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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/488

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to him; for wages in Great Britain, as before stated, are fully 100 per cent higher at the present time than they were in 1839.

The impression probably prevails very generally in all countries that the capitalist classes are continually getting richer and richer, while the masses remain poor, or become poorer. But in Great Britian, where alone of all countries the material (i. e., through long-continued and systematized returns of incomes and estates [probate] for taxation) exists for scientific inquiry, the results of investigation demonstrate that this is not the case.

In the case of estates, the number subjected to legacy and succession duties within the last fifty years has increased in a ratio double that of population, but the average amount of property per estate has not sensibly augmented. If, therefore, wealth among the capitalist classes has greatly increased, as it has, there are more owners of it than ever before; or, in other words, wealth, to a certain extent, is more diffused than it was. Of the whole number of estates that were assessed for probate duty in Great Britain in 1836, 77*5 per cent were for estates representing property under £1,000 ($5,000).

In the matter of national income, a study of its increase and apportionment among the different classes in Great Britain has led to the following conclusions: Since 1843, when the income-tax figures begin, the increase in taxable income is believed to have been £755,000,000. Of this amount, the income from the capitalist classes increased about 100 per cent, or from £190,000,000 to £400,000,000. But, at the same time, the number of the capitalist classes increased so largely that the average amount of capital possessed among them per head increased only 15 per cent, although the increase in capital itself was in excess of 150 per cent. In the case of the "upper" and "middle" classes, the income from their "working" increased from £154,000,000 to £320,000,000, or about 100 per cent; while, in the case of the masses (i. e., the manual-labor classes), which have increased in population only 30 per cent since 1843, the increase of their incomes has gone up from £171,000,000 to £550,000,000, or over 200 per cent. Between 1877 and 1886 the number of assessments in Great Britain for incomes between £150 ($750) and £1,000 ($5,000) increased 19·26 per cent, while the number of assessments for incomes of £1,000 and upward decreased 2·4 per cent.[1] What has happened to all that large class

  1. The following table shows how wealth is distributed in the different classes of income-tax payers in Great Britain under Schedule D, which comprises incomes from profits on trades and employments:

    "In 1877 the number of assessments of incomes from £150 to £500 was 285,754, and in 1886 it was 347,031, showing an increase of 21·4 per cent; of incomes between £500 and £1,000, the numbers were, in 1877, 32,085, and in 1886, 32,033, no increase at all; of incomes between £1,000 and £5,000, the numbers were, in 1877, 19,726, and in 1886, 19,250, a decrease of 2·4 per cent; and of the incomes over £5,000, the numbers were, in 1877, 3,122, and in 1886, 3,048, a decrease of 2·3 per cent. It results that from these figures the increase of the income-tax during times of depression and during ordinary