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MACMILLAN  k  CO.,  Ldcrbd 










MAURICE  PARMELEE,  Ph.D.        Vv\A.n., 





HttD  f  orii 




Sal  up  and  ekctrotjptd.    PobUshed  May.  19x6.    Rcfwintad 
April,  19x7.  ^'^ 


•  ••    • 

•     •     *  • 


*  • 

♦      • 

Benrick  ft  Smith  Co.,  Norwood,  Mut.,  U.S.A. 


A  scientific  study  ol  poverty  shows^  how  fatuous  are  most 
of  the  measures  whose  familiar  shidbotetbi  are  philanthropy, 
social  service,  moral  reform,  and  region.  An  effective  pro- 
gram for  the  prevention  of  poverty  cannot  be  devised  and  car- 
ried out  until  an  intensive  and  acciurate  analysis  of  the  mani- 
fold causes  of  po^ferty  has  been  made.  Such  a  study  requires  an 
extensive  knowledge  of  human  nature  and  social  organization. 
It  is  obviously  impossible  to  make  an  exhaustive  study  within 
the  limits  of  one  book.  But  I  have  endeavored  to  give  a  com- 
prehensive siurvey  jof  the  problems  of  poverty  which  shows  the 
one-sided  character  of  many  of  the  explanations  of  its  causation 
and  which  will  at  least  furnish  the  starting  point  for  an  effective 
program  of  prevention. 

Chapters  UI-V,  inclusive,  discuss  the  biological  factors  in  the 
causation  of  poverty.  Readers  not  interested  in  this  aspect 
of  the  subject  may  omit  these  chapters  and  yet  not  be  seriously 
inconvenienced  in  reading  the  remainder  of  the  book. 

While  all  of  the  important  causes  of  poverty  are  discussed, 
it  goes  without  sa3dng  that  the  outstanding  ones  are  the  economic 
factors,  since  poverty  is  primarily  an  economic  condition.  Con- 
sequently the  discussion  centers  in  the  main  around  the  two 
fundamental  economic  problems,  namely,  those  of  the  production 
and  the  distribution  of  wealth. 

This  book  should  be  useful  to  many  persons  who  are  interested 
in  these  important  social  questions.  It  fiunishes  data  of  great 
value  for  the  solution  of  many  of  the  problems  of  citizenship 
and  statesmanship.  It  is  also  suitable  for  use  as  a  textbook  for 
cdl^e  and  university  courses  on  charities,  poverty,  pauperism, 
dependency,  social  pathology,  etc.  It  will  give  the  student  an 
insight  into  the  nature  and  causes  of  these  great  social  evils 
and  will  furnish  a  basis  for  a  more  detailed  study  of  special 
topics  within  this  field. 

I  wish  to  thank  Professor  T.  N.  Carver  of  Harvard  University; 
Professors  W.  E.  Clark,  A.  J.  Goldfarb,  and  H.  B.  Woolston  of 




the  College  of  the  City  of  New  York;  and  Professor  H.  L. 
HoUingworth  of  Columbia  University,  each  of  whom  has  read 
one  or  more  chapters  and  has  offered  comments  and  criticisms 
thereon.  Special  thanks  are  due  to  Dr.  J.  H.  Parmelee  of  the 
Bureau  of  Railway  Economics,  Washington,  who  has  read  the 
whole  manuscript  with  care  and  has  offered  numerous  sug- 
gestions and  criticisms.  It  is  hardly  necessary  to  add  that  no 
one  of  these  gentlemen  is  responsible  for  any  errors  of  fact  which 
may  have  crept  in  or  for  any  of  the  opinions  expressed. 

All  of  the  diagrams  in  this  book  are  taken  from  the  Statistical 
Atlas  of  the  United  States^  1914^  published  by  tlie  Bureau  of  the 
Census.  The  former  Director  of  the  Census,  Hon.  Wm.  J. 
Harris,  kindly  gave  me  permission  to  make  use  of  these  diagrams . 

New  York,  Aprils  19x6. 



The  Organization  of  SoasiY 


The  nature  and  functions  of  social  organization  —  The  evil  re- 
sults from  organization  —  The  conflict  of  individual  and 
social  interests  —  Scope  of  this  book 3 


Tateouxsical  Social  Cgnditions 

The  study  of  sodal  pathology  —  Social  normality  and  abnor- 
inality  —  Causes  of  pathological  social  conditions  —  Poverty 
as  a  pathological  social  condition  —  Economic  depeadtncy 

—  Other  pathological  social  phenommia 7 



Biological  Factoxs 

Theory  of  the  inheritance  of  acquired  characters  —  Theory  of  in- 
heritance thiou^  the  germ  cell  —  Hereditary  causes  of 
pathological  phenomena  —  Eugenics  and  biology  —  The 
determination  of  human  personality 31 


Pathology  of  the  Bgdy 

Causes  of  pathological  phydcal  states  —  Pathological  bodily 
phenomena  —  The  dis^ises  —  Causes  of  disease  —  Occupa- 
tional diseases  —  Extent  of  industrial  accidents  and  diseaises 

—  Abnormal  and  pathc^ogical  bodily  states  as  causes  of 
poverty 30 



.  Pathology  of  the  Mind 


Nervous  and  functional  diseases  —  Types  of  mental  infirmity  — 
Amentia  and  mental  deficiency  —  Hie  physical  basis  of 
amentia  —  The  idiots  —  The  imbeciles  —  Hie  morons  — 
Dementia  and  insanity  —  The  physical  basis  of  dementia  — 
Types  of  insanity  —  Hie  neuroses  —  Epilepsy  —  Neuras- 
thenia —  Hysteria  —  Psychasthenia  —  Abnormal  habits  — 
The  morbid  basis  of  abnormal  habits  t*  Extent  of  mental 
infirmity 48 


The  Distribution  of  Wealth  and  of  Incomes    * 

Statistical  investigations  in  the  United  States  by  Spahr,  the  U.  S. 
Bureau  of  Labor,  Nearing,  Strdghtoff,  the  U.  S.  Census 
Bureau,  etc.  —  Tlie  distribution  of  property  income  —  The 
expenditure  of  property  income  —  The  concentration  of 
wealth  —  Statistical  investigations  in  Great  Britain  by 
Money,  Mallock,  etc.  —  Comparison  of  the  United  States 
and  Great  Britain 62 

National  wealth  and  income 84 


The  Standard  of  Living 

Definition  of  the  standard  of  living  —  Family  budgets  and  esti-    ^ 
mated  standards  —  Minimum  and  fair  standards  —  Hie 
standard  of  living  of  the  American  population  —  Nmnber  of 
family  wage-earners  —  Hie  poverty  cyde 86 


The  Extent  of  Poverty  j 

Investigations  of  pauperism  —  Estimate  of  the  extent  of  pau- 
perism—  Estimate  of  the  extent  of  poverty  —  Investiga- 



tioDS  of  the  extent  of  poverty  in  Great  Britain  by  Booth, 
Rowntree,  Bowley,  etc. — The  significance  of  the  great 
extent  of  poverty 99 



Statistics  of  unemptoyment  in  the  United  States  —  Unemploy- 
ment in  England  —  Causes  of  unemployment:  personal  ^ 
traits;  seasonal  trades;  casual  occupations;  the  trade  cycle;  -^ 
industrial  warfare  —  Evil  residts  from  unemployment iia 


The  Sweatino  System 

Characteristics  of  the  sweating  system  —  Evolution  of  the  sweat- 
ing system  —  Causes  of  sweating:  excessive  supply  of  labor; 
congestion  of  urban  population;  immigration;  woman  and 
child  labor;  competition  of  small  capitalists;  irregularity  of 
empk>3nnent;  lack  of  legislative  regulation  and  of  organiza- 
tion of  laborers  —  Statistics  of  sweated  industries 125 


Other  Condhions  of  Labor  as  Causes  of  Poverty 

Overwork  —  Evil  residts  from  excessive  fatigue  —  The  extent  of 
child  labor  —  Evil  results  from  child  labor  —  The  extent  of 
woman  labor  —  The  utility  of  woman  labor  —  Evil  results 
from  woman  labor  —  Unsuitable  adult  male  labor  —  Indus- 
trial warfare 135 


The  Growth  of  Population  and  the  Increase  of  Wealth 

The  recent  growth  of  poptdatioi\  —  The  natural  increase  of  popu- 
lation —  Immigration  and  emigration  —  The  net  gain  from 
immigration  and  emigration  —  Hie  fecundity  of  the  immi- 
grant population  —  Influence  of  immigration  upon  the  na- 
tive birth  rate  —  Hie  ultimate  effect  of  migrations  of  popula- 
tion —  The  increase  of  wealth  —  The  diminishing  supply  <^ 
land  —  The  ai^redating  value  of  farm  property  —  The  in- 
crease of  tenancy  —  The  increase  of  urban  population 145 


Population  and  Poverty 


Minimum  and  maximum  limits  of  population  —  The  criterion  of 
density  of  population  —  Population  and  production  — 
Population  as  a  cause  of  poverty  —  Criticism  of  arguments 
for  the  increase  of  population  —  Population  and  the  stand- 
ard of  living  —  The  pressure  of  population  upon  land  and 
natural  resources  —  Restrictions  upon  the  increase  of  popula- 
tion—  The  artificial  regulation  of  population  increase  — 
The  control  of  births i68 


PouncAL  Maladjustment 

Functions  of  government  —  Theories  of  government  —  Defects 
of  government  —  Governmental  inefficiency  —  Exploita- 
tion of  public  interests  —  Relation  of  national  to  state  gov- 
ernments —  The  amendability  of  the  federal  constitution  — 
International  political  maladjustment  —  International  in- 
dustrial warfare  —  Injurious  ^ects  of  military  warfare z88 


Domestic  and  Matrimonial  Maladjustment       ' 

Changes  in  the  family  as  the  fundamental  economic  imit  —  Ways 
of  breaking  up  the  family  —  ^dowhood  —  DivOTce  — 
Family  desertion  —  Illegitimacy  —  Domestic  causes  of 
poverty  —  Unique  importance  of  the  individual  —  In- 
fluence of  the  modem  democratic  movement  upon  the  family 
—  Increasing  economic  independence  of  women  —  Greater 
freedom  in  sexual  mating  —  The  personal  regulation  of  re- 
production —  The  individuality  of  the  child 202 


Summary  on  the  Causes  and  Conditions  of  Poverty 

Povei^as  a  self-generating  condition  —  Individual  causes  of 
pN^Serty  —  Economic  causes  of  poverty  —  The  ccnnplexity 
of  the  causes  of  poverty  —  The  Socialist  theory  of  poverty  — 



The  Single  Tax  theory  of  poverty  —  Theoiy  of  poverty  as 
caused  by  exploitation  —  Theory  of  poverty  as  caused  by 
waste  —  The  organismic  theory  of  poverty  —  Poverty  as 
one  Bsptct  of  social  evolution  —  Description  of  conditions 
and  misery  of  the  poor  —  Poverty  as  a  menace  to  society  — 
Poverty  as  a  cause  of  racial  and  national  decadence  and  de- 
generation —  The  influence  of  the  physical  environment  — 
Cultural  factors 217 



The  M(x>e&n  Humanitarian  Movement 

Instinctive  and  affective  causes  of  humanity  and  cruelty  —  In- 
telligence and  the  sympathetic  imagination  —  Recent  in- 
crease of  humanitarianism  —  Not  caused  by  changes  in  hu- 
man nature  —  The  Christian  theory  of  humanitarianism  — 
Comparison  of  the  humanitarian  influence  of  religion  and 
science  —  Christian  influence  for  and  against  humanitarian- 
ism —  The  ethical  theory  of  humanitarianism  —  The  causes 
of  modem  humanitarianism:  the  renascence  of  learning; 
the  industrial  revolution;  the  theory  of  evolution;  etc.  — 
Types  of  humanitarians  —  The  emotional  type  —  The 
sentimental  tjrpe  —  The  intellectual  type  —  Chaxity  versus 
social  justice 233 


The  Natuee  gf  Tbxlantbrofh 

Philanthropy  among  primitive  peoples  —  Historical  evolution  of 
philanthropy  —  Religion  and  philanthropy 250 


Psivate  and  Public  PniLANTHROpy 

Types  of  philanthiopy  —  The  evolution  of  the  almshouse  —  The 
inmates  of  the  almshouse  —  The  administration  of  the  alms- 
house —  The  supervision  of  ahnshouses  —  Outdoor  relief  — 
Indiscriminate  philanthropy:  personal  almsgiving;  holiday 
giving;  tag  days;  etc. — The  charity  organization  move- 

J.  J 



ment  —  The  supervision  of  philanthropy  —  Critidsms  of 
private  philanthropy  —  The  utility  of  private  philanthropy 

—  Public  philanthropy  —  Philanthiopy  and  the  prevention 
of  poverty 260 


Dependents  and  Defectives 

Dependent  children  —  The  aged  poor  —  Dependent  women  — 
The  unemployed  —  Mendicants  and  vagrants  —  The  blind 

—  The  d«if  and  dumb  —  The  crippled  —  The  aments  — 
The  dements  —  The  epileptics  —  The  inebriates  —  The 
destitute  sick 383 


Eugenic   Measuees  and  the  Iiifroveicent  of  the 

Human  Br^ed 

Negative  eugenics  —  Positive  eugenics  —  Critidsms  of  proposed 
eugenic  measures  —  Eugenics  and  the  theory  of  population 

—  Eugenics  and  the  sexual  functions  —  The  play  function 
of  sex  —  The  play  function  and  the  regulation  of  sex  —  Har- 
monizing the  reproductive  and  play  functions  —  Sex  educa- 
tion —  Eugenic  measures  and  the  prevention  of  poverty. . .  301 


The  Question  of  Thrift 

.U  Arguments  against  thrift  —  Benefits  derived  from  thrift  —  Sav-  .  ; 

""M        ing  and  the  accumulation  of  capital  —  Saving  and  insiuance  321   ^ 


Social  Insurance  and  Pensions 

Types  of  insurance  —  The  utility  of  insurance  —  Arguments 
against  insurance  —  Workmen's  compensation  —  Non- 
contributory  pensions  —  Private  pension  systems  —  State 
pension  systons  —  Arguments  for  and  against  non-contribu- 
tory pensions  —  Insurance,  pensions,  and  the  prevention  of 
poverty 331 



Tbe  Problem  op  the  Pkevemhon  of  Poverty 


Summary  of  remedial  measures  —  Social  l^^tion — The 
utility  of  social  legislation  —  A  national  minim^im  —  Pre- 
ventive measures  —  Survey  of  the  present  state  of  society. .  349 


Tbe  Raising  of  Wages  and  the  Regttlahon  of  the 

Labor  Supply 

The  trend  of  wages  —  Methods  of  increasing  the  incomes  of  the 
poor  —  Wage  legislation  —  Regulation  of  wages  thiou£^  in- 
dustrial conciliation  and  arbitration  —  The  legal  tnininnim 
wage  —  Wage  commissions  —  The  results  from  mininnim 
wage  legislation  —  Limiting  the  natural  increase  of  popula- 
tion—  Restriction  of  immigration  —  Lessening  the  hours 
of  labor  —  The  combination  of  workers 361 


The  Re-Distiibxttion  of  Income  from  Ownership  of 


The  extent  of  property  income  —  The  shares  in  distribution  — 
Profit  sharing  and  co-partnership  —  Co(^)erative  enter- 
prizes  —  The  regulation  of  prices  —  The  purposes  of  taxa- 
tion —  The  land  tax  —  The  income  tax  —  The  inheritance 
tax  —  The  limitation  of  property  ownership  —  Changes  in 
property  rights 381 


The  Productiveness  of  Society 

The  elimination  of  waste  —  The  waste  from  the  excessive  in- 
equality in  the  distribution  of  wealth  —  The  waste  of  pro- 
ductive labor  —  The  waste  of  economic  goods  —  TTie  waste 
of  natural  resources  —  The  instability  of  industry  —  The 
trade  cycle  —  Concentration  of  wealth  through  speculation 
—  Modem  business  enterprize  —  The  stabilizing  of  indus- 
try—  Business  concentration  and  combination  —  The  ef- 
ficiency of  the  workers  —  Vocational  training  —  Scientific 
management 398 



Industrial  Democracy 

The  nature  and  purpose  of  democracy  —  Equality  of  oppor- 
"^  timity  —  The  highest  possible  degree  of  personal  liberty— 
Partnership  of  capital  and  labor  —  The  trade  imion  move- 
ment —  Collective  bargaining  —  Political  activities  of  trade 
unions  —  Criticisms  of  trade  unionism  —  Results  from  trade 
unionism  —  The  syndicalist  movement  —  Governmental 
ownership  of  public  utilities  —  The  outlook  for  industrial 
democracy '. 421 


Political  Reorganization  and  tse  Democratic  State 

Political  democracy  —  Increasing  the  efficiency  of  government  — 
Political  measures  against  poverty  —  International  political 
organization 438 


Social  Progress  and  the  Coming  or  the  Normal  Life 

Theories  of  progress  —  The  theory  of  social  progress  —  The  nor- 
mal life  —  The  democratic  society  —  The  abolition  of  pov- 
erty  449 


INDEX 471 


Diagram  paob 


couNixiBS  OF  Europb:  1800-1910 Z47 




NBGSO  population:  1790-1910 156 

4.  Pi(M)ocnoN  OF  corn:  1849-1909 161 

5.  Production  of  whbat:  1849-1909 163 

6.  Production  of  oatb:  1849-1909 162 

7.  avbragb  valub  of  farm  land  and  buildings  per  acrb:  185a- 

191O. 164 

8.  Total  land  area  and  improvsd  and  undiprovbd  land  in  farms: 

1850-1910 164 

9.  Number  of  farms:  1850-1910 165 

10.  Urban  and  rural  popitlation:  1880-1910 165 

11.  Per  cent  of  total  population  in  MUNiciPALrnBs  having  over 

30,000  inhabitant^,  in  those  having  from  8,000  to  30,000 
inhabitants,  and  outside  such  municipalitibs  :  1 790-191 2. . .  x66 

12.  Population  per  square  milb:  1790-1910 181 

13.  Annual  number  of  marriaobs:  1887-1906 205 

L4.  Annual  number  of  divorces:  1867-1906 206 

15.  Average  annual  numbbr  of  divorces  per  100,000  population 

for  thb  United  States  and  certain  foreign  countries: 
1900 207 

16.  Divorces  per  100,000  estimated  population  for  geographic 

divisions,  by  single  years:  1867-1906 J07 




.    .  .    . 

•  • 


The  nature  and  functions  of  aodal  oiganizatioD  —  Hie  evil  results  from 
organization  —  Hie  conflict  of  individual  and  aodal  interests  —  Scope 
of  this  book. 

Poverty  is  a  condition  which  affects  seriously  the  lives  and 
welfare  of  many  millions  of  human  beings.  This  fact  alone  is 
sufficient  to  indicate  that  it  is  a  very  complex  phenomenon,  both 
aS  to  its  causes  and  as  to  its  effects.  It  is,  therefore,  impossible 
to  study  poverty  adequately  without  considering  all  of  its  causes 
and  effects,  whether  biological,  economic,  political,  or  social  (in 
the  broadest  sense  of  that  term).  In  fact,  such  a  study  invdves 
a  more  or  less  comprehensive  survey  of  the  social  organization 
of  mankind.  This  is  especially  important  if  our  study  is  inspired 
by  the  desire  to  devise  a  program  for  the  prevention  ci  pov^ty 
and  its  attendant  evils. 

In  the  course  of  this  book  we  shall  have  occasion  to  consider 
an  of  the  important  aspects  of  social  organization  in  their  rela- 
tions to  poverty.  We  shall  therefore  commence  with  a  brief  dis- 
cussicm  in  this  chapter  of  the  nature  and  functions  of  the  or- 
ganization of  society. 

Social  oiganization  begins  to  develop  as  soon  as  relations  be- 
tween human  beings  who  are  living  in  association  with  each 
other  acquire  some  degree  of  permanency  and  fixity.  Thus  as 
soon  as  customs,  public  (pinion,  moral  ideas,  laws,  settled  modes 
of  co6peration,  etc.,  come  into  being,  we  have  at  least  the  ru- 
diments of  social  organization. 

It  is  inevitable  that  such  organization  should  develop  among 
human  bemgs.  In  the  first  place,  the  species' could  not  be  per- 
petuated if  the  young  were  not  cared  for  by  at  least  one  of  their 
parents.  This  involves  establishing  a  relation  of  some  per- 
manence between  parents  and  their  offspring,  and  fiunishes  the 
starting  point  for  the  family.  In  the  second  place,  a  certain 
amount  of  regulation  of  conduct  by  means  of  public  opinion, 


*•    •    ••    ■  •••• 

m«rsd*ideas;'knvs,  dU^^sitbsoliitely  essential  for  the  maintenanoe 
of  order.  Otherwise  individual  interests  and  desires  would 
conflict,  and  the  social  group  would  soon  be  disrupted.  In  the 
third  place,  cooperation  tends  to  assume  more  or  less  settled 
forms,  and  to  develop  into  those  more  complex  forms  which  are 
usually  called  the  division  of  labor.  By  means  of  such  co5pera- 
tion  fax  more  can  be  produced  than  if  men  worked  in  isolation 
from  each  other,  so  that  the  inducement  to  organize  for  purposes 
of  co5peration  is  very  strong. 

Thus  we  can  discern  the  benefits  derived  from  sodal  organiza- 
tion. In  the  first  place,  without  at  least  a  rudimentary  form  of 
organization  the  spedes  would  perish.  In  the  second  place,  the 
maintenance  of  order  is  secured  through  organization.  In  the 
third  place,  the  amount  of  wealth  produced  to  be  consumed  by 
human  beings  is  vastly  increased  by  means  of  organization. 

Unfortunately,  however,  a  price  must  be  paid  for  these  ben- 
efits, for  certain  evUs  are  inherent  in  organization.  In  the  first 
place,  organization  involves  the  imposition  of  restrictions  upon 
the  individual  in  order  to  maintain  order,  thus  curtailing  the 
freedom  of  the  individual.  While  the  benefit  derived  from  order 
doubtless  far  outweighs  the  evil  of  restricting  the  individual, 
nevertheless  this  evil  must  be  borne  in  mind  as  a  cause  of  certain 
pathdogical  social  phenomena  which  will  be  mentioned  in  the 
following  chapter. 

In  the  second  place,  organization  inevitably  involves  a  certain 
amount  of  rigidity,  so  that  the  needs  of  every  individual  cannot 
be  satisfied.  Organization  prescribes  to  a  certain  extent  the 
manner  of  life  for  the  members  of  the  social  group.  This  manner 
of  life  may  not  be  beneficial  to  some  members.  Indeed  it  may 
not  be  entirely  satisfactory  to  any  member  of  the  group.  But 
if  it  is  in  the  main  satisfactory  to  the  group  taken  as  a  whole,  it 
has  to  be  tolerated,  even  at  the  expense  of  a  few  who  may  be  in- 
jured by  it.  So  that  while  the  highest  possible  amount  of  flex- 
ibility con^>atible  with  the  main  ends  of  organization  should  be 
sought,  a  sufiident  amount  of  rigidity  has  to  be  retained  in  the 
organization  to  saf^uard  its  main  objects. 

In  the  third  place,  the  devdopment  of  organization  in  the 
course  of  social  evolution  seems  to  demand  the  sacrifice  of 
some  individuals.  At  any  rate  this  is  the  claim  frequently 
made  for  conditions  and  institutions  which  require  the  sacrifice 


of  scmie  individuab,  sometimes  of  many.  In  some  oi  these 
cases  the  claim  is  made  with  a  great  deal  of  plausibility,  and 
it  is  possible  and  even  probable  that  it  may  be  substantiated 
in  these  cases.  For  example,  it  is  alleged  that  the  classic  Greek 
culture  could  not  have  developed  except  on  the  basb  ci  slavery. 
It  is  alleged  that  militarism  has  been  absolutely  necessary  for  the 
development  of  the  state.  It  is  alleged  that  a  capitalistic  system^ 
involving  a  high  degree  of  inequality  in  the  distribution  of 
wealth  has  been  absolutely  necessary  for  the  develc^ment  of  an 
economic  system  including  large  scale  production  and  a  high 
degree  of  division  of  lalxn*,  which  have  made  possible  the  most 
economical  method  of  producing  wealth.  In  other  cases  the 
claim  does  not  i^pear  to  be  so  well  substantiated.  At  any  rate 
it  is  well  to  bear  in  mind  that  the  development  of  organization, 
which  constitutes  a  large  part  of  social  evolution,  inevitably 
causes  a  certain  amount  of  evil  of  this  sort. 

In  this  book  it  will  be  impossible  to  go  into  an  extensive  study 
of  the  historical  aspect  of  this  subject.  But  in  any  study  of 
pathological  social  phenomena  it  is  necessary  to  consider  to  what 
extent  they  are  inevitable  as  the  price  to  be  paid  for  social  or- 
ganization, and  to  what  extent  they  may  be  prevented.  For 
example,  the  anarchistic  ideal  of  unlimited  freedom  for  the  in- 
dividual is  very  pleasing,  and  if  it  could  be  attained  along  with 
the  benefits  of  order  we  should  certainly  strive  for  it.  But  order 
is  impossible  without  a  certain  amount  of  social  control  of  the 
individual  which  is  exercised  through  organization,  and  such 
control  inevitably  implies  a  certain  amount  of  crime,  vice,  and 
immc^al  conduct  in  general  On  the  other  hand,  such  control 
may  be  carried  altogether  too  far  so  as  to  cause  more  harm  than 
good,  and  such  an  excess  of  social  control  must  always  be  guarded 

In  similar  fashion  the  changes  involved  in  the  development 
of  organization,  and  in  social  evolution  in  general,  cause  injury 
to  some  individuals.  But  it  should  always  be  considered  to^ 
what  extent  and  by  what  means  these  changes  can  be  directed 
and  ordered  so  as  to  reduce  the  harm  caused  by  them  to  a  min- 

This  conflict  between  the  interests  of  individuals  and  the  needs 
of  social  organization  may  be  studied  in  all  forms  of  organiza- 
tion.   For  example,  the  benefits  and  evils  arising  out  of  the 


&mfly  may  be  considered  with  respect  to  the  rearing  of  the  young 
and  Uie  mating  of  the  sexes.  This  conflict  may  be  studied  in  the 
state  with  respect  to  all  of  the  functions  of  government.  It  may 
be  studied  in  the  economic  structure  of  society. 

In  the  present  organization  of  society  there  exists  the  following 
economic  classification,  to  which  corresponds  more  or  less  closely 
a  social  stratification.  There  is  a  very  small  upper  class  of  indi- 
viduals possessing  a  very  large  part  of  the  capital  wealth  of 
society.  There  is  a  very  large  middle  class  possessing  a  much 
smaller  share  proportionally  of  the  wealth  and  income  of  society. 
There  is  a  lower  class  so  large  as  to  contain  many  millions  of 
individuals  who  own  almost  none  of  the  capital  wealth  of  society , 
and  who  receive  proportionally  a  very  small  part  of  the  income 
of  society. 

It  is  believed  by  many  that  this  classification  based  upon  a 
very  unequal  distribution  of  wealth  is  on  the  whole  desirable 
and  probably  inevitable.  It  is  contended  that  the  very  wealthy 
upper  dass  is  necessary  for  the  capitalistic  system  of  production. 
It  is  contended  that  this  wealthy  class  makes  possible  a  leisure 
class  which  makes  a  valuable  and  imique  contribution  to  society. 
It  is  generally  assumed  that  the  poverty  of  the  lower  dass,  while 
deplorable,  is  inevitable. 

In  this  book  we  shall  study  these  and  all  the  other  important 
questions  involved  in  the  problem  of  poverty  and  its  attendant 
evils.  In  the  first  half  of  the  book  we  shall  study  the  causes  and 
conditions  of  poverty.  In  the  first  part  of  the  second  half  we 
shall  deal  with  the  measures  by  whidi  the  evils  of  existing  pov- 
erty may  be  somewhat  alleviated  and  remedied.  The  remainder 
of  the  book  will  be  devoted  to  a  study  of  the  extent  to  which 
and  the  methods  by  which  poverty  can  be  prevented.  Our 
study  will  show  that  poverty  can  be  prevented  naainly  and  per- 
ha^  only  by  the  progress  of  sodety  towards  a  democratic  or- 
ganization inspired  by  a  humanitarian  ideal 


Tbe  study  of  social  pathology  —  Social  normality  and  abnormality  —  Causes 
of  pathological  social  conditions  —  Poverty  as  a  pathological  social 
condition '— Economic  dependency  —  Other  pathok)gical  social  phe- 

Biologicai  terms  are  frequently  used  in  the  study  of  social 
phenomena.  This  may  arise  out  of  a  belief  that  human  society 
is  an  organism  like  the  animal  organism.  In  other  cases  no 
such  belief  exists,  but  biological  terms  are  used  because  of 
certain  analogies  between  social  and  vital  phenomena.  Thus 
we  find  the  term  '^ pathological"  applied  to  certain  social  phe- 
nomena,  because  they  are  different  from  normal  social  phe- 
nomena,  and  because  they  are  harmful  to  human  beings. 


The  Study  of  Social  Pathology 

Social  pathology  may  be  studied  from  a  purely  scientific  point 
of  view,  as  a  branch  of  the  science  of  sociology.  In  it  are  studied 
the  abnormal  social  phenomena  which  impede  or  are  supposed 
to  impede  the  course  of  social  evolution.  Some  of  those  who  have 
studied  this  branch  of  sociology  have  regarded  society  as  an 
organism,  and  have  therefore  regarded  social  pathology  as  a 
branch  of  sociology  in  the  same  sense  that  pathology  is  a  branch 
of  biology.  When  studied  in  this  way,  no  attention  presumably 
is  paid  to  the  practical  significance  of  such  study.  However,  it 
is  doubtful  if  any  one  writing  from  this  point  of  view  has  suc- 
ceeded in  ignoring  entirely  its  practical  significance,  because  the 
criterion  of  what  is  socially  pathological  must  depend  partly 
if  not  wholly  upon  considerations  of  human  welfaire. 

Social  pathology  may  also  h<e  studied  from  the  pragmatic 
pdnt  of  view,  for  die  purpose  of  f lulhering  the  welfare  of  society. 
It  then  becomes  a  branch  of  applied  sociology,  whose  object 
it  is  to  furnish  a  scientific  basis  for  the  art  of  social  improve- 


ment.  The  criterion  of  what  is  pathological  then  becomes 
entirely  and  unquestionably  the  hedonistic  criterion  of  human 

This  book  is  primarily  a  study  in  applied  sod^Qgy.  But  in 
analyzing  the  causes  of  pathological  social  conditions  a  few 
contributions  may  be  made  to  the  science  of  sociology,  because 
our  investigations  may  throw  some  light  upon  the  origin  of  cer- 
tain social  phenomena. 

Social  Normality  and  Abnormality 

At  the  outset  of  our  study  it  is  essential  to  inquire  what  is 
meant  by  social  normality  and  abnormality.  By  a  norm  is 
frequently  meant  what  is  representative  of  the  usiial,  as  opposed 
to  the  unusiial  and  exceptional  which  is  called  abnormal.  This 
is  a  purely  quantitative  definition  according  to  which  the  phe- 
nomena which  are  in  the  majority  are  the  normal  as  opposed  to 
the  contrasted  phenomena  which  are  in  the  minori^.  For 
scientific  purposes  this  definition  is  sometimes  useful,  though  not 
alwa3rs  even  for  scientific  purposes.  But  for  the  pragmatic  pur- 
poses of  our  study  this  definition  is  obviously  not  sufifident,  for 
the  criterion  of  human  and  social  welfare  must  play  its  part  in 
determining  what  is  socially  normal  and  abnormal.  It  sometimes 
happens  that  conditions  which  are  inimical  to  such  welfare  are 
prevalent,  in  which  case  we  must  call  them  abnormal  despite 
their  numerical  preponderance. 

Pursuing  further  our  analysis  of  soda!  normality  and  ab- 
normality, we  find,  as  always  in  the  study  of  social  phenomena, 
that  the  ultimate  source  of  these  phenomena  resides  in  the  hu- 
man beings  who  constitute  sodety.  The  nature  of  these  phe- 
nomena is  therefore  determined  by  the  character  of  these 
human  beings,  whose  character  is  in  turn  determined  to  a  con- 
siderable extent  by  their  envir(»mient.  Thus  we  must  analyze 
our  social  norm  into  its  component  parts,  which  consist  of 
characteristics  of  human  beings  and  of  their  environment. 

We  can  therefore  distinguish  an  anatomical  norm  which  is  of 
significance  for  social  normality  and  abnormality.  A  serious  de- 
formity may  impair  greatly  or  destroy  entirely  the  productive 
ability  of  an  individual  and  make  him  objectionable  to  look  upcm^ 
thus  injiuing  him  and  society  economically,  esthetically,  and  in 
many  other  wa3rs.    In  similar  fashion  we  may  distingidsh  phya- 


icdogical  and  mental  norms,  for  the  welfare  of  the  mdividual 
and  his  value  to  society  depend  very  largely  upon  the  nature  of 
his  physiological  and  mental  processes.  Fufthermore,  we  can 
distinguish  a  moral  norm.  For  when  we  use  the  term  moral  in 
the  only  sense  in  which  it  can  be  used  in  sociology,  namely,  as 
applied  to  conduct  which  is  socially  valuable,  it  is  evident  that 
the  moral  traits  of  the  individual  are  of  the  greatest  importance 
for  social  welfare. 

We  have  to  consider  another  element  which  it  is  a  little  difficult 
to  define,  because  of  its  somewhat  insubstantial  character.  This 
is  the  social  structure  which  arises  out  of  the  interaction  of 
hiunan  beings,  and  which  is  usually  called  social  organization. 
As  the  welfare  of  human  beings  depends  very  largely  upon  the 
character  of  the  social  organization  which  they  have  developed, 
it  must  be  given  great  weight  in  determining  our  social  norm. 

In  the  last  place,  the  ph3rsical  environment  must  be  considered, 
fcH*  the  welfare  of  human  beings  and  of  social  groups  is  greatly 
influenced  by  their  environment. 

It  is  therefore  evident  that  in  the  study  of  applied  sociology  the 
normality  of  a  social  group  must  be  judged  by  the  anatomical, 
physi<dogical,  mental,  and  moral  traits  of  its  members;  by  the 
character  of  its  sodal  organization;  and  by  the  nature  of  its 
physical  environment.  If  these  factors  promoted  to  the  highest 
possible  degree  the  welfare  of  the  group,  it  would  be  entirely 
normal,  and  therefore  an  ideal  social  group.  It  is  needless  to 
say  that  no  such  group  exists  or  ever  could  exist,  and  the  prac-. 
tiod  as  well  as  the  scientific  problem  is  to  determine  to  what 
extent  these  factors  render  society  pathological  and  abnormal. 

It  is  obvious  that  there  may  be  and  is  more  or  less  difference  of 
opinion  as  to  what  constitutes  human  and  social  welfare.  These 
<Merent  conceptions  we  shall  discuss  later  in  this  work.  For  the 
present  we  shall  assimie  the  ordinary  meaning  of  the  term^ 
namely,  a  state  of  physical  comfort  and  of  mental  content- 
ment and  happiness  for  the  majority  of  mankind. 

In  passing  let  me  call  attention  to  the  difference  between 
what  is  sometimes  called  evolutive  as  distinguished  from  in- 
volutive  or  atavistic  abnormality.  Some  abnormality  may  be  a 
necessary  step  towards  a  state  of  society  in  which  there  will  be 
a  highar  degree  of  welfare.  For  example,  the  industrial  revolu- 
tion of  the  eighteenth  and  early  nineteenth  century  caused  a 


great  deal  of  suffering,  owing  to  the  large  amount  of  unemploy- 
ment it  involved.  But  it  was  a  necessary  transitional  stage 
towards  a  new  economic  system  in  which  far  more  could  be 
produced  for  the  welfare  of  society.  It  is  important,  therefore, 
in  estimating  the  significance  of  pathological  social  conditions 
to  determine  whether  or  not  they  are  apparently  a  necessary 
preliminary  to  a  more  normal  state  of  society,  in  the  sense  in 
which  we  are  using  the  term  normal;  and  if  not,  to  what  extent 
they  are  acting  as  a  hindrance  to  the  coming  of  such  a  state. 

Causes  of  Pathological  Social  Conditions 

The  above  discussion  of  social  normality  and  abnormality 
has  suggested  the  different  kinds  of  causes  of  pathological 
social  conditions.  I  will  now  outline  tentatively  a  classification 
of  these  causes.  The  validity  of  this  classification  we  shall  be 
able  to  test  in  the  course  of  this  book. 

1.  Physical  defectiveness. 

Anatomical  deformities,  congenital  or  acquired  in  their  origin; 
and  defects  of  the  physiological  processes  caused  by  disease, 
accidents,  etc.;  in  many  cases  cause  their  victims  a  great  deal 
of  suffering,  destroy  their  efficiency  as  producers,  and  make 
them  a  burden  upon  society. 

2.  Mental  defectiveness. 

In  similar  fashion,  defects  of  the  mind,  either  in  the  form  of 
feeble-mindness  in  its  different  degrees,  or  in  the  form  of  insan- 
ity in  its  many  forms,  may  cause  their  victims  and  others  much 
siiffering,  and  make  them  a  burden  upon  and  sometimes  danger- 
ous to  society. 

3.  Social  inadaptation  of  normal  physical  and  mental  char- 

Every  person  must  become  adapted  to  social  life  in  order  that 
on  the  one  hand,  he  will  not  be  dangerous  to  society,  and,  on 
the  other  hand,  he  will,  if  possible,  contribute  enough  to  society 
economically  or  otherwise  at  least  to  pay  for  his  own  support. 
No  person  is  bom  fully  prepared  for  social  life.  The  necessary 
adaptation  can  come  only  through  education,  training,  and 
experience.  Some  persons  fail  to  acquire  this  adaptation  be- 
cause of  physical  and  mentdl  defects,  such  as  are  mentioned 
above.    Others,  though  normal  physically  and  mentally,  fail 


to  acquire  it  because  of  defects  in  their  education,  training,  and 
experience.  When  this  is  the  case  it  can  be  attributed  in  part 
at  least  to  the  next  cause  to  be  mentioned. 

4.  Certain  characteristics  and  forms  of  social  organization. 
It  goes  without  saying  that  no  form  of  social  organization  is 

ideal.  But  the  different  characteristics  and  forms  of  organiza- 
tion may  vary  greatly  in  the  extent  to  which  they  give  rise  to 
pathological  social  conditions.  For  example,  if  through  a 
system  of  slavery  or  serfdom  or  a  wage  system,  a  large  part  of 
the  population  are  forced  to  live  in  a  state  of  misery  while  a 
small  minority  have  a  superabundance  of  riches,  much  of  the 
pathological  social  phenomena  may  be  attributed  to  the  form  of 
social  organization.  In  judging  this  matter,  however,  it  is  im- 
portant to  bear  in  mind  what  has  been  suggested,  namely,  that 
some  of  these  characteristics  and  forms  of  social  organization 
may  be  unavoidable  as  stages  in  social  evolution  and  in  the 
progress  toward  a  state  of  society  in  which  there  will  be  fewer 
pathological  conditions. 

5.  Physical  environment. 

It  is  obvious  that  climatic  conditions  such  as  temperature, 
humidity,  etc.,  and  topographical  conditions  influence  human 
and  social  welfare  greatly,  both  by  their  inmiediate  effect  upon 
man  and  by  determining  the  supply  of  food  and  other  commod- 
ities needed  and  desired  by  man. 

It  is  evident  that  these  different  kinds  of  causes  of  pathological 
social  phenomena  are  not  separated  from  each  other  by  any 
hard  and  fast  lines.  Mental  defectiveness  is  invariably  based 
upon  physical  defectiveness.  We  have  already  noted  how  the 
social  inadaptation  of  the  individual  may  be  due  either  to  phys- 
ical and  mental  defectiveness  or  to  social  organization  or  to 
both  kinds  of  causes.  Social  oiganization  is  determined  by  the 
persons  who  develop  it  and  by  the  environment  in  which  it 
evolves.  Physical  environment  is  perhaps  least  affected  by  the 
other  factors,  but  even  it  is  changed  somewhat  by  human 
agency.  The  above  classification  is  made  in  order,  on  the  one 
hand,  to  aid  in  analyzing  the  causes  of  these  pathological  social 
[dienomena,  and,  on  the  other  hand,  to  suggest  methods  of 
dealing  with  them.  All  of  these  factors  will  be  discussed  in 
the  course  of  this  book  and  an  attempt  made  to  analyze  their 
interaction  with  each  other. 


For  the  purposes  of  our  study  it  is  important  to  caO  atten- 
tion to  the  distinction  between  pathological  conditicHis  and  con- 
duct which  is  from  the  social  point  of  view  pathological.  A 
person  may  be  bom  into  or  at  any  time  of  life  may  fall  into  a 
pathological  condition,  such  as  poverty  or  some  otiher  state  of 
misery.  This  may  or  may  not  be  due  to  his  own  conduct. 
On  the  other  hand,  certain  kinds  of  conduct  are  regarded  as 
pathological  from  the  social  point  of  view.  Some  of  this  con- 
duct, such  as  criminal  and  vicious  conduct,  is  generally  regarded 
as  immoral.  Because  of  its  moral  significance  the  study  of  this 
kind  of  conduct  involves  peculiar  problems  of  its  own.  We  shall 
not  deal  with  this  kind  of  conduct  in  this  book,  except  in  so 
far  as  it  is  a  factor  in  causing  pathological  social  conditions. 
Other  kinds  of  conduct  are  r^arded  from  the  social  point  of 
view  as  pathological  without  being  regarded  as  immoral,  as, 
for  example,  inefficient  labor  which  is  due  to  personal  defects 
and  idiosyncrades.  It  is  evident  that  conditions  and  conduct 
are  mutiial  causes  and  effects  of  each  other,  and  it  is  impossible 
to  study  the  one  without  studying  the  other.  But  in  this  book 
we  shall  be  primarily  interested  in  stud3dng  conditions.  Later 
in  this  chapter  I  shall  mention  pathological  social  phenomena 
which  illustrate  both  conditions  and  conduct. 

Poverty  as  a  Pathological  Social  Condition 

It  is  impossible  to  name  here  all  of  the  pathological  social 
conditions.  To  do  so  it  would  be  necessary  to  enimierate  a  large 
part  of  the  conditions  and  relations  of  social  life,  for  in  most  of 
them  pathdogical  elements  are  to  be  found.  But  we  are  now 
prepared  to  mention  at  least  a  few  of  the  principal  ones. 

The  one  which  stands  out  with  the  greatest  prominence  and 
to  which,  according  to  some,  all  others  can  be  reduced,  at  least 
so  far  as  their  origin  is  concerned,  is  poverty.  But  this  is  an 
extremely  vague  term,  because  it  is  so  relative.  The  multi- 
millionaire may  regard  as  poor  the  man  with  an  income  of 
ten  thousand  dollars  a  year.  And  yet  in  the  eyes  of  the  great 
majority  such  an  income  lifts  its  possessor  far  above  poverty. 
It  is  evident,  therefore,  that  there  are  many  degrees  of  poverty, 
according  to  the  point  of  view  of  the  observer. 

Another  term  which  is  somewhat  more  definite  in  its  meaning 


is  "destitution."  Here  again,  however,  there  may  be  some 
variation  in  its  use.  It  may  mean  the  total  or  partial  lack  of 
the  absdute  necessities  of  Ufe.  But  it  may  also  mean  a  lack 
of  some  of  the  things  essential  to  a  decent  standard  of  living.^ 
It  is  evident  that  this  would  at  once  cause  difference  of  opinion 
as  to  what  constitutes  a  decent  standard  of  living. 

A  term  which  is  still  more  definite  is  '^  pauperism."  A  pauper 
is  one  who  is  being  supported  in  part  or  entirely  by  others  for 
philanthropic  reasons.  And  yet  here  again  there  may  be  some 
uncertainty  as  to  the  degree  of  poverty  of  the  pauper,  for  he 
may  be  destitute  in  the  first  sense  of  lacking  some  or  all  of  the 
absolute  necessities  of  life,  or  he  may  possess  these  necessities 
but  be  furnished  additional  things  by  charitably  inclined  per- 
sons who  wish  to  bring  him  up  to  a  certain  standard  of  living. 
In  any  case,  the  pauper  is  at  least  in  part  dependent  economically 
upon  others.  It  is  therefore  important  that  we  should  consider 
the  meaning  of  the  term  "economic  dependency,"  for  there 
are  many  forms  of  such  dependency  which  are  not  called  pauper- 

Economic  Dependency 

/  In  its  broadest  sense,  economic  independence  consists  in  pro- 
ydudng  all  of  one's  own  income.? In  the  technical  economic 
sense,  a  person  is  economicaUy  iiiaependent  who  is  earning  an 
income  in  the  form  of  economic  goods  or  money  in  an  economic 
occupation  usually  carried  on  outside  of  the  home,  and  in  which 
he  is  producing  goods  which  are  put  on  the  market  and  have 
exchange  value.  It  is  evident  that  in  both  of  these  senses  there 
are  many  forms  of  economic  dependency.  Some  of  these  are 
r^arded  by  most  or  all  persons  as  normal,  and  we  must  distin- 
guish them  from  the  kinds  which  are  abnormal  and  pathological. 
It  goes  without  sa3dng  that  owing  to  the  helplessness  of  infancy 
and  early  childhood,  the  young  must  always  be  economically 
dependent  up  to  a  certain  age.  Under  the  present  social  organi- 
zation this  dependency  is  normal  when  the  young  are  being  sup- 
ported by  their  parents  or  other  members  of  their  family.  But 
if  throu^  being  orphaned  or  losing  the  support  of  their  family 

^  S.  and  B.  Webb  use  the  term  in  this  sense  in  their  work  entitled  The 
FrevefUian  of  DestUuiiony  London,  191 1. 


for  any  other  reason,  they  are  supported  by  private  charity, 
or  by  the  state,  their  dependency  is  generally  regarded  as  ab- 

The  vast  majority  of  women  in  the  past  and  a  large  part  of 
them  now  are  economically  dependent  in  the  usual  sense  of  the 
term.  Many  of  these  are  wives  who  are  dependent  upon  their 
husbands,  others  are  daughters  who  are  dependent  upon  their 
fathers,  mothers  who  are  dependent  upon  their  sons,  and  women 
who  stand  in  various  other  relations  to  their  male  supporters. 
It  must,  however,  be  pointed  out  that,  to  a  high  degree  in  the 
past,  and  to  a  large  extent  still,  women  have  i>een  canying  on 
activities  in  the  home  which  are  economically  valuable  in  the 
broader  social  meaning  of  the  term,  for  they  have  been  and  are 
producing  goods  for  home  consumption  the  amount  and  value  of 
which  are  never  publicly  measured  in  the  market.  Further- 
more, in  performing  the  functions  of  child  bearing  and  rearing 
they  have  been  performing  functions  which  in  the  same  broad 
social  sense  have  been  of  the  highest  economic  value.  But,  on 
the  one  hand,  modem  economic  progress  has  taken  many  in- 
dustries from  the  home,  while,  on  the  other  hand,  the  advance  of 
civilization  has  led  naturally  and  necessarily  to  a  lowering  of  the 
birth  rate,  thus  reducing  woman's  work  in  the  bearing  and  rear- 
ing of  children.  These  changes  have  lessened  greatly  the  eco- 
nomic functions  of  woman  within  the  home,  and  have  brought 
into  being  a  relatively  large  leisure  class  of  parasitic  women  who 
are  in  every  sense  of  the  term  economically  dependent,  and  a 
much  larger  class  of  women  who  are  partially  dependent.  Con- 
sequently, the  question  of  the  economic  independence  of  women 
has  become  of  serious  importance,  for  modem  civilization  must 
decide  whether  it  can  tolerate  so  large  a  class  of  women  who  are 
wholly  or  {)artially  dependent  economically.  However,  in  the 
minds  of  the  majority  this  form  of  economic  dependency  is 
still  regarded  as  normal. 

There  has  alwa3rs  been  a  small  leisure  class  of  those  possessing 
enough  wealth  to  enable  them  to  live  without  being  economically 
productive.  Where  these  persons  have  been  economically  pro- 
ductive in  the  past  and  are  now  living  upon  the  surplus  of  what 
they  have  produced  in  the  past  over  what  they  have  consumed 
in  the  past,  they  are  in  the  tmest  sense  economically  independ- 
ent.   But  many  of  these  are  persons  who  have  inherited  their 


wealthy  and  have  never  produced  anything  of  economic  value. 
These  person!  are  in  the  truest  sense  of  the  term  economically 
dependent,  unless  they  are  benefiting  society  in  some  other  way 
to  a  sufficient  degree  to  justify  giving  them  their  support.  How- 
ever, the  term  economic  independence  is  curiously  misused 
with  respect  to  these  persons,  and  in  view  of  the  existing  eco- 
nomic organization  of  society  they  are  regarded  by  most  people 
as  being  economically  independent. 

Furthermore,  it  is  in  a  sense  true  that  every  one  is  to  a  certain 
extent  economically  dependent.  This  is  due  to  the  division  of 
labor,  as  a  result  of  which  no  one  actually  produces  all  that  he 
ccHistmaes,  but  must  depend  usuaUy  to  a  high  degree  upon  the 
aid  and  co5peration  of  others  to  produce  what  he  needs.  It 
goes  without  saying  that  this  kind  of  dependency  is  necessary 
and  normal  in  any  form  of  social  organization. 

It  is  now  evident  that  what  constitute  normal  and  abnormal 
dependency  depend  upon  the  existing  form  of  social  organiza- 
tion. Variations  in  the  organization  of  society  are  therefore  very 
likely  to  cause  variations  in  what  constitutes  normal  dependency. 
For  example,  if  a  S3rstem  of  state  support  and  rearing  of  children 
.should  become  customary,  it  would  no  longer  be  abnormal  for  a 
child  not  to  be  supported  by  its  parents  or  other  members  of  its 
family.  If  it  becomes  customary  for  women  to  earn  their  own 
living,  it  will  come  to  be  regarded  as  abnormal  for  a  woman  to 
be  dependent  upon  a  male  supporter,  except  possibly  when  she  is 
incapacitated  by  child  bearing  and  rearing,  and  even  then  hex 
support  may  devolve  upon  the  state.  If  the  private  inheritance 
of  wealth  is  abolished  entirely,  or  comes  to  be  looked  upon  un- 
favorably by  the  public,  the  dependency  of  the  leisure  class  may 
come  to  be  regarded  as  abnormal. 

At  any  rate,  the  existing  competitive  economic  sjrstem 
assumes  economic  independence  for  adult  males  at  least.  It 
may  be  weQ  to  point  out  that  where  these  males  are  wage  workers 
they  may  in  reality  be  dependent  to  a  very  high  degree  upon 
employers  and  capitalists.  But  this  is  a  form  of  the  dependency 
which  arises  out  of  the  division  of  labor  which  has  been  men- 
tioned. Adult  females  are  being  added  rapidly  to  those  who  are 
economically  independent,  because  women  are  entering  industry 
to  a  constantly  increasing  degree. 

Let  us  now  enumerate  some  of  the  principal  forms  of  de- 


pendency  which  are  abnormal  under  the  present  system.  Chil- 
dren who,  because  they  have  been  orphaned  or  for  any  other 
reason,  cannot  be  supported  by  their  own  families  are  usually 
called  dependent  children,  and  are  regarded  as  being  abnormally 
dependent.  The  physical  and  mental  defectives  who  cannot 
support  themselves  or  be  supported  by  their  families  are  re- 
garded as  being  abnormally  dependent.  Widows  and  other 
women  who  have  lost  their  usual  male  support  ^pd  cannot  sup- 
port themselves  are  abnormally  dependent.  Tbe  destitute  sick 
who  cannot  be  cared  for  in  their  own  families  are  abnormally 
dependent.  The  imemployed  who  become  dependent  and  the 
aged  poor  who  cannot  be  cared  for  in  their  own  families  are 
abnormally  dependent.  All  these  types  of  dependency  will  be 
discussed  in  the  course  of  this  book. 

Other  Pathological  Social  Phenomena 

Let  us  now  turn  to  some  of  the  pathological  social  conditions 
in  which  economic  dependency  is  not  necessarily  involved. 
Various  pathological  conditions  arise  in  domestic  circles,  owing 
usually  to  disagreements  between  members  of  a  famUy.  These 
disagreements  may  be  due  to  the  characteristics  of  the  persons 
involved,  or  to  economic  conditions,  or  to  various  other  causes. 
In  many  cases  the  disagreement  is  between  a  husband  and  his 
wife.  If  they  continue  to  live  together,  it  usually  means  a  great 
deal  of  unhappiness  for  both,  while  if  there  are  any  children,  the 
situation  created  is  likely  to  be  injurious  to  them  also.  They 
may  separate  legally  either  partially  or  completely  by  means  of 
a  divorce.  Or  one  of  them  may  desert  the  other.  For  economic 
reasons  it  is  much  more  likely  to  be  the  husband  who  deserts  the 
wife  than  vice  versa.  Extra-matrimonial  matings  are  likely  to 
create  pathological  conditions  imder  the  existing  form  of  social 
organization,  especially  if  they  result  in  offspring,  since  the 
position  of  these  offspring  is  very  anomalous  under  the  present 
system  of  law.  Disagreements  between  other  members  of  the 
family  may  lead  to  pathological  conditions.  For  example,  dis- 
agreements between  parents  and  children  may  result  in  the 
children  leaving  home  before  they  are  prepared  to  do  so  and  be- 
coming mendicants,  vagrants,  prostitutes,  criminals,  etc. 

Other  pathological  phenomena  may  be  mentioned,  some  of 


which  are  pathological  conditions,  others  are  padiologkal  fonns 
of  conduct,  while  still  other  such  phenomena  illustrate  both. 
But  even  those  which  are  forms  of  conduct  alone  are  either  causes 
or  results  of  pathological  conditions. 

Intemperance  is  a  very  widespread  condition,  but  is  also  a 
form  of  omduct.  Mendicancy  and  vagrancy  are  conditions, 
but  are  also  to  a  considerable  extent  forms  of  conduct  Prostitu- 
tion is  a  condition,  but  b  also  generally  regarded  as  a  patholog- 
ical form  of  conduct.  Gambling  is  primarily  a  form  of  conduct, 
but  frequently  leads  to  pathological  conditions.  Suicide  is  purely 
a  form  of  conduct,  and  not  at  all  a  condition*  But  it  is  frequently 
caused  by  pathdogical  conditions,  and  sometimes  leads  to  sudi 




Theory  of  the  inheritanoe  of  acquired  characters  —  Theory  of  inheritance 
through  the  germ  oell — Hereditary  causes  of  pathological  phenom- 
ena —  Eugenics  and  biology  —  The  determination  of  human  personal- 

It  may  seem  out  of  place  to  be  discussing  biological  forces  in  a 
study  of  social  conditions.  But  in  the  preceding  chapter  I  have 
given  a  fivefold  classification  of  the  causes  of  poverty  and  its 
attendant  evils,  three  of  which  classes  are  made  up  of  char- 
acteristics of  individuals.  Two  of  these  are  pathological  char- 
acteristics of  the  body  and  of  the  mind.  It  is  evident  that  phys- 
ical pathological  characteristics  are  biological  phenomena,  whose 
causes  and  treatment  must  therefore  be  studied  primarily  from  i^ 
biological  point  of  view.  Pathological  characteristics  of  the 
mind  are  primarily  mental.  But  inasmuch  as  they  arise  out  of 
biological  phenomena,  they  also  demand  study  from  a  biological 
point  of  view.  The  third  class  of  causes  of  poverty  and  its 
attendant  evils  includes  normal  characteristics  of  individuals 
which  have  not  become  adapted  to  social  life.  This  lack  of 
adaptation  is  doubtless  due  usually  to  social  forces.  But  inas- 
much as  these  traits  are  primarily  biological,  they  also  demand 
some  study  from  a  biological  point  of  view. 

Theory  of  the  Inheritance  of  Acquired  Characters 

First  of  all  let  us  discuss  briefly  the  two  principal  theories 
of  heredity.  These  differ  greatly  in  their  significance  for  the 
study  of  the  phenomena  mentioned  above. 

The  first  of  these  is  the  theory  of  the  inheritance  of  acqiiired 
characters,  or  of  the  hereditary  transmission  of  acqiiired  mod- 
ifications. According  to  this  theory  changes  which  take  place 
in  parents  are  transmitted  by  hereditary  means  to  a  greater  or 
less  degree  to  their  offspring.  This  theory  has  had  a  specious 
appearance  of  plausibility  which  has  led  to  its  widespread  accept- 



ance  in  the  past,  while  in  all  probability  it  is  still  believed  by 
the  majority  today.  In  the  first  place,  it  has  seemed  to  accord 
with  the  facts  of  everyday  life  which  we  see  around  us.  For 
example,  it  has  frequently  been  observed  that  offspring  enter 
the  same  occupations  as  their  parents,  and  display  skill  therein. 
It  has  seemed  plausible  to  many  to  believe  that  the  skill  acquired 
by  the  parents  has  been  transmitted  hereditarily  to  their  off- 
spring. However,  there  are  other  possible  explanations  for  such 
phenomena.  The  fact  that  an  offspring  follows  in  the  parental 
footsteps  in  the  matter  of  occupation  may  be  due  to  the  influence 
of  the  social  environment.  That  is  to  say,  parental  example, 
suggestion  and  training  may  lead  the  offering  into  the  same 
occupation  and  aid  him  in  acquiring  proficiency  therein.  Or 
the  fitness  of  both  parent  and  offspring  for  the  same  occupation 
may  be  due  to  a  trait  or  traits  which  are  innate  in  both.  These 
traits  may  for  a  long  time  have  been  present  in  this  stock  and 
have  been  transmitted  from  generation  to  generation  as  far  back 
as  we  can  trace  them.  Or  they  may  have  appeared  as  congenital 
variations  or  mutations  in  the  parent  or  further  back  in  the  line 
of  descent.  In  similar  fashion  it  has  been  thought  that  where  a 
disease  has  appeared  in  two  or  more  successive  generations,  we 
have  an  example  of  the  transmission  of  an  acquired  charact^. 
But  here  again,  as  we  shall  see,  this  may  be  explained  on  other 

In  the  second  place,  it  has  been  thought,  in  view  of  the  phys- 
ical law  of  the  persistence  of  force  and  the  organic  law  of  the  ohi- 
tinuity  between  generations,  that  the  results  of  forces  acting 
upon  one  generation  must  manifest  themselves  in  succeeding 
generations.  There  is  no  denying  these  two  fimdamental  laws 
of  nature,  but  it  is  not  a  necessary  inference  that  these  results 
in  one  generation  will  manifest  themselves  in  the  same  form  in 
the  next  generation.  A  more  intensive  study  of  the  nature  of 
the  organism  shows  that  this  is  not  likely  to  happen. 

A  further  reason,  doubtless,  why  this  theory  of  heredity  has 
been  and  is  so  widely  held  is  that  many  have  believed  it  to  be 
the  theory  of  heredity  which  offers  the  most  hope  of  human  and 
social  betterment.  Indeed,  probably  to  the  vast  majority  of 
the  public  this  has  seemed  the  only  theory  of  heredity  which 
offers  any  hope  of  progress.  It  has  been  thought  that  if  char- 
acters acquired  by  one  generation  could  not  be  transmitted  to 



the  next  generation,  there  could  be  no  hope  of  improvement  of 
the  race.  It  is  true  that  if  the  characters  acquired  are  good, 
their  transmission  would  improve  the  race.  But  the  social  en- 
vironment cannot  always  be  controlled  by  philanthropists,  social 
workers,  reformers,  revolutionists,  or  others  who  are  interested 
in  the  improvement  of  the  race,  so  as  to  guarantee  or  make 
highly  probable  the  acquisition  of  good  characters.  So  that  the 
characters  acquired  may  be  bad,  in  which  case  their  transmission 
will  be  injurious  to  the  race.  The  consequence  is  that  the  theory 
€i  the  transmission  of  acquired  characters  involves  the  danger  of 
the  degeneration  of  the  race  and  of  regress,  as  well  as  the  hope 
of  the  improvement  of  the  race  and  of  progress.  So  that  even 
on  the  basis  of  the  hope  for  progress  which  it  dSFers,  this  theory 
is  oi  questionable  value,  for  progress  would  then  depend  upon  the 
extent  to  which  individuals  could  be  persuaded  or  coerced  by 
environmental  conditions  or  by  social  pressure  into  acquiring 
good  characters.  But  in  any  case  it  is  absurd  to  hold  any  theory 
upoa  such  a  basis,  for  every  theory  should  be  tested  by  its  ac- 
cordance with  the  facts  and  not  by  teleological  considerations. 

This  theory  of  heredity  has  become  almost  universally  dis- 
credited among  biologists  and  others  acquainted  with  modem 
biology  for  several  reasons.  In  the  first  place,  all  of  the  cases 
allied  to  be  transmissions  of  acquired  characters  which  have 
been  carefully  investigated  have  either  been  explained  on  other 
than  hereditary  grounds,  (and  this  has  been  true  of  most  of 
them),  or  else  could  not  be  satisfactorily  explained  as  transmis- 
sions of  acquired  characters,  and  in  most  of  these  cases  the  prob- 
ability is  that  with  further  knowledge  they  could  be  explained 
by  the  second  theory  of  heredity,  which  we  are  about  to  discuss. 
In  the  second  place,  no  attempt  to  explain  the  mechanism  by 
which  acquired  characters  could  be  transmitted  has  as  yet  been 
satisfactory,  and  with  our  present  knowledge  of  the  organism 
it  is  difficult  to  see  how  such  a  mechanism  could  exist.  In  the 
third  place,  numerous  discoveries  have  been  made  furnishing 
an  adequate  scientific  basis  for  an  exposing  theory  of  heredity. 

Even  among  the  few  biologists  who  still  hold  to  a  theory  of 
the  transmission  of  acquired  characters,  the  theory  has  developed 
so  far  away  from  its  earlier  crude  form  that  it  no  longer  has  the 
same  practical  significance.  While  its  representatives  do  not 
usually  discuss  its  practical  significance,  it  is  quite  likely  that 


its  application  to  human  and  social  problems  would  be  very 
little  ii  any  different  from  the  second  theory.  The  difference 
has  become  one  of  a  highly  technical  biological  nature  with  little 
or  no  practical  significance,'' 

Theory  of  Inheritance  through  the  Germ  Cell 

Let  us  now  turn  to  the  other  theory  of  heredity.  This  theory 
is  based  upon  the  relatively  immutable  character  of  the  germ 
plasm  in  the  individual  and  the  continuity  of  this  germ  plasm 
from  generation  to  generation.  Embryological  researches  have 
shown  that  inheritance  takes  place  directly  through  the  germ 
cell.  That  is  to  say,  when  an  ^g  cell  is  fertilized  by  a  sperm  cell 
the  new  individual  which  develops  from  the  fertilized  germ 
cell  inherits  only  such  characters  as  are  in  the  sperm  and  ^;g 
cells,  while  the  somatic  cells  which  make  up  the  rest  of  the  bodies 
of  the  parents  are  not  directly  involved  in  the  mechanism  of 
inheritance.  Further  biological  researches  have  indicated  that 
modifications  acquired  during  the  lifetime  of  the  individual 
affect  the  somatic  cells  of  the  body,  but  are  not  transmitted 
through  the  germ  cells,  though  they  may  affect  the  germ  plasm 
greatly  in  other  ways. 

It  has,  therefore,  seemed  to  many  that  this  theory  offers  no 
possibility  for  change,  either  for  good  or  for  bad.  But  there  are 
several  very  powerful  forces  for  change  at  work.  In  the  first 
place,  as  we  have  seen,  each  individual  is  the  outcome  of 
the  crossing  of  the  germ  cells  of  two  other  individuals.  The 
resulting  combination  is  certain  to  be  somewhat  different  and 
may  be  very  different  from  either  of  the  parent  germ  cells.  In 
fact  the  chances  are  almost  infinite  against  any  two  persons 
possessing  the  same  combination  of  characters,  and  thus  being 
exactly  alike.  Thus  we  have  this  force  constantly  at  work 
producing  individuals  each  of  whom  b  to  a  certain  extent 

In  the  second  place,  variations  and  mutations  may  take 
place  in  the  germ  cells.    I  have  spoken  above  of  these  cells 

^  As,  for  example,  in  the  case  of  the  so<alled  mnemonic  theory  of  heredity, 
^diich  is  a  modem  form  of  the  theory  of  the  transmission  of  acquired  char- 
acten.  See,  for  a  recent  exposition  of  this  theory,  E.  Rignano,  Upon  Ike 
Tnheriianu  of  Acquired  Characters,  trans,  from  the  Italian,  Chicago,  191 1. 


as  being  relatively  immutable.  By  this  I  mean  that  they  are 
comparatively  immutable  as  compared  with  the  somatic  cells. 
A  considerable  part  if  not  most  of  the  somatic  cells  are  con- 
stantly exposed  to  modification  either  by  the  action  of  external 
forces  or  through  exercise  and  use.  But  the  germ  plasm  is 
more  or  less  protected  from  the  forces  for  change,  and  repre- 
sents in  the  individual  the  stability  and  continuity  of  the  phylo- 
genetic  line  to  which  the  individual  belongs.  However,  this 
does  not  mean  that  there  are  not  forces  at  work  to  change  the 
germ  plasm  as  well.  To  b^^i  with,  the  crossing  of  the  germ 
cells  described  above  must  lead  to  a  germ  plasm  in  the  new 
individual  which  is  at  least  a  little  difiFerent  from  the  germ 
plasm  in  either  of  the  parent  organisms.  But  variations  and 
mutations  are  doubtless  taking  place  in  the  germ  plasm  of  the 
individual  organism,  how  frequently  we  cannot  tell.  These 
changes  may  be  due  in  some  cases  to  the  internal  processes 
of  the  germ  cell,  which,  it  goes  without  saying,  is,  like  any  other 
vital  cell,  an  organic  entity  probably  more  independent  of  the 
larger  organism  than  a  somatic  cell.  In  other  cases  these  changes 
may  be  due  to  the  fences  of  the  organic  environment  of  the 
germ  cell.  In  other  words  the  germ  cell  is  influenced  by  the 
condition  of  the  vast  number  of  somatic  cells  by  which  it  is 
surrounded.  It  is  evident  how  inevitable  this  is  when  we 
consider  that  the  germ  cell  must  seciure  its  nutriment  through 
these  somatic  cells,  and  that  its  ph3rsical  and  chemical  surround- 
ings are  determined  by  the  condition  of  the  rest  of  the  organism; 
as,  for  example,  its  temperature,  and  whether  or  not  it  is  sub- 
jected to  the  influence  of  noxious  substances,  such  as  toxic  fluids, 

These  facts  indicate  how  the  germ  plasm  is  influenced  by 
the  experience  of  the  individual  organism,  for  this  experience 
must  determine  in  part  what  the  somatic  environment  of  the 
germ  plasm  is  to  be.  But  it  is  obvious  that  this  influence 
is  not  of  the  sort  contemplated  by  the  theory  of  the  trans- 
mission of  acquired  characters.  So  far  as  we  can  see,  specific 
modifications  such  as  mutilations,  increase  in  size  of  muscles, 
association  paths  established  in  the  nervous  system,  etc.,  cannot 
be  transmitted.  But  general  constitutional  conditions  may  have 
a  decided  effect  upon  the  germ  plasm  by  increasing  or  decreas- 
ing its  vitality  and  in  other  ways.    Unfortunately  the  internal 


processes  of  the  germ  cell  are  very  obscure  to  tis,  because  the 
cell  is  minute  in  size  and  because  these  processes  are  carried  on 
within  the  organism  and  therefore  hidden  from  oiu:  view. 

For  similar  reasons  it  is  difficult  to  learn  much  about  the  in- 
ternal constitution  of  the  germ  cell.  Nevertheless  we  have 
numerous  hypotheses  and  theories  bearing  upon  this  subject, 
and  at  least  a  small  amoimt  of  knowledge.  The  most  pc^ular 
type  of  theory  among  biologists  today  is  the  unit  character 
th^ry  of  the  structure  of  the  germ  ceU.  According  to  this 
theory  the  germ  cell  is  composed  of  distinct  parts  or  unit  char- 
acters each  of  which  determines  a  distinct  part  of  the  developed 
organism.  Belief  in  the  existence  of  these  imit  characters  has 
been  greatly  strengthened  by  Mendelian  researches  which  have 
been  carried  on  recently.  These  researches  seem  to  indicate 
that  in  various  animals  and  in  man  certain  characters  are  trans- 
mitted in  accordance  with  very  definite  laws  and  are  not  blended 
with  other  characters.  When  these  characters  are  traced 
through  successive  generations  they  are  found  to  be  recurring 
in  definite  proportions.  These  laws  are  well  illustrated  in  the 
case  of  the  so-called  allelomorphic  pairs  of  characters.  In  each 
of  these  pairs  the  characters  are  contrasted  with  each  other  so 
that  when  one  of  them  appears  the  other  is  absent.  All  these 
facts  seem  to  indicate  that  the  parts  of  the  developed  organism 
are  being  determined  by  distinct  imits  in  the  germ  cell.  The 
discovery  of  the  chromosomes  in  the  germ  cell  furnishes  experi- 
mental demonstration  of  the  existence  of  these  unit  characters. 
In  the  case  of  one  of  these  chromosomes,  namely,  the  accessory 
or  X  chromosome,  the  function  has  probably  bc^n  discovered, 
for  it  seems  to  be  the  determinant  of  sex.  The  functions  of 
other  chromosomes  also  seem  to  have  been  discovered.  Further 
microscopic  study  of  the  germ  ceU  may  reveal  more  evidence  of 
the  presence  of  these  unit  characters. 

Another  powerful  force  for  change  is  that  of  selection.  Se- 
lective forces  are  constantly  at  work  weeding  out  and  extermi- 
nating certain  individuals  and  t3rpes  which  are  unfit  to  survive 
under  given  conditions,  while  other  individuals  and  types  are 
left  to  survive  and  reproduce  their  kind.  Thus  variation  along 
certain  lines  is  prevented,  while  it  is  left  unchecked  along  other 
lines.  It  goes  without  saying  that  selection  is  not  an  organic 
factor,  but  represents  the  influence  of  the  environment  up(Mi 


ofganic  evdution.    As  such  it  is  of  great  importance  in  de- 
termining what  is  to  be  inherited. 

Hereditary  Caxtses  of  Pathological  Phenomena 

The  preceding  has  been  a  very  brief  summary  of  the  most 
important  facts  and  theories  with  respect  to  heredity.^  All 
of  these  are  elementary  biological  data  which  are  doubtless 
known  to  all  readers  of  this  book.  But  it  has  seemed  well  to 
recall  them  to  the  reader's  mind  because  of  their  vital  signifi- 
cance for  the  subjects  to  be  discussed  in  succeeding  chapters. 
This  will  be  evident  when  we  consider  the  possibility  of  practical 
i4>plication  of  these  facts  and  theories. 

We  have  already  noted  that  many  diseases  have  been  r^arded 
as  hereditary  in  the  past  which  are  not  so  regarded  now.  It  is 
obvious  that  the  diseases  which  are  now  known  to  be  caused 
by  germs  cannot  be  hereditary.  It  is  important  to  determine 
in  the  case  of  every  pathological  condition,  both  physical  and 
mental,  whether  or  not  it  is  hereditary.  Other¥rise  it  is  not 
possible  to  judge  wisely  how  to  treat  the  condition,  and  what 
measures  to  take  to  prevent  it.  For  example,  the  brachy- 
dactylous  hand  is  known  to  be  inherited,  while  the  hunchback  is 
usually  if  not  always  acquired.  It  is  obvious,  therefore,  that  the 
only  way  to  prevent  the  brachydactylous  hand  is  to  prevent 
breeding  by  those  who  will  have  brachydactylous  offspring. 
But  hunchback  can  in  most  if  not  all  cases  be  prevented  by 
preventing  the  accidents  which  cause  it.  Feeble-mindedness 
is  known  to  be  inherited  in  many  cases,  while  insanity  frequently 
is  acquired.  Consequently  it  is  hopeless  to  attempt  to  ciure 
feeble-mindedness  in  these  cases,  while  it  is  possible  sometimes 
to  do  so  in  the  case  of  acquired  insanity. 

But  the  significance  of  heredity  for  these  pathological  con- 
ditions of  body  and  mind  is  still  more  complicated  than  has  so 
fax  been  shown.  While  we  know  with  certainty  in  the  case  of 
many  of  these  pathological  conditions  that  they  are  acquired, 

^  I  have  discussed  these  matters  more  fully  in  my  book  entitled  The  Science 
of  Human  Behavior,  Biological  and  Psychological  Foundations,  New  York, 
1913,  chaps.  Ill  and  IV.  A  comprehensive  summary  of  the  subject  of  hered- 
ity is  given  in  J.  A.  Thomson's  Heredity,  2d.  ed.,  Lomion,  191 2.  See  bibliog- 
CB^y  for  further  references. 


we  have  reason  to  believe  that  certain  individuals  inherit  char- 
acters which  make  them  more  prone  to  acquire  these  defects. 
So  that  if  we  pursue  further  our  investigation  of  causes  in  the 
case  of  many  of  these  acquired  characters,  we  may  arrive  ul- 
timately at  hereditary  factors.  So  much  for  the  present  for  the 
importance  of  heredity  for  the  study  of  pathological  conditions 
of  the  body  and  the  mind. 

Eugenics  and  Biology 

During  the  last  few  years  there  has  been  much  discussion  of 
eugenic  measures  for  the  improvement  of  the  human  breed.  The 
term  ''eugenic/'  like  so  many  other  scientific  terms,  has  been 
much  misused  by  the  public  at  laige.  It  has  been  applied  to 
many  measures  for  social  betterment  which  are  not  directed 
towards  the  improvement  of  the  human  breed  in  the  strict  sense 
of  that  phrase.  Some  persons  have  misused  the  term  in  this 
manner  under  the  impression  that  these  measures  would  im- 
prove the  human  stock.  This  mistake  has  frequently  been  due 
to  a  belief  in  the  transmission  of  acquired  characters.  Others 
have  misused  the  term  under  the  impression  that  it  includes 
any  measure  for  social  betterment. 

Eugenics  is  the  science  of  the  improvement  of  the  human 
breed.  As  such  it  is  evident  that  it  is  primarily  a  branch  of  the 
science  of  biology.  Furthermore,  inasmuch  as  the  improvement 
of  any  stock  can  take  place  only  by  means  of  inheritance,  eu- 
genics b  most  closely  related  to  the  branch  of  biology  which 
deals  with  heredity.  What  is  inherited  and  how  inheritance 
takes  place  are,  therefore,  questions  of  the  utmost  importance 
for  eugenics.  Consequently,  how  variations  arise  and  what  de- 
termines whether  or  not  they  are  to  be  perpetuated  are  also  of 
the  greatest  importance,  for  improvement  can  come  about  only 
through  change,  and  changes  come  through  variation.  Further- 
more, selection  is  also  of  importance  for  eugenics,  for  the  sur- 
vival and  suppression  of  variations  is  determined  in  part  by  the 
selective  forces  in  the  environment. 

It  must  now  be  evident  that  eugenic  measures  can  have  a 
sound  scientific  basis  only  to  the  extent  that  we  have  data 
bearing  upon  the  biological  questions  mentioned  above.  As  we 
have  seen  earlier  in  this  chapter,  our  information  upon  all  these 


subjects  is  still  very  limited.  Unfortunately  many  have  failed 
to  realize  this,  and  have  advocated  and  in  some  cases  have  put 
into  effect  measures  which  have  not  adequate  biological  justi- 
fication.  All  these  matters  we  shall  discuss  in  a  later  chapter. 

The  Determination  of  Human  Personauty 

As  we  have  seen  in  the  preceding  chapter,  certain  normal 
human  characters  may  play  a  part  in  the  causation  of  pathologi- 
cal social  conditions.  These  are  characters  which,  however 
normal  they  may  be  biologically,  are  nevertheless  ill  suited  to 
social  life.  Consequently,  if  they  fail  to  become  adapted  in 
the  course  of  the  lifetime  of  the  individual,  they  may  cause 
trouble.  The  determination  of  these  characters,  which  are 
hereditary,  is,  therefore,  of  some  interest  for  our  study.  It 
would  be  interesting  to  discuss  whether  or  not  it  b  possible  to 
breed  out  these  characters  from  the  human  stock.  However, 
it  is  doubtful  if  they  can  be  bred  out,  since  they  are  very  closely 
interwoven  with  the  texture  of  human  nature. 

In  fact  the  whole  subject  of  the  determination  of  human  per- 
sonality is  of  interest  in  this  connection.  A  discussion  of  it 
would  involve  a  study  of  the  relative  influence  of  heredity  and 
environment  or  of  nature  and  nurture,  as  they  are  frequently 
termed.  We  shall  touch  upon  this  subject  later,  but  for  obvious 
reasons  will  not  be  able  to  discuss  it  exhaustively. 


Causes  of  pathological  physical  states  —  Pathological  bodily  phenomena  -^ 
The  diseases  —  Causes  of  disease  —  Occupational  diseases  —  Extent 
of  industrial  accidents  and  diseases  —  Abnonnal  and  patlu^ogical 
bodily  states  as  causes  of  poverty. 

All  pathological  conditions  of  the  body  cause  suffering  and 
injury  to  those  afSicted,  and  frequently  to  others  as  well.  In 
this  chapter  we  shall  deal  briefly  with  some  of  these  physical 
pathological  phenomena  which  lead  more  or  less  directly  to 
poverty  and  its  attendant  evils. 

Causes  of  Pathological  Physical  States 

Let  us  consider  first  the  causes  of  these  bodily  pathological 
conditions.  Strictly  speaking,  no  pathological  condition  of  the 
body  can  be  said  to  be  inherited,  so  that  heredity  is  not  a  direct 
cause  of  disease.^  But  indirectly  it  has  a  great  deal  to  do  with 
the  causation  of  these  pathological  phenomena.  In  the  first 
place,  certain  individuals  inherit  characters  which,  since  they 
are  inherited,  must  be  normal  to  them  and  to  the  families  to 
which  they  belong.  But  they  are  abnormal  as  compared  with 
mankind  at  large  for  they  vary  greatly  from  the  typical  human 
characters.*  These  abnormal  characters  may  c^use  pathological 
conditions  of  the  body  in  those  afflicted  with  them.*  Or  even  if 
they  do  not  lead  to  bodily  pathological  states,  they  may  be  suffi- 

1  This  is  partly  a  niatter  of  definition.  Some  writers  include  under  the 
term  ".pathological''  certain  inherited  characters  which  are  abnormal  as 
compared  with  typical  human  characters,  and  which  are  detrimental  to 
the  individual.   But  I  consider  the  above  the  better  usage. 

*  Here  again  it  is  partly  a  matter  of  definition.  Some  writers  choose  to 
call  these  characters  abnormal  even  with  respect  to  these  individuals  and 
their  families,  as  well  as  when  compared  with  mankind  at  large. 

*  An  example  of  such  an  inherited  character  is  hsmophilia  in  which  the 
blood  coagulates  very  slowly,  so  as  to  lead  in  case  of  injury  to  profuse  loss 
of  blood  and  sometimes  to  death. 



dent  in  themselves  to  place  these  individuals  in  pathological 
social  conditions.  This  is  true  of  some  of  the  deformities  and 
defects  which  we  shall  mention.  In  the  second  place,  an  in- 
dividual may  inherit  a  diathesis  or  predisposition  for  acquiring 
certain  diseases  and  other  pathological  phenomena.  Thus  he 
may  inherit  lungs  which  are  more  prone  than  most  lungs  to  be 
infected  by  the  germ  of  tuberculosis. 

Several  kinds  of  intra-uterine  causes  of  pathological  bodily 
states  may  be  distinguished.  In  the  first  place,  there  are  the 
physical  and  mechanical  causes,  such  as  lead  to  injuries  of  various 
sorts  to  the  fetus.  These  may  be  due  to  external  forces  such  as 
cause  a  violent  physical  shod^  to  the  mother,  this  shock  being 
communicated  to  ike  imbom  child.  Or  the  injury  may  be  due 
to  an  internal  mechanical  force,  such  as  a  ligEiment  becoming 
wound  around  a  limb  or  other  part  of  the  fetus  so  as  to  impede 
its  development,  and  even  in  some  cases  to  cause  its  amputation. 
In  the  second  place,  malnutrition  may  be  a  pre-natal  pathological 
force.  This  may  be  due  either  to  the  malnutrition  of  the  mother 
or  to  an  internal  disarrangement  or  disturbance  which  prevents 
the  developing  child  from  securing  proper  nourishment  through 
the  connection  which  exists  between  it  and  its  mother.  In  the 
third  place,  the  fetus  may  be  injured  by  intoxications  which  are 
caused  dther  by  poisonous  substances  which  have  been  intro- 
duced into  the  mother  from  outside,  as,  for  example,  alcohol,  or 
by  toxic  fluids  which  have  been  pathologically  generated  by 
chemical  processes  within  the  maternal  organism.  In  the  fourth 
place,  the  unborn  child  may  be  infected  by  parasitic  microor- 
ganisms which  have  invaded  the  maternal  organism  and  have 
made  their  way  to  the  womb. 

The  post-natal  causes  may  be  classified  as  follows: — 

1.  Mechanical. 

These  are  the  blows,  falls,  pressures,  cuts,  etc.,  which  do  in- 
jury by  destroying  organic  tissue  and  by  giving  shocks  to  the 
(Higanism  as  a  whole  and  the  nervous  system  in  particular. 

2.  Ph3rsical. 

Excessive  heat  and  excessive  cold  do  injury  to  the  organism 
in  ways  too  well  known  to  need  description  here.  Excessive 
light  may  also  do  injury,  as  in  the  case  of  sunburn  and  of  the 
inflammations  caused  by  X-rays.  Heavy  charges  of  electridty 
cause  injury  by  burning  or  by  shock. 


3.  Chemical. 

Certain  chemical  substances,  including  all  the  poisons,  in« 
jure  the  organism  by  biuning,  or  by  causing  pathological 
physiological  processes,  or  in  other  ways.  Some  of  these  sub- 
stances injure  all  parts  of  the  organism  and  others  injure  only 
certain  parts.  The  amoimt  of  the  substance  acquired  usually 
makes  a  great  deal  of  difference.  In  the  case  of  some  of  them  a 
small  amount  does  little  or  no  injury  while  a  larger  amount  is 
very  injurious.  These  substances  may  be  introduced  into  the 
body  from  outside,  or  they  may  be  generated  within  the  body 
by  abnormal  physiological  and  chemical  processes. 

4.  Parasitic. 

Numerous  diseases  are  caused  by  microorganisms  which  in- 
vade the  organism  and  live  parasitically  and  reproduce  therein. 
The  pathological  states  caused  in  this  manner  vary  almost  as 
greatly  as  the  parasites  themselves. 

Pathological  Bodily  Phenomena 

Turning  now  to  the  abnormal  and  pathological  bodily  phe- 
nomena we  may  divide  them,  to  begin  with,  roughly  and  not 
very  accurately  into  two  main  groups,  namely,  the  physical 
abnormalities  and  the  diseases.  The  first  kind  of  ph3rsical 
abnormalities  I  wish  to  discuss  are  the  anatomical  deformations. 
It  goes  without  saying  that  no  one  is  anatomically  perfect,  so 
that  every  one  possesses  some  anatomical  deformations.  But 
if  these  are  very  slight,  they  will  not  usually  hamper  the  individ- 
ual in  his  life  in  society.  Furthermore,  in  some  cases  an  extensive 
anatomical  deformation,  where  it  does  not  destroy  its  possessor's 
ability  to  engage  in  certain  occupations,  does  not  prevent  his 
success  in  life,  however  much  discomfort  and  annoyance  it  may 
cause  in  other  ways.  In  many  cases,  however,  these  deforma- 
tions make  their  victims  social  failures  in  the  sense  that  they  do 
not  succeed  in  life  and  fall  into  one  or  more  of  the  pathological 
social  conditions.  In  some  cases  the  deformation  makes  its 
possessor  unfit  for  any  kind  of  occupation.  In  many  cases,  how- 
ever, the  deformed  person  is  capable  of  engaging  in  certain 
occupations,  but  owing  to  social  maladjustment  or  lack  of  adjust- 
ment is  never  furnished  the  opportvmity  to  enter  one  of  Uiose 


The  def onnation  may  be  due  to  excessive  growth  or  lack  ct 
growth  of  certain  parts  of  the  body.  But  giantism  and  dwarfism 
are,  fortunately,  comparatively  infrequent,  so  that  they  do  not 
create  a  serious  social  problem.  ' 

Curvatures  of  the  spine  of  various  sorts  are  very  frequent.  In 
some  cases  the  spinal  curvature  does  not  materially  injure  an 
individual's  chances  for  success  in  life.  In  other  cases,  either 
owing  to  the  nature  of  the  curvature  itself  or  other  pathdpgical 
states  which  accompany  it  and  which  are  usually  causally  re- 
lated to  it,  the  possessor  is  rendered  unfit  for  all  occupations,  or 
at  any  rate  for  any  of  those  to  which  he  can  gain  access. 

There  are  numerous  deformations  of  the  limbs  and  their  ex- 
tremities. For  example,  two  or  more  of  the  fingers  of  the  hand 
may  grow  together,  forming  what  is  technically  called  syndactyly. 
Or  two  or  more  of  the  toes  may  grow  together,  forming  what  is 
popularly  known  as  daw-foot.  The  last  phalange  in  the  fingers 
and  toes  may  be  lacking,  thus  making  them  abnormally  short 
and  stumpy.  This  is  called  brachydactyly.  Other  examples  of 
deformities  of  the  feet  are  the  flat  foot,  the  club  foot,  the  splay 
foot,  the  hammer  toes,  etc.  The  arms  may  be  deformed  by  lack 
of  development  or  by  malformation.  The  lower  limbs  may  be 
deformed  in  the  same  way  and  also  by  the  dislocation  of  the 
hips.  It  is  evident  that,  since  the  limbs  and  their  extremities 
are  very  necessary  for  most  occupations,  the  crippling  to  any 
extent  of  these  parts  of  the  body  is  very  likely  to  prove  a  serious 
obstacle  in  the  economic  struggle  for  existence  and  to  make  the 
crq>ple  a  dependent. 

In  this  connection  let  us  take  note  of  the  mutilations.  A  mu- 
tSiatkm  is  the  loss  of  a  part  of  the  body,  owing  usually  to  an 
accident.  If  onlV  a  smaU  part  of  the  body  is  lost,  or  it  is  a  part 
which  is  not  inoportant  for  most  activities,  as,  for  example,  the 
external  ear,  the  mutilation  may  not  hamper  its  possessor  at  all. 
But  if  the  mutilation  involves  the  loss  of  hands,  feet,  or  limbs, 
it  is  very  likely  to  prove  a  serious  handicap. 

Abncnmalities  of  the  nervous  S3rstem  leading  to  feeble-minded- 
ness  in  its  various  degrees  are  of  great  importance,  because 
feeble-mindedness  is  a  prolific  cause  of  pathological  social  con- 
ditions. Whether  these  abnormalities  are  in  the  nature  of  mal- 
formations in  the  nervous  structure  or  of  the  absence  of  essential 
parts,  it  is  difficult  to  say.    But  inasmuch  as  feeble-mindedness 


is  a  mental  defect,  we  shall  discuss  these  abnormalities  in  the 
chapter  on  the  pathology  of  the  mind. 

Defects  of  the  senses,  especially  of  the  senses  of  sight  and  of 
hearing,  and  of  the  speech  organs  are  of  great  importance,  be- 
cause blindness,  deafness,  and  dumbness  are  prolific  causes  of 
poverty  and  dependency.  These  defects  may  be  due  to  abnor- 
malities in  the  nervous  system  which  injure  the  nerves  which 
control  the  senses  and  speech.  Or  they  may  be  due  to  deforma- 
tions or  mutilations  of  the  organs  of  the  senses  and  of  speech. 
For  example,  a  part  of  the  eye  may  be  missing  or  be  malformed. 
Or  the  same  may  be  true  of  a  part  of  the  inner  ear.  In  similar 
fashion  the  organs  of  speech  may  be  rendered  useless  for  purposes 
of  speech. 

All  of  the  factors  mentioned  earlier  serve  as  causes  of  these 
physical  abnormalities.  Many  of  these  abnormalities  are  pres- 
ent at  birth.  In  some  of  these  cases  they  are  due  to  hereditary 
forces.  Some  of  them  are  family  characters  which  are  inherited 
from  generation  to  generation.  For  example,  this  is  true  of 
brachydactyly  and  also  in  some  at  least  of  the  cases  of  syn- 
dactyly, though  in  other  cases  this  may  be  an  acquired  modifi- 
cation due  to  pre-natal  causes.  Various  abnormalities  of  the 
skin  are  inherited,  such  as  abnormalities  of  the  coloring  as  in 
the  case  of  piebald  coloring.  Another  curious  case  is  where  the 
skin  is  covered  with  a  homy  substance.  In  fact,  almost  any 
physical  abnormality  may  make  its  appearance.  In  some  cases 
these  abnormalities  may  be  beneficial.  But  more  frequently 
they  tend  to  hamper  their  possessors  in  their  life  in  society, 
either  because  they  destroy  entirely  or  in  large  part  the  effi- 
ciency of  the  individual  for  the  occupations  which  he  may  enter, 
or,  as  happens  in  some  cases,  merely  because  their  abnormal 
appearance  causes  them  to  be  shunned  by  society  and  thus 
rendered  unhappy. 

Turning  to  other  kinds  of  abnormalities,  defects  of  the  nervous 
system  may  be  inherited,  as  is  indicated  by  the  feeble-minded- 
ness  and  other  mental  defects  and  abnormalities  which  are 
inherited  from  generation  to  generation  in  certain  famUies.  De- 
fects of  the  senses  may  be  inherited,  as  is  indicated  by  the  blind- 
ness and  deafness  which  run  in  certain  families.  It  may  also 
be  that  defects  of  the  speech  organs  causing  dumbness  are  some- 
times inherited,  though  dumbness  is  usually  due  to  deafness. 


In  the  case  pf  each  of  these  inherited  mental  defects  and  defective 
senses,  the  cause  may  be  the  lack  of  a  part  of  the  organ  concerned 
or  an  abnormal  arrangement  of  the  parts  of  the  organ,  thus 
preventing  a  proper  functioning  of  the  mind  or  of  the  sense 

Thus  we  see  that  all  of  the  ph3rsical  abnormalities  which  have 
been  menticHied  may  be  inherited,  except  mutilations  which, 
since  they  are  acquired  characters,  cannot  be  inherited. 

But  in  many  cases  it  is  difficult  to  tell  whether  the  abnor- 
mality is  inherited,  because  there  are  several  other  possible  ex- 
planations. Thus  it  may  be  due  to  an  inherited  predisposition 
or  tendency  to  develop  the  abnormality  under  favoring  cir- 
cumstances. Then  if  these  favoring  circumstances  reciu:  in 
generation  after  generation,  the  abnormality  will  reappear  in 
each  generati(»i  as  if  it  were  an  inherited  character.  (>  it  may 
be  due  to  some  of  the  pre-natal  causes  which  have  been  men- 
tioned earlier  in  this  chapter,  and  which  if  they  recur  in  genera- 
tion after  generation  will  make  the  abnormality  reappear  in 
similar  fashiim  as  if  it  were  an  inherited  character.  In  many 
of  these  cases  the  only  way  of  determining  whether  or  not  the 
character  is  hereditary  is  to  ascertain  whether  or  not  the  suc- 
cessive generations  in  which  the  abnormality  has  made  its  ap- 
pearance have  lived  in  an  environment  which  was  similar  with 
respect  to  the  forces  which  would  develop  the  character  in  the 
individual.  If  the  environment  has  been  similar,  so  that  all 
these  individuals  have  fallen  under  the  influences  which  would 
tend  to  develop  this  character  in  them,  it  would  not  be  at  all 
certain  that  it  was  hereditary.  But  if  the  environment  has 
varied  greatly  in  this  respect,  it  would  be  highly  probable  that 
the  abnormality  was  hereditary. 

If  the  abnormality  is  hereditary,  it  has  been  due  originally 
to  a  germinal  variation  giving  rise  to  a  character  which  has 
persisted  in  the  family.  It  may  happen  in  some  cases  that 
in  accordance  with  tibie  Mendelian  laws  of  inheritance  the 
character  does  not  appear  in  any  of  the  known  relatives  of  the 
individual  in  whom  it  is  observed.  It  would  then  appear  in  this 
individual  as  a  personal  idiosyncracy  similar  to  the  idiosyncracies 
which  appear  in  some  individuals,  owing  to  which  they  are 
affected  cQfferently  from  most  people  by  certain  foods,  poisons, 
etc   In  such  a  case  it  would  usually  if  not  always  be  impossible 


to  determine  if  the  abnormality  was  due  to  an  inherited  family 
trait  or  was  an  acquired  modification. 

It  is  now  evident  that  the  abnormalities  which  are  present  at 
birth  may  be  inherited,  or  they  may  be  due  to  hereditary  pre- 
dispositions aided  by  favoring  circtunstances,  or  they  may  be 
due  to  various  pre-natal  forces.  Let  us  now  consider  the 
causes  for  the  abnormalities  which  make  their  appearance  after 

A  post-natal  abnormality  could  not,  strictly  speaking,  be 
inherited,  unless  it  characterized  a  part  of  the  organism  which 
developed  entirely  after  birth.  But  inasmuch  as  the  human 
infant  is  fully  formed  before  birth,  an  inherited  abnormality 
would  be  sure  to  exist  in  part  at  least  before  birth.  A  post- 
natal abnormality  may,  however,  be  due  to  a  hereditary  pre- 
disposition which  does  not  manifest  itself  until  after  birth. 
So  that  in  this  fashion  heredity  may  play  some  part  in  causing 
post-natal  abnormalities,  but  on  the  whole  it  doubtless  plays  a 
much  smalls  part  in  causing  these  abnormalities  than  in  causing 
the  pre-natal  abnormalities  which  we  have  discussed. 

Many  of  these  post-natal  abnormalities  are  caused  by  acci- 
dents. These  accidents  may  be  experienced  under  any  condition 
of  life.  Many  of  them  occur  in  the  course  of  economic  activities, 
and  are  then  usually  called  industrial  accidents.  Some  of  these 
accidents  cause  extensive  mutilations  which  result  in  the  loss 
of  hand,  foot,  or  limb,  thus  crippling  the  victim  seriously.  Other 
accidents  give  a  serious  jar  or  shock  to  the  constitution  which 
may  result  in  a  deformation,  such  as  a  spinal  ciurvature,  disloca- 
tion of  the  hips,  etc.  Or  the  accident  may  shock  the  nervous 
system  so  as  to  retard  its  development,  if  the  victim  of  the  acci- 
dent is  a  yoimg  person,  and  cause  a  general  mental  defectiveness 
which  is  similar  to  hereditary  feeble-mindedness.  Or  the  ac- 
cident may  cause  lesions  in  the  nervous  system  which  give  rise 
to  specific  mental  derangements.  These  mental  defects  we  shall 
discuss  in  the  next  chapter.  In  similar  fashion  accidents  may 
injure  the  organs  of  the  senses  and  of  speech,  thus  giving  rise 
to  blindness,  or  deafness,  or  dumbness. 

Various  abnormalities  may  be  caused  by  malnutrition  and 
unhealthy  environmental  conditions,  such  as  lack  of  wholesome 
air,  filth,  etc.  A  good  example  of  this  is  the  deformations  of  the 
linibs  and  other  parts  of  the  body  caused  by  rickets.    Ricked 



is  primarily  a  disease  of  the  digestion  caused  by  malnutrition  and 
uncleanliness  which  appears  almost  exclusively  in  young  chil- 
dren. But  it  also  affects  the  bones  of  the  limbs  and  other  bones 
of  the  body  by  softening  them,  and  thus  results  in  deformed 
and  sometimes  crippled  limbs,  adenoids,  etc.  But  malnutrition 
and  these  injurious  environmental  conditions  may  cause  ab- 
normalities still  more  directly  by  retarding  the  development  of 
the  young,  thus  resulting  in  stunted  growth,  disprqx>rtion  be- 
tween the  different  parts  of  the  body,  retarded  mental  develop- 
ment, etc. 

Any  disease  may  give  rise  to  an  abnormality,  and  this  is  un- 
usually true  of  some  of  them,  especially  the  diseases  caused  by 
germs.  For  example,  tuberculosb  may  affect  the  joints  so  as 
to  weaken  them  and  sometimes  to  cause  crippling.  SyphUis 
may  have  a  similar  effect  and  may  destroy  certain  parts  of  the 
body.  But  diseases  which  are  not  caused  by  germs  may  have  a 
similar  effect,  as,  for  example,  rheumatism,  which  is  very  likely 
to  enlarge  the  joints,  thus  giving  rise  to  deformations  and  some- 
times to  crippling. 

The  Diseases 

Let  us  now  turn  to  the  diseases.  The  term  disease  is  sometimes 
used  very  broadly  so  as  to  include  most  if  not  all  of  the  abnormal 
and  pathological  states  of  the  body  and  of  the  mind.  Thus  it 
is  used  by  some  to  include  anatomical  deformations,  mutilations, 
feeble-mindedness,  etc.  But  this  a  rather  loose  use  of  the  term, 
for  an  inherited  abnormality  is,  as  we  have  seen,  normal  so  far 
as  the  individual  is  concerned,  and  is  sometimes  quite  compatible 
with  good  health;  while  a  mutilation,  after  its  immediate  effects 
have  disappeared,  may  not  injure  the  health,  however  incon- 
venient it  may  be  in  other  ways.  So  that  we  shall  restrict  the 
use  of  the  term  to  certain  distinctly  pathological  states  of  the 

But  even  after  we  have  restricted  the  meaning  of  the  term  in 
this  fashion,  it  still  remains  difficult  to  define  disease  acctuutely. 
Many  medical  writers  refuse  to  do  so  at  all,  or  do  so  only  ten- 
tativdy.  Such  a  tentative  definition  is  that  disease  "is  a  de- 
viation from  health."  ^    This  definition  is  perhaps  too  broad 

^  W.  Evans,  Mtdical  Science  of  Todays  Philadelphia,  1912,  p.  39. 



and  b  obviously  very  vague,  since  it  involves,  among  other 
things,  the  necessity  of  defining  "health."  But  I  shall  not 
attempt  to  go  any  further  in  the  definition  of  disease,  since  the 
following  discussion  of  the  different  kinds  of  disease  will  perhaps 
indicate  sufficiently  what  I  mean  by  health. 

The  diseases  are  usually  divided  into  three  main  groups, 
namely,  the  organic  diseases,  the  nervous  and  functional  dis- 
eases, and  the  z3rmotic  diseases  or  those  caused  by  germs.  This 
will  be  a  convenient  classification  to  follow,  though,  as  we  shall 
see,  it  b  not  scientifically  precise. 

The  organic  diseases  are  the  diseases  of  the  internal  organs 
which  are  not  caused  by  germs,  such  as  diseases  of  the  heart, 
the  liver,  the  stomach,  the  kidneys,  etc.  They  have  a  great 
variety  of  causes.  They  may  be  due  to  accidents  which  jar  and 
shock  the  internal  organs,  and  may  in  some  cases  cause  lesions 
in  them,  as,  for  example,  ruptures.  They  may  be  caused  by 
excessive  use,  as  by  overwork,  eating  and  drinking  too  much, 
etc.  They  may  be  due  to  bad  food.  They  may  be  due  to  exoge- 
nous intoxications  caused  by  poisons  which  have  been  taken 
into  the  body.  Thus  excessive  use  of  alcohol  may  lead  to  fatty 
d^eneration  of  the  heart  and  cirrhosk  of  the  liver.  Or  they  may 
be  due  to  endogenous  intoxications  which  have  originated  within 
the  body.  These  intoxications  may  be  due  to  disturbances 
of  the  internal  secretions;  or  to  disturbances  of  cell  dbintegra- 
tion;  or  to  defective  elimination,  so  that  all  of  the  waste  products 
are  not  eliminated  from  the  body;  or  to  absorption  of  excretions, 
which  should  be  eliminated  from  the  body. 

The  nervous  diseases  are,  of  coiurse,  diseases  of  the  nervous 
system,  while  the  functional  diseases  are  mental  derangements 
and  derangements  of  conduct  which  accompany  the  mental 
derangements.  These  so-called  functional  diseases  are  due 
usually  if  not  always  to  pathological  nervous  conditions.  How- 
ever, there  b  more  or  less  difference  of  opinion  as  to  the  extent 
to  whidi  the  functional  diseases  are  independent  of  the  nervous 
diseases.  Inasmuch  as  these  diseases  cause  pathological  mental 
states,  we  shall  discuss  them  in  the  next  chapter. 

The  z3rmotic  diseases  are  those  caused  by  micro5rganisms 
usually  called  germs  or  microbes.  These  are  minute  parasitic 
plant  and  animal  organisms  technically  called  bacteria  of  which 
there  are  three  t3rpes,  namely,  the  spirilli,  the  bacilli,  and  the 


coed.  They  invade  the  human  organism  and  many  of  the  other 
higher  animal  organisms.  Most  of  the  commoner  human  dis- 
eases, such  as  t3rphoid  fever,  pneimionia,  diphtheria,  scarlet 
fever,  colds,  bronchitis,  small  pox,  tuberculosis,  syphilis,  measles, 
malaria,  etc.,  are  zymotic  diseases.  Many  of  the  germs  have 
already  been  isolated  and  described,  and  many  others  doubtless 
still  remain  to  be  discovered.  These  germs  invade  the  human 
organism  and  if  not  destroyed  remain  there  to  derive  their  sub- 
sbtence  from  the  body  of  their  host  and  to  breed  therein,  usually 
very  prolifically. 

It  is  true  of  many  of  these  germs  that  each  kind  of  germ  will 
ordinarily  attack  only  certain  parts  of  the  body.  Thus  certain 
germs  attack  the  throat,  other  germs  attack  the  lungs,  etc. 
This  is  doubtless  due,  in  most  cases,  to  the  fact  that  each  kind  of 
germ  can  subsist  best  on  a  certain  kind  of  tissue,  which  it  there- 
fore seeks.  Various  pathological  states  are  caused  by  these 
germs,  such  as  fever,  inflammation,  the  formation  of  sores,  etc. 

We  can  now  see  that  the  lines  between  these  three  groups  of 
diseases  are  by  no  means  hard  and  fast.  Thus,  while  we  have 
called  the  first  group  organic  diseases,  it  is  evident  that  many  of 
the  nervous  and  the  zymotic  diseases  are  also  organic  in  the  sense 
that  they  are  diseases  of  organs.  For  example,  among  the  ner- 
vous diseases  we  have  most  if  not  all  of  the  many  kinds  of  in- 
sanity; the  neuroses  such  as  epHepisy,  neurasthenia,  hysteria, 
psychasthenia,  etc.;  while  we  may  be  justified  also  in  including 
such  habits  as  inebriety,  the  use  of  dnigs,  etc.,  since  in  many  of 
these  cases  the  habit  is  owing  to  pathological  conditions  of  the 
nerves.  Many  of  these  diseases  are  due  to  pathological  states 
of  the  brain,  and  can  therefore  be  called  organic  diseases.  In 
similar  fashion  many  of  the  diseases  caused  by  germs  are  diseases 
of  organs.  Thus  tuberculosis  is  mainly  a  disease  of  the  lungs. 
However,  this  classification  is  a  convenient  one  to  use  because 
of  the  great  differences  between  the  causes  of  these  three  groups 
of  diseases,  and  also  between  their  methods  of  treatment. 

Causes  of  Disease 

Let  us  now  consider  briefly  the  causes  of  these  diseases. 
Many  of  them  are  frequently  called  hereditary.  For  example, 
many  nervous  diseases  are  generally  supposed  to  be  hereditary. 


and  it  is  customary  to  speak  of  such  diseases  as  tuberculosis  and 
gout  as  being  hereditary.  It  is  obvious  that  no  zymotic  disease 
could  be  inherited,  since  such  a  disease  is  caused  by  infection 
from  an  outside  force,  namely,  the  germ,  and  this  infection  could 
not  take  place  imtil  after  conception.^  Furthermore,  it  is  prob- 
ably true  that,  strictly  speaking,  no  organic  or  nervous  disease 
can  be  inherited.  The  pathological  states  which  characterize 
these  diseases  obviously  do  not  exist  at  the  beginning  of  the  life 
of  the  organism,  but  are  developed  under  favorable  circumstances 
in  the  course  of  the  lifetime  of  the  individual.  So  that  it  is  very 
doubtful  if  the  diseases  themselves  are  determined  in  the  germ 

It  is  nevertheless  true  that  each  of  these  three  kinds  of  disease 
recurs  again  and  again  in  certain  families,  thus  giving  the  appear- 
ance of  being  hereditary.  In  some  of  these  cases  it  may  be  due 
to  the  recurrence  through  several  generations  of  favorable  en- 
vironmental conditions  for  the  development  of  the  disease. 
But  in  other  cases,  probably  in  many  of  them,  it  is  doubtless  due 
to  the  inheritance  of  a  tendency  to  acquire  that  disease.  That  is 
to  say,  as  in  the  case  of  many  of  the  physical  abnormalities 
which  we  have  discussed  earlier  in  this  chapter,  certain  traits 
may  be  inherited  from  generation  to  generation  which  predispose 
the  individuals  possessing  them  to  acquire  these  diseases  under 
favorable  conditions.  Thus  an  individual  may  inherit  an  inter- 
nal organ  which  is  unusually  frail,  and  therefore  very  likely  to 

^  This  statement  may  not  be  literally  true  in  one  respect  Observations 
have  been  made  which  seem  to  indicate  that  a  germ  cell  may  be  infected 
by  a  parasitic  organism,  as,  for  example,  the  germ  of  syphilis,  before  it  has 
been  fertilized,  so  that  infection  does  take  place  before  conception.  But 
this  infection,  it  must  be  remembered,  is  of  the  unfertilized  germ  cell.  The 
fertilized  germ  cell  from  which  the  individual  is  to  develop  acquires  it,  so 
to  speak,  from  the  unfertilized  germ  cell  at  the  moment  of  conception,  or 
immediately  after.  So  that  the  disease  is  not  being  inherited,  but  is  ac- 
quired. There  is  no  tmit  character  in  the  germ  cell  which  determines  the 
disease  of  syphilis  or  any  other  zymotic  disease,  and  only  when  these  condi- 
tions are  fidfilled  can  a  character  be  said  to  be  inherited. 

This  infection  of  the  unfertilized  germ  cell  has  so  far  been  observed,  I 
believe,  only  in  syphilis  and  tuberculosis.  The  pathogenic  organism  passes 
from  the  maternal  organism  in  the  maternal  blood  through  the  placental 
circulation  to  the  germ  cell.  (See  G.  F.  Still,  Congenital  Syphilis ,  in  A  System 
of  Syphilis f  edited  by  D*Arcy  Power  and  J.  Reogh  Murphy,  London,  1908, 
Vol.  I,  p.  286;  C.  Levaditi  and  J.  Roch6,  La  syphilis,  Paris,  1909,  pp.  305-9.) 


become  the  seat  of  an  organic  disease  later  on  in  life.  Or  certain 
tissues  may  be  miusually  sensitive,  and  therefore  very  likely  to 
be  infected  by  certain  germs.  Or  the  nervous  S3rstem,  or  certain 
parts  of  it,  may  be  neuropathic.  That  is  to  say,  it  may  be  un- 
usually sensitive,  or  for  some  other  reason  it  may  be  very  prone 
to  succumb  to  the  forces  which  give  rise  to  nervous  diseases. 

Consequently  it  is  doubtless  true  that  through  these  predis- 
positions heredity  plays  an  important  part  in  the  causation  of 
disease.  For  this  reason  disease  may  be  an  important  selective 
factor,  for  there  may  be  a  constant  tendency  towards  the  elim- 
ination of  those  inheriting  these  predi^x)sitions.^ 

Turning  from  the  hereditary  causes  of  disease  we  find,  as  we 
have  already  noted,  that  one  of  the  most  important  causes  of 
disease  in  the  environment  of  human  beings  is  constituted  by 
pathogenic  germs.  These  germs  are  borne  through  the  air  by 
means  of  dust  particles,  are  transmitted  through  water,  are 
carried  by  some  insects,  and  are  distributed  in  various  other 
ways.  TTiere  are  usually  a  large  number  of  them  in  every 
vicinity.  Their  success  in  causing  disease  depends  upon  their 
effecting  an  entrance  into  the  organism,  and  then  upon  the 
failure  of  the  organism  to  resist  the  invasion.  This  failure  is 
due  ordinarily  to  the  weakened  physiological  condition  of  the 

In  addition  to  the  pathogenic  germs  there  are  many  other 
factors  in  the  environment  which,  while  not  all  of  them  are  direct 
causes  of  disease,  are  at  least  favoring  conditions  and  circxmi- 
stances  for  the  development  of  disease.  It  will  be  possible  to 
mention  these  only  in  a  very  general  way.  Unsanitary  condi- 
tions have  much  to  do  with  causing  disease.  This  may  be 
either  through  spreading  pathogenic  germs  or  through  weakening 
the  physiological  condition  of  the  organism.  For  example,  lack 
of  proper  ventilation  may  lead  to  disease.  This  may  be  because 
the  air  becomes  infected  with  germs.  Or  it  may  be  because  the 
air  does  not  contain  the  right  combination  of  chemical  elements, 
so  that  the  lungs  and  the  rest  of  the  body  are  weakened.  Filth 
of  aU  kinds  may  lead  to  disease  either  by  carrying  infection  or, 
if  it  enters  the  body,  by  acting  as  a  noxious  force  therein.  Mal- 
nutrition is  an  important  factor  in  the  causation  of  disease. 

<  G.  Archdall  Reid  has  made  much  of  the  selective  power  of  disease  in 
his  writings.   See  his  Principles  of  HaredUy,  Laws  of  Harediiy,  etc. 


This  occurs  either  through  eating  too  much,  or  eating  too  little, 
or  eating  the  wrong  kinds  of  food.  Thus  the  organism  is  in- 
jured and  weakened  and  made  ready  for  the  outbreak  of 

Various  bad  habits  may  prepare  the  way  for  disease.  For 
example,  continuous  overwork  is  very  likely  to  cause  organic  or 
nervous  diseases.  This  it  does  by  wearing  out  certain  tissues  of 
the  body,  by  causing  endogenous  toxic  fluids  due  to  fatigue,  etc. 
Habits  of  reclining,  sitting,  or  standing  in  certain  positions  in 
which  the  internal  organs  are  compressed  or  placed  in  unnatural 
positions  prepare  the  way  for  disease. 

Occupational  Diseases 

Favorable  conditions  and  circumstances  for  the  development 
of  disease  may  occur  in  the  home,  or  in  the  course  of  economic 
activity.  Many  of  the  occupations  of  today,  as  in  the  past,  give 
rise  to  diseases  which  in  some  cases  are  peculiar  to  theln.  Some 
of  these  diseases  are  more  or  less  inevitable  results  of  the  occupa- 
tions. In  other  cases  they  may  be  prevented  by  changing  the 
conditions  under  which  the  occupation  is  carried  on.  A  great 
deal  of  study  is  now  being  devoted  to  these  occupational  or  in- 
dustrial diseases  and  we  will  note  briefly  their  nature  and 

Some  of  these  diseases  are  due  to  irritant  substances,  such  as 
toxic  metals,  gases,  vapors,  fumes,  acids,  dusts,  fibers,  etc.,  which 
irritate  and  injure  sensitive  tissues.  Others  are  due  to  factors 
in  the  environment,  such  as  bad  air;  too  high  or  too  low  tem- 
peratiure;  too  much  or  too  little  light;  excessive  or  sudden 
changes  in  temperature,  light,  or  density  of  the  air;  elec- 
tricity; etc. 

Some  of  the  diseases  caused  by  these  factors  are  the  following. 
Lead  poisoning  or  plimibism  is  caused  by  the  metal  lead.  It 
involves  abdominal  pain;  the  "wrist  drop,"  which  is  caused  by 
paralysis  of  the  muscles  at  the  back  of  the  wrist;  etc.  It  attacks 
painters,  because  of  the  lead  in  paint;  lead  miners;  makers  of 
white  lead;  file  cutters,  because  Uie  file  rests  on  a  block  of  lead 
while  being  cut,  thus  causing  a  dust  of  fine  particles  of  metallic 
lead  which  is  breathed  in  by  the  workers;  glass  polishers,  be- 
cause the  putty  powder  used  by  them  contains  about  70  per  cent 


of  oxide  of  lead;  workers  at  type-founding  and  compositors;  etc. 
Furthermore,  lead  poisoning  will  attack  any  one  who  imbibes 
lead  in  water  or  in  any  other  liquid,  as,  for  example,  when  there 
is  a  solution  of  lead  in  water  which  attacks  the  lead  in  water 
pipes  and  dissolves  some  of  this  lead. 

Mercurial  poisoning,  which  causes  tremors  of  the  hands,  etc., 
may  attack  miners  of  mercury  ores;  makers  of  mirrors,  when 
made  of  mercury;  makers  of  felt  hats,  when  a  dilute  solution  of 
mercury  is  used  in  brushing  the  skins  from  which  the  hats  are 
made;  etc. 

Phosphorus  poisoning  is  very  likely  to  occur  when  white 
phosphorus  is  used  in  the  making  of  matches.  The  principal 
result  from  this  form  of  poisoning  is  necrosis  of  the  jaw  or  death 
of  the  bone  of  the  jaw,  popularly  known  as  ''phossy  jaw." 
Chronic  phosphorus  poisoning  may  lead  also  to  brittleness  of 
the  limb  bones.  Another  form  of  phosphorus,  red  phosphorus, 
is  not  poisonous.  Fortimately  laws  have  been  passed  in  most 
civilized  coimtries  forbidding  the  use  of  white  phosphorus  in 
making  matches,  so  that  with  the  enforcement  of  such  laws 
phosphorus  poisoning  ought  to  disappear. 

^'Caisson  disease"  is  due  to  increased  pressure  of  air,  or  per- 
haps more  particularly  to  a  too  sudden  reduction  of  the  pressvure. 
It  is  liable  to  attack  those  who  work  in  diving  bells  or  in  caissons 
which  are  sunk  into  the  beds  of  rivers  and  in  which  the  atmos- 
pheric pressure  is  made  very  great  in  order  to  keep  the  water  out. 
''The  most  conmion  symptom  is  some  form  of  paral3rsis.  This 
appears  to  be  product  by  too  sudden  a  reduction  of  pressvure, 
wUch  seems  to  cause  gases  to  be  given  off  in  the  liquids  and 
tissues  of  the  body,  doing  much  damage.  Fat  especially  appears 
to  absorb  a  great  deal  of  gas  at  the  higher  pressvure."  ^ 

"Writers'  palsy"  or  a  cramp  of  the  hand  is  liable  to  attack 
those  who  write  a  great  deal  and  also  sometimes  telegraphers, 
piano  players  and  others  who  use  certain  muscles  to  an  excessive 

Certain  occupations  give  rise  to  peculiar  neurotic  states  spoken 
of  as  occupation  neuroses,  and  there  are  numerous  other  occupa- 
tional dis^.ses.  Furthermore,  excessive  fatigue,  exposure  to  in- 
fection, etc.,  in  any  industrial  activity  may  lead  to  disease  in  the 
ways  which  have  been  discussed. 

*  W.  Evans,  op.  cU.,  p.  33. 


44  poverty  and  social  progress 

Extent  of  Industrial  Accidents  and  Diseases 

Industrial  accidents  have  been  defined  as  "casualties  occurring 
chiefly  among  wage-earners  employed  in  industrial  pursuits^ 
this  tenn  including  all  manufacturing  and  mechanical  indus- 
tries and  trade  and  transportation."  ^  It  is  impossible  to  de- 
termine the  exact  number  of  such  accidents. 

The  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor  Statistics  has  recendy  published  an  esti- 
mate which  furnishes  the  most  reliable  infomiation  available  on  the 
subject.  "The  probable  approximate  number  of  fatal  iadustrial  acci- 
dents among  American  wage-earners,  including  both  sexes,  may  be 
conservatively  estimated  at  25,000  for  the  year  1913,  and  the  num- 
ber of  injuries  involving  a  disability  of  more  than  four  weeks,  using 
the  ratio  of  Austrian  experience,  —  at  approximately  700,000."* 
But  these  figures  by  no  means  indicate  the  total  number  of  ac- 
cidents. "The  Bureau  of  Labor  Stadstics  found  in  the  study  of  some 
10,000  accidents  in  the  iron  and  steel  industry,  involving  disability  of 
one  day  and  over,  that  the  disability  terminated  in  41.2  per  cent  in 
the  first  week,  in  59.8  per  cent  in  two  weeks,  in  77.7  per  cent  in  four 
weeks,  and  in  93.1  per  cent  in  13  weeks."  *  If  the  iron  and  steel 
industry  is  at  all  representative  of  industry  in  general  in  this  re- 
^>ect,  these  figures  indicate  that  the  total  number  of  industrial  ac- 
cidents in  this  country  which  involve  disability  of  one  day  and  over 
may  approximate  four  million. 

