Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/513

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A UNIVERSITY PENSION SYSTEM

as to all other classes of men who offer themselves for employment, but the experience of the foundation up to the present time indicates that this factor is relatively negligible. Since the inauguration of the Carnegie Foundation salaries of professors in colleges have steadily risen. The existence of a pension system in a college, while it may now and then be used to induce a man to undertake a particular work for a smaller salary, is nevertheless so small a factor that it does not count materially in the presence of other large factors in the matter of salaries.

The justification for a pension system, however, can not be found in its negative qualities, or in its comparative freedom from injurious results to the individual and to society. It must not only prevent suffering and inefficiency, but it must also raise the quality of service amongst those to whom it applies.

That a rightly administered pension system does this is already fairly proved. Particularly is this true where the labor of those under the system is mental labor, and still more when that labor is partly of a creative nature and upon subjects of no immediate concern to the individual. Anxiety and apprehension are the most deadly foes not only to mental exertion, but to the higher intellectual qualities of imagination and invention. A man may indeed put forth unusual intellectual effort for a few years in facing the problems of individual and family support, but to assume that concentration on such problems during a series of years, accompanied by distressing uncertainty as to his future, will help the quality of his teaching or his research is against human experience. Profitable study and the cheerful performance of severe tasks are aided by serenity, not perplexity of mind. Especially is this true of the fruitful period of middle life. If it be true that we are still so uncivilized that a prospect of serene and helpful old age is demoralizing to men of high intellectual training, then the cure for this situation does not lie in making old age uncertain and insecure, but in the gradual education of men to a better ideal of life. The experience of the Carnegie Foundation, short as it is, carries a strong argument in favor of the betterment in the work of the college teacher which comes from a knowledge that his old age is protected. Outside of all direct results to society arising from pensions, the argument drawn from humane and religious reasons probably will always appeal most strongly. The system of employment which uses the services of a highly trained individual at meager pay up to the point where he is no longer effective and then takes no concern for his welfare and for those dependent on him has a remnant of barbarism about it which arouses a protest in the conscience of civilized man. Our religious and our humane ideals demand that some effort should be made to solve this problem.