Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/771

This page has been validated.

rich and poor must widen as material progress goes on; the mass of ignorance, of brutality, of recklessness, the number of those who are in our civilization but not of it, must increase and threaten its existence. The barbarians who will destroy our civilization come not from without but from within. "In the shadow of college and library and museum are gathering the more hideous Huns and fiercer Vandals of whom Macaulay prophesied."

Mr. George closes his book with a theory of progress in which heredity counts but little, and conditions much; whose law is association in equality. Men advance as they come in closer contact, and as the conditions of each are more nearly equal; and fail to do so or decline as these requirements are not met. Civilizations rise and fall, stop or turn back, or are transformed in obedience to this law.

I am not here concerned with criticising Mr. George's work, with pointing out the extravagance of his expectations; the fact that human nature is not nearly as easily modified as he assumes; that poverty is but one of the factors in the production of vice, misery, and crime; that far-reaching biological and psychological laws are not so readily set aside as he seems to think. These things do not affect the essential doctrine of his book—that, by the law of rent, rent must have a determining influence in the distribution of wealth. My purpose is served if I have succeeded in drawing attention to what seems to me one of the most important contributions yet made to economic literature.


THE question, so often suggested by changes in the aspect of the planet Jupiter, "What is he doing?" is again forcibly put by the appearance of a remarkable spot of enormous dimensions, and of a reddish or orange-brown tint, which has occupied the attention of observers for several months, and which seems to be identified, so far as relates to position and form, though not in color, with what has been seen on former occasions.

Probably no celestial bodies reach a permanent condition: constant change seems a law of nature; but there may be great variations in the rates at which changes occur. If we assume as probable a modification of the nebular theory, suns and their attendant planets are formed by the condensation of matter in an extreme state of tenuity, and the mass of suns and planets may receive frequent additions in the shape of any smaller or less heavy bodies they are able to attract. Our sun is probably a great devourer of meteors; and, as our earth