Rubinow  has  attempted  to  measure  the  extent  to  which  industrial 
accidents  give  rise  to  disability.  He  estimates  that  "  there  occur 
in  the  United  States  annually  some  30,000  fatal  industrial  ac- 
cidents, about  200,000  accidents  leading  to  permanent  disability, 
of  whidi  nearly  60,000  are  cases  of  actual  loss  of  part  of  body,  and 
about  100,000  resulting  in  disability  of  under  25%  and  another 
50,000  in  disability  of  25  to  50%,  and  the  remainder  cause  dis- 
ability of  over  50%.  In  addition,  some  170,000  accidents  are  se- 
rious in  that  the  disability  lasts  over  three  months,  but  eventually 
they  result  in  complete  recovery,  especially  if  economic  conditions 
favor  it.  What  amoimt  of  distress  and  mental  anguish  for  the  victims 
and  their  dependents,  what  amount  of  economic  waste  these  grue- 
some figures  rq>resent,  the  reader  need  not  be  told."  * 

^  F.  L.  Hoffman,  Industrial  Accidents,  Bui.  of  the  U.  S.  Bur.  of  Labor, 
No.  7,  Sept.,  1908,  pp.  417-8. 

*  F.  L.  Hoffman,  Industrial  Accident  Statistics,  Bui.  of  the  Bur.  of  Labor 
Statistics,  No.  157,  March,  1915,  p.  6. 

*  Op.  cit,,  p.  7. 

*  I.  M.  Rubinow,  Social  Insurance,  New  Y<^Ai  1913,  p.  68. 



In  similar  fashion  it  is  impossible  to  estimate  the  exact  nimiber 
of  cases  of  trade  or  occupational  diseases.  It  is  usually  easy  to 
diagnose  as  occupational  in  its  origin  a  case  of  lead  poisoning  or 
plumbism.  But  it  is  frequently  difficult  to  do  so  in  the  case  of 
such  a  disease  as  tuberculosis  which  may  be  due  to  various  causes. 

Hoffman  has  attempted  to  estimate  the  extent  to  which  tubercu- 
losis is  caused  by  occupational  factors  by  comparing  the  death  rate 
from  tuberculosis  among  wage-earners  with  the  rate  among  other 
classes.  He  came  to  the  conclusion  that  if  by  means  of  factory  in- 
spection and  control  the  sanitary  conditions  in  factories  and  work- 
tops could  be  greatly  improved  there  would  have  been  in  1908  "an 
annual  saving  of  approximately  22,238  human  lives.  .  .  .  Such  a 
gain  would  represent  a  total  of  342,465  years  of  additional  lifetime, 
and  by  just  so  much  the  industrial  efficiency  of  the  American  nation 
would  be  increased.  If  we  place  the  economic  value  or  net  result  of 
a  year's  lifetime  at  only  $200,  the  total  average  economic  gain  to  the 
nation  would  be  $3,080  for  every  avoidable  death  of  a  wage-earner 
from  consumption,  representing  the  enormous  total  of  $68,493,000 
as  the  aggregate  annual  financial  value  in  the  probable  saving  in 
years  of  adult  human  life."  ^ 

Industrial  accidents  and  diseases  are  responsible  for  a  good 
deal  of  poverty  and  pauperism.  It  goes  without  saying  that 
they  can  never  be  eliminated  entirely,  but  they  can  be  greatly 
reduced  in  amoimt  and  we  shall  discuss  later  in  this  book  the 
means  by  which  this  reduction  can  be  effected.  Furthermore, 
the  wei^t  of  the  burden  of  poverty  imposed  upon  the  victims 
of  these  accidents  and  diseases  and  those  dependent  upon  them 
can  be  lightened  in  ways  which  we  shall  dpcuss. 

Abnorical  and  Pathological  Bodily  States  as  Causes  of 


We  have  now  discxissed  briefly  the  abnormal  and  pathological 
states  of  the  body  and  their  causes.  It%6es  without  saying  that 
practically  all  of  these  conditions  cause  suffering  to  their  victims, 

>  F.  L.  Hoffman,  Mortality  from  Consumption  in  Dusty  Trades,  in  the  Bui. 
of  the  U.  S.  Bur.  of  Labor,  No.  79,  Nov.,  1908,  p.  832.  For  further  data  on 
occupatloaal  diseases  see  Thos.  Oliver,  Diseases  of  Occupation,  New  York, 


and  frequently  to  others  as  well.  It  is  obvious  that  in  most  of 
these  cases  the  victim  is  incapable  of  working,  and  is  therefore 
rendered  temporarily  if  not  permanently  dependent  economically, 
while  if  he  has  others  dependent  upon  him  they  also  are  likely 
to  become  economically  dependent.  Thus  physical  deformity 
and  disease  become  potent  forces  for  poverty  and  pauperism. 
Unfortimately  it  is  impossible  to  estimate  accurately  the  extent 
to  which  these  pathological  bodily  states  cause  pathological 
social  conditions. 

An  experienced  observer  of  these  conditions  in  New  York  City 
has  expressed  his  opinion  on  this  point  as  follows:  ''  111  health  is 
perhaps  the  most  constant  of  the  attendants  of  poverty.  It  has 
been  customary  to  say  that  twenty-five  per  cent  of  the  distress 
known  to  charitable  societies  is  caused  by  sickness.  An  inquiry 
into  the  ph3rsical  condition  of  the  members  of  the  families  that  ask 
for  aid,  without  for  the  moment  taking  any  other  complications  into 
account,  clearly  indicates  that  whether  it  be  the  first  cause  or  merely 
a  complication  from  the  effect  of  other  causes,  ph3rsical  disability 
is  at  any  rate  a  very  serious  disabling  condition  at  the  time  of  applica- 
tion in  three-fourths — ^not  one-fourth — of  all  the  families  that  come 
under  the  care  of  the  Charity  Oiganization  Society,  who  are  probably 
in  this  reject  in  no  degree  exceptional  among  families  in  need  of 
charitable  aid.''  ^ 

But  it  goes  without  saying  that  the  physical  infirmity  which  b 
the  immediate  cause  of  poverty  in  many  cases  is  not  a  spontane- 
ous phenomenon  and  frequently  has  a  long  train  of  causes  back 
of  it.  So  that  it  is  necessary  to  go  far  afield  in  our  search  for 
such  causes,  and  we  shall  be  touching  upon  these  causes  at  many 
points  in  tins  book.  And  it  is  impossible  to  treat  intelligently, 
much  less  to  prevent  these  infirmities  without  a  knowledge  of 
these  causes.  Thus  if  they  are  hereditary,  the  only  way  to  reach 
them  is  to  breed  them  out  If  they  are  pre-natal,  the  condition 
of  the  pr^;nant  mother  must  be  studied  and  improved.  If  they 
arise  in  the  home  life  and  domestic  surroimdings,  these  must  be 
studied  and  dealt  with.  If  they  are  due  to  the  environment  or 
nature  of  industrial  activities,  these  must  be  regulated  so  as  to 
eliminate  as  far  as  possible  these  pathogenic  features.   Thus  our 

*  E.  T.  Devine,  Misery  and  lis  Causes,  New  York,  1909,  p.  54. 




Study  involves  the  study  of  human  breeding;  of  domestic  life; 
of  economic  organi^tion  and  activities;  and  of  pditical  organi- 
zation,  r^ulation,  and  control.  For  this  reason,  therefore,  as 
well  as  in  order  to  study  the  other  causes  of  pathological 
social  conditions,  most  of  this  book  will  be  devoted  to  these 


Nervous  and  functional  diseases  —  Types  of  mental  infinnity  —  Amentia 
and  mental  deficiency  —  The  physical  basis  of  amentia  —  The  idiots  — 
The  imbeciles  —  The  morons  —  Dementia  and  insanity  —  The  physical 
basb  of  dementia  —  Types  of  insanity  —  The  neuroses  —  Epilepsy  — 
Neurasthenia  —  Hysteria  —  Psychasthenia  —  Abnormal  habits  —  The 
morbid  basis  of  abnormal  habits  —  Extent  of  mental  infirmity. 

We  come  now  to  the  abnormal  and  pathological  mental  phe- 
nomena which  lead  to  poverty  and  its  attendant  evils.  The 
subject  is  a  difficult  one  because  it  is  frequently  difficult  to 
ascertain  the  exact  nature  and  causes  of  mental  infirmity.  We 
shall  be  able  to  discuss  briefly  only  a  few  of  the  more  important 
forms  of  mental  infirmity. 

Nervous  and  Functional  Diseases 

As  we  have  noted  in  the  last  chapter,  mental  infirmity  arises 
out  of  nervous  and  fimctional  abnormalities  and  diseases. 
Fimctional  disorders  arise  almost  alwa3rs  if  not  always  out  of 
pathological  neural  conditions,  and  they  almost  invariably  in- 
volve mental  infirmity.  Psychiatry  is  indeed  little  if  an3rthing 
more  than  the  study  of  the  mental  disturbances  caused  by  nerv- 
ous and  functional  diseases.  We  shall  discuss  presently  the 
evidence  of  the  neural  basis  of  mental  infirmity. 

But  we  must  refer  first  of  all  to  the  nervous  diseases  which  do 
not  give  rise  to  mental  functional  disturbances.  There  are  a 
great  many  of  these  diseases  and  of  abnormal  neural  states. 
If,  for  example,  the  nerves  connecting  the  organs  of  a  sense  with 
the  central  nervous  system  suffer  injury  from  a  lesion  or  in  any 
other  way,  it  is  very  likely  to  impair  and  sometimes  to  destroy 
the  sense  entirely.  Thus  blindness  or  deafness  may  arise,  but 
is  usually  not  accompanied  by  any  mental  disturbance.  If  the 
sensory  nerve  fibers  connecting  a  certain  part  of  the  body  with 
the  central  nervous  system  are  injured,  the  victim  may  no 



longer  fed  sensations  in  that  part  of  the  body.  Or  if  the  motor 
nerve  fibers  are  injured,  he  may  lose  the  power  of  volmitary 
movement  in  that  part  of  the  body.  Thus  a  great  many  dif- 
ferent kinds  of  paralytic  states  arise,  many  of  which  are  not 
accompanied  by  any  mental  disturbance.  The  loss  of  motor 
OHitrol  may  lead  to  deformations  of  various  kinds,  or  to  involun- 
tary movements  of  one  sort  and  another.  Many  of  the  deforma- 
tions referred  to  in  the  last  chapter,  which  in  some  cases  cripple 
the  individual,  are  due  to  abnormal  and  pathological  states  of 
the  nerves.  Injuries  to  certain  nerves  give  rise  to  neuralgic  and 
neuritic  pains,  and  many  other  nervous  diseases  might  be  men- 
tioned which  are  not  necessarily  accompanied  by  mental  dis- 
turbance. It  is  evident,  in  view  of  the  extent  to  which  the 
nervous  system  controls  the  movements  of  the  body,  that  any 
injury  to  the  nerves  from  accidents  or  disease  is  likely  to  pro- 
duce deformations  and  other  abnormal  and  pathological  bodily 
states.  But  if  the  mind  still  remains  normal,  these  states  come 
under  the  head  of  the  pathology  of  the  body. 

Types  of  Mental  Inpirhity 

Let  US  now  turn  to  the  different  kinds  of  mental  infirmity. 
Many  classifications  of  them  have  been  made,  and  in  the  present 
stage  of  the  study  of  the  subject  it  is  difficult  to  devise  one  which 
is  satisfactory  from  the  scientific  point  of  view.  But  for  our  own 
practical  purposes  the  following  one  will  do  well  enough,  even 
though  the  divisions  in  it  are  by  no  means  entirely  mutually 
exclusive,  and  the  classification  can  be  criticized  in  other  ways 
from  a  scientific  point  of  view. 

1.  Amentia. 

2.  Dementia. 

3.  Insanity. 

4.  Neuroses. 

5.  Alcoholism,  drug  habits,  etc.,  due  to  abnormal  appetites. 
The  difference  between  the  first  two  t3rpes  is  that  in  amentia 

we  have  a  state  of  subnormal  cerebral  development,  that  is  to 
say,  the  brain  never  develops  fully,  so  that  the  mind  is  always 
seriously  deficient;  while  in  dementia  there  is  a  state  of  cerebral 
dissolution,  that  is  to  say,  after  the  brain  has  developed  it 
degenerates,  thus  giving  rise  to  mental  deficiency.    These  types 


of  mental  deficiency  have  been  defined  by  two  authorities  in  the 
following  words.  Bolton  defines  amentia  as^^ihe  mental  condition 
of  patients  suffering  from  deficient  neuronic  development.*^  He 
defines  dementia  as  *Uhe  mental  condition  of  patients  who  suffer 
from  a  permanent  psychic  disability  due  to  neuronic  degeneration 
following  insufficient  durability"  ^  Tredgold  defines  amentia  as 
"a  state  of  restricted  potentiality  for,  or  arrest  of,  cerebral  de- 
velopment, in  consequence  of  which  the  person  affected  is  in- 
capable at  maturity  of  so  adapting  himself  to  his  environment  or 
to  the  requirements  of  the  commimity  as  to  maintain  existence 
independently  of  external  support."  Dementia  he  defines  as 
"the  result  of  neuronic  degeneration."  * 

Amentia  and  Mental  Deficiency 

Amentia  is  the  condition  of  those  who  have  been  variously 
called  the  feeble-minded,  the  imbeciles,  the  idiots,  etc.  These 
terms  have  by  this  time  acquired  more  or  less  definite  meanings, 
which  will  be  indicated  presently.  Much  study  has  been  devoted 
to  the  ph3rsical  characters  of  Uiose  afflicted  with  amentia  as  a 
result  of  which  a  vast  amount  of  data  has  been  accumulated, 
showing  that,  whatever  the  degree  of  amentia,  it  is  always 
based  upon  a  brain  which  has  not  developed  fully,  and  in  many 
cases  is  accompanied  by  other  abnormal  physical  phenomena. 

Speaking  of  these  abnormalities  in  the  more  serious  form  of 
amentia,  Sherlock  says: — *'If  one  observes  a  group  of  idiots,  one 
finds  that  they  display  bodily  abnormalities  in  great  variety  and  in 
much  higher  proportion  than  would  a  group  of  persons  of  corre- 
sponding social  status  and  of  sound  mind.  Poor  general  develop- 
ment; deformities  of  head,  trunk  and  limbs;  irregularities  of  muscular 
action,  e. ;.,  paralysis,  spasm,  or  inco-ordination;  defects  of  the  organs 
of  ^)ecial  sense  and  of  speech,  are  common.  After  death  the  viscera 
may  be  fo\md  to  be  of  less  than  normal  weight  and  to  present 
structural  differences  from  the  organs  of  healthy  persons.  The  brain 
in  particular  may  display,  in  some  cases  to  the  unaided  eye  and  in 
some  cases  under  the  microso^,  wide  departures  from  the  standard 
of  normality  which  anatomy  has  provided  us  with."  * 

^  J.  S.  Bolton,  The  Brain  in  HeaUh  and  Disease^  London,  1914,  p.  137. 
'A.  F.  Tredgold,  Mental  Deficiency  (Amentia)  ^  2d.  ed.,  New  York,  1914, 
pp.  8  and  9. 
*  E.  B.  Sherlock,  The  Feeble-Minded^  London,  191 1,  pp.  92-3. 


Tredgold  characterizes  the  physical  basis  of  amentia  as  follows: — 
''The  essential  basis  of  amentia  is  an  imperfect  or  arrested  develop- 
ment of  the  cerebral  neurones,  a  fact  which  is  now  established  beyond 
doubt  by  careful  microscopical  examinations  conducted  by  numerous 
competent  observers."  * 

Bolton  characterizes  the  physical  basis  still  more  q)ecifically.  He 
says  that  in  amentia  there  is  ''a  subnormal  development  of  the 
cortex  cerebri  which,  except  in  the  severer  grades,  is  limited  to  the 
pyramidal  or  outer  cell-lamina  of  the  cortex;  and,  from  that  of 
morbid  anatomy,  in  possessing  an  average  brain  weight  which  is 
below  that  of  the  normal  adult  average,  in  association  with  normal 
cerebral  membranes,  vesseb  and  intracranial  fluid."  * 

These  dtations  must  suffice  as  indicating  the  physical  basis 
of  amentia.'  The  discussion  of  its  causes  we  sh2Lll  take  up 
presently.  Before  doing  so  let  us  consider  the  different  kinds  of 
amentia.  We  can  classify  amentia  first  with  respect  to  degree. 
There  is  much  variation  in  the  degree  of  amentia,  ranging  all 
the  way  from  a  mentality  not  very  much  below  the  normal 
down  to  an  almost  total  absence  of  mentality.  In  fact,  the- 
oretically the  range  is  from  utter  lack  of  mentality  to  normal 
mentality.  But  aside  from  a  few  of  the  worst  monstrosities, 
which  may  be  totally  lacking  in  mentality,  there  are  no  human 
beings  that  are  entirely  deprived  of  mentality,  while  there  is  a 
certain  range  of  variation  around  the  average  mentality  which 
is  r^arded  as  normal 

It  has  become  customary  to  classify  those  suffering  from 
amentia  into  three  main  classes,  namely,  the  idiots,  the  imbeciles, 
and  the  feeble-minded.  The  degree  of  mental  deficiency  of  each 
of  these  groups  in  relation  to  the  others  is  indicated  by  the  age 
grouping  into  which  they  have  been  divided  by  mental  tests. 
Since  psychological  tests  of  mentality  have  been  introduced  it 
has  become  customary  to  classify  as  idiots  those  who  display  a 
mentality  like  that  of  infants  from  one  or  three  years  of  age,  as 
imbeciles  those  who  display  a  mentality  like  Uiat  of  children 
from  three  to  seven  years  of  age,  and  as  feeble-minded  those  who 
display  a  mentality  like  that  of  children  from  seven  to  twelve 

'  Op.  cU.,  p.  74.  *  Op.  cit.y  p.  161. 

'  In  numerous  neurological  works  and  journals,  and  especially  in  the  files 
of  Brain,  may  be  found  an  abundance  of  material  on  the  physical  basis  of 
amentia  and  other  forms  of  mental  infirmity. 


years  of  age.  It  goes  without  saying  that  the  adults  of  deficient 
mentality  cannot  be  exactly  like  children.  Physically  they  have 
matured  and  diflfer  greatly  from  children.  Consequently  they 
must  differ  somewhat  mentally  also,  since  the  physical  develop- 
ment is  bound  to  react  upon  the  mental  condition.  For  example, 
the  development  of  the  sexual  nature  is  bound  to  arouse  feelings 
which  the  child  cannot  have.  But  in  most  mental  traits  these 
mental  defectives  are  like  children.  This  is  especially  true  of  the 
intellect,  which  in  its  lack  of  knowledge  and  limited  capacity  is 
like  that  of  the  child. 

It  is  impossible  to  draw  any  hard  and  fast  lines  between  these 
different  types  of  mental  defectives,  since  they  merge  into  each 
other  imperceptibly.  Generally  speaking,  the  idiots  are  those 
that  can  be  taught  nothing,  or  can  be  taught  only  to  help  them- 
selves a  little.  Thus  the  lowest  grade  of  idiot,  sometimes  called 
the  profound  idiot,  is  incapable  of  performing  any  service  for 
himself  or  any  one  else,  and  has  to  be  cared  for  in  every  respect. 
The  higher  grade  of  idiot,  sometimes  called  the  superficial  idiot, 
can  be  taught  to  help  himself  a  little.  Thus  he  may  learn  to 
feed  and  to  dress  himself.  But  he  is  incapable  of  performing 
any  service  for  any  one  else,  and  of  acquiring  even  the  rudiments 
of  an  education.  The  idiots  are  sometimes  classified  as  the 
apathetic  and  the  excitable,  according  to  the  temperamental 
characteristics  which  they  display.  The  apathetic  are  apparently 
incapable  of  experiencing  any  strong  feeling,  while  the  excitable 
sometimes  display  such  feelings,  as,  for  example,  that  of  anger. 

It  is  obvious  that  the  idiots  form  a  group  of  helpless  and 
totally  dependent  persons  who  must  be  cared  for  tluroughout 
their  lives  by  their  families  or  by  the  commimity.  Owing  to 
their  subnormal  cerebral  development,  it  is  hopeless  to  expect 
them  to  improve  under  any  sort  of  physical  or  mental  treatment. 
In  every  well  regulated  commimity  provision  is  made  for  their 
permanent  support  and  guardianship. 

The  imbeciles  display  greater  variation  amongst  themselves. 
The  lowest  grade  can  help  themselves  to  a  certain  extent,  and 
may  be  trained  in  very  simple  manual  occupations,  but  are 
capable  of  very  little  if  any  mental  training.  Passing  up  through 
the  middle  to  the  high  grade  of  imbeciles,  the  capacity  for  train- 
ing in  industrial  occupations  increases  considerably  while  a  cer- 
tain amoimt  of  mental  training  becomes  possible.    But  the  in- 


dustrial  and  mental  acquirements  of  the  imbecile  can  never  be  so 
great  as  to  permit  of  any  degree  of  independence,  so  that  the 
imbecile  should  alwa3rs  remain  under  close  supervision  and  pro- 
tection. Also  it  is  hopeless,  as  in  the  case  of  the  idiot,  to  expect  a 
cure,  and  the  most  that  can  be  hoped  for  is  to  develc^  a  capacity 
and  mentality  which  may  approximate  that  of  a  child  of  seven. 

The  feeble-minded  form  the  highest  group  of  the  mentally 
deficient.  Goddard  has  named  them  morons  which  is  perhi^ 
a  better  name  for  them  than  the  term  feeble-minded,  since  this 
term  is  sometimes  applied  to  all  those  who  are  mentally  deficient 
Tredgold  has  suggested  that  this  type  of  mental  d^dency  be 
called  morosis.  The  morons  are  usually  divided  into  the  low, 
middle,  and  high  grade  t3rpes.  Many  of  them,  especially  of  the 
higher  grades,  are  fairly  normal  in  their  mental  processes,  so  far 
as  these  processes  go.  But  their  mentality  is  limited,  and  approx- 
imates at  best  that  of  a  child  of  twelve.  With  special  training 
they  may  acquire  considerable  skill  in  manual  and  industrial 
occupations,  so  as  to  become  fairly  productive  and  useful  in- 
dividuals. But  owing  to  their  limited  mental  ability,  they  are 
hardly  capable  of  meeting  the  more  complex  situations  of  life, 
and  are  in  danger  of  being  imposed  upon  and  mistreated.  Fur- 
thermore, their  mentality  is  likely  to  degenerate  and  give  way 
under  severe  stress,  sudi  as  excitement,  over-stimulation,  or 
fllness;  so  that  they  are  in  danger  of  becoming  more  deficient 
mentally,  and  in  some  cases  of  becoming  insane.  So  that  the 
morons  also  need  a  certain  amoimt  of  custodial  care.  It  is  hope- 
less to  expect  to  cure  them  in  the  sense  of  developing  their 
mentality  beyond  the  limits  stated  above,  but  under  proper 
supervision  they  can  be  protected  from  misfortune  and  can  lead 
fairly  useful  lives. 

The  preceding  discussion  has  given  a  brief  description  of  the 
characteristics  of  the  mentally  deficient  or  aments,  as  they  are 
sometimes  called,  which  tend  to  imfit  them  for  normal  social 
life  and  to  make  them  dependent.  Unfortimately  there  is  not 
the  space  to  describe  them  at  greater  length.  For  example,  it 
would  be  interesting  and  valuable,  in  connection  with  what  has 
already  been  said  with  regard  to  the  physical  basis  of  mental 
deficiency,  to  discuss  further  the  physical  characteristics  of  the 
aments.  Some  of  their  physical  abnormalities  undoubtedly  are 
causes  of  their  mental  deficiency.    Thus  in  the  case  of  the  mi- 


crocq>halic  and  hydrocephalic  types,  the  mental  deficiency  is 
doubtless  due,  in  the  one  case,  to  the  smallness  of  the  skull 
which  has  restricted  the  growth  of  the  brain,  and,  in  the  other 
case,  to  the  accumulation  of  fluid  in  the  craniimi  which  has 
restricted  the  growth  of  the  brain  or  interferes  with  its  proper 
functioning.  In  similar  fashion  the  mental  deficiency  of  the 
cretin  is  doubtless  due  to  the  cretinous  condition.  In  the  cretin, 
owing  to  a  defect  of  the  thyroid  gland,  which  has  much  to  do 
with  growth,  the  body  fails  to  grow  beyond  a  more  or  less  in- 
fantile state.  Probably  as  a  direct  result  of  this,  there  is  also 
subnormal  cerebral  development,  so  that  the  cretin  is  very 
deficient  mentally. 

On  the  other  hand,  in  the  case  of  certain  other  physical  abnor- 
malities the  mental  deficiency  probably  or  certainly  is  not  due 
to  the  ph3rsical  abnormality.  For  example,  some  writers  dis- 
tinguish Mongolian,  negroid,  and  American  Indian  types,  be- 
cause of  resemblances  between  the  facial  traits  of  these  aments 
and  the  ethnic  types.  It  is  obvious  that  this  is  a  very  superficial 
basis  for  classification,  and  that  the  mental  deficiency  could  not 
be  due  to  these  external  physical  characteristics.  In  the  plegic 
types  of  mental  deficiency,  where  the  ament  is  suffering  from 
some  form  of  paral3rsis,  the  mental  infirmity  is  not  necessarily 
due  to  the  paral3rsis,  but  may  be  a  common  result  of  an  abnormal 
and  pathological  condition  of  the  nervous  system. 

Dementu  and  Insanity 

Let  us  now  turn  to  the  discussion  of  dementia  and  insanity. 
These  two  forms  of  mental  infirmity  must  be  studied  together, 
because  they  are  in  large  part  if  not  entirely  identical.  Dementia 
we  have  already  defined  as  due  to  neuronic  degeneration.  In- 
sanity is  a  rather  vague  and  therefore  difficult  word  to  define. 
It  obviously  suggests  the  absence  of  sanity,  which  is  an  abnormal 
mental  state.  But  if  it  includes  all  abnormal  mental  states  it 
must  include  amentia,  dementia,  etc. 

Tredgold  defines  insanity  as  "the  clinical  manifestation  of  a  dis- 
tiurbance  or  perversion  of  neuronic  function,  which  may  or  may  not 
terminate  in  degeneration."  ^    According  to  this  definition  insanity 

*  Op.  cU.f  p.  9. 


is  a  derangement  of  thinking  and  conduct  due  to  a  pathological  state 
of  the  nervous  system  which  may  lead  to  a  degeneration  of  the  nerv- 
ous system  which  would  give  rise  to  dementia.  Bolton  defines  as  a 
necessary  precursor  of  dementia  what  he  calls  "mental  confusion/' 
which  includes  ''the  mental  s3m[iptoms  which  occur  in  association 
with  certain  pathological  states  of  the  cortical  neurones  which  may 
be  followed  by  the  recovery  or  by  a  more  or  less  extensive  dissolution 
of  these  elements."  ^  Both  of  these  authorities  apparently  think  that 
insanity  may  exist  without  dementia  but  that  insanity  may  develop 
into  dementia.  In  this  case  also,  it  goes  without  saying,  the  in- 
sanity still  remains;  for  it  is  the  name  for  the  functional  disturbance 
which  arises  as  a  result  of  a  pathological  neural  state,  which  may 
consist  of  neuronic  degeneration  or  may  be  merely  a  more  or  less 
temporary  neural  perversion.  It  is  a  tedmical  neurological  question 
as  to  whether  or  not  neuronic  degeneration  always  is  present  in  a 
case  of  insanity.  Further  research  will  help  to  decide  this  with 
finality.  It  may  even  be  that  mental  states  sometimes  exist  which 
simulate  insanity  and  yet  have  no  neuropathological  basis.  This 
might  happen  where,  owing  to  a  very  peculiar  environment  and 
training,  an  individual  had  acquired  ideas  and  modes  of  conduct 
varying  very  greatly  from  those  of  the  normal  sane  |>erson,  so  as  to 
give  the  appearance  of  insanity.  But  this  would  be  a  purely  "  fimc- 
tional "  derangement  without  any  anatomical  and  physiological  basis, 
and  woidd  not  be  a  case  of  insanity  in  the  strict  sense  of  the  word. 

There  are  many  forms  of  insanity,  so  that  it  will  be  impossible 
to  mention  them  all  here.  In  fact,  insanity  may  manifest  itself 
in  the  form  of  a  serious  derangement  of  any  part  of  the  mental 
makeup.  For  example,  there  are  the  forms  of  insanity  which 
have  been  grouped  in  recent  years,  following  the  classificaticHi 
of  Kraepelin,  under  the  types  of  melancholia,  and  maniacal- 
depressive  insanity.  These  types  manifest  themselves  under  the 
forms  of  depression  and  profound  melancholia,  and  various 
maniacal  forms.'  Paranoia  is  a  type  of  insanity  in  which  the 
afi9icted  person  appears  to  be  ludd  on  most  subjects,  but  dis- 
pla3rs  more  or  less  systematized  delusions  on  certain  subjects. 
The  different  kinds  of  insanity  may  be  classified  with  respect  to 
their  causes  and  the  phenomena  with  which  they  are  associated. 
Such  a  classification  is  certain  to  cut  across  a  classification  on  the 
basis  of  the  form  which  the  insanity  takes.   For  example,  there  is 

*  Op.  cU.,  pp.  138-9. 

*  See  E.  Kraepelin,  Lectures  on  Clinical  Psychiatry,  New  York,  1913. 


the  insanity  which  sometimes  arises  in  connection  with  child 
birth.  There  is  the  insanity  which  arises  as  a  result  of  extreme 
alcoholism,  morphinism,  etc.  There  is  the  insanity  which  is 
associated  sometimes  with  the  neuroses  which  will  be  discussed 
later.  Insanity  may  arise  as  a  result  of  a  traumatic  lesion  or  of 
a  disease. 

In  similar  fashion  there  are  various  kinds  of  dementia.  For 
example,  there  are  the  kinds  of  dementia  connected  with  the 
age  periods.^  Dementia  praecox  or  premature  dementia  is  the 
kind  which  frequently  arises  in  childhood,  adolescence,  or  early 
adult  life.  There  is  mature  dementia  which  arises  during  adult 
life.  There  is  presenile  dementia  which  arises  in  connection 
with  the  climacteric.  There  is  senile  dementia  which  arises 
dtuing  old  age  and  sometimes  earlier.  Then  there  is  the  fatal 
dementia  paralytica  or  general  paral3rsis  which  may  come  at 
different  periods  of  life,  and  which  in  course  of  time  blots  out  all 
mental  activity.* 

Insanity  and  dementia  must  inevitably  lead  to  a  great  many 
pathological  social  phenomena  in  the  form  of  dependency, 
broken  homes,  etc.  In  the  first  place,  they  sometimes  take  forms 
in  which  the  victim  becomes  dangerous  to  others  by  committing 
violent  and  other  criminal  acts.  In  such  cases  it  becomes  nec- 
essary to  put  the  insane  and  dements  imder  restraint.  But  even 
when  not  dangerous  to  others  the  insane  and  demented  are  more 
or  less  imfit  for  normal  social  life,  and  incapable  of  caring  for 
themselves.  So  that  they  have  to  be  under  care  and  supervision, 
and  in  most  cases  are  entirely  dependent. 

The  Neuroses 

The  neuroses  are  more  or  less  general  neuropathic  states  which 
may  or  may  not  accompany  the  pathological  mental  states  which 
we  have  been  discussing.  Four  of  these  neuroses  have  now  been 
distinguished  and  described,  though  their  nature  is  still  rather 
obscure.  These  are  epilepsy,  neurasthenia,  h3^teria,  and 

Epilepsy  was  the  first  neurosis  to  be  distinguished  and  has 
long  been  recognized  as  a  nervous  disease.    It  manifests  itself 

» C/.  J.  S.  Bolton,  op.  cU. 

*  Cf,  R.  H.  Cole,  Mental  Diseases^  London,  1913. 


in  various  fonns.  In  its  milder  forms  it  may  involve  only  a 
momentary  loss  of  consciousness^  or  a  feeling  of  giddiness,  or 
even  a  fainting  spell.  In  its  severer  forms  it  involves  convulsive 
fits,  usually  accompanied  by  loss  of  consciousness  and  various 
distressing  experiences.  The  life  of  the  epilq)tic  is  frequently  one 
of  mental  deterioration  and  degeneration.  Even  though  q)ilepsy 
has  been  long  known,  its  causes  still  are  obscure.  It  has  been 
suggested  that  it  is  due  to  an  imperfect  or  an  enfeebled  condition 
of  certain  nerve  centers  which  gives  rise  to  an  insufficient  or  an 
ill-r^ulated  supply  of  nervous  energy,  which  is  given  off  ir- 
r^;ularly  in  an  explosive  fashion.^  But  whatever  its  causes  may 
be,  it  varies  considerably  in  its  effects.  In  some  cases  it  causes 
its  victims  little  inccmvenience.  It  has,  in  fact,  been  true  that 
some  persons  who  have  achieved  a  great  deal  have  been  at  least 
sUghtly  q)ileptic.  But  in  many  cases  epilepsy  causes  its  victims 
much  injury.  Sometimes  it  leads  the  epileptic  to  commit  violent 
and  other  criminal  acts,  thus  making  it  necessary  to  put  him 
under  restraint  In  other  cases  the  epileptic  is  not  dangerous 
to  others;  but  on  account  of  the  nature  and  frequency  of  his 
fits  and  the  other  manifestations  of  his  disease,  he  is  able  to 
accomplish  very  little  or  nothing,  and  thus  becomes  i>artly  or 
wholly  dependent.  Consequently  there  are  many  epileptics  now 
being  cared  for  in  private  homes  and  in  institutions. 

Neturasthenia  is  the  neurosis  in  which  there  is  a  general  state 
of  nervous  debility.  Many  of  those  who  are  said  to  be  suffering 
from  nervous  prostration  doubtless  are  neurasthenics.  Its  exact 
natvire  and  causes  are  very  obsoure,  but  its  effects  are  evident 
in  many  cases.  When  Uie  neurasthenia  is  complete,  it  in- 
capacitates the  neurasthenic  from  doing  any  work  whatever. 
In  other  cases  it  lessens  considerably  the  working  capacity.  In 
some  cases  it  probably  is  one  of  the  causes  of  mendicancy, 
vagrancy,  and  criminality. 

H3rsteria  is  a  neurosis  very  difficult  to  define,  because  it  mani- 
fests itself  in  so  many  forms.  Probably  usually,  if  not  always,  it 
involves  a  dissociation  of  some  of  the  mental  states  from  the 
rest.  In  many  cases  this  dissociation  leads  to  confficts  within  the 
personality  which  cause  much  mental  distress,  and  which  in 

^  C/.  M.  W.  Barr,  Mental  Defectives,  Philadelphia,  1904,  chap.  X.  This 
is  obviously  an  extremely  vague  and  inacciuate  statement.  But  at  present 
it  is  impoesible  to  state  the  causes  of  epilepsy  more  precisely. 


their  more  serious  forms  may  lead  to  insanity  and  acts  of  violence 
In  some  cases  it  leads  to  amnesia  in  certain  parts  of  the  memory, 
and  in  a  few  cases  has  led  to  multiple  personality.  In  its  milder 
forms  hysteria  may  not  cause  the  h3rsteric  much  inconvenience. 
But  in  its  more  severe  manifestations  it  may  lead  to  the  forcible 
restraint  of  the  h3rsteric,  or  may  imfit  him  to  so  great  an  extent 
for  work  and  for  normal  social  life  as  to  make  him  partly  or 
completely  dependent. 

Psychasthenia  is  the  name  given  by  Janet  to  the  ctuious 
mental  states  called  the  "phobias."  A  person  suffering  from  a 
phobia  has  an  abnormally  great  fear  of  something  which  need 
not  be  feared  at  all  or  as  much  as  the  psychasthenic  fears  it. 
Thus  he  may  suffer  from  agoraphobia  or  the  fear  of  open  spaces, 
or  from  claustrophobia  or  the  fear  of  closed  spaces,  or  from  P3rro- 
hobia  or  the  fear  of  fire,  etc.  In  its  milder  forms  psychasthenia 
may  not  inconvenience  its  victim  very  much.  But  in  its  severer 
forms  it  may  dominate  the  life  of  its  victim,  and  in  some  cases 
it  leads  to  insanity.  Consequently  some  persons  are  rendered 
dependent  by  this  neurosis. 

Abnormal  Habits 

The  last  group  of  pathological  mental  states  in  our  classifi- 
cation is  that  represented  by  such  abnormal  habits  as  alcoholism, 
morphinism,  and  other  drug  habits.  There  are  a  great  many  of 
these  habits.  Whenever  a  person  uses  a  narcotic  or  stimulant  to 
an  excessive  degree,  such  a  habit  exists.  Consequently  there 
can  be  as  many  of  these  habits  as  there  are  narcotics  and 
stimulants.  Thus  the  habit  may  consist  in  the  excessive  use  of 
tea,  coffee,  tobacco,  alcohol,  morphine,  opium,  cocaine,  chloral, 
belladonna,  hashish,  bromides,  chloroform,  ether,  etc.  It  goes 
without  saying  that  the  habit  itself  is  not  the  mental  disease. 
Nor  does  it  necessarily  indicate  the  presence  of  a  mental  disease. 
This  depends  upon  how  the  habit  was  acquired.  A  person  may 
be  engaged  in  an  occupation  in  which  the  str^  upon  him  is  so 
great  that  he  is  under  strong  temptation  to  indulge  in  stimulants.' 
Or,  owing  to  disease  or  accident,  he  may  be  suffering  from  a  great' 
deal  of  pain,  which  gives  him  strong  inducement  to  indulge  in 
narcotics.  Or  there  may  not  be  even  this  much  ph3rsiological 
and  neural  basis  for  acquiring  one  of  these  habits,  but  the  victim 


of  the  habit  may  be  in  an  environment  in  which  there  is  great 
social  pressure  to  indulge  in  the  use  of  one  of  these  injurious  sub- 
stances. In  any  one  of  these  ways  and  of  many  others  which 
might  be  mentioned,  a  person  may  acquire  one  of  these  habits 
without  having  a  previous  morbid  mental  basis:  But  after 
acquiring  the  habit  the  excessive  use  of  the  stimulant  or  narcotic 
may  and  in  many  cases  does  cause  a  pathological  neiural  con- 
dition, which  in  turn  gives  rise  to  a  mental  disease.  But  this  is 
not  necessarily  the  case,  since  some  persons  indulge  heavily  in 
these  noxious  substances  without  becoming  mentally  diseased, 
however  much  physical  injury  it  may  do  them. 

In  other  cases  the  acquiring  of  the  habit  is  preceded  by  a 
morbid  mental  and  neiural  condition  which  proves  to  be  a  good 
basis  upon  which  the  habit  may  grow.  Just  what  this  condition 
is  we  cannot  tell  exactly.  But  presiunably  the  nerve  centers  are 
sensitive  in  such  a  way  or  to  such  a  degree  that  the  stimulant 
or  the  narcotic  gives  an  unusual  amoimt  of  satisfaction.  Con- 
sequently, when  the  subject  makes  the  acquaintance  of  the 
stimulant  or  narcotic,  it  arouses  in  him  a  desire  and  craving  far 
exceeding  that  of  the  normal  person,  who  may  desire  it  only  to  a 
moderate  degree  or  not  at  all.  Failure  to  overcome  this  craving 
results  in  the  establishment  of  the  habit,  which  is  certain  to 
increase  the  morbid  mental  and  neural  condition  of  the  victim 
of  the  habit.  This  is  the  true  psychiatric  type  of  inebriate  and 
''dope  fiend,"  namely,  the  person  who  has  acquired  one  of  these 
habits  because  of  a  pre-existing  morbid  state.  This  state  prob- 
ably varies  considerably  in  different  cases,  and  frequently  re- 
sembles the  basis  of  the  neuroses,  insanity,  and  the  other  forms  of 
mental  infirmity.  * 

Thus  the  pathological  mental  states  referred  to  in  our  classi- 
fication of  pathological  mental  states  are  those  which  in  some 
cases  give  rise  to  these  abnormal  habits  and  in  other  cases  result 
from  these  habits.  The  reason  for  classifying  them  together  is 
not  neurological,  for  in  a  strictly  scientific  classification  they 
would  be  distributed  through  several  classes.  But  for  social 
reasons  it  is  convenient  to  class  together  the  pathological  states 
which  give  rise  to  or  result  from  these  injurious  habits.  These 
habits  do  a  great  deal  of  harm  in  various  ways.  The  stimulants 
frequently  lead  to  acts  of  violence  and  other  criminal  acts.  The 
narcotics  also  sometimes  lead  to  crime,  though  usually  of  a 


different  type.  Excessive  use  of  any  one  of  these  noxious  sub- 
stances for  a  long  time  is  almost  certain  to  wreck  the  health  of 
the  victim  of  the  habit  and  to  destroy  his  usef  ulness,  thus  lead- 
ing to  dependency. 

The  Extent  of  Mental  iNTiRiiiTy 

It  is  very  difficult  to  make  an  estimate,  which  is  at  all  accurate, 
of  the  niunber  of  the  mentally  infirm  in  this  coimtry.  The 
Census  Bureau  has  reported  that  on  January  i,  1910,  there 
were  eniunerated  187,791  insane  in  hospitals,  and  20,731  feeble- 
minded (idiots,  imbeciles,  and  morons)  in  institutions.^  It  is 
obvious  that  the  insane  are  much  more  likely  to  reach  an  in- 
stitution than  the  aments,  either  because  the  ament  is  less  likely 
to  be  recognized  as  such,  or  because  he  can  be  tolerated  more 
easily  outside  of  an  institution  than  a  dement.  So  that  the 
figure  for  the  feeble-minded  in  institutions  doubtless  falls  far 
short  of  the  actual  niunber  of  aments  in  this  country,  while  the 
figure  for  the  insane  in  hospitals  must  be  considerably  below  the 
niunber  of  insane  and  dements  in  this  country. 

The  most  careful  census,  probably,  which  has  ever  been  taken 
of  the  mentally  infirm  in  any  countiy  was  a  census  made  recently 
by  a  British  Royal  Commission.  After  gathering  all  the  avail- 
able information  this  conmiission  estimated  that  there  were  in 
England  and  Wales  on  January  i,  1906,  126,827  insane  and 
dements,  or  3.66  to  every  1000  of  population;  and  138,529 
aments,  or  4.03  to  every  1000  of  population.  It  is  interesting  to 
note  that  the  imbeciles  greatly  outniunber  the  idiots,  while  the 
morons  greatly  outniunber  both  imbeciles  and  idiots.  There 
were  8,654  idiots,  25,096  imbeciles,  and  104,779  morons. 

Furthermore,  there  is  much  reason  to  believe  that  in  addition 
to  the  insane,  dements,  and  aments,  there  is  a  much  larger 
number  of  the  so-called  '' borderline"  cases.  These  are  the 
individuals  who  are  slightly  deficient  or  morbid  mentally,  but 
not  enough  so  to  be  classed  among  the  mentally  infirm.  There 
is  little  doubt  that  many  of  these  individuals,  owing  to  the 
economic  inefficiency  and  social  inadaptability  which  arise  out 
of  these  slight  mental  defects,  become  paupers,  vagabonds,  and 

'  Insane  and  PeeUe-minded  in  InstUuUonSy  1910  ^  Bui.  119,  Washington, 


criminals  of  certain  types  in  our  social  system  which  is  not  yet 
wdl  enough  organized  to  provide  suitable  positions  in  life  for 
these  individuals.^  Later  in  this  book  we  shall  discuss  the  prob- 
lem of  making  suitable  provision  for  these  individuals. 

Assuming  that  conditions  in  this  country  with  respect  to 
mental  infirmity  are  the  same  as  in  England,  there  are,  on  the 
basis  of  a  peculation  of  100,000,000  in  191 5,  at  least  350,000 
insane  and  dements,  and  400,000  aments  in  this  coimtry,  to 
say  nothing  of  the  ''borderline"  cases.*  This  estimate,  though 
crude  and  perhaps  rather  inaccurate,  gives  some  indication  of 
the  gravity  of  the  problem  of  mental  infirmity  in  this  country. 

^  For  a  discussion  of  these  "borderline"  cases  see  £.  Kraepelin,  op.  cU,, 
lectures  29  and  30  on  "Morbid  Personalities"  and  "Morbid  Criminals  and 

'  Some  of  the  previous  estimates  of  the  number  of  aments  in  this  country 
are  indicated  in  the  following  dtation:  —  "A  census  of  the  feeble-minded  b 
very  desirable,  as  the  present  number  in  the  United  States  is  unknown. 
The  enumeration  of  1890  gave  95,000  —  undoubtedly  considerably  less  than 
the  actual  nimiber.  In  1904  the  Bureau  of  the  Census  estimated  that  there 
were  1 50,000  feeble-minded  in  the  United  States.  The  recent  application  of 
definite  tests  so  as  to  make  possible  a  more  rigid  classification  of  the  various 
grades  of  mentality  indicates  a  larger  percentage  of  feeble-mindedness  than 
was  formeriy  conceded.  .  .  .  Goddard  estimates  that  there  are  300,000 
feeble-minded  in  the  United  States.  [The  Survey^  Mar.  2, 191 2]  A  recent 
estimate  of  the  feeble-minded  in  New  Jersey  showed  6,063  cases  —  but  the 
census  was  probably  not  entirely  complete.  But  at  the  same  rate  there 
would  be  approximately  335,000  in  the  United  States.  Perhaps  the  pro- 
portion of  feeble-minded  in  the  relatively  new  communities  is  somewhat 
less  than  that  in  the  remainder  of  the  United  States,  yet  there  can  be  no 
doubt  that  the  total  number  is  considerably  above  300,000.  (G.  B. 
Mangold,  Problems  of  Child  Welfare,  New  York,  191 4,  pp.  206-7.) 


Statistical  investigations  in  the  United  States  by  Spahr,  the  U.  S.  Bureau  of 
Labor,  Nearing,  Streightoff,  the  U.  S.  Census  Bureau,  etc  —  The  dia- 
;bibution  of  property  income  —  The  eiqaendituFe  of  property  inoome  — 
The  concentration  of  wealth  —  Statistical  investigations  in  Great 
Britain  by  Money,  Mallock,  etc  —  Comparison  of  the  United  States 
and  Great  Britain  —  Appendix  on  national  wealth  and  income. 

It  is  indeed  difficult  to  arrive  at  anything  like  an  accurate 
estimate  of  the  distribution  of  wealth  and  of  incomes.  Little 
attempt  to  do  so  has  been  made  by  the  agencies  which  have  the 
facilities  for  securing  the  necessary  information.  However,  the 
available  data  furnish  us  the  basis  for  at  least  a  rough  approxi- 
mation of  such  an  estimate.  And  even  such  an  approximation 
is  of  the  greatest  value  for  our  purposes.  In  fact,  for  some  pur- 
poses it  is  almost  as  valuable  as  an  accurate  estimate.  For 
example,  if  we  find  that  there  is  a  large  niunber  of  families 
whose  incomes  are  below  a  rate  so  small  that  it  is  impossible  for 
them  to  save  anything  or  more  than  a  very  little,  it  is  obvious 
that  we  have  here  a  fertile  field  for  the  growth  of  dependency. 
For  as  soon  as  or  very  soon  after  such  a  family  is  afflicted  by 
such  a  misfortune  as  disease,  accident,  death  of  the  breadwinner, 
etc.,  it  is  bound  to  become  partially  or  entirely  dependent.  I 
shall  therefore  summarize  briefly  the  most  significant  data  for 
our  study  available  from  the  United  States,  and  some  of  the  cor- 
responding data  from  Great  Britain  for  purposes  of  comparison. 


The  first  attempt  worthy  of  note  to  estimate  the  distribution 
of  wealth  and  of  incomes  in  the  United  States  was  made  by 
Spahr  in  his  work  published  in  1896.^  In  order  to  arrive  at  an 
estimate  of  the  distribution  of  property  in  the  United  States  he 

^  Chas.  B.  Spahr,  An  Essay  on  the  Present  DistriMion  of  WeaUk  in  the 
United  States,  New  York,  1896. 



took  the  probate  records  of  estates  from  the  surrogate  courts 
in  New  York  City  and  in  certain  other  parts  of  New  Yoik  State 
tot  the  three  months  ending  December,  1892.  On  the  basb  of 
these  records  he  estimated  the  distribution  of  property  in  the 
country  at  large.  Inasmuch  as  the  New  York  records  included 
both  wcbaxk  and  rural  districts,  he  believed  that  they  represented 
quite  accurately  the  distribution  in  the  country  as  a  whde. 
The  final  outcome  was  his  estimate  of  the  distribution  of  prop- 
erty in  the^Jnited  States  in  1890,  which  he  stated  in  the  following 
table:  —  ! 


Stat]^,  1890 

ITie      Wealthy      Classes,  — 

$50,000  and  over 125,000    $33,000,000,000    $264,000 

The    Well-to-do    Classes,  — 

$50,000  to  $5,000 i,37S,ooo      23,000,000,000        16,000 

The       Middle       Classes,  — 

$5,000  to  $500 5,500,000       8,200,000,000         1,500 

The       Poorer       Classes,  — 

Under  $500 5,500,000  800,000,000  150 

12,500,000    $65,000,000,000    $    5,200 


Spahr's  final  conclusion  with  regard  to  the  distribution  of 
property  in  the  United  States  is  as  follows:  —  "Less  than  half 
the  fanoilies  in  America  are  propertyless;  nevertheless,  seven- 
eighths  of  the  families  hold  but  one-eighth  of  the  national  wealth, 
while  one  per  cent  of  the  families  hold  more  than  the  remaining 
ninety-nine." » 

Turning  to  the  problem  of  the  distribution  of  incomes  Spahr 
first  estimated  the  total  national  income.  The  income  from 
labor  he  estimated  very  roughly  from  various  labor  and  wage 
statistics.  The  income  from  capital  he  estimated  from  the  figure 
for  the  aggregate  wealth  of  the  nation,  given  in  the  table  quoted 
above  as  sixty-five  billions  of  dollars,  by  substracting  from  it  the 
non-productive  wealth  (certain  kinds  of  personal  property), 
and  then  computing  interest  upon  the  rest  at  the  rate  of  seven 

'  Op.  cii,,  p.  69. 


per  cent.  The  result  of  his  estimate  was  that  '^  capital  receives 
two-fifths  of  the  national  income;  while  the  labor  of  all  classes, 
including  that  of  the  capitalists,  receives  three-fifths."  ^  He 
estimated  that  about  the  same  division  of  income  between 
capital  and  labor  obtained  in  Basel,  France,  Saxony,  and  the 
United  Kingdom.*  The  distribution  of  incomes  he  estimated 
on  the  basis  of  his  estimate  of  the  distribution  of  pr(^)erty 
already  indicated,  and  various  statistics  of  wages,  rents,  etc 
Though  he  does  not  state  so  specifically,  his  estimate  is  pre- 
simiably  for  the  year  1890,  for  which  he  had  computed  the 
national  income.   His  results  are  given  in  the  following  table :  —  * 

Spahr's  Estimate  or  the  Distribution  or  Incomes  in  the  United  States,  1890 



$5,000  and  over       300,000  $3,500  $   700,000,000  $2,410,000,000  13,110,000^000 

$5,000  to  $1,200    1,300,000    1,200    1,560,000,000    1,330,000,000  2,890^000^000 

Under  $1,200  . .  11,000,000      380    4,200,000,000       600,000,000  4,800^000,000 

12,500,000  $  517  $6,460,000,000  $4,340,000,000  $10,800,000,000 

Spahr  states  his  conclusions  with  r^ard  to  the  distribution 
of  incomes  in  the  following  passages:  —  "If  we  carry  our  classi- 
fication farther,  we  find  that  more  than  five-sixths  of  the  income 
of  the  wealthiest  class  is  received  by  the  125,000  richest  faunilies, 
while  less  than  one-half  of  the  income  of  the  working-classes  is 
received  by  the  poorest  6,500,000  families.  In  other  words, 
one  per  cent  of  our  families  receive  nearly  one-fourth  of  the 
national  income,  while  fifty  per  cent  receive  barely  one-fifth."  * 
"One-eighth  of  the  families  in  America  receive  more  than  half 
of  the  aggregate  income,  and  the  richest  one  per  cent  receives  a 
larger  income  than  the  poorest  fifty  per  cent.  In  fact,  this 
small  class  of  wealthy  property  owners  receives  from  property 
alone  as  large  an  income  as  half  our  people  receive  from  property 
and  labor.''  • 

This  investigation  led  Spahr  to  the  final  conclusion  that  "the 
dominant  forces  today  are  all  working  toward  the  concentration 

*  Op,  cU.,  p.  120.  » op.  cit.f  pp.  87-92, 120. 

'  Op.  cU.,  p.  128.  Given  in  part  as  rearranged  by  F.  H.  Streightdit  in  his 
Distribution  of  Incomes  in  ike  U,  5.,  New  York,  191 2,  p.  69. 

*  Op,  cU,,  p.  128.  •  Op,  cU,,  p.  129. 


of  wealth  in  the  cities,  and  the  impoverishment  of  the  country 
districts.  In  the  cities  these  forces  are  working  toward  a  yet 
narrower  concentration.  The  wealth  of  the  cities  is  as  much 
m<Nre  concentrated  as  it  is  greater  than  the  wealth  of  the  rural 
districts." » 

Tliis  conclusion  is  probably  true,  and  Spahr's  investigation 
furnished  some  evidence  in  favor  of  it.  But  our  summary  has 
^own  that  it  was  based  upon  so  many  assumptions  that  it  is 
very  uncertain  so  far  as  Spahr's  work  is  concerned.  For  example, 
he  assumed  that  the  distribution  of  property  in  a  part  of  New 
York  State  was  typical  of  the  whole  country,  that  faunilies 
owning  prq)erty  less  than  $5,000  always  had  incomes  less  than 
$1,200,  that  families  owning  iptoptrty  more  than  $5,000  always 
had  incomes  more  than  $1,200,  etc.  Furthermore,  his  classifica- 
tion of  income  groups  was  so  broad  that  it  gives  little  indication 
as  to  the  niunber  belonging  to  the  groups  possessing  insufficient 
incomes.  However,  his  work  was  very  suggestive,  and  has  been 
followed  by  niunerous  investigations  of  rates  of  wages,  produc- 
tiveness of  capital,  etc.,  the  more  important  of  which  we  shall 
now  summarize. 

U.  S.  BuitEAU  OF  Labor 

In  1904  the  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor  published  its  eighteenth 
annual  report  for  the  year  1903,  dealing  with  the  cost  of  living 
and  the  retail  prices  of  food.*  The  Bureau  had  conducted  an 
investigation  of  the  incomes  and  expenditures  of  25,440  families 
of  wage  workers  and  persons  on  salaries  not  exceeding  $1,200, 
for  about  the  year  1901.  These  families  were  distributed  over 
thirty-three  states,  mostly  in  the  industrial  centers  of  these 
states.  They  included  24,578  husbands;  25,021  wives;  61,226 
children;  and  13,283  dependents,  boarders,  lodgers  and  servants. 
The  total  niunber  of  persons  in  these  famUies  was  124,108.  The 
average  size  of  family  was  4.88.  The  heads  of  these  families 
Hfrere  engaged  in  niany  industries,  but  the  principal  industries 
represented  were  (in  the  following  order)  the  hand  trades,  which 
include  bricklayers,  carp>enters,  painters,  etc.;  the  iron  and  steel 
industry;  transportation;  commerce;  domestic  and  personal  ser- 
vice; manufacture  of  vehicles;  and  lumber.   The  incomes  of  these 

» Op.  cU.y  p.  158. 

*  i8lh  An.  Rep.  of  the  Commissioner  oj  Labor  jor  the  Year  1903^  Washington. 



families  are  summarized  in  the  report  as  follows:  —  "The  average 
income  from  husbands  in  the  24,402  families  having  income  from 
husband  was  $621.12,  the  average  income  from  wives  in  the 
2,173  families  having  income  from  wives  was  $128.52,  the  average 
income  from  children  in  the  5,644  families  having  income  from 
children  was  $320.63,  the  average  income  from  boarders  and 
lodgers  in  the  5,918  families  having  income  from  that  source 
was  $250.77,  and  the  average  income  from  other  sources  in  the 
3,651  families  having  such  income  was  $92.49,  while  the  total 
mcome  per  family  for  the  25440  families  was  $749.50."  ^  It  was 
found  that  the  total  expenditure  per  family  was  $699.24,  so  that 
there  was  an  average  amoimt  unexpended  per  family  of  $50.26 
or  6.71  per  cent  of  the  total  income.  But  it  was  also  found  that 
while  of  the  families  reporting  50.38  per  cent  reported  a  surplus, 
16.18  per  cent  reported  a  deficit,  so  that  not  all  of  the  families 
were  better  off  at  the  end  of  the  year  reported. 

This  was  an  exceedingly  valuable  investigation  for  several 
reasons.  It  covered  a  large  niunber  of  families  widely  distributed 
over  the  country  and  in  the  industries.  The  records  seem  to  have 
been  taken  with  great  care.  The  cases  were  taken  at  random, 
no  principle  of  selection  having  been  followed.  Nevertheless 
it  is  quite  probable  that  it  was  more  feasible  to  secure  complete 
records  from  the  better  type  of  wage-earning  families  and  that, 
therefore,  this  group  ranges  higher  than  the  average.  The 
casual  workers  and  those  more  or  less  unemployable  would  not 
be  likely  to  appear  in  such  an  investigation.  Comparison  with 
the  results  of  other  investigations  which  we  shall  mention  con- 
firm this  impression.  However,  this  characteristic  does  not  in- 
jure the  results  of  this  investigation  for  our  purposes,  for  it 
places  the  estimate  for  the  incomes  of  a  large  part  of  the  popula- 
tion conservatively  high. 


Some  of  the  state  bureaus  of  labor  furnish  wage  statistics  of 
value  for  our  study.  Nearing  has  summarized  these  statistics 
and  some  wage  statistics  from  other  sources  in  a  recent  publica- 
tion,^ so  that  we  shall  follow  his  smnmary. 

^Op.cit.,p.  57. 

»  Scott  Nearing,  Wages  in  the  United  States,  1908-1910,  A  Study  of  State 
and  Federal  Wage  Statistics,  New  York,  191 1. 


On  the  basis  of  these  statistics  Nearing  comes  to  the  conclu- 
sion that  ''not  more  than  one  adult  male  wage-earner  in  every 
twenty  employed  in  the  industries  of  Massachusetts  receives,  in 
annual  earnings,  for  a  normally  prosperous  year,  more  than 
$1000.  On  the  other  hand,  more  than  one-third  of  all  the  adult 
males  are  paid  wages  under  $500;  more  than  one-half  receive 
wages  under  $600;  while  nearly  three-quarters  receive  less  than 
$700  annually.  These  figures  are  derived  from  a  study,  first 
of  the  State  of  Massachusetts  as  a  whole,  and  second,  from 
the  foiu*  leading  industries.  Furthermore,  they  are  maximiun 
figures,  for  no  deduction  is  made  here  for  unemployment  due  to 
sickness,  accident,  death  in  the  family,  or  other  personal  fac- 
tors." 1  He  concludes  that "  for  the  State  of  New  Jersey  at  large, 
and  for  the  five  industries  employing  the  largest  numbers  of 
persons,  it  appears  that,  after  deducting  the  known  unemploy- 
ment, between  one-third  and  one-half  of  the  adult  males  re- 
ceived less  than  $500  in  1909;  that  from  one-half  to  three-fifths 
received  less  than  I600;  that  about  three-quarters  were  paid  less 
than  $750;  nine-tenths  received  less  than  $950;  while  from  one- 
twentieth  to  one-tenth  received  $950  or  over.  The  wages  of 
adult  females  were  very  much  lower.  From  three-quarters  to 
foiu'-fifths  received  less  than  $400;  nine-tenths  were  paid  less 
than  $500,  while  a  vanishingly  small  percentage  received  an  an- 
nual wage  of  more  than  $750."  >  He  comes  to  similar  conclu- 
sions for  several  other  states  and  localities  for  which  statistics 
are  available. 

On  the  basis  of  all  these  data  he  comes  to  the  general  conclu- 
sion that  "average  wages  in  all  industries  and  for  all  employees, 
range  from  $500  to  $600.  .  .  .  The  average  wage  of  the  adult 
male  wage  worker  in  the  leading  American  industries  is  seldom 
less  than  $450  and  seldom  more  than  $600  per  year.  In  short, 
the  range  is  from  an  average  daily  wage  for  the  year  of  $1.50  to 
$2." »  Then  restricting  himself  to  the  part  of  the  country  which 
is  of  most  importance  from  an  industrial  point  of  view,  he  states 
that  "in  view  of  all  the  evidence,  it  is  fair  to  say  that  the  adult 
male  wage  workers  in  the  industries  of  that  section  of  the  United 
States  lying  east  of  the  Rockies  and  north  of  the  Mason  and 
Dixon  line  receive  a  total  average  annual  wage  of  about  I600; 

>  op.  cU.y  p.  57.  *  Op.  cU.,  pp.  72-3. 

» Op.  cU.,  pp.  144-5. 


that  this  falls  to  $500  in  some  of  the  industries  employing  the 
largest  nmnbers  of  persons,  but  rises  to  $700  or  even  to  $750  in 
a  few  highly  skilled  industries.  That  the  average  annual  earn- 
ings of  adult  females  in  the  same  area  is  about  $350,  with  a  very 
slight  range,  in  the  industries  employing  large  numbers  of  adult 
females."  ^  He  emphasizes  the  lowness  of  wages  in  this  section 
of  the  country  by  the  striking  statement  that  "three-quarters  of 
the  adult  males  and  nineteen-twentieths  of  the  adult  females 
actually  earn  less  than  $600  a  year."  *  While  he  sa3rs  nothing 
about  the  rest  of  the  country,  presumably  wages  are  still  lower 
in  the  South,  but  may  be  somewhat  higher  in  the  Far  West 


Streightoff  in  a  recent  publication  has  summarized  well  some 
of  the  data  on  this  subject,  and  has  arrived  at  certain  conclusions 
which  must  be  noted.  On  the  basis  of  data  from  various  sources 
he  has  prepared  a  table  which  may  be  summarized  in  the  follow- 
ing form:  — » 

Streightoff's  Estdiate  of  tbe  Distribution  of  Incomes  in  the 
United  States  Prdcarily  from  Labor,  1904 

Approximate  nimiber  of  males,  16  years  old  or  over,  em- 
ployed in  1904 19,658,000 

Number  earning  under  $600  yearly,  or  imder  I12  weekly .  12,738,000 

Nimiber  earning  $600,  but  imder  |i,ooo  yearly,  I12  but 
under  I20  weekly 5,315,000 

Number  earning  |i,ooo  or  more  3reariy,  or  I20  or  more 
weekly 1,605,000 

On  the  basis  of  the  data  represented  in  the  above  table  and 
other  data  which  he  cites,  he  comes  to  the  conclusion  that  ''it  is 
reasonable  to  believe  that,  in  1904,  something  over  sixty  per 
cent  of  the  males  at  least  sixteen  years  of  age,  employed  in  man- 
ufacturing, mining,  trade,  transportation,  and  a  few  other  oc- 
cupations associated  with  industrial  life,  were  earning  less  than 

*  Op.  cU.,  p.  208.  « Op.  cit.,  p.  213. 

•  F.  H.  Streightoff,  The  Distribution  of  Incomes  in  the  U.  5.,  in  the  Colum- 
bia University  Studies  in  History,  Economics  and  Public  Law,  VoL  LII,  No.  2, 
New  York,  191 2. 


$626  per  annum,  about  thirty  per  cent  were  receiving  $626  but 
under  $1,044,  and  perhaps  ten  per  cent  enjoyed  labor  incomes 
of  at  least  $1,000.  If  to  these  the  agriculturists  are  added, 
sixty-five  per  cent  fall  in  the  low-earnings  group,  twenty-seven 
in  the  medium,  and  eight  in  the  high.  Suppose  all  the  men  en- 
gaged in  gainful  occupations  in  1904,  but  unaccounted  for  in 
this  estimate,  to  have  been  paid  $12  per  week  or  more.  This  is 
manifestly  impossible,  yet,  even  upon  such  an  assumption,  fully 
one-half  of  the  adult  males  engaged  in  remunerative  labor  were 
rewarded  that  year  with  less  than  $626."  ^ 

U.  S.  Census  Bureau 

The  United  States  Census  Bureau  has  fiunished  a  certain 
amoimt  of  wage  statistics,  some  of  which  we  will  note  at  this 
point.  In  1903  it  published  its  special  report  on  Employees  and 
WageSy  which  contains  a  vast  number  of  detailed  facts.  These 
facts  are  not  sununarized  in  such  a  way  as  to  furnish  any 
more  than  a  very  slight  indication  of  wage  rates  in  this  country. 
But  in  its  special  report  on  the  census  of  manufactures  taken 
in  1905  it  sununarized  a  large  amount  of  data  in  such  a  way 
as  to  throw  some  light  on  wage  rates. 

In  this  investigation*  were  covered  3,297,819  wage-earners,  of 
whom  2,619,053,  or  79.4  per  cent,  were  men;  588,599,  or  17.9  per 
cent,  were  women;  and  90,167,  or  2.7  per  cent,  were  children.  It 
was  found  that  the  average  weekly  earnings  during  a  selected 
week  for  all  classes  of  wage-earners  was  $10.06;  and  $11.16, 
$6.17,  and  $3.46,  were  the  averages  for  men,  women,  and  chil- 
dren, req)ectively.  The  following  table  classifies  the  earnings 
of  the  males,  16  years  of  age  and  over:  — » 

» Op.  cU.,  p.  139. 

*  Census  Bureau,  ManufacturcSt  Part  IV*  pp.  643-8. 

»d^.  cd.,p.  645. 


Actual  Cumulative 





























Ea&nings  of  Males,  Sixteen  Years  and  Over,  Engaged  in  Manu- 
facture IN  the  United  States  in  1904 

Weekly  wage  Number 

Under  I3 5^,346 

$3    but  under  $4 57»S97 

«4      "       "     $5 87,739 

$5      "        "     $6 103429 

$6      "        "     $7 161,940 

$7      "        "     $8 196,981 

$8      "        "     $9 207,954 

«9      "        "     »io 343,812 

$10    "        "     $12 409483 

$12    "        "     $15 450,568 

$15    "        "     «20 385,647 

$20    "        "     I25 106,046 

$25  and  over 51,511 

Total 2,619,053 

It  is  evident  from  the  above  table  that  over  one-quarter  of 
these  males  were  earning  less  than  $8  a  week,  or  less  than  $420  a 
year;  that  over  46%,  or  nearly  one-half,  were  earning  less  than 
$10  a  week,  or  less  than  $520  a  year;  that  over  70%,  or  nearly 
three-fourths,  were  earning  less  than  $15  a  week,  or  less  than 
$780  a  year;  and  that  98%  were  earning  less  than  $25  a  week, 
or  less  than  $1300  a  year. 

The  investigation  I  have  just  summarized  is  the  most  exten- 
sive single  investigation  of  wages  which  has  been  made  in  this 
country.  It  is  apparent  that  Streightoff  based  his  estimate 
of  rates  of  wages  largely  upon  the  results  of  this  investigation, 
and  this  has  been  true  of  other  estimates.  The  Census  Bureau 
has  not  made  any  special  study  of  wages  since  that  time.  In 
the  census  reports  for  1910  are  some  general  statistics  upon 
which  we  can  base  a  rough  estimate  of  rates  of  wages.  ^  In  1909 
the  average  number  of  wage-earners  engaged  in  manufactures 
was  6.631,931.  This  number  was  computed  by  seciuing  reports 
of  the  number  employed  on  the  15  th  of  each  month  and  then 
dividing  the  sum  of  the  numbers  reported  for  the  several  months 
by  12.  The  total  amount  reported  to  have  been  spent  in  wages 
during  the  same  year  was  $3,434,734,000.    If  we  divide  this 

^  See  for  these  figures  the  Abstract  of  the  igio  Census, 


number  by  the  average  number  of  wage-earners  we  secure  a 
quotient  of  $517.91,  which  was  the  average  yearly  wage  in  the 
United  States  during  the  year  1909,  as  nearly  as  it  can  be  as- 
certained«  This  gives  an  average  weekly  wage  of  not  quite  $10. 
It  will  be  remembered  that  in  the  investigation  of  1904  it  was 
found  that  for  a  selected  week  the  average  wage  of  idl  those 
investigated  was  $10.06.  This  seems  to  indicate  that  wages 
were  decreasing  between  1904  and  1909.  But  if  we  take  the 
total  figures  for  1904,  we  find  that  the  average  number  of  wage- 
earners  engaged  in  manufactures  for  that  year  was  5,468,383, 
and  that  the  total  amount  spent  in  wages  was  $2,610,445,000. 
U  we  divide  through,  we  secure  the  quotient  of  $477.37,  which 
was  the  average  yearly  wage  during  tiie  year  1904,  as  nearly  as 
can  be  ascertained.  This  gives  an  average  weekly  wage  of 
$9.18.  So  that  money  wages  apparently  were  rising  between 
1904  and  1909.  It  may  be  that  the  selected  week  in  1904  hap- 
pened to  be  one  of  unusually  high  wages,  or  that  allowance  has 
not  been  made  for  unemployment.  We  shall  study  the  rise  and 
fall  of  wages  later  in  this  book. 

In  1910  the  average  number  of  wage-earners  engaged  in  mining 
industries  was  1,093,286.  The  total  *amount  of  wages  earned  by 
them  was  $606,135,238.  Dividing  through  we  secure  the  quo- 
tient of  $554.42,  which  was  the  average  yearly  wage  as  nearly 
as  it  can  be  ascertained.    The  average  weekly  wage  was  $10.66. 

Other  Investigations 

Because  of  the  irr^ularity  of  employment  and  the  variety 
of  ways  in  which  payment  is  made  in  agriculture,  the  Census 
Bureau  did  not  attempt  to  ascertain  the  number  of  persons  hired 
and  the  wages  paid  in  agriculture.  But  the  U.  S.  Department  of 
Agriculture  has  recently  issued  a  bulletin  ^  according  to  which 
agricultiual  wage  rates  are  much  lower  than  in  mining  and  man- 
ufacturing. According  to  this  bulletin  outdoor  farm  labor  by 
the  day  in  harvest  work  averaged  $1.71  in  1909,  outdoor  farm 
labor  with  board  averaged  $1.43  a  day  in  1909,  whUe  the  aver- 
age wage  rate  per  month  for  outdoor  farm  labor,  hired  by  the 
year,  without  board,  was  $25.46  in  1909. 

^  U.  S.  Dept.  of  Agriculture,  Bureau  of  Statistics,  Bui.  99,  Washington, 


During  the  last  few  years  the  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor  Statistics 
has  published  a  number  of  bulletins  giving  the  results  of  inves- 
tigations of  the  rates  of  wages  in  several  industries,  such  as  the 
cotton,  woolen,  and  silk  industries;  the  lumber  manufacturing, 
mill  work,  and  furniture  manufacturing  industries.  These 
investigations  seem  to  confirm  the  results  of  the  more  extensive 
investigations  which  have  been  sunmiarized  in  this  chapter. 
We  have  not  the  space  to  sunmiarize  these  investigations  or 
various  other  detailed  investigations  which  have  been  made  in 
recent  years  by  public  and  by  private  agencies. 

Distribution  of  Property  Income 

The  preceding  discussion  has  shown  that  rates  of  wages  in  this 
country  are  low.  The  significance  of  this  will  be  more  apparent 
when  we  discuss  the  standard  of  living.  But  we  must  bear  in 
mind  that  wages  are  not  the  only  source  of  income  for  some, 
perhaps  many,  of  the  wage-earners,  so  that  we  must  now  con- 
sider this  subject. 

From  common  knowledge  every  one  doubtless  would  say  that 
the  vast  majority  of  wage-earners  benefit  not  at  all  or  only  to  a 
very  slight  extent  from  the  shares  in  distribution  apart  from  the 
earnings  of  labor,  namely,  rent  from  land,  interest  from  c£^>ital, 
and  profits  from  business  enterprize.  But  it  is  very  difiicult  to 
secure  exact  data  on  this  question,  since  no  careful  record  is 
kept  of  the  distribution  of  the  ownership  of  much  of  the  capital 
and  of  the  shares  in  business  enterprizes.  So  far  as  such  data 
can  be  seciu'ed  it  seems  to  confirm  the  common  opinion.  For 
example,  in  the  investigation  of  the  Bureau  of  Labor  reported 
in  its  eighteenth  annual  report  it  was  found  that  out  of  the 
25,440  families  investigated  3,651,  or  only  slightly  more  than  one- 
seventh,  had  sources  of  income  apart  from  the  earnings  of  labor, 
(since  we  may  regard  the  income  from  boarders  and  lodgers 
as  the  pa3rment  of  labor).  These  families  had,  on  the  average, 
an  income  of  $92.49  from  these  sources.  It  is  evident,  there- 
fore, that  if  the  families  investigated  by  the  Bureau  were  at  all 
representative  of  the  American  working  class  this  class  is  not 
benefiting  largely  by  the  shares  in  distribution  apart  from  the 
earnings  of  labor. 

Streightoff  investigated  this  subject  by  studying  the  distri- 


bution  of  the  ownership  of  savings  bank  accounts,  of  land,  of 
insurance  policies,  etc.,  without  arriving  at  any  very  definite 
results.  His  tentative  conclusion  he  gives  as  follows:  —  "There 
are  probably  nine  million  individuals  receiving  some  return  on 
savings  accounts,  and  upward  of  five  million  indirectly  obtaining 
profit  from  participating  life-insurance  policies.  About  five 
million  persons  possess  agricultural  land,  and  perhaps  as  many 
more  hold  residential  real  estate.  Approximately  270,000  pro- 
prietors own  the  unincorporated  factories,  but  how  many  have 
invested  in  corporate  securities  is  enigmatical.  Tax  lists  show 
that  the  number  of  families  having  large  amounts  of  wealth  is 
small,  but  fail  to  give  the  clue  to  the  diffusion  of  capital."  ^ 

If  then  not  many  of  the  wage-earners  are  benefiting  by  the 
ownership  of  land,  corporate  seciuities,  etc.,  which  enable  them 
to  share  in  the  rent  from  land,  the  interest  from  capital,  and 
the  profits  from  business  enterprize,  the  rest  of  society  must  be 
receiving  most  of  this  income.  We  have  already  noted  that 
Spahr  estimated  that  labor  receives  sixty  per  cent  of  the  national 
income  and  capital  the  remaining  forty  per  cent.  Streightoff 
gives  the  returns  to  capital  and  labor  in  eight  large  Amerii^an 
industries,  all  of  the  figures  used  being  from  the  decade  1900- 
iQio.*  In  these  industries  were  employed  3,167,401  laborers,^ 
the  retxim  to  capital  in  the  form  of  dividends  and  interest 
amoimted  to  $1,276,419,050,  and  the  return  to  labor  in  the 
form  of  salaries  and  wages  amounted  to  $2,031402,210.  Thus 
the  laborers,  salaried  and  wage-earning  together,  earning  an 
average  income  of  about  $640  a  year,  received  about  sixty- 
one  per  cent  of  the  total,  and  capital  about  thirty-nine  per 
cent.  But  Streightoff  expresses  the  opinion  that  this  proportion 
is  not  necessarily  typical  of  American  industry,  and  Nearing 
has  recently  shown  that  there  is  much  variation  between  differ- 
ent industries  with  respect  to  the  ratio  in  which  the  income  is 
divided  between  capital  and  labor.'  However,  in  most  cases 
capital  does  not  fail  to  secure  a  large  share.    According  to  the 

» Op.  cU.,  p.  146.  '  Op,  cit.,  p.  44. 

•  Scott  Nearing,  Service  Incomes  and  Property  Incomes y  in  the  Quar,  Pub,  of 
the  Am.  Statistical  Association,  Vol.  XIV,  No.  107,  Sept.,  19 14,  pp.  236-259. 
See,  for  further  discussion  of  this  point,  a  note  by  G.  P.  Watkins,  in  the 
Quar,  Pub.  of  the  Am.  Statistical  Association,  Vol.  XIV,  No.  no,  June,  19x59 

pp.  S90-5- 


last  census  figures,  during  the  year  1909  in  manufacturing  about 
fifty-one  per  cent  of  the  value  of  the  products,  after  deducting 
the  cost  of  the  materials,  was  paid  to  services  in  the  form  of 
salaries  and  wages,  while  during  the  same  year  in  mining  about 
fifty-three  per  cent  of  the  value  of  the  products  was  paid  to 
services  in  the  form  of  salaries  and  wages.  ^  So  that  capital 
apparently  was  getting  nearly  half  of  the  proceeds.  The  Census 
Bureau  is  very  careful  to  call  attention  to  the  fact  that  there  are 
doubtless  many  mistakes  in  these  figures,  because  of  the  dif- 
ficulties in  the  way  of  securing  accurate  data.  But  even  after 
making  generous  allowance  for  errors,  it  is  evident  that  capital 
is  getting  a  large  share  of  the  proceeds. 

The  Expenditure  of  Property  Income 

At  this  point  it  is  important  to  call  attention  to  the  possi- 
bility of  making  a  serious  mistake  in  interpreting  such  data  as 
we  have  been  discussing.  These  data  indicate  that  the  very 
large  class  of  workers  receive  perhaps  sixty  per  cent  of  the  na- 
tional income,  while  a  very  small  dass  of  property  owners  re- 
ceives perhaps  as  much  as  forty  per  cent.  This,  however,  does 
not  mean  that  this  small  class  actually  consumes  as  much  as 
forty  per  cent  of  the  wealth  produced.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  a 
considerable  part,  though  we  cannot  estimate  exactly  how  much, 
of  the  income  of  capital  is  saved  and  turned  back  into  the  pro- 
ductive process,  thus  aiding  in  producing  more  wealth  for  both 
of  these  classes.  Furthermore,  of  the  amount  spent  by  the 
capitalist  class  a  great  deal  is  paid  for  services  of  many  kinds, 
so  that  this  wealth  is  actually  consmned  by  the  laboring  class. 
The  serious  aspect  of  this  situation  is  that  these  services  are 
devoted  to  the  benefit  of  a  few,  whereas  if  they  were  devoted 
to  producing  wealth  for  society  at  large  they  would  have  much 
more  social  value.  These  facts  indicate  that  the  ratio  between 
the  shares  in  distribution  of  the  laboring  and  capitalist  classes 
does  not  indicate  the  ratio  between  the  amounts  consmned  by 
these  two  classes.  But  this  ratio  is  of  great  significance  with 
respect  to  the  extent  to  which  production  may  be  lessened  by 
giving  to  a  very  small  dass  a  relativdy  large  share  in  distribu- 

^  See  Abstract  of  ike  igio  Census. 

the  distribution  of  wealth  and  incomes       75 

The  Concentration  of  Wealth 

In  this  connection  is  of  great  importance  the  fact  that  wealth 
is  r£4>idly  becoming  more  and  more  concentrated.  Watkins  ^ 
has  accumulated  data  on  the  extent  and  causes  of  this  concen- 
tration, which  we  have  not  the  space  to  summarize  here.  This 
tendency  towards  concentration  is  perhaps  shown  by  the  census 
figures  which  indicate  that  during  the  six  decades  from  1849  ^ 
1909  the  amoimt  paid  in  wages  in  the  manufacturing  industries 
increased  by  about  foiuleen  times,  while  the  value  added  by 
manufacture  increased  by  about  eighteen  times.  This  seems  to 
indicate  that  labor  was  not  keeping  up  with  capital  in  getting 
its  share  of  the  product.  This  situation  is  reflected  still  further 
by  the  fact  that  the  amount  of  capital  invested  in  these  indus- 
tries increased  during  these  six  decades  by  about  thirty-four 
times.  Thist  great  increase  may  have  bec^  fully  justified  on 
social  grotmds  in  order  to  increase  the  amount  of  wealth  pro- 
duced. But  it  is  in  all  probability  a  further  indication  of  the 
tendency  towards  concentration. 

In  order  to  measure  the  extent  of  concentration  of  wealth  in 
this  coimtry  several  attempts  have  been  made  to  coimt  the  num- 
ber of  "millionaires."  On  account  of  the  lack  of  exact  and  ad- 
equate data  these  estimates  have  necessarily  been  very  un- 
reliable. Since  the  national  income  tax  law  has  gone  into  effect 
it  is  possible  to  secure  more  definite  and  accurate  data.  In 
the  annual  report  of  the  U.  S.  Commissioner  of  Internal  Rev- 
enue published  in  December,  1914,  are  given  the  retiuns  for 
the  collection  year  1913,  which  was  the  first  year  during  which 
the  income  tax  was  coUected.  These  returns  showed  357,598 
individuals  with  incomes  of  over  $2,500.  Of  these  16,358  in- 
dividuals possessed  incomes  of  over  $25,000,  and  5,214  in- 
dividuab  possessed  incomes  of  over  $50,000.  This  last  nimiber 
(5,214)  may  be  regarded  as  the  nearest  possible  approximation  to 
the  number  of  millionaires  in  this  coimtry.  These  returns  also 
showed  61,970  individuals  with  incomes  of  over  $ip,ooo.  This 
number  may  be  taken  to  represent  approximately  the  rich  of 
this  coimtry.    It  goes  without  saying  that  the  tax  reports  are 

» G.  P.  Watkins,  The  Growih  of  Large  Fortunes,  in  the  Pub,  of  the  Am. 
Economic  Association,  Vol.  VIII,  No.  4,  Nov.,  1907.  See  also  H.  L.  Call, 
The  Concentration  of  WeaWt,  Boston,  1907. 


more  likely  to  underestimate  than  to  overestimate  the  size  of 
incomes.  > 

It  may  also  be  interesting  to  note  from  the  same  report  that 
the  316,909  corpK>rations  doing  business  in  the  United  States 
during  the  fiscal  year  ending  June  30,  1914,  reported  capital 
stock  aggregating  $64,071,319,185  with  bonded  and  other  in- 
debtedness amounting  to  $371136,215,096.  Their  net  income 
toe  the  year  was  $4,339,550,008,  which  was  nearly  seven  per  cent 
on  their  capital.  In  view  of  the  data  cited  in  the  preceding  par- 
agraphs it  is  highly  probable  that  most  of  this  vast  income, 
amotmting  to  nearly  $50  for  each  individual  if  distributed 
equally  in  the  population  at  large,  went  to  a  very  small  group  of 
persons.  It  is  regrettable  that  the  data  are  not  available  for 
estimating  more  or  less  accurately  all  of  the  items  in  the  national 
income.  For  if  this  were  possible  we  could  tell  more  definitely 
the  shares  of  the  property  owners  and  of  labor.  This  problem  of 
the  ratio  between  the  shares  of  the  property  owners  and  of  labor 
in  the  distribution  of  wealth  we  shall  discuss  later  in  connection 
with  the  subject  of  production.  For  it  is  of  great  importance 
with  respect  to  production,  as  well  as  to  distribution. 


Let  us  now  tiun  to  Great  Britain  and  for  purposes  of  com- 
parison make  a  brief  summary  of  the  situation  there  with  respect 
to  the  distribution  of  wealth  and  of  incomes.  The  data  for  the 
study  of  this  problem  are  somewhat  more  abimdant  there  than 
they  are  in  this  country.  I  will  review  briefly  two  recent  studies 
of  the  subject. 

Chiozza  Money  >  brings  his  estimates  down  to  about  the  year 
1908.  The  collecting  of  the  income  tax  in  the  United  Kingdom 
furnishes  a  good  deal  of  data  with  regard  to  the  national  income 
and  its  distribution.  All  incomes  over  £160  are  taxed.  Money 
takes  first  the  gross  amoimt  of  income  brought  under  review  for 
purposes  of  taxation  in  1908-9  by  the  Inland  Revepue  Officials. 
From  this  gross  amount  he  deducts  certain  sums  for  depreciation, 

^  See,  for  a  detailed  analysis  of  these  Stadsdcs,  R.  P.  Falkner,  Income 
Tax  Statistics  in  the  Quar.  Pub.  of  the  Am,  Statistical  Association,  Vol.  XIV, 
No.  no,  June,  1915,  pp.  521-49. 

'  L.  G.  ChkxEza  Money,  Riches  and  Poverty  (jqio)^  loth  ed.,  London,  191 1. 


etc.,  and  then  adds  certain  amounts  for  foreign  profits  which 
escape  taxation,  etc.  As  a  result  of  his  calculation  he  estimates 
the  aggregate  income  of  persons  enjoying  over  £160  per  annum, 
1908-9,  at  about  £909,cxx^,ooo.  Then  he  makes  a  detailed 
analysis  of  wage  rates,  the  earnings  of  farmers,  etc.,  which 
brings  him  to  the  conclusion  that  the  aggregate  income  of  per- 
scms  with  incomes  below  £160  per  annum  is  about  £935,000,000. 
The  result  of  this  part  of  his  investigation  he  gives  in  the  follow- 
ing table: —  * 

Money's  Estdiate  of  the  National  Income  of  the  United  King- 
dom IN  1908 

(i)     Persons  with  incomes  which  exceed  £160  per 

annum £  909,000,000 

(2)  Persons  with  incomes  below  £160  per  annum:  — 
(a)  Persons  earning  small  salaries,  petty  trades- 
men, etc 232,000,000 

G>)  The  wage-earning  classes 703,000,000 

£1 ,844>ooO|000 

This  table  shows,  as  Money  says,  that  "the  income  tax  exemfh- 
Han  limit  of  £160  per  annum  splits  the  national  income  into  two 
almost  equal  parts.  Of  a  total  income  amoimting  to  £1,844,000,- 
000  in  1908,  those  with  over  £160  per  annum  took  £909,000,000, 
while  those  with  less  than  £160  per  annum  took  £935,000,000."  « 

If  this  national  income  were  equally  distributed  among  the 
44,500,000  inhabitants  of  the  United  Kingdom,  the  average  in- 
come per  person  would  be  about  £40  or  about  £200  for  a  family 
of  five  persons.  In  order  to  get  at  the  actual  distribution  Money 
analyzes  the  income  tax  schedules,  rental  lists  of  private  houses, 
etc.  As  a  result  he  estimates  that  £909,000,000  per  annum  are 
taken  by  5,500,000  people  having  incomes  of  £160  and  upwards 
per  annum,  and  £935,000,000  per  annum  are  taken  by  39,000,000 
people  having  incomes  below  £160  per  anniun.  In  other  words, 
"  one-half  of  the  entire  income  of  the  United  Kingdom  is  enjoyed  by 
about  12  per  cent  of  its  population"  and^  "more  than  one-third  of 
the  entire  income  of  the  United  Kingdom  is  enjoyed  by  less  than 
one-thirtieth  of  its  people.*' » 

1  Op.  dt.,  p.  31.  « Op.  cU.,  p.  31.  •  Op.  cU.,  pp.  47, 48. 


Money  classifies  still  further  by  dividing  the  total  peculation 
into  the  rich,  who  are  the  persons  with  incomes  of  £700  per 
annum  and  upwards,  and  who  with  their  families  number 
1,400,000  (280,000  X  5)  and  possess  an  aggregate  income  of 
£634,000,000;  the  comfortable,  who  are  persons  with  incomes 
between  £160  and  £700  per  annimi,  and  who  with  their  families 
nimiber  4,100,000  (820,000  x  5)  and  possess  an  aggregate  income 
of  £275,000,000;  and  the  poor,  who  are  persons  with  incomes 
below  £160  per  annum,  and  who  with  their  families  number 
39,100,000  and  possess  an  aggregate  income  of  £935,000,000. 

The  aggregate  income  of  the  wage-earning  class  was  deter- 
mined by  an  analysis  of  wage  rates,  which  is  of  importance  be- 
cause of  the  light  it  throws  upon  the  actual  earnings  of  the 
working  class.  On  the  basis  of  the  figures  of  the  wage  census  he 
estimates  the  average  weekly  wage  of  manual  workers  Oi^cluding 
men,  women,  and  children)  at  21s.  3d.  This  he  regards  as  a 
liberally  hi^  estimate.  He  thinks  that  the  15,500,000  (es- 
timated) manual  workers  of  1908  included  at  least  one  million 
casual  and  incompetent  workers,  whose  average  annual  earnings 
would  not  exceed  £25.  Then  after  determining  what  allowance 
to  make  for  imemployment  he  estimates  the  aggr^ate  income 
as  follows:  —  "I  make  the  assumption  that  the  average  working 
year  of  the  14,500,000  remaining  wage-earners  consists  of  44 
weeks.  Appl3dng  the  average  wage  already  arrived  at  (21s.  3d. 
per  week),  we  get  an  average  annual  earning  of,  say,  £46,  15s., 
which  gives  us  £678,000,000  as  the  probable  aggregate  earnings 
of  the  14,500,000  workers.  Adding  the  £25,000,000  assmned  to 
be  earned  by  the  remaining  1,000,000,  we  arrive  at  £703,000,000 
as  the  total  earnings  of  the  manual  laborers  in  1908."  ^ 

These  conclusions  with  regard  to  wage  rates  among  the  work- 
ing pec^le  accord  well  with  the  results  of  Booth,  Rowntree,  and 
others  which  we  shall  mention  presenUy.  For  example,  Rown- 
tree discovered  that  in  York  in  a  year  of  good  trade  ten  per  cent 
of  the  entire  population  and  fifteen  and  one-half  per  cent  of  the 
working  classes  were  living  bfelow  a  "primary  poverty  line'* 
drawn  at  an  income  of  2iSi  8d.  per  week  for  a  family  of  five  per- 
sons paying  only  4s.  per  week  for  rent. 

Money  next  tiuns  to  the  question  of  the  distribution  of  owner- 
ship of  property,  and  uses  several  sources  of  information.    For 

'  Op.  cU,,  p.  29. 


ezampk,  he  analyzes  the  death  duties,  and  from  them  learns 
that  **year  by  year^  with  the  regularUy  of  the  seasons^  about  four 
thousand  persons  die,  leaving  between  them  about  £2cx>,ooo,ooo 
out  of  total  estates  declared  to  be  worth  about  £300,000,000."  ^ 
He  estimates  the  total  wealth  of  the  nation  to  be  £13,762,000,000 
which  if  divided  equally  would  be  about  £300  per  head  of 
populaticm  or  about  £1,500  per  family  of  five  persons.  But  the 
actual  distribution  he  finds  to  be  so  unequal  that  '4t  is  literally 
true  to  say  that  a  mere  handful  of  people  owns  the  nation.  It  is 
probably  true  that  a  group  of  about  120,000  people,  who  with  their 
families  form  about  one-seventieth  part  of  the  population,  owns 
about  Pwo-4hirds  of  the  entire  accumulated  wealth  of  the  United 
Kingdom."  > 

Mallock  *  has  made  an  estimate  of  the  distribution  of  wealth 
and  of  incomes  in  Great  Britain  for  about  the  year  1910.  In- 
stead of  using  income  tax  returns,  wage  rates,  etc.,  to  estimate 
the  national  incomes,  as  is  done  by  Money  and  others,  he 
uses  the  estimate  of  a  recent  Census  of  Production  which  is 
based  upon  the  value  of  goods  produced  and  consmned  and  the 
cost  and  value  of  services.  The  census  estimate  of  the  national 
income  is  given  in  the  following  table:  —  « 

Total  Income  of  the  United  Kingdom  in  1907 

Goods  consumed  or  exchanged  for  services  by  classes  en- 
gaged in  production  and  distribution 1,248  to  1,408 

Goods  consumed  or  exchanged  for  services  by  classes 

engaged  in  suppljring  services 350  to     400 

Additions  by  all  classes  to  savings  and  investments. . .    320  to     350 

Total 1,918  to  2,158 

Mallock  estimates  on  the  basis  of  this  table  the  true  net 
national  income  in  1910  at  about  2,020  million  pounds  steiiing. 

1  Op,  cit.f  p.  58.  •  Op.  cit.,  p.  79. 

<W.  H.  Mallock,  Social  Reform  as  Related  to  ReaHiies  and  Delusions. 
An  ezamioation  of  the  increase  and  distribution  of  wealth  from  1801  to  1910, 
London,  1914. 

*  First  Census  of  Production  of  the  United  Kingdom  (1907),  London,  1912, 



On  the  basis  of  data  from  various  sources,  such  as  the  Board 
of  Trade  inquiries  into  wages,  census  statistics,  etc.,  he  dis- 
tributes this  total  income  in  the  following  manner. 

He  estimates  that  the  poorer  classes,  namely,  those  whose 
incomes  fall  below  £i6o  a  year,  receive  1,300  million  of  this 
total  amount.  A  committee  of  English  economists  in  a  report 
to  the  British  Association  for  the  Advancement  of  Science  in 
the  year  1910  estimated  the  incomes  of  the  lower  middle  classes 
as  follows:  —  ^ 

(i)  Heads  of  small  businesses,  mostly  shops.  Number, 
640,000;  aggr^ate  earnings,  £66,000,000;  average  earnings  per 
head,  £103. 

(2)  Farmers  not  subject  to  income  tax.  Number,  360,000; 
aggregate  earnings,  £34,000,000;  average  earnings  per  head, 


(3)  Persons  engaged  in  professional  or  quasi-professional  work. 

Number,  1,300,000;  aggregate  earnings,  £120,000,000;  average 
earnings  per  head,  £92. 

Mallodc  estimates  that  there  are  16,500,000  wage-earners 
whose  aggr^ate  income  is  about  £1,050,000,000,  of  which 
£20,000,000  is  interest  on  investment.  The  wage  income  of 
these  16,500,000  persons  gives  an  average  per  head  of  £62  a 
year,  or  23s.  iid.  a  week.  About  one-sixth  of  these,  or  2,700,000 
persons,  are  boys  and  girls  tmder  eighteen  years  of  age;  about 
one-fourth  of  these,  or  4,300,000  persons,  are  women;  and  a 
little  less  than  two-thirds,  or  9,500,000  persons,  are  men.  The 
weekly  averages  are  los.  for  girls,  13s.  6d.  for  boys,  and  12s.  6d. 
for  non-adults  as  a  whole;  i8s.  for  women;  and  30s.  for  men. 
Thus  the  annual  earnings  are  £33  for  the  non-adults,  £47  for 
the  women,  and  £77  for  the  men.« 

He  estimates  that  the  richer  classes,  namely,  those  possess- 
ing incomes  over  £160  a  year  receive  an  aggregate  income 
of  about  £730,000,000.  This,  he  estimates,  is  distributed  as 
follows:  — » 

^  See  Mallock,  op.  cU,,  p.  133.  '  Op.  cU,,  pp.  132-4. 

'  Op.  cU.,  p.  i8z. 


Mallock's  Estimate  of  the  Distribution  of  Incomes  over  £i6o 

IN  the  United  Kingdom  in  1910 

Range  of                    Number  of  Average            Aggregate 

income                        persons  income               income 

£    160-400 1,000,000  £     260  £260,000,000 

400-1000 326,000  630             205,380,000 

1000-5000 64,000  i»98o             136,720,000 

Over  5000 11,000  12,000             132,000,000 

Totals 1,401,000  £734,100,000 

The  distribution  of  incomes,  thereforei  he  sums  up  as  fol- 
lows: —  "The  income  of  the  United  Kingdom  being,  by  common 
admission,  2,000  million  pounds,  or  a  very  little  more,  it  appears 
that  about  1,300  million  is  made  up  of  individual  incomes  or 
earnings  none  of  which  exceeds  £160  a  year,  the  average  income 
per  recipient  being  just  short  of  £70;  that  about  460  millions 
is  divided  amongst  1,330,000  recipients,  these  consisting  of 
two  groups  —  a  million  persons  with  an  average  of  £260  a  year, 
and  less  than  a  third  of  a  million  with  an  average  of  £630  a 
year;  whilst  the  average  for  both  would  be  £330;  and  that  a 
sum  of  260  millions  remains,  which  is  divided  amongst  about 
74,000  recipients,  and  would,  if  divided  equally,  yield  an  in- 
come per  head  £3,600,  but  which  is  as  a  fact  divided  between 
two  groups  into  more  than  60,000  incomes  averaging  nearly 
£2  poo  J  and  about  11,000  incomes  averaging  £12,000."  ^ 

Comparison  of  the  United  States  and  Great  Britain 

We  may  now  compare  the  results  of  these  two  studies  of  the 
distribution  of  incomes  in  Great  Britain.  It  is  evident  that  by 
using  somewhat  different  methods  they  have  arrived  at  some- 
what different  results.  Money  represents  the  poorer  classes 
somewhat  worse  off  and  the  richer  classes  somewhat  better  off 
than  does  Mallock.*   The  last  named  shows  a  decided  tendency 

*  Op.  cU,y  pp.  182-3. 

*  While  tliis  fact  may  not  have  influenced  their  estimates  at  all,  it  may 
be  well  to  note  that  Money  is  very  sympathetic  towards  the  working  classes, 
while  Mallock,  who  has  long  beoi  a  bitter  opponent  of  socialism  and  ''  so- 
cialistic*' legislation,  is  rather  unsympathetic  towards  them. 


to  minimize  the  share  of  the  richer  classes  in  the  distribution  of 
wealth.  For  example,  he  insists  that  the  part  of  the  national 
income  which  comes  from  abroad  in  the  form  of  profits  and  in- 
terest on  capital,  which  he  estimates  at  £180,000,000,  should  not 
be  counted  as  a  part  of  the  share  of  capital  as  compared  with 
the  share  of  labor,  because  these  profits  ''so  far  as  their  origin 
is  concerned,  have  no  connection  whatever  with  labour  in  this 
country."  ^  There  is  probably  a  measure  of  truth  in  what  he 
says.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  obvious  that  British  capital 
invested  abroad  was  produced  with  the  aid  of  British  labor, 
so  that  the  profits  from  this  capital,  ''so  far  as  their  origin  is 
concerned,"  do  have  a  connection  with  British  labor.  There 
can  be  no  question  that,  if  not  all,  at  least  a  large  part  of  these 
profits  ought  to  be  included  as  a  part  of  the  share  of  capital  as 
compared  with  the  share  of  labor,  but  it  would  be  difficiilt  to 
estimate  as  to  how  large  this  part  should  be. 

But  notwithstanding  these  differences  their  estimates  of  the 
average  wages  of  the  working  class  are  very  close  together,  and 
this  is  the  matter  of  greatest  importance  for  our  purposes.  We 
have  seen  that  Money  has  estimated  the  average  wage  at  21s. 
3d.,  while  Mallock  has  estimated  it  at  23s.  iid.  In  other 
words,  Mallock's  estimate  is  only  2s.  8d.,  or  twelve  and 
one-half  per  cent,  or  one-eighth  Idgher  than  the  estimate  of 
Money.  An  average  of  the  two  estimates  would  give  us 
22s.  yd.,  which  will  serve  well  enough  as  the  average  Brit- 
ish industrial  wage  rate  for  comparison  with  the  American 

We  have  seen  that  it  is  impossible  to  arrive  at  an  average 
wage  rate  for  all  of  the  working  population  of  this  country. 
The  most  extensive  wage  statistics  are  for  manufacturing  in- 
dustries. We  have  summarized  several  of  the  most  exten- 
sive of  these  investigations  and  have  found  that  the  average 
wage  rate  in  these  industries  including  all  classes  of  workers  was 
apparently  about  $10  a  week.  This  is  about  eighty  per  cent 
or  four-fifths  greater  than  the  general  average  British  wage 
rate-  we  have  estimated.  But  it  must  be  borne  in  mind  that 
wages  probably  average  higher  in  manufacturing  than  in  in- 
dustry as  a  whole.  We  have  cited  figures  which  indicate  that 
wages  in  agriculture  are  considerably  below  wages  in  manu- 

^Op,  cU.,  p.  120. 


feLCturing.i  Furthermore,  these  American  manufacturing  figures 
probably  represent  a  smaller  proportion  of  women  and  young 
workers  than  the  British  figures.  These  facts  probably  ac- 
count in  considerable  part  for  the  difference  between  the  two 
rates.  However,  even  after  we  have  made  due  allowance  for 
these  differences  it  still  remains  practically  certain  that,  to  say 
the  least,  the  British  wage  rate  is  no  higher  than  the  Ameri- 
can rate,  and  that  in  all  probability  it  is  somewhat  lower. 

So  that  oiu:  comparison  with  Great  Britain  indicates  that  th^ 
omdition  of  low  wages  which  we  have  found  to  exist  in  this! 
country  is  by  no  means  unique.    On  the  contrary,  if  British! 
additions  furnish  any  criterion,  wages  in  other  parts  of  the\ 
world  are  bwer  than  in  this  country.    Lack  of  space  prevents  ! 
us  from  extending  our  comparative  study  to  other  coimtries. 

The  significance  of  low  wage  and  income  rates  for  a  large  part 
of  the  population,  as  giving  rise  to  poverty  and  its  attendant 
evils,  will  become  more  apparent  in  the  next  two  chapters  as  we 
discuss  the  standard  of  living  in  its  relation  to  the  extent  of 
poverty.  The  significance  of  the  tendency  towards  the  concen- 
tration of  the  ownership  of  wealth  which  we  have  found  to 
exist,  as  giving  rise  to  a  monopolistic  control  of  capital,  and  the 
extent  to  which  this  leads  to  the  exploitation  of  labor,  we  shall 
have  occasion  to  disciiss  in  later  chapters. 

^  According  to  Rowntree  "even  allowing  for  the  cash  value  of  all  the  per- 
quisites which  they  receive,  the  average  wage  of  ordinary  agricultural  la- 
borers in  England  is  only  about  178.  6d."  See  his  The  Way  to  Industrial 
Peace  and  the  Problem  of  Unemployment,  London,  1914,  pp.  loo-i.  There 
were  643,000  agricultural  laborers  in  England  and  Wales  in  191 1,  according 
to  the  British  Census. 



The  Censiis  Bureau  has  estimated  that  in  1912  the  total 
national  wealth  was  $187,739,000,000,  or  $1,965  per  o^ita. 
Every  dass  of  property  valued  at  as  much  as  a  billion  dollars  is 
included  in  the  following  .table:  — 

Estimate  of  Past  of  the  National  Wealth  in  191 2 

Taxed  real  property  and  improvements $  98,363,000,000 

Exempt  real  property  and  improvements 13,314,000,000 

Railroads  and  their  equipment i6,l49,ooo,ooo 

Manufactured  products  (other  than  clothing  and 
personal   adornments,    furniture,    vehicles,    and 

kindred  property) 14,694,000,000 

Fumitiue,  vehicles,  and  kindred  property 8,463,000,000 

Live  stock 6,238,000,000 

Manufacturing  machinery,  tools,  and  implements. . .  6,091,000,000 

Agricultural  products \ 5,240,000,000 

Street  railways 4,597,000,000 

Clothing  and  personal  adornments 4,295,000,000 

Gold  and  silver  coin  and  bullion 2,617,000,000 

Privately  owned  central  electric  light  and  power  sta- 
tions   2,099,000,000 

Shipping  and  canals 1,491,000,000 

Farm  implements  and  machinery 1,368,000,000 

Telephone  systems 1,081,000,000 

Total $185,100,000,000 

The  above  table  includes  most  of  the  national  wealth,  and 
gives  some  idea  of  its  distribution  among  the  different  classes 
of  property. 

Unforttmately  it  is  impossible  to  estimate  fully  the  national 
income.  But  from  the  census  figures  for  1909  we  can  secure 
the  following   partial   estimate,    which   includes    what    was 



produced  by  the  agricultural,  manufacturing,  and  mining  in- 

EsmiATE  ov  Past  oy  the  National  Income  in  1909 

Agriculture $  8,498,311,413 

Dairy  products ST^A^S^A^S 

Wool 65,472,328 

Mohair 901,597 

Eggs 306,688,960 

Poultry 202,506,272 

Honey  and  wax 5,992,083 

Crops 5,487,161,223 

Domestic  animals  sold  or  slaughtered i|S33ii75»437 

Manufactures  (value  of  products  less  cost  of  materiab)  8,529,261 ,000 
Mining  (products  of  mines,  quarries,  and  petroleum 

andgas  weUs) 1,238,410,32a 

Total $18,265,982,735 

It  is  evident  that  this  estimate  does  not  include  the  value  of 
all  services  rendered,  as,  for  example,  some  of  the  services 
in  transportation  and  commerce,  and  probably  omits  other 
items  in  the  national  income  as  well. 

King  has  made  the  following  estimate  of  the  income  of  the 
United  States  in  the  year  1910.  (W.  I.  King,  The  Wealth  and 
Income  of  the  People  of  the  United  States,  New  York,  1915,  p.  138) 


(Adapted  from  W.  I.  King) 

Government $  2,59r,8oo,ooo 

Commercial  and  Professional  Services 8,977,200,000 

Manufacturing,  Light  and  Power 8,437,600,000 

Transportation 2,656,000,000 

Fishing 48,900,000 

Mining 976,000,000 

Agriculture 6,842,000,000 

Total  Product *30,S29iSoo»ooo 


Definition  of  the  standard  of  living  —  Family  budgets  and  estimated  stand- 
aids  —  Minimum  and  fair  standards  —  The  standard  of  living  of  the 
American  population  —  Number  of  family  wage-earners  —  The  po  v- 
crty  cyde. 

We  have  already  discussed,  in  the  second  chapter,  the  vague- 
ness of  the  word  "poverty,"  which  makes  it  diiSciilt  to  set  an 
upper  limit  to  the  class  of  the  poor.  It  is  obvious  that,  to  begin 
with,  this  dass  includes  the  paupers,  namely,  those  who  are  im- 
able  to  maintain  their  existence  without  aid  from  others  and  are 
therefore  partially  or  totally  dependent  economically.  But  it 
is  customary  to  include  in  this  class  a  much  larger  group  of 
individuals  and  families  who,  while  they  may  be  able  to  keep 
alive  without  aid  from  others,  are  unable  to  attain  to  a  standard 
of  living  which  is  deemed  by  those  who  have  formulated  it  as 
being  necessary  for  a  normal  human  and  social  life.  The  ex- 
ponents of  a  standard  of  living  are  usually  in  the  habit  of  speak- 
ing of  it  as  necessary  for  a  decent  and  wholesome  life  and  for 
maintaining  the  highest  physical  and  mental  efficiency. 

Definition  of  the  Standard  of  Living 

Now  it  is  evident  that  there  may  be  much  difference  of  opin- 
ion as  to  what  constitutes  a  "decent"  or  a  "whdesome"  life, 
and  consequently  what  standard  is  necessary  to;^.in  it. 
It  is,  therefore,  not  surprising  that  there  have  been  great  dif- 
ferences between  the  standards  which  have  been  proposed. 
Some  of  the  standards  which  have  been  suggested  have  been 
on  the  basis  of  mere  estimates,  and  these  we  may  ignore.  Others, 
however,  have  been  based,  on  the  one  hand,  upon  data  as  to 
how  much  the  individuals  in  that  large  part  of  the  population 
which  is  near  the  pauper  line  actually  earn  and  spend,  and, 
on  the  other  hand,  upon  data  as  to  the  cost  of  the  things  neces- 
sary for  the  maint^iance  of  the  manner  of  life  ccHisidered  req- 



uisite.    These  latter  standards  are  worthy  of  study,  and  we 
shall  review  briefly  a  few  of  them. 

It  IS  evident  that  no  family  can  continue  indefinitely  to  spend 
more  than  it  earns.  So  that  if  it  is  self-suf^rting  its  income 
rate  will  indicate,  in  the  long  run,  how  much  it  ^)ends,  and 
therefore  its  standard  of  living.  Consequently  the  data  witii 
r^ard  to  wage  and  income  rates  which  we  have  sunmiarized 
in  the  last  chapter  furnish  much  information  as  to  the  prevailing 
standard  of  living  among  those  from  whom  the  poor  are  re- 
cruited in  the  main.  But  these  wage  statistics  indicate  the  in- 
comes of  individuals,  whereas  the  standard  of  living  has  usually 
been  studied  with  respect  to  families.  The  reason  for  this  is 
that  there  are  many  children  who  are  normally  dependent,  and 
also  many  women  who,  because  they  are  housewives  and  are 
breeding  and  rearing  children,  are  normally  dependent.  The 
support  of  these  normally  dependent  persons  miist  therefore 
be  included  when  calciUating  the  standard  of  living.  In. most 
investigations  of  the  subject  it  has  been  customaxy  to  consider 
as  the  average  family  one  made  up  of  five  individuals,  namely, 
the  parents  and  three  children. 

Faboly  Budgets  and  Estimated  Standabds 

We  have  discussed  in  the  last  chapter  the  investigation  of  die 
U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor »  in  1901  in  which  were  studied  the  in- 
comes and  expenditures  of  25,440  families  whose  average  size 
was  4.88  persons.  These  families  reported  an  average  income 
of  $749.50,  and  an  average  expenditiure  of  $699.24.  In  other 
words,  it  cost  at  least  $700  on  the  average  to  support  each  of 
these  families,  and  inasmuch  as  16.18  per  cent  of  diem  reported 
a  deficit  the  cost  must  have  exceeded  $700.  These  were  in  the 
main  the  families  of  ^kiUed  workingmen,  so  that  they  doubtless 
averaged  higher  in  incomes  and  expenditures  than  the  working 
class  in  general. 

In  1902  the  Massachusetts  Bureau  of  Statistics  of  Labor  pub- 
lished an  analysis  of  the  budgets  of  104  families  whose  average  in- 
come was  $814.01,  and  whose  average  expenditure  Was  $797.83.* 
It  is  evident  that  it  cost  on  the  average  about  $800  to  support 
each  of  these  families,  whose  average  size  was  4.8  persons.   The 

^  i8th  An.  Rep.  of  the  Commissioner  of  Labor  for  the  Year  igoj^  Washington. 
*  32d  Annual  Report^  Boston,  1902. 


occupations  of  the  heads  of  these  families  show  that  they  were 
the  families  of  skilled  workingmen  with  incomes  much  above 
the  average  of  the  working  class. 

In  1902  the  New  York  Bureau  of  Labor  Statistics  estimated 
that  an  income  of  $10  a  week,  or  of  $520  a  year,  was  inadequate 
for  a  family  living  in  a  dty.* 

In  1904  Hunter  expressed  the  opinion  that  $624  was  not  too 
much  for  a  family  of  five  persons  in  New  York  City.  But  in 
order  to  be  thoroughly  conservative  he  estimated  "more  or  less 
arbitrarily  $460  a  year  as  essential  to  defray  the  expenses  of  an 
average  family"  in  the  North."  He  estimated  that  $300  would 
cover  the  cost  of  like  necessaries  in  the  South.  This  amount  he 
estimated  would  cover  the  bare  cost  of  the  necessaries  for  main- 
taining physical  efficiency  without  any  allowance  for  any  further 

In  1907  Mrs.  More  published  the  results  of  an  intensive  study 
of  the  budgets  of  200  wage-earning  families  in  New  York  City 
during  the  years  1903  to  1905.  The  average  size  of  these  families 
was  5.6  persons.  Their  average  income  was  $851.38  and  their 
average  expenditure  was  $836.25.  They  appear,  on  the  whole, 
to  have  been  somewhat  above  the  average  of  wage-earning  fami- 
lies in  New  York  City.  As  a  result  of  her  investigation,  Mrs. 
More  concludes  that  "'a  fair  living  wage'  for  a  workingman's 
famUy  in  New  York  City  should  be  cU  least  $728  a  year,  or  a 
steady  income  of  $14  a  week.  Making  allowance  for  a  larger 
proportion  of  surplus  than  was  found  in  these  families,  which  is 
necessary  to  provide  adequately  for  the  future,  the  income  should 
be  somewhat  larger  than  this  —  that  is,  from  $800  to  $900  a 
year." » 

In  1908  the  U.  S.  Biu'eau  of  Labor  estimated  that  in  Fall 
River,  Mass.,  the  minimum  standard  of  living  for  an  average 
family  was  $484.41.  The  fair  standard  of  living  it  estimated  for 
Portuguese,  Polish  and  Italian  families  at  $690.95,  and  for  Eng- 
lish, Irish  and  Canadian  French  families  at  $731.99.^    It  is  in- 

^  20th  Annual  Report,  Albany,  1902,  p.  72. 

•  R.  Hunter,  Poverty,  New  York,  1904,  p.  52. 

•  Louise  B.  More,  Wage-Earners'  Budgets,  New  York,  1907,  pp.  2(S9-7a 
^Report  on  Condition  of  Woman  and  Ckild  Wage-earners  in  the  U.  5., 

6ist.  Cong.,  2d  sess.,  Sen.  doc.  No.  645,  Vol.  XVI,  pp.  238,  245.  For 
Southern  cotton-mill  workers  the  Bureau  estimated  the  minimum  standard 
for  the  average  family  at  $408.26.    (P.  142.)   It  estimated  the  fair  standard 


teresting  to  note  that  during  the  same  year  the  Bifassachusetts 
Bureau  of  Statistics  found  that  the  average  wage  of  all  cotton- 
mill  employees  in  Fall  River  was  $44740.^ 

for  the  Southern  family  at  I600.74.  (P.  152.)  The  average  or  normal  famfly, 
according  to  the  Bureau,  oonsbted  for  the  purposes  of  this  investigation  of 
a  father,  mother,  and  three  children,  namely,  a  girl  of  10,  a  boy  of  6,  and  a 
boy  of  4. 

The  Bureau  characterizes  the  minimum  standard  as  follows:  —  "If  the 
family  live  upon  this  simi  without  suffering,  wisdom  to  properiy  apportion 
the  income  is  necess^iry.  There  can  be  no  amusements  or  recreations  that 
involve  any  expense.  No  tobacco  can  be  used.  No  newspapers  can  be 
purchased.  The  children  cannot  go  to  sdiool,  because  there  wUl  be  no  money 
tQ  buy  their  books.  Household  articles  that  are  worn  out  or  destroyed 
cannot  be  replaced.  The  above  sum  provides  for  neither  birth  nor  death 
nor  any  illn^  that  demands  a  doctor's  attention  or  calls  for  medicine. 
Even  though  all  these  things  are  eliminated,  if  the  family  is  not  to  suffer, 
the  mother  must  be  a  woman  of  rare  ability.  She  must  know  how  to  make 
her  own  and  her  children's  clothing;  she  must  be  physicaUy  able  to  do  all 
of  the  household  work,  including  the  washing.  And  sJie  must  know  enough 
to  purchase  with  her  allowance  food  that  has  the  proper  nutritive  value." 
(P.  142.) 

The  Bureau  characterizes  the  fair  standard  as  follows:  —  ''This  will  enable 
him  (the  father)  to  furnish  them  (his  family)  good  nourishing  food  and  suf- 
ficient clothing.  He  can  send  his  children  to  school.  Unless  a  prolonged  or 
serious  illness  befall  the  family,  he  can  pay  for  medical  attention.  If  a  death 
should  occur,  insurance  will  meet  the  expense.  He  can  provide  some  simple 
recreation  for  his  family,  the  cost  not  to  be  over  $15.60  for  the  year.  If 
this  cotton-miU  father  is  given  employment  300  days  out  of  the  year,  he 
must  earn  $2  per  day  to  maintain  this  standard.  As  the  children  grow  older 
and  the  family  increases  in  size,  the  cost  of  living  will  naturally  increase. 
The  father  must  either  earn  more  himself  or  be  assisted  by  his  young  children. 

"  This  standard  is  by  no  means  an  ideal  one.  It  does  not  allow  savings  to 
meet  the  contingency  of  any  unusual  event,  such  as  lack  of  employment  or 
accident  to  the  father.  It  makes  no  provision  for  old  age.  It  provides  for 
culture  wants  only  in  the  most  limited  manner,  vis.,  one  paper  costing  $1  a 
3rear.  It  provides  elementary  schooling  for  the  children  up  to  their  twelfth 
year  only. 

"To  be  unable  to  meet  the  demands  of  this  standard.of  living  is  to  place 
the  family  among  those  living  in  poverty.  The  father  might  earn  less  than 
I600.74  without  entailing  physical  suffering  on  the  family.  The  minimum 
standard  however  of  I408.26,  which  obviates  physical  suffering  only,  does 
not  mark  the  poverty  line  for  this  family.  The  deprivation  of  many  things 
other  than  food  and  shelter  means  poverty.  For  after  all,  among  these 
people  the  problems  of  sickness  and  deaths  and  births  are  to  be  reckoned  with  \ 
almost  as  certainly  as  are  food  and  shelter.  Inability  to  buy  school  books 
for  the  children,  to  furnish  some  simple  form  of  recreation  for  the  fomily, 
are  unmistakably  signs  of  poverty."    (Pp.  152-3.) 

>  Statistics  of  Jdanujaciure,  MassackusettSf  jgoS,  Boston,  1909,  pp.  12-32. 


