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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/554

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

largely ignorant or indifferent, was blighted by the influence of a destroying environment.

The progress of the industrial world for the last century has been unparalleled and almost incredible. The organization of industry, the rise of combinations, the fuller utilization of the forces of nature, our marvelous inventions, the increasing division of labor and greater insistence upon bodily vigor are devices calculated to lessen the cost of production of goods. In certain industries, for example the oil and packing industries, such a state of perfection has been reached that little if any waste products remain, although twenty years ago a large residue was continually lost. The decrease of unnecessary cost and labor is the goal of industry. Apply this principle to the cost of propagating the human race and what do we find? Is not the tax and strain upon the expectant mother too great to permit even an apathetic society calmly to ignore the just claims of dying infants for the opportunities which make for a life of usefulness and service? The eighteenth century began to answer this question, but even the twentieth has not yet given a satisfactory reply. The darkness and austerity of a civilization finds no mean measure in its infant death rate. In this respect great progress has indeed been made, but it is an advance far outstripped by the progress of industry. Social progress has proved the laggard, but may yet make amends for past neglect.

The wholesome changes of the past one hundred and fifty years are indications of great possibilities. The conditions in London only reflected those existing throughout all England which lived beneath the pall of the blighting destroyer of babes. In recent years three fourths of the children in London have lived to the age of five. As late as 1761, however, 50 per cent, of London's population perished before reaching the age of twenty. To-day half the people of England do not die until after the fifty-fourth year has been reached, and the infant mortality—the death rate for children under one year of age—had fallen in 1903 to the creditable figure of 144 per 1,000 births for the seventy-six great towns of England. Even this rate is somewhat above the average for the entire country. In Prussia during the decade 1751 to 1760 only 312 children out of every 1,000 births survived to the age of ten. At this age the child is still an economic cost; it depends upon others and yields no surplus to society. Yet two thirds of the entire population failed to reach an age of social usefulness, and perished after body, mind and resource had been spent to give it a proper place in human society. The record of a later decade, 1861-70, shines in comparison with the former, but is still fraught with fears for the future. Six hundred and thirty-three individuals were being saved out of every 1,000—a promising decline, but one not measuring up to the hopes of social amelioration. Is it any wonder that former mothers, full of grief and anguish at the sight of lifeless