Popular Science Monthly/Volume 31/September 1887/Social Sustenance III
By HENRY J. PHILPOTT.
GREAT scientific truth is expressed in the statement frequently heard that all kinds of work tend to run into specialties. Specialization is the order of the day. The term specialty is most frequently used in speaking of those sections into which the practice of medicine has been divided; but, in reality, we are all specialists. There is no more striking difference than this between our industry and that of a tribe of savages, or of a swarm of bees. The bees in a swarm are all engaged in the same few and simple operations. One bee does not exclusively make wax and another honey. Perhaps they would be no better off if they did; but, for human beings, it is never doubted that specialization is a very profitable thing.
It manifests itself in two ways: 1. By the division and subdivision of existing specialties. 2. By the creation of new ones. The first is called division of labor, the second diversification of industry. It will be interesting to consider these in their order.
The practice of medicine offers us, in some respects, a good object-lesson. We talk most about specialties in medicine, for the very reason that it was one of the last occupations to be sub-specialized. Even now we have in the country, and especially in new countries, the general practitioner who attends to all the ills that flesh is heir to. He pulls teeth, amputates limbs, "doctors" the eyes and ears, and does, or tries to do, everything that all the medical specialists of a great city do. And yet his profession was itself, until within a few generations, an undivided and apparently indivisible specialty. The sub-specialties into which it has been divided may, in future, be still further divided and subdivided.
It would be interesting, if it were possible, to take some one great industry or profession, and trace out the pedigree of the specialties into which it has been divided. For an experiment in that direction, we might take the newspaper. It is now a very minutely subdivided specialty. Not only each political party, each religious denomination, each open and secret organization, but each line of business of any considerable importance, has its daily, weekly, or monthly journals devoted to its interests. And the number and variety of specialty journals are daily increasing. A list of their names would suffice for a chapter on industrial specialization. With the dates of their founding it would be a chart of the growth of the process. We should see here a process which, by reminding us of the division of the fertilized fowl's egg into feathers, bones, muscle, nerves, blood, skin, fat, etc., connects the science of political economy with all the other biological sciences.
But not only is journalism as a whole thus specialized; the process is going on within each newspaper-office. The work is more and more divided, as the journal grows in circulation, size, and variety of contents. I shall attempt a diagram, on the plan of a royal pedigree, and it will be all the more instructive if it is not carried out to its actual limits, as exemplified in a metropolitan newspaper. Start with the original "journalist," who may yet be found in some Western county capitals, writing all his local items and general editorials, setting all his type, doing his own press-work, mailing or carrying his papers, soliciting subscriptions and advertisements, keeping and collecting his accounts in fact, publishing the leading county paper, and "no thanks to anybody." He is the life-size presentment of "independence." He is still a specialist, but we know by the experience of others, even if we could not see at a glance, that his specialty is capable of indefinite sub-specialization. Starting from him as the original "journalist," we find his work divided in a neighboring city office in a manner which may be diagrammed thus:
And this is only the beginning. If we stepped into a metropolitan newspaper establishment, we should find the work still much further divided and subdivided. A whole article would be required to describe it briefly. And the same would be true of many other industries once considered such narrow specialties that, with some reason, they were believed to have a narrowing effect on the minds of those who pursued them.
The advantages thus gained have been dwelt upon by all economists since Adam Smith. They correspond quite closely to those secured by the specializations which Nature produces all around us in the different organs and tissues of plants and animals. A good deal of tedious hair-splitting would be required to define all of them, but they may be roughly divided as follows:
I. Those that appear immediately, as the ability to form combinations of effort not otherwise possible, or not without greater waste of time or greater expense for tools. The different parts in a play must be taken by different persons. This is made necessary by the very nature of the work. In other cases the same person might attend to many different tasks, but he would lose time in passing from one to another; and he might require a greater variety of tools.II. Those that come a little later, like the acquired skill of the individual specialist, and perish with him. Stradivarius devoted his energies to the specialty of making violins. By doing so he gave us the best violins ever made. The fact that they have never since been equaled shows that his slowly-acquired skill died with him.