In  1909  Chapin  published  his  report  of  an  intensive  investiga- 
tion he  had  made  of  the  budgets  of  about  400  working-class 
families  in  New  York  City.  More  than  three-fourths  of  these 
families  had  incomes  ranging  from  |6oo  to  $1 ,  100.  Chapin  made 
his  investigation  as  the  secretary  of  a  Committee  on  Standard 
of  Livmg  of  the  N.  Y.  State  Conference  of  Charities  and  Cor- 
rection. As  a  result  of  his  investigation  the  Committee  came  to 
the  conclusion  that  **U  is  fairly  conservative  in  Us  estimate  thai 
$825  is  stfficierUfor  the  average  family  of  5  individuals^  compris- 
ing the  father,  mother  and  3  children  under  14  years  of  age  to 
maintain  a  fairly  proper  standard  of  living  in  ihe  Borough  of 
Manhattan:'  ^ 

In  1911  Streightoff,  after  reviewing  much  the  same  data  as 
we  have  discussed,  came  to  the  conclusion  that  it  is  '^  conserva- 
tive to  set  $650  as  the  extreme  low  limit  of  the  Living  Wage  in 
cities  of  the  North,  East,  and  West.  Probably  |6oo  is  high 
enough  for  the  cities  of  the  South.  At  this  wage  there  can  be 
no  saving  and  a  minimum  of  pleasiure.  Yet  there  are  in  the 
United  States,  at  least  five  million  industrial  workmen  who  are 
earning  |6oo  or  less  a  year."  " 

In  1913  Nearing,  after  a  careful  review  of  the  most  important 
investigations  came  to  the  conclusion  that  ''the  available  data 
indicate  that  a  man,  wife  and  three  children  under  fourteen 
cannot  maintain  a  fair  standard  of  living  in  the  indiistrial  towns 
of  Eastern  United  States  on  an  amount  less  than  $700  a  year  in 
the  Southern,  and  $750  a  year  in  the  Northern  States.  In  the 
large  cities,  where  rents  are  higher,  this  amount  miist  be  in- 
creased by  at  least  $100."  » 

In  1914  Hollander,  on  the  basis  mainly  of  Chapin's  investiga- 
tion, estimates  that  in  order  to  maintain  a  decent  standard  of 
living  in  the  United  States  for  an  average  family  of  five  "an 
annual  income  of  $600  to  $700  is  insufficient;  that  $700  to  $800 
requires  exceptional  management  and  escape  from  extraordinary 
disbursements  consequent  upon  illness  or  death;  and  that  $825^ 
permits  the  maintenance  of  a  fairly  proper  standard."  ^ 

^  R.  C.  Chapin,  The  Standard  of  Living  among  Workingmen*s  Families  in 
New  York  City,  New  York,  1909,  p.  281. 

*  F.  H.  Strdghtoff,  The  Standard  of  Living  Among  the  Industrial  People 
of  America,  Boston,  1911,  p.  162. 

•  S.  Nearing,  Financing  the  Wage-Earner's  Family,  New  York,  1913,  p.  97, 
'  J.  H.  Hollander,  The  Abolition  of  Poverty,  Boston,  1914,  p.  9. 


It  is  evident  that  in  the  case  of  each  one  of  the  investigations 
which  have  been  dted  the  family  budgets  averaged  fairly  high, 
in  fact,  usually  as  high  or  higher  than  the  estimates  made  for 
a  good  standard  of  living.  The  same  is  true  of  practically  all 
of  the  similar  studies  which  have  been  made  in  this  coimtry. 
Now  it  is  to  be  expected  that  if  a  standard  of  living  which  is  to 
be  used  as  a  criterion  of  poverty  is  determined  with  careful 
reference  to  the  actual  living  conditions  of  a  large  part  of  the 
population,  it  will  not  be  placed  so  high  as  to  put  a  very  large 
part  of  the  population  below  the  poverty  line.  However  desir- 
able it  might  appear  to  the  investigator  that  the  standard  should 
be  much  higher  than  it  is,  it  would  make  the  term  poverty  al- 
most meaningless  to  apply  it  to  the  majority  of  society.  On 
the  other  hand,  these  investigations  are  doubtless  somewhat 
misleading  as  to  the  actual  extent  of  poverty.  It  seems  to  be 
quite  certain  that  in  practically  all  of  them  the  majority  of  the 
families  whose  budgets  were  investigated  belonged  to  the  group 
of  families  which  are  financially  better  off  than  the  average. 
The  reason  for  this  is  obvious,  namely,  because  it  is  much  more 
feasible  to  secure  complete  accounts  of  incomes  and  expendi- 
tures from  this  class  of  families  than  from  the  poorer  ones.  It 
is  imfortunate  that  we  have  not  more  data  from  this  poorer 
class.  But  we  have  reason  to  assimie  that  it  is  much  larger  than 
is  indicated  by  these  investigations.  We  shall  investigate  this 
subject  presently. 

MiNiinTM  AND  Fair  Standards 

Turning  now  to  the  estimated  standards  of  living  which  have 
been  dted,  it  is  evident  that  two  t3rpes  of  standards  are  involved. 
One  type  is  the  minimum,  bare  physical  effidency  standard 
which  is  represented  by  Hunter's  estimate  of  $460,  the  estimate 
of  $484.41  by  the  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor,  and  the  estimate  of 
$520  by  the  N.  Y.  Bureau  of  Statistics.  The  other  type  is  the 
higher  "decent"  or  "fair"  standard  which  insures  a  fair  amount 
of  comfort  and  provides  for  a  certain  degree  of  mental  in  addi- 
tion to  physical  efl&dency.  The  estimates  for  this  higher  type 
of  standard  range  from  Hunter's  estimate  of  $624  to  Chapin's 
estimate  of  $825.  In  view  of  the  rise  of  prices  dining  recent  years 
and  the  consequent  increase  in  the  cost  of  living,  it  is  evident 
that  these  estimates  if  made  today  would  be  somewhat  higher. 


This  would  be  especially  true  of  the  earlier  of  tiiese  estimates. 
It  was  estimated  by  the  Massachusetts  Commission  on  the  Cost 
of  Living  that  the  average  family  expenditures  for  various  pur- 
poses in  normal  families  having  an  income  of  $600  to  $700  in 
1901  had  increased  during  the  nine  years  from  1901  to  1910  by 
20.5  per  cent,  or  about  one-fifth.^  Prices  have  continued  to  rise 
since  1910,  so  that  the  cost  of  living  for  these  families  is  probably 
still  greater  now. 

What  standards,  if  any,  are  we  to  adopt?  If  we  use  these 
estimates  as  a  guide,  and  make  some  allowance  for  the  increase 
in  the  cost  of  living,  the  minimum  standard  for  the  normal, 
average  family  would  probably  fall  between  $500  and  |6oo,  and 
perhi^  be  nearer  $600  than  $500;  while  the  higher  standard 
would  probably  fall  between  $700  and  $800,  probably  being 
nearer  $800  than  $700,  and  perhaps  being  even  higher  than 

/'"The  difficulties  in  the  way  of  determining  a  standard  of  living 
/  which  will  serve  as  a  criterion  of  poverty  are  now  apparent.  It 
is  obvious  that  this  standard  must  vary  from  one  part  of  the 
country  to  another  and  from  one  type  of  community  to  another. 
Furthermore,  it  must  vary  from  time  to  time  in  accordance  with 
the  variations  in  the  cost  of  living.  So  that  we  can  only  fix  a 
standard  which  is  rough  and  approximate.  The  investigations 
and  estimates  which  we  have  reviewed  represent  collectively  a 
large  amount  of  careful  study  of  the  problem,  and  probably 
furnish  us  as  safe  a  guide  as  any  for  its  solution.  Let  us  there- 
fore assume  that  a  family  of  average  size  with  an  income  of  less 
than  $500  is  certainly  below  the  poverty  line,  while  we  are 
probably  justified  in  assuming  that  most  if  not  all  of  the  families 
below  $600  are  below  that  line.  That  is  to  say,  s(»ne  of  these 
families  are  partially  or  totally  pauperized,  while  the  rest  of 
them  are  on  the  veige  of  pauperism  and  may  easily  be  carried 
over  the  brink  through  the  agency  of  imemployment,  sickness, 
accident,  or  a  similar  misfortune.  Fiulhermore,  those  families 
which  are  at  the  moment  self-supporting  cannot  reach  the  level 
of  bare  physical  efficiency,  for  it  is  usually  impossible  for  a 
family  to  secure  for  $600,  and  certainly  impossible  to  secure  for 
$500,  the  food,  clothing,  and  housing  which  are  necessary  for 
physical  efficiency. 

^  Report  of  the  Commission^  Boston,  1910,  p.  72. 


But  if  we  wish  to  adopt  die  higher  standard  of  living  as  our 
poverty  line,  it  is  in  all  probability  safe  to  say  that  all  families 
below  $800  are  below  that  line.  Tliis  amount  is  unquesticmably 
a  minimum  for  attaining  the  American  ideal  of  comfortable 
living.  Furthermore,  it  is  certain  that  there  are  families  with 
incomes  even  as  high  as  $800  that  are  at  least  slightly  pau- 
perized, while,  in  view  of  the  uncertainty  of  employment  and 
of  income  under  our  present  economic  system  and  of  the  dan- 
gers of  disease,  accident,  etc.,  all  families  below  this  amoimt  are 
constantly  in  danger  of  falling  below  the  line  of  pauperism. 
However,  in  order  to  be  entirely  conservative  let  us  assume  that 
only  those  families  which  are  below  die  lower  minimum  are 
unquestionably  below  the  poverty  line,  while  those  between 
the  lower  and  the  higher  minima  may  be  regarded  as  being 
in  a  state  of  secondary  poverty.  Let  us  now  see  how  these 
standards  of  living  may  be  applied. 

The  Stamdasd  of  Living  of  the  American  Population 

The  last  chapter  furnishes  us  income  statistics  which  are  of 
value  for  this  purpose.  We  noted  there  that  Nearing  has  esti- 
mated that  in  the  part  of  the  coimtry  in  which  wages  are  on  the 
whole  higher  '' three-quarters  of  the  adult  males  and  nineteen- 
twentieths  of  the  adult  females  actually  earn  less  than  |6oo  a 
year."  From  census  figures  we  found  that  in  manufacturing 
industries  the  average  weekly  wage  of  adult  male  workers  is 
apparentiy  about  $11,  and  that  over  one-half  of  these  workers 
have  an  income  under  $600  a  year.  Inasmuch  as  wages  in  agri- 
culture and  in  certain  other  industries  are  still  lower,  this  pro- 
portion for  all  wage-earners  must  be  still  larger,  possibly  as 
great  as  the  three-quarters  estimated  by  Nearing.  If  then  we 
were  to  assume  that  all  or  the  great  majority  of  the  families  of 
the  coimtry  were  being  supported  each  by  one  male  adult  wage- 
earner,  we  should  be  justified  in  assuming  that  at  least  one-half, 
and  probably  more,  of  the  families  of  this  country  are  in  a  state 
of  poverty.  But  we  know  that  many  families  possess  more 
than  one  wage-earner,  so  that  it  is  necessary  to  consider  in  how 
many  families  this  is  true,  and  how  much  the  combined  incomes 
of  the  wage-earners  in  each  family  aggregate  on  the  average. 

This  is  a  very  difiGicult  problem  to  solve,  because  there  are 


very  few  data  which  bear  directly  upon  it.  Let  us  begin  with 
the  census  figures  which  are  of  significance.  In  1910  there 
were  in  this  country  20,255,555  families,  averaging  4.5  persons 
per  family.^  This  average  doubtless  runs  higher  for  the  poorer 
families,  probably  approaching  five  persons  or  more  per  family. 
In  1910  diere  were  38,167,336  persons  ten  years  of  age  and  over 
who  were  engaged  in  gainful  occupations,  of  whom  30,091,564 
were  males  and  8,075,772  were  females.*  In  other  words,  there 
was  on  the  average  about  one  and  one-half  male  earner  to  each 
family,  and  not  quite  one-half  of  a  female  earner  to  each  family. 
With  respect  to  age  these  earners  were  divided  up  in  the  follow- 
ing manner:  There  were  7,453,448  under  21  years  of  age  and 
30,713,888  who  were  21  years  of  age  and  over.  In  other  words, 
there  was  on  the  average  about  one  and  one-half  adult  earner 
to  each  family,  and  somewhat  less  than  one-half  of  a  child 
earner  to  each  family.  Combining  the  classification  with  respect 
to  sex  and  age,  we  find  that  there  were  4,968,762  male  earners  and 
2,484,686  female  earners  under  21  years  of  age,  and  25,122,802 
male  earners  and  5,591,086  female  earners  who  were  21  years 
of  age  and  over.  We  might  therefore  say  that  there  were  on 
the  average  to  each  family  nearly  one  and  one-fourth  of  an 
adult  male  earner,  slightly  more  than  one-fourth  of  an  adult 
female  earner,  nearly  one-fourth  of  a  child  male  earner,  and 
slightly  less  than  one-eighth  of  a  child  female  earner. 

We  might  go  still  further  with  this  calculation  and  estimate 
on  the  basis  of  the  best  available  data  the  income  of  this  average 
family  by  combining  the  incomes  of  these  fractional  earners. 
If,  for  example,  we  assumed  that  the  income  of  an  adult  female 
earner  was  on  the  average  one-half  that  of  an  adult  male  earner, 
and  that  the  income  of  a  child  earner  was  on  the  average  cme- 
fourth  that  of  an  adult  male  earner,  this  average  family  would 
have  the  combined  income  of  about  one  and  one-half  adult 
male  earners.*    But  we  know  that  many  earners  are  support- 

'  Ahskact  of  ike  13th  Census,  p.  259. 

*  These  figures  with  respect  to  occupations  are  taken  from  the  volume  on 
Occupation  Statistics  of  the  Report  of  the  13th  Census, 

*  Nearing  estimates  that  '*the  wife,  regularly  employed  may  earn,  per- 
haps, three-fifths  as  much  as  her  husband,  while  the  child  under  fourteen, 
in  the  few  States,  and  in  the  few  industries,  where  employment  b  possible, 
may  receive  an  income  equal  to  a  fifth  or  a  sixth  of  that  paid  to  his  ^ther." 
In  Financing  the  Wage-Earner's  Family t  p.  1 11.   As  I  am  including  all  earn- 


ing  only  themselves,  and  are  therefore  not  aiding  in  the  support 
of  femiUes.  There  are  many  other  considerations  which  go  to 
vitiate  the  value  of  this  calculation.  In  fact,  this  sort  of  cal- 
culating is  of  little  value  for  our  purpose  for,  in  the  first  place, 
no  such  average  family  actually  exists,  and,  in  the  second  place, 
our  main  interest  is  in  the  families  witii  the  smaller  incomes  and 
not  in  the  average  families.  Let  us  therefore  turn  to  the  budgets 
of  families  which  have  been  secured  and  note  the  actual  sources 
<d  income  in  the  cases  of  these  families. 

Number  of  Family  Wage-Earners 

In  the  investigation  of  the  Massachusetts  Biu'eau  of  Statis- 
tics of  Labor  it  was  found  that  the  incomes  of  152  families,  whose 
average  total  income  was  $877.84,  came  from  several  soiurces  in 
the  proportions  indicated  in  the  following  table:  —  ^ 

Sources  of  income  Percentage  of 

''  total  income 

Eamingsof  head 67.67 

Contributions  of  minor  children 11.33 

Received  from  boarders  or  lodgers 9.92 

Received  from  other  sources 11.09 

Total  income 100.00 

It  is  evident  from  this  table  that  slightly  more  than  two- 
thirds  of  the  total  income  came  from  the  earnings  of  the  heads, 
most  of  whom  were  the  husbands  and  fathers.  The  children 
omtributed  slightly  more  than  one-tenth,  while  unfortunately 
there  is  no  indication  as  to  how  much  was  contributed  by  the 
wife  and  mother. 

In  the  Federal  Bureau  of  Labor  investigation,  which  was 
made  about  1901,  it  was  found  that  the  incomes  of  25440 
families,  whose  average  total  income  was  $749.50,  came  from 

ers  under  21  years  of  age  as  child  earners,  one-fourth  the  income  of  the  adult 
male  is  probably  not  too  high  an  estimate  for  their  wages,  whUe,  as  Nearing 
is  referring  only  to  regularly  employed  women,  one-half  the  income  of  the 
adult  male  is  probably  too  high  an  estimate  for  all  gainfully  employed 

^  yid  Annual  Report,  Boston,  190a,  p.  285. 


several  sources  in  the  proportioDS  indicated  in  the  following 
table;  — » 

Sources  of  income  Percentage  of 

^  ^  total  income 

Husbands 7949 

Wives 147 

Children 949 

Boarders  and  lodgers 7.78 

Other  sources '. 1.77 

Total  income 100.00 

It  is  evident  from  this  table  that  nearly  four-fifths  of  the  total 
income  came  from  the  earnings  of  the  husbands.  Nearly  one- 
tenth  came  from  the  earnings  of  the  children,  while  only  about 
one  and  one-half  per  cent  came  from  the  earnings  of  the 

So  far  as  these  investigations  are  ccmcemed  it  appears  that 
on  the  average  much  the  larger  part  of  the  incomes  of  wage- 
earning  families  comes  from  the  husbands  and  fathers.  Other 
investigations  indicate  the  same  thing,*  while  the  data  which 
have  been  presented  earlier  in  this  book  showing  the  smallness 
of  the  incomes  of  women  and  children  makes  this  conclusion 
appear  highly  plausible. 

But  detailed  investigations  which  have  been  made  indicate 
that  there  is  a  good  deal  of  difference  in  this  respect  between  the 
income  groups.  The  British  Board  of  Trade  made  an  investiga- 
tion into  the  cost  of  living  in  this  country  between  the  years 
1905  and  1909  in  the  course  of  which  it  studied  the  composition 
of  family  incomes  in  the  different  income  groups.  The  following 
table  indicates  the  percentage  of  the  income  earned  by  the 
children  in  the  different  income  groups  among  the  northern 
American-British  (including  American,  Irish,  English,  Scottish, 
Welsh,  and  Canadian)  families  studied  by  the  Board:  — ' 

^  i8th  Annual  Report^  Washington,  1904,  p.  58. 

'Nearing  dtes  several  more  investigations  in  his  Financing  the  Wage- 
Earner's  Family f  pp.  10S-115. 

*  In  the  summary  of  the  Report  of  British  Board  of  Trade  on  Cost  of  Linng 
in  the  Principal  Cities  of  the  United  States  in  the  Bulletin  of  the  U.  S.  Bureau 
of  Labor,  March,  191 1,  p.  541. 



WmUffftmUy  iwnm 

Under  $9.73 

9.73  and  under  14.60. 
14.60  and  under  1947 . 
1947  and  under  34.33 
24.33  ^^  under  29.20. 
29.20  and  under  34.07 . 
34.07  and  under  38.93 . 
38.93  and  over 









ilMT.  wUy.  A 





wkly.        ^^^ 











This  table  indicates  that  as  the  size  of  the  family  increased  the 
family  income  increased,  while  the  percentage  of  the  family 
income  contributed  by  the  children  increased  very  rapidly, 
which  seems  to  indicate  that  the  family  income  increased  largely 
because  of  the  contributions  of  the  children.  The  Board  in  its 
repent  calls  attention  to  the  fact  that  ''in  an  even  more  striking 
degree  than  in  the  case  of  the  European  investigations  by  the 
Board  of  Trade  the  higher  incomes  are  due  not  so  much  to  in- 
creased earnings  of  the  husband  as  to  the  contributions  of  chil- 
dren of  wage-earning  age."  ^  The  earnings  of  the  wives  in  these 
families  were  very  small,  ranging  between  the  dififerent  income 
groups  from  less  than  one-half  of  one  per  cent  of  the  total  family 
income  to  only  a  little  more  than  two  per  cent  of  the  family 

The  Poverty  Cycle 

These  data  indicate  that  the  relation  of  the  family  to  poverty 
depends  to  a  large  extent  upon  the  number  of  earners  in  the 
family,  and  this  in  turn  is  determined  in  the  main  by  the  number 
of  diildren  in  the  family.  It  is  interesting  Co  note  in  this  con- 
necticm  Rowntree's  theory  of  the  "five  alternating  p>eriods  of 
want  and  comparative  plenty ''  in  the  life  of  the  laborer.'  Rown- 
tree  believes  that  in  England,  as  a  general  rule,  the  laborer 

1  Of.  cU.,  p.  541.  Chapin  in  his  investigation  found  a  similar  tendency 
for  the  percentage  of  the  total  famfly  income  earned  by  the  children  to  in- 
crease as  the  fandly  income  increased.    (R.  C.  ChafMn,  op.  cU,,  p.  63.) 

'  B.  Seebohm  Rowntree,  Poverty^  London,  1901,  pp.  136-7. 


passes  through  three  periods  of  poverty  and  two  of  comparative 
plenty.  Unless  his  father  is  a  skilled  laborer,  he  will  probably 
be  in  poverty  during  early  childhood.  This  will  continue  until 
he  and  his  brothers  and  sisters  begin  to  earn  money,  thus  raising 
the  family  above  the  poverty  line.  His  prosperity  will  continue 
until  he  marries  and  acquires  two  or  three  children,  when  he 
will  again  fall  below  the  poverty  line.  This  second  period  of 
poverty  will  last  until  his  childi^n  begin  to  earn.  IBs  second 
period  of  prosperity  will  continue  until  his  children  leave  home 
and  old  age  overtakes  him,  when  he  falls  below  the  poverty  line 
for  the  third  and  last  time.  According  to  the  diagram  with 
which  Rowntree  illustrates  his  theory,  a  laborer  up  to  the  age 
of  seventy  passes  about  twenty-five  years  in  poverty,  while  if 
he  survives  that  age  the  remainder  of  Ids  life  is  spent  in  poverty. 
Rowntree  characterizes  these  periods  of  poverty  as  follows:  — 
"A  labourer  is  thus  in  poverty,  and  therefore  underfed  — 

(a)  In  childhood  —  when  his  constitution  is  being  built  up. 

(b)  In  early  middle  life  —  when  he  should  be  in  his  prime. 

(c)  In  old  age." 

'*  It  should  be  noted  that  the  women  are  in  poverty  diuing  the 
greater  part  of  the  period  that  they  are  bearing  children." 

It  is  not  likely  that  these  periods  are  quite  so  strongly  ac- 
centuated in  the  life  of  the  American  laborer  as  they  are  in  the 
life  of  the  English  laborer,  since  the  real  incomes  of  American 
laborers  are  somewhat  higher  than  those  of  English  laborers. 
But  the  forgoing  data  with  regard  to  the  percentage  of  the 
family  income  earned  by  the  children  indicate  that  a  similar 
succession  of  periods  of  poverty  and  of  prosperity  takes  place  in 
the  lives  of  many  American  laborers  and  their  families.  These 
facts  confirm  what  our  wage  and  income  statistics  have  already 
shown,  namely,  that  the  incomes  of  a  laige  number  of  adult 
male  earners  are  not  sufficiently  large  to  keep  their  families 
above  the  poverty  line  unless  largely  supplemented  by  the  earn- 
ings of  other  members  of  the  family. 


of  pauperism  —  Estimate  of  the  extent  of  pauperism  — 
Estimate  of  the  extent  of  poverty  —  Investigations  of  the  extent  of 
poverty  in  Great  Britain  by  Booth,  Rowntree,  Bowley,  etc  —  The 
significance  of  the  great  extent  of  poverty. 

Our  Study  of  family  budgets  and  standards  of  living  in  the 
preceding  chapter  has  indicated  that  a  standard  of  living  may  be 
used  as  a  more  or  less  definite  monetary  criterion  of  the  extent 
of  poverty.  But  we  have  also  seen  that,  on  account  of  lack  of 
sufficient  data,  it  is  usually  impossible  to  apply  this  criterion  in 
such  a  fashicm  as  to  estimate  even  approximately  the  amount 
of  poverty. 


In  the  following  discussion  we  shall  dte  some  of  the  estimates 
of  the  extent  of  poverty  which  have  been  made  in  the  past.  But 
we  shall  begin  with  a  discussion  of  paup>erism,  because  the 
amount  of  pauperism  fixes  a  minimum  limit  for  estimating  the 
extent  of  poverty.  It  is  true  that  the  statistics  of  pauperism 
may  be  swelled  somewhat  by  persons  receiving  chari^  who  are 
capable  of  supporting  themselves,  and,  as  we  shall  see,  indis- 
criminate philanthropy  increases  this  group.  But  the  number 
of  false  paupers  is  usually  narrowly  limited  by  the  fear  of  detec- 
tion, while,  on  the  other  hand,  a  feeling  of  shame  restrains  other 
persons  from  asking  for  aid  who  are  really  in  need  of  it,  thus 
counterbalancing  in  part,  if  not  entirely,  the  false  paupers. 
Furthermore,  there  is  always  a  considerable  number  who  are  on 
the  verge  of  pauperism,  and  therefore  imquestionably  of  the  poor 
dass.  So  that  the  amount  of  pauperism,  by  fixing  a  mininnim 
limit,  furnishes  a  good  starting  point  for  estimating  the  extent 
of  poverty. 

It  is  difficult  to  estimate  the  amount  of  pauperism,  though  it 
18  possible  to  api^oximate  it  a  good  deal  more  closely  than  the 



amount  of  poverty.  Paupers  receive  their  aid  from  one  or  more 
of  three  sources,  namely,  (i)  public  agencies,  (2)  private  or- 
ganizations, (3)  individiial  donors  of  alms.  It  is  impossible  to 
estimate  how  many  receive  aid  from  the  third  source,  either  as 
mendicants  on  the  street  and  elsewhere,  or  through  personal 
relations  which  they  have  established  with  their  respective  ben- 
efactors. The  better  organized  of  the  private  charitable  or- 
ganizations keep  good  records  of  their  work,  so  that  it  is  possible 
to  ascertain  fairly  accurately  the  number  of  persons  aided  by 
them.  But  it  is  impossible  to  estimate  the  number  aided  by  the 
other  private  organizations.  Most  of  the  public  agencies  keep 
records,  but  their  records  are  not  always  published  in  such  a 
form  as  to  furnish  these  facts  conveniently.  The  Census  Bureau 
has  published  compilations  of  some  of  these  facts  which  we  shall 
consult  presently. 

In  1891  Ely,  using  information  with  r^ard  to  charitable  aid 
in  several  restricted  areas,  estimated  the  total  number  of  pau- 
p)ers  in  the  United  States,  at  three  million.^  But  he  included  as 
paupers  all  who  received  charity.  In  a  book  published  in  1904, 
Himter,  taking  a  basis  similar  to  the  one  used  by  Ely,  estimated 
that  ''not  less  than  4,000,000  persons  are  now  dependent  upon 
the  public  for  relief." »  But  Himter  went  much  further  and 
atten^>ted  to  estimate  those  who  are  in  poverty  as  well.  As  a 
criterion  of  what  constitutes  poverty  he  took  one  which  has 
been  suggested  by  Marshall,  Rowntree,  and  others,  namely,  that 
"  those  who  are  in  poverty  may  be  able  to  get  a  bare  sustenance, 
but  they  are  not  able  to  obtain  those  necessaries  which  will  permUr 
them  to  maintain  a  state  of  physical  efficiencv.  They  are  the  large, 
class  in  any  industrial  nation  who  are  on  the  verge  of  distress."  ' 
He  arrived  at  his  estimate  of  the  extent  of  poverty  by  using  in- 
formation with  regard  to  the  following  subjects:  —  "Pauperism, 
the  general  distress,  the  number  of  evictions,  the  pauper  burials; 
the  overcrowding  and  insanitation  due  to  improper  housing; 
the  death  rate  from  tuberculosis;  the  aiiiount  of  unemployment; 
and  the  number  of  accidents  in  certain  trades."  ^  For  example, 
he  dtes  such  striking  facts  as  that  during  the  year  1903,  60,463 

I R.  T.  Ely,  Pauperism  in  the  Umkd  States,  in  the  North  American  Review, 
Vol.  152,  April,  1891,  pp.  395-409- 
'  R.  Hunter,  Poverty,  New  York,  1904,  p.  21. 
'  Op.  cU.,  p.  5.  *  Op.  cit.,  p.  20. 


families  were  evicted  from  their  homes  in  the  borough  of  Man- 
hattan in  New  York  City,  which  was  about  fourteen  per  cent  of 
the  total  number  of  families  in  the  borough;  and  that  one  in  every 
ten  persons  who  die  in  New  York  City  is  buried  at  public  expense 
in  Potter's  Field.  The  information  which  he  collected  regaixling 
these  subjects  led  him  to  the  conclusion,  which  he  r^;arded  as 
conservative,  that  ''it  would  seem  lair  to  estimate  that  certainly 
not  less  than  fourteen  per  cent  of  the  people,  in  prosp^x>us  times 
(1903),  and  probably  not  less  than  twenty  per  cent  in  bad  times 
(1897),  are  in  distress."  * 

Hunter  us^^Btate  of  distress,  or  being  on  the  verge  of  such 
a  state,  as  i^pterion  of  poverty.  It  is  obvious  that  this  is 
an  extremely  vague  criterion,  unless  he  means  by  it  being  in 
need  of  aid.  To  be  sure,  he  tries  to  use  a  more  definite  crite- 
ricm  by  estimating  the  minimum  income  necessary  to  main- 
tain a  standard  of  living  which  is  above  the  poverty  line.  He 
estimates  that  for  a  family  of  parents  and  three  children  $460  a 
year  on  the  average  is  needed  in  the  North,  somewhat  more  in 
the  large  cities  and  somewhat  less  in  the  smaller  places;  and  $300 
in  the  South.  He  uses  some  statistics  of  wages  and  of  unemploy- 
ment in  an  endeavor  to  measure  the  extent  of  poverty  on  the 
basis  of  income,  but  without  arriving  at  definite  results.  Con- 
sequently he  falls  back  upon  the  vaguer  criterion  of  being  in  a 
state  of  distress,  and  upon  the  basb  of  the  [percentages  cited 
earlier  he  comes  to  the  following  estimate  of  the  amount  of 
poverty  in  the  United  States:  —  "On  the  whole,  it  seems  to  me 
that  the  most  conservative  estimate  that  can  fairly  be  made  of 
the  distress  existing  in  the  industrial  states  is  fourteen  per  cent  of 
the  total  population;  while  in  all  probability  no  less  than  twenty 
per  cent  of  the  people  in  these  states,  in  ordinarily  prosperous 
years,  are  in  poverty.  This  brings  i^  to  the  conclusion  that  one- 
fifth,  or  6,600,000  persons  in  the  statej  of  New  York,  Massachu- 
setts, Connecticut,  New  Jersey,  ^nnsylvania,  Ohio,  Illinois, 
Indiana,  and  Michigan  are  in  poverty.  Taking  half  of  this  per- 
centage and  applying  it  to  the  other  states,  many  of  which  have 
important  industrial  commimities,  as,  for  instance,  Wisconsin, 
Colorado,  California,  Rhode  Island,  etc.,  the  conclusion  is  that 
not  less  than  10,000,000  persons  in  the  United  States  are  in 
poverty.    This  includes,  of  course,  the  4,000,000  persons  who 

*  Op,  cU.f  p.  25. 


'V-  •  ■  •  I '  *  •  •  ":  •    •  •* 

are  estimated  to  be  dependent  upon  some  form  of  public 
reUef." » 

It  is  evident  that  Himter's  estimate  is  made  upon  a  very  un- 
certain basis,  and  has  consequently  aroused  a  good  deal  of  crit- 
icism. It  suggests  that  poverty  is  much  more  extensive  than  is 
realized  by  most  people.  But  we  shall  see  presently  that  other 
estimates  made  upon  a  more  certain  basis  seem  to  confirm  it. 

Let  us  now  attempt  an  estimate  of  our  own  of  the  extent  of 
pauperism  in  the  United  States  at  the  present  time.  In  doing  so 
we  can  make  use  of  much  of  the  data  which  have  been  presented 
in  the  last  two  chapters,  of  statistics  in  censt^|g>orts  and  in 
other  official  reports,  and  of  various  other^P^rces  of  in- 

The  census  reports  give  some  indication  of  the  amount  of 
pauperism  in  this  coimtry.  The  report  on  benevolent  institu- 
tions gives  the  statistics  for  the  following  types  of  benevolent 
organizations,  most  of  which  are  private:  —  (i)  Institutions  for 
the  care  of  children;  (2)  Societies  for  the  protection  and  care  of 
children;  (3)  Homes  for  the  care  of  adults,  or  for  adults  and 
children;  (4)  Hospitals  and  sanitarimns;  (5)  Dispensaries; 
(6)  Institutions  for  the  blind  and  deaf.  The  number  of  inmates 
of  these  institutions  at  the  dose  of  the  year  1910  was  408,830. 
The  total  nimiber  of  persons  received  during  the  year  was 
5,400,556,  which  was  nearly  six  per  cent  of  the  total  population.* 
It  is  impossible  to  ascertain  how  many  of  these  were  duplica- 
tions, and  how  many  of  them  do  not  properly  belong  to  the 
pauper  class.  These  are  perhaps  most  likely  to  occiu:  among 
the  persons  who  are  received  at  the  dispensaries  and  by  the 
societies  for  the  protection  and  care  of  children.  If  we  sub- 
tract these  from  the  total,  the  nimiber  received  by  the  remaining 
institutions  was  2,960,538,  which  was  a  little  over  three  per  cent 
of  the  total  population.  It  must,  however,  be  remembered  (hat 
some  of  those  received  at  dis^nsaries  as  well  as  at  some  of  1^ 
other  institutions  represent  families  of  paupers,  so  that  these 
individuals  would  make  up  in  part  at  least  fcM*  the  duplications. 
Furthermore,  to  the  paupers  enumerated  in  this  report  must  be 
added  the  paupers  in  almshouses,  which  are  enumerated  in  an- 

*  Op.  cU,,  pp.  59-60. 

*  Tliese  figures  are  from  the  second  revised  edition  of  the  report  on  benev- 
olent institutions  published  in  June,  1914. 


other  rqx>rt  and  which  numbered  on  the  first  of  January,  1910, 
84,198.  There  must  still  be  added  a  certain  percentage  of  the 
insane  and  feeble-minded,  many  of  whom  are  paupers.  Accord- 
ing to  the  census  report  on  this  subject  there  were  on  the  first 
of  January,  1910, 187,791  insane  in  institutions,  and  on  the  same 
date  20,731  feeble-minded  in  institutions.  It  is  impossible  to 
estimate  how  many  of  these  were  paup)ers. 

So  that  so  far  as  these  census  figures  give  any  indication,  the 
number  of  those  receiving  any  charitable  aid  ranges  from  three 
per  cent,  which  would  be  a  very  conservative  minimum,  to  six 
per  cent  of  th^^tal  population.  But  it  must  be  remembered 
that  these  fi^^E  do  not  include  those  receiving  outdoor  relief 
from  public  s^ces,  or  the  large  number  of  p)ersons  receiving 
such  relief  from  the  private  charitable  organizations  and  from 

In  view  of  the  above  facts,  as  well  as  various  others  which 
might  be  dted,  it  seems  reasonable  to  assume  that  the  number 
of  persons  in  this  country  receiving  charitable  aid  ranges  from 
five  to  ten  per  cent,  var3dng  somewhat  according  to  economic 
and  other  social  conditions.  This  is  an  exceedingly  rough  esti- 
mate, but  the  available  data  do  not  p)ermit  of  a  more  precise 
one.  It  simply  means  that,  in  all  probability,  the  number  of 
those  paup)erized  to  at  least  a  slight  extent  by  receiving  chari- 
table aid  never  falls  below  five  per  cent,  while  it  may  go  as  high 
as  ten  per  cent  of  the  total  population,  without  excluding  the 
possibility  of  still  higher  percentages. 

Now  as  to  whether  this  estimate  represents  the  number  of 
paupers  or  not  depends  upon  the  definition  of  pauperism.  As 
we  have  seen  in  our  discussion  of  this  question,^  there  is  some 
uncertainty  as  to  the  meaning  of  this  term.  If  by  a  pauper  we 
mean  any  person  receiving  charitable  aid,  however  slight  in 
amount,  then  the  above  estimate  indicates  that  from  five  to  ten 
per  cent  of  the  total  population  are  paupers.  But  in  all  proba- 
bility few  persons  would  accept  so  broad  a  definition  of  pau- 
perism. And  while  the  acceptance  of  charity  is  frequently  an 
indication  of  a  tendency  toward  pauperism,  we  should  perhaps 
limit  the  term  to  those  who  are  living  entirely  or  in  large  part 
upon  charity.  It  is  evident  that  this  nimiber  is  much  smaller 
than  the  above,  since  most  of  those  who  receive  charitable  aid 

^  Supra,  chap.  U. 


doubtless  receive  a  comparatively  small  amount  of  charity,  and 
that  only  temporarily. 

If  we  add  up  the  number  of  inmates  in  the  institutions  re- 
ported in  the  above  census  figures,  we  find  that  in  1910  there 
were  about  seven  hundred  thousand  in  them  at  one  time.  This 
may  give  some  indication  of  the  number  of  paiq)ers.  It  is  true 
that  some  of  these  inmates  doubtless  were  only  temporarily  or 
partially  pauperized.  But  it  must  also  be  remembered  that 
many  paupers  are  supported  in  their  homes  by  means  of  private 
and  public  outdoor  relief.  Tliis  number  probably  more  than 
counterbalances  the  number  of  temporarily  9,m^  partially  pau- 
perized persons  in  the  institutions.  So  that  .idle  number  of 
paupers,  in  the  strict  sense  of  the  term,  may  range  as  high  as 
one  million,  or  one  per  cent  of  the  total  population.  It  would 
be  unsafe  to  make  a  higher  estimate. 


The  amount  of  pauperism  fixes  the  minimum  limit  for  poverty, 
but  it  is  indeed  difiScult  to  determine  how  much  greater  in  extent 
is  poverty  than  pauperism.  The  first  step  toward  doing  so  is  to 
establish  a  criterion  of  poverty.  But  we  have  seen  that  such 
characteristics  as  "misery,"  "distress,"  "destitution,"  etc., 
are  too  vague  to  serve  at  all  satisfactorily  for  this  purpose. 
Furthermore,  on  account  of  a  lack  of  sufficient  data,  it  is  difficult 
to  use  even  a  criterion  as  definite  as  a  monetary  standard  of 
living.  The  truth  of  the  matter  is  that  the  extent  of  poverty 
varies  gready  from  time  to  time  and  from  place  to  place,  on 
account  of  economic  forces  which  we  shall  discuss  later  in  this 
book.  Consequentiy,  I  shall  not  attempt  an  estimate  of  its 
amount  in  terms  of  absolute  figures  or  percentages.  But  we 
have  found  enough  data  to  show  that  this  amoimt  must  be 
very  great,  and  I  shall  summarize  these  data  at  this  point. 

Li  the  first  place,  we  have  seen  that  the  number  of  paupers 
may  include  as  much  as  one  per  cent,  but  that  the  numb^  of 
those  receiving  charitable  aid  probably  includes  from  five  to 
ten  per  cent  of  the  total  population.  The  number  of  the  poor, 
namely,  those  who  are  in  more  or  less  imminent  danger  of  be- 
coming pauperized  and  whose  incomes  are  not  sufficientiy  laige 
to  maintain  the  standard  of  living  we  have  discussed,  doubtiess 


is  much  greater.  Our  wage  statistics  have  sho¥m  that  a  large 
part  of  the  wage-earning  families  must  be  in  poverty  and  in 
some  cases  in  pauperism,  except  when  the  earnings  of  the  head 
of  the  family  are  supplemented  by  the  earnings  of  other  members 
of  the  family.  We  have  seen  that  in  all  probability  many  of  the 
woiUng-dass  are  in  a  state  of  poverty  during  certain  p)eriods  of 
their  lives.  We  know  that  at  a  time  of  industrial  depression  the 
number  of  the  poor  and  of  the  paupers  increases  greatly,  owing 
to  the  increase  in  unemployment,  under-employment,  and  under- 
payment. In  the  last  place,  there  is  always  a  considerable 
number  of  those  who  are  partly  or  totally  unemployable  on 
account  of  deficient  physical  or  mental  abiUty,  disease,  accident, 
or  vicious  characteristics,  such  as  excessive  indolence,  drunken- 
ness, etc. 

Furthermore,  it  must  be  remembered  that  many  of  the  pro- 
fessional and  other  so-called  higher  social  classes  have  incomes 
so  small  that  they  fall  below  the  poverty  line,  and  sometimes 
even  below  the  line  of  pauperism.  For  example,  the  Census  of 
Religious  Bodies^  1906,  showed  that  the  average  salary  of  clergy- 
men of  all  denominations  was  I663.  Carroll  D.  Wright  studied 
the  salaries  of  male  teachers  in  public  schools  in  1905  in  cities 
of  8,000  inhabitants  or  over  and  found  that  19.31  per  cent  of  the 
teachers  in  the  elementary  schools,  4.36  per  cent  of  the  principals 
of  the  elementary  schools,  and  2.15  per  cent  oi  the  high  school 
teadiers  had  incomes  under  $600  a  year;  while  13.20  per  cent 
of  the  teachers  in  the  elementary  schools,  10.67  per  cent  of 
the  principals  of  the  elementary  schools,  and  12.84  of  the  high 
school  teachers  had  incomes  between  $600  and  $800  a  year.^ 
Such  data  as  exist  seem  to  indicate  that  the  average  conditions 
among  the  doctors  and  lawyers  are  very  little  if  any  better.  Of 
the  male  employees  in  the  U.  S.  executive  dvil  service  in  1907, 
16.7  per  cent  were  earning  less  than  $720  a  year,  11.8  per  cent 
were  earning  between  $720  and  $840  a  year,  and  6.0  per  cent  were 
earning  between  $840  and  I900  a  year.* 

So  that  while  we  may  not  arrive  at  any  definite  estimate  of 
the  extent  of  poverty  in  this  country,  we  have  plenty  of  evidence 

1  Rtpart  on  Salaries,  Tenure  and  Pensions  of  Public  School  Teachers  in  the 
V,  S,,  Nat.  Education  Ass'n,  pp.  17-22. 

'  lath  Census,  Bui.  94,  Statistics  of  Employees,  Executive  Civil  Service  of 
the  U,  S.,  p.  ao. 


that  the  number  of  those  who  do  not  even  reach  the  lower  mini- 
mum standard  of  living  is  very  great,  probably  exceeding  ten 
per  cent  of  the  total  population.  It  goes  without  saying  that 
those  who  fail  to  reach  the  higher  standard  of  living  which  we 
have  discussed,  which  furnishes  the  material  basis  for  some 
mental  and  cultural  development,  form  a  very  much  greater 
proportion  of  the  population,  but  it  is  still  more  difficult  to  esti- 
mate the  exact  number. 

Poverty  in  Great  Britain 

It  is  possible  to  make  this  estimate  for  England  a  little  more 
definitely,  because  of  several  investigations  within  restricted 
areas  which  have  been  made.  For  this  reason  and  for  piuposes 
of  comparison  we  shall  discuss  this  question  briefly  with  respect 
to  England. 

When  we  turn  to  the  problem  of  the  extent  of  poverty  in 
England  we  find  much  the  same  difficulties  in  the  way  of  esti- 
mating this  amount  as  in  this  country.  For  example,  let  us  take 
the  question  of  the  amoimt  of  pauperism.  Dining  the  year 
1910  public  relief  ¥^as  given  to  923433  persons  in  England  and 
Wales,  or  about  two  and  one-half  per  cent  of  the  total  popula- 
tion. If  we  exclude  the  lunatics  to  whom  aid  was  given,  indoor 
relief  was  given  to  291)854  persons,  and  outdoor  relief  to  539,004 
p)ersons.  These  two  groups  constituted  about  two  and  three- 
tenths  per  cent  of  the  total  population.^  But  it  is  evident  that 
these  figures  give  no  indication  of  the  large  amount  of  private 
aid  which  was  given,  and  are  therefore  quite  inadequate  as 
indicating  the  extent  of  pauperism. 

Several  investigations  have  been  made  which  give  some  indi- 
cation of  the  extent  of  poverty  in  England.  The  two  most 
important  are  those  by  Booth  and  by  Rowntree. 

Booth  conducted  a  very  extensive  investigation  in  London  in 
the  course  of  which  were  studied  the  incomes,  expenditures,  etc., 
of  many  thousands  of  individuals  and  of  families.  As  a  result 
of  this  investigation  he  classified  the  population  of  London  into 
eight  classes,  which  he  describes  as  follows:  — « 

^  ComparaUve  Statement  of  Pauperism  in  England  and  Wales,  London, 

'  Charles  Booth,  Labour  and  Life  of  the  People  of  London,  London,  1891, 
Vol.  I,  p.  33. 


''The  8  classes  into  which  I  have  divided  these  people  are: 

A.  The  lowest  class  of  occasional  labourers,  loafers,  and  semi- 

B.  Casual  earnings — *very  poor.' 

C.  Intermittent  earnings   L^^^.^^^  ^1,^  <,^^, » 
Tx   o     11         1  •         together  tne   poor. 

D.  Small  regular  earmngs  j    ^  '^ 

£.  Regular  standard  earnings  —  above  the  line  of  poverty. 

F.  Higher  class  labour. 

G.  Lower  middle  class. 
H.  Upper  middle  class. 

"The  divisions  indicated  here  by  'poor'  and  'very  poor'  are 
necessarily  arbitrary.  By  the  word  'poor'  I  mean  to  describe 
those  who  have  a  sufficiently  regular  though  bare  income,  such 
as  185.  to  21s.  per  week  for  a  moderate  family,  and  by  'very  poor' 
those  who  from  any  cause  fall  much  below  this  standard.  The 
'poor'  are  those  whose  means  may  be  sufficient,  but  barely  suf- 
ficient, for  decent  independent  life;  the  'very  poor'  those  whose 
means  are  insufficient  for  this  according  to  the  usual  standard  of 
life  in  this  country.  My '  poor*  may  be  described  as  living  under 
a  struggle  to  obtain  the  necessaries  of  life  and  make  both  ends 
meet;  while  the  'very  poor'  live  in  a  state  of  chronic  want." 

Booth's  investigation  was  carried  on  mainly  during  the  years 
1886-8,  and  at  the  end  of  it  he  distributed  the  population  of 
London  among  his  eight  classes  as  follows:  — ^ 

Population  of  London  in  About  the  Year  1888  Accokding  to 

Charles  Booth 

A  (lowest) 36,610  or    .9  per  cent  In  poverty, 

B  (very  poor) 316,834  **  7.5  per  cent  30.7  per 

C  and  D  (poor) 938,293  "  22.3  per  cent  cent 

£  and  F  (working  class,  com- 
fortable)   2,166,503  "  51.5  per  cent  In  comfort, 

G  and  H  (middle  class  and  69.3  per 

above) 749,930  "  17.8  per  cent  cent 

4,209,170       100  per  cent 
Inmates  of  Institutions 99>83o 

^  Op,  cU,,  VolU,  p.  21. 


In  1899  Rowntree  made  an  intensive  investigation  of  the  con- 
dition of  the  wage-earning  class  in  York,  which  is  a  small  pro- 
vincial dty.  The  results  of  his  investigation  are  of  great  value, 
especially  when  compared  with  Booth's  investigation  in  Ixmdon. 
The  population  of  Yoric  he  classified  as  follows:  — > 

Population  of  York  in  the  Year  1899  According 

TO  Rowntree 

Number      Percentage  in  each  i>---g-,£fl- 
Class      Family  income       of  persons  class  calculated  upon  ^^^^^ 

{for  moderate  family  *)    in  each      ^^  w^^^-^^'*"^*^*  j^jw//.!.' 

class  in  York  **        Popuuuum 

A.  Under  i8j.  per  week 1,957  A-^  ^-^ 

B.  i8j.  and  under  215 4^49^  9-6  5.9 

C.  21s,  and  imder  305 iS»7io  33-6  20.7 

D.  Over  30J 24,595  S^-^  324 

£.  Female  domestic  servants  4,296  ...  5.7 

F.  Servant-keeping  class 21,830  ...  28.8 

G.  In  public  institutions 2,932  ...  3.9 

75,812  100.0  100.0 

*  By  a  moderate  family  b  meant  a  family  conaisring  of  father,  mother, 
and  from  two  to  four  children. 

**  Excluding  domestic  servants  and  persons  in  public  institutions. 

In  order  to  determine  how  much  of  this  population  was  living 
in  poverty,  it  ¥^as  necessary  for  Rowntree  to  establish  a  standard 
of  living.  First  he  divided  the  poor  into  two  sections,  namely, 
those  living  in  '^primary"  poverty  "whose  total  earnings  arc 
insufficient  to  obtain  the  minimum  necessaries  for  the  mainte- 
nance of  merely  ph3rsical  efficiency,"'  and  those  living  in  "second* 
ary"  poverty  "whose  total  earnings  would  be  sufficient  for  the 
nuuntenance  of  merely  physical  efficiency  were  it  not  that  some 
portion  of  it  is  absorbed  by  other  expenditure,  either  useful  or 
wasteful.''  *  After  a  carefd  calculation  of  the  cost  of  the  mini- 
mum necessaries  he  constructed  a  table  showing  the  minimum 
necessary  expenditure  per  week  for  families  of  various  sizes. 
For  example,  for  a  family  of  one  man,  one  woman,  and  three 

>  B.  Seebdmi  Rowntree,  Poverty,  A  Study  of  Town  Life,  London,  1901, 

p.  31- 
«  Op.  cit,,  p.  86.  «  Op,  cit,,  pp.  S6-7. 


chOdren  living  in  York,  he  estimated  this  Tniniminn  expenditure 
to  be  21s.  SdJ  Any  family  with  an  income  smaller  than  this 
amount  would  be  in  a  state  of  primary  poverty.  On  the  basis 
of  this  table  he  foimd  that  ''no  less  than  1^65  families,  com- 
prising 7,230  persons,  were  living  in  'primary'  poverty.  Tkis  is 
equal  to  15.46  per  ceni  of  the  wage-naming  doss  in  Yorky  and  to 
9.91  per  cent  of  the  whok  populaHon  of  the  city"  * 

In  order  to  determine  the  number  in  secondary  poverty, 
Rowntree  estimated  how  many  were  forced  to  spend  some  of 
their  income  for  a  useful  purpose  or  wasted  some  of  it  on  drink 
or  otherwise,  so  that  not  enough  was  left  to  maintain  physical 
efficiency,  and  found  that  "13,072  persons,  or  17.93  P^  ^^^^  of 
the  population^  were  living  in  ^secondary'  poverty" »  Adding 
together  those  in  primary  and  those  in  secondary  poverty  in 
York,  "it  was  found  that  families  comprising  20,302  persons, 
equal  to  434  per  cent  of  the  wage-naming  class,  and  to  27.84  per 
cent  of  the  total  populaHon  of  the  city,  were  living  in  poverty.* 

It  is  evident  that  the  results  of  Booth's  and  of  Rowntree's 
investigations  were  very  similar,  since  Booth  foimd  30.4  per 
cent  in  poverty  in  London,  and  Rowntree  foimd  27.84  per  cent 
in  poverty  in  York.  Unfortunately  their  investigations  were 
made  about  ten  years  apart.  However,  this  vitiates  the  value  of 
the  comparison  very  littie  if  at  all. 

In  191 2  Bowley  made  a  similar  investigation  in  the  dty  of 
Reading,  but  on  a  much  smaller  scale.  He  took  only  samples  of 
the  wage-earning  class  and  investigated  about  six  himdred 
families.  After  studying  carefully  their  incomes  and  expendi- 
tures, he  came  to  tiie  conclusion  that  "/row  2$  to  $0  per  cent  of 
the  working-class  population  of  Reading  were  in  191 2,  so  far  as  they 
were  dependent  on  iheir  earnings,  pensions  and  possessions,  below 
Mr.  Rowntree* s  standard."  «  He  found  that  "nufre  than  half  the 
working-doss  children  of  Reading,  during  some  part  of  iheir  first 
fourteen  years,  live  in  households  where  the  standard  of  life  in  ques- 
tion is  not  attained."  •   It  appears  that  the  rate  of  wages  is  un- 

^In  1913  Rowntree  estimated  this  Tninimuni  expenditure  at  235.  gd. 
{The  Way  to  Industrial  Peace  and  the  Problem  of  Unemployment,  London, 
1914,  p.  70.) 

*0p.  cU.y  p.  III.  *0p.  cit.,  p.  117. 

^A.  L.  Bowley,  Working-Class  Households  itp  Reading,  in  the  Jour,  of 
the  Royal  Statistical  Soc.,  June,  1913,  pp.  673-701.  ^Op.  dt.,  p.  692. 


usually  low  in  Reading,  so  that  the  amount  of  poverty  in  that 
dty  is  probably  abnormally  high.  With  respect  to  the  country 
as  a  whole  Bowley  reached  the  following  conclusion:  —  "As- 
suming about  the  same  amoimt  of  poverty,  due  to  other  causes, 
as  in  Reading  or  York,  we  shall  find,  I  think,  somewhat  over 
13  per  cent  of  the  industrial  working-class  population  of  Great 
Britain  below  the  standard  at  any  one  time  as  compared  with 
15^  per  cent  in  York  and  25  to  30  per  cent  in  Reading/'  * 

In  191 2  Money  estimated  that,  owing  to  the  increase  in  the 
cost  of  living,  Rowntree's  primary  poverty  line  must  be  raised 
from  21s,  Sd.  to  24s.  id.,  a  rise  of  about  eleven  per  cent.'  As 
wages  have  not  risen  correspondingly,  he  thinks  that  the  propor- 
tion of  people  living  in  poverty  must  have  increased  since  1899. 
"The  rise  in  money  wages  since  1899  has  been  about  6  per  c^it, 
which  has  only  covered  part  of  the  increase  in  costs."  • 

In  1914  Money  proposed  a  poverty  line  somewhat  higher 
than  that  of  Rowntree,  in  which  small  allowances  are  made  in 
the  standard  of  living  for  amusements,  reading  matter,  dues  for 
societies,  etc.;  whereas  Rowntree  had  made  no  allowance  what- 
ever for  any  of  these  things  in  his  standard.  To  attain  this 
standard  Money  estimates  a  minimum  expenditure  of  455. 
a  week  is  necessary  for  a  family  of  two  adults  and  three  childroi. 
After  allowing  four  weeks  for  unemployment  he  estimates  that 
the  workman  must  earn,  while  at  work,  over  48^.  a  week.  But, 
as  he  points  out,  very  few  of  the  British  workmen  earn  as  much 
as  this.  "It  is  doubtful,  however,  whether  as  many  as  750,000 
adult  working  men  in  this  country  earn  as  much  as  485.  a  week, 
and  it  is  clear,  therefore,  that  modest  as  is  the  standard  we  have 
suggested  as  a  poverty  line,  the  great  mass  of  the  people  ot  the 
United  Kingdom  are  below  it."  » 

These  data  indicate  that  poverty  is  as  extensive  in  England 
as  it  is  in  this  coimtry,  and  probably  is  somewhat  more  so. 
The  investigation  of  the  British  Boa^  of  Trade,  which  has 
already  been  cited  in  this  chapter,  tends  to  confirm  this  opinion, 
because  it  indicates  that  the  English  workmen  are  not  as  well  off 

^  Op.  cU.f  p.  694.   See  also  A.  L.  Bowley  and  A.  R.  Burnett-Hurst,  Livdi- 
hood  and  Poverty ,  London,  191 5.    This  book  contains  studies  of  Northamp- 
ton, Warrington,  Stanley,  and  Reading,  which  confirm  the  above  estimates. 
•L.  G.  Chiozza  Money,  Things  Thai  Mattery  London,  191 2,  p.  254, 
•  L.  G.  Chiozza  Money,  The  Nation's  Wealth,  London,  1914,  p.  93. 


as  the  American.  The  Board  states  its  conclusion  as  follows:  — 
''Comparison  of  wages,  hours  of  labor,  rents,  and  prices  in  the 
area  of  investigation  in  the  two  countries  has  been  made  on 
the  assumption  that  an  English  workman  with  an  average  family 
maintained  under  American  conditions  the  standard  of  con- 
sumption as  regards  food  to  which  he  had  been  accustomed. 
Under  such  conditions  the  workman's  wages  would  be  higher  in 
the  United  States  by  about  130  per  cent,  with  slightly  shorter 
hours,  while  on  the  other  hand  his  expenditure  on  food  and  rent 
would  be  higher  by  about  52  per  cent."  ^ 

The  Significance  of  the  Great  Extent  of  Poverty 

This  chapter  and  the  two  preceding  have  shown  that,  owing  to 
the  smallness  of  incomes,  a  large  number  of  people  are  in  a  state 
of  poverty,  or,  at  any  rate,  their  capacity  to  spend  is  very  small. 
We  have  not  discussed  the  causes  of  this  situation,  and  shall  not 
do  so  at  this  point.  But  it  is  quite  evident  that  the  inequality 
in  the  distribution  of  wealth  which  this  indicates  is  more  or  less 
characteristic  of  the  present  economic  system.  Whether  or  not 
this  can  and  should  be  changed  is  a  question  which  will  be 
touched  upon  later  in  this  book,  when  we  discuss  remedies  for 
poverty  and  its  attendant  evils.  But  it  is  well  not  to  arrive 
hastily  at  a  conclusion  regarding  this  question,  for  it  involves 
many  economic  and  sociological  problems  of  a  fundamental 
nature  which  cannot  be  solved  easily. 

1  Op,  cU;  p.  556.  The  Board  in  its  investigation  seems  to  have  studied 
in  the  main  the  highly  paid  skilled  workmen. 


Statistics  of  unemployment  in  the  United  States  —  Unemployment  in  Eng- 
land—  Causes  of  unemployment:  personal  traits;  seasonal  trades; 
casual  occupations;  the  trade  cyde;  industrial  war&re  —  Evfl  results 
from  unemployment. 

In  the  last  three  chapters  we  have  been  discussing  the  small- 
ness  of  incomes  which  is  the  immediate  cause  of  all  poverty. 
We  shall  now  discuss  some  of  the  specific  causes  of  this  small- 
ness  of  income,  and  therefore  of  their  poverty,  which  charac- 
terize the  lives  of  many  of  the  poor.  But  these  causes  do  not 
account  fully  for  the  low  level  of  incomes  and  imequal  dis- 
tribution of  wealth  which  we  have  described,  and  which  are 
due  in  the  main  to  more  fundamental  factors.  These  factors 
we  shall  discuss  later  in  this  book. 

Statistics  of  Unemployment 

The  first  specific  cause  which  we  shall  discuss  is  imemploy- 
ment.  It  is  obvious  that  if  a  person  who  is  being  paid  for  his 
labor  at  a  low  rate  loses  much  work  through  unemployment, 
it  will  mean  a  reduction  in  his  income  which  will  be  a  serious 
matter  to  him,  and  which  may  push  him  below  the  poverty 
line.  In  fact,  the  extent  of  unemplo3mient  must  alwa3rs  be  taken 
into  consideration  in  estimating  individual  and  family  incomes. 
This  was  not  done  in  tl|e  cafie^  {dl,  t^  iacomt  statistics  which 
have  been  quoted,  so  t^  some  of  these  figures  should  be  still 
lower  than  they  are.  ^e  reason  why  allowance  is  not  always 
made  for  imemploymdhf'ft^  titat^ftir  vtty  ^Hfficult  to  estimate 
its  extent.  Unfortimately,  imder  our  present  S3^tem  of  private 
industrial  enterprize,  it  is  impossible  to  secure  an  accurate  record 
of  the  amoimt  of  unemplo3mient.  The  best  we  can  do  is  to 
take  some  of  the  most  reliable  statistics  of  imemployment  among 
a  limited  number  of  individuals  and  regard  them  as  more  or  less 



representative  of  unemplo]m[ient  in  general.  As  the  U.  S. 
Bureau  of  Labor  has  said  in  one  of  its  bulletins:  —  ''To  the  fre- 
quent question  as  to  the  amoimt  of  imemployment  in  this 
country  the  reply  must  be  that  the  statistics  do  not  make  pos- 
sible any  estimate  of  the  niunber  of  imemployed  persons  in  the 
United  States  at  any  time."  ^ 

Another  difficulty  in  dealing  with  these  figures  is  that  distinc-  ^^ 
tion  is  not  alwa3rs  made  between  the  different  conditions  under 
which  men  are  unemployed.  A  man  may  not  work  owing  to 
illness  or  accident,  or  because  he  is  taking  a  vacation  from  work, 
or  because  he  is  too  lazy  to  be  willing  to  work.  But  the  sense 
in  which  ordinarily  the  term  unemployment  is  technically  used 
is  that  a  man  who  is  able  and  willing  to  work  is  unable  to  find 
the  opportunity  to  do  so.  Inasmuch  as  this  distinction  is  not 
alwa3rs  recognized,  we  cannot  alwa}^  be  certain  that  imem- 
ployment statistics  represent  only  what  is  imemplo]m[ient  in 
the  technical  sense.  However,  keeping  these  difficulties  in  mind, 
let  us  review  some  of  the  best  statistics  of  unemplo3n[nent. 

The  Census  Bureau  has  not  as  yet  fimiished  very  satisfactory 
statistics  of  unemplo3n[nent.  The  Bureau  reported  that  in  1900 
of  23>753,836  males  10  years  of  age  and  over  engaged  in  gainful 
occiq)ations  5,227,472,  or  22.0  per  cent,  were  unemployed  at 
some  time  during  the  year;  and  of  5)3i9)397  females  10  years  of 
age  and  over  engaged  in  gainful  occupations  1,241,492,  or  23.3 
per  cent,  were  unemployed  at  some  time  during  the  year;  thus 
making  out  of  a  total  of  29,073,233  persons  10  years  of  age  and 
oyer  engaged  in  gainful  occupations  6,468,964,  or  22.3  per  cent, 
unemployed  at  some  time  during  the  year. 

The  distribution  by  periods  of  months  of  those  imemployed 
at  some  time  during  the  year  1900  was  as  follows:  —  > 


ito^mos.        4to6fnos.      7toi9mos.         Total 
Number   Per    Numbef    Per   Number  Per  Number  Per 
cetU  cent  cetU  cent 

MakiB 3»593>X36  49-6  3,06^,546  39.6  564,790  10.8  5,227472  100 

Females S^fi^l  47'i     48s»379  39'i  i7i>496  i3'8  1,241492  100 

Bothaezes 3ii77,753  49-i  2,554,925  39.5  736,286  114  6468,964  100 

^  U.  S.  Census  Bunetin  109,  Statistics  of  Unemployment  and  the  Work  of 
Emfioymeni  Offices,  191 2,  p.  6. 
'  Occupations  at  the  12th  Census,  Washington,  1904,  pp.  ccxzzv. 


The  Bureau  states  that  it  is  impossible  to  determine  how  many 
of  these  persons  were  idle  from  choice,  and  how  many  were 
unable  to  find  employment.  Furthermore,  part  of  this  large 
group  were  very  yoimg,  many  of  them  being  school  children  for 
a  p^  of  the  year.  But  taldng  the  figures  as  they  stand  they 
indicate  that  about  one  out  of  every  five  persons  reported  gain- 
fully employed  were  unemployed  at  some  time  during  the  year, 
and  that  over  half  of  these  persons  were  unemployed  over  three 
months.  It  is  impossible  to  estimate  precisely  the  average  im- 
emplo3mient  from  these  figures,  but  it  is  reasonable  to  suppose 
that  many  persons  must  have  suffered  distress  from  prolonged 

The  Census  of  Manufactures  indicated  the  irregularity  of  em- 
ployment, and  thus  indirectly  the  degree  of  imemployment,  by 
the  fluctuations  in  the  labor  force  of  various  industries  in  1909,  as 
given  in  the  following  table:  —  • 

Fer  cefU  of  minimum 
Industries  on  maximum 

number  of  employees 

Steel  works  and  rolling  mills 75.8 

Foundry  and  machine  shop  products 80.7 

Limiber  and  timber  products 87.8 

Car  building  and  repairs 89.1 

Woolen,  worsted,  and  felt  goods,  and  wool  hats 91.0 

Tobacco  manufactures 91.6 

Clothing,  men's,  including  shirts 91.8 

Boots  and  shoes 91.8 

Printing  and  publishing 93.3 

Cotton  goods 97.6 

This  table  reveals  a  wide  variation  in  these  industries  with 
respect  to  the  degree  of  fluctuation.    In  the  industry  in  which 

^  Rubinow,  in  commenting  upon  the  national  significance  of  these  figures, 
speaks  as  follows:  —  ''Over  one-half  of  these  6,500,000,  and  possibly  three- 
fourths  of  them,  sufifered  from  unemployment  to  a  degree  which  could  not 
fail  to  cause  national  distress.  The  total  time  lost  to  the  productive  indus- 
tries of  the  country  was  enormous.  An  approximate  estimate  would  indicate 
that  during  one  year  over  1,900,000  years  of  productive  labor  were  lost;  or 
what  amounts  to  the  same  thing,  of  29,000,000  gainfully  employed,  on  an 
average  neariy  2,000,000  had  been  idle  throughout  the  whole  year.''  (I.  M. 
Rubinow,  Social  Insurance^  New  Yoric,  1913,  p.  44S-) 

'  Abstract  of  Statistics  of  Manufactures  of  the  U,  5.,  1910,  p.  22. 


there  was  the  most  fluctuation  there  were  at  one  time  during 
the  year  barely  three-foiulhs  of  the  maximum  niunber  em- 
ployed, while  in  the  industry  in  which  there  was  the  least  fluc- 
tuation the  minimum  fell  less  than  two  and  one-half  per  cent 
below  the  maximum.  It  goes  without  saying  that  if  these  in- 
dustries could  dovetail  into  each  other  in  such  a  fashion  that 
workers  could  pass  from  one  to  another,  such  fluctuations  would 
cause  very  little  or  no  imemployment  But  we  have  reason  to 
beUeve  that  such  dovetailing  takes  place  only  to  a  very  limited 
extent  for  skilled  workers,  on  whidi  point  some  evidence  will 
be  furnished  presently;  so  that  imder  present  conditions  such 
fluctuations  reveal  the  cause  of  a  great  deal  of  unemployment, 
namely,  the  kr^ularity  of  production  due  to  seasonal  or  eco- 
nomic causes. 

The  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor  in  its  investigation  of  the  cost  of 
living  of  35,440  families  about  the  year  1901,  to  which  we  have 
already  referred,  seoured  the  following  data  with  regard  to  im- 
employment.^ It  found  that  50.19  per  cent,  or  slightly  more 
than  half,  of  the  heads  of  these  families  were  idle  at  some  time 
during  the  year.  These  persons  who  were  idle  averaged  9.43 
weeks  of  idleness  during  the  year.  The  average  amount  of  idle- 
ness for  all  the  heads  of  families  was  4.70  weeks.  These  data 
are  probably  somewhat  more  aconite  than  most  data  with 
regard  to  unemplo3mient.  However,  the  figures  include  idleness 
of  all  sorts,  so  that  it  is  impossible  to  determine  how  much  of  it 
was  unemployment  in  the  strict  sense  of  the  term.  So  far  as 
information  with  regard  to  the  causes  of  the  idleness  is  given, 
lack  of  work  was  by  far  the  most  frequent  cause.  The  other 
important  causes  in  the  order  of  their  frequency  were  sick- 
ness, strikes,  bad  weather,  and  accidents. 

The  labor  organizations  have  gathered  a  good  deal  of  data 
regarding  unemployment.  For  example,  nearly  two  hundred 
unions  in  New  York  with  an  aggregate  membership  of  about 
100,000  have  been  reporting  the  percentage  of  unemplo)maent 
at  the  end  of  each  month  to  the  State  Department  of  Labor  for 
some  years  past.  It  appears  from  these  reports  that  between 
December,  1901,  and  December,  1911,  the  per  cent  of  those 
unemployed  in  these  imions  ranged  from  5.6  in  October,  1905, 

^i8tk  Annual  Report  of  the  U.  S.  Commissioner  of  Labor,  1903, 
pp.  42-45. 


to  37.5  in  February  and  March,  1908.^  This  indicates  a  wide 
variation.  But,  on  the  whole,  the  percentages  approach  the 
higher  rather  than  the  lower  limit,  and  this  is  especially  true 
during  the  latter  half  of  this  period.  When  we  compare 
these  New  York  figures  with  other  union  statistics,  we  find 
that  the  percentage  of  imemplo3mient  in  New  York  seems 
to  be  mudi  higher  than  elsewhere.  This  may  be  due  to  the 
fact  that  seasonal  trades,  such  as  the  building  and  the  clothing 
trades,  play  a  larger  part  in  the  New  York  figures  than  elsewhere. 
Or  it  may  be  due  to  differences  in  the  way  in  which  the  data 
were  secured.  Further  analysis  of  the  New  York  figures  reveals 
the  fact  that  there  is  much  more  unemployment  during  the  first 
quarter  of  the  year  than  during  the  third  quarter,  .that  there  are 
more  idle  at  the  end  of  March  than  at  the  end  of  September, 
which  indicates  the  seasonal  influence.  The  figures  also  reveal 
a  cyclical  movement  covering  a  niunber  of  years,  so  that  the 
amount  of  unemployment  varies  from  year  to  year.  These 
facts  seem  to  be  confirmed  by  data  from  other  parts  of  the 

The  Census  Bureau  has  stated  very  well  the  significance  of  these 
trade  imion  data,  so  that  I  will  quote  at  some  length  horn  its  con- 
clusions: — 

"  Whether  or  not  the  New  York  data  are  sufficient  to  establish  the 
probability  that  periods  of  high  unemplo3anent  will  recur  every  four 
years  or  thereabouts,  they  do  dearly  establish  that  the  amount  of 
unemplo3rment  is  by  no  means  constant,  but  that  it  varies  from  month 
to  month,  from  season  to  season,  and  from  year  to  year. 

"  This  fact  is  most  instructive  in  view  of  the  assertion  sometimes 
made  that  the  unemployment  question  in  the  United  States  is  tm- 
important;  that  all  desiring  work  in  this  country  can  obtain  it;  and 
that  those  who  are  idle,  although  able  to  work,  are  idle  from  choice. 

"  Were  it  true  that  the  unemployment  of  able-bodied  persons  is  due 
solely  or  largely  to  laziness,  the  amount  of  unemplo3mient  would,  it 
is  obvious,  remain  fairly  constant.  Not  many  more  persons  are  sick 
or  disabled  or  lazy  in  winter  than  in  sunmier,  and  certainly  no  more 
in  1904  and  in  1908  than  in  the  intervening  years.  Yet  among  imion 
workers  in  New  York  and  Massachusetts  two  or  three  times  as  many 
are  idle  at  the  end  of  March  as  at  the  end  of  September  each  year; 
and  in  New  York  only  about  half  as  many  were  idle  in  1905  as  in 

^  From  N.  Y.  D^t  of  Labor  bulletins.  Summarized  in  the  U.  S.  Census 
BuL  log. 



1904,  with  a  still  lower  percentage  in  1906.  In  1908  neariy  four 
times  as  many  were  reported  idle  as  in  1906  on  the  last  days  of  both 
March  and  Sq>tember.  In  September,  1905,  only  4.8  per  cent  of 
all  union  workers  in  New  York  were  reported  idle.  In  March,  1906, 
the  percentage  was  twice  as  great.  By  March,  1907,  it  had  doubled 
again.  Cleariy  incapacity  or  laziness,  or  both  combined,  do  not  vaiy 
to  the  extent  thus  indicated. 

"  The  weather  is  doubtless  an  important  factor  in  causing  seasonal 
fluctuations,  but  cannot  account  for  variations  from  year  to  year. 
Labor  disputes,  the  New  York  statistics  show,  were  a  more  important 
factor  in  years  of  low  unemployment  than  in  other  years. 

"It  becomes  obvious,  therefore,  that  the  great  changes  in  the  amount 
of  unemplo3anent  are  due  primarily  to  variations  in  the  demand  for 
labor.  Industry  needs  more  workers  in  September  than  in  March, 
and  it  needed  more  in  1905, 1906,  and  1907  than  in  1904  and  1908."  ^ 

These  trade  union  data  usually  furnish  information  also  regard- 
ing the  causes  of  the  unemplo3mient.  From  the  New  York  data 
we  have  been  discussing  we  find  that  during  the  five  years  1907- 
191 1,  inclusive,  the  following  were  the  important  causes,  given 
by  percentage  of  cases  in  which  each  was  the  cause.  At  the 
end  of  March  during  these  years,  lack  of  work  was  the  cause,  in 
from  66.8  to  89.6  per  cent  of  the  cases;  the  weather  in  from  5.8  to 
20.0  per  cent;  disability  in  from  2.8  to  6.1  per  cent;  labor  dis- 
putes in  from  i.i  to  10.9  per  cent;  lack  of  stock  in  from  .4  to  4.2 
per  cent.  At  the  end  of  September  during  the  same  years,  lack 
of  work  was  the  cause  in  from  62.3  to  88.8  per  cent  of  the  cases; 
labor  disputes  in  from  2.8  to  28.0  per  cent;  disability  in  from  3.8 
to  8.1  per  cent;  lack  of  stock  in  from  1.3  to  6.8  per  cent;  the 
weather  in  from  .2  to  2.4  per  cent.  It  is  obvious  that  lack  of 
work  is  by  far  the  most  important  cause,  but  varies  considerably 
in  amoimt,  as  do  all  the  other  causes.  The  weather  is  an  im- 
portant factor  in  the  winter. 

The  Census  Bureau,  in  commenting  upon  the  variations  in  these 
causes,  q)eaks  as  follows:  —  "This  brief  consideration  of  causes  of  un- 
employment is  sufficient  to  establish  as  fallacious  the  frequent  asser- 
tion that  all  who  desire  work  in  the  United  States  can  obtain  it. 
Even  if  at  the  best  seasons  of  the  best  years,  industrially,  all  who 
wanted  woriL  were  employed,  some  would  be  out  of  work  the  next 
month,  and  many  more,  it  is  evident  from  the  above  considerations, 

>  Bui.  log,  19x3,  pp.  31-a. 


the  foUowing  year  or  within  a  very  few  years.  Those  who  became 
unemployed  would,  of  course,  be  the  less  efficient,  but  if  all  were 
equally  capable,  some  would  lose  their  jobs  simply  because  industry 
could  not  use  them."  ^ 

In  1910  the  New  York  State  Conunission  on  Employers* 
Liability  and  Unemplo3mient  investigated  the  extent  of  unem- 
plo3mient  in  the  State  of  New  York.  After  gathering  the  tes- 
timony of  employers  and  of  workmen,  data  with  regard  to  the 
number  of  unemployed  at  relief  agencies  and  the  number  of 
applicants  at  employment  offices,  data  from  censuses  and 
special  investigations,  trade  union  statistics,  etc.,  the  Commis- 
sion came  to  the  following  conclusion  with  respect  to  the  nimi- 
ber  of  the  unemployed:  — 

''On  these  facts  we  base  our  statement  that  at  all  times  of  the 
year  in  every  industrial  center  of  the  State  able-bodied  men  are 
forced  to  remain  idle  though  willing  to  work.  On  any  given  day 
during  the  year,  at  least  3  per  cent  of  our  wage-earners  are  in- 
voluntarily idle.  Usually  there  are  10  per  cent.  These  idle  men 
must  always  be  on  hand  to  meet  the  fluctuating  demands  of  the 
industries  of  the  State. 

''Sunmmrizing  the  data  at  our  command,  we  should  say  that 
in  ordinary  years  of  business  prosperity,  taking  all  industries 
into  consideration,  out  of  every  100  persons,  60  will  be  steadily 
employed;  40  will  be  working  irregularly.  Of  those  who  have 
irregular  emplo3mient  3  will  alwa)^  be  out  of  work.  The  per- 
centages vary  with  the  different  industries,  but  the  experience 
is  characteristic  of  every  industry."  « 

With  regard  to  the  amount  of  time  and  wages  lost  through  un- 
emplo3mient  the  Commission  came  to  the  following  conclusion: — 

"While  there  is  little  accurate  information  available  as  to  the 
exact  niunber  imemployed  at  any  one  time,  there  is  enough  to 
show  that  about  40  per  cent  of  our  wage-earners  suffer  some  un- 
emplo)anent  every  year,  that  on  the  average  they  lose  ten  weeks 
each,  and  that  the  loss  in  wages  amounts  to  29  per  cent  of  what 
the  earnings  would  be  were  employment  steady  throughout  the 
year."  • 

1  Op.  cU.,  pp.  33-4. 

•  W.  M.  Leiserson,  Unemployment  in  the  State  of  New  York,  New  York, 
191 1,  Appendix  No.  i.   Report  of  Committee  on  Unemployment,  p.  38. 

•  Op.  cit.,  p.  69. 


It  would  be  possible  to  dte  many  more  statistics  of  unemploy- 
ment, but  we  have  not  the  space  to  do  so.  However,  with  all  the 
statistics  available  we  could  not  arrive  at  an  acciuate  estimate 
of  the  average  amount  of  unemployment.  In  191 1  Nearing 
estimated  twenty  per  cent  as  the  average  amount  of  unemployed 
time  for  all  of  the  working  class.  ^  But  this  is  very  doubtful. 
In  1913  the  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor  estimated  that  in  the  steel 
industry  an  average  employee  in  a  prosperous  year  loses  eight 
weeks,  or  at  least  thirteen  per  cent  of  the  total  working  year.* 
We  have  seen  from  a  table  earlier  in  this  chapter  that  the 
fluctuations  in  employment  in  the  steel  mills  are  greater  than 
in  many  industries,  so  that  it  would  not  be  safe  to  draw  any 
general  deductions  from  this  estimate. 

Most  of  the  above  statistics  are  with  respect  to  skilled  work- 
men, since  it  is  very  difficult  to  secure  sudi  statistics  with  re- 
spect to  the  unskilled.  Whether  or  not  there  is  more  un- 
employment among  the  imskilled  than  among  the  skilled,  it  is 
difficult  if  not  impossible  to  ascertain.  Since  much  of  the  un- 
skiUed  labor  is  engaged  in  casual  work,  it  may  seem  probable 
that  there  is  more  unemployment  among  the  unskilled  than 
among  the  skilled.  But  it  must  be  remembered  that  it  is 
easier  for  the  unskilled  to  pass  from  one  occupation  to  another 
and  thus  to  dovetail  occupations,  while  it  is  usually  very  difficult 
for  the  skilled  laborer  to  do  this,  for  most  skilled  trades  cannot 
be  dovetailed  into  each  other  and  the  skilled  laborer  cannot 
usually  afford  to  lower  his  standard  of  wages  by  taking  up  un- 
skilled labor.  The  slight  extent  to  which  skilled  workmen 
engage  in  other  lines  of  work  is  indicated  by  an  investigation 
made  by  the  Bureau  of  Railway  Economics  in  1913.  It  inves- 
tigated the  extent  of  employment  and  earnings  at  other  work, 
during  periods  of  unemployment  in  their  regular  trades,  of  1185 
workmen  in  seven  tiades,  namely,  bricklayers,  carpenters, 
painters,  plasterers,  plimibers,  machinists,  and  molders,  in  twelve 
cities  in  different  parts  of  this  country.  It  found  that,  during  the 
year  1913,  the  plumbers  investigated  in  Pittsburgh  were  em- 
ployed 1.63  weeks  on  the  average  outside  of  their  own  trade,  and 
that,  dining  the  same  year,  the  painters  investigated  in  Denver 

*  Wages  in  the  United  States  igoS-igio,  New  York,  191 1,  p.  214. 

*  Lab€f  Conditions  in  Iron  and  Sted  Industry^  Washington,  1913,  Vol  3, 
p.  214. 


were  employed  1.27  weeks  on  the  average  outside  of  their  own 
trade.  But  in  every  other  case  the  average  employment  outside 
of  the  r^ular  trade  was  less  than  one  wedc.  The  Bureau 
natiually  concludes  from  this  that ''  it  is  evident  that  union  work- 
men do  not,  to  any  appreciable  extent,  engage  in  other  work  diu:- 
ing  periods  of  enforced  unemployment  in  their  regular  trades."  ^ 

Unemployment  in  England 

Let  us  now  discuss  briefly  unemployment  in  England,  for 
purposes  of  comparison.  The  British  Board  of  Trade  seciures 
statistics  of  unemployment  from  the  trade  imions,  as  is  done  by 
the  labor  bureaus  in  this  country.  The  average  of  unemploy- 
ment for  all  the  trade  imions  maldng  returns  during  the  fourteen 
years  from  1894  to  1907,  inclusive,  was  44  per  cent.  The  highest 
percentage  was  in  1894,  when  it  was  6.9,  and  the  lowest  was  in 
1899,  when  it  fell  to  2.4.  At  the  end  of  this  period  the  number  of 
trade  unionists  included  in  these  returns  was  about  650,000, 
which  was  less  than  one-third  of  all  the  imionists  in  the  coimtry, 
while  all  the  imionists  are  less  than  one-fourth  of  all  the  indus- 
trial manual  workers  in  the  country.*  The  workers  included  in 
these  returns  were  in  the  main  sldlled.  More  detailed  figures 
could  be  dted  from  the  records  of  the  Board  of  Trade,  but  would 
not  help  us  materially  in  this  connection. 

The  most  careful  intensive  investigation  of  unemplo3n[nent 
which  has  been  made  in  England  was  made  by  Rowntree  in 
York  on  the  7th  of  June,  1910.  The  weather  was  fine  on  this 
day  and  had  been  so  for  a  week.  Commercial  conditions  were 
reputed  to  be  about  half-way  between  normal  trade  and  acute 
depression,  which  fact  indicates  that  the  unemployment  may 
have  been  a  little  above  the  average.  But,  on  the  other  hand, 
unemployment  is  said  to  be  more  severe  in  winter  than  in  sum- 
mer in  York,  while  employment  in  the  chief  industries  in  the  dty 

^  Bureau  of  Railway  Economics,  Earnings  and  Cost  of  Living  of  SkOM 
Workmen  in  the  East  and  in  the  West,  Washington,  1914,  pp.  19  and  41. 
The  workmen  investigated  included  180  bricklayers,  246  carpenters,  195 
painters,  142  plasterers,  169  plumbers,  136  machinists,  and  117  molders. 

*  See  W.  H.  Beveridge,  UnemploymM,  London,  1912,  p.  18.  Also  see 
diagrams  in  A.  C.  Pigou,  Unemployment,  London,  1913;  and  in  Geoffrey 
Drage,  The  Unemployed,  London,  1S94. 


is  veiy  Stable.  The  population  of  the  dty  at  that  time  was  about 
82yOoo.  The  definition  of  unemployment  adopted  for  the  pur- 
poses of  this  investigation  was  as  follows:  —  **A  person  is  unem- 
ployed  who  is  seeking  work  for  wages^  but  unable  to  find  a$iy  suited 
to  ins  capacities  and  under  conditions  which  are  reasonable,  judged 
by  local  standards  J*  In  accordance  with  this  definition  those  who 
were  not  working  on  account  of  temporary  incapacity  owing  to 
illness,  or  to  permanent  incapacity  owing  to  mental  deficiency 
or  physical  defect,  were  not  included  among  the  unemployed. 
The  results  of  this  census  of  the  unemployed  are  indicated  in  the 
following  table:  —  ^ 

Ukkmfloyed  in  Yokx  on  the  tth  01  June,  1910 

Percent    total  occ$§- 
Number  of  total  pied  persons 


Youths  under  19  years  of  age 129  lo.i 

Men  who  have  been  in  rq^ilar  employ- 
ment within  the  last  two  years,  and  are 

stin  seeking  it 291  22.8 

Casual  workeis 441  34.5 

Workers  in  the  building  trades 173  13.5 

Work-shy 105  8.2 

of  age 


Women  and  giils 139       10.9  | 



Rowntree  calculated  that  if  the  percentages  were  reckoned  on 
the  basis  of  the  nimiber  of  the  working  class  in  York,  5.5  per  cent 
of  the  males  were  unemployed  and  1.9  of  the  females  were  un- 
employed. This  investigation  was  particularly  interesting  be- 
cause in  it  the  attempt  was  made  to  enumerate  only  those  who 
are  unemployed  in  the  strict  sense  of  the  term,  which  was  defined 
in  the  early  part  of  this  chapter. 

In  England  as  in  this  country  the  data  are  not  sufficient  to 

IB.  Seelx^un  Rowntiee  and  Bruno  Luker,  UnemphymeiU,  A  Social 
Study,  Londoo,  1911,  p.  303. 


determine  exactly  the  average  amount  of  miemplo3mient,  thou^ 
various  estimates  have  been  made.^  But  the  above  cited  figures 
indicate  that  unemplo3mient  is  very  extensive  in  England  as  it  is 
in  this  country.  We  have  not  the  space  to  dte  further  statistics 
from  England  or  from  other  countries.* 

Causes  of  Unemployment 

The  causes  of  imemployment  have  already  been  suggested  to 
a  certain  extent  in  the  preceding  discussion.  It  is  absolutely  im- 
possible to  determine  to  what  extent  each  of  these  factors  causes 
unemplo3mient.  Some  of  these  causes  are  in  the  individual. 
Mental  or  physical  defects,  sickness  or  accident  render  many 
individuals  incapable  of  working,  or  make  them  so  inefficient 
that  it  is  very  difficult  for  them  to  secure  work.  So  that  data 
with  respect  to  the  extent  of  these  characteristics  will  give  a  very 
rough  indication  of  the  strength  of  these  forces  for  unemploy- 
ment. For  example,  it  was  estimated  in  1909  that  there  are 
probably  at  all  times  as  many  as  three  million  persons  who  are 
seriously  ill  in  this  country.  This  means  an  average  loss  for  each 
inhabitant  of  thirteen  days  per  annum.  To  this  must  be  added 
several  days  of  time  lost  on  account  of  minor  ailments.*  Many 
of  these  are  persons  who  might  otherwise  be  at  work.   Elsewh< 

in  this  chapter  and  ip  thi?^  hook  are  pven  additioi  _^ 

Oie  person^  diaracteristics  which  cause  unemployment.  These 
mdividual  causes  are  frequently  combined  with  economic  and 
social  causes.  Thus  when,  owing  to  an  industrial  depression, 
the  amount  of  work  lessens,  the  less  efficient  workmen  are 
usually  the  first  to  be  discharged.  In  this  case  the  personal  char- 
acteristics have  nothing  to  do  with  determining  the  total  amount 
of  unemplo3mient,  but  have  much  to  do  with  determining  which 
persons  are  to  be  imemployed. 

^  In  1866  Leone  Levi  estimated  that  four  weeks  per  annum  i^ere  lost  on 
the  average  by  manual  workers  in  the  United  Kingdom.  In  1867  Dudley 
Baxter  estimated  the  same  at  ten  weeks.  In  1904  Bowley  estimated  that 
six  weeks  are  lost  through  sickness  and  holidays,  and  then  made  an  additional 
allowance  for  unemployment  In  19 10  Money  estimated  that  eight  weeks 
are  lost.    (See  Money,  Riches  and  Poverty ,  191 1,  pp.  25-9.) 

'  For  statistics  from  various  parts  of  the  world  see  S.  J.  Chapman,  Work 
and  WageSf  Part  11,  London,  1908,  pp.  385-400. 

•  Irving  Fisher,  Report  on  National  VitalUy,  Washmgton,  1909,  p.  34. 


Most  if  not  all  of  the  important  causes  of  unemployment  out- 
side of  the  individual  have  already  been  noted  in  the  data  which 
have  been  furnished  in  this  chapter.  We  have  seen  that  the 
seasons  cause  a  certain  amount  of  unemployment  because  so 
many  trades  are  seasonal  in  their  character,  and  these  trades 
have  not  yet  been  dovetailed  in  such  a  fashion  as  to  furnish  em- 
ployment the  year  around  to  those  engaged  in  them.  Certain 
kinds  of  work  such  as  dock  labor  are  casual  in  the  sense  that 
they  are  very  irregular.  Here  again  these  casual  occupations 
have  not  been  dovetailed  in  such  a  fashion  as  to  furnish  steady 
emplo3n[nent.  In  our  statistics  of  unemployment  we  have  UQted 
cycles  which  indicate  that  industrial  conditions  sometimes 
increase  greatly  the  amount  of  unemplo3anent.  This  is  due  to 
the  trade  cycle.  When  there  is  a  so-called  period  of  prosperity, 
the  amoimt  produced  is  greatly  increased  and  trade  is  very 
brisk.  Consequently  there  is  a  heavy  demand  for  labor  whidi 
takes  up  most  if  not  all  of  the  available  labor  supply.  But  when 
an  industrial  depression  comes  along,  production  is  reduced 
greatly,  trade  becomes  dull,  and  the  demand  for  labor  falls, 
thus  increasing  ^eatly  the  number  of  the  unemployed.  Closely 
related  to  this  cause  is  the  lack  of  stock  and  transportation  facili- 
ties which  has  appeared  in  our  data,  and  which  is  another 
example  of  maladjustment  in  our  industrial  and  commercial 
organization.  Industrial  warfare,  as  indicated  by  strikes  and 
boycotts,  is  still  another  factor.  As  we  shall  see  later,  it  is  very 
probable  that  the  aggregate  result  of  this  warfare  has  been  to 
lessen  the  amount  of  unemployment  through  the  advantages  it 
has  gained  for  labor.  But  while  the  warfare  is  going  on  its 
immediate  effect  frequently  is  to  give  rise  to  unemploy- 

These  are  the  important  causes  of  unemployment.  It  is 
evident  that  some  of  them,  such  as  the  trade  cycle,  industrial 
warfare,  etc.,  are  due  to  the  economic  organization  of  so- 
ciety, so  that  to  analyze  these  causes  fully  it  would  be 
necessary  to  analyze  this  organization.  We  cannot  do  this 
at  length  in  this  book,  though  we  shall  discuss  this  sub- 
ject briefly  in  the  latter  part  of  this  book.  Some  of  the 
more  specific  and  immediate  causes  of  unemplo3mient  will 
be  indicated  in  the  two  following  chapters  and  elsewhere  in 
this  book. 


Evil  Resxtlts  from  Unemployment 

Some  of  the  evil  results  of  unemployment  have  also  been 
suggested.  Looking  at  it  from  the  point  of  view  of  the  worker, 
it  is  evident  that,  in  view  of  the  very  small  incomes  of  most  of 
these  workers,  it  is  a  great  hardship  to  have  many  of  these  in- 
comes stiU  further  curtailed  by  periods  of  enforced  idleness. 
Furthermore,  on  account  of  the  uncertainty  and  irregularity  of 
employment  the  workers  suffer  greatly  from  anxiety  and  worry, 
while  the  enforced  idleness,  when  greatly  prolonged,  results  in 
many  cases  in  a  deterioration  of  the  efficiency  of  the  worker. 
Looking  at  it  from  the  social  point  of  view,  it  is  evident  that  un- 
employment must  result  in  much  pauperism  and  dependency, 
the  weight  of  which  must  be  borne  by  society.  But  by  far  the 
worst  social  result  is  that  much  of  the  productive  power  of  society 
is  being  wasted,  so  that  the  supply  of  wealth  to  be  omsumed  by 
society  is  greatly  lessened. 

In  view  of  the  deep-l3ang  character  of  some  of  the  causes  of  un- 
employment, it  is  evident  that  it  cannot  be  prevented  entirely, 
and  perhaps  not  even  in  large  part,  without  fundamental  changes 
in  the  economic  organization  of  society.  In  the  latter  part  of 
this  book  we  shall  discuss  some  of  the  remedies  for  unemploy- 
ment, and  the  changes  in  economic  organization  which  may 
abolish  it  entirely  or  in  large  part 


Characteristics  of  the  sweating  system  —  Evolution  kA  the  sweating  system 
—  Causes  of  sweating:  excessive  supply  of  labor;  congestion  of  urban 
population;  immigration;  woman  and  child  labor;  competition  of  small 
capitalists;  irregularity  of  employment;  lack  of  legislative  regulation 
and  of  organization  of  laborers  —  Statistics  of  sweated  industries. 

The  ^'sweating  system"  is  the  name  given  to  certain  con- 
ditions which  have  been  prevalent  in  our  modem  industrial  or- 
ganization, and  which  stUl  exist  to  a  considerable  extent.  The 
original  meaning  of  the  term  in  England  in  the  early  part  of  the 
last  century  was  that  labor  was  sub-contracted,  ''the  difference 
between  the  price  paid  the  contractor  and  the  price  paid  the 
sub-contractor  or  actual  worker  being  considered  as  'sweated' 
from  the  normal  earnings  of  the  latter."  ^  The  term  is  said  to 
have  originated  among  journeyman  tailors  in  London  who  ap- 
plied it  to  work  taken  homevat  night  to  be  done  by  the  tailors 
and  their  families  outside  of  the  r^ular  working  hours.* 

Characteristics  of  the  Sweating  System 

Sweating  has  perhaps  existed  to  the  greatest  extent  in  the 
clothing  trade,  and  has  been  much  discussed  with  respect  to 
that  trade.  But  it  has  existed  and  does  exist  in  many  other 
trades  as  well.  The  term  used  to  be  confined  to  work  done 
at  home  or  in  the  so-called  "sweat  shops."  But  in  recent 
years  it  has  been  applied  to  any  kind  of  work  done  imder 
the  conditions  which  are  characteristic  of  sweating.  The  two 
fundamental  conditions  are  low  wages  and  long  hours.  Almost 
as  important  as  these  are  the  insanitary  conditions  under  which 
the  work  is  usually  performed.    Frequently  also  there  is  the  use 

^  T.  S.  Adams  and  H.  L.  Sumner,  Labor  Problems,  New  Yoric,  1905,  p.  113. 
'  See  Chas.  Booth,  Life  <md  Labours  of  the  People  in  London,  London, 
1893,  p.  328. 



of  labor  which  from  the  social  point  of  view  is  unsuitable,  such 
as  the  labor  of  young  children,  of  women  who  should  be  giving 
their  time  and  strength  to  the  breeding  and  rearing  of  children, 
and  of  adults  of  both  sexes  who  are  physically  unfit  for  the  strain 
of  sweated  labor.  Thus  we  see  that  imder  the  head  of  sweating 
are  now  included  many  of  the  evils  connected  with  the  modem 
industrial  S3rstem. 

The  sweating  system  has  been  well  described,  particularly  with 
respect  to  its  character  in  this  country,  in  the  following  words:  — 

'*  The  sweated  industries  are  survivals  of  the  old  form  of  domestic 
industry  which  preceded  the  factory  system.  There  is  no  hard  and 
fast  line  of  demarcation  between  the  sweated  industries  and  those 
called  factory  industries  on  the  one  hand  or  those  temied  arts  and 
crafts  shops  on  the  other.  The  distinguishing  characteristics  usually 
found  in  a  sweated  industry  are  low  wages,  a  long  working  day,  in- 
sanitary work-shops,  and  speeded-up  workers;  of  these  four  character- 
istics the  emphasis  should  be  placed  upon  the  first.  The  adjectives  — 
low,  long,  insanitary,  and  speeded-iip  —  are  more  or  less  indefinite, 
unstandardized,  and  changing.  The  conditions  favorable  to  the  de- 
velopment of  sweated  industries  are  found  in  large  cities  and  their 
suburbs  where  it  is  easy  to  obtain  immigrant,  women,  and  children 
laborers,  in  industries  in  which  inexpensive  or  no  machinery  is  neces- 
sary, in  businesses  where  the  contract  S3rstem  is  used,  and  in  indus- 
tries in  which  the  demand  for  products  is  irregular,  seasonal,  or  highly 
individualized.  Other  characteristics  are  minute  subdivision  of  labor, 
the  lack  of  organization  among  the  workers,  and  the  difficulty  of 
adequate  inspection.  A  sweated  industry  is  essentially  a  'parasitic 
industry.'  It  is  an  industry  in  which  the  wages  paid  and  the  condi- 
tions of  work  are  such  that  wage-earners  and  their  families  cannot  be 
supported  even  upon  a  decent  scale  of  living."  ^ 

Evolution  of  the  Sweating  System 

Various  causes  of  sweating  have  been  emphasized  by  different 
students  of  the  subject.  Many  writers  speak  of  sweated  in- 
dustry as  a  survival  of  home  industry.  It  is  true  that  the  mod- 
em sweating  system  started  in  the  home  and  much  of  it  has  been 
carried  on  in  die  home.  But,  as  we  have  noted,  much  of  it  now 
is  carried  on  outside  of  the  home,  either  in  small  workshops  or 

^  F.  T.  Carlton,  The  History  and  Problems  of  Organized  Labor,  Boston, 



S(»netimes  in  large  factories.  Furthermore,  sweating  in  the  home 
is  quite  different  from  the  home  industry  which  was  character- 
istic of  the  time  before  the  industrial  revolution.  At  that  time 
a  completed  product  was  usually  turned  out  of  the  home,  and 
the  workman  was  more  or  less  of  an  independent  producer. 
Under  the  guild  system  the  master  associated  with  himself  a 
few  apprentices  and  joume3aneny  and  the  shop  in  the  home  of 
the  master  was  organized  in  a  manner  which  was  partly  pater- 
nalistic and  partly  fraternal.  The  apprentices  and  journeymen 
expected  in  course  of  time  to  become  masters  themselves. 
Towards  the  end  of  the  guild  system  the  cleavage  between  the 
masters  and  the  journeymen  became  much  greater,  and  an  ap- 
proach was  made  to  the  modem  wage  system.  With  the  coming 
of  the  factory  system  the  wage  system  appeared  in  its  fully 
developed  form,  and  home  industry  in  the  older  sense  of  the 
term  disappeared  practically  entirely. 

But  a  new  form  of  home  industry  up>on  an  entirely  different 
basis  made  its  appearance.  The  introduction  of  machinery  had 
lessened  greatly  the  demand  for  labor,  so  that  the  competition 
between  the  workers  became  very  keen.  It  goes  without  saying 
that  there  have  been  many  times  and  places  when  and  wh^re 
there  has  been  a  relative  over-supply  of  labor,  but  we  are  inter- 
ested only  in  recent  history,  which  is  of  special  significance  for 
present  conditions. 

As  has  already  been  indicated,  joume3rman  tailors  b^an  to 
take  work  home  to  be  done  by  themselves  and  their  families 
in  order  to  supplement  their  daily  earnings.  Thus  arose  the 
competition  of  woman  and  child  labor  with  adult  male  labor, 
of  work  done  in  the  home  with  work  in  the  workshop  and  factory. 
The  same  thing  happened  in  other  kinds  of  work  where  the  use 
of  machinery  was  not  absolutely  necessary,  even  though  some- 
times the  work  could  be  d«nt  with  ress"lab«r  with  the  aid  of 
machinery.  The  rise  of  this  kind  of  home  work  led  to  the  ap- 
pearance of  a  class  of  small  capitalists  or  middlemen  who  con- 
tracted for  the  doing  of  certain  kinds  of  work  and  then  sublet 
this  work  to  workers  in  their  homes.  Thus  this  home  work  came 
to  be  more  or  less  organized.  Many  of  these  contractors  or 
sweaters  went  further  and  established  shops,  usually  small  but 
sometimes  large,  which  were  equipped  with  inexpensive  ma- 
chinery, where  this  work  could  be  carried  on.    Thus  arose  the 


so-called  sweat  shops.  Then  the  competition  became  severe 
among  the  sweaters,  so  that  in  order  to  maintain  a  profitable 
business  they  were  forced  to  reduce  as  far  as  possible  the  wages 
of  their  employees.  This  they  did  by  reducing  the  rates  paid 
in  piece-work,  by  speeding  up,  etc.  They  were  able  to  do  this 
because  of  the  bitter  competition  among  Uie  workers  who,  with- 
out organization  amongst  themselves  or  legislative  protection, 
were  at  the  mercy  of  their  employers.  Thus  the  sweating 
system  became  (in  the  main  without  any  premeditation  on  the 
part  of  the  sweaters),  what  a  witness  (Arnold  White)  before  a 
conmiittee  of  investigation  of  the  British  House  of  Lords  in  1888 
called  a  form  of  ''grinding  the  faces  of  the  poor."  ^ 

The  preceding  paragraph  has  given  a  very  brief  and  simmmry 
accotmt  of  the  typical  sweating  system.  It  goes  without  saying 
that  many  qualifications  would  have  to  be  made  as  to  the  forms 
in  which  it  has  appeared  in  different  times  and  places.  Further- 
more, the  characteristic  evils  of  sweating  have  appeared  in  many 
factories  and  workshops,  so  that  it  has  become  customary  to 
speak  of  any  industry  as  sweated  which  displays  these  features. 

Causes  of  Sweating 

Let  us  consider  the  imp)ortant  causes  of  sweating  which  have 
been  emphasized  by  different  writers,  most  of  which  have  al- 
ready been  noted  in  the  preceding  paragraphs.  Hobson  em- 
phadzes  the  ''excessive  supply  of  low-skilled  and  inefficient 
labour"  from  which  the  sweaters  draw  their  workers."  This 
brings  us  at  once  to  the  heart  of  the  problem  of  sweating,  as  well 
as  of  the  labor  problem  in  general.  To  begin  with,  it  raises  die 
question  of  population,  which  we  shall  discuss  in  two  later 
dbapters.  Does  this  mean  that  the  p)opulation  in  general  and 
the  wage-earning  population  in  particular  is  reproducing  itself 
too  rapidly,  thus  creating  an  over-supply  of  labor?  Or  is  sweat- 
ing due  to  the  fact  that  so  many  of  the  workers  are  so  little 
trained  that  they  are  incapable  of  doing  efficient  work?  Or  is 
it  because  the  system  of  economic  production  is  so  faultily 
organized  that  it  is  incapable  of  absorbing  and  making  prof- 
itable use  of  all  the  available  labor?   If  the  first  question  states 

^  See  20tk  Annual  Report,  N.  Y.  Bureau  of  Labor  Statistics,  1902,  p.  37. 
*  J.  A.  Hobson,  Problems  of  Poverty,  London,  1891,  p.  89. 


the  truthy  we  are  suffering  from  what  is  from  the  economic 
point  of  view  over-population,  and  the  only  remedy  is  to  check 
the  increase  of  population.  If  the  second  is  true,  either  private 
agencies  or  preferably  the  pditical  organization  should  furnish 
the  appropriate  educational  facilities  to  remedy  these  evils  in 
the  economic  field.  If  the  third  is  true,  the  need  is  for  changes 
in  the  economic  organization  which  will  make  possible  the  utili- 
zation of  all  the  present  sUfyply  of  labor  and  a  much  larger  siqqdy 
in  the  future  under  conditions  of  comfort  and  well-being  for  the 
workers,  in  other  words,  above  the  poverty  line.  These  are 
questions  which  we  shall  take  up  later. 

One  obvious  factor  in  causing  this  excessive  supply  of  labor, 
in  the  towns  and  cities  where  the  sweating  S3rstem  has  developed, 
has  been  the  rural  inunigration  to  the  dty  which  has  caused  a 
congestion  of  urban  p)opu]ation.  We  shall  discuss  the  causes  for 
this  migration  in  a  later  chapter,  and  therefore  will  not  touch 
upon  them  here.  In  this  country  much  emphasb  has  been  laid 
upon  inmiigration  from  foreign  coimtries  to  this  coimtry  as  a 
cause  of  sweating.  This  inmiigration  has  tended  to  increase  the 
urban  congestion,  because  many  of  the  inmiigrants  have  re- 
mained in  the  cities.  Furthermore,  the  inmiigrants  form  a  class 
which  is  peculiarly  likely  to  be  victimized  by  the  sweaters,  be- 
cause of  their  initial  poverty,  their  ignorance  of  the  language 
and  customs  of  the  coimtry,  and  the  difficulty  of  organizing 

The  entrance  of  women  and  children  into  these  industries, 
which  has  already  been  noted,  usually  at  a  much  lower  rate  of 
wages,  has  been  a  further  cause  of  this  relative  over-supply  of 
labor.  It  must,  however,  be  remembered  that  woman  and  diild 
labor  is  frequently  a  result  of  sweating.  In  many  cases  it  is  not 
imtil  the  men  have  been  sweated  to  such  a  d^ree  that  they  are 
no  longer  able  to  support  their  families  that  the  women  and 
children  enter  industry.    But  after,  they  enter  these  kinds  of 

^  C/.  P.  F.  Han,  Immigraium  and  Us  Egais  upon  ike  Untied  States,  3d 
ed.,  New  York,  1908,  pp.  133-5.  Speaking  of  the  sweating  system  in  this 
oountiy  Hall  says  that  "the  continually-arriving  immigrant  labor  supplies 
the  material  and  the  motive  power  for  the  continuance  of  the  system,"  and 
that  according  to  the  testimony  before  the  U.  S.  Industrial  Commissicm,  "so 
long  as  a  constant  stream  of  cheap  labor  continues  to  flood  our  large  ddes, 
econonHc  conditions  will  not  right  themselves.*' 


labor,  they  usually  become  an  additional  cause  of  sweating, 
because  of  their  willingness  to  underbid  the  adult  males.  It 
goes  without  saying  that  these  remarks  do  not  imply  that  there 
should  be  no  woman  or  child  labor  whatever.  On  the  contrary, 
all  adult  females  who  are  not  fully  engaged  in  child  bearing 
and  rearing,  or  in  other  useful  domestic  activities,  should  be 
engaged  in  useful  economic  activity.  There  is  no  more  justifi- 
cation for  female  than  for  male  idleness  and  parasitism.  Further- 
more, a  certain  amount  of  labor  may  be  beneficial  to  children. 
But  when  the  labor  is  so  long  and  difficult  as  to  interfere  with  the 
peculiar  f imctions  of  the  women  and  with  the  healthy  develop- 
ment of  the  children,  it  is  a  great  evil.  This  is  all  the  more 
true  because  under  the  present  system  of  production  such  labor 
is  almost  certain  to  be  exploited  by  the  employers  in  such  a  way 
as  to  be  detrimental  to  all  kinds  of  labor.  We  shall  have  oc- 
casion to  discuss  the  economic  status  of  woman  else^ere  in 
this  book. 

Booth  has  laid  much  emphasis  up)on  intense  competition 
among  small  capitalists,  and  what  he  calls  the  "multiplication 
of  small  masters,"  ^  which  he  foimd  in  East  London,  as  causes  of 
sweating.  We  have  already  noted  that  when  the  sweaters  be- 
come numerous  the  competition  amongst  them  becomes  so  bitter 
that  they  force  the  wages  down  as  far  as  possible  in  order  to  make 
a  profit.  Furthermore,  in  small  sweat  shops  the  sanitary  condi- 
tions are  very  likely  to  be  bad,  because,  the  sweater  lacks  the 
capital  which  would  enable  him  to  equip  a  sanitary  workshop. 
When  the  work  is  done  at  home  the  sanitary  conditions  are 
likely  to  be  even  worse.  It  is  hardly  necessary  to  p)oint  out  the 
evil  of  these  insanitary  conditions  in  promoting  disease  and 
a  general  unhealthy  physical  condition  in  the  workers.  But  it 
is  also  imp)ortant  to  remember  that  such  conditions  lead  to  the 
dissemination  of  disease  throughout  the  commimity  at  large, 
because  the  germs  of  disease  are  carried  by  the  products  of 
sweated  industries  to  the  consumers. 

The  implication  of  the  last  paragraph  seems  to  be  that  the 
large  shop,  the  factory,  and  the  large  capitalist  should  replace 
the  home  and  small  shop  industries  and  the  small  capitaUst.  It 
is  true  that  the  large  concern  can  afford  a  much  better  equipped 
place  of  work  than  the  small  one,  and  sometimes  will  provide  it 

'  Op.  cU,,  p.  339. 


Furthermore,  when  legislative  regulation  is  attempted  it  is 
frequentiy  much  more  feasible  to  inspect  a  large  shop  than  it  is 
to  inspect  small  shops  and  home  work.  Generally  speaking, 
the  organization  of  industry  on  a  large  scale  leads  to  the  saving 
of  many  wastes  and  greater  efficiency.  If  the  income  from  these 
economies  could  go  to  the  working  class,  it  would  improve  their 
condition  materially.  This  has  happened  to  a  certain  extent. 
But  in  all  probabiUty  the  major  portion  of  what  has  been  saved 
has  gone  to  the  employers,  while  into  the  factories  have  crept 
the  same  evils  we  have  noted  in  the  homes  and  sweat  shops, 
namely,  low  wages,  long  hours,  and  insanitary  conditions,  so 
that  the  change  to  large  scale  industry  does  not  necessarily 
eliminate  these  evils.  However,  it  is  possible  that  it  is  more 
feasible  to  eliminate  them  from  the  large  factories  than  from 
the  small  shops  and  homes. 

Irregularity  of  employment  plays  a  part  in  sweating.  When 
industry  and  trade  are  brisk  there  is  a  large  demand  for  labor 
which  leads  to  working  overtime  and  thus  to  overwork,  though 
at  this  time  wages  may  go  up  somewhat.  During  times  of  de- 
pression wages  are  forced  down  even  lower  than  usual.  There 
are,  however,  certain  industries  suitable  for  sweating  purposes 
which  are  not  much  affected  by  periods  of  depression.  These 
can  take  advantage  of  depression  in  other  industries  to  carry 
still  further  the  sweating  in  their  own.  "The  reports  of  the 
Immigration  Commission  show  how  during  the  long  periods  of 
depression  in  the  steel  industry  the  families  of  steel  workers  are 
supported  on  the  lowest  level  of  subsistence  by  the  work  of  the 
women  and  children  in  cigar  factories  and  other  so-called  'com- 
plementary' industries.  These  industries  locate  in  the  steel 
towns  to  take  advantage  of  the  large  supply  of  woman  and 
child  labor  which  cannot  be  utilized  in  the  steel  mills.  As  these 
factories  are  run  with  relative  constancy,  and  are  usually  the 
only  other  industries  in  the  steel  towns  which  supply  an  outside 
market,  it  is  largely  through  their  assistance  that  the  married 
employees  are  able  to  live  through  the  long  periods  of  depres- 
sion." » 

Lack  of  legislative  regulation  and  of  organization  among  the 
laborers  are  frequentiy  mentioned  among  the  causes  of  sweating. 

^  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor,  Report  on  Labor  Conditions  in  Iron  and  Sted 
Industry,  Washington,  1913,  Vol.  3,  p.  214. 


These  are  not  causes  in  the  positive  sense.  But  it  is  true  that 
when  both  of  these  are  absent  sweating  is  much  more  likely  to 
exist.  This  is  due  to  the  weakness  of  the  individual  worker  in 
the  face  of  the  employer.  If  the  supply  of  labor  is  short,  the 
individual  worker,  even  though  standing  alone,  may  be  able  to 
dictate  favorable  terms.  But  if  the  competition  among  the 
laborers  is  severe,  as  is  so  often  the  case  owing  to  the  relative 
over-supply  of  labor,  the  individual  is  more  or  less  at  the  mercy 
of  the  employer,  imless  he  is  aided  by  legislation  or  by  organiza- 
tion with  his  fellow-laborers. 

Mrs.  Webb  has  well  contrasted  the  position  of  the  woiker  who 
stands  alone  with  that  of  his  employer.  After  describing  how,  at  a 
time  of  equilibrium  when  the  demand  for  and  the  supply  of  labor 
are  just  equal,  the  employer  can  afford  to  refuse  the  terms  of  the 
laborer,  even  though  he  may  suffer  a  slight  inconvenience  by  doing 
so,  she  goes  on  to  say:  —  *^  But,  meanwhile,  he  (the  employer)  goes 
on  eating  and  drinking,  his  wife  and  family  go  on  living,  just  as  before. 
His  physical  comfort  is  not  affected:  he  can  afford  to  wait  until  the 
labourer  comes  back  in  a  hmnbler  frame  of  mind.  And  that  is  just 
what  the  laboiurer  must  presently  do.  For  he,  meanwhile,  has  lost 
his  day.  His  very  subsistence  depends  on  his  promptly  coming  to  an 
agreement.  If  he  stands  out,  he  has  no  money  to  meet  his  weekly 
rent,  or  to  buy  food  for  his  family.  If  he  is  obstinate,  consumption 
of  his  little  hoard,  or  the  pawning  of  his  furniture,  may  put  off  the 
catastrophe;  but  sooner  or  later  slow  starvation  forces  him  to  come 
to  terms.  This  is  no  real  freedom  of  contract.  The  alternative  on 
one  side  is  inconvenience;  on  the  other  it  is  starvation."  ^ 

Later  in  this  book  we  shall  discuss  legislation  in  favor  of  the 
worker  and  the  organization  oi  the  workers  which  enables  them 
through  collective  bargaining  frequently  to  enforce  their  de- 
mands upon  the  employers. 

Statistics  of  Sweated  Industries 

In  the  chapters  on  the  distribution  of  wealth  and  incomes, 
the  standard  of  Uving,  and  the  extent  of  p)overty,  the  wage 
statistics  and  the  family  budgets  have  furnished  some  evidence 
of  sweating,  so  far  as  low  wages  are  concerned.  Numerous  in- 
vestigations in  this  and  in  other  coimtries  have  secured  a  vast 

1  Mn.  Sidney  Webb,  Women  and  ike  Factory  Acts,  Fabian  Tract  No.  67. 


amount  of  data  upon  aU  phases  of  sweating.^  We  have  not  the 
space  here  to  present  all  of  these  data,  but  will  give  a  few  illus- 
trative tacts. 

From  11)13  to  1914  the  New  York  State  Factory  Investigating 
Owimismon  investigated  a  number  of  sweated  industries  in  New 
York  City  and  elsewhere  in  New  York  State.  Among  others  it  studied 
the  confectionery  industry  in  New  York  City.  After  investigating 
the  wages  of  about  3,500  male  workers  and  of  about  5,000  female 
workers  it  found  that  "over  half  the  minor  male  employees  are  paid 
less  than  $7.50  a  week;  and  more  than  half  the  adult  men  factory 
workers  receive  less  than  $11.  More  than  two-thirds  of  the  girls 
under  eighteen  are  rated  below  $5.50;  and  more  than  Mf  the  women 
stop  hands  above  this  age  fail  to  achieve  the  $6. 50  nRe.  So  much 
may  suffice  to  indicate  the  general  levels  of  wages  in  the  industry."  * 
But  while  these  are  the  rates  of  w^fis  paid,  the  actual  earnings 
fall  considerably  below  these  rates.(P' According  to  rates  quoted, 
only  12.7  per  cent,  of  the  employees  were  rated  imder  $5.  But  ac- 
cording to  actual  earnings,  21.7  per  cent  of  all  whose  receipts  were 
noted  fell  below  that  amount.  On  the  other  hand,  64.8  per  cent 
might  have  been  expected  to  receive  more  than  $5  and  less  than  $10. 
As  a  matter  of  fact,  only  56.6  per  cent  actually  received  sums  be- 
tween these  amounts.  For  amounts  over  $10,  the  proportions  based 
on  earnings  are  also  slightly  lower  than  those  based  on  rates."  '  The 
Commission  suggests  as  reasons  for  this  fall  in  earnings  that  "the 
low  paid  employees  are  docked  for  absence,  or  are  not  paid  the  full 
amount  if  their  output  falls  below  standard.  In  one  place  girls  are 
not  paid  for  any  time  less  than  one  week.  As  the  rates  are  low,  many 
soon  become  discouraged  and  leave.  Thus  the  firm  gets  some  work 
for  nothing."  *    In  order  to  see  the  significance  of  these  facts  with 

^  Of  the  discussionB  of  this  subject  may  be  mentioned  the  works  of  Booth, 
Hobson,  the  Webbs,  Bliss  Black,  Adams  and  Sumner,  Carlton,  etc.  Among 
the  sources  of  data  may  be  mentioned  the  many  volumes  of  the  Report  of 
the  U.  S.  Industrial  Commission,  which  appeared  about  the  year  1900;  the 
numerous  volumes  of  the  Report  of  the  U.  S.  Immigration  Commission^ 
which  appeared  about  the  year  1910;  niunerous  reports  and  bulletins  of 
the  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor  Statistics,  especially  its  report  on  Woman  and 
Child  Wage  Earners  in  the  U.  S.,  which  appeared  about  the  years  1910-12 
in  nineteen  volumes;  numerous  publications  of  the  N.  Y.  Bureau  of  Labor 
Statistics;  the  reports  of  the  N.  Y.  State  Factory  Investigating  Commission, 
which  began  to  i^>pear  in  191 3;  many  publications  of  the  Mass.  Btureau  of 
Labor  Statistics;  etc  Similar  reports  have  been  published  by  the  British 
Government  and  several  of  the  Continental  governments. 

'  Third  Report,  Albany,  1914,  p.  81. 

