Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/112

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did not the other ten boys do the same? Obviously because there was but one chance in ten of that kind, and the one got it, so the others had to be content to serve in less profitable callings.

The regiment has but one colonel, the company but one captain, the State but one Governor; and any great business has limitations to the number of bosses it can find use for. There must be operatives as well as managers, and generally capacity finds its way to the front, and incapacity goes to the rear, as a matter of course, or according to the law of gravitation.

When one finds an opening, and leaves the operative class for the managing class, the value of his service shows for itself in some way that commands recognition. Thus, in the early days of agriculture, farmers send their produce to market by a man who makes a business of marketing for others. He can handle the product of ten farms, say, and hence twenty farmers give a living to two middle-men. After a time a man turns up that is smart enough to sell the product of twenty farms, and obtain better prices for the producers, by taking off a little from the commissions, and soon he gets all the business, and his two rivals are obliged to retire from the field. When they are out, the profits which were divided between two are taken by one, less the small discount that he made to the farmers to secure their custom. Now, doing the work of two, he saves the time and the expenses on the road of one, and so, while they just made a living, he rapidly accumulates, and makes money faster than the farmers who raise the produce which he only sells. In a few years he is the richest man in town, and the farmers, looking only at the result, are dissatisfied, and though he has done the selling for them for less than they could possibly have done it themselves, and also for less than any other man had ever done it for that community, they complain of him as an extortioner, or robber of the poor men who have done all the hard work. To state it mildly, he is a non-producer who has eaten up the farmers of the town.

And what has happened to the farmers has happened to all others. The competent manufacturer has come in, and by doing a much larger business has retired several incompetents to the ranks; the competent trader has done the same, the banker has done it, the expressman has done it, and all others have where there was a chance. From what has been said, it is apparent that the cost of living to the middle-men is not the prime factor in measuring the pay for their services. In the first case named, the farmers were satisfied with paying the larger commissions so long as the men earned only a living, they taking the living as the proper measure, and then they wanted to apply the same measure to the better man, and leave out of