III. But the man who pursues a specialty to success often learns rules of his art which he can impart to others, or even can not help imparting, since, like the peculiarities of the general form of a violin, they remain embodied and visible in the product of his art. He invents new machines or processes which survive him and are permanently added to the world's industrial power. This advantage of specialization is the last to be realized, and is probably the greatest.
Under which head shall we place the utilization of pre-existing special aptitudes? Under the first, on the ground that part of the advantage gained from them is immediate, under the second because they are susceptible of development by exercise, or under the third on the theory that they are due to heredity? They may be a part of the legacy of past specialization. Presumably this is true in general, and particularly in the most prominent of all specializations—that which separates man's work from woman's.
This brings us to an important practical subject which we may as well pause to consider. We all want a solution of the vexed problem of woman's industrial status. She wants it vitally and primarily, and is clamoring for it. She wants to know how best to make her living. In the great scheme of mutual helpfulness which constitutes the subject-matter of economic science, she wants her best possible place, as we all want ours. And we, in turn, aside from our sympathy for her, are interested in having such industrial capacities as she possesses, and is in a position to exercise, made the most of. I have stated as a general and vital economic truth that "the better living others make the more they help us to make ours." And yet half the population belongs to a sex which feels that it is denied, either by prejudice or some other cause, or both, the privilege of making the best living of which it is capable. If this be true, the first step toward reform is to find out why it is true. If we incidentally discover, in taking this first step, that reform is difficult or even impossible, none the less must we take it; for it will save us the waste of toilsome, futile steps in wrong directions.
A painstaking inquiry into the relations subsisting between specialization, heredity and special aptitudes can not fail to furnish us a clew to some part of the trouble. We often speak of the various differences, mental and otherwise, between man and woman. Among them all there is none more striking than this, that man's work has been highly specialized, while woman's has not. True, several specialties have been evolved out of her original specialty—as weaving, spinning, baking, etc. But these new specialties have mostly been given to men, not women. To all intents and purposes woman has now, as always, one specialty—housekeeping.
Hence the intense heredity of it. It is bred in the bone. The carpenter's son may fail to develop a special aptitude for working in wood; but the son of a long line of carpenters, whose male ancestors on his mother's side were also carpenters, would be sure to. This case never occurs. Masculine specialties are numerous. Male ancestors are also numerous. Their specialties are not one, but many. Now, if it happens that one of these ancestors had a specialty particularly adapted to transmission, which had become a part of his nature before his children were born, his posterity may have inherited his special aptitude regardless of the occupations of their immediate male parents. But, of course, it would all the time be diluted by its mixture with aptitudes inherited through other strains.
In the case of woman, every circumstance conspires to make the special aptitude intensely hereditary. It is acquired before the birth of children, hence is always transmitted. It has been transmitted, undiluted, from the female side, through countless generations. In a certain sense woman inherits masculine aptitudes from her male ancestors, But almost her only use of them is to transmit them to her sons.
In a few cases they are so strong that she yields to them and utilizes them; and a part of her reward is that she is pointed to as an example that if women had the chance they would prove as capable as men. As a rule, girls inherit the industrial tendencies of their female rather than of their male ancestors, just as they do their voices, faces, and forms.
It is not worth while to quarrel with this fact, nor to quarrel about its original cause. It must be taken account of. From an unbroken line the woman inherits adaptation to a single specialty. From converging lines running back to a great variety of specialties the man inherits the capacity to turn his hand to many things, and measurably succeed in any one of quite a number. Woman has a "sphere," while man has spheres. How to bring about equality, or something more nearly approaching it, in this respect—the multiplicity of "spheres"—is the base of all there is in the famous "woman question." For, the moment woman has industrial potency, her way is clear to the realization of most of her other aspirations.
As compared with woman, man inherits versatility. But not all men are equal in this respect. Some inherit a larger assortment of capabilities than others, and with them the courage to abandon an adopted specialty the moment it becomes unprofitable or otherwise disagreeable, and take up another. Some whole communities have been so long tied to a single narrow industry that their inhabitants can hardly be trained to anything else. If that one industry for any reason ceases to be profitable, carried on in their way, they are comparatively helpless.
