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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/874

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Prof. Hadley describes his book on Economics[1] as an attempt to apply the methods of modern science to the problems of modern business. As among the important changes in economic theory that have taken place within the last thirty years, he mentions the application, by different schools of investigators, of the principle of natural selection and of the results of psychological study to account for the aspects of the subject to which they may severally apply. But these things have combined to make the economic science of the present day very different from that which formed the basis of John Stuart Mill's presentation: "Meanwhile, new problems have been developing in modern business life; most conspicuously? perhaps, in connection with large investments of capital in factories and railroads. The time which elapses between the rendering of labor and the utilization of the prod, ucts of labor is now so long that the work of the speculator has far greater importance than it had a generation ago. The size of the units of capital is so large that free competition often becomes an impossibility, and theories of economics which are based upon the existence of such competition prove blind guides in dealing with modern price movements. We have to study, far more closely than we once did, the effect of combinations upon the interests of the consumers on the one hand and the laborers on the other; to examine the results of meeting organizations of capital with organizations of labor, and of controlling them by special legislation, or by direct government ownership. We have to deal with socialism, not as the theory of a few visionaries who try to destroy property rights, but as a series of practical measures, urged by a large and influential body of men who are engaged in extending the functions of government." The endeavor is made to supply the lack of any general work in the English language dealing comprehensively with these problems of modern economics. The book is written for students who are thinkers and for men who are engaged in doing the world's work, and is hardly likely to be found adapted to superficial readers. The special subjects treated are Public and Private Wealth, Economic Responsibility, Competition, Speculation, Investment of Capital, combination of Capital, Money, Credit, Profits, Wages, Machinery and Labor, Co-operation, Protective Legislation, and Government Revenue.

Mr. Thomas S. Blair, taking up the question embodied in the second title of his book on Human Progress,[2] and finding the present state of knowledge inadequate to furnish an answer, reasons that the complexity of the facts of human experience has been too much for the philosophers, seeks for an instance of better results elsewhere, and in the case of the successful man of affairs. In this book he undertakes to present the conclusions he has reached through the application of business methods to his subject. He supposes man himself to have become the chief agency in the furtherance of the Creator's scheme for his evolution, his efficiency as such being brought through the operation of his experience of the natural laws controlling his evolution, whereby he becomes acquainted with them and learns to assist in giving them free play. According to the author's philosophy, human knowledge is limited to the form of working hypotheses as guides of action, but is capable of indefinite expansion within its limitations, and includes a large scope of knowledge of objective realities; the knowledge of the actual existence of the basis of religious sentiment is as unequivocal, direct, and conclusive as the knowledge of our own existence, and thus religion is established on a rigidly scientific foundation; and the active principle in the scheme of human progress is the impulse to satisfy wants, operating under a law of man's being, according to which the satisfaction of a want is followed by the emergence of a new want, which is normally of a higher order than the want which it succeeds. Confirmation of these conclusions is looked for in the provision which Nature has made for the satisfying of wants of various kinds and the awakening of higher ones. The statements of principles

  1. Economics: An Account of the Relations between Private Property and Public Welfare. By Arthur Twining Hadley. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 490. Price, $2.50.
  2. Human Progress: What can Man do to Further it? By Thomas S. Blair. New York: William R. Jenkins. Pp. 573. Price, $1.50.