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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

What the World Wants (S702ab: 1913)

Editor Charles H. Smith’s Note: One of several replies to an enquiry by The Cambria Daily Leader (Swansea): "What means do you recommend for bettering the lot of human kind?" Printed on page 2 of its issue of 12 April 1913. The extract below includes some words by the Editor setting context, a short Wallace letter, and an excerpt from Wallace’s book Social Environment and Moral Progress. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S702AB.htm

...90--Not Out!

    The very first to respond was a vivacious and versatile youth of 90.

    Is there anybody in the world who has not heard of Alfred Russel Wallace?

    Co-revelator with Charles Darwin of that "natural selection" idea which has revolutionised the thought of humanity.

    None, at least, who can read English prose.

    So I will not insult you by introducing

Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace.

Old Orchard,
Broadstone, Dorset.
April 7th, 1913.

Dear Sir,--

    In my new book just issued--"Social Environment and Moral Progress"--I have given as short a reply to your question as I can, under four aspects (Page 154-1). It is stated in shorter still at foot of Page 157.

    The proof and justification is in the book, which you should read and review.

Yours truly,
Alfred R. Wallace.

    The "grand old man" of science is too busy to read his "Cambria Daily Leader" carefully, or he would have known that a notice of the new book has already appeared. The passages he so kindly indicates are as follows:--

    "If we review with care the long train of social evils which have grown up during the nineteenth century, we shall find that every one of them, however diverse in their nature and results, is due to the same general cause, which may be defined or stated in a variety of different ways:--

Cause and Remedy.

    (1) They are due, broadly and generally, to our living under a system of universal competition for the means of existence, the remedy for which is equally universal co-operation.
    (2) It may be also defined as a system of economic antagonism, as of enemies, the remedy being a system of economic brotherhood, as of a great family, or of friends.
    (3) Our system is also one of monopoly by a few of all the means of existence: the land, without access to which no life is possible; and capital, or the results of stored up labour, which is now in possession of a limited number of capitalists, and therefore is also a monopoly. The remedy is freedom of access to land and capital for all.
    (4) Also, it may be defined as social injustice, inasmuch as the few in each generation are allowed to inherit the stored up wealth of all proceeding generations, while the many inherit nothing. The remedy is to adopt the principle of equality of opportunity for all, or of universal inheritance by the State in trust for the whole community."

National Law Favourable.

    "In Chapter XIII. To XVI., I have shown that the well-established laws of evolution as they really apply to mankind are all favourable to advance of true civilisation and of morality. Our existing competitive and antagonistic social system alone neutralises their beneficient operation. That system must therefore be radically changed into one of brotherly co-operation and co-ordination for the equal good of all. To succeed we must make this principle our guide and our pole star in all social legislation."

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