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Miriam Klaniecka 

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A Study 

Of the Social Problems of To-day 




mew U?otft 


Copyright, 1913 


Set up and electrotyped. Published April, 1913 




It is a commonplace remark that social prog- 
» ress should be by evolution and not by revo¬ 
lution. It is, indeed, something more (or less) 
than a commonplace. Progress is, itself, a 
phase, and revolution an incident, of evolution. 
The remark, therefore, easily analyses itself 
into the expression, Social evolution should 
come by social evolution,—no momentous con¬ 
tribution to social philosophy. 

If, however, one means by such a remark that 
progress should be peaceful, it does not yet ex¬ 
press all that is desired in a theory of social 
advancement. For social progress may be 
peaceful and yet be exceedingly slow, and in¬ 
volve excessive waste. It should be not only 
peaceful but conscious and intelligent. It may 
then be rapid and permanent. This, however, 
demands a genuine recognition on the part of 
the people of the injustice inherent in existing 
social relationships, and a fairly definite con¬ 
ception of social well-being,—of the actual and 
the ideal, of how we live and how we might live. 

The first step, then, to ordered social prog¬ 
ress is general social insight. Before we can 
have a better society it must somehow get into 
the minds of the people. Industrial and social 


justice must be thought before it can be real¬ 
ised. ‘ ‘Justice in the mind,’’ says Victor Hugo, 
“becomes justice in the heart,” and out of the 
heart proceed the issues of life. That is to 
say, right social thinking leads to right action 
and to better social forms. 

Whatever promotes social insight, then, ren¬ 
ders a social service by contributing in some de¬ 
gree to the solution of the social problem of 
the hour. And insight into the real significance 
and character of modern industrial relation¬ 
ships, and plain talk about them, is the partic¬ 
ular need of our time. Industrial society is 
far from perfect. Worse than that, it is in 
large part a pretence. Historically it has 
served a valuable purpose. But it has been the 
fate of social institutions, no matter how valu¬ 
able in their day, to be supplanted by something 
better; and who will deny that it must also be 
said of the present industrial order, ‘ ‘ This, too, 
shall pass away.” 

Such, at all events, is the viewpoint of this 
book. Its teaching is frankly “progressive.” 
It is not iconoclastic. The author has no illu¬ 
sions in regard to a mushroom millennium. He 
presents no industrial panacea. He does see, 
however, and clearly, that our present indus¬ 
trial system presents the chief immediate ob¬ 
stacle to general advancement toward a higher 
social life, that it gives rise to the Social Prob¬ 
lem of To-day, that it must be transformed, that 
the profit ideal must be eclipsed by the Life 


ideal—and this view he would gladly impart to 
others. The desired change in the industrial 
system will come when all of us see through its 
pretensions. “What deafness, what stone- 
blind custom,” says Emerson, “what overgrown 
error you behold, is there only by sufferance, 
v-—by your sufferance. See it to be a lie, and 
you have dealt it its mortal blow.” 

The existing relation, then, between Work 
and Life, suggests the Social Problem of To-day. 
It is the problem that arises from the existence 
of individual and class privilege, and the per¬ 
formance of work and the pursuit of profits 
without due regard to individual and social 
well-being. It is a problem of industrial jus¬ 
tice. It is not, however, as many seem to sup¬ 
pose, a purely economic problem; it is social. 
Hence economics alone is incapable of its solu¬ 
tion. No social problem can be comprehended 
from the viewpoint of any single social science, 
but only from the viewpoint of society as a 

From this viewpoint, that is, the social view¬ 
point, a few facts rise clearly into prominence. 
Among them are, that the “solutions” of the 
social problem that have been proposed are 
partial and complementary; that the dominant 
principle of modem industrial society, namely, 
competition, is only of temporary value, dimin¬ 
ishing in importance as we approach the goal 
of industry, which is co-operation; that, in the 
interest both of the individual and of society, 


industry, business, work—that is to say, get¬ 
ting a living—must be made to conform in all 
respects to the true end of existence, namely, 
Life; that a true conception of Life involves a 
well-defined conception of an ideal society; and, 
finally, that learning, patriotism, and religion 
may be employed, far more effectively than 
they have been employed hitherto, in the social 
attempt to realise this social ideal. The author 
would hope that some slight contribution is here 
made to substantiate these facts and to impress 
them upon such readers as may not yet have felt 
their full force. 

It remains only to say that some of the chap¬ 
ters of this book, in substance but not in form, 
have appeared in various magazines, including 
the American Journal of Sociology, the Inter¬ 
national Journal of Ethics, and the Educational 
Review. The ideas advanced have also been 
presented in a series of popular lectures de¬ 
livered in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleve¬ 
land, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Omaha, Minne¬ 
apolis, St. Paul and other cities of the middle 
west. If in a new if not wider circle they 
awaken the same interest and receive the same 
candid consideration they then evoked, the au¬ 
thor will feel justified in embodying them in the 
form of a book. 

I. W. H. 

Berkeley, California, 

February 1, 1913. 



I. The Social Problem of To-day . , . . . 3 

II. Wealth and Welfare . . .. „ „ , . . 26 

III. The Social Viewpoint. 51 

IV. Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem . 57 

V. Competition, Natural and Industrial ... 79 

VI. Cooperation the Goal of Industry . „ . 120 

VII. Living and Getting a Living.133 

VIII. The Social Problem as a Municipal Problem 158 
IX. Labor and Learning . , . .. .. .174 

X. The Social Ideal ......... 189 

XI. The Higher Patriotism . . . . ... 213 
XII. Religion and the New Social Order . . . 232 




The Social Pboblem of To-day 

“To all thoughtful and discerning men it should now be 
clear that the solution of the social question is the great task 
which has been laid upon the present epoch in the history of 
the world.”— Kirkup. 

“The social question is to-day only a zephyr which rustles 
the leaves, but it will soon become a hurricane.”— Disraeli. 

The social problem is an expression some¬ 
times applied to the general and eternal ques¬ 
tion of social well-being. So understood it 
involves numerous questions, physiological, hy¬ 
gienic, psychological, educational, moral, es¬ 
thetic, economic, political, etc., in fact everything 
pertaining to social amelioration and social 
progress. Thus conceived it is the question of 
the economy of all the social factors in the main¬ 
tenance and promotion of the social life. 
Euskin had this conception in mind when he 
formulated it as the question of ordering the 
lives of the members of society so as to maintain 
the largest number of noble and happy human 
beings. Mr. John A. Hobson, a sympathetic 


Work and Life 

critic of Ruskin, expands Ruskin’s statement 
into the following form: “Given a number of 
human beings, with a certain development of 
physical and mental faculties and of social insti¬ 
tutions, in command of given natural resources, 
how can they best utilise these powers for the 
attainment of the most complete satisfac¬ 
tion V ’ 1 This is the social problem in its gen¬ 
eral aspect. 

The complexity of such a problem is obvious 
enough. It is useless to talk of its solution. A 
solution can only be approximated. Ferdinand 
Lassalle once said that he never made use of 
the expression ‘ ‘ solution of the social problem ’ ’; 
for, said he, “the transformation of society will 
be the work of centuries and of a series of meas¬ 
ures and reforms that will grow out of each 
other organically. ’ ’ 2 This is true if we mean 
by the social problem the general question of so¬ 
cial well-being. When it is said, as it is some¬ 
times, that the social problem can never be 
settled until human nature is transformed, or 
until the principles of Christianity have taken 
their rightful place as the basis of all human 
relationships, it is the general social question 
that is before the mind. 

There is, however, another and a more specific 
meaning sometimes ascribed to the social prob¬ 
lem which makes it possible to speak of a solu- 

1 “The Social Problem,” p. 7. 

2 See Waurin, “La Question Sociale,” p. 17. 


The Social Problem of To-day 

tion, and rational to expect it. Generally con¬ 
sidered it is, as has just been said, a whole 
congeries of problems, but among them there is 
almost always some special question that is to 
the fore, some special obstacle blocking social 
progress and giving rise to the problem of its 
removal. ’Whatever this problem may be it is, 
for the time, the most important problem. 
Further social progress demands and requires 
its solution. It is the social problem. The so¬ 
cial problem as a general question is a problem 
for all time; this special social problem is for 
one time only, and human intelligence may settle 
it forever. In this sense there need be no hesi¬ 
tancy in speaking of a solution. What, then, is 
the social problem of our time, the social prob¬ 
lem of to-day? 

A social problem is always a question of re¬ 
moving some obstacle to progress. Now, the 
obstacles in the way of social advancement are 
of two kinds, natural and artificial—those which 
nature places in the way, and those which arise 
from the ignorance and selfishness of man. 
When, for instance, the Pilgrims landed on the 
bleak and inhospitable shores of New England, 
fell upon their knees, and then, as Evarts said, 
got up and fell upon the aborigines, the chief 
obstacles before them were those presented by 
the topographic and climatic features of the 
country. To-day, however, the wilderness has 
been subdued; desert regions have been re- 


Work and Life 

claimed; coal, gas and electricity provide 
warmth and light; steam multiplies man’s 
power, and forest, field, air and water yield up 
their food. The conquest of Nature, though 
not complete, has met with a success undreamed 
of. The most serious obstacles remaining are 
those due to the ignorance and selfishness of in¬ 
dividuals embodied in social institutions. It is 
among these artificial obstacles that we must 
look for the occasion of the social problem of to¬ 

Ignorance and selfishness are, of course, as 
old as the race. Selfishness, however, mani¬ 
fests itself in domination and in privilege, and 
these are supported by ignorance. Once get a 
privilege established and the conservatism of 
ignorance will tend to uphold it. “It is truly 
wonderful to a philosophic mind,” says an 
anonymous writer, “what unanimity of speech 
and action can be evoked from mankind in favor 
of what is. No matter how irrational, how in¬ 
convenient, how injurious, how flagrantly mon¬ 
strous even a thing may be, if it is actually ex¬ 
istent, and can boast of antiquity, however 
limited, the whole world will rush to its de¬ 
fence .” 1 History illustrates the truth of this. 
Its course has been, roughly spealdng, about as 
follows: The selfishness of the strong or the 
cunning takes the earliest opportunity to or¬ 
ganise and intrench itself in the most available 

1 Quoted in “The Social Horizon,” p. 80. 


The Social Problem of To-day 

institution. Here the few flourish and, for a 
time, perform a valuable social function. They 
luxuriate, grow corrupt, and, drunk with power, 
indulge in excesses which arouse the many to a 
sense of injustice. A struggle ensues, ending 
in the popular conquest of the oppressive in¬ 
stitution. Selfishness is driven out, to rein¬ 
trench itself on other vantage ground; and the 
same process is repeated. The social question 
is always a question of the many against the 
few, a question of privilege, of social justice, 
and manifests itself invariably in a struggle over 
some form of institution; that is to say, a class- vl 

To illustrate the truth of this, as well as to 
show how the social problem changes its aspect 
from time to time, let us look a little more closely 
at the history of the past. 

In the early stages of social development man 
was extremely superstitious. His ideas were al¬ 
most wholly theological. He was, as Huxley 
says, “a prey to blind impulses, and a victim of 
endless illusions which made his mental exis¬ 
tence a terror and a burden and filled his phys¬ 
ical life with barren toil and battle.” He was 
consequently most easily ruled through his fear 
of the gods. The Church, therefore, became the 
most powerful of institutions. It held the keys 
of heaven and hell. It had the power to bind 
and to loose. What more natural than that the 
exercise of such power should lead to selfishness, 


Work and Life 

or that the supremely selfish and ambitious 
should gain control of the institution? This, 
as everybody knows, is precisely what hap¬ 
pened. The Church became grossly corrupt 
and oppressive. Heresy—that is to say, inde¬ 
pendent thinking—was the unpardonable sin. 
The people, slowly increasing in intelligence, 
grew restive, and here and there broke out in 
open revolt. The interests and influences of the 
ecclesiastics were inimical to change, hence they 
blocked the pathway of progress. For centuries 
the most urgent demand of the people was for 
religious freedom, freedom from the palsying 
hand of the Church. The social question was a 
religious question. When Luther, Zwingli, and 
their associates inaugurated the Reformation of 
the sixteenth century, they began the closing act 
of the great historical drama of the struggle for 
religious liberty. Even yet men are not alto¬ 
gether free from ecclesiastical domination, but 
the power of the Church is broken, and the 
social problem is no longer primarily reli¬ 

The conquest of religious freedom, however, 
did not destroy human selfishness. Driven 
from one stronghold, it sought refuge and op¬ 
portunity in another. That other was the Gov¬ 
ernment, also a necessary institution with a 
great historic mission, but affording the next 
best opportunity for domination and the enjoy¬ 
ment of privilege. The people soon found that 


The Social Problem of To-day 

the power formerly wielded by the ecclesiastic 
was now lodged in the hands of the political 
potentate. The crozier had but transformed it¬ 
self into the sceptre. Hence the battle had to 
be fought over again. A social movement, more 
or less conscious, and manifesting itself spas¬ 
modically in uprisings and revolutions, took 
place, culminating in a modification of the power 
of the ruling class, as in England and Germany, 
or in a nominal democracy, as in France and the 
United States. During all this period the dom¬ 
inant interest of the people was in matters per¬ 
taining to political control. Their greatest need 
was political freedom. The social problem was 
a political problem. 

Of course, it cannot be said that there is even 
yet anywhere complete political freedom. 
Kings and emperors still claim to rule by the 
grace of God, and talk of “my people.” Fully 
half of mankind, the “better half,” are still in 
a condition of political subserviency; and even 
where democracy is most vaunted men are still 
dominated by “the boss,” or are the subjects of 
their own blind partisanship. Still, for all that, 
the more civilised nations have passed out of the 
shadow of political oppression. It is not true 
of Russia or Turkey, and it is but partially true 
of other European countries, but it is practically 
true of the United States. From the polit¬ 
ical situation of the time of Frederick the Great 
who looked upon the people as upon the deer of 


Work and Life 

Ms park; or the days of Bonaparte who re¬ 
garded men as food for powder, down to the de¬ 
mocracy of Jefferson who demanded “equal 
privileges for all and special privileges to 
none,” or of Lincoln who declared that Gfod 
must love the common people because he made 
so many of them, is a long journey, but it has 
been made. Opening out before us there lies 
still the long and steep pathway leading to ideal 
political conditions in which there will be no 
common people, because there will be no in¬ 
vidious distinctions. But the main question is 
no longer primarily a political question. 

Religious and political freedom having been 
practically acMeved by the close of the eight¬ 
eenth century, so far at least as the more ad¬ 
vanced nations are concerned, we should expect 
to find the dominating spirit and selfishness of 
men next manifesting themselves in the most 
available institution. The power of the Church 
was weakened, and that of the State distributed. 
But there had been growing up during the sec¬ 
ond half of the eighteenth century an institu¬ 
tion which, as a means of control, and privilege, 
was to become more potent than Church or 
State. That institution was Capitalism, or, 
speaking generally, the industrial institution. 
Hitherto privilege had relied on the religious 
fears and beliefs of men, and on the repression 
of political opinion. It now found at its hand 
an instrument whereby it could maintain itself 


The Social Problem of To-day 

by controlling men through the control of their 
material means of existence. 

This control was to be exerted through owner¬ 
ship. The private ownership of the material 
means of production, land, machinery, etc., 
obviously carries with it the power to rule, and 
v to exploit; that is, to live on the earnings of 
others. Those who own the tools of production 
may, by virtue of their property right in them, 
deny their use to those who must work to live, 
until the workers agree to surrender a part of 
the product of their labour for the privilege. 
No matter what the basis of ownership may be 
this is the fact. Analysis reveals that in our 
present system of industry the labourer pays 
for his job. He gives profits to get a share of 
the product. To deny this is to declare that 
there is no advantage in private ownership, or 
that business is philanthropy. The common talk 
about capitalists “giving” employment to la¬ 
bour is calculated to provoke a smile from those 
who have really looked below the surface of 
economic phenomena. The real “giver” is the 
labourer, although his, of course, is a forced gift. 

The control of the industrial institutions, then, 
whatever else it may signify, does mean power 
and privilege. Nothing more natural than that 
such power should be used, and abused. So, 
the evolution of our modern industrial system 
has been accompanied by increasing despotic 
use of the power it has placed in the hands of 


Work and Life 

those who control it. John Stuart Mill saw the 
drift of things, and foretold the resultant char- 
actei of the social problem. “The social prob¬ 
lem of the future,’* he said, “we considered to 
be how to unite the greatest individual liberty 
of action with a common ownership in the raw 
material of the globe, and an equal participa¬ 
tion of all in the benefits of combined labour. ’ ’ 1 
He realised that the social problem was to be¬ 
come an economic question. The event justi¬ 
fied his prediction. “The social question,” 
says Professor Adolph Wagner, in an oft-quoted 
passage, “comes of the consciousness of a con¬ 
tradiction between economic development and 
the social ideal of liberty and equality which is 
being realised in political life .” 2 That is, the 
social problem is no longer political, but eco¬ 
nomic. We read to-day that one man controls 
this, that, or the other industry, or that a few 
men are masters of half the railroads in the 
country. We hear of “Steel Kings,” “Copper 
Kings,” “Kailway Magnates,” and “Coal 
Barons.” This is but to say that power has 
concentrated in the hands of those who have 
secured possession of the instruments of pro¬ 
duction, and in some cases that power is greater 
than that formerly wielded by kings and em¬ 
perors. It would be a miracle if this power were 

1 “Autobiography” (London, 1873), p. 232. 

2 “Lehrbuch der Politischen Oekonomie” (second edition, 
1876), p. 36. 


The Social Problem of To-day 

not abused. That it has been no one will deny. 
In many cases the new rulers are only shrewd 
manipulators of economic distribution. They 
regard their own interests as primary, their im¬ 
mediate welfare as superior to the public weal. 
Hence “soulless corporation” and “greedy 
trust” have become common phrases. Cor¬ 
porations, trusts, and combinations, whatever 
may be said of their inherent social possibili¬ 
ties, are the instruments laid hold of to main¬ 
tain and augment the power of a few men. 
They are social factors of great potential util¬ 
ity, but they are to-day employed primarily for 
private advantage. The social benefits which 
now accrue from them are considerable, but 
they are incidental. Their main purpose is to 
promote the power of the few by skilful manip¬ 
ulation of industrial and business forces. Says 
Professor Ward: 

“ Those engaged in the distribution of wealth 
come in contact with such large amounts that 
they cannot resist the inclination to absorb into 
their own possession a proportion greater than 
is sufficient to constitute a just compensation for 
their labour. Neither have the means been yet 
devised to prevent this. To do so is the prob¬ 
lem of social economy. The combinations, co¬ 
operations, and monopolies already established 
by shrewd distributors of wealth have become 
so extensive and complicated that it may re¬ 
quire a general social revolution to overthrow 


Work and Life 

them. These industries have absorbed the most 
acute minds of the world, because they were the 
levers of power which intellectual force could 
lay hold of. They have maintained their grasp 
by dint of every available form of deception, 
misrepresentation, and strategy, which is all 
within the legitimate sphere of natural law. 
The most potent of all the influences wielded by 
them is that of securing the acquiescence of the 
victims—for it is a thankless task to labour for 
the emancipation of a willing slave. This ob¬ 
ject the distributors of wealth have accom¬ 
plished by the manufacture of a public senti¬ 
ment favourable to their interests. This has 
been done so successfully that, in this age of 
pretended practical life, any remark bearing 
upon the greatest economic problem of society 
—viz., the equitable remuneration of labour and 
distribution of wealth—is at once branded as 
‘socialistic’ and ‘visionary,’ as well by those 
who suffer as by those who profit by this state 
of things.” 1 

The seat of power, then, the opportunity for 
selfish domination, and the source of oppression 
are to-day in our industrial institutions. These 
institutions themselves, like the Church and the 
State, have performed a great mission. Those 
in control of them, the capitalist class, have 
rendered the world a great service by develop¬ 
ing and organising the material forces of pro- 

i “Dynamic Sociology,” Vol. I, pp. 577, 578. 


The Social Problem of To-day 

duction. But here, as in the preceding domi¬ 
nant institutions, the temptations to the misuse 
of power are too great. Oppression has re¬ 
sulted, followed by agitation. There is in all 
the more civilised countries a social movement 
in the direction of securing popular control of 
industry, manifesting itself in either a demand 
Tor public regulation of great industries or for 
public management, or for the social ownership 
and control of all the material means of produc¬ 
tion. The social question has become an eco¬ 
nomic question, a question of economic freedom. 
It is the question of securing the management of 
our industrial institutions in the interest of 
the people as a whole. It is indicated by the 
demand for social and industrial justice, and 
by the inquiry, “Shall the people rule?” 

The social problem, then, has passed through 
two distinct phases, the religious and the polit¬ 
ical, and is now in a third, namely, the eco¬ 
nomic . 1 It is to-day, as it has always been, a 
question of popular freedom, a question of de¬ 
mocracy. Many of the struggles of the past for 
religious and political power have borne no con¬ 
scious relation to the social problem. They 
were merely attempts at settling disputes which 
had arisen between rival factions of the dom¬ 
inant class that were of no particular interest 
to the people, because to them they meant at 

i Terri mentions another phase, the civil, 
and Science,” p. 39. 


See his “Socialism 

Work and Life 

most only a change of masters. The freedom, 
which is the immediate object of the social move¬ 
ment, is to-day, as it has always been, freedom 
from selfish domination. 

Now, it is not to be denied that domination, 
even class domination, is not an unmixed evil. 
It has been a factor in social progress. “The 
whole history of mankind (since the dissolution 
of the primitive tribal society, holding land in 
common ownership),” says the famous Com¬ 
munist Manifesto of 1848, “has been a history 
of class-struggles, contests between exploiting 
and exploited, ruling and oppressed classes.” 1 
This is true, but the struggle of classes, like the 
conflicts between contiguous tribes or races, has 
contributed to progress. Says Herbert Spen¬ 

“We must recognise the truth that the strug¬ 
gles for existence between societies have been 
instrumental to their evolution. Neither the 
consolidation and reconsolidation of small 
groups into large ones; nor the organisation 
of such compound and doubly compound 
groups; nor the concomitant developments of 
those aids to a higher life which civilisation has 
brought; would have been possible without in¬ 
ter-tribal and inter-national conflicts. Social 
co-operation is initiated by joint defence and 
offence; and from the co-operation thus initi- 

1 “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” by Karl Marx and 
Frederick Engels; authorised English translation, Preface. 


The Social Problem of To-day 

ated all kinds of co-operations liave arisen. In¬ 
conceivable as have been the horrors caused by 
this universal antagonism which, beginning with 
the chronic hostilities of small hordes tens of 
thousands of years ago, has ended in the occa¬ 
sional vast battles of immense nations, we must 
nevertheless admit that without it the world 
vould still have been inhabited only by men of 
feeble types, sheltering in caves and living on 
wild food.” 1 

So, then, class-combination and class-struggle 
have been means of social development. In 
certain critical periods of society, say in war, 
it is an advantage to have the reins of power 
in the hands of a class that will organise the so¬ 
ciety for military purposes. Such organisation 
implies the subordination of the many, and their 
obedience to the ruling authority; things neces¬ 
sary in effective social action. The great dan¬ 
ger comes, however, after the crisis is passed, 
when social existence and advancement are no 
longer dependent upon the dominance of a par¬ 
ticular class, or the exercise by it of exclusive 
privileges. This danger manifests itself in an 
undue conservatism on the part of those who 
profit by the existing condition of affairs, and 
by the oppression of the “lower” classes as 
soon as they begin to manifest indications of a 
revolt against the injustices practised upon 
them. Privilege is dear, and is not often will-' 

i “Principles of Sociology,” Vol. II, p. 241. 


Work and Life 

ingly sacrificed. “I do not believe,” said Wen¬ 
dell Phillips, “that the upper classes—educa¬ 
tion, wealth, aristocracy, conservatism—the men 
that are in, ever yielded except to fear. I think 
the history of the race shows that the upper 
classes never granted a privilege to the lower 
out of love. As Jeremy Bentham says: ‘The 
upper classes never yielded a privilege without 
being bullied out of it. ’ ” 1 
This disposition of the ruling' class to maintain 
itself in its dominant and privileged position 
follows not so much from its superior sel¬ 
fishness as from the instinct of self-preserva¬ 
tion. is an illusion to suppose that one class 
in society is animated by the spirit of selfish¬ 
ness and greed, while another class alone is vir¬ 
tuous and heroic. Selfishness is a principle of 
human nature, due to the circumstances and ex¬ 
igencies under which man has developed, and 
this principle will manifest itself whenever and 
wherever there is irresponsible power and priv¬ 
ilege. It becomes more assertive and conspicu¬ 
ous in a class the power and privilege of which 
are challenged. In such a class the temptation 
to employ unjust methods in its own behalf be¬ 
comes unusually strong. And when we look 
back over history, we find that in almost every 
instance it has yielded to the temptation. 

Among the methods employed by the ruling 
classes in history to preserve their exclusive 

i “Speeches, Lectures and Addresses,” second series, p. 121. 


The Social Problem of To-day 

privileges and to maintain themselves in their 
dominant position is, in the first place, the awak¬ 
ening of the fear of the lower orders by pun¬ 
ishment for the violation of codes, which codes 
are always consciously or unconsciously inspired 
in the interests of the social classes that direct 
the State. 1 Armies organised ostensibly for 
the purpose of defending the State against a 
foreign foe, have been used to protect the 
privileged class, to hold the subject class in awe, 
and a special though not acknowledged func¬ 
tion of the army to-day is to prevent a rising of 
the people against injustice. Even the religious 
element in the nature of man has been made to 
play an important part in preserving the rel¬ 
ative position of the classes; for the people were 
led to believe that for any attempt to secure a 
share of the privileges of the dominant class 
they would be x>nnished, not only in this life but 
also in the life to come. 

Again, the dominant classes have always en¬ 
deavoured to pervert the egoism of the lower 
classes and thus make them believe that it was 
to their advantage to be ruled. “Kings be¬ 
stride the necks of their people,” said Abraham 
Lincoln, “not because they want to do it, but 
because the people are better off for being rid¬ 
den.” Naturally the agencies for moulding 
public opinion have been in the hands of the 
dominant classes, and they have not failed to 

i See Loria, “Economic Foundations of Society,” p. 135. 


Work and Life 

employ them. A public sentiment favourable to 
their interests has been developed and main¬ 
tained. This is why the idea of divine right has 
been so long-lived. The idea that God looks 
with peculiar favour upon a monarchy in com¬ 
parison with other forms of government, and 
that accession by primogeniture is peculiarly 
sacred, antedates both the Christian and the 
Mosaic dispensations. This idea that some men 
are bom to lord it over others has always been 
an effective instrument for maintaining the dom¬ 
ination of the ruling class. Even to-day the 
intelligent citizen must carefully examine all 
appeals to his patriotism to see whether there is 
not lurking behind the appeal the mere desire 
to utilise his patriotism in maintaining the posi¬ 
tion of those in power—that is to say, for par¬ 
tisan instead of patriotic purposes. 

Finally, the dominant classes have naturally 
enough opposed the advancement of knowledge 
among the “lower” classes. Knowledge is the 
foe of privilege. The instinct of self-preserva¬ 
tion led even the Church to oppose education in 
science, or to direct it into “safe” channels. 
From the dawn of history when, according to 
the biblical story, our first parents were pro¬ 
hibited from eating of the fruit of the tree of 
knowledge of good and evil, down to the time 
when the attitude of the ecclesiastics provoked 
the saying that “ignorance is the mother of de¬ 
votion,” the Church has been hostile to scien- 


The Social Problem of To-day 

tific knowledge. Even in recent times a bishop 
of the English Church could declare, in the pres¬ 
ence of a large assemblage, that he could find 
nothing in either the Old or the New Testament 
which warranted him in paying deference to 
mere intellect. Galileo was compelled to bow 
the knee before the inquisitorial Court at Eome 
and solemnly recant his teaching that the sun is 
the centre of our system and the earth revolves 
around it; and Professor Huxley, for his sincere 
advocacy of the evolutionary hypothesis, was 
publicly ridiculed by a bishop of the Church and 
taunted with being the descendant of a monkey. 1 
There is something of this same spirit mani¬ 
fested to-day when a man, by giving honest ut¬ 
terance to well-established results of modern 
biblical criticism, calls down upon himself the 
scathing denunciation of those whose love of 
truth is outweighed by their fear that certain 
interests, supposed by them to be sacred and 
important, may be jeopardised by the advance¬ 
ment of knowledge. Ecclesiastical, political, or 
industrial, the dominant class has opposed the 
advancement of knowledge when such advance- 

i Huxley, however, had the wit to hurl hack the deserved 
and withering retort that he would rather be the descendant 
of an animal of low intelligence and of stooping gait, that grins 
and chatters as you pass, than to be the descendant of a man, 
endowed with great eloquence and occupying a splendid posi¬ 
tion, who would prostitute these gifts in a skilful appeal to 
religious prejudice for the purpose of obscuring the truth. See 
“Life and Letters of Thomas H. Huxley,” Vol. I, Chap. XIV, 
in which several reports of Huxley’s famous reply to Bishop 
Wilberforce are given. 


Work and Life 

ment threatened its privileges. History re¬ 
cords the tardiness of the political authorities in 
providing opportunity for the education of the 
common people. No serious attempt was made 
in England by the ruling classes until 1832 to 
facilitate the education of the people, and edu¬ 
cation was not made national and compulsory 
until 1867. 1 It would not have been made so 
then, perhaps, had it not been for the fact that 
the power of the people began to be feared, 
and, as Lord Sherbrooke expressed it in 1870, 
the ruling class felt that they “must educate 
their masters. ’ ’ 

These are some of the methods that have 
been employed in the past to preserve the dom¬ 
inant class in its position of dominancy. It can¬ 
not be denied that the temptation to employ 
similar methods for similar purposes presents 
itself now to the class occupying the dominant 
position, or that they yield to the temptation. 
Witness the capitalistic control of the press, the 
demand for “safe and sane” economic teaching, 
the rewards of conformity and the persecution, 
petty or powerful as circumstances may allow, 
of those who dare to raise their voice against 
economic injustice. Thus we have a confronta¬ 
tion of the privileged and non-privileged classes 
and a consequent social problem that is economic 
in its nature. It involves the elimination of un¬ 
earned incomes, the doing away with the “un- 

1 See Graham, “The Social Problem” (London, 1886), p. 24. 


The Social Problem of To-day 

productive surplus” which, as J. A. Hobson 
remarks, is “the only true bone of contention, 
the only valid cause of conflict between capital 
and labour,” and which “lies in the industrial 
system a source of continual disturbance, breed¬ 
ing economic maladies.” 1 

This, then, is the social problem of to-day: 
How are the economic institutions of society, in 
which so much power and privilege are concen¬ 
trated, and that are essential to the well-being 
of all, to be effectively organised and conducted 
so that their benefits may be justly shared by 
all members of society, and thus the last refuge 
of the spirit of selfish domination be, like the 
Church and State, in the hands of the people? 
It arises from a contest between “Mastership 
and Fellowship,” as William Morris pointed 
out. “What is the combat we are now entering 
upon,” he inquires, “who is it to be fought be¬ 
tween?” Absolutism and Democracy, perhaps 
some will answer. Not quite, I think; that con¬ 
test was practically settled by the great French 
Revolution; it is only its embers which are 
burning now: or at least that is so in the coun¬ 
tries which are not belated like Russia, for 
instance. Democracy, or at least what used to 
be considered Democracy, is now triumphant; 
and though it is true that there are countries 
where freedom of speech is repressed besides 
Russia, as e.g., Germany and Ireland, that only 

i “The Science of Wealth,” New York, 1911, p. 82. 


Work and Life 

happens when the rulers of the triumphant 
Democracy are beginning to be afraid of the 
new order of things, now becoming conscious 
of itself, and are being driven into reaction 
in consequence. No, it is not Absolutism and 
Democracy as the French Revolution understood 
those two words that are the enemies now: the 
issue is deeper than it was; the two foes are 
now Mastership and Fellowship. This is a far 
more serious quarrel than the old one, and 
involves a much completer revolution. The 
grounds of conflict are really quite different. 
Democracy said and says, men shall not be the 
masters of others, because hereditary privilege 
has made a race or a family so, and they happen 
to belong to such race; they shall individually 
grow into being the masters of others by the 
development of certain qualities under a system 
of authority which artificially protects the 
wealth of every man, if he has acquired it in 
accordance with this artificial system, from the 
interference of every other, or from all others 

The new order of things says, on the con¬ 
trary, why have masters at all? let us be fel¬ 
lows working in the harmony of association for 
the common good, that is, for the greatest hap¬ 
piness and complete st development of every hu¬ 
man being in the community. ’ ’ 1 

It is sometimes said, sneeringly or dispar- 

1 William Morris, “Signs of Change,” pp. 176, 177. 

The Social Problem of To-day 

agingly, that the social problem i-s a question of 
the stomach. In a certain sense it is primarily 
so. “The animal in us,” said Amiel, “must 
be satisfied first, and we must banish from us 
all suffering which is superfluous and has its 
origin in social arrangements, before we can 
return to spiritual goods.” 1 It is as true to- 
'day as it has ever been that man lives not by 
bread alone. But it is also true that without 
bread man cannot live at all, and without a fair 
share of material comforts he is retarded in his 
development, and oftentimes prevented from 
attaining that culture of mind and soul, that 
sweetness and dignity and happiness of life, 
which it is his right to enjoy, and for the 
maintenance and furtherance of which society 
itself exists. The social problem of to-day, 
then, demands solution, not that we may be 
freed from all social perplexities, but that one 
obstacle, and a serious one, be removed from 
the path of progress, and life become freer and 

1 Journal Intime, translation by Mrs. Humphry Ward, p. 18. 



Wealth and Welfare 

“The life is more than meat, and the body is more than 
raiment.”— St. Luke, xii, 23. 

“Taking economic science as it stands in current English 
thought, the changes of the last generation have not made it 
capable of human service in the solution of the Social Ques¬ 
tion.”— J. A. Hobson. 

The science winch, treats immediately of the 
problems of industry, and is popularly sup¬ 
posed to have exclusive jurisdiction in the fields 
of industrial effort and of industrial reform, 
is political economy, the science of wealth. To 
that science one would naturally turn for as¬ 
sistance in an examination of the social problem 
as it was defined in the preceding chapter. 

Political economy deals with the production, 
distribution, and exchange of material com¬ 
modities. Economists are disposed to include 
consumption as one of the divisions of the 
science, but perhaps it would have conduced to 
clearness of thought, and encouraged a proper 
division of scientific labour, if the limits of the 
science as indicated by Turgot, Senior, Rossi, 
and John Stuart Mill had been generally recog- 


TV ealtli and W elf are 

nised. The early economists usually restricted 
the term wealth to the material products of the 
earth, and declared that political economy has 
nothing to do with Value in use, but only with 
Value in exchange. 1 Mill declared that political 
economy has “nothing to do with the consump¬ 
tion of wealth, further than as the consideration 
~ of it is inseparable from that of production, 
or from that of distribution. ” 2 He probably 
recognised that to include consumption in the 
field of his science, except as it is involved in 
production and distribution, is equivalent to 
opening the boundary of political economy on 
that side to an infinite curve. It broadens it 
into a comprehensive science of human efforts 
and satisfactions. Dupont de Nemours, the 
latest of the physiocrats, who had been exiled 
from France at the Restoration, wrote, April 
22, 1815, from the vessel which was carrying 
him to America, to J. B. Say, the French econ¬ 
omist, reproaching him for having “confined 
the domain of Political Economy within too nar¬ 
row limits.” He maintained that it was “the 
science of justice applied to all social rela¬ 
tions.” 3 But if there is to he a division of 
labour in the social sciences, nothing hut con¬ 
fusion is gained by making political economy 

1 See Macleod, “The History of Economies,” p. 47. 

2 “Essays on Some Unsettled Problems of Political Economy,” 
London, 1844, p. 82, footnote. 

3 See De Laveleye, “Luxury,” London, 1891, p. 138. 


Work and Life 

either the science of justice or of all social re¬ 

It is perfectly legitimate to segregate eco¬ 
nomic phenomena for special study and to found 
upon such study an economic science. “Such 
an ‘economic science,’ ” says Hobson, “can in¬ 
vestigate the economy of manufactures and of 
all productive activities which take definite 
‘ business ’ forms. It can collect and order under 
laws the groups of facts which relate to the 
structure and functions of different trades and 
markets, of businesses within the trade, and 
can examine, from the purely economic stand¬ 
point, the relations of the capital, labour, and or¬ 
ganising power which constitute the business.” 1 
But, as he very properly says, and as we shall 
see later on, “such a science by its necessary 
limits can afford no satisfaction to any ‘human’ 
curiosity, can contribute no answer to a social 
question. It must adhere closely to the mon¬ 
etary valuation. . . . For, though we may legit¬ 
imately detach the ‘business life’ of a commu¬ 
nity for separate study, taking the objective 
view of business and the monetary standard, as 
soon as we interpret ‘business’ in subjective 
terms of effort and satisfaction, or vital value, 
we are confronted with serious difficulties in 
effecting the detachment of the phenomena from 
the other parts of human life. So long as we 
confine our attention to the processes of earning 

1 “The Social Problem,” New York, 1901, p. 53. 


Wealth and Welfare 

and spending money-incomes, a Science of Busi¬ 
ness is possible. Bnt when we proceed to ex¬ 
plore the inner bearings and reactions of these 
processes, to ask, How does this kind of work 
affect the health and character of the worker 
and his family? how does this kind of consump¬ 
tion affect the moral life of the consumer? the 
larger unity of the human organism, both in its 
physiological and its psychological aspects, ev¬ 
erywhere intrudes.” 

The standpoint of the consumer is really that 
of the sociologist. “Those economists who 
proceed from the standpoint of consumption,” 
says Lester F. Ward, “whether they realise it 
or not, are in so far sociologists.” 1 

No disparagement of political economy is im¬ 
plied when we say that, as a matter of fact, it 
is primarily concerned with material objects, 
objects possessing the power to satisfy human 
desires, and of sufficient scarcity that men are 
willing to undergo some sacrifice to obtain them. 
It is the science which investigates the nature 
of wealth and the laws which govern its produc¬ 
tion, distribution, and exchange. As such, it 
must of course take into consideration a certain 
section of human activities. Marshall defines 
it as “a study of mankind in the ordinary busi¬ 
ness of life.” “It examines that part of indi¬ 
vidual and social action,” he says, “which is 
most closely connected with the attainment and 

1 “Outlines of Sociology/’ New York, 1898, p. 287. 


Work and Life 


with the use of the material requisites of ma¬ 
terial well-being. ’ ’ 1 

This, however, is hardly an accurate definition 
of the science as it is actually set forth in his 
own or any other text-book; for activities bear¬ 
ing upon the attainment and use of things which 
do not contribute to “well-being” are always 
included in the examination. But even if the 
definition of Marshall were exact, political 
economy would still be a special science devoted 
primarily to a single section of human activities 
and not to the general conduct of Life. It is 
“emphatically a business science.” 2 

‘ ‘ Even in the new and more humane political 
economy,” to quote Hobson once more, “leisure, 
health, friendship, freedom, love, knowledge, 
intellect, and virtue are excluded from wealth, 
and are only taken account of as far as they are 
means to the production of certain sorts of mar¬ 
ketable wares.” 3 

But the problems of industry, although in one 
respect problems of business and of wealth, and 
hence the legitimate subject of economic investi¬ 
gation, are from another and higher viewpoint, 
problems of welfare. For their final treatment, 
therefore, we must look not to the special science 
of political economy, but to the general science 
of life. Political economy alone will not fur- 

1 “Principles of Economics,” New York, 1898, Vol. I, p. 1. 

2 Amasa Walker, “Science of Wealth,” Boston, 1866, Preface. 

3 Op. cit., p. 36. 


TV ealth and W elf are 

nish us a solution of the Social Problem of To¬ 

To show how inadequate must be the consid¬ 
eration of any industrial problem from the view¬ 
point of political economy alone, it will be 
sufficient to consider some of the inconsistencies 
and contradictions which arise from the appli¬ 
cation of economic theory to matters pertaining 
to the general well-being of the people. An in¬ 
cident in our recent economic history affords an 
interesting illustration. 

In January, 1905, the press of the United 
States reported the voluntary and deliberate 
burning of cotton by planters of the South. 
The cotton crop of the preceding year was the 
largest ever produced, amounting to more than 
twelve million bales. This immense yield of a 
general necessity ought to have been, it would 
seem, a source of general satisfaction. And so 
it wonld, if cotton were produced for use and 
not for profit. More cotton, more cloth; and 
more cloth would mean more clothes for the 
people. But in the South, this enormous yield 
of cotton brought not rejoicing but consterna¬ 
tion. The planters pronounced it “a more de¬ 
plorable circumstance to the South than the 
defeat of the Democratic party.” The farmers 
were advised “to burn a million bales,” and if 
that did not suffice to raise the price so that a 
clear profit might be obtained, to ‘ ‘ bum another 
million bales.” It was supposed that, as a con- 


Work and Life 

sequence of the gigantic crop, the price of cotton 
would fall so low that the producers might de¬ 
stroy a part of their cotton, thus reducing the 
supply and consequently raising the price, and 
still be able to sell the remainder for as much 
as, or more than, the total crop would bring. 

This theory of the planters reminds one of 
the story of the Sibylline books. The Cumsean 
Sibyl, according to the legend, presented herself 
before Tarquin the Proud, the seventh and last 
king of Rome, with nine books for sale. On 
his refusal to buy them at the price demanded, 
she went away, burned three, returned and of¬ 
fered the remaining six at the same price. Tar¬ 
quin again refused, whereupon she cast three 
more into the fire and demanded the original 
price for the three remaining. This so aston¬ 
ished the King that he bought the books. The 
planters apparently expected the success of the 
Sibyl in selling her books to be repeated in tkeiii 
case with respect to cotton. 

The newspaper reports of the actual burning 
of cotton were probably exaggerated. But 
there is nothing new or peculiar about the de¬ 
struction of goods to influence the price favour¬ 
ably to those who have the goods for sale. 
Fourier long ago reported that the Oriental 
Company of Amsterdam “publicly burned 
stores of cinnamon in order to raise the price .’ 9 
“What it did with cinnamon,” he says, “it 
would have done with com; but for the fear of 


Wealth and Welfare 

being stoned by the populace, it would Have 
burnt corn in order to sell the rest at four times 
its value. Indeed,” he continues, “it actually 
is of daily occurrence in ports, for provisions 
of grain to be thrown into the sea because mer¬ 
chants have allowed them to rot while waiting 
for a rise. I, myself, when I was a clerk, have 
had to superintend these infamous proceedings, 
and in one day caused to be thrown into the sea 
some forty thousand bushels of rice, which 
might have been sold at a fair profit had the 
withholder been less greedy of gain.” 

Such “infamous proceedings” are a matter! 
of indifference from the standpoint of commer¬ 
cial gain, that is, from that of political economy. 

