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_-------___---A POLITICAL…

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A POLITICAL PROBLEM THAT HAS BEEN SOLVED. HOW TO PRODUCE UNEMPLOYMENT. By LEWIS H. BERENS. Pt should be understood that the Editor does not necessarily share the views expressed by the writer.] '"iue modern system of industry will not work Without some unemployed margin—some re- ■erve of labour."—The Right Hon. Charles Booth ("Labour and Life of the People"). On the many political or social problems at present confronting society, aJid awaiting solu- tion, much difference of opinion may honest y exist. Hence heated controversy is only to be expected. The subject of these articles, how- ever, is not any such problem, but one which bas already been confronted and solved. yur methods therefore will not be controversial. Our endeavour will simply be to before our readers the means by which a political pro- blem which greatly disturbed the economists and politicians of the early nineteenth century has already been solved, and in a manner wnicn from the particular or peculiar point of view of those undertaking the work leaves little or nothing to be desired. The problem to which we refer was how to establish in the new territory of Australasia social conditions similar to those prevailing in the Mother Country of Great. Britain. IDO™" words how to provide conditions favourable to the establishment or development, on the one hand of an independent superior leisured class who should be able to command a maximum of wealth at the cost of little or no labour, and on the other, of a dependent, industrial, inferi- or class, who should perforce have to be con- tent to do the maximum of work for others in return for subsistence wage. A LETTER FROM SYDNEY. Unless some practical, effective and well-de- fined steps for artificially producing these classes, viz. wealthy leisured gentlemen and poverty-stricken, hard working casual labourers. were taken, there seemed but little chance of their being produced naturally in the new Co- lonies. The impossibility there of idle gentle- men pursuing their normal life, earning a IIv. ing, if we may so term Jt, in the way they were accustomed to do in the Mother Country, was eloquently described in a little book, "A Letter from Sydney," which produced quite a len&ation in the literary and political world of London in 1829. The writer, who was soon known to be a Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, represented himself as an English gentleman of large fortune and refined tastes, who had emi- grated to Australia under the impression that in estate of 20,000 acres there would procure him at least the same income, social standing, and consideration as an esr-ate of 1,000 acres in England. He graphically described the unfor- tunate situation in which he found himself in the following words: "I have at 20,000 acres for a mere trifle, and I imagined that an estate of that extent would be very valuable. In this I was wholly mistaken. As my estate cost nexu to noth- ing, so it is worth next to nothing. I did not, you know, intend to bacome a farmer. Having fortune enough for all my wants, I proposed to get a large domain, to build a good house, to keep enough land in my own hands for pleasure grounds, park and game preserves, and to let the rest, after erecting farmhouses in suitable spots. My mansions, park, preserveB and tenants were all a mere dream. There is no such class as a tenantry in this country where every man who has capital to cultivate a farm can have one of his own." He^ then further describes how even "his own man had left him. and was employing his own labour on his own farm, how he imported labourers and mechanics from England to lay out his estate, and how they, too, left him to aet up as independent workers on their own ac- count. He points out that in his opinion the Colonies would inevitably relapse into total bar- barism whenever the abolition of oonvict assignment system, then still prevailing, should leave colonists such as himself dependent on free labour. The whole evil, accoXg to t/his eloquent gentleman of fortune, who. according •t il18 °Wn entirely lacked "industry^ '11 economy, or taste for agricultural or pas- toral pursuits," lies in cheap land. Cheap land, he wisely oontended, means dear labour With Cheap land and dear labour the Colonies could not hope to continue to be advantaged by the presence of such men as himself. In fact he argues, enly such men as suffer privations l u!!re 'an<^ ^ear anc' labour cheap, common labourers, mechanics, farmers, and poor lieu- tenants, would under the prevailing conditions onlv enjoy colonial life. The cause of the effect having been discover- ed, the effective remedy was no longer difficult to find. If available and cfieap land meant con- want employment, free, independent and dear labour, engrossed and dear land would necess- arily bring in its train a fluctuating labour mar- ket, as well as dependent, enthralled, helpless and cheap labour. This was Edward Gibbon Wakefield's great discovery; and the basis of his system of colonization may be summed up in the one phrase--Land monopoly The "Letter from Sydney," as we have said, nt. attracted great attention, and served as a means of introducing its gifted author to the highest government circles. Needless to say he had little difficulty in convincing the highly placed representatives of the ruling classes of Great Britain of the great value of his theories and in 1835-36 the new colony of South Australia was promoted and subsequently established entirely in accordance with the Wakfield system of oolonization and the specified condition of colo- nization were framed in accordance therewith. REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS. The extent to which Mr. Wakefield had suc- ceeded in converting politicip-ns, financiers, and t 1.'3 Inxid speculators to his peculiar theory of colo- nization, and the effective steps taken to achieve the end he constantly had in view, viz.: To establish in Australia the same social condi- tions as prevailed in the Mother Country, are clearly revealed in a report from the Com- missioners for South Australia received bv the Secretary of State for the Colonies on June &4th, 1856, and ordered by the House of Com- mons to be printed on July 28th. After a brief reference to the Act to which they owed their ••ppoi ntment, the Commissioners say: "As the distinguishing and cardinal prin- ciples >of the Colony of South Australia are, that all public lauds shall be sold, and that TP ■■■

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_-------___---A POLITICAL…