•O^.  a^.,  p.  83. 



respect  to  this  industry  in  the  nation  at  laige  let  us  consider  the 
following  statistics.  According  to  the  Federal  Census  of  Manufac- 
tures there  were  in  1909  in  this  country  1,944  of  these  confectionery 
establishments  (not  counting  the  small  ones),  with  an  average  number 
in  all  of  44,638  wage-earners.  In  these  establishments  the  value 
added  by  manufacture  was  over  fifty-three  millions  of  dollars,  while 
less  than  sixteen  millions,  or  considerably  less  than  one-third,  was 
paid  in  wages.  Furthermore,  it  appears  that  in  this  industry  since 
1849  '^the  wage-earners  have  been  multiplied  26  times;  the  wages 
paid  34  times;  the  value  added  in  manufacture  40  times;  the  value 
of  the  product  48  times;  and  elsewhere  it  is  reported  that  the  capital 
involved  has  increased  68  fold."  ^  The  .figures  suggest  that  the 
workers  are  getting  an  abnormally  small  share  of  the  product  in  this 
industry.  H6wever,  it  would  be  necessary  to  analyze  very  carefully 
the  finances  of  the  industry  before  this  could  be  stated  with  certainty. 

Another  industry  investigated  by  the  Commission  was  the  paper 
box  industry  in  New  York  City.  The  wages  of  9,105  employees 
were  investigated,  nearly  two-thirds  of  whom  were  women  and  girls. 
The  following  conditions  with  respect  to  wages  were  found  to  be 
true:  — 

''Twelve  dollars  is  the  common  rate  for  all  males,  and  $6  for  all 
female  employees.  The  majority  of  men  and  boys  are  st^posed  to 
earn  between  $8  and  $16;  more  than  half  the  women  and  girls  be^ 
tween  $5  and  $9.  Over  half  the  male  help  is  rated  below  $12  and  the 
majority  of  females  under  I6.50.  Boys  and  girls  under  18  years  aver- 
age between  $5  and  $6  a  week;  women  over  18  center  at  about  $9; 
adult  men,  at  about  $15  a  week." ' 

But  the  actual  earnings  fell  somewhat  below  these  rates.  ''Almost 
2,000  women,  or  nearly  one-half  of  all  over  18  years  of  age  in  the  trade, 
earned  less  than  $6  for  a  week's  work.  More  than  700  girls  imder  18, 
or  43  per  cent  of  those  below  this  age,  earned  less  than  $5.  More 
than  400  men,  or  over  20  per  cent  of  all  adult  males,  earned  less  than 
$10  in  a  week.    Nearly  half  of  all  male  minors  received  less  than  $7."  * 

The  above  figures  give  some  indication  of  the  low  wages  paid  to 
many  adult  workers  in  sweated  industries  in  a  large  city  like  New 
York  where  the  cost  of  living  is  necessarily  very  high.  Investigation 
of  the  domestic  status  of  many  of  these  workers  showed  that  many  of 
them  were  not  only  supporting  themselves  but  aiding  in  the  support 
of  families  as  well.  The  Commission  summed  up  the  inadequacy  of 
such  wages  in  the  following  words:  — 

"This  summary  of  wages  acttially  received  indicates  clearly  that 
there  is  not  only  room  for,  but  necessity  for  improvement  in  wages 
paid.    No  woman  can  live  properly  on  $5  or  $6,  or  even  $7,  a  week."  * 

*  op.  cU.f  p.  103.  *  Op.  cU.,  p.  41.  "  Op,  cU.,  p.  42. 




Overwork  —  Evil  results  from  excessive  fatigue  —  The  extent  of  child  labor 
—  Evil  results  from  child  labor  —  The  extent  of  woman  labor  —  The 
utility  of  woman  labor  —  Evil  results  from  woman  labor  —  Unsuitable 
adult  male  labor  —  Industrial  warfare. 

We  shall  now  discuss  briefly  a  number  of  conditions  of  labor, 
some  of  which  are  characteristic  of  the  sweating  system,  and  all 
of  which  are  more  or  less  prolific  causes  of  poverty. 


The  first  of  these  is  overwork  resulting  in  fatigue  so  excessive 
as  to  be  injurious  to  the  individual.  It  is  hardly  necessaiy  to 
state  that  it  would  be  impossible  to  measure  the  exact  amoimt 
of  such  overwork.  But  such  statistics  as  we  have  of  protracted 
hours  of  labor  give  rough  indications  of  the  extent  of  overwork. 
Fiurthermorey  certain  characteristics  of  modem  industry  are 
of  such  a  nature  as  to  induce  excessive  fatigue,  so  that  such 
fatigue  is  likely  to  be  coincident  with  these  characteristics.  We 
will  now  discuss  briefly  a  nimiber  of  these  characteristics.^ 

The  work  in  certain  industries  is  characterized  by  great  speed, 
sometimes  accompanied  by  great  complexity  of  movement. 
This  is  usually  due  to  the  use  of  machines  which  are  operated 
at  a  high  rate  of  speed.  Among  the  industries  of  which  one  or 
both  of  these  characteristics  are  true  may  be  mentioned  the 
textile  industry,  the  needle  trades,  the  telephone  service,  etc. 
Speed,  especially  when  combined  with  complexity,  puts  a  great 

^  An  excellent  summary  of  this  subject  is  given  by  Josephine  Goldmark 
in  her  Fatigue  and  Efficiency,  A  Study  in  Industry ,  New  York,  19 13.  In  the 
early  part  of  this  book  is  given  a  brief  statement  of  the  physiological  nature 
of  fatigue.  It  goes  without  saying  that  the  subject  is  fundamental  to  the 
study  of  faitigue.    See  A.  Mosso,  Fatigue,  New  York,  1904. 



strain  up)on  the  worker  which  is  certain  to  result  in  excessive 

Owing  to  the  high  d^ree  of  division  and  of  subdivision  of 
labor  in  modem  industry,  many  occupations  have  become  so 
monotonous  as  to  constitute  a  new  strain  up>on  the  worker. 
"If  concentration  and  subdivision  are  part  of  the  new  efficiency 
they  are  part,  too,  of  its  new  strain.  So  far  as  the  workers  are 
concerned,  subdivision  and  concentration  are  added  hardships 
of  the  long  day.  For  they  lead  to  that  monotony  which  results 
from  the  endless  repetition  of  the  same  operations,  and  against 
which  the  hmnan  spirit  innately  revolts.  Monotony,  indeed, 
may  make  highly  taxing  to  our  organism  work  which  is  ordinarily 
considered  light  and  easy." »  The  eflfect  of  monotony  is  in 
part  psychical,  that  is  to  say,  the  distaste  for  the  work  which  is 
aroused  by  its  lack  of  variety.  But  it  has  a  serious  physiological 
effect  as  well,  because  of  the  excessive  strain  it  puts  upon  the 
nerve  centers,  muscles,  and  other  organs  used.  Both  the 
psychical  and  ph3rsiological  evil  effects  may  l>e  prevented  by 
alternating  the  monotonous  work  with  other  kinds  of  work. 

The  noise  caused  by  the  roar  of  the  machinery  in  many  modem 
industries  has  a  very  fatiguing  effect  upon  the  workers.  Further- 
more, the  rh3rthmic  movement  of  machinery  is  fixed  and  mechan- 
ical, and  is  usually  faster  than  the  rhythm  which  is  natural  to 
hmnan  beings.  The  natural  rhythm  aids  work  by  alternating 
the  periods  of  effort  and  of  rest.  But  the  mechanical  rhythm 
interferes  with  the  natural  human  rhythm,  and  is  consequently 
very  trying  and  tiring.  Frequently  there  are  several  mechanical 
rh3rthms  in  the  same  workroom,  which  is  still  more  distracting 
to  the  worker. 

A  good  deal  of  manufacturing  in  modem  industry  is  done 
under  the  piece*work  system.  This  system  is  based  up>on  the 
just  principle  that  workers  should  be  remunerated  according  to 
the  amoimt  they  produce.  But  many  employers  endeavor  to 
speed  up  their  employees  by  adjusting  the  rate  of  payment  to  the 
amoimt  produced  by  the  most  rapid  workers,  who  thus  become 
pacemakers  for  the  rest  and  induce  them  to  work  at  a  rate  of 
speed  which  is  injurious  to  them.  This  condition  is  all  the  more 
likely  to  arise  when  the  workers  do  not  protect  themselves  by 
means  of  collective  bargaining. 

^  Josephine  Goldmark,  op.  cU.,  p.  59. 


Another  feature  of  industry  which  induces  excessive  fatigue 
is  overtime  work.  In  certain  seasonal  or  semi-seasonal  occupa- 
tions there  is  an  excessive  amount  of  work  to  be  done  at  cer- 
tain times,  and  the  employers  require  their  employees  to  work 
overtime.  The  workers  are  usually  willing  and  glad  to  do  so  in 
order  to  supplement  their  meager  earnings.  The  physiological 
injury  caused  by  such  work  without  adequate  rest  is  sure  to  be 
great.  "During  overtime,  leisure  and  rest  are  cut  down  at  the 
very  same  time  that  heavier  and  longer  demands  are  made  upon 
the  human  organism.  It  is  practicaUy  inevitable  that  the 
metabolic  balance  should  be  thrown  out  of  gear.  Regular  sea- 
sonal overtime  in  such  occupations  as  those  cited  above,  leaves 
the  worker  with  too  great  a  physiological  deficit.  There  is  no 
reboimd,  or  an  infinitely  slow  one  when  our  elastic  capacities 
have  been  too  tensely  stretched."  ^ 

Evil  Results  from  Excessive  Fatigue 

There  are  numerous  evil  results  from  excessive  fatigue  apart 
bom  and  ia  addition  to  its  immediate  effect  up>on  the  individual. 
Fatigue  weakens  the  attention  and  the  muscular  control  of  the 
worko:,  and  thus  causes  many  of  the  industrial  accidents  which 
we  shall  discuss  presently.  Excessive  fatigue  makes  the  worker 
still  more  likely  to  make  mistakes  which  will  cause  accidents  to 
himself  or  to  others. 

It  appears  that  excessive  fatigue  increases  infant  mortality 
and  lowers  the  birth  rate  among  working  women.  In  view  of  the 
discussion  of  the  relation  between  the  growth  of  p)opulation  and 
poverty  in  the  following  chapters,  this  may  appear  to  be  a  bless- 
ing in  disguise.  But  even  though  it  may  be  desirable  that  the 
working  class  should  not  increase  so  rapidly,  it  goes  without  say- 
ing that  the  check  upon  its  growth  should  come  in  some  other 
fashion.  Furthermore,  it  appears  that  the  offspring  of  over- 
worked mothers  are  usually  ph3^cal]y  stunted  and  weakened, 
as  might  be  expected.  Such  physical  deterioration,  if  it  becomes 
suffidently  widespread,  may  lead  to  racial  degeneration. 

Overwork  predisposes  to  disease  and  nervous  disorders.  Some- 
times it  prepares  Uie  way  for  specific  occupational  diseases.  In 
some  cases  it  leads  directly  to  disease  through  the  self-generated 

^  Josephine  Goldmark,  op.  cU,y  p.  S8. 


poisons  of  fatigue.  Thus  excessive  fatigue  becomes  in  itself 
almost  an  occupational  disease,  as  well  as  an  occiq>ati(Hial 

The  Extent  of  Chud  Labor 

The  extent  of  child  labor  at  the  periods  of  the  last  three  cen- 
suses is  indicated  in  the  following  table:  —  ^ 

Child  Labor  in  the  U.  S.,  1880-1910 

Children  10  to  1$  years  of  age 
Census  Year  and  Sex  Total     Engaged  in  gainful  occu- 

number  pations 

igio  Number      Per  cent 

Both  sexes  10,828^65  1,990,225  18.4 

Male 5464,228  1,353,139  24.8 

Female 5»364>i37  637,186  11.9 


Both  sexes  9,613,252  1,750,178  18.2 

Male 4,852,427  1,264,411  26.1 

Female 4,760,825  485,767  10.2 


Both  sexes  6,649,483  1,118,356  16.8 

Male 3,376,114  825,187  244 

Female 3,273,3^9  293,169  9.0 

Li  1910  it  was  rep)orted  to  the  Census  Bureau  that  16.6  per 
cent  of  the  males  from  10  to  13  years  of  age,  and  8.0  per  cent  of 
females  from  10  to  13  years  of  age;  41.4  per  cent  of  the  males 
14  to  15  years  of  age,  and  19.8  per  cent  of  the  females  14  to  15 
years  of  age;  and  79.2  per  cent  of  the  males  16  to  20  years  of 
age,  and  39.3  per  cent  of  the  females  16  to  20  years  of  age,  were 
engaged  in  gainful  occui)ations.>  Many  of  these  children  and 
young  people  doubtless  were  employed  only  a  part  of  their 
time.  But  it  must  be  remembered,  on  the  other  hand,  that 
many  children  at  work  are  not  reported  because  the  law  is  being 
evaded  or  for  some  other  reason.    So  that  in  all  probability  the 

^  13th  Census  of  the  U.  S.,  OccupaHon  Statistics,  Washington,  1914,  p.  7a 
A  considerable  amount  of  data  upon  the  extent  of  child  labor  in  sevml 
European  countries  is  furnished  in  C.  W.  A.  Veditz,  Child  Labor  LegislaHon 
in  Europe,  Bui  of  the  U.  S.  Bur.  of  Labor,  No.  89,  July,  1910. 

•  Op,  cit.,  p.  69. 


Census  report  understates  the  number  of  children  who  are 
working  all  or  a  large  part  of  their  time.  When  we  consider  the 
figures  given  above,  we  can  see  how  serious  is  the  problem  of 
child  labor  in  this  country.  It  appears  that  about  two  miUion 
of  the  children  from  10  to  15  years  of  age,  or  nearly  one-fifth  of 
the  children  in  that  age  period,  are  at  work. 

Evil  Results  from  Child  Labor 

Now  it  goes  without  saying  that  work  in  itself  is  not  neces- 
sarily a  bad  thing  for  children,  if  it  is  of  the  right  kind  and  is 
limited  in  amount.  But  if  it  is  work  that  taxes  unduly  the 
strength  of  the  child  and  lasts  many  hours,  it  is  obviously  very 
bad  for  the  child.  And  in  any  case,  work  which  takes  up  mudi 
of  the  time  and  strength  of  the  child  prevents  him  from  acquir- 
ing the  training  and  education  which  will  fit  him  to  become  an 
efficient  worker.  So  that,  either  through  physical  injury  or  on 
accoimt  of  lack  of  suitable  training,  the  child  fails  to  become 
economically  efficient.  In  many  of  these  cases  the  child  drifts 
into  blind-alley  occupations  which  make  him  an  unskilled,  casual 
laborer  who  becomes  the  victim  of  imemployment  and  other 
evils,  which  in  course  of  time  force  him  into  the  ranks  of  the 
poor  and  of  the  paupers.  In  this  fashion  child  labor  becomes  a 
prolific  cause  of  poverty. 

The  Extent  of  Woman  Labor 

In  1910  there  were  8,075,772  females  10  years  of  age  and  over, 
or  23.4  per  cent  of  the  total  number  of  this  age  period,  who 
were  reported  as  engaged  in  gainful  occupations;  while  in  1900 
there  were  5,319,397  females  of  the  same  age  period,  or  18.8 
per  cent  of  the  total  number  of  this  age  period,  who  were  re- 
ported as  engaged  in  gainful  occupations.  In  1910,  of  the  total 
nimiber  gainfully  employed,  4,302,969  were  21  to  44  years  of 
age,  which  was  26.3  per  cent  of  the  total  number  belonging  to 
this  age  period;  and  1,288,117  were  45  years  of  age  and  over, 
.  which  was  15.7  per  cent  of  the  total  number  belonging  to  this 
age  period.  In  1900,  of  the  total  number  gainfully  employed 
2,759,546  were  21  to  44  years  of  age,  which  was  20.9  per  cent 
of  the  total  number  belonging  to  this  age  period;  and  836,117 


were  45  years  of  age  and  over,  which  was  12.9  per  cent  of  the 
total  number  belonging  to  this  age  period.^ 

The  above  figures  indicate  that  woman  labor  in  this  country 
is  increasing.  The  same  fact  may  be  indicated  in  other  ways. 
"The  percentage  of  women  'gainfully  employed*  to  the  total 
number  of  persons  gainfully  employed,  in  1870,  was  13;  in  1880, 
16.6;  in  1890,  18.1;  in  1900,  18.5;  and  in  1910,  according  to  the 
latest  statistics  of  occupations,  21.2."  ' 

The  Utility  of  Woman  Labor 


It  goes  without  saying  that  woman  labor  in  itself  is  not  a 
bad  thing.  On  the  contrary,  every  woman,  like  every  man, 
should  make  her  contribution  to  society,  and  parasitism  in 
woman  is  quite  a$  bad  as  it  is  in  man.  In  the  past  most  women 
were  able  to  make  this  contribution  by  performing  domestic 
economic  functions.  But  in  recent  years  these  domestic  func- 
tions have  been  greatly  lessened  by  the  development  of  manu- 
facturing processes.  So  that  there  have  appeared  as  con- 
sequences, on  the  one  hand,  a  large  parasitic  leisure  class  of 
women  who  are  resp)onsible  for  an  enormous  waste  of  labor 
and  of  economic  goods,  and,  on  the  other  hand,  an  ever  increas- 
ing class  of  women  working  oujtside  of  the  home.  These  women 
are  now  doing  much  of  the  work  which  they  used  to  do  in  the 
home  in  factories  and  workshops,  where  they  are  producing 
finished  food  products,  textiles,  etc.  This  change  from  the  home 
to  the  factory  signifies  an  enormous  saving  of  labor  in  produc- 
tion and  heralds,  among  other  things,  the  coming  of  the  eco- 
nomic independence  of  woman,  which  will  probably  be  very 
beneficial  to  women,  as  well  as  to  society  at  laiqge. 

Evil  Results  from  Woman  Labor 

But  woman  labor  at  present  has  an  evil  side  which  we  must 
consider,  because  of  the  part  it  plays  in  the  causation  of  poverty. 
It  is  evident  that  women,  as  compared  with  men,  are  handicapped 
somewhat  in  many  occupations.  "It  goes  without  sa3dng  that 
the  fundamental  fact  which  distinguishes  women  physiologically 

^  Census  Bureau,  op.  cit.f  p.  69. 

'  I.  M.  Rubinow,  The  Recent  Trend  of  Real  Wages,  in  the  Am.  Economic 
Re9.y  Vol.  IV,  No.  4,  Dec.,  1914,  p.  815. 


from  men,  is  their  particular  sex  function  —  the  bearing  of  chil- 
dren. Their  anatomy  and  physiology  is  adapted  for  this  primal 
function,  whether  or  not  it  is  ever  to  be  realized,  wheUier  or 
not  they  are  ever  to  become  mothers  of  children.  The  unmarried 
as  well  as  the  married  woman,  therefore,  is  subject  to  the  phys- 
ical limitations  of  her  sex,  and  each  suffers  alike  from  those 
incidents  of  industrial  work  most  detrimental  to  the  female 
reproductive  system,  such  as  overstrain  from  excessive  speed 
and  complexity,  prolonged  standing,  and  the  absence  of  a 
monthly  day  of  rest."  * 

In  view  of  these  handicaps  it  goes  without  saying  that  modem 
industry  should  be  so  adjusted  to  these  anatomical  and  ph3rsio- 
logical  peculiarities  of  women,  and  to  the  exigencies  of  their  func- 
tions of  child  bearing  and  child  rearing,  that  women  could 
make  their  full  economic  contribution  to  society  without  suf- 
fering physical  injury  thereby,  and  without  being  hampered  in 
their  important  fimctions  of  child  bearing  and  of  child  rearing. 
But  it  is  evident  that  industry  is  not  so  adjusted  at  present. 
Many  women  are  working  for  an  excessive  number  of  hours  at 
kinds  of  work  for  which  they  are  not  well  suited.  Many  of 
these  are  married  women  of  the  working  class  who  in  most 
cases  have  upon  them  the  additional  burdens  of  bearing  and 
rearing  children  and  of  caring  for  homes.*  The  strain  of  these 
burdens  is  very  likely  to  cause  disease  and  invalidism  in  these 
women,  while  it  is  likely  to  result  in  physical  weakness  and 
inadequate  vq>bringing  for  their  children.  These  are  the  ways 
in  which  female  labor  at  present  constitutes  a  more  or  less 
serious  cause  of  poverty. 

Unsuitable  Adult  Male  Labor 

It  is  doubtless  true  that,  in  addition  to  the  unsuitable  child 
and  female  labor  which  we  have  discussed,  there  is  more  or  less 

^  Josephine  Goldnyurk,  op,  cit,,  p.  40. 

'According  ip  the  Census  reports  in  1890  there  were  reported  515,260, 
or  4.6  per  cent  o^  all  married  women ;  and  in  1900  there  were  reported  769,471 , 
or  5.6  per  cent  of  all  married  women,  as  engaged  in  gainful  occupations. 
Unfortimately  smiilar  data  were  not  secured  in  1910.  Rubinow  has  esti- 
mated, in  the  arade  referred  to  above,  from  the  increase  in  the  number  of 
women  empIoyed\in  certain  occupations  in  which  employment  of  married 
women  is  commo^  that  the  proportion  of  employed  married  women  has 
increased  considers^bly. 


unsuitable  adult  male  labor  as  weU.  Unfortimatdy  it  is  im- 
possible to  measure  even  roughly  the  extent  of  this  labor.  At 
all  times  there  are  men  at  work  who,  either  because  they  are 
suffering  from  minor  ailments  which  if  not  properly  treated 
are  likely  to  grow  into  serious  ailments,  or  because  they  are 
suffering  from  more  or  less  chronic  disorders  which  do  not  com- 
pletely disable  them,  should  not  be  at  work  at  all,  or  should  be 
doing  less  work  and  easier  work.  The  pressure  of  economic 
necessity  keeps  these  men  at  work  imtil  permanent  invalidism 
or  death  brings  them  and  those  dependent  upon  them  to  poverty 
and  pauperism. 

Industrial  Warfare 

The  last  condition  of  labor  which  I  shall  discuss  in  this  chapter 
is  the  state  of  industrial  warfare  between  the  workers  and  their 
employers  which  is  more  or  less  prevalent  in  our  modem  indus- 
trial S3rstem.  This  state  of  warfare  has  many  manifestations, 
some  of  which  are  rather  obscure  in  character.  The  most  ob- 
vious manifestations  take  the  form  of  strikes  and  lockouts,  which 
have  been  defined  in  the  following  terms  in  the  twenty-first 
annual  report  of  the  U.  S.  Commissioner  of  Labor:  — ^ 

'^A  strike  is  a  concerted  withdrawal  from  work  by  a  part  or 
all  of  the  employees  of  an  establishment,  or  several  establish- 
ments, to  enforce  a  demand  on  the  part  of  employees. 

'^  A  lockout  is  a  refusal  on  the  part  of  an  employer  or  several 
employers  to  permit  a  part  or  all  of  the  employees  to  continue 
at  work,  such  refusal  being  made  to  enforce  a  demand  on  the 
part  of  employers." 

As  the  Conunissioner  points  out,  ''in  their  industrial  effects 
these  two  classes  of  disturbances  are  practicaUy  the  same,  and 
the  only  difference  between  them  is  that  in  a  strike  the  employees 
take  the  initiative  in  putting  a  stop  to  work,  while  in  a  lockout 
the  initiative  is  taken  by  the  employer."  It  is  obvious  that 
these  two  forms  of  industrial  warfare  must  result  in  a  certain 
amoimt  of  imemplo3anent  and  of  reduction  of  products,  at 
any  rate  so  far  as  their  immediate  effects  are  concerned.    But, 

^  Rqx>rt  of  the  U.  S.  Commissioner  of  Labor  for  1906,  Strikes  and  Lock- 
outs, Washington,  1907,  p.  11.  The  following  statistics  of  strikes  and  lock- 
outs in  this  country  are  taken  from  this  report.  Furthermore,  this  report 
furnishes  similar  data  with  respect  to  a  number  of  foreign  countries. 


as  we  shall  discuss  later,  the  beneficial  results  from  this  warfare 
may  in  the  long  run  outweigh  these  evil  results. 

Prior  to  1881  no  good  record  of  strikes  and  lockouts  was  kept 
in  this  coimtry.  But  beginning  with  that  year  the  Federal 
Bureau  of  Labor  began  to  keep  a  record  which  is  approximately 
complete.  In  the  above-mentioned  annual  report  this  record  is 
summarized  for  the  years  1881-1905,  inclusive,  and  I  will  now 
state  the  general  results  of  this  summary. 

During  this  period  of  twenty-five  years,  there  took  place 
36,757  strikes  involving  181,407  establi^mients,  or  an  average  of 
4.9  establishments  per  strike.  There  were  6,728,048  strikers,  or 
an  average  of  183  strikers  per  strike;  while  there  were  thrown  out 
of  work  8,703,824  employees,  or  an  average  of  237  employees  per 
strike.  During  this  same  period,  there  took  place  1,546  lockouts 
involving  18,547  establishments,  or  an  average  of  12.0  estab- 
lishments per  lockout.  There  were  716,231  employees  locked 
out,  or  an  average  of  463  per  lockout;  while  the  niunber  of  em- 
ployees who  were  thrown  out  of  work  was  825,610,  or  an  average 
of  534  per  lockout.  These  figures  do  not  include  disturbances 
of  less  than  one  day's  duration. 

The  extent  of  the  loss  caused  by  these  disturbances  necessarily 
depends  largely  upon  their  duration.  ^'The  average  duration 
of  strikes  per  establishment  was  25.4  days  and  of  lockouts  84.6 
days.  The  strike  or  lockout  does  not,  of  course,  always  result 
in  the  closing  of  the  establishment  affected,  but  in  strikes 
111,343,  or  61.38  per  cent  of  all  establishments  involved,  were 
closed  an  average  of  20.1  days.  In  lockouts  12,658,  or  68.25 
per  cent  of  all  establishments  involved,  were  closed  an  average 
of  40.4  days.  The  days  here  referred  to  are  calendar  days, 
including  Simdays  and  holidays."  ^ 

The  above  figures  indicate  that  the  inmiediate  loss  from  these 
labor  and  industrial  disturbances  must  have  been  very  great; 
even  if  we  grant  that  some  of  the  strikers  and  employees  thrown 
out  of  work  may  have  secured  work  elsewhere,  and  that  some  of 
the  reducti(m  in  the  amoimt  produced  may  have  been  com- 
pensated for  in  part  by  an  increased  output  in  other  establish- 
ments. But,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  very  probable  that  this 
loss  was  more  than  outweighed  by  the  beneficial  results  from  these 
disturbances  in  the  form  of  advantages  gained  by  the  workers. 

^  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor,  op.  cU.,  p.  13. 


According  to  the  report  we  have  been  citing,  of  these  strikes 
47.94  per  cent  were  successfvil,  15.28  p>er  cent  succeeded  partly, 
and  36.78  p>er  cent  failed.  Of  the  lockouts,  57.20  per  cent  were 
successful,  10.71  per  cent  succeeded  partly,  and  32.09  per  cent 
failed.  It  is  evident  that  both  sides  were  on  the  whole  successful 
in  their  offensive  measures,  and  the  employers  a  little  more  so 
than  their  employees.  But  inasmuch  as  the  strikes  were  far 
more  numerous  than  the  lockouts,  it  is  highly  probable  that  the 
workers  gained  more  in  the  long  run  in  this  industrial  warfare 
than  did  their  employers.  As  to  whether  or  not  these  results 
are  to  be  considered  so  beneficial  on  the  whole  as  to  more  than 
outweigh  the  losses  will  depend  upon  the  point  of  view  of  the 
observer.  The  principal  objects  for  which  the  strikers  were 
fighting,  arrang^  in  the  order  of  frequency  with  which  they 
appeared  as  causes  of  strikes,  were,  increase  of  wages;  recogni- 
tion of  union  and  imion  rules;  against  reduction  of  wages;  in- 
crease of  wages  combined  with  various  causes;  concerning  em- 
plo3anent  of  certain  persons;  reduction  of  hours;  etc.  The 
principal  objects  for  which  the  employers  were  fighting,  arranged 
in  the  order  of  frequency  with  which  they  appeared  as  causes 
of  lockouts,  were,  concerning  recognition  of  imion  and  union 
rules  and  employers'  organization;  to  enforce  reduction  of 
wages;  against  demand  for  increase  of  wages;  in  sympathy  with 
lockout  and  against  strike  elsewhere;  concerning  recognition  of 
imion  and  imion  rules  and  employers'  organization  combined 
with  various  causes;  against  demand  for  reduction  of  hours;  etc. 

The  observer's  conclusion  as  to  the  beneficial  results  of  this 
industrial  warfare  will,  therefore,  depend  upon  the  objects  of 
this  warfare  with  which  he  S3rmpathizes.  Later  in  this  book 
we  shall  discuss  the  more  indirect  and  far-reaching  results  of 
this  industrial  warfare. 

It  goes  without  sa3ang  that,  on  accoimt  of  lack  of  space,  the 
description  of  some  of  the  conditions  of  labor  given  in  this 
chapter  has  been  inadequate.  But  I  hope  it  has  given  the 
reader  some  idea  of  the  many  ways  in  which  the  existing  eco- 
nomic and  industrial  organization  of  society  causes  poverty, 
because  of  the  conditions  in  which  the  laborer  is  frequently 
placed.  We  shall  take  up  all  of  these  subjects  again  when  we 
come  to  the  discussion  of  remedial  and  preventive  measures  in 
the  latter  part  of  this  book. 




The  recent  growth  of  population  —  The  natural  increaae  of  population  — 
Immigration  and  emigration  —  The  net  gain  from  immigration  and 
emigration  —  The  feomdity  of  the  inunigiant  population  —  Influence 
of  inunigration  upon  the  native  birth  rate  —  The  ultimate  effect  of 
migrations  of  population  —  The  increase  of  wealth  —  The  diminishing 
supply  of  land  —  The  appreciating  value  of  farm  property  —  The  in- 
crease of  tenancy  —  The  increase  of  urban  population. 

Some  of  the  phenomena  discussed  in  preceding  chapters  sug- 
gest the  need  of  studying  the  subject  of  population.  For  ex- 
ample, we  have  seen  that  there  is  a  large  amoimt  of  imemploy- 
ment,  which  fact  suggests  that  there  may  be  a  larger  supply  of 
labor  than  society  can  utilize  productivdy.  Sweating,  with  its 
low  wages  and  long  hours,  is  due  in  part  at  least  to  an  excessive 
supply  of  relatively  imskilled  laborers  who  compete  with  each 
other  to  such  an  extent  as  to  lower  greatly  their  rate  of  re- 
mimeration.  Even  the  great  inequality  in  the  distribution  of 
wealth  and  the  prevailing  low  standard  of  living,  which  we  have 
studied  earlier,  may  be  due  in  part  at  least  to  an  excessive  popu- 
lation owing  to  the  fact  that  there  are  too  many  persons  among 
whom  to  divide  up  the  available  supply  of  wealth,  though  we 
may  find  that  this  is  due  rather  to  the  mechanism  of  distribution. 
In  any  case  it  behooves  us  to  consider  the  significance  of  popula- 
tion with  respect  to  poverty. 

The  Recent  Growth  of  Population 

In  this  chapter  we  shall  discuss  the  growth  of  peculation, 
espeoBXiy  with  respect  to  this  coimtry  since  most  aspects  al  the 
subject  of  population  are  illustrated  in  this  country,  but  will 
refer  occasionally  to  other  parts  of  the  world.    The  following 



table  shows  the  increase  of  population  of  this  country  during 
the  period  of  national  existence:  —  ^ 

Year                            Population  Year                           PopyloHon 

of  the  U.S.  of  the  U.S. 

1910 91,972,266    1840 17,069,453 

1900 75,994,575     1830 12,866,020 

1890 62,947,714    1820 9,633,453 

1880 50,155,783     1810 7,239,881 

1870 38,558,371     1800 5,308,483 

i860 31,443,321     1790 3,929,214 

1850 23,191,876 

The  above  table  shows  the  enormous  increase  in  the  popula- 
tion of  this  country.  Most  of  the  civilized  countries  of  the  world 
have  increased  greatly  during  the  same  period,  though  no  one 
of  them  has  increased  as  rapidly  as  this  country,  as  is  indicated 
by  the  following  table:  — » 

Country            Per  cent  of  in-  Country             Per  cent  of  in- 
crease 1800-IQ00  crease  1800-IQ00 

United  States i,33i«6    Sweden 118.6 

Belgium 204.3    Italy 884 

Denmark 163.4    Portugal 85.1 

United  Kingdom i55-9    Switzerland 84.1 

Norway 154.6    Austria 81.6 

Germany 143.2    Spain 76.6 

Holland 143. i    France 42.5 

The  Natural  Increase  of  Population 

The  two  factors  for  the  growth  of  population  are  the  ^'natural 
increase,"  which  depends  upon  the  birth  and  death  rates,  and 
immigration.  We  shall  discuss  first  the  natural  increase  of  our 
population,  and  then  inmiigration  to  this  coimtry. 

Unfortunately  vital  statistics  are  recorded  so  badly  in  this 
country  *  that  it  is  impossible  to  ascertain  directly  from  the 

^  This  table  and  most  of  the  following  figures  are  taken  from  the  abstract 
and  other  publications  of  the  U.  S.  Census  Bureau. 

•  Census  Bureau,  A  Century  of  Population  Growth  in  the  U.  5.,  i^qo-zqoo, 
p.  85.    Russia  increased  about  190  per  cent  during  the  nineteenth  century. 

'  Every  statistician  who  has  dealt  with  the  subject  of  population  is  ac- 
quainted with  the  difficulty  of  studying  problems  of  population  in  this  coun- 


foo     m6      If     mo     ti40      t— 0     n»o     ttro itto     imo      itoo     itio 

Diagram  i.  Increase  of  population  in  the  United  States  and  ihb 
principal  countries  of  europe:  180o-19io. 


birth  and  death  statistics  whether  or  not  the  natural  increase 
is  accelerating  or  retarding.  But  it  is  possible  to  determine  this 
to  a  certain  extent  by  indirect  methods,  several  of  which  we 
shall  now  discuss. 

For  example,  we  may  compare  the  distribution  of  population 
with  respect  to  age  at  different  periods.  The  percentage  of 
white  persons  imder  sixteen  years  of  age  of  the  total  white 
population  in  1790  was  49.0,  and  in  1900  was  35.6.  In  other 
words,  in  1790  four  himdred  and  ninety  out  of  every  thousand 
white  persons  were  under  sixteen  years  of  age,  while  in  1900 
three  hundred  and  fifty-six  out  of  every  thousand  were  under 
sixteen  years  of  age.  This  decreasing  pr(^x>rtion  of  the  yoimg 
in  the  total  peculation  suggests  that  the  natural  increase  has 
been  retarded,  either  by  a  falling  birth  rate  or  by  a  rising  death 
rate  among  the  yoimg.  The  second  cause, is  entirely  unlikely, 
owing  to  the  rapid  advance  of  medical  science  in  recent  years. 

But  there  are  two  other  possible  explanations  of  this  change, 
namely,  either  that  it  has  been  caused  by  the  great  influx  in 
recent  years  of  adult  immigrants,  or  that  increased  longevity 
has  swelled  the  proportion  of  the  older  persons  in  the  population. 
The  Census  Bureau  has  investigated  both  of  these  possibilities 
and  has  come  to  the  conclusion  ^  that  ^'the  influence  of  the 
large  influx  of  adult  immigrants  upon  the  proportions  shown 
in  the  summary  has  been  practically  offset  by  a  higher  birth 
rate  among  these  immigrants,  and  that  the  proportion  shown 
for  1900  in  the  preceding  summary  has  not  been  materially 
affected  by  immigration,"  and  that  '^the  advance  in  medical 
skill  and  sanitary  appliances  since  1790  has  tended  to  preserve 
infant  life  perhaps  even  more  than  adult  life,  and  the  increase 
in  the  average  age  is  due  rather  to  preservation  of  life  among 
young  people  who  are  crippled,  deformed  or  weak,  than  to  the 
actual  lengthening  of  life  to  old  age."  So  that  the  decreasing 
proportion  of  the  young  is  unquestionably  due  to  a  falling  birth 

try,  owing  to  the  limited  birth  and  death  statistics.  For  example,  the  present 
writer  attempted  in  1908  to  estimate  the  fecimdity  of  the  population  of 
the  dty  of  Boston.  After  studying  the  birth  statistics  of  that  dty  for  some 
time  he  gave  up  the  attempt,  owing  to  the  inadequacy  and  inaccuracy  of 
those  statistics. 
*  A  Century  of  Population  GrouOh,  p.  95. 


The  same  phenomenon  may  be  shown  in  various  other  wa3rs. 
For  example,  it  may  be  shown  by  the  changes  in  the  ratio  of 


•IMO        ItOI 

1010      ,1011 


white  adults  of  self-supporting  age  to  white  children.  In  1790 
the  ratio  of  white  persons  twenty  years  of  age  and  over  to  all 
white  children  under  sixteen  years  of  age  was  0.78,  while  in  1900 


the  ratio  was  1.58.  Or  it  may  be  shown  by  the  changes  in  the 
ratio  of  white  children  to  adult  white  females  in  the  area  enu- 
merated in  1790  and  in  the  same  area  in  1900.  In  1790  this 
ratio  was  1.9,  in  1900  it  was  i.o.^ 

The  same  thing  may  be  shown  by  the  census  figures  for  the 
change  in  the  size  of  the  family  from  5.6  in  1850  to  4.5  in  1900. 
But  these  figures  must  be  received  with  caution  because  the 
^'census  family"  does  not  mean  the  natural,  biological  family, 
but  applies  to  ^'a  household  or  group  of  persons,  whether  related 
by  blood  or  not,  who  share  a  common  abode,  usually  also  sharing 
the  same  table."  >  However,  the  Census  Bureau  is  of  the  (pinion 
that  the  decrease  in  the  census  family  is  an  indication  of  a  de- 
crease in  the  natural  family.  ''In  fact,  the  decline  from  census 
to  census  in  the  average  size  of  'census  families'  is  imdoubtedly 
due  to  a  decline  in  the  average  size  of  private  families,  resulting 
from  a  decrease  in  the  average  niunber  of  children  in  the  'natural' 
family." « 

The  Census  Bureau  interprets  the  change  in  the  proportion  of  chil- 
dren to  adults  as  follows: — 

''At  the  period  of  the  First  Census  the  simple  living  characteristic 
of  a  new  country,  the  simple  wants  suppli^  by  neighboriiood  in- 
dustries, and  the  self-dependence  of  the  family  due  to  sparseness  of 
population,  all  tended  toward  large  families.  In  1900  the  resources 
of  the  nation  were  developed  to  the  point  of  fruition. '  From  various 
causes  the  population  had  become  very  large.  Wealth  had  increased 
to  a  degree  unparalleled  elsewhere  in  the  world  or  in  any  age.  At  the 
present  time  the  complexity  of  living,  congestion  of  population,  de- 
pendence on  foreign  help,  and  especially  the  innimierable  wants 
fostered  by  machine-made  goods,  manufactured  upon  an  enormous 
scale  and  ever  tempting  to  greater  expenditure,  all  tend  toward  re- 
striction of  size  of  families.  At  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  cen- 
tury a  vast  continent,  with  untold  resources,  awaited  development 
and  created  what  might  be  termed  a  population  hunger.  In  £uroi>e, 
at  the  same  period,  the  creation  of  imexampled  industrial  activity 
produced,  though  to  a  lesser  degree,  a  somewhat  similar  condition. 
The  dose  of  the  nineteenth  century  finds  the  insistent  demand  for 
population  practically  satisfied,  and  in  some  instances  more  than 

'  C/.  W.  F.  Willcox,  The  Change  in  the  Proportion  of  Children  in  the  U.S. 
and  in  the  Birth  Rate  in  Prance  during  the  Nineteenth  Century,  in  the  PubUca" 
iions  of  the  Am.  Statistical  Association,  March,  191 1,  pp.  490-^. 

*  Abstract  of  the  igio  Census,  p.  259. 


satisfied,  both  in  the  United  States  and  in  Europe.  The  degree  to 
which  this  demand  is  occurring  in  different  sections  of  the  United 
States  is  suggested  by  the  wide  variations  in  the  proportions  of  white 
children  to  white  adults  in  the  various  states  and  geographic  divisions. 
The  older  communities,  having  already  acquired  dense  population, 
resulting  in  a  more  severe  struggle  for  existence,  show  the  highest 
proportion  of  adults  to  children;  while  in  the  younger  or  more  sparsely 
setded  states,  and  in  those  in  which  wide  opportunity  for  the  in- 
dividual still  exists,  the  proportion  of  childrai  to  adults  is  much 
greater." » 

The  above  figures  indicate  that  the  rate  of  natural  increase  has 
been  retarding.  I  shall  comment  presently  upon  the  significance 
of  this  lessening  of  the  rate  of  natural  increase  with  respect  to 
poverty.  But  before  doing  so  we  must  discuss  the  other  factor 
far  the  growth  of  population,  namely,  inmiigration. 

Immigration  and  Emigration 

Up  to  1820  no  carefid  record  of  the  inmiigration  to  this  coim- 
try  was  kept.  Estimates  of  the  inmiigration  from  1783  to  1820 
range  from  200,000  to  400,000,  the  usual  estimate  being  about 
250,000.  In  any  case,  the  amoimt  was  not  sufficiently  great  to  be 
of  much  importance,  since  in  all  probability  in  no  year  did  it 
exceed  10,000.  From  the  year  ending  September  30,  1820,  to 
the  year  ending  Jime  30,  1914,  inclusive,  there  were  32,027,424 
immigrant  aliens  admitted  to  this  country.'  There  is  not  the 
space  to  give  in  detail  the  fiigures  with  regard  to  these  years. 
The  annual  current  of  inunigration  exceeded  10,000  for  the  first 
time  in  1825,  and  100,000  for  the  first  time  in  1842.  It  reached 
its  first  highwater  mark  in  1854  with  427,833  inmiigrants.  Then 
it  fell  greatly  until  after  the  Civil  War,  when  it  rose  in  1873  to 
459,803.  After  falling  again  it  rose  in  1882  to  788,992.  Then  it 
fell  again  imtil  about  the  year  1901  when  it  beg^  to  rise  rapidly 
imtil  the  record-breaking  year  of  1907  when  it  reached  1,285,349. 
During  the  next  two  years  it  fell  more  than  half  a  million  below 

^  A  Cenhury  of  PopuUUum  GrotOh,  p.  109. 

'  For  these  figures  and  those  following  see  the  annual  reports  of  the  Com- 
missioner General  of  Immigration,  Washington.  Up  to  1908  all  the  alien 
arrivals  were  included  as  immigrants,  but  beginning  with  that  3rear  the 
non-inunigrant  arrivals  have  been  distinguished  from  the  immigrant  arrivals. 


this  record  and  then  rose  again  so  that  in  1913  the  number  was 
1,197,892,  and  in  1914  was  1,218,480. 

But  there  is  another  aspect  of  diis  subject  which  is  of  great  im- 
portance for  the  growth  of  population,  and  that  is  the  emigration 
from  this  country.  It  has  usually  been  assumed  that  only  the 
immigration  to  this  country  is  of  any  importance,  on  the  belief 
that  there  is  little  or  no  emigration.  Now  it  is  true  that  on  the 
whole  this  has  been  a  country  of  immigration  and  not  of  emigra- 
tion. It  is  also  probable  that  during  the  earlier  decades  of  im- 
migration there  was  comparatively  little  emigration.  For  pur- 
poses of  scientific  accuracy  it  is  imfortimate  that  imtil  1908 
no  careful  record  was  kept  of  the  emigration.  But  we  now 
have  evidence  that  the  emigration  during  the  last  few  years  has 
been  sufficiently  great  to  affect  to  a  marked  degree  the  net  in- 
crease of  the  population  through  the  arrival  and  departure  of 
aliens.  For  example,  while  in  1912  there  were  admitted  1,017,155 
immigrant  and  non-immigrant  aliens,  during  the  same  year  as 
many  as  615,292  emigrant  and  non-emigrant  aliens  departed,  so 
that  the  net  gain  was  only  401,863.  In  simUar  fashion,  in  1913 
there  were  admitted  1,427,227  immigrant  and  non-immigrant 
aliens,  but  during  the  same  year  611,924  emigrant  and  non- 
emigrant  aliens  departed,  so  that  the  net  gain  was  815,303.  In 
1914  there  were  admitted  1,403,081  immigrant  and  non-immigrant 
aliens  while  633,805  emigrant  and  non-emigrant  aliens  departed, 
so  that  the  net  gain  was  769,276.  It  is  probable  that  during  the 
last  few  years  the  number  of  "birds  of  passage"  and  travelers 
coming  to  this  country,  who  beginning  with  1908  have  been 
classified  as  non-immigrant  aliens  in  the  immigration  reports, 
has  greatly  increased.  According  to  the  Lnmigration  Bureau, 
since  1907  the  temporary  or  non-immigrant  arrivals  have  con- 
stituted about  twenty  per  cent  of  the  total  immigration.^  But 
in  default  of  accurate  data  we  cannot  determine  what  the  net 
gain  from  immigration  has  been. 

Furthermore,  the  immigrants  have  contributed  largely  to  the 
growth  of  population  by  natural  increase  after  coming  here  and 
have  been  much  more  prolific  than  the  native  population,  as  we 
shall  see  presently. 

Still  another  matter  to  be  considered  in  measuring  the  effect 

^  See  the  Immigration  BuUdin  for  June,  191 5,  Bur.  of  Immigration,  Wash- 


of  immigration  upon  the  growth  of  peculation  is  the  influence  of 
inmiigration  upon  the  birth  rate  of  the  native  population.  Many 
students  of  population  in  this  country  have  thought  that  im- 
migration has  had  a  marked  efiFect  in  lowering  the  native  birth 
rate.  Indeed,  some  have  gone  so  far  as  to  assert  that,  even  had 
there  been  no  inmiigration,  the  population  of  this  country  would 
still  have  been  quite  as  great  as  it  now  is  through  the  natural 
increase  of  the  native  population  undisturbed  by  inmiigration. 

The  most  prominent  reproBentative  of  this  opinion  has  been  Walker 
and  his  position  on  the  question  can  best  be  stated  in  his  own  words: — 

"All  human  history  shows  that  the  principle  of  population  is  in- 
tensely sensitive  to  social  and  economic  changes.  Let  social  and 
economic  conditions  remain  as  they  were,  and  population  will  go  on 
increasing  from  year  to  year,  and  from  decade  to  decade,  with  a  regu- 
larity little  short  of  the  marvellous.  Let  social  and  economic  condi- 
tions change,  and  population  instantly  responds.  The  arrival  in 
the  United  States,  between  1830  and  1840,  and  thereafter  increasin^y, 
of  laige  numbers  of  degraded  peasantry,  created  for  the  first  time  in 
this  country  distinct  social  classes,  and  produced  an  alteration  of 
economic  relations  which  could  not  fail  powerfully  to  affect  popula- 
tion. The  appearance  of  vast  numbers  of  men,  foreign  in  birth  and 
often  in  language,  with  a  poorer  standard  of  living,  with  habits  re- 
pellent to  our  native  people,  of  an  industrial  grade  suited  only  to 
the  lowest  kind  of  manual  labor,  was  exactly  such  a  cause  as  by  any 
student  of  population  would  be  expected  to  affect  profoundly  the 
growth  of  the  native  population.  Americans  shrank  alike  from  the 
social  contact  and  the  economic  competition  thus  created.  They 
became  increasingly  unwilling  to  bring  forth  sons  and  daughters  who 
should  be  obliged  to  compete  in  the  market  for  labor  and  in  the  walks 
of  life  with  those  whom  they  did  not  recognize  as  of  their  own  grade 
and  condition.  It  has  been  said  by  some  that  during  this  time  habits 
of  luxury  were  entering,  to  reduce  both  the  disposition  and  the  ability 
to  increase  among  our  own  population.  In  some  small  degree,  in 
some  restricted  localities,  this  undoubtedly  was  the  case;  but  prior 
to  i860  there  was  no  such  general  growth  of  luxury  in  the  United 
States  as  is  competent  to  account  for  the  effect  seen."  ^ 

The  Net  Gain  from  Immiosation  and  Emigration 

Let  us  now  consider  each  of  these  aspects  of  immigration  as  a 
factor  for  the  growth  of  population.    With  respect  to  the  net 

^  F.  A.  Walker,  Discussions  in  Economics  and  Statistics,  New  York,  iSoq, 
VoL  2,  pp.  441-2. 


gain  from  immigration  we  have  seen  that  previous  to  1908  it  is 
impossible  to  secure  any  accurate  data  as  to  the  extent  of  emigra- 
tion from  this  country.  One  method  used  to  estimate  it  approx- 
imately has  been  to  take  the  records  of  the  outgoing  passengers 
other  than  cabin  passengers,  since  a  large  part  of  these  are 
''birds  of  passage"  and  other  aliens  who  are  departing  per- 
manently. According  to  the  Commissioner  General  of  Lnmigra- 
tion  ^  there  departed  from  this  country  from  1890  to  1907,  with 
the  exception  of  the  years  1896  and  1897  for  which  the  figures 
are  not  available,  3,181,149  of  these  non-cabin  passengers,  or 
a  yearly  average  of  nearly  200,000  for  these  sixteen  years.  These 
figures  with  the  figures  I  have  already  dted  for  more  recent 
years  (1912,  1913,  and  1914)  are  sufficient  to  indicate  that 
emigration  has  had  an  appreciable  influence  upon  the  growth 
of  population  in  this  country.  In  fact,  the  emigration  for  these 
nineteen  years  alone  apparently  amounted  to  nearly  five  million. 
So  that  even  though  the  emigration  in  the  earlier  days  doubtless 
was  much  less  because  the  immigration  was  less,  because  it  was 
more  difficult  to  return  than  it  is  now,  and  for  various  other 
reasons,  yet  it  is  safe  to  assume  that  the  total  emigration  since 
the  beginning  of  national  existence  must  have  greatly  exceeded 
five  million,  while  it  may  have  been  as  great  as  ten  million. 
Thus  we  see  that  even  though  the  total  immigration  has  con- 
siderably exceeded  thirty  million,  it  is  quite  possible  that  the 
net  gain  has  been  less  than  twenty-five  million.  This  is  a  con- 
sideration of  great  importance  which  has  usually  been  ignored 
in  discussions  of  the  efiFect  of  immigration  upon  the  growth  of 
population  in  this  country. 

The  Fecundity  op  the  Immigrant  Population 

Because  of  the  inadequacy  of  vital  statistics  in  this  country 
it  is  very  difficult  to  measure  the  natural  increase  of  the  immi- 

1  See  his  report  for  1907,  p.  56.  Cf.  also  W.  W.  Husbaad,  The  Significance 
of  Emigration  in  the  Am.  Economic  Rev,,  Sup.,  VoL  11,  No.  i,  Mar.,  191 2, 
pp.  79-85.  Husband  devotes  special  attention  to  the  growing  emigration 
into  Canada  which  is  largely  composed  of  agricultural  emigrants  in  search 
of  free  or  cheap  land.  He  states  that  "from  1901  to  191 1  more  than  620,000 
immigrants  from  the  states  were  admitted  to  Canada,  while  the  annual 
number  increased  from  18,055  ^  iQ^'  ^o  121,451  in  191 1.''  But  this  move- 
ment has  been  partially  compensated  for  by  a  return  movement  from 


grant  population  in  this  country.  But  so  far  as  we  have  any  data 
on  the  subject  they  indicate  very  clearly  that  the  immigrants  are 
much  more  prolific  than  the  natives.^  This  is  not  surprising 
since  many  of  them  at  present  are  coming  from  coimtries  where 
the  birth  rate  is  high.  Furthermore,  their  standard  of  living 
usually  is  lower  than  the  American  standard,  so  that  it  is  pos- 
sible for  them  to  support  a  larger  family  upon  their  standard 
than  the  natives  can  upon  the  American  standard.  It  is  probable 
that  in  most  cases  the  descendants  of  immigrants  after  two  or 
three  generations  become  no  more  prolific  than  the  natives. 

Influence  of  Immigration  upon  the  Native  Birth  Rate 

As  for  the  influence  of  immigration  upon  the  native  birth 
rate,  it  is  obviously  impossible  to  determine  this.  We  can  only 
speculate  as  to  what  would  have  been  true  of  the  native  birth 
rate  had  there  been  no  immigration.  However,  by  indirect 
means  we  can  arrive  at  conclusions  which  are  more  or  less 

In  the  first  place  it  is  evident  that  the  rate  of  increase  of  popu- 
lation has  diminished  materially  as  is  shown  in  the  foUowing 
table:  —  * 

Increase  of  the  Population  of  the  United  States, 

1790  TO  1910 

Census  year  Per  cent  of   Census  year  Per  cent  of 

increase  increase 

1910 21.0      1840 32.7 

1900 20.7      1830 33.5 

1890 24.9      1820 33.1 

1880 26.0*   1810 364 

1870 26.6  ♦   1800 35.1 

i860 35.6      1790 

1850 35.9 

^  Owing  to  a  mariLed  deficiency  in  the  enumeration  of  the  population 
of  the  Southern  states  in  1870,  the  percentages  of  increase  for  1870  and 
1880  have  been  adjusted. 

^  C/.  A  Century  of  PoptdoHon  Growth,  p.  108;  Fecundity  of  Immigrant 
Women  in  the  Report  of  the  U.  S.  Immigration  Commission^  Vol.  28,  Washing- 
ton, 191 1 ;  J.  A.  Hill,  Comparative  Fecundity  of  Women  of  Native  and  Foreign 
Parentage  in  the  U.  5.,  m  the  Publications  of  the  Am,  Statistical  Association^ 
Vol.  13,  No.  104,  Dec.,  1913,  pp.  583-604. 

*  Abstract  of  the  igio  Census,  p.  22. 



From  the  above  table  we  can  see  that  up  to  i860  the  popula- 
tion increased  about  one-third  during  each  decade,  while  since 
that  time  the  rate  of  increase  has  fallen  to  about  one-fifth.  This 
has  taken  place  despite  the  great  influx  of  immigrants  during 
the  last  few  decades.  Some  of  those  who  have  believed  that 
immigration  has  checked  the  native  rate  of  increase  have  done 
so  on  the  assumption  that  the  native  stock  would  have  gone  on 

DiAGSAM  3.  Pee  cent  of  increase  in  total  population  and  in 

AND  NEGRO  POPULATION:  1790-1910. 

increasmg  at  its  original  rate  if  it  had  not  been  disturbed  by 
immigration.  For  example,  Walker  made  use  of  the  estimate  of 
future  population  made  by  Elkanah  Watson  in  1815.  Watson 
assumed  that  the  population  would  continue  to  increase  at  about 
the  rate  of  one-third  each  decade.  His  predictions  and  the  cen- 
sus figures  very  nearly  coincided  up  to  i860.  But  then  his  pre- 
dictions proved  to  be  excessive,  as  he  had  predicted  one  hundred 
million  for  1900  whereas  the  actual  count  was  barely  seventy- 
six  million.  Walker  and  others  have  believed  that  this  marked 
decrease  is  to  be  attributed  to  immigration.    It  is  true  that 


Walker  recognized  certain  other  possible  factors  elsewhere  in 
his  writings.^  But  he  seems  to  have  thought  that  immigration 
was  by  far  the  greatest  if  not  the  sole  cause  for  this  decrease, 
as  is  indicated  in  the  citation  from  him  winch  we  have  already 

It  is  obviously  contrary  to  the  principles  of  population  to 
assimie  that  the  native  population  would  necessarily  have  gone 
on  increasing  at  the  same  rate  if  it  had  not  been  disturbed  by 
immigration.  We  shall  see  presently  how  close  is  the  connection 
between  the  land  and  population.  In  view  of  this  fact  it  is  hardly 
likely  that  with  the  free  land  rapidly  decreasing  and  the  density 
of  population  rapidly  increasing  the  native  population  would 
have  continued  to  increase  at  the  same  rapid  rate  up  to  1900, 
even  though  undisturbed  by  immigration.  But  as  to  how  great 
that  decrease  would  have  been,  and  as  to  whether  or  not  the 
population  would  have  been  smaller,  as  great,  or  even  greater 
under  those  conditions,  it  is  impossible  to  determine  with  cer- 

In  its  study  of  the  growth  of  population  during  the  nineteenth 
century  the  Census  Bureau  has  attempted  to  determine  how 
much  of  the  population  at  the  end  of  the  century  was  descended 
from  the  native  population  at  the  begimiing  of  the  century.  It 
used  three  methods  to  reach  this  estimate,  namely,  by  elimi- 
nating the  foreign  stock  from  the  native  element,  by  estimating 
the  growth  of  the  native  white  stock  at  the  rate  of  increase  of 
the  Southern  states  where  the  percentage  of  foreign  bom  until 
recently  has  been  very  small,  and  by  measuring  the  growth  of 
the  native  white  stock  by  the  proportion  of  persons  in  Massa- 
chusetts having  native  grandfathers.  These  three  computa- 
tions came  out  within  a  range  of  about  two  miUion,  namely, 
from  about  thirty-three  and  one-half  to  about  thirty-five  and 
one-half  million.  Consequently  the  Census  Bureau  comes  to 
the  following  conclusion:  —  "Utilizing  the  average  of  the  three, 
it  appears  that  in  1900  the  white  population  of  continental 
United  States  contributed  by  persons  enumerated  at  the  Second 
Census  was  approximately  35,000,000;  while  the  contribution 
to  the  native  whites  of  native  parentage  made  by  the  third  and 
subsequent  generations  descended  from  immigrants  arriving 
after  1800  numbered  approximately  8,500,000.     Adding  the 

^Op.  cU.,pp.  lai-a. 


latter  figure  to  the  known  foreign  element  in  1900,  it  is  found 
that  the  contribution  of  the  foreign  stock  to  the  white  popula- 
tion was  31,853,060.  Hence,  at  the  Twelfth  Census  the  total 
white  population  of  continental  United  States  appears  to  have 
been  divided  between  the  descendants  of  persons  enumerated 
at  the  Second  Census  and  of  persons  who  became  inhabitants 
of  the  United  States  after  1800,  in  the  proportion  of  about  35 
to  32." » 

If  the  native  white  population  of  1800  had  continued  to  in* 
crease  at  its  original  rate  until  1900,  it  would  have  amounted  to 
nearly  eighty  million.  Consequently  the  census  estimate  of 
only  thirty-five  million  as  the  descendants  of  these  native 
whites  appears  very  small.  It  is  impossible  to  believe  that 
had  there  been  no  immigration  the  native  whites  would  not  have 
increased  to  a  greater  number  than  that.  So  that  we  are  forced 
to  believe  that  immigrants  have  actually  taken  the  place  of  a 
large  number  of  unborn  descendants  of  the  original  white  popu- 
lation, but  as  to  whether  this  number  is  as  great  as  the  con- 
tribution made  by  the  immigrants  and  their  descendants  it  is 
impossible  to  say.  If  that  is  the  case,  as  Walker  and  others  have 
believed,  then  immigration  has  not  after  all  been  a  force  for  in- 
creasing population  and  may  even  have  checked  its  growth  to 
a  certain  extent 

The  ULTDiAXE  Effect  of  Migrations  of  Population 

Our  knowledge  of  the  natural  increase  of  population  sug- 
gests that  the  population  would  have  been  quite  as  great  had 
there  been  no  immigration.  The  vital  reproductive  force  is  a 
very  powerful  one  which  alwa3rs  stands  ready,  so  to  speak, 
to  expand  the  population  as  soon  as  there  is  more  room  for  it. 
This  is  well  illustrated  in  the  effects  of  emigration.  It  is  usually 
supposed  that  the  effect  of  emigration  is  to  lessen  the  popula- 
tion of  the  country  from  which  the  emigration  takes  place.  But 
history  shows  that  usually  this  is  not  the  case  but  that  the  pop- 
ulation  continues  to  increase  in  spite  of  the  emigration,  thou^ 
it  is,  of  course,  impossible  to  determine  whether  the  rate  of 
increase  is  as  great  as  it  would  be  if  there  were  no  emigration. 
This  is  well  illustrated  in  the  migratory  movements  from  Eurq)e 

^  A  Century  of  Population  Growth,  p.  89. 


^to  this  country .  Most  of  the  muntries  from  which  there  has  been 
emigration  have  continued  to  increase.  For  example,  Italy, 
from  which  the  exodus  has  been  so  great  in  recent  years,  has  now 
a  greater  population  than  ever  before.  Ireland  is  the  most 
notable  exception  and  its  great  loss  of  population  during  the 
latter  half  of  the  nineteenth  centiuy  seems  to  have  been  due  to 
famine  rather  than  emigration. 


The  usual  effect  of  emigration  has  been  well  summarized  by  one 
student  of  the  subject  in  the  following  words: — **  Emigration,  by  tern" 
pcrarUy  reUeving  congestion  to  a  certain  extent,  offers  a  chance  of 
betterment.  But  in  general,  if  the  emigration  is  moderate,  this  chance 
is  seized  by  the  reproductive  power  rather  than  by  the  standard  of 
living.  The  rate  of  increase  of  population  rises  until  the  drain  of 
emigration  is  offset,  while  the  standard  of  living  remains  unaltered, 
and  the  total  population  continues  virtually  the  same.  The  very  fact 
of  emigration  gives  a  sense  of  hopefulness  to  the  people,  and  the 
knowledge  that  there  is  an  ever  ready  outlet  for  redimdant  inhabit- 
ants causes  the  population  of  the  coimtry  to  multiply  more  rapidly 
than  it  otherwise  would.  This  is  the  result  which  must  reasonably 
be  expected  to  follow  all  regular  and  gradual  emigration  movements."^ 

The  Increase  of  Wealth 

We  must  now  compare  the  growth  of  population  with  the 
increase  of  wealth  in  order  to  determine  whether  the  wealth  of 
this  country  has  increased  commensurately  with  its  growth. 
The  statistics  for  the  period  previous  to  1850  are  hardly  adequate 
as  indices  of  this  increase.  The  following  citation  gives  some  of 
the  most  important  facts  with  regard  to  the  relative  growth  of 
population  and  of  wealth  since  that  date:  —  ''From  1850  to  1900 
the  population  of  the  United  States  increased  from  23,191,876  to 
75,994,575,  ooLaafiupetxent.  But  iiTffirs  sajne'period  the  pro- 
duction of  the  eight  great  cereals  increased  from  871,000,000  to 
4,434,000,000  bushels,  or  409  per  cent.  .  .  .  The  production 
of  wool,  relative  to  population,  increased  from  2.26  pounds  in 
1850  to  3.79  pounds  in  1900;  of  cotton,  from  .09  bales  to  .13 
bales;  of  coal,  from  .27  tons  to  3.16  tons;  of  pig  iron,  from  .02 

*  H.  P.  FairchOd,  Immigration,  New  York,  1913,  p.  418.  This  writer 
furnishes  a  good  deal  of  historical  and  contemporary  data  with  regard  to 
the  effect  of  emigration  upon  the  growth  of  population. 


Urns  to  .18  tons;  of  steel,  from  .0005  tons  (in  1867)  to  .13  tons; 
of  petroleum,  from  .66  gallons  (in  i860)  to  35.16  gallons;  of  man- 
ufactured products,  from  $43.94  to  $150.10;  of  total  exports  and 
imports,  from  $13.70  to  $29.53.  .  .  .  Between  1900  and  1910, 
the  production  of  coal,  relative  to  peculation,  increased  frc»n  3.16 
tons  to  4.86  tons;  of  pig  iron,  from  .18  tons  to  .29  tons;  of  crude 
steel,  from  .13  tons  to  .28  tons;  of  crude  petroleum,  from  35.16 
gallons  to  95.69  gallons;  of  manufactured  products,  i4>proxi- 
mately,  from  $150.10  to  $224.76;  of  total  exports  and  imports, 
from  $29.53  to  $35-90-"  » 

The  total  national  wealth  (exclusive  of  exempt  real  property) 
is  estimated  by  the  Census  Bureau  to  have  increased  from 
$7,135,780,000  in  1850  to  $175,426,000,000  in  1912,  or  a  per 
capita  increase  of  from  $308  in  1850  to  $1,836  in  191 2.  The 
total  national  wealth,  including  exempt  real  property,  was  es- 
timated to  be  $187,739,000,000  in  1912,  or  $1,965  per 

The  above  figures  indicate  that  in  this  country  the  amount 
produced  has  been  increasing  much  more  rapidly  than  the  pop- 
ulation. Similar  data  could  be  cited  to  show  that  the  same  has 
been  true  of  most  of  the  other  civilized  countries  of  the 
world,  though  no  one  of  them  equals  this  country  in  this  re- 

^  J.  H.  Hollander,  The  AbdUion  of  Poverty ,  Boston,  1914,  pp.  28-9. 

s  Owing  to  the  constant  changes  in  the  value  of  the  standard  of  value, 
these  statements  of  monetary  value  at  different  periods  cannot  safely  be 
compared  with  each  other.  During  the  last  few  decades  there  has  bc^  a 
marked  fall  in  the  value  of  the  standard  of  value.  Owmg  at  least  in  part 
to  this  faU,  there  has  been  a  rise  in  prices.  There  has  been  a  corresponding 
increase  in  the  cost  of  living,  which  has  been  in  part  i4>parent  but  whidi 
is  without  any  question  partly  real.  This  increase  m  the  cost  of  living  has 
been  due  to  various  causes,  one  of  which  doubtless  is  the  growth  of  popula- 
tion which  we  are  discussing  in  this  chapter. 

The  misleading  nature  of  monetary  vulues,  when  the  attempt  is  made  to 
compare  them  at  different  periods,  may  be  illustrated  in  many  specific  in- 
stances. For  example,  from  1899  to  1909  the  production  of  eggs  increased 
23.0  per  cent,  while  the  monetary  value  of  the  product  increased  11 2.6  per 
cent.  It  is  evident  that  the  difference  in  monetary  value  gives  no  indication 
of  the  difference  in  quantity;  while  it  doubtless  exaggerates  greatly  the 
actual  increase  in  the  economic  value  of  this  product,  which  took  place  be- 
cause of  the  increase  <A  population  with  a  relative  decrease  of  most  of  the 
other  staple  foods,  which  increased  the  demand  for  eggs.  In  simOar  fashion, 
while  the  crops  of  cereals  produced  increased  1.7  per  cent  from  1899  to 
1909,  their  monetary  value  increased  79.8  per  cent. 


spect.1  But  there  are  some  figures  on  the  other  side  to  be  dted 
before  we  shall  be  prepared  to  interpret  these  data  with  re- 
gard to  poverty. 

From  1900  to  1910  the  number  of  cattle  in  this  country  de- 
creased from  69^35,832  to  63,682,648,  or  a  loss  of  8.2  per  cent; 
the  swine  decreased  from  64,686,155  to  59,473,636,  or  a  loss  of 
8.1  per  cent;  the  sheep  decreased  from  61,735,014  to  52,838,748, 
or  a  loss  of  144  per  cent;  while  the  goats  have  increased  fronv 
1 1948,952  to  3i029>79S,  or  a  gain  of  55.5  per  cent.  The  fowls 
increased  from  250,624,038  to  295,880,190,  or  less  than  one-fifth. 
That  is  to  say,  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  during  this  decade 
the  population  increased  over  one-fifth  the  supply  of  the  three 
most  important  kinds  of  meat,  namely,  beef,  pork,  and  mutton, 


•2 t« 90  ts 

DiAOSAM  4.  Pkoduction  ot  corn:  1849-X909. 

actually  decreased  appreciably;  while  for  the  last  fifty  years  if 
not  longer  the  supply  of  meat  has,  to  say  the  least,  not  been 
increasing  as  fast  as  the  population,  when  it  has  not  been  ac- 
tually decreasing.  From  1900  to  1910  the  amount  of  butter 
produced  increased  from  1,491,752,602  lbs.  to  1,619,415,263  lbs.; 
while  cheese  increased  from  298,344,642  to  320,532,181  lbs.; 
the  rate  of  increase  in  each  case  being  less  than  in  population. 
During  the  same  decade  the  number  of  eggs  produced  increased 
from  1,293,662,433  dozens  to  1,591,311,371  dozens,  the  rate  of 
increase  being  slightly  more  than  in  population.  From  1899  to 
1909  the  production  of  cereals  increased  from  4438,857,013 
bushels  to  4,512,564465  bushels,  or  the  very  slight  increase  of 
1.7  per  cent.    Of  the  three  principal  cereals  wheat  increased  3.8 

1  See  L.  G.  Chiozza  Maoey,  The  Nation's  Wealth,  London,  1914)  ^or  similar 
data  with  respect  to  England. 



per  cent,  oats  increased  6.8  per  cent,  while  com,  the  largest  crc^ 
of  all,  decreased  4.3  per  cent.^ 

These  figures  are  sufficient  to  show  that  the  production  of 
staple  foods  has  not  been  keeping  pace  with  the  population.  This 
is  a  fact  of  great  significance  upon  which  I  shall  comment  pres- 
ently. But  before  doing  so  it  is  necessary  to  call  attention  to 
certain  important  facts  with  regard  to  the  available  siq>ply  ci 

The  Diminishing  Supply  op  Land 

In  i860  it  was  estimated  that  there  were  939>i73y057  acres 
unappropriated  and  unreserved.  On  June  30,  1913,  there  were 
297,927,206  acres  unappropriated  and  unreserved  in  the  United 


O S 


Diagram  5.  Pkoduction  of 
wheat:  1849-1909. 

Diagram  6.  Produchom  or  oais: 

States,  exclusive  of  Alaska.  In  other  words,  in  a  little  more  than 
fifty  years  more  than  two-thirds  of  the  free  land  disappeared, 
while  much  of  what  remains  will  doubtless  alwa3rs  be  worthless 
or  almost  worthless.  During  the  seven  years  from  1906  to  1913 
public  and  Indian  lands  were  entered  at  the  rate  of  about  nine- 
teen and  one-half  million  acres  a  year.  If  this  should  continue, 
all  of  the  free  land  would  disappear  in  a  little  over  fifteen  years 
from  June  30, 1913.*  It  is  true  that  there  is  a  good  deal  of  land 
which  is  being  held  unimproved  by  railroads,*  Indians,  and 

^  The  above  figures  are  taken  from  various  census  reports. 

'  For  all  of  these  statistics  regarding  free  land  see  the  annual  reports  <rf 
the  Commissioner  of  the  General  Land  Office  to  the  Secretary  of  the  In- 
terior, Washington. 

*The  enormous  number  of  200,000,000  acres  approximately,  or  312,500 
square  miles,  have  been  granted  to  railroads.    See  Thos.  Donaldson,  The 


Other  private  owners,  wbkh  will  sometime  be  productive.  But 
even  when  it  comes  into  use,  it  will  be  largely  to  the  benefit  (rf 
a  few  and  may  not  increase  the  general  welfare  and  aid  in  di- 
minishing poverty  to  any  great  extent,  imless  it  is  appropriated 
for  public  use.  So  that  such  use  will  not  help  greatly  with 
respect  to  the  aspect  of  the  problem  of  population  in  which  we 
are  specially  interested,  namely,  the  raising  of  the  standard  of 
living  and  the  diminution  of  poverty. 

The  Apfseoating  Valxte  of  Farm  Property 

The  diminishing  supply  of  land  in  proportion  to  population 
is  indicated  by  the  appreciation  in  the  value  of  farm  property. 
From  1900  to  1910  farm  property  increased  in  value  from 
$20,439,901,164  to  $40,991449,090,  or  the  extraordinary  in- 
crease of  100.5  per  cent.  Furthermore,  most  of  this  increase 
was  in  the  value  of  the  land  itself  apart  from  improvements, 
as  is  indicated  by  the  facts  that  the  land  itself  increased  from 
$13,058,007,995  to  $28,475,674,169,  or  118.1  per  cent  in  value, 
while  the  buildings  increased  77.8  per  cent,  the  implements  and 
machinery  68.7  per  cent,  and  the  live  stock  60.1  per  cent.  A 
further  indication  of  this  is  that  during  this  decade  the  improved 
land  increased  only  15.4  per  cent.  All  these  facts  illustrate  the 
familiar  phenomenon  of  the  rise  in  the  rental  value  of  land  owing 
to  the  pressure  of  peculation.  ^  If  we  trace  this  process  further 
back,  we  find  that  the  rate  of  appreciation  of  the  value  of  agri- 
cultiual  land  is  rapidly  accelerating.  From  1850  to  1880  the 
value  of  farm  property  appreciated  207.0  per  cent,  while  from 
1880  to  1910  it  appreciated  236.5  per  cent.  On  the  other  hand, 
the  amount  of  land  in  farms  increased  82.6  per  cent  from  1850 
to  1880,  and  only  63.9  per  cent  from  1880  to  1910;  and  the  im- 
proved land  in  farms  increased  151.9  per  cent  from  1850  to  1880, 
and  only  68.0  per  cent  from  1880  to  1910.  The  same  situation 
is  strikingly  illustrated  still  further  by  the  facts  that  the  average 

PMic  Domain,  published  by  the  U.  S.  Public  Land  Commission,  Wash., 
1884,  p.  287;  R.  T.  Hill,  The  PMic  Domain  and  Democracy,  N.  Y.,  1910, 
p.  54;  Henry  Geoige,  Jr.,  The  Menace  of  Privilege,  N.  Y.,  1905,  p.  38;  E.  L. 
Bogart,  The  Economic  History  of  the  U,  S.,  N.  Y.,  1907,  p.  308. 

^  There  have  been  other  factors  in  causing  this  rise  in  the  value  of  land, 
but  the  increase  of  population  has  been  one  of  the  most  important,  probably 
the  moat  important. 



value  of  land  and  buildings  per  acre  in  1850  was  $11.14,  ^  i^^ 
was  $19.00,  and  in  1910  was  $39.60. 

The  Increase  of  Tenancy 

Another  phenomenon  which  may  be  regarded  as  a  further 
indication  of  the  disappearance  of  free  land  and  the  pressure  of 

population  upon  land  is  the  change 
which  is  taking  place  in  the  tenure  of 
farms.  During  the  decade  1900  to 
1910  owners  of  farms  increased  8.1 
per  cent,  while  tenants  increased  16.3 
per  cent.  ''It  may  be  noted  that  at 
least  since  1880  (and  probably  further 
DiloRAii  7.  Average  back  also)  the  farms  operated  by  ten- 
VALUE  OF  FARif  LAND  AND  ^uts  have  m  each  decade  mcreased 
BUILDINGS  PER  ACRE:  faster  than  those  operated  by  owners. 
1850-1910.  Tenant    farms    constituted    25.6   per 

cent  of  all  farms  in  1880;  284  per  cent  in  1890;  35.3  per  cent 
in  1900;  and  37  per  cent  in  1910."  ^ 

The  Increase  of  Urban  PopuiAnoN 

The  same  situation  is  revealed  in  other  wa3rs.    ''It  is  a  sig- 
nificant fact  that  whereas  the  total  population  increased  21 

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f^  WOT  IN  rAINM 

Diagram  8.  Total  land  area  and  improved  and  xtnimproved  land 

IN  farms:  1850-1910. 

per  cent  between  1900  and  1910,  the  urban  population  increased 
34.8  per  cent  and  the  rural  population  only  11. 2  per  cent.  The 
number  and  acreage  of  farms  increased  much  less  rapidly  than 
the  total  population,  but  the  growth  in  the  number  of  farms 

^  Abstracl  of  the  igio  Census,  p.  286. 


nearly  kept  pace  with  the  movement  of  the  rural  population, 
amounting  to  10.9  per  cent.  Ilie  total  fann  acreage,  on  the 
other  hand,  increased  only  4.8  per  cent.  This,  however,  is  less 
significant  than  the  increase  in  acreage  of  improved  farm  land, 
wbidi  amounted  to  154  per  cent,  showing  a  greats  percentage 

DucBAK  g.  NuKBER  OF  rASUs:  iSso-igio. 

of  increase  than  the  number  of  farms  or  rural  population  but 
still  falling  appreciably  behind  the  increase  in  total  peculation."  > 
The  increase  of  urban  population  is  a  fact  of  great  significance 
with  respect  to  the  gron^  of  population  and  the  increase  of 

If  we  turn  to  a  comparison  cS  rural  and  urban  population,  we 
find  further  evidence  of  this  pressure  of  population  upon  the 
land.  I  need  not  repeat  here  all  the  well-known  facts  with  r^ard 
to  the  growth  of  the  urban  population  in  this  country,  some  of 
which  are  mentioned  in 
the  preceding  paragraph. 
The  following  figures  will  '•">  I 
suffice.  From  1880  to  'MOl 
1910  the  urban  popula-  laool 
titm    (towns    and     cities    isaop 

having  3,500  inhabitants  

or  more)  increased  from  ^u««h  ^|.uul 

14,773438    to    43,633,383,        DmGKAM  10.   UBBAN  AND  RURAL   POPO- 

while  the  rural  population  ""««:  iSto-igio. 

increased  from  35,383,345  to  49,348,883.  In  1880  the  urban 
population  constituted  29.5  per  cent  of  the  population,  while  the 
rural  population  constituted  70.5  per  cent  of  the  total.    In  1910 

>  Abilraa  of  the  igio  Census,  p.  a66.  In  this  dtstioD  the  term  "mben 
papulation"  includes  the  entire  population  of  towns  and  cities  baving  1,500 
hthalNtaiita,  or  more.  Most  of  the  following  statistics  ue  taken  from  the 



the  urban  population  constituted  46.3  per  cent  of  the  p(q>ulation, 
while  the  rural  population  constituted  53.7  per  cent  of  the  total 
The  primary  cause  for  the  rapid  increase  of  urban  populaticHiy 
not  only  in  this  country  but  throughout  the  civilized  world,  has 
been  the  development  of  the  factory  S3rstem,  whidi  necessitates 
the  concentration  of  population  at  the  places  where  manufac- 
turing is  being  carried  on.   In  this  country  factories  were  at  first 




40  60  60 


































g^^^pEW  CENT  IN  crrica  with  population 

g^^^PIR  OCNT  outside  8UCH  0ITIE8 

Diagram  ii.  Per  cent  of  total  population  in  muncipalities  having 
over  30,000  inhabitants,  in  those  having  from  8,000  to  30,000  inhab- 
itants, and  outside  such  municipalities:  1790-i912. 

run  to  a  large  extent  by  water  power,  so  that  the  factories  were 
somewhat  scattered  owing  to  the  distribution  of  water  power. 
Consequently  the  tendency  towards  concentration  was  not  so 
great.  But  recently  steam  and  electricity  have  been  used  more 
and  more,  and  this  has  made  possible  and  more  economical  a 
high  degree  of  concentration  of  population.  This  explains  in 
large  part  the  rapid  increase  of  urban  population  indicated 
above,  so  that  from  1880  to  1910  the  urban  population  increased 
nearly  three  times  while  the  total  population  increased  less  ihazT 
two  times. 


But  the  increase  of  population  is  also  involved  as  a  cause  (rf 
this  phenomenon.  The  introduction  of  machine  and  factory, 
namely,  large  scale,  methods  of  production,  which  has  increased 
enormously  the  amount  produced,  has  made  possible  a  much 
larger  population.  In  recent  years  this  population  has  settled 
and  cultivated  the  more  desirable  parts  of  the  free  land  in  this 
country.  As  it  is  relatively  unprofitable  to  cultivate  the  re- 
maining free  land,  the  tendency  of  population  now  is  to  flow  from 
country  to  dty.^  It  is  impossible  to  measure  this  movement 
accurately,  and  it  is  quite  probable  that  the  retardation  in  the 
growth  of  rural  population  is  due  in  large  part  to  a  falling  birth 
rate  in  rural  families.  But  it  is  probably  due  in  part  also  to  an 
emigration  from  the  country  to  the  city.  Furthermore,  the  in- 
crease of  population  in  other  countries  plays  an  important  part 
in  the  increase  of  urban  population  in  this  country,  because  it 
gives  rise  to  the  enormous  immigration  to  this  country,  and  a 
large  portion  of  the  immigrants  remain  in  the  dties. 

^The  e£fect  of  the  increasing  concentration  of  uifoan  peculation  is  re- 
vealed, among  other  things,  in  the  changes  in  dty  land  values.  Whfle  we 
have  no  general  census  statistics  with  respect  to  dty  land  values,  it  is  pos- 
sible to  secure  such  statistics  for  numerous  ddes  from  the  reports  of  tax 
conunissioners,  dty  and  county  treasurers,  and  various  other  officials. 
Practically  all  sudi  data  show  a  steady  and  frequently  a  rapid  rise  in 
the  value  oi  dty  land.  For  example,  the  value  of  the  land  in  Greater  New 
York  City  increased  from  $3,367,233,746  in  1906  to  $4,602,852,107  in 
Z914.  The  value  of  the  land  in  Boston  increased,  from  1890  to  1913,  from 
$365,548,000  to  $716,435,800  (the  area  of  Boston  was  changed  slightly  in 
Z910);  in  Newark,  N.  J.,  it  increased,  from  1907  to  191 2,  from  $122,904,000 
to  $141,059,000;  in  Trenton,  N.  J.,  it  increased,  from  1906  to  191 2,  hom 
$21,866,000  to  $23,561,000.  In  many  western  dties  the  rate  of  increase 
was  much  higher.  For  example,  the  value  of  the  land  in  Dallas,  Tex.,  in- 
creased, from  1907  to  191 2,  from  $16,477,000  to  $44,605,000;  in  Houston, 
Tex.,  it  increased,  from  1904  to  191 2,  from  $19,787,000  to  $61,389,000;  in 
Seattle, Wash.,  it  increased,  from  1905  to  1912,  from  $70,038,000  to  $212,929,- 
000  (the  area  of  .Seattle  was  increased  somewhat  in  1907).  (These  figures 
have  been  sununarized  with  some  revising  from  S.  Nearing,  Reducing  the 
Cost  of  Living,  Phila.,  1914,  pp.  184-191  and  Appendix  K;  and  Income, 
New  York,  1915,  p.  156.) 

In  all  probabihty  dty  land  is  increasing  in  value  at  a  much  slower  rate 
than  farm  land.  But  it  does  not  seem  credible  that  the  concentration  of 
population  in  dties  can  go  on  indefinitely.  In  course  of  time  the  cost  of 
living  and  of  carrying  on  economic  activities  in  the  dty  will  become  so  great, 
owing  largely  to  the  high  rental  value  of  urban  land,  that  the  population 
will  be  forced  back  into  the  country. 


Mminmni  and  maximum  limits  of  population  —  The  criterion  of  density  of 
population  —  Population  and  production  —  Population  as  a  cause  of 
poverty  —  Criticism  of  arguments  for  the  increase  of  peculation  — 
Population  and  the  standard  of  living  —  The  pressure  of  population 
upon  land  and  natural  resources  —  Restrictions  upon  the  increase  of 
population  —  The  artificial  regulation  of  population  increase  —  The 
control  of  births. 

We  must  now  discuss  the  significance  of  the  data  in  the  pre- 
ceding chapter  about  the  growth  of  population  in  relation  to  the 
problem  of  poverty.  It  may  be  weU  to  bq;in  this  discussion 
with  a  few  general  considerations. 

MiNiinTM  AND  Maximum  Limits  of  Population 

It  is  easy  to  place  the  minimum  and  maximum  limits  for 
population.  For  social  evolution  to  advance  far  enough  to  pro- 
duce a  civilization,  a  certain  minimum  density  of  population  is 
absolutely  necessary.  If  the  human  race  had  remained  scat- 
tered over  the  earUi  as  sparsely,  let  us  say,  as  the  Australian 
aborigines  of  today,  no  civilization  coidd  have  developed. 
Civilization  first  made  its  appearance  in  fertile  river  valle3rs, 
such  as  the  valleys  of  the  Euphrates  and  the  Nile,  the  river  >;al- 
leys  of  China,  and  similar  regions  where  nature  could  easily 
support  a  relatively  dense  population  without  a  highly  developed 
mechanism  of  production.  In  these  places  it  was  possible  to 
produce  enough  to  have  the  surplus  wealth  necessary  as  a  mate- 
rial basis  for  civilization,  while  in  the  agglomerations  of  popula- 
tion in  the  towns  and  cities  there  could  arise  those  more  complex 
relationships  which  form  the  social  structure  of  civilization.^   A 

^  The  relation  between  population  and  the  evolution  of  civilisation  has 
been  discussed  in  numerous  treatises  on  sociology.  It  will  suffice  for  our 
present  ptupose  to  mention  the  woiiLS  of  Buckle,  Giddings,  Durkheini, 
and  Coste. 



density  of  p(q>iilation  stiffidently  great  to  permit  of  civilization 
now  exists  in  most  parts  of  the  world,  so  that  the  discussion  of 
this  limit  upon  population  has  little  practical  importance  today. 
It  is  obvious  that  the  maximum  limit  for  population  is  the 
over-population  so  much  feared  by  Malthus,  namely,  a  popula- 
tion too  great  to  be  supported  by  the  total  resources  of  the  world. 
We  know  very  well  that  the  peculation  of  the  world  is  still  a 
long  distance  from  this  limit,  so  that  it  is  of  little  practical  im- 
portance today,  though  it  is  well  not  to  ignore  it  entirely  as  a 
I     possibility  for  the  future.    But  whether  or  not  there  is  relative 
\   over-population,  that  is  to  say,  a  population  too  great  for  such 
\  natural  resources  as  have  so  far  been  utilized,  is  a  question  of 
\pcesit  practical  importance. 

The  Criterion  of  Density  of  Population 

The  question  of  practical  importance  for  us  is  therefore  as  to 
what  density  of  population  between  these  two  extremes  is  most 
desirable.  If  we  can  determine  this  density,  we  shall  know  what 
constitutes  relative  under-population  and  what  constitutes 
relative  over-population.  But  the  determination  of  what  is  the 
most  desirable  density  depends  upon  the  criterion  which  we  use. 
For  example,  our  criterion  might  be  the  production  of  the  largest 
possible  amount  of  economic  commodities.  It  may  seem  that 
for  this  purpose  the  largest  possible  peculation,  namely,  a  pop- 
ulation on  the  verge  of  absolute  over-population,  would  be  the 
best.  But  this  is  not  necessarily  the  best.  In  the  first  place,  a 
population  which  is  on  the  outer  limit  of  the  means  of  subsistence 
is  not  likely  to  be  so  efficient  a  labor  force  as  a  smaller  pq)ula- 
tion  which  has  a  relatively  ampler  supply  of  the  means  of  sub- 
sistence. In  the  second  place,  the  total  supply  of  means  of  pro- 
duction, namely,  capital,  might  not  be  sufficient  to  employ  all 
of  the  labor  force  furnished  by  such  a  population,  so  that  some 
of  it  would  be  unproductive  and  would  be  a  drawback  to  the 
productive  part  of  the  population.  So  that  in  order  to  produce 
the  largest  possible  amount  the  population  would  probably 
have  to  be  somewhat  below  the  maximum. 

But  the  criterion  suggested  above  is  not  a  suitable  one  for  our 
puipose,  namely,  for  the  study  of  poverty.  Even  though  the 
laigest  possible  amount  was  produced,  if  a  small  number  of  per- 


sons  received  a  large  part  of  the  product  there  would  still  be  as 
much  poverty  as  at  present.  We  might  take  as  another  criterion 
the  per  capita  production.  It  is  impossible  to  determine  a  priori 
how  dense  a  population  would  produce  the  largest  per  capita 
3rield.  It  would  be  the  population  which  was  so  well  adjusted  to 
the  means  of  production  as  to  work  with  the  highest  degree  of 
efficiency.  But  here  again,  even  though  the  per  capita  produc- 
tion was  the  highest,  if  a  small  number  of  persons  received  a  lai^ 
part  of  what  was  produced  there  might  still  be  as  much  poverty 
as  at  present.  If  distribution  was  equal  or  much  nearer  equality 
than  is  the  case  now,  the  per  capita  criterion  would  be  the  correct 
one,  for  under  those  conditions  society  as  a  whole  would  be  most 
prosperous  and  there  would  be  the  least  amount  of  poverty. 
But  under  present  conditions  this  is  not  necessarily  the  case. 

We  must,  therefore,  take  as  a  criterion  the  widest  possible 
prosperity  with  the  smallest  possible  amount  of  poverty.  It 
is  impossible  to  teU  offhand,  and  perhaps  not  at  all,  whether 
according  to  this  criterion  the  peculation  ought  to  be  more  or 
less  than  the  present  population,  or  whether  the  peculation 
called  for  by  this  criterion  would  coincide  with  the  population 
called  for  by  either  one  or  both  of  the  criteria  already  suggested. 
Under  ideal  conditions  this  criterion  ought  to  coincide  with  the 
criterion  based  upon  the  per  capita  production.'  But  under 
existing  conditions  this  is  not  the  case  and  may  never  be  the 
case.  The  criterion  we  are  to  use  does  not  necessarily  call  for 
the  highest  per  capita  production,  but  it  does  call  for  the  highest 
actual  per  capita  distribution,  that  is  to  say,  a  distribution 
which  would  be  revealed  by  a  relatively  high  median  or  mode, 
but  would  not  necessarily  be  revealed  by  a  high  mean.  A  high 
median  or  mode  would  indicate  that  a  large  part  of  the  popula- 

'  Some  thinkers  on  this  subject  contend  that  this  is  so.  For  example, 
J.  B.  Clark  asserts  ''that  the  distribution  of  the  income  of  society  b  con- 
trolled by  a  natural  law,  and  that  this  law,  if  it  worked  without  friction, 
would  give  to  every  agent  of  production  the  amount  of  wealth  which  that 
agent  creates."  (The  DistriMion  of  Wealthy  New  York,  1900,  p.  v.)  Under 
such  conditions  the  highest  actual  per  capita  production  would  also  mean 
the  highest  actual  incomes.  Some  of  the  scientific  managers  and  efficiency 
engineers  assert  that  with  the  application  of  efficiency  methods  the  laborers 
not  only  will  produce  the  largest  amount  but  also  will  receive  the  highest 
wages.  It  is  doubtful  if  these  methods  have  as  yet  been  sufficiently  testod 
to  furnish  conclusive  proof  for  this  assertion. 


tion  were  actually  enjoying  relatively  high  incomes,  while  a 
high  mean  might  cover  great  inequality  of  distribution  with 
the  great  majority  receiving  very  small  incomes.  Let  us  there- 
fore consider  what  population  is  demanded  by  this  criterion,  and 
try  to  come  at  least  to  a  tentative  conclusion  as  to  this  question. 

Population  and  Production 

During  the  last  century  or  more  there  has  been  a  rapid  increase 
both  of  population  and  of  the  amount  of  economic  commodities 
produced.  This  has  been  true  not  only  in  this  country  but  over 
most  of  the  civilized  world. ,  This  situation  raises  the  interesting 
question  whether  the  increased  production  was  caused  by  the 
increase  in  population  or  the  increased  population  was  caused 
by  the  increase  in  production.  The  usual  opinion  seems  to  be 
that  the  population  increased  somehow  or  other  and  then 
stimulated  the  increase  in  production.  If  this  v^r^^true  and 
there  was  reason  to  believe  that  continued  increase  in  popula- 
tion would  continue  to  increase  the  production,  it  would  be  a 
powerful  argument  in  favor  of  increasing  the  population.  But 
if,  <m  the  contrary,  the  increase  in  population  has  resulted  from 
the  increase  in  j;ux2duction,  it  is  not  safe  to  advocate  continued 
increase  of  population,  unless  there  is  assurance  of  continued 
increase  of  production. 

It  is  difficult  indeed  to  answer  the  question  raised  above.  On 
the  one  hand,  it  may  appear  as  if  tiie  population  must  have 
caused  the  increase  in  production,  because  the  increase  in  popula- 
tion has  resulted  to  a  considerable  extent  from  a  reduction  of 
the  death  rate  rather  than  from  a  rise  in  the  birth  rate.  This 
reduction  has  come  about  in  part  from  the  advance  of  medical 
science,  from  better  hygiene  and  sanitation,  from  the  lessening 
of  losses  in  war,  etc.  But  a  more  careful  analysis  will  show  that 
these  causes  are  due,  in  large  part  if  not  entirely,  to  increase  in 
production.  For  example,  the  advance  of  medical  science  was 
a  part  of  the^odem  scientific  movement,  which  was  an  im- 
portant cause  of  the  industrial  revolution  and  its  resulting 
changes,  and  then  was  greatiy  stimulated  by  the  vast  increase 
in  wealth  which  followed  that  revolution.  Better  hygiene  and 
sanitation  are  a  part  of  the  higher  standard  of  living  which  has 
resulted  from  tUs  great  increase  of  wealth.    The  lessening  of 


war,  in  so  far  as  it  has  decreased,  has  doubtless  been  due  in  the 
main  to  the  vast  Extension  of  the  principle  of  the  division  of 
labor  in  our  modem  trade  and  industry  which  has  increased 
greatly  the  interdependence  of  the  nations  of  the  world,  thus 
making  war  much  more  disastrous  in  its  results  than  ever  be- 
fore.^ So  that  even  though  we  rc^;ard  the  increase  of  population 
as  due  immediately  to  the  reduction  of  the  death  rate,  we  can 
trace  it  back  ultimately  to  the  increase  in  production. 

Or  the  other  hand,  numeroiis  statistical  studies  have  been 
made  which  show  that  marriage  and  birth  rates  tend  to  rise  with 
conditions  of  prosperity.  Unemployment,  business  depression, 
and  similar  economic  conditions  almost  invariably  have  a  de- 
pressing effect  upon  the  marriage  rate,  while  conditions  of  pros- 
perity cause  it  to  rise.'  The  effect  of  these  economic  conditions 
upon  the  birth  rate  is  perhi^  not  so  direct,  but  it  probably 
affects  it  quite  as  much  in  the  long  run.  So  that  the  conclusion 
to  be  drawn  from  these  studies  seems  to  be  that  [mxiuction 
rather  than  population  is  the  primary  factor. 

To  b^ sure,  it  is  in  one  sense  true  that  oieither  can  besaid  to 
be  the  cause  of  the  other,  because  they  act  and  react  upon  each 
other  in  a  very  complicated  fashion.  It  goes  without  sa3dng 
that  an  increase  of  population,  because  it  has  added  to  the  labor 
force,  is  almost  certain  to  increase  the  amount  produced,  while 
an  increase  in  wealth  which  exceeds  the  increase  in  population 
is  almost  certain  to  increase  the  population,  through  its  influence 
upon  the  marriage  and  birth  rates. 

But  so  far  as  it  is  possible  to  disentangle  the  effects  of  the  two, 
the  economic  factor  seems  to  have  the  first  place.*  The  phenom- 

^  It  18  perhaps  somewhat  of  an  open  question  as  to  whether  or  not  war 
has  diminished  in  modem  times.  But  the  above  statement  seems  to  be 
justified  by  the  available  historical  data.  C/.  F.  A.  Woods  and  A.  Baltjdey, 
Is  War  Dimmishingt  Boston,  191 5. 

'  One  of  the  best  of  these  studies  is  by  G.  U.  Yule,  On  the  Changes  in  the 
Marriage  and  Birth-Rates  in  England  and  Wales  during  the  Past  Half  Cert- 
turjt  In  the  Jour,  of  the  Royal  Statistical  Soc,  VoL  69,  pp.  88-133,  March, 
1906.  See  also  W.  B.  Bailey,  Modem  Social  Conditions^  New  Yo^,  1906, 
pp.  143-4;  U.  S.  Census  Bureau,  Marriage  and  Divorce^  Part  1,1909,  pp.  7-8. 

*  On  the  basis  of  the  above  argument  it  may  be  contended  that  there  can 
be  no  danger  of  over-population  because  popidation  follows  production,  and 
therefore  there  will  always  be  enough  production  to  support  the  population. 
But  this  contention  is  not  valid  for  the  following  reason.  While  it  is  doubt- 
less true,  as  indicated  above,  that,  as  a  general  thing,  population  does  and 


ena  connected  with  the  great  modern  increase  of  population 
certainly  omfirm  this  view.  For  the  many  thousands  of  years 
during  which  the  human  species  had  existed  previous  to  the 
nineteenth  century  it  had  never  reached  a  point  which  at  all 
approaches  its  present  numbers,  and  then  suddenly  in  tl^  course 
of  a  century  or  so  it  jiunped  to  its  present  size.  This  happened 
because  the  q>ening  up  of  an  inmiense  amount  of  free  land  dur- 
ing the  two  or  three  centiuies  preceding,  and  the  rapid  advance 
of  science  and  invention  made  possible  a  tremendous  increase 
in  the  amount  of  wealth  available  or  producible. 

If  then  the  economic  factor  comes  first,  it  is  indeed  important 
to  consider  the  prospects  for  the  increase  of  wealth  before  ad- 
vocating lurther  increase  of  population.  So  far  as  science  and 
invention  are  concerned,  it  is  difficult  to  estimate  to  what  extent 
these  factors  will  increase  production.  It  is  perhaps  doubtful 
if  they  can  increase  production  as  rapidly  as  they  have  during 
the  past  few  decades,  but  that  they  will  still  effect  a  very  great 
increase  i?  doubtless  true.  It  is  when  we  turn  to  the  land  and 
its  natural  resources  that  limitations  become  more  evident. 
Practically  all  the  land  and  natural  resources  are  now  known 
and  have  been  preempted,  so  that  no  great  expansion  can  be 
hoped  {or  in  that  direction.  The  pinch  of  this  condition  has 
been  felt  for  some  time  in  the  older  parts  of  the  civilized  world, 
and  is  now  manifesting  itself  in  this  country  for  the  first  time, 
as  revealed  in  the  significant  figures  cited  in  the  preceding  chap- 
ter with  regard  to  the  comparative  decrease  in  the  production 
of  food  during  the  last  few  years  if  not  decades.  To  be  sure, 
nu)re  scientific  and  intensive  methods  of  a^culture  will  in- 
crease greatly  the  yield.  But  it  will  take  some  time  to  apply 
these  methods,  while  ahead  there  still  looms  up  the  ultimate 
limit  to  the  production  of  food  when  all  the  land  has  been  utilized 
Jto  the  highest  possible  degree  by  the  use  of  scientific  methods. 
\jt  is  well  for  humanity  not  to  hasten  along  too  precipitately 

must  follow  production,  yet  it  is  also  true  that  the  vital  reproductive  force 
Is  very  strong  and  tends  to  increase  the  population  more  rapidly  than  is 
justified  by  the  increase  in  production,  unless  it  is  consciously  directed 
and  controlled.  Furthermore,  it  must  be  remembered  that  from  our  point 
of  view,  and  indeed  from  any  human  and  social  point  of  view,  the  problem 
of  population  is  not  merely  a  problem  of  subsistence  but  also  a  problem 
of  the  standard  of  living.  And  to  raise  the  standard  of  living  production 
must  be  increased  more  rapidly  than  population. 


towards  that  limit  for,  as  we  shall  note  presently,  a  much  higher 
degree  of  comfort,  and  therefore  a  higher  standard  of  living,  can 
be  enjoyed  if  humanity  stops  far  short  of  that  ultimate  limit 
So  far  we  have  been  discussing  this  subject  very  broadly  with 
respect  to  the  world  as  a  whole.  It  goes  without  sa3dng  that  the 
density  of  population  which  is  desirable  may  differ  greatly 
from  one  place  to  another  and  from  one  time  to  another.  Every- 
where blind  economic  forces  are  at  work  to  attain  that  balance 
between  population  and  the  available  natural  resources  and 
means  of  production  which  will  result  in  the  largest  amount  of 
production.  Thus  in  a  new  country  with  an  abundance  of  free 
land  and  natiual  resources  the  demand  is  for  more  population, 
while  in  an  older  country  the  demand  is  very  likely  to  be  the 
opposite,  though  it  sometimes  happens  in  an  old  country  that 
certain  forces  check  the  increase  of  population  to  such  a  degree 
that  a  demand  for  population  arises  even  there.  ^ 

Population  as  a  Cause  of  Poverty 

Having  considered  the  general  relation  between  populaticm 
and  production,  let  us  now  turn  to  the  problem  which  is  of  spe- 
cial interest  to  us,  namely,  the  relation  between  peculation  and 
poverty.  It  is  indeed  difficult  to  determine  the  effect  of  the 
recent  increase  of  population  upon  poverty.  The  general  stand- 
ard of  living  has  doubtless  risen  considerably  throughout  the 
civilized  world  ^hile  this  increase  of  population  has  been  going 
on.  Some  have  considered  this  an  indication  that  increase  of 
population  has  been  a  force  against  poverty.  But  this  higher 
standard  of  living  has  obviously  been  due  to  the  fact  that  produc- 

^  France  furnishes  a  striking  example  of  this  sort.  In  this  andent  and 
highly  civilized  country  the  population  has  ceased  to  increase  and  has  even 
begun  to  regress.  Consequently  many  Frenchmen  are  in  favor  of  stim- 
ulating the  increase  of  the  population  by  every  possible  means,  partly 
for  patriotic  and  military  reasons,  but  also  for  the  economic  reason  of  in- 
creasing to  the  highest  possible  point  the  amount  of  wealth  produced.  (A 
curious  example  of  this  is  fum^hed  in  the  case  of  Paul  Leroy-BeauHeu, 
La  question  de  la  population^  Paris,  1913.) 

But  these  Frenchmen  apparently  fail  to  realize  that  by  checking  the  in- 
crease of  population  France  is  more  or  less  unconsciously  striving  towards 
a  relatively  high  standard  of  living  and  of  comfort.  This  doubtless  is  the 
personal  ideal  of  a  large  number  of  individuals  in  France.  But  it  does  not 
seem  as  yet  to  have  attained  conscious  expression  as  a  national  idea). 


tion  has  increased  more  rapidly  than  population  during  the  past 
century  or  more.  As  we  have'^een,  the  economic  rather  than 
the  population  factor  has  apparently  been  primary,  and  the 
peculation  has  been  the  cause  only  as  it  has  responded  to  the 
economic  demand  for  a  larger  labor  force.  Furthermore,  it  is 
well  to  bear  in  mind  that,  whatever  may  have  been  true  duripg 
the  recent  past,  owing  to  the  limitations  upon  what  can  be  pro^;;  -* 
duced  which  we  have  discussed,  the  standard  of  living  will  not  '* 
necessarily  continue  to  rise  in  the  futiure  if  the  population  con- 
tinues to  increase.  **'*'' 

But  even  though  the  stifitaard  of  living  has  been  rising,  it  is 
not  at  all  certain  that  the  amount  of  poverty  has  decreased. 
As  we  have  seen,  poverty  is  a  relative  thing,  and  however  much 
^^am>\mt  of  wealth  may  increase  and  the  general  standard  of  | 
living  may  rise,  those  whose  incomes  are  so  small  that  they  are! 
unable  to  attain  this  standard  of  living  are  poor.  It  is  obviously 
impossible  to  determine  exactly  whether  or  not  poverty  has  been 
decreasing.  We  have  seen  in  a  previous  chapter  how  difficult 
it  is  to  measure  the  amount  of  poverty  even  in  the  present,  and 
the  data  for  measuring  the  amount  of  poverty  in  the  past  are  far 
less  adequate.  However,  it  is  certain  diat  the  amount  of  poverty 
is  still  very  great,  so  that  obviously  neither  the  great  increase 
of  wealth  nor  of  peculation  has  been  effectual  in  abolish- 
ing it 

It  goes  without  saying  that  the  inunediate  cause  for  the  per- 
sistence as  well  as  the  existence  of  poverty  is  the  way  in  which 
wealth  is  distributed,  and  many  doubtless  think  that  this  can 
be  remedied  while  the  growth  of  population  is  left  to  take 
care  of  itself.  But  it  is  well  to  remember  that  it  may  not  be 
possible  to  change  the  manner  of  distribution  until  the  pressure 
of  a  rapidly  increasing  population  is  relieved  somewhat.  That 
is  to  say,  so  long  as  this  increase  continues,  and  since  it  is  in  th^^ 
main  in  the  largest  class,  namely,  the  working  class  from  which 
most  of  the  poor  are  recruited,  the  supply  of  labor  will  be  so 
large  that  its  economic  or  market  value  will  not  be  sufficiently 
great  to  enable  the  working  class  to  demand  and  receive  a 
larger  share  in  the  distribution  of  wealth.  This  is  a  big  question 
which  we  cannot  discuss  exhaustively  at  this  point,  but  will 
have  occasion  to  discuss  it  more  fully  in  the  latter  part  of  this 
book.    For  the  present  we  must  keep  in  mind  that  in  all  prob- 


ability  the  distribution  of  wealth  cannot  be  remedied  so  as  to 
abolish  poverty  without  a  check  upon  the  growth  of  population. 

Criticism  of  Arguments  for  the  Increase  of  Population 

The  outcome  of  the  above  discussion  may  i^pear  rather 
vague.  But  this  is  inevitable  in  view  of  the  complexity  of  the 
phenomena  involved  and  the  difficulty  of  the  problems  which 
they  raise.  It  goes  without  sa3dng  that  there  are  no  a  priori 
reasons  either  for  or  against  increasing  the  density  of  population. 
It  is  a  question  which  should  be  decided  wholly  with  respect  to 
the  relation  between  population  and  production,  and  with  re- 
spect to  the  distribution  of  wealth  in  such  a  manner  as  to  bring 
jabout  the  largest  amount  of  hiunan  happiness.  Notwithstand- 
ing this  fact,  many  arguments  have  been  used  on  both  sides  of 
this  question  which  are  a  priori,  or  which  are  in  the  main  a 
priori,  so  far  as  the  issues  involved  in  this  matter  are  concerned. 

This  has  perhaps  been  most  true  of  those  who  have  advocated 
the  increase  of  population.  One  at  the  most  superficial  of  these 
has  been  the  patriotic  and  nationalistic  desire  for  a  large  popu- 
lation merely  for  the  sake  of  size,  especially  if  that  size  outstrqn 
every  other  country.  In  this  country,  for  example,  chauvinists 
of  this  type  have  gloried  in  the  prospect  that  oiu:  population  will 
increase  to  one  hundred,  two  hundred,  three  hundred,  four 
hundred  millions  of  inhabitants,  and  so  forth  up  to  many  more 
hundreds  of  millions. 

Certain  religious  doctrines  have  served  as  arguments  for  the  in- 
crease of  population.  Most  of  these  have  been  used,  not  so  much 
to  encourage  directly  the  growth  of  population,  as  to  prohibit 
the  efforts  to  check  this  growth,  on  the  ground  that  such 
efforts  interfere  with  the  intentions  and  purposes  of  divine  be- 
ings, or  on  the  ground  that  some  of  the  measures  used  to  check 
the  increase  of  population  do  violence  to  spiritual  beings  in 
the  form  of  souls.  These  arguments  are  based  upon  thedogi- 
cal  ideas  and  beliefs  which  must  be  r^arded  as  wholly  a  priori 
so  far  as  a  purely  scientific  discussion,  such  as  the  present  one, 
is  concerned. 

Many  socialists  have  displayed  a  bitter  opposition  to  the 
restriction  of  population  whose  animus  seems  to  be  due  in  part 
to  a  sentimental  desire  to  see  humanity  grow  and  in  part  to  an 


absurd  idea  that  by  means  of  the  Malthusian  theory  the  cap- 
italist was  tr3dng  to  fool  the  working  man.  These  socialists 
have  displayed  singular  obtuseness  in  their  failure  to  realize 
that  the  implications  of  the  Malthusian  theory  are  not  con- 
trary to  the  interests  of  the  workingman,  and  that  the  policy 
of  restricting  the  increase  of  population  may  and  should  be  used 
in  the  interest  of  the  working  class. 

Then  there  are  the  Sentimentalists  who  advocate  rapid 
increase  of  population  in  order  that  there  may  be  numerous 
children^in  each  family.  This  notion  has  a  biological  justifi- 
cation upon  which  I  shall  conmient  later  in  this  book.  But  the 
sentimentalist  usually  fails  to  comprehend  this  justification,  so 
that  his  argument  is  entirely  or  almost  entirely  aprioristic^ 

As  has  been  suggested  above,  aprioristic  arguments  have  been 
used  less  by  those  who  favored  the  restriction  of  population. 
And  yet  there  have  been  some  who  have  argued  that  restric- 
tion of  population  alone  would  cure  all  human  and  social  ills, 
which  argument,  because  it  lacks  adequate  basis,  is  highly 

We  cannot  therefore  assume  that  either  increase  or  restric- 
tion of  population  is  necessarily  desirable.  As  a  matter  of  fact, 
what  is  desirable  at  one  time  or  place  is  not  necessarily  desir- 
able at  another  time  or  place.  But  our  brief  survey  of  the  sub- 
ject of  population  seems  to  indicate  that  in  our  modem  civilized 
worid  there  is  needed  on  the  whole,  if  not  restriction  of  popu- 
lation, at  any  rate  a  greater  moderation  in  the  rate  of  increase 
than  has  been  true  during  the  past  century.  It  may  be  possible 
to  justify  this  upon  the  ground  alone  of  die  danger  of  reaching 
the  ultimate  limit  of  subsistence.  But  even  if  we  grant  that 
sudi  a  time  is  a  long  way  off,  so  that  it  is  not  of  practical  impor- 
tance now,  other  reasons  for  advocating  such  restriction  still 
remain.  We  have  seen  that  it  might  be  more  feasible  to  remedy 
the  distribution  at  wealth  if  population  was  not  increasing  so 
rs^idly.  But  a  more  certain  and  obvious  reason  is  that  if  the 
p(q>ulation  were  not  increasing  so  rapidly,  the  general  standard 
of  living  would  be  more  likely  to  go  up  or  to  go  up  more  rapidly, 

^  For  an  intemperate  and  unscientific  argument  for  the  increase  of  popula- 
tion upon  all  the  grounds  mentioned  above,  except  the  socialbtic,  see  F.  L. 
Hoffooian,  The  Decline  in  (he  Birth  Rate,  in  the  North  Am.  Reo,,  No.  64a, 
May,  1909,  pp.  675-687. 


and  while  the  poor  might  not  benefit  by  this  at  once,  or  at  any 
rate  would  not  reach  this  standard  at  once,  there  would  be  more 
reason  to  hope  that  most  if  not  all  of  them  would  attain  it  ultir 

Population  and  the  Standard  of  Living 

The  standard  of  living  argument  is  conclusive  against  a  too 
rapid  increase  of  population.  As  has  been  stated  by  one  writer, 
this  standard  depends  upon  two  variables,  namely,  '*  (i)  rate 
of  increase  in  population  and  (2)  rate  of  progress  in  the  arts.  Of 
both  of  these  the  plane  of  living  is  a  function.  The  plane  of 
Uving  itself,  of  course,  reacts  in  turn  on  both  of  these  variables."  * 
Now  the  rate  of  progress  in  the  arts  may  at  times  be  able  to 
keep  ahead  of  the  rate  of  increase  in  population.  But,  as  a  gen- 
eral rule,  it  fails  to  do  so,  since  the  vital  force  for  reproduction  is 
very  strong.  \  Certainly  if  there  is  any  truth  at  all  in  the  Malthu- 
••  sian  theory  that  population  tends  to  overtake  the  means  of  sub- 
sistence, it  would  be  difficult  for  the  standard  of  living  to  keq) 
ahead  of  populations^  In  view  of  the  checks  upon  population 
which  have  been  deveoped,  this  theory  probably  is  not  true  of 
civilized  society  to  the  extent  believed  by  Malthus.  But  it 
doubtless  is  true  so  far  as  the  standard  of  living  is  concerned,  as 
is  indicated  in  the  following  statement  of  the  law  of  population 
.  by  a  distinguished  sociologist:  -^"In  any  given  state  of  industry 
and  the  arts,  population  tends  to  increase  faster  than  it  is  possibfe 
to  raise  the  general  plane  of  living?^'* 

During  the  past  century  or  more,  owing  to  the  unprecedented 
advance  of  science  and  invention  and  the  opening  up  of  an  im- 
mense amoimt  of  new  land,  the  standard  of  living  has  managed 
to  keep  ahead  of  population.  But  as  we  have  already  noted, 
it  is  futile  to  expect  this  for  the  future  if  the  increase  of  popu- 
lation continues  at  its  present  rate,  the  principal  reason  for  this 
being  the  disappearance  of  free  land.  This  fact  stands  out  with 
peculiar  prominence  in  this  country. 

So  long  as  there  is  free  land,  or  the  price  of  land  remains  low, 
it  is  easy  for  the  farmer  to  own  his  own  farm.  But  as  the  value 
of  the  land  appreciates  in  the  manner  we  have  described  in  the 
preceding  chapter,  the  owner  can  draw  an  ever-increasing  rent 

*  A.  A.  Tenney,  Social  Democracy  and  Population,  New  York,  1907,  p.  19. 

*  F.  H.  Giddings,  Elements  of  Sociology,  1898,  p.  306. 


from  his  land  which,  if  he  does  not  choose  to  work  the  land  him- 
self, he  can  levy  upon  the  tenant  farmer  who  is  too  poor  to  pur- 
chase the  land.  It  is  of  course  true  that  in  individual  cases  a 
tenant  farmer  may  be  able  to  make  more  than  a  farm  owner. 
But,  as  a  general  rule,  the  tenant  class  is  poor;  while  the  land- 
owner, who  may  be  an  absentee  landlord,  enjo3rs  the  income  from 
the  high  rent  which  his  advantageous  position  as  exercising  a 
monopolistic  control  over  a  commodity  which  has  become  scarce, 
because  of  the  pressure  of  population,  enables  him  to  exact.  The 
appearance  and  growth  of  a  tenant  class  is  therefore  very  sig- 
nificant, both  as  indicating  the  pressure  of  population  upon 
land  and  the  presence  of  a  class  in  the  rural  communities  in 
which  poverty,  with  all  its  attendant  evils  of  pauperism  and 
other  forms  of  misery,  is  certain  to  be  widespread.  Unfortunately 
we  have  not  adequate  reliable  statistics  of  dependency  in  the 
rural  population  and  in  the  tenant  class  in  particular.  But  there 
have  been  numerous  examples  in  history  of  the  results  from  ex- 
tensive tenancy,  especially  when  the  owners  of  the  land  were 
large  absentee  landlords. 

Ireland  furnishes  a  good  recent  example  of  this.  "  The  profits 
of  the  large  estates  were  q>ent  abroad,  draining  Ireland  of  its 
jmxluctive  capital;  the  best  land  of  large  estates  was  turned  into 
pasture  land;  and  when  tenants  made  improvements  on  farms 
to  enlaige  the  production  the  rents  were  systematically  raised  to 
absorb  the  reward  of  initiative  and  industry.  Consequently  a  pre- 
mium was  placed  on  neglect,  shiftlessness,  drunkenness,  and  social 
squalor,  and  agricultural  Ireland  was  emigrant  as  to  its  b^t  and  most 
vigorous  element,  decadent  economically  and  socially,  and  rapidly 
increasing  in  pauperism  and  insanity."  ^ 

Speaking  generally,  it  may  be  said  that  this  country  is  passing 
from  an  agricultural  to  an  industrial  economy,  with  the  conse- 
quent growth  of  large  cities.  Unfortunately  this  change  is  being 
accompanied  by  the  development  of  the  acute  conditions  of  pov- 
erty which  seem  to  be  inevitable  in  an  urban  environment  under 
the  present  system.  While,  as  I  have  already  indicated,  it  is  im- 
possible to  make  an  acciunte  comparison  of  the  amount  of  pov- 
erty now  and  in  the  past,  we  have  reason  to  believe  that  poverty 
is  more  extensive  under  the  present  lurban  conditions  than  it  was 

^  J.  M.  Gillette,  Constructive  Rural  Sociology^  New  York,  1913,  p.  135. 


formerly.*  From  what  is  known  of  the  earlier  da)^  in  this 
comitry,  it  appears  very  probable  that  the  condition  of  the 
worker  relative  to  the  general  standard  of  living  was  better  than 
now,  owing  to  the  greater  relative  as  well  as  absolute  scarcity 
of  labor.  Real  wages  probably  were  higher  than  now,  or,  at 
any  rate,  higher  in  relation  to  the  existing  standard  of  living.* 

The  Pressure  of  Popxtlatton  upon  Land  and  Natural 


The  last  few  pages  have  furnished  an  abundance  of  data 
which  indicate  more  or  less  conclusively  that  population  is  begin- 
ning to  press  upon  the  supply  of  land  and  of  natural  resources 
in  general  in  this  country,  as  it  has  for  so  long  in  the  older  parts 
of  the  civilized  world.   The  significance  of  this  must  be  evident. 

It  has  been  concisely  stated  by  a  well-known  economist  in  the 
following  words:  —  "Dividing  our  national  history  since  1790  into 
four  periods,  each  of  thirty  years,  it  is  seen  that  in  the  first  the  den- 
sity per  mile  increased  .7  of  an  inhabitant,  in  the  second  24  inhabi- 
tants, in  the  third  9,  and  in  the  fourth  14.  Thus  the  increase  in 
the  number  per  square  mile  has  gone  on  at  an  accelerating  rate,  and 
was  twenty  times  as  fast  in  the  last  as  in  the  first  period.  As  an 
index  of  the  demands  which  increasing  population  makes  upon  re- 
soiu-ces,  these  figures  are  more  truly  significant  than  are  the  absolute 
numbers  of  people  or  the  percentage  of  increase  by  decades;  for  they 
show  how  many  additional  inhabitants  must  find  employment,  ma- 
terials, and  food  on  the  available  area.  This  means  greater  inten- 
siveness  of  utilization.  The  ciunulative  additions  are  now  made  on 
an  area  nearing,  or  already  past,  the  point  of  maximum  advantage 
to  the  masses  of  the  nation."  * 

It  might  be  added  that  the  density  of  population  increased  from 
27.7  per  square  mile  in  1904  to  33.3  in  1914,  or  an  increase  of  5.6 
during  the  decade. 

