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EARTH HUNGER AND OTHER ESSAYS

not vote that everybody shall have whatever he wants? Why trifle with details? If these agencies can get us anything, they can just as well get us everything. The trouble with creation out of nothing is not to make a universe; it is to make an atom of star-dust. If, then, we turn away from all these notions and devices and try to understand the case of man on earth just as it is, we find that our task always is to do the best we can under the conditions in which we are and with the means which we possess. Then it appears that capital is the means with which we do it and that it is by capital spent on the education and training of the rising generation that we keep up that advancing fight against the ills of life to which I have referred. I do not suppose that the savings bank depositors who left the lecture knew much about all this, but that class of men have a way of their own of getting at things. The possession of capital gives an acuteness of insight into whatever affects capital; men who have tried saving have not much patience with rhetoric and dogmatism about how to get on in life, and we know how acute they become in perceiving that the upshot of the schemes is to make them share their savings with those who have never done any saving. I suppose that when the savings bank depositors got up and left the lecture, it was an expression of this impatience.

I never saw a poem about the savings bank depositor. Poems are all written about heroes, kings, soldiers, and lovers; there are plenty of poems about glory, and love, and ambition, and even about poverty, but saving is passed by as sordid and mean—utterly unpoetical. It has always been thought noble to spend and mean to save, which only shows how far we are yet, with all our boasting, preaching, and discussing, from sound standards of judgment about the operations of society. It has, how-