Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
In any event, August saw a similar flurry of activity on the topic of labor-for-labor exchange, including an exchange between Warren and "E. C." in the pages of the Free Enquirer. In his communication, E. C. expresses his faith in the principles expressed in Warren's earlier article, and poses a few standard objections to the plan. Warren's reply deals with these in summary fashion.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
A Work-in-Progress: I currently have most of my notes from 1821 to about 1853 incorporated into this sprawling bibliography+, which includes the full text of many short articles. If you're one of the folks looking forward to Crispin Sartwell's anthology, check my progress once in awhile, and take a look at Crispin's Josiah Warren Project, which just got a major update.
Monday, May 14, 2007
I was searching for a particular edition of one of Josiah Warren's works, the full title of which is, believe it or not, The former title of this work was "Equitable Commerce", but it is now ranked as the first part of True Civilization: a subject of vital and serious interest to all people; but most immediately to the men and women of labor and sorrow. This is not to be confused with the first book to be published as True Civilization an immediate necessity, and the last ground of hope for mankind being the results and conclusions of thirty-nine years' laborious study and experiments in civilization as it is, and in different enterprises for reconstruction, published a few years earlier, and now, apparently, ranked as the second part. These long titles are, of course, exactly the sort of information you expect to be truncated in databases, so I was simply looking for books called True Civilization, written by Josiah Warren.
At Google Books, I first tried a very general search:
Author: Josiah Warren
and the results included five books: 3 editions of True Civilization, and 2 of Equitable Commerce. None of these was the edition I was looking for. But I was pretty sure I had seen it on the site before. After some searching, I determined that it was indeed there. But things get weird. A narrower search:
Author: Josiah Warren +
Title: True Civilization
returns four editions of True Civilization! The narrower search provides more results, even though it appears that the author's name is spelled correctly in the entry for the "now you see it, now you don't" 1869 edition.
I'm a little baffled. It appears that the search engine at Google Books either searches different author data, or searches the author data differently, depending on whether or not I have specified a title. That looks more like a bug than a feature.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
It took me quite awhile to actually find this patent, although I knew roughly when it was issued. That's no big surprise, I guess, since the author of the reissue is listed as "JOSIAH WAEREN," and that of the original as "JOSIAH WAEEEET," with an issue date of "Apr 25, 1346." On the positive side, Google Patents is now allowing you to download pdfs of the patents, after having recently made it impossible to even download page images efficiently.
* If to any it may seem puerile and unnecessary to enter into such explanations, it may be well to remind them that one of the schemes for a new currency, which has of late found some earnest advocates in the United States, is that of Josiah Warren, of Ohio, who proposed that currency “should be issued by those men, women, and children who perform useful service “—i. e., grow corn, mine coal, catch cod-fish, pick up chestnuts and the like—” but by nobody else;“ such results of service being deposited in safe receptacles, and having receipts of deposit issued against them to serve as “equitable money.” A further axiom of Mr. Warren was, “that the most disagreeable labor” (not the most useful) “is entitled to the highest compensation;” and, therefore, inferentially entitled to issue the most money. A specimen of this equitable money before the writer reads as follows:Of course, to make this money equitable, and its issue, as claimed, “the satisfactory solution of the great problem of labor and capital,” there must be some presupposed equitable relation between eight hours of shoe-making and a hundred pounds of corn. But one hundred pounds of corn in
E. D. Linton, of
And the same inferentially in respect to pigs, coal, shoes, and the services of doctors, lawyers, and cooks. So, then, if the note in not to be on its face a lie, and the promise in to be actually performed on demand, the necessity will be absolute on the part of the Government of the United States to have store -houses for wheat at Chicago, pig-pens at Peoria, coal-mines or dépôts at Pottsville, and trained professionals ready on call to plead a case, preach a sermon, cure a cold, and cook a dinner; and all of these last must take their pay in pigs if required. But as a pig has one value at
Friday, May 11, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
One of the things that is becoming clearer from continuing research into the practical history of mutualism is that there were lots of small experiments in, and local enthusiasts for, equitable commerce and mutual currency. I've already documented one Practical application of the cost principle in Massachusetts, 1863. If appears that this was preceded in Boston by an 1859 project, The Dual Commerce Association. The OCLC catalog lists one 16-page pamphlet:
Dual Commerce Association. The Dual Commerce Association: its Experience, Results, Plans & Prospectus : First Report.
and The Circular includes the following short notice:
* * * * *
"Dual Commerce Association," The Circular, 8, 4 (February 17, 1859), 4.