Grant that it is not good for a man to "have too many irons in the fire," or be "Jack of all trades and master of none"; neither is it good for him to "carry all his eggs in one basket," or "have only one string to his bow." The man who is tolerably capable at several kinds of work is the better able to make his living while he is seeking the work at which he is most capable. Many men who teach school are free to say that they do it only as a stepping-stone to something else. A great many other occupations are occasionally or generally followed for the same purpose by young men. A very large part of the world's important work is "stepping-stone" work. It implies versatility of talent.
How shall woman acquire this versatility? Her industrial pre-disposition is a deeply-inherited instinct. How shall she break its fetters? Not very suddenly, we may rest assured. After long waiting she has slowly begun to take up, with slowly increasing success, those masculine tasks which the never-ceasing process of specialization has placed within her grasp. She works in those factories which have taken away from her general task of housekeeping some of the duties included in it in her grandmother's time. She watches the spindle and the loom of the factory, while the wheel and the loom of her grandmother gather and consecrate the dust of the garret. She carries her inherited instinct of baby-tending into the Kindergarten and the schoolroom. She even finds employment in those of the most mechanical masculine tasks which are not too muscular. It is gratifying, as well as scientifically instructive, that in all these lines her wages are gaining on man's.
Why not divide her main specialty of housekeeping? Men have made, out of much narrower and simpler ones, whole families of specialties. This it is that justifies our treating the woman question as a question of specialization, and taking it up so early. It is not a question of capital, banking, commerce, money, production, or distribution. It is a question of specialization, and, considered in respect of the number of specialists, one of the most important, since there are more women than men in the countries of greatest economic interest.
It is worthy our close attention for another reason. It is rich in revelations of general economic truth. Not all branches of any science are equally instructive. Some plants are botanically more interesting than others. Some animals are richer than others in zoölogical phenomena, and in explanations of phenomena. Woman's work, besides being everywhere present, so that we can all study it, is a peculiarly rich field of economic investigation.
It is not by any means a narrow specialty. It is intensely inbred, but of itself it is too broad rather than too narrow. Compare the variety of daily operations of man and woman. She must be constantly turning from one thing to another. She must dust, sweep, make the beds, watch the pot, spread the table, wash the dishes, attend the baby, sew, darn, and do so many petty things that almost any shallowness or distraction of mind on her part would be excusable.
Her husband, on the other hand, is doing one thing all day. He is laying bricks, carrying a hod, heaving coal, hammering iron, watching a loom, or doing some other single and simple thing all day. If, as some economists have feared, the minute division of labor has a narrowing and dwarfing effect on the laborer's mind, then we might expect semi-specialized woman to be the mental superior of man, unless otherwise dwarfed. For, although the metes and bounds of her sphere are more rigid than his are, within those bounds each woman must as a rule cover the whole field, while he marks out for himself a small and constantly decreasing stint, leaving the rest to others. Much of her former work, to be sure, he has taken from her; and the moment he got it he began to divide it into specialties. But enough still remains for nobody knows how many specialties. What keeps these possible specialties fast bound in one?
The family implies a home, the home a home-keeper. The family system, plus monogamy, implies one woman to one home, and no more. The appearance of two women at work in one home implies that one of them has not yet been fitted into her normal place in the monogamic family system, or has dropped out of it. She is filling a gap in her own life by a service aimed to ease and amplify the life of another. In this way the home of the well-to-do may contain several women, and in such cases they generally do divide and specialize the work. So do the women who are filling interstices in their lives by working in hotels and boarding-houses.
But taking the average woman, even in the most civilized communities, whatever of her hardest-worked female ancestor's household duties are still necessary to be done, and can not be done away from home, she must do herself alone. She must also do whatever new kinds of work the diversifying tastes of herself and family have called into being. Has she any escape consistent with the maintenance of the family system?
