A History of Socialism. Thomas Kirkup

T. B. Veblen
1893 Journal of Political Economy  
i882. I2mO., pp. Vii. + 30I. THE volume is light, for so large a subject as the title describes, especially as a good portion-perhaps one-third-of the book is taken up with the present and future of socialism rather than with what can properly be called history. It is valuable, not only for the concisely and lucidly written historical sketch of the socialist movement of the present century, but even more for the exposition and criticism of the doctrines as held by the advanced socialists of to
more » ... d socialists of to -day. The standpoint of the author is that of a sympathetic critic and conservative advocate of socialism. He does not find it necessary to go back of I8I7 for the beginning of modern socialism, " the year when Owen laid his scheme for a socialistic community before the committee of the House of Commons on the poor law, the vear also that the speculations of Saint -Simon definitely took a socialistic direction." And with good judgment he gives small space to the narrative of what preceded the revolution of 1848. The socialism with which he deals is the modern socialism in the strictest sense. In his estimate of the relative importance of the leading socialistic writers the author is hardly at one with opinions currently held by hostile critics of socialism. He gives Marx distinctly the first, and a high rank: " Marx was an independent thinker of great originality and force of character, who had made the economic development of Europe the study of a laborious lifetime, and who was in the habit, not of borrowing, but of strongly asserting the results of his own research and of impressing thein upon other men" (p. I29). "In learning and philosophic power, Marx will compare favorably with Adam Smith" (P. 1 5 I). He denies Rodbertus the credit of in any special sense originating the modern, "scientific," socialistic body of doctrines, and urges (p. 129) that "it is an absurdity as well as an historical error to, speak of Marx as having borrowedfrom Rodbertus"; and it must be admitted his main position here is true, though perhaps too broadlystated. He finds (p. 122) that Rodbertus's claim to stand as the representative of the ripest manifestation of socialistic thought-"the master-author of the socialist philosophy," as President E. Benj.
doi:10.1086/250143 fatcat:vetibieepbfvrdcavkl2j7p4yi