If the planters of the South, then, had actually 
burned a part of their crop of cotton, the effect 
on the price would have been the same as if 
the cotton burned had not been produced. It 
would only have been a summary and rather ex¬ 
pensive method of “limiting the output” of 
cotton. It would also have been more certainly 
successful than the other method sometimes re¬ 
sorted to, namely, the restriction by agreement 
among the planters of the number of acres to be 
planted in cotton. It is said that once, when a 
resolution was adopted by the Cotton Growers’ 
Association binding each member to plant a rel¬ 
atively small amount of cotton, many of its 
members, reasoning that the effect of this agree¬ 
ment would be a small crop of cotton and a high 


Work and Life 

price, and thinking it would be no great matter 
if they violated the terms of it, put out more 
cotton than ever before, the outcome being that 
the supply of cotton was increased instead of 
being diminished! 

This fiasco reminds one of the story told, I 
believe, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, to the effect 
that once upon a time all the people of the earth 
agreed that at a specified moment each would 
yell at the top of his voice. But when the time 
came, each one thinking it would make no great 
difference in the volume of sound if he listened 
instead of crying out, no voice was raised except 
that of an old woman in New Zealand who was 
so deaf she couldn’t hear the sound of her own 

“Limiting the production” and reducing the 
output by destroying a part of the product are 
not essentially different; either may be profit¬ 
able to the producer. The New York Globe 
declared that “if the planters are really pos¬ 
sessed of the notion that by destroying a part 
of their property they can make the remainder 
more valuable than the whole, then the political 
economists, from Adam Smith down, may well 
ask themselves if their teaching has not been 
altogether idle. ’ ’ 

But political economy teaches, and has always 
taught, that reducing the supply of a commodity 
tends to raise the price, and that there is no 
definite proportional relation between supply 


Wealth and Welfare 

and price. The proportional rise in price may 
greatly exceed the proportional reduction of 
supply. The cotton planters, then, might have 
succeeded, by burning some of their cotton, in 
raising the price of the rest of it so high that 
it would have yielded a higher aggregate profit 
than if the entire amount had been sold at the 
price they could have obtained; and they would 
also have saved themselves the trouble of mar¬ 
keting that portion of the crop that had been 

The frequency with which the method of lim¬ 
iting production, or restricting the output, is 
resorted to by business men indicates that it is 
good ‘‘business policy.” Manufacturers may 
be expected to discharge some of their em¬ 
ployes in periods of low prices; companies now 
and then close up their industrial plants and let 
their machinery rust; and trusts have been 
known to shut down a mill, and even pay the 
owner to remain idle, in order to limit the 
supply of a commodity and thus raise the price. 
They count on a higher profit on a smaller pro¬ 
duction at a high price than they could obtain 
on a large production at a low price. 

Nor are business men the only ones who resort 
to this practice. Labourers, too, have learned 
to profit by the operation of the economic law of 
supply and demand. They limit the quantity 
of work performed, and endeavour to control the 
supply of labour, by limiting the number of 


Work and Life 

apprentices, by insisting upon the “closed ’ y 
shop, and by other methods familiar to the pub¬ 

But however profitable this practice may be 
at times to employers or to employes, however 
advantageous as a business policy, it is plainly 
inconsistent with public welfare and hence can¬ 
not be regarded as a good social policy. It is 
a method of profit by loss. Society loses while 
the individual gains. Often the application of 
the method is the result of an economic situation 
in which some men have more of a commodity 
than they can use, or sell at a profit, while others 
have less than they need. There is a “glut in 
the market,” as we say. It is thus illustrative 
of an unorganised and irrational distribution 
of commodities. 

Now, in the language of political economy, an 
economic situation such as that just described 
is called “overproduction,” or, more specific¬ 
ally, “partial overproduction.” This expres¬ 
sion fits the case so far as the sellers or 
producers are concerned. They have produced 
more of a commodity, or have more on hand, 
than they can sell at a profit. But obviously it 
cannot seem like overproduction to those who 
need the commodities but are unable to buy 
them. To describe the situation as it affects 
this other class, some other expression is neces¬ 
sary. The word ‘ ‘ underconsumption ’ ’ has been 
suggested. To the producer it is overproduc- 

' 36 

Wealth and Welfare 

tion; to the consumer, underconsumption. The 
producer has more goods than he can find sale 
for at a profit; the consumer cannot purchase 
as many goods as he could profitably use. The 
producer will not continue to produce without 
the incentive of profits; the consumer cannot 
continue to consume without the ability to pur¬ 
chase. Thus the circulation of goods, the flow 
of commodities from producer to consumer, is 
arrested by the business demand for profits. 
And when the circulation of a body is inter¬ 
rupted, something is wrong with the system. 
We need, therefore, a term that connotes this 
pathological condition of the industrial order; 
a term that describes the situation as it affects 
the whole body politic. Perhaps “economic 
congestion’* is sufficiently accurate. And since 
“congestion” is an inevitable result of produc¬ 
tion for profit, the profit system cannot be re¬ 
garded as ideal. 

The words overproduction and undercon¬ 
sumption, then, as used in the academic sense, 
reveal the fact that the viewpoint of political 
economy, both as a science and as an art, is a 
partial one. That of the classical economists 
was, as a matter of fact, almost entirely that of 
the producing class. The end contemplated 
by the classical economists was material gain in 
the form of profits. And the modern econo¬ 
mists, as such, are obliged to look at a question 
from the standpoint of business prosperity. 


Work and Life 

But there is a difference between prosperity and 
progress. Business prosperity has primarily 
to do with pecuniary profits; progress, with the 
lives and happiness of the people. The main 
question of business is, “What is the profit?” 
The main question of progress is, “What doth 
it profit?” The wastes of competition, of over¬ 
employment, of child labour, of war, do not nec¬ 
essarily restrict business prosperity; they may 
even enhance it; but they do retard progress. 
Prosperity involves material gain, often of the 
few alone; progress involves the fruits of it. 
In short, business prosperity is primarily a 
question of money: progress, a question of men. 
One is a question of material wealth; the other, 
a question of social welfare. If, for instance, 
it is said that the wealth of the country has 
doubled within a certain period it does not mean 
necessarily that the people are twice as “well 
off” as they were before. It might mean that 
we are infinitely worse off, for if the increase 
were largely in the hands of those who already 
had too much, they would be subjected to the 
greater evils of “swollen fortunes,” and the 
living conditions of the producers might have 
become like that of the slave. The increase in 
wealth might imply “that we were simply mak¬ 
ing greater drudges of ourselves, toiling harder 
than before after commercial goods under con¬ 
ditions of work which disabled ns from making 
a more pleasant or a more profitable use of our 


Wealth and Welfare 

increased possessions than onr forefathers 
made of their smaller stock.” Of these con¬ 
ditions political economy would have nothing to 
say save as it bore upon the production, distri¬ 
bution and exchange of wealth. 

The restricted viewpoint of political economy 
may be further illustrated by the specialised 
use of some of its familiar terms. The word 
‘‘wealth,” for instance, according to the famil¬ 
iar definition of Mill, includes “all useful and 
agreeable things which possess exchangeable 
value.” Useful, in this definition, has refer¬ 
ence only to the power of a thing to satisfy a 
human desire. The term wealth is thus eco¬ 
nomically as applicable to a barrel of whiskey 
as to a barrel of flour. For “useful,” as here 
used, has its specialised sense, meaning the 
power to satisfy a want, without regard to the 
character of that want. From the standpoint 
of political economy, then, dangerously adul¬ 
terated food, poisonous intoxicants, the ridicu¬ 
lous gimcracks and gewgaws of vanity and 
ostentation—anything that will exchange for 
money—are wealth, and belong in the same cat¬ 
egory as wholesome bread and meat, good books 
and pictures, and all the things essential to life. 

The word “wealth,” however, in its original 
meaning indicated a condition of well-being. It 
is but a lengthened form of the word “weal.” 
The affix “th” means condition of; as, for in¬ 
stance, in the word “health,” which means the 


Work and Life 

condition of being healed, or in the word 
“dearth,” the condition of being dear or 
scarce . 1 Bnt in political economy, the word 
has been wrested from its original meaning 
and is employed without any ethical signifi¬ 

From the viewpoint of welfare, however, 
there is plainly an inconsistency in calling a 
thing wealth, which, instead of contributing to 
well-being, is destrnctive of it. An immoral 
book or indecent picture may have an exchange 
value of thousands of dollars. Each must be re¬ 
garded as wealth, according to the economic 
definition. But those who read the book or are 
influenced by the picture are worth less than 
they were before; “they will fulfill their duties 
less efficiently.” The English sell the Chinese 
millions ’ worth of opium yearly. And yet, as 
Be Laveleye declares, “if the Emperor had all 
this opium flung into the sea, so far from Chi¬ 
na’s losing by it, she would gain immensely by 
having fewer of her people brutalised and inca¬ 
pable of working. . . . Opium has a value for 
the merchant, when he finds people foolish 
enough to give him in exchange for it the money 
which will procure for him useful commodities. 
But for the nation and for the race it has no 
value, since it serves only to produce stupefac¬ 
tion and idiocy. It is the same in a less degree 

i Cannan, “Theories of Production and Distribution,” 
don, 1903, p. 1. 



Wealth and Welfare 

with tobacco and strong liquors. These are 
poisons produced at the cost of labour and cap¬ 
able of exchange, hence, according to the econ¬ 
omists, they are forms of wealth—and yet their 
complete destruction would be a benefit to man¬ 
kind. ’ ’ 1 

“Benefit to mankind,” that is the funda¬ 
mental idea in the social conception of wealth. 
From the standpoint of welfare, only such 
things are wealth as tend to make us “well.” 
This economist thought that the commodities 
before mentioned, the immoral book, opium, 
etc., are not properly called wealth. They are 
not, of course, in the original meaning of the 
term; but since they are bought and sold, and 
are subject to the same laws of production and 
distribution as good books and food, they can¬ 
not be excluded from the economic category 
without exasperating confusion of thought. 
Political economy does not make a distinction 
between the commodities which contribute to 
well-being and those which do not. Its defini¬ 
tion of wealth is not in terms of life as it should 
be, but as it is. 

Ruskin defined wealth as those “things which 
the nature of humanity has rendered in all ages, 
and must render in all ages to come . . . the 
objects of legitimate desire ”; 2 and Morris de¬ 
fined it as “what nature gives us and what a 

1 Op. tit., pp. 139, 140. 

2 “Munera Pulveris,” Sec. 34, note. 


Work and Life 

reasonable man can make ont of the gifts of 
nature for his reasonable use .” 1 

Even Mill saw that ‘ ‘ the wealth of a country 
consists of the sum total of the permanent 
sources of enjoyment, whether material or im¬ 
material, contained in it .” 2 

So much for the word “wealth” as illustrat¬ 
ing, in its social and economic application, the 
restricted viewpoint of the science of wealth. 
iThe word “value,” as used in political economy, 
has also passed through a similar process of 
specialisation of meaning. Value, as Ruskin 
long ago pointed out, meant originally the qual¬ 
ity of being well or strong—“strong, in life 
(if a man), or valiant; strong, for life (if a 
thing), or valuable.” To be “valuable,” there¬ 
fore, is, in the original sense, to “avail toward 
life.” And he asserted that the value of a 
thing is independent of opinion and of quantity. 
“Think what you will of it,” he says, “gain 
how much you may of it, the value of the thing 
itself is neither greater nor less. Forever it 
avails, or it avails not; no estimate can raise, 

1 “Signs of Change,” London, 1896, p. 149. Morris adds, “The 
sunlight, fresh air, the unspoiled face of the earth, food, rai-^ 
ment, and housing, necessary and decent; the storing up of 
knowledge of all kinds, and the power of disseminating it; 
means of free communication between man and man; the works 
of art, the beauty which man creates when he is most a man, 
most aspiring and thoughtful—all things which serve for pleas¬ 
ure or play, free, manly, and uncorrupted; this is wealth.” 

2 Mill, “Some Unsettled Problems of Political Economy,” p. 
82 . 


Wealth and Welfare 

no disdain depress, the power which it holds 
from the Maker of things and of men .” 1 

This is true, of course, only in an abstract 
sense. We say of a certain commodity, say a 
pound of meat, that it has so much food value, 
that it will produce so much nerve and so much 
muscle, and no one disputes that it holds that 
power. But obviously the statement has no 
practical meaning apart from the consumers of 
meat, and the condition of a consumer might 
make the tissue building power of the meat, 
its value, less than nothing so far as he is 
concerned. From the viewpoint of welfare, 
therefore, the values of commodities, their 
power to sustain life, depends upon the physical, 
intellectual and moral qualities of the people. 
In political economy, however, value means 
“purchasing power,” and has no reference to 
the power of sustaining life. The life ideal 
has wholly departed from the word. Anything 
is valuable that will exchange for money, no 
matter what its influence may be upon the life 
of its possessor. 

If, then, we consider value from the social 
viewpoint, and regard the value of a commodity 
as its actual power to promote human life, the 
axiomatic principle of political economy that 
“there can be no general rise in values,” in¬ 
stead of appearing as an axiom, is seen to be 
an obvious error. If value is “purchasing 

i “Unto This Last,” Sec. 61. 


Work and Life 

power” or “the ratio at which one commodity 
exchanges against another,” then, of course, 
there cannot he a general rise of values, because 
an equal change in all values would leave the 
ratios the same. But if the value of a com¬ 
modity be regarded as its life-giving power, the 
values of commodities may be generally raised 
by an increase in the power of the people to 
use and appreciate them. The education of a 
people may practically increase the sum of 
values. The art products of a nation, for in¬ 
stance, become more valuable, contribute more 
to the pleasure, the happiness, the life of the 
people, the more they are appreciated. Again, 
since we know that beyond a certain point each 
additional increment of wealth gives less and 
less satisfaction to its possessor, the value of 
commodities, looking at the matter from the 
standpoint of life, will be affected by their dis¬ 
tribution; for commodities are most valuable 
in the hands of those who need them. A loaf of 
bread is worth more to a starving man than to 
him who has just risen from a good dinner. 

One further illustration of the specialised 
sense of economic terms must suffice. The 
word “demand” has come to be applied and 
confined in political economy to the desire for 
economic goods coupled with the ability to pay 
for them. The desire for commodities, no mat¬ 
ter how intense it may be, if not associated with 
purchasing power, has no significance for the 


TV ealth and W elf are 

economist. “A beggar,” says 'John Stuart 
Mill, “may desire a diamond; but his desire, 
however great, will have no influence on price. 
Writers have therefore given a more limited 
sense to demand, and have defined it, the wish 
to possess, combined with the power of pur¬ 
chasing .” 1 No matter, then, how great the 
need, there is no economic demand for a com¬ 
modity if one has not “the price.” 

We thus see that in the science of political 
economy, wealth is sometimes not wealth; that 
the useful, in the economic sense, is sometimes 
harmful; that the valuable may sometimes de¬ 
grade and destroy life instead of upbuilding it; 
and that with a starving people—as, for in¬ 
stance, in India during a famine—there may be 
no “demand” for food. 

On the other hand, from the standpoint of 
welfare, there is no wealth but that which con¬ 
tributes to life ; 2 nothing useful or valuable that 
does not minister to well-being. And there can 
be no overproduction until the legitimate and 
reasonable wants of all members of society are 
supplied; until every man, woman, and child is 

1 “Principles of Political Economy,” Laughlin’s edition, New 
York, 1896, p. 255. 

2 The well-known passage from Ruskin declares that “there 
is no wealth but life. Life, including all its powers of love, of 
joy, and of admiration. That country is the richest which 
nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human be¬ 
ings; that man is richest who, having perfected the functions 
of his own life to the utmost, has also the widest helpful in¬ 
fluence, both personal, and by means of his possessions, over 
the lives of others.”—“Unto This Last,” Sec. 77. 


Work and Life 

decently and comfortably housed, clothed, and 
fed—that is to say, until all begin really to 

If further proof of the inability of political 
economy to treat adequately of a social ques¬ 
tion is needed, it may be found in a considera¬ 
tion of the fact that social, including of course 
economic, phenomena are so interrelated and 
interwoven that no class of them may be com¬ 
pletely segregated from all the' rest and made 
the basis of an independent, special science. 
They constitute an organic whole. Hence 
there are no economic phenomena that are 
“purely” economic, and no industrial problem 
that is “merely” industrial. “The question of 
an eight-hours’ day,” says Hobson, “is reck¬ 
oned a distinctively ‘economic’ question; but its 
real issues, both direct and indirect, involve the 
most delicate interactions of physical and men¬ 
tal forces. The direct issue underlying the 
question of economic feasibility is the question 
whether a shortening of hours will be attended 
by an intensification of labour; whether such 
intensification is either possible or desirable 
depends partly upon physical conditions of the 
compressibility of labour-power, partly upon 
the operation of the desire of increased leisure, 
with intenser effort, upon the will. These 
forces, obviously related in their action, 
will be of different powers in different trades 
and for different grades of workers. Equally 


W ealth and W elf are 

important is the indirect issue, the effect of 
increased leisure upon the habits of a class, 
upon the ‘standard of life,’ and so, by reac¬ 
tion, upon efficiency of labour. The rash¬ 
ness of the confident opinions commonly ex¬ 
pressed as to the way in which ‘the work¬ 
ing classes,’ lumped together as a homoge¬ 
neous mass, will use their increased leisure is 
a pitiable exhibition of the incapacity of the 
average man to handle a social question by the 
light of nature and crude personal experience. 
A similar double root, with wide ramifications, 
underlies the question of ‘the economy of high 
wages.’ Here the distinctively psychological 
problem of valuations of various forms of ex¬ 
penditure merges with the inquiry as to the 
effect of different foods or forms of recreation 
upon muscular strength, intelligence, and hon¬ 
esty. Even where one of the two related as¬ 
pects, physical or psychical, seems at first sight 
dominant, the other can easily be seen to exer¬ 
cise powerful unseen influences. Gambling ap¬ 
pears at first sight a distinctively psychical 
disease, until we come to understand the animal 
craving for reckless relief from the grinding 
monotony of mechanised industry, seeking an 
easy and a not too intellectual outlet; or, carry¬ 
ing the matter further back, the very commercial 
structure which, in its cardinal workings, di¬ 
rectly feeds the spirit of speculation will be 
traced to the physical conditions of industrial- 


Work and Life 

ism. So, on the other side, the population and 
the family, the physiological aspects of which 
are so prominent, are easily made to disclose 
the psychical forces which affect the rate of 
marriage, the size and efficiency of the family. 
It is needless to labour a point which no thought¬ 
ful person is likely to deny .” 1 

The nomenclature of political economy, then, 
however adequate it may be to the needs of the 
special science of wealth, is not adapted, with 
its present content, to the description of an 
economic situation as it affects human life, or 
the true well-being of men. Political economy 
speaks in the language of business, and not in 
the language of life; in the language of wealth, 
and not in the language of welfare. 

This limitation of the sphere and language of 
political economy, and the consequent restric¬ 
tion of its viewpoint, is here pointed out, not 
with the purpose of casting any discredit upon 
the science,—that would be a vain and presump¬ 
tuous undertaking,—but merely to show that as 
a special science it cannot take cognizance of 
the general hearing and aspect of an industrial 
question. Hence we cannot rely upon it to pre¬ 
sent a solution of the Social Problem of To-day, 
or indeed, of any day. So far as a considera¬ 
tion of a question of human welfare is concerned, 
its name might well be like that of certain com¬ 
panies organised for a special purpose, or with. 

1 “The Social Problem/’ John Hobson, pp. 258, 259. 


Wealth and Welfare 

certain restrictions, “Political Economy Lim¬ 

There is, of course, a valid reason for the 
limitations of political economy. All commod¬ 
ities, life-giving and life-destroying, are subject 
to the same, or similar, laws of production, dis¬ 
tribution, and exchange, the discovery and ex¬ 
planation of which laws are the peculiar 
province of political economy. It is not the 
business of that science to pass upon the char¬ 
acter of the want which a particular commodity 
supplies; it is the science of wealth, and not 
the science of welfare. Without a limitation of 
this kind, as has already been suggested, po¬ 
litical economy would pass beyond the range of 
a special social science and become the general 
science of life. To say, with Sismondi, that 
political economy is “the science of human 
happiness” would be only to claim for it a 
wider scope theoretically than has ever been 
given to it practically. A science of wealth can¬ 
not be made to appear the science of human 
happiness unless wealth is the only tiling essen¬ 
tial to happiness. 

But, whatever the sphere of political economy 
may be theoretically, there can be no doubt that, 
as it is actually presented in economic treatises, 
its viewpoint is necessarily a restricted one and 
its terms are specialised to suit its peculiar 
needs. The principles and laws and maxims of 
political economy must, therefore, be held sub- 


Work and Life 

ject to revision in the light of social well-being. 
It is a valuable and indispensable science; but 
it is not adequate to a final consideration of 
any industrial problem. Its viewpoint is lim¬ 
ited to a single phase of human life. It is not 
on that account ‘ ‘ a dismal science. ’ ’ It becomes 
such only in the hands of a writer who proceeds 
on the assumption that the necessarily narrow 
view of his special science is the highest view 
that can be taken, and that his word, as econo¬ 
mist, on the problems of industry is final. A 
science would, indeed, be “dismal” that treated 
industry as if it were the end of life; profit¬ 
making, as if it were synonymous with prog¬ 
ress ; and seemed to regard the material welfare 
of the “business community” as the ultimate 
end of human energy and effort. The final 
question concerning any form of human activity 
is not, What are its effects upon business'? but, 
What are its effects upon the life of society 
as a whole? This question can be answered 
only when the subject is viewed from the high¬ 
est possible standpoint, namely, that of human 
welfare. The viewpoint, then, which must be 
taken in any profitable consideration of the So¬ 
cial Problem of To-day, is the social viewpoint. 
To a brief consideration of that we shall now 
turn our attention. 


The Social Viewpoint 

* “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to him¬ 
self . . . for we are members one of another.” 

— Rom. xiv, 7; Eph. iv, 24. 

“Especially must we keep in view the high moral issues to 
which the economic movement is subservient, and in the absence 
of which it could never in any great degree attract the interest 
or fix the attention either of eminent thinkers or of right 
minded men. The individual point of view will have to be 
subordinated to the social.”— Ingram. 

It should be perfectly clear that the conclusions 
arrived at in the study of a social problem will 
depend very much upon the viewpoint from 
which such study proceeds. It is a common¬ 
place that if we would understand the “views” 
of an individual or a class we must look at the 
matter from his or its standpoint. If, for in¬ 
stance, in a study of the Social Problem of To¬ 
day the interests of the employing class are 
kept most prominently in mind, the result will 
not be the same as those that would follow from 
a study of the problem with the interests of the 
employed uppermost in thought. Much of the 
confusion of thought which now obtains with 
respect to industrial questions, and much of the 


Work and Life 

consequent friction between employers and 
employed, are due to the different viewpoints 
from which such questions are examined. There 
is one viewpoint, however, and hut one, which 
commends itself to the impartial student. It 
is the viewpoint of the interests of society as a 
whole, the social viewpoint. 

Since the only viewpoint which commends 
itself to the impartial student is that of human 
welfare, the social viewpoint, and since this is 
the viewpoint to be taken throughout this dis¬ 
cussion, it will be well to consider briefly just 
what is meant by “the social viewpoint.” 

The social viewpoint involves the abstraction 
of the observer as completely as possible from 
society, and the consideration of a social prob¬ 
lem with absolute impartiality with regard to 
the interests of all individuals and classes. It 
implies a due regard for all the elements of 
human well-being. It includes a survey of the 
life of the people as a whole. From it are ob¬ 
served both the certain and the probable effects 
of a proposed measure; its effects not only 
upon the industrial, political, religious, and so¬ 
cial interests of the people, but upon their phys¬ 
ical, moral and intellectual life as well. The 
social viewpoint is that of social welfare, social 
well-being, of Life in all the width of its mean¬ 

Before such a viewpoint can be taken it is 
necessary to have a clear understanding of the 


The Social Viewpoint 

organic conception of society. This conception 
has been so often exaggerated that many are 
disposed to regard it as fanciful. But, whether 
society be considered as an organism or merely 
as an organisation, and however it may be de¬ 
fined, it is not wholly figurative language to 
speak of it as an organic whole. “The human 
race looked at from the standpoint of its ori¬ 
gin,” said Condorcet, “appears, in the eyes of 
the philosopher, an immense whole, which, just 
as in the case of each individual, has its infancy 
and its growth .” 1 And Mackenzie defines so¬ 
ciety as “a whole whose parts are intrinsically 
related to it, which develops from within, and 
has reference to an end that is involved in its 
own nature. ’ ’ 2 

Society, then, or a nation, may be rightly 
regarded as a unit, of which the parts are indi¬ 
viduals. Upon the well-being of all the indi¬ 
viduals, and not merely upon that of a part of 
them, the welfare of the whole depends. If 
one member suffers, all the members suffer with 
it. Social literature is full of references to this 
unitary aspect of society. “The human race,” 
said Lessing, “is a collective being animated by 
its own life, and educated by the Deity;” and 
Browning expressed a similar thought when he 

1 Condorect, “Esquisse d’un Tableau Ilistorique des ProgrSs 
de L’esprit Humain,” p. 1. 

2 “An Introduction to Social Philosophy,” New York, 1890, 
p, 148. 


Work and Life 

“A nation is but the attempt of many 
To rise to the complete life of one.” 

It is easy, of course, to push this idea to an 
extreme, and involve ourselves in fanciful no¬ 
tions concerning the organic nature of society. 
,We need not be misled, however, by conceiving 
society as one body, with its own life, its own 
rights and interests, and dependent for its own 
well-being upon the conditions, relations and 
activities of all the individual lives of which 
it is composed. 

With this conception, it is easy to see that any 
social problem is a problem of the whole of 
society, and that in the consideration of any 
subject whatever that is social in its nature we 
must take into account not only the effects upon 
individuals and classes but also, and first of all, 
the effects upon the people as a whole. This 
involves necessarily a consideration of the sub¬ 
ject from the social viewpoint. 

That it is difficult to abstract oneself from 
the personal consequences of social change and 
employ the conception of society as an organic 
unity, so that a social problem may be viewed 
in all its social relations, is shown by the small 
number who seem able to accomplish it. Usu¬ 
ally the question of chief importance with re¬ 
spect to a proposed improvement in social 
relations is “How will it affect me?” If so¬ 
licitude is manifested with respect to “friends,” 
it is as much, perhaps, as one may reasonably 


The Social Viewpoint 

expect. If ‘ ‘ class-consciousness ’ ’ is manifested' 
it is thought to he a peculiarly high display of 
altruistic feeling. 

One day I was standing at the entrance of 
the Canal Street Depot in Chicago, and happen¬ 
ing to look over at the new Northwestern Sta¬ 
tion, then under construction, and only a block 
away, I remarked to a policeman that it would 
be a fine thing if Chicago could have one great 
Union Station for all the roads entering the 
city. “That would be a bad thing,” he said. 
I asked him why he thought so. “Well,” said 
he, “a friend of mine runs the omnibuses. He, 
has four hundred horses. What would he do 
if all the passengers came in and went out at 
the same station!” In this case the interests 
of “a friend” loomed so large that they en¬ 
tirely obscured the infinitely larger interests 
of the travelling public. Now, in case of a 
“teamsters’ strike” it is probable that this 
friend would regard the question at issue almost 
wholly from the viewpoint of himself, or possi¬ 
bly his ‘ ‘ union. ’ ’ It would require considerable 
self-abnegation to look at the matter from the 
viewpoint of all whose interests were even re¬ 
motely involved. 

But however difficult it is to assume an atti¬ 
tude of impartiality with respect to conditions 
of which one is a part, and however unusual it 
may be to find a thinker without bias, it must be 
plain upon reflection that the social viewpoint 



Work and Life 

alone will disclose the true aspects of an indus¬ 
trial subject; it is the only viewpoint from which 
a social problem may be fairly and finally con¬ 
sidered. This, then, is the viewpoint we shall 
endeavour to preserve throughout this entire 



Proposed Solutions op the Social Problem 

“Our aim must be the moralisation of the individual, of the 
government, of the people as a whole. We desire the moralisa¬ 
tion not only of political conditions but of industrial condi¬ 
tions, so that every force in the community, individual and 
collective, may be directed towards securing for the average 
man, and average woman, a higher and better and fuller life, 
in the things of the body no less than those of the mind and 
the soul.”— Roosevelt. 

“The true solution of the great social problem of this age is 
to be found in the ultimate establishment of a genuine ■people’s 
government, with ample power to protect society against all 
forms of injustice, from whatever source, coupled with a warm 
and dutiful regard for the true interests of each and all, the 
poor as well as the rich. If this be what is meant by the oft- 
repeated phrase ‘paternal government,’ then were this certainly 
a consummation devoutly to be wished. But in this concep¬ 
tion of government there is nothing paternal. It gets rid en¬ 
tirely of the paternal, the patriarchal, the personal element, 
and becomes nothing more nor less than the effective expres¬ 
sion of the public will, the active agency by which society con¬ 
sciously and intelligently governs its own conduct.”— Ward. 

Whoever from the social viewpoint takes a care¬ 
ful look at the industrial system of to-day 
cannot fail to observe the conspicuous fact that 
the industrial world with all its ancillary activ¬ 
ities is to a large extent organised, controlled 
and directed by so-called captains of industry, 


Work and Life 

that is to say, by business men, those who are 
in control of the material means of production. 
Business interests and business ends are pri¬ 
marily the interests and objects of these leaders 
in the industrial world. They determine, within 
limits, of course, the kind and character of com¬ 
modities to be produced and the amount and 
direction of the labour to be employed. The 
actual end of industry is,. therefore, the end 
which business men are pursuing. 

This end is primarily material gain. Men are 
not in business for their health. Their sole pur¬ 
pose is not always and everywhere a sordid 
one, but, generally speaking, their object is to 
make money. No business will be long pursued 
unless it brings to those who are at the head 
of it the material reward known as profits. The 
end of business, therefore, and the end of mod¬ 
ern industry, is the wealth of a few rather than 
the welfare of all. 

Prom the social viewpoint, however, industry 
should be the means of realising the social end. 
Business has no other social justification. The 
end of society, however, is not material, but spir¬ 
itual. Material prosperity is indeed the basis, 
but it is not the substance, of its realisation. A 
man may accumulate wealth, and fail in life, and 
the same is true of a people. An era of material 
prosperity may be coincident with a period of 
decadence. “What shall it profit a man if he 
gain the whole world and lose his soul?” is an 


Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem 

inquiry which might well he addressed to a peo¬ 
ple. The sonl of society, its higher interests, 
should be its prime consideration. The end of 
society cannot be expressed in terms of material 
gain; it is not private profit, hut the public 

It will he seen, then, that there is a dishar¬ 
mony, a lack of identity, between the end of 
business and the end of society. The one is in¬ 
dividual gain, the other is the collective good; 
the one is money, the other is Life; the one is 
wealth, the other is Welfare. Thus the Social 
Problem of To-day becomes in reality the prob¬ 
lem of harmonising these two discrepant ends; 
it is the problem of transforming the end of in¬ 
dustry from individual gain to collective good, 
of bringing the industrial efforts of men into 
conformity with the demands of social well-be¬ 
ing, of subjecting and subordinating the indus¬ 
trial activities of society to the higher purposes 
of human life. 

The proposed solutions of this problem may 
be classified, with respect to the point of attack, 
as individualistic and socialistic. Individual¬ 
istic solutions are those which are directed pri¬ 
marily at the reform of the individual, while the 
socialistic are those which aim to revolutionise 
the “system,” and which place the emphasis 
upon social action to reform industrial condi¬ 
tions. With respect to the time required in 
their application the proposed solutions are 


Work and Life 

gradual and convulsive or catastrophic, evolu¬ 
tionary and revolutionary, peaceful and violent. 

The operation of an individualistic solution 
must obviously be slow. A socialistic solution, 
even if revolutionary, is not necessarily precipi¬ 
tate or effected by violence. But the possibility 
of a violent and sudden change appeals to many 
whose patience is easily exhausted. If asked, 
How may the immorality of the profit system 
be done away with, and the pursuit of profits be 
made identical with the effort to promote the 
commonweal? some would answer, Ho away 
with the profit system! Destroy it, root and 
branch! This is easy to say, but how is it to 
be done? By revolution, effected by violence? 
Then appeal must be made to the principles of 
force and domination, the operation of which 
constitutes the chief ground of objection to the 
profit system. Our problem is one of establish¬ 
ing rational industrial ends and relations. It 
can be solved, therefore, not by force but only 
by reason. Force determines nothing but rela¬ 
tive strength. Beason, and Beason alone, must 
be the final arbiter of all questions affecting the 
relations of men. 

We must therefore reject and discountenance 
all solutions of the social problem which involve 
the principles of force and domination. The 
experience of the world in its attempt to solve 
the political question should have taught us by 
this time that the desire for freedom from dom- 


Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem 

ination is ineradicable. Liberty, industrial as 
well as political, is 4 ‘the eternal spirit of the 
chainless mind”; and wherever it is repressed 
there will always be the conditions of revolt, and 
hence an unsolved social problem. 

We are left, then, with the only alternative 
solution, namely, that of evolution, the peaceful 
methods of orderly progress, and first let us 
consider the solutions that are individualistic in 
their nature. 

Individualistic solutions of the social problem 
may all be subsumed under the word “moralisa- 
tion. ’ ’ To remedy the evils incident to our com¬ 
petitive system of industry, we are often told, 
we must moralise the business man and moralise 
the labourer. The fact that employers some¬ 
times engage in illegitimate enterprise and 
occupations, that they now and then produce 
commodities which do not promote life, that they 
adulterate their goods and misrepresent them 
by lying advertisements, that they take the high¬ 
est price a business will yield, irrespective of 
the moral claims of others, that they grind down 
labour and ruthlessly reap success from the fail¬ 
ure of others, goes to show that there is a low 
standard of business ethics. And the like fact 
that labourers do not always identify the in¬ 
terests of the employer with their own, that they 
sometimes make unjust demands, and resort 
sometimes to violence, is evidence that they too 
need moralisation. We must moralise the busi- 


Work and Life 

ness man, then, and moralise the labourer so 
that each will give to the other a “square deal.” 
This, we are sometimes told, is all that is neces¬ 
sary to solve the social problem. 

Well, there can certainly be no objection to 
moralising the business man, or the labourer, 
and there should be no relaxation of effort in 
that direction. ‘ ‘ The leaders of industry, if in¬ 
dustry is ever to be led,” says Carlyle, “are 
virtually the captains of the world; if there is 
no nobleness in them there will never be an 
aristocracy more. ’ ’ 1 

But those who advocate moralisation as the 
sole, or the principal, method of harmonising 
the ends of industry perhaps overlook certain 
difficulties inherent in a competitive system of 
industry. These are not merely the psychologi¬ 
cal difficulties involved in the process of chang¬ 
ing human nature, although these of themselves 
require time to be overcome. How long, for in¬ 
stance, will it be before the character of the 
average business man is so transformed that 
he will decline a profit that comes to him 
through the operation of the natural laws of 
trade, as, for instance, the law of supply and 
demand with reference to labour? It will 
surely be a long time before the average busi¬ 
ness man will do so, and yet his refusal to 
decline such a profit gives rise to what may 
be called the paradox of modern industry. 

i Carlyle; “Past and Present.” 


Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem 

To illustrate what is meant by the paradox 
of industry let us suppose the case of a labourer 
who is working for an employer at the custo¬ 
mary rate of wages. The employer makes a 
profit on his labour, otherwise he would not be 
employed at all. Now suppose that there is an 
increase in the number of labourers seeking em¬ 
ployment in his particular trade. What will 
be the effect upon his wages'? Obviously, they 
will tend to fall, on account of the increase in 
the supply of labour, and in the natural course 
of business operations his wages will be re¬ 
duced. But his work is no less profitable to 
the employer than it was before. He works 
just as hard; his productivity is not diminished. 
The sales of his employer, and consequently his 
profits, may possibly be increased, because of 
the increase in the number of consumers. Why, 
then, does he suffer a loss in wages ? Obviously 
it is because the increased competition of labour 
makes it possible for the employer to lower 
the wage element in his cost of production, and 
thus raise his profits, and being a business man 
he takes advantage of a business opportunity. 
It will be a long time before the average em¬ 
ployer will be moralised to the extent that he 
will resist the temptation. 

Here, then, is the paradox: The workers of 
society, continually complaining of overwork, 
and clamorous in their demand for leisure, do 
not welcome the advent of more labourers to 


Work and Life 

help them in their task. The reason for this 
is clear. The workers are working primarily 
for their employers and not primarily for so¬ 
ciety. Employment is the means by which they 
live. Their work is not so much a social task 
as an individual opportunity. A new labourer, 
therefore, appears to them not in the guise of a 
friend who would lighten their toil, but in the 
aspect of an enemy who would jeopardise their 
job. It is thus a case in which many hands do 
not make light work, but light wages. 

The disposition, then, of the business man to 
accept the profit which the natural laws of trade 
enable him to take gives rise to the peculiar in¬ 
consistency in the industrial order which has 
just been described, and yet it would hardly be 
recognised as a demand for moralisation be¬ 
cause the taking of such a profit is not ordina¬ 
rily regarded as immoral. 

There are other difficulties, however, which lie 
plainly in the way of a solution of the social 
problem by moralisation. In a competitive sys¬ 
tem of industry, for instance, the man who 
would succeed must observe the rules of the 
game. He cannot, as a rule, on the average 
and in the long run, practise a higher morality 
than his competitors. His success depends 
upon his ability to compete, and competitive 
ability, at the present stage of industrial de¬ 
velopment, consists not alone in the high moral 
virtues, but also in the virtues of animal cun- 


Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem 

ning, more or less intense egoism, and somewhat 
calloused sensibilities. For, as John Stuart 
Mill once said, “If persons are helped in their 
worldly career by their virtues, so are they, 
and perhaps quite as often, by their vices: by 
servility and sycophancy, by hard-hearted and 
close-fisted selfishness, by the permitted lies and 
tricks of trade, by gambling speculations, not 
seldom by downright knavery.” 

Suppose, for instance, that an employer 
wishes to be unusually generous to his em¬ 
ployes and pay them more than the competitive 
rate of wages. He is compelled to meet the com¬ 
petition of less generous men who adulterate or 
misrepresent their goods, or who fix the aver¬ 
age margin of profits by the payment of a nig¬ 
gardly wage. By such men he will be un¬ 
dersold, and to be undersold in business is 
to be forced into bankruptcy. It may well be 
true that superior generosity to employes and 
strict business honesty are a valuable business 
asset, but a moral quality is of no business sig¬ 
nificance until the returns occasioned by it begin 
to come in through wider sales and increased 
profits. This, however, takes time for the busi¬ 
ness man’s reputation to spread, whereas his 
success or failure in business may be a matter of 
a single transaction. Generally speaking, hon¬ 
esty is the best policy because it is profit¬ 
able for the soul. But honesty is not nec¬ 
essarily the best business policy; for busi- 


Work and Life 

ness has regard to profits, and sometimes strict 
honesty will result in a business loss. If it is 
said that in ‘‘the long run” honesty will prove 
to be always the best policy, the obvious answer 
is that oftentimes the business man cannot “run 
that long.” If, then, we moralise the business 
man too successfully we moralise him out of 
business. It would be another case of “a beau¬ 
tiful and successful operation, but the man 
died. ’ ’ 

The labourer is in like case. Suppose that a 
labourer is moralised to the degree that he iden¬ 
tifies the interests of his employer with his own, 
that he would be magnanimous and give his em¬ 
ployer the best service of which he is capable. 
As things now are he can by no means be sure 
that his superior efficiency will be recognised 
by an increase in his wages. He will, of course, 
have the consciousness of duty performed, but 
there will be a resultant effect that will be likely 
to disturb his complacency. He will find that 
his superior productivity as a labourer results 
not merely in no permanent increase of his own 
wages, but that it will be held up by his em¬ 
ployer as an excuse for lowering the wages of 
his fellow-labourers. One of the most conserva¬ 
tive labour leaders of my acquaintance declares 
that in an experience of thirty years he cannot 
recall a single instance of the increased pro¬ 
ductivity of a labourer resulting in a permanent 
increase in wages. “Workmen agree among 


Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem 


themselves not to do more than a certain quan¬ 
tity of work,” says Gunton, “because re¬ 
peated experience has taught them that if they 
do, their wages will soon be proportionately re¬ 
duced.” 1 

We see, then, that in a competitive system of 
unequal morality it is extremely difficult for in¬ 
dividual employers, or employes, to rise to a 
higher level of business honesty or productive 
efficiency, and thus give to each other a ‘ ‘ square 
deal.” The business man cannot be moralised 
independently and remain a business man, nor 
the labourer independently without working in¬ 
jury to his fellow-labourers. The “square 
deal” is possible only when all are “square.” 

Moralisation, then, as a means of solving the 
industrial problem, must be supplemented by 
collective effort to improve the industrial sys¬ 
tem. Such effort must finally take the form of 
social legislation. By social legislation I mean 
legislation primarily designed to promote the 
welfare of society and not specially aimed at 
securing or maintaining special individual or 
class privileges. Wise legislation backed by 
an enlightened public opinion can do much to 
restrict and improve the methods of industrial 
competition. Under modern conditions it is 
difficult for the business man to do right and 
easy for him to do wrong. Legislation can 
make it easier to do right in business activities 

i Gunton, “Wealth and Progress,” p. ISO 1 . 