Dual Commerce Association—In
"It proposes to purchase the necessaries and the luxuries of life, and distribute them to users and consumers at the exact cost of doing the business. In Boston, a number of 'stations' are provided where milk, butter, four, potatoes, soap, sugar and all other articles commonly used in families are received and distributed, the store or station keepers having fixed salaries so as to do away with all notions of profit or speculation.
"A barrel of flour, for example, is received and sold in parcels of one, five, or ten pounds, at the same rate per pound that would be charged on whole barrel if taken at once. The cost of receiving and delivering a barrel of four is but fifty cents, whereas to ordinary retail grocers the consumers pay two, or three, or four times that sum. In this way, the poor, without capital, can purchase as economically as the rich; and all make a saving of at least twenty per cent.—no small item for a mechanic or laboring man.
Though the principle of Dual Commerce ha been in practical operation but a few months the results have been most gratifying. The system, if it can be made to work well in one place—and all that seems to be waited are men of heart and capital—may be extended to all places. And it can be applied to manufactures, and even to agriculture, as well as to commerce."
* * * * *
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Why aren't "Shawn Wilbur" and "Brad Spangler" have Wikipedia articles if they are notable people? Who are these people?
Who, indeed? Well, it turns out that yours truly does have a Wikipedia article dedicated to him. On it, we learn the following:
Shawn P. Wilbur, född 1963, är en nutida amerikansk individualanarkist och mutualist.
Now you know.
Funny, though, that's far from the first indication I've had that my work is taken more seriously in Scandanavia (and Turkey) than in the English-speaking world. Much of my work from the '90s, on internet culture isses and virtual community, has been translated into various languages. Only yesterday, I read an interesting scrap of debate over my chapter in Internet Culture, or tried to read it, after finding an online Swedish-English translator.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Donald Drumm's "Bridge over Troubled Waters," the BGSU Kent State / Jackson State memorial sculpture, is, as I said earlier, hidden in plain sight. This shot, with snow piled around it and a trash barrel tucked underneath, is unfortunately characteristic of the sort of attention it gets on campus. Drumm created a number of sculptures for the campus, designed the murals for the exterior of Jerome Library, and also, if I recall correctly, contributed a number of book cover illustrations for the Popular Press. The memorial statue currently stands on the corner, between lots A and G, right beside the one-room schoolhouse that is now the Educational Memorabilia Center (about where the number "39" appears on this map.) It appears, however, that it was originally at another location. The picture below, which is from an earlier period, is pretty obviously not at the same spot.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
THE HOPE OF THE "LITTLE LANDERS"
THE STORY OF SAN YSIDRO,
JOHN L COWAN
FOURTEEN miles south of
The Little Landers wish to show to families with little money and with little or no farming experience just how they can get to the land without danger of going from bad to worse. The corporation owns about 400 acres, all of which will be sold to persons desirous of engaging in truck farming, flower gardening, poultry raising, and other occupations adapted to just a little land. The price is high, judged by land values in many Eastern communities, being from $300 to $400 per acre. There are now forty families in the colony, with a total membership of 140. The smallest farm consists of a quarter of an acre, and the largest of seven acres, the average being two-and-a-quarter acres. From the experience so far gained, most of the colonists now think that one, two, or three acres (depending upon the size of the family) is sufficient. The ideal is just as much land as the family can bring under the highest cultivation without hiring help.
