work is far lighter and more agreeable, or who do not work at all, and yet whose lives are made up of every material satisfaction their imaginations can conceive. Although between these two extremes there exist an almost infinite number of degrees of wealth, statistics will tell him that in both England and America "nine tenths of all the realised property to-day belongs to a class that comprises only one tenth of the population—that ninety per cent, of the citizens, the great mass of the people, share among them, even including their little homes and furniture, and all their much-vaunted hoards, the ownership of not more than ten per cent, of the capital wealth." It is for this upper tenth of the population that all the luxuries and most of the comforts of life are
- See Introduction to 1902 edition of Problems of Modern Industry, by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, p. viii.
was very common. The girls and boys followed in the paths of their parents. The wages were so low that the men alone often could not support their families, and mothers with babies toiled in order to add to the income. They gave up all thought of joyful living, probably in the hope that by tremendous exertion they could overcome their poverty; but they gained while at work only enough to keep their bodies alive. Theirs was a sort of treadmill existence, with no prospect of anything else in life but more treadmill.… There are probably in fairly prosperous years no less than ten million persons in poverty; that is to say, underfed, underclothed, and poorly housed.… Nearly half of the families in the country are property less." — Robert Hunter, Poverty, pp. 324, 325, and 337.