Work and Life 

and dangerous, if not difficult, to do wrong. It 
can make the way of the transgressor hard. It 
can compel the unfair and tricky competitor to 
regard, if not respect, a higher standard of busi¬ 
ness morality. The man who adulterates or 
misrepresents his goods, for instance, and thus 
drives his would-be honest competitors to adopt 
his dishonest practices or retire from business 
should be compelled by law to forsake his meth¬ 
ods or be himself forcibly retired from business 
with the disgrace that would attend his incar¬ 
ceration with his natural associates who wear 
striped clothes. Germany already has a law 
forbidding fraudulent advertising, or deception 
as to quality of goods, and punishes by fine or 
imprisonment, or both, certain other unfair 
methods of competition. This is a step in the 
right direction. Again, the financier who 
wrecks a corporation engaged in legitimate 
business, and thus brings ruin and misery to 
thousands of innocent stockholders, instead of 
being lauded for his shrewdness in business 
should be made to feel the smart of a righteous 
public indignation manifesting itself through 
opinion and law. “It is not only highly de¬ 
sirable but necessary,” said ex-president 
Roosevelt, “that there should be legislation . . . 
which shall discriminate in favour of the honest 
and humane employer by removing the disad¬ 
vantage under which he stands when compared 
with unscrupulous competitors who have no 


Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem 

conscience and will do right only when under 
fear of punishment.” 1 

It has been a favourite policy of the American 
people to protect infant industry. Perhaps it 
would he even more profitable if they should 
devote a larger share of their attention to the 
protection, through legislation, of “ infant mo¬ 
rality. ’ ’ 

Social legislation, however, is attended by dif¬ 
ficulties. Chief among these difficulties is that 
occasioned by the conflict between established 
conditions and proposed improvements, be¬ 
tween the interests of the individual and the 
interests of the collectivity. This conflict of 
interests is often denied. We hear and read 
the unctuous platitude that the interests of the 
individuals of society, the labourer and the cap¬ 
italist, for instance, are identical. It is uttered 
as if it were the quintessence of social wisdom. 
But it is not true. If it were, we should have 
comparatively plain sailing; for men are not 
so blind but that they might be made to see 
the wisdom of legislating to promote the com¬ 
mon good if they themselves were to receive no 
harm and to have a share of its benefits. But 
the unfortunate thing about the proposition is 
that at best it is only a half truth. There is and 
has always been a conflict between the interests 
of individuals and the interests of society. 

i Theodore Roosevelt in speech at Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 2, 



Wor'k and Life 

The truth of the proposition just laid down 
would hardly seem to need illustration and yet 
it is so often denied that it may be well to cite 
a few cases in which it is obviously true. Take, 
for instance, the interests of the physician and 
the interests of society. The movement to pro¬ 
mote the public health is a social interest, but 
the physician whose living depends upon his 
practice could not, as physician, rejoice at the 
elimination of all disease. It has been esti¬ 
mated that we squander a billion dollars every 
year by getting sick and calling in the doctor, 
while incidentally the minor ailments which 
yield to home treatment but involve the loss of 
time, cost us several hundred millions in addi¬ 
tion. It is possible that this loss could be saved 
in the main, partly by legislation, and partly 
by personal control, “but,” says an eastern ed¬ 
itor pertinently enough, though evidently with a 
muddled condition of mind with respect to so¬ 
cial progress, “what would the constantly in¬ 
creasing army of doctors be doing in the 
meantime i About every reader appreciates the 
fact that the average doctor is a pretty good 
sort of fellow. Now, to attempt to cut off the 
revenue from the faithful practitioner in this 
way is a little too bad.” But it is not the doc¬ 
tors alone who would lose by improved physical 
conditions of the body politic. There are 
thousands of business men engaged in the sale 
of drugs and medicines, patent, potent, and im- 


Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem 

potent, whose profits would diminish. If so¬ 
ciety were fortunate enough to discover the 
Fabled Fountain of Immortal Youth, so that 
all we should have to do would be to drink of 
its waters and live forever, it would he to the 
interest of business men to build a wall around 
it and sell its waters at the highest price which 
tlje demand for immortality would bear. 

Again, society would undoubtedly be better 
off if all litigation should cease, but if there were 
no more litigation this would be a “weary, 
stale and unprofitable” world so far as the 
lawyer is concerned. The interests of society 
as a whole would be served by the general in¬ 
troduction of useful inventions and labour-sav¬ 
ing machinery, and in the diffusion of knowledge 
of technical processes, in doing away with trade 
secrets, in publicity. But not so the labourer 
who is thrown out of employment by the new 
inventions, or the manufacturer whose success 
depends upon exclusive knowledge of a technical 
process, or the corporation whose existence de¬ 
pends upon preserving the secrecy of its 
operations. In certain American industrial es¬ 
tablishments, I am told, each employe is pledged 
to sign papers transferring to the company the 
titles of all inventions made by him while in 
its service. These inventions might he highly 
useful to society at large, hut they are often 
pigeonholed because the company, in no danger 
of the use of the inventions by competing estab- 


Work and Life 

lishments, finds it more profitable to strangle 
an invention than to bear the expense of the 
readjustment which would be made necessary 
by its introduction. Sometimes the inventor 
himself finds it profitable to exercise his in¬ 
genuity in destroying social utilities. A mil¬ 
lion dollars, for instance, is the reported 
payment for a device for preventing a bottle, 
once emptied, from ever being refilled. 

One more illustration must suffice. It is fa¬ 
miliar, but it is a classic. When the apostle 
Paul attempted to introduce Christianity among 
the Ephesians he met exactly the same obstacle 
which confronts the reformer of to-day, namely, 
the opposition of vested interests. “For a 
certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, 
which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no 
small gain unto the craftsmen; whom he called 
together with the workmen of like occupation, 
and said, ‘Sirs, ye know that by this craft we 
have our wealth. Morover ye see and hear, 
that . . . this Paul hath persuaded and turned 
away much people, saying that they be no gods, 
which are made with hands: so that . . . this 
our craft is in danger to be set at naught. ’ ’ ’ 1 
Paul was endeavouring to promote the spiritual 
welfare of the Ephesians, but the acceptance of 
his doctrines was seen to be destructive of the 
material interests of some of the silversmiths, 
hence they opposed him on selfish and material 

1 Acts 3 xix, 24. 


Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem 

grounds, but like men in similar conditions in 
modern times they pretended solicitude for re¬ 
ligion and morality and cried, ‘ ‘ Great is Diana 
of the Ephesians!” 

These examples are perhaps more than suffi¬ 
cient to show that the interests of individuals, 
firms, corporations and the like are not identical 
with, but are often opposed to, social interests; 
and it is this opposition that makes it so diffi¬ 
cult to secure social legislation. 

Observe how this difficulty manifests itself 
in any attempt to promote the public well-being 
by the enactment of law. Suppose, for instance, 
that a legislature or legislative committee, state 
or national, presents a bill framed in the inter¬ 
est of the public at large, socially necessary 
legislation, looking, let us say, to the reduction 
of the hours of labour, the protection of women 
and children employed in industry, the regula¬ 
tion of railway rates, the establishment of a 
parcels-post, or some other reform plainly de¬ 
manded by public well-being. Immediately 
petitions are drawn up praying for the emascu¬ 
lation or the defeat of the proposed law. The 
lobby of the legislature or of Congress swarms 
with the representatives of special interests 
which would be adversely affected by the pro¬ 
posed legislation. Men whose profits will be 
diminished, or whose wages may be decreased 
by the proposed change, clamour for the defeat 
of the proposed measure. Society, then, may 


Work and Life 

not have tariff reduction, effective railway regu¬ 
lation, a parcels-post, the protection of women 
and children in industry, because certain power¬ 
ful interests may be injuriously affected thereby. 
Capitalists are more solicitous for their own 
property interests than they are for the larger 
interests of society. 

But capitalists are not the only persons who 
oppose social legislation because their material 
interests may be disturbed. Trades-unionists 
do the same; unorganised labourers do the same. 
Men are all pretty much alike. Capital may 
complain of the selfishness and tyranny of la¬ 
bour, and labour may denounce the cruelty and 
brutality of capital, but the capitalist is only a 
labourer in the possession of power, and the 
labourer a capitalist in reduced circumstances. 
All alike object to social movements which work 
harm to them. 

Now it is customary to disregard private in¬ 
terests in attempts at social reform, and to de¬ 
nounce men for opposing socially necessary 
legislation because of its injurious effects upon 
themselves, that is to say, for looking out for 
‘ ‘ number one. * ’ They are told that they should 
prefer the public good to their own. Perhaps 
they should, but it is asking altogether too much 
of human nature to expect a man meekly to 
acquiesce in the promotion of social well-being 
through, it may be, the destruction of his busi¬ 
ness which society at least has permitted, if not 


Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem 

encouraged, him to practise and upon which the 
living, if not the lives of himself and his family, 
depends. This is not merely inexpedient, it is 
unjust. Why should all the discomforts in¬ 
volved in a progressive social change he borne 
by a few? Why should the growing pains of 
the social body be permitted to concentrate in a 
minority of its members? When an individual 
or a group of individuals engaged in legitimate 
enterprise actually incurs a loss by an onward 
movement of society effected by legislation it 
would seem that it is the duty of the public 
which profits by the movement to share some 
of the loss sustained by those to whom the move¬ 
ment brings injury. As Adams and Sumner de¬ 
clare in their book on Labor Problems (p. 15), 
“ society must learn to minimise the unfortunate 
incidents of progress, and systematically com¬ 
pensate those who are injured literally for hu¬ 
manity’s sake, because it is just this incidental 
and temporary destructiveness of progress that 
accounts for the gravest economic and social 
evils of our epoch.” 

... If this principle had been recognised and ap¬ 
plied, the path of progress would have been far 
smoother than that which history reveals. 
There would have been fewer wars, fewer riots, 
fewer strikes, fewer persecutions and fewer 
martyrs. And if the principle were now ap¬ 
plied, one great difficulty of social legislation 
would be removed. If it is ‘‘an ill wind that 


Work and Life 

Wows nobody good,” it is a rare wind that 
blows nobody ill. Social reform results almost 
invariably in individual loss and disturbance. 
By distributing among tbe losers a part of the 
good achieved, we could destroy the opposition 
of selfishness by harnessing the self-interest of 
the individual and making it pull in the direction 
of progress. 

Here, then, is a great function and opportu¬ 
nity of legislation. Begarded as a necessary 
means of bringing the object of industry into 
conformity with the requirements of life, it 
should balance the interests of men, so far as 
these interests are legitimate, and destroy them 
when they are not. It should reconcile as far 
as possible individual and corporate interests 
with the interests of society. It should pro¬ 
vide that social gain shall not be at the expense 
of individual loss. It should convert the force 
of selfishness into an instrument for promoting 
the commonweal. 

Scientific social legislation, then, as well as 
moralisation, is a necessary means to the solu¬ 
tion of the social problem. The difficulties at¬ 
tending each of them make progress towards 
such solution extremely slow, but progress thus 
attained is sure. 

“Slow are the steps of Freedom, but her feet 
Turn never backward; hers no bloody glare; 

Her light is calm, and innocent, and sweet, 

And where it enters there is no despair.” 


Proposed Solutions of the Social Problem 

) There are, then, two methods of procedure, 
and two objects of attack, in every rational at¬ 
tempt to solve the Social Problem of To-day— 
the selfishness of individuals, and our social and 
industrial organisation. Eliminate undue self¬ 
ishness and the problem is practically solved. 

' Destroy all opportunities for selfish domination 
and we have the same result. Education and 
religion aim primarily at one; radical social re¬ 
construction at the other. Both objects must 
be considered. Each may be looked upon as 
end or means of the other. But inasmuch as 
all efforts to transform the character of men 
must consist in some modification of their en¬ 
vironment, it would seem that industrial change 
is the initial means. Says Hobson:—“There 
are those who seek to retard all social progress 
by a false and mischievous dilemma which takes 
the following shape: No radical improvement 
in industrial organisation, no work of social re¬ 
construction, can be of any real value unless it 
is preceded by such moral and intellectual im¬ 
provement in the condition of the mass of work¬ 
ers as shall render the new machinery effective; 
unless the change in human nature comes first, 
a change in external conditions will be useless. 
On the other hand, it is evident that no moral 
or intellectual education can be brought effect¬ 
ively to bear upon the mass of human beings, 
whose whole energies are necessarily absorbed 
by the effort to secure the means of bare physi- 


Work and Life 

cal support. Thus it is made to appear as if 
industrial and moral progress must precede each 
other, which is impossible. The falsehood in the 
above dilemma consists in the assumption that 
industrial reformers wish to proceed by a sud¬ 
den leap from an old industrial order to a new 
one. Such sudden movements are not in accord¬ 
ance with the gradual growth which nature in¬ 
sists upon as the condition of wise change. But 
it is equally in accordance with nature that nat¬ 
ural growth precedes the moral. Not that the 
work of reconstruction can lag far behind. Each 
step in this industrial advancement of the poor 
should, and must if the gain is to be permanent, 
be followed closely, and secured by a correspond¬ 
ing advance in moral and intellectual character 
and habits. But the moral and religious re¬ 
former should never forget that in order of 
time material reform comes first.” And, we 
may add, that a final solution of the problem 
involves not merely reform but revolution, in 
the sense of a complete change in the basis of 
our industrial relationships, a change from a 
competitive profit-seeking industrial system to 
a cooperative industrial commonwealth. 



Competition, Naturae, and Industrial 

“The evolution which has created man, which has engendered 
human society and developed civilisation out of barbarism, is 
not based upon the struggle for existence, but upon an opposed 
principle by which the struggle for existence is gradually sub¬ 
dued, a principle of peace rather than war, of co-operation 
rather than competition, of love rather than hate.” 

— Hobhouse. 

“Society is bound up henceforth with the conflict, the in¬ 
tensification, and the diffusion of the Struggle for the Life of 
Others. This is the Further Evolution, the page of history that 
lies before us, the closing act of the drama of Man. The Strug¬ 
gle may be short or long; but by all scientific analogy the 
result is sure.”— Drummond,. 

The fundamental and essential principle of the 
modern industrial order, that is, of Capitalism, 
is competition. Remove competition and the 
whole system would be destroyed, or at least 
transformed. Hence anything which threatens 
to endanger this principle is by many almost in¬ 
stinctively discredited and opposed. Do the 
trusts suppress competition? Then, they must 
be “smashed.” Will Socialism destroy compe¬ 
tition? Down, then, with Socialism. This rep¬ 
resents the attitude of perhaps a majority of the 
people,with whom competition is almost a sacred 


Work and Life 

principle which it is next thing to sacrilege to 
question or criticise. 

To appreciate the prevailing attitude with re¬ 
spect to competition it is only necessary to read 
the declarations of leading politicians in regard 
to its preservation, or its restoration in indus¬ 
tries that have been partially or wholly monop¬ 
olised. Ex-president Taft, for instance, says 
that he “would punish with all the severity of 
criminal prosecution every attempt on the part 
of aggregated capital through illegal means to 
suppress competition. ” 1 Senator Cummins 
says that, in his view, “the only path open to a 
justice-loving country is the preservation of fair 
and reasonable competition. ’ ’ 2 To Mr. Bryan 
all monopolies in private hands look alike; they 
are “indefensible and intolerable” because they 
destroy competition. “At present,” he says, 
“private monopoly is putting upon individual¬ 
ism an undeserved odium; and it behooves the 
individualist to address himself energetically to 
this problem in order that the advantages of 
competition may be restored to industry.” 3 It 
would be easy to multiply quotations of a: 
similar character. 

With such views reiterated by political lead¬ 
ers, it is not surprising that the rank and 

1 Speech, Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 19, 1907. 

2 “A Western Republican’s View,” Appleton’s Maqazine , No¬ 
vember, 1907. 

s “Individualism versus Socialism,” Century Maqazine, Vol. 
LXXI (April, 1906), p. 859. 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

file of the two great political parties affirm the 
beneficence of competition and evince a Jack¬ 
sonian determination that it “must and shall be 
preserved. ’ ’ 

Another fact which helps to explain the al¬ 
most general predisposition in favour of com¬ 
petition is that the classical economists from 
Adam Smith to the present time have taught 
that competition is indispensable to progress. 
They have assumed perfect mobility of capital 
and labour, and, on the part of competitors, a 
complete knowledge of the market. With this 
wholly theoretical assumption they have been 
able easily to show that competition exerts a 
necessary regulative action in industry, and 
they have consequently claimed for it the sanc¬ 
tion of a natural (or divine) law. 

It is unnecessary to quote from these econo¬ 
mists, whose writings are familiar, or easily 
accessible, but I must be permitted to introduce 
here, as representative, a passage from a recent 
book by a distinguished French economist. 
Speaking of industry, and after discussing the 
effects of competition on production and value, 
he says: “The socialistic cry for regulation, 
whether by the State or any other artificial 
authority, is therefore entirely absurd. Regula¬ 
tion is essential, but the two natural laws of 
Production and Value have long since joined to 
secure it. We need only refrain from throwing 
obstacles in the way of their regulative opera- 


Work and Life 

tion; or, if an artificial obstruction opposes that 
action, to guarantee their freedom in removing 
the obstruction, according to their own methods. 
Their action must be secured, but it is to be 
secured only by refraining from all inter¬ 
ference/' 1 What society needs, then, accord¬ 
ing to this conception, is absolute industrial 
liberty. Give everybody a fair field and no 
favour, and competition will usher in the in¬ 
dustrial millennium! 

But in spite of the confident declarations of 
politicians, and the teachings of the classical 
school of economists, there are two classes of 
persons with whom competition has lost some, 
or all, of its sanctity. These are the large 
capitalists on the one hand and the socialists on 
the other. Mr. Carnegie and Mr. Gary have de¬ 
clared, before a Congressional investigating 
committee, that in the steel industry competition 
is dead. Mr. James J. Hill, who, we may sup¬ 
pose, would not brook competition in the rail¬ 
road business if he could help it, expressed the 
opinion before the same committee that “there 
will be competition just as long as the doctrine 
of the survival of the fittest lasts.” It would 
perhaps be sufficiently accurate to say that the 
magnates of industry still believe in competition 
as applied to consumers, and to unorganised 
labourers. The latter especially, they think, 

1 Molinari, “The Society of To-morrow,” New York, 1904, p. 
xlvii. Italics by the author. 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

need the spur of competition. But with respect 
to large units of capital, the waste and instabil¬ 
ity of prices occasioned by competition have 
become so obvious to those who control such 
units that, by legal combinations, pools, gentle¬ 
men’s agreements, and the like, they seek to 
avoid it. So strong is the tendency among cap- 
' italists to combine that it has been said, with 
truth, that “where combination is possible, com¬ 
petition is impossible.” 

With the socialist, of course, competition has 
no sanctity whatever. He even fails sometimes 
to recognise its historic value. At all events 
he denies its rationality as a principle of in¬ 
dustrial organisation, and strives for a co-oper¬ 
ative commonwealth. 

With these two exceptions faith in the benefi¬ 
cence of competition seems to be general. We 
are told that it is “the life of trade”; that it 
stimulates production and affects favourably 
both its quantity and its quality; that it is the 
test of efficiency; that it lowers prices and tends 
to regulate them; that it keeps open the avenues 
of opportunity and preserves individual initia¬ 
tive ; and, finally, that it is a law of nature with 
which it is folly to try to interfere. A speaker at 
a recent meeting of the Western Economic So¬ 
ciety declared that, “if there is one thing in the 
world that the government ought not to do it 
ought not to attempt to arbitrarily interfere 
with the natural laws of the economic and busi- 


Work and Life 

ness world, which are of divine origin. If all the 
congresses from now till doomsday should at¬ 
tempt to interfere with the laws of competition 
on the one hand and monopoly on the other, they 
would fail just as disastrously as if they should 
attempt to interfere with or alter the law of 
gravitation. Trade laws are just as immutable 
as natural laws in the physical world. ’ ’ 1 Thus 
the basis of all hope for a solution of the Social 
Problem of To-day in the conscious construction 
of an improved industrial order is removed. 
We can only stand by and await the operation of 
the natural laws of trade. Such, at least is the 
practical and sensible policy if the all hut 
general faith in competition is well founded, 
that is, if competition is a natural law from the 
operation of which flow all the beneficent results 
claimed for it. 

But is competition a natural law “as im¬ 
mutable as natural laws in the physical world”? 
Those who contend that it is base their con¬ 
tention upon the universality of the struggle 
for existence among organic beings. By identi¬ 
fying competition with the struggle for existence 
its advocates derive for it a double sanction. 
This struggle, we are told, is a law of nature; 
competition is struggle; ergo, competition is a 
law of nature. And, again, the struggle for 

1 W. T. Denison, assistant attorney-general of the United 
States, in a talk on “The Proper Purpose of Regulatory Legis¬ 
lation.” ° 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

existence results in tlie survival of the fittest; 
competition is the struggle for existence; ergo, 
competition results in the survival of the fittest. 
Such reasoning is fallacious unless competition 
and the struggle for existence are the same. 
That they are not the same becomes obvious if 
we consider carefully the meaning of the phrase, 
struggle for existence. “I use this term,” said 
Darwin, “in a large and metaphorical sense, in¬ 
cluding dependence of one being on another, and 
including (which is more important) not only 
the life of the individual, but success in leaving 
progeny. Two canine animals, in a time of 
dearth, may be truly said to struggle with each 
other which shall get food and live. But a plant 
on the edge of a desert is said to struggle for 
life against the drought, though more properly 
it should be said to be dependent on the mois¬ 
ture. A plant which annually produces a thou¬ 
sand seeds, of which only one of an average 
comes to maturity, may be more truly said to 
struggle with the plants of the same and other 
kinds which already clothe the ground. The 
mistletoe is dependent on the apple and a few 
other trees, but can only in a far-fetched sense 
be said to struggle with these trees, for, if too 
many of these parasites grow on the same tree, 
it languishes and dies. But several seedling 
mistletoes, growing close together on the same 
branch, may more truly be said to struggle with 
each other. As the mistletoe is disseminated 


Work and Life 

by birds, its existence depends on them; and 
it may metaphorically be said to struggle with 
other frnit-bearing plants, in tempting the birds 
to devour and thus disseminate its seeds. In 
these several senses, which pass into each other, 
I use for convenience’ sake the general term of 
Struggle for Existence.” 1 From this explana¬ 
tion of its use it should be clear that “struggle 
for existence” involves what is correctly known 
as competition—that is, the struggle of individ¬ 
uals (or groups) with individuals (or groups) 
of the same species, and with individuals (or 
groups) of a different species—and also the 
struggle of individuals, alone or in combination, 
against the physical conditions of life. It is 
obvious that this second form of struggle has 
nothing whatever to do with competition. 
And it is not only conceivable but to be ex¬ 
pected that among beings sufficiently intelli¬ 
gent there would be combination and perfect 
co-operation to achieve success economic¬ 
ally in this form of struggle, that is, in 
the struggle against nature. At all events, 
competition, that is, the wasteful strife of living 
beings with each other, might be conceived as 
entirely eliminated, and the struggle for ex¬ 
istence would still remain. There is no escape, 
indeed, from struggle. It is required by the 
very constitution of things. And it is benefi- 

1 “Origin of Species,” sixth London edition, pp. 59, 60. 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

cent, for it is practically synonymous with ac¬ 
tivity, which is the basis of all development. 
“Nature,” says Goethe, “knows no pause in 
progress, and attaches her curse to all inaction.” 
But with increasing intelligence the competitive 
form of struggle may and ought to be sup¬ 
planted by voluntary co-operation, for only by 
co-operation may the struggle against nature, 
against unfavourable physical and social con¬ 
ditions, be most effectively carried on. 

Struggle, then, or rather activity, is the law, 
and not competition. He who engages in the 
conquest of nature, of disease, of ignorance, of 
vice and of his own lower self will find all the op¬ 
portunity for struggle necessary to his own de¬ 
velopment without entering into the competitive 
strife of man against man. Competition is not 
an immutable law of nature. 

Eliminating from the struggle for existence 
the struggle against nature, there remains com¬ 
petition, and it may be freely admitted that, as 
the struggle is carried on among the lower 
forms of life, competition is the most conspicu¬ 
ous if not the chief element. This follows 
necessarily from the fact that these forms of 
life are endowed with marvellous powers of 
propagation, and exercise no self-restraint. 
They consequently press upon the food supply 
and a competitive struggle results. As Goethe 
expressed it, 


Work and Life 

“Round her spindle with unceasing drone, 

Nature still whirls the unending thread of life, 

When Being’s jarring crowds, together thrown, 

Mingle in harsh inextricable strife.” 

It is a fact, of course, that all organic beings 
tend to increase in a geometrical ratio. If none 
was destroyed, the progeny of a single pair, 
even of the slowest breeding, would soon fill 
the earth. Darwin reckoned that from a single 
pair of elephants, which are supposed to be the 
slowest breeders of all known animals, there 
would be produced, at the minimum natural 
rate of increase, nineteen million descendants 
in seven hundred and fifty years . 1 It has been 
calculated that, beginning with two persons and 
supposing a doubling of the population every 
fifty years, * ‘ at the expiration of three thousand 
years the whole surface of the earth, land and 
sea, would be covered with people piled one on 
top of the other eight hundred deep.” 2 Profes¬ 
sor Huxley introduced in one of his lectures a 
calculation showing that a plant which produces 
annually fifty seeds could cover every square 
foot of the land surface of the earth in less than 
nine years. Certain low forms of aquatic life 
increase with such amazing rapidity that, if 
none was destroyed, they would fill the ocean 
in a week. Thus all forms of life, high and 
low, are endowed with great powers of prop- 

1 Op. oit., pp. 60, 61. 

2 See Ely, “Introduction to Political Economy,” p. 163. 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

agation. Nature pours into the arena in¬ 
numerable combatants, vastly more than can 
possibly be sustained, and, under such circum¬ 
stances, a competitive struggle for food and to> 
perpetuate themselves inevitably results. Com¬ 
petition may therefore be said to be a biological 
law. It bolds true among beings which have not 
sufficient intelligence to appreciate its waste¬ 
fulness, to restrain their increase, and to 
practise a higher economy. 

The competitive form of the struggle for ex¬ 
istence is, then, inevitable so far as creatures 
below man are concerned. And in this struggle, 
it is true, the fittest survive. But what are 
the fittest? As has often been pointed out, they 
are not always the highest types, but merely 
those best adapted to the circumstances of the 
particular time and place. It may so happen, 
and does often happen, that the circumstances 
are such as to favour the survival of a lower 
rather than a higher type. The parasite may 
drive out the paragon. In Paraguay, for in¬ 
stance, as we are told by Darwin, “neither cattle 
nor horses nor dogs have ever run wild, though 
they swarm southward and northward in a feral 
state.’’ This is due to the prevalence in that 
country of a certain kind of fly which lays its 
eggs in the navels of these animals when first 
born, which results in their destruction. Thus 
cattle, horses and dogs are among the unfit in 
one region of South America, and among the 


Work and Life 

fittest in another. Again, in equatorial Africa 
the tsetse fly, whose bite occasions the sleeping 
sickness, has depopulated whole regions Qf 
fertile country. Beasts and reptiles, however, 
are found in great abundance. They are “the 
fittest” to the conditions which there prevail. 
And so everywhere, those who survive in the 
competitive struggle for existence do not prove 
thereby that they are superior in any sense. 
“If our hemisphere were to cool again,” says 
Huxley, ‘ ‘ the survival of the fittest might bring 
about, in the vegetable kingdom, a population 
of more and more stunted and humbler and hum¬ 
bler organisms, until the 4 fittest’ that survived 
might he nothing hut lichens, diatoms, and such 
microscopic organisms as those which give red 
snow its colour; while, if it became hotter, the 
pleasant valley of the Thames and Isis might 
be uninhabitable by any animated being save 
those that flourish in a tropical jungle. They, 
as the fittest, the best adapted to the changed 
conditions, would survive.” 1 In the course of 
social evolution doubtless many tribes of men 
have succumbed to ferocious animals and 
venomous serpents. Certainly states posses¬ 
sing a “superior” civilisation have been con¬ 
quered by “inferior” peoples. In such cases 
a certain superiority may be claimed for the 
conquering race,—in numbers, in military prow- 

1 “Evolution and Ethics and Other Essays,” New York, 1899, 
pp. 80, 81. ’ 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

ess, in hardihood or the like. But in an environ¬ 
ment fit only for a low type of beasts or men 
the lower will drive out the higher, unless the 
higher has the intelligence to transform the 
circumstances into fitness for its own survival. 
Despite the currency of the proverb it is de¬ 
monstrably untrue that always “the race is to 
the swift and the battle to the strong. ’ ’ 

“The unfit die; the fit both live and thrive. 

Alas, who says so? They who do survive! 

So, when her bonfires lighted hill and plain. 

Did Bloody Mary think of Lady Jane. 

So Russia thought of Finland, and her heel 
Falls heavier on the prostrate commonweal. 

So Booth of Lincoln thought, and so the High 
Priests let Barabbas live and Jesus die.” 

The doctrine of the survival of the fittest, 
then, has no bearing upon the permanence of 
competition in industrial society or the desirabil¬ 
ity of its maintenance as a method of human 
progress. To say that “we shall have com¬ 
petition as long as the doctrine of the survival 
of the fittest lasts” is to frame a remark which 
11 sounds better than it senses. ’ ’ If the ‘ ‘ fittest’ ’ 
meant the “best,” such a statement would be 
relevant, but, as has been shown here, and as 
has been pointed out many times by others, it 
does not mean the best, hence the doctrine of 
the survival of the fittest has no ethical signifi¬ 
cance. It is no obstacle to the belief in the 
gradual substitution of co-operation for com- 


Work and Life 

petition. Paraphrasing the language of Hux¬ 
ley, we may say that social progress means a 
checking of competition at every step and the 
substitution for it of co-operation, which may be 
called the ethical process; the end of which is 
not the survival of those who may happen to 
be the fittest, in respect of the whole of the 
natural conditions which obtain, but of those 
who are ethically best. “In place of ruthless 
self-assertion it demands self-restraint, in place 
of thrusting aside, or treading down, all com¬ 
petitors, it requires that the individual shall not 
merely respect, but shall help his fellows; its 
influence is directed, not so much to the survival 
of the fittest, as to the fitting of as many as 
possible to survive. It repudiates the gladiato¬ 
rial theory of existence. ’ ’ 1 

It is curious that men will justify competition, 
and assert its necessity, on the ground of the 
struggle for existence and the survival of the 
fittest, and preach non-interference with Nature, 
when they are continually denying their theory 
in actual practice. Who believes in the doc¬ 
trine of non-interference as applied to the plant 
world? To rely there upon the doctrine of the 
survival of the fittest would be to let weeds take 
the corn. It must have been an early advocate 
of the virtues of competition who expected to 
gather grapes from thorns and figs from this¬ 
tles! What is cultivation, domestication, art- 

1 Op. oit., pp. 81, 82. 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

ificial selection, education, legislation, but a 
negation of the general doctrine that Nature is 
a complex of fixed laws with which it is folly 
to try to interfere? A natural law is nothing 
but a descriptive formula expressing a tend¬ 
ency, and what tendency in the organic and 
social world may not be to some extent coun¬ 
teracted by intelligent action? Man does not 
rely upon the doctrine of the survival of the 
fittest and let the weeds take his corn, or expect 
to obtain from unrestrained competitive strife 
the highest type of horse or cow, hog or sheep. 
No more should he hope for the highest type of 
man, or of civilisation, to be produced through 
competition. “The prevailing idea is wholly 
false,” says Professor Lester F. Ward, “which 
claims that it is the fittest possible that survive 
in this struggle. The effect of competition is 
to prevent any form from attaining its maximum 
development, and to maintain a certain com¬ 
paratively low level of development for all forms 
that succeed in surviving. . . . Wherever com¬ 
petition is wholly removed, as through the 
agency of man in the interest of any one form, 
great strides are immediately made by the form 
thus protected, and it soon outstrips all those 
that depend upon competition for their motive 
to advancement. Such has been the case with 
the cereals and fruit trees, and with domestic 
animals, in fact, with all the forms of life that 
man has excepted from the biologic law and 


Work and Life 

subjected to the law of mind. The supposed 
tendency of such forms to revert to their 
original wild state, about which so much has 
been said, is simply their inability when re¬ 
manded to their pristine competitive struggle 
to maintain the high position which they had 
acquired during their halcyon days of exemp¬ 
tion from that struggle, which they can no 
more do than they can attain that position 
while subjected to it. Competition, therefore, 
not only involves the enormous waste which 
has been described, but it prevents the max¬ 
imum development, since the best that can be 
attained under its influence is far inferior to 
that which is easily attained by the artificial, 
i. e., the rational and intelligent, removal of 
that influence. ’ ’ 1 

From the foregoing discussion it should be 
clear that, so far as industrial competition is 
concerned, we can get little comfort out of the 
doctrine of the survival of the fittest, unless 
industrial conditions are wholly satisfactory. 
The richest men, the economically successful, 
are not necessarily the best men. As things 
now are, success too often depends upon hard¬ 
heartedness, cruelty, ruthless aggression, ani¬ 
mal cunning, unscrupulousness, and other in¬ 
tensely egoistic traits which are foreign to the 
nature of the highest type of man. 

“But, at all events,” it may be said, “in- 

i “Psychic Factors of Civilisation,” Boston, 1901, pp. 260, 261. 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

dustrial competition acts upon the producer by 
stimulating his powers and capacities of pro¬ 
duction. Hence the survivors of such com¬ 
petition are at least the most effective pro¬ 
ducers. ’ ’ 

Not even so much can be admitted without 
qualification. It is true that effectiveness, 
say in production, is an element in successful 
competition, and sometimes a man succeeds in 
business, that is, drives out his competitors, 
solely by producing superior goods, or the 
same goods at a lower cost. But that is by 
no means the rule. Quality of goods, or 
cheapness, is not the end the business man is 
aiming at. His primary object is profits, and 
profits depend upon price of goods and quan¬ 
tity of sale. The stimulus of competition op¬ 
erates, therefore, not merely upon quantity 
and quality of goods produced, but upon 
methods of sale. Of two producers of equal 
ability the cheapest seller will survive. Now 
the arts of sale consist largely in the mis¬ 
representation of wares through expensive ad¬ 
vertising, “aggression,” detraction of rivals, 
and other “tricks of trade” which have noth¬ 
ing to do with improved production. Profits 
are reaped through adulteration of goods, by 
the substitution of shoddy material, by con¬ 
vincing customers that you “have something 
just as good,” when you have not, even in 
larger proportion than by honest striving for 


Work and Life 

improved quality or lower cost of production. 
Say what you will, modesty, sympathy with the 
unfortunate and the weak, altruism, strict 
honesty, are not the qualities at premium in 
successful industrial competition. And when 
competition is successful, that is, when a rival 
is “put out of business,” society sustains a 
loss. For if the defeated rival owes his defeat 
merely to a more scrupulous conscience, the 
standard of business ethics is lowered; and 
even if he be a less efficient producer his 
services are lost to society until he readjusts 
himself, during which time his successful com¬ 
petitor tends to reap a monopoly advantage. 
In either case society would be better otf 
through intelligent co-operation. 

Neither the best men, then, nor th.6 most 
efficient producers are the certain product 
of industrial competition. In piratical condi¬ 
tions competition produces pirates; and, under 
certain circumstances, parasites are the inevi¬ 
table results. From no possible point of view 
may the advocates of competition derive a 
sanction for it, or assurance of its perpetuity, 
from the doctrine of the survival of the fittest. 

Descending, then, from the theory of the 
general beneficence of industrial competition, 
may it not be claimed for it that it operates to 
the advantage of one class of society par¬ 
ticularly, namely, the consumers? It is a pop¬ 
ular conception encouraged by certain econ- 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

omists, and by a superficial consideration 
of the facts, that competition lowers prices. 
That is, indeed, sometimes, perhaps usually, 
the first result. But competition usually leads 
to combination, and when combination is ef¬ 
fected the losses which the competitors 
* sustained during their struggle for the market 
are usually recouped, and thenceforward 
prices may be maintained at a higher level than 
before in order to provide profits on a larger 
mass of capital. This is well illustrated in the 
effort of a municipality to secure a cheaper 
service from public utilities by encouraging 
competition. A city has, let us say, a gas- 
plant. This plant is capable of supplying all 
the service required, but prices are too high. 
A franchise is granted to another company, 
another plant is built, competition results and 
prices are lowered. But it is not long until the 
plants are united under one management, or 
there is an agreement as to prices, and thence¬ 
forward prices must be sufficiently high to 
bring the usual return upon twice as much cap¬ 
ital as is really needed to supply the service. 

But there is another and more general 
reason why competition does not permanently 
lower prices. Industrial competition, like that 
which takes place among the lower orders of 
life, is extremely wasteful. Consider the vast 
amount of advertising, the armies of salesmen, 
the superfluous middlemen, the high rents 


Work and Life 

paid for favourable locations, all of which, 
for the most part, merely determine who shall 
sell the goods, and from which buyers get no 
benefit whatever, and then reflect that all these 
expenses must be added to the cost of produc¬ 
tion and covered by the selling price. This 
forces prices upward, and if competition is 
“aggressive, ” and that is the kind that is pop¬ 
ularly approved, they will be pushed to the 
point beyond which buyers will cease to pur¬ 
chase in large quantities, and that is all that 
monopoly can do. The tendency of prices 
under aggressive competition is to the same 
point as under monopoly. This point has been 
so well brought out by Prof. Simon N. Patten 
that I can do no better than to quote his 
words. “The effect on prices of the modern 
system of competition encouraging waste,” he 
says, “is the same as that of a monopoly or 
combination. Prices are forced to the upper 
limit, above which they could not go without 
discouraging trade. When the conditions of a 
business are such that a large expenditure of 
money in attracting customers, will give a mer¬ 
chant an advantage unless his rivals follow his 
example, the general use of extensive advertis¬ 
ing, travelling salesmen, expensive stores in 
fashionable localities, raise prices far above 
the cost of production. The small dealer who 
has not the capital to increase his trade by 
such expensive means moves his store nearer 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

to the homes of the customers, so that the ad¬ 
vantage of locality may in a measure coun¬ 
teract advantages possessed by richer rivals. 
A multitude of small stores spring up to profit 
by the advantage of locality, and prices are 
separated still farther from the cost of pro¬ 
duction to allow the dealer to pay his rent and 
secure his living from the small stock of goods 
demanded by the locality. When all these 
causes get in full operation, and each rival re¬ 
sorts to new expedients to draw the trade of 
others to himself, there is no limit to the rise 
of prices except at the point beyond which the 
people will cease to purchase in large quanti¬ 
ties. So we have practically the same limit to 
the rise of prices for a system of wasteful com¬ 
petition as for monopolies. If they follow 
their own interest monopolies cannot force 
prices higher than a system of waste can. To 
the public as buyers, the effect on retail prices 
is the same under both systems. All is gotten 
from the buyer it is possible to do without pre¬ 
venting a sale. 

In the leading professions the same influences 
are at work by which the price of services is 
forced to the upper limit. The tendency of law¬ 
yers ’ fees is not towards the real cost to the 
lawyer in time and energy, but towards the 
point beyond which people would cease to em¬ 
ploy them. And with the doctors the same 
tendencies are even more easily seen. A young 


Work and Life 

doctor could not rely upon cheapness to attract 
business. He must in some way get into the 
good graces of a part of the public, take an 
active part in some church, or society, and in 
other ways get himself into notice. But all 
these means of securing trade cost money, and 
he must make his bills large enough to get it 
all back and leave enough for a good living. 

The old formula about competition reducing 
prices has yet so strong a hold on the public 
that they do not appreciate the changes in the 
business methods which are now in common use. 
They think that a multitude of competitors in 
any trade is a safeguard to low prices. Yet 
these rivals find that passive cheapness brings 
little trade. Costly aggressiveness brings 
ten customers where cheap passivity secures 
one. Doubtless the public desire cheapness, but 
they are willing to pay dearly to those who aid 
them in the search. When dealers recognise 
these facts and organise their business on an 
aggressive basis, real cheapness becomes a thing 
of the past, and prices, in such a business, ap¬ 
proximate what they would if they were con¬ 
trolled by a trust or an intelligent monopoly. 

There are, then, good reasons why we should 
think of the tendencies of wasteful competition 
towards higher prices as having the same re¬ 
sults upon prices, and following the same laws 
that monopolies do. When we wish to ascertain 
the effects of present economic conditions we 


Competition , Natural and Industrial 

will arrive much more nearly the truth if we 
think of a multitude of our industries and trades 
as monopolies than if we adhere to the old 
hypothesis that an intense competition in them 
brings cheapness. The law of monopoly gov¬ 
erns the price of drugs just as much as it does 
> of sugar. The retail price has no more tend¬ 
ency to conform to the lowest cost of their pro¬ 
duction than the price of sugar does under the 
present trust. The difference is merely that in 
the latter case the increased price passes into 
the hands of the refiners, while in the former 
it is wasted by the large number of persons 
who get a living by handling and distributing 

The public think that aggressive competition 
brings them cheap goods, because they assume 
that the reduction of price is a necessary re¬ 
sult of the action of self-interest in the sellers. 
But the action of self-interest may lead a dealer 
to attract trade by expensive means as well as by 
mere cheapness. In which way his self-interest 
will prompt him to act is determined not by 
himself but by the social condition of the people 
with which he deals. If the people are easily 
misled and their standard of living does not 
require all their productive power, aggressive 
action on the part of the dealer counts for more 
than mere cheapness. The real limit of the 
upward movement of prices is fixed by the ac¬ 
tion of buyers and not of sellers. Prices cease 


Work and Life 

to rise at that point above which the demand 
of the public would rapidly fall off. For this 
reason the upper limit of prices is the same for 
aggressive competition as for intelligent monop¬ 
oly. The increased net revenue is the control¬ 
ling motive of both competing sellers and 
monopolies. The price is fixed by that buyer 
who, if he ceased to buy, would reduce the net 
revenue of the seller.” 1 

Thus does Professor Patten assail the pre¬ 
vailing conception that competition lowers 
prices. His logic is supported by the plain 
facts of industrial life. Take, for instance, our 

i “The Principles of Rational Taxation,” published by the 
Philadelphia Social Science Association, 25 pp. 8°. Quoted by 
Prof. Lester F. Ward, “Psychic Factors of Civilisation,” pp. 
269-271. See also, Sidney A. Reeve’s “Cost of Competition,” 
p. 96. He says: “The wide-spread delusion that business- 
effort consists in keeping prices as low as possible merely 
shows how universally the profit-seekers have been able to 
deceive the public, often including themselves. The constant 
aim of all business-endeavor is undoubtedly to make prices 
seem low. Owing to the opposition of the other dealers in 
the same line it is undoubtedly also the aim to make prices 
actually as low as possible,—if the word possible be interpreted 
as meaning ‘consistent with getting the maximum of profit 
transferred from the community to their own pockets.’ Even 
if ‘quick sales and small profits’ be the motto which leads to 
success, it none the less remains an incontrovertible fact that if 
the seller thus derives a greater net income he has drawn from 
the pockets of the people a greater tax for his support; nor 
does the fact that he has handled more goods offset the loss, 
for it will be developed later that the total amount of goods 
thus handled to the community cannot be increased by any 
such means. What he has handled his competitors have failed 
to handle; and if the quick sales have been artificially stimu¬ 
lated by extra expense in advertising, for all this, too, the 
buyer must pay, and the cost to the community is thus doubly 
increased, although trebly disguised.” 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

recent experience with the Standard Oil Trust. 
Relief from the tyranny of this oppressive 
monopoly was to be obtained, it was generally 
thought, only by its dissolution. Thus was com¬ 
petition to be restored. Well, the Trust was 
dissolved, and with what result? An increase 
in the capital stocks of the former constituent 
companies, “to adjust the capital so as to make 
it commensurate with the value of the assets,” 
it is apologetically explained, and an increase 
in the prices of many oil products! “Since the 
dissolution of Standard Oil,” said the Chicago 
Record-Herald of Feb. 8, 1912, “the price of 
many of the products has been advanced. It 
is the theory that the old subsidiary companies 
dissociated and in theoretical competition are 
entitled to make larger profits than when they 
were all owned by the old holding concern.” 
And so, it seems, in this case at least, that even 
“theoretical” competition has the effect of 
raising prices! 

We have now seen that, contrary to the pop¬ 
ular impression, industrial competition does not 
result in a permanent reduction of prices; that 
it does not secure the survival of the most effi¬ 
cient producer; that in no case does competition 
necessarily result in the survival of the highest 
type; that it is only one element in the struggle 
for existence; and, finally, that to ground sanc¬ 
tion of industrial competition on the doctrine of 
the struggle for existence and the survival of the 


Work and Life 

fittest is to evince a gross misconception of the 
process of organic evolution. But competition 
is a fact of nature and of industrial society. 
It is reasonable to suppose that it could not 
have persisted without an important use. 
What, then, is the real function of competition ? 
and how long will it persist? 

