The first of these is Socialism which is gaining ground in the most powerful and advanced countries, the object of which is to admit the poorer sections to a gradually increasing share in power and to impose increasing State control over means of production. It also aims at raising the standard of life and the removal of want, by means of an increase in national wealth. This movement has been at work for some time in England, France and the USA, and there can be no doubt that it has brought about a certain amount of improvement and amelioration in the condition of the poor in those countries. A worker in these countries compares favourably with Government officials in this country who are supposed to be fairly well off. In our country an Extra Assistant Commissioner or a Sub-Judge is regarded as a respectable and a well-to-do official. The starting pay of such an official is about Rs. 250 a month, which is the equivalent of the average of a worker’s wages in England. In the USA the standard is even higher. In that country, an ordinary worker earns the equivalent of between Rs. 500 and Rs. 700 a month. But he ranks only as a labourer. In short, those countries have not only striven to raise the standard of living but also to foster the sources of national wealth so as to secure an all round improvement in economic conditions. These benefits have been secured through the operation of Socialism as practised in those countries, but they are confined mainly to the people of those countries. No doubt the people seem very anxious to extend these benefits to other countries, but at the same time they are not willing to contemplate any diminution in the power and influence which they at present exercise over other countries. Take the case of India. A great deal of sympathy is professed and perhaps even felt for her, but all efforts to improve Indian conditions are circumscribed by the consideration that European interests in India should suffer no hardship. Their attitude towards India is like that of a kind master towards domestic animals. He takes pleasure in feeding his stock well, but is careful that this should not be permitted to affect adversely his own standard of living. Similarly, when any concessions are proposed to be granted to India, care is taken that these should not affect prejudicially any Imperial interests. The British are naturally anxious that the standard of living of their own workers should not fall. For, in that case they would themselves fall to the level of countries like India or Afghanistan.
This movement suffers from two serious defects. In the first place, its sympathies are confined to the people of the respective countries which have adopted it. They are not universal. In other words, it is the secret ally of Imperialism, but professes sympathy with Internationalism, merely to make sure that other nations should not outstrip those which have put faith in the movement. The second defect, from which it suffers, is that the movement is purely secular and has no religious aspect whatever, so that even if the first defect is removed and the movement is made truly international, the religious side will remain completely neglected. This movement ignores the fact that spiritual needs require to be attended to even more urgently than purely physical needs. Those interested in the movement are not opposed to religion, but have no particular interest in it either. That being so, they cannot be expected to make sacrifices for its sake.