Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/489

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
471
THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK.

whose annual income does not reach the taxable limit (£150) is sufficiently indicated by the fact that while population increases pauperism diminishes.

Thus, in the United Kingdom, during the last fifty years, the general result of all industrial and societary movement, according to Mr. Giffen, has been that "the rich have become more numerous, but not richer individually; the 'poor' are, to some smaller extent, fewer; and those who remain 'poor' are, individually, twice as well off on the average as they were fifty years ago. The poor have thus had almost all the benefit of the great material advance of the last fifty years."

The following further citations from the record of the recent economic experiences of Great Britain are also strongly confirmatory of the above conclusions:

The amount of life insurance in the United Kingdom exceeds that of any other country; and the record here is a very rapid increase in the number of policies issued, but a large decrease in the average amount of the policies; the meaning of which clearly is that a larger number of people are not only continually becoming provident, but able to insure themselves for small amounts.

The changes in the relations of crime and of educational facilities during the last fifty years of the history of the British people, which have occurred and are still in progress, are in the highest degree encouraging. In 1839 the number of criminal offenders committed for trial was 54,000; in England, alone, 24,000. Now the corresponding figures (1886) were. United Kingdom, 19,446; England, 13,974. In 1840 one person for every 500 of the population of the British Islands was a convict; in 1885 the proportion was as one to every 4,100.

As late as 1842 there was no national school system in England, and there were towns with populations in excess of 100,000 in which there was not a single public day-school and not a single medical charity. In 1886 the number of attendants upon schools in the United Kingdom was reported at 5,250,000. In the same year the number in attendance upon schools, for the support of which grants of money are made by Parliament (and which correspond to the public schools of the United States) was 3,915,315, an increase over the preceding year of 85,335. The amount of such Parliamentary grants for 1886 was £3,945,576 ($19,728,830).

The change which has taken place in the relations of the Government of Great Britain to the national life of its people is also very remarkable. Thus at the commencement of the present century the British Government annually appropriated and spent about one third

    times, during the times which we have been going through and which have not been times of great prosperity, there has been a most satisfactory increase in the incomes below £500, while no similar increase is seen in the incomes between £500 and £1,000, and upward."—Mr. Goschen, "On the Distribution of Wealth," Royal Statistical Society of England, 1887.