*  For  example,  F.  A.  Walker  says:  —  "In  1790,  there  were  about  600,000 
white  families  in  the  United  States.  Speaking  broadly,  there  were  few 
very  rich  and  few  very  poor."  (In  his  Discussions  in  Economics  and  StaiisUcs^ 
New  York,  1899,  VoL  II,  p.  197.) 

'  For  data  indicating  better  conditions  among  the  working  people  in  the 
eariier  days,  see  Henry  George,  Jr.,  The  Menace  of  Privilege,  New  Yo^ 

190S,  p.  38. 

*  F.  A.  Fetter,  PopulaUon  or  Prosperity,  in  the  Am,  Economic  Rev.  Sup- 

plement^  VoL  m.  No.  i,  March,  1913,  p.  8. 



I  hardly  need  to  explain  that  by  the  above  statements  I  do 
not  mean  to  imply  that  we  are  anywhere  near  the  limit  of  popula- 
tion that  can  be  sustained  in  this  coimtry.  As  a  matter  of  fact 
in  1910  only  46.2  per  cent  of  the  total  land  area  was  in  farms; 
while  only  54.4  per  cent  of  the  farm  land,  or  25.1  per  cent  of  the 
total  land  area,  was  improved.  It  is  evident  that  by  making 
use  of  more  land,  and  especially  by  appl3ring  scientific  and  in- 
tensive methods  of  agriculture,  the  amount  of  food  and  certain 

Diagram  12.  Population  pus  squasb  miib:  1790-1910. 

other  raw  materials  which  can  be  produced  can  be  vastly  in- 
creased, thus  making  possible  a  much  greater  population.  In 
fact,  it  has  been  estimated  that,  with  a  scientific  use  of  the  avail- 
able land  and  water  supply,  a  billion  people  can  be  supported 
in  this  country.^  But  in  order  to  accomplish  this  a  great  deal 
of  labor  and  capital  must  be  expended.  The  land  which  has 
not  yet  been  improved  is  the  poorer  part  of  the  land.  Much 
of  this  is  relatively  infertile  and  will  need  artificial  fertilization. 
Some  of  it  is  arid  and  will  need  irrigation.   A  little  of  it  is  swampy 

I W.  J.  McGee,  How  One  BUHon  of  Us  Can  Be  Fed,  in  the  World's  Work, 
Vol.  23,  No.  4,  Feb.,  191 2,  pp.  443-451. 


and  will  need  draining.  A  little  of  it  is  hilly  and  will  need  ter- 
racing. It  is  evident  that  the  cultivation  of  such  land  demands 
more  capital  than  most  of  the  land  which  has  so  far  been  used, 
and  the  returns  from  it  will  be  relatively  smaller.^ 

So  that  we  should  judge  the  increase  of  population  with  rda- 
tion  to  two  things,  namely,  the  maintenance  and  progressive 
rise  of  the  standard  of  living,  and  the  diminution  of  poverty 
and  its  attendant  evils.  To  do  this  we  must  keep  constantly 
in  mind  the  progress  of  the  arts  and  sciences  and  the  accumula- 
tion of  capital,  as  well  as  the  supply  of  natural  resources.  The 
increase  of  population  furnishes  a  larger  supply  of  labor.  But 
if  population  increases  faster  than  the  amount  produced  can 
be  increased  with  the  aid  of  science  and  the  use  of  capital,  it  is 
evident  that  the  general  standard  of  living  must  be  depressed, 
and  it  will  become  increasingly  difficult  to  lessen  poverty  while 
there  wiU  be  great  danger  that  it  will  increase.  We  shall  be  in 
a  better  position  to  aboUsh  unemployment,  sweating,  and  the 
other  causes  of  poverty,  if  the  general  standard  of  living  can  be 
maintained  and  constantly  raised. 

We  have  already  noted  that  there  is  no  a  priori  reason  for 
the  rapid  growth  of  population  and  for  attaining  a  high  density. 
The  preceding  considerations  suggest  that,  on  the  contrary,  there 
may  be  many  good  reasons  for  retarding  this  growth  as  much 
as  possible.  The  same  may  be  true  of  the  use  of  natural  re- 
sources. The  same  chauvinistic  impulse  which  calls  for  as 
large  a  population  as  possible  al$o  demands  usually  a  rapid 
development  of  natural  resources.  Unfortunately  up  to  the 
present  time  much  of  this  development  has  been  in  the  form  of 

^  Thompson  has  made  a  careful  estimate  of  the  land  which  can  never  be 
used  for  agricultural  purposes.  The  aggregate  of  areas  of  arid  lands,  na- 
tional forests,  swamp  and  over-flow  lands,  land  in  dties,  and  land  used  for 
highways  and  railroads  amounts  to  over  650,000,000  acres,  ''which  cannot 
be  used  for  agricultural  purposes  at  present,  and  most  of  it  at  no  time,  so 
far  as  we  can  see."  (W.  S.  Thompson,  Population:  A  Study  in  Malthusicn- 
ism,  New  YoA,  1915,  pp.  82-7.) 

Thompson's  monograph,  which  was  published  after  this  book  was  written, 
furnishes  nimierous  data  on  many  of  the  points  discussed  in  this  chapter  and 
the  preceding  one,  and  confirms  our  conclusions  in  every  respect  Especially 
interesting  is  his  discussion  of  the  evidences  of  the  operation  of  the  law  ci 
diminishing  returns  in  Chapter  X,  which  confirms  our  evidence  that  it  wiU 
be  increasingly  difficult  in  the  future  to  provide  the  means  of  subsbtenoe 
for  a  larger  population,  to  say*  nothing  of  raising  the  standard  of  living. 


a  wasteful  exploitation  of  these  resources  ior  the  benefit  of  a 
few.  But  even  apart  from  this,  more  benefit  can  be  derived  from 
these  resources  in  the  long  run  if  they  are  conserved  and  ex- 
pended more  slowly.  Future  generations  will  have  occasion  to 
thank  us  if  we  adqpt  this  policy.  In  order  to  be  able  to  carry 
out  such  a  policy,  it  is  essential  that  population  shall  increase 
only  at  a  moderate  rate.  Otherwise  it  becomes  necessary  to 
consume  rapidly  the  resources  which  man  has  received  from 

As  one  writer  has  said:  —  "Wherein  are  we  the  gainers  if  the 
wonderful  natural  riches  of  the  country,  which,  as  we  have  seen, 
constitute  one  of  the  two  great  elements  which  have  accounted  for 
our  past  im)sperity,  are  consumed  in  the  shortest  possible  time? 
.  .  .  Are  we  so  greedy  for  luxury  in  the  present  that  we  wish  to 
leave  as  little  as  possible  of  this  natural  advantage  to  future  genera- 
tions? It  seems  hardly  possible.  Rather  is  this  idea  another  of 
those  traditional  survivals  from  the  early  life  of  the  country,  when 
conditions  were  such  that  the  exploitation  of  resoiuxres  was  really 
essential  to  growth  in  per  capita,  as  well  as  total,  wealth,  and  pros- 
perity." ^ 

Restrictions  upon  the  Increase  of  Population 

The  preceding  somewhat  lengthy  discussion  of  the  growth  of 
population  in  this  country  has  shown  the  importance  of  this 
phenomenon  for  poverty.  It  is  of  importance  both  from  the 
standpoint  of  maintaining  and  continually  increasing  the  amount 
produced  in  prc^rtion  to  the  population,  and  from  the  stand- 
point of  the  distribution  of  the  wealth  produced.  A  prc^r- 
tionate  increase  in  production  is  absolutely  necessary  before  the 
standard  of  living  can  rise,  and  this  standard  cannot  be  general 
unless  the  wealth  produced  is  widely  distributed.  The  data 
which  have  so  far  been  presented  indicate  that  in  all  proba- 
bility the  rate  of  increase  of  population  in  this  coimtry  and 
throughout  the  civilized  world  is  with  few  exceptions  too  great 
both  for  increasing  the  production  proportionally  and  for  secur- 
ing a  more  general  distribution  of  wealth.  Consequently  we 
have  before  us  the  practical  problem  of  restricting  the  rate  of 

^  H.  P.  Fairchild,  Immigration^  New  York,  1913,  p.  392. 



We  have  already  noted  that  in  the  past  famine,  pestilence, 
and  war  have  been  the  great  factcnrs  for  the  restriction  of  the 
increase  of  peculation.  This  is  still  true  to  a  considerable  extent* 
At  the  time  of  the  present  wiMug  a  great  war  is  in  progress 
which  is  exterminating  hui^n^^ngs  b^||^e^)]Uon.  Further- 
more, war  is  still  being  cai^M  A  so  frequently  IB*  the  past,  by 
the  pressure  of  population.  Om  of  the  principal  causes  of  war 
during  the  last  few  decades  has  been  the  desire  for  colonies,  and 
this  desire  rises  in  a  country  when  it  has  become  relatively  over- 
populated,  so  that  there  is  need  either  for  a  place  to  which  some 
of  the  peculation  can  migrate  or  for  a  market  for  its  manufac- 
tured products  in  return  for  which  it  can  secure  food  stuSs. 
So  that  pressiure  of  population  leads  to  war,  and  war  in  turn 
relieves  the  pressure  of  population.  In  similar  fashion  pressure 
of  population  leads  to  disease,  and  disease  is  still  killing  off  many 
miUions  of  human  beings  before  their  time.  Furthermore,  many 
are  still  dying  for  lack  of  food,  either  by  literally  starving  to 
death  or  by  being  weakened  by  continued  under-nourishment. 

However,  because  of  the  vast  increase  in  wealth  during  the 
past  centiuy,  population  has  succeeded  in  increasing  greatly. 
How  much  longer  this  increase  can  continue  it  is  impossible  to 
pn^hesy.  But  it  is  certain  that  it  cannot  go  on  forever,  and,  if 
it  is  not  checked  by  other  means,  it  is  certain  that  these  three 
gaimt  agents  of  death  ever  stand  ready  to  put  an  ultimate  limit 
to  the  peculation  of  the  earth.  The  practical  question  therefore 
is  whether  it  is  to  be  left  to  r^ulate  itself  thus  automatically  or 
is  to  be  regulated  by  conscious,  artificial  means.  The  automatic 
method  certainly  is  not  humane  and  is  excessively  wasteful, 
so  that  it  is  worth  while  to  consider  the  artificial  methods  of 
regulating  population. 

The  Artificial  Regulation  op  Population  Increase 

We  have  seen  that  improvement  of  economic  conditions 
almost  invariably  causes  a  rise  in  the  birth  rate  for  the  popula- 
tion as  a  whole.  This  holds  true  for  most  of  the  peculation. 
But  when  we  come  to  the  higher  econeMnic  classes  we  find  a 
decided  tendency  in  the  opposite  elirection.  Tliat  is  to  say, 
among  the  well-texlo  and  the  wealthy  the  tendency  is  for  the 
birth  rate  to  fall,  and  this  tendency  is  frequently  the  stronger 



the  greater  the  economic  well-being.  This  tendency  also  reaches 
down  sometimes  as  far  as  the  higher  class  of  workingmen,  espe- 
cially when  they  are  set  off  very  sharply  by  a  higher  standard  of 
living  from  the  lower  dass  of  workingmen,  as,  for  example,  in  this 
country  where  the  lower  class  is  made  up  to  a  large  extent  of 

This  is  the  tendency  which  has  roused  so  many  alarmist  cries 
of  race  suicide,  etc.,  from  those  who  have  failed  to  see  the  full 
import  of  this  phenomenon.  Many  of  these  have  asserted  that 
^  the  falling  birth  rate  among  the  higher  classes  is  due  to  bidogical 
degeneration,  immorality,  etc.,  but  there  is  no  adequate  basis 
for  these  assertions.  In  fkct,  it  is  quite  likely  that  degeneration 
and  immorality  ate  stronger  forces  against  reproduction  among 
the  lower  da^es,  since  on  account  of  their  smaller  eccmomic 
resources  they  are  frequently  not  as  fit  physically  or  morally 
for  reproduction.  The  principal  cause  for  a  lower  birth  rate 
among  the  higher  classes  doubtless  is  the  attempt  to  maintain 
a  high  standard  of  living.  So  long  as  numerous  progeny  threaten 
their  standard  of  living,  these  classes  cannot  be  expected  to  have 
many  children  on  the  average,  and  this  will  always  be  true 
under  the  present  economic  system,  for  numerous  progeny  lead 
almost  inevitably  to  the  dissipation  both  of  income  and  of  for- 
tune in  the  form  of  capital. 

This  situation  among  the  higher  classes,  therefore,  instead  of 
being  so  portentous  of  evil  may  after  all  be  very  significant  of 
good,  for  if  the  lower  classes  can  be  induced  to  follow  this  ex- 
ample they  may  be  able  to  better  their  own  condition  greatly,  and 
to  relieve  the  pressure  of  population  upon  the  land  and  means 
of  subsistence.  How  feasible  this  wiU  prove  to  be,  it  is  difficult  to 
say.  As  I  have  already  suggested,  there  are  already  some  indica- 
tions of  such  a  tendency  among  the  higher  classes  of  working- 
men.^  But  whether  this  tendency  will  in  course  of  time  spread 
automatically  to  all  the  working  class  and  to  all  of  society  is 
doubtful.  It  is  unfortunately  true  that  poverty  and  a  low  stand- 
ard of  Uving  encourage  a  high  birth  rate,  while  this  high  birth 
rate  in  turn  reacts  upon  poverty  and  the  low  standard  of  living 

^  L.  Brentano  funiishes  a  good  deal  of  data  about  the  decreasing  birth 
rate  among  the  higher  woridng  classes  in  dvUized  countries;  The  Doctrine 
of  MaUhus  and  the  Increase  of  Population  during  the  last  Decades,  in  the 
Economic  Journal,  London,  Vol  XX,  No.  79,  Sept.,  1910,  pp.  37i~393* 


to  re&iforce  and  perpetuate  them.  The  poor  are  ordinarily  too 
ignorant  and  too  c^^reless  to  make  any  effort  to  regulate  the  size 
of  their  families.  Furthermore,  we  have  seen  in  an  earlier  chap- 
ter that  frequently  a  large  family  is  of  temporary  economic  assist- 
ance, for  the  children  can  assist  in  supporting  the  family.  But 
it  goes  without  saying  that  in  the  long  run  this  child  labor  almost 
invariably  causes  more  poverty  and  destitution  than  it  relieves, 
for  it  usually  causes  lower  wages  and  more  sweating  by  under- 
bidding adult  labor,  while  the  children  are  veiy  likely  to  grow 
up  weakened  and  ill  trained,  and  therefore  good  recruits  for  the 
classes  of  the  poor  and  the  paupers. 

It  is,  therefore,  hardly  safe  to  assume  that  the  growth  of  pop- 
ulation will  be  checked  automatically  by  any  other  means  than 
the  ancient  ones  of  war,  disease,  and  starvation.  To  accomplish 
this  end  by  artificial  means  efforts  will  have  to  be  directed  sJong 
two  lines.  In  the  first  place,  a  campaign  of  education  can  be 
carried  on  whereby  the  poor  would  be  taught  how  to  regulate  the 
size  of  their  families  by  the  use  of  contraceptics,  and  would  be 
encouraged  to  do  so.  In  other  words,  the  neo-Malthusian  move- 
ment, which  is  already  strong  in  England  and  elsewhere,  can 
be  stimulated  here.  ^  In  the  second  place,  by  means  of  legislation, 
the  organization  of  the  working  classes,  and  by  every  other  pos- 
sible means  the  general  standard  of  living  should  be  raised,  and 
then  this  rise  will  doubtless  react  somewhat  upon  the  birth  rate 
so  as  to  check  it. 

As  for  immigration,  we  have  seen  that  it  has  not  necessarily 

^  One  of  the  most  disgraceful  things  in  this  country  is  the  drastic  penal 
legislation  against  the  teaching  and  use  of  contraceptics.  This  legislation 
is  usually  alleged  to  be  based  upon  certain  theological  and  so-called  moral 
doctrines.  Such  legislation  is  stupid  because  it  displays  total  ignorance  of 
the  laws  of  population.  It  is  brutal  because  it  stanch  in  the  way  of  relieving 
the  pressure  of  population  upon  many  men,  women,  and  children  in  the 
lower  classes  of  society.  -It  is  vulgar  because  it  is  inspired  to  a  large  extent 
by  a  chauvinistic  desire  for  great  numbers.  A  vast  number  of  individuals, 
churches,  and  other  organizations  in  this  country  are  as  guilty  as  and  fre- 
quently more  guilty  than  the  legislators  who  have  passed  these  laws,  b^ 
cause  they  have  forced  the  legislators  to  pass  such  legislation.  The  present 
writer  has  known  of  many  cases  where  poor  women  have  begged  nurses, 
social  workers,  and  others  for  the  information  the  dissemination  of  which 
is  forbidden  by  these  laws.  (See,  for  a  discussion  of  the  control  of  births, 
C.  v.  Drysdale,  The  Small  Family  System,  London,  1913;  W.  J.  Robinson, 
The  lAmUation  of  Offspring  by  the  PreoenUon  of  Conception,  New  York,  1915.) 


increased  the  population  of  this  country.  If  we  could  be  certain 
that  this  is  so,  there  would  be  no  occasion  for  regulating  immigra- 
tion for  the  purpose  of  checking  the  increase  of  population. 
But  we  cannot  be  certain  of  this.  Furthermore,  even  though 
immigration  may  not  have  increased  the  volume  of  population, 
it  has  changed  its  character  greatly,  and  some  of  these  changes 
are  of  great  significance  with  respect  to  the  problem  of  popula- 
tion. So  that  both  with  respect  to  the  volume  and  the  character 
of  the  population  we  are  forced  to  raise  the  vexed  question  of 
the  restriction  of  immigration.  We  shall  discuss  this  important 
economic  and  political  problem  later  in  this  book. 

As  for  the  broader  question  of  the  effect  of  immigration  and 
emigration  in  general  upon  the  whole  population  of  the  world, 
we  have  not  the  space  to  enter  into  an  extended  discussion  of 
this  large  subject.  Suffice  it  to  say  that  in  all  probability  the 
migrations  of  peoples  have  increased  greatly  the  total  population 
of  the  world  by  distributing  the  world's  population  more  in 
accordance  with  the  distribution  of  food  and  the  other  necessaries 
of  life,  thus  making  it  possible  to  support  a  much  larger  number 
of  persona, 


Functkms  of  government  —  Theories  of  government  —  Defects  of  govern- 
ment —  Governmental  inefficiency  —  £zpk)itati<m  of  puUic  interests  — 
Relation  of  national  to  state  governments  —  The  amendability  of  the 
federal  constitution  —  International  political  maladjustment  —  In- 
ternational industrial  warfare  —  Injurious  effects  of  military  warftire. 

Functions  of  Government 

Political  organization  is  one  of  the  means  of  co5perative  action 
in  human  society.  In  all  probability  the  first  function performrf. 
by  govermnent  was  that  of  the  social  control  Qf  tb^  inHiviHiiftl^ 
that  is  to  say,  restraining  theindividual  from  cpnunityQg.a£tS. 
which  are  generally  regarded  as  h^innful  to  society*  This  has 
always  been  and  alwa3rs  will  be  one  of  the  most  important,  if  not 
the  most  important,  function  of  government.  That  this  f uncticm 
is  of  the  utmost  importance  with  respect  to  poverty  and  its 
attendant  evils  must  be  evident  when  we  consider  that,  if  there 
were  no  restraint  upon  the  individual  and  no  order  was  main- 
tained, the  insecurity  of  life  would  be  most  detrimental  to  human 
welfare,  and  the  strong  would  soon  dominate  the  weak  in  a  way 
which  would  cause  a  vast  amount  of  misery  to  the  weak. 

But,  while  the  maintenance  of  order  by  exercising  a  certain 
degree  of  control  over  the  individual  constitutes  the  irreducible 
minimum  of  governmental  activity,  governments  now  perform 
many  oth^  functions  which  are  of  significance  for  the  study  <A 
poverty.  ^Much  of  the  law  which  has  developed  in  the  course  of 
political  evolution  and  is  administered  by  government  has  to  do 
with  property  and  contractual  rights,  which  play  an  important 
part  in  the  economic  world.  Taxation  is  frequently  extended  far 
beyond  its  original  function  of  providing  the  necessary  govern- 
mental revenue,  and  is  used  as  an  indirect  means  of  regulating 
commerce  and  industry.  Many  economic  enterprizes,  such  as 
the  post  office,  the  telegraph,  tiie  railroad,  etc.,  are  owned  and 
operated  by  governments.    Many  private  econcnnic  enterprizes 



are  directly  regulated  by  factory  laws,  labor  laws,  etc.  The 
distribution  of  wealth  is  regulated  somewhat  by  wage  legislation, 
laws  regulating  prices,  etc. 

These  facts  indicate  that  the  political  factor  is  an  important 
one  in  the  causation  of  poverty.  Poverty  is  primarily  an  eco- 
nomic phmomenon,  and  is  caused  directly  by  economic  forces. 
But  the  political  factor  also  is  always  present,  if  in  no  other  way 
through  the  enforcement  of  the  laws  of  property  and  contract, 
but  frequently  to  a  much  greater 'extent.  Usually  it  is  not  a  di- 
rect cause  of  poverty,  but  is  indirectly  responsible  by  failing  to 
provide  the  conditions  which  would  prevent  poverty  or  some  of 
its  attendant  evils.  In  view  of  the  close  relation  between  the 
political  and  the  economic  factors,  it  is  difficult  frequently  to 
decide  whether  a  social  problem  is  purely  economic  or  is  partly 
or  largely  political  in  its  character.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  de- 
gree of  responsibility  for  the  existence  of  poverty  to  be  assigned 
to  the  government  or  state  will  depend  upon  the  theory  of  gov- 
ernment. There  have  been  many  of  these  theories,  and  I  will 
mention  briefly  the  principal  types. 

Theories  of  Government 

At  one  extreme  is  the  individualistic  typ)e  of  theory  according 
to  which  the  (mly  function  of  government  is  to  regulate  the  con- 
duct of  the  individual  for  the  purpose  of  maintaining  order,  but 
to  imdertake  no  economic  function  whatsoever.  This  type  of 
theory  is  represented  by  the  laissez  faire  philosophers.  At  the 
other  extreme  is  the  socialist  theory  of  government  according  to 
which  the  government  shall  own  and  operate  all  economic  enter- 
prizes,  so  that  all  economic  activities  shall  be  political  as  well  as 
economic  in  their  character.  Between  these  two  extremes  are 
many  theories,  some  of  which  are  more  or  less  individualistic  in 
their  character  and  others  are  more  or  less  socialistic  in  their 
character.  The  representatives  of  these  theories  usually  assume 
the  social  welfare  as  the  criterion  of  governmental  activity,  so 
that  we  may  call  these  theories  social  welfare  theories  of  govern- 
ment. Each  of  these  theorists  contends  that  the  government 
shall  extend  its  economic  activities  as  far  as  he  thinks  will  be  con- 
ducive to  the  social  welfare.  Consequently,  according  to  the 
different  social  welfare  theories  the  government  should  extend 


its  economic  activities  in  varying  degrees,  and  the  more  socialized 
theories  permit  of  extensive  governmental  activity  approach- 
ing that  of  the  socialist  state. 

It  is  evident  that  according  to  the  individualistic  theory  the 
state  is  not  at  all  or  only  to  a  very  slight  extent  responsible  for 
poverty,  according  to  the  social  welfare  theories  it  is  responsible 
to  a  varying  degree,  while  according  to  the  socialist  theory  it  is 
entirely  responsible.  The  theorists  of  the  individualistic  schod 
usually  assume  that  poverty  is  inevitable  and  permanent,  while 
the  socialists  insist  that  poverty  is  preventable  and  would  not 
exist  under  socialism. 

It  goes  without  saying  that  all  civilized  governments  of  today 
are  based  upon  social  welfare  theories,  because  each  one  of  them 
is  trying  in  some  degree  to  prevent  poverty.  We  have  not  the 
space  to  enter  into  an  extended  discussion  of  these  theories. 
Later  in  this  book  we  shall  discuss,  on  the  basis  of  data  which 
will  be  dted,  certain  political  methods  which  may  be  used  for  the 
prevention  of  poverty.  For  the  present  we  shall  assume  the 
general  point  of  view  of  the  social  welfare  theories,  and  shall 
note  briefly  the  defects  of  the  existing  political  system  which 
either  lead  directiy  to  poverty  or  are  responsible  for  the  failure 
of  government  to  prevent  poverty  in  part  at  least. 

Defects  of  Government 

The  first  defect  to  be  mentioned  is  the  low  standard  of  effi- 
ciency in  public  work.  It  is  probably  true  in  most  if  not  all 
governmental  systems  that  the  standard  of  efficiency  is  lower 
than  the  prevailing  standard  in  private  enterprize.  This  is  due 
mainly  to  the  fact  that  in  public  work  there  is  not  the  prospect 
^  of  private  gain  to  spur  the  managers  on  to  enforce  a  high  stand- 
ard of  efficiency.  Furthermore,  if  the  governmental  S3^tem  fur- 
nishes the  slightest  opportunity  for  it,  there  is  certain  to  be  ex- 
ploitation of  the  government  for  individual  interests.  For  these 
reasons  the  efficiency  of  the  individual  in  public  work  is  very 
likely  to  be  low.  The  inevitable  result  from  this  is  that  whatever 
functions  have  been  undertaken  by  the  government  will  be  ill 
done,  and  in  some  cases  this  will  be  a  factor  in  the  causation  ai 
poverty.  For  example,  if  the  dty  streets  are  not  kept  well 
cleaned,  disease  will  spread  more  easily  and  will  incapacitate 
more  people,  thus  in  many  cases  making  them  poor. 


But  however  badly  government  may  perform  certain  func- 
tions, it  would  not  necessarily  be  preferable  to  leave  it  to  private 
enterprize.  For  example,  even  though  a  municipal  government 
may  clean  a  city's  streets  badly,  the  streets  probably  are  deaner 
than  if  left  to  private  individuals  to  clean.  So  that  wherever 
there  is  little  question  that  a  certain  function  should  be  per- 
formed by  the  government,  effort  should  be  directed  towards 
making  the  government  as  efficient  as  possible  in  performing 
this  fimction.  It  is  evident  that  there  is  much  variation  in  the  ^ 
efficiency  of  different  governments.  Certain  European  govern- 
ments have  attained  a  rela^ely  high  degree  of  efficiency  in 
performing  their  functions.  I^r  example,  there  is  no  doubt  that 
the  German  government  is  very  efficient  in  performing  many 
of  its  functions.  This  is  due  in  large  part  to  the  form  of  the 
organization  of  this  government.  Because  of  its  autocratic  and 
bureaucratic  organization  many  of  its  offidak  have  permanent 
tenure  of  office,  and  can  acquire  a  great  deal  of  experience  and 
carry  out  a  consistent  and  settled  policy  over  a  long  period 
of  time.  Furthermore,  the  tradition  of  using  the  services  of 
experts  is  firmly  established.  Owing  to  these  and  other  causes, 
the  German  government  is  very  effident  in  performing  most 
of  the  functions  it  undertakes.  Unfortunately  much  of  its 
effidency  has  been  attained  at  the  sacrifice  of  political  democ- 
racy, and  the  great  problem  is  to  secure  effidency  with  democ- 
racy. This  is  peculiarly  true  of  this  country,  whose  government 
has  so  far  been  more  or  less  ineffident.  Let  us  consider  briefly 
the  causes  for  its  ineffiden(yl\ 

Most  of  the  fimctions  of  government  in  this  coimtry  are  per- 
formed by  the  munidpal  and  state  governments.  Almost  from 
the  start  these  governments  have  been  entangled  with  national 
party  politics  to  such  an  extent  that  it  has  frequently  happened 
that  matters  of  purely  local  importance  have  been  dedded  in 
accordance  with  national  issues.  This  characteristic  of  local 
government  has  been  due  to  certain  features  of  our  political 
organization  which  we  have  not  the  space  to  describe.  But 
local  government  should  as  far  as  possible  be  divorced  from 
national  politics. 

The  state  governments  are  fairly  independent  of  the  national 
government.  But,  owing  probably  to  the  fact  that  most  of  the 
dties  were  small  and  weak  when  the  state  constitutions  were 


ratified  in  most  of  the  states,  the  state  government  has  a  great 
deal  of  authority  over  the  mimidpal  governments.  This  has 
led  to  much  interference  in  municipal  affairs  by  state  govern- 
ments which  has  usually  been  bad  for  the  cities,  for  as  a  rule  the 
municipal  governments  are  better  able  to  legislate  wisely  re- 
garding the  affairs  of  cities  than  the  state  governments.  As  a 
general  thing  the  efficiency  of  municipal  governments  would 
be  greatly  increased  if  they  were  made  largely  independent  of 
state  governments. 

As  has  already  been  suggested,  there  is  always  danger  that  a 
government  will  be  exploited  in  behalf  of  private  interests. 
This  has  happened  to  a  vast  extent  in  this  country.  This  has 
probably  been  due  in  the  main  to  two  causes.  One  of  these 
has  be^  the  opportunities  for  private  economic  enterprize 
which  have  distracted  the  attention  of  most  citizens  and  espe- 
cially the  more  competent  among  them  from  public  affairs, 
thus  giving  those  who  wished  to  exploit  the  government  the 
opportunity  to  do  so.  This  has  probably  been  the  principal 
cause  for  the  corruption  which  has  been  so  prevalent  in  our 
state  and  especially  in  our  mimidpal  governments.  The  other 
cause  has  been  the  crude  and  extreme  form  of  individualism 
which  has  grown  out  of  a  mistaken  conception  of  democracy^ 
and  which  has  apparently  given  rise  in  the  minds  of  many  to 
the  idea  that  eadi  individual  had  the  right  to  use  the  govern- 
ment and  exploit  the  public  as  far  as  possible  in  his  own  in- 
terest. The  giving  away  of  a  vast  amount  of  public  land  to 
railroads,  the  granting  of  many  franchises,  the  corruption  of 
government  by  capitalistic  interests,  unrestrained  competition 
on  the  one  hand  and  the  growth  of  the  trusts  on  the  other,  have 
all  of  them  in  one  way  or  another  been  due  in  part  to  this  in- 
dividualistic spuit. 

With  regard  to  the  national  government  one  or  two  things 
may  be  noted.  In  all  probability  the  national  government  is 
not  enough  centralized,  and  has  not  as  much  power  as  it  should 
have.  This  is  due  to  the  obstacle  of  states'  rights,  the  sentimat 
in  behalf  of  which  is  still  very  strong  in  this  country.  Now  it 
goes  without  saying  that  all  matters  that  are  of  national  im- 
portance should  be  under  the  national  government,  and  it  is 
a  display  of  narrow  provincialism  on  the  part  of  the  individual 
state  to  be  unwilling  to  grant  all  of  these  powers  to  the  central 


government  So  long  as  we  retain  the  general  principle  of  local 
self-government,  the  jurisdiction  over  all  local  matters  should 
be  jealously  guarded  by  the  local  commimities.  But  the  states 
and  municipalities  should  be  willing  to  give  \]p  all  national 
matters  to  the  central  government 

One  obstacle  in  the  way  of  making  these  changes  and  many 
other  changes  in  this  country  is  the  inflexibility  of  the  federal 
constitution.  England  has  no  written  constitution  whatsoever, 
and  most  written  constitutions  are  much  more  flexible  than  ours. 
But  our  constitution  b  a  constant  check  upon  progress,  and  has 
givep  to  our  courts  a  degree  of  power  which  is  quite  incompatible 
with  the  spirit  of  democracy  and  of  representative  institutions. 
In  a  democracy  like  ours  the  l^iislative  power  which  represents 
the  people  should  be  supreme,  and  should  not  be  subordinate  to 
or  even  merely  co5rdinate  with  any  other  branch  of  the  govern- 
ment. With  the  legislative  power  supreme  the  peq>le  are  free 
to  decide  what  political  means  they  shall  use  in  fighting  poverty 
and  other  social  evils. 

The  foregoing  paragraphs  have  indicated  very  briefly  some  of 
the  defects  in  government  in  general  and  in  our  government  in 
particular  which  should  be  removed  in  order  to  make  govern- 
ment a  more  effective  force  against  poverty.  We  have  not 
attempted  to  discuss  how  far  the  functions  of  government  should 
be  extended,  namely,  to  what  extent  the  economic  and  other 
codperative  activities  of  society  should  be  made  political  in 
their  character.  In  later  chapters  we  shall  discuss  some  of  the 
theories  which  would  extend  greatly  the  functions  of  govern- 
ment, such  as  the  single  tax  and  socialistic  theories,  and  shall 
present  some  of  the  data  indicating  whether  or  not  it  is  desirable 
to  make  certain  political  changes  which  have  been  advocated 
on  the  ground  that  they  will  lessen  the  amount  of  poverty. 

International  Political  Maladjustment 

Before  dosing  this  chapter  I  wish  to  touch  briefly  upon  inter- 
national political  maladjustment  as  a  cause  of  poverty.  At  the 
beginning  of  this  chapter  I  spoke  of  political  organization  as 
one  of  the  means  of  co5perative  action  in  human  society.  So 
far  as  this  form  of  co5peration  is  concerned,  international  rela- 
tions are  still  at  a  yery  low  stage  of  development.    In  other 


I  • 


resp>ects  international  relations  have  developed  to  a  very  high 
degree.  In  matters  of  art,  science,  and  many  other  cultural 
activities,  there  is  almost  unrestricted  interchange  between  the 
civilized  nations  of  the  world.  The  same  is  also  largely  true  of 
economic  activities.  This  has  been  due  to  the  vast  extension  of 
the  division  of  labor,  owing  to  the  introduction  of  machinery 
into  industry  resulting  in  the  large  scale  factory  method  of  pro- 
duction, and  to  the  development  of  rapid  and  cheap  methods 
of  communication  and  transportation.  Consequently,  it  is  now 
true  of  nearly  every  civilized  country  that  it  receives  raw  ma- 
terial and  finished  products  from  all  parts  of  the  world,  and 
sends  raw  material  and  finished  products  in  return  all  over  the 
world.  The  amount  of  wealth  produced  has  been  greatly  in- 
creased by  this  complex  and  extensive  system  of  intemationfd 

But  international  political  organization  has  as  yet  developed 
to  a  very  slight  extent.  With  the  exception  of  a  rather  vague 
and  almost  unenforceable  system  of  international  law  and 
treaties,  there  is  no  means  of  political  cooperation  between  the 
nations  of  the  world.  The  results  of  this  situation  are  to  be 
foimd  in  the  industrial  misunderstandings  and  warfare  which 
are  so  prevalent  between  the  nations  of  the  world,  and  similar 
military  misunderstandings  and  warfare.  Let  us  consider  first 
the  political  maladjustment  in  international  industrial  relations. 

International  Industrial  Warfare 

In  spite  of  the  fact  that  so  high  a  degree  of  economic  inter- 
dependence has  develc$>ed  between  the  nations  of  the  world, 
most  governments  have  acted  on  the  principle  that  the  economic 
interests  of  their  countries  were  opposed  to  each  other,  and 
these  governments  have  usually  been  supported  in  such  policies 
by  the  political  sentiments  of  their  peoples.  This  has  led  to 
niunerous  tariffs  in  order  to  discourage  the  importation  of  manu- 
factured goods  and  sometimes  of  raw  materials,  to  colonization 
schemes  of  various  sorts  for  the  piupose  of  securing  exclusive 
control  of  new  markets  or  for  the  transfer  of  surplus  popula- 
tion, and  to  various  forms  of  regulation  of  emigration  and  immi- 
gration. We  have  not  the  space  here  to  discuss  at  length  all 
the  causes  of  these  policies.    But  it  is  evident  that  such  political 


methods  do  not  harmonize  well  with  the  international  economic 
system  which  has  developed.  While  some  nations  have  doubt- 
less gained  temporarily  from  certain  of  these  policies,  it  cannot 
be,  in  the  long  nm^  to  the  mutual  interest  of  all  nations  to 
follow  them,  for  they  are  exposed  to  the  economic  principles  the 
application  of  which  will  lead  to  the  production  of  the  largest 
amount  of  wealth.^  It  is  evident  that  these  economic  principles 
should  be  applied  in  the  political  field  by  regulating  by  means 
of  international  agreements  the  exportaticm  and  importation 
of  economic  goods  (there  would  probably  be  little  need  of  regu- 
lating this  conmierce),  the  apportionment  of  the  unoccupied 
and  undeveloped  parts  of  the  world,  and  the  migrations  oi 
peoples.  It  would  be  still  better  if  this  regulating  could  be  done 
by  a  world  state,  which  would  abolish  all  national  political  lines. 
The  truth  of  the  above  analysb  becomes  apparent  when 
these  industrial  misunderstandings  and  warfare  lead,  as  so 
frequently  happens,  to  military  misunderstandings  and  warfare. 
In  these  wars  it  is  invariably  a^umed  that  the  economic  in- 
terests of  the  belligerent  nations  are  hostile  and  that  therefore 
a  victory  means  an  economic  gain.  The  fallacy  of  this  must 
be  evident  if  the  above  statements  are  true.« 

^  The  late  Russian  economist  and  sociologist,  Novicow,  apparently  be- 
lieved that  international  political  maladjustment  is,  in  the  last  analysis, 
the  cause  for  the  perpetuation  of  poverty.  At  any  rate,  this  belief  is  sug- 
gested in  the  following  passage:  — 

"La  misdre  vient  de  la  spoliation.  Si  les  hommes  ne  s*6taient  pas  pill6s 
depuis  des  si^es,  il  y  a  beaux  jours  qu*il  n'y  aurait  plus  un  pauvre  sur  la 
terre.  £t  la  spoliation  intemadonale  est  la  source  de  la  spoliation  interne. 
Si  le  milieu  international  avait  €t6  juridique,  les  nations  auraient  tiouv6 
depuis  longtemps  les  ressources  n^cessaires  et  pour  eztirper  le  paup6risme 
et  pour  organiser  ime  police  capable  de  dompter  les  £16ments  crimineb  de 
la  soci6t6."  (J.  Novicow,  Le  probUme  de  la  mis^e  et  Us  phhwmines  iconomv- 
ques  naturds,  Paris,  1908,  pp.  361-2.) 

'This  fallacy  has  been  graphicaUy  illustrated,  with  respect  to  the  Eu- 
ropean war  in  progress  at  the  time  of  the  present  writing,  in  the  following 
words: — 

"At  the  present  time  we  are  talking,  for  instance,  of  'capturing'  German 
or  British  or  French  trade. 

"Now  when  we  talk  thus  of  'German'  trade  in  the  international  field, 
what  do  we  mean?  Here  is  the  ironmaster  in  Essen  making  locomotives 
for  a  light  railway  in  an  Argentine  province,  (the  capital  for  which  has  been 
subscribed  in  Paris)  —  which  has  become  necessary  because  of  the  export 
of  wool  to  Bradford,  where  the  trade  has  developed  owing  to  sales  in  the 


However,  the  present  writer  is  well  enough  aware  of  the  bar- 
riers that  exist  between  nations  at  present  in  the  form  of  racial 
di£ferences,  different  customs  and  ideas,  etc.,  to  know  that  in  all 
probability  industrial  and  military  warfare  will  not  be  abolished 
very  soon.  To  say  the  least,  it  is  almost  certain  that  so  long  as 
unoccupied  'or  undeveloped  parts  of  the  world  still  remain,  the 
civilized  nations  will  continue  to  fight  over  them.  There  can 
be  little  hope  of  permanent  international  peace  and  amity  until 
all  the  world  is  in  about  the  same  state  of  cultiure  and  economic 
development  So  that  the  best  we  can  do  now  is  to  discuss 
briefly  how  industrial  and  military  warfare  cause  poverty  and  its 

United  States,  due  to  high  prices  produced  by  the  destruction  of  sheep 
runs,  owing  to  the  agricultural  development  of  the  West. 

"But  for  the  money  found  in  Paris  (due,  periiaps,  to  good  crops  in  wine 
and  olives,  sold  mainly  in  London  and  New  York),  and  the  wool  needed 
by  the  Bradford  manufacturer  (who  has  found  a  market  for  blankets  among 
miners  in  Montana,  who  are  smelting  copper  for  a  cable  to  China,  which 
is  needed  because  the  encouragement  given  to  education  by  the  Chinese  Re- 
public has  caused  Chinese  newspapers  to  print  cable  news  from  Eurq>e)  — 
but  for  such  factors  as  these,  and  a  whole  chain  of  equally  interdependent 
ones  throughout  the  world,  the  ironmaster  in  Essen  would  not  have  been 
able  to  sell  his  locomotives. 

"How,  therefore,  can  you  describe  it  as  part  of  the  trade  of  'Germany' 
which  is  in  competition  with  the  trade  of  'Britain'  or  'France'  or  'America'? 
But  for  the  British,  French,  and  American  trade,  it  could  not  have  existed 
at  alL  You  may  say  that  if  the  Essen  ironmaster  could  have  been  prevented 
from  selling  his  locomotives  the  order  would  have  gone  to  an  American  one. 

"But  this  community  of  German  workmen,  caUed  into  existence  by  the 
Argentina  trade,  mMntAma  by  its  consumption  of  co£Fee  a  plantation  in 
Brazil,  which  bujrs  its  machinery  in  Chicago.  The  destruction,  theref<xe, 
of  the  Essen  trade,  while  it  might  have  given  business  to  the  American 
locomotive  maker,  would  have  taken  it  from,  say,  an  American  agricultural 
implement  maker.  The  economic  interests  involved  sort  themselves,  irre- 
spective of  the  national  groupings."  ("Norman  Angdl"  in  the  New  York 
Times,  February  28, 1915.) 

Interesting  oonfixination  of  this  view  is  furnished  by  an  English  econ* 
omist  in  an  analjrsis  of  the  finandal  effects  of  the  European  War,  who  says 
that  the  finftpm^  problem  created  by  the  war  "demonstrated  in  a  very 
remarkable  manner  how  very  true  is  the  major  premiss  of  the  doctrine  that 
Mr.  Norman  Angell  has  been  hammering  into  us  ever  since  the  appearance 
of  his  first  essay  on  the  subject.  This  major  premiss  is-  to  the  ^ect  that 
modem  nations  are  so  closely  knit  together  by  the  bonds  of  international 
finance  that  they  cannot  go  to  war  without  inflicting  enormous  damage 
on  themselves  as  well  as  on  one  another.  This  statement,  which  nobody 
doubted,  has  been  shown  to  be  entirely  true."  (Hartley  Withers,  War  and 
Lombard  Street,  London,  1915,  pp.  38-9.) 


attendant  evils,  and  how  these  evils  may  be  somewhat  miti- 

It  is  impossible  to  measure  accurately  the  e£fects  of  industrial 
and  military  warfare,  but  we  can  gauge  these  effects  in  a  broad 
way  with  a  fair  degree  of  certainty.  Tariffs  for  the  restriction 
of  imports  are  imposed  for  the  purpose  of  conserving  home  mar- 
kets. But  they  are  certain  to  lead  in  the  long  run  to  the  loss  of 
foreign  markets.  This  is  because  of  1  the  so-called  '^favorable 
balance  of  trade"  which  is  created.  Tfo  country  can  continue 
indefinitely  with  either  a  favorable  or  an  unfavorable  balance 
of  trade./  In  the  end  imports  and  exports  must  balance  each 
other,  ^  that  if  a  protective  tariff  succeeds  in  excluding  imports, 
in  course  of  time  the  exportation  as  well  of  goods  and  of  services 
from  that  country  must  cease.  So  that  if  the  possession  of 
foreign  markets  is  desirable,  this  form  of  industrial  warfare  is 
very  foolish.  Fiuthermore,  it  interferes  with  the  international 
division  of  labor,  which  increases  greatly  the  total  production 
of  the  world. 

Colonization  schemes  also  are  usually  for  the  purpose  of 
securing  exclusive  control  of  certain  markets.)  A  nation  may 
succeed  in  doing  this  for  a  time.  But  it  does  not  usually  gain 
by  it  in  the  long  run.  For  as  soon  as  a  colonial  maricet  be- 
comes large  and  profitable,  it  become^  a  heavy  expense  to 
keep  it,  and  there  is  great  danger  of  losing  it.  This  is  be- 
cause other  nations  become  covetous,  and  before  long  there  is 
Very  likely  to  be  a  war  over  the  colonial  possession,  which  is 
almost  certain  to  cost  more  than  the  colony  is  worth.  Or  the 
colony  itself,  when  it  becomes  sufficiently  large,  is  very  likely 
to  revolt  against  exploitation,  and  to  win  freedom  or  a  high  de- 
gree of  autonomy  under  which  its  markets  are  no  longer  the  ex- 
clusive possession  of  the  mother  country. 

National  regulation  of  movements  of  population  is  always 
undertaken  from  a  purely  national  point  of  view,  and  is  not 
always  beneficial  even  from  that  narrow  point  of  view.  Further- 
more, it  is  very  likely  to  be  harmful  for  the  rest  of  the  world. 
Labor  is  a  conmiodity  of  international  value  and  importance 
which  has  become  fairly  mobile,  and  it  would  be  highly  desir- 
able if  its  distribution  could  be  regulated  by  international  agree- 
ment, thus  avoiding  at  least  in  part  the  wars  and  other  dis- 
turbances caused  by  migrations  of  population  and  the  injury 


caused  by  unwise  national  regulation.  We  shall  discuss  the 
r^ulation  of  immigration  so  far  as  tills  country  is  concerned  in  a 
later  chapter. 

Injurious  Effects  of  Military  Warfare 

Let  us  now  consider  briefly  the  injurious  effects  of  military 
warfare.  There  are  at  least  three  ways  in  which  industry  is 
injured  in  the  course  of  a  war.  In  the  first  place,  there  is  the 
direct  interference  with  industry  in  the  area  covered  by  the 
military  operations.  But  this  loss  is  likely  to  be  small  compared 
witii  the  otiier  losses.  In  the  second  place,  there  is  the  loss  of 
certain  foreign  markets  and  usually  to  a  certain  extent  of  the 
home  market  as  well.  It  is  obvious  that  the  markets  of  foes 
will  be  closed  to  each  other  during  war  time,  and  sometimes  for 
some  time  thereafter.  They  may  become  closed  through  block- 
ading or  otherwise  to  neutral  nations  as  well,  thus  causing  them 
injury.  The  home  market  also  usually  becomes  smaller,  because 
of  tiie  tendency  of  people  to  lessen  their  expenditures  during 
war  time  by  restricting  their  consumption.  In  the  third  place, 
there  is  a  loss  or  shortage  of  raw  material  and  other  necessary 
products  coming  from  the  countries  of  belligerents.  All  of  these 
losses,  except  those  from  direct  interference  (and  even  that  one 
also  sometimes,  vide  Belgium  in  1914  and  after),  fall  upon  neutral 
as  well  belligerent  nations. 

As  to  the  effects  of  these  losses  upon  the  working  class,  it  is 
difficult  to  generalize.  *  Wages  may  fall  or  they  may  rise,  unem- 
plo3anent  may  increase  or  it  may  decrease.^  The  loss  of  foreign 
markets  and  of  certain  parts  of  the  home  market  will  tend  to 
lower  wages  and  increase  unemplo3anent.  But  there  are  cer- 
tain compensating  factors.  The  war  usually  drafts  off  into  the 
army  a  considerable  number  of  men,  thus  lessening  the  supply 
of  labor.  The  war  usually  creates  a  big  demand  for  munitions 
and  other  equipmients  of  war  which  stimulates  the  production 
of  these  things.  These  compensating  factors  may  counteract 
the  forces  which  lower  wages  and  increase  unemployment. 

^  See  for  conditions  in  England  during  the  European  war,  J.  A.  Hobsoa, 
The  War  in  Us  Effect  on  Work  and  WageSy  in  the  FortnighUy  Rev.,  Jan.,  191 5, 
pp.  144-54;  H.  J.  Jennings,  Unemployment  and  the  War^  in  the  Nineteenth 
Century  and  After,  Jan.,  1915,  pp.  227-37. 


As  to  the  general  economic  results  from  war,  they  may  be 
stated  as  follows.  War  is  almost  certain  to  reduce  the  aggre- 
gate production  of  wealth,  thus  making  society  poorer  at  the 
end  of  a  war  than  at  its  beginning.  This  is  due,  as  has  been 
indicated,  to  the  destruction  of  property  by  military  operations 
and  to  the  cessation  in  the  production  of  wealth  during  the  war. 
It  goes  without  saying  that  most  of  the  goods  produced  for  war 
purposes  are  worthless  at  the  end  of  the  war.  This  means  that, 
unless  something  is  done  to  distribute  the  wealth  more  evenly, 
the  working  class  is  going  to  be  poorer  at  the  end  of  the  war. 

Furthermore,  the  means  of  production  available  at  the  end  of 
the  war  are  very  likely  to  be  smaller.  Owing  to  the  raduction 
in  the  supply  of  wealth,  there  is  likely  to  be  a  shortage  of  capital. 
Owing  to  the  destruction  of  human  life,  there  nmy  be  a  shortage 
of  labor.  To  be  sure,  this  loss  of  Uf e  may  sometimes  appear  to  be 
a  blessing  in  disguise.  As  we  have  already  seen  in  our  discussicxi 
of  the  growth  of  population,  war  has  been  one  of  the  forces  for  re- 
stricting this  growth.  But  even  if  we  grant  that  it  is  somewhat 
beneficial  in  this  req)ect  where  there  is  excessive  pressure  of 
population,  the  relief  it  brings  is  at  best  only  temporary.  We 
have  already  noted  how  powerful  is  the  vital  reproductive  force 
to  replace  any  loss  of  population,  and  this  force  is  very  likely  to 
be  artificially  stimulated  by  the  government  at  sudh  a  time. 
Furthermore,  the  loss  of  life  caused  by  war  is  largely  of  adult 
laborers,  many  of  them  skilled,  whose  bringing  up  and  training 
are  therefore  lost  to  society.  Infanticide  would  be  a  much  more 
economical  method  of  r^udng  population,  while  best  ol  all 
are  the  methods  which  have  been  suggested  in  the  preceding 

But  in  order  to  reconstruct  what  has  been  destroy^  by  the 
war,  and  to  bring  the  supply  of  wealth  back  to  the  normal; 
production  is  ahnost  certain  to  be  brisk  after  a  war,  within  the 
limits  placed  by  the  available  capital.  Furthermore,  because 
the  supply  of  labor  has  lessened,  the  surviving  laborers  are 
likely  to  get  better  wages  and  to  suffer  less  from  unemployment. 
In  other  words,  there  comes  a  period  of  prosperity  which  is 
beneficial  both  for  the  employer  and  for  the  worker.  It  is  indeed 
a  sad  commentary  upon  the  economic  organization  of  society 
that  the  period  immediately  following  a  war  is  frequently  mudi 
preferable  to  many  a  period  of  depression  during  times  of  peace. 


This  is  what  has  led  many  to  think  that  war  is  a  good  thing, 
because  of  the  stimvdus  it  apparently  gives  to  manufacturing  and 
trade.  But  it  must  be  remembered  that  this  industrial  activity 
after  a  war  is  largely  due  to  an  effort  to  get  back  to  the  condition 
which  existed  before  the  war,  by  making  good  the  losses  men- 
tioned above. 

Furthermore,  it  must  also  be  remembered  that  the  pa3anent  of 
the  cost  of  a  war  hangs  over  a  people  long  after  the  war  is  ended. 
No  modem  government  can  carry  on  a  war  very  long  without 
raising  special  funds.  This  is  usually  done  by  the  issue  of  long 
term  bonds,  which  are  piurchased  in  the  main  by  capitalists  and 
upon  which  interest  has  to  be  paid  for  many  years.  The  ques- 
tion as  to  who  pays  in  the  end  for  these  bonds  depends  upon  the 
incidence  of  the  taxes  by  means  of  which  they  are  paid.  Up  to 
the  present  time  it  is  doubtless  true  that  they  have  been  paid  for 
in  the  main  by  the  poorer  people,  upon  whom  indirect  taxes 
usually  fall  in  the  end.  So  that  wars  have  been  paid  for  mainly 
by  the  working  classes,  and  one  of  the  results  of  modem  war- 
fare has  been  to  furnish  another  means  of  transferring  wealth 
from  the  poor  to  the  rich;  for  these  bonds  have  usually 
furnished  safe  investments  at  fairly  good  rates  of  profit  for  tbe 
capitalists,  while  for  many  years  after  a  war  the  poor  are  con- 
tributing heavily  to  pay  the  interest  to  the  capitalists  and  ul- 
timately to  pay  back  the  principal.  If  wars  were  paid  for  by 
heavy  assessments  upon  the  rich  at  the  time  of  the  war,  or  by  the 
issue  of  bonds  to  be  paid  for  by  direct  taxes  upon  the  rich,  such 
as  inheritance  and  income  taxes,  a  war  would  no  longer  be  a 
force  for  making  the  poor  poorer  by  making  the  rich  richer,  tor 
while  the  poor  would  not  gain  anything  through  the  war,  tbey 
would  not  lose  as  much  as  they  do  now,  and  the  rich  would  not 
become  richer  at  their  expense.  It  is  quite  probable  that  if 
such  were  the  case,  there  would  be  very  much  less  war;  for  the 
rich  usually  have  a  great  deal  of  influence  with  governments, 
and  under  those  conditions  it  would  no  longer  be  to  the  interest  of 
the  rich  to  have  war. 

Furthermore,  it  is  hardly  necessary  to  call  attention  to  the 
heavy  expenditure  between  wars  caused  by  military  warfare. 
So  long  as  international  relations  are  based  on  the  theory  that 
the  econcHnic  interests  of  nations  conflict,  war  will  continue  to 
be  an  inmiinent  possibility  for  every  nation.     Consequently 


every  nation  must  maintain  itself  in  a  state  of  preparedness 
for  war.  This  means  constant  expenditure  for  munitions  and 
other  equipments  of  war,  and  for  the  services  of  fighting  men 
who  are  being  withdrawn  from  the  production  of  wealth.  And 
as  no  government  can  safely,  from  the  military  point  of  view, 
refuse  to  give  pensions,  for  a  long  period  after  every  war  of  any 
extent  there  must  be  heavy  expenditure  for  the  pa)anent  of 
pensions.^  In  most  cases  tiiese  expenditures  are  paid  for  by 
means  of  taxes  whose  incidence  falls  upon  the  poorer  people.* 

In  this  chapter  we  have  considered  briefly  the  political  factors 
in  the  causation  of  poverty  and  its  attendant  evils,  but  have  not 
attempted  a  statistical  measurement  of  the  harmful  effects  of 
these  factors.  We  have  also  not  attempted  to  determine  how 
many  economic  functions  should  be  undertaken  by  govern- 
ment. We  have  seen  that  much  could  be  done  to  naake  political 
organization  more  effective  for  public  service.  We  have  seen 
that  standards  of  efficiency  in  public  work  should  be  raised, 
and  that  the  exploitation  of  government  for  individual  interests 
should  be  prevented.  We  have  seen  that  the  relations  between 
the  local  and  national  administrations  in  this  country  should 
be  better  adjusted.  And  last  but  not  least,  international  polit- 
ical organization  should  be  developed  to  such  a  degree  that 
industrial  and  military  warfare  would  be  largely  eliminated. 

^  It  must  be  remembered,  however,  that  a  military  pension  system  serves, 
to  a  certain  extent,  as  a  national  system  of  old-^ige  pensions. 

'  The  Massachusetts  Conmiission  on  the  Cost  of  Living  in  its  report  issued 
m  1910  furnishes  an  abimdance  of  data  upon  the  cost  of  war  and  militarism 
In  general  for  the  poor. 


Changes  in  the  family  as  the  fundamental  economic  unit  —  Wa3rs  of  breaking 
up  the  family  —  Widowhood  —  Divorce  —  Family  desertion  —  D- 
l^timacy  —  Domestic  causes  of  poverty  —  Unique  importance  of  the 
individusd  —  Influence  of  the  modem  democratic  movement  upon  the 
family  —  Increasing  economic  independence  of  women  —  Greater  free- 
dom in  sexual  mating  —  The  personal  regulation  of  reproduction  —  The 
individuality  of  the  child. 

We  have  already  noted  in  our  chapter  on  the  standard  of 
living  that  in  human  society,  as  it  is  now  organized,  the  family 
is  to  a  large  extent  the  fundamental  economic  unit.  That  is 
to  say,  it  is  the  general  rule  that  the  child  derives  its  support 
as  a  member  of  a  family  composed  of  its  parents  and  their 
children.  In  similar  fashion,  but  to  a  less  extent,  the  woman 
derives  her  support  as  a  member  of  a  family  in  which  her  status 
may  be  that  of  daughter,  wife,  or  mother.  The  man  also  is 
usually  economically  identified  with  the  family,  but  as  distin- 
guished from  the  woman  and  child  he  ordinarily  furnishes  the 
economic  support  for  the  family.  However,  there  are  forces  at 
work  to  change  the  economic  character  of  the  family,  for  it  is 
already  true  that  a  good  many  women  are  earning  their  support 
independent  of  their  families,  and  in  other  respects  the  family  is 
changing.  So  that  the  following  brief  discussion  of  conditions 
in  families  which  lead  to  poverty  and  similar  evils  is  without 
prejudice  with  respect  to  very  extensive  changes  in  the  family 
which  may  take  place  in  the  future. 

There  are  at  least  three  ways  in  which  a  family  may  be  partly 
or  wholly  broken  up  which  demand  our  notice.  It  may  be 
broken  up  by  the  death  or  disabling  of  the  breadwinner,  by  the 
divorce  of  the  husband  and  wife,  or  by  the  desertion  of  either 
the  husband  or  the  wife.  From  such  a  breaking  up  of  the  family 
some  of  its  members  may  and  frequently  do  lose  their  economic 
maintenance,  while  it  usually  results  also  in  the  loss  of  the  bi- 



parental  rearing  of  the  children,  which  may  in  the  end  prove 
to  be  a  factor  for  causing  poverty. 


In  1910  there  were  in  this  country  1471,390  widowed  males 
15  years  of  age  and  over,  or  4.5  per  cent  of  the  male  population 
15  years  of  age  and  over;  and  3,176,228  widowed  females  15 
years  of  age  and  over,  or  10.6  per  cent  of  the  female  population 
15  years  of  age  and  over.  The  Census  Bureau  offers  the  follow- 
ing explanation  for  the  excess  of  widowed  females  over  widowed 
males:  —  "Probably  remarriage  is  more  common  among  men 
than  among  women,  and  this  may  explain  in  part  the  great 
excess  of  widows  over  widowers.  But  without  doubt  the  excess 
is  largely  due  to  the  fact  that  men  usually  marry  at  a  later  age 
than  women,  so  that  the  marriage  relation  is  more  often  broken 
by  death  of  the  husband  than  by  death  of  the  wife.  In  other 
words,  the  excess  of  single  men  over  single  women  has  as  a 
natural  correlative  an  excess  of  widows  over  widowers."  ^  It 
is  also  due  in  part  to  the  fact  that  more  married  men  than 
married  women  are  killed  by  industrial  accidents  and  diseases. 

The  widowhood  of  the  males  does  not  lead  to  much  poverty. 
When  a  man  is  widowed  without  any  children  he  is,  looking  at 
it  solely  from  the  economic  point  of  view,  almost  invariably 
better  off  than  before.  If  he  is  widowed  with  children,  it  will 
not  ordinarily  drive  him  into  poverty  if  he  is  not  already  poor, 
however  much  inconvenience  it  may  cause  him.  In  a  few  cases 
the  cost  of  caring  for  the  children  may  be  so  much  greater  than 
when  they  were  cared  for  by  their  mother  that  it  may  lead  to 

But  the  condition  of  the  widowed  female  frequently  is  pre- 
carious. When  she  is  widowed  without  children  she  may  be 
able  to  care  for  herself,  though  unfortunately  it  is  stiU  true  that 
there  are  many  women  who,  if  left  without  economic  support, 
are  quite  helpless,  and  consequently  become  dependents.  If 
she  is  left  with  children,  she  and  her  children  are  very  likely 
to  become  dependents,  and  widows  with  their  children  form  a 
considerable  part  of  those  requiring  private  and  public  aid. 
It  is,  however,  impossible  to  determine  how  many  of  the 
widowed  females  are  left  with  children. 

5  are  leit  witn  cmioren. 
^  Abstract  of  the  igio  Census ^  p.  146. 


But  widowhood  with  children,  whether  it  leads  to  dependency 
or  not,  inevitably  results  in  the  loss  of  the  bi-parental  rearing 
of  the  children.  In  many  cases  this  is  a  serious  matter.  In  the 
first  place,  the  presence  of  two  parents  with  their  differing  per- 
sonalities in  the  household  makes  the  home  environment  more 
varied  than  if  there  is  only  one  parent,  and  this  tends  to  develop 
more  fully  the  personality  of  the  child.  But  there  are  still  more 
specific  losses  from  the  absence  of  a  parent.  The  mother  (Mxii- 
narily  fiunishes  a  good  deal  of  disdpUne  in  the  home,  which  is 
of  value  for  the  development  of  the  character  of  the  child.  The 
father  is  ordinarily  able  to  assist  the  child  considerably  in  getting 
oriented  in  the  world  outside  of  the  home  and  in  starting  upon 
a  career.  So  that  the  loss  of  either  parent  may  hamper  the  child 
in  becoming  successful,  and  thus  indirectly  leads  to  poverty  and 

Owing  to  lack  of  adequate  statistics,  it  is  impossible  to  deter- 
mine how  many  family  breadwinners  of  both  sexes  are  disabled 
by  accidents  and  disease.  But  there  are  doubtless  many  cases 
where  such  disabling  leads  to  the  dependency  of  the  family,  and 
some  cases  where  it  leads  to  the  breaking  up  of  the  family.  Else- 
where in  this  book  are  furnished  data  regarding  accidents  and 
disease  which  throw  some  light  upon  this  subject. 


According  to  the  census  report,  there  were  in  1910  in  this 
country  156,162  divorced  males  not  remarried  15  years  ctf  age 
and  over,  or  0.5  per  cent  of  the  male  population  15  years  of  age 
and  over;  and  185,068  divorced  females  not  remarried  15  years 
of  age  and  over,  or  0.6  per  cent  of  the  female  population  15  years 
of  age  and  over.  As  the  Census  Bureau  points  out,^  this  is 
doubtless  an  imderestimate,  because  a  certain  number  of  the 
divorced  who  are  not  remarried  have  been  reported  as  single,  or 
as  married,  or  as  widowed.  However,  it  is  evident  that  even 
after  we  make  allowance  for  the  underestimation  the  number 
of  the  divorced  is  much  smaller  than  the  number  of  the  wid- 
owed, probably  being  less  than  one-tenth  as  great.  So  that 
divorce  is  of  little  importance  as  a  cause  of  poverty  as  compared 
with  widowhood. 

^  Abstrad  of  the  igio  Census,  p.  147. 


Furthermore,  it  is  very  probable  that  divorce  is  mudi  less 
likely  to  lead  to  poverty  than  widowhood.  Aca>rdii^  to  the 
census  reports  children  were  reported  in  39.4  per  cent  of  the 
divorce  cases  from  1867  to  1886,  and  in  39.8  per  cent  of  the 
divorce  cases  from  1887  to  1906.  As  the  Census  Bureau  says:  — 
"  If  the  percentages  based  on  the  total  number  of  divorce  cases 

■  ■M 



DuGBAM  13.  Annual  nukbbb  or  uauuaobs:  18S7-1906. 

are  accepted,  it  appears  that  children  are  affected  in  about  2 
cases  out  of  5."  '  We  have  already  noted  that  it  is  impossible 
to  determine  m  how  many  cases  of  widowhood  there  were  chil- 
dren. But  in  all  probability  the  percentage  is  much  higher, 
because  the  presence  of  children  acts  as  a  restraint  upon  the  in- 
clination to  seek  divorce,  llie  Census  Bureau  recognizes  this 
restraint  in  commenting  upon  the  excess  of  divorces  granted  to 
wives  over  those  granted  to  husbands.  It  appears  that  from 
» Special  Btport  on  Marriage  and  Divirct,  1867-1906,  Part  I,  WaahingtOD, 


1887  to  1906  in  66.6  per  cent  of  the  cases  the  divorce  was  granted 
to  the  wife,  while  in  only  33.4  per  cent  of  the  cases  was  it  granted 
to  the  husband.    In  46.S  per  cent  of  the  cases  where  the  divorce 

DuGBAM  14.  Annual  numbhb  or  mvobcks:  1867-igoe. 

was  granted  to  the  wife  children  were  reported,  while  in  tmly  26.0 
per  cent  of  the  cases  where  the  divorce  was  granted  to  the  hus- 
band were  children  reported. 

In  commenting  upon  these  facts  the  Census  Bureau  says:  —  "  la 
so  far  as  the  presence  of  children  acts  as  a  restraint  upon  the 
inclination  to  seek  divorce,  it  might  seem  that  it  would  have  more 



noN  FOB  THB  UNTiXD  sTAi^cs  AMD  cEKTAiN  rouaaN  commiKs:  1900. 


influence  upon  the  mother  than  upon  the  father.  This  important 
difference  exists,  however,  between  the  position  of  the  father  and 
that  of  the  mother  when  it  comes  to  the  question  of  getting  a  divorce. 
The  court  usually  assigns  the  children  to  the  care  of  the  mother. 
To  her,  therefore,  divorce  does  not  ordinarily  involve  a  separation 
from  her  children.  It  is  a  severance  of  the  marital  relationship  duly. 
To  the  father,  on  the  other  hand,  it  signifies  a  severance  of  the  parental 
relationship  also.  Both  [)arents  may  be  equally  averse  to  a  continua- 
tion of  the  marital  relationship,  but  the  father  may,  for  the  reason 
suggested,  be  more  reluctant  than  the  mother  to  take  the  initiative 
in  securing  divorce."  ^ 

Unfortunately  it  is  impossible  to  secure  exact  data  with  re- 
spect to  alimony.  According  to  the  census  report,  alimony  was 
granted  in  12.7  per  cent  of  the  cases  in  which  the  divorce  was 
grantc^fjbo  the  wife,  and  in  only  2.0  per  cent  of  the  cases  in  which 
the  dirorce  was  granted  to  the  husband,  while  even  in  the  latter 
casesAhe  alimony  frequently  yent  to  the  wife.  But  alimony  is 
frequently  secured  by  a  separate  and  distinct  action  apart  from 
the  divorce  suit,  so  that  the  above  figures  doubtless  greatly 
understate  the  number  of  cases  in  which  the  wife  secured  ali- 
mony. In  some  of  these  cases  the  wife  was  childless,  and  in 
most  of  these  cases  it  was  imjust  to  the  man  to  saddle  iqx>n 
him  the  support  of  his  ex-wife,  and  socially  harmful  to  furnish 
these  women  the  means  to  live  in  idleness.  But  in  many  of  these 
cases  the  wife  had  children,  and  in  these  cases  the  alim<Miy 
served  the  useful  purpose  of  keeping  the  children  and  their 
mother  out  of  poverty  while  the  children  were  too  young  to 
support  themselves.  So  that,  for  the  reasons  which  have  been 
stated,  divorce  cannot  be  regarded  as  a  serious  cause  of  poverty, 
however  dq)lorable  divorce  may  be  in  itself,  and  however  much 
unhappiness  it  may  cause  in  other  ways.  So  far  as  bi-parental 
rearing  of  the  children  is  concerned,  divorce  usually  prev^ts 
this  more  or  less  effectually,  though  in  some  cases  the  children 
are  able  to  have  some  intercourse  with  both  parents. 

Family  Desertion 

With  respect  to  its  causes  family  desertion  is  somewhat 
similar  to  divorce.    In  many  cases  it  is  due  to  marital  unhappi- 

*  Op.  cU,,  p.  41. 


ness  which  in  other  families  leads  to  div(Nxe.  Desertion  is  prac- 
tised in  the  main  in  the  poorer  classes  in  society,  such  as  manual 
workers  and  the  lower  grades  of  clerks.  Ignorance  and  poverty 
frequently  make  it  the  substitute  for  divorce.  But  in  other 
cases  the  deserter,  who  is  usually  the  husband,  is  a  skilled 
worker,  and  might  have  recoiu'se  to  divorce.  In  such  cases 
it  is  frequently  due  to  the  irresponsible  character  of  the 

It  is  impossible  to  determine  the  number  of  desertions,  but 
it  is  evident  that  desertion  must  differ  considerably  from  divorce 
in  its  results,  since  most  deserted  families  are  left  more  or  less 
destitute.  One  investigator  of  the  subject  stated  in  1905  that 
"reports  of  charitable  societies  show  that  from  year  to  year 
deserted  families  form  between  seven  and  thirteen  per  cent  of 
the  total  number  of  families  in  charge.  Twenty-five  per  cent  of 
the  commitments  of  chilc^en  to  institutions  in  New  York  City 
are  attributed  to  desertion.  Th^e  are  no  facilities  for  estimat- 
ing the  general  extent  of  the  practice  in  any  city,  because  it  is 
only  when  the  family  is  obliged  to  ask  for  help  outside  its 
immediate  acquaintance  that  the  facts  become  known."  ^  The 
same  investigator  studied  574  cases  of  desertion  in  different 
parts  of  this  coimtry  and  foimd  that  these  574  deserters  aban- 
doned 574  wives  and  1,665  children,  or  the  wife  and  nearly 
three  children  on  the  average.  Of  these  children  80.30  per  cent 
were  under  14  years  of  age.  An  explanation  of  the  desertion  was 
reached  in  386  of  these  cases,  and  it  was  concluded  that  in  245 
of  them  it  was  ap^>arently  chiefly  the  man's  fault,  in  46  cases  it 
was  apparently  chiefly  the  woman's  fault,  in  52  there  was  ap- 
parently equal  responsibility,  and  in  43  the  chief  responsibility 
was  in  circumstances  beyond  the  control  of  both. 

This  investigator's  general  conclusion  with  regard  to  the  deserter 
and  his  family  is  as  follows  :  —  "  The  typical  deserter  is  not  a  figure 
to  excite  admiration,  nor  even  much  interest.  He  is  yoimg,  able- 
bodied,  more  or  less  dissipated,  ca[)able  of  earning  good  wages,  but 
rarely  in  the  mood  for  making  the  exertion,  and,  above  all,  he  is 
lacking  in  the  quality  which  makes  an  obligation  to  others  outweigh 
considerations  of  personal  comfort  or  preference.    This  combination 

1  Lilian  Brandt,  Five  Hundred  and  Seventy-four  Deserters  and  Their  Fami- 
UeSy  New  York,  1905,  pp.  lo-ii. 


of  characteristics  makes  him  susceptible  to  attractions  of  various 
sorts;  it  inca[)adtates  him  for  dealing  in  a  philosophic  spirit  with  the 
elements  of  discord  which  exist  in  every  household;  and  it  prevents 
him  from  resisting  with  even  an  average  wUl  the  restlessness  that 
is  apt  to  call  every  one  at  times  away  from  the  ordinary  prose  of 
life.  He  may  be,  withal,  though  he  is  not  always,  of  a  personal 
attractiveness  that  makes  him  a  coveted  comrade  and  gives  him  an 
advantage  with  women.  The  typical  deserted  family  consists  of 
a  wife  and  two  or  three  small  children.  The  wife  is  a  woman  with 
no  special  preparation  for  any  phase  of  life,  but  as  far  as  her  knowl- 
edge and  resources  allow  she  does  her  part  toward  making  the 
home  what  it  should  be.  Frequently  she  is  compelled  to  be  the 
main  support  of  the  family."  ^ 

The  above  statement  is  perhaps  too  severe  upon  the  male 
deserter;  since  it  must  be  remembered  that  back  of  many  cases 
of  desertion  there  are  marital  difficulties  which  are  unseen  to 
the  outsider,  and  for  which  frequently  the  wife  is  at  least  partially 
responsible.  For  example,  die  spouses  may  be  imsuited  to 
eadi  other  sexually,  as  is  true  in  many  conjugal  imions.  But 
conventional  modesty  restrains  both  of  them  from  mentioning 
this  as  a  cause  of  disagreement,  while  the  conventional  standard 
of  morality  does  not  as  yet  recognize  this  as  a  good  cause  for 
separation.  However,  the  character  of  the  husband  is  probably 
the  chief  single  cause  of  desertion.  The  corresponding  bad 
traits  in  the  wife  are  not  so  likely  to  lead  to  desertion  on  her 
part,  because  she  is  usually  economically  dependent  upon  her 
husband.  These  traits  are  more  likely  to  drive  the  husband  to 
desertion,  thus  forcing  him  to  shoulder  the  blame  vicariously 
for  the  faults  of  his  wife.  But  whatever  the  causes  may  be,  it 
is  evident  that  desertion  leads  to  a  good  deal  of  dependency, 
while  it  deprives  the  children  of  the  aid  of  one  of  their  parents 
in  their  bringing  up. 


Under  the  present  social  system  there  exists  another  form  of 
maladjustment  which  leads  to  a  certain  amount  of  poverty  and 
similar  evils,  namely,  the  extra-matrimonial  matings  which 
result  in  offspring  which  are  stigmatized  as  illegal  by  the  law. 

*  Op.  cU.f  p.  63. 


The  attitude  of  society  towards  these  offspring  has  been  and 
is  such  as  to  hamper  them  greatly  in  their  careers.  The  position 
of  these  individuals  and  their  mothers  indeed  furnishes  a  most 
extraordinary  spectacle.  Whatever  may  be  thought  of  the 
conduct  of  the  mothers,  it  is  obvious  that  the  offspring  are 
entirely  blameless  so  far  as  the  circumstances  of  their  births 
are  concerned,  and  this  much  is  usually  conceded  in  theory. 
Furthermore,  a  certain  amount  of  sympathy  of  a  sentimental 
kind  is  sometimes  aroused  in  behalf  of  the  immarried  mothers. 
As  one  writer  on  this  subject  has  said:  —  "There  is  scarcely  a 
great  writer  of  fiction  who  has  not  somewhere  introduced  this 
figure  in  the  shifting  panorama  of  romance,  appealing  for  pity 
to  a  world  which  never  fails  to  compassionate  imaginary  woes; 
now  it  is  Effie  Deans  in  the  Heart  of  Midlothian;  now  Fan  tine, 
resting  by  the  roadside  with  Cosette  in  her  arms;  or  Hester 
Prynne,  pressing  little  Pearl  against  the  scarlet  letter,  as  she 
listens  from  the  pillory  to  the  sermon  of  Mr.  Dimmesdale."  * 
But  however  much  sentimental  pity  the  reading  public 
has  given  to  the  imaginary  troubles  of  the  heroines  of  fic- 
tion, most  of  these  readers  have  turned  with  scorn  and  some- 
times with  curses  from  the  prototj^pes  of  these  heroines  in  real 

Before  discussing  this  social  attitude  let  us  consider  the  extent 
of  illegitimacy.  Owing  to  the  inadequacy  of  vital  statistics  in 
this  coimtry  it  is  impossible  to  estimate  the  exact  amoimt  of 
ill^timacy.  But  in  all  probability  it  is  rather  low  as  com- 
pared with  most  of  the  world.  "In  Massachusetts  from 
1856-91  it  was  13  per  1,000  total  births.  In  Rhode  Island  in 
1901  there  were  13  illegitimate  per  1,000  total  births,  and 
in  Connecticut  in  1901  the  rate  was  11.6."  •  The  prevailing 
rate  is  much  higher  in  Eiu'ope  as  is  indicated  in  the  fol- 
lowing table: — » 

^  A.  Leffingwell,  lUegUimacy  and  the  Influence  of  Seasons  upon  Conduct, 
London,  1892,  p.i. 

•  W.  B.  Bailey,  Modem  Social  Conditions^  New  York,  1906,  p.  121. 

'  V.  von  Borosini,  The  Problem  of  Illegitimacy  in  Europe,  in  the  Am, 
Jour,  of  Crim,  Law  and  Criminology,  Vol.  4,  No.  2,  July,  1913,  pp.213- 


CoMPASisoN  Bbtwesn  Legudcatb  AMD  Illbgitiiiatb  BotiH  Rais 

Birthrate     ,aJS£^  Tatalcf 

Year     Country  per  1,000     ^2^  iUeg^ 

inhabitants     \f^4L^  matdy  bom 

1910  Switzerland 25.0     4.3 *3>90o 

1910  Ireland 23.3      2.6 2,800 

1910  England 24.8      4.5 36,< 

1909  Belgium 23.7      6.5 12,000 

1910  Italy 32.9      5.1 56,< 

1910  Norway 26.1      7.3 4iOoo 

1910  Germany 29.8      9.1 180,000 

1910  France 19.7    10.2 7i>ooo 

1910  Austria 324    13.7 118,000 

1910  Sweden 24.8    10.8 19,000 


The  above  table  indicates  that  there  are  probably  as  many 
as  700,000  illegitimate  births  in  Europe  each  year.  These 
figures  indicate  that  illegitimacy  is  considerable  in  extent,  and 
therefore  has  rather  extensive  results  arising  from  it.  Unfor- 
tunately, however,  it  is  difficult  to  secure  accurate  statistical 
measurement  of  these  results.  We  have  statistics  which  show 
that  persons  of  illegitimate  birth  are  represented  to  a  dispropor- 
tionately high  degree  in  prisons  and  reformatories  and  among 
prostitutes.  The  infant  mortality  of  illegitimate  children  is 
much  higher  than  that  of  Intimate  children.^  Some  of  these 
phenomena  can  be  explained  upon  other  groimds.  For  example, 
many  of  the  illegitimate  are  bom  of  mentally  defective  mothers, 
and  this  probably  accounts  in  part  for  their  presence  in  penal 
institutions  and  in  the  ranks  of  the  prostitutes.  Many  of  them 
doubtiess  have  a  bad  ph3rsical  inheritance,  and  this  accounts  in 
part  for  their  high  infant  mortality.  But  their  misfortunes  are 
due  in  part  to  their  treatment  by  society. 

We  shall  be  able  to  touch  only  very  briefly  upon  the  causes  of 
illegitimacy,  especially  inasmuch  as  they  are  exceedingly  com- 
plex and  varied  in  character.   Like  so  many  of  the  other  causes 

1  See  for  example  A.  Newsholme,  The  Elements  of  Vital  Statistics,  3d  ed^ 
London,  1899,  p.  131. 


of  poverty,  it  is  in  part  a  result  as  well  as  a  cause  of  poverty. 
Ignorance,  congested  housing  conditions,  and  other  results  of 
poverty  frequently  are  factors  in  causing  illegitimacy.  But,  on 
the  other  hand,  it  is  sometimes  found  in  a  proportionately  higher 
degree  among  the  classes  which  are  not  poor.  This  is  illustrated 
in  the  relation  of  illegitimacy  to  education.  Sometimes  it  is 
found  to  a  high  degree  among  the  relatively  ignorant.  But  in 
other  places  it  is  foimd  to  a  high  degree  among  those  who  are 
relatively  well  educated.  Sometimes  it  is  foimd  highest  in  urban 
communities,  at  other  times  it  is  highest  in  rural  communities. 
Religion  varies  greatly  in  its  efifect  upon  illegitimacy,  though 
certain  religions  seem  to  restrain  it  rather  consistently.  Legisla- 
tion with  respect  to  marital  relations  has  perhaps  the  most  dis- 
tinct effect  upon  illegitimacy.  If  legislation  tends  to  make 
marriage  and  divorce  difficult,  it  is  almost  certain  to  increase 
illegitimacy.  Some  writers  on  the  subject  believe  that  race  has 
much  to  do  with  illegitimacy,  and  this  may  be  true  in  part, 
though  probably  not  to  the  extent  that  has  been  asserted  by  these 

Domestic  Causes  of  Poverty 

Domestic  maladjustment  outside  of  sexual  matings  may 
sometimes  lead  to  poverty.  Perhaps  the  most  important  ex- 
ample of  this  is  where  disagreement  between  parents  and  off- 
spring leads  to  nmning  away  from  home  on  the  part  of  the  off- 
ering, which  may  in  turn  lead  to  vagrancy,  crime,  etc.  It  is 
obviously  impossible  to  measure  to  what  extent  this  form  of 
maladjustment  causes  poverty  and  similar  evils,  but  it  has  been 
noted  as  a  factor  in  a  sufficient  number  of  individual  cases  of 
poverty  to  make  it  worthy  of  note. 

The  above  discussion  indicates  in  a  very  general  way  how 
domestic  and  matrimonial  maladjustment  sometimes  leads  to 
poverty.  Some  of  the  ways  of  preventing  such  maladjustment 
will  be  discussed  elsewhere  in  this  book,  as,  for  example,  disease 
and  premature  death  which  leave  so  many  families  dependent.  ^ 
The  general  subject  of  the  prevention  of  poverty  will  be  discussed 
in  the  latter  half  of  this  book.  But  there  is  one  observation 
which  should  be  made  here  in  direct  connection  with  the  preced- 
ing discussion  which  is  of  great  significance  with  respect  to  the 
prevention  of  domestic  and  matrimonial  maladjustment. 



It  was  Stat 
doubtless  are  forces  at  work  which  may  change  greatly  the  char- 
acter of  the  family.    Perhaps  the  most  important  of  these  is  the 
tendency  towards  regarding  the  individual  as  of  unique  impor- 
tance, in  other  words,  the  modem  democratic  movement  in  its 
truest  sense.    T\m  movement  is  makii^  it  more  and  more  diffi- 
cult to  subordinate  the  interests  of  individuals  to  those  <^  such 
groi^  entities  as  the  family,  the  state,  etc.,  as  if  these  entities 
,     ^t-were  of  any  importance  apart  from  the  individuals  who  make 
D*u     them  up.    Men  and  women  are  ceasing  to  regard  with  fetishistic 
^'^     adoration  these  entities,  and  to  give  to  them  the  right  of  crushing 
out  like  juggernauts  the  happiness  and  hves  of  individuals.    It 
is  becoming  more  and  more  true  that  these  entities  are  being 
given  rights  only  in  so  far  as  these  rights  seem  to  promote  the 
,,,.  .  interests  of  the  largest  possible  number  of  individuals.  We  have 

^K-not  the  space  to  enter  into  a  lengthy  exposition  of  this  point, 
^/«     but  must  note  the  influence  of  this  movement  upon  the  phenom- 
^J    Jp     ena  of  maladjustment  discussed  above. 

J/Y       One  of  the  inevitable  results  of  this  movement  is  to  give  woman 

v^d  much  more  independent  position  than  has  usually  been  her  lot 

^'^in  the  past.   Thus  she  is  no  longer  regarded  as  merely  an  integral 

of  the  family,  but  as  an  independent  personality  as  well. 

le  result  of  this  is  that  she  is  winning  her  economic  independ- 

ice  more  and  more.    This  is  of  great  importance  with  respect 

fo  some  of  the  forms  of  maladjustment  mentioned  above.    If  a 

^oman  is  capable  of  supporting  herself,  neither  widowhood,  nor 

Y_     ^vorce,  nor  desertion  is  likely  to  throw  her  and  her  children  into 

,     J      a  state  of  dependency. 

'    N^       In  accordance  with  the  spirit  of  this  democratic  movement, 

L      l^both  men  and  women  will  doubtless  be  left  more  free  to  make 

\       tend  also  to  break  their  sexual  matings  as  they  choose.    This, 

Vf  course,  means  a  certain  number  of  separations,  perhaps  a  - 

good  many  of  them.    From  one  point  of  view  this  is  deplorable, 

since^jft  means  the  disappointment  of  many  hopes,  and  some- 

the  loss  of  bi-parental  rearing  for  children.    But  it  must 

lembered  that  in  most  cases  this  is  a  much  smaller  evil 




than  binding  together  permanently  those  who  are  imsuited  to 
each  other. 

Furthermore,  another  change  which  will  benefit  both  men  and 
women  is  boimd  to  come  as  a  result  of  this  democratic  move- 
ment, which  will  mitigate  greatly  the  evil  results  from  these  sep- 
arations. They  will  be  left  free  to  have  children  or  not  as  they 
please.  This  is  already  true  in  some  of  the  civilized  countries 
of  the  world,  and  it  is  to  be  hoped  that  it  will  soon  be  true 
in  this  coimtry,  where  barbarous  laws  still  try  to  prevent  men 
and  women  from  regulating  these  all-important  personal  matters 
for  themselves.  The  belief  in  the  righteousness  of  such  freedom 
has  ah-eady  gone  so  far  that  there  are  many  intelligent  women 
in  Europe  who  are  openly  demanding  the  right  of  free  mother- 
hood, that  is  to  say,  moUierhood  with  a  l^;al  status  outside  of 
the  marital  relation.  The  significance  for  our  purposes  of  this 
freedom  in  having  children  is  that  under  such  conditions  of 
freedom  couples  which  are  in  danger  of  separating  will  not  be 
so  likely  to  have  children.  It  will  doubtless  become  more  and 
more  true  that  only  those  couples  who  are  boimd  by  a  love  so 
deep  that  it  is  not  at  all  likely  to  be  broken  will  have  children, 
in  part  in  order  to  strengthen  that  bond.  So  that  the  evil  results 
to  the  children  arising  from  the  separation  of  their  parents  will 
take  place  less  frequently. 

It  is  true  that  free  motherhood  of  the  sort  mentioned  above, 
if  practised  at  all  extensively,  would  bring  many  children  into 
the  world  who  would  receive  only  maternal  rearing,  which 
would  be  deplorable.  It  is  possible  that  such  motherhood  is 
nevertheless  justifiable,  in  the  first  place,  on  the  basis  of  the 
general  principle  of  freedom,  and,  in  the  second  place,  in  order 
to  a£Ford  the  women  who  are  unable  to  seau*e  a  permanent 
mate  the  privilege  of  motherhood.  It  is  to  hoped  that  with 
the  growing  freedom  and  equality  between  the  sexes  a  con- 
stantly higher  proportion  of  men  and  women  can  become  prop- 
erly mated,  and  can  enjoy  parenthood  to  the  extent  desired  by 

Turning  to  the  effect  of  the  democratic  movement  upon  the 
child,  it  is  evident  that  the  child  will  be  regarded  less  as  merely 
an  integral  part  of  a  family,  and  m<^e  cmd  more  as  a  personality 
to  be  treated  as  such.  TTiere  is,  to  be  sure,  an  important  dis- 
tinction to  be  made  in  practice  between  the  treatment  of  the 


child  and  of  the  adult,  in  that  the  child  on  account  of  its  igno- 
rance and  helplessness  cannot  be  given  so  much  freedom  as  the 
adult,  and  must  to  a  considerable  extent  be  under  the  authority 
of  its  parents  or  of  other  adults.  To  this  extent  the  child's  per- 
sonality will  be  restrained.  But  the  state  as  the  central  organ 
of  society  should  do  everything  it  can  to  recognize  the  indi- 
viduality of  the  child.  Ilie  first  thing  it  can  do  and  should 
do  is  to  abolish  the  hideous  discriminations  against  bastards. 
The  distinction  between  Intimate  and  illegitimate  birth  should 
be  wiped  away  completely,  so  that  every  person  who  comes  into 
the  world  shall  start  widi  the  same  Ic^  status  as  all  others. 
Nothing  could  be  more  undemocratic,  to  say  nothing  of  the 
violence  done  to  the  individuality,  than  to  place  upon  any  one 
the  l^al  and  social  stigma  of  bastardy,  in  view  of  the  obvious 
lack  of  responsibility  of  every  living  being  for  all  prenatal  condi- 
tions and  acts. 

In  the  second  place,  while  it  is  doubtless  true  that  parents 
will  always  remain  lai^ely  responsible  for  the  rearing  of  their 
children,  the  state  should  stand  ready  to  guarantee  to  ^every 
individual  a  fair  and  equal  start  in  life.  Thus  the  children  who 
are  so  unfortunate  as  to  experience  the  misfortunes  which  have 
been  described,  would  be  adequately  cared  for  by  the  state. 

Domestic  and  matrimonial  maladjustment  can  never  be  en- 
tirely prevented,  because  there  will  always  be  a  certain  amount 
of  friction  in  human  relations.  But  it  is  to  be  hoped  that  with 
a  better  social  organization  much  of  it  will  be  eliminated,  at 
least  to  such  a  point  that  no  more  poverty  will  be  caused  by 
these  kinds  of  maladjustment. 




Poverty  as  a  self-generating  condition  —  Individual  causes  of  poverty  — 
Economic  causes  of  poverty  —  The  complexity  of  the  causes  of  pov- 
erty—  The  Socialist  theory  of  poverty  —  The  Sin^  Tax  theory  of 
poverty  —  Theory  of  poverty  as  caused  by  exploitation  —  Theory  of 
poverty  as  caused  by  waste  —  The  oiganismic  theory  of  poverty  — 
Poverty  as  one  Bspcct  of  social  evolution  —  Description  of  conditions 
and  misery  of  the  poor  —  Poverty  as  a  menace  to  society  —  Poverty 
as  a  cause  of  racial  and  national  decadence  and  degeneration  —  The  in- 
fluence of  the  ph3r8ical  environment  —  Cultural  factors. 

Let  US  now  review  briefly  the  preceding  chapters  of  this  book. 
It  must  be  evident  to  the  reader  by  this  time  that  the  causes  of 
poverty  are  very  complex  and  inter-related,  and  that  it  is  there- 
fore a  difficult  task  to  disentangle  and  analyze  them,  further- 
more, it  is  frequently  difficult  to  determine  whether  a  condition 
of  poverty  is  a  cause  or  a  result  of  poverty,  or  is  perhaps  a  mix- 
ture of  both.  It  is  doubtless  true  that  many  of  these  conditions 
are  at  first  results  of  poverty,  but  soon  become  causes  as  weU. 
This  fact  will  be  illustrated  in  the  course  of  this  chapter,  and 
gives  some  justification  for  the  statement  sometimes  made  that 
poverty  itsdf  is  one  of  the  greatest  causes  of  poverty.^ 

However,  poverty  is  not  a  spontaneous  phenomenon  in  the 
sense  that  it  is  entirely  or  even  in  large  part  a  self-generating 
condition.  That  is  to  say,  if  poverty  could  be  wiped  out  com- 
pletely tomorrow,  but  the  organization  of  society  remained 
much  the  same  as  at  present,  not  many  years  could  pass  before 

1  For  example,  Miss  Brandt  states  this  theory  when  she  suggests  that 
"poverty  is  itself  one  of  the  most  potent  causes  of  poverty  and  one  of  the 
most  responsive  to  treatment.  This  is  a  truth  Mr.  Bernard  Shaw  happened 
upon  the  other  day  in  London  when  he  said  that  the  whole  trouble  with 
the  poor  wtLS  their  poverty,  and  that  this  could  be  made  all  right  by  dividing 
among  them  the  money  contributed  for  charity  without  any  intermediate 
f^aste  in  salaries."  (Lilian  Brandt,  The  Causes  of  Poverty,  in  the  PoUHcai 
Science  Quarterly,  Vol.  XXIII,  No.  4,  Dec,  1908,  p.  647.) 



there  would  be  again  in  existence  almost  if  not  quite  as  much 
poverty  as  there  is  at  present.  This  would  necessarily  be  the 
case  because  such  factors  as  imemployment,  disease,  accidents, 
the  pressure  of  a  rapidly  increasing  population,  political  malad- 
justment, etc.,  would  still  be  at  work  to  create  poverty  anew. 
So  that  poverty  has  numerous  causes  other  than  itself^  and 
these  causes  we  must  now  discuss. 

Causes  of  Poverty 

The  central  fact  with  respect  to  poverty  is  the  smallness  of 
wealth  and  of  incomes  which  characterizes  the  poor,  llie  extent 
to  which  such  small  incomes  are  widespread  has  been  shown  in 
our  chapters  on  the  distribution  of  wealth  and  incomes,  the 
extent  of  poverty,  and  the  standard  of  living.  In  one  sense  this 
smallness  of  income  is  the  immediate  cause  of  poverty.  But  it  is 
more  true  to  say  that  it  is  the  peculiar  characteristic  of  poverty, 
and  the  causes  of  this  smallness  of  income  are  the  true  causes  of 

In  certain  chapters  of  this  book  we  have  discussed  character- 
istics of  individuals  which  in  those  individual  cases  were  the 
immediate  causes  of  poverty.  We  have  seen  that  disease  in 
many  cases,  deficient  mentality  in  many  other  cases,  render  the 
individual  incapable  of  seeming  a  living  income.  We  might 
add  that  old  age,  on  the  one  hand,  and  extreme  youth,  pn  the 
other  hand,  give  rise  to  the  same  condition  when  the  normal 
support  for  persons  in  these  age  periods  is  lacking.  It  may 
therefore  appear  that  the  causes  of  poverty  are  to  be  found  en- 
tirely or  in  large  part  in  the  characteristics  of  individuals.  But 
we  also  know  that  there  are  a  great  many  cases  of  poverty 
where  these  personal  characteristics  are  not  present.  Further- 
more, when  we  trace  the  causes  of  these  characteristics  we  find 
that  in  many  cases  they  are  due  to  featiu-es  of  the  present  day 
organization  of  society.  The  disease  or  the  mental  deficiency 
referred  to  above  is  frequently  due  to  the  kind  of  work  the  in- 
dividual is  forced  to  do,  or  to  the  conditions  under  which  he  fe 
forced  to  live.  The  lack  of  normal  support  for  the  young  and 
the  old  is  frequently  due  to  the  fact  that  the  source  of  such 
support  has  been  incapacitated  or  killed  off  by  the  conditions 
referred  to  above.    Such  being  the  case  we  must  turn  to  the 


Study  of  sodal  organization  in  general,  and  of  the  organization 
of  industry  in  particular,  in  order  to  find  a  more  adequate  ex- 
planation of  the  causation  of  poverty. 

Under  the  present  capitalistic  system  of  production,  most  of 
the  wealth  of  society  is  owned  by  a  comparatively  small  number 
of  individuak.  Because  of  the  control  given  by  such  ownership, 
these  individuals  are  able  also  to  seciu^  a  disproportionately 
large  share  of  the  income  from  the  productive  use  of  this  wealth. 
Now  the  majority,  composed  of  the  non-possessors,  might 
dispossess  the  possessors  and  then  take  their  proportionate 
share  from  this  income.  However,  whether  or  not  this  would 
actually  work  out  is  imcertain.  Many  students  of  this  question 
believe  that  this  would  reduce  greatly  the  amount  produced, 
if  indeed  the  whole  system  of  production  did  not  go  to  pieces 
more  or  less  completely,  so  that  the  workers  would  be  no  better 
off  in  the  end.  We  cannot  discuss  this  great  question  here,  but 
shall  touch  upon  it  later  in  this  book. 

There  is,  however,  another  way  in  which  the  workers  might  be 
able  to  check  the  control  by  the  capitalists,  and  that  is  by  re- 
stricting the  increase  of  population.  Inasmuch  as  labor  is  ab- 
solutely essential  for  production  and  is  subject  to  the  usual  laws 
of  supply  and  demand,  a  restriction  of  the  supply  of  labor  would 
probably  tend  to  increase  its  value.  It  is,  of  course,  possible 
that  restricting  the  increase  of  population  would  restrict  the 
demand  for  the  products  of  industry  to  an  equal  degree,  so  that 
the  value  of  labor  would  not  appreciate  in  the  end.  However, 
this  is  not  likely  to  be  the  case  because  of  the  disproportionate 
share  of  these  products  which  the  capitalists  receive,  so  that 
the  demand  for  these  products  is  not  likely  to  fall  as  much  as  the 
supply  of  labor.  Furthermore,  as  we  have  seen,  population  has 
probably  already  reached  a  point  of  sufficient  density  to  exert 
some  pressure  upon  the  supply  of  natural  resources,  so  that  the 
restriction  of  the  increase  of  population  would  afford  some  re- 
lief at  this  point  also.  At  any  rate,  we  will  not  discuss  this 
question  further  at  this  point. 

^Under  the  present  S3rstem  of  private  business  enterprize, 
production  is  very  irregular  and  more  or  less  unorganized.  Con- 
sequently we  have  alternating  periods  of  depression  when  little 
is  produced  and  the  demand  for  labor  is  small,  and  of  prosperity 
when  the  tendency  is  to  produce  too  much  and  thus  to  cause 



waste.  Out  of  these  and  similar  characteristics  of  the  fiTiating 
system  arise  imemployment,  the  sweating  system,  the  use  of 
unsuitable  labor,  numerous  accidents,  industrial  warfare,  and 
many  other  phenomena  which  become  more  or  less  potent 
causes  of  poverty. 

In  addition  to  these  conditions  is  the  fact  that  govemm^t 
has  not  as  yet  developed  very  far  towards  becoming  an  effective 
agency  for  creating  desirable  living  conditions  for  the  great 
majority  of  the  people. 

The  fact  that  the  causes  of  poverty  are  so  numerous  and  so 
extremely  complex  suggests  that  poverty  is  one  phase  of  the 
existing  organization  of  society,  and  perhaps  of  every  form  of 
social  organization.  In  most  discussions  of  tlie  causes  of  poverty 
the  tendency  usually  is  to  discuss  one  or  both  of  the  following 
questions,  namely,  as  to  whether  poverty  is  right  or  wrong  from 
die  point  of  view  of  the  responsibility  of  society  as  a  whole  or 
of  a  certain  group  in  society,  and  as  to  whether  poverty  is  avoid- 
able or  inevitable.  Furthermore,  the  tendency  in  these  dis- 
cussions is  to  be  unilateral  in  the  explanation  of  the  causes  of 
poverty,  namely,  to  recognize  but  a  single  or  a  very  few  causes  of 

The  present  study  of  poverty  is  purely  scientific  in  its  char- 
acter, so  that  we  are  not  interested  in  any  moral  questions  with 
respect  to  the  causation  of  poverty.  We  shall  discuss  in  a  later 
chapter  the  question  as  to  whether  or  not  poverty  is  inevitable, 
but  shall  be  able  to  answer  it  only  tentatively.  Furthermore, 
our  conception  of  the  causation  of  poverty  is  obviously  not 
unik|,teral  in  its  character.  But  for  purposes  of  comparison  and 
contrast  it  may  be  well  to  introduce  a  few  of  these  theories  at 
this  point. 

Theories  of  Poverty 

The  Socialists  ordinarily  account  for  poverty  on  the  ground 
that  it  is  caused  by  the  exploitation  of  the  worker  by  the  capi- 
talist. In  one  of  the  best  of  the  recent  statements  of  the  Socialist 
point  of  view  this  explanation  is  offered,  closing  with  the  follow- 
ing conclusion:  — 

"  Thus  our  present  system  falls  absolutely  to  satisfy  the  most  primi- 
tive need  of  food,  clothing  and  shelter,  for  a  large  section;  it  imposes 
absolute  failure  on  others  struggling  to  meet  that  need,  and  it  places 


such  great  difficulties  in  the  way  of  others  that  they  cannot  enjoy 
life  after  these  needs  are  satisfied;  it  makes  the  grip  of  the  vast  ma^r- 
ity  of  men  on  a  standard  of  life  which  is  but  moderately  comfortable, 
precarious  in  the  extreme;  it  secures  incomes  to  those  who  do  no 
service  and  by  allowing  the  growth  of  monopolies  it  tends  to  increase 
the  power  of  those  enjoying  economic  advantages  and  so  it  encourages 
exploitation.  .  .  .  The  Socialist  charge  against  capitalism  is  that 
it  is  a  method  of  exploitation,  and  its  development  produces  condi- 
tions which  forbid  and  render  impossible  its  continued  cpdstence."  ^ 

It  is  evident  that  several  of  the  assertions  with  regard  to  the 
present  S3rstem  in  the  above  citation  are  perfectly  true.  But  it 
is  not  necessarily  true  that  poverty  is  due  entirely  or  even  in  the 
main  to  exploitation. 

The  Single-taxers  also  account  for  poverty  on  grounds  of 
exploitation,  but  an  exploitation  not  so  extensive  as  that  of  the 
capitalist,  namely,  the  exploitation  of  the  land  by  the  landowner. 
Here  is  Henry  (Seorge's  explanation  of  the  causes  of  poverty:  — 

*^The  reason  why^  in  spite  of  the  increase  of  productive  power, 
wages  constantly  tend  to  a  minimum  which  will  give  but  a  bare 
living,  is  thatj  with  increase  in  productive  power,  rent  tends  to  even 
greater  increase,  thus  producing  a  constant  tendency  to  the  forcing 
down  of  wagesJ^ » 

Another  Henry  George  of  a  later  generation  broadens  out 
considerably  the  range  of  this  process  of  exploitation  which 
causes  poverty:  — 

"  We  have  foimd  the  uneqiial  distribution  of  wealth,  which  so  dis- 
tracts public  and  private  life  in  the  Republic,  to  be  due  to  Govern- 
ment favors  to  individuals,  operating  in  all  instances  as  if  private 
laws  had  been  made  expressly  for  their  benefit.  We  have  seen  the 
Government  favors  or  privileges  fall  into  four  general  classes:  monopo- 
lies of  natural  opportunities,  tariff  and  other  taxes  on  production 
and  its  fruits,  h^way  grants,  and  incorporation  powers  and  im- 
mimities.  We  have  seen  that  the  first  two  of  these  can  be  destroyed 
by  shifting  the  entire  weight  of  taxation  from  production  to  land 
values,  that  highways  should  be  taken  over,  and  that  then  would 
easily  follow  simplified  processes  of  incorporation  and  modified  ju« 
didal  practices." ' 

^  J.  Ramsay  Macdonald,  The  Socialist  Movement,  London,  191 1,  pp.  77-^. 

*  Henry  Geoige,  Progress  and  Poverty,  New  York,  191 1,  p.  28b. 

•  Henry  Geoige,  Jr.,  The  Menace  of  Privilege,  New  York,  1906,  p.  409. 


Still  another  recent  statement  of  the  Single-tax  thecny  of  the 
causation  of  poverty  is  as  follows:  — 

"  Herein  is  the  crux  of  the  social  puzzle.  Herein  is  the  explanation 
of  increasing  poverty  in  the  midst  of  increasing  wealth;  of  misery, 
destitution,  and  suffering  on  the  one  hand,  and  unimaginable  luxury 
and  waste  on  the  other.  In  this  struggle  for  the  use  of  the  land  and 
the  speculative  values  to  which  it  gives  rise,  is  the  solution  of  the 
paroxysms  of  industry  which  periodically  afflict  the  commercial  world. 
It  is  this,  too,  that  explains  the  vacant  fields  and  idle  workshops, 
while  millions  of  men  are  seeking  employment."  ^ 

Another  theory  of  poverty  based  upon  exploitation  is  that 
of  Novicow.  He  apparently  r^ards  poverty  as  being  due  to 
the  waste  caused  by  exploitation  in  general,  including  many  dif- 
ferent kinds  of  exploitation.  His  theory  is  briefly  stated  in 
the  following  citation:  — 


Chaque  ann6e  lliomme  produit  une  certaine  quantity  de  richesses 
par  son  travail.  Chaque  ann6e,  ^galement,  il  en  d6truit  une  partie 
par  Temploi  de  la  violence:  les  brigandages,  les  6meutes,  les  graves 
accompagn6es  de  destruction  de  propri6t6s,  les  guerres,  les  armements, 
etc.  L'homme  ne  pent  alors  tirer  de  jouissances  que  de  ce  qui  lui 
reste  apr^  cette  soustraction.  II  est  manifeste  que,  si  aucufie  sous- 
traction  n'avait  lieu,  la  somme  des  biens  edt  6t6  sup6rieure.  Violence 
et  richesse  s'exduent  r6ciproquement.  £t  c'est  evident,  k  premiere 
vue,  puisque  richesse  signifie  adaptation  du  milieu  et  que  la  violence 
est  une  action  sur  le  voisin  qui  Temple  d'op6rer  cette  adaptation. 
Toute  violence  est  du  temps  perdu,  done  une  niaiserie  et  une  absurdity. 
La  misdre  vient  de  la  spoliation.  Si  les  hommes  ne  s'6taient  pas  pill^ 
depuis  des  si^es,  il  y  a  beaux  jours  qu'il  n'y  aurait  plus  un  pauvre 
sur  la  terre.  Et  la  spoliation  Internationale  est  la  source  de  la  ^x>lia- 
tion  interne."  * 

Still  another  theory  which  la3rs  great  emphasis  upon  waste, 
especially  that  causcKl  by  luxury,  but  does  not  lay  so  much 
emphasis  upon^exploitation,  is  stated  in  the  following  citation:  — 

'^  Two  evils  now  stand  in  the  way  of  a  better  share  for  the  workers 
in  the  good  things  of  the  earth.    These  are  the  deamess  and  scarcity 

*  F.  C.  Howe,  Prmlege  and  Democracy  in  America,  New  York,  igio, 
pp.  116-7. 

*  J.  Novicow,  Le  prohUme  de  la  misire  et  les  phinomines  Sconomiques  natth 
rds,  Paris,  1908,  p.  361. 


of  ci^>ital  and  the  deamess  and  scarcity  of  food  and  raw  materials. 
Both  of  these  evils  every  one  of  us  can  help  to  correct  by  spending 
less  on  luxuries,  and  living  more  sensible  lives,  in  accordance  with 
a  more  genuine  standard  of  comfort,  based  on  our  real  wants  instead 
of  mimicry  of  the  extravagance  of  our  neighbours."  ^ 

A  statement  of  the  causes  of  poverty  which  is  somewhat 
broader  than  the  preceding,  probably  because  it  is  more  eclectic, 
is  the  following.  Referring  to  the  classification  of  the  causes 
of  poverty  the  writer  sa)rs:  — 

"  A  new  classification,  which  reflects  the  recent  change  in  thought, 
was  offered  at  the  National  Conference  in  1906  by  Dr.  Lee  K.  FrankeL 
It  consists  of  only  four  divisions:  ignorance,  industrial  inefficiency, 
exploitation  of  labor  and  defects  in  governmental  supervision  of  the 
welfare  of  citizens.  Logic  seems  to  demand  that  we  reduce  these 
four  causes  to  two,  cutting  out  ignorance  and  inefficiency  as  results. 
To  some  form  of  exploitation  or  to  some  defect  in  governmental 
efficiency  most  of  the  circumstances  which  we  commonly  regard  as 
causes  may  be  ascribed.  For  practical  purposes,  however,  these  two 
causes  must  be  broken  up  into  their  components,  and  to  account  for 
all  the  poverty  in  existence,  a  third  heading  must  be  used  e3Q)ressing 
ithe  defective  will  that  chooses  unwisely  in  the  face  of  knowledge 
(and  the  selfishness  that  evades  responsibility."  * 

It  is  evident  that  all  of  these  theories  are  too  tmilateral.  Or, 
at  any  rate,  each  of  these  writers  has  failed  to  state  his  theory 
in  such  a  fashion  as  to  indicate  the  multiplicity  of  the  factors  in 
the  causation  of  poverty.  The  Webbs  have  criticised  similar 
theories  in  the  following  words:  — 

"  There  are  those  who  hold — along  with  lhx>fessor  Bernard  Bosan- 
quet  and  the  Council  of  the  Charity  Organisation  Society  of  Lon- 
don —  that  destitution  in  all  its  forms  is  invariably  associated  with 
a  defective '  dtizen-character,'  a '  failure '  in  the  person  who  is  destitute. 
There  are  those  who  hold  —  along  with  Professor  Devine,  who  is  the 
Secretary  of  the  Charity  Organisation  Society  of  New  York  —  that 
practical  experience  among  the  poor  demonstrates  that  the  destitution 
of  great  cities  is,  in  all  its  manifestations,  essentially  the  result  of 
the  bad  economic  conditions  to  which  the  individual  is  subjected. 

^  Hartley  Withers,  Poverty  and  WasUy  London,  1914,  pp.  176-7. 
*  Lilian  Brandt,  The  Causes  of  Poverty ^  in  the  Political  Science  Quarterly, 
Vol.  XXIII,  No.  4,  Dec.,  1908,  p.  644. 


And  among  those  who  attribute  all  fonns  of  destitution  to  penonal 
'failure'  there  are  the  Eugenists,  who  ascribe  this  deficiency  of  the 
individiial  to  a  descent  from  a  bad  stock;  and  the  Educationalists, 
who  ascribe  it  to  defective  nurture.  These  abstract  controversies, 
which  delighted  the  Eariy  Victorians,  are,  we  venture  to  think,  amid 
the  concrete  scientific  methods  of  twentieth  century  administraticm, 
somewhat  belated."  ^ 

Nevertheless  there  is  more  or  less  truth  in  each  of  these 
theories.  There  has  been  and  doubtless  is  a  great  deal  of  ex- 
ploitation, in  the  sense  that  certain  individuals  are  supported 
by  the  productive  labor  of  others.  Parasitism  is  perhaps  a 
better  name  for  this,  because  in  many  cases  the  expldting  is 
done  unconsciously  by  those  who  benefit  by  it.  But  the  elimina- 
tion of  all  exploitation  or  parasitism  would  certainly  not  Ex- 
terminate poverty  completely.  Indeed,  until  a  radically  dif- 
ferent S3rstem  of  production  is  evolved,  a  certain  amount  of 
exploitation  is  probably  essential  and  inevitable. 

There  has  been  and  certainly  is  a  great  deal  of  waste  —  in 
production  through  ineffidency,  and  in  consumption  through 
luxury.  But  the  saving  of  all  of  this  waste  would  by  no  means 
prevent  poverty  entirely,  for  we  know  very  well  that  even  if  all 
of  the  wealth  of  the  world  were  divided  up  more  or  less  eqtially, 
the  share  of  each  individual  would  not  be  large  enough  to  give 
him  a  standard  of  living  which  would  put  him  well  above  or 
even  at  all  above  the  poverty  line.  So  that  the  amount  pro- 
duced will  have  to  be  greatly  increased,  as  well  as  the  amount 
which  is  wasted  saved,  before  poverty  can  be  abolished  entirely 
or  in  large  part 

A  more  philosophic  view  of  poverty  than  these  theories  is 
one  which  regards  it  as  a  disease  of  society,  or  as  an  abnonpal 
or  pathological  social  phenomenon.  Such  a  view  is  more  phil- 
osophic because  it  looks  at  poverty  from  the  point  of  view  of 
society  as  a  whole.  The  organicists  in  sodologyi  who  rq;ard 
society  as  an  organism  like  the  biological  organism,  have  pushed 
this  conception  of  poverty  to  an  extreme  which  is  absurd,  in 
view  of  the  fact  that  society  is  very  different  from  the  biologi- 
cal organism.*    Other  writers  have  called  poverty  a  disease 

^  S.  and  B.  Webb,  The  PrewenHon  of  DesHMion,  London,  igzi,  pp.  8-9. 
*  As  an  extreme  example  of  such  a  view  see  Paul  von  lalienfeld,  La  palkth 
logic  sociaU,  Paris,  1896.     Lilienfeld  regards  society  as  a  multioellular 


merely  in  the  sense  that  it  is  a  condition  which  is  bad  and  harm- 
ful from  the  point  of  view  of  human  welfare.  ^  We  ourselves 
have  taken  a  similar  view  of  poverty  in  our  chapter  on  path- 
dogical  social  conditions^  without  implying  any  organismic 
theory  of  society. 

A  still  more  philosophic  conception  of  poverty ,  and  one  which 
is  more  correct  sodologicaUy,  is  of  poverty  as  one  aspect  of 
social  evolution.  That  is  to  say,  we  regard  poverty  as  the  con- 
diticm  of  a  group  or  class  of  individuals  which  has  apparently 
been  one  of  the  vuecessary  products  of  the  social  process.  An 
explanation  of  its  existence  therefore  necessitates  a  thorough- 
going explanation  of  social  evolution,  which  fact  coincides  with 
our  view  of  the  multiplicity  of  the  factors  in  the  causation  of 
poverty.  Some  writers  who  have  studied  this  subject  in  this 
broad  fashion  have  inclined  to  the  view  that  poverty  is  the 
condition  of  these  who  are  being  eliminated  in  a  social  struggle 
for  existence  by  means  of  a  selective  process  which  is  similar  to 
natural  selection  in  the  organic  world.  But,  as  we  have  inti* 
mated  in  the  last  paragraph,  it  is  not  safe  to  draw  so  strict  an 
analogy  between  the  social  and  organic  worlds. 

Conditions  of  Poverty 

Turning  now  from  the  causes  of  poverty,  let  us  touch  briefly 
upon  the  conditions  of  poverty.  Some  of  these  conditions  have 
already  been  described  in  this  book,  and  more  of  them  will  be 
described  in  the  course  of  the  rest  of  this  book.  As  we  have 
already  noted,  many  of  these  conditions  are  the  results  of  pov- 
erty, but  have  become  its  causes  as  well. 

It  should  hardly  be  necessary  to  describe  the  conditions  of 
poverty  here.  There  can  be  few  if  any  readers  of  this  book 
who  have  not  seen  something  of  these  conditions  with  their 
own  eyes,  and  who  have  not  learned  much  about  these  con- 
ditions from  numerous  sources  of  information.  In  every  large 
dty  are  to  be  found  the  districts  of  congested  population. 

oiganisitt  with  a  novous  system  and  intercellular  substance,  and  describes 
economic,  Juridical,  and  political  diseases  with  therapeutic  measures  for 

>  See,  for  eiample,  S.  and  B.  Webb,  The  PrevetUian  of  DesHtuUtm,  London, 
19X I .    Chapter  I  is  entitled  "  Destitution  as  a  Disease  of  Society." 


Here  axe  the  dwelling  houses  and  tenements  in  which  many 
of  the  poor  are  crowded  and  live  in  conditions  which  are  un- 
comfortable and  insanitary.  The  furnishings  of  these  homes 
usually  are  insufficient  for  comfort  and  for  health.  The  food 
is  inadequate  and  of  poor  quality.  The  results  from  these  ccndi- 
tions  are  to  be  found  in  physical  weakness  and  widespread 
disease.  As  a  consequence,  tiie  adidts  are  inefficient  at  their 
work,  and  the  children  unable  to  learn  with  facility  in  the  sdiods. 
These  are  the  districts  in  which  the  morbidity  and  mortality 
rates  are  high.  Frequently  also  they  are  the  districts  in  which 
the  rates  for  crime  and  intemperance  are  high.  It  goes  with- 
out saying  that  forces  for  crime  and  intemperance  are  to  be 
found  everywhere  in  human  society.  But  there  is  no  doubt 
that  the  conditions  of  the  poor  stimulate  both  these  evil  tend- 
encies. This  is  peculiarly  true  of  intemperance.  It  is  in  the 
main  the  misery  of  the  poor  which  impels  them  to  seek  the 
temporary  relief  furnished  by  alcoholic  beverages,  thus  inevit- 
ably leading  them  to  a  far  worse  state  of  misery.^  Thus  it  is 
that  intemperance,  which  is  to  so  great  an  extent  a  result  of 
poverty,  becomes  as  well  a  potent  force  for  poverty. 

Under  these  conditions  it  is  hardly  possible  for  the  family  life 
to  develop  to  its  fullest  extent.  On  account  of  lack  of  leisure 
and  of  the  necessary  facilities,  both  the  children  and  the  adults 
fail  to  get  a  sufficient  amount  of  recreation.  For  similar  reasons 
there  is  obviously  little  opportunity  for  cultural  development 
among  the  poor. 

Nor  are  diese  conditions  Umited  to  large  cities,  for  they  are 
to  be  found  also  in  hovels  on  the  outskirts  of  small  towns  and 
villages,  and  even  in  the  open  country.  Furthermore,  most  of 
these  conditions  characterize  the  homeless  vagrants  and  men- 
dicants who  wander  from  place  to  place,  usually  in  greater  des- 
titution than  the  poor  who  have  homes. 

The  results  from  these  conditions  to  the  poor  themselves  can 
perhaps  be  best  simmied  up  in  the  one  word  misery.  But  there 
are  certain  evil  results  from  poverty  to  the  rest  of  society. 
Even  though  there  are  certain  individuals  who  profit  from  the 
misery  of  the  poor,  society  as  a  whole  suffers  from  poverty  in 
certain  wa3rs.    As  we  have  already  noted,  the  prevalence  of 

^  See,  for  a  discussion  of  this  subject,  a  monograph  by  the  present  writer 
entitled  Inebriety  in  Boston,  New  York,  1909. 


disease,  crime  and  certain  kinds  of  vice  is  stimulated  by  poverty, 
and,  as  all  of  these  evils  are  more  or  less  contagious,  their  prev- 
alence is  by  no  means  limited  to  the  poor  themselves.  The  cost 
of  caring  for  many  dependents  who  might  be  self-supporting, 
and  of  a  considerable  number  of  criminals  whose  crimes  are  due 
to  poverty,  falls  upon  sodety  as  a  whole.  Looked  at  from  the 
esthetic  point  of  view,  the  presence  of  poverty  is  a  blot  and  an 
eyesore  upon  civilization,  and  the  life  of  society  as  a  whole  will 
be  raised  to  a  higher  plane  and  made  more  rdGuied  if  this  blot 
can  be  removed. 

