Page:Earth-Hunger and Other Essays.djvu/377

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
351
THE POWER OF CAPITAL

prevailing would give tone to the money market; it would be a benefit to small investors; it would remove perils which threaten speculation, and would lessen the dangers of discount banking; it would be a benefit to enterprise by giving greater steadiness and sobriety, especially as to the future; it would restore the relation which should exist between a new country and old ones. How can things be in a normal and healthful condition when we cannot earn greater interest on capital in a new country than what people will bid for it in old ones?

I was led to notice the rate of interest because I was speaking of the possible increase in the accumulation of capital which might be produced if the motives of saving could be stimulated throughout the mass of the people. By the side of the facts to which I have referred, and which are sometimes interpreted as showing that the formation of capital at present outstrips the extension of enterprise, there are other facts which show enormous demand for capital on account of unprecedented extensions of enterprise. It is idle folly to meet these phenomena with wailings about the danger of the accumulation of great wealth in few hands. The phenomena themselves prove that we have tasks to perform which require large aggregations of capital. Moreover, the capital, to be effective, must be in few hands, for the simple reason that there are very few men who are able to handle great aggregations of capital. This is also the reason why the attempts to execute great enterprises by the state or municipality, that is, by elected officers, especially in a democratic republic, are sure to be wasteful and comparative failures. The men who are competent to organize great enterprises and to handle great amounts of capital must be found by natural selection, not by political election. It is plainly childish to attack those elements of a case which