Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/284

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
272
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

other branches of science or practice with which it is liable to be confounded, and lays down the principle that "political economy deals only with questions connected with wealth and with the satisfaction of material wants." It "does not say what is right or wrong, or how a people should be governed; but it attempts to show what the rules are that control the production, exchange, and distribution of all the wealth which we see in the wonderful industrial system about us." It is refreshing,-amid all the confusion that so widely prevails between economical and ethical truth, to find an economist with so clear a grasp of his subject. He distinguishes between "immaterial wealth," such as a speech or a song, and "material wealth," which has a permanent character; and defines material wealth as "some transferable thing for the enjoyment of which we are willing to undergo a sacrifice." He gives the usual account of the agents of production, and then passes to the subject of exchange. He defines value as ratio of exchange, and from another point of view as purchasing power. Cost of production beholds to consist in the sacrifices made by the different classes engaged in production; and on this subject he is careful to avoid the mistake made by the earlier writers of considering economic phenomena too much from the standpoint of the capitalist. On the subject of demand and supply, he adopts in the main the views of Cairnes, as he also does in regard to the wages of different classes of laborers. On the subject of distribution, now so hotly debated, Professor Laughlin takes conservative ground, holding that "the proportional shares of labor and capital out of the product will depend upon the relative scarcity and abundance of labor and capital," and that "the productiveness of a country's industries determines whether the general level of the wages shall be high or low." He takes conservative ground, also, in regard to labor-unions, approving them in some respects, and disapproving them in others; and he devotes a special chapter to "the industrial manager," showing the important place which he holds in the industrial system of the present day.

In treating of the applications of economic principles, the author discusses socialism, free trade, and protection, money questions, the labor problem, and other topics, indicating briefly the bearing on each of the doctrines advanced in the earlier portion of his work. On the subject of the tariff he gives the arguments on both sides, but is himself evidently a believer in free trade. In regard to bimetallism he reiterates the views that he had already more elaborately stated in a separate work. He opposes socialism, of course, and teaches that the welfare of the laboring-classes can only be secured by their own moral and intellectual advancement. He strongly deprecates state interference, and favors co-operation in all its forms.

The book is an excellent elementary presentation of a difficult subject of growing interest and importance, and as such it deserves a place in both public and private schools.

History of the Pacific States of North America. By Hubert Howe Bancroft. Vol. XXXI. Popular Tribunals. Vol. I. San Francisco: The History Company. Pp. 749. Price, $5.

This volume stands apart from the other members of Mr. Bancroft's historical series. It has a character of its own, as do the events to which it relates. They have hardly a parallel in history. The volume particularly relates to those voluntary courts or self-organized associations of citizens for the administration of justice and the avenging of wrongs which, in some of their forms, have marked the society of the frontiers during the whole of the history of the settlement of our country; which were prevalent throughout California in the early days of the American settlement; and which found their most remarkable exemplification in the vigilance committees of San Francisco. Mr. Bancroft endeavors to draw a distinction between the vigilance movement in California and all other exhibitions of popular justice which are recorded. He does not find anything exactly like it in the public uprisings of which ancient and modem history furnish examples; and to his view it was very widely different from the mob law, lynch law, regulators' law, etc., with which it is too easy to associate it in classification. "In some respects," he says, "they are diametrically