Socialism and the principle of evolution: The principles of scientific Socialism are almost meaningless without a comprehension of the evolutionary character of life and of society. Scientific Socialism studies the evolutionary changes that have taken place in society from the simplest human groups in primitive savagery to the complex world society of to-day. It investigates the causes of the changes which have taken place, and the causes which are operating in the world at present. It recognizes that the evolutionary process is not yet complete, and points out the next step in social evolution, which Socialists believe will be to a world society based upon coöperative production, and coöperative use of natural wealth, for the benefit of all, as contrasted with the present stage of development, in which wealth is produced and used largely for the benefit of a few.
The evolution of social groups is recognized by non- Socialists, but they generally confine themselves to a description of past conditions, without applying the results of their observation in the formulation of social theories, or in the forecasting of the future course of development.
Evolution and revolution: Darwin and his immediate followers believed that evolution was the result of infinitesimal variations in existing forms, which gradually accumulated when they proved of advantage to the individual, and in time resulted in new species. The development of new forms of life would therefore be a process so slow as to be imperceptible except by the comparison of two periods separated by thousands of generations of individuals. A more recent school of biology believes that changes come more suddenly. New environmental conditions cause many members of a species to depart greatly from the type, so that in one generation there are individuals so different from