Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
"They imagined an impossible future state on the improbable ruins of existing society, that is to say, a decline of civilization that only a coward would envisage. First they saw Chaos, and then something which would be a doubtful improvement on the old order.
"Something Dr. Marcus said lately about the coexistence of things has been running through my mind. Old institutions need not go under at one blow in order that new ones may be born. Not every son is posthumous. Parents usually live along with their children for many years. It follows that an old social order need not break up because a new one is on the way. Having seen here a new order composed of none but old institutions, I have come to believe neither in the complete destruction nor the complete renewal of a social order. I believe-how shall I put it? In a gradual reconstruction of society. And I also believe that such a reconstruction never comes about through systemic planning, but as the need arises. Necessity is the builder. We decide to alter a floor, a staircase, a wall, a roof, to install electricity or water supply only as the need arises, or when some new invention wins its way. The house as a whole remains what it was. So I can imagine the continued existence of the old state even if new features have been added. That is what I should like to seek in Europe.
"When we left the civilized world twenty years ago, new forms of life were sprouting everywhere. I understand the Stockton-Darlington jubilee. Everything began with that -it is to celebrate the birth of a new era. It had existed coincidently with the old order for a long time; pervaded it; was influenced by it. But the clever, practical people saw nothing. Though the old boundaries remained, men and goods were moving across the world. Whither had not machinery and railways penetrated? And they created hew conditions wherever they came.
"The co-operatives of the little fellows and the trusts of the big fish,-we knew all that. They existed side by side. Why, in the end, should the co-operatives not have organized themselves into syndicates when the individual manufacturers did so?
"Some sensible employers used to provide of their own accord for the welfare of their workers and the workers' families. Large factories had their own social welfare departments. The larger the factory, the more it was possible to expand such activities. The syndicates, again, could do more-when they chose-to improve the lot of their workers because they were richer than individual factory owners, more firmly established. That I know, Kingscourt, from your own descriptions of the American trusts."
"Quite so. And what do you infer from that?"
"I infer that it was inevitable that the producers' cooperatives should have organized to challenge individual enterprise. Their weakness lay in their lack of working capital. But, on the other hand, they were strong in that they were able also to organize the consumers co-operatively. The co-operative movement was bound to grow with the general spread of education. Finally, it seems to me that the trusts were beneficial because they paved the way for the organization of labor. And the producers' cooperatives modeled themselves on the methods of organization used by the trusts. I see in the New Society nothing but a syndicate of co-operative societies, a large syndicate which comprises all industry and commerce within itself, keeps the welfare of the workers in mind, and fosters the ideal for practical reasons. I should like to see whether the same sort of thing has been developed in Europe."
"So you think a New Society possible in other countries also?"
"Yes, I do. The New Society can exist anywhere,-in any country. Several such co-operative syndicates might even exist in one country. Where ever there are syndicates and cooperative associations, I can conceive transition to the New Society form. Then the old state is not forced out of the New Society which, in its turn, serves, strengthens and supports it. That is the coexistence of things in which I believe."
The train pulled in at the Tiberias station, and the friends hastened to the Littwak villa. When they asked the servant at the door about the patient, he shook his head gravely, and then handed them a telegram which had just been received. It was marked "Urgent."
Kingscourt glanced significantly at Friedrich as he tore open the envelope. There it was: "David Littwak elected president of New Society by 363 votes out of 395. Reschid."
They went upstairs to the salon adjoining the sickroom, where they found Sarah and the elder Littwak. Through the open door they could see the invalid lying against her pillows, her face white as the linen. But she was still alive. With infinite affection she gazed at her children as they spoke to her softly from the foot of the bed. The physician watched her closely.
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