As already pointed out, the basis of all de¬ 
velopment is activity. Without it there could 
be neither life nor evolution. Now, it is ob¬ 
vious that among brutes, and among men, com¬ 
petition, if conscious, may be a stimulus to 
action. If it should suddenly cease as a natural 
phenomenon the activity of many men, and 
most animals, would be greatly diminished, and 
progress, of course, retarded. Among the 
lower animals the only barriers to increase are 
defeat and destruction. They know nothing of 
self-restraint. A want impels to immediate ef¬ 
fort to gratify it. Interference on the part of 
another animal naturally results in conflict. 
Strife is the normal condition, and ‘ ‘ the lust of 
battle” an advantage. Here competition reigns 
supreme. It is inevitable, and, although waste¬ 
ful in the highest degree, it supplies a powerful 
stimulus to action. The function of competi¬ 
tion, then, is to secure action on the part of 
unintelligent creatures, creatures incapable of 
appreciating the waste of energy due to com¬ 
petitive strife, and of combining and co-opera¬ 
ting to prevent it. It is nature’s method of 


Competition , Natural and Industrial 

stimulating action until mind is sufficiently de¬ 
veloped to supplant it by higher motives. 

Competition, then, is indeed an incentive to 
action. Does that not prove its necessity and 
permanence in industrial society? Not any 
more than the stimulating quality of anything 
else proves its necessity and permanence. Fear 
is an incentive, but we are trying to drive out 
fear. Goethe ascribes to Satan the exact virtue 
claimed for competition. In his explanation in 
“Faust ’’ of the existence of this personage, the 
Lord says, 

“All too prone is man activity to shirk, 

In unconditioned rest he fain would live; 

Hence this companion purposely I give, 

Who stirs, excites, and must as devil work.” 

But as modern theology, reflecting advancing 
social intelligence, has practically discarded 
the devil, so, let us hope, that in time the same 
intelligence may eliminate competition as a nec¬ 
essary means of social progress. Competition 
is an incentive to action, but so is a bull-dog 
after a tramp! There are other incentives, and 
higher. The mere desire to beat somebody does 
not compare favourably, from an ethical stand¬ 
point, with interest in the welfare of wife and 
children, the joy of the artist, the scientist’s 
love of truth, the delight of the mechanical in¬ 
ventor, publicity and honour, to say nothing of 
the desire to promote the public good, which 


Work and Life 

has been shown again and again to be among 
the most powerful of incentives. 1 

The necessity of competition, then, can be ad¬ 
mitted only with respect to the brute creation 
in a state of nature, and to such men as do not 
respond to higher motives. As to its perma¬ 
nence, it is significant that those who argue for 
competition as a necessary incentive usually 
affirm it with respect to others, not to them¬ 
selves. They at least have risen above it! If 
any man of action has “risen above’’ compe¬ 
tition, then, of course the possibility may be 
asserted of all. To deny it is to disregard past 
evolution and the influence of education. Com¬ 
petition will gradually disappear, then, as 
higher types of men are developed. But society 
will not wait upon individual development for 

i It should be observed that while competition is an incentive 
it is not itself a “force.” The dynamic element in industrial 
action is fear of want, envy, desire for profit, the “instinct of 
workmanship,” or some other form of feeling. The distinction 
is not without a difference and an importance. Toynbee de¬ 
clared (“Industrial Revolution,” p. 87) that competition “is 
neither good nor evil in itself; it is a force which has to be 
studied and controlled.” “Competition or the unimpeded pres¬ 
sure of individual on individual,” he says, “has been from the 
beginning a great force in societies; but of old it was hindered 
and controlled by custom; in the future, like the other great 
physical forces of society, it will be controlled by morality.” 
(“Industrial Revolution,” p. 250.) Other economists in their 
analysis of the industrial system give to competition a place 
similar to that taken in physical science by the force of gravi¬ 
tation. And so to declaim against competition is made to ap¬ 
pear as vain as to decry the forces of nature. But the analogy 
is not well-founded. Competition is not a force, it is an inci¬ 
dent of human action. Instead of being of itself dynamic it is 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

the removal of competition. As soon as it be¬ 
comes entirely awake to its excessive wasteful¬ 
ness and brutality it will put an end to it, even 
at the risk of weakening, in certain cases, indi¬ 
vidual interest and incentive. If society were 
as intelligent as the average individual, it would 
not tolerate the waste and anarchy of industrial 
competition for a single week. 

We may say, then, that competition, in the 
natural order, is a necessary incentive to action. 
Its necessity in industrial society diminishes, 
however, with advancing intelligence, and ends 
the moment individuals are sufficiently respon¬ 
sive to higher motives to secure the activity 
necessary to progress. For the appearance 
and strengthening of these higher motives we 
may safely rely upon association, assisted by 
education and other civilising influences. It is 
useless to deny, as some do, the possibility of 
changing human nature. Man has emerged 
from the brutes. His present nature is as 
much a product of evolution as he is himself. 
Its past evolution is a promise of continuing 
change. Development here as elsewhere may 
be consciously effected. “Much may be done,” 
says Huxley, “to change the nature of man 
himself. The intelligence that has converted 
the brother of the wolf into the faithful guard¬ 
ian of the flock ought to be able to do something 
towards curbing the instincts of savagery in 
men. ’ ’ And Kant gave expression to a similar 



Work and Life 

view. “It is delightful to reflect,” He said, 
“that human nature will always be growing 
better through education, and that this can be 
reduced to a form adapted to mankind. This 
opens up to us the prospect of the future hap¬ 
piness of the human race.” The argument, if 
it is to be so dignified, that human nature is 
not susceptible to change, tells against the 
“regulation” of competition, as well as against 
its elimination. Such an argument, however, 
is really not worth discussing. In social po¬ 
lemics the dogma, “You cannot change human 
nature,” is the last refuge of a defeated op¬ 

It is usually admitted by those who assert the 
necessity and permanence of competition that 
it should be raised to higher levels. “Compe¬ 
tition,” says Prof. Richard T. Ely, “is a per¬ 
manent feature of human society. It begins 
with the lowest orders of animals and continues 
its action among the highest orders of men. 
But it continually mounts to higher and higher 
elevations, and means rivalry for ever better 
and better things. We leave behind contests 
for bare subsistence to engage in contests for 
noble prizes of the mind and for opportunities 
for social service. We can, then, never allow 
competition to cease.” 1 The context shows 
that Prof. Ely means industrial competition 

1 “Evolution of Industrial Society,” New York, 1903, pp. 144, 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

should not be allowed to cease. His conclu¬ 
sion is a nonsequitur. For, if competition 
“mounts to higher and higher elevations,” it 
may rise above the industrial plane. This is 
indeed the view of Hobson, the English econ¬ 
omist, who says that the philosophic defence of 
progressive socialism is “that human progress 
requires that one after another the lower ma¬ 
terial animal functions shall be reduced to rou¬ 
tine, in order that a larger amount of individual 
effort may be devoted to the exercise of higher 
functions and the cultivation by strife of higher 
qualities.” “All progress,” he says, “from 
primitive savagedom to modern civilisation 
(consists) in the progressive socialisation of the 
lower functions, the stoppage of lower forms of 
competition and of the education of the more 
brutal qualities, in order that a larger and 
larger proportion of individual activity may be 
engaged in the exercise of higher functions, the 
practice of competition upon the higher planes, 
and the education of higher forms of fitness. 
. . . Under socialised industry progress in the 
industrial arts would be slower and would ab¬ 
sorb a smaller proportion of individual interest, 
in order that progress in the finer intellectual 
and moral arts might be faster, and might en¬ 
gage a larger share of life.” 1 

To me, however, it seems that to admit the 

i J. A. Hobson, “The Evolution of Modern Capitalism,” New 
York, 1902, pp. 364, 365. 


Work and Life 

obvious fact that competition may and should 
be raised to higher and higher levels is to give 
up the case for our competitive system of in¬ 
dustry. For when competition is raised so high 
that it becomes rivalry in “social service” it 
is no longer competition; it is transformed into 
co-operation. To talk, then, of elevating the 
plane of competition is to admit my contention 
that strife of man against man is not per¬ 
manently essential to progress, and that because 
it always involves a wasteful expenditure of 
energy, the elevation of competition by elimina^ 
ting waste, and supplying worthier objects, must 
inevitably result in emulation and co-operation. 

Suppose, for instance, an individual raised to 
the moral level at which he responds to the 
scriptural injunction, “Let nothing be done 
through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of 
mind let each esteem other better than them¬ 
selves.” Such a man would naturally emulate, 
but not compete. 

Suppose, again, two competitors in industry. 
Their object is profits. To succeed each tries 
to defeat the other. The thwarting or crippling 
of one is an advantage to his opponent. Now 
suppose the object of their rivalry transformed 
from profits to the public good. Then, if, for 
any cause, one is rendered less effective the 
other’s aim is to that extent defeated. Each 
desires the maximum promotion of social well¬ 
being. Neither would interfere by any of the 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

methods known to competition to diminish the 
efficiency of the other. For by so doing he 
would deny his interest in the public good, or 
defeat his own purpose. On the contrary, each 
would help the other. That is to say, they 
would co-operate, not compete. 

As differences of opinion here may depend 
largely on definitions, it will be well to discrim¬ 
inate as carefully as possible between compe¬ 
tition on the one hand and emulation and 
co-operation on the other. First let us en¬ 
deavour to fix the meaning of competition. 

In the application of the word competition to 
the plant world it is used in a figurative sense, 
just as the word “struggle” is used in the same 
application. We may therefore leave out of 
account the so-called competition of plants, and 
confine our attention to competition in the ani¬ 
mal and social world. In this realm competition, 
is the rivalry of individuals or groups for a sat¬ 
isfaction which only one competitor may enjoy. 
The food or sensual gratification which one ani¬ 
mal secures is forever lost to another who was 
striving to obtain it. The primary definition 
of competition, according to the Century Dic¬ 
tionary, is ‘ ‘ the act of seeking or endeavouring 
to gain what another is endeavouring to gain 
at the same time; common contest, or the striv¬ 
ing for the same object.” Industrial competi¬ 
tion, then, must be defined as the effort of men 
to obtain an economic advantage which all in 


Work and Life 

pursuit of it may not enjoy. In the case of 
competition among labourers the object is 
wages; with employers it is profits. In as 
much, however, as industry is controlled and 
directed by the employing class, the chief end 
of industry is profits, and the whole industrial 
process may he described with fairness as a 
struggle for profits. 

If to this definition of industrial competition 
it is objected that it brings into undue prom¬ 
inence its selfish phase, the answer is, All com¬ 
petition is essentially selfish. That is its 
condemnation. Its motto is ‘ ‘ Thou shalt starve, 
ere I want.” No matter how much competition 
is “regulated” by forbidding the practice of 
objectionable methods, the selfishness of it re¬ 
mains. Prof. Ely asks, “If I knock you down 
with a sand bag and rob you is that to be called 
competition? If I fit out an armed ship and 
prey upon the commerce of the world, is that 
competition ? ” 1 What is it then ? Are these not 
examples of “unlawful competition?” Rob¬ 
bery and piracy have been inevitable incidents 
of “free” competition. Declare such practices 
criminal, and punish those who resort to them 
as robbers and pirates, and you have not 
changed the essential nature of competition. 
The eternal and insuperable objection to com¬ 
petition, from the moral standpoint, is the 
selfish state of mind involved, as waste is the 

1 Op. cit., p. 127. 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

insuperable objection to it from the economic 

Of course, it is not to be denied that high 
motives and generous action are often opera¬ 
tive in the industrial world. Business men are 
sometimes philanthropists. But it would be 
naive to assume that business is philanthropy, 
and define industrial competition as friendly 
emulation. We must regard it as what it really 

is, namely, the strife of men, or groups of men, 
consciously or unconsciously carried on, with 
the purpose of economic gain; success being 
dependent upon the crippling or defeat of rivals. 
Emulation, benevolence, sympathy, love, are all 
to be found in the industrial world, but they 
exist in spite of competition and not because of 

it. Their presence there should not blind us to 
the essential nature of industrial competition. 

Turning now to emulation, I mean by that 
word the struggle to approach, equal or surpass 
another in merit or, in the field of industry, in 
productivity. It is a strong motive power in 
production, but it differs essentially from com¬ 
petition, since its object is the satisfaction of 
achievement. It involves no waste, and is 
therefore consistent with a maximum produc¬ 
tion at a minimum expenditure, or the law of 
economy. An emulative industrial order would 
be vastly superior to the present competitive 
system, but it would not be the highest, for the 
complete moralisation of emulation, as of corn- 


Work and Life 

petition, would inevitably result in industrial 

To transform competition and emulation into 
industrial co-operation it is only necessary to 
raise the end of action from ‘‘better and better 
things” to the best, namely, the public good. 
Co-operation means, literally, of course, working 
together. To work together, in the sense im¬ 
plied, men must have a common object. It may 
be noble or ignoble. But always to work to¬ 
gether is more effective than to work against. 
The highest end of action is the social welfare. 
The highest type of men must be animated by 
the desire to promote it. Hence, if intelligent, 
and they must be or they would not be the 
highest type of men, they must co-operate. For 
the highest industrial efficiency is possible only 
when there is common effort for the common 
good. Co-operation, therefore, as we shall see 
more clearly in the next chapter, is the goal of 
industrial evolution. 

Deep down in biological evolution originated 
the parental and the gregarious instincts, the 
“struggle for the life of others,” that is, mu¬ 
tual aid, or co-operation. These softened and 
lessened competition within groups, and proved 
to be an advantage in group competition and 
group survival. Co-operation in its origin, then, 
has exactly the same natural sanction as com¬ 
petition; it originated spontaneously as an aid 
to survival. But while out of competition 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

sprang the self-regarding virtues, the other-re¬ 
garding virtues owe their origin to co-operation. 
“Important as the struggle for existence has 
been and still is,” says Darwin, “yet as far 
as the higher part of man’s nature is concerned, 
there are other agencies more important.” 1 

Co-operation, therefore, is the more signifi¬ 
cant fact in human evolution. It exerts by far 
the stronger socialising and moralising influ¬ 
ence. If progress continues it seems inevitable, 
therefore, that competition must grow less and 
less and co-operation more and more. 

It might seem that in the upward march of 
living things those in which mind' first appeared 
would at once see the unnecessary expenditure 
of energy involved in industrial competition, 
and combine to prevent it. So they would if 
mind, at its appearance, had been fully formed. 
But intelligence began in the simpler feelings 
and advanced only by slow degrees. What we 
should expect to find in history, therefore, is a 
gradual displacement of competition by co-op¬ 
eration. And that is exactly what we do find. 
Every step in civilisation has meant a modifi¬ 
cation of the competitive struggle. Men talk 
of “free” industrial competition, but there is 
no such thing on any large scale. To restore 
absolutely free competition we should have to 
go back to the pre-social stage of human de¬ 
velopment. Combinations in productive enter- 

i “Descent of Man,” second edition, p. 618. 


Work and Life 

prise and trade will continue because of tbeir 
economy, and complete economy cannot be at¬ 
tained without thorough voluntary co-operation. 

It is sometimes said that even with socialised 
industry competition would be necessary to de¬ 
termine individual efficiency. The most that 
can be admitted is that socialised industry with 
a competitive test of efficiency would be a great 
advance upon the present order. But to say 
that such a test is ideally necessary is to mis¬ 
conceive the real meaning of competition. In 
a large firm, for instance, each employe is as¬ 
signed his work by the conscious direction and 
control of the manager. If the manager be 
wise he does not set his men to trying to defeat 
each other, or to get one another’s jobs, in 
order to determine fitness. He encourages 
emulation, not competition. What is he there 
for but to determine efficiency by actual achieve¬ 
ment? Conscious selection does not necessarily 
involve or imply competition. In the selection 
of men for the giant corps of Frederick the 
Great stature was the primary test. Five-foot 
men could hardly be said to compete for a place 
with men of six feet four. Men were chosen 
merely because they were tall. Under indus¬ 
trial co-operation what a man could actually do 
would be the rational determinant of his place 
and duty. 

So while competition might long remain in 
socialised industry, it is not a necessary factor. 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

Its necessity will decline with the increase of 
intelligence and public spirit. Full and volun¬ 
tary co-operation is the ideal. 

To appreciate the truth that the ideal state 
must he industrially co-operative, it is only nec¬ 
essary to try to conceive what a state would 
- be like in which competition were “free,” and 
the business maxim, “Every man for himself,” 
were perfectly applicable. The terrible dis¬ 
aster in the Iroquois theatre in Chicago a few 
years ago affords a suggestive illustration of 
what we might expect. It shows competition 
“at its best!” Two thousand people were sit¬ 
ting quietly waiting for a performance to begin. 
Suddenly there was a cry of “Fire!” They 
leaped to their feet and there began a competi¬ 
tive scramble for the exits. There was “a fair 
field and no favour.” “Every man for him¬ 
self!” The weak*,—men, women and children, 
—were knocked down and trampled under foot. 
To help another meant to lose one’s own chance 
of escape. The result was that six hundred 
people lost their lives. Co-operation would 
have saved them all. 

In his poem entitled, “Darkness,” Byron sets 
forth the results which would inevitably follow 
the extinction of the light and heat of the sun. 
The poem is too long to quote in full but, if not 
familiar, it should be read in this connection. 
“War,” he says, 


Work and Life 

-“which for a moment was no more. 

Did glut himself again:—a meal was bought 
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart 
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left; 

-“but two 

Of an enormous city did survive, 

And they were enemies: they met beside 
The dying embers of an altar-place, 

Where had been heap’d a mass of holy things 
For an unholy usage; they raked up. 

And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands 

The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath 

Blew for a little life, and made a flame 

Which was a mockery; then they lifted up 

Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld 

Each other’s aspects—saw, and shriek’d, and died. 

Unknowing who he was upon whose brow 

Famine had written Fiend.” 

And so, as the final result, 

-“The world was void, 

The populous and the powerful was a lump, 
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless, 

A lump of death—a chaos of hard clay.” 

It was a strange conceit of Byron, the ex¬ 
tinction of the sun, and the portrayal of the 
inevitable consequences is one of the most awful 
descriptions in literature. But the results 
would be practically the same if sympathy and 
love were blotted from the human heart, and 
the principle of competition were left to reign 
supreme. Enmity, death and darkness would 
surely follow. Buskin spoke the truth when he 
said, “ Government and Co-operation are in all 


Competition, Natural and Industrial 

things the Laws of Life; Anarchy and Compe¬ 
tition, the Laws of Death.” It is vain to talk 
of a solution of the Social Problem of To-day 
by restoring, or even while preserving, indus¬ 
trial competition. 



Co-operation the Coal of Industry 

“The real battle of our time—the advance which is still 
‘against the wind’—is that rather in the direction of union 
and of organisation, and it is in this direction that hope now 
lies.”— Mackenzie. 

“Instead of regarding the public control of the industries of 
the people as something to be dreaded, and avoided, and ob¬ 
structed, we should really look upon it as a goal to which we 
should push on with all possible speed, consistent with safety 
and prudence.”— Anon. 

When we look into the evolution of industry, or 
into tlie business of the modern world, one of 
the first things to strike the eye is the effort of 
individuals to promote economy. The business 
man improves his organisation, perfects his ma¬ 
chinery, and utilises waste products, all for the 
purpose of promoting economy from the stand¬ 
point of his own financial interests. The prin¬ 
ciple of his action is maximum return for 
minimum expenditure. 

The same desire and the same principle of 
action lead him to unite with others in the same 
business as his own in a partnership, corpora¬ 
tion or trust. The modern trust with its 
economies in buying, transportation, manage¬ 
ment, advertising and the like, is the highest 


Co-ojperation the Goal of Industry 

manifestation of business economy thus far at¬ 
tained. The modern tendency is toward perfect 
economy in individual and corporate enterprise. 
Economy is the law of business. 

The principle of economy, however, is capa¬ 
ble of the widest application. It runs through 
all forms of human activity, all social evolution. 
Intelligence always seeks the highest return for 
energy expended. The evolution of intelli¬ 
gence, individual or social, is characterised by 
increasing economy. Economy is the law of 

Now, the social mind has begun to exercise 
an industrial function. We have social man¬ 
agement of certain industries, social regulation 
of others. The more conscious and intelligent 
society becomes the more must it approach 
economy in its own industrial efforts, and the 
more must it demand that individual economies 
conform to social economy. But as has already 
been illustrated (p. 109) separate individual 
economies, no matter how perfect, can never 
result in perfect social economy. 

The word economy is here used, of course, in 
the broadest sense. As popularly understood, 
economy is not always a praiseworthy end. 
This is because popular thought runs on finan¬ 
cial economy, and this is often identified with 
saving. This sometimes becomes niggardli¬ 
ness, penuriousness, stinginess—a false econ¬ 
omy. It defeats its highest end. “There is 


Work and Life 

that scattereth and yet increaseth; and there is 
that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tend- 
eth to poverty. ’ ’ In the broader sense economy 
means the most effective use of all available 
resources in the attainment of a desired end. 
In the exercise of social economy the end is 
ideal social well-being—Life. The practical so¬ 
cial question, therefore, with reference to any 
industrial practice or policy is: What is or 
will be its effect in the matter of promoting in¬ 
dustrial economy? remembering always that 
the chief element in this economy is not ma¬ 
terial wealth, but the lives and happiness of 

Assuming, then, the continuous development 
of the social mind, the drift of industry must 
necessarily be toward a socially organised and 
socially directed industrial system. The com¬ 
plete absence of industrial friction, the reduc¬ 
tion of labour to that which is socially necessary, 
and the performance of that labour with the 
minimum expenditure of energy and with the 
slightest possible interference with the devel¬ 
opment of human life, that is, perfect industrial 
economy, is the goal of industrial evolution. 

Such economy, however, is inconceivable with¬ 
out co-operation, for without the co-operation 
of men perfect industrial efficiency is manifestly 
impossible. Moreover, this co-operation must be 
voluntary. Compulsion would involve a loss of 
energy in supervision and in the potential serv- 


Co-operation the Goal of Industry 

ice of those who labour under it. Forced labour 
is never as efficient as free labour. 

Increasing economy, then, means necessarily 
the development of the co-operative type of man 
—the man who can combine with his fellows to 
promote the common life, the man who will sub¬ 
mit to be organised, subordinated and disci¬ 
plined for the sake of humanity, just as a 
member of an orchestra, as Amiel has suggested, 
submits himself to be organised, subordinated 
and disciplined for the sake of his art and for 
the sake of producing a masterpiece. The co¬ 
operation of modern industry is gradually de¬ 
veloping such a type. The education of the 
family, the school and the church tend in the 
same direction. The trades unions are devel¬ 
oping the spirit of co-operation through their 
collective efforts for mutual benefit. The spirit 
of co-operation is the inevitable outcome of 
friendly association. The tendency of the fu¬ 
ture, so far as the individual is concerned, pro¬ 
viding always that progress continues, is not 
toward the “Blonde Beast’’ of Nietzsche, the 
man of blood and iron, but toward the type of 
man who is wise enough to be simple, strong 
enough to be inoffensive and great enough to 
be humble. “Blessed are the meek, for they 
shall inherit the earth.” 

Voluntary co-operation, however, implies fel¬ 
lowship, brotherhood, love. The tendency, 
therefore, is toward an ethical, as well as an 


Work and Life 

industrial organisation. It must be ethical to 
be economical, in the real sense of that word. 
Love is both cause and effect of co-operation. 
Whatever promotes the one encourages the 
other. It would be sheer cowardice to avoid the 
apparent sentimentality involved in declaring 
that love is the chief ingredient of the solvent 
of all industrial problems. There is nothing 
else that will bring employer and employe to¬ 
gether, nothing else that will produce a harmo¬ 
nious industrial order. A perfect economy 
cannot be conceived without it. “He that lov- 
eth another hath fulfilled the law.” 

But co-operation in the spirit of love is not 
all that is essential to industrial economy. 
There must be direction of industrial forces. 
This direction must be by self-chosen, and con¬ 
sequently irresponsible individuals, or by so¬ 
ciety itself, acting through elected agents. The 
former method, the method of to-day, is capable 
of producing a high economy, but it is not ideal, 
owing to the multiplicity of ends to be served. 
The ends of industry must he unified. They 
must become public instead of private. Ideal 
economy can come, therefore, only through the 
application of the democratic principle in the 
industrial world, as it has already been applied 
in the political world. The application of the 
principle, however, is not alone sufficient. De¬ 
mocracy is not an end, but a means. If in¬ 
dustry were wholly democratised, economy 


Co-operation the Goal of Industry 

would still depend upon the degree of adminis¬ 
trative capacity shown by popular representa¬ 
tives. A society that will elect hoodlers to 
office, and wink at corruption and graft, im¬ 
agines a vain thing, if it supposes that the 
„ extension of democracy to industry would bring 
immediate relief from industrial difficulties. 
The success of democracy, political or indus¬ 
trial, must depend upon the spirit and admin¬ 
istrative capacity of men chosen by a majority 
vote. Education and a high sense of civic re¬ 
sponsibility are therefore necessary to make 
industrial democracy effective. 

The drift of industry, then, is toward an ideal 
economy in which co-operative labour under 
democratic direction is necessarily implied. 
This drift, obvious enough now even to the cas¬ 
ual observer, will become more and more 
pronounced as men grasp the ideal here sug¬ 
gested and begin to ask themselves: How shall 
we act, individually and collectively, so as best 
to forward the realisation of this ideal? 

Let me condense the foregoing argument. 
The industrial ideal must he a perfectly ra¬ 
tional order, otherwise it would not be ideal at 
all. A rational industrial order must manifest 
itself in industrial economy, which is but the 
manifestation of reason on the industrial plane. 
Perfect industrial economy, however, is impos¬ 
sible without voluntary co-operation, which in 
turn is dependent on the co-operative spirit or 


Work and Life 

love. Finally, the effectiveness, that is, the 
economy of voluntary co-operative effort, de¬ 
pends upon intelligent and unselfish direction of 
industry, which can be secured ideally only by 
means of intelligent democratic control. Hence 
the drift of our industrial system is toward a 
perfected industrial democracy, that condition 
of society in which life is the end of labour and 
labour is the means of life; in which capital is 
accumulated and employed, not to exploit la¬ 
bour, but as the indispensable means of render¬ 
ing labour most effective; in which everyone 
does his best at what he can do the best; and in 
which material resources are husbanded, and 
labour is directed, with but one end in view, 
namely, the attainment of the maximum quan¬ 
tity and quality of human life. 

In thus formulating the goal of industry we 
have inadvertently set up an ideal of industrial 
society, and we may so far anticipate the dis¬ 
cussion of the tenth chapter of this book 
as to point out the desirability, even the neces¬ 
sity, of such an ideal. A little reflection ought 
to show that it is of the utmost importance to 
try to conceive what industrial society ought 
to be, and what it must become if progress is to 
continue, and to realise that a rational indus¬ 
trial ideal is one of the most practical things 
that can engage our thought. The ideal is al¬ 
ways practical. It implies and demands a plan. 
Its attractive power is no less dynamic than the 


Co-operation the Goal of Industry 

propelling power of circumstances. There are 
few who do not recognise this in relation to in¬ 
dividual action—for instance, in education and 
in business. Without some ideal there is no 
aim, and nothing to serve as a standard of com¬ 
parison. But social ideals are even more prac¬ 
tical than individual ideals, since they involve a 
larger control and direction of energy. The cri¬ 
terion by which existing social conditions and 
institutions and every proposed method of social 
amelioration and reform are to be tested, is 
some conception of a social ideal. The precision 
and finality of the test depend upon the scientific 
accuracy of this conception. Science, therefore, 
has no higher or more important function than 
the formulation, on the basis of existing facts 
and conditions, of social ideals involving the 
highest possibilities of life, and which may be 
progressively realised. This is especially true, 
owing to the importance of the economic factor 
in social development, with respect to industry. 

Industrial science, however, has been slow to 
recognise the legitimacy and importance of this 
function. Industrial ideals, it is said, are chi¬ 
merical, Utopian; science should have nothing 
to do with ideals. But it is just because in¬ 
dustrial and social ideals have hitherto been 
fantastic that science should rescue them from 
the region of fancy and establish them in the 
region of fact. Such ideals will always appear, 
and will influence the actions of men. Whether 


Work and Life 

they shall he ignes fatui leading us astray, or 
beacons set up with care and foresight, science 
alone can determine. It is folly to say that in¬ 
dustrial science should have nothing to do with 
ideals. What may be industrially is one of the 
most important objects of thought. It gives the 
highest significance and consequence to every 
discovery of what has been. Until an indus¬ 
trial ideal which from its scientific character 
will compel general acceptance is formulated, 
political economy will deserve to some extent 
the accusation of sterility. 

It is then a deplorable fact, due in part to 
this conception of the limits of science, that as 
yet we have no generally acceptable and accepted 
industrial ideal. This lack is the source of in¬ 
estimable mental perplexity and political and 
industrial friction. We have so-called individu¬ 
alists and collectivists, anarchists and socialists, 
with every shade of intermediate opinion, and 
a consequent confusion of tongues. The Be- 
publican political party, for instance, cries 
“ stand pat,” “ let well enough alone,” im¬ 
plying that the majority of voters have no 
industrial ideal at all, or that the ideal has 
been already attained. The Democratic party 
harks back to an antiquated and now im¬ 
possible era of free competition. Progres¬ 
sives demand social and industrial justice, 
but appear to have no definitely formulated 
social or industrial ideal. The Socialists alone 


Co-operation the Goal of Industry 

proclaim such an ideal as the object of a 
scientific political programme. They have an 
ideal, to be snre, but it is as yet the ideal 
of comparatively a few. It may be said, too, 
that many of the socialists are themselves so 
- enamoured of their ideal, that they seem un¬ 
willing to take the intervening steps necessary 
to attain it. We are, in fact, a nation, prac¬ 
tically without an industrial ideal. This fact 
should awaken anxious solicitude. “Where 
there is no vision the people perish.” 

But whether the industrial ideal be con¬ 
sciously conceived or not, the drift of industry is 
toward collectivism. The social regulation of 
industry, its progressive socialisation, is in ac¬ 
cord with the principles of evolution, biolog¬ 
ical and social. It reveals itself in the history 
of industrial progress. It is demanded by the 
human spirit which, as it evolves in intelligence 
and purpose, will more and more seek release 
from the toil and moil of present industry by 
humanising the machine, by doing away with 
unnecessary labour and by transforming neces¬ 
sary industry into art. This means social or¬ 
ganisation for the economy of time and energy, 
and social control for effectiveness. It may 
mean also a certain sacrifice of initiative by the 
individual. But what if it does? Industry is 
not life. If it were, men would do well to resist 
any movement which might tend to destroy, or 
even to restrict, individual initiative in the field 


Work and Life 

of toil. Industry is but a phase of life, and by 
no means the highest phase. It consists of 
those activities of mind and muscle that are 
necessary to provide the material means, the 
physical basis, of life. If it can ever be made 
to assume right relations to life men will gladly 
surrender individual initiative there, if need be, 
for the far more necessary and desirable initia¬ 
tive in the higher realms of life. 

But before industrial democracy can come, in 
anything but form, the spirit of democracy must 
grow. External changes in the industrial envi¬ 
ronment are necessary. They can do much. 
But no external change can be permanently ef¬ 
fective without moral and psychological changes 
in men. The industrial millennium implies the 
principle “all for each and each for all.” In 
how many is the spirit of co-operation suffi¬ 
ciently developed to make that the working 
principle of their lives? It implies universal 
brotherhood. How many are, at heart, a 
brother to men of all degree and of all colour? 
When men advocate, in a spirit of hate, an in¬ 
dustrial and social order founded upon love, 
they should reflect upon their own unfitness for 
the conditions they seek to promote. The 
words of Jesus have here a certain application: 
“Not every one that sayeth Lord, Lord, shall 
enter into the kingdom; . . . but he that doeth 
the will.” . . . “Many will say in that day: 
Have we not prophesied in Thy name; and in 


Co-operation the Goal of Industry 

Thy name done many wonderful works; then 
will I profess unto them, I never knew you; 
depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” 
Industrial democracy is spirit as well as 

But if industrial democracy is dependent 
upon the spirit of men, the spirit is also de¬ 
pendent upon the form. The form must come 
to give freedom to the spirit, and unless all 
signs fail, the form is coming. “The great de¬ 
velopment of industrialism,” says ex-president 
Roosevelt, “means that there must be an in¬ 
crease in the supervision exercised by the gov¬ 
ernment over business enterprises.” Where is 
this supervision to cease? That depends 
upon your theory of government. If govern¬ 
ment is an external and a paternal institution 
higher than the people, then we may well be 
jealous of its encroachments in the field of in¬ 
dustry. But if the people are supreme, and 
government but the agency through which the 
will of the people is manifested and accom¬ 
plished, then a hard and fast line cannot be 
drawn. For industry, after all, is a social 
function, and there is no limit to the right of 
the people to regulate their own activities, and 
manage their own affairs, except the limit of 
expediency, and this will vary from time to 
time. It will gradually extend as popular in¬ 
telligence and administrative capacity extend. 
It will extend by leaps and bounds if the greed 


Worti and Life 

and insolence of corporations and trusts are 
not restrained. 

At all events, if progress may be assumed, 
the form of industrial democracy is coming. 

If violently, then woe worth the day! It will 
mean a reaction that will hurl us backward 
down the steep declivity up which the race has 
so slowly and so painfully climbed. But if 
gradually and peacefully, as men are prepared 
for it in spirit, intelligence and administrative 
capacity, it will mean the dawn of a day of 
progress beyond anything that has entered 
into our imaginations to conceive. The unrest¬ 
ing spirit of man aspiring to become a god, 
will have broken and cast off the chrysalis of - 
industrial materialism in which work is the 
end of life, to soar with unfettered wings in 
the glorious realms of art, where life is the 
end of work. 

“Bliss will it be in that dawn to be alive, 

But to be young will be very heaven.” 



Living and Getting a Living 

“The world is too much with us; late and soon, 

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; 

Little we see in Nature that is ours; 

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!” 

— Wordsworth. 

“Since for every idle person, some one else must be working 
somewhere to provide him with clothes and food, and doing, 
therefore, double the quantity of work that would be enough 
for his own needs, it is only a matter of pure justice to compel 
the idle person to work for his maintenance himself.” 

— Rushin. 

Whoever reflects upon the industrial life of 
the modern world will be struck by the fact 
that it absorbs so much of the time, thought and 
energy of the people. The labouring man rises 
in the morning, eats his breakfast by lamp¬ 
light, and hurries off to his work. He exhausts 
his bodily powers in production, and returns to 
his home, if he is fortunate enough to have a 
home, late in the evening. To prepare himself 
for the work of another day he must find re¬ 
cuperation in long hours of sleep. The first 
sound of the morning that reaches his con¬ 
sciousness is perhaps that of the factory whistle 
calling him to work. Thus the life of the 


Work and Life 

labourer is almost a continuous round within 
the circle of industrial life. 

And the worst of it is that oftentimes this 
round is purely mechanical. The labourer is 
set to tend, or co-operate with, a machine. 
He must observe certain rules, work by certain 
patterns, do just as he is told. This makes it 
practically impossible for him to develop an 
all round character, or to live in any wide mean¬ 
ing of that term. “The vastly preponderating 
mass of the working-class of this country have 
no more freedom in their daily work, no more 
scope for the development of individuality of 
character, than the clanging and clattering 
machinery with which they are co-operating.” 

If we turn to a consideration of the so-called 
“business man” we find that he is similarly 
limited in his activities by the demands of in¬ 
dustrial life. He works long hours, is im¬ 
mersed in business cares, ages before his time, 
and dies before he really begins to live. “If 
conduct,” in Matthew Arnold’s phrase, “is 
three-fourths of life,” business with the 
average business man is four-fifths or nine- 
tenths of it. Business is the dominant interest 
of the world. The press is its agent. The 
messages of governors and presidents are al¬ 
most exclusively devoted to matters concerning 
it—the tariff, ship subsidies, the conservation 
of our material resources, railroad regulation, 
internal commerce and foreign trade. 


Living and Getting a Living 

Now it is the pride and boast of those who 
sing the praise of the modern industrial order 
that so much of the attention, energy and in¬ 
telligence of men is devoted to business, and 
“to the perfection of the arts of material pro¬ 
duction through mechanical means.” But, 
when we have once grasped the true relation 
between industrial and social welfare, between 
work and life, it seems rather to indicate our 
peculiar barbarism; for the time, the intelli¬ 
gence, the enterprise and the genius of men 
should be progressively released from industry 
to be devoted to science, literature and art. 
“The progress of mankind is, under one as¬ 
pect,” said Herbert Spencer, “a means of 
liberating more and more life from mere toil, 
and leaving more and more life available for 
relaxation—for pleasurable culture, for es¬ 
thetic gratification, for travel, for games.” 1 
The present absorption of so much time, thought 
and energy in industry is thus the great hin¬ 
drance to the real object of life, namely, to live. 

For, it cannot too often be insisted upon, the 
true object of life is not work or wealth or power 
or fame. All these are means to the higher end 
of living. To the great end of living, all labour 
and learning, manners and morals, science and 
art, education, religion, even character itself, 
are means. Such expressions as “art for art’s 
sake,” “truth for truth’s sake,” “science for 

i “Autobiography,” Vol. I, p. 478. New York, 1908. 


Work and Life 

science’ sake,” etc., imply tliat there are human 
pursuits which are ends in themselves. But 
in reality there is no such pursuit. All are 
means to the great end of Life. The man who 
mistakes any of these means of life, such as 
work, wealth or knowledge, for life itself, and 
makes it the object of his existence, is as fool¬ 
ish as the miser, who craves the dollar for its 
own sake, and not for what it will buy. “By 
far the most serious, as well as the most 
general, error which results from not deliber-; 
ately asking which are means and which are, 
ends, and contemplating their respective/ 
worths,” says Spencer in the passage pre¬ 
viously quoted, “we see in the current ideas 
about the relation between life and work. 
Here so profound is the confusion of thought 
which has, by a combination of causes, been pro¬ 
duced, that the means is mistaken for the end, 
and the end is mistaken for the means. Nay, 
so firmly established has become the inversion 
of ideas, that that which, looked at apart from 
the distorting medium of custom, is seen to be 
a self-evident error, is, by nearly all, taken for 
a self-evident truth. In this case their sacred 
and secular beliefs unite in misleading men. 
‘Work while it is called to-day, for the night 
cometh when no man can work,’ is a scriptural 
injunction which, in the most unmistakable way, 
implies that work is the end and life the means. 
And daily conversations show that the in- 


Living and Getting a Living 

dustrialism of modern life has so strongly as¬ 
sociated the ideas of duty and labour, that a 
man has come to be regarded as the more 
praiseworthy the harder he toils, and if he re¬ 
laxes greatly in his activities, it is tacitly as¬ 
sumed that some apology or explanation is 
needed. But the whole thing is a superstition. 
Life is not for work, but work is for life; and 
very often work, when it is carried to the ex¬ 
tent of undermining life, or unduly absorbing 
life, is not praiseworthy, but blameworthy. 
If we contemplate life at large in its ascending 
forms, we see that in the lowest creatures the 
energies are wholly absorbed in self-sustenta- 
tion and the sustentation of the race. Each 
improvement in organisation, achieving some 
economy or other, makes the maintenance of 
life easier, so that the energies evolved from 
a given quantity of food more than suffice to 
provide for individual and for progeny. Some 
unused energy is left. As we rise to the higher 
types of creatures, having more developed 
structures, we see that this surplus of energy 
becomes greater and greater, and the highest 
show us long intervals of cessation from the 
pursuit of food, during which there is not an 
infrequent spontaneous expenditure of unused 
energy in that pleasurable activity of the facul¬ 
ties we call play.” 

Life, then, and not work is the summum 
bonum. The enlargement of life is the con- 


Work and Life 

scious aim of all worthy effort, and the inspir¬ 
ing motive of every worthy sonl. When the 
Great Teacher of mankind proclaimed the ob¬ 
ject of his mission in the world, he said, “I 
have come that they might have life, and that 
they might have it more abundantly. ’ ’ And 
the same great thinker gave expression to a 
profound economic as well as ethical truth 
when he said, “For what shall it profit a man 
if he gain the whole world and lose his life, 
or what shall he give in exchange for his life.” 

That living is the true end of life seems ob¬ 
vious enough, and yet there is abundant evi¬ 
dence to show that it is a truth not generally 
apprehended. The mad scramble for wealth, 
in which human dignity, moral refinement and 
esthetic appreciation are sacrificed, shows that 
some men are disposed to regard wealth as the 
end and life as the means. The number of men 
who needlessly narrow, exhaust and shorten 
their lives in business or manual labour, the 
unthinking commendation of such men, and the 
widespread indifference to, even approval of, 
industrial conditions which make such narrow¬ 
ing, exhaustion and shortening of life a common¬ 
place necessity, are plain indications that other 
men make work the end and life the means. 
This is all a mistake. It is fundamentally wrong 
and mischievous. It puts the cart before the 
horse. Man is the measure of all things, and 
whatever detracts from the real dignity of 


Living and Getting a Living 

man’s life, whatever shortens and degrades it, 
we must learn not to respect and cherish, but 
to scorn and destroy. Nothing is worthy to 
endure that does not in some way contribute 
to true living. 

This plain and simple truth, that living is 
the end of life, commonplace though it be, 
if applied to modern industrial conditions, 
would be nothing short of revolutionary. It 
contains enough dynamite to blow our present 
industrial system to atoms. Suppose that to¬ 
morrow life should be made the end of all 
labour, that nothing should he done, no articles 
manufactured, no commodities produced, that 
would not in some way make life better 
worth living—what a radical change would 
have taken place! Many industries would be 
abolished, because their products are life- 
destroying rather than life-giving. The problem 
of unemployment would be, to be sure, for the 
moment intensified. Many other difficulties 
connected with the re-distribution of labour 
would arise. And yet how many problems of 
work and life would be solved or eliminated! 
Most of these problems are due to a misdi¬ 
rection of labour and to the fact that the work 
of the world, modem competitive industry, is 
organised and conducted for private profits, 
and not primarily for life, or social well-being. 
Industry to-day demands of the labourer, in the 
office and in the workshop, his maximum pro- 


Work and Life 

ductivity. But in most occupations maximum 
productive activity is fatal to the maximum 
quantity and quality of life. This is why the 
demand of labourers for shorter hours in the 
more arduous occupations is just and reason¬ 
able. With the labourer it is a question of life; 
with the employer, a question of profits. The 
chief interest of the employer in regard to the 
labour day is its relation to output, but the la¬ 
bourer must consider it from the standpoint of 
his own well-being and that of his family. So, 
too, the struggle of labour for a higher standard 
of living explains its opposition to many things 
which at first sight seem fair enough—piece¬ 
work, for instance. Piece-work often amounts 
to the use of the extraordinary man to set for 
the average man a pace that kills. From the 
standpoint of profits it is a success, but from the 
standpoint of life it may not always be so ad¬ 
judged. We must not lose sight of the fact that 
the object of Capital is profits; the object of 
Labour is life. This nonidentity of the ends of 
these two great factors in production which, as 
we have seen, occasions the Social Problem of 
To-day, should be taken into consideration in all 
the disputes that arise between them. For we 
may as well recognise and admit that there will 
be no end to these disputes, no permanent solu¬ 
tion of the problems of industry, until well-be¬ 
ing is made its object, until life is exalted above 
work, living above getting a living. 


