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The Law Of Population
Wages
The Limits Of An Economic Society
Perpetual Change Of The Social Structure
The Law Of Accumulation Of Capital
Value And Its Relation To Different Incomes
Effects Of Dynamic Influences Within The Limited Economic Society
Organization Of Labor
Boycotts And The Limiting Of Products
Wealth And Its Origin


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Leading Facts Concerning Money
Production A Synthesis Distribution An Analysis
Capital As Affected By Changes Of Method
The Measure Of Consumers' Wealth
The Foregoing Principles Applied To The Railroad Problem
Summary Of Conclusions
Conditions Insuring Progress In Method And Organization
Rent
Further Influences Which Reduce The Hardships Entailed By Dynamic Changes
Land And Artificial Instruments


Summary Of Conclusions








Perpetual change is the conspicuous fact of modern life. So
revolutionary are the alterations which a few decades make in the
industrial world as to raise the question whether there are economic
laws which retain their validity for any length of time. If there are
not, we have one economic science now, and shall have a different one
ten years hence and a widely dissimilar one a century later. Of
Descriptive Economics this is true, since it changes with the world it
describes; but it is not true of Economic Theory. There are certain
principles which are equally valid in all times and places. They were
true in the beginnings of industry, are true now, and will remain so
as long as men shall create and use wealth. They are not made
antiquated either by technical progress or by social evolution. We
have at the outset stated some of these truths. They have reference to
man, to his natural environment, and to the interactions of the two,
and they do not depend on the relations of man to man. We have also
stated other economic truths which apply only to man in a social
state. They are not universal, but are so general that they are
exemplified in the economic life of every society, from the most
primitive to the most highly civilized. They are the principles of
Social Economic Statics, and in order to have them distinctly before
us we have created in imagination a society which is changeless in
size, in form, and in mode of economic action. In such a condition
the wages of labor would remain fixed, as would also the interest on
capital. Wages and interest would absorb the whole product of social
industry; for the static condition, as we have thus created it,
excludes profits of the entrepreneur. In broad outline this
describes the condition toward which certain economic forces are
continually impelling the actual world.

There is at each period a standard shape and mode of action to which
static laws acting by themselves would bring economic society. This
social norm, however, is not the same at any two periods. The static
laws remain unchanged, but they act in changing conditions, and if
they were left alone and undisturbed, would give one result in 1907
and another in 2007. The changes which a century will bring should
make society larger and richer, the mode of production more effective,
and the returns for all classes greater. The laws which set the
standard of wages and interest will remain the same, but if the
tendencies now at work have their natural effect, all these incomes
will be larger. It is as though great quantities of water were rushing
into a lake and causing disturbances and upheavals of the surface. If
the inflow should now stop, the surface would subside to a general
level. If the inflow should recommence, go on for a hundred years, and
then stop, the surface would again subside to a level, but it would be
higher than the former one. Yet the laws of equilibrium which
produced the first static level would be identically the same as those
which produced the second. Social Economic Statics is a body of
principles which act in every stage of civilization and draw society
at every separate period toward a static norm, though they do not at
any two periods draw it toward the same norm. They make actual society
hover forever about a changing standard shape.

The laws which govern progress--which cause the social norm to take a
different character from decade to decade, and cause actual society to
hover near it in its changes--are the subject of Social Economic
Dynamics. We have made a study of the more general economic changes
which affect the social structure, and they stand in this order:--

(1) Increase of population, involving increase in the supply of labor.
(2) Increase in the stock of productive wealth.
(3) Improvements in method.
(4) Improvements in organization.

All these things affect the productive power of society, and
correlated with them and standing over against them is a fifth type of
change, which affects consumers' wants and determines how productive
power shall be used.

We have examined each single change by itself and have then endeavored
to combine them and get the grand resultant of all. Beginning with the
increase of population, we have traced its effects on wages, on
interest, and on the values of goods. We have made a similar study of
the growth of capital, the progress of technical method, and the
organization of industry.

The variation of economic society from its static standard offers a
problem for solution, and in this connection the type of change in
which the most serious evils inhere is that which discards old
technical methods and ushers in new ones. The question whether these
evils are destined to increase or to diminish we have answered
conditionally on the basis of past experience and present tendencies.
If competition continues and labor retains its mobility, the evils
will naturally grow less. The grand resultant of all the forces of
progress is an upward movement in the standard of economic life
gained, not without cost, but at a diminishing cost.

