chapter  IX
8 Pages

SOCIAL AND PERSONAL FACTORS IN WEALTH

But this is not all. Partly as a result of the organized efforts of society, but more largely through the mere fact of social life, and the tacit co-operation of many minds, society on the whole grows, the arts of life improve, population thickens. There is a total increment of wealth. What we take at RAst blush for the contribution of an individual to this growth is not his contribution alone. He absorbs from his society, he comes into a capital of organized knowledge and skill; he adds something to it but does not create it. The most individual production is largely a social production. Again, much of a man’s work may lie in organizing others, and what these others are, what skilled and trustworthy workmen, for instance, he R=3B to his hand, is determined by large social causes. Thus, individual production is penetrated through and through by the social factor, and here again, we can see that if the social factor does not get its due return, disorganization ensues. For example : as the industry of a town expands, so does the population, and as population grows so does the value of the land. The people must have houses to live in, and their mere numbers force up rents. Now this added land value is not any one man’s creation. It is a social product. The ground landlord, in particular, need never have done a

hand’s turn in the process of making the town; but his ownership has enabled him to skim off all the cream of value, which is due to a complex congeries of social factors. If this value came back to the town collectively the increase of population would pay its way. The town would have the funds for building, planning, beautifying itself. Because English towns have been starved of their natural sources of revenue they are ugly, crowded and mean. Population is stimulated to growth without provision for the due nourishment of growth, and just as there is disorganization when the individual is made to function without due maintenance so there is disorganization when society attempts to function without due maintenance.