Living and Getting a Living 

But what are we to understand by living? 
The word implies two meanings. When we 
speak of getting a living, the thought, of 
course, is of the necessaries and comforts, con¬ 
veniences and luxuries, which are sought and 
employed to sustain life. That is its objective 
meaning. Marshall mentions the following 
things as necessary to a standard of comfort 
for the working man: “a well drained dwelling 
with several rooms, warm clothing, with some 
changes of underclothing; pure water, a plenti¬ 
ful supply of cereal food, with a moderate al¬ 
lowance of meat and milk, and a little tea, etc.; 
some education and some recreation, and, lastly, 
sufficient freedom for his wife from other work 
to enable her to perform properly her maternal 
and household duties .” 1 

But this “standard of comfort” is merely one 
of the conditions of Life. When we speak of 
living as the end of life, we have reference to 
that free exercise and development of the facul¬ 
ties which brings happiness, as well as to those 
external circumstances which are necessary to 
the highest usefulness and enjoyment. Buskin 
declares that there are three material things 
that are essential to life. No one knows how 
to live, he says, till he has got them. These 
are, “Pure air, Water, and Earth.” There are 
also, he says, “three immaterial things,” not 
only useful but essential to life. No one knows 

i “Principle of Economies,” Vol. I, Bk. I, Chap. I. 


Work and Life 

how to live until he has got them also. These 
are Admiration, Hope, and Love . 1 Perhaps 
we may best approach a conception of living, 
as the term is here used, by an analysis of the 
requirements of Life. 

The first requisite of complete living is health. 
Health is the basis of achievement, and conse¬ 
quently of happiness. “Give me health and 
a day,” said Emerson, “and I will make the 
pomp of emperors ridiculous.” It is “God’s 
best gift.” Able men are, as a rule, able-bodied 
men. There are exceptions of course,—Spen¬ 
cer, Carlyle, Pope, Pascal, Stephens—but a 
congress of the world’s great men would be a 
fine exhibition of physical manhood. As to the 
relation of health to happiness, there are few 
who do not know by experience that the feelings 
respond to the condition and tone of the body. 
The word ill is used to designate a state of mind 
as well as a physical condition. The idea of 
health, then, is essential to a true conception 
of living. 

The second element in this conception is 
work. No man can really live who has nothing 
useful to do. Idleness depresses the mind, and 
leads to ennui, which is painful. Men who think 
it is a disgrace to work try to relieve them¬ 
selves of the pain of ennui by indulging in 
sports and games, and thus secure the bodily 
activity necessary to physical health. But to 

1 “Fora Clavigera,” I, p. 67. 


Living and Getting a Living 

tone up the mind as well as the body nothing 
is as good as labour. Self-respect and the 
happiness which conies from a consciousness of 
the good-will of others are only possible in the 
highest sense to the man who is performing 
his share of the necessary work of the world. 
And the work that men need is not merely the 
intellectual form of it. They should do some¬ 
thing involving muscular exercise. Euskin and 
Tolstoi were right in insisting that every man 
should engage for a part of each day in some 
form of manual labour. “There is virtue yet 
in the hoe and the spade,’’ says Emerson, “for 
learned as well as for unlearned hands.” Such 
work tends to keep a man in health. It is men¬ 
tally and morally invigorating. Dulce far 
niente, sweetly doing nothing, may he an ideal 
state for the drone, but it is no true elysium for 
him who is worthy to be called a man. The 
idea that work is necessarily irksome can be en¬ 
tertained only by those who have never engaged 
in it, or by such unfortunate persons as have 
been obliged to work at that which possessed no 
interest for them, or under conditions which 
deprived them of the joy of work. Work is es¬ 
sential to life. 

Work, however, may be easily carried to ex¬ 
cess. With the labouring man it usually is. 
The interests of life are not all industrial. 
There are intellectual, artistic, social and other 
interests. If these are to enter into life, there 


Work and Life 

must be some freedom from toil. Leisure is 
as essential to life as work. Without leisure 
man is a slave. Continuous toil means ex¬ 
istence, not life. Without some freedom, some 
spare time, a man is likely to be a stranger to 
literature, music, science and art. When these 
are lacking, life is empty. Hence true living 
demands a shortening of the labour day, so that 
men may avail themselves of all the sources of 
enjoyment and happiness. ‘‘People talk and 
write as though the work a man does for a 
living must always be the one great, all-absorb¬ 
ing interest of his life. . . . The whole of life, 
in their conception, is working for a living, and 
men’s whole being, or as much of it as mental 
and physical endurance will permit, must al¬ 
ways be given up to a struggle for mere bread 
and butter. In any really satisfactory scheme 
of social life there should always be not only a 
working-day in which every man may very ad¬ 
vantageously to himself submit to disciplinary 
restraint and organised co-operation with his 
fellow men, but also a large margin of leisure 
time. ’ ’ 

Leisure, however, is only opportunity. If 
spent in idleness and dissipation it degrades 
instead of ennobling. It is a blessing only to 
those who know how to use it. Now the use 
of leisure depends on education. All men, 
therefore, should be educated so that they can 
use their leisure to promote their lives. There 


Living and Getting a Living 

should be developed in them a love of nature, 
the power to appreciate and enjoy music and 
art, and a taste for good literature. With these 
the labourer has inexhaustible sources of happi¬ 
ness. His leisure is transmuted into strength. 
He is no longer a mere labourer: he is a Man. 
And so the artist, as Emerson says, “when he 
has exhausted his materials, when the fancy no 
longer paints, when thoughts are no longer ap¬ 
prehended, and books are a weariness,—has al¬ 
ways the resource to live.” The man who does 
not feel his heart leap up when he beholds a 
rainbow in the sky, who is not moved by a con¬ 
cord of sweet sounds, to whom a primrose is 
only a primrose, or maybe a weed, and a gor¬ 
geous sunset only an indication of the weather 
of to-morrow, has not learned how to live. 
He has not been truly educated. Education, 
then, is also essential to our conception of liv¬ 

It is obvious that neither education, nor lei¬ 
sure is possible without material means of 
existence. Nor can the bodily wants be sup¬ 
plied without food, raiment and shelter. We 
must not omit wealth, then, from our conception 
of life. Wants without wealth means misery. 
Love of the beautiful demands means to bring 
us into contact with the beautiful. What a 
blessing it would be if all could share the knowl¬ 
edge of science, the beauty of the mountains, 
and the sea, the delights of travel, the inspira- 


Work and Life 

tion of historic places and the glories of art 
as revealed in the great musenms of the world. 
This would be possible if all had wealth and 
leisure. Wealth, then, is another element in 
our conception of life. 

Finally, no man can be said really to live who 
does not enjoy the blessing of the most intimate 
human relationships. Family life, association 
with brothers and sisters, conjugal, parental, 
filial love are all essential to the highest kind 
of life. Spencer in his ‘ ‘ Autobiography , 1 ’ from 
which I have already quoted, speaks of his mis¬ 
fortune in having no brothers and sisters, and 
of his longing to have his affections called out. 
“I have been in the habit,” he says, “of con¬ 
sidering myself but half alive; and have often 
said that I hope to begin to live some day.” 
“0 du lieber Gott, friends!” cries Robert Louis 
Stevenson, after mentioning good health, and 
two to three hundred a year as desiderata. 

“Life, I repeat, is energy of love 
Divine or human; exercised in pain, 

In strife and tribulation; and ordained, 

If so approved and sanctified, to pass, 

Through shades and silent rest, to endless joy.” 

To live, then, in anything like the ideal con¬ 
ception of it, is to enjoy good health, to spend 
a portion of one’s time in useful and health¬ 
ful labour, to have a share of leisure for mental 
improvement and the enjoyment of the beauty 


Living and Getting a Living 

of nature and art, to have an education and 
means of travel, without which such enjoyment 
is impossible, to have and deserve the respect 
and confidence of one’s fellows, and, finally, to 
enjoy the companionship and sympathy of those 
v we love and who love us. Health, wholesome 
and healthful employment, dignified rest, educa¬ 
tion, friendship and love—these are the main 
requisites of true living. They suggest with 
sufficient clearness what we mean by “living.” 1 

This ideal of living, some may say, is im¬ 
possible of general attainment. So it is, at 
present. But it is worth while to remember 
that it is reasonable and just, and that nothing 
short of it will bring permanent peace in the 
industrial world. The goal of social evolution 
is life for all, and not a condition in which some 
work that others may live. To paraphrase the 
words of ex-president Boosevelt in regard to 
international relations, “The goal set before 
all mankind is the attainment of the peace of 
justice, of the peace which comes when each 
man is not merely safeguarded in his own right 
to a high order of living, hut scrupulously rec¬ 
ognises and performs his duty toward others 
in their efforts to secure that right for them¬ 

So much for living. Let us now turn to the 

i An analysis of Life, practically the same as the foregoing, 
may be found in the author’s book on the “Art of Education,” 
pp. 207-210. 


Work and Life 

question of getting a living. This is a question 
in the practical art of getting wealth. Wealth, 
though only one of the elements of complete 
living, is obviously an essential element. No 
wealth, no life. In some manner all who live 
must get a living, using the word as equivalent 
to the material means of life. Now aside from 
downright theft or robbery, there are three 
methods by which a living may be obtained. 
They are the parasitic, the predatory and the 
productive methods. 

The parasitic method of getting a living is 
most clearly exemplified by the pauper and the 
idle rich, though these by no means exhaust 
the list of social parasites. In the animal and 
plant worlds a parasite is any organism that 
lives upon the body of another. So a social 
parasite is one who gets his living from society 
by appropriating by virtue of law or custom, or 
personal relationship, the products of the labour 
of others, and without resort to fraud, theft 
or violence. The social parasite need not nec¬ 
essarily be idle, but he produces nothing. He 
may live in rags or in broadcloth, but econom¬ 
ically he is a mouth without hands. Society 
as a rule condemns him, but it does not recog¬ 
nise the true extent of the parasitic class. It 
includes the tramp, the vagabond and the pau¬ 
per in its conception, but is slow to recognise 
that the idle rich belong in the same category. 
Said Professor Cairnes, the celebrated econ- 


Living and Getting a Living 

omist, in a passage often quoted, “It is impor¬ 
tant, on moral no less than on economic grounds, 
to insist upon this, that no public benefit of 
any kind arises from the existence of an idle 
rich class. The wealth accumulated by their 
ancestors and others on their behalf, where it 
is employed as capital, no doubt helps to sus¬ 
tain industry; hut what they consume in luxury 
and idleness is not capital, and helps to sustain 
nothing hut their own unprofitable lives. By all 
means they must have their rents and their in¬ 
terest as it is written in the bond; but let them 
take their proper place as drones in the hive, 
gorging at a feast to which they have contrib¬ 
uted nothing. ’ ’ 1 Economically, then, the pau¬ 
per class and the “leisure class” come to the 
same thing. Both classes exemplify the par¬ 
asitic method of getting a living. 

This method of getting a living carries its 
own penalty. Parasitism always results in de¬ 
generacy. “Atrophy is both more rapid and 
more complete among parasites than elsewhere. 
Plants lose their roots and even their leaves. 
Among animals, the points of contact with the 
world are minimised in proportion to the degree 
of parasitism; the nervous system tends to dis¬ 
appear so completely, indeed, that in some 
species the individual ends in being little more 
than a sac with reproductive organs. In the 
world of human life, parasitic degeneration is, 

1 “Some Leading Principles of Political Economy,” p. 35. 


Work and Life 

above all, cerebral. The intellectual faculties 
are the first to atrophy from disease; physical 
degeneration is a later and almost a reflex 
process.” 1 

This general law is plainly applicable to so¬ 
cial parasitism. Dependence brings helpless¬ 
ness. The strengthening and ennobling effects 
of useful labour are lost to social parasites. 
It is consequently impossible for them to de¬ 
velop in themselves the highest character. At 
the same time they prevent others from attain¬ 
ing their highest development. For these rea¬ 
sons, if for no others, they should be frowned 
upon by society. They deserve and will receive 
the contempt of all right-thinking people. 

At present, however, some forms of parasit¬ 
ism are not only respectable but honourable in 
the highest degree—royalty, for instance. 
“How ludicrous would be the account given 
by some second Micromeg as,” says Spencer, 
“who looking down on the doings of these little 
beings covering the Earth’s surface, told how, 
to some member of a particular family, they 
assigned vast revenues and indulgences beyond 
possibility of enjoyment, ascribed beauty 
where there was ugliness, intelligence where 
there was stupidity, traits of character above 
the average where they were below; and then 
daily surrounded these idealised persons with 

1 “Parasitisme Organique et Parasitisme Social, par Jean 
Massart et Emile Vandervelde,” Paris, 1898, pp. 101, 102. 


Living and Getting a Living 

flattering ceremonies, accorded to them exten¬ 
sive powers, and treated with contumely any 
who did not join in the general worship. Hold¬ 
ing that true loyalty consists in honouring 
that which is intrinsically honourable, and show¬ 
ing reverence for a worth demonstrated by con¬ 
duct and achievement, I feel at present, as in 
the past, irritated by such observances as those 
which lately showered multitudinous wedding 
presents, and contributions of money from 
countless men and women, on two young people 
who, enjoying luxurious lives, have neither ben¬ 
efited their kind nor shown the least capacity 
for benefiting them. ’ ’ 1 

The second method of getting a living is to 
obtain by fraud, force or cunning, exerted 
within the pale of law, a share of the product 
of labour. It is the method of the grafter, the 
exploiter, the business man who divorces his 
business from morals—of all who take from 
those who make. The essential difference be¬ 
tween those who follow this method and those 
who employ the method previously spoken of, 
is the difference between the animal parasite 
and the bird or beast of prey. The first de¬ 
pend upon others; the second prey upon others, 
hence they are called “predatory.” Those 
who live by the predatory method are not idle. 
On the contrary they are often among the most 
active members of society. They may be dis- 

i “Autobiography,” Vol. II, pp. 542, 543. 


Work and Life 

tinguished from the real agents of production, 
however, by the limitation of their economic 
function to the matter of altering to their own 
advantage the distribution of the wealth pro¬ 
duced by others. They work, but as it is some¬ 
times said, they work the workers. Instead of 
doing something, they “do” somebody! 

It is obvious that those who live by the pred¬ 
atory method are not ethically superior to so¬ 
cial parasites. Economically they are alike in 
this, that neither produces. And yet through¬ 
out history the predatory life has been regarded 
as dignified and honourable. The destructive 
soldier, the plundering baron, the exploiting 
capitalist, have ever been the men most admired 
and emulated. What man to-day does not feel 
complimented if you speak of his aquiline or' 
leonine qualities, or who would not get mad) 
and want to fight if you should liken him to a] 
sheep or a dog? The lion, the typical beast ofi 
prey, is still the symbol of our ideal type of] 
manhood, and predaceous beasts and birds are? 
the emblems of nations. Only one of the grea^ 
teachers of the world has had the wisdom to!, 
perceive, and the courage to proclaim, that' 
the truly ideal qualities are those of the inof¬ 
fensive domestic animal. 

Of course the historical explanation of the? 
dignity and honour attaching to the predatory 
life is simple enough. It is the same as that! 
of the contempt in which the life of labour has] 

Living and Getting a Living 

always been held. Productive labour, at first:, 
imposed upon the slave, because more irksome 7 
than hunting and fighting, has brought with it, 
even into our time, the taint of slavery. Hence 
to live upon labour, rather than by labour, has 
always been a badge of respectability. But 
when we examine the real nature of predation, 
and its economic results, we see that it differs 
from robbery in no respect save its legal sanc-i 
tion. The same instinct and perception, how¬ 
ever, that led society to outlaw the thief and the 
robber must sooner or later induce it to take 
the same step in regard to all who live by prey¬ 
ing upon their fellows. Things which are equal 
to the same thing are equal to each other. 

The third method of getting a living is by 
actually producing the commodities upon which 
one lives, or their equivalent, or by rendering 
adequate services in exchange for them. It is 
illustrated by all who with mind or muscle are 
engaged in the process of creating utilities. 
This is the method of productive labour. 
It is the only method that has even a relative 
justification. It works no injustice to others. 
It develops character, individual and social. 
Society has been slow to recognise its peculiar 
ethical merits, but the time must come, if right 
is to prevail, when it alone will be stamped with 
the mark of social approval. 

Society, then, may be roughly divided into 
three classes, determined by the several meth- 


Work and Life 

ods of gaining a livelihood. These are the 
producers, the plunderers and the parasites. 
The line between these classes is vague and ill- 
defined. A man may belong to each of them at 
different periods of his life. Indeed he may 
belong to all three at once. Some of his wealth 
may be produced by himself or earned, and 
some appropriated parasitically or predatorily. 
But usually men follow generally one method 
or the other, and are hence susceptible to classi¬ 
fication on the ground here suggested. Eco¬ 
nomic function, the mode of getting a living, 
is indeed the true basis of a scientific division 
of society into economic classes. Mr. Ghent, in 
his book entitled “Mass and Class,” proceeds 
upon this ground and divides society into the 
following classes: Wage-earning producers, 
self-employing producers, social servants, 
traders, idle capitalists, and retainers. This 
classification only represents a more refined 
analysis. The significant fact is that there are 
such classes. It is useless to deny their exist¬ 
ence. It is absolutely necessary that they he 
recognised if we are to arrive at an explanation 
of the present conflict of opinion in regard to 
questions of capital and labour. 

For as long as these different methods 
of getting a living are followed, and as 
long as the classes arising from them con¬ 
tinue to exist, there will be differing and con¬ 
flicting views of the problems of life and labour. 


Living and Getting a Living 

Nothing is clearer than that a man’s economic 
and ethical views are affected by his mode of 
life. If yon wish to know what a man thinks 
of a given problem, study his interests. Inter¬ 
ests determine views more frequently than they 
are determined by them. 

Why is it, for instance, that the employer is 
likely to be suspicious of trade unions, to oppose 
the raising of wages, the reduction of the hours 
of labour, and the closed shop, while the la¬ 
bourer may be expected to favour them all! It 
is not because either is ignorant or dishonest. 
It is because each belongs to a specific class 
having specific functions and interests, and the 
thought of each is affected by these interests. 
The employer may persuade himself that the 
particular thing which he opposes—the union, 
picketing, the closed shop—is “un-American,” 
“subversive of the fundamental principles of 
our government, ” a “ violation of liberty, ’ ’ etc., 
and may swell with the soothing conviction that 
he is the champion of human freedom, but the 
fact will remain that self-interest is, as a rule, 
his primary motive, and that his profits are the 
sacred ark of the covenant which he so zeal¬ 
ously defends. So the labourer may plume 
himself on his superior morality, and denounce 
the villainy of “profit-grinding,” the social 
harmfulness of the open shop, the degradation 
of piece-work, and the like, but it will be none 
the less true that behind it all stands the wage 


Work and Life 

scale which is the primary object of his jealous 

Does it follow that both are equally right? 
Not at all. Both may be equally honest, but 
which one is right depends upon which one 
stands for the permanent interests of society, 
which one represents most nearly the ethics 
that are destined to become universal. 

Now it so happens that, as has been pointed 
out, the productive method is, of all the forms 
of getting a living, freest from the element of 
spoliation. The ethics of the producing class 
must therefore most nearly approximate the 
final form. The two great moral convictions 
that have arisen and gained general acceptance 
among productive labourers have been de¬ 
scribed by Mr. Ghent as the ethic of usefulness 
and the ethic of fellowship. The ethic of use¬ 
fulness he defines as the conviction that work 
of social value is the only title to income, that 
when no social service is rendered no reward 
is due, that the man who will not work is not 
entitled to eat. The ethic of fellowship or 
brotherhood is the conviction of the duty of 
friendly association and collective effort for 
mutual benefit. These two ethics are funda¬ 
mental and permanent. They must become uni¬ 
versal, for they are necessary to the highest 
kind of living. The method of getting a living 
that violates either of them must he supplanted; 
for the hope of the world is that the life of each 


Living and Getting a Living 

will so enlarge and be so ordered that in getting 
a living no one will in any respect interfere with 
the rights of others to life, or prevent his own 
physical, mental, moral and esthetic develop¬ 

Ethical considerations, then, demand that the 
various economic classes of society be merged 
into one, the producing class. This would lead 
to identity of interests, which alone can bring 
unanimity of opinion, and as a consequence in¬ 
dustrial peace. It is obvious that this whole 
matter is primarily a question of creating or 
transforming opinion, a question of education. 
Somehow men must be made to see and feel that 
to live by the labour of others is unjust, degrad¬ 
ing and dishonourable. They must be made to 
realise not merely the respectability of pro¬ 
ductive labour, but also that without it as an 
element of life no man can really live. Living 
will then become in part the result, as well as 
the true object, in getting a living. Thus, by 
inculcating sound ideas with respect to living, 
and getting a living we shall approach a final 
solution of the Social Problem of To-day. 



The Social Problem as a Municipal Problem 

“Yet moments have been, when in thought I saw 
That city rise upon me from the void, 

Populous with men: and phantasy would draw 
Such portraiture of life, that I have joyed 
In over-measure to behold her work, 

Rich with the myriad charms, by evil unalloyed.” 

—Arthur Henry Hallam. 

“In the particular circumstances of a given age or nation, 
there is scarcely anything, really important to the general in¬ 
terest, which it may not be desirable, or even necessary, that 
the government should take upon itself.”— J. 8. Mill. 

It will perhaps clarify the conception of the 
Social Problem of To-day in its general aspect, 
as that conception has been set forth in pre¬ 
ceding chapters, if it is applied to a smaller 
group than society, or the nation. We propose 
therefore in this chapter to narrow the condi¬ 
tions of the problem to those of a city or muni¬ 
cipality. What, then, is the Social Problem of 
To-day in its municipal aspect? 

The municipal problem, as popularly under¬ 
stood, is the problem of good government. It 
might be stated in this form: Given the condi¬ 
tions of a municipality, what form of govern- 


As a Municipal Problem 

ment is best applicable to it, and how may the 
adoption of that form be secured 1 ? But from 
our viewpoint the civic problem is something 
more than the problem of municipal govern¬ 
ment. It is the problem of municipal life. The 
good and evil of a municipal administration are 
usually measured in terms of the dominant in¬ 
terest of the municipality. If these interests 
were religious, that form of government would 
be pronounced good which best subserved the 
interests of the church; if industrial, that form 
which best promoted the economic activities of 
the people. Now, the dominant interests of the 
average American municipality are industrial 
and commercial. It is a complimentary remark 
to say of a city that it is on a “boom.” The 
demand is, therefore, for a business administra¬ 
tion, and in more senses than one. Any form 
of administration of municipal government that 
drives away business is regarded ipso facto 
as bad. But the business interests of a city 
are not its only, nor indeed its chief, interests. 
They are important, they are fundamental; and 
certainly no thinking person would propose or 
advocate a system of municipal government 
which would wantonly disturb them. But still 
business is not sacred; or, if so, it is not as 
sacred as human life. Therefore, the business 
which does not contribute to the health and 
happiness of the people ought not to be con¬ 
tinued. The problem with respect to certain 


Work and Life 

forms of business is not liow to promote them, 
but how to render them unnecessary. Life is 
the test of all things—of conduct, of govern¬ 
ment, of institutions, of all human activity, in¬ 
dividual or collective. Whatever contributes to 
the quantity of life, no matter how apparently 
insignificant it may be, is dignified and noble, 
is sacred, is divine. On the other hand, what¬ 
ever detracts from, or is injurious to, life; what¬ 
ever abates one jot or one tittle from true living, 
no matter how ancient and respectable it may 
be, is undignified, unworthy, ignoble. The true 
object of a city’s consideration, and of all its 
agencies, is the life of its citizens. The social 
problem, as presented by a municipality, there¬ 
fore, is the problem of promoting, improving, 
enlarging, the life of the people. It is the prob¬ 
lem of general civic well-being; not a problem 
of wealth, but of weal. It is the problem of 
utilising all the powers of man and nature for 
the good of all the inhabitants of the city. It 
may be stated as follows: Given a municipal 
population with its physical, mental, and moral 
development, its wealth and its natural re¬ 
sources, how can it best utilise these powers 
for the attainment of the most complete general 
well-being? The problem so stated may indeed 
be considered a problem of government, pro¬ 
viding we understand by government not an 
external and more or less independent factor 
of control, but a ready servant of the people, 


As a Municipal Problem 

the active agency through which the collective 
will of the municipality finds expression. The 
problem may be conceived also as a problem of 
the development and economy of force. This 
is the character, indeed, of every civic or social 
problem. The negative phase of the municipal 
problem is the municipal waste of wealth and 

The thought of municipal waste is usually 
limited to the extravagances and corruption of 
municipal authorities; and this in itself consti¬ 
tutes an enormous leakage and a grave problem. 
The rapidly accumulating indebtedness of our 
cities, the increased annual cost of such gov¬ 
ernment as we have, have been noted with alarm 
by the students of municipal administration. 
There is not a city in the country, perhaps, 
which does not pay more for its government 
than the service is worth; which does not sup¬ 
port supernumerary or superannuated politi¬ 
cians—public functionaries who are either 
barnacles pure and simple, or rudimentary mu¬ 
nicipal organs as useless, if not as dangerous, 
in the municipal anatomy as the appendix ver- 
miformis is in the human. The removal of this 
latter organ is said to be in the way of becoming 
a fad. Let us hope it will extend to municipal 

Examples of official waste crowd upon the 
student of municipal government. Some years 
ago an investigation of the accounts of the West 


Work and Life 

Town Board and the West Park Board of Chi¬ 
cago showed that the taxpayers had been for 
years systematically robbed by the wasteful 
and extravagant practices of these boards. On 
one original bond issue of $667,000 interest 
amounting to $1,160,400 had been paid, and the 
issue once refunded was half outstanding. The 
special taxes paid by the people year by year 
to meet interest and principal had gone chiefly 
into the pockets of officials, and the estimated 
waste was about a half million of dollars. That 
this is a mild illustration of graft could be 
shown by other experiences of Chicago, and by 
those of other cities; but it is a typical illustra¬ 
tion. Now, graft is, of course, a crime accords 
ing to any legitimate definition of that word; 
and its punishment should be as swift and as 
severe as that of other crimes of equal enor¬ 

Official waste, however, great as it is, is only 
one phase of the problem, as it appears from our 
present viewpoint. An Efficiency Board insti¬ 
tuted in Chicago reported a waste of fifty thou¬ 
sand dollars from duplication of work. It is 
probably a mere bagatelle in comparison with 
the total waste. Wealth and energy not util¬ 
ised for the public good; unemployed labour 
power, whether in the slums or on the boule¬ 
vard ; the premature exhaustion of labour power 
by too early, too long, or too strenuous employ¬ 
ment, or by the unsanitary, dangerous, or de- 


As a Municipal Problem 

grading conditions imposed npon it, are all 
forms of municipal waste. Most of the money 
and energy pnt into the art of industrial com¬ 
petition, in puffing articles, good, bad, and 
indifferent, in pushing trade, is an expenditure 
for which there is no adequate return. The 
lives enfeebled and shortened by preventable 
diseases, and by the conditions of the slums 
and the sweat-shops, the needlessly dangerous 
and brutalising conditions under which many 
are compelled to work, represent an incalcu¬ 
lable economic loss. The employment of women 
and children in hours and conditions which in¬ 
jure their vitality, however profitable it may be 
to the individual employer, is plainly social 

In view of all the waste of our municipalities, 
and the narrow conception of government com¬ 
monly accepted, Mr. Bryce’s oft-quoted state¬ 
ment, that the government of cities is the one 
conspicuous failure of the United States, is ex¬ 
tremely charitable. From the standpoint of 
wholesome and happy human life, the city itself 
is a failure. Who can contemplate the dirt and 
disorder, the tenements and flats, and the fact 
that human beings live in them, without pitying 
the necessities of the people, or questioning 
their sanity? Buskin has doubtless uttered 
many extravagances, but what he said of a 
modern city is true. It is a place “where sum¬ 
mer and winter are alternatives of heat and 


Work and Life 

cold; where snow never fell white, nor sunshine 
clear; where the ground is only a pavement, and 
the sky no more than a glass roof of an arcade; 
where the utmost power of a storm is to choke 
the gutters, and the finest magic of spring to 
change mud into dust.” We read of the 
“downward draft” in the cities; that they must 
he recruited from the country; that their mor¬ 
tality is at least 20 per cent, greater than in the 
rural districts. This is only another way of 
saying that life in a city tends to physical and 
moral degeneration. Now, the relative popu¬ 
lation of our cities is rapidly growing larger. 
How much greater will be the effect on the 
nation when we are practically an urban peo¬ 
ple % Obviously, if the conditions of the cities 
remain the same, there will be a distinct de¬ 
generation of the people, as a royal commission 
recently reported of Scotland. In England 
three-fourths of the population live in the 
cities. The vitalising current from the country 
grows less and less, and, in spite of improve¬ 
ments in municipal administration, the people 
of England are declining in strength and vigour. 
This was shown at the recruiting offices during 
the war in South Africa. Only about a third 
of those applying for service were physically 
fit. It is a plain inference, too, from the ap¬ 
pearance and condition of the English working- 
people. The average life of the English la¬ 
bourer, who, of course, suffers most from the 


"As a Municipal Problem 

evils of city life, is only twenty-two years. An 
English city is not very different from an Amer¬ 
ican city. The effects upon human life are 
essentially the same. In Massachusetts’ cities, 
for instance, the average life of a common fac¬ 
tory operator is thirty-sis and three-tenths 
years, while that of a farmer is sixty-five and 
three-tenths years. 

Obviously, then, there is a great opportunity 
for the city to promote the economy of one of 
its best assets, namely, the physical life of the 
people. Perhaps half the deaths of cities are 
due to diseases that are preventable. If our 
municipal authorities should devote half as 
much time and thought to the physical welfare 
of the people as they ordinarily do to “politics,” 
mortality might be reduced one-half, and thus 
the real wealth of the city be enormously in¬ 

Take, for instance, the economic loss due to 
the familiar disease known as consumption. 
The number of deaths annually in the United 
States from this disease is estimated at from 
145,000 to 160,000. A recent writer declares 
that ‘ 1 one in three of all the deaths between the 
ages of twenty-five and thirty-four years is due 
to consumption; one in four, between the ages 
of thirty-five and forty-four.” And he con¬ 
tinues : ‘ ‘ These are the years wherein a worker 
is at his best, when he repays to the community 
what it has spent upon him in his nurture and 


Work and Life 

upbringing. The average man’s earnings in 
the working period of his life are about $12,600. 
The average earnings of a consumptive, taking 
into calculation the short period in which he 
earns full wages, the period when he can work 
only part of the time at what light tasks he can 
find, and the still longer period when all he can 
do is to gasp for breath, a burden to the family, 
and more than a burden, a menace—the aver¬ 
age earnings of a man that dies of consumption 
are no more than $4,075, a loss of $8,525 on 
every man. . . . Leaving out of calculation all 
that it costs for medicines and nursing, counting 
only the loss of wages, we are out more than a 
billion and a third of dollars every year by the 
great White Plague. It is as if every year the 
city of Columbus, Ohio, were utterly depopu¬ 
lated and not a living soul left in it. It is as if 
ten times what it costs us for the postal system 
of the United States every year were absolutely 
thrown away, and we got nothing for it. For 
this loss of wages by consumptives is a needless 
loss. They have to die some time, it is true, 
but they need not die before their time.” 

So much for a single preventable disease. As 
a further illustration, consider the loss from ty¬ 
phoid fever. Thirty-five thousand deaths a 
year in this country are due to it; and yet med¬ 
ical authorities assure us it is one of the most 
readily controlled and preventable of diseases. 
An epidemic of typhoid in a city, town, or 


As a Municipal Problem 

village is an evidence of culpable ignorance on 
the part of the people or criminal negligence 
on the part of the authorities. 

Now consider what could he done, if the mu¬ 
nicipality gave the same attention to health as 
to wealth. New York, with attention to the 
matter by no means ideal, has reduced its mor¬ 
tality from consumption 40 per cent. Chicago, 
by such care as she has given to the promotion 
of health, reduced her death-rate of 73 per 1,000 
in 1854 to 15.43 in 1904. London diminished its 
death-rate from 29 per 1,000 in 1835 to from 17 
to 19 at present. The armies of the leading 
nations of the world, by the enforcement of sim¬ 
ple sanitary measures, have greatly decreased 
their mortality from disease. In our own army 
since 1872 there has been a decrease of nearly 
40 per cent., and officers and men of that army, 
with their superior knowledge of sanitation, 
have stamped out yellow fever in Havana. 
Hoes it not seem, then, that the wisest expendi¬ 
ture of money that a city can make is in the 
endeavour to approach the sanitary ideal, 
namely, the absolute prevention of all parasitic 
diseases'? In view of the possibilities in this 
direction, how childish and foolish are some of 
the expenditures of municipal funds—in the en¬ 
tertainment of a foreign figure-head, for in¬ 
stance, or in the jubilee celebrations at the close 
of the Spanish War! 

What has just been said of the economic loss 


Work and Life 

due to municipal neglect of health might also 
he said of education. No one can estimate the 
loss of a municipality from suppressed or un¬ 
developed capacities. True economy practised 
here would take every child out of the factory 
and off the streets, and put it into school, and 
keep it there for whole-day sessions until it is 
sixteen years old. It would more than double 
the expenditure for teachers and equipment. 

But it is not onr present purpose to point out, 
much less to consider, all the problems involved 
in the social problem considered with reference 
to the municipality. Enough has been said to 
show that it embraces a whole cluster of prob¬ 
lems. It is easy to see that all of these prob¬ 
lems are primarily educational. But the 
problem of education is, from one point of view, 
a problem of government. A municipal govern¬ 
ment truly representative of the people is the 
active agent for promoting all their interests. 
This implies a liberal theory of the functions 
of government. Theories of government, how¬ 
ever, are relative, not absolute. When the gov¬ 
ernment of a nation or a city is from without 
•—of a nation by a king or a privileged class, or 
of a city by a state legislature, a ring, or a 
boss—the laissez faire theory of government has 
much to commend it. For if history teaches 
anything at all it is that, as a rule, the business 
of government will be run in the interest of the 
governors. It is not strange, then, that with 


As a Municipal Problem 

the ignorance, selfishness, and corruption of the 
governments of the world before their eyes, men 
like Mr. Spencer should conclude that govern¬ 
ment should keep hands off; that in its attempts 
to mitigate human suffering it continually in¬ 
creases it. All governments have been in the 
past, and are now, more or less external, and 
consequently more or less paternal. They 
should, therefore, be restrained. But restraint 
is not the end; they should he popularised. 
When the government of a city becomes popular 
in reality as well as in name; when it is a gov¬ 
ernment of, by, and for the people, then selfish 
and corrupt aims are no longer to be feared— 
because a city could hardly be said to be corrupt 
and selfish with regard to itself—and the only 
danger is ignorance. Then the positive theory 
of government applies. Then a municipal gov¬ 
ernment, no matter how extensive its functions, 
is but the self-directed activity of the munici¬ 
pality, which is as wholesome for a city as 
that sort of activity is for an individual. The 
dangers of popular ignorance will remain to be 
feared, blunders will be made, and perhaps the 
economy will he less than under government by 
an external agency. Self-government is by no 
means necessarily the best in point of immediate 
achievement. It is only in the light of its final 
results that it is superior. Its end is the inter¬ 
ests of all, and all public action, no matter how 
mistaken, is disciplinary. It learns to do by 


Work and Life 

doing. The action of snch a government is not 
paternalism. What the government as an out¬ 
side agency does for the people may be so called; 
but what the people consciously do for them¬ 
selves through the government acting as their 
agent is not paternalism, but democracy. De¬ 
mocracy and paternalism is a contradiction in 

The first step, then, toward the solution of 
the municipal problem is to popularise the gov¬ 
ernment; to take it out of the hands of the 
politicians, and put it into the hands of the 
people. Obviously, the principle of home rule, 
within certain limits, is a sound one. But home 
rule alone is not sufficient. Home rule may 
still be the rule of the boss or the ring. The 
end is not attained when the government of a 
city is located within its own limits. It must 
be brought into right relations to the people. 
Not home-rule but self-rule is the object to be 
attained. Hence, direct legislation, popular 
initiative, the referendum, and the recall are 
measures that should be approved. They are 
not designed to destroy or weaken representa¬ 
tive government but to strengthen it. They will 
not remove all the evils of municipal life; but 
we shall not be on the direct path to a correct 
solution of municipal problems until these 
measures are enacted. There are evils of de¬ 
mocracy; but the only cure for them is more 
democracy. All proposals, therefore, for less- 


As a Municipal Problem 

erring the activity and the influence of the people 
of the city 4 in their government should be 
frowned upon. The proposal of a restriction of 
the suffrage, whether by an educational or by 
a property qualification, is, I think, reactionary. 
Such restriction would deprive those who need 
it most of the experience and discipline without 
which they never would become good citizens. 
The immediate results might be better; but to 
prefer an immediate advantage to a deferred 
but greater good is not the mark of intelligence 
in a man or in a municipality. 

Now the problem of popularising the govern¬ 
ment of a city is largely a problem of develop¬ 
ing the civic consciousness, which, in turn, is a 
problem of education. Hence, education in the 
school and in adult life should be consciously 
turned toward that end. The evils of city gov¬ 
ernment are due in part to defective teaching in 
the schools. If the social viewpoint were there 
taken; if relative social values were there al¬ 
ways considered, and the habit of estimating 
them were there formed, there would be a read¬ 
justment of the curriculum and an improved 
quality of citizenship. If the voters of this gen¬ 
eration had been taught in the schools the eco¬ 
nomic value of health and life, and the social 
effects of individual ignorance and action, the 
passage of a health ordinance—as, for instance, 
against spitting in public places—would never 
have been described as “four-flushing,” as it 


Work and Life 

was by the mayor of one of our greatest cities. 
As the school, however, is not the only educa¬ 
tional agency, we need not rely altogether upon 
it for civic education. There should be the 
widest diffusion possible of civic knowledge 
among adults. General publicity of the work 
of all departments of the municipal service 
should be secured, not merely by publications of 
interest to scholars only, but in a form that will 
appeal to the understanding and the interest 
of every voter. 

Formal education, however, is not the only 
method of developing the collective will. It 
should be supplemented by experience. For 
this reason the public ownership of public util¬ 
ities is to be encouraged, not only upon economic 
grounds narrowly conceived, but upon the high¬ 
est civic grounds. Until the government of 
a city is lifted into the high prominence and 
commanding dignity which the performance of 
great functions that touch closely the daily 
life of every citizen gives it, the exercise of the 
suffrage will not be in the highest degree edu¬ 
cational. From the social standpoint, then, mu¬ 
nicipal ownership is not merely an ideal to be 
striven for, it is an educational necessity. 

This general view of the municipal problem 
should lead to the conclusion that education and 
municipalisation should be the watchwords of 
municipal reform. It is not the purpose to 
speak here of details of legislation and govern- 



As a Municipal Problem 

mental machinery, but merely to point ont a 
few things which the social viewpoint reveals 
as fundamental. From this viewpoint the mu¬ 
nicipal problem is seen to be the problem of 
all-round civic well-being. The primary condi¬ 
tions of its solution are a purified and developed 
democracy, and an integrated and intelligent 
municipal consciousness. There is no immedi¬ 
ate and final solution of this problem, any more 
than of the larger social problem; but that is no 
excuse for inaction. Here as elsewhere every¬ 
thing that leads to life should be desired and 
striven for, and the things which lead to de¬ 
struction should be scorned and destroyed,— 

“In the undoubting faith, although 
It be not granted us to see. 

Yet that the coming age shall know 

We have not wrought unmeaningly j 
When gold and chrysoprase adorn 
A city brighter than the mom.” 




“At present all education is directed towards the end of fit¬ 
ting people to take their places in the hierarchy of commerce—■ 
these as masters, those as workmen. The education of the mas¬ 
ters is more ornamental than that of the workmen, but it is 
commercial still; and even at the ancient universities learning 
is but little regarded, unless it can in the long run be made 
to pay.”—William Morris. 

“When government loses its evil characteristics and becomes 
an enlightened and progressive agency, state education of the 
people will be directed to new ends. Its aim will be to impress 
such knowledge on the rising generations as will not only pre¬ 
pare them for social life, but instruct them how to preserve 
and increase happiness in the world and avert misery from 
all.”— Clcupperton. 

A frequent and emphatic criticism of modern 
education is that it tends to prepare children 
for a life of leisure rather than for a life of 
labour; that the graduate of the public school, 
or even the college or university, is no better 
prepared to earn a living than he would have 
been without his school training; that a young 
man or a young woman is more or less inca¬ 
pacitated industrially and mentally by an edu¬ 

There is some truth in this criticism. There 


Labour and Learning 

are still people who imagine that leisure is the 
badge of respectability, and that the chief value 
of an education is to enable its possessor to live 
without work. As long as such persons exist 
their erroneous ideas will be reflected in the 

It should be remembered, however, that when 
schools were established the conditions which 
prevailed made it a matter of course that in 
education no regard should be paid to industry. 
Everyone who is familiar with the history of 
mankind, or with the evolution of industry, is 
aware that in the early period of society, and 
until even comparatively recent times, produc¬ 
tive labour was performed only by slaves and 
serfs. The ancient civilisations of Greece and 
Eome were founded upon slavery. In Athens 
there were ten or a dozen slaves to one free 
man. In ancient Eome the manual work in agri¬ 
culture, mining, trade and commerce was per¬ 
formed by slaves. Among the Indians of our 
own country, as is well-known, the arts of the 
wigwam and the field were left to the women, 
who were practically slaves, and the ‘ ‘noble 
red-man” assumed for himself the more agree¬ 
able arts of war and the chase. If he had to 
work, as one of them expressed it, he preferred 
to hunt! And so, by preference, in all the 
earlier societies, those who had the power to 
do so chose for themselves the militant and 
sportsman-like occupations, and imposed upon 


Work and Life 

others the task of productive labour. Labour, 
then, was formerly the badge of subjection. The 
labourer was condemned as an underling. 
Hence throughout history productive labour has 
borne more or less of the taint of slavery and 
of serfdom, and the struggle for existence has 
been too often a struggle to escape from labour. 

Such was the condition and such were the 
ideas which prevailed when schools came into 
existence. They were established by the dom¬ 
inant, that is to say, the leisure class, for its 
own members and not for the workers. Hence 
the schools, or rather the universities, which 
came into existence before the public schools, 
devoted their attention exclusively to polite 
learning, to the ornamental graces suitable to 
life in the leisure class, and to preparing their 
students for the learned professions. They 
paid no attention whatever to the mechanical 
arts. There was no necessity of doing so, since 
none of their students was expected to earn 
his living in the sweat of his face. Learn¬ 
ing, therefore, at the beginning was entirely 
divorced from labour. 