Poverty  and  Degenerateon 

Before  closing  this  chapter  it  may  be  well  to  add  a  few  words 
upon  a  subject  which  is  sometimes  discussed  in  connection  with 
poverty,  namely,  racial  and  national  decadence  and  d^enera- 
tion.  Some  students  of  the  subject  have  thought  that  such  de- 
cadence and  degeneration  have  in  certain  cases  been  due  en- 
tirely or  in  part  to  poverty.  Some  of  these  students  have  thought 
that  this  was  due  to  the  transmission  by  means  of  inheritance  of 
the  weakness  and  disease  caused  by  poverty,  or  of  the  effects 
of  such  weakness  and  disease.  Others  have  thought  that  it  was 
due  to  the  fact  that  poverty  encouraged  the  multiplication  and 
the  preservation  of  the  unfit,  either  directly,  or  indirectly  through 
the  unwise  philanthropy  stimulated  by  the  existence  of  poverty. 
But,  on  the  other  hand,  still  other  students  of  the  subject  have 
thought,  as  we  have  already  suggested  a  little  earlier  in  this 
chapter,  that  poverty  has  acted  and  does  act  as  a  selective  force 
for  the  elimination  of  the  unfit  in  the  social  struggle  for  existence. 
If  this  last  theory  is  true,  poverty  must  be  a  force  against  rather 
than  for  racial  and  national  degeneration. 

The  causes  of  racial  and  national  decadence  and  degeneration 
are  very  numerous  and  complex,  and  differ  greatly  from  one 
instance  of  such  degeneration  to  another.  Many  believe  that 
certain  races  are  very  inferior  in  their  ability  to  develop  or  to 
assimilate  culture.  It  is  probable  that  racial  differences  have 
played  some  part  in  determining  the  differences  in  the  cultural 
status  of  these  races.  But  it  is  very  doubtful  if  any  great  cultural 
differences  can  be  explained  solely  by  differences  of  race.  In 
every  one  of  these  cases  other  important  differences  as  well  can 
be  foimd. 


The  physical  environment  has  in  many  places  been  a  serious 
drawback  to  the  development  of  culture  and  the  production  oi 
wealth.  It  is  a  striking  fact  that  most  of  cultural  evduticm  has 
taken  place  in  the  temperate  zones,  and  not  in  the  tropical  or  the 
arctic  r^ons.  Great  heat,  excessive  cold,  an  arid  soil,  swanq)y 
ground,  mountainous  districts,  etc,  have  all  served  as  jfactors  to 
arrest  the  cultural  evolution  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  r^cms 
characterized  by  these  features.  This  fact  is  perhaps  illustrated 
most  strikingly  where  a  change  in  climate  has  arrested,  has 
driven  away,  or  has  destroyed  completely  a  culture.^  Some- 
times a  climate  has  assisted  indirectly  in  arresting  a  culture  and 
causing  it  to  decline  by  fostering  certain  diseases.* 

Cultural  factors  usually  play  an  important  part  in  bringing 
about  such  decadence  and  degeneration.  Certain  religious, 
moral,  and  economic  institutions  may  serve  as  arresting  and  ret- 
rogressive forces,  as  when  a  rigid  caste  system  impedes  progress, 
or  a  class  S3^tem  on  an  economic  basis,  in  which  certain  classes 
are  being  exploited  to  an  excessive  degree  by  other  classes,  de- 
velops. Cultural  relations  may  play  a  similar  part  in  various 
ways,  as  when  one  nation  is  threatened  by  a  stronger  one,  and 
when  a  weaker  people  is  subjected  or  enslaved  by  a  stronger 
people.  Migrations  of  peoples  may  play  a  similar  part,  as  when 
they  cause  an  excessive  degree  of  ethnic  heterogeneity,  thus  im- 
peding national  development. 

War  has  doubtless  played  a  considerable  part  in  caudng  racial 
and  national  decadence  and  degeneration.  There  has  been  a 
good  deal  of  study  devoted  recently  to  the  way  in  which  war 
has  caused  a  process  of  reversed  selection  in  whidi  the  physical^ 
superior  individuals  have  been  killed  off  while  the  wesiker  in- 
dividuals have  siurvived,  thus  leading  to  radal  degeneration. 

1 C/.  Ellsworth  Huntington,  The  Pulse  of  Asia,  Boston,  1907;  Palestine 
and  its  Transformations,  Boston,  191 1;  The  Climatic  Factor  as  Illustrated 
in  Arid  America,  Carnegie  Institution,  Washington,  1914. 

'  For  example,  there  has  been  some  study  of  the  influence  of  malaria, 
which  is  disseminated  by  mosquitoes  which  live  where  there  is  stagnant 
water.  It  is  believed  that  this  disease  played  a  part  in  the  dedine  of 
the  ancient  Greek  civilization  in  Greece  and  in  certain  Greek  cdonies, 
such  as  Paestum  on  the  west  coast  of  Italy.  Cf  W.  H.  S.  Jones,  Malaria 
and  Greek  History,  Manchester,  1909.  Malaria  has  probably  impeded  cul- 
tural evolution  elsewhere  as  well.  Cf,  Ronald  Ross  et  al.,  Report  of  the 
Malaria  ExpediHon,  Liverpool,  1900. 


It  should,  however,  be  remembered  that,  on  the  other  hand,  war 
has  also  been  a  beneficial  selective  force  by  eliminating  in  part 
certain  widesirabk  types,  such  as  the  turbulent,  the  refractory, 
and  the  un;iympathetic. 

Various  alarmist  writers  of  the  present  day  assert  that  certain 
features  of  our  modem  civilization  are  powerful  forces  for  de- 
cadence. It  is  asserted  that  the  pressure  of  a  very  complex 
civilization  gives  rise  to  neurotic  tendencies  which  manifest 
themselves  in  certain  forms  of  art  and  literature,  in  an  increase 
of  suicide,  and  in  many  other  ways.  Some  assert  that  national 
virility  is  frequently  sacrificed  for  advancement  along  certain 
cultural  lines,  as  illustrated  in  modem  humanitarianism,  the 
decline  of  patriotism,  anti-militarism,  the  development  of  in- 
dividualism, evolution  along  certain  esthetic  lines,  etc.  With 
respect  to  this  country  in  particular,  it  is  asserted  that  inunigra- 
tion  is  causing  an  excessive  degree  of  ethnic  and  cultural  het- 
erogeneity, and  that  there  is  a  large  abnormal  element  in  the 
immigration  to  America  composed  of  many  defective,  dependent, 
and  criminal  immigrants. 

Now  it  is  evident  that  many  of  these  factors  give  rise  to 
poverty  by  restricting  the  production  of  wealth  and  by  causing 
its  unequal  distribution.  The  poverty  thus  brought  into  exist- 
oice  may  in  tum  become  a  factor  for  hastening  the  process  of 
decadence  and  degeneration.  But  it  is  very  doubtful  if  in  any 
or  many  of  these  cases  poverty  was  the  initial  or  the  principal 
cause  of  this  process.  It  is  evident  that  poverty  could  not  have 
such  an  effect  through  the  hereditary  transmission  of  physical 
and  mental  traits  caused  in  the  individual  by  poverty,  for  we 
know  that  acquired  characters  cannot  be  inherited.  With  re- 
spect to  whether  poverty  is  a  good  or  a  bad  selective  force,  we 
hieive  seen  that  there  is  difference  of  opinion.  Unfortunately 
we  know  very  little  as  yet  with  r^;ard  to  the  selective  process 
among  men  in  human  society. . 

As  one  writer  has  said:  —  "  One  of  the  great  books  of  our  century 
will  be  some  day  written  on  the  selection  of  men,  the  screening  of 
himian  life  through  the  actions  of  man  and  the  operation  of  the  insti- 
tutions men  have  built  up.  It  will  be  a  siurvey  of  the  stream  of  social 
histoiy,  its  whirls  and  eddies,  rapids  and  still  waters,  and  the  effect 
of  each  and  all  of  its  conditions  on  the  heredity  of  men.  The  sur- 
vival of  the  fit  and  the  unfit  in  all  degrees  and  conditions  will  be 


its  subject-matter.  ...  It  will  set  down  soberly  and  statistically 
the  array  of  facts  which  as  yet  no  one  possesses;  and  the  new  Dar- 
win whose  work  it  shall  be  must,  like  his  predecessor,  spend  twenty- 
five  years  in  the  gathering  of  'all  facts  that  can  possibly  bear  on 
the  question.'"* 

It  is  quite  probable  that  unwise  philanthropy  has  checked 
natural  selection  somewhat,  and  has  thereby  done  harm.  But 
it  is,  to  say  the  least,  highly  improbable  that  poverty  has  to  any 
great  extent  been  a  factor  for  racial  and  national  decadence  and 
degeneration  in  the  past.  Whether  or  not  it  will  be  so  in  the 
future,  it  is  still  more  dfficult  to  say. 

*  D.  S.  Jordan,  The  Human  Harvest,  A  Study  of  the  Decay  of  Races  through 
the  Survival  of  the  Unfit,  Boston,  191 2,  pp.  119-20. 



InsdDctive  and  affective  causes  of  humanity  and  cruelty  —  Intelligence  and 
the  ^mpathetic  imagination  —  Recent  increase  of  humanitarianism  — 
Not  caused  by  changes  in  human  nature  —  The  Christian  theory  of 
humanitarianium  —  Comparison  of  the  humanitarian  influence  of  reli- 
gion and  science  —  Christian  influence  for  and  against  humanitarianisqi 
—  The  ethical  theory  of  humanitarianism — The  causes  of  modem 
hnmanitarianifgn ;  the  renascence  of  learning;  the  industrial  revolution; 
the  theory  of  evolution;  etc  —  Types  of  humanitarians  —  The  emo- 
ticmal  type  —  The  sentimental  type  —  The  intdlectual  type  —  Charity 
versus  Bodal  justice. 

The  co-existence  in  human  nature  of  the  traits  which  are  or- 
dinarily called  humanity  and  cruelty  i^pears  to  be  a  strange 
anomaly.  This  anomaly  manifests  itself  in  many  different 
forms  in  individual  cases  and  at  different  times  and  places.  The 
savage  may  display  the  most  inexorable  cruelty  towards  all 
human  beings  not  belonging  to  his  own  small  social  group,  and 
yet  show  the  tenderest  r^ard  for  his  own  offspring.  The  crim- 
inal may  murder  his  victim  in  cold  blood,  and  yet  devote  a 
loving  care  to  an  animal  pet.  The  peoples  of  modem  civilized 
nations  are  displaying  much  concern  over  the  welfare  of  the 
pooTf  and  yet  with  the  utmost  readiness  rush  into  wars  with 
each  other  which  cause  untold  suffering  and  loss  of  life. 

Inshnctive  and  Apfecitve  Causes  of  Hxtmanity  and 


This  apparent  anomaly  can  be  e]q>lained  only  on  the  basis  of 
the  evolution  of  human  natiure  in  general.  In  the  course  of  this 
evolution  there  have  developed  certain  characteristics  which 
seem  incompatible  with  each  other.  Thus  there  are,  on  the 
one  hand,  certain  traits  which  promote  the  preservation  of  the 
individual.  These  include  the  aggressive  tendencies  which  aid 
the  individual  in  defending  himself  and  impel  him  to  prey  upon 



Others.  By  some  psychologists  these  aggressive  tendencies  are 
grouped  under  the  head  of  the  instinct  of  pugnacity  or  the 
combative  instinct,  and  the  affective  state  which  ordinarily 
accompanies  it  is  the  emotion  of  anger.  Furthermore,  the 
sexual  and  the  parental  instincts  may  impel  the  individual  to 
commit  aggressive  acts  against  those  who  attempt  to  thwart 
his  desires. 

On  the  other  hand,  certain  other  traits  impel  the  individual 
to  perform  acts  which  promote  the  welfare  of  the  species.  Thus 
the  sexual  and  parentaJ  instincts  and  their  accompanying  states 
of  feeling  impel  the  individual  to  do  things  for  the  persons  toward 
whom  those  instincts  are  directed,  and  in  these  acts  we  find  the 
germs  of  altruism.  It  is  believed  by  many  that  there  are  also 
social  instincts  which  impel  individuals  to  do  things  for  their 
fellows,  apart  from  the  sexual  and  parental  relationships.  It  is 
doubtful  if  there  is  any  distinct  social  instinct,  but  a  number  of 
traits  make  man  social. 

We  have  not  the  space  here  to  describe  and  analyze  in  detail 
the  numerous  instincts  and  feelings  which  play  a  part  in  causing 
humanity  and  cruelty,  or  to  analyze  the  complex  forms  in 
which  these  traits  b^ome  combined  with  each  other.  ^  Nor 
can  we  discuss  the  indirect  and  therefore  unexpected  and  some- 
times abnormal  ways  in  which  these  traits  lead  sometimes  to 
humanity  and  at  other  times  to  cruelty.*  But  it  is  evident  that 
these  traits  are  fundamental  in  human  nature,  and  will  there- 
fore alwa}^  remain  as  permanent  forces  for  humanity  and  for 
cruelty.  We  must  now  turn  to  another  aspect  of  human  nature, 
which  pla3rs  an  important  part  in  the  causation  of  humanity 
and  cruelty. 

Intelligence  and  the  Sympathetic  Imagination 

The  inteUect  is  a  factor  sometimes  for  humanity  and  some- 
times for  cruelty.    The  foresight  which  intelligence  makes  pos- 

^  The  literature  of  modem  psychology  contains  many  data  with  regard 
to  the  instincts  and  feelings.  The  present  writer  has  discussed  these  traits 
at  some  length  in  his  book  entitled  The  Science  of  Enman  Behamor,  Buh 
logical  and  Psychological  Foundations,  New  York,  19 13. 

*  For  example,  tiie  sexual  instinct  rouses  in  some  individuals  the  Mt^i<^ 
impulse  to  inflict  pain  upon  others,  while  in  other  individuals  it  rouses  the 
masochistic  desire  to  have  pain  inflicted  upon  one's  self. 


sible  may  lead  the  individual  to  do  injury  to  others,  in  antidpa- 
ticm  of  diereby  gaining  something  for  himself.  Or  it  may  lead 
him  under  other  circumstances  to  perform  services  for  others, 
where  such  benevolence  will  probably  redoimd  to  his  own  benefit. 
Furthermore,  the  intelligence  makes  possible  the  sympathetic 
imagination  which  enables  the  individual  to  recognize  the 
suffering  of  others  as  akin  to  the  pain  which  he  himself  some- 
times experiences.  This  recognition  usually  gives  rise  to  a 
feeling  of  discomfort  which  may  inhibit  him  from  inflicting  pain 
upon  others  or  may  destroy  the  callous  indifference  with  which 
he  would  otherwise  regard  suffering  in  others,  and  may  lead 
him  to  take  active  measures  for  the  relief  of  those  in  pain.^ 

These  instincts  and  feelings  and  intelligence  have  existed  in 
man  since  the  origin  of  the  human  spedes,  so  that  men  have 
alwa}^  displayed  these  tendendes  towards  crudty,  on  the  one 
hand,  and  towards  humanity,  on  the  other  hand.  We  have  not 
the  space  here  to  trace  the  devdopment  of  humanitarianism  in 
the  past.  But  the  historical  data  which  we  possess  show  that 
the  degree  and  kind  of  humanitarianism  at  any  time  and  place 
have  depended  upon  many  circiunstances,  such  as  the  physical 
environment,  the  amount  and  kind  of  knowledge  possessed  by 
the  community,  the  prevailing  moral  ideas  and  rdigious  beliefs, 
the  relation  of  the  community  to  other  communities,  and  many 
other  circumstances. 

Furthermore,  history  seems  to  indicate  that  as  a  general  rule 
humanitarianism  has  broadened  its  scope  and  has  extended 
over  a  wider  range  as  the  social  group  has  increased  in  size  in 
the  course  of  social  evolution.  Thus  the  humanity  of  the  primi- 
tive savage  was  restricted  entirely  or  almost  entirdy  to  the 
members  of  the  horde  or  clan  or  small  tribal  group  to  which 
he  bdonged,  while  all  the  rest  of  mankind  were  his  enemies. 
But  as  the  social  group  expanded  so  as  to  become  in  course  of 
time  national  and  to  a  certain  extent  international  in  its  scope, 
the  hiunanitarian  interests  of  mankind  extended  their  range  in 
similar  fashion.  This  is  to  be  explained  on  the  basis  of  the  func- 
tion of  the  intelligence  described  above.   As  the  group  increased 

^  According  to  some  students  of  the  subject,  all  humanitarianism,  and  in- 
deed all  morality  as  well,  has  grown  out  of  sympathy.  For  an  extreme  form 
of  this  theory  see  Alex.  Sutherland,  The  Origin  and  Growth  of  the  Moral 
InsUnd,  London,  1898. 


in  size,  the  interests  of  the  individual  cdndded  with  an  ever- 
increasing  number  of  individuals,  thus  leading  the  individual 
to  r^;ard  the  interests  of  these  individuals  as  his  own.  Further- 
more, this  increase  in  the  size  of  the  social  group  increased  the 
number  of  individuals  of  whom  the  individual  had  knowledge 
and  whom  he  recognized  as  being  of  the  same  kind  as  himself  , 
thus  extending  greatly  the  range  of  his  sympathetic  imagination. 
On  the  basis  of  the  forces  and  circumstances  which  have  been 
stated  can  doubtless  be  e]q>lained  all  the  changes  which  have 
taken  place  in  the  past  in  the  character  and  extent  of  himiani- 
tarianism.  If  we  had  the  space,  it  would  be  interesting  and  prof- 
itable to  discuss  the  causes  of  the  manifestations  of  humani- 
tarianism  in  ancient  Greece  and  Rome,  in  India,  in  China,  and 
at  many  other  times  and  places.  But  it  is  essential  that  we 
devote  some  attention  to  the  causes  of  the  great  modem  hu- 
manitarian movement,  for  otherwise  it  is  impossible  to  under- 
stand the  efforts  being  made  to  relieve  and  abolish  poverty 
and  its  attendant  evils. 

Recent  Increase  of  Huicanitarianism 

We  have  an  abundance  of  evidence  that  humanitarianism 
has  extended  greatly  in  its  range  during  very  recent  times. 
We  need  not  go  back  more  than  a  century  in  the  Occidental 
world  to  find  that  the  criminal  was  being  treated  with  much 
greater  severity  than  at  present,  that  there  was  little  general 
interest  in  the  welfare  of  the  poor  aside  from  personal  almsgiving, 
that  human  slavery  still  existed  extensively,  that  the  position 
of  woman  was  much  lower  than  it  is  at  (Hesent,  that  there  was 
little  interest  in  the  welfare  of  animals.  During  the  last  few 
decades  has  taken  place  a  vast  amount  of  social  l^islation 
to  improve  the  condition  of  the  working  class,  to  lessen  pov- 
erty, to  ameliorate  the  condition  of  the  criminal,  to  give  better 
care  to  the  sick  and  the  insane.  During  the  same  period  there 
have  been  extensive  private  philanthropic  movements  directed 
towards  the  same  ends.  Much  has  been  accomplished  towards 
placing  woman  upon  an  equality  with  man.  There  has  been 
much  effort  devoted  to  the  prevention  of  cruelty  to  animals. 
Much  has  been  done  by  means  of  international  agreements  to 
regulate  warfare  in  order  to  make  it  less  cruel,  and  to  lessen  the 


suffering  caused  by  it  by  means  of  the  Red  Cross.  There  has 
been  an  extensive  movement  to  prevent  and  to  abolish  war 

This  sudden  rise  of  humanitarianism  in  recent  times  has  been 
a  most  remarkable  phenomenon.  At  first  sight  it  n)ay  be  diffi- 
cult to  discern  why  it  should  have  taken  place,  and  various  expla,- 
nations  for  it  have  been  offered,  the  principal  ones  of  which  we 
will  consider. 

It  may  appear  as  if  this  phenomenon  was  due  to  a  sudden 
change  in  human  nature  which  made  man  much  more  humane 
than  he  had  been.  This  e]q>lanation  has  been  offered  by  a  few 
writers  who  have  discussed  the  matter.  Perhaps  the  ablest 
presentation  of  this  view  has  been  made  by  Sutherland.  This 
writer  has  argued  that  a  process  of  selection  has  taken  place 
which  smce  the  Middle  Ages  has  eliminated  the  unsympathetic 
types  and  has  increased  greatly  the  amount  of  sympathy  in 
human  beings. 

Stated  in  his  own  words  his  theory  is  as  follows:  — "  It  is,  I  am 
convinced,  an  actual  systemic  change  which  has  been  the  cause 
of  the  great  development  of  sympathy  in  the  past.  A  man  fairly 
typical  of  the  modem  standard  of  sympathy  would  rather  have 
a  hand  cut  off  than  that  any  person  should  be  killed  by  his  fault. 
One  of  our  ancestors  of  1,000  years  ago  would  without  compunction 
have  slaughtered  thirty  persons  to  save  his  own  hand.  If  we  analyse 
the  motives,  we  find  that  they  are  in  no  way  concerned  with  justice 
or  righteousness,  what  we  have  been  told  by  others  or  what  we  have 
reasoned  out  for  ourselves.  Our  reluctance  to  cause  the  death  of 
another  is  based  on  certain  instinctive  aversions,  which  were  much 
less  devebped  among  our  ancestors."  ^ 

His  eiq;)lanation  of  the  causes  of  this  change  in  the  constitu- 
tion of  man  is  as  follows:  —  ''The  clever,  but  heartless  fellow,  has 
a  less  chance  of  ultimate  success  and  eventual  representation  in 
posterity  than  one  less  clever  but  better  equipped  with  those  qual- 
ities wMch  win  friends,  gain  a  wife's  devotion  and  foster  a  family's 
hai^>y  affection.  So,  too,  with  nations.  If  the  prevailing  type  be 
crafty  but  selfish,  the  strength  of  a  people  will  dissolve  in  (hstrust 
and  disunion.  Simpler  folks,  welded  by  ardent  patriotism,  secured 
within  by  the  prevalence  of  a  sincere  and  unaffected  friendliness, 
and  pursuing  their  honest  paths  in  multitudes  of  homes  that  are  full 
of  family  devotion,  will  have  better  prospect  of  ultimately  prevailing. 

*  Op.  cU.,  VoL  n,  p.  4. 


It  may  seem  fantastic  to  assert  that  within  historic  times  actual 
physiological  differences  of  nerve  structure  can  have  devel<^>ed  in 
the  race.  Yet  it  is  a  sober  fact,  though  demonstrable  as  yet  by 
only  indirect  proofs."  ^ 

But  this  e]q>Ianation  is  far  from  convincing.  In  the  first 
place,  adequate  reasons  are  not  given  to  explain  why  this  se- 
lective process  did  not  take  place  many  himdred  if  not  thousands 
of  years  before  the  time  when  Sutherland  allies  it  took  place. 
In  the  second  place,  even  if  we  grant  that  it  did  take  place  at 
the  time  named,  the  growth  of  sympathy  alone  could  hardly 
accoimt  for  the  great  rise  of  humanitarianism,  for,  as  we  have 
seen,  various  factors  in  addition  to  sympathy  play  a  part  in 
causing  humanitarianism. 

We  have  not  the  space  to  review  all  the  data  which  are  of 
significance  with  respect  to  this  question.  But  they  indicate 
that  the  changes  in  the  instinctive,  affective,  and  intellectual 
traits  of  man  have  been  too  slight  diuing  the  last  few  centuries, 
and,  for  that  matter,  millenniiuns,  to  account  for  so  great  a 
movement  as  the  modem  humanitarian  movement.  So  that  we 
must  look  elsewhere  for  an  explanation  of  this  movement. 

Christian  Theory  of  HuMANixARiANisif 

Another  explanation  of  the  modem  humanitarian  movement, 
which  is  perhaps  the  most  widely  believed,  is  that  it  is  due  to 
religion  and  to  the  Christian  religion  in  particular.  The  first 
thought  that  this  theory  naturally  suggests  b  that  religion  has 
been  in  existence  for  several  thousands  of  years  at  least  and  the 
Christian  religion  for  nearly  two  thousand  years,  while  the 
modem  humanitarian  movement  dates  back  only  a  couple  of 
centuries  or  so.  The  supporters  of  this  theory  are  in  the  habit 
of  at  once  replying  to  this  objection  to  then:  theory  that  the 
drcmnstances  were  not  suitable  for  Christianity  to  manifest 
its  humanitarian  influence  until  recently.  But  it  is  obvious  that 
in  replying  thus  they  are  at  once  relinquishing  most  of  their 
theory,  for  they  are  admitting  that  other  factors  were  involved 
in  the  causation  of  the  modem  humanitarian  movement,  and 
these  factors  may  have  been  much  more  potent  than  Chris- 

*  Op.  cU.,  VoL  n,  pp.  4-5. 


When  we  review  the  historical  data  with  respect  to  this  ques- 
tion, we  can  readily  discern  that  Christianity  has  been  a  force 
both  for  and  against  humanitarianism.  In  this  respect  it  has 
been  like  most  if  not  all  other  religions.  In  the  first  place,  it. 
must  be  noted  that  the  attitude  of  mind  required  by  every  re- 
ligious faith  is  such  as  to  make  impossible  the  most  thorough- 
going type  of  humanitarianism,  and  therefore  religion  wiU  al- 
ways be  to  a  certain  extent  a  force  against  humanitarianism. 
This  is  because  a  reUgious  faith  requires  an  unquestioning 
belief  in  its  doctrine^,  and  demands  that  they  be  set  above  other 
truths  as  being  of  a  sacred  character.  Paxtly  for  this  reason 
religious  ideas  are  usually  held  by  believers  with  a  high  degree 
of  emotional  intensity,  and  differences  of  religious  belief  fre- 
quently serve  as  a  serious  barrier  between  individuals  and 
groups,  because  of  the  emotional  conflict  which  they  bring  about. 
It  goes  without  saying  that  other  ideas  as  well  are  held  with 
much  emotional  intensity  by  individuals  and  by  groups,  but  this 
is  peculiarly  true  of  religious  ideas,  because  these  are  regarded 
as  of  supreme  importance  by  those  who  believe  in  them. 

We  can  illustrate  this  point  best  by  comparing  religion  with 
science.  It  is  true  that  a  scientist  may  hold  a  scientific  idea 
with  a  d^ee  of  emotional  intensity  which  equals  the  fervor 
of  the  religious  believer.  But  that  is  an  individual  peculiarity, 
and  the  spirit  and  method  of  science  is  such  that  no  idea  is  held 
as  sacred.  On  the  contrary,  every  scientific  idea,  however 
firmly  established,  may  be  attacked  and  overthrown.  Conse- 
quently the  mental  attitude  encoiu'aged  by  science  is  such  as 
to  permit  of  free  intercourse  without  restriction  between  all 
parts  of  mankind,  while  the  mental  attitude  not  only  encouraged 
but  positively  required  by  religion  will  always  serve  as  a  barrier 
to  the  most  highly  developed  and  most  extensive  form  of  human- 

On  the  other  hand,  most  if  not  all  religions  have  taught  cer- 
tain doctrines  which  have  had  a  humanitarian  influence,  and 
this  has  been  true  of  Christianity.  And  it  goes  Without  saying 
that  by  Christianity  we  mean  the  set  of  religious  beliefs  and 
practices  which  from  time  to  time  and  from  place  to  place  have 
been  called  Christian.  This  historical  Christianity  is  the  only 
one  which  is  of  importance  for  the  interpretation  of  social  evolu- 
tion; so  that  the  beliefs  of  the  person  after  whom  this  religion 


was  named,  or  of  any  other  individual,  are  of  no  importance  for 
our  purposes. 

Christianity  has  exerted  an  influence  for  humanitarianism 
principally  through  two  of  its  doctrines,  namely,  the  doctrine 
of  the  sanctity  of  human  life,  and  the  doctrine  of  universal 
brotherhood.^  It  is  hardly  necessary  to  state  that  neither  of 
these  doctrines  was  original  with  Christianity.  The  doctrine 
of  the  sanctity  of  human  life  is  based  upon  the  idea  of  an  im- 
mortal soul  possessed  by  every  human  being,  and  this  idea  has 
been  held  not  only  by  many  of  the  more  advanced  religions 
but  is  to  be  found  among  the  religious  beliefs  of  many  primitive 
savages.  It  indeed  constitutes  one  of  the  primitive  animistic 
beliefs.  The  doctrine  of  universal  brotherhood  had  also  been 
held  by  various  individuals  and  religions  before  Christianity. 
But  coming  as  a  new  religion  into  the  pagan  world  at  an  oppor- 
time  time  it  emphasized  these  ideas  in  a  fresh  manner  and 
probably  was  a  force  for  humanitarianism  for  a  time. 

Unfortimately  the  religion  had  not  been  in  existence  more 
than  two  or  three  centuries  before  asceticism  began  to  play  an 
important  part  in  it,  and  has  ever  since  remained  a  malignant 
force  against  humanitarianism.  It  has  been  such  a  force  because 
it  attempted  to  suppress  the  normal  place  of  sex  in  human  life. 
Consequently  it  lowered  the  position  of  woman,*  and  has  done 

^  C/.  W.  £.  H.  Lecky,  History  of  European  Morals  from  Augusiw  to  CkarU- 
magnCf  New  York,  1877,  Chap.  IV. 

*  It  goes  without  saying  that  the  position  of  woman  was  none  too  hi^ 
previous  to  Christianity.  But  there  is  a  good  deal  of  historical  evidence  to 
indicate  that  the  effect  of  the  new  religion,  (owing  largely  to  the  tcarhinffl  of 
St.  Paul),  during  the  first  few  centuries  of  the  Christian  era  at  any  rate, 
was  to  make  woman's  position  somewhat  lower  than  it  then  was  in  Rome 
and  in  other  parts  of  the  ancient  civilized  worid.  This  opinion  is  expressed 
by  an  English  clergyman  in  the  following  words:  — 

''It  is  a  prevalent  opinion  that  woman  owes  her  present  high  position  to 
Christianity,  and  the  influence  of  the  Teutonic  mind.  I  used  to  believe 
this  opinion,  but  in  the  first  three  centuries  I  have  not  been  able  to  see  that 
Christianity  had  any  favourable  effect  on  the  position  of  woman,  but,  on 
the  contra^,  that  it  tended  to  lower  their  character  and  contract  the  range 
of  their  activity."  (Principal  J.  Donaldson,  The  Position  of  Woman  Among 
the  Early  Christians^  in  the  Contemporary  RevieWf  Sept.,  1889,  p.  433.) 

An  eminent  sociologist  explains  the  outburst  of  asceticism  which  led  to 
this  lowering  of  woman's  position  in  the  following  words:  — 

"During  the  first  four  centuries  Christians  believed  that  the  world  was 
about  to  perish.    Evidently  this  belief  affected  the  whole  philosophy  ol 



much  to  destroy  the  joy  of  living  for  many  human  beings  by 
encouraging  puritanical  ideas  and  practices. 

Then  the  religion  became  highly  organized  in  the  form  of  a 
church,  and  for  more  than  a  thousand  years  the  pages  of  its 
history  were  blackened  by  the  incredible  inhumanity  of  its 
wars,  crusades,  and  persecutions,  and  by  its  stupid  and  brutal 
<q>position  to  the  higher  forms  of  culture.  Not  even  the  par- 
tisans and  apologists  of  the  Christian  Church  have  been  able 
to  deny,  where  they  have  been  at  all  fair-minded,  that  during 
this  dark  and  bloody  period  it  was  a  powerful  force  against 
humanitarianism.  Christianity  then  took  the  form  of  a  strong 
and  militant  religion  at  its  worst,  carrying  its  doctrines  at  the 
point  of  a  sword.  During  this  period  it  applied  its  doctrines  of 
the  sanctity  of  human  life  and  of  universal  brotherhood  only 
to  Christians,  and  not  alwa3rs  even  to  them. 

With  the  coming  of  the  Renaissance,  which  was  itself  a  reac- 

fife.  Marriage  lost  sense  and  the  procreation  of  children  lost  interest.  This 
may  be  seen  in  I  Cor.,  Chap.  7.  It  also  helps  to  explain  the  outburst  of 
ascetidsm  and  extravagant  behavior  such  as  the  renunciation  of  conjugal 
intimacy  by  married  people."  (W.  G.  Simmer,  The  Family  and  Social 
ChangCf  in  the  Am.  Jour,  of  Sociology ,  March,  1909,  p.  585.) 

Westermarck,  in  his  masterly  treatise  on  the  evolution  of  moral  ideas, 
describes  how  during  the  Roman  Empire  marriage  was  placed  upon  a  con- 
tractual basis,  thus  giving  married  women  much  personal  liberty.  He  then 
indicates  how  the  influence  of  the  Christian  doctrine  with  respect  to  women 
destroyed  this  liberty  in  large  part.  (See  EphesianSf  v.  22  sqq,  and  28; 
I  Pder,  iii,  5  sqq,;  I  Corinthians,  xi,  8  sqq.;  I  Timothy,  ii,  11  sqq.)  He  states 
that  the  influence  of  this  doctrine  has  persisted  down  to  the  present  day:  — 
"It  is  difficult  to  exaggerate  the  influence  exercised  by  a  doctrine,  so  agree- 
able to  the  selfishness  of  men,  and  so  readily  lending  itself  to  be  used  as  a 
sacred  weapon  against  almost  any  attempt  to  extend  the  rights  of  married 
women,  as  was  this  dictum  of  St.  Paul's.  .  .  .  And  in  more  modem  times 
Christian  orthodoxy  has  constantly  been  opposed  to  the  doctrine  which 
once  sprang  up  in  pagan  Rome  and  is  nowadays  supported  by  a  steadily 
growing  number  of  enlightened  men  and  women,  that  marriage  should  be  a 
contract  on  the  footing  of  perfect  equality  between  husband  and  wife." 
(£.  Westermarck,  The  Origin  and  Development  of  the  Moral  Ideas,  London, 
1906,  VoL  I,  pp.  654-5.) 

By  making  of  marriage  a  sacramoit,  and  by  its  opposition  to  divorce, 
Christianity  has  caused  women  an  enormous  amount  of  injury.  It  may 
be  added  Uiat  by  so  doing  it  has  also  caused  many  men  a  vast  amount  of 

If  Christianity  has  benefited  women  at  all  in  modem  times,  it  has  been 
only  in  so  far  as  it  has  aided  the  humanitarian  movement  in  general,  and 
not  through  any  partiality  for  women  on  the  part  of  this  religion. 


tion  against  Christianity,  and  the  beginning  of  the  modem 
period,  the  church  and  religion  fortunately  lost  their  dominant 
position  in  the  Occidental  world.  Since  that  time  the  humane 
forces  in  the  religion  have  had  more  of  a  chance  to  exert  some 
influence,  though  the  Christian  opposition  to  humanitaiianism 
still  retains  more  or  less  strength.  But  these  hiunane  forces 
within  the  religion  were  quite  incompetent  to  cause  the  great 
modem  humanitarian  movement. 

EimcAL  Theory  of  Huicanitarianish 

Still  another  theory  as  to  the  causes  of  the  modem  humani- 
tarian movement,  which  has  been  held  by  a  few,  has  been  that 
certain  moral  ideas  came  into  existence  and  attained  currency, 
and  this  movement  followed  as  a  consequence.  It  is  obvious 
that  this  theory  is  similar  to  the  religious  theory  we  have  just 
discussed,  and  that  much  the  same  objections  may  be  made 
to  it.  In  the  first  place,  it  is  evident  that  these  moral  ideas  are 
not  at  all  new.  It  is  only  necessary  to  mention  such  names  as 
those  of  Seneca,  Marcus  Aurelius,  Plutarch,  and  Epictetus  to 
indicate  that  these  ideas  were  known  to  the  ancient  world.  And 
yet  they  did  not  give  rise  to  a  humanitarian  movement  at  that 
time.  In  modem  times,  notably  in  the  eighteenth  century, 
these  ideas  reappeared  in  the  form  of  a  system  of  humanitarian 
ethics  and  had  a  great  deal  of  influence.  But  i^parently  the 
circumstances  had  changed  and  other  forces  were  at  work  for 
humanitarianism,  so  that  it  is  hardly  accurate  to  attribute  this 
movement  entirely  to  these  ideas. 

The  Evolution  of  Modern  Huicanitarianism 

Let  us  now  tum  to  the  tme  causes  of  this  movement.  These 
causes  may  be  readily  discemed  if  we  consider  the  salient  fea- 
tures of  modem  history.  The  modem  period  dates  from  the 
Renaissance,  with  its  revival  of  the  classic  culture  of  andent 
Greece  and  Rome,  and  its  renascence  of  art  and  learning.  This 
renascence  of  leaming  marked  the  beginning  of  the  develop- 
ment of  modem  science,  which  made  possible  the  great  economic 
changes  of  modem  times.  At  the  same  time  were  being  carried 
on  extensive  explorations  to  all  parts  of  the  world,  which  re- 


suited  in  the  discovery  of  the  Western  Hemisphere  and  in  a 
great  expansion  of  commercial  relations.  These  explorations 
also  resulted  in  the  colonizing  of  many  parts  of  the  world  by 

In  the  eighteenth  century  began  the  great  industrial  revolu- 
tion, which  substituted  madiine  and  factory  methods  of  produc- 
tion on  a  large  scale  for  the  hand  and  domestic  methods  of 
production  on  a  small  scale'  of  the  past.  This  great  change 
involved  a  vast  extension  of  the  principle  of  the  division  of  labor 
within  the  process  of  production.  Furthermore,  with  the  aid 
of  international  commerce  it  meant  a  worldwide  extension  of 
the  division  of  labor,  which  increased  greatly  the  interdepend- 
ence of  all  parts  of  the  world. 

Along  with  this  expansion  of  the  division  of  labor  took  place  a 
great  increase  in  the  range,  facility,  and  rapidity  of  the  means  of 
communication  through  the  steamship,  rsdlroad,  telegraph,-  tel- 
ephone, post  office,  press,  etc.  By  these  means  the  different 
parts  of  the  world  have  been  put  in  touch  with  each  other,  and 
have  come  to  know  each  other  to  an  extent  which  was  utterly 
impossible  in  ancient  times. 

Last  but  not  least,  there  was  taking  place  at  the  same  time  the 
development  of  modem  science,  to  which  I  have  already  referred, 
and  which  was  to  a  large  extent  the  cause  of  the  above-mentioned 
changes.  In  the  nineteenth  centiuy  came  the  theory  of  evolu- 
tion, which  showed  the  common  origin  of  the  whole  organic 
world  including  man.  When  this  theory  was  applied  in  anthro- 
pology, it  showed  that,  just  as  there  is  no  absolute  distinction 
between  man  and  other  animals,  so  there  is  no  absolute  distinc- 
tion between  the  different  races  of  men.  When  this  theory  was 
applied  in  sociology,  it  showed  the  fundamental  imity  in  the 
culture  which  has  been  developing  in  the  course  of  social  evolu- 

The  significance  of  these  great  changes  for  humanitarianism  is 
evident  when  we  consider  them  in  the  light  of  the  discussion  in 
the  first  part  of  this  chapter.  The  increasing  interdependence 
of  the  different  parts  of  the  world  made  it  more  and  more  evident 
to  individuals  and  to  social  groups  that  it  was  to  their  interest 
to  concern  themselves  with  the  welfare  of  others.  Fiu-thermore, 
the  knowledge  acquired  with  regard  to  other  individuals  and 
social  groups,  through  the  means  of  communication  described 


above  and  through  science,  has  shown  the  fundamental  similarity 
of  humanity,  and  has  stimulated  the  sympathetic  imagination  to 
a  high  degree.  These  ideas  and  this  knowledge  have  naturally 
tended  in  the  main  to  stimulate  the  humane  feelings  and  im- 
pulses in  the  relations  of  men  and  of  social  groups,  and  to  inhibit 
the  cruel  feelings  and  impulses.  Thus  these  fundamental  human 
traits,  which  have  been  in  existence  a  long  time,  are  being  in- 
fluenced by  the  intelligence,  under  the  social  conditions  which 
have  evolved  during  the  past  few  centuries,  in  the  direction  of 

This  is  an  example  of  the  familiar  psychological  phenomenon 
of  feelings  and  instinctive  impulses  being  directed  and  to  a  cer- 
tain extent  controlled  by  ideas.  It  is  through  such  combining 
of  the  different  parts  of  the  mental  makeup  that  are  formed  the 
sentimental  complexes  which  play  so  important  a  part  in  the  life 
of  man.  Owing  in  the  main  to  the  events  and  conditions  which 
have  been  described,  the  prevailing  sentiments  of  the  day  are 
humanitarian.  But  the  same  psychological  process  is  also  dis- 
played in  the  opposite  direction.  Where  individuals  or  groups 
are  led  to  believe  that  theu:  interests  conflict  and  that  they  are 
not  alike,  neither  self-interest  nor  sympathetic  imagination  will 
establish  humane  relations  between  them,  but  their  attitude 
towards  each  other  will  be  either  that  of  callous  indifference  or 
of  hostility  and  hatred.  It  goes  without  saying  that  this  situa- 
tion frequently  arises  and  will  always  exist  to  a  certain  extent, 
since  the  instincts  and  feelings  out  of  which  it  arises  will  always 
persist  in  human  nature.  Thus  when  two  classes  r^ard  their 
interests  as  conflicting  and  are  not  well  acquainted  with  each 
other,  they  will  regard  each  other  with  dislike  if  not  with  hatred, 
and  are  very  likely  to  arrive  at  open  hostility.  If  they  are 
economic  classes,  the  upper  class  wUl  regard  the  lower  dass  as 
stupid  and  indolent,  while  the  lower  will  believe  that  the  upper 
is  consciously  exploiting  it. 

The  same  situation  frequently  arises  between  nations.  Owing 
to  ignorance  of  ethnological  data,  the  tendency  is  to  exaggerate 
the  rapal  differences  between  nations.  This  is  well  illustrated 
in  Europe  today.  All  the  nations  of  Europe  are  very  heteroge- 
neous ethnically,  and  certain  ethnic  elements  are  represented  in 
many  of  these  countries.  And  yet  it  is  the  prevailing  belief  in 
each  of  these  countries  that  the  nation  is  ethnically  pure  or 


aknost  pure,  and  is  quite  distinct  from  every  other  nation.  This 
mistaken  belief  does  not  encourage  the  sympathetic  imagination. 
Furthermore,  these  nations  are  very  prone  to  r^ard  their  in- 
terests as  conjQicting,  so  that  it  is  still  deplorably  easy  for  them 
to  go  to  war  with  each  other.  Then,  when  war  breaks  out,  the 
inhibitions  upon  the  cruel  tendencies  in  man  disappear  to  a  large 
extent,  and  hatred  of  the  enemy  becomes  more  or  less  general, 
while  those  actually  engaged  in  warfare  may  be  guilty  of  atroc- 
ities which  are  utterly  incom{>atible  with  the  himianitarian 
standards  in  accordance  with  which  they  themselves  ordinarily 

The  above  discussion  has  been  a  very  brief  anal3rsis  of  the 
principal  causes  of  the  modem  humanitarian  movement.  Many 
minor  causes  have  not  been  mentioned  for  lack  of  space.  But 
it  must  now  be  evident  how  important  it  is  to  imderstand  the 
causes  of  this  movement,  if  practical  measures  are  to  be  taken 
to  further  the  movement.  If  the  religious  theory  mentioned 
above  is  correct,  the  principal  and  perhaps  the  only  measure  to 
be  taken  is  to  preach  religion.  If  the  moral  theory  mentioned 
above  is  correct,  the  principal  and  perhaps  the  only  measure  to 
take  is  to  deliver  lectiu'es  on  ethics.  But  if  oiu*  theory  is  correct 
entirely  or  in  the  main,  then  to  talk  about  peace  will  not  prevent 
war,  and  to  teU  the  economic  classes  to  love  one  another  will  not 
abolish  industrial  warfare.  According  to  oiu*  theory,  the  only 
effective  measures  in  the  long  run  will  be  those  which  direct  the 
forces  of  industry,  commerce,  and  science  in  such  a  fashion  as  to 
make  the  interests  of  individuals  and  of  social  groups  ad  nearly 
alike  as  possible,  and  the  educational  measures  which  will  dis- 
seminate the  kind  of  knowledge  described  above.  And  in  this 
connection  it  is  well  to  remember  that  many  ideas  which  cir- 
culate as  religious  or  as  moral  ideas,  or  sometimes  in  both  forms, 
did  not  originate  as  such,  but  came  from  science,  or  arose  out 
of  the  conditions  which  have  been  brought  into  being  by  eco- 
nomic and  other  changes.  If  the  ideas  are  correct  and  wiU  aid 
the  progress  of  himianitarianism,  they  may  gain  currency  more 
easily  under  a  religious  or  an  ethical  form.  But  the  fundamental 
causes  of  humanitiirianism  must  never  be  forgotten. 

The  modem  humanitarian  movement,  we  can  now  see,  has 
arisen  out  of  certain  human  traits  influenced  and  directed  by 
the  conditions  and  ideas  which  have  become  prevalent  during 


the  last  few  centuries.  Like  every  great  movement  it  is  a  product 
of  social  evolution  in  general  and  can  be  understood  only  in 
the  light  of  an  analysis  of  social  evolution.  It  is  one  phase  of 
and  an  inevitable  result  from  the  universal  world  culture  which 
is  now  rapidly  comiog  into  being.  No  unilateral  theory  can 
account  for  it.^ 

Types  of  Humanitarians 

We  must  now  discuss  briefly  the  principal  kinds  of  humani- 
tarians and  of  himmnitarianism  as  an  introduction  to  oiu:  study 
in  the  next  few  chapters  of  the  humanitarian  movements  which 
are  of  significance  with  respect  to  the  treatment  and  prevention 
of  poverty. 

The  most  spontaneous  form  of  humanitarianism  is  that  which 
grows  directly  out  of  the  emotions.   This  is  altruism  of  the  most 

^  Many  writers  have  proposed  unilateral  theories  to  explain  the  modem 
humanitarian  movement  As  a  pronounced  example  of  such  a  writer  I 
might  mention  Benjamin  Kidd.  (See  his  Social  Evolution,  London,  1894.) 
This  writer  was  at  one  time  much  in  vogue,  probably  in  the  main  because 
he  catered  so  exclusively  to  the  prejudices  of  the  upper  dass  and  to  reUgioua 
sentiments.  Kidd's  central  thesb  is  that  altruism,  self-sacrifice,  humani- 
tarianism, etc.,  are  due  to  the  "  ultra-rational"  sanction  of  religion.  Indeed 
he  carries  his  theory  so  far  as  to  imply  that  society  itself  could  not  exist 
without  this  sanction.  Religion,  thus  conceived,  as  a  social,  integrating 
force,  he  contrasts  with  reason,  which  he  represents  as  an  individualistic, 
disintegrating  force.  Throughout  his  discussion  he  displays  a  profound 
ignorance  of  modem  psychology.  His  conception  of  the  mental  makeup 
of  man  seems  to  be  that  of  certain  of  the  older  psychologists^  who  conceived 
of  man  as  a  purely  rational  being  who  was  always  impelled  to  act  from  within 
by  purely  egoistic  motives  and  must  therefore  be  coerced  from  without 
to  be  altruistic.   According  to  Kidd  this  coercion  comes  through  religion. 

Now  it  goes  without  saying  that  man  b  govemed  largely  by  egoistic  con- 
siderations, and  none  but  the  anarchists  believe  that  it  will  ever  be  posstUe 
to  have  a  society  without  a  certain  amount  of  social  control  of  the  individual 
But  we  have  noted  in  this  chapter  what  is  well  known  to  all  who  are  familiar 
with  modem  psychology)  namely,  that  man  possesses  certain  instincts  and 
feelings  which  impel  him  to  do  things  for  others,  and  that  altruism  originates 
from  within  the  man  himself  and  not  from  without  Furthermore,  this 
altruism  is  not  to  be  distinguished  from  egoism  as  sharply  as  Kidd  and 
similar  writers  are  prone  to  do.  As  a  general  rule  a  mother  is  happier  In 
caring  for  her  child  than  in  devoting  herself  exclusively  to  satisfying  her 
own  wants,  the  normally  sympathetic  individual  is  happier  in  making  at 
least  a  little  personal  sacrifice  to  relieve  the  suffering  of  his  fellows  than  In 
devoting  himself  exclusively  to  satisfying  his  own  wants. 


efemental  sort,  and  is  perhaps  not  broad  enough  to  be  worthy 
of  the  name  of  humanitarianism.  It  arises  in  personal  relations 
where  the  individual  is  moved  by  direct  observation  of  the  needs 
or  the  suffering  of  another  to  perform  services  for  that  other 
person.  It  is  pure  '^  goodness  of  heart  "untouched  by  any  re- 
flection as  to  the  causes  of  the  suffering,  or  as  to  the  consequences 
trom  the  services  rendered.  It  is  evident  that  this  form  of 
humanitarianism  is  very  limited  in  its  range,  and  is  directed 
merely  at  the  superficial  appearance  of  the  needs  or  suffering. 

A  less  spontaneous  form  of  humanitarianism  is  the  senti- 
mental type  in  which  the  altruistic  tendencies  become  associated 
with  ideas,  in  such  a  fashion  as  to  inhibit  them  in  certain  direc- 
tions and  to  reinforce  them  in  other  directions,  so  that  they 
display  a  lack  of  proportion  which  sometimes  becomes  grotesque. 
This  sentimental  type  may  arise  out  of  temperamental  traits, 
ignorance,  early  training,  circumstances  of  life,  etc.  Thus  reli- 
gious or  moral  ideas  may  lead  the  individual  to  inhibit  altruistic 
tendencies  towards  those  who  are  alleged  to  be  immoral.  An  in- 
dividual will  be  led,  frequently  quite  unconsciously,  by  con- 
siderations of  self-interest,  to  exaggerated  efforts  in  behalf  of 
those  with  whom  his  interests  are  identified  or  are  supposed  to 
be  identified,  but  will  be  blind  to  the  needs  of  those  whose  in- 
terests are  opposed  or  are  supposed  to  be  opposed  to  his  in- 
terests. Various  fortuitous  circiunstances  may  lead  an  in- 
dividual to  develop  his  altruistic  tendencies  in  an  extreme  form 
along  narrow  lines  to  the  exclusion  of  other  forms  of  altruism. 

Many  examples  of  this  sentimental  type  may  be  cited  with 
all  the  inconsistencies  and  excesses  which  it  includes.  A  manu- 
facturer may  contribute  heavily  to  foreign  missions,  being  moved 
to  do  so  in  part  by  altruistic  motives;  and  yet  overwork  the 
men,  women,  and  children  in  his  factory.  A  clergyman  may 
preach  the  duty  of  philanthropy  to  the  poor,  and  yet  underpay 
the  servant  in  his  own  household.  An  anarchist  may  agitate 
against  capital  punishment  for  murderers,  and  yet  kill  innocent 
people  with  a  bomb.  A  woman  may  make  life  miserable  for  the 
members  of  her  family,  and  yet  work  actively  for  the  prevention 
of  cruelty  to  animals.  Various  extreme  forms  of  this  sentimental 
type  make  their  appearance,  as,  for  example,  when  philozoism 
takes  the  form  of  vegetarianism,  or  the  still  more  extreme  form 
of  anti-vivisectionism. 


The  most  highly  evolved  and  broadest  form  of  humanitarian- 
ism  is  the  intellectual  type,  in  which  the  altruistic  impulses  are 
directed  and  controlled  by  ideas.  In  this  type  an  extended 
knowledge  of  mankind  stimulates  the  sympathetic  imagination 
to  the  highest  degree,  and  every  humanitarian  measure  is  under- 
taken on  the  basis  of  a  careful  study  of  its  ultimate  effect  upon 
the  welfare  of  mankind.  This  is  the  least  spontaneous  type  in 
the  sense  that  the  response  to  the  altruistic  impulses  is  not 
inmiediate,  but  these  impulses  may  nevertheless  be  quite  as 
strong  in  this  type  as  in  the  others. 

It  goes  without  saying  that  no  individual  represents  any  one 
of  these  types  perfectly.  But  humanity  may  be  divided  roughly 
into  these  three  groups  with  respect  to  humanitarian  traits. 
Every  one  is  acquainted  with  simple-minded,  good-hearted 
persons  who  are  helpful  and  kind  to  those  within  their  own 
circle,  but  who  know  little  of  and  have  no  interest  in  the  vast 
majority  of  mankind  who  do  not  come  within  their  own  personal 
experience.  Their  philanthropy  is  likely  to  take  the  form  of 
personal  almsgiving,  and  while  they  may  succeed  in  aiding  in 
the  minor  matters  of  life  they  are  not  likely  to  accomplish  much 
with  respect  to  the  more  important  matters.  It  is  obvious  that 
these  individuals  represent  the  emotional  himmnitarian  type. 
The  sentimental  type  is  abundantly  represented  in  organized 
philanthropic  movements,  in  religious  circles,  and  in  certain 
kinds  of  reform  movements.  The  intellectual  type  is  by  far 
the  rarest,  and  is  frequently  hard  to  distinguish.  He  is  found 
perhaps  most  frequently  in  social  movements  of  a  fundamental 
sort.  But  he  is  also  to  be  found  in  scientific,  literary,  artistic, 
educational,  and  other  kinds  of  work  where  the  relation  of  his 
work  to  the  humanitarian  movement  and  its  influence  upon 
that  movement  are  not  obvious  at  first  sight.  For  example,  it 
is  interesting  to  note  to  what  extent  the  himmnitarian  spirit  of 
this  highest  type  is  now  represented  in  science.  In  biology  this 
is  perhaps  best  illustrated  by  the  development  of  eugenics.  In 
the  social  sciences  it  is  indicated  by  the  great  extent  to  which 
economics,  which  Carlyle,  who  was  a  sentimental  humanitarian 
of  his  day,  called  the  ''dismal  science/'  is  concerning  itself  with 
problems  of  human  welfare.^ 

^  This  is  illustrated  by  such  books  as  Pigou's  WeaUh  and  Welfare,  Hobson's 
Problems  of  Poverty  and  Work  and  WeaUh,  the  Webbs*  Prevenlion  of  DestUw 


These  types  of  humanitarianism  may  also  be  traced  roughly 
through  the  many  kinds  of  humanitarian  activities.  The  emo- 
tional type  is  perhaps  best  represented  by  personal  almsgiving. 
The  sentimental  type  is  represented  in  organized  charitable 
worky  and  in  much  of  the  reform  work.  The  intellectual  type  is 
represented  in  certain  far-reaching  social  movements,  and  in 
many  other  kinds  of  activity  where  it  is  difficult  to  distinguish 
it.  It  is  noticeable  that  the  spirit  of  the  first  two  types  is  what 
is  ordinarily  called  philanthropic.  In  passing  to  the  third  t}^ 
the  spirit  changes  somewhat,  and  while  it  is  stiU  philanthropic 
in  the  sense  that  it  is  interested  in  human  welfare,  it  becomes 
what  is  ordinarily  called  a  spirit  of  social  justice.  In  this  spirit 
the  endeavor  is  roade  to  benefit  all  of  mankind,  and  not  to  bene- 
fit one  group  in  such  a  manner  as  to  do  injury  to  any  other 

We  have  not  the  space  to  describe  at  length  the  groups  of  hu- 
manitarians as  they  are  found  in  society  today.  But  we  shall 
have  occasion  to  refer  to  some  of  them  in  the  course  of  the  re- 
mainder of  this  book.  We  shall  find  the  humanitarian  spirit  at 
work  in  many  of  the  movements  for  the  amelioration  and  pre- 
vention of  poverty. 

Hon,  Money's  Riches  and  Poverty^  Hollander's  Abolition  of  Poverty,  Watkins' 
Wdfare  a$  an  Economic  Quantity  ^  and  many  similar  books  by  economists. 


Philanthropy  among  primitive  peoples  —  Historical  evolution  of  philan- 

thropy  —  Religion  and  pbilanthityy. 

The  tenn  "philanthropy"  may  be  used  in  a  very  broad  sense, 
so  as  to  include  any  act  inspired  by  love  for  one's  fellow-being. 
But  in  this  book  we  shall  use  it  in  the  narrower,  more  technical 
sense  in  which  it  is  conunonly  used,  namely,  to  denominate 
only  those  acts  which  are  performed  voluntarily  for  the  poor 
and  dependent,  some  of  whom  are  incapacitated  in  every  way 
from  caring  for  themselves.  ^  In  the  truest  sense  of  the  word 
philanthropy  is  private  and  personal  in  its  character.  But  the 
term  is  generally  applied  also  to  similar  aid  rendered  by  the 
state,  so  that  we  shall  discuss  public  as  well  as  private  philan- 

Philanthropy  among  Primitive  Peoples 

We  shall  be  able  to  touch  only  briefly  upon  the  history  of 
philanthropy.  Observations  of  savage  and  barbarian  peoples 
seem  to  indicate  that  there  is  very  little  if  any  philanthropy 
in  this  technical  sense  to  be  found  among  these  peoples.  To 
begin  with,  the  classes  of  individuals  towards  whom  philan- 
thropy is  directed  are  almost  entirely  missing.  There  are  few 
dependent  children,  aged,  defectives,  imemployed  ablebodied 
adults,  etc.,  to  be  foimd  among  these  peoples.  The  reasons  for 
this  situation  are  not  far  to  seek.  In  the  first  place,  natural 
selection  acts  much  more  rigorously  among  these  peoples  than 
it  does  in  the  higher  stages  of  culture.    The  difficulties  and 

1  An  historian  of  English  philanthropy  has  defined  philanthropy  some- 
what vaguely  in  the  following  words:  —  "The  greater  pBLrt  of  philanthropy 
may  be  said  to  consist  in  contributions  of  money,  service,  or  thought,  such 
as  the  recipient  has  no  strict  claim  to  demand,  and  the  doer  is  not  compelled 
to  render."    B.  Kirkman  Gray,  A  History  of  English  PkilafUhropy,  Lcoidoiiy 



privations  of  savage  and  barbarian  life  cany  off  the  aged,  the 
weakling  children,  the  deaf,  the  dumb,  the  blind,  the  crippled, 
the  feeble-minded,  etc.,  more  freely  than  happens  mider  the 
amelicffated  conditions  of  civilization. 

In  the  second  place,  a  more  or  less  extensive  S3rstem  of  arti- 
ficial selection  is  carried  on  among  many  of  these  savage  and 
barbarian  peoples.  Infanticide  has  been  widely  practised  even 
among  some  of  the  civilized  peoples;  such  as  the  ancient  Romans, 
and  the  Chinese  at  a  recent  date.  The  primary  object  of  in- 
fanticide has  almost  always  been  to  restrict  the  growth  of  popu- 
lation. It  was  the  precursor  of  abortion  and  the  prevention 
of  conception,  which  are  more  economical  and  more  himmne 
methods  of  attaining  the  same  ends.  By  serving  to  lessen  the 
pressure  of  population  upon  the  means  of  subsistence,  infanti- 
cide doubtless  acted  as  a  considerable  force  against  poverty 
and  dependency.  But  infanticide  must  also  have  acted  as  a 
selective  force,  because,  as  a  general  thing,  the  weakling  and 
defective  infants  were  more  likely  to  be  put  to  death.  Some- 
times the  infanticide  was  directed  against  the  females,  because 
the  males  could  contribute  more  to  the  preservation  and  welfare 
of  the  social  group;  but  even  in  such  cases  the  tendency  would 
naturally  be  to  eliminate  the  weakling  female  infants.  Parri- 
cide and  the  putting  to  death  of  the  aged  in  general  has  also 
been  extensively  practised.  By  this  means  another  group  of 
the  infirm  was  eliminated. 

In  the  third  place,  certain  types  of  dependents  could  not  very 
well  exist  among  primitive  peoples.  Perhaps  the  best  example 
of  this  is  the  ablebodied  unemployed.  In  a  primitive  society 
the  economic  life  of  the  group  is  usually  somewhat  commimistic. 
All  the  members  of  the  group  share  more  or  less  equally  in  the 
economic  activities  of  the  group,  and  no  one  is  any  less  employed 
or  any  more  unemployed  than  any  one  else.  But  even  if  the 
economic  life  is  not  communistic,  but  is  individual  or  familial 
in  its  character;  each  person  can  own  the  means  of  production, 
which  are  few  and  simple,  and  therefore  has  as  good  a  chance 
as  any  one  eke,  so  far  as  that  factor  in  production  is  concerned. 
But  in  our  modem  system  of  production  it  is  usually  impossible 
for  the  worker  to  own  the  means  of  production;  while  even  if  he 
does  o^m  them,  he  must  be  able  to  exchange  his  products  for 
those  of  others,  if  he  is  to  make  a  livelihood.    If,  owing  to  gen- 


era!  economic  conditions,  he  is  not  given  an  opportunity  to  use 
the  means  of  production,  or  to  exchange  his  own  products  tor 
those  of  others;  he  is  unable  to  make  a  livelihood,  and  must 
therefore  starve  or  become  dependent  iqx>n  others.  The  primi- 
tive man  may  also  fail  to  make  a  livelihood,  but  is  then  usually 
eliminated  by  a  process  of  natural  selection. 

Such  practices  as  infanticide  and  parricide,  as  wdl  as  the 
mutilation  of  enemies,  cannibalism,  etc.,  suggest  that  savages 
and  barbarians  are  lacking  in  humanity.  This  is  true  in  part. 
The  sympathetic  imagination  of  these  pec^les  is  very  little 
devdoped.  Ideas  with  respect  to  the  value  of  human  life  are 
not  prevalent  among  them.  Their  esthetic  nature  is  not  suffi- 
ciently devel(^)ed  to  react  against  crudty.  And  yet  it  is  not 
to  be  assumed  that  they  are  lacking  in  the  innate  traits  which, 
as  we  have  seen,  furnish  the  ftmdamental  basis  for  altruism 
and  humanitarianism.  On  the  ccmtrary,  parental  and  filial 
affection  is  frequently  displayed.  The  social  characteristics 
are  more  or  less  fully  devdoped  within  the  group.  Sometimes 
hospitality  and  generosity  are  shown  to  the  stranger  as  well. 
But  the  pressure  of  circumstances  forces  upon  them  such  prac- 
tices as  infantidde  and  parridde,  and  these  are  frequently  justi- 
fied on  religious  and  moral  grounds.  Cannibalism  is  practised 
in  part  at  least  on  account  of  certain  religious  and  magical 
ideas,  as,  for  example,  that  the  eating  of  the  body  of  an  enemy 
will  give  the  cannibal  the  strength  of  his  enemy.  So  that  these 
practices  are  due  only  in  part  to  crudty. 

Historical  Evolution  of  Philanthropy 

As  dvilization  began  to  devdop  the  sympathetic  imagination 
grew  stronger,  partly  because  the  social  group  was  increasing 
greatly  in  size,  and  ideas  with  regard  to  the  value  of  human 
life  began  to  have  some  influence.  Owing  partly  to  these  factors, 
the  dependent  and  defective  classes  were  not  eliminated  to 
the  extent  that  they  were  under  savage  and  barbarous  condi- 

As  Sutherland  has  expressed  it :  —  "In  dvilised  races  there  spears, 
along  with  increasing  comfort  and  fulness  of  life,  a  body  of  very  evi- 
dent misery  which  we  are  too  apt  to  consider  as  having  been  called 
into  existence  by  dvilisation,  whereas  it  has  only  been  prevented  by 


dvOisation  from  being  crushed  out  of  existence.  For  the  play  of 
human  sympathy  helps  to  keep  alive  all  those  various  forms  of  in- 
competence which  in  the  savage  state  would  most  assuredly  be  ruth- 
lessly destroyed.  Thus  sympathy,  as  it  grows,  provides  food  for  its 
own  further  activity,  and  we  find  that  in  all  the  lower  civilised  races 
the  practice  of  almsgiving  tends  to  flourish  and  to  fill  the  land  with 
crowds  of  those  who,  but  for  it,  were  doomed  to  an  early  disappear- 
ance. The  blind,  the  dimib,  the  deformed,  the  idiotic,  the  imbecile, 
the  incompetent,  the  incorrigibly  lazy  are  preserved,  when,  but  for 
sympathy,  they  would  have  been  eliminated."  ^ 

But  this  change  was  due  in  part  also  to  the  decrease  in  the 
privations  and  dangers  of  human  life,  and  to  the  increase  in  the 
amount  of  wealth  which  could  be  produced  by  society;  two 
changes  which  relieved  the  rigor  of  both  natural  and  artificial 
selection.  Furthermore,  the  development  of  individual  prop- 
erty rights  and  of  a  highly  organized  economic  system  brought 
into  being  the  class  of  those  who  are,  so  to  speak,  economically 
disinherited,  because,  since  they  inherit  nothing,  they  are  put 
at  a  great  disadvantage  in  competition  with  the  few  who  do 
inherit,  and  because  they  are  frequentiy  denied  the  opportunity 
to  earn  a  living,  owing  to  the  fortuitous  workings  of  the  existing 
economic  system. 

Hence  it  was  that,  as  organized  society  developed,  more  and 
more  provision  had  to  be  made  for  the  dependents  and  defec- 
tives.^  If  we  had  the  space,  it  would  be  possible  to  furnish  some 

^  A.  Sutberiand,  The  Origin  and  Growth  of  the  Moral  Instinct^  London, 
1898,  Vol.  I,  p.  400. 

*  The  literature  on  the  history  of  philanthropy  is  very  extensive,  and  I  can 
mention  only  a  few  works.  Three  histories  written  from  a  Catholic  point  of 
view  are,  F.  de  Champagny,  La  chariU  chrStienne  dans  les  premiers  siicles 
de  PigUse,  Paris,  1854;  A.  Monnier,  Hisioire  de  ^assistance  piiblique  dans  les 
temps  anciens  et  modemes^  Paris,  1866;  L.  Lallemand,  Histoire  de  la  chariU, 
5  vols.,  Paris,  published  at  irregular  uitervab  beginning  with  1902. 

An  excellent,  brief  treatment  from  the  Socialist  point  of  view  is,  P.  La- 
&rgue.  La  chariU^  Paris,  1904. 

The  following  are  localked  works,  Yu-Yue  Tsu,  The  Spirit  of  Chinese 
PkHanlhropy,  New  York,  1912;  B.  Kirkman  Gray,  A  History  of  English 
Philanthropy  from  the  Dissolution  of  the  Monasteries  to  the  Taking  of  the  First 
Census,  London,  1905. 

Some  historiad  data  are  to  be  found  in,  £.  Vaudin-Bataille,  Histoire  de 
la  chariUjusqu'en  178Q,  Paris,  1896;  A.  Weber,  Les  misireux,  3  vols.,  Paris, 
1913;  and  in  Lecky's  and  Sutherland's  works  which  have  been  cited  in  this 


data  with  regard  to  philanthropy  among  the  andent  Chinese^ 
Indians,  Egyptians,  Jews,  etc.,  while  there  is  an  abundance  of 
data  with  respect  to  philanthropy  among  the  ancient  Greeks 
and  Romans.  Especially  extensive  was  the  S3rstem  of  public 
assistance  in  Rome.  And  it  is  important  to  b^  in  mind  that 
philanthropic  measures  were  sometimes  disguised  under  other 

Lecky  points  this  out  when  he  is  comparing  Pagan  with  Christian 
philanthropy  in  the  following  words:  —  "The  difference  between 
Pagan  and  Christian  societies  in  this  matter  is  very  profound;  but 
a  great  part  of  it  must  be  ascribed  to  causes  other  than  rdigious 
opinions.  Charity  finds  an  extended  scope  for  action  only,  where 
there  exists  a  laige  class  of  men  at  once  independenC^d  im- 
poverished. In  the  ancient  societies,  slavery  in  a  great  measure 
replaced  pauperism,  and,  by  securing  the  subsistence  of  a  vary 
large  proportion  of  the  poor,  contracted  the  sphere  of  charity. 
And  what  slavery  did  at  Rome  for  the  very  poor,  the  system  of  client- 
age did  for  those  of  a  somewhat  higher  rank.  The  existence  of  these 
two  institutions  is  sufficient  to  show  the  injustice  of  judging  the  two 
societies  by  a  mere  comparison  of  their  charitable  institutions,  and 
we  must  also  remember  that  among  the  ancients  the  relief  of  the  in- 
digent was  one  of  the  most  important  functions  of  the  State.  Not  to 
dwell  upon  the  many  measures  taken  with  this  object  in  ancient 
Greece,  in  considering  the  condition  of  the  Roman  poor  we  are  at 
once  met  by  the  simple  fact  that  for  several  centuries  the  immense 
majority  of  these  were  habitually  supported  by  gratuitous  distribu- 
tions of  com.  ...  In  the  time  of  Julius  Cssar  no  less  than  320,000 
persons  were  inscribed  as  recipients;  but  Cssar  reduced  the  number 
by  one-half.  Under  Augustus  it  had  risen  to  200,000.  This  emperor 
desired  to  restrict  the  distribution  of  com  to  three  or  four  times  a 
year,  but,  yielding  to  the  popular  wish,  he  at  last  consented  that  it 
should  continue  monthly.  It  soon  became  the  leading  fact  of  Roman 
Ufe." » 

We  can  now  discern  in  a  broad  way  the  causes  of  philanthropy. 
It  arises  primarily  out  of  certain  instincts  and  feelings  which 
stimulate  individuals  to  perform  altruistic  acts.  But  the  extent 
to  which  these  altruistic  tendencies  will  display  themselves 
depends  somewhat  upon  the  conditions  under  which  these 
individuals  are  living.     Sometimes  these  conditions  will  ea- 

1 W.  E.  H.  Lecky,  Hishry  of  European  Morals  from  Augustus  to  Charts 
magne,  New  York,  1877,  Vol.  n,  pp.  73-4. 


courage  these  tendencies,  an4  at  other  times  repress  them.  As 
society  has  become  more  and  more  differentiated  into  classes, 
and  these  classes  become  more  and  more  interdependent  upon 
each  other,  it  becomes  necessary  to  make  systematic  provision 
for  certain  classes  and  individuals  who  are  handicapped  en- 
tirely or  in  part  from  caring  for  themselves. 

Religion  and  Philanthropy 

Another  factor  for  philanthropy  has  been  religion.  Practi- 
cally all  of  the  higher  religions  teach  the  duty  of  philanthropy. 
We  have  not  the  space  here  to  discuss  how  these  doctrines 
originated,  or  to  describe  all  of  the  differences  between  them. 
But  we  must  note  two  or  three  of  these  doctrines,  because  of 
their  practical  importance  in  the  past  and  at  the  present  day. 

Philanthropy  has  frequently  been  taught  as  a  religious  means 
to  salvation.  In  Christianity  the  doctrine  of  salvation  by  good 
works  has  played  a  prominent  part. 

Speaking  of  Catholic  charity  Lecky  says  that  "the  new  prin- 
ciple speedily  degenerated  into  a  belief  in  the  expiatory  natiure 
of  the  gifts.  A  form  of  what  may  be  termed  selfish  charity  arose, 
which  acquired  at  last  gigantic  proportions,  and  exercised  a  most 
pernicious  influence  upon  Christendom.  Men  gave  money  to  the 
poor,  simply  and  exclusively  for  their  own  spiritual  benefit,  and  the 
welfare  of  the  sufferer  was  altogether  foreign  to  their  thoughts."  ^ 

Protestant  Christianity  started  out  by  putting  more  emphasb 
upon  salvation  by  faith  than  the  Catholic  Church.  But  in 
the  Protestant  Church  also  salvation  by  good  works  has  played 
a  prominent  part.* 

*  W.  E.  H.  Lecky,  op.  cU.,  VoL  II,  p.  93. 

*  This  18  suggested  by  the  following  statement  from  a  well-known  Protes- 
tant religious  writer:  —  ''I  give  no  alms  to  satisfy  the  himger  of  my  brother, 
but  to  fulfill  and  accomplish  the  will  and  command  of  my  God."  (Sir  T. 
Brown,  Rdigio  Medici^  Part  II,  2.)  It  is  reported  that  within  the  last  few 
decades  an  Anglican  prelate  preached  a  sermon  to  the  effect  that  God  made 
the  poor  in  order  to  furrdsh  the  rich  an  opportunity  to  perform  their  religious 
duty  of  philanthropy.  (See  J.  G.  Goddard,  Poverty;  Its  Genesis  and  Exo- 
dusy  London,  1892,  p.  4.)  It  is  not  reported  whether  this  prelate  stated 
upon  whom  the  poor  are  to  practise  this  duty,  if  indeed  they  have  such  a 


Gray  points  out  this  motive  for  charity  in  both  Catholic  and 
Protestant  Christianity  in  the  following  words:  — ''  Catholic  charity 
is  closely  connected  with  the  doctrine  of  poenitentia.  The  effect  of 
almsgiving  on  the  soul  of  the  donor  was  theoretically  more  important 
than  its  effect  on  the  body  of  the  recipient.  This  motive  for  char- 
ity did  not  cease  with  the  Reformation:  men  have  continued  to  give 
of  their  substance  to  the  poor  in  recompense  or  contrition  for  the 
sin  of  their  souls."  ^ 

We  find  the  same  doctrine  pla3ring  a  prominent  part  in  Mo- 
hammedanism because  the  Koran  enjoins  philanthropy  as  a 
sacred  duty. 

Consequently,  as  Sutherland  says,  "we  find  in  Arab,  Moori^ 
Berber,  Egyptian,  Turkish,  Persian  and  Afghan  life  an  ostenta- 
tious display  of  charity  whose  object  is  rathef  to  open  the  gate  of 
paradise  to  the  giver  than  to  minister  to  the  comfort  of  the  af- 
flicted; for  the  Koran  promises  (chap.  Ivii)  a  double  reward  from 
God  for  all  the  alms  that  are  given,  and  moreover  great  honor  here- 
after; whilst  those  who  fail  in  this  re^>ect  are  to  have  serpents 
twisted  round  their  necks  on  the  day  of  resurrection  (chap,  iii)."  * 

Similar  doctrines  are  to  be  found  in  Buddhism,  Confucianism, 
and  in  various  other  religions. 

It  is  evident  that  such  philanthropy  is  not  based  upon  altru- 
ism or  hiunanitarianism.  Furthermore,  it  is  to  be  expected  that 
such  philanthropy  will  not  be  directed  to  any  great  extent  toward 
the  object  of  benefiting  the  persons  aided  or  society  at  large. 
Such  philanthropy  results  in  a  vast  amount  of  indiscriminate 
personal  almsgiving,  and  an  elaborate  system  of  church  philan- 
thropic institutions.  This  is  why  in  most  Catholic  and  Moham- 
medan countries  the  streets  are  filled  with  mendicants,  and  in 
many  of  the  Catholic  countries  are  to  be  foimd  numerous  reli- 
gious asylums,  hospitals,  etc.  The  same  situation  exists  to  a 
lesser  degree  in  some  of  the  Protestant  coimtries. 

Religion  has  encouraged  philanthropy  also  by  using  it  as  a 
means  of  saving  the  souls  of  others  than  the  philanthropists 
themselves.  It  has  done  so  by  bribing,  as  it  were,  the  unbe- 
lievers by  means  of  phflanthropy  to  be  converted  to  the  religion 

*  B.  Kirkman  Gray,  of,  cU,,  p.  vii. 

•  A.  Sutherland,  op.  cit.,  Vol.  I,  p.  401. 


of  the  philanthropists,  and  thus  to  be  saved.  A  great  deal  of 
missionary  work  has  been  done  and  is  being  done  on  this  basis. 

There  is  no  doubt  that  some  religious  teachers  and  leaders  and 
a  few  of  their  f oUowers  have  been  influenced  mainly  by  humani- 
tarian considerations  in  preaching  a  religious  duty  of  philan- 
thrc^y.  But  philanthropy  which  is  upon  a  religious  basis  can 
never  be  humanitarian  to  any  great  extent,  for  reasons  which 
are  obvious.  Every  religion  preaches  doctrines  and  practices 
which  are  alleged  to  be  sacred,  and  which  if  they  are  true  doubt- 
less transcend  every  other  truth  and  practice  in  importance. 
Consequently  the  rdigious  motive  for  philanthropy,  in  the  eyes 
of  the  believer,  must  necessarily  and  logically  outweigh  any 
other  consideration,  as,  for  example,  any  humanitarian  con- 
sideration. Where  a  religionist  is  apparently  influenced  largely 
by  humanitarian  considerations,  it  is  usually  because  he  is  an 
individual  of  imusually  generous  impulses  which  predominate 
over  his  religious  beliefs.  His  philanthropy  may  become  a  more 
or  less  spontaneous  expression  of  his  innate  altruistic  and  hu- 
manitarian tendencies;  but  it  is  no  longer  to  save  his  own  soul 
or  some  other  person's  soul,  or  to  accomplish  any  other  religious 
end.  And  even  when  a  religion  teaches  a  doctrine  of  philan- 
thropy in  a  form  which  is  apparently  purely  hiunanitarian,  it  is 
stiU  possible  to  show  that  it  is  not  humanitarian  at  bottom  so 
long  as  it  remains  primarily  religious.  For  example,  when  Chris- 
tianity teaches  that  philanthropy  is  a  fraternal  duty  because  all 
human  beings  are  children  of  the  same  father,  it  appears  to  be 
purely  hiunanitarian.  But  so  long  as  Christianity  remains  a 
theistic  religion,  this  philanthropy  must  be  primarily  religious 
and  not  humanitarian;  for  the  duty  must  be  first  and  foremost 
towards  God,  through  whom  human  beings  acquire  a  conmion 
divine  parentage. 

The  foregoing  discussion  of  religion  as  a  force  for  philanthropy 
is  not  for  the  purpose  of  either  endorsing  or  condenming  the 
religious  motive,  such  a  question  being  outside  of  the  scope  of 
the  present  discussion.  But  in  order  to  understand  philan- 
thropic work  in  the  past  and  in  the  present,  it  is  important  to 
recognize  the  distinction  between  the  religious^and  the  hiunani- 
tariaji  motives  noted  above.  So  far  as  the  present  book  is  con- 
cerned, we  are  mainly  interested  in  philanthropy,  in  the  first 
place,  as  a  spontaneous  expression  of  the  altniistic  tendencies 


in  man,  and,  in  the  second  place,  as  occasioned  by  the  evolution 
of  a  society  made  up  of  interdependent  parts  where  certain 
classes  need  special  assistance  from  the  other  groups.  In  this 
connection  it  may  be  well  to  call  attention  to  the  fact  that  cer- 
tain religious  arguments  for  philanthropy  resemble  very  strongly 
arguments  which  are  deduced  from  a  study  of  the  constitution 
of  society.  For  example,  the  religious  "brotherhood  of  man" 
argument  is  very  similar  to  the  argument  which  is  sometimes 
deduced  from  the  conception  of  society  as  a  social  organism. 
Whether  the  "brotherhood  of  man"  argument  is  the  argument 
deduced  from  the  organismic  theory  masquerading  under  a 
religious  disguise,  or  is  a  genuine  religious  argument,  I  will  not 
attempt  to  say. 

There  is  another  way  in  which  religion  has  been  connected 
with  philanthropy,  though  not  directly  as  a  motive  for  philan- 
thropy. Religion  has  been  frequently  used  by  the  ruling  classes 
to  subdue  the  lower  classes,  while  philanthropy  was  being  giv^i 
to  them  as  a  sop  to  discourage  them  from  attempting  to 
better  their  conditions  by  revolutionary  means.  For  example, 
Christianity  has  usually  been  taught  as  a  doctrine  of  resigna- 
tion with  the  conditions  of  this  life  and  of  submission  and  of  obe- 
dience to  one's  nominal  superiors,  while  the  doctrine  of  immortal- 
ity taught  by  Christianity,  by  Mohammedanism,  and  by  many 
other  religions  has  been  used  to  minimize  the  importance  of 
suffering  and  destitution  in  this  life  as  compared  with  the  joys 
of  an  eternal  life  hereafter.  Indeed  the  poor  have  frequency 
been  told  that  they  would  be  repaid  manifold  for  their  present 
sufferings  in  this  future  life,  and  such  teaching  naturally  tends 
to  make  them  contented  with  their  present  condition  instead 
of  becoming  discontented  and  protesting  and  struggling  against 
such  a  condition.^    Thus  religion  and  charity  have  all  too  fre- 

^  This  religious  attitude  of  mind  of  requiring  resignation  and  submission 
of  the  poorer  classes  is  revealed  by  Thomas  Chalmers,  a  pious  English 
clergyman  of  the  early  part  of  the  nineteenth  century  who  wrote  volumi- 
nously on  the  subject  of  charity,  in  the  following  imctuous  language:  — 

''There  is  a  substantial,  though  unnoticed,  charm  in  the  visit  of  a  superior. 
There  is  a  felt  compliment  in  his  attentions,  which  raises  ah  emotion  in 
the  breast,  the  very  opposite  of  that  disdainful  sentiment  towards  the  higher 
orders  of  society,  that  is  now  of  such  alarming  prevalence  amongst  our 
operative  population."  ''Benevolence  meets  with  much  to  damp  and  to 
discourage  her;  and,  more  especially,  in  a  certain  hardness  and  imthankful- 


quently  worked  together  for  the  suppression  and  the  degrada- 
tion of  the  working  classes.* 

ness  among  its  objects,  which  it  is  the  direct  tendency  of  the  reigning  system 
to  engender."  {The  Christian  and  Civic  Economy  of  Large  Towns,  Glasgow, 
182 1-6,  Vol.  n,  pp.  36-7,  256.) 

The  evil  effect  of  such  teaching  has  been  forcibly  stated  by  A.  Wdber,  one 
of  the  keenest  students  of  the  effects  of  charity,  in  the  following  words:  — 

''Comme  nous  Tavons  vu,  les  id6es  de  discipline  et  de  hi6rarchie,  et  sur- 
tout  le  sentiment  rellgieux,  avaient,  pendant  bngtemps,  emp6ch6  k  pauvre 
de  se  r^volter  contre  sa  misire.  Tant  que  la  croyance  k  une  vie  ^temelle 
n'a  pas  6t£  mise  en  doute,  la  vie  terrestre  est  demeur6e  au  second  plan.  Le 
riche  s'est  fadlement  d6cid^  k  donner  une  partie  de  sa  richesse,  car  ce  sacri- 
fice apparent  constituait,  en  somme,  le  meiUeur  des  placements.  Le  pauvre, 
de  son  c6t6,  se  r6signait,  car  ses  souffrances  ne  devaient  6tre  que  passagdres 
et  il  avait  la  certitude  d'en  6tre  amplement  r6compens6.  Pour  tous,  le  but 
i6d  de  la  vie  ^tait  au  deli  de  la  mort."  {Le  problime  de  la  miske,  Paris, 
1913,  p.  156.) 


Types  of  philanthropy  —  The  evolution  of  the  almahouae  —  The  Himateft  of 
the  almahouae  —  The  adminiatration  of  the  almahouae  —  The  auper- 
viaion  of  almahouaes  —  Outdoor  relief  —  Indiacriminate  philanthropy: 
personal  almagiving;  holiday  giving;  tag  days;  etc  —  The  charity  or- 
ganization movement  —  The  superviaion  of  philanthropy  —  Criticisms 
of  private  philanthropy  —  The  utility  of  private  philanthropy  —  Public 
philanthropy  —  Philanthropy  and  the  prevention  of  poverty. 

We  must  now  survey  briefly  the  principal  philanthropic 
measures  in  use,  in  order  to  be  prepared  to  appraise  the  value 
and  effectiveness  of  philanthropy  as  one  of  the  methods  of  deal- 
ing with  the  problems  of  poverty. 

As  we  have  already  noted,  public  as  well  as  private  philan- 
thropy is  ordinarily  recognized.  As  we  shall  see  later,  the  dis- 
tinction between  the  two,  both  from  the  point  of  view  of  political 
principles  and  of  public  policy,  is  fundamental  and  profound. 
But  we  shall  ignore  this  distinction  for  the  present,  and  deal 
with  the  two  forms  of  charity  as  constituting  in  combination 
the  existing  S3rstem  of  dealing  with  dependency. 


Types  of  PHnANTHsopy 

The  simplest  and  lowest  form  of  private  charity  is  almsgiving 
to  mendicants,  where  the  donor  of  the  ahns  knows  nothing 
about  the  circumstances  and  need  of  the  mendicant.  It  is 
evident  that  there  can  be  no  discrimination  or  organization  in 
this  sort  of  charity,  and  it  is  never  possible  to  estimate  even  q>- 
proximately  the  extent  of  such  charity.  A  little  higher  form  of 
charity  is  where  the  almsgiver  is  acquainted  with  the  mendicant 
or  the  poor  individual  or  family  whom  he  aids,  and  can  therefore 
judge  somewhat  as  to  the  need  of  this  indiyidual  or  family.  In 
the  past  there  has  been  an  enormous  amount  of  such  personal 



almsgiving,  and  there  is  still  a  good  deal  of  it,  especially  in  cer- 
tain countries. 

But  personal  almsgiving  has  been  replaced  more  and  more 
by  philanthropy  through  organizations  and  institutions.  Prob- 
ably the  earliest  form  of  organized  private  charity  was  carried 
cm  by  churches.  The  religions  which  have  preached  a  doctrine 
of  charity  have  usually  secured  an  income,  sometimes  very 
large,  through  poorboxes,  the  payment  of  tithes  by  their  mem- 
bers, endowments,  etc.,  for  charitable  purposes.  This  income 
has  been  distributed  by  churches  and  similar  religious  organiza- 
tions to  individuals  and  families  in  need  of  relief,  and  to  institu- 
tions founded  usually  for  the  care  and  support  of  q>ecial  types 
of  dependents. 

More  recently  have  developed  the  secular  organizations  for 
dispensing  charity.  These  include  societies  for  giving  re- 
lief in  general  or  special  kinds  of  relief  to  individuals  and 
families,  institutions  for  special  types  of  dependents,  and, 
latest  of  all,  charity  organization  societies  founded  for  the 
purpose  of  organizing  private  charitable  work  in  general. 
This  last  type  of  society  we  shall  discuss  later  in  this 

Public  philanthropy  obviously  could  not  include  any  personal 
almsgiving.  It  does  include  relief  given  by  the  state  to  in- 
dividuals or  families  in  their  homes,  and  the  maintenance  of 
institutions  for  dependents  in  general  or  for  special  types  of 
dependents.  Sometimes  private  and  public  philanthropy  are 
combined,  as,  for  example,  when  the  state  contributes  to  the 
support  of  private  charitable  organizations  and  institutions. 
Less  frequently  it  happens  that  contributions  of  money,  com- 
modities, or  services  are  made  by  private  individuals  to  the 
public  charitable  work. 

The  kinds  of  private  and  public  charitable  work  mentioned 
above  have  usiudly  been  grouped  in  two  main  classes,  namely, 
outdoor  relief  and  indoor  relief.  By  outdoor  relief  is  ordinarily 
meant  all  charitable  aid  given  outside  of  institutions.  By  indoor 
relief  is  meant  aid  given  inside  of  institutions.  We  shall  discuss 
aid  given  to  special  classes  of  dependents  in  the  next  chapter. 
In  the  present  chapter  we  will  discuss  outdoor  relief  in  general, 
and  the  almshouse^  or  charitable  institution  for  dependents  in 


The  Almshouse 

The  almshouse  has  been  called  by  one  writer  ''the  funda- 
mental institution  in  American  poor-relief."  ^  It  has  been  given 
various  names  in  this  coimfjy,  such  as  "poorhouse,"  ''county 
infirmary,"  ''coimty  asylum,"  "coimty  hospital,"  "home  for 
the  aged  and  infirm,"  etc.  But  whatever  its  name,  it  has  alwa3rs 
been  the  public  institution  for  the  care  of  dependents  not  other- 
wise cared  for.  It  is  interesting  to  note  the  evolution  of  this 
institution  in  this  coimtry,  because  it  illustrates  various  things 
with  respect  to  the  evolution  of  philanthropy  in  general.  In 
the  early  pioneer  and  sparsely  settled  communities  of  this 
country  dependents  were  not  numerous,  since  most  of  the  in- 
habitants were  young  and  there  was  an  abimdance  of  oppor- 
tunities to  make  a  living.  Consequently  there  was  little  need 
for  institutions  for  the  care  of  dependents.  But  when  a  case  did 
arise  of  a  dependent  who  could  not  be  cared  for  by  relatives,  by 
private  charity,  or  in  any  other  way,  it  was  hardly  possible  in  a 
civilized  commimity  to  put  this  person  to  death  or  to  leave  him 
to  starve  to  death.  The  custom  therefore  arose  of  farming  out 
or  boarding  out  such  a  dependent  to  some  householder  or  family, 
the  care  of  the  dependent  being  paid  for  by  the  community. 
Later,  as  the  community  became  older  and  more  populous  and 
the  dependents  became  more  numerous,  a  large  building  was 
erected  for  the  care  of  these  dependents.  Still  later  in  many 
of  these  conmiunities  the  large  building  was  replaced  by  seversd 
small  buildings  administered  on  the  cottage  plan,  since  this 
was  foimd  to  be  a  better  way  of  caring  for  these  dependents. 

It  will  readily  be  seen  that  the  inmates  of  these  almshouses 
were  at  first  very  heterogeneous.  They  contained  depend- 
ent children  and  aged  poor,  indigent  sick  and  ablebodied 
adults  unable  to  find  work,  the  sane  with  the  insane,  feeble- 
minded and  epileptics,  etc.  But  in  course  of  time  special  institu- 
tions for  many  of  these  classes  were  provided,  so  that  there  were 
orphanages  for  the  children,  hospitals  for  the  sick,  asylums  for 
the  insane,  etc.  Thus  more  discriminating  and  scientific  treat- 
ment could  be  given  to  each  type  of  dependent.  Furthermore, 
the  tendency  has  been  to  classify  more  carefully  the  dq>endents 

*  A.  G.  Warner,  American  CharUies,  New  York,  1908,  p.  195. 



who  have  remained  in  the  ahnshouse  with  respect  to  sex,  color, 
age,  healthy  mental  and  moral  character,  etc.,  thus  making  the 
life  within  these  institutions  more  comfortable  and  more  health- 
ful for  the  inmates. 

Tliere  has  unfortunately  been  a  great  deal  of  maladministra- 
tion of  almshouses  in  this  country,  which  has  been  fully  described 
by  many  investigators.  This  has  been  due  to  various  causes. 
In  the  first  place,  it  has  been  due  to  the  generally  bad  admin- 
istration of  public  institutions  in  this  country  caused  by  the 
political  maladjustment  which  we  have  discussed  in  an  earlier 
chapter.  But  there  have  also  been  special  reasons  for  it.  In  the 
earlier  days  it  was  customary  for  a  community  to  lease  out  the 
management  of  an  almshouse  to  an  individual  who  contracted 
to  care  for  the  inmates  at  a  fixed  rate.  Tlie  result  in  many  cases 
was  that  the  contractor,  in  his  desire  to  make  as  much  money  as 
possible  from  his  contract,  would  not  give  adequate  and  suitable 
care  to  his  charges.  Furthermore,  there  has  frequently  been 
laxness  with  regard  to  the  admission  of  persons  to  the  almshouse, 
and  the  discharge  of  inmates  from  the  almshouse.  Consequently 
many  persons  have  been  admitted  to  almshouses  who  did  not 
belong  there,  while  many  have  been  permitted  to  leave  who 
should  have  been  kept  there. 

In  many  of  these  institutions  no  work  has  been  provided  for 
the  inmates.  It  goes  without  saying  that  the  aged  and  infirm 
who  are  not  fitted  for  work  should  not  be  forced  to  do  so.  But 
many  of  the  inmates  are  capable  of  doing  at  least  a  little  work, 
and  the  means  of  doing  so  should  be  provided  for  them.  Such  a 
system  of  work  has  at  least  three  good  results.  It  acts  as  a 
deterrent  upon  applicants  who  do  not  belong  in  almshouses. 
It  lessens  the  cost  for  the  conmiunity  of  maintaining  the  alms- 
house. It  makes  the  life  in  the  institution  pleasanter  for  the 
inmates,  for  complete  idleness  is  not  pleasant  for  most  people. 

Various  methods  of  supervising  almshouses  have  been  devised, 
which  have  prevented  the  above-mentioned  evils  in  mai\y  of 
these  institutions.  In  some  conmiimities  local  boards  of  visitors 
are  appointed  that  keep  watch  of  the  management  of  the  local 
almshouses.  In  many  counties  the  coimty  court  has  the  power 
of  admitting  persons  to  and  discharging  inmates  from  the  alms- 
house, and  of  maintaining  a  supervision  over  the  administration 
of  the  institution.    In  some  states  the  almshouses  are  inspected 


by  State  officials,  who  report  any  evils  which  they  have  observed. 
In  many  states  there  are  boards  of  charities  and  correction  that 
keep  watch  of  the  almshouses  even  when  they  have  no  authority 
over  them,  in  order  to  note  and  if  possible  prevent  any  evils  which 
may  creep  into  the  administration  of  these  institutions.  In  a  few 
states  there  are  state  boards  which  have  more  or  less  contrd 
over  these  institutions.  In  some  states  the  legislatures  have 
passed  laws  regulating  the  management  of  the  almshouses. 

According  to  the  latest  census  figures,  there  were  on  January  i, 
1910,  84,198  paupers  in  almshouses  in  the  United  States.^  The 
almshouse  (preferably  under  another  name)  will  be  needed  iar  a 
long  time  to  come,  and  perhaps  always,  as  a  haven  of  refuge  for 
those  who  are  not  cared  for  in  any  other  way.  As  one  writer 
has  said:  —  "So  long  as  there  shaU  be  poor  pec^le  to  be  cared 
for  by  public  charity,  a  place  of  refuge,  an  asylum  for  worn  out 
and  feeble  men  and  women,  will  probably  be  a  necessity." « 
This  will  probably  always  be  the  case,  even  though  poverty  be 
reduced  to  a  minimum.  So  that  it  is  important  that  this  institu- 
tion be  well  managed. 

Outdoor  Relief 

It  is  evident  that  there  are  various  kinds  of  outdocH*  relief. 
Almsgiving  to  a  street  mendicant  is  one  form  of  outdoor  relief; 
but  an  unorganized  and  unregulated  form,  which  we  shall  dis- 
cuss presently.  Organized  outdoor  relief  is  carried  on  by  church 
organizations,  secular  charitable  organizations,  and  by  Uie  state. 
It  is  usually  given  to  individuals  or  families  that  are  temporarily 
dependent,  owing  to  imemployment,  illness,  accident,  etc.  But 
sometimes  it  is  given  more  or  less  permanently,  as,  for  example, 
when  it  seems  desirable  to  keep  a  family  together  in  its  own  home 
instead  of  scattering  its  members  among  institutions.  Tliere  has 
been  much  difference  of  opinion  as  to  whether  relief  in  homes 
should  ever  be  more  than  temporary,  many  students  of  the  sub- 
ject believing  that  when  individuals  or  families  are  permaneiltly 
dependent  they  should  be  sent  to  institutions.  There  has  also 
been  difference  of  opinion  as  to  whether  there  should  be  any  out- 
door relief  whatever,  some  believing  that  it  should  be  swq)t  away 

^  Paupers  in  Almshouses,  iQio,  Washington,  1914,  p.  9. 
'  Alex.  Johnson,  The  Almshouse^  New  York,  1911,  p.  i. 


entirely.  This  belief  has  been  encouraged  by  the  very  Bad  way  in 
which  such  systems  of  relief  have  frequently  been  administered. 
This  has  perhaps  been  most  true  of  relief  given  by  church  and 
other  religious  organizations.  This  has  doubtless  been  due  in 
part  to  the  fact  that  such  organizations  are  usually  managed  in  a 
rather  imbusinesslike  way.  But  it  has  been  due  in  large  part  to 
the  fact  that  religious  charity  has  usually  been  carried  on  with 
the  ulterior  motive  of  proselytizing.*  Public  outdoor  relief  in 
this  coimtry  has  also  been  very  badly  administered,  owing  to 
political  corruption  and  inefficient  governmental  administration 
in  general.  The  secular  private  oiganizations  have  doubtless 
been  most  successful  up  to  the  present  time  in  this  coimtry  in 
administering  outdoor  relief. 

Owing  to  this  bad  management,  outdoor  relief  has  doubtless 
been  a  force  for  pauperization.  It  is  evident  that  when  such 
relief  is  being  given  out  indiscriminately  many  who  do  not 
really  need  it  will  succumb  to  the  temptation  of  taking  advan- 
tage of  it ;  and  when  this  habit  is  formed  some  will  come  to  depend 
upon  it  entirely,  and  will  make  no  further  effort  to  support  them- 
selves. In  other  cases,  where  there  was  real  need,  suitable  assist- 
ance has  not  been  given.  As  a  general  thing  the  relief  has  been 
given  in  the  form  of  small  doles,  with  little  r^;ard  to  the  future 
of  the  individual  or  family  being  assisted. 

However,  the  maladministration  of  such  relief  in  the  past 
does  not  necessarily  condenm  it  entirely  for  the  future.  In  the 
first  place,  it  is  hardly  conceivable  that  it  will  ever  be  possible 
to  dispense  entirely  with  some  form  of  relief.  So  long  as  imem- 
ployment,  sickness,  accidents,  etc.,  continue  to  exist,  it  will  be 
necessary  to  tide  individuals  and  families  over  periods  of  in- 
sufficiency and  destitution.  If  there  is  no  organized  system  of 
relief  to  meet  this  need,  personal  almsgiving  of  an  imdiscriminat- 
ing  sort  will  be  encouraged,  more  persons  will  be  pushed  down 

1 C/.  E.  T.  Devine,  Princif^es  ofRduf,  New  York,  1904,  pp.  75-6.  "One 
of  the  chief  concerns  of  the  church  organization  as  sudi  is  to  hold  the  alle- 
giance of  those  already  affiliated  with  it,  and  to  secure  the  adhesion  of  others. 
It  is  only  in  rare  instances  that  a  relief  system  under  the  control  of  the 
church  or  auxiliary  to  it  can  be  carried  on  with  efficiency  and  success.  There 
Is  no  reason  to  expect  that  strict  observance  of  correct  principles  of  relief 
wHl  invariably  promote  the  religious  objects  recognized  by  the  churches, 
or  that  church  membership  can  be  increased  or  maintained,  under  nisting 
ccmditions  of  sectarian  divisions,  by  a  legitimate  use  of  relief  funds." 


into  a  state  of  permanent  pauperism,  mendicancy  will  doubtless 
increase,  and  crime  is  very  likely  to  increase.  It  is  true  that  as 
great  evils  as  these  may  be  caused  and  perhaps  are  being  caused 
today  in  some  places  by  bad  S3rstems  of  relief.  But  effort  should 
be  directed  towards  eliminating  these  evils  by  improving  the 
methods  of  relief. 

Discrimination  in  Philanthropy 

The  first  thing  to  be  done  is  to  introduce  discrimination  into 
philanthropic  methods.  Though  this  has  already  been  ac- 
complished to  a  certain  extent,  as  I  shall  indicate  presently, 
there  still  exists  a  good  deal  of  indiscriminate  giving.  It  is 
obvious  that  practically  all  almsgiving  to  mendicants  is  indis- 
criminate, because  it  is  almost  alwa3rs  impossible  for  the  alms- 
giver  to  know  anything  about  the  condition  of  the  mendicant. 
The  almsgivers  may  be  divided  into  at  least  three  groups. 
The  first  is  of  those  who  give  as  a  religious  duty.  The  second  is 
of  those  who  give  because  they  are  goodhearted,  but  simple- 
minded  and  therefore  shortsighted;  and  who  give  consequently 
because  their  sympathies  are  aroused  by  the  apparent  desti- 
tution of  the  mendicant,  but  who  do  not  stop  to  consider  the 
probable  effects  oi  their  alms.  The  third  is  of  those  who  r^ard 
the  mendicants  as  the  victims  of  society,  and  who  r^ard  the 
organized  charitable  societies  that  exercise  discrimination  as  the 
agencies  of  the  capitalist  class.  They  therefore  give  in  order  to 
show  their  sympathy  with  the  victims  of  society  and  their 
contempt  for  the  charitable  organizations. 

We  have  already  discussed  the  motives  of  the  first  group  of 
almsgivers,  and  have  repudiated  them.  But  we  may  sympathize 
with  the  generous  impulses  of  those  in  the  second  class,  and  agree 
to  a  considerable  extent  with  the  ideas  of  the  radicals  who  con- 
stitute  the  third  class;  and  yet  not  approve  of  their  indiscriminate 
giving.  Many  of  the  mendicants  on  city  streets  are  drunkards. 
There  is  no  occasion  to  judge  them  on  moral  grounds.  A  few 
of  them  are  drunkards  because  they  were  bom  with  a  nervous 
system  which  is  pleasantly  stimulated  by  alcoholic  beverages. 
Some  have  become  drunkards  as  a  result  of  illness.  Many  of 
them  have  tramped  the  streets  for  weeks  and  months  in  search 
of  work,  and  as  a  result  of  the  discouragement  caused  by  their 


failure  to  find  work  have  sought  relief  in  drinking.  But  however 
little  to  blame  they  may  be  for  their  condition,  to  give  them 
money  in  the  street  is  almost  certain  to  aid  in  their  further 
degradation,  and  to  contribute  to  the  liquor  traffic  which  is  the 
cause  of  a  vast  amoimt  of  suffering  and  pauperism. 

Other  forms  of  indiscriminate  giving  which  still  exist  are 
charitable  gifts  of  all  kinds  at  holiday  seasons  by  persons  many 
of  whom  forget  the  poor  the  rest  of  the  year,  contributions  on 
tag  days  as  a  result  of  the  promiscuous  solicitation  of  gifts  from 
persons  many  of  whom  know  nothing  about  the  charity  to  which 
they  are  contributing,  endless  chains,  the  selling  of  stamps,  etc. 

Generally  speaking,  indiscriminate  philanthropy  makes  new 
recipients  of  charity  by  tempting  many  who  are  now  self- 
supporting  to  apply  for  relief,  and  encourages  old  recipients  who 
m^t  become  self-supporting  to  remain  in  their  pauperism.  It 
has  frequently  happened  that  a  family  which  has  been  helped 
to  regain  self-support  by  the  agents  of  organized  charities  has 
fallen  back  into  a  state  of  dependency  at  a  holiday  time,  when  it 
has  been  given  an  abimdant  opportunity  to  receive  charity. 
Indiscriminate  giving  also  has  a  very  bad  effect  upon  the  givers, 
because  it  encourages  in  them  the  thoughtlessness  which  led  to 
such  giving.  So  long  as  a  person  gives  in  such  a  fashion,  he  is 
not  likely  to  think  seriously  with  regard  to  the  underl3dng  causes 
of  the  poverty  and  mendicancy  which  he  witnesses.  In  the  last 
place,  indiscriminate  philanthropy  stands  in  the  way  of  pre- 
ventive measures,  because  it  dissipates  energy  and  money  which 
might  be  devoted  to  such  preventive  measures,  and  because  it 
increases  the  amount  of  pauperism. 

However,  a  good  deal  has  been  accomplished  in  recent  years  to 
make  philanthrc^ic  work  discriminating.  At  least  three  causes 
for  this  can  be  mentioned.  Doubtless  the  most  important  of 
these  is  scientific  research,  which  has  revealed  the  evil  effects 
of  indiscriminate  charity  and  has  thrown  much  light  upon  the 
true  causes  of  poverty.  Tlie  application  of  the  statistical  method 
to  the  study  of  social  phenomena  has  aided  greatly  in  accom- 
plishing this  result.  Largely  as  a  result  of  this  scientific  research 
the  importance  of  preventive  measures  is  now  appreciated  far 
more  than  in  the  past,  and  this  tends  to  minimize  the  importance 
of  philanthropic  work  in  general,  and  to  emphasize  the  impor- 
tance of  discrimination  in  charity  in  order  to  prepare  the  way  for 


preventive  work.  In  the  third  place,  the  improvement  of  busi- 
ness methods  in  general  has  doubtiess  had  its  influence  upon 
charitable  work  by  furnishing  charitable  workers  the  means  of 
canying  on  their  work  in  a  more  orderly  manner,  thus  minimis- 
ing the  possibility  of  duplication  and  deception  on  the  part  of 
the  applicants  for  charity. 

The  principal  manifestation  of  the  effort  to  make  philanthropy 
discriminating  has  been  the  charity  organization  movement. 
This  began  with  the  formation  of  the  first  charity  organization 
society  in  London  in  1868.  The  first  one  in  this  coimtry  was 
form^  in  Buffalo  in  1877.  Tlie  specific  object  of  such  a  society 
is  to  stimulate  discriminating  philanthr(^y.  This  it  may  do  in 
many  ways.  But  as  a  general  thing  it  undertakes  to  investigate 
an  applications  for  relief  in  order  to  determine  whether  or  not 
there  is  a  real  need,  and  when  there  is  such  a  need  it  makes  a 
reconunendation  to  a  relief  agency.  It  also  usually  keeps  a 
careful  record  of  all  persons  who  have  applied  for  aid,  which 
record  can  be  used  by  all  reUef  agencies.  In  these  ways  the 
attempt  is  made  to  prevent  duplication  and  dec^tion.  The 
charity  organization  society  may  or  may  not  act  as  a  relief  agency 
itself.  These  societies  have  also  done  a  good  deal  to  organize 
what  is  ordinarily  called  friendly  visiting,  which  had  existed 
earlier  in  an  imorganized  form.  By  this  term  is  meant  keeping  in 
touch  with  families  which  are  near  the  borderline  of  dependency, 
as  well  as  those  that  are  dependent,  in  order  to  encourage  these 
f amiUes  by  means  of  advice  to  remain  self-supporting. 

A  number  of  other  factors  for  encouraging  discrimination  in 
charity  may  be  mentioned.  In  many  of  the  states  there  are 
state  boards  of  charities,  which  exercise  a  certain  amoimt  of 
supervision  over  the  charitable  work  in  the  state,  and  try  to 
correlate  and  systematize  this  work  in  such  a  fashion  as  to  pre- 
vent waste  and  to  make  the  wprk  as  effective  as  possible.  In  a 
few  states  there  are  state  boards  of  control  which  have  more  or 
less  authority  over  charitable  work,  while  in  some  states  the 
l^islatures  have  required  accountings  from  the  private  chari- 
table organizations.  The  state,  national,  and  international  con- 
ferences of  charities  have  also  had  some  influence  for  discrimina- 
tion in  charitable  work. 

With  the  use  of  discriminating  methods,  it  will  be  safe  to  con- 
tinue to  give  outdoor  relief.    And  it  certainly  will  be  necessary 


to  do  SO  as  long  as  the  economic  condition  of  the  vast  majority 
of  the  members  of  society  is  as  uncertain  as  it  is  at  present  So 
long  as  these  individuals  have  no  guarantee  against  the  destitu- 
tion which  results  from  unemployment,  sickness,  'etc.,  there 
must  be  an  organized  system  of  giving  them  relief.  But  we 
now  come  to  the  question  whether  such  relief  should  be  private 
or  public,  and  this  raises  the  general  question  of  private  and 
public  philanthropy,  which  we  must  discuss  briefly. 

Criticisms  of  Private  Philanthropy 

Many  serious  objections  can  be  raised  against  private  philan- 
thropy. \"/^**  fir*^  r^"^Pi  in  the  long  runjind  on  the  whole  it  is 
more  feasible  to  make  public  philanthropy  discriminating  than 
private  philanthropy.  For  various  reasons,  some  of  which  we 
have  already  discussed,  it  will  probably  never  be  possible  to 
make  religious  philanthr<yy  thoroughly  discriminating.  As  the 
Webbs  have  said:  —  "There  are  still  many  good  people  among 
us  who  instinctively  resent  any  discouragement  of  the  personal 
impulse  to  give  alms  or  to  perform  'good  works'  as  a  reUgious 
duty  by  which  we  'acquire  merit'  or  do  glory  imto  God,  quite 
irrespective  of  the  effect  really  produced  upon  the  recipients 
and  beneficiaries.  To  them,  at  least  in  theory,  personal  charity 
is  everything."  * 

When  we  tiun  to  secular  private  charity,  the  same  thing  is 
not  so  true  as  for  religious  charity.  I  have  already  stated  that 
up  to  the  present  time  in  this  country  private  organized  charity 
has  probably  been  more  discriminating  than  public  charity. 
However,  this  has  not  been  due  to  any  defect  which  is  inherent 
in  pubUc  charity,  but  has  been  due  to  the  political  corruption 
and  lack  of  administrative  efficiency  which  has  so  far  charac- 
terized the  government  of  this  coimtry  These  defects  may  be 
eliminated  and  probably  will  be  eliminated  before  long.  We 
know  very  well  that  public  relief  systems  have  been  and  are 
very  successful  in  certain  countries,  and  there  is  no  reason  why 
the  same  should  not  be  true  in  this  coimtry.  With  respect  to 
discrimination,  public  reUef  has  at  least  two  great  advantages 
over  private  relief.  In  the  first  place,  there  is  little  danger  of 
sentimentality  in  the  giving  of  public  relief,  while  private  relief 

1  S.  and  B.  Webb,  Tke  Prevention  0/  DestUuiion,  London,  191 1,  p.  222. 


is  always  in  danger  of  being  influenced  by  sentimental  ccmsideni- 
tions.  This  is  true  because,  however  efficiently  the  private  reKef 
system  may  come  to  be  oiganized,  its  methods  may  be  influ- 
enced and  its  system  in  part  disorganized  at  any  time  by  the 
sentimental  ideas  and  motives  of  its  financial  supporters.  In 
the  second  place,  a  public  relief  system  is  a  part  of  the  vast 
machineiy  of  government,  and  can  command  the  aid  of  the  rest 
of  the  government  in  a  fashion  which  is  impossible  for  private 

On  the  oth^  hand,  it  may  appear  as  if  public  charity  faces 
another  danger,  namely,  that  of  becoming  routinized  to  such 
an  extent  that  sufficient  discrimination  will  not  be  made  between 
the  different  cases  as  to  make  aUowance  for  individual  dif- 
ferences. This  is  true,  but  it  should  be  remembered  that  private 
charity  also  faces  the  same  danger,  though  probably  not  to  the 
same  degree.  However,  this  is  not  an  inevitable  defect  of  public 
charity,  and  may  be  avoided  in  an  efficient  sjrstem.  Further- 
more, this  problem  is  bound  up  with  another  one  which  we  shall 
discuss  presently,  namely,  the  tendency  of  private  charity  to 
pass  moral  judgments  which  are  both  impertinent  and  unjusti- 
fied upon  the  objects  of  its  charity.  Public  charity  has  this 
tendency  to  a  much  smaller  extent,  partly  because  it  does  not 
distinguish  to  so  great  an  extent  between  individual  cases. 

Private  charity  is  more  likely  to  injure  the  self-respect  of  the 
poor  than  public  charity.  It  is  difficult  to  eliminate  from  the 
personal  relations  involved  in  such  charity  a  patronizing  atti- 
tude on  the  part  of  the  donor  and  of  humility  on  the  part  of  the 
recipient  of  the  charity.  It  is  true  that  the  same  may  be  said 
sometimes  of  public  charity  as  well.  So  long  as  houses  of  refuge 
for  the  homeless  are  caUed  "poorhouses"  or  ^^ almshouses," 
and  so  long  as  dty  departments  in  charge  of  rdief  work  are 
called  departments  of  "public  charities,"  a  stigma  will  be  at- 
tached to  public  as  well  as  private  charity,  and  the  self-respecting 
poor  will  feel  humiliated  and  disgraced  by  receiving  such  charity. 
But,  to  say  the  least,  the  personal  relations  involved  in  private 
charity  which  are  mentioned  above  cannot  exist  in  public 
charity,  while  it  is  possible  to  develop  a  sentiment  that  public 
relief  is  the  right  of  those  who  need  it  and  therefore  not  disgrace- 
ful, whereas  it  is  obviously  impossible  to  develop  any  such  senti- 
ment with  respect  to  private  charity. 


With  such  a  sentiment  devel(^>ed  under  a  S3rstem  of  public 
relief,  pauperism  in  the  sense  in  which  it  is  now  understood  would 
disappear.  That  is  to  say,  the  pauper  would  no  longer  be  re- 
garded as  one  who,  despite  faults  of  mind  and  character,  was 
being  privileged  to  survive  through  the  munificent  beneficence 
of  private  individuals,^  or  of  the  state;  but  as  one  who,  owing 
to  peculiarities  of  circumstance  and  personal  traits,  was  receiving 
his  support  from  society  in  this  manner  rather  than  as  a  wage- 
earner,  an  employee  of  the  state,  etc.* 

Furthermore,  in  private  charity  there  is  frequently  a  tendency 
to  adjust  what  is  given  to  the  alleged  moral  wortih  or  lack  of 
worth  of  the  recipient.  Thus  the  alms  given  becomes  a  prize 
for  those  who  are  ''good,"  and  is  withheld  entirely  or  in  part 

1  This  point  of  view  of  private  charitable  organizations  has  frequently 
been  noted.  For  example,  Gray,  the  historian  and  keen  student  of  English 
charities,  comments  on  charity  organization  societies  as  follows:  — 

"The  fundamental  error  of  the  Charity  Organisation  Society  consbts  in  a 
fake  antithesis  between  character  and  circumstance"  owing  to  the  fact  that 
it  assumes  "throughout  that  the  conditions  of  our  social  and  industrial 
system  are  satisfactory  enough,  and  that  when  failure  occurs  the  fault  is 
to  be  foimd  not  in  the  circumstances  but  in  the  character  of  the  perscm  who 
fails."    {PkOatUhrop  and  the  State,  p.  115.) 

Gray  criticises  this  point  of  view  in  the  following  words:  — 

"Men  iajl  from  all  kinds  of  mischances  over  which  they  have  no  control 
and  for  which  they  often  are  not  responsible.  Their  health  is  undermined 
by  their  occupation;  their  vitality  is  depressed  by  the  noisome  dwelling 
where  for  the  profit  of  a  slum  landlord  they  must  sleep;  they  are  thrown 
out  of  work  from  some  vicissitude  of  trade,  evicted  from  their  house  for  a 
political  ofHnion,  or  are  found  'too  old  at  forty,'  because  children  who  should 
be  at  school  compete  with  them  in  the  labour  market.  These  are  instances 
of  the  chances  of  the  industrial  worid.  Beyond  these  are  its  standard  cruel- 
ties and  injustices  which  make  10  per  cent  of  the  people  hardly  able  to  gain 
the  barest  subsistence  wage.  In  all  these  cases  the  first  thing  necessary  is 
not  a  change  of  character  but  of  circumstances.  Even  when  the  victims  of 
underpaid  labour  are  faulty  and  erring  persons,  what  is  first  of  all  required 
is  to  provide  the  possibility  of  life.  But  it  is  a  heartless  and  ignorant  libel 
on  the  dass  to  assume  as  a  rule  that  the  character  is  markedly  faulty.  Most 
(rften  it  is  of  that  average  tjrpe  which  is  the  most  common  in  every  walk  of 
life.  It  is  often  quite  outstandingly  good.  On  the  wh(J^  the  character  is 
above  the  circumstance."    (Op.  cit,,  pp.  116-7.)  ^ 

It  should,  however,  be  said  that  some  private  charitable  workers  have 
come  to  recognize  the  force  of  circumstances  in  causing  the  posonal  traits 
of  the  poor. 

'  C/.  Edwin  Cannan,  The  Economic  Outlook,  London,  191 2,  chaps.  3  and 
8,  entitled,  "The  Stigma  of  Pauperism"  and  "  Must  a  Poor  Law  Pauperise?  " 


from  those  who  are  "bad."  Now  it  goes  without  sa3dng  that 
relief  cannot  be  given  discriminatingly  without  careful  considera- 
tion of  the  personal  traits  of  the  individuals  being  aided.  Other- 
wise it  is  not  possible  to  give  to  each  individual  what  is  really 
needed  by  him.  But  if  the  criterion  is  a  moral  one  in  the  senae 
indicated  above,  a  relief  system  becomes  a  S3rstem  of  retributicm 
and  reward,  and  is  consequently  a  penal  S3rstem  rather  than  a 
S3rstem  of  relief.  And  inasmuch  as  the  moral  criterion  of  many 
charitable  workers  and  philanthrcyists  is  that  of  the  uppeac 
class  and  is  characterized  by  an  inadequate  comprehension  of 
the  causes  of  the  personal  traits  of  the  recipients  of  their  philan- 
thropy, the  results  from  granting  charity  on  a  moral  basis 
become  peculiarly  vidous.^ 

^  A  striking  example  of  upper  dass  morality  as  exhibited  in  diaritable 
writing  is  to  be  fomid  in  a  book  which  is  probably  the  best  known  work  on 
philanthropy  which  has  been  produced  in  this  country,  and  which  has  been 
the  cherished  gmde  and  vade  mecum  of  many,  perhaps  the  great  majority, 
of  American  philanthropic  and  social  workers  for  more  than  a  score  of  yean. 
This  book  is  characterized  throughout  by  a  smug  morality  which  b  obviously 
due  to  moral  and  religious  prejudices  of  upper  dass  origin,  and  by  a  narrow- 
ness of  vision  and  lack  of  comprehen^on  which  is  due  to  a  wholly  inadequate 
analysb  of  the  fundamental  causes  of  poverty.  An  illustration  of  these 
characteristics  of  this  writer  is  his  opinion  very  fordbly  stated  that  a 
considerable  part  of  the  working  class  is  characterized  by  "immorality," 
by  which  he  means  "sexual  licentiousness,  or  other  perversion  of  the  sexual 
instinct,"  and  which  he  r^^rds  as  an  important  cause  of  thdr  poverty. 
His  point  of  view  in  this  regard  is  well  indicated  in  the  following  excerpts: — 
"Among  the  rougher  dasses  of  day  laborers  upon  railroads,  in  quarries^ 
and  even  upon  the  farms,  the  whole  imdercurrent  of  thought,  so  far  as  oon- 
versation  gives  evidence  of  it,  is  thoroughly  base  and  degrading.  In  many 
cases  inefficiency  certainly  results  from  the  constant  preoccupation  of  the 
mind  with  sensual  imaginings.  .  .  .  Railroad  day  laborers,  and  others  of  a 
similar  dass,  are  very  ommionly  kept  from  rismg  in  the  industrial  scale 
by  their  sensuality,  and  it  is  this  and  the  resulting  degeneration  that  finally 
converts  many  of  them  into  lazy  vagabonds.  The  inherent  undeanness 
of  their  minds  prevents  them  from  rising  above  the  rank  of  day  laborers,  and 
finally  incapadtates  them  even  for  that  position."  (Amos  G.  Warner, 
American  Charities,  revised  ed.,  New  York,  1908,  p.  82.) 