Are we driven to this dilemma, that either the institution of the family, which has done so much to ennoble the race, must go, or else woman's work must for all time be prescribed, like that of the slave, while man's is elective? Must the already excessive heredity of her occupation and aptitudes be still further bred in and in? If so, what manner of person will she finally be?
I confess myself unable to answer these questions to my own satisfaction. Before attempting it let me call attention to the light they throw on the nature of the science of political economy. It has been called a mental science. It has been called a moral science. It has been treated as a deductive science. It has even been treated as a matter of mathematics. Yet here, at the very outset, we find half the objects of its solicitude bound fast in the embrace of biological evolution. Their economic destiny is sealed before they are born. It is a biological fact, and as such we must study it. It is a fact not wholly psychological, nor wholly ethical, nor sociological, but physiological as well. It comes as near as anything to being omni-biological.
It will serve us no good purpose to deceive ourselves in such matters. Fine-spun optimism does not right wrongs. No tyranny was ever abolished by those who persuaded themselves that it did not exist. Delusions, like the belief in Santa Claus, may do a certain good by charming us in childhood or outside of business hours. But when we get to business, the thing we want to believe and must believe or fail, is the exact truth, no matter how unpalatable. So in regard to the status of woman we shall get no further by thinking it is either worse or better than it is, or more or less susceptible of conscious improvement. The doses of a dishonest quack are no more dangerous than those of a self-deceived ignoramus. We have all fallen into a habit of polite flattery of the nobility of woman's work. This is a convenient little bit of hypocrisy. We are very careful not to be too polite to the man or woman who does woman's work for pay. We may socially recognize the man or woman who does man's work for a stipulated salary, but not the one who so does woman's work. Woman herself, with all her kindness of heart, is just as clear of it as any of us. She always keeps the brand of social as well as industrial inferiority plainly imprinted on her inherited specialty.
Woman grew into her present economic position, and very likely she must grow out of it, if she gets out. There is no peculiar sanctity about the process of growth as compared with other economic processes. But it does need peculiar treatment in order to reach the results we aim at. We should see this quite plainly if we were called on within the same hour to advise in the case of a man with a broken leg, and a tobacco-sign which had suffered the same mishap. In most of our economic troubles there is an element of growth and an element of artificiality. With these two elements we must deal differently. And it will always help us to know in each case as it comes up, whether, and to what extent, growth predominates over artificiality or artificiality over growth. It can not hurt us to remember that an institution which was wholly artificial some hundreds or thousands of years ago, may now have reached a stage where growth enormously predominates over artificiality. In childhood, I amused myself by twisting together the two stems of a cherry-tree. The process was wholly artificial. But when the tree and I had reached maturity, its trunk was still neatly doubled and twisted, like a thread of yarn. I have often untwisted threads of yarn, but I was never foolish enough to try to untwist that tree after it had reached its bearing age. What was once wholly artificial had become almost wholly a matter of growth.
I could not even do anything to help it grow untwisted. It may be that woman and her specialty are as firmly entwined together as were the two stems of my cherry-tree, and can not be separated without injury to vitality, growth, and fruitage. They may even have to grow more and more intimately interlocked, conforming more and more to each other. If this is inevitable, we ought to know it; if desirable, help it on; if avoidable and undesirable, do what we can to prevent it.
It seems to me both desirable and possible that woman should diversify her aptitudes. The process will be slow, if possible at all, but it will soon begin to bear good fruit. In those cases where she must depend on salaried work for a living, it will enlarge her life by enlarging her pay. Her independence will make her more choice in the selection of a husband, which will be a blessing not only to herself, but to her offspring. I insist on the importance of the blessing to herself, and on her right to it. If one were disposed to find fault with the order of Nature, the worst thing to be said is that there seems altogether too much vicarious sacrifice' in it. A majority of the lives brought into this world are offered up on the altar of that sacrifice. The sacrificial destruction of vegetable life need give us no pain. But the animal offerings, especially the human offerings, suffer torture in the ordeal, and enlist our sympathy. The economic development of the human race has cost untold sacrificial agony, mitigated by little or no reward to those who suffer it. We can not wholly prevent this. Our best efforts to reduce it often increase it. But latterly success has come often enough to stimulate more determined trial.
