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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/470

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464
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

the improvement of anything by the elimination of its bad features and increasing of its excellences has never characterized Chinese industrial activity in recent times. I think it unquestionable that the people of China can be better fed and made correspondingly more vigorous simply by government aid to agriculture and the allowing of the free transit of the products of one part of the empire to any other part. The productive energy of the nation as a whole can thus be immensely increased. The human body is an engine for the conversion of food into useful work. Like any other engine, if it is supplied with only enough power to keep it going the useful output is small, since nearly all is used up in driving the machine. But give it all the power it can economically use and the useful output is many-fold greater. The simile is a crude one, but none the less accurate.

It will be noticed that no provision is made for the taxing of incomes, or of industrial enterprises. Under the old system either the tax on land or the tax on trade reached nearly all of these. This is no longer the case and such companies as Standard Oil, British-American Tobacco, Singer Sewing Machine, and numerous native enterprises carry on a large trade without being subject to any tax. This will constantly increase, and by the imposition of a just tax on these new forms of industry considerable sums can be derived. Every means should be taken to encourage the development of such enterprises. The mineral resources of China should be studied and mapped by qualified engineers, the country should be mapped topographically as an aid to the development of railway, irrigation and industrial enterprises, and every effort should be made to increase the agricultural and mineral productivity. A well-fed people with material to work with can upbuild China into a nation of solid wealth and substance. But if the proceeds of the new loan are expended unwisely and unprofitably then China must inevitably within a few years become another Persia. Business principles, rather than political considerations, must be preeminent in the conduct of the new government.