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ECONOMICS AND POLITICS

nomic system. The system of production is modern and new. There are still conflicts in it which have not been harmonized. According to modern usages, if any one is not suited in the existing system he cries out and complains. He turns to the political authority and wants a law passed to protect him from the stress or strain which he feels. The legislator responds, but he has had very poor success in his attempts to adjust equitably the conflicting rights and interests. He has not successfully imitated any of the old social harmonies, produced by long and patient struggle and endurance.

If you will recall the first appointment of the federal Railroad Commission you will remember that a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States had just opened for us a new page over the top of which was written "Interstate Commerce." The appointment of a Commission was no settlement of anything; we have been trying to find out, ever since its appointment, what the Commission is to do, what it can do and ought to do. You know what has been written on that page headed "Interstate Commerce," and we are only at the beginning of it yet. We know that there is no commerce which is not, or may not at any moment become, interstate commerce. When the first Commission was appointed we scrutinized the list to see whether the men deserved confidence. This winter we have been told that there is only one man on the Commission who is fit and competent to be there.[1] If that is true, then it only illustrates the way in which administrative commissions run down when public attention is diverted from them. If a good man is appointed, the railroads presently invite him to come over to them, and they give him two or three times the salary. At the same time

  1. New York Times, January 31, 1905.