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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/558

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554
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

low wage. "Thus division of labor is, in the last analysis, nothing but one of those processes of adaptation that play so great a part in the evolutionary history of the whole inhabited world: adaptation of the tasks of labor to the variety of human powers, adaptation of individuals to the tasks to be performed, continued differentiation of the one and of the other."[1] But, if this differentiation is carried so far as to tie the individuals down to such a narrow routine as to prevent their rising in the scale of life, it is a bar to human progress. The immigrant is one of the causes of subdivision of labor. Where labor unions are strong enough to establish a minimum wage, some modifications may be looked for; but the question which society must face is: Can society afford to allow certain of its members to be reduced to the condition of human automatons? If it is held that certain classes in the community can not be improved or raised to a higher level, then indeed the caste form of society is treading close upon the heels of the American people.

Division of labor, perhaps even minute subdivision of labor, may be considered to be a permanent factor in industry. Modern industry is more productive, many times more productive, per worker, than the older, more simple forms; and as a result a shorter working day is allowed the worker. This grinding, unvarying, monotonous, joyless sort of working period should be balanced by broader social life, by better, more elevating use of leisure time. In short, as one's work becomes exact and narrowing, one's leisure time should bring variety and breadth of experience. The suffrage has been extended to practically all the male population over twenty-one years of age; but in order to exercise the franchise intelligently, as was recognized in the days of Plato and Aristotle, the citizen must have leisure time to study and discuss the social and political problems of the day. If this leisure time is not properly or wisely utilized; the "boss" and the "machine" flourish. The great multiplicity of clashing interests also offers opportunity for the shrewd and unscrupulous politician to play interest against interest, and to win political control and personal gain through careful manipulation. In any industrial democracy, the problem of the utilization of leisure becomes one of the important and vital problems.

Looking at education from a purely economic point of view, aside from ethical considerations, the aim should be to develop not only more efficient producers, but also more efficient consumers. All men must be considered from the side of consumption as well as of production. The end and aim of normal economic activity is consumption of economic goods. Other things being equal, consumption should be directed toward those articles which the country is best adapted to produce; it should also be directed away from the excessive demand for the raw

  1. Bücher, "Industrial Evolution," p. 299.