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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/770

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great markets with, its manufactures, and obtaining a foothold against all competitors, the invitation to retaliation holds a danger far greater to its own interests than any that can be inflicted on other peoples. The greater the advances made the more readily will recourse be had to reprisals and hostile legislation; and in support of every act appeal may be had to examples set by the United States.[1]




PERIODS of extraordinary efflorescence or fruitage are followed by exhaustion and sterility not infrequently demanding the free use of the pruning knife; and, just as we remark how frequent is idiocy the offspring of genius, so do we find the same seeming paradox, of mental defect in rank and increasing growth the product of this most wonderful nineteenth century.

True, science has contributed to numbers by revealing as mental defectives the many "misunderstood," "the backward," "the feebly

  1. "The old protectionist, with the stock arguments about the influence of the tariff upon wages and all the rest of it, is beginning to die out. He told us all he had to say about the 'pauper labor' of Europe, by which he often meant the best educated and most skillful artisans of the world. We got tired of hearing about how the importer paid the tax, how it was Europe and England in particular that was all the time squeezing our lives out, till nearly all of us, being of English ancestry ourselves, wondered whether we, even, could be so good as we hoped we were, if we had sprung from something so essentially perverted and bad. We were told, too, that American tourists who went to Europe and spent money there which they ought to have squandered at home were not friends of their country, and that they did us a particularly hostile act when they brought clothing, statuary, or diamond rings back with them from foreign parts. A season of high prices was a real heaven, and wars and fires were good things because they destroyed property that would have to be replaced, and this would create that demand which, reacting on supply, would increase prices. To say that an article was cheap was to say that the political party in power was no longer worthy of public confidence. It was related that each government could make its people so rich, and the idea was thought to have been traced down from Henry O. Carey, that the rest of the world could be safely disregarded altogether. "Seriously, who believes any of this stuff nowadays? The protectionist is not reckoning with such popular impotency and stupidity. He believes in his fellow-man, and wants to give him a helping hand. He does not care what effect it has on England or Ireland. He is not sure that a protective tariff in and of itself will increase the wages of the workmen. He is even inclined to think that less wages and profits would do well enough for every man, if it were cheaper to live and there were not such extravagant demands upon every person from all sides—this without being a socialist. He is certain that 'a cheap coat' does not necessarily make 'a cheap man,' but the cheaper the coat the better it will be for the wearer. That is what we are all trying to do, improve our processes, increase our effective working power, which means, if you please, to make things cheaper."—The Manufacturer (organ of the Manufacturers' Club of Philadelphia).