The problem of acquiring land is simplified by the smallness of the acreage required, and also by the fact that only part of the purchase price need be paid in cash. The balance can be made up largely from the colonist’s earnings. The profits accruing to the corporation are used for public improvements, which otherwise would have to he provided for by taxation. To build a home adapted to the kindly climate of southern
Similarly there is no need for a large investment in live stock and farm machinery. The live stock is limited to poultry and a cow or a pig or perhaps both. The requisite implements are no more than a spade, a hoe, a garden rake, and a few other inexpensive tools. In the purchase of supplies and the marketing of surplus products, the cooperation of the colonists eliminates the middleman, with his sometimes exorbitant profits, and invariably disproportionate expenses. Even inexperience constitutes no bar to success. The president, the secretary, and other officers of the colony are experienced in all the mysteries of poultry raising and vegetable culture, and count it a pleasure as well as a duty to impart instruction to new arrivals. At the weekly meetings of the colonists, practical questions of any kind may be asked; and the knowledge and experience of all is at the command of each individual.
The Little Landers have steered clear of communal ownership and other fads that have wrecked so many experiments at social betterment. Every man owns his own house, which may be as humble or as pretentious as his means and his inclination direct. Every man owns his own land, plants upon it whatever he pleases, and cultivates it according to his knowledge and ability. There are no restrictions upon the sale or the disposition of property.
Some of the Little Landers have been at San Ysidro for two years, and others for shorter periods. Some families have just arrived. All that have been established for six months or more are making a living, and most of them a better living than many a farmer of the East and
In all this, the one important point is that the Little Landers are making a living, and a little more. It seems evident that what these forty families are doing at San Ysidro millions of families can do in
Furthermore, each Little Lander is his own boss. He reads of the high cost of living, the encroachments of predatory wealth, tariff agitation, and other issues that are vital to nine tenths of the people of America with comparative indifference, and with growing wonder that his fellow citizens of the republic do not follow the path he has helped to blaze to industrial independence. Every Little Lander has a job, and no man living has power to discharge him, even in times of financial panic and industrial calamity. In the whole community there is not a landlord or a tenant, an employer or a hired man.
The majority of the Little Landers live in the
They have adopted the initiative, referendum, and recall. An irrigation district has been organized in accordance with the laws of the state; and bonds to the amount of $25,000 will be sold to provide an adequate water supply, as the community grows in population. A very ambitious park system has been laid out. In fact, even now, although the village is only two years old, the park is a marvel of floral wealth and beauty, owing to the labors of George P. Hall, President of the Little Landers, and formerly President of the California State Horticultural Society, in the park is the club house and assembly room, with library, reading room, and general loafing place. Every Monday evening there is a meeting for the discussion of topics of interest to the colonists. Questions are asked and answered, experiences with crops and poultry are related; and reports are rendered by officers and committees. Then there are songs and stories, a discussion of current events, and a lecture upon some educational theme. On Sundays, Rev. Josiah Poeton, Secretary and Manager. preaches a non-sectarian sermon. He is a Congregational minister. He was driven by a nervous breakdown from his flock in old Vermont. The community of Little Landers at San Ysidro was founded by Mr. William E. Smythe, the well-known author and journalist.
Prof. H. Heath Bawden, formerly of Vassar College, who is one of the colonists, is working to show the possibilities that lie unsuspected and undeveloped in an acre of land. He aims to develop a one- acre garden to the utmost possible limit of productivity. He is studying the requirements of each of the important garden vegetables in the way of light, heat, moisture, and chemical constituents of the soil. He aims at vegetable perfection, and thinks it practicable to produce better vegetables and more of them than any one has ever produced before. When he has finished his experiments he will, as far as possible, reduce the practice of the Little Landers to a series of mathematical formulæ, so that any one may know just what and how to grow the best vegetables in the largest possible quantities.Such colonies may be multiplied indefinitely, provided only that they are established within easy reach of large cities, where a practically unlimited market may be had for fresh vegetables and fruits, poultry products, and other food supplies that can be profitably grown by hand labor upon small tracts of land. The advantage to the cities and to the colonists will be reciprocal. The people of the cities will get fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs and poultry at reasonable prices, and the colonists will enjoy the advantage of a steady market, at fair prices, for everything they can produce.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Prince Peter Kropotkin was a regular contributor to The Nineteenth Century, and his essays were widely reprinted. Here are three of his contributions to that journal.