Saturday, February 11, 2017
How Capitalism Began by Guy M. Walker 1922
The Beginning of Wealth by Guy M. Walker (The Things that are Caesar's; a Defence of Wealth 1922)
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Two men of the Stone Age, feeling the pangs of hunger, picked up their stone hammers or axes and started out in search of food. They had hunted so long in the region of their cave that they had destroyed most of the game that formerly roamed near their habitation, and they now found that they were compelled to go farther and farther before finding anything to eat. On this particular occasion they had travelled and hunted for two days without making any kill, when good fortune brought them across a doe with its fawn. Starting in pursuit they soon captured the fawn while the doe bounded away. In their crude savage way they divided the little beast between them and proceeded to satisfy their hunger by consuming all they could hold of the little animal.
Having finished their meal the younger of the two men dropped what remained of his half on the ground and went off to a nearby stream to quench his thirst, but the older of the two with a memory of his two-day hunger still upon him could not bring himself to throw away what was left of his half, and looking over his head saw a fork in the tree under which he had been eating, and leaping high he dropped the remaining meat in the forked branches and followed his companion to the stream.
As soon as he quitted the spot where he and his companion had fed, the hungry wolves rushed to the spot and quickly devoured the offal and the meat abandoned by the younger man, but leaping high
in their efforts to reach the piece deposited in the fork of the tree by the older man they failed and soon abandoned their efforts. After sleeping the two men began again their pursuit of game and their search for food. But they found it extremely scarce and the second day afterward they found themselves again oppressed with the pangs of hunger. Then the older man remembering that he had deposited what was left of his half of the fawn in the fork of the tree, said: "Instead of hunting farther for fresh game I am going back to the food I left in the tree," and the younger man not knowing what else to do followed his elder. Hunger hurried their steps and it took but a day to get back to the spot from which they had spent two days in wandering. Arriving there the older man found his meat safe in the tree and leaping lip he seized it and proceeded to satisfy his ravenous hunger. The younger man demanded his share but the older man growled in reply that they had divided the fawn originally and that he had saved what was left of his half while the younger man had thrown away what was left of his.
The skill and strength of the older man made it unwise for the younger man to attack the older one as he felt an instinct to do, and so he began to beg, saying to the older man, "Give me half of the meat that you have saved and when my hunger is satisfied and my strength renewed I will go hunting and give you half of my next kill." But the older man ate on until finding his own hunger satisfied and some meat still remaining, said to the younger man, "I will give you what is left here if you will give me half of your next kill even tho it be a grown deer or a buffalo." To this the hungry young man eagerly assented, whereupon the older man pushed over toward him the shoulder of the fawn with the meat remaining on it.
The saving of the uneaten portion of the fawn was the beginning of wealth and the use of it to save the starving young man, the beginning of capitalism, while the hunting of the younger hunter to repay the debt he owed to the older who had fed him when he was starving was the beginning of the wage system.
For more books on Capitalism go to Capitalism in America - 100 Books on DVDrom (Captains of Industry) and The History & Mystery of Money & Economics-250 Books on DVDrom