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In America, the system came to an end with the Revolution, except in the South, where it persisted until the Civil War.
But if he spends it (let us say) upon laying down rails for surface card in some place where surface cars turn out not to be wanted, he has diverted a mass of labor into channels where it gives pleasure to no one.
Nevertheless, when he becomes poor through failure of his investment he will be regarded as a victim of undeserved misfortune, whereas the gay spendthrift, who has spent his money philanthropically, will be despised as a fool and a frivolous person. I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work. Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so.
The net result of the man's economical habits is to increase the armed forces of the State to which he lends his savings.
Obviously it would be better if he spent the money, even if he spent it in drink or gambling.
Unfortunately, their idleness is only rendered possible by the industry of others; indeed their desire for comfortable idleness is historically the source of the whole gospel of work.
The last thing they have ever wished is that others should follow their example.
Everyone knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them.
Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it.
If he merely puts his savings in a stocking, like the proverbial French peasant, it is obvious that they do not give employment.
If he invests his savings, the matter is less obvious, and different cases arise.