Now it must be confessed that there are some 
indications that these early ideas of labour and 
of education still persist, especially in the higher 
institutions of learning. The motto of the old¬ 
est university in the land is Pro Christo et 
Ecclesia, For Christ and the Church; and it 
would be the last place to go to learn a trade. 


Labour and Learning 

The subjects pursued by students in the uni¬ 
versities are often so remote from practical life 
as to convey the impression that scholarship is 
the exclusive possession of outlandish knowl¬ 
edge, and that most so-called scientific research 
is the painstaking and laborious investigation 
of the trivial and the commonplace. In the 
“Three Musketeers” D’Artagnan finds his 
friend Aramis engaged in preparing a thesis 
upon the highly important subject, “Both hands 
are indispensable for priests of the inferior or¬ 
ders when they give the benediction”; “a sub¬ 
ject,” said Aramis, “which has not yet been 
treated, and in which I perceive there is material 
for magnificent developments. ’ ’ It would not be 
difficult to cite a number of equally important 
topics among the subjects of doctors’ theses in 
any of the larger universities. The endeavour 
to find subjects which have not been treated be¬ 
fore often leads to the selection of a subject 
which, however capable of “magnificent devel¬ 
opments,” is not worth the time necessary to 
investigate it. Indeed there are those who are 
not deterred by the worthlessness of a subject. 
A professor of pure mathematics is said to have 
declared in an after-dinner speech that he 
thanked the Lord that he cultivated a science 
that had never been degraded to any practical 
purposes! The traditions of the universities 
and of the higher learning are directly against 
the utilitarian aspects of education, and it will 


Work and Life 

be some time before the effect of these traditions 
is overcome. The public schools, therefore, 
which are strongly influenced, when not con¬ 
trolled, by the educational institutions above 
them, might naturally be expected to neglect to 
some extent the practical side of life when the 
colleges and the universities set the example. 

The time has come, however, when this neglect 
should no longer be condoned or permitted. The 
basis upon which our public school system is 
established is entirely different from that of the 
early educational institutions. Slavery is abol¬ 
ished, democracy is the accepted theory of gov¬ 
ernment. The school is established for the good 
of all. The education of all members of society 
is regarded as a public necessity. Education, 
to be effective, must devote attention to the de¬ 
velopment of industrial efficiency. It is a demo¬ 
cratic doctrine that there should be no leisure 
class. Labour is required by nature to sustain 
life, and it is inconsistent with the doctrine of 
equality of opportunity that some must work 
that others may live in idleness and luxury. It 
is gradually dawning upon the world that all 
who live should work, that service to society is 
the only just title to income, and that he 
who will not work neither should he eat. Work 
is demanded by justice, and it is essential to 
life. The education which neglects to develop 
the knowledge and the skill required in labour, 
and the inclination to perform it, is a false edu- 


Labour and Learning 

cation and involves a wasteful if not a useless 
expenditure, of public means. The schools 
should be adapted to the workers and not to 
the shirkers. 

This being the democratic doctrine of educa¬ 
tion, there is an effort all over the country to 
bring the public schools into harmony with it. 
Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Wiscon¬ 
sin, and other states are establishing trade 
schools, commercial schools and schools of do¬ 
mestic science. Other states, including Arkan¬ 
sas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, require the 
teaching of agriculture in the common schools. 
Oklahoma, indeed, has a complete system of 
industrial education. The nation has vast nat¬ 
ural resources to be conserved and developed. 
The school is the agency by means of which it 
may prepare its future citizens to conserve and 
develop these resources and promote its indus¬ 
trial efficiency. Every child is potentially a 
farmer, a mechanic, a house-keeper, an artisan, 
an artist; and the school system should be care¬ 
fully adapted to the development of these 
potentialities ipto actualities. Industrial edu¬ 
cation is bound, therefore, to win and keep its 
place in the education of America. Industrial 
studies have the same justification as the cul¬ 
tural studies. The school without a department 
of manual training and of domestic science is 
behind the times; it lacks adaptation to the life 
of to-day. No school system is complete that 


Work and Life 

does not provide for industrial and vocational 
training. The present movement toward in¬ 
dustrial education deserves the heartiest ap¬ 
proval, commendation and support. The school 
must take on more of the nature of the shop. 
Learning must ally itself with labour. 

Industrial training, however, involves more 
than the development of technical skill and eco¬ 
nomic efficiency. If it is worth the name it will 
involve the inculcation upon the mind of the 
child of certain moral ideas with respect to 
work and life. The first great business of edu¬ 
cation is to make the future citizen self-support¬ 
ing, to develop the power to get a living, but 
it must at the same time inculcate the idea that 
living and not getting a living is the true end 
of life. Work is for life and not life for work. 
We work to live; we do not live merely to 
work. The school should not only teach the 
child to work hut give him the right ideas with 
respect to work. While there is developed in 
him the power to get a living there should at 
the same time he developed a moral sense 
which will lead him to choose to get a living 
honourably. We have already seen that there 
are ways of getting a living that cannot be 
justified ethically. The school should teach 
the child to avoid and scorn any method of 
getting a living that does not involve produc¬ 
tive labour. 

It is not sufficient, then, to establish trade 


Labour and Learning 

schools and commercial departments, to intro¬ 
duce agriculture and domestic science into the 
school curricula, to teach the child how to be 
self-supporting. He must he led to choose to 
be self-supporting. He must be made to feel 
that to work at a trade is honourable, while to 
be supported by others is dishonourable. The 
boy must be led to perceive that manual labour 
is not menial labour, and the girl that it is 
better to keep house than to be kept by a 
house. A life without labour, productive 
labour, is a life without honour, and no amount 
of learning can dignify and ennoble it. 

The distinction between productive and un¬ 
productive labour leads to the consideration of 
another idea that should be inculcated in the 
schools. Productive labour results in com¬ 
modities and services; unproductive labour 
contributes nothing of value to the world, it 
merely affects the distribution of commodities 
already produced. It takes but it does not 
make. In all industrial training we should en¬ 
deavour to develop the intellectual and moral 
discernment that will distinguish between the 

William Morris divides the work of the 
world into useful work and useless toil. A 
large part of the work now performed in 
society is wholly unnecessary from the stand¬ 
point of our legitimate wants. The manu¬ 
facture of opium, of narcotics, of intoxicants, 


Work and Life 

of gamblers’ outfits and of all the ridiculous 
gim-cracks and gew-gaws of fashion and lux¬ 
urious living absorbs labour that would better 
be employed in some other direction. Every 
depraved appetite, every evil and vain desire of 
men occasions useless toil. History is full of ex¬ 
amples. Under the shadow of the pyramids 
Napoleon reminded his soldiers that forty 
centuries looked down upon them. According 
to Herodotus, the largest of these pyramids 
was built by the forced labour of 100,000 men 
working for twenty years. When we remem¬ 
ber that there are thirty or forty of these 
pyramids, and evidences of almost as many 
more, and all built because of the vain desire 
of the Egyptian rulers to perpetuate their 
names, we are appalled by the enormous 
amount of labour employed to so little purpose. 
Gibbon presents striking examples of Eoman 
extravagance. Heliogabalus with his feast of 
nightingales’ tongues; HEsop with his plate of 
the tongues of parrots that had been taught 
to speak; Caracalla expending the revenues of 
a province upon a single entertainment; 
Hortensius watering his trees with wine; 
Lucullus employing thousands of men to cut a 
channel through rocks and hills to bring salt 
water to his villa in order that he might have 
fresh fish for his breakfast: are all indications 
of the base or insignificant purposes to which 
labour was directed in Eome. The elder Pliny 


Labour and Learning 

tells us of a Eoman matron who appeared at 
a betrothal feast in a gown entirely covered 
with pearls and emeralds, which cost forty mil¬ 
lion sezterces or about two million dollars. 
These are conspicuous illustrations of what 
we may see all about us to-day. We need not 
delve in ancient history to find examples of 
foolish extravagance. A rich woman of Chi¬ 
cago is said to have hired a Pullman car to 
take her pet cat to Florida. Society women 
of a certain famous summer resort are said to 
have spent much time and money in preparing 
suits for cats and dogs, and even monkeys, to 
he worn at a feast. Men and women, the 
labourers of the country, spend their time and 
their energy in producing wealth to be con¬ 
sumed in expensive entertainments for cats 
and dogs and monkeys! This, as some one has 
expressed it, is carrying ancestor worship a 
little too far. 

Now the labour that is expended in minis¬ 
tering to vanity and ostentation as well as that 
which is expended in providing commodities for 
the gratification of illegitimate wants is an un¬ 
necessary draft on the lives of men and women, 
and no one should willingly engage in it. The 
demand for such labour will cease only with 
the elimination of vice, vanity and ostenta¬ 
tion. The schools therefore should be directed 
to that end. When properly educated, men 
will be ashamed to occasion by vulgar and 


Work and Life 

vicious indulgence of appetite, and women by: 
the consumption of articles of equally vulgar 
ostentation and needless luxury, the labour of 
men in producing them. 

Our present economic relations tend to 
cover up the hideousness of the demands which 
vice and luxury make upon the lives of others. 
When we complain of extravagance we are 
told that the waste of the rich is the salvation 
of the poor, that if the rich did not roll in 
luxury the poor would starve. If that were 
so, it would be the strongest indictment that 
could be drawn against modern industrial 
society. It could not be true in a scientifically 
organised state, for then life, not work, being 
the end of labour, it would be plain that the 
waste of anybody would mean more work for 
somebody. But it is not true; it is one of the 
most familiar of economic fallacies. The more 
the rich waste, the more the poor must work. 
The idler and the spendthrift who prate that 
their profligate extravagance gives employ¬ 
ment to others should be reminded that the 
pauper and the criminal do the same. The 
more thieves there are in society the more 
employment there is for officers of the law and 
of penal institutions. It is not employment 
that is the end men are seeking, but life, and 
giving some sorts of employment to men may 
be equivalent to depriving them of the oppor¬ 
tunity to live. 


Labour and Learning 

Tliere is labour, then, that is useful and 
labour that is useless. In our attempt to bring 
the school into more intimate relations with 
industrial life, there should be careful discrimi¬ 
nation between these two kinds of labour. An 
education is not all that could be desired un¬ 
less it leads its possessor to choose an occupa¬ 
tion that is necessary to the well-being of 
society. The educated man should prefer to be 
a farmer, a mechanic, or an engineer, and live by 
the work of his hands, conscious that he is per¬ 
forming his share of the necessary labour of the 
world, rather than to enter an over-crowded pro¬ 
fession and live by his wits. 

It is often forgotten in our anxiety to im¬ 
press the doctrine of the dignity of labour that 
all labour is not equally dignified. The sacred¬ 
ness and dignity of labour depend upon its 
object and its results, its usefulness and its 
effect upon the labourer himself. Labour that 
ministers to vice and vanity, that is not de¬ 
manded by the true well-being of men is neither 
sacred nor dignified. Work that results in 
physical exhaustion and mental deterioration, 
that is so continuous and wearing that it does 
not allow time and opportunity to straighten 
the back and take a leisurely look at life, work 
that stupefies the mind and enervates the body, 
that stoops the forehead and crooks the 
shoulders, no matter how necessary it may be, 
is not a blessing but a curse. 


Work and Life 

The present demand upon our schools, then, 
to bring them more into harmony with our in¬ 
dustrial life, not only as it is but as it ought 
to be, to increase their efficiency as a factor 
in the solution of the Social Problem of To¬ 
day, should he for something more than the 
mere training of the eye and hand, something 
more than mere skill in execution, than for 
manual training and domestic science, for trade 
schools and commercial departments, although 
all these are exceedingly important. It should 
he for the development in the boys and girls 
of correct ideas with regard to life and labour; 
of a true point of view, a sense of values and 
a social spirit. The social wrong at the bot¬ 
tom of the social problem is not merely the 
exploitation of the weak by the strong, the poor 
by the rich, but the lust of the poor for the 
wealth of the rich. As long as men regard 
success as something that can be measured by 
material possessions, as long as they exalt 
money above manhood, and are worshippers of 
mammon, so long shall we have the domination 
of the rich. But when men cease to be hypno¬ 
tised by the glitter and glamour of wealth, 
when they realise that “a good name is rather 
to be chosen than great riches, and loving 
favour rather than silver and gold,” and when 
the wealth they prize above all other forms 
of it is wealth of character, then wealth loses 
its power and the greed of man its incentive. 


Labour and Learning 

Wliat cared Diogenes for the wealth of a 
Croesus? Wealth gives enormous power and 
prestige because so many of those who do not 
possess it worship at its shrine. They look 
upon the accumulation of material goods as 
the end and aim of existence. Hence we must 
develop through education different standards 
of judgment and of respectability, and a dif¬ 
ferent type of man. The youth of our land 
must be taught that the true wealth and 
grandeur of a nation should be measured, not 
in money, but in men; and that the worth of a 
man should be estimated not by what he has 
but by what he is. For wealth is life, and a 
man’s life consists not in the abundance of 
things he possesses. Hence real wealth, the 
sole wealth that may not take wings and fly 
away, may be stored up without impoverish¬ 
ing any one, and the value of the wealth of a 
country, even in the economic sense, may be 
increased by the education of the people. 
When men become less material in their ideas, 
and put a truer estimate upon wealth in com¬ 
parison with other goods, they will cease to 
covet a large fortune, or at all events will be 
unwilling to sell their souls to obtain it. Who¬ 
ever and whatever aids in developing this type 
of man will assist in solving the Social Problem 
of To-day. Children should be taught that 
life is the end both of learning and of labour, 
and that labour and learning and all the in- 


Work and Life 

stitutions to whicli they give rise must be tested 
and judged in terms of life. That which does 
not contribute to life should be scorned and 
condemned. The boy who goes out of school 
with the determination to make money, with¬ 
out a true appreciation of the relation of 
money to the higher ends of his existence, is 
a boy whose education has been worse than 
a failure; and the girl whose mind is absorbed 
by fashion, who is content to become a mere 
lay figure for the exhibition of clothes, is 
worth less to society than her education has 
cost. Society needs not only men and women 
who are self-supporting, but men and women 
who would be ashamed to be supported or to 
support themselves without productive labour. 
It needs men and women who can earn money, 
but who would scorn money obtained by sharp 
practice, or by the sacrifice of honour and 
honesty. That learning is worse than useless 
which does not result in the conviction, so strong 
that it becomes a moral force, that the great¬ 
ness of a man must be measured by his man¬ 
hood, and that the greatness of our nation does 
not depend upon its extent of territory, or its 
commerce, or its wealth, but upon the industrial 
efficiency and moral character of its people. 



The Social Ideal 

“When we in our study of human history, endeavour to gauge 
the moral force and greatness of a people or race we have but 
one standard of measurement—the dignity and permanence of 
their ideal, and the abnegation wherewith they pursue it.” 

—M aeterlinck. 

“He who shall have at once a firm grasp of the concrete 
ideal of social well-being, and a clear insight into the condi¬ 
tions of its realisation, and the difficulties by which in the 
actual world it is beset, will be the true social reformer of the 
future. It is the business of the philosopher to try to define 
the ideal, and to bring it into relation to those conditions of 
actual existence which other sciences enable us to discover.” 

— Mackenzie. 

If the ideal of a people is in any degree subject 
to conscious formulation and acceptance, the 
social philosopher should labour to construct, 
the ethical teacher to inculcate, and the legis¬ 
lator to realise a social ideal of the highest 
dignity and permanence. The ideal determines 
the life. If, then, by taking thought, we could 
project a social ideal upon which the people 
could agree, one which, because drawn from 
facts and existing conditions, and the possibili¬ 
ties of human nature, would force its accept¬ 
ance on every reflective mind, we should have 


Work and Life 

the most effective means of increasing the 
rapidity of human advancement. Such an 
ideal would stimulate enthusiasm, promote pro¬ 
gressive efforts and unify them by a community 
of purpose. It would clear away numerous 
logical barriers in social thought, and straighten 
the zigzag path of progress. 

So far are we, however, from any agreement 
as to what society ought to be that we have 
not seriously turned our attention to the sub¬ 
ject. Indeed, many insist that it is not a 
legitimate matter for scientific investigation. 
Science, they say, has nothing to do with ideals; 
it must confine its attention to what has been 
and is. The inference suggested is that all 
thought concerning what ought to be in human 
affairs, being unscientific, is consequently use¬ 
less, mere idle speculation. But if science is 
thus limited, the same is not true of philosophy, 
and the philosophy of to-day aspires to become 
scientific. Its methods are no less rigid than 
those of science; its results need be no less 
exact. Science, even though pursued for its 
own sake, provides the data for philosophy. 
Science lays the foundation, philosophy builds 
the superstructure. “Useless each without the 
other.” Neither exists for itself alone; both 
are the servants of art; and the highest service 
they can offer, the highest that thought can 
render action, is to determine the ultimate end 
toward which human efforts should be directed. 


The Social Ideal 

It is legitimate, tlien, and profitable to fashion 
ideals, correcting them as science provides 
better and better material, and social philos¬ 
ophy is properly engaged in attempting to con¬ 
struct a social ideal. 

The construction or projection of a social 
ideal is not, as some seem to suppose, a matter 
of foreseeing the course of the unconscious evo¬ 
lution of society. Social phenomena are so 
complex that social prophecies are likely to be 
abortive. Still we are not so helpless even in 
this respect as a writer in the London Saturday 
Review represents us. “The Moving Finger 
writes, and having writ moves on,” he says. 
“We can no more stop or guide its writing than 
could the wild man whose relics we look for in 
the drift of another geological period than ours. 
What is still more humiliating, practically we 
can no more tell what it is going to write even 
to-morrow than could that cave-dweller.” 
This could not be true unless we were wholly 
ignorant of the social past. All knowledge is, 
in a sense, fore-knowledge. Vision implies pre¬ 
vision. The geologist Hutton, writing of his 
own science, said, ‘ ‘ In examining things present 
we have data from which to reason with regard 
to what has been; and from what actually has 
been we have data for concluding with regard 
to that which is to happen hereafter. ’ ’ 1 This 
is no less true of sociology than of geology. 

x See Willia/ns’s “History of Science/’ Vol. Ill, p. 124. 


Work and Life 

But a social ideal differs from a social forecast. 
It is a conception of what society ought to be, 
not of what it is inevitably and of itself to be¬ 
come. It is ethical. It implies the categorical 
imperative. It must, therefore, be a work of 
synthesis, or, if yon please, a product of the con¬ 
structive imagination. 

The ideals of society hitherto constructed, and 
with which men have been most familiar, have 
been, of course, too largely works of the imagi¬ 
nation—the Utopias of Plato, More, Bellamy 
and the like. They lacked foundation in fact. 
They were not in harmony with human aspira¬ 
tions, desires and frailties. Still, even these 
were not wholly at fault as predictions, or value¬ 
less as ideals. Plato’s “Republic” anticipated 
some modern ideas, and inspired many more. 
More’s “Utopia” is still worth the attention 
of the social philosopher. 

-*—“ourselves are full 

Of social wrong; and maybe wildest dreams 
Are but the needful preludes of the truth.” 

What we need now, however, and what with our 
wider knowledge we ought to be able approxi¬ 
mately to construct, is an ideal scientifically 
conceived, in harmony with existing facts and 
forces, and hence possible of attainment. For, 
as Mr. John A. Hobson has asserted, “If we 
are to take a scientific view of human efforts 
and satisfactions, such as shall furnish a basis 


The Social Ideal 

of social reform, we must have a social ideal 
constructed to accord with human facts and 
human possibilities, hut transcending existing 
facts and furnishing a test for conduct .” 1 
Such an ideal would not be separable and dis¬ 
tinct from society as we now find it, but its 
highest manifestation—society purified and 
transformed by the best elements it now con¬ 

At the present stage of knowledge, perhaps at 
any stage, it is, of course, impossible to con¬ 
struct an ideal accurately conta inin g all the 
details of social life in its complete perfection. 
This, like such attempts of the past, might he 
an interesting intellectual exercise, but it be¬ 
longs to the novelist. All that social philoso¬ 
phy may profitably undertake is to determine 
the main features of an ultimate social ideal. 
It cannot describe the daily life of the citizen 
of an ideal world, but it can answer the ques¬ 
tions: Is the coming society to be based on 
the class spirit or on the spirit of brotherhood? 
Is it to be competitive or co-operative? Indi¬ 
vidualistic or socialistic? John Stuart Mill 
wrote, “With those who, like all the best and 
wisest of mankind, are dissatisfied with human 
life as it is, and whose feelings are wholly identi¬ 
fied with its radical amendment, there are two 
main regions of thought. One is the region of 
ultimate aims; the constituent elements of the 

i “The Social Problem,” p. 66. 


Work and Life 

highest realisable ideal of human life. The 
other is that of the immediately useful and 
practically attainable.” 1 Neither of these re¬ 
gions should claim our whole attention. One 
is as important as the other. It is significant, 
however, that ultimate aims are mentioned first. 
Without them we cannot rightly determine the 
immediately useful. 

Confining ourselves, then, to “the constituent 
elements of the highest realisable ideal of hu¬ 
man life,” we may affirm that they are three 
in number: (1) social intelligence; (2) social 
economy, and (3) voluntary co-operation. 

Social intelligence has been well defined by 
Henry George, who calls it “that consensus 
of individual intelligence which forms a public 
opinion, a public consciousness, and a public 
will, and is manifested in law, institutions, and 
administration. ’ ’ 2 According to this definition, 
social intelligence is to be distinguished from 
the mere sum of individual intelligences. In¬ 
telligent men do not necessarily guarantee an 
intelligent society. Social imbecility is not in¬ 
frequently manifested by an intelligent com¬ 
munity. This happens because community 
interests are intrusted to men of low intelli¬ 
gence, or to men with lack of public spirit. We 
Americans are a “free and intelligent people,” 
and yet we sometimes allow ourselves to be 
represented in the municipal council, in the leg- 

1 “Autobiography,” p. 189. 

2 Henry George, “Social Problems,” p. 9. 


The Social Ideal 

islature or in the Congress by men who do not 
represent even the average intelligence of the 
community. We allow the management of pub¬ 
lic utilities to rest in the hands of those who 
control them for their own individual profit. 
We allow cesspools to form in the slums of our 
cities, where poverty, disease and crime are 
generated, where human beings are huddled to¬ 
gether like so many animals, and who in their 
brutish environment naturally tend to become 
“like dumb, driven cattle.” We are more or 
less indifferent to the premature exhaustion of 
our natural resources by greedy corporations, 
and can witness without manifest alarm the 
sacrifice of future to present prosperity by the 
over-employment of women and children. It is 
only as individuals that we may plume our¬ 
selves on our intelligence. Individual enter¬ 
prise has opened up the resources of our 
country and piled up individual fortunes be¬ 
yond the dreams of Croesus, and yet as a society 
we stand practically helpless before the problem 
of poverty; inventive genius has revolutionised 
our methods of industry, but we have not greatly 
improved our methods of government; individ¬ 
ual enterprise has organised the great indus¬ 
tries of our country and is carrying them on 
with a marvellous degree of skill and economy, 
while the community sometimes fails in the man¬ 
agement of the simplest form of industry. 1 $o- 
i Ilid , p. 1. 


Work and Life 

cially we are far from brilliant. In intelligence 
there is an element of knowledge—no knowledge, 
no intelligence. Until the people are socially 
well informed—until they have knowledge of 
social conditions, know the lessons of social ex¬ 
perience, give earnest thought to methods of 
social improvement, begin to study the require¬ 
ments of the general good as they study their 
own, select public representatives with the same 
care as private agents—no matter how intelli¬ 
gent they are with respect to individual affairs, 
there will he no high manifestation of social in¬ 
telligence. This social knowledge and solici¬ 
tude are at present rare or wanting. Hence, 
society as a whole, and with respect to its own 
interests, is not to be compared in intelligence 
to any of the higher animals. If regarded as 
an organism, it must be likened, so far as in¬ 
telligence is concerned, to the organisms of low 
type. “It resembles,” says Lester F. Ward, 
“only some of the very lowest Metazoa, such as 
the hydra, which possesses no proper presiding 
and co-ordinating nerve ganglia, or still more 
closely some of those lower colonies of cells, 
each of which, like the individual members of 
society, is practically independent of the gen¬ 
eral mass, except that by the simple fact of 
coherence a certain degree of protection is se¬ 
cured to both the individual cells and the aggre¬ 
gated mass.” 1 

1 Ward, “Psychic Factors of Civilisation,” p. 274. 


The Social Ideal 

Notwithstanding the present rudimentary 
condition of social intelligence, it is the primary 
element in a rational social ideal. It is impos¬ 
sible to conceive a society without collective 
interests and some necessity for collective ac¬ 
tion. These interests cannot he ideally con¬ 
served, and this action cannot be ideally 
effective without the highest degree of collective, 
i. e., social, intelligence. The ultimate social 
aim must therefore involve the conception of 
society as a unitary body thoroughly conscious 
of its own rights and interests, and the means 
of securing them, and insistently seeking its 
interests as the ideally intelligent individual 
would seek his, and caring for the welfare and 
comfort of all its members as such an individual 
would care for the health and soundness of all 
the organs of his body. 1 “The best ordered 
state,” said Plato, “is that which most nearly 
approaches to the condition of the individual: 
as in the body, when hut a linger is hurt, the 
whole frame draws toward the soul, and form¬ 
ing one realm under the ruling power therein, 
feels the hurt, and sympathises altogether with 
the part affected, and we say that a man has a 
pain in his finger.” 2 This is hut to say that 
“the best ordered state,” the ideal society, must 
be ideally intelligent. 

This ideal intelligence of society involves no 

1 Ibid, p. 288. 

2 Plato, “Republic,” p. 462, quoted by Ritchie, “Principles of 
State Interference,” p. 16. 


Work and Life 

new creation, no importation of an imaginary 
element. Some social intelligence now exists. 
It is formed by the operation of natural causes, 
and without any special attention on the part of 
society. It comes as an unintended result of 
social evolution. As individual intelligence 
had its inception and a part of its development 
merely as a result of individual experience, so 
social intelligence began to manifest itself with¬ 
out the conscious employment of means and 
methods of developing it. We may expect the 
forces operating in the past to continue and 
raise this intelligence to higher and higher 
planes. 1 

But the formation of social intelligence is arti¬ 
ficial as well as natural. Having arrived at a 
stage of development at which we realise the 
importance of a corporate consciousness, we 
have already begun to devise methods of pro¬ 
moting it. We are beginning to consider the 
“social aspect” of our various institutions, the 
“social function” of the school, the home, 
the church. This must result in an increase of 
social knowledge, and an enlarged interest in 
social affairs. When it is generally recognised 
and accepted that social intelligence is the fun¬ 
damental element in the social ideal for which 
all should strive, a conscious use of all available 
means for promoting it will follow. There will 

1 De Greef, “Introduction h la Sociologie,” Chap. XIII, La 
Formation Naturelle de L’Intelligence Bociale. 


The Social Ideal 

be a new valuation of knowledge. School cur¬ 
ricula will be* changed. More attention will be 
devoted to political economy, social history, 
politics and sociology. Press and pulpit will 
become centres for diffusing the most useful 
knowledge about society. All educational agen¬ 
cies will be newly orientated. It is therefore 
not chimerical to assume perfected social in¬ 
telligence as characteristic of the highest form 
of society, or unreasonable to anticipate its 
final realisation. 

Now suppose this element of ideal corporate 
intelligence realised in society, what would fol¬ 
low with respect to social activities'? Neces¬ 
sarily they would exemplify the law of par¬ 
simony or the economy of force, for this is 
the law of all intelligent action. Intelligence is 
inconsistent with the employment of greater 
effort than is necessary to attain a given satis¬ 
faction. It adapts means to ends. It avoids 
waste. Ideal social intelligence therefore im¬ 
plies ideal social economy, and this is the second 
element of our ideal. 

If social intelligence and social economy are 
concomitant, the one a manifestation of the 
other, we should naturally expect the latter to 
have developed pari passu with the former, and 
this we find is true. ‘ * The history of progress, ’ * 
says Kitchie, “is the record of a gradual dimi¬ 
nution of waste. The lower the stage the 
greater is the waste involved in the attainment 


Work and Life 

of any end. In the lower organism nature is 
reckless in her expenditure of life. The higher 
animals, more able to defend themselves, have 
the fewest young. When we come to human 
beings in society, the state is the chief instru¬ 
ment by which waste is prevented. The mere 
struggle for existence between individuals 
means waste unchecked. The state, by its ac¬ 
tion, can in many cases consciously and delib¬ 
erately diminish this fearful loss ; in many cases 
by freeing the individual from the necessity of 
a perpetual struggle for the mere conditions of 
life, it can set free individuality and so make 
culture possible. An ideal state would be one 
in which there was no waste at all of the lives, 
and intellects, and souls of individual men and 
women. ’ ’ 1 Social economy, then, as well as so¬ 
cial intelligence, is initiated by nature and pro¬ 
moted by art. Increase of one implies increase 
of the other. Social economy, however, must 
manifest itself in social action, and for social 
action organisation is necessary. The social 
ideal, then, implies thorough social organisation 
for the performance of social tasks. 

This raises the question as to what is properly 
a social task. It is the old question of the 
proper sphere of governmental activity, and 
this is a question of practical expediency. No 
a priori conclusions should be drawn. Still, 
from the ideal standpoint, we can see more or 

1 Ritchie, “Principles of State Interference,” p. 50. 


The Social Ideal 

less clearly the kind of task that society should 
undertake. ‘If we conceive society as a unit, 
we must recognise that as such it has certain 
needs—protection, sustenance, knowledge and 
the like. Supply of these needs, up to a certain 
point, is necessary to its life and its normal 
activity. This point is the degree in which 
these needs are universal. A social need is a 
general need. The matter of supplying the 
general needs of society, needs which are con¬ 
stantly recurring, may he reduced to a fric¬ 
tionless routine only by a thorough social 
organisation. It is properly a social task. 

There is, then, a limit beyond which social 
organisation may not go without defeating its 
purpose. There are products and achievements 
which in one sense are strictly individual. Such 
are the highest products of art and invention. 
Social organisation could not produce an Apollo 
Belvidere, a Sistine Madonna, a Wagnerian 
opera, a Shakespearean play, or Lincoln’s Get¬ 
tysburg speech. It can only release, by system¬ 
atising its routine activities, intellectual energy 
which may be individually employed. An at¬ 
tempt to organise the higher intellectual activ¬ 
ities would render them impossible. Hence, 
there must always be a limit to social organi¬ 
sation. “The line,” says an anonymous 
writer, “is very undefined, not by any means 
easily discernible, but nevertheless absolutely 
impassable. On this side the line are all sorts 


Work and Life 

of manufactures, producing and distributing 
agencies; the more such work can be systema¬ 
tised the better. On the other side the line 
are all the artistic, musical, literary, higher 
scientific, and intellectual activities. You at¬ 
tempt to organise and systematise in this de¬ 
partment of the world’s activities, and you 
simply annihilate. Personal individuality is 
one of the very elements of all genuine art and 
literature and intellectuality. The moment you 
begin to apply to these mere manufacturing 
methods of labour and production, the individ¬ 
uality vanishes, and the one principle which 
gave your productions their worth and interest 
has irretrievably gone. ’ ’ 1 

Having roughly defined the sphere of social 
organisation, we have now to determine its ideal 
form or method. Turning our attention in this 
direction, we may observe that there are four 
( ways in which it may be accomplished. They 
are as follows: (1) by an autocrat; (2) by the 
State (in the restricted sense, which means the 
:governing class); (3) by private individuals 
acting in their own interests; (4) by society it¬ 
self. Let us glance briefly at each of these 

First, then, the autocratic method. It is con¬ 
ceivable that the organisation of the routine 
activities of society might be brought about by 
one man holding the reins of power and organ- 

1 ‘‘Social Horizon,” p. 26. 


The Social Ideal 

ising and directing the activities of the people 
as he thought best. Suppose him to be ideally 
intelligent and animated by a desire for the pub¬ 
lic good. So far as the immediate aspect of the 
situation is concerned, we should then have ideal 
economy. Misled by this aspect some would 
argue that such an omnipotent being would be 
an ideal social functionary. But at best we 
should have only a benevolent despot, with no 
assurance that his successor would be equally 
wise and benevolent. Still more important, 
the people would be deprived of one of the best 
opportunities for self-development, namely, the 
opportunity afforded by the organisation and 
management of their own affairs. To say noth¬ 
ing, then, of the difficulty of catching our benev¬ 
olent despot, and of the further difficulty of 
keeping him benevolent after he is installed, the 
loss of educational opportunity for the people 
that self-activity affords, brands this form of 
organisation as uneconomical in the long run, 
and hence not ideal. “Unlimited power,” says 
Mark Twain, “is the ideal thing when it is in 
safe hands. The despotism of heaven is the 
one absolutely perfect government. An earthly 
despotism would be the absolutely perfect 
earthly government if the conditions were the 
same; namely, the despot the perfectest indi¬ 
vidual of the human race, and his lease of life 
perpetual. But as a perishable, perfect man 
must die, and leave his despotism in the hands 


Work and Life 

of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism 
is not merely a bad form of government, it is 
the worst form that is possible.” 1 This is per¬ 
haps the verdict of political science. “Every 
constitution, however defective, which gives play 
to the free self-determination of a majority of 
citizens infinitely surpasses the most brilliant 
and human absolutism; for the former is ca¬ 
pable of development and therefore living, the 
latter is what it is and therefore dead.” 2 We 
must, therefore, dismiss this form of organisa¬ 
tion from our conception of the ideal. 

The second method of organisation is organi¬ 
sation by the State or government. This is 
practised more or less in every nation. If ex¬ 
tended to industrial activities it is called State 
socialism, though why the antithesis between 
individualism and socialism should be confined 
to the industrial field is not clear. The same 
objections obtain here as to the previous method. 
If benevolent, it is impermanent, and always it 
deprives the people of the education derived 
from doing things for themselves. It is imma¬ 
terial whether the organising authority is a 
Louis XIV identifying himself and the State, or 
a hereditary and privileged class. The results 
are the same—irresponsible power, organisa¬ 
tion for selfish purposes, paternalism, and un¬ 
developed popular initiative. Whatever may 

1 Century Magazine, Vol. XXXIX, p. 77. 

2 Mommsen, “History of Rome,” Eng. trans., vol. iv, p. 466. 


The Social Ideal 

be said for this method it is certainly not ideal. 

The third method is that under which the or¬ 
ganisation of our industrial activities is now 
proceeding. A comparatively few men, whom 
we call captains of industry, own or control 
the instruments of production and direct our 
business enterprises for private profit. This is 
called capitalism. That by this method econ¬ 
omy has been promoted and is in high degree 
attainable, no one will deny. Still it is not the 
ideal method, for if the number in control should 
be reduced to one, we should have the exact sit¬ 
uation described under the first method. As 
long as there are more than one, we have con¬ 
flicting individual economies which must result 
in waste. Like both the other methods, it lo¬ 
calises power and leads to the temptation to 
use this power for selfish ends. Its object is 
profits, and profits is not synonymous with pub¬ 
lic good. The more successful it is the more 
dangerous: prosperity breeds tyranny. The 
so-called “captains’’ are not elected or ap¬ 
pointed by society, nor are they responsible, 
except in a limited sense, to anybody or any¬ 
thing save their own consciences, and these are 
not always reliable. They practically control 
the subsistence of a large number of people, and 
the control of a man’s subsistence practically 
amounts to the control of his will. Hence, there 
is an element of despotism in capitalism. Its 
economy is immediate and cannot be perfected, 


Work and Life 

for the reason that perfect social economy is 
inconsistent with the existence of individual 
economies looking to private ends. “Material 
civilisation,’’ says Ward, “cannot be wholly left 
to individual preferences. Aside from the un¬ 
equal and inequitable distribution of the prod¬ 
ucts of industry and thought there will always 
be immense waste. The individual will never 
make social progress an end of his action. He 
will always pursue a narrow destructive policy, 
exhausting prematurely the resources of the 
earth, caring neither for the good of others now 
living nor for posterity, but sweeping into the 
vortex of his own avarice all that he can obtain 
irrespective of his real needs.” 1 

There remains but one method of organisa¬ 
tion, namely, that by which the people them¬ 
selves take the initiative, organise themselves 
and act in the interest of all. This is democracy. 
It is government “of the people, by the people, 
for the people.” In industry it is production 
for use and not for profit. It may not be at 
present, and in every case, the most economical 
method of production. It is true that public 
management is sometimes more expensive than 
private management. Theoretically this ought 
to be generally true, for economy depends upon 
intelligence, and, as already pointed out, social 
intelligence is as yet unequal to the intelligence 
of the individual. But society, like the individ- 

1 Ward, “Psychic Factors of Civilisation,” p. 288. 


The Social Ideal 

ual, learns to do by doing, and the educational 
value of public management should be reckoned 
in any estimate of it. The economic test is not 
conclusive. As social intelligence advances, 
social economy increases; when the former be¬ 
comes ideal, so also does the latter. Social 
intelligence, then, as well as social economy, 
demands thorough social or democratic organi¬ 
sation for supplying social needs. Such organi¬ 
sation must, therefore, be progressively realised 
as intelligence and economy approach perfec¬ 
tion. Democracy is the ultimate form of gov¬ 
ernment. It is not “an experiment which may 
be abandoned, but an evolution which must be 
fulfilled. ’ ’ 

We have now considered two of the elements 
set forth as constituting the ultimate social aim. 
Necessarily accompanying these is a third, 
namely, voluntary co-operation. Social or¬ 
ganisation implies that men shall work together 
for the common good, consciously or uncon¬ 
sciously, under compulsion or voluntarily. If 
men co-operate either unconsciously or because 
they are compelled to do so, there is a lack of 
knowledge and purpose, or a want of interest. 
In either case there cannot be the highest effect¬ 
iveness. Unconscious co-operation is a marked 
feature of our present industrial life. The la¬ 
bour of many is involved in almost every com¬ 
pleted product. The precision with which 
human needs are supplied, the delicate adjust- 


IVork and Life 

ment of supply and demand, though sometimes 
unduly eulogised, are truly astonishing. They 
evidence a high degree of managerial intelli¬ 
gence. But ideal social intelligence demands 
the diffusion of intelligence and consciousness 
among all members of society. Co-operation 
must therefore be conscious. If co-operation is 
compulsory, it is obvious that the element of 
compulsion will prevent those subjected to it 
from manifesting their potential effectiveness. 
No one will labour as effectively under com¬ 
pulsion as he will as a free man inspired by 
an ideal of the highest good. Compulsion 
would defeat economy. The co-operation in an 
ideal society must therefore be voluntary. 

We have now shown that the social ideal is 
represented by the conception of a society with 
a perfectly developed corporate consciousness, 
democratically organised on the basis of social 
economy, and having its members inspired by 
the spirit of conscious and voluntary co-opera¬ 
tion for the public good. It is a co-operative 
commonwealth in which the good of each, while 
subordinate to, is yet realised in, the good of 
all. Now of what value is this ideal in respect 
to the current questions of the day? 

In reply to this inquiry we may say without 
hesitation that it has a most practical bearing 
on the solution of all our social problems. Dis¬ 
putes concerning these problems arise from dif¬ 
ferences of opinion, which, while they are the 


The Social Ideal 

reflection of conflicting interests, are due after 
all to a difference of ideal. In the long conflict 
of tlie two sections of onr country, for instance, 
the people of the South held to the ideal of 
white supremacy. They believed slavery was 
right, and all their efforts were directed toward 
its perpetual establishment and extension. The 
people of the North believed it was wrong. 
Hence, they sought to limit it and put it in the 
way of final extinction. Ideals, therefore, had 
much to do with the practical questions of the 
Fugitive Slave Law, the Missouri Compromise, 
the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and all the other 
measures connected with slavery. To-day the 
two main conflicting ideals are industrial indi¬ 
vidualism and collectivism. The proposed so¬ 
lutions of our politico-industrial problems—the 
land question, the labour question, the problem 
of poverty, the trust question, the questions of 
railway regulation, child labour, and the like—* 
are consequently individualistic or collectivistic. 
If the ideal we have suggested is the true one, 
it is plain that measures devised to correct the 
various evils out of which these questions arise 
must be pointed toward collectivism. They 
need not be radical. Evolution warns against 
trying to make haste too rapidly. But they 
must be to some extent socialistic, hence liable 
to criticism as such. The ideal is industrial 
co-operation. Hence, all social legislation 
should be framed with the thought of the grad- 


Work and Life 


ual elimination of industrial strife. All at¬ 
tempts to rehabilitate the doctrine of laissez- 
faire and inaugurate a regime of free industrial 
competition are retrogressive and doomed to 
failure. The ideal is above and beyond, not be¬ 
low and behind. 

So much for the bearing of the ideal on the 
industrial questions of to-day. On the ques¬ 
tions more specifically political and educational 
it throws a light no less luminous. If the end 
is democratic organisation of social forces for 
social purposes, we may, hence, infer that what¬ 
ever tends to increase popular participation in 
government, to make it more democratic, more 
truly “of the people, by the people, for the peo¬ 
ple” is, so far, justified in principle. This is 
what commends such proposals as extension of 
suffrage, proportional representation, popular 
initiative, and the referendum. They are calcu¬ 
lated to increase popular interest in govern¬ 
ment, and bring it more completely under the 
control of the people—in a word, to socialise it. 
They are measures preparatory and essential to 
complete social organisation. So also, if social 
intelligence is an element in the ultimate social 
ideal, we know in what direction educational re¬ 
form must travel. Knowing the end, we shall 
favour such changes in educational organisation, 
curricula, and discipline as most clearly tend to 
promote it. 

Such in brief is the practical value of out 


The Social Ideal 

ideal in current discussions. The end suggests 
the means. All things must be made to work 
together for the attainment of the preconceived 
end. The ideal, if we would but admit it, is the 
most practical thing in the world. 

There is another value of a lofty ideal which 
should not be overlooked, and that is the senti¬ 
mental. No great thing is ever accomplished 
without enthusiasm. So say the sages. Noth¬ 
ing serves better to kindle enthusiasm than the 
contemplation of a worthy and attainable ideal. 
The social ideal we have suggested is attainable, 
for it demands only the completion of existing 
elements in society. As to its loftiness and 
worth, we have only to reflect upon what its 
approximate realisation would necessarily 
mean. It would mean a society in which the 
atrocities of individual and national strife, with 
their inevitable brood of hatred, envy, malice, 
jealousy, cruelty, and bloodshed, could no longer 
take place, because so obviously inconsistent 
with social intelligence and the spirit of co¬ 
operation and brotherhood; a society in which 
the prophecy of the Scriptures would be fulfilled 
—men would learn war no more, swords would 
be beaten into ploughshares, and spears into 
pruning-hooks, and monster ships be built to 
carry the life-giving products of industry and 
not the death-dealing implements of war; a so¬ 
ciety in which kings and emperors could no 
longer exist, because the absurd idea that God 


Work and Life 

brings some men into the world to lord it over 
others will no longer be entertained, and the 
spirit of selfish domination will be held, as it 
deserves to be held, in utter detestation; a so¬ 
ciety in which the repressive function of 
government, as distinguished from the admin¬ 
istrative function, will no longer be exercised 
because no longer necessary, as it is no longer 
necessary to-day with the best elements of our 
population; a society in which the barriers be¬ 
tween nation and nation and race and race will 
be cleared away, and the true patriot will be not 
he who loves his country, but he who loves his 
kind; a society in which there will be no poor, 
except the poor in spirit; no rich, except those 
who are rich in goodness, wisdom and love; a 
society in which there will be no idle, because all 
will have opportunity for work, and all will 
have learned that the joy of living is in doing; 
a society in which there will be no overworked 
and broken down, because a fair distribution of 
the work of the world will lighten the labour 
of each; a society which, in truth, will mean a 
new heaven and a new earth where man, un¬ 
trammeled by want and evil conditions, may 
press rapidly onward in his development and 
mount to the utmost possibilities of liis being. 