A vital question is that of the continuance of the movements now in
progress. Do any of them tend to bring themselves to a halt? Is any
change on which we rely for the hopeful outlook we have taken
self-terminating? We have found that the growth of population tends to
go on more slowly as the world becomes crowded, while the motives for
an increase of productive wealth grow stronger rather than weaker.
Technical progress gives no hint of coming to an end, and improvements
in organization may go on indefinitely, though they will naturally go
on more slowly as the modes of marshaling the agents of production are
brought nearer to perfection. Knowledge of the causes of economic
change is at best incomplete, and enlarging it by the statistical
method of study will be a chief work for the economists of the future.
Analytical study points distinctly to a coming time of increased
comfort for working humanity. Progress gives no sign of being
self-terminating, so long as the force which has been the mainspring
of it, namely, competition, shall continue to act.

The suspicious element in the general dynamic movement is progress in
organization. That which we have primarily studied is the marshaling
of forces for mere production--the creation of efficient mills, shops,
railroads, etc. This, however, carries with it a tendency to create
large mills, shops, and railroad systems, and, in the end, to combine
those which begin as rivals in a consolidation in which their rivalry
with each other ceases. This means a danger of monopoly, and is the
gravest menace which hangs over the future of economic society.

If anything should definitely end competition, it would check
invention, pervert distribution, and lead to evils from which only
state socialism would offer a way of escape. Monopoly is not a mere
bit of friction which interferes with the perfect working of economic
laws. It is a definite perversion of the laws themselves. It is one
thing to obstruct a force and another to supplant it and introduce a
different one; and that is what monopoly would do. We have inquired
whether it is necessary to let monopoly have its way, and have been
able to answer the question with a decided No. It grows up in
consequence of certain practices which an efficient government can
stop. Favoritism in the charges for carrying goods is one of these
practices. Railroads have become both monopolies and builders of other
monopolies. Certain principles, which we have briefly outlined, govern
their policy, and the natural outcome of their working is
consolidation. This creates the necessity for a type of public action
which is new in America--the regulation of freight charges.

Akin to this is the necessity for keeping alive competition in the
field of general industry by an effective prohibition of various
measures by which the great corporations are able to destroy it. The
dynamic element in economic life depends on competition, which at
important points is vanishing, but can, by the power of the state, be
restored and preserved, in a new form, indeed, but in all needed
vigor. With that accomplished we can enjoy the full productive effect
of consolidation without sacrificing the progress which the older type
of industry insured.

The organization of labor, its motives, its measures, and its
tendencies,--including a tendency toward monopoly,--we have examined.
Through all the wastes and disturbances which the struggle over wages
occasions we have discovered a certain action of natural economic law,
and have seen what type of measures, on the part of the state, will
remove impediments in the way of that law and enable it to act in
greater perfection.

Connected with the dynamic movement on which the future of society
depends are the policies of the government in connection with currency
and with protective duties. Here, less action, rather than more, is
demanded on the part of the state. While no renewal of a
laissez-faire policy is possible, a reduction of the duties which
now play into the hands of monopoly is distinctly called for. In
connection with currency a greater trust in nature and a smaller
reliance on governments will give the best results.

Our studies have included, not the activities of the whole world,
but those of that central part of it which is highly sensitive to
economic influences. The whole producing mechanism here responds
comparatively quickly to any force which makes for change. This
society par excellence is extending its boundaries and annexing
successive belts of outlying territory; and as this shall go on, it
must bring the world as a whole more and more nearly into the shape of
a single economic organism. The relations of the central society to
the unannexed zones are attaining transcendent importance, and a
fuller treatment of Economic Dynamics than is possible within the
limits of the present work would give much space to such subjects as
the transformation of Asia and the resulting changes in the economic
life of Europe and America. Here again the conscious action of the
people determines the economic outcome. In the main we can still leave
the natural forces of industry to work automatically; but we have
passed the point where we can safely leave to self-regulation the
charges of the common carrier, the conduct of monopolistic
corporations, or certain parts of the policy of organized labor.
Foreign relations are, of course, a subject for public control, and
they are coming to affect in a most intimate way our own economic
life. Everywhere our future is put into our own hands and will develop
the better the more we know of economic laws and the more energy we
show in applying them. The surrendering of industries generally to the
state may be avoided, and the essential features of the system of
business which evolution has created may be preserved; but to keep
this system free from unendurable evils will require, on the part of
the people, a rare combination of intelligence and determination. It
will require a public policy that shall neither be hampered by
prejudice nor incited by ebullitions of popular feeling, but shall be
guided through a course of difficult action by a knowledge of economic
law.






Previous: Leading Facts Concerning Money



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