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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/129

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SKETCH OF EDWARD ATKINSON.

made to obtain information about the homespun fabrics that are made and worn by the people of the mountain-regions of that and the adjoining States. In a discussion concerning the conditions of transporting flour from Minneapolis to Europe, he acknowledges indebtedness to twenty-six distinct sources whence he obtained information, including railroad presidents, manufacturers, editors of special journals. Government officers, and managers of land-mortgage companies. The purpose of the discussion just named was to prove that it was possible to supply the European markets with breadstuffs at a very low cost, and at the same time secure high earnings to farm-laborers, coupled with reasonable profits to the farmers, millers, and transportation companies. Having shown that the wages of one day's work of a good mechanic on the Eastern seaboard of the United States will suffice to move his year's supply of grain and meat one thousand miles from the Western prairie, while the skilled workman of Great Britain may also move his year's supply of grain and meat four or five thousand miles at a cost of two days' labor, possibly three, he adds: "Have not the scientists who have eliminated time and distance made the whole world one great neighborhood in which each man may serve his neighbor? But the masters of physical science have only removed natural obstructions. There is work now for the masters of political science. It now remains for Legislatures to remove the artificial obstructions created by their predecessors in order that each nation may serve the other. When that is done, the interdependence of the men of all countries and of all climes will be established, and the foundation of peace, order, industry, good-will, and plenty among all nations will be firmly laid."

Such is the destiny to which Mr. Atkinson, despising the petty devices and make-shifts of politics, and looking only to what will contribute most directly to the ultimate result, would lead us.

Mr. Atkinson is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the British Association, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, of the American Statistical Association, of the Political Economy Club, of the International Statistical Institute, of the Cobden Club, and several other bodies of like kind. He has never held any public office except when commissioned by the President in 1887 to report upon the status of bimetallism in Europe. He has always been an independent in politics.

The various papers which have been written by Mr. Atkinson are constantly referred to in economic discussions by persons who differ with each other and who do not accept his conclusions, his analyses of the facts of the economic life of the nation being accepted even by those who do not agree with his theories.