If one were absolutely determined to make the distribution of property in society reflect the so-called Protestant work ethic, one could pass legislation enforcing the attributes of fundamentalist Protestantism, make gambling, drinking and drug addiction serious social offences and - like G.B. Shaw, who as a socialist professed to be a humanitarian - argue that in the socialist utopia idleness would be a capital offence. But unless one actually abolished property (and thereby pretended that it would be possible for people to regard what they value and what is in limited supply - such as Picasso paintings and well-cooked dinners - as being the same as what they do not value and what is unlimited in supply - such as seawater and air) the interaction between the work ethic - founded on the compensation

for effort expended - and property - the object of the work ethic - would quickly result in an unequal distribution of property.