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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/486

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468
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

duced the mortality contingent upon the same in the larger hospitals; or, taking the experience of Germany as the basis of comparison, from 41·6 in 1868, to 4·35 per cent in 1880.

Dealers in ready-made clothing in the United States assert that they have been obliged to adopt a larger scale of sizes, in width as well as in length, to meet the demands of the average American man, than were required ten years ago; and that in the case of clothing manufactured for the special supply of the whole population of the southern sections of the country, this increase in size since the war, attributable almost entirely to the increased physical activity of the average individual, has been fully one inch around the chest and waist. Varieties of coarse clothing, as the brogan shoe and cotton drills, which before the war were sold in immense quantities in this same section of the country, have now almost passed out of demand, and been superseded by better and more expensive products. The American is, therefore, apparently gaining in size and weight, which could not have happened had there been anything like retrogression, or progress toward poverty on the part of the masses.

But the contribution of greatest value that could be made to the discussion of this subject, would be to spread before us an exhibit of the exact results of the experience of a country and a people, where under average, or not too favorable conditions, the recent changes in industrial and social life, consequent upon the new methods of production and distribution, have operated most influentially. Such an exact exhibit can not be made; but the experience of Great Britain, where economic data have been gathered and recorded during the last fifty years with an exactness and completeness not approached in any other country, furnishes a most gratifying and instructive approximation. To the record of this experience, attention is next requested.

During the last twenty-five or thirty years, the aggregate wealth of Great Britain, as also that of the United States and France, has increased in an extraordinary degree. In Great Britain the increase from 1843 to 1885 in the amount of property assessable to the income tax is believed to have been 140 per cent, and from 1855 to 1885 about 100 per cent. The estimate of the total income of the country for 1886 was £1,270,000,000; and of its aggregate wealth, about £9,000,000,000, or $45,000,000,000. Have now the working-classes of Great Britain gained in proportion with others in this enormous development of material wealth? Thanks to the labors of such men as the late Dudley Baxter, Leon Levi, David Chadwick, and Robert Giffen, this question can be answered (comparatively speaking for the first time) with undoubted accuracy.

Fifty years ago, one third of the working masses of the United Kingdom were agricultural laborers; at present less than one eighth of the whole number are so employed. Fifty years ago the artisans represented about one third of the whole population; to-day they