First of all, then, we desire that woman, for her own sake, should secure a more commanding position in the economic world. We can have no sympathy with the wide-spread, unmanly fear that she may become a wage-reducing competitor in the masculine specialties. Neither can we sympathize with the fear that her devotion to them will make her less enjoyable as a woman. Let it make her less a woman if it makes her happier. Let it, if necessary, make her less enjoyable to man. Is it of no concern that she should be enjoyable to herself? "I am a Jew," said Shylock. "Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, senses, affections, passions?" And if a Jew, why not a woman?
But even if we had a right to ask it, what right do the facts give us to believe that, in order to be attractive to man, woman must spend all her time and energies consciously trying to be so? Let those who coolly assume this to be the case, tell us how they know that man, who has little or no time for such cares, is less attractive to woman than she to him. The grimy coal-miner, without even so much as a change of clothes, manages in some way to hold with a reasonably firm grip the affections of at least one woman. As for the "oak-and-vine" idea that one half the race can be attracted only by strength, and the other half only by weakness, that will do very well for poetry and flattery, but, if it is to do for science, it must be mercilessly tested.
So far as the test has been made, the idea may fairly be said to be disproved. In fact, the result is so encouraging to the parties concerned, that the consequently growing tendency toward the enlargement of woman's sphere may well give us hope, and stimulate us to help it on. This may be done by future inventions of machinery, or by the specialization of man's work to a point where much of it can be done by women. The dream of European economists, that through the conveyance of power by electricity the factory system is to give way to home-industry, may be realized, and woman's opportunities for sharing in a great variety of masculine tasks enormously increased. The public schools may some time be devoted more to sense and less to nonsense. Even though she must follow two or three hundred years behind man in her progress toward simplicity of dress, some of us may live to see her devoting a portion of the time now lost in that way to the cultivation, as an amateur if not otherwise, of some specialty hitherto monopolized by man. What she pursues as an amateur, her daughter, inheriting the aptitude, may find it convenient to follow for a livelihood.
Meantime, the calmness of our judgment will not be warped, though we indulge in sad contemplation of the fate yet in store for the millions of women who must be sacrificed to the good of the race, whose lives must be narrowed, whose natures dwarfed, whose care-worn minds cushed to insanity or suicide by the slowly-relaxing grip of an enslaving biological heritage. We may partially console ourselves by saying, as we did in the case of the negro, that she is born and bred to it, and can not realize how much better freedom is than enchainment. True as this may be in general, most of us do hear some complaint from the enchained. We like to hear it, because we despise the human being who has no aspiration to rise to higher things. The disagreeable feature of it is, that in the deplorable lack of economic training which woman shares with almost every man, she, like him, is disposed to attribute her troubles to the conscious intrigue or innate meanness of some class of human beings. It may be worth while to hint to her that, however irresponsible she may be, man is not responsible for her adoption of a style of dress which she would find very much in her way if she undertook to engage in some of the labors that he is free to follow. As to the willingness of her enchainment, that is a partial relief to her, but it is an obstacle to those who would break the chains. It is always harder to free a willing slave. But, when he has tasted liberty, he is very apt to like it. His callousness does not excuse the inactivity of those who have power to free him, whether or not they are responsible for his bondage. Woman's bondage is not to a person, nor to a class, so much as it is to a race to an apparently necessary, but let us hope transitory, condition of the highest development of that race.
