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more than half the entire population and into pauperism more than one fourth !1

It is not, however, so much the growing apart of the rich and poor as the startling fact, that in enlightened and cultured England it is considered a just and Christian thing for one man to roll in luxury on $320 per day, while his brother man is struggling for life on 56 cents per day.

We have here the conditions of social revolution, and, though it may for a time be averted by a false philosophy, munificent charities, accommodating legislation, a subsidized press, a temporizing pulpit, and by other temporary expedients, the slow grinding-mill of the gods will yet turn out its grist of social justice to working men.

4. The Fierce Competition among Laborers tends to reduce Wages to a bare Subsistence.

Why, then, it may be asked, is the supply of laborers so abundant?

Because a bare subsistence, involving great privation and suffering, will not prevent laborers from marrying and rearing children. It is true, "and pity 'tis 'tis true," that working men are everywhere bidding against each other for work, by accepting wages which impoverish themselves and enrich capitalists.

In 1826 Thomas R. Malthus, an English political economist, published "An Essay on the Principle of Population," the object of which was to show that population increases in geometrical ratio, while food can increase only in an arithmetical ratio; that is, population increases faster than subsistence. The result is that population must be checked; and this is effected by vice, misery, and prudential or moral restraint. This theory is known as Malthusianism. The vice necessary to limit population, and which is regarded as a preventative check, consists principally in doing away with marriage by prostitution, and the destruction of children by fœticide. The misery, which is regarded as a positive check, consists in hunger and cold and over-exertion, which increases infant mortality and shortens the duration of adult life. The significance of this theory lies in 1 "Springfield Daily Union," January, 1888.

the fact, that since the masses of men have not sufficient virtue to practise prudential restraint, population must increase, and as subsistence cannot be provided for all, the dreadful alternative of vice and misery is a social necessity. Malthusianism theoretically and ultimately would seem to be the most tremendous fact of sociology.

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Darwin says, "There is no exception to the rule that every organic being naturally increases at so high a rate that, if not destroyed, the earth would soon be covered by the progeny of a single pair. . . . The elephant is reckoned the slowest breeder of all known animals; it begins to breed when thirty years old, and goes on breeding till ninety years old, bringing forth six young in the interval and surviving till one hundred years old; if this be so after a period of from seven hundred and forty to seven hundred and fifty years, there would be nearly 19,000,000 elephants alive descended from the first pair. Even slow-breeding man has doubled in twenty-five years, and at this rate, in less than a thousand years, there would literally not be standing-room for his progeny." 1

Although practically the world at large has not yet reached the point where food cannot be increased sufficiently to supply its inhabitants, yet certain localities have reached this point, and in these the horrid conditions are realized in the hunger, squalor, disease, and premature death of multitudes. This wretchedness, however, is not in consequence of any actual scarcity of subsistence.

Mr. Henry George says, "The vice and misery are shown to spring either from unsocial ignorance and rapacity, or from bad government, unjust laws, or destructive warfare." 2

It is true that there is an abundance in these same localities, and their wealth could command an instant supply of necessities for all the people; it is als true that there are unoccupied and fertile fields in other parts of the world,

to which, in theory, the poor might go; yet in the nature of things, the rich will not share with the poor, and the

1 "Origin of Species," p. 51.

2 "Progress and Poverty," p. 95,

poor cannot if they would, and many would not if they could, migrate to more favorable localities. When, in a great city like London, the poor cannot get bread, they will still breed, and therefore vice and misery must operate to check population. This is practically Malthusianism, at least for London. That it should be allowed to exist in any country, when so large a portion of land is unoccupied and untilled, is a burning shame to the industrial system, the Christianity, and the civilization of the nineteenth century.

