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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/646

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

are listed under these titles being free in the nature of things from any possibility of foreign competition through the import of a product of like kind.

There may be nothing new in this essay, but until my own observation had led me to the conclusion that land, labor and capital were alike inert and incapable without the coördinating power of mental energy, the doubt continued to exist in my mind which is often expressed about the possibility of economic science having any real existence or right to the title. Also, until my own observation led me to the conclusion that the cost of a man to the community is what he consumes, and not what he secures in the way of income, the correlation of wealth and welfare had not been satisfactorily reconciled. I think that a very large part of what is written under the title of political economy would be greatly modified, and perhaps never have been written, had these concepts been derived by the writers from experience, as they have been in my own observation.

I have not much patience with abstract or a priori theories, my own method being one of observation, then referring to the various authorities in order to find out whether my observations or their abstract theories have been shallow and superficial.

Again, I find in the ideal of the continuous miracle of creation in which man is a factor the solution of many intellectual difficulties. In the face of such a perception of the methods of the universe, the larger part of the dogmas that have been put forth under the name of religion take their place with much of the historic rubbish which passes under the name of history. When it becomes plain that every man has his place in the progress of continuous creation, and is a factor in it; that nothing is constant but change; that there is no such thing as fixed capital; all the doubts and fears regarding the future of humanity vanish in the light of sure progress.

What greater stimulus can there be than for every man each in his own way rendering service for service, his objective point being only the welfare of himself and his family, when he attains the conviction that by so much as his mental energy adds to the sum of the utilities by which mankind lives, so may that part which he consumes and which represents his cost to the community be fully justified, even though it is earned with more apparent ease and less physical exertion than are called for from his poorer neighbors.

Incomplete as his studies were, I have always found in the 'Harmonies' of Frederic Bastiat the greatest encouragement and the greatest incentive to the work which I have undertaken under the name of political economy, leading more and more to the conviction that war and warfare, whatever influence they may have had in developing progress in the past, are now due to ignorance and greed; the war of