Mill: Socialism Could Work for More Advanced People
John Stuart Mill was more favorable to socialism than David Ricardo and his followers, even though Mill in economics was generally a Ricardian. In the preface to the third edition of his Principles of Political Economy (1852), he says that the main obstacle to socialism is that people might not yet be civilized enough to put it into practice. When people reach this higher state he isn’t sure what they will decide.
The chapter on Property has been almost entirely re-written. I was far from intending that the statement which it contained of the objections to the best known Socialist schemes should be understood as a condemnation of Socialism, regarded as an ultimate result of human progress. The only objection to which any great importance will be found to be attached in the present edition is the unprepared state of mankind in general, and of the labouring classes in particular; their extreme unfitness at present for any order of things, which would make any considerable demand on either their intellect or their virtue. It appears to me that the great end of social improvement should be to fit mankind by cultivation for a state of society combining the greatest personal freedom with that just distribution of the fruits of labour which the present laws of property do not profess to aim at. Whether, when this state of mental and moral cultivation shall be attained, individual property in some form (though a form very remote from the present) or community of ownership in the instruments of production and a regulated division of the produce will afford the circumstances most favourable to happiness, and best calculated to bring human nature to
Article from Mises Wire