In refuting the theory that population tends to increase faster than subsistence, Mr. George asks this question, which is certainly pertinent, if Malthusianism is to be regarded as a social justification or an excuse for the vice and misery that now exist in consequence of poverty. "How is it, then, that this globe of ours, after all the thousands, and it is now thought millions, of years that man has been upon the earth, is yet so thinly populated? How is it, then, that so many of the hives of human life are now deserted, that once cultivated fields are rank with jungle, and the wild beast licks her cubs where once were busy haunts of men?" It is pertinent to inquire, however, before drawing conclusions, what is to be the effect on population of modern democracy and invention. This question is already receiving some attention. Should it appear that the political, moral, and industrial revolution which is in progress will result in increasing mouths faster than food, the problem of population will be one of the most serious with which society will have to deal.

We have introduced this theory, however, not so much to discuss its merits, as because in the minds of multitudes it accounts for the continual and excessive supply of laborers, which renders competition among them so fierce that wages are kept at the minimum.

These are the steps: low wages are due to competition; competition is due to the multitude of laborers; the multitude of laborers is due to the natural increase of population; the natural increase of population outruns the means 1 "Progress and Poverty," p. 95.

of subsistence; hence it is a social necessity that human beings should cease to be born, and those born should die prematurely. But the cessation of births and premature deaths can be effected only by vice and misery. Vice and misery therefore are necessary evils. Society is powerless to prevent, and hence is not responsible for, their existence. Malthus says, "The man born into the world whose family cannot support him, and whose labor is not in demand, must take himself away. For him there is no cover laid at nature's table." Life is thus reduced to a struggle for existence; it is a hand-to-hand fight between individuals, and the spoil rightfully belongs to the victor. The economical name for this species of warfare is competition. Competition, therefore, is simply a law of nature.

Now, this hard and heathenish conclusion of political economy does not satisfy the Christian conscience. The chain of reasoning seems logical and complete, but the heart revolts against its outcome. There is a defective link somewhere. This link we believe to be competition. Competition is the offending Achan that brings disaster upon God's army of wage-workers; and it may be that God is saying to us as he said to his people of old, "Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed thing from among you."

But competition is a fundamental principle of political economy; it is the Alpha and Omega of the present industrial system. It requires the martyr spirit to attack it. To commit one's self against it is to throw overboard the whole cargo of economic doctrines that have been staple for centuries, and to necessitate the construction, de novo, of a political economy in harmony with the idea of social justice which prevails at the present day.

Perhaps the wisest service that can be rendered is to expose the glaring defects of competition, and so gradually prepare the minds of men for the abolition or modification of the institution.

Professor Walker denies "That competition is so far perfect that the laborer, as producer, always realizes the highest wages which the employer can afford to pay, or

else, as consumer, is recompensed in the lower price of commodities for any injury he may chance to suffer as producer." 1 He claims that economical forces oppress certain classes; and since these cannot be taken out from under the operation of economical laws, the moral forces of intelligence, frugality, sobriety, etc., must be invoked to enable them to resort to the best market which will give scope and sway to the beneficent agencies of competition." 2 This seems to say that the economical force of competition oppresses laborers, and is opposed to moral forces, and yet is a "beneficent" principle. We have faith to believe that oppressed classes can and will be taken out from under the operation of economical laws that oppress them, not merely by setting moral forces to counteract these laws, but by their suppression.

The case as to laborers and competition stands thus. Several laborers of intelligence, frugality, and sobriety, stand ready to take every place that is able to pay wages sufficient to support a man and his family in a manner that entitles them to be regarded as worthy and respectable citizens only one, however, can have the place. The question is, who of them shall live, and who starve? They begin to underbid each other. The employer gets the benefit of this cruel competition, and finally pays such wages as furnish to the laborer a bare subsistence.

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It is difficult to see how, as Professor Walker affirms, 'Mobility," real "Freedom of movement," facilitating a resort to the best market, would remedy this state of things or make competition perfect.

Where the best markets exist, there the evils of competition are multiplied and intensified; they seem to be inherent in the wage system.

Dr. Gladden says, "A bare support is all that the economical forces, working unhindered, will guarantee to the laborer. So long as competition is the sole arbiter of his destiny, that is about all he will get." It is important that we have a clear idea of what competition is.

1 "The Wages Question," p. 410.

2 Ibid., p. 172.

3 "Applied Christianity," p. 64.

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