The Higher Patriotism 

“The noblest motive is the public good.”— Vergil. 

“We hesitate to employ a word so much abused as patriotism, 
whose true sense is almost the reverse of its popular sense. 
We have no sympathy with that boyish egotism, hoarse with 
cheering for one side, for one state, for one town: the right 
patriotism consists in the delight which springs from contrib¬ 
uting our peculiar and legitimate advantages to the benefit of 
humanity.”— Emerson. 

“What right, what true, what fit we justly call. 

Let this be all my care—for this is all.”— Pope. 

We have now roughly sketched the main fea¬ 
tures of a Social Ideal. Whether this ideal is 
projected along scientific lines the reader him¬ 
self may determine. But of one thing we may 
be sure—some conception of an ideal humanity 
must in time become the inspiration of patriotic 
and religious action. This may be easily shown. 
Let us begin with a consideration of the mean¬ 
ing and significance of patriotism. 

Patriotism cannot be really understood with¬ 
out knowing something of its origin and the 
manner of its development. Primarily it is an 
identification of the individual with the group 
to which he belongs—family, tribe, state, or na- 


Worh and Life 

tion. The patriot proudly speaks of “my 
family,” “my tribe,” “my state,” “my peo¬ 
ple.” This identification is based upon a cer¬ 
tain feeling which is the product of group 
association, and this feeling is instinctive. 

Sociology ascribes the origin of patriotism 
to the family life, the family being the first so¬ 
cial group. That this is correct is indicated by 
the origin of the word patriotism. It is derived 
from the Greek word ndrptoz which means of or 
belonging to one’s father. The Indo-Germanio 
root of the word is pa, from which we have the 
Latin pater and the English words father, pa¬ 
ternal, patriarch, patriotism, and many others. 
Perhaps the root-word itself is but the natural 
infantile utterance reduplicated in the word 
papa. At all events the word patriotism has 
plainly a family origin. The papa, the father, 
being the providing, protecting, and governing 
element in the family group, his authority su¬ 
preme, dignity, protection, and support being 
personified in him, he was naturally the object 
of reverence and devotion. Loyalty to the pa¬ 
ter, the father, the patriarch, was therefore the 
earliest form of patriotism. 

In the course of social evolution the family 
enlarged into the clan, the gens, or the tribe. 
The interests of single families were then more 
or less submerged in the interests of a group 
of families of which each was a component ele¬ 
ment. The chief representative of these larger 

' 214 

The Higher Patriotism 

interests was the head man, the chieftain, in¬ 
cluding later* the council. Loyalty to the father 
and family exclusively was inconsistent with 
clan or tribal life. Hence patriotism extended 
itself to the interests of the larger group and 
their tribal representatives. There was, so to 
speak, an expansion of patriotism. This new 
form was represented in the clannishness of the 
early Scot, “owning no tie but to his clan,” the 
tribal instincts of the American Indian and 
other primitive peoples, and the partisanship 
of the early Greeks and Romans. With the 
formation of the tribe, patriotism passed from 
fatherism to tribalism. 

In the amalgamation of tribes into states and 
nations the expansion of the feeling now known 
as patriotism continued. Loyalty to the tribe 
passed over into loyalty to the state or nation, 
and the feeling of patriotism became what we 
ordinarily express as love of country, the 
feeling which incites the individual to identify 
his interests more or less with those of his 
country, and to speak and act in a manner which 
he supposes will illustrate this identification. 

Of course, the feeling of patriotism is not 
confined alone to the personal group of which 
the individual is a member. It attaches itself 
also to the natural surroundings of the group. 
“I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and tem¬ 
pled hills” is the expression of a truly patriotic 
sentiment. But we may include in our concep- 


Work and Life 

tion of a social group the natural conditions 
which surround it, and no misunderstanding 
need arise from defining patriotism as primarily 
an instinctive group feeling. 

Patriotism, then, like all other things in the 
universe, like the mind and all its manifesta¬ 
tions, has had its origin and its development. 
It originated in association, and association has 
been the main factor in its growth. Now the 
fact of the evolution of patriotism, and the 
manner in which it has taken place are the basis 
of a safe prophecy with respect to what 
patriotism is to become, if political and social 
organisation and amalgamation continue. The 
affiliation and federation of countries will en¬ 
large the feeling of patriotism. The “ Parlia¬ 
ment of man and federation of the world” would 
as certainly conduce to cosmopolitanism or 
political humanism as tribal associations con¬ 
duced to tribalism, and the consolidation of 
tribes into states and states into nations con¬ 
duced to the modern patriotic feeling. Love 
of country must gradually give place to love 
of kind. 

Although patriotism expands with the enlarg¬ 
ing composition of the group, it does not neces¬ 
sarily sever itself from any point of attachment. 
The family feeling may still be strong in the 
tribe, as with the Montagues and Capulets in 
Pome, for instance; and devotion to the state 
may be powerful in the citizens of the nation, 


The Higher Patriotism 

as was conspicuously shown in the secession of 
the Southerh States of America. So also the 
cosmopolitan may retain his love of country. 
He is not necessarily “a traitor,’’ as some 
seem to suppose. Neither does this larger 
and higher patriotism imply a lack of family 
affection with a Mrs. Jellyby’s sentimental in¬ 
terest in the inhabitants of Borrioboola-Gha. 
In pure cosmopolitanism, however, the spirit 
of national or racial antagonism must neces¬ 
sarily vanish, and loyalty to one country or 
race as against another country or race must 
be controlled and tempered by devotion to 
humanity. The narrower and selfish interests 
of the particular country to which the citizen 
belongs must be held inferior to the interests 
of mankind. Of course all these interests may 
coincide, but the world-patriot cannot stand 
with his country “against the world,” unless 
his country is right and “the world” is wrong. 
True loyalty and humanity can mean only de¬ 
votion to the principles upon which the well¬ 
being of humanity rests. The world-patriot 
must be loyal to right everywhere against 
wrong anywhere. He must stand for justice to 
all against injustice to any. When the action 
or demands of his country conflict with the 
rights of humanity he must stand for humanity. 
Hence he may be called by his compatriots un¬ 
patriotic, but he is so only as viewed from the 
interests of the smaller group. The “politi- 


Work and Life 

cals” of Russia, for instance, are unpatriotic in 
the eyes of the Russian Bureaucracy and its 
supporters. Though they be faithful to uni¬ 
versal principles of liberty and equality, they 
are unfaithful to the principles of Russian 
despotism; hence, from a certain Russian stand¬ 
point, they are unpatriotic. 

George Kennan in the Outlook for March 30, 
1907, gives an interesting and pathetic account 
of the attempt of some of these politicals to man¬ 
ifest their devotion to the larger principles of 
freedom embodied in our own Declaration 
of Independence. He says: “On the morning 
of the Fourth of July, 1876, hours before the 
first daylight cannon announced the beginning 
of the great celebration in Philadelphia, hun¬ 
dreds of small, rude American flags or strips 
of red, white, and blue cloth fluttered from the 
grated windows of the politicals around the 
whole quadrangle of the great St. Petersburg 
prison, while the prisoners were faintly hurrah¬ 
ing, singing patriotic songs, or exchanging greet¬ 
ings with one another through the iron pipes 
which united their cells. The celebration, of 
course, was soon over. The prison guard, al¬ 
though they had never heard of the Declaration 
of Independence and did not understand the sig¬ 
nificance of this extraordinary demonstration, 
promptly seized and removed the flags and tri¬ 
coloured streamers. Some of the prisoners, 
however, had more material of the same kind in 


The Higher Patriotism 

reserve, and at intervals throughout the whole 
day scraps and tatters of red, white, and bine 
were furtively hung out here and there from 
cell windows or tied around the bars of the 
gratings. Late in the evening at a precon¬ 
certed hour, the politicals lighted their bits of 
tallow candles and placed them in their windows, 
and the celebration ended with a faint but per¬ 
ceptible illumination of the great prison.” 

This mournful and touching endeavour to 
celebrate our Fourth of July did not necessarily 
indicate a greater love of our country than of 
Russia, but it did imply a devotion to political 
principles of universal application. We may 
conceive that the aspiration and ideal of these 
politicals was merely that these principles 
should prevail in their own fatherland. They 
loved not Russia less, but freedom more. They 
at least approximated a “higher patriotism.” 

Thus far we have spoken of patriotism as 
an instinctive feeling or sentiment. Now, it is 
characteristic of an instinct that it acts with¬ 
out reflection. Though originally purposive in 
action, and serving as an agent in individual 
or group preservation, an instinct takes no con¬ 
sideration of objective circumstances. It is a 
blind impulse. When the stimulus is provided 
it operates; and its operation has often led, 
in the course of biological and social evolution, 
to the extinction of individuals and of groups. 
Patriotism, therefore, so far as it is instinctive, 


Work and Life 

is impulsive, blind, unreasoning, and irreflective. 
It thrills, it hurrahs, it boasts, it fights and 
dies without calmly considering what it is all 
about. It resents a fancied insult Without stop¬ 
ping to ascertain whether it is real. It flies 
to the defence of the supposed interests of its 
group without inquiring whether the interests 
are worthy or the danger is actual. It is blind 
patriotism and springs from the emotional side 
of the mind. It differs in no essential respect 
from the impulse of the tiger to defend its 
young, or from that of the wild cattle of the 
prairie to defend the herd. It is easily aroused 
and easily “stampeded.” 

On the other hand, there is a patriotism 
which may be distinguished from instinctive 
patriotism by the word intelligent. The emo¬ 
tions are subject to the control of the intellect. 
It is the function and power of the intellect 
to inhibit, restrain, sometimes to eliminate, an 
instinct. Even the instinct of self-preservation, 
strong as it is, has sometimes been wholly in¬ 
hibited by a duly informed and reflective mind. 
The proper intelligence may therefore modify, 
even reverse, the actions springing from instinc¬ 
tive feeling. Patriotic sentiment may be held 
subject to a thorough knowledge of political and 
social conditions and a sense of justice. When 
so held it becomes intelligent patriotism. 
Intelligent patriotism, then, is patriotic feeling, 
instinctive patriotism, under the control and 


The Higher Patriotism 

guidance of knowledge and reflection. It is 
love of country and the disposition to serve it, 
coupled with a knowledge of how to serve it 
well. It does not yield to impulse. It looks be¬ 
fore and after. It restrains a nation from fight¬ 
ing when there are no real interests at stake. 

Now there can be no doubt that the great 
need of all nations is intelligent patriotism. 
The modern patriot is too much disposed to act 
upon impulse. He is “touchy”; he goes oft 
“half-cocked”; he is full of racial prejudice, 
indulges in national bombast and braggadocio, 
Chauvinism, Jingoism, and manifests a disposi¬ 
tion to whip somebody. His patriotism is 
chiefly an instinctive patriotism. Such patri¬ 
otism is a feeling for one’s country without the 
control of intelligence; it is patriotic zeal with¬ 
out patriotic knowledge. Under its promptings 
the patriotic is sometimes the idiotic. The ut¬ 
terances ahd actions evoked by it are sometimes 
illustrative of the fact that a man may be a 
patriot and still be a fool. 

Am ong the effects of instinctive patriotism 
is the overweening national egotism manifested 
by so many “patriots.” There is a disease 
called by the learned megalomania. Its pri¬ 
mary symptom is “the delusion of grandeur.” 
So many patriots are megalomaniacs that the 
disease seems to characterise every nation and 
every people. It led Israel to regard itself as 
a “peculiar” people, the favourite of the Al- 


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mighty. It induced the Greeks to call all other 
peoples barbarians. The Chinese, according to 
their own estimate, are “celestials,” and both 
the English and the Americans speak of them¬ 
selves as divinely commissioned to spread the 
blessings of civilisation among “inferior” peo¬ 
ples, even if they smother them in the process. 
All this is national egotism, social megalomania. 
It arises from a more or less irreflective in¬ 
stinctive patriotism. 

Obviously great national and social dangers 
are consequent upon instinctive patriotism. By 
manifesting itself in antipathy toward another 
nation, and in irreflective action, it provokes sus¬ 
picion, jealousy, hatred, and unnecessary war. 
Washington, in his Farewell Address, pointed 
out some of these dangers. “Antipathy in one' 
nation against another,” said he, “disposes 
each more readily to offer insult and injury, to 
lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to 
be haughty and intractable, when accidental or 
trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, fre¬ 
quent collisions; obstinate, envenomed, and 
bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill- 
will and resentment, sometimes impels to war 
the government, contrary to the best calculations 
of policy. The government sometimes partici¬ 
pates in the national propensity, and adopts 
through passion what reason would reject; at 
other times it makes the animosity of the nation 
subservient to projects of hostility instigated by 


The Higher Patriotism 

pride, ambition, and other sinister and perni¬ 
cious motives. The peace often, sometimes 
perhaps the liberty, of nations has been the 
victim.” Instinctive patriotism forced Presi¬ 
dent McKinley into a war with Spain which, 
with national intelligence and forbearance, 
might have been avoided. It inspires irrespon¬ 
sible and mischievous remarks and comments 
concerning other nations, which tend to provoke 
hostility. The following is a sample: “I 
would be in favour of annexing Canada right 
now, if I thought England would fight. But 
just to take Canada and have no brush with 
England would be too tame. There are hun¬ 
dreds of young men in this country who would 
enjoy a war with England, and some of the 
young veterans of the war would not be slow 
in going to the front.” This is the language 
of a former general of the American Army as 
reported by the Associated Press. The cor¬ 
respondent of the Pittsburg Gazette of Decem¬ 
ber 15, 1903, when our relations with Colombia 
were somewhat strained, wrote: “There are a 
lot of young officers in Washington who are 
hoping that the complications between this 
country and Colombia will result in war. They 
do not expect it will be much of a war even if 
there is a conflict between the two forces, but 
at any rate it will open the way to promotion 
for some of them, and promotion is the sole 
ambition of the soldiers.” Remarks like these 


Work and Life 

are prompted solely by instinctive patriotism, 
patriotism unrestrained by social intelligence. 

Such patriotism not only leads to national 
bickering and strife, but it also prevents that 
national receptiveness so essential to progress. 
“The national egotism which scorns to learn 
of neighbours,” says Brinton, “prepares the 
pathway to national ruin. . . . That nation to¬ 
day which is most eager to learn from others, 
which is furthest from the fatal delusion that 
all wisdom flows from its own springs will surely 
be in the van of progress. ’ ’ 1 But instinctive 
patriotism is not eager to learn from other 
nations, for the very simple reason that it 
thinks they have nothing superior to teach. To 
the instinctive patriot nothing in foreign nations 
is worthy of emulation or adoption. He speaks 
without the slightest reverence of “Japs,” and 
‘ ‘ Chinks, ’ ’ and ‘ ‘ Dagoes ”; of “ wild Irishmen, ’ ’ 
“rat-eating Frenchmen,” and “flat-headed 
Dutchmen. ’ ’ Such a ‘ ‘ patriot ’ ’ may be a gentle¬ 
man so far as his more intimate personal re¬ 
lationships are concerned, but as a representa¬ 
tive of nationality he is often a braggart, a bully, 
or a fool. His patriotism is irrational and ir¬ 
responsible, and consequently a danger to his 

In spite of the dangers of instinctive patri¬ 
otism, however, it must be recognised that, like 
other instincts again, it may serve at times a 

1 “Basis of Social Relationships,” New York, 1902, p. 60. 


The Higher Patriotism 

very useful purpose. Indeed, in the absence of 
social intelligence, it has been absolutely es¬ 
sential to the preservation of social groups. 
When the life of a nation, for instance, is en¬ 
dangered, its citizens must rise instantly to its 
defence. There is no time for serious reflection. 
To deliberate is to be lost. Hence the disposi¬ 
tion to spring to arms is an element of national 
survival; for it leads the citizens to act in con¬ 
cert, and so more effectively. Without in¬ 
stinctive patriotism, no group in a hostile 
environment could have survived. On the 
whole, those groups in which it was highest de¬ 
veloped are the ones which have persisted. In¬ 
stinctive patriotism, then, has unquestionably 
been an element in social survival, as well as 
an element in social danger and destruction. 
But however serviceable this form of patriotism 
may have been in the past, or however necessary 
in a critical national exigency, it is not the kind 
of patriotism that is needed to-day. It in¬ 
volves government in needless strife, and it ren¬ 
ders the citizens easily susceptible to the 
pernicious influences of kings, diplomats, and 
unscrupulous politicians. Hence, it should be 
supplanted as rapidly as possible by intelligent 

Intelligent patriotism implies a particular 
kind of knowledge, a knowledge of national and 
social relationships, and of the principles of in¬ 
dustrial and political well-being. In the en- 


Work and Life 

deavour to develop it in the schools, for instance, 
teachers may safely rely npon the existence of 
patriotic feeling and devote attention exclusively 
to promoting the right kind of intelligence. 
Saluting the flag, the singing of patriotic songs, 
Fourth of July celebrations as heretofore con¬ 
ducted, to say nothing of most of the patriotic 
appeals from pulpit and rostrum, are directed 
merely to developing instinctive patriotism. 
The really needed and difficult thing, how¬ 
ever, is to inform the instinct so that it will 
operate, even under trying circumstances, to the 
real advantage and safety of the nation. Edu¬ 
cation should be directed not so much to the 
development of patriotic feeling, but to impart¬ 
ing the kind of knowledge by which that feel¬ 
ing is restrained and directed. 

The difference between instinctive patriotism 
and intelligent patriotism, as I have tried to 
present it, is not, of course, absolute. Feeling 
is necessary to action, and the two cannot be 
separated. But the difference between impul¬ 
sive action and rational action is obvious, and 
so, I think, must be the distinction I have drawn 
between instinctive patriotism and intelligent 
patriotism. Instinctive patriotism is not to be 
supplanted by intelligent patriotism; it is, 
rather, to be transformed into it by knowledge. 

With the distinction of the two kinds of 
patriotism now before us it will be interesting 
to compare some of the patriotic manifestations 


The Higher Patriotism 

in modern political discussion. Instinctive 
patriotism, with a superficial knowledge of 
science, justifies war on the ground of the law 
of the survival of the fittest. Intelligent patri¬ 
otism analyses the idea of the fittest, finds that 
it has no ethical signification, and strives to 
promote all activities calculated to fit our nation 
to survive. Instinctive patriotism prates in 
language which to delicate ears sounds almost 
blasphemous, of the unpremeditated occurrences 
in our national life as disclosing the will of 
Providence. Intelligent patriotism recognises 
that safe and permanent progress is the result 
of human forethought, that the blunders of a 
nation are no less deplorable and blameworthy 
than those of an individual, and that uncon¬ 
sidered or ill-considered action on the part of 
man or nation is quite as likely to disclose the 
will of the devil as the will of the Lord. In¬ 
stinctive patriotism melodramatically declares 
that the flag of our country whenever or wher¬ 
ever, and no matter under what circumstances, 
it is erected, shall never be hauled down. In¬ 
telligent patriotism insists that whenever and 
wherever the flag is raised in injustice, or as 
a symbol of oppression and tyranny, the sooner 
it is hauled down the better; for the intelligent 
patriot is likely to have a feeling that unless 
it is lowered by our own hands, the God of 
Justice will somehow tear it down and make it a 
mockery and a mournful memory in the minds 


Work and Life 

of men. Instinctive patriotism defiantly pro¬ 
claims, ‘ ‘ My country, right or wrong. ’ ’ Intelli¬ 
gent patriotism says, “My country, when she 
is right, and when she is wrong, my life to set 
her right.” Instinctive patriotism nonplussed 
by the arguments of the peace advocates, tries 
to persuade itself that such advocates are un¬ 
educated sentimentalists and mollycoddles. In¬ 
telligent patriotism quietly continues to organise 
its peace leagues, associations, and federations, 
schools, tribunals, and unions, confident that 
proper intelligence will make war impossible. 

The difference between the two kinds of 
patriotism is shown in nothing more clearly than 
the character of the two national ideals now in¬ 
culcated. Instinctive patriotism has much to say 
about our becoming a “world power,” the inev¬ 
itableness of war, and of our rightful influence 
in the council of nations. Intelligent patriotism 
knows we have long been a world power, that 
war is neither inevitable nor necessary, and is 
not so much interested in our rightful influence 
as that our influence be exercised in the rightful 
way. The instinctive patriotic ideal is militant; 
the intelligent, scientific and industrial. 

Is it necessary to inquire which is the higher 
form of patriotism? Which is the nobler 
national aspiration, which evinces the loftier 
patriotism, supremacy in war and the arts of 
destruction, with hundreds of millions of our 
wealth locked up in ships, forts, and arsenals, 


The Higher Patriotism 

and thousands of men withdrawn from the 
peaceful pursuits to man these instruments of 
death, and become a burden on the back of 
labour, or supremacy in industry, in trade, in 
science, in art, in literature, and in education, 
with health, wealth, and happiness for all our 
people; and, because we have charity for all and 
malice toward none, enjoying the good-will and 
friendship of all the world ? For which should 
we strive as a nation, to evoke the fear of the 
weaker nations by the strength of our arma¬ 
ments (and their hatred also, for hate is the 
child of fear), or to deserve and compel their 
respect and admiration by fair dealing, justice, 
modesty, moderation, courtesy, and charity, and 
by our sincerity in upholding the principles of 
liberty, equality, and fraternity? 

Instinctive patriotism is thrilled by glowing 
descriptions of America as mighty in battle, or 
as Mistress of the Seas wdth hundreds of battle¬ 
ships, those grim leviathans of the deep, plough¬ 
ing the waves of every sea and proudly tossing 
from their iron manes the ocean foam; or rest¬ 
ing unwelcome, it may be, because unbidden, 
guests in the ports of foreign lands; each bear¬ 
ing witness that in this nation of ours, conceived 
in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that 
all men are created equal, there is a disposition 
to forsake the principles of the fathers in a lust 
for power, and to follow in the wake of Babylon 
and Nineveh, Greece, Rome, and Spam; the 


Work and Life 

nations whose bloody history reveals to him who 
will but read that the nation that relies upon 
force must finally become the victim of force. 
For it is written, “They that take the sword! 
shall perish by the sword. ’ 1 
Intelligent patriotism, on the other hand, is 
inspired by the ideal of America as a republic 
supremely powerful by the force of an enlight¬ 
ened public opinion, and supremely glorious on 
account of her successful pursuit of the arts of 
peace, and because of her acknowledged leader¬ 
ship in all that liberates and lifts. The prophet 
of old declared that there shall come a time 
when swords shall be beaten into ploughshares 
and spears into pruning-hooks, and men shall 
learn war no more; and that the earth shall be 
full of knowledge as the waters cover the sea. 
When these prophecies are to be fulfilled no one 
can know— 

“Ah, when shall all men’s good be each man’s rule, 

And universal peace lie like a shaft of light across man¬ 

Or like a lane of beams athwart the sea 
Through all the circle of the golden year ?” 

But these prophecies imply a period of con¬ 
tinuous peace and general education involving 
the diffusion of patriotic knowledge. Who can 
estimate what this will mean to the advancement 
of the people? It is not given unto men to fore¬ 
tell what this nation is to become; it doth not 


The Higher Patriotism 

yet appear what we shall be; but of this we 
may be sure, that with continuous peace, uni¬ 
versal education, and intelligent patriotism, 
eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it 
entered into the imagination of man to conceive 
the glorious possibilities of the American Re¬ 
public. To construct upon the basis of exist¬ 
ing industrial and social facts, the loftiest pos¬ 
sible conception or ideal of social life, to desire 
its realisation and to work for it—that is the 
Higher Patriotism. So conceived patriotism 
becomes an important factor in the solution of 
the Social Problem of To-day. 



Religion and the New Social Okdeb 1 

“The basis of religion is independent of science. Theology, 
not religion, is the antithesis to science.”— Toynbee. 

“Much of the distracting anxiety, arising at the present day 
from unsettlement of religious opinion, is caused by an insuffi¬ 
cient idea of what religion is in its own essential nature. 
Whereas, when once that essential nature is realised, it is felt 
to be indestructible.”— Picton. 

“Thou, thou, the Ideal Man, 

Fair, able, beautiful, content, and loving, 

Complete in body and dilate in spirit, 

Be thou my God. 

\» l .• Ml 

“All great ideas, the races’ aspirations, 

All heroisms, deeds of rapt enthusiasts, 

Be ye my Gods .”—Walt Whitman, 

If it could once be generally recognised and 
felt that only in effort to promote the realisa¬ 
tion of the social ideal is the individual best 
promoting his own self-realisation, his own hap¬ 
piness here and hereafter, then the spirit of 
social reform and the religious impulse, if they 
do not become identical, would at least coalesce 

1 This chapter in substantially its present form was written 
in 1902; delivered as an address before the University of Chi¬ 
cago College for Teachers on Dec. 16 of that year, and pub¬ 
lished in the International Journal of Ethics, January, 1903, 
Vol. XIII, pp. 185-206. 3 * 


Religion and the New Social Order 

in stimulating to social action. A careful con¬ 
sideration of the nature and function of religion 
will show, I think, that the tendency is toward 
this unification, and that the religion of the fu¬ 
ture will be entirely social. Such consideration 
requires first and chiefly a careful definition of 

The divergent and contradictory uses of the 
word religion are due, one feels, not only to the 
difficulty of comprehending the nature of re¬ 
ligion but also to the disposition of those who 
have written upon the subject to further an 
ulterior purpose by the definitions they propose. 
The Evangelical controversialist, for instance, 
seems bent on excluding by his definition what 
he calls the superstitions of man, or of sharply 
distinguishing between the so-called natural re¬ 
ligions and revealed religion. The moralist 
seeks apparently to disparage the reputed in¬ 
fluence of religion on conduct, and the thorough¬ 
going secularist wishes to put religion in the 
way of inevitable extinction. When the subject 
is approached, as at present, with a purely 
scientific interest, all such purposes of doctrinal 
and philosophical strategy must of course be 
relinquished. We cannot concern ourselves 
either with the relative superiority of a par¬ 
ticular form of religion or even with the fate 
of religion itself. The only legitimate purpose 
of a definition is to define. 

Although there cannot be two opinions with 


Work and Life 

regard to the motive which ought to prompt an 
inquiry into the nature of religion, it may be 
said that, owing to the incompleteness of the 
sciences dealing with the subject, the time has 
not yet come when an attempt to formulate a 
definition of religion should be made, or, indeed, 
can be made with a fair prospect of success. 
This is true so far as a final scientific defini¬ 
tion of religion is concerned. We must, indeed, 
await further progress in ethnographical and 
I psychological knowledge before we may hope to 
l condense the quintessence of religion into a final 
'definition. Certainly the present writer has a 
far less ambitious purpose. The need of a more 
exact definition of religion than is commonly 
given is not confined, however, to sociology, 
ethnology, psychology or the philosophy of 
religion. The greatest demand is in the field of 
popular discussion, where the utmost confusion 
reigns in regard to the question of the stability 
and permanence of religion, and its relation to 
science and morality. 

The first step toward a clear understanding 
of religion is to distinguish carefully between 
religion and religions. It bears about the same 
relation to the various religions as a genus to 
its species. A definition which applies only to 
one religion is no more a definition of religion 
than the definition of a particular person is a 
definition of the genus homo. This is so obvious 
that it is hard to understand why so many 


Religion and the New Social Order 

definitions are presented which apply to nothing 
but Christianity. There is no religion which 
can he absolutely separated from all others, and 
a definition that is worth anything at all must 
apply to all forms of religion from the lowest 
to the highest. 

Current definitions of religion, especially 
those of a theological character, are usually ex¬ 
pressed in terms of belief. Occasionally re¬ 
ligion is defined in terms of feeling, and 
sometimes in terms of conduct or conation, but 
the popular idea is that religion and belief 
are identical. The prevalence of this idea is 
chiefly due to the definitions presented in the 
writings of a few philosophers and theologians* 
James Martineau, for instance, defined reli¬ 
gion as the “belief in an ever-living God, that 
is, a Divine mind and will ruling the universe 
and holding moral relations with mankind j” 1 
Bishop Butler, as the belief in one God or 
Creator and Moral Governor of the world and 
in a future state of retribution implying im¬ 
mortality ; 2 and many writers, among whom 
is the philosopher Immanuel Kant, have made 
the belief in immortality the sole basis of reli¬ 
gion. 8 The demand of the church for belief, 
and the constant association in the New Testa- 

1 “Study of Religion,” Vol. I, p. 1. 

2 Ward, “Dynamic Sociology,” Vol. II, p. 160. 

s “Kritik der Reinen Vernunft,” Sec. 271, cited by Ward in 
“Dynamic Sociology,” Vol. II, p. 252. 


Work and Life 

ment of belief with salvation, and unbelief with 
its opposite, encourage popular acceptance of 
these definitions. 

Theology, however, is not the only science 
which identifies religion with belief. "When we 
turn to those writers who have approached the 
subject from the ethnographical side we find 
the same mistaken conception. De Quatre- 
fages, Letourneau, Topinard, Sir John Lub¬ 
bock and Prof. E. B. Tylor, to mention only a 
few of these writers, all define religion in terms 
of belief. Even Herbert Spencer, who calls it 
“an a priori theory of the universe,” bases re¬ 
ligion upon the intellectual element . 1 

Now, we may readily admit that knowledge 
or belief is an element in religion, as a more 
or less specific belief is an element in all reli¬ 
gions; but when we define religion as specific 
belief,—for instance, the belief in God, in im¬ 
mortality, or in spiritual beings,—we not only 
recognise an intellectual element in religion but 
we make religion synonymous with a particular 
form of belief. This narrows the scope of 
religion, and in an age of uncompromising 
criticism, stakes its life upon the accuracy of 
an intellectual formula. For, considering the 

1 See Quatrefages, “L’Espece Humaine,” p. 356; Letourneau, 
“L’Evolution Religieuse dans les Diverges Races Humanes,” p. 
4; Topinard, “Science and Faith,” p. 246; Sir John Lubbock, 
“Prehistoric Times,” p. 574; Tylor, “Primitive Culture,” Vol. 
I, p. 424; Spencer, “First Principles,” p. 43; also Crozier, “Civ¬ 
ilisation and Progress,” p. 257, where religion is defined as the 
philosophy of the masses.” 


Religion and the New Social Order 

present state of knowledge, what formulated 
belief can be said to be absolutely permanent 1 ? 
None. To base religion upon belief, therefore, 
is to build the bouse of religion upon the sand, 
and when the rain descends, and the floods 
come, and the winds blow and beat upon it, 
what assurance can we have that it will not 

To say of current definitions of religion, 
however, that they present it as an unstable 
and vanishing phenomenon is not necessarily 
to offer against them a fatal objection. The 
end or purpose of a definition, like that 
ascribed by Hamlet to playing, is “to bold, as 
’twere, the mirror up to Nature.” If the 
truth is reflected, that is all we can demand, 
whatever be the fate of the thing defined. But 
the quickest way, perhaps, to show that an 
error is involved in considering religion as a 
matter of belief is to point out some of the con¬ 
sequences of accepting the common definition. 
If we accept the definition, for instance, that 
religion is belief in one all-wise personal Be¬ 
ing, we commit ourselves to the view that the 
great majority of the human race have lived 
without religion. For nothing is clearer to 
those who have any familiarity with the reli¬ 
gious ideas of mankind than that the belief in 
many gods has been far more prevalent than 
the belief in one. Monotheism is a compara¬ 
tively recent development in the history of 


Work and Life 

religions thought. It is sometimes said, to he 
sure, that “all human beings have the idea of 
God ,” 1 but this is a pleasant fiction invented 
for theological purposes. “There is no evi¬ 
dence,” says Darwin, “that man was aborigi¬ 
nally endowed with the ennobling belief in the 
existence of an Omnipotent God. On the con¬ 
trary, there is ample evidence, derived not 
from hasty travellers, but from men who have 
long resided with savages, that numerous races 
have existed, and still exist, who have no idea 
of one or more gods, and who have no words 
in their languages to express such an idea .” 3 
Again, Sir John Lubbock, after citing a score 
or more of illustrations to prove the point, says 
that “those who assert that even the lowest 
savages believe in a supreme Deity, affirm that 
which is entirely contrary to the evidence. ’ ’ 8 
This is a different question, of course, from 
that of the universality of religion, with which 
we are not at present concerned. All we are 
now trying to show is that by defining religion 
as the belief in a Supreme Being we exclude 
from the category of religious the vast major¬ 
ity of the human race. Not only do primi¬ 
tive religions fall outside of the definition, but 
also one of the world’s great religions, namely 
Buddhism, which numbers more adherents than 

J Outlook, December, 1900, p. 919. 

8 “Descent of Man” (Humboldt Library), p. 51. 

« “Prehistoric Times,” p. 679. 


Religion and the New Social Order 

any other. Sir Monier Monier-Williams, the 
learned profeSsor of Sanscrit at Oxford, does 
indeed declare that Buddhism is not a religion; 
but this surprising opinion must be due to his 
desire to be consistent, for he holds that “a 
religion, in the proper sense of the word, must 
postulate the existence of one living and true 
God of infinite power, wisdom and love, the 
Creator and Designer and Preserver of all 
things visible and invisible,” and that it “must 
take for granted the immortality of man’s soul 
or spirit.” “Christianity,” he asserts, “is a 
religion, whereas Buddhism, at least in its 
earliest and truest form, is no religion at all.” 1 
If Buddhism is not a religion, pray what is it? 
Of what value is a definition of religion which 
includes only Christianity? However con¬ 
venient it may be for controversial purposes, 
it does not satisfy the requirements of science. 

If, instead of the belief in a Supreme Being, 
we accept the view that belief in immortality 
is identical with religion, we are confronted by 
the same difficulty. The idea of an unending 
future existence “does not belong to the lower 
forms of religion, but is a comparatively recent 
extension of the early idea of a future life .” 2 
Mr. John Fiske in the book entitled “Through 
Nature to God,” does indeed assert that “be- 

1 Quoted by Dr. Carus, “Buddhism and its Christian Critics,” 
p. 290. 

2 Prof. Lester F. Ward, “Dynamic Sociology,” Vol. II, p. 280. 


Work and Life 

lief in the Unseen world in which human be¬ 
ings continue to exist after death,” is an 
indispensable element of religion, and he seems 
to identify this belief with immortality. Dr. 
Brinton, also, maintains that the mind of 
primitive man was so filled with visions of 
universal and immortal life, that to many there 
was no such thing as death ; 1 but Prof. Tylor, 
than whom there is no better authority, posi¬ 
tively asserts that “far from a life after death 
being held by all men as the destiny of all men, 
whole classes are formally excluded from it,” 
and that “even among races who distinctly 
accept the doctrine of a surviving soul, this 
acceptance is not unanimous.” “The soul,” 
he says, “as recognised in the philosophy of 
the lower races, may be defined as an ethereal 
surviving being, conceptions of which preceded 
and led up to the more transcendental theory 
of the immaterial and immortal soul, which 
forms part of the theology of the higher 
nations .” 2 Passing over the numerous illus¬ 
trations from primitive life cited by Prof. 
Tylor, we may mention the Greeks, among 
whom the idea of immortality was very vague, 
and call to mind the fact that it is by no means 
generally accepted among us to-day. What 
has the conception of immortality to do with 
the religious philosophy of those who hold 

1 “Religion of Primitive Peoples,” p. 69. 

2 “Primitive Culture,” Vol. II, pp. 22, 24. 


Religion and the New Social Order 

with Prof. Huxley, that religion is u reverence 
and love for the ethical ideal, and the desire to 
realise that ideal in life ” ? 1 Or with that of the 
followers of Herbart who considered sympathy 
with the universal dependence of men as the es¬ 
sential natural principle of religion ? 2 

We see, then, that a definition of religion in 
terms of the higher and derived belief is not 
inclusive. There is involved, however, a more 
serious consequence. 

If religion is identified with a form of be¬ 
lief, the fate of religion is made to depend 
upon the permanence of that belief. Thus the 
very existence of religion may seem to he 
jeopardised, for, as was said before, no belief 
may be regarded as perfectly secure against 
the advancing tide of critical thought. Some 
may reply that the belief in a personal Crea¬ 
tor is absolutely permanent. But many of the 
greatest thinkers have abandoned this concep¬ 
tion . 8 

If the belief in immortality is suggested as 
one that is unlikely to pass away, we are con¬ 
fronted by the fact that some profound 
thinkers have ceased to hold it. Prof. Haeckel, 
for instance, in his recent book on “The Rid- 

1 “Christianity and Agnosticism” (Humboldt Library), p. 25. 

2 “Science of Education,” English translation, p. 171. 

s “Dieu,” says De Greef, to quote but a single author, “est 
un personnage historique, susceptible de naissance, de croissance 
et de mort, comme les dieux, les fetiches et les esprits en 
gfinGral.”—“Introduction a la Sociologie,” Tome II, p. 218. 


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die of the Universe, ” dismisses this dogma 
as hopelessly inconsistent with the most solid 
truths of science. When Giordano Bruno, 
whose love for the truth brought him to the 
stake three hundred years ago, faced his ac¬ 
cusers, he was unsupported by either the belief 
in a personal deity or the belief in immortality. 
Must we say, then, that this martyr to the truth 
was an irreligious man? Such must be our 
conclusion if we accept the idea that belief in 
immortality is essential to religion. A writer 
in the Contemporary Review said, some years 
ago, “If for any reason, mankind does, at any 
time cease to believe in its own immortality, 
then religion will also have ceased to exist as 
a part of the consciousness of humanity . 5,1 
There is no need, however, for linking the fate 
of religion to belief in immortality or to any 
other specific belief. 

Whatever religion may be, no unprejudiced 
student of the subject will contend that it may 
properly be identified with the higher and de¬ 
rived beliefs, like the belief in a personal God 
or the belief in immortality. The necessity 
of some more general conception will at once 
be recognised. We find, therefore, that the 
ethnographer, while defining religion as belief, 
seeks the rudimentary and common form of 
belief from which all others may be derived, 

1 Rev. T. W. Fowle, quoted by Professor Ward, “Dynamic 
Sociology,” II, 253. 


Religion and the New Social Order 

and identifies religion with that belief. We 
shall see, however, that the lower we descend 
among beliefs for an inclusive definition of re¬ 
ligion, the more precarious the situation of 
religion becomes. 

The broadest definition of religion that has 
ever been given in terms of belief is that of 
Prof. Tylor, that is, the belief in Spiritual Be¬ 
ings. “The first requisite in a systematic 
study of the religions of the lower races,” he 
says, “is to lay down a rudimentary definition 
of religion. By requiring in this definition 
the belief in a Supreme Deity or judgment 
after death, the adoration of idols or the 
practice of sacrifice, or other partially diffused 
doctrines or rites, no doubt many tribes may 
be excluded from the category of religious. 
But such narrow definition has the fault of 
identifying religion rather with particular de¬ 
velopments than with the deeper motive which 
underlies them. It seems best to fall back at 
once on this essential source, and simply to 
claim as a minimum definition of religion, the 
belief in Spiritual Beings.” This belief is 
supposed to be universal. “So far as I can 
judge from the immense mass of accessible 
evidence,” says Prof. Tylor, “we have to admit 
that the belief in Spiritual Beings appears 
among all low races with whom we have at¬ 
tained a thoroughly intimate acquaintance; 
whereas the assertion of absence of such belief 


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must apply either to ancient tribes or to more 
or less imperfectly described modern ones. ’ ’ 1 
Prof. Tylor’s definition leaves nothing to be 
desired, then, so far as inclnsiveness is con¬ 
cerned. Like other definitions of religion in 
terms of a specific belief, however, it is fatal 
to the claim that religion is a permanent real¬ 
ity. To realise the truth of this we have only 
to consider the evolution of modern religious 

The study of the evolution of modern reli¬ 
gious conceptions teaches plainly that they are 
the natural outgrowth of the primitive concep¬ 
tion of Spiritual Beings. The monotheistic con¬ 
ception of to-day, for instance, is logically 
related to polytheism, and is the result of a 
gradual integration of the God-conception as 
science has progressed toward the idea of a 
unitary cause. The orthodox theory of in¬ 
spiration, to use another illustration, is the 
natural product of the primitive idea of souls 
and possession. Hence religion, if it means 
primarily a belief, whether high or low, must 
stand or fall with the belief in Spiritual Beings. 
Let us examine the validity of this belief. 

The belief in Spiritual Beings is derived 
from two sources. It is a deduction either 
from such phenomena as dreams, swoons, apo¬ 
plexy, shadows, and reflections in water, which 
were satisfactorily explained to the primitive 

i “Primitive Culture/’ Vol. I, pp. 424, 425. 


Religion and the New Social Order 

mind by the assumption of a double self, or a 
soul and body* normally but not continuously 
united; or from tbe phenomena of objective 
nature,—the thunder, the lightning, wind, rain, 
the movements of the clouds, etc.,—of which 
the assumption of invisible beings analogous 
to men was to the primitive man a sufficient 
explanation. The genesis of the idea of an¬ 
other self, or soul, capable of entering and 
leaving the body, which is the subjective basis 
of the belief in Spiritual Beings, is thus ac¬ 
counted for by Prof. Tylor: “When the 
sleeper awakens from a dream’’ (he is speak¬ 
ing of primitive man), “he believes he has 
really somehow been away, or that other people 
have come to him. As it is well known by ex¬ 
perience that men’s bodies do not go on 
these excursions, the natural explanation is 
that every man’s living self or soul is his 
phantom or image, which can go out of his body 
and see and be seen itself in dreams. Even 
waking men in broad daylight sometimes see 
these human phantoms in what are called vi¬ 
sions or hallucinations. They are further led to 
believe that the soul does not die with the body, 
but lives on after quitting it, for although a 
man may be dead and buried, his phantom- 
figure continues to appear to the survivors in 
dreams and visions. That men have such un¬ 
substantial images belonging to them is famil¬ 
iar in other ways to the savage philosopher, 


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who has watched their reflections in still water, 
or their shadows following them about, fading 
out of sight to reappear presently somewhere 
else, while sometimes for a moment he has seen 
their living breath as a faint cloud, vanishing 
though one can feel that it is still there. ’ ’ 1 
From this subjective source Mr. Spencer de¬ 
rives ancestor worship, which he claims is the 
parent form of all religions. 

