Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER I: Scientific Prophecies - Socialistic Fallacies
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CHAPTER I: “Scientific” Prophecies - Yves Guyot, Socialistic Fallacies 
Socialistic Fallacies (London: Cope and Fenwick, 1910).
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“Natural necessity” acording to Marx and Engels—Natural necessity belied by facts—Fatalist theories—Werner Sombart: his doubts—Marxist interference with “natural necessity”—Social legislation tends to retard it.
Marx and Engels set themselves up as scientific prophets. Beyond Ricardo's à priori formula, they felt the most profound distrust of the natural laws of exchange as put forward by economists. But they affirmed the existence of “natural necessity,” by introducing the notion of which to socialistic thought they claimed to have effected a great revolution. They claimed to have traced, in the “Communist Manifesto,” the process which was fated to end in communism.
Economic development realises itself in a particular manner and it is precisely because it does so that all the items with which the programme is concerned attain their fulfilment. Accordingly there is no escape for you members of the middle classes and capitalists, and for you workmen and wage-earners; your triumph is assured, for everything will come to pass just as we have foretold. Karl Marx is God, and Engels is his prophet!
Three and twenty centuries have elapsed since Thucydides defined the function of history as being to ascertain the truth as regards the past in order to foresee the future. But to ascertain the truth is essential, and he who fails to do so and invents facts instead of observing them misleads himself in his forecasts as well as others. In “Das Kapital” Karl Marx says: “Reflection on the forms of social life and consequently the scientific analysis of them, follows a course which is completely opposed to their true movement,” or, in other words, the present explains the past, but does not explain the future. Consequently the true disciple of Marx should cut all the part of the “Communistic Manifesto” which deals with the future, and examine only the historical movement.
The whole of Marx' “natural necessity” is founded upon the pauperisation of the greatest number and the concentration of capital and of industry in the hands of an increasingly restricted number of persons. Now, as this phenomenon fails to take place, “natural necessity” does not exist. If Marx and Engels had been logical, they would have ended in fatalism. In the absence of the necessity on the part of their followers of action of any kind, they have only to watch economic forces at work, bringing into play on the one hand the concentration of capital, and on the other the formation of the proletariat masses. If the need for communism is natural, one has only to wait until it comes forward of itself and there is no occasion for traumatic intervention which would only disturb its development. It is better to leave it to overcome the crisis of its growth undisturbed.
Werner Sombart states that the followers of Marx are in fact convinced that this natural process fulfils itself independently of human activity. It is best therefore to leave it to itself. This is both logical and inoffensive. Yet he admits that “natural necessity (Naturnothwendigkeit) rests upon a series of ideas which are not entirely clear.” And he has his doubts. “There does not,” he says, “appear in the writings of Marx and of Engels any evidence of the progress of the social movement corresponding to a scientific method.”
Marx says that in the past all social movements have been brought about by minorities, but that “the proletariat movement is the spontaneous movement of the immense majority in the interest of the immense majority.” Still, it is necessary that this immense majority, the outcome of “natural necessity” should exist, and the failure of this natural necessity is proved by industrial returns. If the facts upon which this process is based are incorrect, surely the process will fail to develop itself. And how can Socialists who claim to be scientific invoke its aid when experience demonstrates it to be based on a fallacy? If the followers of Marx really believed in “natural necessity,” they would leave economic society to evolve itself without interference. The law of the concentration of capital by surplus labour, being a natural necessity and bound to end in the triumph of the proletariat through the agency of communism, Marx's followers ought not to attempt to delay the communistic millennium.
And yet they ask for labour legislation in the programmes of the Gotha Congress (1875), the Erfurt Congress (1891), and even in the programme of the Havre Congress (1880), which was drafted by Marx himself. Furthermore, in the great work in which he sets forth his doctrine, he has acclaimed the Factory Act of 1850 as a “great charter,” immeasurably superior to the “pompous catalogue of the Rights of Man.”1 This was an inconsistency, for if the Factory Act has the effect of diminishing the amount of “surplus-value,” it retards the “natural necessity” of the advent of communism.
Every form of intervention proposed or approved by the Socialists, with the object of ameliorating the condition of the workmen, is an obstacle placed in the way of Marx' prophecies. When the bourgeoisie, imbued with the idea of paternal state control, attempt to give “satisfaction to the workers,” repeat that “something ought to be done,” and attempt to prevent the social revolution by petty police measures, they are quite logical. But when Karl Marx counsels such measures and extols the Factory Acts, is he not deserving of the epithet of a “smooth talker” applied by sceptical workmen to those who adopt this policy, as advocated by Le Play and his school? If the Factory Acts have had the beneficial results which Karl Marx so enthusiastically extols, how comes he to predict that England will be the first country to witness the advent of communism?
Das Kapital, vol. i., chap. x.