Category Archives: Spencer

Hong Kong’s Coming Slavery

Excerpt from Herbert Spencer’s 1884 essay, “The Coming Slavery,” The Man Versus the State (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982), pp. 44-51, 53-57.

The blank form of an inquiry daily made is — “We have already done this; why should we not do that?” And the regard for precedent suggested by it, is ever pushing on regulative legislation.

Having had brought within their sphere of operation more and more numerous businesses, the Acts restricting hours of employment and dictating the treatment of workers are now to be made applicable to shops.

From inspecting lodging-houses to limit the numbers of occupants and enforce sanitary conditions, we have passed to inspecting all houses below a certain rent in which there are members of more than one family, and are now passing to a kindred inspection of all small houses.

The buying and working of telegraphs by the State is made a reason for urging that the State should buy and work the railways.

Supplying children with food for their minds by public agency is being followed in some cases by supplying food for their bodies; and after the practice has been made gradually more general, we may anticipate that the supply, now proposed to be made gratis in the one case, will eventually be proposed to be made gratis in the other: the argument that good bodies as well as good minds are needful to make good citizens, being logically urged as a reason for the extension. Read the rest of this entry