Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VI.: TO EACH ACCORDING TO HIS NEEDS. - The Tyranny of Socialism
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
CHAPTER VI.: TO EACH ACCORDING TO HIS NEEDS. - Yves Guyot, The Tyranny of Socialism 
The Tyranny of Socialism, ed. J.H. Levy (London: Swan Sonnenschein and Co., 1894).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO EACH ACCORDING TO HIS NEEDS.
What is the Standard of Need?—Capacity and Needs—Wages should be in Inverse Ratio to Capacity.
This is a formula which has superseded that of “to each according to his works.”
But what is the standard of needs? They are as undefined as man’s capacity for wishing. Everyone can dream of terrestrial paradises suited to his own fancy. And yet society is, by some means or other to secure them for him. This would not be the reign of equality.
It may be, however, that this is not what those mean to say, who make use of this formula, which, like most Socialistic formulæ, borders upon the absurd the moment you draw therefrom its logical conclusion. They mean that wages should not be regulated according to the capacities of the wage-earners, but according to their needs. We have already pointed out that wages depend upon neither the employer nor the employed, but on the power of purchase of the consumer.
If wages were to be estimated according to needs, it would be the least capable workman who ought to receive the highest wages. An unfortunate man is a victim to chronic bronchitis; he has all the more need for high wages because he is ill; he needs an abundance of the choicest food, all kinds of strengthening things, and the possibility of earning enough in a few days to enable him to rest afterwards. Where will this unfortunate man ever find, not only higher wages, but as high wages as a capable workman in good health?
Wages will always be in proportion to the productive capacity of the worker, and not in proportion to his needs.