Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Realizing that without a scientific education the battle in the industrial field is well nigh hopeless, the proletarian has sent his son to college at great sacrifice, hoping that the ultimate remuneration will over balance the present self-denial and inconvenience. In spite of the great burden and cost attendant upon giving his son an education the enrollment in nearly every college has increased tremendously. This increase has been followed by the inevitable result of an overcrowding of the professions, so that steps are being taken to raise the standard in all lines of practical education. *In the medical department of the U. of P. the entrance requirement in 1909 will be an equivalent of work done in the first year of the college department; in 1910 they will be equivalent to the work done in the first and second year college. It is proposed that ultimately a college degree, a bachelor's degree, shall be demanded before one can undertake the study of medicine. † At a dinner before the alumni of Jefferson Medical College, Wm. Potter, the president of the college, announced that in the near future steps would be taken to increase the entrance requirements. Throughout all professional branches in most of the large colleges the standard is being raised. This in itself is no assurance that the struggle of the professional man after graduation will be mitigated to any large extent. The poorly paid professional men of Germany, where education is the “summus mons,” illustrates this most forcibly. Anyone who will investigate the subject carefully will find that Germany's professional men, in spite of their excellence and technical proficiency, are but a few degrees in advance of the clerks of this country in the matter of remuneration,

Not only within but without the college walls as well is competition becoming keener. Not a small amount of work is being performed by correspondence schools. Men who are unable to stop work and go direct to college take up a correspondence course and study during spare moments. Of course, after a hard day's toil the mind is not very receptive, but the condition of the worker is such that he is willing to make a superhuman effort to gain even an inch in material advancement. And yet we are beginning to see what the effects of this wholesale education under the present capitalist system will be. The professor will be in exactly the same position as many a medical graduate-hunting for a job. As long as the machinery of production and distribution remains in private ownership, education alone will not better the condition of humanity one bit.

. See U. of P. catalog.
+ Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 7, 1908.

The engineer,--civil, electrical, chemical, mining or mechanical; the chemist, the physician, the dentist, the lawyer and the teacher will find in the very near future, if not at present, that unemployment is not a condition confined solely to unskilled workers, but a condition existing in the professions as well. To verify this I need only refer to the Census of 1900, Vol. "Occupations," p. ccxxxii. Percentage of unemployed by occupations to whole number employed in each occupation:

Males. Females.

1890 1900 1890 1900 Teachers and professors in colleges, etc...30.8 55.0 33.1 61.2 Engineers, civil etc.; electricians and surveyors

9.9 11.8 Literary and Scientific persons.

5.4 7.5 7.2 11.6 Architects, designers, draftsmen, etc....... 4.5 6.8 Other professional service..

5.5

5.8 Journalists

3.0 4.0 4.2 6.5 Clergymen

2.1 3.6

4.7 7.5 Dentists

2.4 3.3 Lawyers

1.8 2.6 Physicians and surgeons..

1.4 1.9 6.7 4.2 On p. cxxviii of the same Census is shown that in 1890, 15.1% of those in the professions were unemployed and in 1900, 26.3% were unemployed. What the Census of 1910 will show is not at all hard to surmise or calculate mathematically, rather than predict. It will be near 40%. Consequently it is not the amount of brains or training a person possesses that determines his or her remuneration, but how many others there are in the same field waiting for an opportunity to offer his or her labor. The law of the Jungle prevails among college men just as inexorably as among unskilled laborers.

A new departure in college activity and in line with the economic evolution of the university was undertaken in 1905, when the "Intercollegiate Socialist Society" was launched at 112 East 19th St., New York City. Columbia University organized a chapter which was followed by similar organizations, so that now chapters exist in many of the large universities. The movement is young yet and promises to assume an imposing factor in college life. It is only natural to expect that the movement which was so ably championed by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Ferdinand Lassalle—all of whom were college men-should obtain a strong footing in what is now conceded to be the last stronghold of capitalism -the university.

Socialism, it must be understood, did not emanate from the rostrum of the university, but has only penetrated col

1

lege walls by sheer force of worth. It is intensely practicable, not only in what it seeks to accomplish but in what it is accomplishing at the present time. It is a movement of the workers—both physical and intellectual—to throw off the chains of wage slavery and to stand as free men and women.