Turning with a sigh of relief to the economics of the sex which has hitherto monopolized the attention of the science, we find specialization hindered here, too, by circumstances over which nobody has control, or even very much influence. A large class of men, a full half of them in many countries, are in a case approaching that of woman. The farmer's work, like woman's, may be thought of as consisting of a variety of operations which may in thought be separated. But in practice they are bound together by his isolation, by the meteorological conditions which separate seed-time and harvest, and make them both so short that the rest of the year must be filled up with other duties or wholly lost; and by other circumstances too numerous to mention. So he, like the woman, must go pottering around at odd jobs, never acquiring in any one kind of work that time-saving, nerve-saving, attention-saving proficiency which is rated by all economists, since Adam Smith, as one of the three greatest advantages of specialization. In a general way, to be sure, the farmer may have a specialty. It may be wheat, it may be corn, it may be cotton, it may be hogs, cattle, wool, horses, or what not. Whatever specialty he has, he usually gets from the nature of his soil, his distance from the market, or some inherited skill or inclination. But it is not usually an exclusive specialty. It does not furnish the whole of his employment, but only the most important part of it. In fact, it is regarded as rather a misfortune than a blessing that his soil or other environs should bind him down to any one crop. Thus, the exclusive cultivation of cotton is considered an unfortunate thing for the farmers of some of our Southern States. The loan companies, whose existence and profits depend on their making a deep and candid study of this question of agricultural specialization, are always glad to advertise to their loaning customers that their borrowing customers live in what they call an "all-crop" region. Seasons are uncertain: in the "one-crop" region the ill-wind blows nobody good; in the "all-crop" region it blows everybody some good, and the people who have money to invest in farm-mortgages think this is not wholly offset by the correlative fact that in such regions the good wind is pretty apt to blow everybody some ill.
We have now discussed the obstacles to specialization which lie in the way of about three fourths, numerically, of the population of the civilized world—one half being women, and half the rest farmers. We may now pass to those industries and professions aside from farming which must be carried on in the country, or in villages, as well as in large towns and cities. We find them less highly specialized in the country than in the city. The physician and the journalist, spoken of in the beginning of this article, illustrate the difference. It is most perfectly pictured to the eye when we walk into a country store, with its groceries, dry-goods, ready-made clothing, boots and shoes, hats, books and stationery, hardware, tinware, queen'sware, etc., and then, after a short ride on the train, go the rounds of the city shops, where all these things are separately handled.
It needs no profound scientist to tell us why. We see at a glance that density of population conduces to specialization. This is one of the ways in which it relieves its own evil consequences. World-crowding increases the necessity of our making our mutual help more effective, but it also opens the way, so far as specialization can help us on toward that end.
But it can do so only when it crowds the world with people who have the means and the inclination to purchase the services or the wares of the specialist. A given specialty can be earlier divided into sub-specialties in a rich than in a poor community of the same numerical population. Hence, the circumstance which promotes sustenance is likely to promote specialization. And since specialization promotes sustenance, it promotes itself. It is a case of "to him that hath shall be given." It is a case where two and two make more than four.
It follows, in turn, that what promotes specialization is likely to promote social sustenance. We have spoken of density of population. Let us analyze this expression. What do we mean by saying that population is dense? The answer is extremely obvious, but for the sake of the argument let us treat it as if it needed to be given. We mean that our human beings are close together. World-crowding is the only way to get them close together in person while occupying all the soil and mines.
Nevertheless, there is another way to accomplish the same practical object. If we can not bring them together in person, we can bring their products together. We can remove the obstacles to their communication with one another. The railroad, the steamship, the telegraph, the organization of carriage and commerce, have all helped to bring people together just as effectually, in an economic sense, as world-crowding does. Facile communication has ceased to depend wholly on density of population; facile communication means facile specialization, and it also means more beneficent specialization.
World-crowding was Nature's first crude and cruel method of bringing her highest creatures together, and specializing and civilizing them. Once acquired, the habit of specialization has been facilitated and its field extended by the more kindly method of commerce. The cruel and the kindly method have co-worked to stimulate industry. Whether the cruel process will go on when it is no longer needed, and partially rob us of the fruits of the kindlier process, is a question which we may leave to the prophets and to the future. In any case, what we of the nineteenth century are permitted to witness is probably only the infancy of specialization.