The second method by which the idea of 
invisible beings may have been derived is 
quite as simple. Conscious of himself as a 
cause, the primitive man would by analogy at¬ 
tribute some form of life to anything that man¬ 
ifested power or movement. Indeed, it is even 
now contended that by the very nature of our 
intelligence we are bound to represent the 
cause of things in terms of ourselves . 2 Dar¬ 
win, in opposition to Mr. Spencer, thought 
that this personification of the causes of nature 
preceded the belief in a double . 3 Here, then, 
are the two bases which support the belief in 
Spiritual Beings. Remove these and religion, 
as defined by Mr. Tylor, falls to the ground. 

We have only to consider for a moment the 
effect of modern science upon these two ideas 
which support the belief in question, to ap¬ 
preciate the precarious condition of religion 

1 “Anthropology,” pp. 343, 344. 

2 See Crozier, “Civilization and Progress,” p. 232. 

8 “Descent of Man” (Humboldt Library), p. 51, footnote. 


Religion and the New Social Order 

when it is regarded as the belief in Spiritual 
Beings. No modem psychologist, for instance, 
would accept the idea of a double to explain 
the phenomena of dreams, swoons, apoplexy, 
etc., nor does any one now believe that the 
forces of nature may properly be interpreted 
as invisible personal agencies. Prof. Ward in 
dismissing the idea of the first, or subjective, 
view of the origin of the belief in question, 
says, “Does the reflection of a man’s face in 
a pool really indicate that the man possesses 
two faces, a bodily and a spiritual face? Does 
the shadow that he casts, or the echo of his 
voice, really prove that he has an immaterial 
double? Does a dream or a trance, in which an 
alibi is proved to the mind of the ignorant sav¬ 
age really demonstrate that his other self ex¬ 
ists and has been wandering about, while all 
his friends declare that his proper self has 
remained in the same place? Is there any 
fallacy by which, on this view, the fundamental 
conception of religion has been arrived at? 
All will, of course, admit that the premises are 
utterly false in all these cases. If even the 
very root of the tree consists wholly of error, 
is it not reasonable to suppose that the 
branches and the fruit will partake of the same 
nature?” And the same writer ends his in¬ 
quiry in regard to the second or objective 
view, as follows: “Is the wind really an im¬ 
material spirit? Are the sun, moon and stars 


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actual verities? Is the rainbow a goddess or 
a bridge connecting earth and heaven, or was 
it placed in the heavens by a Deity as a cove¬ 
nant between him and man? Are meteors ‘ex¬ 
crements of dirty little star gods’? Or is an 
eclipse a result of the defecation of the divine 
orb of day? Does the plant grow, or the tide 
ebb or flow, or rain descend or the lightning 
flash, in obedience to spiritual powers above, 
and outside of nature, having distinct person¬ 
alities? All these phenomena are now sat¬ 
isfactorily explained on strictly natural prin¬ 
ciples. Among peoples acquainted with science, 
all such supernatural beings have been dis¬ 
pensed with, and the belief in them is de¬ 
clared to he false, and to always have been 
false.” 1 Thus we see that Prof. Ward rejects 
the two ideas upon which the belief in Spiritual 
Beings is based, and it hardly will be denied that 
both are erroneous, and under the influence of 
scientific criticism have gradually crumbled 
away. What then becomes of religion as defined 
by Mr. Tylor? Obviously it is left without a 
support. Mr. Spencer does indeed try to save 
it by his favourite method of finding a ‘ ‘ soul of 
truth in things erroneous.” Like Prof. Ward, 
he discards both the idea of a double and the 
idea of invisible personal agencies in nature, 
but “at the outset,” he says, “a germ of truth 
was contained in the primitive conception— 

1 “Dynamic Sociology,” Vol. II, pp. 266, 268, 269. 


Religion arid the New Social Order 

the truth, namely, that the power that man¬ 
ifests itself in consciousness is but a differently 
conditioned form of the power that manifests 
itself beyond consciousness .” 1 As he does not 
interpret this power in terms of personality, 
however, he does not save religion as the belief 
in Spiritual Beings. 

Incidentally we may remark that in the idea 
that religion is a form of belief we have an 
explanation of the supposed co nfl ict, between 
science and religion, and of the confidence ex¬ 
pressed by some writers in the present decay 
and final disappearance of religion. Regard¬ 
ing religion as belief, and witnessing the 
destructive effects of scientific criticism in 
every department of knowledge, many thinkers 
have regretfully, or gleefully, acknowledged 
that religion must decrease as science increases, 
and that there will come a time when religion 
will have entirely disappeared. “The prog¬ 
ress of religion,” says Be Greef, “is in the 
reduction of religion to an absurdity ,” 2 and a 
distinguished socialist says, “Religion expires 
when belief in Supernatural Beings or Super¬ 
natural Ruling Powers ceases to exist .” 3 Ob¬ 
viously this is true if the idea of religion 
entertained by these writers is correct. If, 

1 “Principles of Sociology,” Vol. Ill, pp. 170, 171. 

2 “Introduction a la Sociologie,” Tome II, p. 208. 

3 Bebel, “Woman, Past, Present and Future,” p. 178. For a 
similar opinion, see also Loria, “Economic Foundations of So¬ 
ciety,” p. 24. 


Work and Life 

however, they are mistaken it only shows that 
there is a strategical blunder in defining reli¬ 
gion as the belief in Spiritual Beings, or as any 
other specific belief. 

What has been said thus far is not conclusive, 
of course, in regard to the expediency of set¬ 
ting aside current definitions of religion. As 
was said before, a true definition of religion is 
not concerned with the fate of religion, and 
it is not our purpose to shield religion from 
criticism or to force it to present an aspect of 
permanence. The only legitimate purpose of 
a definition is accurately to mark off the thing 
defined from every other phenomenon. We 
must try, therefore, to find a more valid ob¬ 
jection than those to which we have already 

In the preceding discussion we have shown 
that we must look beyond all specific forms of 
religious belief, and a fortiori beyond all forms 
of religion to find religion itself. It does not 
follow, however, that we can eliminate from 
religion the element of belief. A religion is 
in one aspect a complex of beliefs. Buddhism, 
Christianity, or any organised form of religion, 
hinges on a system of beliefs, a body of doc¬ 
trine. But if we proceed downward through 
any of the various religions until we come to 
the common and simplest form of belief out of 
which all others have sprung, we shall have, 
not religion itself but always a manifestation 


Religion and the 'New Social Order 

and consequence of religion. In this aspect 
there is no difference between the crude belief 
of the savage and the highest religious con¬ 
ception of modern Christianity. Both are 
alike manifestations of religion. Now, below 
the lowest and simplest form of religious be¬ 
lief, that is, the belief in Spiritual Beings, and 
giving rise to it, there must be a vague rec¬ 
ognition or perception of a power or powers 
which the primitive man regards as outside of 
himself and responsible for certain puzzling 
phenomena. “There is one fact,” says Prof. 
Ward, “which all races and peoples, however 
primitive, and all mankind, however enlight¬ 
ened, have universally recognised. This fact 
is that there is a power outside of themselves 
which is beyond their control. Bude peoples, 
living as they always do, in direct contact with 
nature, are constantly brought into relation¬ 
ship with this power and made to feel much 
more strongly than do civilised races their 
complete subjection to it.” To the primitive 
man, therefore, the world is full of mysteries. 
He perceives that there is something beyond 
himself which acts as a cause. He believes, 
therefore, in the existence of a powerful and 
mysterious something. What this something 
is he knows not, but that is one of the first 
questions for which he sought an answer. The 
earliest philosopher provided him with a theory, 
and that theory was the existence of invisible, 


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h um anlike agencies. This interpretation, how¬ 
ever, was not religion but philosophy. Reli¬ 
gion was the antecedent phenomenon. Thus, 
man was religious prior to the formulation of 
a specific belief in Spiritual Beings. He rec¬ 
ognised vaguely and indefinitely a mysterious 
power in nature before any definite theory was 
formulated concerning it. 

Beyond this vague recognition or percep¬ 
tion of a mysterious power in the world, it is 
impossible to trace religious belief. The ele¬ 
ment of belief, or perception, then, is at the 
beginning of religion, as a specific belief in 
Spiritual Beings is at the beginning of theol¬ 
ogy. The final element in an analysis of re¬ 
ligious beliefs, whether of the individual or of 
the race, is a perception in the individual con¬ 
sciousness of an unknown power or powers 
operating in nature. 

Are those writers correct, then, who define 
religion, not as a specific belief, but as a mere 
perception of the Infinite, or the “perception 
of man’s relation to the principles of the uni¬ 
verse ”? 1 We do not think so. Perception is 
not the only element in religion. Let us pro¬ 
ceed to inquire what other elements are re¬ 
vealed by an analysis of religion. 

1 Among those who have defined religion as perception are 
Max Muller and Jevons. Shelley, in his notes to “Queen Mab,” 
defined it as “perception of the relation in which we stand to 
the principle of the universe.” 


Religion and the New Social Order 

It will generally be admitted, perhaps, that 
the very word religion implies restraint upon 
conduct, and the direction of individual activi¬ 
ties. A religious man must be to some extent 
guided by his religion. He must needs have 
“scruples.” This is illustrated in all religions, 
from the primitive forms which induce sacri¬ 
fices and obedience to the will of the gods, to 
Christianity, which authoritatively declares, 
for instance, that “If any man thinketh himself 
to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue 
but deceiveth his heart, this man’s religion is 
vain. ’ ’ 1 And it is illustrated as well in the in¬ 
dividual, for who could properly be called re¬ 
ligious who does not act to some extent in 
accordance with the principles of his religion? 
Prof. Lester F. Ward, in a profound article on 
the “Essential Nature of Religion ,” 2 and Mr. 
Henry Rutgers Marshall, in his book on “In¬ 
stinct and Reason,” which is mainly devoted to 
religion, bring out with great clearness and 
power this feature of religion and pronounce 
it its characteristic element. 

Prof. Ward’s thesis is that “religion is a 
substitute in the rational world for instinct in 
the subrational world.” “Instinct,” he says, 
“may be looked upon as a device of nature to 
make the organism desire to perform acts that 
subserve function, but which would not other- 

1 Jas. i, 26. 

2 International Journal of Ethics , January, 1898. 


Work and Life 

wise be desired.” So religion is a device to 
restrain the individual from activities harmful 
to the race and to direct him to the perform¬ 
ance of safe ones. In tracing the development 
of organisms from the lowest forms to man, 
he finds that there have been, at least, three 
critical periods when the existence of organisms 
was threatened. ‘ ‘ The first of these was when 
plastic organisms were created, endowed with 
locomotion, and dependent for subsistence upon 
organic matter, the condition to the existence 
of which was feeling. . . . This was the 
origin of mind. The second ordeal was when 
the will had so strongly asserted itself that ex¬ 
istence was put in jeopardy. This was rem¬ 
edied by the development of instincts. Pass¬ 
ing over minor ones, we come at last to 
an ordeal still more severe than any of the pre¬ 
vious ones. In the natural upward march of 
the psychic faculty feeling became at length so 
potent and its demands so imperative that the 
direct efforts hitherto employed in its satisfac¬ 
tion no longer sufficed, and a new device was 
gradually elaborated that should secure the 
ends of the creature with far greater success. 
This was the ‘indirect method of conation,’ and 
to the affective faculty was now added the 
perceptive faculty. The intellect was de¬ 
veloped as an aid to the will. . . . But with 
this immense gain from the standpoint of the 


Religion and the New Social Order 

individual almost immediately commenced a 
destruction of the race of beings to which this 
faculty had been committed. It was now easy 
to secure the satisfaction of desire, and desires 
had grown so manifold and so vehement, and 
a larger and larger proportion of them not 
being adapted to function, many indeed being 
directly opposed to it, that obviously, if, under 
this new dispensation, everything were allowed 
to go on without restraint, the race of rational 
beings must quickly run its course and come to 
naught. Fortunately, however, this very per¬ 
ceptive faculty which was being so freely em¬ 
ployed in the interest of feeling regardless of 
function, was also capable of dimly and in¬ 
tuitively perceiving the dangers to which it was 
leading. Along with the individual mind work¬ 
ing thus egoistically for the individual end, 
keenly pointing out the ways in which pain 
could be thwarted and pleasure assured, there 
was also working broadly, deeply, and sub¬ 
consciously, what may properly be called a 
collective or social mind, solemnly warning 
against the dangers and authoritatively inhibit¬ 
ing all race-destroying actions. A new device, 
analogous in many respects to instinct on the 
lower plane, was gradually developed and 
perfected pari passu with the reason on the 
higher plane. This device was religion.” 

This profound analysis is correct as far as 


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it goes, but it will be observed that Prof. Ward 
is chiefly concerned with the social function of 
religion, and describes its genesis as a social 
instrument for restraining individual action. 
Our investigation carries us back one step 
further and inquires into the origin of religion 
as it manifests itself in the individual, and 
which by and by is laid hold of by the social 
group as a means of restraining its members. 

What has just been said of Prof. Ward’s 
article applies also to the treatment of re¬ 
ligion in Mr. Marshall’s book. After a long 
but inconclusive argument to show that religion 
is instinctive, he concludes by defining religion 
as a suppression of our fallible wills to what 
we conceive of as a higher will. “Under my 
view,” he says, “what is here called the sup¬ 
pression of our will to the higher will, may be 
expressed in psychological terms as the re¬ 
straint of the individualistic impulses to racial 
ones; that such restraint has effect upon the 
moral character being, of course, granted. 
This restraint seems to me to be of the very 
essence of religion. The belief in the Deity, as 
usually found being from the psychological 
view an attachment to, rather than of the es¬ 
sence of, the religious feeling; and this, whether 
as metaphysicians we may or may not be com¬ 
pelled to the belief in this Absolute Deity .” 1 

1 “Instinct and Reason,” p. 329. 


Religion and the New Social Order 

In another passage he speaks of this restraint 
as ‘ ‘ the very core and essence of religions func¬ 
tioning. ’ ’ 

Undoubtedly both Prof. Ward and Mr. 
Marshall are correct in assigning to religion 
the element of restraint, or, viewed positively, 
a directive power in human action; but in the 
final analysis this element is merely restraint 
and not social restraint. Social restraint does 
not appear until the social group, or its leader, 
becomes conscious of the value of religion as 
an instrument of restraint and a means of 
securing from the individual socially beneficial 
activities. It is, therefore, highly probable 
from the available evidence that religion arose 
not as a social, but as a psychological necessity. 
As a spontaneous variation in the character 
of the individual it may not have been an ad¬ 
vantage to him, but the incipient social mind 
soon perceived its possibilities as a social in¬ 
strument and preserved it as such. If the 
primitive individual, thrown into an environ¬ 
ment of manifestations of a mysterious power, 
perceives the existence of such a power, and 
realises his dependence upon it, and strives to 
propitiate it, he becomes religious whether the 
activities following from his religion are 
socially beneficial or not. Probably many in¬ 
dividuals and many groups were extinguished 
by their undirected religious activities before 


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a consciousness of the social value of religion 
arose. Natural selection of individuals and of 
social groups would alone in time adapt reli¬ 
gious functioning to social survival. But it is 
doubtless true, as Prof. Ward suggests, that 
religion as a social phenomenon was the prod¬ 
uct of both natural selection and reason. 
The point to he noticed here, however, is that 
the origin of religion is independent of its 
social value. Its appearance in the world is 
an individual phenomenon; its persistence, a 
social one. 

Religion, then, cannot he correctly defined 
as a particular form of restraint, any more 
than it can he correctly defined as a particular 
form of belief. It is not ‘‘being good and do¬ 
ing good,” as Dr. Chalmers asserted, nor 
“loving obedience to God’s commandments,” 
as Dr. Deems used to say, nor “morality 
touched with emotion, ’ ’ as Matthew Arnold de¬ 
fined it. Religion and morality are two genet¬ 
ically distinct phenomena. “Religion,” says 
John Fiske, “views the individual in his 
relations to the Infinite Power manifested in 
a universe of casually connected phenomena, 
as Morality views him in his relation to his 
fellow-creatures .” 1 Prof. Tylor tells us that 
“The relation of morality to religion is one 
that only belongs in its rudiments, or not at 
all, to rudimentary civilisation.” And again 

i “Cosmic Philosophy,” Vol. II, p. 357. 


Religion and the New Social Order 

he says, “One great element of religion, the 
moral element, which among the higher nations 
forms its most vital part, is indeed little rep¬ 
resented in the religion of the lower races.” 1 
And Mr. J. Deniker in his “Races of Man,” 
(p. 220) declares that “Animistic religion is 
destitute of a moral element, which many 
persons consider inseparable from religion.” 2 
Morality implies not merely restraint, but 
social and conventional restraint, and may be 
based upon public opinion and social conventions 
as well as upon religious beliefs. As John 
Fiske somewhere says, the reason why religion 
and morality are so often identified is that in the 
higher religions they are practically co-exten- 
sive. We are thus brought to the conclusion 
that a definition of religion in terms of a special 
form of action or conduct is as erroneous as a 
definition in terms of belief, and yet we must 
admit that action like belief is an element in 

Wherever an individual or racial phenom¬ 
enon is manifested in belief or action, there 
is always present also another element, namely, 

1 “Primitive Culture,” Vol. II, pp. 326-427. 

2 The separate origin of religion and morality is, of course, 
not generally admitted. Pfleiderer, for instance, denies that 
they stood originally in no connection with each other. “It is 
an incontrovertible fact,” he says, “that the primitive morality 
stands in very close connection with the primitive religion.”— 
“Philosophy and Development of Religion,” Vol. I, Chap. II. 
On a question of this kind, however, the opinion of an ethnog¬ 
rapher is more valuable than that of a theologian. 

Work and Life 

feeling. It is not strange, then, that the reli¬ 
gions feeling, or the feeling of impotence which 
the human mind experiences before the forces 
of nature, and out of which all religious ideas, 
however elaborate or complex, are derived, 
has been fixed upon by some writers as the es¬ 
sence of, or the essential element in religion. 
Schleiermacher’s definition of religion as “a 
feeling of absolute dependence” at once comes 
to mind. John Fiske declares that the feel¬ 
ing of dependence is the essential element 
in the theistic idea; 1 and Prof. Ward says, 
“It is this sense of helplessness before the 
majesty of the environment, which if it is not 
religion itself is the foundation upon which all 
religion is built. ’ ’ 2 But even those who de¬ 
fine religion in terms of feeling do not pretend 
that a mere feeling is sufficient to constitute re¬ 
ligion. Neither Schleiermacher nor Pfleiderer, 
who emphasise this element, contend that reli¬ 
gion is identical with feeling. In every religious 
act, says the latter philosopher, the whole 
personality is present. Why then should we 
define religion in terms of feeling, when feeling, 
like belief and action, is merely an element in 

The result of our discussion thus far may 
be summed up in the following proposition: 
Religion manifests itself in belief, feeling and 

1 “The Idea of God,” p. 62. 

2 International Journal of Ethics, January, 1898. 


Religion and the New Social Order 

action, and these three elements are present 
whether we consider it ethnographically as a 
social device or psychologically as a phenom¬ 
enon of the individual consciousness. A cor¬ 
rect definition of religion must then depend 
upon the relation and relative importance of 
these three elements. 

Now the relation in the individual conscious¬ 
ness, and the relative importance of perception, 
feeling and the conative impulse, are questions 
of psychology. It is to this science, and not 
to theology or ethnology, therefore, that we 
must look for a final definition of religion. 
The final word, however, on the nature of con¬ 
sciousness has not been said. But there seems 
to be a consensus of opinion among the later 
psychologists on one point, namely, that it is 
impossible to break up the individual conscious¬ 
ness into the two or three wholly separate 
processes of knowing, feeling and willing. 
“The psychic life,” says Ribot, “is a con¬ 
tinuity beginning with sensation and ending 
with movement ,” 1 and this assertion is the 
working hypothesis and keynote of the new 
psychology. From sensation to perception, 
perception to the higher phases of knowledge, 
and knowledge to action there is no break, and 
feeling is an inevitable accompaniment of all. 
If this is true, if it is true that the religious 
consciousness is a unity embracing knowledge, 

i “German Psychology of To-day,” p. 7. 


Work and Life 

feeling and the tendency to act, it does not 
seem that we ought to identify religion with 
any one of these mental phenomena. “To 
speak of any whole manifestation of life,” says 
Prof. Leuba, “as being in its ‘essential’ nature 
intellectual or affective or volitional, is to mis¬ 
construe the facts, for, although it is admitted 
that any expression of conscious life can be 
analysed into its successive moments (sensa¬ 
tion, reflective ideation, desires, impulses, will’s 
determination, etc.), and that one or the other 
of these constituents can be at times prepon¬ 
derantly present to the subject’s consciousness, 
it does by no means follow that that particular 
pulse of life is an idea, or a volition, or a feel¬ 
ing, or that one or the other of these part- 
processes can properly be looked upon as the 
essential nature of the whole. A time se¬ 
quence may exist, and as a matter of fact, does 
exist: volition follows upon sensation and idea¬ 
tion. But this fact does not constitute volition 
the essence of psychic life. ’ ’ 1 

Psychology thus seems to stop us from 
identifying religion with the perceptive, the 
affective or the conative element, and to de¬ 
mand a form of definition which will include 
them all. Such a demand may be met, perhaps, 
by defining religion in terms of desire. Desire 
plainly implies both perception and feeling, 

i “Introduction to a Psychological Study of Religion,” The 
Monist, January, 1901. 


Religion and the New Social Order 

and where these are present action follows, 
for all mental states produce bodily activity of 
some sort. If it is considered that there might 
be a religious desire the influence of which 
would fall short of producing what is usually 
regarded as religious activity, the defect may 
possibly be remedied by the use of the word 
effective. A desire which produces religious 
activity may be called an effective desire. Re¬ 
ligion, then, may be defined in terms of effective 
desire. But desire for what? 

"We have, already, referred to the universal 
perception of a power not ourselves, which 
perception lies at the basis of all specific re¬ 
ligious beliefs. This power is the objective 
factor in all the great religions. 

The conscious recognition of this objective 
factor, the feeling of dependence upon it and 
the resultant activity are the indispensable 
elements of religion. What this objective 
factor or power is called is not of primary im¬ 
portance. That is a matter of intellectual in¬ 
terpretation. To the primitive man it is 
ghosts, to the modern theologian it is a personal 
God, to the poet it is— 

“A Sense Sublime 

Of something far more deeply interfused, 
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns. 
And the round ocean and the living air; 

A motion and a spirit which impels 

All thinking things, all objects of all thought, 

And rolls through all things,” 


Work and Life 

and to the evolutionary philosopher it is “an. 
Infinite and Eternal Energy.” All philosophy 
from the crude explanations of the savage to 
the profoundest Welt-anschaining of the modern 
savant is but a series of partial interpretations, 
and no one can say what the final world-concep¬ 
tion or God-idea will be. A definition of reli¬ 
gion, therefore, should offer no interpretation 
of this universal power. 

Given the perception of a power manifest¬ 
ing itself in the world, and a feeling of de¬ 
pendence upon it, an inevitable result will be 
the desire of the individual to be in right or 
personally advantageous relations to that 
power. Conscious religious activity is always 
in obedience to this desire. What is sacrifice, 
fasting, prayer, and all the other forms of 
propitiation, but the effort of men to put them¬ 
selves in right relation to the power which they 
apprehend, but do not comprehend? The de¬ 
sire of religion, therefore, is a desire for right¬ 
ness, for adjustment to the universal order, for 
harmonious relations with a power objectively 

. We may suggest, then, as a tentative defini¬ 
tion of religion, the following: Religion is the 
effective desire to be in right relations to the 
power manifesting itself in the universe. 

If the definition here given is approximately 
correct, it may be observed that, while it is 
not framed for that purpose, it is of tactical 


Religion and the New Social Order 

advantage to those who argue that religion is 
a permanent Reality. For, in the first place, 
by defining religion in terms of desire, religion 
is at once removed from all danger of science. 
Science may attack and destroy particular 
forms of belief, but religion is unassailable. 
The scythe of scientific criticism may sweep 
over the field of religious thought, may cut 
down all modern theological conceptions, but 
the roots of religion, embedded in the soil of 
man’s nature, will not be touched, and soon new 
beliefs will spring up to take the place of the 
old. Eeligion is fundamentally of the heart 
and not of the head. Science can no more de¬ 
stroy religion than it can destroy love. 

In the second place, it is clear that if reli¬ 
gion may be correctly defined in terms of de¬ 
sire, more people are religious than are 
usually so regarded. It sounds paradoxical to 
speak of a religious agnostic, or a religious 
atheist. And yet a man who recognises, and 
desires to be in right relations to, “an Infinite 
and Eternal Energy from which all things 
proceed, ’ ’ without claiming to know the ultimate 
nature of that energy, is religious; and as 
atheism, as usually understood, is merely the 
denial of a particular interpretation of this 
energy, it is not inconsistent with religion. 
The Buddhist, for instance, is a religious 

It does not follow from our definition of re- 


Work and Life 

ligion, however, that all men are religions. It 
is conceivable that the recognition of the ob¬ 
jective factor in religion may not be followed 
by an effective desire for right relations. 
Probably at every stage of belief there have 
been those who have maintained toward what 
they themselves believed to be the source of 
supreme authority an attitude of indifference 
or defiance. Such an attitude, however, is 
surely the exception and not the rule. Un¬ 
willingness to accept the beliefs of an age may 
be an indication of superior intelligence, but 
the same cannot be said of an irreligious nature. 
Classic literature furnishes us an impres¬ 
sive picture of Ajax defying the lightning, 
but it is not written that for this proce¬ 
dure Ajax exalted his reputation for common- 

Finally, if religion may be correctly defined 
in terms of desire, it is not something that has 
been revealed to one people and withheld from 
another. It springs up naturally as an ele¬ 
ment in the nature of man. It is not dependent 
upon the accuracy of his thought. It appears 
in the dawn of intelligence in the savage, who 
sees God in the clouds and hears him in the 
wind, and manifests itself in every age and 
amongst every people,—in the philosopher who 
seeks to harmonise his life with what he re¬ 
gards as the eternal and unchanging principle 
of the universe, as well as in the saint, who 


Religion and the New Social Order 

looks upon the Lord as a very present kelp in 
time of trouble. 

So muck for a tentative definition of reli¬ 
gion and for the consequences of defining re¬ 
ligion in terms of desire. Desire implies an ob¬ 
ject, and the object of the religious desire in 
the great historical religions has been, we have 
seen, ‘ ‘ to be in right relations to the Power man¬ 
ifesting itself in the universe,” that “Power” 
being interpreted usually as a Personal Being. 
In defining religion, however, in order to 
include all the religions of the past, we must 
leave the objective factor in the definition un¬ 
interpreted. May not that factor, then, be 
something other than an objective Power? 
Huxley’s definition makes it an “ethical ideal” 
—“reverence and love for the ethical ideal, 
and the desire to realise that ideal in life.” 
This ideal is necessarily social. The “social 
ideal” may therefore become the object of re¬ 
ligion, and we may in the future have a 
Religion of Humanity quite different from 
Positivism. A religion of this kind would not 
involve worship, in the ordinary sense, but its 
adherents would assemble for instruction and 
inspiration. It would not only welcome but 
cultivate science, especially the social sciences. 
Its watchword would be Service. There have 
been good men who could not honestly testify 
to their belief in a Supreme Being, or a life 
after death. Are such men necessarily irreli- 


Work and Life 

gious? It lias been the custom of the world! 
to declare them so, and to treat them with all 
uncharitableness. But perhaps “with the eye 
of faith” they saw a “redeemed humanity,” 
and were inspired by that vision to watch and 
pray and work, so that they might truthfully 
say of themselves, “to do good is my religion.” 
Assuming religious desires of equal strength in 
men of equal intelligence it makes not one 
whit’s difference, so far as conduct is con¬ 
cerned, whether the object is a deity or an 
ideal humanity. 

Now, the churches are complaining of a 
“decline of faith,” but there is numerical as 
well as other evidence that there is a rise of 
faith in the possibility of establishing “the 
kingdom of God” on earth, the possibility of 
realising the loftiest social ideal that may be 
scientifically conceived. Men in all civilised 
countries have risen to the conception of an 
organised humanity in which every man will 
find his place and his work; in which labour 
will be organised and industry conducted on the 
principle of the social economy of force; in 
which the energies of the people will not be, 
as now, almost entirely absorbed in the mere 
matter of providing for the material wants 
of mankind, but, by the practice of a superior 
economy, the work of the world will be, in com¬ 
parison with modern toil and drudgery, a mere 
healthful exercise, and a large margin of time 


Religion and the New Social Order 

will be left to each individual for tbe cultivation 
of the higher life; in which individual character 
will be so highly developed that each member 
of society will knowingly and willingly submit 
to be organised, subordinated and disciplined 
in the routine labour necessary to supply his 
material wants, for the sake of freedom and 
leisure for the satisfaction of his spiritual life. 

This conception is entertained by sceptics 
and by orthodox believers. On the basis of this 
ideal all may unite, and the effective desire to 
realise it is a manifestation of religion. Per¬ 
haps, therefore, the religion of the future, with¬ 
out dogma, inspired by love alone, will lead to 
the union of all men of good will in the service 
of mankind. If so, religion will become the 
most powerful factor in the realisation of the 
New Social Order. As William Morris has 
said, “social morality, the responsibility of man 
towards the life of man, will, in the new order 
of things, take the place of theological morality, 
or the responsibility of man to some abstract 
idea. ’ ’ 




Activity the basis of develop¬ 
ment, 86, 104. 

Advertising, 68, 163. 

ASsop, 182. 

Ajax, 266. 

Ami el, quoted, 25. 
Amsterdam, 32. 

Apollo, Belvedere, 201. 
Arnold, Matthew, quoted, 
134, 258. 

Bebel, August, 249. 

Bellamy, Edward, 192, 207. 
Benevolent despotism, 203. 
Bentham, J., quoted, 18. 
“Blonde Beast,” 123. 
Bonaparte, 10, 182. 
Borrioboola-Gha, 217. 
Brotherhood, 139. 

Browning, R., quoted, 54, 

Bruno, Giordano, 242. 
Bryan, W. J., quoted, 54, 

Bryce, James, quoted, 163. 
Buddhism, 238. 

Butler, Bishop, 235. 

Business, end of, 58, 134, 159. 
Byron, Lord, quoted, 118. 

Cannan, E., 40. 

Cairnes, Prof., quoted, 149. 
Capitalism, 10, 11. 

Capitalists, tendency to com¬ 
bine, 83. 

Captains of industry, 67, 68. 
Caracalla, 182. 

Carlyle, T., quoted, 62. 

Carnegie, A., 82. 

Carus, P., 239. 

Chalmers, Dr., 258. 

Chicago, official waste in, 162; 
efficiency, board of, 162; 
death rate in, 167. 

Chicago policeman, narrow so¬ 
cial view of, 55. 

Church, The, 8, 20. 

Cities, downward drift in, 
164; death-rate in, 165. 

Civic problem, 159. 

Clapperton, 174. 

Classes, industrial, 154-157. 

Class struggle, 7, 16-17. 

Collectivism, 129, 209. 

Communist Manifesto, quoted, 

Competition, natural and in¬ 
dustrial, 79-100; prevalent 
belief in, 89; virtues of, 88; 
not a natural law, 84; dis¬ 
tinguished from struggle, 
85; industrial, 95, 96; ef¬ 
fect upon consumers, 96- 
103; upon prices, 93-103; 
waste of, 93-103; function 
of, 104; not a force, 106; 
regulation of, 108; possible 
elimination of, 110-115; 
defined, 111; selfishness of, 
112; impossibility of re¬ 
storing free, 210. 

Competitive system, difficul¬ 
ties inherent in, 62, 64. 

Condorcet, quoted, 53. 



Consumption, 165-6. 

Contemporary Review, quoted, 

Cooperation, 113; the goal of 
industry, 120-132; necessity 
of voluntary, 122; uncon¬ 
scious, 207; conscious, 208. 

Cotton, burning of, 31. 

Cotton Growers’ Association, 

Croesus, 187, 195. 

Crozier, J. B., 236, 246. 

Darwin, Charles, quoted, 85- 
86, 89, 115, 238. 

Death-rate, in cities, 164; in 
England, 165; in Massa¬ 
chusetts, 165; from con¬ 
sumption, 165; from ty¬ 
phoid, 166; in New York, 
167; in Chicago, 167. 

Deems, Dr., 258. 

De Greef, G., 198, 241, 249. 

De Laveleye, E., 27, 40. 

Demand, general and spe¬ 
cialised sense of, 44, 45. 

Democracy, industrial, 130, 
170, 206. 

Deniker, J., quoted, 259. 

Dennison, W. T., quoted, 84. 

De Quatrefages, 236. 

Diogenes, 187. 

Direct legislation, approved, 

Disraeli, quoted, 3. 

Divine right, 20. 

Domestic science, 179. 

Double, idea of a, 247. 

Drummond, H., quoted, 79. 

Dupont de Nemours, quoted, 

Economic congestion, 37. 

Economic consumption, 29. 

Economy, 120. 

Education, may increase val¬ 

ues, 44; as solvent of so¬ 
cial problems, 77, 124; 

necessary to complete liv¬ 
ing, 145; municipal value 
of, 168, 171; and labor, 
174-188; industrial, 175, 
178, 179; in patriotism, 

Eight hour day, question of, 

Ely, R. T., quoted, 108. 

Emerson, R. W., quoted, 142, 
143, 145, 213. 

Emulation, 110, 113. 

Engels, Frederick, 16. 

English labourers, 164. 

Ethics, 156, 157. 

Evarts, W. M., quoted, 5. 

Ferri, Enrico, 15. 

Fiske, John, 239, 258, 260. 

Fourier, Jean Baptiste, quot¬ 
ed, 32-33. 

Fowle, Rev. T. W., 242. 

Frederick the Great, 9, 116. 

Friendship, 146. 

Fugitive Slave Law, 209. 

Galileo, 21. 

Gary, Elbridge, 82. 

George, Henry, quoted, 194. 

Getting a living, 133-159; 
methods of, 148-157. 

Ghent, W. J., 153, 156. 

Gibbon, Edward, 182. 

Goethe, quoted, 88, 105. 

Government, the, 8; proper 
function of, 83; defined, 
160-161; theories of, 168. 

Graham, William, 22. 

Gunton, G., quoted, 66-67. 

Haeckel, Prof. E., 241. 

Hallam, Arthur Henry, quot¬ 
ed, 158. 

Hamlet, 237. 



Health, a requisite of life, 

Heliogabalus, 182. * 

Herbart, F., 241. 

Herodotus, 182. 

Hill, Jas. J., quoted, 82. 

History, course of, 6-7. 

Hobhouse, L. T., quoted, 79. 

Hobson, J. A., quoted, 4, 23, 
26, 28, 46, 48, 77-78, 109, 

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 34. 

Honesty not necessarily the 
best policy, 65. 

Hortensius, 182. 

Hutton, quoted, 191. 

Huxley, T., quoted, 7, 21, 88, 
90, 92, 17, 241, 267. 

Ideal, sanitary, 167; indus¬ 
trial, 125, 126; social, 189- 
212; elements of social, 

Ideals, value of, 189, 208-212. 

Ignorance, dangers of, 169. 

Immortality, belief in, 241-2. 

Industrial forces, social di¬ 
rection of, 124. 

Industrial ideal, 125, 212, 

268, 228. 

Ingram, quoted, 51. 

Initiative, industrial, 30; 
popular, 170. 

Interests, conflict of, 69-73. 

Invisible beings, 247. 

Iroquois fire, 117. 

Labour, 175-6, 178; dignity 
of, 185. 

Lassalle, Ferdinand, quoted, 

Learning and labour, 174-188. 
Legislation, social, 68; diffi¬ 
culties in the way of, 73, 
74; function to harmonise 
interests, 75. 

Leisure, 143. 

Lessing, G. E., quoted, 53. 
Letourneau, ch., 236. 

Leuba, Prof., quoted, 262. 
Liberty, 61. 

Life the summer bonum, 137; 
the test, 160. 

Limiting the output, 34, 35. 
Lincoln, A., quoted, 10, 19; 

Gettysburg speech, 201. 
Living, 138, 139; analysis of, 
142-145; defined, 145; 
methods of getting, 48-156. 
Lowell, J. R., quoted, 76. 
Lubbock, Sir John, 236, 238. 
Lucullus, 182. 

Luther, Martin, 8. 

Mackenzie, J. S., quoted, 53, 
120, 189. 

Maeterlinck, M., quoted, 189. 
Manual training, 179. 

Marx, Karl, 16. 

Marshall, A., quoted, 29, 39, 


Marshall, Henry Rutgers, 253, 

Martineau, J ames, quoted, 

Jellyby, Mrs., 217. 

Jesus, quoted, 130, 138. 
Jevons, Stanley, 252. 

Kansas-Nebraska Act, 209. 
Kant, Immanuel, quoted, 
108, 235. 

Kennan, George, quoted, 218. 
Kirkup, Thomas, quoted, 3. 



Massart, Jean, quoted, 148. 
Megalomania, 221. 

Militancy, 228. 

Mill, John Stuart, quoted, 12, 
26, 27, 39, 42, 45, 65, 158, 

Missouri Compromise, 209. 
Molinari, G. de, quoted, 81-82. 


Mommsen, T., quoted, 204. 

Monier-Williams, Sir Monier, 
quoted, 239. 

Monotheism, 237. 

Moralisation, 61, 67; of the 
business man, 61, 62, 64; of 
the laborer, 66. 

More, Sir Thomas, 192. 

Muller, Max, 252. 

Municipal ownership, 172. 

Municipal problem, The, 158- 

Municipal waste, 161. 

Natural law, defined, 93. 

Nature, conquest of, 6; prodi¬ 
gality of, 88. 

New York death-rate in, 167. 

New York Globe, quoted, 34. 

New Zealand, 34. 

Nietzsche, F., 123. 

Opium, sale of to Chinese, 40. 

Organic conception of society, 

Overproduction, 36, 37, 45. 

Outlook, The, quoted, 218, 

Paradox of industry, 63. 

Paraguay cattle, 89. 

Parasites, 148. 

Parasitism, 149-151. 

Patriot, 217; Russian, 218. 

Patriotism, 20, 213-231; ori¬ 
gin and evolution of, 213- 
218; instinctive, 219; in¬ 
telligent, 220. 

Patten, Simon N., quoted, 98- 

102 . 

Paul, the apostle, and the 
Ephesians, 72, 73. 

Pfleiderer, O , 259. 

Phillips, Wendell, quoted, 18. 

Picton, A., quoted, 232. 

Piece-work, 140. 

Pilgrims, 5. 

Pittsburg Gazette, quoted, 

Plato,’ 192, 197. 

Pliny, the elder, 182. 

Political economy, defined, 26- 
27, 29; as a science of busi¬ 
ness, 28, 29, 30; limitations 
of, 48-49; not a “dismal” 
science, 50. 

Pope, A., quoted, 213. 

Positivism, 267. 

Predation, 151-153. 

Privilege, 17, 18. 

Production, 153, 154. 

Progress and prosperity, 38; 
and waste, 199-200. 

Prosperity and progress, 38. 

Public ownership, 172. 

Pyramids, 182. 

Reason, the final arbiter, 60. 

Reeve, Sidney A., quoted, 102. 

Referendum, 170. 

Reformation, The, 8. 

Religion, 77, 232-269; current 
definitions of, 235-237; as 
belief, 235-250; as percep¬ 
tion, 252-3; as restraint, 
253-5; as feeling, 260; 
minimum definition of, 
243; and morality, 259; 
tentative scientific defini¬ 
tion of, 264; of humanity, 

Ribot, T. A., quoted, 261. 

Rice, destruction of, for prof¬ 
it, 33. 

Rich, idle, 149. 

Ritchie, D. G., quoted, 199- 

200 . 

Roman matron, 183. 

Roosevelt, T., quoted, 57, 68, 

Rossi, 26. 



Ruling classes, methods of 
control of, 19. 

Ruskin, J., 3, 4, 41, 42, 45, 
118-119, 133, 141, 143, 163- 

Saturday Review, quoted, 191. 

Say, J. B., 28. 

Sehleiermacher, F., 260. 

Schools, 186. 

School system, basis of, 178. 

Selfishness, 5, 18, 77. 

Senior, Nassau, 26. 

Shakespeare, 201. 

Shelley, P. B., 252. 

Sherbrooke, Lord, 22. 

Sibyl, 32. 

Sibylline books, 32. 

Sismondi, J. C., quoted, 49, 

Sistine Madonna, 201. 

Smith, Adam, 34, 81. 

Social advancement, obstacles 
to, 5. 

Social economy, 199-202. 

Social intelligence, 194-199. 

Social legislation, 69. 

Social organisation, limits of, 
201; methods of, 202. 

Social phenomena, 28; inter¬ 
dependence of, 46. 

Social problem, the general, 
34; the special, 4, 6; of to¬ 
day, 5-25; a question of 
privilege, 7; evolution of 
the, 7-15; a class struggle, 
7; phases of, 15; proposed 
solutions of, 57-78; munici¬ 
pal aspect of, 158. 

Social task, defined, 201. 

Social Viewpoint, 51-56, 171, 

Socialists, 83. 

Spencer, H., quoted, 16-17, 
135, 136-137, 150-151, 169, 
236, 246, 248. 

“Square deal,” The, 62, 67. 

Standard Oil Trust, 102, 103. 

Stevenson, Robert Louis, 
quoted, 145. 

Struggle for existence, 85. 

Struggle, a necessity, 86. 

Survival of the fittest, 89; 
ethical significance of, 91, 

St. Luke, quotation from, 25. 

Swollen fortunes, 38. 

Taft, Ex-president, quoted, 80. 

Tennyson, Lord Alfred, quot¬ 
ed, 192, 230. 

“Three Musketeers,” 177. 

Toil, useless, 181-2. 

Tolstoi, Leo., 143. 

Topinard, P., 236. 

Toynbee, Arnold, quoted, 106, 

Tsetse fly, 90. 

Twain, Mark, quoted, 203-4. 

Tylor, Prof. E. B., 236; quot¬ 
ed, 240, 243, 244-6, 258. 

Typhoid, 166. 

Under consumption, 36. 

Universities, 176, 177. 

Urban population, 164. 

Value, defined, 42, 43, 44. 

Vandervelde, Emile, quoted, 

Virgil, quoted, 213. 

Wagner, A., quoted, 12. 

Wagnerian opera, 201. 

Walker, Amasa, quoted, 30. 

Ward, Mrs. Humphry, 24. 

Ward, Lester F., quoted, 13- 
14, 29, 57, 93-94, 102, 196, 
206, 235, 239, 247-8, 251-2, 
253-5, 260. 

Waste, social, 36, 99; muni- 


cipal, 161; of the rich, 184; 
and progress, 199. 

Waurin, L., 4. 

Wealth, defined, 39, 40; nec¬ 
essary to life, 145; power 
of, 187. 

Wealth and welfare, 26-50. 

Western Economic Society, 

Whitman, Walt, quoted, 232. 
Williams, Henry Smith, 191. 
Wordsworth, Wm., quoted, 
132, 133, 263. 

Work, a requisite of life, 142- 

World-patriot, 217. 

Zwingli, U., 8. 




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