I will give a more serious illustration of the phenomenon of multitudes where they are earning a livelihood. Let any man attempt to cry through the streets of a town: "Whoever is willing to stand all day long through a winter's terrible cold, through a summer's tormenting heat, in an iron hall exposed on all sides, there to address every passer-by, and to offer him fancy wares, or fish, or fruit, will receive two florins, or four francs or something similar."
How many people would go to the hall? How many days would they hold out when hunger drove them there? And if they held out, what energy would they display in trying to persuade passers-by to buy fish, fruit and fancy wares?
We shall set about it in a different way. In places where trade is active, and these places we shall the more easily discover, since we ourselves direct trade withersoever we wish, in these places we shall build large halls, and call them markets. These halls might be worse built and more unwholesome than those above mentioned, and yet people would stream towards them. But we shall use our best efforts, and we shall build them better, and make them more beautiful than the first. And the people, to whom we had promised nothing, because we cannot promise anything without deceiving them, these excellent, keen business men will gaily create most active commercial intercourse. They will harangue the buyers unweariedly;they will stand on their feet, and scarcely think of fatigue. They will hurry off at dawn, so as to be first on the spot; they will form unions, cartels, anything to continue bread-winning undisturbed. And ii they find at the end of the day that all their hard work has produced only 1 florin, 50 kreutzer, or 3 francs, or something similar, they will yet look forward hopefully to the next day, which may, perhaps, bring them better luck.
We have given them hope.
Would any one ask whence the demand comes which creates the market? Is it really necessary to tell them again?
I pointed out that by means of the system "Assistance par le Travail" the return could be increased fifteenfold. One million would produce fifteen millions; and one thousand millions, fifteen thousand millions.
This may be the case on a small scale; is it so on a large one`i Capital surely yields a return diminishing in inverse ratio to its own growth. Inactive and inert capital yields this diminishing return, but active capital brings in a marvellously increasing return. Herein lies the social question.
Am I stating a fact? I call on the richest Jews as witnesses of my veracity. Why do they carry on so many different industries! Why do they send men to work underground and to raise coal amid terrible dangers for meagre pay? I cannot imagine this to be pleasant, even for the owners of the mines. For I do not believe that capitalists are heartless, and I do not pretend that I believe it. My desire is not to accentuate, but to smooth differences.
Is it necessary to illustrate the phenomenon of multitudes, and their concentration on a particular spot by references to pious pilgrimages?
I do not want to hurt anyone's religious sensibility by words which might be wrongly interpreted.
I shall merely refer quite briefly to the Mohammedan pilgrimages to Mecca, the Catholic pilgrimages to Lourdes, and to many other spots whence men return comforted by their faith, and to the holy Hock at Trier. Thus we shall also create a center for the deep religious needs of our people. Our ministers will understand us first, and will be with us in this.
We shall let every man find salvation "over there" in his own particular way. Above and before all we shall make room for the immortal band of our Freethinkers, who are continually making new conquests for humanity.
Translated from the German by Sylvie D'Avigdor
This edition published in 1946 by the American Zionist Emergency Council
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