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the per capita wealth has increast from $308 in 1850 to $1965 in 1912, which is vastly in excess of the increast cost of living. In 1900 the national wealth was something over eighty-eight and a half billions of dollars; in 1912 it had risen to about one hundred eighty-seven and three-fourths billions, and today it is estimated at something over two hundred billions. Thus in twelve years there has been a growth in capital of approximately eight billion dollars annually. This represents the gross annual national surplus. Now, just as in the individual business the growth of the surplus depends upon increast volume, decreast ratio of expenditures, increast efficiency, and improved business methods and education, so it is in the nation.
We find that, making the most liberal allowance for war conditions and for the increasing cost of living and the decreasing purchasing power of money, we have done very well nationally, and that there has been an uninterrupted growth of the national wealth; and on this premise we may safely predict a still more rapid expansion in the near future than in the past.
But if we examine the national income and expense account in detail we find that we have come far short of having managed the nation's business as efficiently and economically as could have been done. Thus we find on the expense side the stupendous total of over two billion gallons of alcoholic beverages consumed in 1916, the retail cost of which to the consumer is claimed to exceed thirteen billions of dollars. Last year we invested in pleasure vehicles something over a billion dollars. The national waste in tobacco is almost beyond computation. In 1916 one and a half million acres were used in growing tobacco, the tax on cigarettes alone was twenty-six million dollars, and there was an increase of four billion cigarettes consumed in 1916 over the preceding year. For cheap shows the American people expended not less than two billion dollars last year, and no one pretends to estimate the time wasted in this useless form of amusement. The expense items do not include the incalculable sum which represents the total waste in our domestic, commercial, and political economy. The waste in fuel, food, and labor is so stupendous that figures fail adequately to express it.
The greatest single item of waste is undoubtedly the waste of labor. This takes the form of absolute idleness, of occupations which are worse than idleness, of misdirected labor, and of soldiering on the job. Nearly a hundred years ago John Stewart Mill wrote, “We look in vain among the working classes in general for the just pride which will choose to give good work for good wages.” This reads as if it might have been a commentary on the soldiering in our own shipyards and on our own farms.
Since the foregoing was written the hopeful order of Provost General Crowder has been issued, compelling every person of draft age to “do war work or fight.” Showing the necessity for the step, the General said:
One of the unanswerable criticisms of the draft has been that it takes men from the farms and useful occupations and marches them past crowds of loafers and idlers. The remedy is simple--to couple the industrial basis with other grounds for exemption and to require that any man pleading exemption shall also show that he is contributing effectively to the industrial welfare of the nation.
This is the greatest single step toward national efficiency ever taken by this nation. More than anything else, if properly enforst, it will stimulate national thrift and will not only insure victory over the foe of freedom, but insure for us commercial supremacy.
One of the greatest lessons that will be driven home by the world-war is that a nation's strength is proportional not only to its resources but to its resourcefulness, to its willingness to sacrifice, and to its ability and disposition to save, and this in turn will determine the commercial supremacy of the nation. It is claimed by economists that the potential power for saving of the American people is upward of fifteen billion dollars annually. This means that we could maintain our present standard of living and national wealth and pay off the entire debt of the present war in three or four years, even if it should last so long a time.
One of the most important considerations before the nation is to study post-bellum problems; and one of the most pertinent of these problems is to organize a general campaign for saving, so that the awakened national consciousness for thrift and sane living may not again slumber but be quickened by a national organization for the service of all mankind.
THRIFT IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
ARTHUR H. CHAMBERLAIN, EDITOR, “SIERRA EDUCATIONAL NEWS," SAN
FRANCISCO, CALIF. The Americans are the most prodigal people in the world. Criminal neglect has been shown in our handling of the resources of nature. There is great personal loss and wastage in time, money, and energy. Our forests are wantonly destroyed; our best soils are washt to the sea; our coal, gas, and oil are extravagantly used. Water power is running to waste. The coming of the war and the lessons taught in a concrete and severe way by the great conflict serve as object lessons in bringing to life many weaknesses in our social fabric and in our schools. The suggested changes in our mode of living and in our courses of study, which for three decades have had ample exponents in theory, are now for the first time finding practical application.
Every child should know the value of money, should work and earn, should save and invest, and should be taught how to spend properly. Thrift is not hoarding; it is use without waste. There must be thrift in dress. The war has clearly shown the necessity for conservation in food. There has been waste in foodstuffs beyond ability to estimate. Not merely in hotels and restaurants or in the homes of the wealthy has this waste been taking place. It is in the rural communities where frequently the greatest waste is noticeable. The garbage pail and a false economic system have been persistently and surely robbing the future of its food heritage. Neither state nor nation has performed its full duty until every boy and every girl has been taught in the public schools how to prepare and serve a palatable meal. The schools today are helping to prosecute the war thru the collection of waste materials. Old papers, magazines, iron, lead, copper, tin foil, bottles, containers of all sorts, stamps, and various other materials are collected by school children. Unused garden plots have been brought under cultivation, discarded clothing has been renovated and repaired, problems in arithmetic have been given a thrift setting thru application to food supply, preparation, and use. The work of the Junior Red Cross and of War Savings has shown that the schools' part in financing the war is beyond our most far-reaching surmise of a few months ago. All this is but a suggestion of the possibilities for thrift instruction in the public schools.
