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EARTH HUNGER AND OTHER ESSAYS

but no one complains. As the number of the men increases, their consumption surpasses the natural increase of the animals and reacts upon the number of the men. An increase in the number of the men will therefore produce all the darkest phenomena of the competition of life, reduce the whole to misery, and produce a "social question." As regards furs used by man, we have a case of this law at the present time in the midst of civilization. Art has been able only in a very limited measure to act upon the production of fur; we are still obliged to rely upon the natural increase, and the fur industry consists in little else than the appropriation of what nature produces. It is, therefore, an industry nearly on the plane of the very first and primary industries of mankind. If we confine attention to the best and finest furs of wild animals, this would be absolutely true. Now, as the earth is more and more fully populated, and the animals are killed off, the supply diminishes, and as wealth increases the demand increases, so that a fur industry is inevitably a monopoly, and one with an unearned increment of the best defined character; yet if we should all try to make good our claim to the bounty of nature in the seals of Alaska or the sables of Siberia, how should we do it?

We see, therefore, that every natural agent is a natural monopoly. Men want land only for the sake of the standing-room, air, water, sunlight, animals, fish, trees, minerals, stone, lumber, firewood, etc., which they get out of it. In regard to every one of these things they are living and working under the conditions of monopoly. When the supply under any monopoly is indefinitely large with respect to the demand, the monopoly has no stringency or pressure and is of no importance; but as the demand rises the pressure of the monopoly