Finally, there is a swing, a conscientious spirit of real progressiveness inherent in the Socialist movement such as exists in no other organization. Its purpose is single and definite; its purpose is to free the working class. To be a Socialist now to watch the movement grow step by step, to see one outpost of capitalism after another succumb to the world-wide, persistent efforts of the Socialists, is like reaping the crop of a well-planted orchard.

HENRY FLURY, A. B. (C. H. S.),

650 N. 10th St., Philadelphia, (President University of Pennsylvania Chapter of the

Intercollegiate Socialist Society.)

The Cause of Good Times.

[ocr errors]

HAT THE RECURRENT periods of com

mercial and industrial depression which beset the path of modern society are due to the restricted markets of capitalism, which are in turn occasioned by the systematic exploitation of the workers, has become a commonplace of socialistic propaganda. But it is important to

remember that the bare fact of exploita tion does not alone constitute an explanation of these periods. Under previous industrial systems, chattel slavery or feudalism, for example, the workers were exploited even more severely than under capitalism, yet the phenomenon of hard times was unknown. The reason obviously was that under these systems production was carried on for use and not for sale. The surplus taken from the labor of the slave or serf was consumed by the master or lord. Consumption was thus always made to match production. There being no production for the market, and, in fact, no market, there could, of course, be no glutting of the market. It is because under capitalism, production is primarily for the purpose of sale, and the surplus taken from the workers must first pass through the market before the exploiter can enter into a personal enjoyment of it, that capitalism encounters the phenomenon of hard times.

But, while the combined fact of exploitation and production for sale explain hard times, they do not explain good times. Were these combined circumstances in constant operation, the period of commercial and industrial depression would be unbroken. The truth is, that at periodic intervals capitalistic production, like production in a slave or serf economy, is carried on, not for sale, but for immediate consumption, or what is the equivalent of immediate consumption, by the capitalist himself. These periodic intervals are those in which the capitalist is reinvesting his surplus in expanded means of production — and consequent exploitation. When thus recapitalizing his surplus,' he builds more railroads, more factories, more ships, more gigantic office buildings, and so on. But he does not build any of these for sale, on the contrary, since they constitute the very tools of exploitation, he religiously keeps them himself.

During these intervals of recapitalization, therefore, there is no glutting of the market. Instead, since the wages paid to labor for thus expanding the national industrial plant are not immediately reproduced in double their value in goods offered for sale, they suffice to purchase all of such commodities as are produced. Markets are ample, trade is brisk and "prosperity" reigns. The social capacity for consumption may even, for a time, surpass production. By thus engendering in the working class a purchasing power which equals or exceeds the amount of commodities proffered in the market, recapitalization stimulates itself and becomes a connected social process and a distinct economic period.

[graphic]

Yet, in the nature of things, recapitalization cannot go on forever. Not only is the fund available for recapitalization exhausted in time, but the expanded means of production must be put to use or they will return no profits. A period of production for sale, that is, of producing commodities for general and final consumption, succeeds to the period of recapitalization. All of the expanded means of production now pour this augmented flood of commodities on the market. Immediately the bitter social consequences of exploitation manifest themselves. Markets glut, because the wages paid to labor are only sufficient to buy back about half of what labor is producing. First the retail trade, then wholesaling and manufacture, slacken, sag and stop. Thousands of workers are thrown out of employment thus destroying their purchasing power and further narrowing the market. The fabric of credit, already overstrained by the process of recapitalization, bursts as under the increased tension, and the terrors of panic are added to the miseries of commercial and industrial collapse. At the very moment when the nation is ready to enjoy the advantages of its expanded industrial plant, the punishment for the social injustice which it tolerates falls upon it.

In the formula, therefore, that periods of recapitalization are periods of good times, and periods of producing "consumption goods" for sale in the market are periods of hard times, we have both an analysis of the cycle of capitalistic industry, and also an explanation of that periodicity in the recurrence of commercial and industrial crises which has proved so puzzling. It is important that all socialistic speakers and writers during the coming presidential campaign should clearly understand and insistently present these facts. Never has a crisis found the apologists of capitalism so bankrupt of plausible explanation as the present one, and never have the people at large been so receptive to the truth.

CLARENCE MEILY.

« НазадПродовжити »