Meantime, let us turn to its other form—the creation of new specialties. Much of what we have already said applies here with equal force. Still, it may be worth our while to reflect that, besides dividing up the old work, we may, by searching, find out new work. Is it likely that all the ways of catering to the wants of society have been found and utilized? There is room here for the inventive faculty. A few generations ago the now highly-specialized profession of journalism did not exist at all, even in its simplest form. It has been but a few years since the specialties of making and attending to telephones were created out of nothing. To say that many other ways might be found to serve our fellow-beings and get pay for it, would be to venture into the realm of prophecy. But, if the past is any sign of the future, it is not wholly unwarranted prophecy.
We should say that in this direction there is probably work for every one of those unemployed laborers of whom we have lately heard so much. If they, or some capitalist for them, would forsake the old ruts of specialization, and, seeking some unsatisfied want of humanity, set about to satisfy it; or if, finding no such want realized, they would set about to arouse and cultivate it, they might multiply their own opportunities, increase their pay, and by relieving the labor market in the old, overcrowded specialties, increase also the pay of their fellow-workmen remaining in those old specialties.
It is often said that there is no such thing as general over-production. I am not so sure of it. I am not sure that all existing occupations may not be overcrowded, and that what is needed may not sometimes be the creation of new ones. The creation of these new ones may be the very thing that will restore equilibrium to the old ones.
A certain amount of ingenuity is, in fact, every year expended in this direction. But might not more be profitably expended? There is a limit to the fertility of the soil, and to the stores of mineral wealth; but what limit is there to the diversification of human wants? We know by the experience of all history that these wants arise and multiply naturally. We know that they may be artificially tempted into being.
Some of these unborn or unsatisfied wants might furnish profitable employments for which women would be especially fitted, and in which they could command large pay. I have no doubt the field is rich. So were the deposits of coal, iron, petroleum, and natural gas, which humanity needed so long before it had sense enough to want them or to find them. So were chemistry and mechanics as rich fields, before they were cultivated, as now.
We have to look upon humanity as a race half blindly, but with slowly opening eyes, groping after the opportunities which lie all around it. These opportunities are of two kinds. They consist not only in Nature's undiscovered resources for making us happy, but in our own ever-multiplying ways of being made happy. We have done with the old quarrel as to what is and what is not "productive" labor. We are familiar with the fine reasoning by which it is proved that the family doctor is a productive laborer because he increases our own working days and working capacity. This reasoning was needed to make him a place in the old narrow field of political economy, which included only the manipulation and valuation of material wealth.
In our wider economic field we find a place for every task by which our fellow-beings make us happy—by which they ease or amplify our lives. There is a place in it for the art, the music, the lecture, the drama, the professional hall-game, whose enterprising producers have taught us to love them for their own sake, and not because they make us stronger to dig, plow, buy, and sell. We do not ask whether these things increase the harvest or fill the net with fishes. They amplify our lives, and that is enough for us. We are willing to pay for the amplification, and that is enough for the specialists who render the service.
We recognize the resources that lie in human nature, as well as those that lie in the earth. Glancing at these, we see that humanity is as blind to the opportunities offered by its own expansible and multiplicable wants and satisfactions as to those offered by Nature's unexhausted capacity to supply old wants within old lines.
We can never safely predict just how much or little, nor exactly what, can be found by searching. We might be disappointed in our search for valuable and profitable new specialties. But if a great many tried it once, we might with good reason expect more benefit than has accrued from the associations of labor and capital that are seeking to control the old ones. For while the inventor of the specialty profits by his profession or business, the customers in whom he has excited a new want are thereby stimulated to greater efforts or greater efficiencies in their own old lines, since they must have means to gratify the new want. In this way the novelties that commerce offers to those it reaches tempts contented poverty and indolence into industry and civilization. It creates in the uncivilized the wants and thereby the efforts of the civilized, and hence the German philosopher was right who said that commerce is the great civilizer.
In conclusion, among the general principles of specialization we have discovered the following:
1. That it may arise either by division of old specialties or the creation of new ones.
2. That three fourths of the population, women and farmers, are denied its highest development.
3. That heredity in specialization may be excessive.
4. That multiplication of human wants, as truly as multiplication of drafts on Mother Earth, conduces to specialization.
5. So do density of population and facility of communication.