The  above  statements  and  point  of  view  may  be  criticised  in  several  ways. 
In  the  first  place,  Warner  exhibits  an  utter  miscomprehension  of  the  nature 
and  significance  of  sex  in  the  life  of  man.  But  it  would  take  us  too  for  afidd 
to  criticise  him  on  this  point.  In  the  seccmd  place,  he  displays  a  lamentable 
ignorance  of  the  day  laborer  who,  on  account  of  his  ladL  of  education  and 
cultural  training,  embdlishes  his  conversation  with  terms  which  are  not  tol- 
erated by  the  refined  standards  of  i^per  class  society,  however  appr(^>riate 


It  is  true  that  public  charity  also  is  frequently  granted  ac- 
cording to  a  similar  moral  criterion.  If  the  administrators  of 
this  charity  are  inspired  with  the  same  moral  and  religious  ideas 
as  the  private  philanthropists  and  charitable  workers,  they  are 
almost  certain  to  try  to  administer  it  in  the  same  manner.  But 
there  are  at  least  two  obstacles  in  the  way  of  such  an  administra- 
tion of  a  system  of  public  relief.  In  the  first  place,  the  tendency 
to  routinize  the  administration,  which,  as  we  have  abeady 
noted,  is  harmful  in  other  respects,  stands  in  the  way  of  such 
discrimination  upon  moral  grounds  between  the  individual 
recipients  of  charity.  In  the  second  place,  (and  this  is  doubt- 
less a  much  more  serious  obstacle),  in  any  coimtry  where  the 
government  is  at  all  democratic  public  opinion  is  certain  in 
the  long  run  to  prevent  such  dispensing  of  public  relief  accord- 
ing to  a  moral  criterion.  This  is  because  the  great  mass  of  the 
people  will  never  tolerate  such  discriminating  on  moral  grounds 
where  they  know  well  enough  that  it  is  not  justified.  As  mem- 
bers of  the  same  class,  and  as  neighbors  of  these  recipients  of 
public  relief,  they  know  that  the  intemperance  of  the  drunkard, 
the  laziness  of  the  idler,  the  inefficiency  of  the  incompetent,  etc., 
are  all  too  frequently  due  to  bad  bringing-up,  sickness,  long 
periods  of  involuntary  imemplo3anent,  etc. 

But  if  we  put  aside  metaphysical  theories,  religious  prepos- 
sessions, and  class  prejudices,  we  may  use  the  term  "moral" 
as  applied  to  personal  traits  with  respect  to  whether  or  not 
they  aid  the  individual  to  succeed  in  society  as  it  now  exists, 
or  in  any  society.  Tlie  term  is  used  in  this  sense  by  some  of 
the  more  enlightened  writers  on  this  subject.*  Not  until  we 
rid  the  term  of  the  above-mentioned  connotations  can  we  use 
it  in  a  scientific,  humane,  and  democratic  sense.    When  we 

and  forcible  they  may  be.  In  the  third  place,  the  use  of  such  tenns  is  not 
necessarily  an  indication  of  degeneration;  but  may,  oh  the  contrary,  be  an 
indication  of  a  somewhat  imregulated  virility.  In  the  fourth  place,  even 
if  we  grant  that  this  degeneration  exists  to  the  extent  alleged  by  Warner, 
(and  it  goes  without  sajdng  that  excessive  sensuality  does  injury  to  many), 
it  is  evident  from  his  discussion  of  it  that  he  fafls  to  understand  that  it  is 
due  laigdy  to  the  hardships  and  limitations  of  the  lives  of  these  laborers 
rather  than  to  any  innate  depravity  on  their  part.  He  therefore  does  them 
gross  injustice  when  he  implies  that  they  are  morally  culpable  for  such  de- 
>  C/.  S.  and  B.  Webb,  op.  cit.,  chap.  10  —  The  ''Moral  Factor.'* 


have  succeeded  in  doing  so,  the  term  may  be  used  safely,  and 
we  may  regard  as  defects  of  character  those  traits  which  hamper 
the  individual  from  being  a  self-supporting  member  of  society. 
But  everything  in  the  way  of  pimishment  should  be  left  entirely 
to  the  penal  function  of  the  state. 

We  now  come  to  what  is  probably  the  most  serious  objecticNi 
to  private  charity.  It  is  that  to  a  considerable  extent  such 
charity  stands  in  the  way  of  f imdamental  reforms  which  would 
remove  in  part  or  entirely  the  conditions  of  poverty  and  pauper- 
ism which  this  charity  tries  to  ameliorate.  In  other  words, 
philanthropy  could  then  be  superseded  by  social  justice,  and 
we  have  already  seen  that  from  a  humanitarian  point  of  view 
social  justice  must  be  r^arded  as  superior  to  philanthrc^y. 
The  principal  reason  why  private  charity  has  this  influence  is 
that  it  is  necessarily  supported  by  the  more  well-to-do  classes 
in  the  community.  The  fundamental  reforms  which  would 
lessen  the  extent  of  poverty  and  pauperism  would  in  most  cases 
apparently  and  in  many  cases  in  reality  diminish  the  fortunes 
and  incomes  of  these  well-to-do  classes.  The  natural  result 
is  that  these  classes  will  consciously  or  imconsdously  oppose 
such  reforms,  and  keep  up  philanthropic  work  which  distracts 
attention  from  these  fimdamental  reforms  and  serves  as  a  sop 
to  the  poorer  classes.  The  rich  are  sometimes  bitterly  accused 
of  assuming  this  attitude  consciously.  In  all  probability  they 
are  frequently,  perhaps  usually,  unconscious  of  it.  But  their 
personal  interests  and  the  circumstances  of  their  lives  are 
such  that  it  is  almost  inevitable  that  they  should  take  such  a 

*  See,  for  example,  the  following  citations  from  careful  students  of  this 
subject:  — 

"It  is  more  socially  injurious  for  the  millionaire  to  spend  his  surplus 
wealth  in  charity  than  in  luxury.  For  by  q>ending  it  on  luxury,  he  chiefly 
injures  himself  and  his  immediate  drde,  but  by  spending  it  in  charity  he 
inflicts  a  graver  injury  upon  society.  For  every  act  of  charity,  applied  to 
heal  suffering  arising  from  defective  arrangements  of  sodety,  serves  to 
weaken  the  personal  springs  of  social  reform,  alike  by  the  'miraculous'  re- 
lief  it  brings  to  the  individual  'case'  that  is  relieved,  and  by  the  softening 
influence  it  exercises  on  the  hearts  and  heads  of  those  who  witness  it.  It 
substitutes  the  idea  and  the  desire  of  individual  reform  for  those  of  social 
reform,  and  so  weakens  the  capacity  for  collective  self-help  in  society." 
(J.  A.  Hobson,  Work  and  Wealth,  New  York,  1914,  p.  296.) 

''Private  organized  charity  b  an  obstacle  in  the  way  of  justice.    If  we 


In  this  connection  mention  should  be  made  of  another  form 
of  philanthropy  which  may  prove  to  be  very  dangerous  by  ob- 
structing fundamental  reforms.  I  refer  to  the  endowments 
founded  in  perpetuity,  especially  when  administered  by  self- 
perpetuating  boards  of  trustees.  However  benevolent  may  be 
the  intentions  of  the  foimders,  such  endowments  may  some- 
time in  the  future  be  used  against  the  interests  of  the  public. 
This  may  be  done  imconsdously  by  the  trustees  through  un- 
discriminating  charity  or  some  other  harmful  form  of  benevo- 
leace.  Or  it  may  be  done  consciously  by  the  trustees  by  lobbying 
for  l^;islation  in  favor  of  special  interests,  or  by  an  insidious 
process  of  spreading  ideas  and  misinformation  which  are  op- 
posed to  the  public  interest. 

While  the  cases  are  not  exactly  analogous,  it  may  be  worth 
while  to  call  to  mind  the  numerous  endowments,  mostly  ec- 
clesiastical in  their  character,  established  in  England  during 
the  Middle  Ages  and  earlier.  In  course  of  time  these  endow- 
ments became  so  extensive  and  so  powerful  that  it  became  neces- 
sary to  l^slate  against  them  by  means  of  the  laws  against 

Charters  should  not  be  granted  to  such  philanthropic  en- 
dowments imless  the  legislature  is  given  a  supervisory  power 
over  them,  thus  enabling  the  public  through  its  representatives 
to  maintain  a  control  over  them. 

had  no  such  organizations  men  would  think  of  fundamental  refonns;  they 
would  think  of  ways  and  means  to  abolish  the  causes  of  poverty,  rather 
than  the  consequences  of  it  I  know  of  many  instances  where  organized 
charity  opposed  practical  movements,  like  motherhood  pensions,  minimum 
wages,  and  housing  reforms.  Why?  It  seems  rather  hard  to  say  it,  but 
I  believe  it  was  because  the  dass  which  adminbters  charity  is  the  class  re- 
sponsible for  poverty.  It  is  responsible  through  the  unjust  economic  condi- 
tions which  this  class  perpetuates.  And  it  is  the  very  halo  which  organized 
charity  throws  around  itself  that  makes  it  doubly  difficult  for  us  to  pene- 
trate to  the  real  cause  of  industrial  injustice  and  put  an  end  to  it."  (F.  C. 
Howe,  in  The  Public,  Feb.  19, 1915.) 

''Nous  arrivons  ainsi  k  cette  conclusion  pessimiste  mais  incontestable: 
en  aveuglant  les  riches  sur  leurs  vrais  devoirs,  en  avillissant  les  pauvres, 
enfin  et  surtout  en  d^moralisant  d6finitivement  ceux  que  Tindigence  a  ime 
fds  atteints,  la  charity  determine  sinon  Texistence  tout  au  moms  la  gte6rali- 
sation  de  la  misdre  proprement  dite."  (A.  Weber,  Le  prolUme  de  la  misiref 
Paris,  1913,  p.  ao7.) 


The  Utqjty  of  Private  Philanthropy 

The  above  criticisms  of  private  philanthropy  may  seem  so 
drastic  as,  if  they  are  well  foimded,  to  show  conclusively  that 
there  is  no  place  for  this  type  of  charity.  But  there  are  a  few 
things  which  may  be  said  in  behalf  of  private  philanthropy  which 
we  must  now  consider. 

Private  charity  is  frequently  praised  as  being  a  mode  of  ex- 
pressing altruistic  feelings,  and  it  is  sometimes  implied  that  if 
this  mode  of  expression  were  lacking  these  feelings  would  some- 
how or  other  dry  up  and  disappear.  Now  it  is  true  that  even 
after  we  eliminate  religious  charity  and  other  forms  of  charity 
for  egoistic  motives  spuriously  masquerading  as  altruism,  there 
still  remains  a  good  deal  of  charity  whidh  is  a  genuine  expression 
of  altruistic  feelings.  But  to  imply  that  altruism  would  dis- 
appear if  this  mode  of  expression  no  longer  existed  is  to  display 
an  ignorance  of  how  deeply  rooted  these  altruistic  tendencies 
are  in  human  beings.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  both  the  human 
traits  which  are  called  altruistic  and  those  that  are  called  ego- 
istic are  the  products  of  a  long  and  slow  process  of  evolution,  in 
the  course  of  which  natural  selection  has  eliminated  many  traits 
which  led  to  destruction  and  has  preserved  many  traits  which 
preserved  the  individual  and  the  species. 

On  a  priori  groimds  neither  the  altruistic  nor  the  egoistic 
traits  are  good  or  bad.  They  are  good  to  the  extent  that  they 
preserve  human  beings  and  promote  their  welfare,  and  this  de- 
pends largely  upon  circumstances  and  conditions.  Under  cer- 
tain conditions  an  altruistic  trait  will  do  this  and  imder  different 
conditions  it  will  not,  and  the  same  is  true  of  ^[oistic  traits. 
During  the  last  few  thousands  of  years  social  evolution  has  ad- 
vanced very  rapidly,  and  consequently  the  conditions  under 
which  human  beings  live  have  changed  enormously.  It  has  not 
been  possible  for  human  traits  to  change  to  the  same  extent 
So  that  it  is  possible  that  human  nature  is  not  so  well  adjusted 
to  the  conditions  under  which  human  beings  now  live  as  it  has 
been  at  certain  periods  in  the  past. 

Whether  altruistic  traits  have  more  or  less  social  value  now 
than  in  the  past,  it  is  difficult  to  determine.  But  of  this  we  can 
be  quite  certain  that  there  is  not  so  much  need  now  of  the 


simpler  forms  of  these  altruistic  traits,  and  that  these  traits  need 
to  be  guided  and  directed  and  to  a  certain  extent  changed  in 
the  form  of  their  expression.  Private  charity  has  so  far  provided 
a  means  of  expression  for  a  simpler  form  of  these  traits,  and  has 
perhaps  stimulated  these  traits  in  the  cases  of  certain  individuals. 
But  the  extent  of  human  society  and  the  degree  of  interdei>end- 
ence  between  the  different  classes  and  groups  in  this  society  have 
become  so  great  that  it  is  now  very  important  that  these  traits 
should  express  themselves  more  indirectly  and  through  more 
complex  forms.  In  other  words,  these  altruistic  tendencies 
shoidd  be  directed  and  controlled  by  a  sjrmpathetic  imagination 
so  as  to  promote  the  welfare  of  a  much  larger  number  of  individ- 
uals, ultimately  indeed  of  the  human  species  as  a  whole.  It  is 
evident,  therefore,  that  in  the  spirit  of  social  justice,  which  we 
have  discussed  in  an  earlier  chapter,'  these  altruistic  tendencies 
would  have  an  ampler  field  for  expression  than  in  charity,  and 
would  doubtless  accomplish  a  great  deal  more  in  the  long  run. 

Furthermore,  there  would  still  remain  plenty  of  opportunity 
for  the  expression  of  altruistic  feelings  in  personal  relations. 
It  is  indeed  deplorable  the  extent  to  which  personal  relations  in 
the  family  and  in  the  life  of  society  at  large  are  characterized 
by  malicious  gossip,  backbiting,  scandal  mongering,  jealousy, 
and  petty  ill  feeling  of  all  kinds.  This  situation  is,  of  course, 
due  in  large  part  to  the  training  and  circumstances  of  most  indi- 
viduals, which  in  turn  are  due  to  the  way  in  which  society  is  now 
organized.  If  every  individual  could  be  given  the  training  of  the 
intellect  which  would  furnish  a  basis  for  the  development  of  the 
sympathetic  imagination,  and  the  discipline  of  character  which 
results  in  a  high  degree  of  self-control,  and  could  be  freed  from 
the  harassing  of  the  nervous  system  by  the  economic  uncertainty 
and  instability  which  is  the  heritage  of  the  vast  majority  and 
which  so  frequently  causes  nervous  irritation  and  mental  dis- 
turbance, there  would  be  a  much  ampler  opportimity  for  the 
expression  of  these  altruistic  tendencies  in  personal  relations. 
And  altruism  expressed  in  this  form  would  promote  human 
welfare  far  more  than  it  has  so  far  accomplished  through  private 

So  that  while  private  charity  has  furnished  a  means  of  expres- 
sing altruistic  feelings  in  the  past,  these  feelings  can  be  expressed 

1  Supra,  Chap.  XVII. 



in  a  much  more  ^ective  form.  However,  private  charity  has 
probably  been  a  necessary  precursor  for  more  fundamental 
methods  of  dealing  with  pauperism  and  poverty.  The  very  fact 
that  it  has  so  frequently  failed  has  pointed  the  way  to  these 
more  fundamental  methods.  Furthermore,  it  has  sometimes 
furnished  the  opportunity  for  tr3dng  out  experiments  which 
could  not  be  tried  so  easily  by  the  more  ciunbersome  machinery 
of  government. 

Public  Philanthropy 

The  above  considerations  indicate  conclusively  that  public 
philanthropy  is  preferable  in  most  if  not  in  all  respects  to  private 
philanthropy.  Certain  it  is  that  the  state  is  concerning  itself 
more  and  more  with  these  matters.  In  explanation  of  this 
tendency  in  the  nineteenth  century  Gray  speaks  as  fol- 

"The  state  was  beginning  to  concern  itself  with  the  same  data 
which  confronted  the  philanthropists.  Out  of  this  fact  springs 
the  principle  of  action  which  gives  its  distinct  character  to  the 
philanthropy  of  the  nineteenth  century.  This  is  the  principle  of 
State  intervention.  That  is  the  mark  of  the  nineteenth,  exactly 
as  voluntary  association  is  the  characteristic  of  the  eighteenth, 
century."  ' 

This  tendency  will  doubtless  continue,  so  that  philanthropic 
work  will  be  performed  more  and  more  by  the  state.  Such  work 
when  carried  on  by  the  state  has  up  to  the  present  time  been 
ordinarily  called  public  philanthropy  or  charity.  This  has  been 
because  it  has  been  inspired  by  much  the  same  spirit  and  point 
of  view  as  private  charity.  It  has  been  also  because  this  work 
has  been  done  in  part  as  a  result  of  a  demand  by  the  public 
that  relief  of  a  philanthropic  nature  be  given  by  the  state  to 
those  in  destitution.  But,  as  we  have  already  noted  in  this 
chapter,  because  of  its  impersonal  character  public  relief  work  is 
not  philanthropic  in  the  truest  sense  of  that  term.  And,  as  we 
have  also  noted,  in  a  public  relief  system  it  is  possible  to  elimi- 
nate the  philanthropic  ideal,  so  that  the  pauper  as  such  will 
disappear,  and  in  his  place  will  remain  the  individual  who  is  so 
imfortunate  as  to  need  assistance  which  will  be  provided  him 

^  A  History  of  English  PhUantkropy,  London,  1905,  p.  285. 


by  the  state^  which  is  the  institution  representing  the  whole 
community.  In  the  thoroughly  socialized  state,  towards  which 
society  now  seems  to  be  tending,  public  charity  as  such  is  boimd 
to  dis£^>pear,  and  the  assistance  provided  through  the  agency 
of  the  state  will  be  regarded  as  one  phase  of  the  interdepend- 
ence upon  each  other  of  the  individuals  and  classes  in  so- 

As  public  relief  work  is  developed,  private  charity  is  certain 
to  diminish  in  extent.  Whether  or  not  it  will  ever  disappear 
entirely,  it  is  impossible  to  say.  It  is  quite  likely  that  at  least 
a  little  charity  of  a  desultory  and  unregulated  sort  will  always 
remain.  But  it  should  be  the  aim  of  the  state  to  regulate  private 
charity,  so  as  to  make  it  as  discriminating  and  effective  as 
possible,  and  to  co5rdinate  it  as  completely  as  possible  with 
the  public  relief  system.  This  is  already  being  done  in  certain 
coimtries  and  states  by  means  of  various  methods,  some  of  which 
we  have  mentioned  in  this  chapter.  In  some  places  a  combina- 
tion of  public  relief  with  private  charitable  work  has  been  effected. 
We  have  not  the  space  to  describe  in  detaU  the  famous  Elber- 
feld  system  which  has  been  developed  in  Germany,  but  in  this 
system  public  relief  is  administered  in  part  with  die  aid  of  pri- 
vate charitable  workers.  In  France  the  assistance  fmblique  is 
supported  in  considerable  part  by  donations  from  private  in- 

We  have  not  the  space  to  describe  in  detaQ  a  system  of  public 
relief.  But  the  fundamental  principles  of  an  efficient  S3rstem  of 
public  relief  as  well  as  many  of  its  administrative  details  are 
ably  outlined  in  the  writings  of  Weber,  the  Webbs,  and  Gray, 
to  many  of  which  we  have  already  referred.^  We  shall  have  to 
leave  the  general  subject  of  philanthropy  at  this  point,  but  in 
the  next  chapter  we  shall  describe  briefly  philanthropic  methods 
for  special  types  of  dependents. 

^  See  A.  Weber,  Introduction  d  Vitude  de  la  prSvoyance,  Les  misireux  (espe- 
cially Vol.  3);  S.  and  B.  Webb,  The  Prevention  of  Destitution,  English  Poor 
Policy,  The  State  and  the  Doctor,  and  S.  Webb,  Grants  in  Aid;  B.  Kirkman 
Gray,  Philanthropy  and  the  State  or  Social  Politics. 

See  also  the  Report  of  the  Royal  Commission  on  the  Poor  Laws  and  Relief 
of  Distress,  London,  1909,  containing  both  the  majority  and  the  minority 
reports.  The  majority  report  describes  m  great  detail  a  system  of  public 
relief  while  the  minority  report  describes  a  somewhat  different  system  coupled 
with  more  fundamental  measures  for  the  prevention  of  destitution. 


Philanthropy  and  the  Prevention  of  Poverty 

Before  closing  this  chapter  we  must  call  attention  to  the  re- 
lation between  philanthropy  and  the  other  measures  which  may 
be  used  in  dealing  with  poverty  and  pauperism.  In  doing  so  we 
shall  indicate  the  relation  between  our  discussion  of<yy 
and  the  remainder  of  this  book. 

Earlier  in  this  book  we  have  discussed  some  of  the  causes  of 
poverty  and  pauperism.  We  have  seen  that  in  many  individual 
cases  it  can  be  traced  to  imemployment,  disease,  industrial 
accidents,  chUd  labor,  industrial  warfare,  etc.  But  still  more 
fimdamental  than  these,  we  have  foimd  a  widespread  condition 
of  low  wages  for  a  large  part  of  the  working  population.  All  of 
these  conditions  and  factors  are  due  tQ  the  existing  economic 
and  political  organization  of  society  in  the  sense  that  a  different 
organization  is  conceivable  in  which  these  phenomena  would 
disappear  entirely,  or,  at  least,  in  large  part.  That  is  to  say, 
an  organization  of  society  is  conceivable  in  which  there  would 
be  no  involuntary  imemplojrment,  in  which  disease  and  industrial 
accidents  would  be  prevented  in  large  part,  in  which  there  would 
be  no  injiuious  child  labor,  and  Uttle  or  no  industrial  war&re, 
and  in  which  aU  workers  would  receive  a  wage  above  a  fair 
standard  of  living.  We  shall  discuss  later  in  this  book  how  much 
likelihood  there  is  of  bringing  into  being  such  an  oiganization 
of  society. 

It  is  evident  that  philanthropy  can  have  practically  no  effect 
upon  these  causes  of  poverty.  PhUanthropy  cannot  raise  the 
standard  of  wages,  lessen  the  amount  of  imemployment,  prevent 
industrial  accidents,  child  labor,  or  industrial  warfare.  It  may 
cure  many  cases  of  disease  and  may  even  prevent  some  cases, 
but  it  cannot  remove,  the  principal  causes  of  disease,  such  as 
bad  housing,  malnutrition,  bad  habits  growing  out  of  bad  living 
conditions,  etc.  The  most  that  philanthropy  can  do  is  to  relieve 
the  distress  of  some  of  those  already  in  destitution,  to  aid  a  few  of 
them  to  become  self-supporting  again,  and  to  prevent  a  much 
fewer  mmiber  and  only  a  very  small  part  of  those  on  the  veige 
of  destitution  from  becoming  destitute.  Furthermore,  we  have 
seen  that,  while  in  some  wa}^  philanthropy  serves  as  a  useful 
preliminary  for  more  effective  wa}^  of  dealing  with  poverty  and 


pauperism,  in  other  ways  it  is  likely  to  hinder  more  effective 
measures  than  itself,  which  are  directed  towards  removing  the 
fundamental  causes  of  these  social  evils.  ^ 

Hence  it  is  that,  however  necessary  philanthropy  may  con- 
tinue to  be  so  long  as  there  are  people  in  destitution,  it  cannot 
be  expected  to  have  any  material  effect  in  lessening  the  amoimt 
of  poverty.'   And  this  remains  true  even  though  private  charity 

^  Gray  indicates  some  of  the  wa3rs  in  which  philanthropy  stands  in  the 
way  of  more  effective  measures  in  the  following  words:  — 

''The  defect  to  which  we  draw  attention  in  the  psychology  of  charity  is 
that  philanthropists,  while  often  quick  to  discover  evils  that  need  a  rem^y, 
are  constantly  under  the  illusion  that  a  mere  casual  act  of  goodwill  is  suf- 
ficient to  supply  the  need.  If  the  records  of  philanthropy  are  strewn  with 
monuments  of  failure  it  is  because  the  charitably  minded  characteristically 
lack  a  due  sense  of  proportion,  and  while  they  are  able  to  see  the  end  that 
is  to  be  attained,  yet  cannot  command  the  means  to  achieve  it."  (A  History 
of  English  Philanikropy,  p.  21.) 

But  Gray  also  recognizes  how  philanthropy  may  prepare  the  way  for 
noore  effective  measures  when  he  says  elsewhere:  —  "Philanthropy  is  a 
presdentific  attempt  to  do  a  thing  which  in  some  way  needs  to  be  done." 
{PMarUhropy  and  the  State,  p.  16.) 

'  Weber  states  the  inadequacy  of  philanthropy  in  the  following  powerful 
terms:  — 

"Quel  est  notre  but?  Emp6cher  qu'aucun  individu  adulte  et  valide  ne 
puisse,  dor^navant,  pAtir  faute  d'aliments  ou  de  glte  et  rester  oisif  faute 

"Aprte  les  deductions  qui  pr6c^ent,  nous  ne  devrons  plus  arguer  des 
grands  mots  creuz  de  devoir,  de  charit^,  de  philanthropie,  d'altruisme,  et 
nous  ne  nous  draperons  plus  dans  le  d€cor  trompeur  de  la  bont6:  nous  allons 
adopter  une  m^thode  od  la  spontaneity  sera  suppl^fe  par  la  contrainte  et 
le  leurre  altruiste  remplac6  par  la  notion  d'un  6golsme  satisfait.  Et  pour  bien 
montier  la  logique  de  cette  conception  nous  etablirons  qu'elle  satisfait  abso- 
hunent  Tint^ret  m^me  de  tous  ceux  qui  possMent  ou  travaillent. 

"Quant  aux  modalit6s  pratiques  que  nous  proposerons,  elles  n'auront 
plus  pour  base  exclusive  la  piti^,  les  faveurs,  les  dons  et  la  reconnaissance: 
pour  etre  acceptables,  elles  devront  satisfaire  tout  k  la  fois  rint^rftt  collectif 
et  rint^rftt  individud  et  se  conformer  aux  enseignements  resultant  pour 
nous  de  r6tude  historique  faite  d-dessus."  (Le  prohlhne  de  la  mis^e,  pp.  288- 

Ward  expresses  a  similar  idea  in  the  following  passages:  — : 

"Most  philanthropy  is  mere  temporary  patchwork  which  has  to  be  done 

over  and  over  again.   It  does  not  aim  or  desire  to  do  that  kind  of  good  that 

will  prevent  the  recurrence  of  the  conditions  that  have  made  it  necessary. 

It  is  static,  not  djmamic."    (L.  F.  Ward,  Applied  Sociology,  Boston,  1906, 

p.  29.) 

'Mankind  want  no  deemosynary  schemes,  no  private  or  public  ben^ 



comes  to  be  completely  supplanted  by  a  thoroughgoing  system 
of  public  relief  which  relieves  promptly  and  adequatdy  every 
individual  case  of  destitution.  That  is  why  we  shall  devote 
most  of  the  remainder  of  this  book  to  a  study  of  the  extent  to 
which  and  the  means  by  which  the  causes  of  poverty  and  paup- 
erism can  be  removed,  thus  attacking  the  problem  of  these 
social  evils  at  their  roots. 

factions,  no  fatherly  oversight  of  the  privileged  classes,  nor  any  other  form 
of  patronizing  hypocrisy.  They  only  want  power — the  power  that  is  theirs 
of  right  and  which  lies  within  that  grasp."   {Op,  cU.,  p.  326.) 




Dependent  children  —  The  aged  poor  —  Dependent  women  —  The  iinem^ 
ployed  —  Mendicants  and  vagrants  —  The  blind  —  The  deaf  and 
dumb  —  The  crippled  —  The  aments  —  The  dements  —  The  epileptics 
—  The  inebriates  —  The  destitute  side. 

We  shall  now  discuss  briefly  the  treatment  of  the  principal 
types  of  dependents  and  defectives.  In  doing  so  we  shall  illus- 
trate the  application  of  the  humanitarian  and  philanthropic 
principles  which  we  have  so  far  discussed.  We  shall  also  describe 
some  of  the  more  superficial  measures  for  the  prevention  of 
dependency  and  defectiveness,  leaving  to  the  latter  part  of  the 
book  the  consideration  of  the  fundamental  preventive  measures 
which  require  a  more  or  less  thoroughgoing  reorganization  of 

Dependent  Childsen 

It  goes  without  saying  that  infancy  and  childhood  are  periods 
of  dependency  in  the  life  of  every  individual.  The  normal 
condition  during  these  years  is  for  a  child  to  live  with  and  be 
cared  for  by  its  parents.  If  for  any  reason  the  parents  and 
other  relatives  of  a  chUd  fail  entirely  or  in  part  to  support  it, 
there  arises  the  abnormal  form  of  dependency  in  which  we  are 
interested.  It  is  obviously  important  that  these  abnormally 
dependent  children  should  receive  proper  care,  not  only  for 
their  own  sakes  but  also  for  the  sake  of  society,  because  most 
of  them  have  before  them  long  lives  during  which  they  may 
or  may  not  be  useful  citizens,  and  this  depends  largely  upon 
the  kind  of  bringing  up  they  are  given. 

It  is  impossible  to  determine  the  number  of  dependent  chil- 
dren in  this  country.  Probably  the  great  majority  of  the  fami- 
lies that  receive  private  charitable  aid  or  public  relief  contslin 
children,  and  the  number  of  these  is  unknown.  The  Census 
Bureau  furnishes  statistics  of  the  number  of  children  cared  for 



by  institutions  and  by  societies  for  the  protection  and  care  of 
children.^  At  the  close  of  the  year  1910  there  were  147,997 
children  under  the  care  of  1,151  institutions  reported.  Of  these 
children  108,070  were  in  the  institutions  and  39,927  were  in 
families  and  dsewhere.  At  the  close  of  the  year  1910  there 
were  reported  32,776  children  under  the  care  of  societies  for 
the  protection  and  care  of  children.  Of  these  children  20,989 
were  in  families,  3,562  were  in  receiving  homes,  and  8,081  were 
elsewhere.  Some  of  these  in  receiving  homes  and  elsewhere 
may  duplicate  children  in  institutions,  but  probably  all  of  those 
in  families  are  different  from  those  in  institutions.  There  were 
in  addition  children  in  homes  for  adults  or  adults  and  children, 
in  hospitals,  in  institutions  for  the  feeble-minded,  etc.,  the 
number  of  whom  it  is  impossible  to  determine.  But  the  above 
figures  are  enough  to  show  that  200,000  would  be  a  very  mod- 
erate estimate  of  the  number  of  children  who  were  entirely 
dependent  in  1910,  while  the  total  number  of  dependent  childroi 
must  be  much  greater. 

It  is  hardly  necessary  to  state  that  when  one  or  both  of  the 
parents  are  living  it  is  best  to  keep  the  children  with  the  parents, 
if  the  parents  are  fit  companions  for  their  children.  For  this 
reason  it  is  f requentiy  desirable  to  give  outdoor  rdief  in  order 
to  maintain  a  home  which  would  otherwise  be  broken  up.  But 
such  relief  should  invariably  be  given  with  the  utmost  discrim- 
ination, in  order  to  avoid  pauperizing  the  family  and  making 
the  parents  idle,  shif  tiess,  and  incompetent.  But  if  the  parents 
are  dead,  or  are  incapable,  or  unfit  to  care  for  the  chUdren  within 
their  own  home,  and  there  are  no  relatives  who  can  take  the 
children,  there  are  at  least  two  ways  in  which  the  children  may 
be  brought  up.  They  may  be  placed  in  the  homes  of  strangers 
who  either  adopt  them  and  assume  the  cost  of  bringing  them 
up,  or  who  care  for  the  children  for  a  remuneration.  This  is 
doubtiess  the  best  method  of  caring  for  dependent  children, 
when  suitable  foster  homes  can  be  foimd  for  them.  But  it  is 
very  important  that  the  charitable  societies  or  the  public  agen- 
cies that  have  charge  of  this  work  take  great  care  in  selecting 
these  homes,  and  then  watch  over  the  children  after  they  go 
into  them  in  order  to  be  sure  that  they  are  not  abused  in 

^  The  following  figures  are  from  the  second  revised  edition  of  the  report 
on  benevolent  institutions  published  in  Jime,  1914. 


their  foster  homes.  If  suitable  foster  homes  camiot  be  found, 
these  children  must  be  placed  in  institutions.  There  has  been 
much  criticism  of  these  institutions  on  the  ground  that  their 
management  was  so  much  routinized  as  to  repress  the  individual- 
ity and  initiative  of  the  child.  This  has  been  largely  true  in 
the  past,  and  is  still  true  in  many  institutions.  But  the  tendency 
now  is  towards  the  cottage  system  in  these  institutions,  in  whidi 
the  attempt  is  made  to  reproduce  the  family  life  as  much  as 
possible  in  these  cottages,  and  to  give  free  play  for  the  develop- 
ment of  the  individuality  of  the  child  in  the  life  of  the  institution. 
The  measures  which  may  be  taken  to  prevent  dependency 
during  childhood  or  during  the  later  life  of  those  who  are  now 
children  are  very  numerous.  They  include  suitable  food  and 
sufficient  rest  for  the  mothers  during  pregnancy,  medical  at- 
tendance at  the  time  of  birth,  pure  milk  diuing  infancy,  medical 
treatment  for  infantile  diseases,  sufficient  nutrition  throughout 
childhood,  suitable  means  of  recreation,  a  good  elementary 
education  and  some  vocational  training,  etc.  It  goes  without 
saying  that  in  the  upper  classes  parents  are  able  to  supply  all 
these  needs  in  the  rearing  of  their  children.  But  parents  in  the 
poorer  classes  are  usually  unable  to  supply  some  or  all  of  these 
needs,  so  that  it  becomes  necessary  for  private  philanthropists 
or  public  agencies  to  make  suitable  provision.  Hence  it  is  that 
we  have  medical  charities,  milk  depots,  nurseries,  school  lunches, 
fresh  air  fimds,  vocational  schools,  etc.  This  situation  will 
continue  as  long  as  these  lower  classes  are  not  receiving  suffi- 
ciently large  incomes  to  be  able  to  provide  these  necessities 
without  the  aid  of  private  charity  or  of  special  assistance  from 
the  state.  It  is  likely  that  under  a  more  socialized  system  in 
the  future  some  of  these  services  will  be  rendered  by  the  state 
to  society  as  a  whole.  For  example,  this  will  probably  soon 
be  true  of  vocational  training.  But  they  will  then  be  upon  an 
entirely  different  status  from  their  present  status,  when  they 
are  either  charitable  private  measures  or  measures  of  public 
relief  for  the  poorer  classes. 

The  Aged  Pook 

At  the  other  extreme  of  life  from  childhood  is  another  large 
group  of  dependents,  namely,  the  aged  poor.    When  we  bear 


in  mind  the  statistics  furnished  earlier  in  this  book  with  req)ect 
to  the  large  number  of  individuals  with  very  small  incomes,  it 
is  easy  to  believe  that  many  workers  readi  old  age  without 
being  able  to  make  any  provision  or  adequate  provision  for  the 
time  when  they  can  no  longer  work. 

Squier  recently  made  the  following  careful  estimate  of  the  extent 
and  cost  of  old  age  dependency  in  the  United  States: — "Approxi- 
mately 1,250,000  of  the  people  of  the  United  States,  above  sixty- 
five  years  of  age,  are  dependent  upon  public  and  private  char- 
ity, to  the  amount  of  about  $250,000,000  annually.  Thus  far  one 
person  in  eighteen  of  our  wage-eamers  reaches  the  age  of  sixty-five 
in  penury;  and  the  indications  are  that  the  proportion  of  indigent  old 
is  increasing."  ^ 

In  commenting  upon  this  situation  this  writer  q)eaks  as  follows:  — 
"  There  are  no  signs  of  abatement  in  the  causes  of  this  d^lorable 
condition,  —  such  causes  as  misfortune,  imemployment,  low  wages, 
etc.  The  e£forts  at  relief  of  present  and  pending  destitution,  though 
somewhat  widespread  and  in  the  main  praiseworthy,  are  remedial 
but  not  curative,  —  they  may  make  a  contingent  provision  for  the 
old  age  necessities  of  perhaps  one-third  of  the  wage-earning  class  in 
America;  whereas  two-thirds  of  this  great  industrial  army  are  not 
provided  for  by  any  present  or  pro^>ective  old  age  relief,  other  than 
that  afforded  by  the  operation  of  the  poor  laws."  * 

There  are  two  principal  methods  of  providing  for  aged  de- 
I>endents,  either  by  furnishing  them  outdoor  relief  in  their 
homes,  or  to  put  them  into  institutions.  Because  of  the  charit- 
able character  given  to  most  of  these  institutions,  even  when 
they  are  maintained  by  the  state,  the  aged  poor  are  usually 
much  averse  to  entering  them,  because  they  regard  it  as  an 
indication  of  being  pauperized.  Furthermore,  in  many  of  these 
institutions  aged  couples  are  separated  entirely  or  in  large  part 
from  each  other,  and  in  many  other  ways  these  institutions 
are  very  badly  managed.  So  that  it  is  usually  a  sad  and  heart- 
breaking experience  to  enter  one  of  these  institutions.  If  how- 
ever the  stigma  of  pauperism  could  be  removed  from  these  in- 
stitutions, if  their  aged  inmates  were  not  subjected  to  the  wholly 
unnecessary  and  indefensible  brutality  of  being  separated  from 
their  spouses,  and  if  they  were  maintained  in  a  reasonable  degree 

» L.  W.  Squier,  Old  Age  Dependency  in  the  V.  5.,  New  York,  191 2,  p.  324. 
«0^.ci<.,  pp.  324-5. 


ci  comfort,  institutional  care  would  be  preferable  to  outdoor 
relief.  Some  of  the  best  institutions  have  attained  this  ideal  in 
considerable  part,  and  are  able  to  offer  their  inmates  something 
approximating  an  independent  home  life.  There  is,  of  course, 
not  the  same  objection  to  institutional  life  for  the  aged  that  there 
is  for  the  young,  since  the  aged  only  need  care  for  the  rest  of 
their  lives,  while  the  children  need  preparation  for  their  adult 
The  preventive  measures  against  old  age  dependency  which 
^bave  usually  been  proposed  are  insurance  and  pensions.  The 
first  of  these  usually  demands  a  standard  rate  of  income  suffi- 
dentiy  high  to  permit  of  saving.  A  pension  system  also  in* 
volves  the  question  of  income  to  a  certain  extent,  as  well  as  cer- 
tain other  economic  and  political  questions  of  great  importance. 
We  shall  therefore  take  up  the  discussion  of  these  preventive 
measures  later  in  this  book. 

Dependent  Women 

It  is  perhaps  hardly  legitimate  to  classify  dependent  women 
as  a  distinct  group,  but  there  are  two  reasons  for  doing  so.  In 
the  first  place,  owing  to  her  functions  of  breeding  and  rearing 
children,  a  woman  is  at  certain  periods  of  her  life  more  helpless 
than  a  man,  and  is  sometimes  made  dependent  by  this  helpless- 
ness. If  a  woman  is  left  a  widow  with  yoimg  children  to  rear, 
she  is  very  likely  to  become  dependent.  In  such  a  case,  if  she 
is  at  all  fit  to  care  for  her  children,  she  should  be  given  outdoor 
relief  in  the  home,  so  as  to  keep  the  home  intact  xmtil  the  chil- 
dren are  old  enough  to  shift  for  themselves.  Then,  if  the  mother 
is  not  yet  too  old  to  work,  she  should,  if  possible,  be  foimd 
suitable  work  by  which  she  can  support  herself.  A  second  rea- 
son for  recognizing  dependent  women  as  a  distinct  group  is  the 
tradition  of  female  economic  dependence,  which  is  still  very 
strong  and  which  still  prevents  many  women  from  being  trained 
for  self-support.  The  result  is  that  there  are  a  vast  number  of 
women  who  are  dependent  upon  their  husbands,  fathers,  broth- 
ers, etc.,  as  the  case  may  be,  but  who  should  be  supporting  them- 
selves. When  such  a  woman  loses  her  male  support,  she  is 
usually  left  dependent.  It  is  evident  that  these  women  belong 
in  the  class  of  the  unemployed  whom  we  are  about  to  discuss. 


But,  in  view  of  the  fact  that  they  aie  peculiariy  unfitted  for 
work,  they  may  be  distinguished  from  the  unenq)loyed  in 
general.  It  is  evident  that  these  women  should  be  found  work 
at  once,  if  possible,  and,  if  that  is  not  possible,  they  should  be 
given  such  training  and  preparation  as  will  fit  them  for  work. 
Not  until  self-support  for  them  proves  to  be  entirely  hopeless, 
either  because  they  are  too  old  to  learn,  or  because  it  is  utteriy 
impossible  to  secure  work  for  them,  should  they  be  placed  p&- 
manently  in  an  institution  such  as  an  almshouse.  It  goes  with- 
out saying  that  aged  dependent  women  should  be  treated  as 
has  been  indicated  above  in  our  discussion  of  old  age  dependency. 
The  preventive  measures  for  female  dq)endency  are  obvious. 
In  the  fiirst  place,  every  female,  like  every  male,  should  be 
brought  up  with  the  idea  of  becoming  self-supporting,  and  of 
remaining  so,  when  not  engaged  in  the  fimctions  of  child  bear- 
ing and  child  rearing.  Thus,  if  she  had  the  pr(q)er  training, 
the  able-bodied  dependent  woman  would  be  on  an  equality  with 
the  rest  of  the  unemployed.  In  the  second  place,  the  breeding 
and  rearing  of  children  should  be  regarded  more  seriously  as 
matters  of  soda!  importance  to  be  safeguarded  by  society.  It 
will  probably  always  be  best  to  leave  the  su{qx)rt  of  children 
to  their  parents,  whenever  the  father  and  mother  together  or 
the  father  alone  is  capable  of  supporting  them.  But  if  the  pater- 
nal support  is  lacking  on  account  of  death,  illness,  Gt  because 
the  father  is  unknown,  as  in  the  case  of  the  progeny  of  an  octra- 
marital  union,  and  if  the  mother  is  too  much  handica{q>ed  by 
the  duty  of  caring  for  the  children  to  be  able  to  suf^rt  them, 
then  the  state  should  furnish  adequate  suf^rt  in  the  form 
of  a  pension.  But  the  giving  of  such  pensions  should  be 
carefully  safeguarded,  in  order  to  prevent  the  encouragement 
of  indiscriminate  procreation  for  the  sake  of  getting  a  pension. 
Under  such  a  pension  system  dq)endent  mothers  would  no 
longer  be  placed  in  the  position  of  being  recipients  of  charity, 
either  private  or  public,  but  would  be  remunerated  for  perform- 
ing the  function  of  motherhood. 

The  Unemployed 

CMdhood  and  old  age  are  inevitable  causes  of  dq[>endency 
which  will  always  exist.    Disease  and  defectiveness  also  will 


ahvays  be  causes  of  dependency,  though  these  causes  will  doubt- 
less be  lessened  greatly  in  extent  in  the  future.  But  we  have 
seen  in  an  earlier  chapter  that  there  is  a  great  deal  of  depend- 
ency of  persons  who  are  capable  of  supporting  themselves^  but 
are  not  furnished  the  <q>portunity  to  do  so.  The  dependency 
caused  by  involuntary  unemployment  is  due  to  the  present 
economic  otganization  of  society,  and  may  conceivably  be  pre- 
vented under  a  bett^  form  of  otganization.  But  imtil  that 
time  comes,  it  will  be  necessary  to  fiunish  relief  to  the  imfor- 
tunate  victims  of  the  present  system. 

It  is  indeed  surprising  the  extent  to  which  workers  succeed 
in  tiding  over  periods  of  unemployment  without  receiving  aid 
from  private  and  public  charitable  sources.  For  example,  as  a 
result  of  investigations  made  by  the  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labor 
Statistics,  the  Mayor's  Conmiittee  on  Unemployment,  and  the 
Metropolitan  Life  Insurance  Company,  it  has  been  estimated 
that  during  the  winter  of  1014-15  there  were  in  New  York  City 
at  least  400,000  workers  out  of  work  at  one  time,  and  probably  a 
good  many  more  than  that  number.^  That  is  to  say,  at  least 
sixteen  per  cent  of  the  total  number  of  wage-earners  in  New 
York  City  were  unemployed  at  that  time.  And  yet,  while  the 
requests  for  assbtance  at  the  rdief  agencies  were  somewhat 
more  numerous  than  usual,  the  increase  was  by  no  means  com- 
mensurate with  the  great  increase  in  unemployment.  This 
indicates  that  many  of  these  imemployed  must  have  tided  over 
this  period  of  distress  by  expending  small  savings,  borrowing 
nooney  which  they  have  to  repay  later,  or  by  receiving  aid  from 
their  more  fortunate  neighbors.  This  means  a  further  reduction 
in  the  low  rates  of  income  which,  as  we  have  seen  in  an  earlier 
chapter,  prevail  in  the  working  dass.  For  this  reason  it  would 
probably  be  better  if  more  relief  could  be  given  to  these  able- 
bodied  unemployed  who  are  willing  to  work.  The  suffering 
experienced  during  this  period,  when  they  are  forced  to  live  upon 
very  meager  resources  and  consequently  may  be  imderfed  and 
subjected  to  severe  physical  and  mental  strain  in  other  ways, 
is  likely  to  do  them  permanent  harm  and  to  lessen  their  efficiency 
in  the  future.  It  is  therefore  most  important  that  an  adequate 
system  of  relief  be  provided  for  this  dass  of  dependents. 

If  no  better  system  of  relief  had  been  devised,  this  would  have 

^  U.  S.  Bureau  of  Labw  Statistics,  Bulletin  172,  Washington,  19x5. 


to  be  in  the  fonn  of  outdoor  relief  given  in  the  homes  of  the  un- 
employed. For  the  homeless  imemployed  relief  should  be  pro- 
vided in  the  form  of  shelter  and  food  furnished  through  institu- 
tions like  municipal  lodging  houses.  Such  aid  is  far  si4)erior  to 
almsgiving  on  the  street,  mission  shelters,  soup  kitchens,  bread 
lines,  etc.  But  it  is  very  important  that  a  system  of  outdoor 
relief,  and  of  public  lodging  houses  for  the  temporarily  unem- 
ployed, should  be  administered  with  great  discrimination,  for 
otherwise  much  evil  may  be  caused  by  it.  This  is  illustrated  by 
the  system  of  poor  relief  which  grew  up  imder  the  En^ish  'Poor 
Law  in  the  early  part  of  the  nineteenth  century.  Under  the 
name  of  "rates  in  aid  of  wages"  relief  was  given  freely,  though 
not  in  large  amounts,  to  the  able-bodied  unemployed,  as  well  as 
to  those  who  were  receiving  very  low  wages.  The  result  was  that 
many  workers  were  encouraged  to  remain  imemployed  or  only 
partially  employed  in  order  to  avail  themselves  of  this  relief, 
while  the  employers  were  encouraged  to  pay  low  wages  and  to 
expect  the  state  to  eke  them  out.  It  was  this  condition  which 
aroused  so  much  opposition  to  the  old  English  Poor  Law,  and 
led  to  the  demand  on  the  part  of  many  that  no  relief  should  be 
given  to  able-bodied  persons.  However,  as  is  suggested  above, 
this  is  hardly  possible  when  so  many  persons  are  so  frequently 
thrown  out  of  emplojrment  through  no  fault  of  their  own,  and  are 
left  more  or  less  destitute.  But  the  reUef  should  be  given  with 
the  utmost  discrimination,  so  that  only  the  involimtary  unem- 
ployed shall  receive  it,  and  so  that  they  shall  receive  it  only  so 
long  as  it  is  impossible  for  them  to  sec^e  work.  Consequently 
such  a  system  of  relief  should  be  closely  related  to  methods  of 
providing  work  for  the  imemployed,  which  will  be  menticHied 

Another  method  of  tiding  the  unemplo3red  over  periods  of 
unemployment  is  by  means  of  insurance.  There  are  man^  forms 
of  unemployment  insurance,  such  as  private  systems  of  insurance 
administered  by  trade  unions,  etc.;  private  systems  subsidized 
by  the  state;  state  systems,  which  may  be  compulsory  or  vol- 
untary; etc.  We  shall  discuss  unemplojrment  insurance  later, 
in  connection  with  the  general  subject  of  insurance  as  a  form  of 
protection  against  economic  adversity. 

The  subject  of  the  prevention  of  tmemplojrment  will  be  dis- 
cussed more  fully  later  in  this  book,  but  it  may  be  well  to  men- 


tion  some  of  the  methods  of  prevention,  in  order  to  indicate 
theirrelationtothemethodsof  relief  suggested  above.  As3^tem 
of  labor  exchanges  helps  a  little  towards  preventing  unemploy- 
ment In  the  first  place,  it  saves  the  waste  of  a  certain  amount  of 
time  and  effort  on  the  part  of  both  employees  and  employers 
in  making  the  necessary  connections.  In  the  second  place,  it 
facilitates  the  exchange  of  workers  between  seasonal  employ- 
ments. In  the  third  place,  it  reduces  the  number  of  casual 
workers  engaged  in  occupations  in  which  the  work  is  very 
irr^ular.  But  it  is  obvious  that  a  S3^tem  of  labor  exchanges 
cannot  create  any  work  directly.  It  may  indirectly  stimulate 
a  small  increase  in  the  amoimt  of  work  by  making  it  easier  for 
employers  to  secure  workers,  and  consequently  to  increase  the 
sccfpe  of  their  enterprizes.  But  so  long  as  there  is  a  large  re- 
serve labor  force  upon  which  employers  can  draw,  it  is  not  likely 
to  have  this  effect  to  any  great  extent. 

Puring  many  periods  when  imemplojrment  has  been  acute, 
various  governments  have  tried  to  provide  work  by  establishing 
special  works  for  the  unemployed.  These  attempts  have  usually 
been  badly  managed  and  have  consequently  not  been  very 
successful.  But  there  are  inherent  difficulties  in  such  attempts 
which  cannot  be  avoided  even  when  such  works  are  well  man- 
aged. Since  such  works  are  devised  for  the  special  purpose  of 
providing  work  for  the  unemployed,  there  is  not  likely  to  be 
much  economic  demand  for  the  products  of  such  work,  and  con- 
sequently such  work  is  almost  certain  to  be  comparatively  xm- 
productive.  Furthermore,  such  work  has  to  be  imskilled  in  its 
nature,  for  otherwise  very  few  of  the  xmemployed  would  be 
capable  of  doing  it.  Consequently  it  is  difficult  to  induce  skilled 
workmen  to  do  such  work,  since  they  naturally  regard  it  as 
demeaning  to  do  such  work  and  the  pay  as  too  small  for  them, 
and  will  therefore  refuse  to  do  it  except  as  a  last  resort.  In  the 
last  place,  workers  will  be  fully  conscious  that  such  work  has 
been  created  for  the  purpose  of  relieving  them,  and  not  because 
there  is  an  economic  demand  for  it.  Consequently  they  will 
regard  it  as  a  form  of  charity,  and  will  not  do  Uie  work  with  the 
interest  and  enthusiasm  with  which  they  ordinarily  work. 

A  much  better  method  of  providing  work  during  a  period  of 
unemplojrment  is  for  the  government  to  hold  back  as  much  of  its 
work  as  can  be  conveniently  delayed  during  periods  of  pros- 


perity,  and  then  to  give  out  contracts  for  the  domg  of  this  work 
during  periods  of  unemplo3rment  In  this  way  employment  can 
be  distributed  more  evenly  over  periods  of  prosperity  and  of 
depression,  and  the  cydiod  fluctuations  of  employment  can  be 
somewhat  reduced.  In  fact,  the  Webbs  have  estimated  that,  if 
the  government  in  England  would  adopt  this  policy,  the  cyclical 
fluctuations  of  employment  in  that  country  could  be  eliminated 
entirely.^  I  will  not  stop  to  criticize  this  estimate  at  this  point, 
but  will  only  suggest  that  it  is  much  less  likely  to  be  true  for 
this  country,  owing  to  the  much  greater  extent  and  diversity  of 
industry  in  this  country.  I  shall  also  consider  later  the  objection, 
which  has  naturally  been  raised,  that  such  a  rearrangement  of 
the  work  of  the  government  may  cause  as  much  unemployment 
during  periods  of  prosperity  as  it  prevents  during  periods  of 

It  has  also  been  suggested  that  for  the  unemployed  for 
whom  work  cannot  be  found  and  who  are  in  need  of  public  relief 
shall  be  provided  the  opportimity  to  study  a  trade  or  receive 
some  other  form  of  instruction  which  will  aid  them  later.  Those 
receiving  public  relief  might  indeed  be  required  to  take  this 
instruction.  Thus  they  would  be  kept  out  of  idleness  and  saved 
from  the  degenerating  effects  of  idleness,  as  well  as  be  in  a  better 
position  to  earn  a  living  when  they  again  become  wage-earners. 
Such  instruction  might  be  given  in  connection  with  the  labor 
exchanges  which  have  been  discussed  above.* 

But  it  is  evident  that  none  of  the  methods  suggested  above 
remove  the  fundamental  cause  of  unemployment,  namely,  the 
irregularity  and  lack  of  organization  of  industry.  Fundamental 
preventive  measures  must  be  along  two  lines.  In  the  first  place, 
every  able-bodied  human  being  without  distinction  of  sex,  class, 
creed,  etc.,  should  be  trained  to  do  some  kind  of  productive  work. 
In  the  second  place,  industry  should  be  so  organized  that  there  is 
a  place  in  it  for  every  laborer.  Under  such  conditions  there 
would  be  no  unemployment  in  the  sense  in  which  we  ordinarily 
use  that  term.  Furthermore,  with  an  efficient  labor  f<»x:e  en- 
tirely employed  it  would  be  possible  to  maintain  every  member 
of  society  above  a  comparatively  high  standard  of  living,  while 

^  S.  and  B.  Webb,  The  Prevention  cf  DesHhUum,  London,  19x1,  chap.  6. 
<C/.S.andB.Webb,o^.a<.,  chap.  6.   The  British  labor  exdianges  have, 
I  believe,  already  begun  to  furnish  such  histruction. 


each  worker  would  have  to  work  much  less  than  is  the  case  on  the 
average  among  those  who  now  work.  To  what  extent  this  ideal 
state  is  likely  to  be  realized  and  how,  we  shall  discuss  later. 

Mendicants  and  Vagrants 

We  come  now  to  another  group  of  the  unemployed  who  may 
or  may  not  be  able-bodied,  but  who  are  usually  voluntarily  un- 
employed. This  is  the  groi^)  of  the  mendicants  and  of  the 
vagrants  who  are  usually  mendicants  also  but  of  a  migratory 
type.  It  is  impossible  here  to  go  into  a  lengthy  discussion  of  the 
causes  of  mendicancy  and  vagrancy,  or  of  the  different  classes  of 
mendicants  and  vagrants.  Vagrancy  is  doubtless  due  to  a  cer- 
tain extent  to  the  spirit  of  adventiu'e  and  the  wanderlust  which 
are  to  be  found  in  sdl  human  beings.  But  these  causes  alone  are 
not  likely  to  lead  to  more  than  temporary  vagrancy  in  early 
youth.  Other  causes  are  various  abnormal  and  neuropathic 
traits  which  lead  an  individual  to  dislike  work  and  a  settled  life. 
In  many  cases  mendicancy  and  vagrancy  are  due  to  the  fact 
that  the  individual  is  incapable  of  working,  or  has  not  been  given 
the  (^portimity  to  work  for  so  long  that  he  has  become  a  men- 
dicant and  vagrant.  On  the  basis  of  an  analysis  of  the  causes 
of  mendicancy  and  vagrancy  it  is  possible  to  construct  classifica- 
tions of  mencUcants  and  vagrants.  Among  them  are  to  be  found 
the  temporary  mendicants  and  vagrants,  who  are  in  this  con- 
dition on  account  of  youth  or  lack  of  q)portunity  to  work. 
Then  there  are  the  i)auper  mendicants  and  vagrants,  who  may 
have  started  out  like  the  temporary  ones  but  have  become  con- 
firmed in  these  habits.  The  crippled  mendicants  are  incapac- 
itated in  part  or  entirely  from  work,  and  use  their  deformities 
and  mutilations  to  secure  alms.  There  are  several  kinds  of  fake 
mendicants,  as,  for  example,  those  who  pretend  to  be  poor  when 
they  are  not,  those  who  simulate  diseases  and  deformities,  and 
the  malingerers  who  maim  themselves  in  order  to  appeal  to  the 
S3rmpathies  of  almsgivers.  The  semi-criminal  and  criminal  men- 
dicants and  vagrants  are  those  who  are  ready  to  commit  crime, 
when  a  good  opportimity  to  do  so  presents  itself.  The  abnormal 
and  pathological  vagrants  can  be  divided  into  many  classes 
according  to  the  psychoses  and  neuroses  which  give  rise  to  their 

'  Cf,  A.  Pagnier,  Le  Vagabond^  Paxis,  1910,  diaps.  2  and  3. 


It  is  impossible  to  determine  the  exact  nmnber  of  mendicants 
and  vagrants,  but  estimates  which  have  been  made  indicate  that 
they  are  sufficiently  nimierous  to  constitute  a  seriotis  problem.^ 
The  end  to  be  attained  in  the  treatment  of  this  problem  is  if 
possible  to  put  an  end  to  mendicancy  and  vagrancy,  and  to 
furnish  suitable  relief  to  those  of  the  mendicants  and  vagrants 
who  are  entitled  to  relief,  and  to  force  the  others  to  become  self- 
supporting.  Mendicancy  and  vagrancy  should  be  prohibited 
because,  while  the  aid  given  to  them  is  in  some  cases  justified,  so 
long  as  begging  is  permitted  in  any  form  there  will  be  nimierous 
impostors  who  become  parasites  upon  the  community  and  en- 
courage indiscriminate  giving.  Furthermore,  criminals  are  fre- 
quently aided  by  being  able  to  carry  on  their  criminal  activities 
under  the  guise  of  mendicancy  and  vagrancy. 

If  a  thoroughgoing  system  can  be  established,  both  of  these 
conditions  can  be  wiped  out  entirely  or  almost  entirely.  In  the 
first  place  is  needed  an  efficient  system  of  public  relief,  to  whic^ 
all  cases  of  mendicancy  and  vagrancy  can  be  referred  to  be  care- 
fully examined.  Then  if  it  proves  to  be  an  appropriate  case  for 
relief  measures,  outdoor  or  indoor  relief  as  die  case  demands 
should  be  granted.  If  self-support  is  possible,  effort  should  be 
made  to  seciu'e  work.  If  the  mendicant  or  vagrant  is  imwilling 
to  work,  even  though  capable  of  doing  so,  he  should  be  compelled 
to  work.  Especially  should  this  be  done  if  he  displays  a  criminal 
character  and  tendencies,  in  which  case  he  should  be  placed 
under  careful  surveillance. 

It  is  impossible  in  this  book  to  go  into  greater  detail  in  the 
description  of  the  methods  which  should  be  used  in  dealing  with 
mendicancy  and  vagrancy.  Excellent  methods  and  institutions 
have  been  devised  and  established  in  certain  European  coun- 

^  It  was  estimated  that  there  were  m  1895  in  the  United  States  85,768 
vagrants,  and  that  it  cost  the  community  $17,000,000  a  year  to  8U{qx>rt 
them.  (J.  J.  McCook,  The  Tramp  Problem,  in  the  Report  of  the  226  Nai. 
Conf,  of  Charities  and  Correction.) 

According  to  the  Interstate  Commerce  Conmiission,  during  the  four  years 
Z911-14,  inclusive,  there  were  casualties  to  trespassers  on  railway  property, 
in  accidents  involving  train  operation,  to  the  number  of  21,747  killed  and 
23,965  injiured.  (U.  S.  Interstate  Commerce  Commission,  Accident  Bulle- 
tins Nos.  40, 44,  and  52.)  Many  of  these  trespassers  doubtless  were  vagrants, 
80  that  these  figures  give  a  slight  indication  of  the  extent  of  vagrancy  in 
this  country. 


tries  such  as  Belgium,  Switzeriand,  and  Germany.  In  these 
countries  are  to  be  found  detention  colonies,  labor  houses  and 
GcdonieSy  etc.,  which,  combined  with  discriminating  methods  of 
relief,  prevent  and  rq>ress  mendicancy  and  vagrancy  to  a  very 
large  extent.' 

The  Defectives  and  the  Destitute  Sick 

We  must  now  discuss  briefly  the  care  of  the  defectives  and  the 
diseased.  AU  those  suffering  from  physical  and  mental  defects 
and  from  disease  are  handicapped  in  the  economic  struggle  for 
existence,  and  some  of  them  are  entirely  incapacitated  from 
self-support.  If  such  individuals  belong  to  wealthy  families, 
they  do  not  usually  become  dependent  upon  private  or  public 
charity.  Their  position  in  society  may  indeed  be  no  different 
from  that  of  other  wealthy  persons  who  are  not  economically 
productive.  But  most  of  them  are  bom  into  families  that  are 
able  to  care  for  them  only  in  part  or  not  at  all,  so  that  it  becomes 
necessary  for  private  charity  or  for  the  state  to  care  for  them. 
Because  of  their  need  for  special  care  and  attention  the  state 
sometimes  assumes  charge  of  them,  even  when  they  can  be 
cared  for  by  their  families.  Hence  it  is  that  these  helpless  per- 
sons form  a  special  group  of  dependents. 

In  several  chapters  in  the  early  part  of  this  book  have  been 
discussed  the  causes  and  manifestations  of  physical  and  mental 
defectiveness  and  of  disease.  All  of  the  data  there  presented 
will  be  assumed  in  the  following  discussion. 

According  to  the  Census  Biu-eau  there  were  enumerated  in 
1910  in  this  country  57,272  blind  persons.*  This  furnishes  an 
average  of  623  blind  persons  per  1,000,000  of  population.  As- 
suming a  total  population  of  100,000,000  in  1915,  there  would 
be  at  the  same  rate  62,300  blind  persons  in  that  year.  But  the 
Census  Bureau  intimates  that  the  number  enumerated  in  1910 
was  probably  a  very  incomplete  return,  so  that  there  may  be 
as  many  as  100,000  blind  persons  in  this  country  by  this  time. 

The  treatment  of  the  blind  must  depend  upon  the  causes  of 

^  Numerous  descriptions  of  these  institutions  have  been  written.  Among 
them  may  be  mentioned  the  following:  — 

W.  H.  Dawson,  The  Vagrancy  ProhUm^  London,  igio;  Edmond  Kelly, 
The  Elimination  of  the  Tramp,  New  Yoric,  1908. 

*  The  BHnd  Population  of  the  United  States,  Washmgton,  1915,  p.  10. 


their  blindness.  If  there  is  any  possibility  of  a  cure,  every  effort 
should  be  made  to  cure  them.  If  there  is  no  such  possibility, 
special  care  and  education  must  be  provided  tor  them.  If  they 
can  be  cared  for  in  their  own  homes,  it  is  well  to  do  so,  provided 
they  can  have  suitable  educational  opportunities  at  the  same 
time.  But  if  they  cannot  be  cared  for  in  their  homes,  or  cannot 
secure  an  education  there,  they  should  be  placed  in  special  insti- 
tutions maintained  preferably  by  the  state.  Here  they  should 
be  given  an  education  and  training  which  will  if  possible  fit  them 
for  self-support.  If  this  is  not  possible,  their  education  should 
at  least  fit  them  for  passing  as  happy  and  satisfactory  lives  as 
their  defect  will  permit 

According  to  the  Census  Bureau  there  were  enumerated  in 
1900  in  this  country  37426  totally  and  51,861  partially  deaf 
persons,  of  whom  24,369  were  dumb  as  well  as  deaf.^  The 
ratios  per  1,000,000  of  population  were  1,175  deaf  and  par* 
tially  deaf,  and  321  deaf  and  dumb.  Assuming  a  total  population 
of  100,000,000  in  1915,  there  would  be  at  the  same  ratios  117,500 
deaf  and  partially  deaf,  and  32,100  deaf  and  dumb  in  that  year.* 

The  same  is  to  be  said  with  regard  to  the  treatment  of  the 
deaf  and  dumb  as  has  been  said  about  the  blind.  If  there  is 
any  possibility  of  a  cure,  every  effort  should  be  made  to  cure 
them.  If  not,  they  should  be  cared  for  in  their  homes,  if  that  is 
feasible,  or  in  special  institutions.  In  any  case,  they  should  re- 
ceive an  education  and  training  which  will  if  possible  make  them 
self-supporting.  They  should  in  all  cases  be  taught  to  speak, 
since  there  are  very  few  if  any  for  whom  this  is  utterly  impossible. 

It  is  absolutely  impossible  to  make  any  sort  of  estimate  of 
the  number  of  cripples  in  this  country.  This  is  partly  because 
it  is  difficult  to  determine  what  d^^ree  of  deformity  constitutes 
being  crippled.  The  causes  of  physical  deformities  are  very 
numerous,  some  of  the  principal  ones  being  tuberculosis,  paral- 
ysis, rickets,  scoliosis  or  curvature  of  the  spine,  etc  It  is  prob- 
ably true  that  unless  treatment  is  begun  very  early  in  life,  in  the 
majority  of  cases  a  aire  is  impossible.  For  this  reason  treatment^ 

^  The  Blind  and  the  Deaf,  Washington,  1906,  p.  69.  ^ 

*Best  states  that  according  to  the  Census  of  19x0  there  were  4$fiit 

enumerated  as  "deaf  and  dumb."    Presumably  all  of  these  were  totally 

deaf,  but  not  all  of  them  dumb.    (Harry  Best,  The  Deaf^  New  Yock,  Z9X4« 



should  be  b^un  very  early,  if  there  is  any  possibility  of  a  cure. 
The  crif^led  should  be  cared  for  in  their  homes,  if  possible,  and 
if  not,  in  special  institutions.  They  should  be  given  an  educa- 
tion and  trainiog,  ^hich  will,  if  possible,  prepare  them  for  self- 

We  have  already  estimated  the  number  of  aments  in  this 
country  as  being  probably  as  many  as  400,000.  There  can  be 
no  hope  of  cure  in  a  genuine  case  of  amentia,  but  proper  treat- 
ment may  bring  about  some  improvement  in  certain  cases.  The 
milder  types  of  aments  may  be  kept  under  custodial  care  in 
their  own  homes.  It  is  usually  best  to  care  for  the  idiots  and 
the  low  grade  imbecOes  in  special  institutions.  The  higher 
t3rpes  of  aments  can  be  trained  to  perform  services  which  will 
contribute  towards  their  own  support. 

We  have  already  estimated  the  number  of  dements  in  this 
country  as  being  probably  as  many  as  350,000.  In  many  cases 
of  dementia  a  aure  may  be  possible,  so  that  af^ropriate  treat- 
ment should  be  given  whenever  there  is  a  possibility  of  a  cure. 
The  milder  types  of  the  insane  may  be  kept  under  custodial 
care  in  their  own  homes.  The  worst  forms  of  dementia  should 
ordinarily  be  cared  for  in  special  institutions.  The  milder  de- 
ments may  be  able  to  perform  useful  services,  but  as  a  general 
thing  the  insane  are  quite  incapable  of  supporting  themselves. 

EpQepsy  is  a  disease  the  causes  and  nature  of  which  are  still 
little  understood.  It  may  be  possible  to  cure  it  in  some  cases. 
But  usually  it  seems  to  be  a  permanent  trait  of  its  victim,  and 
may  therefore  be  classified  as  a  defect.  In  its  milder  forms  no 
q>edal  attention  needs  to  be  given  to  it.  But  in  its  graver 
forms,  and  especially  if  it  leads  to  criminal  tendencies,  it  should 
be  cared  for  either  by  custodial  care  in  the  home  or  in  special 

It  may  appear  inaccurate  to  speak  of  the  inebriate  at  this 
point,  since  inebriety  is  primarily  a  habit,  rather  than  a  defect 
or  a  disease.  But  in  its  graver  forms  it  frequently  has  a  neuro- 
pathic basis,  and  is  therefore  in  need  of  treatment  as  a  disease 
or  a  defect.  Some  of  the  worst  inebriates,  especially  if  they 
display  criminal  tendencies,  should  have  either  custodial  care 
in  the  home  or  should  be  cared  for  in  special  institutions. 

The  prevention  of  these  forms  of  defectiveness  and  the  de- 
pendency which  results  from  them  we  cannot  discuss  at  length 


here.  So  far  as  such  defectiveness  is  inherited,  it  can  be  pre- 
vented only  by  artificial  selection.  How  feasible  it  is  to  do  this 
we  shall  discuss  in  the  next  chapter,  which  deals  with  the  sub- 
ject of  eugenics.  Otherwise  such  defectiveness  is  certain  to 
persist,  unless  it  is  eliminated  by  means  of  natural  selection  or 
variation,  which  are  processes  over  which  man  has  no  controL 
So  far  as  such  defectiveness  is  due  to  environmental  factors,  it 
can  be  prevented  by  changes  in  the  environment.  Such  changes 
we  have  already  discussed  to  a  slight  extent,  and  shall  discuss  at 
much  greater  length  in  the  course  of  the  remainder  of  this  book. 

The  rapid  progress  of  medical  science  has  furnished  many 
methods  of  treating  diseases,  and  has  also  furnished  the  knowl- 
edge which  constitutes  a  necessary  basis  for  the  prev^ition  and 
elimination  of  disease.  The  nature  of  many  diseases  has  been 
determined,  and  specific  cures  for  many  of  them  have  been  dis- 
covered. It  is  now  known  that  some  of  these  diseases  are  caused 
by  germs,  and  this  knowledge  makes  p>ossible  effective  measures 
both  for  the  treatment  and  prevention  of  these  diseases.  Cures 
have  been  discovered  for  certain  kinds  of  defects,  such  as  certain 
forms  of  blindness,  deafness,  etc.  Surgical  methods  for  the 
treatment  of  accidents  and  deformities  have  greatiy  improved. 
The  development  of  neurology  and  of  psychology  has  furnished 
various  forms  of  treatment  for  mental  disorders. 

The  well-to-do  are  able  to  avail  themselves  of  these  means  of 
treating  and  preventing  these  diseases.  But  the  poor  and  the 
destitute  are  unable  to  do  so,  and  must  be  furnished  these  means 
by  private  or  public  charity.  The  result  has  been  an  extensive 
development  of  medical  charities.  Various  motives  have  in- 
spired such  charities.  Frequentiy  they  have  been  founded  for 
the  piupose  of  prosel3rtizing  to  a  religious  faith.  Medical  mis- 
sions, hospitals  foimded  by  church  organizations,  nursing  car- 
ried on  by  religious  orders,  etc.,  are  examples  of  this.  We  have 
already  criticized  the  religious  motive  for  charity  in  an  earli^ 
chapter,^  and  need  not  do  so  again  at  this  point.  Some  medical 
charity  is  carried  on  for  the  purpose  of  educating  medical  stu- 
dents, as,  for  example,  in  the  form  of  clinics.  Some  of  it  is  due 
entirely  or  in  large  part  to  benevolent  feelings.  This  is  perhaps 
more  true  of  medical  charity  than  of  most  forms  of  charity,  since 
the  sick  appeal  with  peculiar  force  to  the  sympathetic  feelings 

^  Supra,  chap.  XVIII. 


of  most  people.  Some  of  this  charity  has  been  instituted  for  the 
purpose  of  protectmg  the  health  of  the  public,  since  a. great  deal 
of  disease  is  contagious. 

These  medical  charities  take  the  forms  of  free  medical  treat- 
ment in  the  home,  nursing,  dispensaries  where  medical  treat- 
ment and  drugs  are  provided,  hospitals  for  indoor  treatment, 
etc.  Much  of  this  charity  has  been  private.  But  the  tendency 
now  is  for  the  state  to  undertake  these  fimctions.  This  tendency 
will  doubtless  continue,  and  will  make  it  more  feasible  to  unite 
remedial  treatment  with  preventive  measures.  Through  public 
health  departments  much  hygienic  and  sanitary  work  is  now 
being  carried  on,  and  will  doubtless  be  greatly  extended. 

Various  other  lines  of  activity  for  the  prevention  and  elimina- 
tion of  disease  may  be  mentioned,  some  of  these  activities  being 
private  and  others  being  public.  For  example,  in  many  educa- 
tional institutions  courses  on  preventive  medicine  are  being 
taught,  which  disseminate  knowledge  with  respect  to  the  pre- 
vention of  disease.  Certain  more  or  less  orgaiUzed  movements 
for  the  elimination  of  specific  diseases  are  being  carried  on. 
Among  them  are  the  campaigns  against  smallpox,  tuberculosis, 
typhoid  fever,  typhus,  diphtheria,  malaria,  etc.  Tlie  movement 
for  the  prevention  of  venereal  diseases  should  also  be  mentioned 
in  this  connection. 

Movements  of  a  somewhat  different  character,  which  should 
also  be  mentioned,  are  the  organized  movements  against  the  use 
of  stimulants,  narcotics,  etc.  While  these  movements  are 
directed  inunediately  against  certain  habits,  it  is  well  known 
that  these  habits  frequently  lead  to  disease  and  other  physical 
and  mental  ilb,  so  that  such  movements  are  in  the  last  analysis 
movements  against  disease  as  well.  Prominent  examples  of 
such  movements  are  the  campaigns  against  alcoholism  and 
against  the  use  of  narcotic  drugs.  The  vast  amount  of  injury 
caused  by  the  use  of  alcoholic  beverages  is  too  well  known  to 
need  extended  discussion  here.  While  it  is  impossible  to  esti- 
mate with  any  degree  of  accuracy  to  what  extent  it  is  a  cause  of 
poverty  and  destitution,  it  is  certain  that  it  is  one  of  the  most 
important  of  the  immediate  causes  of  these  great  social  evils. 
The  use  of  drugs  is  even  more  baneful  to  the  individual  than  that 
of  alcoholic  beverages,  and  since  this  habit  seems  to  be  spreading 
it  may,  if  not  checked,  rival  alcoholism  in  malignancy. 


But  it  is  not  certain  that  these  habits  can  be  fouj^t  directly 
with  success.  While  it  is  possible  to  kill  off  the  germs  of  disease 
without  opposition  from  those  who  are  threatened  by  them,  it  is 
frequently  impossible  to  control  the  habits  of  men,  especially 
when  they  are  habits  which  they  wish  to  retain,  however  harm- 
ful they  may  be.  It  is  probable  that  these  habits  will  be  fought 
more  successfully  by  indirect  means,  namely,  by  changing  the 
conditions  which  induce  men  to  acquire  these  habits. 

The  prevention  of  these  defects  and  diseases  would  some- 
what reduce  the  amount  of  dependency  and  destitudcm.  Fur- 
thermore, it  would  protect  the  health  and  well-being  of  the  public 
at  laige  to  a  considerable  extent,  since  many  of  these  diseases 
are  contagious.  However,  it  must  be  remembered  that  there  is 
danger  in  exaggerating  the  extent  to  which  poverty  and  pauper- 
ism are  due  to  disease.  We  have  already  dted  in  an  earlier 
chapter  ^  an  (pinion  from  a  writer  on  this  subject  in  which  there 
may  have  been  such  exaggeration,  and  the  same  may  be  true  of 
the  following  passage :  — ' '  We  are  apt  to  forget  that,  in  all  coun- 
tries, at  all  ages,  it  is  sickness  to  which  the  greatest  bulk  of 
destitution  is  immediately  due.''  ^  The  word  '^immediately'' 
may  save  this  statonent  from  error,  for  without  this  word  it 
would  certainly  be  wrong.  This  is  evident  when  we  OHisider 
the  extent  to  which  poverty  and  dependency  are  caused  by  low 
wages  and  unemplo3rment.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  defectiveness 
and  disease  are  to  a  large  extent  due  to  a  preexisting  state  oi 
poverty,  but  then  react  upon  that  poverty  so  as  to  stimulate  its 
increase  to  a  considerable  dq^ree. 

^Supra^  p.  46. 

*  S.  and  B.  Webb,  The  PrevetUian  of  DesHMion^  Loodoii,  zgzz,  p.  15* 




Negative  eugenics  —  Positive  eugenics  —  Ciitidsms  of  proposed  eugenic 
measures  —  Eugenics  and  the  theory  of  population  —  Eugenics  and  the 
sexual  functions  —  The  play  function  of  sex  —  The  |^y  function  and 
the  regulatbn  of  sex  —  Harmonizing  the  rquoductive  and  play  func- 
tions—  Sex  education  —  Eugenic  measures  and  the  prevention  of 

In  earlier  chq>ters  on  population  we  have  discussed  the 
significance  of  the  volume  of  population  with  respect  to  poverty. 
We  must  now  discuss  the  significance  of  the  composition  or 
character  of  the  population  with  regard  to  poverty.  It  has 
been  contended  by  some  that  poverty  can  be  abolished  by 
improving  the  quality  of  the  human  breed.  This  has  been  the 
belief  of  some  of  the  eugenists.  We  shall  therefore  consider 
first  the  eugenic  measures  which  have  been  pr(q)osed  to  attain 
this  end. 

The  eugenic  movement  has  by  this  time  become  so  well  known 
that  it  is  hardly  necessary  to  define  eugenics.  As  a  science  it 
is  a  hybrid,  beotuse,  while  it  consists  largely  of  biology,  it  also 
contains  a  certain  amount  of  sociology.  As  an  art  it  is  a  branch 
of  social  politics  or  social  technology,  in  which  the  principles  and 
data  of  science  are  applied  to  society. 

Two  branches  of  eugenics  are  usually  distinguished,  namely, 
positive  eugenics  and  negative  eugenics.  Positive  eugenics  is 
directed  towards  the  encouragement  of  desirable  births,  while 
negative  eugenics  is  directed  towards  the  discouragement  of  un- 
desirable procreation.  Let  us  consider  the  principal  measures 
which  have  been  proposed  in  both  of  these  branches  of  eugenics. 

Negative  Eugenics 

Negative  eugenics  is  based  upon  the  assumption  that  certain 
human  types  are  undesirable  in  society,  and  that  it  is  known 



which  individuals  are  certain  or  are  likely  to  give  birth  to  prog- 
eny which  belong  to  these  types.  Negative  eugenic  measures 
are  therefore  directed  towards  preventing  these  individuals 
from  procreating.  The  first  step  toward  doing  so  usually  is  to 
prohibit  these  individuals,  or  rather  the  classes  to  which  they 
belong,  from  marrying.  But  it  is  obvious  that  this  measure 
alone  cannot  be  at  all  successful  from  the  eugenic  point  of  view, 
and  may  indeed  make  matters  much  worse.  Prohibition  of 
marriage  is  certain  to  promote  illegitimate  matings  among  these 
individuals,  and  such  matings  may  result  in  nearly  if  not  quite 
as  many  offspring  as  if  these  matings  had  been  legalized.  Since 
these  ofiFspring  would  suffer  from  the  stigma  of  bastardy,  the 
situation  would  if  anything  be  worse  than  it  would  be  without 
such  prohibitions  upon  marriage. 

Two  methods  have  therefore  been  advocated  and  applied 
to  a  certain  extent  to  enforce  these  prohibitions.  One  method 
is  custodial  restraint,  either  in  the  extreme  form  of  more  or 
less  complete  segregation,  or  in  the  form  of  a  careful  and  watch- 
ful guardianship.  The  other  method  is  to  render  these  individ- 
uals ph3^ologically  incapable  of  procreation,  either  by  means 
of  castration,  or  by  making  them  sterile  without  castration. 

Positive  Eugenics 

Positive  eugenics  is  based  upon  the  assumption  that  certain 
human  types  are  desirable  in  society,  and  that  it  is  known  what 
individuals  are  certain  or  likely  to  give  birth  to  progeny  which 
belong  to  these  types.  Positive  eugenic  measures  are  therefore 
directed  towards  encouraging  these  individuals  to  procreate. 
It  is  evident  that  positive  eugenic  measures  cannot  be  as  direct 
as  negative  eugenic  measures,  since  it  is  hardly  possible  to  force 
individuals  to  procreate,  though  it  may  be  possible  to  prevent 
them  by  force  from  doing  so.  Various  methods  have  been 
advocated,  and  some  of  them  have  been  applied  to  a  certain 
extent,  to  encourage  the  procreation  which  is  alleged  by  the 
eugenists  to  be  desirable.  Educational  methods  have  been  used 
to  disseminate  knowledge  with  regard  to  the  desirability  of 
procreation  on  the  part  of  certain  individuals  and  classes.  Cer- 
tain economic  methods  of  encouraging  marriages  in  these  classes 
have  been  proposed.    It  has  been  proposed  to  levy  a  tax  upon 


the  bachelors  in  these  classes,  thus  furnishing  them  an  incentive 
to  marry.  It  has  been  proposed  to  pay  bonuses  upon  the  birth 
of  children,  or  to  grade  incomes  according  to  the  size  of  the 
family,  thus  furnishing  an  incentive  to  procreate.  More  general 
economic  methods  which  have  been  advocated  have  been  those 
which  would  improve  the  economic  status  of  these  classes,  thus 
making  it  more  feasible  for  the  individuab  in  these  classes  to 
marry  and  to  have  children. 

Under  the  head  of  positive  eugenic  measures  have  also  been 
placed  frequently  measures  which  are  directed  towards  pro- 
moting the  well-being  of  parents  and  of  children,  both  before 
and  after  birth.  It  is,  however,  evident  that  these  are  not 
eugenic  measures  in  the  strict  sense  of  that  term.  While  it  is 
true  that  in  the  long  run  environment  has  much  influence  upon 
heredity,  it  is  also  true  that  inheritance  takes  place  directly 
through  the  germ  cells,  and  only  such  characteristics  are  trans- 
mitted as  are  represented  by  determinants  in  the  germ  cell. 
Consequently  only  such  measures  as  directly  affect  breeding,  by 
preventing  certain  stocks  from  being  perpetuated,  and  by  en- 
couraging the  perpetuation  of  other  stocks,  can  be  called  eugenic. 
If  it  were  known  how  desirable  variations  in  the  germ  cell  could 
be  induced,  then  measures  directed  towards  this  end  might  also 
be  called  eugenic.  But  our  knowledge  is  not  yet  sufScient  to 
enable  us  to  do  this.  Measures  for  the  betterment  of  the  en- 
vironment belong  to  euthenics  rather  than  to  eugenics.  The 
classification  of  such  measures  imder  the  head  of  eugenics  is  an 
indication  of  the  tendency  displayed  by  some  eugenists  to  in- 
clude too  much  imder  the  head  of  eugenics.  This  has  probably 
been  due  to  an  excessive  enthusiasm  on  the  part  of  these  indi- 
viduals for  the  science  and  art  of  eugenics.  The  term  eugenic 
should  be  limited  to  measures  directed  towards  improving 
the  human  breed,  while  the  term  euthenic  should  be  applied 
to  measures  for  the  improvement  of  the  environment. 

CsiTiasMS  OF  Proposed  Eugenic  Measures 

Let  us  now  consider  how  desirable  and  how  effective  are  the 
positive  and  negative  eugenic  measures  which  have  been  pro- 
posed, some  of  which  have  been  applied  to  a  certain  extent. 
The  first  criticism  to  be  made  of  most  of  these  measures  is  that 


we  do  not  yet  have  sufficient  biological  knowledge  to  furnish  a 
reliable  basis  for  them.  On  the  side  of  negative  eugenics  we 
have  a  certain  amount  of  knowledge  with  regard  to  the  inher- 
itance of  certain  defects  and  of  propensities  to  have  certain 
diseases.^  Many  of  these  are  not  sufficiently  grave  in  their 
character  to  justify  using  repressive  measures  to  prevent  the 
individuals  possessing  them  from  reproducing  themselves.  But 
in  the  case  of  some  of  the  more  serious  of  these  defects  and 
propensities,  it  may  be  justifiable  to  use  such  measures.  For 
example,  in  cases  where  there  is  reliable  evidence  that  feeble- 
mindedness reappears  again  and  again  in  a  line  of  descent,  thus 
showing  that  it  is  unquestionably  due  to  hereditary  traits,  there 
may  be  adequate  reason  to  prevent  reproduction  in  that  line  of 
descent  The  same  may  be  true  where  there  is  similar  evidence 
of  the  hereditary  causation  of  epilepsy,  insanity,  S3mdact}dism, 
etc.  But  the  number  of  abnormal  and  pathological  traits  which 
it  is  as  yet,  on  the  basis  of  our  present  knowledge,  safe  to  rq>ress 
by  such  drastic  means  is  still  very  limited.  And«in  each  ct 
these  cases  it  should  be  done  only  after  ample  scientific 
evidence  has  been  secured  of  the  hereditary  character  of  the 

When  it  has  been  determined  upon  the  basis  of  biological 
evidence  that  it  is  desirable  to  prevent  an  individual  from  pro- 
creating, the  next  question  is  to  ascertain  what  method  of  pre- 
vention should  be  used.  A  considerable  proportion  of  these 
individuals  are  persons  who  should  be  segregated  or  placed 
under  some  form  of  restraint  for  reasons  other  than  their  unfit- 
ness for  parenthood.  Many  of  them  are  idiots,  imbeciles,  and 
low  grade  morons,  who  lyould  be  incapable  of  making  their 
way  in  normal  social  life.  Others  are  insane  persons,  epileptics, 
etc.,  who  would  be  dangerous  to  themselves  and  to  society  at 
large  if  they  were  left  entirely  free.  The  restraint  placed  upon 
these  persons  for  these  reasons  could  also  be  made  effective  to 
prevent  them  from  becoming  parents. 

But  there  are  others  whom  it  would  be  socially  desirable  to 
restrain  from  procreation,  and  yet  there  would  be  no  other 
justification  for  placing  any  restraint  upon  them.   In  such  cases 

1  Several  books  on  eugenics  contain  descriptions  of  many  of  these  defects 
and  diseases,  as,  for  example,  C.  B.  Davenport,  Heredity  in  Rdation  to  Eait 
genics.  New  York,  191 1,  chap.  3. 


it  would  be  a  grave  injustice  to  these  individuals  to  place  them 
under  any  restraint  which  would  limit  their  freedom  in  any 
matters  apart  from  procreation.  Consequently  they  should 
be  made  incapable  of  procreation  without  limiting  their  free- 
dom in  any  other  way.  Castration  is  effective  in  destro3dng  an 
individual's  ability  to  reproduce.  But  this  operation  seriously 
affects  the  individual  in  other  wa3rs.  It  destroys  the  capacity 
for  sexual  intercourse  as  well,  thus  shutting  the  individual  out 
from  the  normal  sex  relation.  It  also  has  far-reaching  effects 
upon  the  temperament  and  character  of  the  individual,  which 
usually  are  not  desirable.  So  that  castration  is  not  justifiable 
in  the  cases  of  these  individuals,  and  probably  is  justified  only 
for  very  abnormal  persons,  such  as  idiots  and  low-grade 
imbeciles,  upon  whose  characters  it  sometimes  has  a  desirable 

It  is,  however,  possible  to  sterilize  by  means  of  surgical  opera- 
tions which  have  no  further  effects.  Vasectomy  for  males  and 
salpingectomy  for  females  have  been  entirely  successful  as 
operations  of  this  nature,  and  there  can  be  little  question  that 
these  operations  or  better  ones  of  the  same  natiu^,  if  such  opera- 
tions be  discovered,  should  be  used  in  the  above  cases.  These 
operations  would  deprive  these  individuals  of  the  right  and 
privilege  of  parenthood,  which  is  indeed  deplorable  so  far  as 
they  are  concerned,  but  which  may  be  justified  on  social  grounds. 
But  such  operations  would  not  exclude  them  from  the  other 
human  relations,  and  would  not  limit  their  freedom  or  change 
their  status  in  society. 

On  the  side  of  positive  eugenics  we  have  even  less  scientific 
data  which  would  furnish  us  a  basis  for  undertaking  practical 
measures  to  encourage  procreation  on  the  part  of  certain  in- 
dividuals and  groups.  There  is  no  doubt  that  there  are  great 
differences  between  individuals  in  their  capacity  for  performing 
services  which  are  useful  to  society.  Certain  individuals  possess 
abilities  which  are  rare,  and  whidi  make  these  individuals  very 
productive.  Furthermore,  there  is  much  evidence  that  such 
abilities  are  in  many  of  these  cases  inherited.  So  that  it  may 
appear  desirable  to  encourage  these  individuals  to  reproduce 
themselves.  Furthermore,  it  may  appear  desirable  to  encourage 
certain  groups  to  reproduce  themselves,  because  they  are  or 
appear  to  be  more  valuable  to  society  than  other  groups.    But 


our  biological  knowledge  on  these  points  is  not  sufficiently  ex- 
tensive or  precise  to  furnish  a  basis  for  definite  measures  with 
respect  to  these  matters.  While  we  can  see  the  individual  dif- 
ferences and  recognize  the  general  fact  of  heredity,  it  is  impos- 
sible for  us  to  foresee  with  certainty  the  outcome  of  any  par- 
ticular crossing.  So  that  it  would  be  utterly  impossible  to 
regulate  matings  with  any  degree  of  wisdom,  while  there  are 
other  serious  objections  to  such  regulating  which  we  will  men- 
tion presently.* 

Many  of  the  positive  eugenic  measiu^  which  have  been  pro- 
posed have  been  very  foolish  in  their  character.  For  example, 
it  has  been  proix)sed  that  the  incomes  of  dvil  service  servants 
should  be  graded  according  to  the  size  of  their  families.  Tliose 
who  advocate  this  scheme  believe  that  it  might  in  course  of 
time  be  extended  to  all  professions.  In  criticizing  this  pn^x)sed 
scheme  it  may  be  said,  in  the  first  place,  that  it  is  not  cer- 
tain that  civil  service  employees,  professional  people,  and  other 
salaried  groups  are  so  superior  to  other  groups  that  they  should 
be  given  excq;)tional  inducements  to  reproduce.  In  the  next 
place,  it  is  to  be  expected  that  if  such  a  scheme  is  applied  to  any 
group  it  will  encourage  the  mediocre  persons  in  the  group  to 
reproduce  rather  than  the  superior  ones,  because  the  less  effi- 
cient will  seize  upon  this  method  of  increasing  their  incomes, 
probably  to  the  detriment  of  their  efficiency,  while  the  more 
efficient  will  endeavor  to  increase  their  incomes  throu^  the 
excellence  of  their  work.  Thus  the  effect  of  any  such  scheme 
is  almost  certain  to  encourage  reproduction  of  the  mediocre 
rather  than  of  the  superior,  and  to  diminish  the  incentive  to 

>  Galton  endeavored  to  prove  that  human  genius  and  talent  is  transmitted 
by  heredity  in  certain  families.  (Francis  Galton,  Hereditary  Genius,  New 
York,  1879;  Inquiries  into  Human  FacuUyf  New  York,  1883,  etc)  But  it 
should  be  remembered  that  Galton,  who  was  himself  the  foimder  of  eugenics, 
was  too  cautious  a  scientist  to  advocate  the  regulation  of  mating 'on  the 
basis  of  our  present  knowledge  of  heredity. 

Other  writers  have  tried  to  show  that  environment  has  played  a  mudi 
more  important  part  than  heredity  in  causing  achievement.  Thdr  work 
has  at  least  shown  that  much  more  can  be  accomplished  at  present  by  chang- 
ing the  environment  than  by  regulating  mating.  (See,  for  example,  L.  F. 
Ward,  Applied  Sociology,  A  Treatise  on  the  Conscious  Improvement  of 
Society  by  Society,  Boston,  1906;  F.  C.  Constable,  Poverty  and  Hereditary 
Genius,  A  Criticism  of  Mr.  Francis  Galton's  Theory  of  Hereditary  Genius, 
London,  1905.) 


efficiency  for  those  who  have  most  need  for  such  mcentive.  The 
same  objections  hold  against  any  system  of  bonuses  to  be  paid 
upon  the  birth  of  children.  A  tax  on  bachelors  may  also  be 
opposed  on  the  same  general  ground,  for  like  graded  incomes  and 
bonuses  it  bases  income  upon  a  consideration  other  than  that  of 
efficiency,  and  this  is  a  very  dangerous  thing  to  do  for  obvious 
social  reasons.  The  principle  of  remuneration  without  produc- 
tiveness is  already  applied  altogether  too  frequently  in  society, 
as  in  the  cases  of  the  inheritors  of  wealth,  idle  wives,  etc.  No 
extension  of  this  principle  should  be  tolerated,  but,  on  the  con- 
trary, every  effort  should  be  made  to  reduce  these  cases  to  a 
minimum,  so  that  in  course  of  time  only  those  who  are  physically 
and  mentally  incapable  of  producing  should  be  receiving  any 
income  without  being  productive. 

In  fact,  it  is  doubtful  if  at  present  any  positive  eugenic  meas- 
ures are  feasible,  other  than  a  certain  amount  of  educational 
work  in  the  way  of  disseminating  knowledge  with  respect  to 
heredity,  the  influence  of  environment,  etc.  And  in  this  work  the 
greatest  care  should  be  taken  that  only  well-ascertained  facts 
shall  be  taught,  and  only  the  most  cautious  conclusions  drawn 
from  them.  For  the  present,  at  any  rate,  human  breeding  will 
have  to  be  left  in  the  main  to  natural  selection,  and  it  is  quite 
possible  that  this  will  always  be  largely  true.  Certain  it  is  that 
the  human  species  has  so  far  survived,  and  has  apparently  in  the 
main  thrived  under  the  process  of  natural  selection.  Had  it  not 
been  for  natural  selection,  the  species  would  probably  long  ago 
have  been  swamped  under  the  burden  of  a  vast  niunber  of  de- 
fectives. Indeed  it  is  very  probable  that  more  important  than 
eugenic  measures  is  the  elimination  of  certain  dysgenic  forces, 
which  have  been  developed  in  the  course  of  the  later  stages  of 
social  evolution,  and  which  are  hampering  natural  selection  from 
doing  its  work.  A  good  example  of  such  d3^genic  forces  is  un- 
discriminating  charity.  In  emphasizing  the  importance  of  nat- 
ural sdection,  however,  I  do  not  mean  to  imply  that  it  is  the 
best  form  of  selection  which  is  conceivable,  but  merely  that  we 
have  not  yet  and  probably  never  will  have  sufficient  knowledge 
to  fiunish  the  basis  for  a  system  of  artificial  selection  which 
would  be  superior  to  natural  selection.  Certainly  not  until  we 
know  much  better  what  is  fit  and  unfit,  both  biologically  and 
socially,  should  we  attempt  artificial  selection. 


The  upshot  of  the  atx>ve  discussion  is  that  the  only  measure 
which  society  through  governmental  agencies  is  now  justified 
in  taking  is  to  prevent  a  very  small  group,  which  is  unquestion- 
ably imfit  to  reproduce,  from  procreating,  and  it  is  very  doubtful 
if  society  can  ever  go  much  further  than  this  for  reasons  which 
will  be  suggested  presently,  in  addition  to  those  which  have  al- 
ready been  stated.   It  is  very  doubtful  if  this  group  will  ever  ex- 
ceed a  very  small  percentage  of  the  total  population,  let  us  say 
one  per  cent,  and  will  probably  usually  be  even  smaller  than  this 
percentage.    These  considerations  indicate  the  folly  of  most  of 
the  so-called  ''eugenic"  l^islation  in  this  country.    A  dozen  or 
more  states  have  passed  laws  providing  for  sterilization  under 
certain  conditions  for  various  groups  including  criminals,  habit- 
ual paupers,  certain  groups  reputed  to  be  inunoral,  etc.    It  is 
obvious  that  criminality,  pauperism,  and  inmiorality  are  not 
biological  traits  which  can  be  inherited,  so  that  th^  are  not 
apprc^riate  objects  for  the  application  of  eugenic  measures.    In 
certain  states  laws  for  the  regulation  of  marriage  in  the  way  of 
requiring  examinations  have  been  passed,  which  are  still  more 
foolish  and  objectionable  than  the  sterilization  laws.   It  has  been 
very  evident  that  this  l^islation  has  been  based  largely  upon 
moral  and  religious  beliefs,  rather  than  on  biological  knowledge, 
which  is  the  only  safe  basis  for  any  eugenic  measures.    This  is 
why  it  has  called  forth  the  following  severe  criticism  from  an 
eminent  English  biologist:  — 

''  I  may  perhaps  be  allowed  to  say  that  the  remedies  proposed  in 
America,  in  so  far  as  they  aim  at  the  eugenic  regulation  of  marriage 
on  a  comprehensive  scale,  strike  me  as  devised  without  regard  to 
the  needs  either  of  individuals  or  of  a  modem  state.  Undoubtedly 
if  they  decide  to  breed  their  population  of  one  uniform  puritan  gray, 
they  can  do  it  in  a  few  generations;  but  I  doubt  if  timid  respectability 
will  make  a  nation  happy,  and  I  am  sure  that  qualities  of  a  different 
sort  are  needed  if  it  is  to  compete  with  more  vigorous  and  more  varied 
communities.  Every  one  must  have  a  preliminary  sympathy  with 
the  aims  of  eugenists  both  abroad  and  at  home.  Their  efforts  at  the 
least  are  doing  something  to  discover  and  spread  truth  as  to  the 
physiological  structure  of  society.  The  spirit  of  such  organizations, 
however,  almost  of  necessity  suffers  from  a  bias  towards  the 
accepted  and  the  ordinary,  and  if  they  had  power  it  would  go 
hard  with  many  ingredients  of  society  that  could  be  ill-spared.  .  •  • 


It  is  not  the  eugenists  who  will  give  us  what  Plato  has  called  divine 
releases  from  the  common  ways."  ^ 

Eugenics  and  the  Theory  of  Population 

I  wish  now  to  reair  again  to  the  theory  of  population.  Eu- 
genics is  closely  related  to  this  theory  b€K:ause  in  the  study  of 
population  it  is  very  important  to  consider  quantity  as  well  as 
quality.  But  notwithstanding  the  importance  of  this  relation- 
ship, it  has  usually  been  ignored  by  eugenists.  We  have  much 
more  knowledge  on  the  basis  of  which  to  regulate  the  quantity 
of  population  than  we  have  to  r^ulate  its  quality.  This  knowl- 
edge has  been  derived  from  a  study  of  the  effects  of  the  growth 
of  peculation  upon  economic  and  social  conditions.  The  results 
of  such  study  we  have  discussed  at  considerable  length  in  our 
earlier  chapters  on  population.  In  that  discussion  we  have  seen 
that  the  upper  classes  have  the  knowledge  and  the  means  by 
which  to  control  births,  and  have  used  them  so  as  to  reduce 
greatly  the  birth  rate  in  those  classes.  But,  owing  to  the  re- 
pressive and  drastic  legislation  against  the  control  of  births,  it 
is  difficult  for  the  lower  classes  to  secure  this  knowledge  and  these 

Now  according  to  most  if  not  all  of  the  eugenists,  the  upper 
classes  are  those  who  should  be  encouraged  to  reproduce,  while 
the  lower  classes  should  be  discouraged  from  doing  so.  It 
should  therefore  be  to  their  interest  to  remove  the  l^islation 
which  is  directed  against  the  control  of  births.  For  while  the 
abolition  of  this  restriction  will  not  increase' the  birth  rate  of 
the  upper  classes,  it  will  doubtless  lower  the  birth  rate  of  the 
lower  classes  somewhat.  The  result  will  then  be  to  increase  the 
proportion  of  those  who  are  alleged  to  be  eugenically  more 
desirable.  Thus  to  make  the  control  of  births  free  and  easy 
would  have  a  valuable  negative  eugenic  effect  in  restricting 
somewhat  the  reproduction  of  the  classes  which  are,  eugenically 
speaking,  less  desirable,  and  would  have  a  positive  eugenic  effect 
in  increasing  proportionally  the  size  of  the  more  desirable  classes. 

^  W.  Bateson,  Presidential  Address  of  the  British  Associaium,  in  Science, 

Sept  4, 1914* 

In  connection  with  this  citation  we  may  call  attention  to  the  fact  that 
many  geniuses  have  been  more  or  less  abnonnal. 


Whether  or  not  the  eugenists  are  right  in  their  estimate  of  the 
relative  eugenic  value  of  the  upper  and  the  lower  dasses^I  will 
not  attempt  to  say. 

Eugenics  and  the  Sexual  Functions 

We  shall  now  discuss  briefly  an  aspect  of  eugenics  which  is 
rarely  if  ever  touched  upon  in  eugenic  writings,  and  yet  which 
is  of  decisive  importance  against  most  of  the  measures  which 
have  been  proposed  by  the  eugenists.  It  is  hardly  necessary  to 
emphasize  the  importance  of  removing,  as  far  as  is  feasible,  the 
individual  factor  from  the  causation  of  poverty  and  the  other 
social  evils,  by  eliminating  defective  individuals  and  by  raising 
the  standard  of  the  human  breed.  But  even  if  we  had  abundant 
biolo^cal  knowledge  on  the  basis  of  which  to  undertake  meas- 
ures with  which  to  attain  these  ends,  it  would  still  not  be  ad- 
visable to  attempt  any  extensive  regulation  of  human  breeding, 
because  such  regulating  would  do  violence  to  one  of  the  two 
functions  of  sex  in  the  life  of  mankind.  In  order  to  make  dear 
the  meaning  of  this  statement,  it  will  be  necessary  to  describe 
briefly  these  two  functions  of  sex. 

The  Play  Function  of  Sex 

The  primary  and  fimdamental  function  of  sex  is  reproduction. 
This  function  has  doubtless  existed  as  long  as  sex  itself.  But 
in  the  higher  animals,  and  in  the  warm-blooded  vertebrates 
in  particular,  sex  has  acquired  a  second  fimction,  which  is  in  its 
way  quite  as  important  as  the  first.  This  second  function  is  due 
to  an  efflorescence  of  the  sexual  impulse,  largely  through  the 
affective  traits  of  the  warm-blooded  animals.  As  is  well  known, 
the  affective  side  of  the  nature  of  the  warm-blooded  animals  is 
much  more  highly  developed  than  it  is  in  the  cold-blooded  ani* 
mals,  doubtless  owing  to  the  more  complex  vascular  system 
of  the  warm-blooded  animals.  Consequently  a  great  develop- 
ment of  the  extent  and  scope  of  sexiial  feeling  has  been  possible. 
The  original  cause  of  this  feeling  is  to  be  found  in  the  sexual 
glands.  But  probably  through  the  stimulation  caused  by  the 
so-called  "hormones"  which  are  sent  out  from  these  glands  to 
all  parts  of  the  organism,  the  same  state  of  feeling  is  aroused 


throughout  the  organism.  The  existence  of  these  hormones  is 
still  hypothetical,  so  that  it  is  not  yet  possible  to  state  whether, 
if  they  exist,  they  are  in  the  fcMin  of  discrete  particles  or  of  a 
chemical  solution. 

The  results  from  this  organic  state  of  feeling  are  many  and 
varied,  and  it  would  be  impossible  to  describe  them  in  detail 
here.  But  the  importance  of  sexual  feeling  is  indicated  by  the 
recognition  it  has  received  in  psychology.  For  example,  one 
psychological  theory  has  been  that  all  feelings  of  pleasure  are 
sexual  in  their  origin.  This  theory  probably  is  wrong,  but  there 
is  no  doubt  that  many  pleasurable  feelings,  perhaps  the  majority 
of  them,  are  sexual  in  their  origin.  Furthermore,  there  can 
be  no  doubt  that  sexual  feeling  is  one  of  the  most  acute,  perhaps 
the  most  acute,  form  of  feeling  and  of  pleasure.  It  is  also  true 
that  a  good  deal  of  pain  is,  indirectly  at  any  rate,  due  to  sex. 
This  may  be  caused  by  undue  repression  of  sexiial  impulses, 
or  in  some  other  way  connected  with  sex. 

The  results  from  the  state  of  feeling  stimulated  by  sex  are  so 
many  and  varied  that  it  is  difficult  to  give  a  name  to  this  second- 
ary fimction  of  sex.  I  would  suggest  as  a  name  for  this  function, 
the  "play  aspect"  of  sex,  or  the  "play  interest"  in  sex.  My 
reason  for  using  the  word  "play"  for  this  function  of  sex  is 
that  it  leads  to  a  great  deal  of  behavior  whose  motive  is  not 
practical  in  the  sense  that  work  is  motivated  by  practical  ends, 
so  that  in  this  respect  it  is  like  play.  So  that,  even  though  it 
does  not  indicate  fully  the  scope  of  this  function,  we  shall  use 
it  as  a  name  for  this  function. 

The  play  aspect  of  sex  is  obviously  developed  to  a  con- 
siderable degree  among  all  of  the  higher  animals.  Among 
many  of  them  it  is  a  strong  social  force,  and  adds  considerably 
to  the  richness  of  their  life.  But  nevertheless  sex  is  on  the  whole 
more  exclusively  for  reproduction  among  the  animals  than  it 
is  among  men.  This  is  well  illustrated  by  the  rut.  On  account 
of  the  rut  sexual  feeling  is  very  acute  at  certain  times  among 
many  of  the  animal  species,  but  is  more  or  less  quiescent  at 
other  times.  But  the  rut  seems  to  have  disappeared  entirely 
or  in  large  part  among  men,  so  that  sexual  feeling  is  more  or 
less  evenly  (Mused  over  the  whole  of  human  life. »   Consequently 

^  See  E.  Westermarck,  The  History  of  Human  Marriage,  London,  1903, 
cfaap.  II,  ''Human  Painng  Season  in  Primitive  Times." 


the  play  function  is  a  omstant  factor  in  the  life  of  man.  Further- 
more,  the  human  intellect  makes  the  play  aspect  a  conscious 
end  to  a  much  greater  degree  than  is  possible  for  any  AniTnal^ 
while  many  hiunan  ideas  become  associated  with  sexual  feelings, 
thus  forming  sentiments  which  play  a  powerful  part  in  the  life 
of  man. 

Much  of  human  achievement  has  been  due  to  the  play  function 
of  sex,  but  it  will  be  impossible  to  describe  these  achievements 
here.  Suffice  it  to  say  that  many  military,  political,  and  economic 
achievements  have  been  due  to  male  gallantry  in  behalf  of  women, 
or  to  sexual  rivalry  among  males.  Furthermore,  the  play  fimc- 
tion  is  frequently  an  indirect  cause  of  achievement.  Much  of 
art,  literature,  and  religion  is  a  symbolic  interpretation  of  sexual 
feelings  and  desires,  where  these  feelings  and  desires  have  been 
sublimated  and  the  results  of  the  sublimation  are  being  mani- 
fested in  these  forms.  The  extensive  r61e  played  in  the  life  of 
man  by  this  function  of  sex  has  been  more  or  less  fully  revealed 
in  recent  years  by  the  study  of  the  unconscious,  subconscious, 
co-consdous,  or  subliminal  aspect  of  man's  nature.  The  de- 
velopment of  psychoanal3rsis  has  furnished  a  valuable  technique 
for  this  study. 

The  Play  Function  and  the  Regulation  op  Sex 

The  obvious  significance  of  the  above  facts  is  that  the  play 
function  of  sex  has  been  an  important  factor  in  the  evolution 
of  civilization,  and  has  done  much  to  enrich  human  personality. 
In  view  of  this  fact  it  is  an  indication  of  profound  ignorance  of 
human  nature  and  cultural  evolution  and  an  exhibition  of  crass 
stupidity  to  attempt  to  regulate  sexual  relations  without  any 
regard  to  this  function  of  sex.  And  yet  this  has  been  true  of 
many  of  the  eugenic  proposals.  It  is  obvious  that  inasmuch  as 
the  same  impulses  are  involved  in  both  the  reproductive  and  the 
play  functions  of  sex,  though  frequently  in  a  different  form, 
it  is  impossible  to  regulate  sex  to  any  degree  in  the  interest  or 
alleged  interest  of  reproduction  without  interfering  seriously  with 
the  play  function. 

Now  it  is  characteristic  of  the  play  function  of  sex  that  it  must 
act  spontaneously  so  far  as  the  individual  is  concerned.  That  is 
to  say,  there  can  be  no  immediate  directing  or  regulating  as  to 


the  object  or  objects  towards  which  the  sexual  impulses  of  the 
individual  will  direct  themselves.  So  that  to  interfere  with 
sexual  relations  and  acts  in  the  name  of  reproduction  is  to  inter- 
fere with  the  spontaneous  operation  of  the  play  function. 

The  above  remarks,  however,  are  not  meant  to  imply  that  the 
play  function  cannot  be  greatly  influenced  indirecUy.  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  early  environment  and  training,  the  ideas  pos- 
sessed by  an  individual,  and  many  other  factors,  influence  the 
play  function  a  great  deal.  The  wise  method  of  trying  to  influ- 
ence either  of  these  two  functions  of  sex  is  to  do  so  by  indirect 
means,  and  to  be  very  careful  to  influence  neither  function  in 
any  way  which  will  do  injury  to  the  other. 

I  have  introduced  this  brief  description  of  the  functions  of 
sex  because  of  certain  ideas  which  are  more  or  less  prevalent 
at  present,  and  which  are  concerned  with  the  breeding  of  the 
human  stock.  The  first  of  these  is  that  reproduction  is  the  only 
natural,  legitimate  function  of  sex,  and  that  any  use  of  sex  for 
any  other  purpose  is  animal,  bestial,  Ucentious,  and  immoral, 
and  that  any  human  being  who  recognizes  any  other  function 
and  practises  it  is  reverting  to  the  animal  plane.  The  above 
description  has  indicated  that  the  very  opposite  is  the  truth. 
We  have  seen  that  it  is  among  the  lower  animals  that  sex  is 
exclusively  or  almost  exclusively  for  purposes  of  reproduction, 
and  that  as  we  rise  in  the  aidmal  scale  there  develops  this 
secondary  function  which  we  have  called  the  play  function,  and 
which  plays  an  increasingly  important  r6Ie.  This  function 
reaches  its  highest  fruition  in  man,  and  is  therefore  most  dis- 
tinctively human  in  its  character.  Consequently,  instead  of 
being  animal  and  bestial  to  recognize  and  advocate  full  scope 
for  the  play  function,  it  is,  on  the  contrary,  himian,  social,  and 
cultural,  in  the  best  sense  of  those  terms,  to  do  so.  It  is  rather 
those  who  deny  the  play  function  who  convict  themselves  of 
bestiality  by  so  doing,  for  they  are  den3ring  what  is  most  dis- 
tinctively human  in  favor  of  what  is  more  distinctively  char- 
acteristic of  the  beasts. 

A  second  idea,  which  grows  to  a  large  extent  out  of  the  first  one, 
is  that  each  generation  should  live  exclusively  for  the  sake  of 
succeeding  generations.  This  idea  is  reflected  in  such  a  state- 
ment as  that  this  is  the  ^'age  of  the  child,"  etc.  It  is  evident 
that  a  ntunber  of  comments  may  be  made  upon  this  idea.    In 


the  first  place,  there  is  no  scientific  or  philos(^hic  reason  why 
there  should  be  any  future  generations.  No  data  have  ever 
been  found  to  show  that  anything  of  moment  in  the  universe  at 
large  and  apart  from  man's  own  interests  depends  upon  the  con- 
tinued existence  of  the  human  species.  So  that,  so  far  as  any 
scientific  or  philosophic  considerations  are  concerned,  it  would 
be  quite  justifiable  for  the  present  generation  to  devote  itself 
exclusively  to  its  own  interests,  and  give  no  effort  to  perpetuating 

But  even  if  we  asstmie  on  religious  or  moral  grounds  that 
there  should  be  succeeding  generations  (and  most  persons  make 
such  an  assumption),  it  would  still  not  necessarily  be  true  that 
the  present  generation  must  sacrifice  itself  entirely  in  the  inter- 
est of  future  generations.  This  is  true,  in  the  first  place,  because 
if  the  present  generation  did  assume  that  a  complete  self-sacri- 
fice was  necessary,  it  would  place  itself  in  a  very  inconsistent 
and  logically  fallacious  position  in  its  attitude  towards  altruism. 
Such  a  sacrifice  in  behalf  of  these  future  generations  is  pre- 
sumably altruistic  in  its  character.  But  would  it  be  truly  al- 
truistic on  the  part  of  the  present  generation  to  transmit  to 
these  generations  a  tradition  of  a  duty  which,  if  performed,  would 
in  turn  destroy  the  enjoyment  of  life  for  them  also?  Certainly 
if  this  obligation  rests  upon  the  present  generation,  it  must  rest 
upon  future  generations  as  well,  so  that  it  would  perhi^  be 
the  truest  altruism  not  to  bring  these  generations  into  the  world 
under  the  burden  of  such  an  obligation. 

In  the  second  place,  even  if  it  is  assumed  on  mocaX  or  reli- 
gious grounds  that  there  should  be  future  generations,  and  that 
each  generation  should  sacrifice  itself  at  least  in  part  tor  its 
descendants,  it  is  not  necessarily  to  be  implied  that  the  present 
generation  shall  sacrifice  itself  entirely  for  its  descendants. 
If  this  were  the  case,  then  only  the  last  generation  of  the  human 
species  could  derive  any  enjoyment  out  of  life,  because  it  would 
have  no  descendants  for  which  to  sacrifice  itself,  and  it  would  be 
hard  to  imderstand  why  the  preceding  generations  should  have 
existed.  So  that  even  those  who  believe  in  the  duty  of  propaga- 
tion may  be  hedonists  to  the  extent  of  believing  that  each  genera- 
tion is  entitled  to  a  certain  amount  of  enjoyment. 

In  fact,  it  is  hard  to  imderstand  why  everything  should  be 
subordinated  to  the  reproduction  and  perpetuation  of  the 


spedes,  unless  the  habitat  of  mankind  is  nothing  more  than  a 
breeding  kennel  for  the  sport  and  amusement  of  a  divine  master. 
If  this  is  the  case,  then  it  must  be  presiuned  that  the  eugen- 
ists  who  are  so  determined  to  make  over  the  htmian  species  are 
aware  what  breed  is  desired  by  the  master  of  the  kennd,  and 
how  such  a  breed  can  be  produced. 

Harmonizing  the  Reproductive  and  Play  Functions 

The  above  discussion  has  put  in  an  extreme  form  one  view 
of  sex,  and  has  criticized  it  severely.  It  seemed  necessary  to  do 
so  because  some  eugenists  and  a  good  many  other  people  seem 
actually  to  hold  such  a  view.  But  it  is  hardly  necessary  to 
state  that  the  more  intelligent  eugenists  do  not  hold  any  such 
extreme  view,  though  they  may  at  times  go  too  far  in  their 
proposals.  As  a  matter  of  fact  it  is  perfectly  possible  to  har- 
monize these  two  fimctions  of  sex,  and  to  direct  both  of  them  in 
such  a  way  that  they  will  contribute  more  fully  than  ever  before 
to  human  and  social  welfare.  But  this  can  be  done  only  on 
the  basis  of  biological  and  psychological  knowledge.  I  shall 
now  endeavor  to  indicate  briefly  how  this  can  be  done. 

It  is  customary  to  speak  of  parenthood  as  a  duty,  but  to  look 
with  suspicion  upon  the  play  fimction  of  sex  because,  perchance, 
pleasure  may  be  derived  from  this  function  of  sex.  This  atti- 
tude towards  sex  grows  directly  out  of  the  ideas  which  I  have 
just  criticized,  and  is  to  be  expected  wherever  duty  and  morality 
are  worshipped  as  ends  in  themselves,  as  is  the  case  in  this 
country  with  its  puritanical  cultural  background.  It  is  obvious 
that  so  long  as  it  is  believed  that  opposition  between  the  two 
functions  of  sex  exists,  it  will  be  impossible  to  harmonize  them 
in  the  life  of  mankind. 