Equally important with the value of the materials thus saved and used is that of the establishment of the habit of thrift on the part of the boys and girls. This personal thrift should be developt into community thrift and this again into national thrift.
DEMOCRATIC FACTORS IN AMERICAN EDUCATION
A. DUNCAN YOCUM, PROFESSOR OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, PHILADELPHIA, PA. Educational thinkers and workers have been so usefully concerned with the contributions that education can make to the war that the larger and more enduring effects of the war on education have been, for the time being, overlookt. As we emphasize the aspects of education necessary to the winning of the war we must become equally conscious of those phases of education thru which our democracy must be made more complete and of the adjustment of educational aims and values to the great changes which the war has already brought about and the gigantic social and political problems that promise to compel their own solution at its close. If America's democracy fails to purify and complete itself in the struggle for its continued existence it may, even tho victorious, be transformed into some form of class control, undemocratic in its ideals and its substance, no matter under what name it masquerades. It is only the form of democracy that is preserved and transmitted thru war. If the spirit and substance of democracy are to be preserved and made more universal and controlling, it must be thru education as well as war.
The most immediate and conspicuous effect of the war on education is an emphasis on the scientific and technical fields. The movement already begun by Dr. Eliot and Dr. Flexner to broaden the scope of scientific instruction in the elementary school has received new impetus from the opportunity for service and promotion given to scientifically and technically trained men in various war activities and the consequent inrush of students into scientific and technical courses in colleges and universities at a time when attendance has seriously fallen off in almost every other department.
The selection and adaptation to common use of subject-matter essential to intelligent citizenship and until now reserved for the specialist and not even required of most college students constitute a great national service. There is no little danger, however, that these efforts may unite with the pressure of immediate war needs to give national sanction to an overemphasis on science in the course of study and a too exclusively vocational common school.
The educational program for a completer democracy.-(1) American education must become more democratic in its administration and methods of instruction. (2) In courses of study democratic rights and duties must be more definitely, inclusively, and adequately specified. (3) Specific social training must not only be prevented from excluding general education but must become a means to a general education as definitely and efficiently democratic as specific training itself. (4) Not only school officials, but the American people as a whole, must be made more concretely and certainly conscious of the democracy and therefore the immediate and preeminent importance of every phase and detail of school work that is essential to a completer democracy. (5) The education of Americans to a completer democracy is a national function which must not be left to the varying consciousness and efficiency of community or state but, like school attendance itself, must be compelled.
The obvious need of more definite training in specifically democratic rights and duties.—The necessity for more definite, inclusive, and adequate democracy in specifically social phases of instruction is even more obvious. The school must teach, not only obedience to law, but equality of legal rights; not only the necessity for taxation, but equality in levy and assessment. Every aspect of equal service must be definitely included and adequately and economically taught, not merely as information, but as ideals, viewpoints, and habits strong enough to control action and constitute character.
The undemocracy of the leisure that results from equally trained skill.The form of democracy with which Americans, both native and foreignborn, are most familiar is the democracy of equal opportunity, which in some of its ultimate outcomes is not democratic at all. Inequalities in mental ability are made more unequal thru education. Moreover, differences in ability become vastly greater as they are transformed by equal education into inequalities in skill. The wish to perform public service in accordance with one's ability, intensified as it now is thru the work of the school as a cooperative community, is splendidly democratic. But skill itself is undemocratic because it is unequal in its immediate financial compensation and in the ultimate social compensations which represent the individual side of community service.
Democratic social intercourse essential to a stable democracy.-If it is to remain democratic, equal education to unequal skill must have as its inseparable concomitant the equal enjoyment of leisure. The essential factors in equal social intercourse are: correctness of speech, a natural observance of fundamental social conventions, combined with the common feelings and ideals of which they are but the outward expression; ordinary skill in games and amusements; common tastes and appreciations; a breadth of experience and interest which thru its many-sidedness is more likely to include much common to all individuals; the possession of general ideas with common and definite associations which suggest common interests in the most varying individual knowledge and experience; and common feelings, ideals, and attitudes of mind as the educational product of a literature that emotionalizes the older moralities and what is most fundamental in democracy.
The democracy of general education. To all this must be added a general intellectual training in the sense of both knowledge and intellectual interests, many-sided enough for most individuals to have them in common, and of general ideas with a common enough suggestiveness to interrelate widely different individual experiences. Social intercourse is not equal and democratic when men look down upon each other or up to each other from isolated intellectual levels and unrelated phases of human experience.
The necessity for a democratic literature.--Finally no people can be truly democratic if its popular literature develops feelings, ideals, and motives that are unmoral, individualistic, or aristocratic. Nietzschianism and supermanism interpreted and made appealing thru popular German literature, with its contempt for the "older moralities,” its freedom of development for strong individuals, and its justification of the neglect, the misuse, or the elimination of the weak, is the emotional justification for the Prussianism of today. What is most democratic, both in American life and in the history of the race, emotionalized both by the dramatic content of history and by the emotional form of literature, must with equal completeness and efficiency be transformed into the ideals and motives that will compel democratic feeling and democratic life.
A growing consciousness of these democratic elements already existing in American education, and their consequent emphasis, conspicuousness, and efficiency are the only means by which democracy will be made safe for the world thru education while the world is being made safe for democracy thru war.