earnings without an equivalent, I begin to make you my slave-to confiscate you to my uses; if I get a larger portion of your services without an equivalent, I make you still further my slave; and, finally, if I obtain the whole of your services without an equivalent-except the means of keeping you in working condition for my own sake, I make you completely my slave. Slavery is merely one development of a general system of human eppression, for which we have no comprehensive term in English, but which the French Socialists denominate exploitation-the abstraction, directly or indirectly, from the working classes of the fruits of their labor. In the case of the slave, the instrument of that abstraction is
force and legal enactments. In the case of th laborer, generally, it is speculation in the large sense, o profitmaking. The slaveholder will be found, therefore, pon a scientific analysis, to hold the same relation to the trader which the freebooter holds to the blackleg. It
a question of taste which to admire most, the dare-devi boldness of the one, or the oily and intriguing propensities and performances of the other.
As individuals possessing skill or capital exploitate, or compel other individuals in the same community to work for them for nothing, or for undue consideration, precisely in the same way do nations possessed of those advantages exploitate other nations with whom they trade, who are without them.
England lends, say, five hundred millions of dollars to governments and individuals in America. In a hundred years, she will have withdrawn from us, in interest, six times the amount loaned or advanced, and at the expiration of that time she withdraws the principal itself. We pay England a tax of at least three thousand million of dollars in a century; for her loans to us are probably even larger than the amount assumed. She commands the results of our labor to that extent, and gives us not a cent of the results of her labor in return--for her principal loaned represents her labor, and that we return to her intact. We are, to that extent, her slaves,"slaves without masters;" for she commands and enjoys our labor, and is under none of the obliga
tions of a master-to protect, defend and provide
Her superior skill in the mechanic arts, by means of free trade, taxes or exploitates us quite as much as her capital. She exchanges her comparatively light and skillful labor, for our hard, exposed and unintellectual labor; and, in the general, compels us to labor three hours for her, when she labors one for us. Thus, after deducting the cost of the material, a yard of her cloth will exchange for an amount of our cotton, corn or meat, that cost three times as much labor to produce as her yard of cloth.
As in society, the skillful and professional tax or exploitate the common laborer, by exchanging one hour of their light labor for many of the common workingman's hard labor; as lawyers, doctors, merchants and mechanics deal with day laborers, so England and New England treat us of the South. This theory, and this alone, accounts for England's ability to pay the interest on her national debt, and yet increase her wealth. She effects it all by the immense profits of the exploitation of her skill and capital; by the power which they give her to command labor, and appropriate its results, without consideration, or for a very partial consideration. She trades with the world, and exploitates it all, except France. France sets the fashion, and this enables her to exploitate England. England, in her trade