The  first  step  towards  harmonizing  the  two  is,  I  believe,  to 
r^ard  parenthood  not  as  a  duty  but  as  a  privilege  and  source 
of  pleasure.  We  have  already  noted  that  there  is  no  scientific 
or  philosophic  reason  for  regarding  reproduction  as  a  duty. 
Rarely,  if  ever,  also,  is  there  any  humanitarian  reason  for  regard- 
ing reproducticoi  as  a  duty;  for  we  have  already  studied  the 
growth  of  population  with  some  care,  and  have  seen  that  it  is 
ordinarily  the  tendency  of  population  to  increase  more  rapidly 
than  is  beneficial  for  socie^.    On  the  other  hand,  parenthood 


may  be  and  is  under  suitable  conditions  a  source  of  much  pleas- 
ure. Under  the  stress  of  poverty  and  similar  conditicms  of 
misery  it  may  be  a  source  of  more  pain  than  pleasure.  But 
ordinarily  the  satisfaction  of  the  instincts  and  emotions  con- 
nected with  parenthood  more  than  rq)ay8  all  of  the  pain  and 
discomfort  caused  by  parenthood.  So  that  there  is  every  reason 
to  regard  parenthood  as  a  privilege  rather  than  as  a  duty,  and 
its  value  as  a  privilege  will  doubtless  be  enhanced  in  the  future 
by  the  increasing  pressure  of  population  upon  natural  resources. 
Tbis  pressure  may'become  so  great  that  organized  society  may 
be  forced  to  prohibit  each  couple  from  having  more  than  three 
or  even  two  children. 

The  second  stq)  towards  harmonizing  the  two  functions  of 
sex  is  to  recognize  that  they  may  re^orce  each  other,  and  fre- 
quently do  so.  The  play  function  ordinarily  leads  in  course  of 
time  to  reproduction,  and  then,  if  the  play  aspect  of  the  relaticm 
between  the  parents  is  at  all  strong,  it  is  almost  certain  to  be 
still  further  strengthened  by  the  bond  of  mutual  parenthood. 
It  happens  much  more  rarely,  if  ever,  that  reproduction  without 
the  play  aspect  leads  to  a  development  of  the  play  function. 
The  reason  for  this  is  that,  despite  the  (pinion  of  many  to  the 
contrary,  so  far  as  the  individual  is  concerned  the  play  function 
of  sex  normally  comes  first  in  point  of  time.^  This  is  because, 
while  there  is  a  distinct  sexual  instinct,  there  is  no  distinct 
parental  instinct.  That  is  to  say,  human  beings  feel  a  distinct 
impulse  towards  a  definite  tona  of  behavior  with  req>ect  to 
sex,  namely,  the  satisfying  of  erotic  feelings.  But  they  do  not 
feel,  and  it  is  obvious  that  th^  could  not  feel,  a  distinct  im- 
pulse towards  a  definite  form  of  behavior  with  respect  to  parent- 
hood, for  there  is  no  act  on  the  part  of  the  individual  which 
can  cause  parenthood.  On  the  contrary,  parenthood  is  the 
result  of  a  long  process  which  goes  on  automatically  and  quite 
indq)endently  6i  the  acts  of  the  individual.  The  process  of 
reproduction  ordinarily  b^ins  as  a  result  of  sexual  intercourse, 
but  the  individual  can  do  nothing  to  make  this  a  result  Then 
after  pr^nancy  has  b^un  the  process  is  entirely  automatic. 
But  reproduction  stimulates  certain  instincts  and  emotions 

^Parenthood  rather  than  sex  is  alleged  as  the  justification  for  sexual 
relations  by  many  persons  for  conventional  reasons,  namdy,  because  the 
prevailing  puritanical  standard  forbids  the  sensual  enjoyment  of  sex. 


in  the  parents  which  lead  to  a  strong  afiFective  attitude  towards 
the  offering,  and  to  various  kinds  of  acts  in  behalf  of  the  off- 
spring. So  that  while  there  is  no  distinct  parental  instinct, 
there  are  various  instincts  and  emotions  which  are  stimulated 
by  reproduction,  and  which  are  connected  with  parenthood. 

As  a  result  then  of  the  two  steps  described  above,  sexual  re- 
lations will  under  normal  conditions  b^in  on  the  play  basis 
and  culminate  in  parenthood,  which  will  in  turn  re^orce  the 
play  aspect  of  the  relation.  This  is  much  to  be  desired  from 
the  point  of  view  of  the  interest  of  the  child,  because,  with  the 
play  function  strong,  the  parents  are  not  likely  to  separate, 
and  thus  the  child  will  have  the  benefit  of  the  care  of  both 
parents.  If,  however,  the  relation  b^;ins  without  the  play 
aspect,  and  is  merely  for  the  purpose  of  reproduction,  it  is 
almost  certain  to  arouse  a  repugnance  whidh  can  never  be 
overcome,  so  that  reproduction  is  not  likely  to  re&iforce  the 
play  function,  and  the  parents  are  very  likely  to  separate,  so 
that  the  offering  will  not  have  the  benefit  of  the  care  of  both 
parents.  And  even  if  the  parents  do  not  separate,  the  environ- 
ment in  the  household  of  a  mismated  couple  is  not  favorable 
to  a  good  rearing  for  the  offspring. 

Sex  Education 


The  conception  of  sex  stated  above  is  based  upcm  a  great 
deal  of  biological  and  psychological  evidence,  which  it  is  im- 
possible to  present  here.  But  if  it  is  at  all  correct,  then  to  regard 
reproduction  as  the  only  function  of  sex  and  a  duty,  and  to 
ignore  the  play  function,  is  to  do  society  a  vast  amount  of  hann. 
On  the  contrary,  it  must  now  be  evident  that  it  is  most  im- 
portant that  the  yoimg  of  both  sexes  be  taught  frankly  and  fully 
with  respect  to  die  true  nature  of  sex,  and  with  regard  to  the 
means  of  omtrolling  reproduction.  With  this  knowledge  an 
individual  would  b^in  a  sex  relation  with  the  intention  of  de- 
veloping the  play  aspect  to  the  highest  possible  degree,  but  at 
the  same  time  using  the  means  to  prevent  the  relation  from 
resulting  in  reproduction  imtil  such  time  as  it  appeared  fairiy 
certain  that  the  play  fimction  was  developing  in  a  full  and  per- 
manent form.  To  this  knowledge  should  also  be  added  such 
information  as  will  furnish  eugenic  guidance  in  reproduction, 


though,  as  we  have  seen,  this  information  is  still  very  limited 
in  amomit. 

From  the  education  with  respect  to  sex  and  its  functkms, 
which  I  have  briefly  outlined,  furnished  to  all  of  the  young, 
many  benefits  would  result  In  the  first  {dace,  the  amoimt  of 
hmnan  joy  derived  from  sexual  relations  would  be  greatly  in- 
creased. In  the  second  place,  the  birth  rate  would  be  intel- 
ligently controlled,  so  that  human  beings  would  no  longer  breed 
like  rabbits  in  a  warren.  In  the  third  place,  the  quality  of  those 
bom  might  be  somewhat  improved.  In  the  fourth  place,  the 
rearing  of  the  young  would  be  greatly  improved  by  closer  and 
more  harmonious  relations  between  their  parents,  owing  to  a 
higher  development  of  the  play  function. 

Our  brief  survey  of  the  data  of  eugenics  has  shown  that  thoe 
is  Uttle  that  can  be  safely  done  in  the  way  of  eugenic  r^;ulation, 
because  of  our  lack  of  knowledge.  We  have  also  seen  that  on 
other  grounds  as  well,  it  would  be  most  unwise  to  interfere  to 
any  great  extent  with  the  relations  between  the  sexes,  tor  such 
interference  would  be  almost  certain  to  do  much  more  harm 
than  good.  So  that  the  practical  eugenic  program  should  be 
limited  to  a  very  few  direct  negative  measures,  such  as  have 
been  siiggested  above,  and  a  certain  nimiber  of  indirect  positive 
measures  in  the  way  of  educational  measiures. 

Eugenic  Measures  and  the  Prevention  of  Poverty 

But  even  though  it  is  not  possible,  at  present  at  any  rate,  to 
do  much  to  improve  the  quality  of  the  human  stock  by  eugenic 
means,  it  is  interesting  and  profitable  to  consider  what  would 
be  the  result  if  socially  undesirable  types  could  be  eliminated 
entirely  or  in  large  part,  and  the  quality  of  the  human  stock 
could  be  considerably  improved.  Many  eugenists  seem  to 
think  that  this  change  alone  would  be  sufficient  to  prevent 
poverty,  but  do  not  indicate  clearly  how  it  would  do  so.  There 
are  perhaps  two  or  three  ways  in  which  this  might  conceivably 
happen,  which  we  will  consider  briefly. 

The  first  way  is  by  means  of  a  sort  of  Utopia  based  solely  on  a 
perfected  human  character,  in  much  the  same  way  that  the 
anarchists  base  their  Utopian  anarchistic  society  upon^human 
character  as  it  is  today.    That  is  to  say,  the  anarchists  believe 


that  the  existing  human  character  is  good  enough  to  make  pos- 
sible a  society  in  which  there  would  be  no  use  of  f orce,  no  formal 
organization,  etc.  The  eugenist  does  not  consider  human  char- 
acter good  enough  at  present  to  attain  this  end,  but  may  think 
that  when  perfected  by  eugenic  means  men  will  cease  to  do  each 
other  any  injury,  will  be  efficient,  and  will  work  for  the  common 
good  without  tiie  use  of  force,  formal  organization,  etc.,  being 
necessary.  It  is  evident,  in  the  first  place,  that  it  is  inconceivable 
that  human  nature  could  be  changed  to  the  extent  that  is  con- 
templated by  their  theory  of  perfectibility.  Such  changes  would 
bring  into  being  an  animal  no  longer  human,  or  for  that  matter 
mammalian,  in  its  character,  for  it  would  involve  the  elimination 
of  such  fundamental  human  and  mammalian  instincts  and  emo- 
tions as  anger,  jealousy,  fear,  etc.  But  even  if  such  a  post-human 
animal  did  come  into  existence,  it  is  difficult  to  beUeve  that  it 
could  carry  on  the  necessary  economic  activities  without  using 
a  certain  amount  of  formal  organization,  compulsion,  etc. 

The  second  way  in  which  the  eugenists  may  think  that  their 
eugenic  program  would  prevent  poverty  is  on  the  basis  of  the 
theory  that  the  existing  organization  is  effective  enough  to  pre- 
vent poverty,  but  that  the  available  supply  of  labor  is  so  in- 
efficient, because  of  its  inherited  traits,  tiiat  the  organization  is 
unable  to  function  properly,  and  so  fails  to  prevent  poverty. 
In  other  words,  if  the  innate  quality  of  the  labor  supply  can  be 
raised  sufficiently  to  enable  the  organization  to  function  properly, 
poverty  would  disappear  without  any  fm-ther  change  being 

This  theory  may  seem  to  have  a  certain  amount  of  plausibility. 
The  enterprizer  may  assert  that  if  labor  were  more  efficient  he 
could  start  new  enteiprizes,  or  could  expand  his  present  ones, 
and  in  some  instances  his  assertions  may  be  true.  It  is  certainly 
true  that  the  unemployed  tend  to  be  the  less  efficient,  as  must, 
of  course,  be  expected,  since  employers  will  naturally  employ 
the  more  efficient  rather  than  the  less  efficient  of  the  laborers. 
But  notwithstanding  these  considerations,  it  still  remains  difficult 
to  believe  that  the  present  organization  of  industry  makes  as 
effective  a  use  of  the  existing  labor  supply  as  might  be  made  of 
it.  It  happens  all  too  frequentiy  that  efficient  workmen  are 
unable  ^  secure  employment,  while  even  the  inefficient  should 
be  given  the  opportunity  to  be  as  productive  as  they  are  capable. 


In  fact,  there  is  some  reason  to  believe  that  the  existing  organiza- 
tion gives  rise  to  a  large  idle  labor  reserve  supply  which  must 
necessarily  be  in  a  state  of  poverty.  So  that  it  is  hard  to  believe 
that  the  prevention  of  poverty  is  solely  a  matter  of  improving 
the  quality  of  the  labor  supply.  On  the  contrary,  there  is  much 
reason  to  believe  that  it  requires  extensive  changes  in  the  organ- 
ization of  industry  as  well.  ^ 

We  shall  devote  more  attention  to  the  organization  of  in- 
dustry in  the  course  of  the  remainder  of  this  book.  We  shall  also 
discuss  the  question  as  to  the  extent  to  which  the  quality  of  the 
labor  supply  can  be  improved  by  educational  means. 

•»  ^ 


CHAPTER  XXn  ^"^ 



Aiguments  against  thrift  —  Benefits  derived  bom  thrift  —  Saving  and  the 
accumulation  of  capital  —  Saving  and  iiduianoe. 

Thrif tiness  is  a  trait  which  has  frequently  been  extolled  as  a 
virtue.  Many  a  parson,  philanthropist,  social  worker,  etc.,  has 
preached  thrift  to  the  poor  as  (he  means  of  emerging  from  their 
poverty.  Much  of  the  literature  intended  for  the  edification  of 
the  lower  classes  has  been  devoted  to  this  subject.  The  argument 
which  has  usually  been  advanced  in  favor  of  thrift  is  that  it  is  a 
means  of  providing  for  a  time  when  income  is  lessened  or  is  cut  ' 
off  entirely.  Another  argiunent  wUdi  is  advanced  less  fre- 
quently, but  to  which  as  much  weight  is  sometimes  given,  is  that 
saving  is  a  means  of  accumulating  capital,  and  of  thus  increasing 
the  productive  power  of  sodfty.  Various  other  arguments  in 
favor  of  thrift  are  used,  most  or  all  of  which  are  subsidiary  or 
corollary  to  these  two  main  arguments. 

Arguments  Against  Thrift 

There  are,  however,  arguments  which  have  been  used  against 
thrift.    Before  mentioning  them  I  wish  to  call  attention  to  cer- 
tain practical  ot^j^djes  in  the  way  of  the  practice  of  saving  under 
existing  conditions.    In  the  first  place,  it  is  perfectly  evident' 
from  data  adduced  earlier  in  this  book  that  a  large  part  of  the 
working  population  of  this  country  and  of  all  civilized  countries 
receive  such  low  wages  that  they  are  very  little  if  any  above  a  -» 
bare  subsistence  income.    Under  such  conditions  it  is  obviously 
impossible  for  them  to  save.    In  the  second  place,  there  is  less| 
inducement  to  save  under  present  conditions  than  there  lias( 
been  in  the  past.   Formerly  it  was  customary  to  purchase  a  piece  ' 
of  land  and  to  build  a  house,  in  order  to  own  a  homestead.  It  was 
customary  for  many  of  the  workers  to  own  their  own  tods.  The 
desire  to^cure  these  things  furnished  a  strong  mcentive  to  save, 

"  321 



In  fa/d^  ^o  h^ve  the  means  to  purchase  them.   But  now  land  has 
tion'>iQ6  much  more  valuable  than  it  was  in  the  past,  and  there  is 
ne^eat  abundance  of  housing  facilities  for  rent,  especially  in  the 
/■Tities,  so  that  there  is  Uttle  incentivejp  save  for  the  purpose  jrf  *^ 
J  >  securing  land  and  a  dwelling.    Owing  to  the  exten^ve  use  of 
y      ■  machinery,  many  workers  need  not  and  cannot  own  their  tools, 
^         so  that  there  is  no  occasion  to  save  for  the  purpose  of  securing 
tools.   It  is  evident  that  it  is  stiU  possible  to  save  for  the  purpose 
j  of  investing  the  savings  in  the  form  of  a^ital.    But  investment 
'  as  an  object  of  saving  is  very  far  from  being  as  concrete  and  tan- 
gible as  land,  houses,  and  tools  as  objects  for  which  to  save,  and 
the  need  of  saving  for  investment  appears  to  be  much  less  imme- 
diate than  the  need  for  the  concrete  objects.    This  is  due  to 
traits  of  hiunan  nature  which  are  too  familiar  to  need  description 
here.    It  is  therefore  difficult,  if  not  quite  hopeless,  to  expect  to 
induce  the  great  majority  to  save,  except  for  concrete  objects 
and  for  immediate  needs. 

A  niunber  o{^^isumfi2ltg  havei been  adduced  against  thrift, 
'which  must  now  be  considered. 'x)ne  of  these  arguments  is  that 
the  habit  of  thrift  keeps  down  the  standard  of  living,  and  that  it 
is  better  to  have  a  higher  standard  of  living  in  the  present  than  -* 
to  make  provision  for  future  needs.  In  the  light  of  the  data 
referred  to  above,  it  is  evident  that  it  is  impossible  for  a  large 
part  even  of  the  population  which  is  above  the  bare  subsistence 
minimiun  to  save,  and  at  the  same  time  to  maintain  what  we 
have  called  in  an  earlier  chapter  a  fair  or  decent  standard  of 
living.  It  therefore  becomes  a  choice  between  a  certain  benefit  in 
the  present,  and  protection  from  a  possible  evil  in  the  future.  , 
In  justice  to  some  of  those  who  take  this  position  it  should, 
however,  be  said,  that  they  believe  that  raising  the  standard  of 
living  in  the  present  will  have  some  effect  in  warding  off  in  part, 
if  not  entirely,  the  need  for  savings  in  the  future.  This  may 
come  about  by  increasing  the  efficiency  of  the  worker,  so  that 
he  will  avoid  imempIo3rment,  sickness,  etc.,  and  will  be  able  to 
continue  to  work  to  a  greater  age,  perhaps  until  death.  It  may 
also  come  about,  if  the  rise  in  the  standard  of  living  is  sufficiently 
generat/sby  raising  the  intelligence  of  the  working  class  to  such 
a  degree  that  this  class  will  cause  a  decisive  change  in  the  manner 
of  the  distribution  of  wealth,  so  that  it  will  no  longe^^e  neces- 
sary for  the  individual  to  save  in  order  to  provide  for  f ura%  needs. 



Another  argument  which  has  been  used  against  saving  has  y 
been  that  it  causes  under-consumption,  and  thus  depresses  in-  ^ 
dustriai  activity.  That  is  to  say,  the  argument  is  that  the  ' 
wealth  saved  is  converted  into  capital  and  is  used  to  produce 
more  wealth,  but,  inasmuch  as  the  income  for  cohsumption 
purposes  has  been  diminished,,  it  is  not  p)ossible  to  market  all 
that  is  produced,  and  consequently  there  arises  a  state  of  over- 
production. The  majority  of  the  writers  and  thinkers  on  this 
subject  have  caUed  this  situation  over-production. '  But  a  few 
have  insisted  that  it  should  be  called  under-consumpticm,  be- 
cause it  is  the  under-consumption  for  the  purpose  of  saving  ^|^ch 
has  led  to  the  state  of  over-production.  ^    5#cA    ^^tt'^   * 

As  Hobson  has  put  it : — "  Over-production  or  a  general  glut  ia 
only  an  eztemal  phase  or  symptom  of  the  real  malady.  The  dis- 
ease is  imder-consumption  or  over-saving.  These  two  imply  one 
another.  The  real  income  of  a  community  in  any  given  year  is 
divisible  into  two  parts,  that  which  is  produced  and  consumed,  that 
which  is  produced  and  not  consumed  —  i,  e.,  is  saved.  Any  dis- 
turl^ce  in  the  due  economic  proportion  of  these  two  parts  means 
an  excess  of  the  one  and  a  defect  of  the  other.  All  \mder-consump- 
tion  therefore  implies  a  correspondent  over-saving.  This  over-saving 
is  embodied  in  an  excess  of  machinery  and  goods  over  the  quantity 
economically  required  to  assist  in  maintaining  current  consump- 
tion.'* * 

^  J.  A.  Hobfion,  The  Evolution  of  Modem  Capiialism,  London,  1913,  p.  314. 

In  the  deventh  chapter  of  this  book  Hobson  has  brought  together  a  good 
deal  of  data  to  prove  that  there  is  ''a  general  excess  of  producing  power 
over  that  required  to  maintain  current  consumption,"  by  showing  that 
much  capital  is  wasted  in  q)eculative  enterprizes,  which  may  benefit  the 
q>eculator8  but  which  produce  nothing  for  society.  However,  he  recognises 
legitimate  reasons  for  increasing  the  amount  to  be  saved  in  the  following 
passage:  — 

"An  increased  quantity  of  saving  is  requisite  to  provide  for  an  expected 
increase  of  consmnption  arising  from  a  growth  of  population  or  from  any 
other  cause.  Such  increased  saving  is  of  course  not  over-saving.  The  pro- 
portion, as  well  as  the  absolute  amount  of  the  community's  income  which  is 
saved,  may  at  any  time  be  legitimately  increased,  provided  that  at  some 
not  distant  time  an  increased  proportion  of  the  then  current  income  be 
consumed.  If  in  a  progressive  community  the  proportion  of  'saving'  to 
consump^n,  in  order  to  maintain  the  current  standard  of  living  with  the 
...^.^^....j^^^;^..^  qI  'forms'  of  capital,  be  as  2  to  10,  the  proportion  of 


saving  ^^B  given  year  may  be  raised  to  3  to  9,  in  order  to  provide  for 
a  futur^Rdition  in  which  saving  shall  fall  to  i  to  11.    Such  inoeased 


It  is,  however,  evident  that  this  aigument  against  saving 
applies  only  to  the  amount  which  is  saved  above  w^t  is  needed 
to  furnish  the  necessary  capital  for  production^ylt  is,  further- 
more, very  difficult  to  determine  how  much  o^tal  is  needed 
tax  production.  That  a  good  deal  of  capital  nowadays  is  wasted 
in  producing  things  which  are  not  consumed,  or  in  producing 
luxuries  which  are  harmful  or  to  say  the  least  not  useful,  is 
doubtless  true.  It  is  also  true  that  if  this  a^ital  had  been  con- 
sumed by  the  poorer  classes,  it  would  have  raised  their  standard 
of  living,  and  would  have  created  a  demand  for  the  production 
of  useful  articles  which  would  have  stimulated  industry  and 
would  have  brought  employment  and  wages  to  the  workers 
and  at  least  moderate  profits  to  Iheir  employers.  But  whether 
the  capital  that  is  wasted  equals  or  exceeds  in  amount  what  is 
saved  by  the  lower  classes,  it  is  impossible  to  determine.  U 
this  is  the  case,  then  there  may  be  no  reason  for  asking  the  po(H%r 
classes  to  save  in  order  to  acciunulate  capital,  since  the  savings 
of  the  wealthy  are  sufficient  for  this  purpose.  Individual  need 
would  then  remain  as  the  only  reason  for  saving,  and  if  this  need 
could  be  obviated  in  some  other  way  (as  by  means  of  state  in- 
surance, pensions,  etc.),  thrift  would  no  longer  be  a  virtue  for  the 
poorer  <Jasses.  Whether  or  not  there  is  any  social  need  for 
saving  on  the  part  of  the  poor  is  a  question  to  which  we  shaU 
recur  presently. 

/    Another  argument  against  saving,  which  is  related  to  the  one 
.  /  wlndx  we  have  just  discussed,  is  that  a  large  part  cl  what  is 
saved  is  money  or  claim  to  money  and  not  real  cs^itat. 

Robertson  has  stated  this  argument  in  great  detaO.  He  says  that 
''  the  vogue  of  the  Saving  fallacy  has  from  the  first  depended  on  the 
mass  of  misconcq>tions  set  up  by  applying  the  word  *' capital"  to 

< saving'  will  not  be  over-saving;  the  forms  of  capital  in  which  it  is  embodied 
will  not  compete  with  previously  existing  forms  so  aa  to  bring  down  market 
prices.  The  efforts  which  take  the  form  of  permanent  improvements  of 
the  soil,  the  erection  of  fine  buildings,  docks,  railwa3rs,  etc,  for  future  use, 
may  provide  the  opportunity  to  a  commimity  of  increasing  the  proportioD 
of  its  savings  for  a  niunber  of  years.  But  sudi  savings  must  be  followed  by 
an  increased  future  consumption  without  a  correspondent  saving  attached 
to  it.  The  notion  that  we  can  indefinitely  continue  to  increase  t^  propor- 
tion  of  our  savings  to  our  consumption,  bounded  only  by  the  li^^f  actual 
necessaries  of  life,  b  an  illusion  which  places  production  in  tl^^^^i^^  ^ 
the  human  goal  instead  of  consimiption."    (Op.  cU.,  pp.  314-1 


tbe  phenooaena  of  money-saving  while  conceiving  it  in  the  old  sense 
of  saved  products.  We  saw  at  the  outset  how  profoundly  this  proce- 
dure conftised  and  vitiated  the  reasoning  of  Turgot.  But  it  has  been 
just  as  potent  for  evil  in  orthodox  economics  since.  Everywhere 
there  is  made  the  monstrous  assumption  that  the  money,  or  rather 
claim  to  money,  saved  annually  represents  a  saving  of  products  and 
means  of  production  to  that  amount."  ^ 

Now  it  is  evident  that  what  is  saved  ia,  in  the  last  analysb, 
not  money  or  even  claim  to  money /\but  claim  to  .tbe^iiae  of 
services.  If  these  services  are  used  in^'silffili  manner  as  to  be 
useful  to  society,  there  can  be  no  question  that  real  capital  has 
been  saved.  But  if  they  are  wasted  in  speculative  enterprizes, 
such  as  have  been  mentioned  above,  or  are  expended  in  war 
or  in  preparatiims  for  war,  ^hey  ^re  nnt  gnn^Hy  pm^nrtivA^ 
and  there  may  be  some  justification  for  refusing  to  caD  them 
ci^ital.  However,  this  is  a  matter  of  terminology  which  we 
need  not  settle  here.  What  is  of  importance  for  us  to 
is  the  theory  that  saving  is  not  beneficial  for  the  poor,  and  may 
indeed  do  diem  harm. 

Robertson  has  stated  this  theory  very  forcibly  in  the  following 
words:  —  '*  The  cure  prescribed  for  the  woriiers  is  that  they  shall  not 
only  be  chary  of  consuming  the  goods  which  they  live  by  producing, 
but  equally  abstain  from  consuming  high-class  goods,  the  production 
of  which  would  call  for  labour  which  could  not  be  superseded  by  ma- 
chinery. And  their  saved  money  is  consequently  to  be  invested  in 
the  production  of  only  the  kinds  of  gbods  or  services  which,  so  far  as 
parsimony  prevails,  must  of  ne(^^ty  be  forthcoming,  and  are  for 
thej|ost  part  only  too  easily  nmltiplied.  Thus  their  very  savings 
do  lll^  to  facilitate  the  cri^  which  throw  them  id)er.  The  more 
they  cause  'capital'  to  abound,  tdb,  the  more  nearly  impossible  it 
becomes  for  them  to  be  their  own  capitalists  for  productive  purposes, 
since  the  savings  of  the  upper  dasjes  go  the  more  to  form  overwhelm- 
ing joint-stock  concerns  that  blight  smaller  undertakings.  Thus, 
on  the  one  hand,  we  have  the  increasing  class  of  idle  rich,  living  on 
investments,  and  well-to-do  jobbers,  Imng  by  furious  commerce; 
and,  on  the  other  hand,  the  incre^in^  rlaoft  nf  ^9iljn^  p^^Tr  ^ho  on  all 
hands  are  taught  to  aim  at  investments  likewise,  but  only  here  and 
theretto  limit  their  rate  of  increase  and  raise  their  standards  of  com- 
fort, though  only  by  these  last  courses 

can  tn^,  under  any  conceiv- 
^  John  M.  Robertson,  The  FaUacy  of  Saving,  London,  1892,  p.  73. 


able  regimeii,  countervail  the  constant  extension  of  labitir-saving 
machinery,  and  make  new  labour  independent  of  the  capial  of  the 
idlers." » 

A  further  argument  which  has  been  used  against  saving  is 
that  an  increase  in  the  accumulation  of  capital  resulting  from 
increased  saving  is  bound  to  result  in  a  fall  in  the  rate  of  interest. 
Consequently  the  benefit  to  be  derived  from  saviig  is  neutral- 
ized in  part  at  least  by  a  reduction  in  the  revenue  from  the 
capital  accumulated. 

Benefits  Derived  from  Thrift 

Let  us  now  endeavor  to  appraise  these  arguments  for  ^d 
against  thrift.  In  the  first  place,  it  is  evident  that  thriftiness 
is  in  harmony  with  certain  valuable  himian  traits.  The  prac- 
tice of  thrift  involves  forethought,  self-control  and  self-direction, 
all  of  which  are  traits  which  are  playing  an  important  part 
in  building  up  our  civilization.  Furthermore,  it  is  evident  that 
thrift  may  and  frequently  does  save  an  individual  from  a  great 
deal  of  suffering  at  a  time  of  need.    It  also  sometimes  gives  an 

y^ndividual  an  economic  independence,  which  enables  him  to 
embark  upon  a  new  enterprize,  or  to  withstand  oppression,  in  a 
manner  which  would  be  impossible  if  he  were  not  fortified  with 
his  savings.    Thrift  may  also  act  indirectly  as  a  check  upon  the 

//increase  of  population.    People  frequently  refrain  from  having 



wthe  Gon- 

^Op,  cU.,  pp.  I20-I.    Robertson  goes  on  to  state  the  way  out  of  this 
situation  in  the  following  words:  — 

"We  are  in  such  an  impasse  that  even  if  the  National  Debt  were jyiidly 
paid  off  by  way  of  removing  a  burden  from  industry,  the  result 
be  the  throwing  idle  of  many  thousands,  through  the  stinting 
sumption  of  f undholders  left  without  investments,  unless  one  of  two  courses 
were  pursued.  Either  (a)  the  principle  of  parsimony  must  be  generally 
abandoned,  and  the  majority  must  demand  high-class  goods  or  services 
which  should  be  more  or  less  providable  by  those  who  formerly  provided 
nominally  high-class  goods  or  services  for  the  fundholders;  or  (b)  the  State 
or  the  municipalities  must  institute  important  public  woiks  (such  as  civic 
reconstruction,  with  good  working-<dass  houses,  or  comprehensive  sewage- 
schemes),  which  should  extensively  employ  <and  train  inexpert  labor.  In- 
deed, it  is  dear  that  the  contingency  could  not  be  met  by  the  action  of  both 
these  general  factors:  the  workers  must  consume  if  producticm  b  to  be  k^ 
up.  And,  finally,  restraint  of  propagation  is  an  indispensable  condition  ci 
the  maintenance  of  the  improved  state  of  affairs.*'    (Op.  cU,,  pp.  121-3.) 


offspring  in  order  to  be  able  to  save,  or,  have  small  families  in 
order  to  keep  family  fortunes  intact. 

France  furnishes  us  an  admirable  example  of  a  nation  which 
has  benefited  greatly  from  the  practice  of  thrift.  In  that  coun- 
try the  ideal  of  providing  for  old  age  and  of  keeping  family 
fortunes  intact  has  been  widespread.  It  has  been  customary 
to  limit  the  size  of  families  and  to  regulate  expenditures  in 
order  to  permit  of  saving.  The  government  has  encouraged 
this  custom  by  furnishing  excellent  investments  in  the  form  of 
bonds,  annuities,  etc.  As  a  result  of  its  thriftiness  France  has 
acciunulated  a  vast  amount  of  capital,  much  of  which  it  has 
loaned  to  other  countries,  and  has  received  in  retiun  a  large 
revenue,  which  has  contributed  heavily  towards  the  wealth  and 
prosperity  of  the  French  people. 

In  view  of  these  facts  it  may  be  difficult  to  believe  that  the 
argumenteagamsttiirift,  which  have  been  mentioned  above, 
caii^hSve  any  validity.  But  when  we  study  the  arguments  of 
such  writers  as  Hpbson  and  Robertson,  it  is  evident  that  they 
have  in  mind  s<nnethlng  much  more  far-reaching  than  the  im- 
mediate results  from  thrift.  They  are  in  favor  of  more  or  less 
extensive  changes  in  the  direction  of  collectivism  ]j^hich  would 
make  individual  saving  largely  or  entirdy  unnecessary,  while— ^ 
such  saving  may  to  a.  certain  extent  stand  in  the  way  of  these 
changes.  Thus  Robertson  advocates  free  old  age  pensions, 
which  would  obviate  the  necessity  of  saving  for  old  age.  Hob- 
son  outlines  a  progressive  socialism  as  a  result  of  which  public 
ownership  and  control  would  gradually  replace  private  owner- 
ship and  enterprize  in  industry.  He  does  not  indicate  specifi- 
cally how  capital  would  be  accumulated  under  this  system.  But 
presiunably  the  state  would  set  aside  as  much  of  the  wealth 
produced  as  would  be  needed  for  capital,  so  that  there  would 
be^no  needl'^of  individual  saving  in  order  to  provide  capital 
for  "the  production  of  wealth.  Thus  various  wastes  might  be  ^ 
avoided,  sudias  the  setting  aside  of  more  capital  than  is  needed; 
the  loss  of  capital  in  private  speculative  enterprizes;  the  losses 
entailed  by  private  competition,  such  as  the  cost  of  advertizing, 
over-production  as  a  result  of  the  unnecessary  duplication  of 
economic  goods,  etc.;  the  losses  caused  by  the  alternation  be- 
tween periods  of  prosperity  and  of  depression  under  the  present 
capitalistic  regime;  etc. 

J  \ 


Saving  and  the  Accxtmulation  of  Capital 

It  is  therefore  evident  that  these  arguments  against  saving 
bring  us  face  to  face  with  the  fundamental  question  of  private 
capitalistic  enterprize  vs.  a  coUectivist  organization  of  industry. 
We  shall  have  occasion  to  refer  to  this  question  several  times 
in  the  course  of  the  remainder  of  this  book,  and  it  is  obvious 
that  we  cannot  settle  this  question  here. 

The  most  we  can  do  is  to  call  attention  to  the  fact  that  in 'all 
probability  saving  on  the  part  of  the  poorer  classes  is  not  needed 
to  furnish  the  capital  necessary  for  a  healthy  development  of 
the  machinery  of  production.  In  an  earlier  chapter  we  have 
cited  some  data  which  indicate  that  apparently  the  working 
class  owns  comparatively  little  property  from  which  revenue 
is  derived,  namely,  capital.  It  is  impossible  to  estimate  ac- 
curately how  much  of  the  capital  of  a  coimtry  comes  from  the 
savings  of  the  poorer  classes.  A  rough  estimate  of  the  income 
saved  in  the  United  Kingdom  in  1905  was  made  by  Ireson.  He 
estimated  that  the  rich  class  saved  42  per  cent  of  its  income, 
the  upper  middle  class  saved  35  per  cent  of  its  income,  the  lower 
middle  class  saved  8  per  cent  of  its  income,  the  artizan  class 
saved  2^/3  per  cent  of  its  income,  and  the  unskilled  class  saved 
none  of  its  income.  The^  consequence  was  that  while  the  artizan 
class  numbered  six  and  one-half  times  as  many  as  the  rich  and 
middle  classes  it  saved  less  than  one-tenth  as  much  as  those 
classes  saved.  ^  These  estimates,  however  crude  they  may  be, 
at  least  indicate  that  not  much  of  the  capital  of  the  world  comes 
from  the  savings  of  the  poorer  classes;  so  that  even  if  all  of  this 
source  of  capital  were  cut  off,  it  would  not  cripple  production. 

Hence  it  is  that,  even  though  the  savings  of  the  poorer  classes 
have  some  value  for  society  as  a  whole  as  a  source  of  capital, 
we  are  justified  in  stud3dng  these  savings  particularly  from  the 
point  of  view  of  the  poorer  classes.  Each  member  of  these 
classes  might  endeavor  to  protect  himself  against  future  needs 
by  putting  enough  money  in  the  savings  bank,  or  in  some  other 
form  of  investment,  to  meet  every  probable  future  need.  This 
would  doubtless  be  the  best  method  from  the  point  of  view 
of  accumulating  as  much  capital  as  possible  for  society.    But, 

*  Frank  Ireson,  The  Peoples  Prugressy  London,  1910. 


in  the  first  place,  we  have  seen  that  this  is  an  utter  impossibility 
fot  the  majority  of  the  working  class.  In  the  second  place,  it 
is  not  the  most  economical  manner  in  which  the  worker  can 
make  provision  for  the  future.  If  each  individual  saves  irrespec- 
tive of  the  savings  of  others,  it  is  necessary  for  him  to  try  to 
save  enough  to  meet  the  largest  possible  need  which  he  may 
have.  But  if  he  and  his  fellow-workers  cooperate  in  saving, 
then  each  one  will  not  need  to  save  so  much,  and  can  put  more 
of  his  income  into  raising  his  standard  of  living.  Such  co- 
operaticm  can  be  effected  by  means  of  insurance  schemes. 

Saving  and  Insuhance 

Insurance  has  been  well  described  and  defined  in  the  follow- 
ing passage:  — 

*'  By  saving  collectively  instead  of  individually,  a  group  of  people 
can  greatly  lessen  the  amount  of  saving  that  is  required,  in  order  to 
reduce  the  variability  of  the  representative  man's  consumption  in 
any  given  degree.  This  combination  of  the  method  of  mutuality 
and  the  method  of  saving  is  commonly  known  as  Insurance,  It  is  a 
cheaper  way  than  saving  alone  of  producing.a.j^ven^jncrement  of 
stability  and,  therefore,  among  the  poorer  cUiss^Tto  whom  cheap- 
ness is  of  vital  importance,  attempts  to  Idsterit  have  been  succtssful, 
where — witness  the  Ghent  sysi^tf^*"^^^!^^*^  t»  provision  privately 
made  against  unemployment  —  attempts  to  foster  individual  saving 
have  failed." »  *^ 

Private  insurance  organizations  have  been  in  existence  for 
a  long  time,  and  insurance  has  been  of  importance  as  a  form 
of  business  enterprise  for  several  centuries  at  least.  These 
insurance  organizations  have  furnished  protection  against  sick- 
ness, accident,  fire  and  marine  losses,  loss  of  support  through 
death,  etc.  Their  facilities  have  been  used  to  an  enormous 
degree  by  modem  business  enterprize.  Indeed,  business  enter- 
prize  would  doubtless  be  very  limited  in  its  scope  if  it  were  not 
safeguarded  against  loss  by  insurance.  Private  insurance  has 
also  been  used  ^  great  deal  by  members  of  the  more  well-to-do 
classes  to  protect  themselve^  and  their  families  against  loss. 
But  up  to  the  present  insurance  facilities  have  been  used  only 


*  A.  C.  Pigou,  Wealth  and  Welfare,  London,  191 3,  p.  410. 



to  a  slight  extent  by  the  poorer  classes.  This  has  doubtless 
been  due  to  several  causes,  such  as  lack  of  the  financial  ability 
to  pay  the  premiums  on  an  insurance  policy,  ignorance  as  to 
the  nature  of  insurance,  lack  of  forethought,  etc.  It  is  evident 
that  insurance  for  business  purposes  and  in  the  upper  classes 
has  little  significance  with  respect  to  poverty,  but  that  insur- 
ance for  the  lower  classes  has  an  important  bearing  upon  the 
problem  of  the  prevention  of  poverty.  We  shall  discuss  this 
type  of  insurance  in  the  following  duster. 




Tj^pes  of  inBurance  —  The  utility  of  insunmoe  *- Aiguments  against  in- 

soxanoe  — yV\^orkmen's  oompeiisation-^yNQii-oontributoiy  pensions  — 

\t^vate  pension  systems -H^tate  pension  systems  —  Aiguments  for 

/  and  against  non-contributoiy  pensbns  —  Insmanoe,  pensions,  and  the 

prevention  of  poverty. 

During  the  last  few  decades  there  has  been  a  great  develop- 
ment of  so-called  "social"  insurance.  The  movement  for  sodal 
insurance  originated  from  insurance  schemes  instituted  by  work- 
ingmen's  organizations.  Many  of  the  trade  imions  in  England 
and  in  other  countries  have  had  so-called  "benefit"  features, 
whereby  their  members  could  receive  finandal  assistance  in 
case  of  unemployment,  sickness,  accident,  etc  But  many  of 
these  insurance  schemes  did  not  have  a  sound  finandal  basis. 
Furthermore,  they  did  not  in  any  instance  furnish  insurance 
facilities  for  all  of  the  working  dass. 

Types  of  Insusance 

In  recent  years  some  of  the  private  conmier^al  insurance 
companies  have  developed  so-called  "industrial"  insurance, 
whereby  it  is  possible  to  secure  protection  s^ainst  various  dan- 
gers by  the  pa3anent  of  very  small  premiums  at  frequent  inter- 
vals. But  private  industrial  insurance  also  cannot  meet  the 
needs  of  the  lower  dasses,  since  it  is  too  expensive  for  many  o^ 
those  who  need  protection,  while  it  is  not  compulsory  so  that 
many  who  should  Ij^ve  sudi  protection  fail  to  acquire  it  on  ac- 
count of  ignorance  or  lack  of  foresight. 

Social  insurance,  in  the  truest  sense  of  the  term,  comes  into 
existence  when  the  state  begins  to  take  measures  to  ensure  such 
protection  for  the  classes  in  sodety  who  need  it  most.  As  one 
writer  on  this  subjeict  has  expressed  it,  "sodal  insurance  is  the 
policy  of  organized  sodety  to  furnish  that  protection  to  one  part 




«  of  the  population,  which  some  other  part  may  need  less,  or,  H 
needing,  is  able  to  purchase  voluntarily  through  private  insur- 
ance," ^  and  the  state  is  the  most  natural  and  most  powerful 
agency  through  which  this  protection  can  be  furnished.  Om- 
sequently,  during  the  last  few  decades  insurance  facilities  have 
been  devel(^>ed  by  the  governments  of  several  countries.  We 
have  not  the  space  to  give  an  extended  historical  account  of  the 
movement  towards  state  insurance.  Suffice  it  to  say  that, 
while  there  had  been  slight  attempts  at  state  insurance  in 
many  coimtries  before  that  date,  the  first  great  system  of  state 
insurance  originated  in  Germany  in  i88i.  Since  that  time  Ger- 
many has  developed  the  most  dabofale  system  in  existence, 
while  several  other  countries  have  gone  far  towards  develc^ing 
a  similar  system. 

The  principal  dangers  against  which  sodal  insurance  usually 
furnishes  protection  are  those  which  peculiarly  menace  the 
working  class.  These  include  .unemi^yment^  sickness^. ac$^- 
dents,  and  old  age.  .Many  kinds  of  state  insurany  sryn^m^  atp 
now  in  existence.  A  government  may  establish  an  insurance 
system^  and  finance  it  entirely.  Or  it  may  subsidize  a  commercial 
insurance  agency  to  furnish  insurance  facilities  at  low  rates  to 
the  poorer  classes.  It  may  require  the  employers  to  bear  part 
of  the  cost  of  ,the  insurance  against  dangers  for  which  the  em- 
ployers are  presiunably  at  least  in  part  responsible,  such  as 
unemployment  and  accidents.  It  may  make  the  insurance  com- 
pulsory upon  the  workmen,  so  that  they  have  to  insure  them- 
selves, and  the  government  may  enforce  this  requirement  by 
levying  the  cost  of  the  premiums  upon  the  wages  of  the  insured 
before  their  wages  are  delivered  to  the  earners.  Or  the  state 
insurance  may  be  entirely  voluntary.  These  and  various  other 
forms  of  insurance  may  be  found  in  the  governmental  systems  of 

We  have  already  noted  that  in  some  systems  the  govpmm^t 
bears  part  of  the  cost  of  the  insurance,  or  requiresthe  employer^' 
to  bear  part  of  the  cost.  In  some  cases  this  has  Ken  carried  so 
far  that  the  government  has  borne  all  of  the  cost,  or  the  employer 
has  been  forced  to  bear  all  of  the  cost.  In  one  sense  this  is  still 
a  form  of  insurance,  because  the  beneficiary  is  being  insured 
protection  against  the  dangers  which  menace  him.    But  in  the 

*  I.  M.  Rubinow,  Social  Insurance,  New  York,  iQis,)).  3. 



strict  technical  sense  of  the  term  this  is  no  longer  a  form  of  in-  f 
snrance.  It  is  evident  that  the  beneficiaries  are  not  saving  in  ' 
order  to  secure  this  form  of  protection,  and  are  not  co5perati^ 
with  each  other.  Consequently,  these  forms  of  protecticm  cannot 
be  dassed  under  the  head  of  insurance,  though  they  are  closely 
related  to  insurance  in  their  purpose.  Illustrations  of  these 
forms  of  protection  are  compensation  system^,  where  the  em- 
ployer is  forced  to  compensate  the  employee  for  losses  sustained 
as  a  result  of  accidents,  sickness,  etc.,  caused  by  the  occupation; 
and  non-contribytorv  gov^mmentAl  pension  systems,  where  the 
prospective  pensioners  do  not  have  to  contribute  towards  the 
support  of  the  pension  system.  We  shall  consider  these  forms  of 
protection  briefly  later  in  this  chapter. 

We  can  now  see  that  the  term  ''social  insurance"  is  rather 
vague.  It  is  true  that  in  one  sense  all  insurance  is  social,  be- 
cause of  the  mutuality  which  characterizes  it.  It  is  obvious  that 
a  single  individual  could  not  very  well  carry  on  an  insurance 
system.  On  the  other  hand,  it  is  also  evident  that  the  forms  of 
insurance  which  we  have  briefly  described  are  social  as  contrasted 
with  other  forms  of  insurance,  in  the  sense  that  they  are  directed 
at  preventing  certain  of  the  social  evilSironnectcd^th  poverty. 
They  represent  a  more  or-lessTOlicerted'movement  (»LtJie  part 
of  society  to  accomplish  this  end.  We  must  now  consider  the 
arguments  for  and  against  insurance  in  general,  and  social  in- 
surance in  particular,  in  order  to  determine  to  what  extent  in- 
surance can  be  effective  in  accomplishing  this  end. 

The  Utoity  w  Insurance 

To  begin  with,  it  is  evident  that  insurance  is  a  surer  protec- 
tion against  danger  than  ordinary  saving.  This  is  true  for  sev- 
eral reasons.  \  In  the  first  place,  insurance  gives  the  desired  pro- 
tection from  the  moment  the  insurance  policy  is  taken  out,  • 
whereas  ordinary  saving  does  not  furnish  this  protection  until 
long  after  the  saving  has  begun.  In  the  second  place,  insurance 
is  a  safer  investment  than  most  of  the  investments  into  which 
ordinary  savings  are  pwt.  The  average  investor  is  very  likely  to 
be  tempted,  by  the  possibility  of  making  a  high  rate  of  interest, 
into  putting  Ids  savings  into  investments  where  there  is  a  good 
deal  of  danger  of  palatial  or  total  loss.    There  is  very  slight 


danger  of  loss  in  insurance,  especially  wherever  the  insurance 
business  is  reguk^ed  by  law,  which  is  the  case  in  most  civilized 
countries.  In  the^diird  place,  the  average  individual  will  con- 
tribute more  regularly  to  an  insurance  investment  than  to  a  fund 
of  savings,  because  there  is  a  compulsion  about  an  insurance 
policy  with  its  regularly  recurring  premiums  which  is  lacking  in 
ordinary  saving. 

The  above  arguments  in  favor  of  insurance  have  to  do  with 
the  advantages  of  insurance  for  the  individuals  who  are  insured. 
It  is  also  aigued  that  insurance  stimulates  the  accumulation  of 
capital  by  encouraging  saving.  We  have  already  considered 
tUs  argument  with  respect  to  saving  in  the  preceding  chapter. 
We  have  seen  in  an  earlier  chapter  ^  that  the  accumulation  ot 
capital  is^  jdefti]3i)le  thing  or  not  iiccording  to  the  relation  be- 
tween the  supply.of^capital  in  enstence  and  the  natural  resources 
and  available  supply  of  labor.  If  the  supply  of  a^ital  is  limited 
in  proportion  to  the  other  forces  for  production,  it  may  be  hkjbly 
desirable  that  the  accimiulation  of  capital  be  stimulated.<But 
if  there  is  a  plentiful  supply  of  capital,  it  may  be  much  more  de- 
sirable for  society  that  the  standard  of  living  of  the  lower  classes 
be  raised.  It  is  ordinarily  impossible  to  answer  this  questicm 
conclusively  at  any  given  time  and  place.  But  we  have  already 
noted  that  the  savings  of  the  poorer  classes  constitute  a  very 
small  source  of  capital,  that  probably  less  than  one-tenth  of  the 
capital  of  society  comes  from  this  source.  So  that  it  is  probably 
true  that  as  a  general  rule  a  rise  in  the  standard  of  living  of 
the  poorer  classy  is  a  greater  social  gain  than  the  increase  of 

In  view  of  the  above  x:onsiderations,  it  may  i^pear  plausible 
that  the  question  of  insurance  can  be  decided  i^-iarge  part  if 
not  entirely  with  respect  to  its  effect  upon  the^individuals 
insured,  and  not  with  respect  to  its  effect  upon  jociety  as  a 
whole.  This4s  in  all  probability  true.  ^It  may  also  ai4>ear  as  if 
the  individual  would  gain  more  by  raising  his  standard  of  living 
in  the  present  than  by  any  form  of  saving.  But  this  is  not  nec- 
essarily tfie  case  so  long  as  a  laige  part  of  society  is  unprotected 
against  dangers.  M^hUe  these  individuals^,  and  indirect^  d^ety, 
may  benefit  by  a  rise  m'Their-standard  of  living  in  the  present, 
many  of  these  individuals  will  meet  with  disasters  la^e  future 

1 5tf^a,  chap.  XIII.  /  " 


against  which  they  are  not  protected,  and  the  result  will  be  that 
their  standard  of  living  wiU  in  the  long  run  be  lower  than  it  was 
originaUy,  and  many  of  them  will  become  dependent.  So  that 
there  wilLprobably  be  no  net  gain  in  puttingjthe  surplus  income 
of  these  individusJs  into  raising  their  standard  (tf-4]ving  instead 
of  into  insurance...  . 

The  upshot  of  the  above  consideratimis  seems  to  be  that  under 
present  conditions  insurance  is  a  desirable  thing,  and  tends  on 
the  whole  to  lessen  the  amount  ol  poverty.  But  we  shall  com- 
ment presently  up<m  its  specific  si^uficwioe  for  the  problem  of 

It  is  also  contended  sometimes  in  favor  of  insurance  that 
some  or  all  of  the  burden  of  this  protection  against  future  catas- 
trophes may  be  transferred  to  the  shoulders  of  the  well-to-do. 
It  is  true  thaftherejs_aj£ridency  in  this  direction  at  the  present 
time.  We  have  already  noted  that  the  cost  of  insurance  is  some- 
times levied  in^p^  upon  employers.  Or  the  state  may  bear  the 
cost  in  i>art  JBut  it  is  evident  that  this  is  a  tendency  away  from 
insurance  in  the  strict  sense  of  that  term.  If  this  tendency  is 
followed  out  to,  its  farthest  limit,  it  will  constitute  an  attempt 
of  considerable  ^[^it  at  redistributing  wealth,  so  that  the  cost 
of  protection  agsunst  these  hazards  in  the  lives  of  the  poorer 
classes  will  be  borne  by  the  wealthier  classes,  or  by  society  as  a 
whole  represented  by  the  state.  When  that  time  comes,  there 
wiU  no  longer  be  any  need  for  insurance  on  the  part  of  the  mem- 
bers of  these  lower  classes,  and  they  can  safely  devote  all  of  their 
incomes  to  raising  their  standard  of  living  as  high  as  possible. 
It  is  evident  that  the  question  of  the  desirability  of  redistributing 
wealth  in  this  fashion  is  an  economic  and  political  question  of 
great  importance,  which  we  shall  have  occasion  to  refer  to  again 
presently  in  connection  with  the  subject  of  pensions.  But  before 
discussing  these  more  radical  measures  into  which  insurance 
may  develop,  let  us  consider  the  arguments  which  have  been 
u^  against  insurance. 

Arouments  against  Insurance 

One  olfNthe  Wuments  against  insurance  has  been  that  it 
does  not  prevent  poverty.  The  Webbs  have  stated  this  objection 
to  insurance  in  Ujeir  treatise  on  the  prevention  of  destitution 



in  the  following  words:  —  "Now,  insurance  is  a  social  device  of 
proved  value,  and  we  count  on  its  being  made  use  of  in  the 
campaign  against  destitution.  It  has,  however,  one  fundamental 
drawback  which  stands  in  the  way  of  its  being  any  real  alter- 
native to  the  proposals  of  this  book.    Insurance  does  not  ^a» 

It  is  evident  that  taken  literally  this  statement  is  true.  No 
amount  of  insurance  will  prevent  disease,  or  accidents,  or  un- 
employment. Indeed,  insurance  sometimes  leads  to  such  casuals- 
ties,  as  in  cases  of  malingering  and  arson.  It  may  prevent  a 
certain  amount  of  dependency,  since  insured  persons  experienc- 
ing these  casualties  can  depend  upon  their  insurance  instead  of 
philanthropy.  But  it  is  evident  that  this  dependency  has  been 
prevented  at  the  expense  of  more  poverty,  for  the  standard  of 
living  of  the  insured  must  have  been  lowered  in  order  to  pay  for 
the  cost  of  the  insurance.  So  that  in  many  cases  it  becomes  a 
choice  between  a  higher  standard  of  living  some  of  the  time  with 
dependency  the  rest  of  the  time,  and  a  lower  standard  of  livix^ 
(and  therefore  more  poverty)  some  of  the  time  with  a  livelihoo4. 
derived  from  insurance  the  rest  of  the  time.  It  may  therefore 
appear  that  in  the  long  run  the  poorer  classes  would  be  bett^ 
off  without  insurance,  for  they  would  be  able  to  consume  all 
of  their  earnings  and  would  then  derive  something  in  addition 
in  the  form  of  philanthropy  from  the  wealthier  classes.  But  we 
have  already  discussed  philanthropy  earlier  in  this  book,  and 
have  seen  that  the  objections  to  philanthropy  are  sufficiently 
great  to  justify  a  choice  in  favor  of  insurance  rather  than  in 
favor  of  philanthropy. 

We  can  now  see  in  what  sense  insurance  does  not  prevent 
poverty,  though  it  may  prevent  a  certain  amount  of  dependency. 
The  situation  becomes  entirely  different  when  the  cost  of  pro- 
tection is  levied  upon  the  well-to-do  classes,  or  upon  society  as  a 
whole.  If  an  employer  has  to  pay  for  accidents  and  diseases 
acquired  in  the  coiuse  of  employment  by  him,  it  will  at  once 
become  greatly  to  his  interest  to  prevent  these  accidents  and 
diseases,  and  the  number  of  accidents  and  amount  of  disease  may 
be  greatly  lessened.  If  the  cost  of  protection  against  unemploy- 
ment, old  age,  etc.,  is  lifted  off  the  shoulders  of  the  poorer 
classes,  then  it  means  a  more  eqiial  distribution  of  wealth,  and 

^  S.  and  B.  Webb,  The  Prevention  of  DestUutioH^  Londoii,  191 1,  p.  i6a 


therefore  less  poverty,  provided  this  change  in  the  distribution 
of  wealth  has  not  caused  a  compensating  loss  in  some  other 

It  is  indeed  desirable  to  emphasize  the  fact  that  insurance 
does  not  prevent  poverty.  An  extensive  literature  r^;arding 
insurance,  and  social  insurance  in  particular,  has  grown  up  in 
recent  years,  and  it  is  depressing  to  note  that  many  of  the 
authors  represented  in  this  literature  are  laboring  under  the 
delusion  that  insurance  does  prevent  poverty,  and  that  in  social 
insurance  we  have  found  an  adequate  solution  tar  the  problems 
of  poverty  and  dependency.  On  the  contrary,  it  is  most  im- 
portant to  bear  in  mind  that  insurance  is  desirable  only  as  being 
frequently  if  not  alwa3rs  preferable  to  poor  relief,  and  that  it  is 
in  the  main  a  remedial  measure,  and  like  every  remedial  measure 
necessarily  temporary  in  its  nature. 

As  the  Webbs  have  said  in  commenting  upon  its  temporary  na- 
ture:— "  Whatever  scheme  of  insurance  is  adopted — especially  a  bad 
scheme  —  will  plainly  not  be  final.  We  shall  have  to  leam  from  our 
own  experience,  if  we  are  too  foolish  to  leam  by  the  experience  of 
others;  and  we  shall  find,  as  the  German  Government  has  found, 
that  insurance  schemes  are  always  in  the  melting  pot.  And  it  is  an 
interesting  corollary  that  the  more  imivi^rfflj  sLnt\  the,  mnn*  mmpnU 
the  scheme;—  the  moreTieavily^it  involves  the  peetrnJaTy  jntergts 
ortEecommunity  as  a  whole  -r-  the  more  quickly  and  the  more  cer- 
tidnly  will  the  nation  become  alive  to  the  necessity  of  a  Policy  of 
ftevention."  ^ 

Hence  it  is  that,  even  though  the  fact  that  insurance  does  not 
prevent  is  not  incompatible  with  the  fact  that  insurance  may 
have  some  utility  under  the  existing  system  as  a  remedial 
measure,  still  jnftiimf^gf  may  sometimes  stand  in  the  way  of  much, 
more  important  measures  which  are  in  reality  preventive,  be- 
caus6  many  people  will  devote  most  or  all  of  their  energies  to 
the  insurance  measiures  under  the  delusion  that  they  constitute 
adequate  preventive  measure^. 

Another  argument  which  may  be  used  against  insurance  is^ 
that  it  may  result  in  the  accumulation  of  too  much  capitair 
As  we  have  already  noted,  it  is  impossible  to  determine  con- 
dusivdy  at  any  given  time  and  place  how  much  capital  is  needed. 

^  Op.  cU.f  p.  214. 




But  it  is  doubtful  if  the  amount  created  by  the  savings  of  the 
poorer  classes  is  likely' to  interfere  seriously  with  the  amount 
which  is  desirable.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  proportions  be- 
tween the  productive  forces  are  regulated  by  competitive  factors 
in  a  manner  which  is  not  likely  to  be  seriously  disturbed  by  ac- 
cumulation of  capital  stimulated  by  insurance.^ 
/  It  may  also  be  contended  that  insurance  costs  too  much  for 
l^ome  of  the  individuals  who  are  insiured.  It  Is,  of  course,  true 
that  some  individuals  pay  money  into  an  insurance  scheme  from 
which  they  receive  no  material  return.  But,  in  the  first  place, 
it  must  be  remembered  that  they  acquired  protection  against 
possible  loss  during  the  period  of  dieir  insurance.  In  the 
second  place,  what  they  have  lost  in  dollars  and  cents  has 
probably  been  more  than  compensated  for  by  what  others 
have  gained,  who  have  received  from  the  insurance  organiza- 
tion much  more  than  they  have  paid  into  it.  So  that  it  is 
doubtful  if  this  can  be  r^trded  as  an  argument  against  insur- 

We  can  now  see  that  social  insurance  is  to  a  very  slight  extent, 
if  at  all,  preventive  of  poverty.  The  principal  effect  it  has  upon  i 
the  poor  is  to  distribute  their  incomes  more  evenly  in  point  of  I 
time.  As  a  consequence  they  are  saved  a  certain  amount  of 
suffering  during  part  of  their  lifetime.  But  it  should  be  re- 
membered that  this  gain  is  compensated  for  in  part  at  least  by  a 
fall  in  their  standard  of  living  during  the  rest  of  the  time.  The 
greater  steadiness  of  income  caused  by  insurance  is  doubtless  on 
the  whole  a  gain,  because  the  periods  of  suffering  and  distress 
otherwise  experienced  are  likdy  to  have  permanently  disastrous 
results  in  the  form  of  lowered  vitality,  broken  health,  weakened 

^  Robertson  is  opposed  to  state  insurance  partly  because  he  thinks  it 
would  lead  to  the  accumulation  of  too  much  capital:  — 

"It  speedily  appears  that  the  old  idea  of  a  National  Insurance  Fund  is 
out  of  the  question.  Even  apart  from  any  perception  of  the  general  Fallacy 
of  Saving,  it  is  widely  admitted  that  such  a  fund  would  be  unworkable. 
It  is  hard  enough  for  private  Insurance  Companies  to  go  on  investing  their 
funds  profitably,  without  the  Government  attempting  to  compete  with 
them  as  an  investor  on  a  gigantic  scaler  But  further,  it  is  being  widely 
recognised  that  the  collection  of  premiums,  or  specific  payments  towards 
pensions,  would  be  an  enormously  difficult  matter;  and  already,  alongade 
of  the  schemes  which  specify  such  charges  and  payments,  there  are  others 
which  frankly  propose  to  make  a  national  pension  charge  without  exacting 
payments  from  mdividual  workers."    (The  Fallacy  of  Saving,  p.  143.) 



spirit  and  ambition,  broken  family  bonds,  etc.^  Furthermore, 
insurance  is  in  some  respects  a  better  remedial  measure  than 
philanthropy.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  it  must  be  remembered 
that  philanthropy  means  a  transference  of  wealth  from  the  well-v 
to-do  to  the  poor,  while  the  cost  of  insurance  is  bc^ne  by  the  poor 
themselves.  /  y 

Social  '""jgnff  hflfi  H*^"  iic^f^ii  in  prApgn'ng  ftiA  way  fonjn 
more  dff^Stive  mea<sures  for  th^  pfPVAnti^n  r^f  poverty.  By 
some  writers  these  measures  also  are  called  forms  of  social  in- 
surance. And  they  may  appear  to  be  so  in  the  sense  that  they 
are  directed  towards  ssifeguarding  the  poorer  classes  from  cer- 
tain dangers.  Thus  society  is  trying  to  insure  the  welfare  of 
these  individuals.  But  in  the  strict  sense  of  the  word  they  are 
not  forms  of  insurance,  for  they  lack  the  characteristics  of 
mutuality  and  of  saving  which  are  essential  to  insurance.  These 
measures  remove  the  burden  of  the  cost  of  this  protection  di- 
rectly from  the  shoulders  of  the  poor  and  place  it  in  part  at 
least  upon  other  classes  in  the  community.  The  poor  are  pro- 
tected against  such  dangers  as  accidents,  sickness,  unemploy- 
ment, old  age,  etc.,  without  any  contribution  from  their  own 
incomes,  so  that  the  need  for  such  protection  does  not  lower 
their  standard  of  living.  Let  us  see  what  some  of  these  measures 

During  recent  years  there  has  been  much  agitation  in  favor 
of  workmen^R  rnmpffnRfttinn  laws  which  will  force  employers 
to  compensate  adequately  their  employees  who  experience 
accidents  in  their  employ.  It  is  evident  that  when  comprehen- 
sive and  effective  laws  of  this  sort  are  in  existence,  it  is  not  nec- 
essary for  workmen  to  insure  themselves  against  such  accidents. 
There  have  been  no  weighty  arguments  against  workmen's 

^  Pigou  discusses  at  length  the  variability  of  the  income  of  the  representa- 
tive working  man.    He  states  his  conclusion  in  the  following  words:  — 

"It  is  now  thoroughly  established  that  causes  tending  to  diminish  the 
variability  of  the  consumption  of  the  representative  working  man,  even 
though  they  only  effect  this  by  means  of  reciprocal  transferences  that  aug- 
ment the  variability  of  the  consumption  of  other  people,  in  general  increase 
national  welfare.  «  .  .  Hence,  we  conclude  that  any  arrangement  which, 
other  things  rema^'  ilng  the  same,  diminishes  the  variability  of  the  real  in- 
come enjoyed  by  <he  representative  working  man,  even  though  it  involves 
a  system  of  redprucal  transferences,  which  increases  the  variability  of  con- 
sumption of  the^epresentative  member  of  the  other  classes,  tends  to  make 
national  welfareilarger.''    iy/taiih  and  Welfare^  pp.  406-7.) 




compensation.  It  has  been  evident  that  the  risks  for  the  work- 
man in  modem  industry  are  great,  and  that  the  employer  profits 
because  the  workman  takes  the  risk.  Practically  the  only  op» 
position  has  come  from  those  who  have  to  pay  for  this  com- 
pensating, namely,  the  employers.  Unfortunately  their  <^ 
position  in  this  coimtry  has  so  far  been  suffidenUy  powerful 
to  prevent  a  thorou^igoing  system  of  workmen's  compoisation. 

%'  Pensions 

Another  method  of  protectitig  the  poorer  classes  against 
dangers  which  threaten  them,  at  the  cost  of  other  classes,  or 
of  society  as  a  whole,  is  by  means  of  non  jrontributory  pensions. 
The  subjects  of  pensions  is  much  m6re  complicatea  tnan  tEat 
of  workmen's  compensation.  We  will  discuss  the  subject  mainly 
with  respect  to  old-age  pensions. 

We  have  already  noted  that  it  is  impossible  for  the  great 
majority  of  persons  to  save  enough  to  provide  adequately  tor 
old  age.  Insurance  has  frequenUy  been  urged  as  a  protection 
for  old  age.  The  private  commercial  insurance  companies 
have  issued  many  khids  of  policies  which  have  been  used  for 
this  purpose  by  the  wealthier  classes.  But  it  has  been  im- 
possible for  most  of  the  poor  to  make  use  even  of  insurance, 
because  of  the  smallness  and  the  uncertainty  of  their  incomes, 
and  frequenUy  also  because  of  their  ignorance.  Studies  of 
family  budgets  and  other  investigations  of  the  standard  of 
living  have  shown  that,  even  when  an  insurance  policy  has  been 
secured  by  a  poor  family,  it  is  very  likely  to  be  for  burial 
expenses,  or  for  some  other  purpose  which  is  no  protecticm 
against  the  needs  of  old  age. 

Hence  it  is  that  in  some  countries  the  attempt  has  bqien  made 
by  the  state  to  encourage  the  taking  out  of  old-age  insurance 
by  the  poor.  This  has  led,  in  the  first  place,  to  subsidized  volun- 
LAary  state  old-age  insurance,  in  which  the  state  has  paid  part 
of  the  cost  of  the  insurance  as  an  inducement  to  the  poor  to 
avail  themselves  of  this  form  of  protection.  In  the  second 
place,  in  a  few  countries  old-age  insurance  has  ]yeen  made  com- 
Jpulsory,  in  some  cases  with  subsidies  from  the  state,  and  in 
other  cases  without  such  subsidies*  We  have  not  the  space  to 
describe  these  state  insurance  systems  here.    They  have  been 




fully  described  elsewhere.^  As  an  example  of  such  a  system 
we  may  dte  the  Caisse  nationale  des  retraites  pour  la  vieittesse 
in  France,  and  similar  institutions  exist  in  Belgium,  Italy, 
Germany,  and  elsewhere. 

But  in  all  of  these  insurance  S3rstems  the  po9r  have  to  bear 
the  weight  of  at  least  a  part  of  the  cost  of  the  insurance.    It  is 
a  long  step,  therefore,  from  any  form  of  insurance  to  pensions 
in  the  strict  sense  of  the  term,  namely,  non-contributory  pen- 
sions.*   There  have  been  many  kinds  of  pensions  for  old  age.  v 
Some  private  concerns  have  given  pensions  to  their  superan- 
nuated  employees.    Many  governments  have  given  pensions 
to  their  aged  officials.    Military  pensions  to  those  who  have 
fought  for  their  country  have  been  given  by  many  governments. 
Recently  several  governments  have  adopted  very  extensive 
pension  systems  under  which  all  those  with  small  incomes  re- 
ceive pensions  in  their  old  age.    Some  of  these  countries  are  ^ 
Denmark,  Great  Britain,  some  of  the  Australian  states,  an^/ 
New  Zealand. 

Private  Pension  Systems 

It  may  be  well  to  say  a  few  words  first  about  private  pension 
S3rstems,  and  then  to  pass  on  to  state  S3rstems,  which  are  of 
greater  interest  and  importance.  At  least  three  kinds  of  private 
pension  systems  are  usually  recognized,  namely,  those  conducted 
by  laborj2igapizations,  those  conducted  by  fraternal  organiza- 
tions,  and  those  conducted  by  industrial  establishments.  But  it 
is  evident  that  the  S3rstems  conducted  by  labor  and  fraternal 
orgailizations  are  not  true  pension  systems,  because  they  are 
supported  by  the  pensioners  themselves.  Furthermore,  pension 
S3rstems  conducted  by  industrial  establishments  are  frequently 
supported  in  part  or  entirely  by  contributions  from  the  em- 
ployees, so  that  these  also  are  not  true  pension  S3rstems. 

While  there  are  a  good  many  of  these  so-called  pension  systems 
conducted  by  labor  organizations,  fraternal  organizations,  and 

^  See,  for  example,  Rubmow,  op,  cU.,  chaps.  XXI  and  XXII. 

*It  18  unfortunate  that  so  many  old-age  insurance  schemes  have  been 
called  pension  systems.  So-called  "pensions  by  purchase"  are  not  pen- 
sions in  the  strict  sense  of  the  tenn.  For  clearness  of  thought  regarding 
these  matters  it  is  well  to  distinyiish  sharply  between  insurance  and  pen- 




industrial  establishments  in  this  country,  investigations  have  - 
shown  that  they  furnish  support  to  a  comparatively  smaU  per- 
centage of  those  needing  assistance  in  old^ge.  They  may  go  a 
little  f luther  towards  solving^the  problem  of  old-age  dependency 
in  certain  Eiuropean  countries,  but  not  even  in  those  countries 
do  they  accomplish  very  much.  This  is  due  to  theusttstaxdes  in 
the  way  of  insurance  for  the  great  majority  of  the  poor  which  we 
have  already  discussed,  namely,  the  smallness  and  uncertainty 
of  their  incomes  add  frequently  their  ignorance. 

There  are  still  fewer  true  pension  S3rstems  supported  by  in- 
dustrial establishments  in  this  country,^  and  not  many  of  them 
in  any  country.  They  are  therefore  of  little  practical  importance 
at  present.  It  is,  however,  well  to  consider  the  arguments  for 
and  against  them  with  a  view  to  the  future. 

There  is  much  to  be  said  in  favor  (^^nsion  systems  supported 
by  employers  of  labor.  When  an  employee  has  wcurked  long  and 
faithfully  for  an  employer,  it  seems  just  that  he  should  be 
supported  by  his  employer  in  his  old  age.  The  assurance  of  such 
support  wotdd  certainly  increase  the  happiness  and  peace  of  mind 
of  the  worker,  and  thus  in  most  cases  make  him  a  better  worker. 
Thus  the  increased  efficiency  of  the  worker  might  repay  the  em- 
ployer in  large  part  if  not  entirely  for  the  cost  of  the  pensions. 

But  there  are  serious_objectioiis  to  be  raised  against  private 
pension  S)rstems.  In  the  first 'place,  they  lessen  the  mobility  of 
labor.  It  is  evident  that  if  a  labcwrer  expects  to  receive  a  pension 
from  his  employer  at  the  end  of  a  period  of  service,  he  will  hes- 
itate to  leave  this  employer,  even  though  a  better  opening  be 
offered  him  elsewhere.  That  labor  should  be  as  mobile  as  pos- 
sible is  very  important,  both  for  the  laborers  themselves,  and  for 
industry  and  society  at  large.  In  the  second  place,  an  emplo3rar 
may  use  his  pension  system  as  a  club  whereby  to  beat  do3ancLt(te^ 
salaries  and  wages  of  his  employees.  If  he  succeeds  in  lowering^ 
the  scale  of  payment  below  the  usual  rates,  then  his  system  will 
no  longer  be  a  true  pension  system,  but  one  supported  in  part  or 
entirely  by  the  workers.  In  the  third  place,  an  employer  is  very 
likely  to  use  a  pension  system  as  a  weapon  against  labor  oigajDizas. 
tions  by  penalizing  his  employees  who  join  such  organizations 
by  depriving  them  of  their  pensions,  so  that  private  pensions 

1  See  L.  W.  Squier,  Old  Age  Dependency  in  the  U,  S,,  New  Yoik,  1012, 



systdns  are  very  likely  to  constitute  a  serious  obstacle  to  the 
labor  movement. 

These  objections  are  conclusive  against  private  pensions  as  a 
satisfactory  solution  of  the  problem  of  old-age  dependency.  We 
must  therefore  turn  to  state  pension  systems  in  order  to  deter- 
mine whether  they  furnish  a  solution. 

State  Pension  Systems 

As  I  have  already  indicated,  there  is  now  a  tendency  towards 
extensive  state  pension  systems  under  which  practically  all 
individuals  with  small  incomes  will  receive  a  pension.  At  the 
beginning  of  this  movement  there  was  a  tendency  to  require 
numerous  qualifications  for  these  pensions.  These  had  to  do 
with  age,  size  of  income,  period  of  industrial  service,  family 
status,  citizenship,  long  continued  residence,  moral  duuracteris- 
tics,  etc  But  with  the  progress  of  the  movement  the  tendency 
has  been  to  lessen  the  number  of  qualifications  to  a  minimum. 
So  that  in  some  systems  there  are  now  few  qualifications  aside 
from  the  requirements  with  respect  to  age  and  size  of  income. 

A  number  of  objections  against  state  pension  systems  are 
frequently  made,  wWdi  we  must  now  consider.  It  is  perhaps 
most  frequently  contended  that  a  pension  S3rstem  is  destructive 
of  a  habit  of  thrift.  It  is  evident  from  oiu:  preceding  discussion 
pf  thrift  that  this  objection  is  in  the  main  farcical.  This  is  be- 
cause under  present  conditions  it  is  practically  impossible  for 
most  people  to  practise  thrift,  and  thus  to  acquire  the  habit. 
But  it  might  still  be  argued  that  it  is  important  that  pensions 
^ould  not  stadd  in  the  way  of  the  development  of  the  habit  of 
thrift.  This  depends  upon  a  question  which  we  have  already  dis- 
cussed, namely,  as  to  whether  it  is  more  important  to  save  or  to 
raise  the  standard  of  living.  But  in  any  case,  so  far  as  I  know, 
in  every  state  pension  s)rstem,  and,  for  that  matter,  in  every 
private  system  as  well,  there  is  room  left  for  the  encouragement 
of  thrift.  The  pension  paid  usually  is  very  small,  frequently  *! 
being  only  a  fraction  of  the  pensioner's  former  income.  So  that 
if  the  pensi(mer  wants  to  keep  up  his  former  standard  of  living, , 
he  must  save  in  order  to  do  so  when  he  has  become  a  pensioner. 
It  is  true  that  in  the  state  systems  there  is  almost  invariably  a 
limit  upon  the  amount  a  pensioner  may  own,  and  upon  the  size 


of  his  income  outside  of  his  pension.  But  few  woiiunen  are 
likely  to  save  up  so  large  an  amount  that  the  income  from  their 
capital  will  be  great  enough  to  exclude  them  from  receiving  a 
pension.'  So  that  a  pension  S3rstem  is  not  likely  to  stand  seri- 
ously in  the  way  of  the  development  of  the  habit  of  thrift. 
y  Another  argument  against  old-age  pensions  has  been  tliaE^ft^ 
has  an  injurious  effect  ugon  family  solidarity.  This  objection 
is  based  upon  the  ancient  idea  that  it  is  the  duty  of  the  younger 
members  of  a  family  to  care  for  their  aged  relatives.  From  some 
points  of  view  this  may  be  an  admirable  thing  for  them  to  do. 
But  it  is  obvious  that  in  many  cases  they  are  unable  to  do  this, 
or  are  able  to  do  it  only  at  the  cost  of  lowering  their  standard 
of  living  considerably.  It  is  evident  that  a  fall  in  the  standard  of 
living  of  a  large  number  of  individuals  and  of  families  is  a  serious 
thing  for  society,  and  it  may  well  be  questioned  whether  it  is 
wise  and  justifiable  to  force  upon  those  whose  incomes  are  al- 

'  For  example,  in  the  British  pension  system  a  pensioner  may  have  an 
annual  income  up  to  £21,  and  yet  diaw  the  highest  pension  which  is  5  shfl- 
lings  a  weelc.  So  that  if  this  inoMne  was  from  property  at  the  rate  of  four 
per  cent,  it  would  be  possible  for  the  pensioner  to  own  a  little  over  £500,  and 
yet  secure  the  highest  pension.  But  in  some  countries  a  limit  is  also  placed 
upon  the  amount  of  property  which  can  be  owned,  because  otherwise  a  candi- 
date for  a  pension  may  invest  his  property  at  a  low  rate  of  interest  in  order 
to  secure  a  pension.  Thus  in  New  Zealand  the  limit  is  £260  and  in  Australia 
£510.    (See  Rubinow,  op.  cU.,  chap.  XXm.) 

Rubinow  sums  up  weU  the  effect  of  an  old-age  pension  system  upon  .thrift 
in  the  following  words:  — 

"Does  the  prospect  of  an  old-age  pension  decrease  the  haUt  of  thrift? 
And  is  this  possible  effect  an  argument  against  old-age  poisions?  In  every 
one  of  the  existing  pension  systems  a  certain  amount  of  property  and  in- 
come is  permitted  to  the  old-age  pensioners.  The  fact  that  &om  one-fourth 
to  three-fourths  of  the  people  reaching  that  age  do  not  possess  the  necessary 
income  shows  that  there  was  either  no  habit  of  thrift  to  destroy  or  that  the 
conditions  of  life  and  wages  were  such  that  thrift  was  impossible.  In  other 
words,  the  argument,  to  be  consistent,  should  be,  not  that  the  system  ol 
old-age  pensions  destroys  the  habit  of  thrift,  but  that  it  interferes  with  the 
upbuilding  of  such  a  habit,  and  that  if  sudi  a  habit  were  capable  of  up- 
building the  level  of  wages,  it  mi^t  then  offer  a  solution  of  the  old-age 
problem.  But  this  theory  is  so  emphaticaUy  contradicted  by  all  known 
results  oi  studies  of  wages  and  the  standard  of  living,  that  it  really  does 
not  seem  to  need  any  formal  refutation.  In  so  far  as  die  standard  of  wages 
may  be  influenced  by  the  worker  himself,  it  is  not  the  habit  of  thrift  but 
his  standard  of  life  that  succeeds  in  making  them."  (Rutunow^  op.  dL, 
p.  381) 


ready  so  inadequate  the  additional  burden  of  caring  for  the  super- 
annuated members  of  their  families.  In  order  to  maintain  as  high 
a  standard  of  living  as  possible  for  the  great  mass  of  the  pec^le, 
it  seems  very  desirable  that  society  should  furnish  a  means  of 
support  for  the  indigent  aged,  which  would  remove  the  burden 
of  tlieir  support  from  their  poor  relatives.  This  will  not  neces- 
sarily weaken  the  bonds  of  affection  between  these  relatives. 
Indeed  it  may  in  some  cases  increase  the  affection  of  the  younger 
members  for  their  aged  relatives,  for  they  will  no  longer  be 
harassed  by  the  necessity  of  supporting  them. 

Furthermore,  it  should  be  remembered  that  it  is  necessarily 
a  humiliating  experience  for  the  aged  to  become  dependent  upon 
the  younger  generation,  and  they  should  if  possible  be  spared 
this  humiliation.  While  it  is  natural  for  the  young  to  be  depend- 
ent upon  the  parents  who  have  brought  them  into  the  world, 
and  for  that  reason  the  young  will  always  be  dependent  usually 
upon  their  parents,  it  b  not  natural  for  the  old  to  be  dependent 
upon  the  young.  On  the  contrary,  it  should  be  the  ideal  of 
society  that  no  individual  after  reaching  matiuity  should  be 
forced  to  become  dependent  up)on  any  other  individual.  Ea^ 
adult  should  have  the  opportunity  to  earn  his  or  her  own  If  ^^hig 
so  long  as  he  or  she  is  able,  and  then  be  supported  thro"»8h  the 
period  <rf  disability  by  a  Mytiai  agency,  if  the  ownership  of  prop- 
erty acquired  throrgh  saving  or  otherwise  does  not  furnish 
a  sufficient  income. 

'^  But  the  griPA:ipal  objection  raised  against  non-contributory 
pensions  is  that  of  their  apparent  cost  to  society.  It  is  true  that 
the  cost  of  a Ahoroughgomg  system  of  state  old-age  pensions  in  a 
large  coimtry  mounts  up  into  the  many  millions.  In  the  first 
place,  however,  it  must  be  remembered  that  there  are  a  nmnber  of 
compensating  factors  to  these  pensions,  which  pay  at  least  a 
part  of  ^eir  cost.  In  the  second  place,  they  may  be  well  worth  / 
their  a»st  to  society,  howeyer  great  that  may  be. 

It  isl  evident  that  a  pension  system  is  certain  to  lessen  to  a 
large  /extent  the  amount  expended  upcm  poor  relief.  Many  of 
the  Pensioners  are  individuals  who,  if  they  did  not  receive  their 
pensions,  would  have  to  depend  upon  indoor  or  outdoor  relief, 
Fuifthermore,  their  families  are  not  so  likely  to  become  depend- 
ent J  if  they  do  not  have  to  bear  the  burden  of  their  support.  By 
le  writers  it  is  asserted  that  the  effect  of  a  pension  ^tem  is 



to  encourage  and  keep  up  the  spirit  of  the  working  class  because 
of  the  assurance  of  support  in  old  age.  Consequently  not  so 
many  are  likely  to  become  discouraged,  and  thus  become  de- 

Another  way  in  which  the  cost  of  a  pension  S3rstem  can  be 
compensated  for  in  part  is  by  substituting  industrial  for  militaiy 
pensions.  It  is  evident  that  our  present  system  of  military 
pensions  is  to  a  large  extent  an  old-age  pension  system,  but  one 
which  is  very  undiscriminatingly  administered.  When  we  con- 
sider that  about  one  hundred  and  seventy  millions  of  ddlars 
are  being  spent  each  year  up)on  this  S3rstem,  it  is  evidmt  that 
there  is  an  enormous  sum  available  for  use  in  a  general  system 
of  old-age  pensions.  ^  If,  as  the  old  soldiers  die  ofif,  this  money 
could  be  turned  into  pensions  for  the  old  soldiers  of  the  in- 
dustrial army,  it  would  indeed  go  far  towards  solving  the  prob- 
lem of  poverty  and  destitution  in  old  age. 

It  is  natural  that  the  objection  to  the  cost  of  non-contributory 
pensions  should  be  raised  by  members  of  the  classes  which  do  not 
benefit  by  them,  and  who  are  frequently  thought  to  pay  the  cost 
of  these  pensions.  It  is  true  that  these  pension  systems  have 
usually  been  based  upon  income  taxes,  inheritance  taxes,  etc., 
the  inddenre  of  which  falls  presumably  upon  the  wealthier  clas- 
ses. But  it  is  also  doubtless  true  chmt  .some  of  the  incidence  oi 
this  taxation  does  in  the  last  analysis  /all  upon  the  poorer 
classes,  so  that  these  pensions  are  not  after  aJl  entirely  non- 
contributory,  but  are  partially  contributory.  To  this  extent, 
y  therefore,  ^e  wealthier  classes  cannot  raise  die  objection  of  cost, 
since  the  poor  are  bearing  part  of  the  cost  themsdv^. 

^  The  following  data,  taken  from  the  latest  avaflable  report^  of  the  U.  S. 
Commissioner  of  Pensions,  are  of  interest  in  this  connection.  (Annual 
Reports  of  the  Department  of  the  Interior  for  the  Fiscal  Year  Ended  June  jo, 
igz4,  Vol.  I.) 


Years      Paid  as  pensions     "^"^J^"^  TcUA        ^^^ 

x866  to  1913  .$4,461,0^,380.45  $125,871,965.64  $4,586,966,346.09 

X914. 172,417,546.26        2,066,507.15       174,484,05341  7^51^39 

Grand  total  $4,633,511,926.71  $127,938,472.79  $4,76m5o,399-5o 

At  the  beginning  of  the  year  19 14  there  were  on  the  pension  roll  46^)379 
Civil  War  soldier  pensbners,  all  of  whom  were  62  years  of  age  and 


So  far  we  have  been  discussing  pensions  for  old  age. 
Pensions  are  also  granted  sometimes  to  orphans,  to  widows, 
and  to  certain  other  dependent  groups.  It  is  evident  that  or- 
phans are  frequently  left  dependent,  and  a  pension  system  may 
sometimes  be  the  best  method  of  assisting  them.  But  the 
S3rstem  should  be  carefully  administered  with  a  view  to  making 
them  self-supporting  by  the  time  they  attain  maturity.  Widows 
also  are  frequently  left  dependent,  because  they  have  young 
children  to  rear,  or  because  they  are  incapable  of  supp)orting 
themselves.  A  pension  S3rstem  may  sometimes  be  a  good  method 
of  assisting  them,  but  it  should  be  carefuUy  administered  with 
a  view  to  making  them  self-supp)orting  as  soon  as  possible. 
The  need  of  such  assistance  to  widows  will  steadOy  lessen  as 
women  are  trained  for  self-support,  and  become  as  a  rule  eco- 
nomically independent. 

Insurance,  Pensions,  and  the  Prevention  of  Poverty 

We  have  now  reviewed  briefly  the  effectiveness  of  insurance 
and  of  pensions  as  measures  to  be  used  against  poverty.  We 
have  seen  that  insiurance  does  not  increase  the  wealth  of  the 
poor,  though  it  may^end^to  even  up  the  consimiption  of  their) 
incomes  in  such  a  fasEI^  as  to  give  them  more  satisfactiony 
It  cannot  therefore  be  r^arded  as  an  important  preventive 
measure  against  poverty ,jn  spite~Df  the  exaggerated  claims 
made  for  it  by  some  of  itsa^SStes. 

Where  pajrments  are  made  to  the  poor  in  the  form  of  com- 
pensation, pensions,  etc.,  either  by  the  employers  under  the 
compulsion  of  the  state,  or  by  the  state  directly,  the  wealth 
of  the  poor  may  be  increased  somewhat.    It  is  true,  as  we  have 
already  noted,  that  the  incidence  of  the  cost  of  these  payments 
may  in  part  fall  indirectly  upon  Uie  recipients.    But  rarely 
if  ever  would  all  of  tEe'cost  fall  upon  the  recipients,  and  prob-  -^ 
ably  in  most  cases  the  larger  part  of  the  cost  remains  upon  the   ' 
wealthier  classes,  because  they  are  much  larger  consumers  pro-  # 
porticoiately  than  the  poor,  ani  consequently  bear  more  of 
the  burden  of  the  rise  in  prices  which  these  levies  on  employers 
and  taxes  by  t^  state  may  cause.  ^ 

^  Rubtnow  siiijas  up  his  discussioo  of  the  incidence  of  the  cost  of  social 
insurance  in  the  following  words:  — 

"At  best  the  tendencies  in  the  shifting  and  incidence  of  the  cost  of  social 



But  even  a  pension  system  b  at  best  a  stop-gap  which  does 
not  change  to  any  great  extent  the  distribution  of  wealth.  So 
that  we  shall  now  pass  on  to  the  discussion  of  the  more  fun- 
damental measures  which  will  raise  materially  the  incomes  of 
the  great  majority,  and  will  cause  a  decided  change  in  the  dis- 
tribution of  wealth. 

insurance  which  have  just  been  indicated,-  work  Jmperftctly.  No  shifting 
takes  place  absolutely  automatically  without  meeting  opposition,  and  with- 
out losing  some  part  of  its  mo/nentum.  It  is  much  easier  tor  the  working 
class  to  resist  the  employer's  effort  to  shift  the  cost  upon  them,  than  to  try  to 
shift  the  cost  upon  the  employers.  And  for  this  reason  that  the  adjustment 
can  never  be  perfect,  it  is  extremely  important  to  place  the  cost  in  the  very 
beginning  upon  that  class  which  can  best  afford  it.  But  in  the  final  analysis, 
it  is  from  the  fund  of  rent,  interest,  and  profit  that  the  largest  part  of  the 
cost  is  paid."  (Op,  cU.,  p.  493.) 
Lewis  discusses  the  same  point  in  the  following  words:  — 
"It  is  said  that  if  these  charges,  however  the  incidence  may  be  adjusted, 
result  in  a  higher  cost  of  production,  it  will  react  upon  the  workman  in  an 
increased  cost  o^  living.  But  it  must  be  remembered  tmit  the  workman  is 
not  a  <^nsumer  to  the  same  extent  that  he  is  a  producer.  It  has  been  au- 
thoritatively stated  that  one-fourth  of  the  people  of  the  United  States  con- 
siune  two-thirds  of  its  income  and  that  of  the  other  three-fourths,  two-fifths 
consume  more  than  the  remaining  three-fifths;  in  other  words,  two>fifths 
of  the  total  population,  comprising  perhaps  the  majority  of  workmen,  do 
not  consume  per  capita  more  than  one-eighth  or  one-tenth  as  much  as  the 
richer  one-fourth.  Obviously  the  workmen  may  not  suffer  as  muQh  from 
an  increase  in  prices  as  he  gains  by  the  higher  rate  of  wages  which  conmbutes 
to  higher  prices."    (F.  W.  Lewis,  SUUe  Insurance^  Boston,  1909,  p.  144.) 


Summary  of  remedial  measures  —  Sodal  legialatioii  —  Tbe  utility  of  social 
legislation  —  A  national  minimum  —  Preventive  measures  —  Survey 
of  the  present  state  of  society. 

-  We  must  now  distinguish  between  lemedial  and  preventive 
measures  against  poverty.  Remedial  measures,  as  the  term 
indicates,  remedy  somewhat  the  evfls  of  poverty  for  those  who 
are  already  poor.  As  a  rule  they  do  not  lessen  the  amount  of 
poverty,  for  they  do  not  usually  raise  the  poor  to  whom  they 
are  applied  above  the  poverty  line.  The  most  that  they  ordi- 
narily accomplish  is  po  alleviate  somewhat  the  misery  caused 
by  poverty.  Preventive  measures,  on  the  contrary,  are  di- 
rected towards  removing  the  original  causes  of  poverty,  and, 
consequently,  are  successful  to  the  extent  that  they  lessen 

Summary  of  Remedial  Measures 

It  is  evident  that  remedial  measures  may  be  practised  to  a 
considerable  extent  without  any  knowledge  of  the  causes  of 
poverty.  But  it  is  utterly  impossible  to  apply  preventive  meas- 
ures with  any  degree  of  succees  without  an  adequate  compre- 
hension of  the  causes  of  poverty.  A  philanthropist  may  ob- 
serve the  misery  caused  by  poverty  and  readily  discern  how  this 
misery  may  be  alleviated  without  any  knowledge  of  the  causes 
of  this  poverty^  But  no  one  can  do  preventive  work  success- 
fully without  an  extensive  knowledge  of  the  underlying  causes 
and  conditions  of  poverty. 

It  is  possible  for  measiures  against  poverty  to  be  both  remedial 
and  preventive  in  dieir  character.  Thus  if  remedial  measiures 
raise  certain  individuals  above  the  poverty  line,  they  may  pre- 
vent poverty  to  the  extent  that  it  has  been  caused  by  iht  poverty 
of  these  individuals.  But  in  biany,  perhaps  most,  cases  reme- 
dial and  preventive  measures^^e  distinct,  and  may  indeed 


350         POVERTY  AND  SOCIAL  PROGRESS        ( 

be  opposed  to  each  other,  as  when  remedial  measures  stanci  in 
the  way  of  preventive  measures,  or  when  preventive  measxSes 
cause  more  misery  temporarily. 

We  have  already  discussed  some  of  die  remedial  measures 
against  poverty.  We  have  seen  that  philanthropic  methods 
are  remedial  measiures  which  relief  some  of  the  evils  arising 
out  of  poverty.  But  while  these  methods  yiiay  sometimes  in- 
directly prevent  a  little  poverty,  ttey  are  Ukely  also  to  cause 
a  certain  amount  of  poverty.  So  that  it  is  frequently  doubtful 
*  whether  they  have  done  more  good  than  harm.    In  any  case, 

\     it  is  obvious  that  philanthropic  ^fj^hnH|s  An  nr^t^  r^"^^yff  ^^^ 

^  have  seen  that  eutjenic  methods  can  be  used  only  to  a 
very  slight  extent  at  present.  But  what  is  more  important, 
we  have  also  seen  that,  even  if  eugenic  measures  could  be  ap- 
plied to  the  highest  possible  degree,  we  have  no  reas<m  to  hope 
that  they  would  have  much  effect  in  preventing  povert}^  Such 
measures  may  have  a  little  preventive  effect  by  <*Krnifnt»ing 
a  few  of  the  individuals  whose  personal  traits  are  socially  un- 
desirable. But  this  will  not  change  the  forces  for  poverty  in 
the  environment  and  in  the  economic  and  social  organization. 

^^  We  have  seen  that  ^orift  or  saving  is  i^  thft  ^in  a  r^nedial 
measure,  and  can  have  little  preventive  effect.  It  is  true  of 
saving,  as  it  is  of  most  if  not  all  remedial  measures,  that  it  can 
at  best  benefit  only  a  part  of  the  poor.  This  is  because,  as  we 
have  pointed  out  in  an  earlier  chapter,  if  every  one  tried  to 
save  enough  to  furnish  an  adequate  mcome  in  time  of  adversity, 
the  supply  of  capital  would  become  so  laige  that  the  rate  of 
interest  would  fall,  so  that  the  advantage  of  saving  would^ 
be  nullified  for  all.  The  essential  feature  of  saving  as  an  ef- 
fective remedial  measure  against  poverty  is  that  it  must  lead 
to  the  ownership  of  sufficient  property  to  furnish  an  adequate 
income,  and  it  is  economically  possible  for  only  a  very  small 
proportion  of  society  to  live  for  more  than  a  small  part  of  their 
lives  on  the  income  from  the  ownership  of  property.    Howevo:, 

J2)  the  discussion  of  saving  and  insurance  in  the  preceding  diap- 
ters  has  raised  certain  fundamental  questions  of  distributicm 
and  production,  a  consideration  of  which  furnishes  a  suitable 
introduction  to  the  thoroughgoing  preventive  measures  which 
we  are  about  to  discuss. 

•  I 



Since  these  remedial  measures  camiot  remove  the  f undamoital 
causes  of  poverty,  it  becomes  necessary  to  look  elsewhere  for 
effective  preventive  measures.  In  the  course  of  our  search  we 
must  consider  as  to  what  measiu-es,  if  any,  can  have  any  material 
effect  in  preventing  poverty,  and  if  there  is  any  ground  for  hoping 
that  poverty  can  sometime  be  entirely  abolished.  Let  us  con- 
sider first  certain  measmres,  some  of  which  we  have  already 
mentioned,  which  are  frequently  called  prevenfivi>  menjuirps. 

work  nowadavs  is  more  or  less  pervaded  with  the  idea 

of  prevention.  For  example,  the  social  settlements  are  endeavor- 
ing mainly  to  change  the  general  living  conditions  of  the  dwellers 
in  their  neighborhoods,  rather  than  to  aid  individual  indigents. 
There  are  many  special  movements  for  the  prevention  of  various 
things,  such  as  the  construction  of  bad  dwelling  houses;  the 
spread  of  specific  diseases,  such  as  tuberculosis,  etc.  But  this 
idea  of  prevention  is  still  more  widespread,  and  manifests  itself 
here  and  there  throughout  society.  For  example,  the  jyelfare 
wnrli;  yiftw  \^\ng  rftrn'pH  nn  ^y  Tyiflny  pmplovers  for  the  benefit 

of  their  employees,  while  it  is  due  in  part  to  a  philanthropic 
motive,  is  also  inspired  in  some  cases  by  the  idea  of  preventing 
poverty.  Thus  they  are  led  to  furnish  sanitary  conditions  in 
their  factories,  to  provide  means  of  recreation,  to  build  comfort- 
able dwelling  houses  for  their  workingmen,  etc.,  in  order  to  pre- 
vent these  employees  from  falling  into  poverty  tiirough  ill  health 
or  otherwise. 

Social  Legislation 

But  perhaps  the  most  prominent  form  in  which  the  idea  of 
prevention  is  manifesting  itself  at  present  is  in  the  movement 
for  what  is  ordinarily  called  social  legislation.  It  is  a  little  diffi- 
cult to  determine  what  is  meant  by  social  legislation  as  distin- 
guished from  other  kinds  of  legislation.  It  is  evident  that 
most  legislation  is  social  in  the  sense  that  it  affects  all  of 
society.  In  our  modem  constitutional  democracies  there  is  com- 
paratively little  legislation  which  is  openly  and  directly  for  the 
benefit  of  individuab  and  classes.  But  when  we  analyze  what 
is  ordinarily  meant  by  the  term  social  legislation  by  those  who 
use  it,  we  find  that  they  apparently  mean  legislation  in  the  in- 
terests of  the  poorer  classes.  This  seems  to  be  contrary  to  the 
democratic  idea  in  modem  government.    But  it  is  justified  by 


its  supporters  on  the  ground  that  these  classes  are  put  at  a  dis- 
advantage in  the  existing  economic  organization,  and  that  there- 
fore they  should  be  aided  by  political  means.  Granting  this, 
there  is  no  objection  which  can  be  made  against  such  legislation 
upon  political  grounds.  But  it  still  remains  to  be  determined 
whether  such  legislation  constitutes  an  effective  preventive 
measure  against  poverty. 

It  may  be  weU,  to  b^gin  with,  to  mention  some  of  the  more 
important  forms  of  social  legislation.  A  good  deal  of  this 
legislation  is  called  laboijifigisbtion.    This  is  because  it  has  to 

^  with  the  condition^  of  the  gn-rsiH^  ynr)f inpr  nr  laK^'j^y  f>^occ 

This  IS  made  up  of  the  wage-earners,  among  whom  most  of  the 
poor  are  to  be  found.  This  terminology  is  not  entirely  accurate, 
because  it  implies  that  the  other  classes  in  the  community  do 
not  work,  whereas  it  is  well  known  that  most  of  the  members 
of  these  other  classes  work  as  much  as  the  members  of  the  woric- 
ing  class.  However,  for  purposes  of  convenience  we  shall  fol- 
low the  usual  terminology.  >^ 

Some  of  this  social  legislation  rggulates  the  physical  com 
^in  facj^^TJffl  ?"^  lyrkrifQii^pt^  W^'^^^Tyiew  to  conserving  the  health 
andjafety  of  the  eiDplnjroiii  STfrh  fnrrniy  IrgiSlntinn  inrlndn 
regulations  with  respect  to  sgni^^T  C0°(1iti^"^j  such  as  ventila- 
tion, suitable  toilet  facilities,  etc.;  overcrowd jnp  in  thft  ^ops; 
dreeing  and  r^t  rooms^for  the  anplovees;  prntfftinn  agaiint 

^Sther  regulations  of  factory  conditions.  An  im- 
portant branch  of  labor  l^islation  deals  with  child  labor,  with 
the  object  of  preventing  children  below  certain  ages  trom  work- 
ing  at  all,  and  older  chUdren  up  to  certain  ages  from  working  to 
such  an  extent  as  to  interfere  with  their  going  to  school.  Such 
legislation  sometimes  prohibits  those  who  are  below  certain  ages 
from  engaging  in  certain  kinds  of  occupations  which  are  harmful 
to  the  young  either  physically  or  morally.  Other  labor  legisla- 
tion regulates  the  |^bor  of  wpm^n  wit^  r^apfiTt  f^  *^^  kinds  of 
jbhey  can  enter,  their  hours  of  labor,  the  time  of 
day  when  they  can  worK;  the  periods  during  which  they  can 
work  with  relation  to  pregnancvLand  childbirth,  and  in  many 
other  ways.  Child  and  wogian  labor  l^;islation  bring  out  very 
forcibly  the  peculiar  character  of  social  l^islation,  because 
these  are  elates  of  workers  which  are  in  special  need  ctf  pro- 


Another  important  branch  of  labor  legislation  for  many  dec- 
ades past  has  been  the  regulation  of  the  nym^^y  gf  hf>"^  "^  l^hnr 
Such  legislation  is  for  the  purpose  of  preventing  the  overworking 
of  the  workers,  and  of  giving  them  some  ^e  for  recreation  and 
cultural  development.  As'^result  3^  gr^  ^f^a]  of  Ipyff'^^^"' 
ot  tnis  sort  and  ot  trade  union  activity,  the  general  ranged  the 
hours  of  labor  hks  fallen  ffUffl  twelve  hours  and  more  to  ten 
hours  and  less,  while  a  great  struggle  is  now  going  on  for  a  gen- 
eral eight  hour  day. 

Perhaps  the  most  important  form  of  labor  legislation  has  to 
do  with  the  jyfV^lfl^'^TUoLthe  rates  of  wages  by  means  of  min- 
imum  ^^gehws,  etc.  We  shall  have  occasion  in  the  following 
chapter  to  discuss  at  considerable  length  this  form  of  social 

The  legislation  with  respect  to  social  jp^""*"^**,  w^^^^^fr"^** 
compensation,  and^gensipnsj  which  we  discussed Jn  the  last 
chapter,  is  a  form  of  social  legislation  which  is  attracting  a 
great  deal  of  attention  at  present.  This  kind  of  l^islation  also 
well  iUustrates  the  characteristic  feature  of  social  legislation,  for 
it  is  directed  toward  giving  special  assistance  to  certain  classes 
in  the  community. 

There  are  vtuious  other  forms  of  l^islation  which  may  be  put 
under  the  head  of  social  legislation.  For  example,  most  if  not 
all  of  tfflPTTipnt  liQuy  1pf;i>lation  may  be  called  social  legislation, 
because  most  of  the  dwellers  in  tenements  are  of  the  working 
class.  This  is  especially  true  of  tenement  house  l^islation,  when 
it  regulates  such  matters  as  the  kind  of  work  which  can  be  car- 
ried on  in  tenement  houses. 

The  Uthjty  of  Social  Legislation 

It  is  evident  that  the  important  question  for  us  is  as  to  the 
extent  to  which  social  legislation  prevents 'poverty.  To  begin 
with,  we  may  note  that  the  aim  of  all  such  l^islation  obviously 
is  desirable.  It  certainly  is  to  be  desired  that  conditions  in 
factories  should  be  sanitary;  that  children  and  women  should 
not  work  when  it  is  physically  injuribus  to  them  (and  the  same 
should  be  true  of  men  as  well);  that  the  hours  of  labor  should 
lot  be  too  long;  that  wages  should  not  fall  below  a  certain 
minimimi;  etc.    But  the  question  is  as  to  whether  such  l^^bla- 


tion  in  the  long  run  lessens  poverty  at  all,  <»*  to  any  material 

At  first  sight  it  may  appear  that  this  must  be  true  of  all  social 
legislation.  For  example,  if  workers  are  not  subjected  to  in- 
sanitary conditions  in  factories,  they  are  less  likely  to  become 
diseased,  and  thus  be  prevented  from  earning  a  living ;  if  children 
do  not  injiure  themselves  by  working  at  too  early  an  age,  and 
acquire  more  education,  they  will  be  more  efficient  workmen 
during  their  mature  life;  if  the  hoiu^  of  labor  are  restricted, 
workmen  are  not  so  likely  to  become  prematurely  old  throu^ 
overwork;  if  wages  cannot  fall  below  a  certain  minimum,  it 
may  serve  to  keep  a  larger  number  above  the  poverty  line. 
But  social  legidation  may  not  have  this  direct  result  at  all, 
or  may  have  it  only  to  a  very  slight  extent  In  the  second  jdace, 
social  legislation  may  indirectly  serve  as  a  hindrance  to  more 
effective  preventive  methods. 

Let  us  illustrate,  for  example,  ^dth  respect  to  child  labcur 
l^islation.  However  desirable  it  may  be  to  prevent  the  yoimg 
from  working  below  a  certain  age,  if  it  be  true  that  when  they 
reach  the  higher  age,  at  which  they  are  permitted  to  work,  the 
opportimities  for  work  are  no  more  numerous, .and  the  rate.of 
wag^ls  no  higher  than  jf  they  had  8tartfld4o  work  at  an  earlier 
age,  it  i^^bvious  that  they  will  be  no  better  offland  Jfant  the 
amount  dTpoverty  will  not  have  been  lessened.  Now  it  is  im- 
possible to  measure  directly  the  effect  of  child  labor  lq;islation. 
But  it  is  highly  probable  that  this  l^islation  has  lessened  poverty 
a  little,  principally  because  it  has  decreased  the  number  of  wip- 
ers, thus  increasing  the  number  of  jobs  in  prc^rtion  to  the 
number  of  workmen.  However,  on  the  other  hand  it  must  be 
remembered  that  thf?  inmrnfft  ^f  some  fayo^es  have.J)fiffn  Ifs- 
sened  by  such  l^isl^tion^and.  that-  they  faftsoT  b^^  bionght 
doser  to  j>overty.  JFiuthermore,  such  legislation  can  have  no 
cfiect  in  expanding  industry  so  as  to  meet  the  demands^  the 
labor  supply  for  of^rtunities  to  work  and  to  earn  a  living  wage. 
So  that  at  most  the  net  result  of  child  labor  legidati<Mi  cannot 
lessen  poverty  to  any  great  extent. 

The  same  may  be  true  of  all  forms  of  social  legislation.    For 
example,  it  may  appear  as  if  minimum  wage  legislation  must 
certainly  be  preventive  of  poverty,  because  if  the  minimum  i 
set  sufficiently  high  it  will  keep  the  workers  abov/b  the  pov^ty 



line.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  asserted  by  many  critics  of 
such  l^islation  that  it  is  bounitOLresultJn  Arowing  many  work- 
ers  out  jrf^ork,  so  that  the  net  result  might  be  an  increase 
rather  than  a  decrease  of  poverty.  However,  it  is  quite  likely 
that  this  form  of  social  legislation  will  prove  to  be  the  most^  jQ^^"^^ 
effective  in  preventing  poverty,  as  we  shidl  see  when  we  discuss  \  rO^ 
the  subject  presently.  ^^^,.^^^  ""^j     -^^ 

is   /^^^ 

It  is  therefore  highly  probable  that  giQg£^  not  all  of  this 
social  legislation  can  never  accomplish  very  much  in  the  way/ 
kA  preventing  poverty.    It  is  certain  that  such  legislation  isx 
beneficial  to  individual  members  of  the  working  class.     But) 
however  much  the  members  of  the  working  class  may  be  im-< 
proved  physically  and  mentally,  so  as  to  become  more  efficient  0 
workmen,  it  is  doubtful  if  such  an  increase  in  efficiency  is  likely 
to  lessen  materially  the  amount  of  poverty  without  a  corre- 
sponding change  in  the  economic  organization  of  society.    So 
long  as  wealth  is  distributed  according  to  the  present  method, 
iand  so  long  as  industry  does  not  expand  adeqiiately  in  response 
to  an  mcrease  m  the  labor  supply,  11  is  not  10  be  expected  tEat 
^erty  can  aecrease  materialiy. 

i:*  urtbermore,  social  legislation  may  stand  in  the  way  of  more^ 
effective  preventive  methods.  This  may  happen,  in  the  first 
place,  by  distracting  the  attention  of  weU-meaning  people,  who 
are  sincerely  desirous  of  lessening  the  amount  of  poverty, 
from  more  fundamental  methods.  It  is  true  of  a  good  many 
humanitarians  today  that  they  have  realized  the  ineffectiveness 
of  philanthropy,  and  think  they  have  found  sufficiently  effective 
methods  in  social  legislation.  The}^  think  so  because  they  ex- 
aggerate greatly  the  ultimate  results  from  such  legislation  as  we 
have  discussed.  They  are  not  yet  capable  of  seeing  the  need  - 
for  and  the  much  greater  results  from  such  fundamental  methods 
as  those  mentioned  in  the  last  paragraph. 

In  the  second  place,  social  l^islation  may  be  used  as  a  con-"^ 
cession  and  a  sop,  in  order  to  avoid  the  application  of  mdi« 
fundamental  measures.  We  have  already  noted  that  capitalistic 
interests  may  use  philanthropy  for  this  purpose.  But  when 
philanthropy  no  longer  serves  this  purpose,  it  may  become 
necessary  for  the  capitalistic,  aristocratic,  or  dynastic  interests 
to  make  further  concessions  in  the  form  of  social  legislationiT  It 
is  doubtless  true  that  much  of  the  social  l^islation  in  Germany 


during  the  last  few  decades  has  been  a  sc^  to  the  working  class, 
in  order  to  induce  them  to  desist  from  pressing  thtir  demands  for 
more  drastic  socialistic  measures.^ 

But  while  social  l^;islation  cannot  accomplish  much  directly 
towards  the  prevention  of  poverty,  and  may  sometimes  serve 
indirectly  as  a  hindrance,  it  is  nevertheless  a  necessary  step 
towards  more  fimdamental  measures.  This  is  so,  if  for  no  other 
/reason,  because  many  people  have  to  be  educated  through 
\  social  legislation  to  see  the  need  for  more  fimdamental  measures. 
It  is,  however,  desirable  that  the  limitations  of  social  legislation 
as  a  means  for  the  prevention  of  poverty  should  be  realized  as 
soon  as  possible,  in  order  to  dear  the  way  for  more  e£fective 

A  National  MiNiMtJM 

It  may  be  well  at  this  point  to  speak  of  the  idea  of  a  national 
minimum,  which  has  been  crystalizing  during  recent  years.  This 
idea  is  that  a  minimum  standard  of  working  conditions,  wages, 
and  living  conditions  should  be  established  for  the  poorer  classes, 
and  that  no  one  should  be  forced  or  even  permitted  to  fall  below 
that  standard.  It  is  well  to  give  this  idea  currency  among  the 
poor,  and  among  those  who  are  interested  in  their  welfare.  For 
as  soon  as  it  is  generally  believed  that  no  one  should  live 
under  conditions  below  this  standard,  efforts  will  be  redoubled 
to  bring  into  being  a  state  of  society  in  which  no  one  will  be 
forced  to  live  below  such  a  standard.  Social  progress  consists 
in  considerable  part  in  the  establishment  of  new  and  h^er 
standards,  and  this  should  be  true  with  respect  to  the  stand- 
ard of  living  of  the  poorer  classes  as  with  respect  to  other 
matters.  As  soon  as  such  an  idea  of  a  minimum  standard 
becomes  prevalent,  it  will  become  a  powerful  force  for  bringing 
this  standard  into  existence  in  real  life.  Furthermore,  this 
standard  should,  with  the  spread  of  civilization,  become  in 
course  of  time  the  minimum  for  the  whole  world. 

1  This  is  indicated  by  the  foUowiiig  passage  in  the  speech  from  the  throne 
in  the  German  Reichstag  in  i88i :  —  --^ 

"His  majesty  hopes  that  the  m£;isiite_(accident  insurance)  will  in  prin- 
ciple receive  the  assent  of  the  federal  governments,  and  that  it  will  be  wel- 
comed by  the  Reichstag  as  a  complement  of  the  legislation  affording  pro- 
tection against  Sodd-Democratic  movements.''  (Quoted  in  Harper^s 
Weekly,  Nov.  27, 1915,  p.  514.) 


the  problem  of  the  peevention  of  poverty     357 

Preventive  Measures 

Having  discussed  the  measures  which  are  primarily  and 
mainly  remedial  in  their  character,  and  only  incidentally  when 
at  all  preventive,  we  must  now  turn  to  the  measures  which  are 
preventive  of  poverty  in  a  fundamental  sense.  As  we  have 
noted  at  the  beginning  of  this  chapter,  pr^entive  measiu-es 
can  be  practised  only  on  the  basis  of  an  extensive  knowledge  \ 
and  an  adequate  comprehension  of  the  causes  and  conditions  | 
of  poverty.  In  the^rst  half  of  this  book  we  have  assembled 
a  large  amount  of  data  with  regard  to  the  causes  and  conditions 
of  poverty,  a  knowledge  of  which  will  b^  assumed  in  the  course 
of  the  remainder  of  the  book.  The  significance  of  these  «data 
will  become  more  apparent  as  we  discuss  the  thoroughgoing 
preventive  measures  which  are  suggested  by  our  knowledge  of 
the  causes  and  conditions  of  poverty. 

In  the  last  chapter  of  the  first  half  of  this  book  ^  we  have 
sonmiarized  this  knowledge  of  the  cknses  and  conditions  of 
poverty,  to  which  summary  the  reader  is  now  referred.  This 
summary  indicated  that  poverty  is  a  sodaLj^enotSffiSn  which  * 
is  closelv  identified  with  the  orptnization  and  constitution  of 
sode^^  it  ^sts  at  present,  and  as'  it  has  usuallv  existed  in 
iiie  past.  In  order,  therefore,  id  aid  us  in  determining  how 
poverty  may  be  greatly  diminished  or  abolished  by  preventive 
measiu-es,  it  is  desirable  to  make  a  brief  survey  of  the  present 
state  of  society,  in  order  to  determine  what  features  of  society 
as  it  now  exists  will  in  aU  probability  have  to  be  changed  in 
order  to  bring  about  this  reduction  in  the  extent  of  poverty. 

It  is  evident  that  to  make  such  a  survey  is  no  easy  matter, 
for  the  organization  of  spciety  is  a  very  complex  thing,  so  that 
it  is  very  difi&cult  for  the  human  mind,  with  its  obvious  limita- 
tions, to  visualize  it  comprehensively^  We  may,  however,  suc- 
ceed in  doing  so  to  a  degree  sufficient  to  enable  us  to  discern 
more  clearly  the  principal  causes  of  poverty.  We  shall  then  be 
in  a  better  position  to  consider  how  poverty  may  be  prevented  . 
by  removing  these  causes.  We  do  not,  however,  hope  to  pro- 
pose any  complete  program  for  the  prevention  of  poverty. 
Indeed,  we  shall  be  doing  well  if  we  succeed  in  stating  more  or 
^ess  effectively  the  problems  involved. 

» Supra,  chap.  XVI. 


Perhaps  the  most  striking  feature  of  the  existing  economic 
organization  of  society  is  that  imder  the  r^;ime  of  private  busi- 
ness enterprize  the  greater  part  of  the  means  of  produc- 
tion is  owned  by  a  comparatively  small  number  of  individuals^. 

^^while  »l^A  imtyif^i^^^p  r^T|tfnl  V>f  mn<;<-  tf^^onomic  flrtivitiiH^  is  in 

the  handtt^.^^  still  smaller  nnmK^r  /^f  ipf^iviHii^^g  The  result 
is  that  most  oFthe  workers  are  put  at  a  decided  disadvantage 
in  securing  their  share  of  the  amoimt  produced  by  society. 
Since  the  beginning  of  the  modem  industrial  organization,  and 
perhaps  for  a  much  longer  period,  the  workers  have  not  been 
able  to  influence  to  any  great  extent  their  shadre  in  the  distribu- 
tion of  wealth.^  This  has  been  determined  f)y  such  factors  as 
the  richness  of  the  natural  resources,  the  density  of  the  popula- 
tion, the  accimiulation  of  capital,  the  (orm  of  business  enter- 
prize, etc.;  all  of  which  are  factors  over  which  they  have  had 
little  or  no  immediate  control.'  In  view  of  this  fact  it  id  not 
surprising  that  there  is  the  great  inequality  in  the  distribution 
of  wealth  and  the  enormous  concentration  of  wealth  in,  the 
hands  of  a  few  which  we  have  discussed  in  an  earlier  chapter. 

Another  significant  feature  of  modem  econo&ic  organization 
is  the  greatJnst^bility^Qf^industry.  The  {mndpal  illustration 
of  this  instability  is  to  be  foimd  in  the  altonation  between  the 
periods  of  depression  and  of  prosperity  ^^riiiich  takes  place  in  the 
trade  cycle.  But  at  all  times  there  is  more  or  less  instability, 
since  industrial  concern£^  are  failing,  or  are  overproducing  and 
thus  preparing  to  fail,  ^The  fimdamental  cause  for  this  in- 
stability is  the  (^gculty  of  obtaining  an  adjustment  betweep 


the  supplyof  and  the  gemand  for  economic  go<^  Now  it 
goes  withoiit  saymgtfial  LliiyTiilEicuity  has  always  existed,  and 
always  will  exist  to  a  certain  extent.  But  in  the  past  society 
was  organized  in  the  main  in  small  communities  which  were 

^  We  shall  discuss  later  the  extent  to  which  they  have  done  diis  through 
collective  bargaining. 

'  It  is  interesting  to  note  the  effect  upon  the  woricers  of  this  oountry  of 
the  European  war,  for  which  they  are  obviously  not  responsible.  For  the 
first  few  months  the  war  had  a  very  depressing  effect  upon  industry  in  this 
country,  and  consequently  unemployment  was  rife.  But  at  the  time^of 
the  present  writing,  when  Europe  is  making  a  heavy  demand  for  various 
commodities  upon  this  country,  and  when  belligerent  nations  are  calling 
many  of  their  reservists  who  are  workers  in  this  country,  it  looks  very  mud 
as  if  the  war  will  enhance  the  wages  of  the  workers  of  this  country. 




more  or  less  self-suffidng  economically.  G>iisequeiitly  producers 
were  in  close  touch  with  the  consumers  of  their  products,  and 
miilA  a;^  j^lgt^eir  outp