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essentially one of self-instruction. The author believes that its chief merit will lie in the fact that students may be discouraged from making final conclusions, and that they may see that they are just beginning “the study of a large and ever-widening subject.” The work is intended for colleges, high schools and independent students.
In the introduction the author traces the development of Economic Science, and shows its relations to other branches of knowledge, particularly history. He shows that at present there is a strong demand for economic instruction, and from the point of view of "maturity and completeness.” economics does not need to give way to other sciences. The problem of most importance is considered to be the method of instruction. Professor Taylor does not believe that economics as presented by Mill and other standard writers can be taught successfully to students below college juniors, unless the teacher is well trained in economics. The greatest harm, however, which the author sees in the use of such books as Mill's, comes from the giving of fixed conclusions. The author's method therefore not only aims to make the subject more intelligible, but to prevent fixed conclusions. This is done by teaching the subject inductively. The student's experience and his observations, to which he is stimulated by suggestive questions, should furnish the body of knowledge which is to constitute his Political Economy. In the creation of an investigative spirit, lies the great value of the method.
The author appreciates the danger of economic instruction given by teachers unfamiliar with the subject. To such teachers he recommends as a substitute in the high schools, economic history. In such cases he thinks it may be taught as a preparation for the study of political economy in the university, and as a good substitute for political economy for students who will never go to the university.
With respect to points of view, the book is divided in two parts. In the first, the public point of view is treated negatively, while the positive interests are those of persons and classes. In the second part, the public point of view is considered positively in the treatment of general prosperity. The following subjects are considered in the first part: Fluctuating Prices, Steady Prices, Profits, Wages and Speculation ; in the second part, are discussed Industry, Industrial Centres, Luxury, and Capital.
In discussing wages, the author divides producers into (1) those identified with changes which increase production, and (2) the followers of antiquated methods. While the income which goes to the non-progressive classes is not so passive as rent, it is more passive than profits, because it corresponds more nearly to animal than to psychic activities. Laborers calculate somewhat in shifting their employments and in moving from place to place. Professor Taylor thinks that the development of capitalistic industry tends to give the wage-earner greater freedom by decreasing the rigor of specialization. The demand is growing more and more in favor of " trustworthiness" as against skill. Then, too, education makes the laborer more flexible.
The chapter on speculation is a discussion of the legitimacy of risk. The author argues that an institution must be judged from the time point of view. What is normal is right, but what is abnormal is not necessarily bad, because the abnormal in one epoch often becomes the normal in the succeeding epoch. All classes of business are on a speculative basis, and so the “test of legitimacy is not uncertainty but robbery.” Speculation at the expense of others is illegitimate. As markets become larger, market prices become more important, the rates of wages and profits tend to become more uniform, and speculation becomes a less dominant factor. In the chapter on industry, the author continues his investigation into the legitimacy of economic methods based upon the facts which economic history reveals. When the serious business of life was war and economic conditions were subordinate to the political, kings and princes were identified with great economic projects. After the transition from a warrior to an industrial state, the old methods were still applied. Piracy went hand in hand with commerce, and kings contributed to buccaneering industry. These methods were then legitimate. Great risks were involved in nearly all investments. State interference was the best means of aiding enterprise, and consequently companies were formed with duties and priviledges definitely defined, and monopoly of trade and enterprise prevailed almost everywhere. Modern industrial processes and inventions made possible quicker communication, wider markets, and a greater variety of products, while opportunities for the development of individual initiative were given which led to the freedom of industry from state interference. Decrease in business risks has accompanied a decline in state interference, and wide speculation and chartered trading companies have disappeared.
The psychical nature of Economic Science is well illustrated by showing why countries in the temperate zones are richer than tropical countries. The statement frequently made that anything is wealth " which saves to men trouble, exertion and fatigue” needs to be qualified. Appreciation is an essential condition. The gratuitous satisfaction of wants has no influence in stimulating effort to supply other wants. Man does not become richer unless he applies the effort saved to supplying other wants.
The dominant feature of the book is the method of instruction which it presents. While a number of works have been written
recently with the purpose of placing the teaching of economics on an inductive basis, none have gone so far in this direction as “Exercises in Economics." Professor Taylor has doubtless outlined the course of development which must take place in the teaching of economics not only in the secondary schools, but also in the more elementary classes in the university. Nor is there any reason why a science like economics, the facts of which are within the experience of every one, cannot be taught inductively. While the subject matter of the book is subsidiary to the method, the contents of the book shows that the author is fully in sympathy with the latest development in economic theory. He believes that economics is fundamental to other social sciences; its relation to other branches of knowledge should therefore be definitely shown. The book is full of helpful suggestions both in theory and in method.
J. E. HAGERTY. Philadelphia.
Lohnpolitik und Lohntheorie, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des
Minimallohnes. By DR. OTTO VON ZWIEDENECK-SÜDENHORST. Pp. xiv, 410. Price, 9 mk. Leipzig : Duncker & Humblot, 1900.
Problems in distribution are receiving special attention from economists to-day, and the interest therein in Germany is as strong as it is in this country. The book under review is a typical German monograph, which traces a single idea, that of wage regulation, through history and theory. It is, however, a plea rather than a mere presentation. About half the book is devoted to a discussion and criticism of the various wage theories, while the remainder is equally divided between a description of the practical attempts at wage regulation in various countries and a plea for further state action. The author begins by defining his position briefly. Wages are not determined by the law of supply and demand, which at most can explain only the fluctuations, nor by the cost of living, but by custom. It would seem from this that Dr. Zwiedeneck-Südenhorst has in mind German conditions, and especially those which characterize agricultural communities. Yet he draws all his facts and illustrations from the cities, and largely from English practice, and expressly rules agricultural wages out of the discussion.
The development of governmental policies is next traced in outline from the Diocletian Edict of 301. During the period of the “geschlossene Hauswirtschaft,” when production was confined to the home, there was no wage, and hence no necessity for regulating wages. With the growing independence of industrial labor came
conflicts of interests, and with these the regulation of prices and wages by positive enactment. The peculiar characteristic of all the early ordinances lay in establishing a maximum limit beyond which wages might not go. Such a policy prevailed until well into the eighteenth century. Not until then was the right of the individual to a worthy existence emphasized or were the workers aroused to a consciousness of their rights. It was reserved to the nineteenth century, however, to see the interests of the working classes fully recognized and conserved.
The movement, thus briefly outlined, is traced in detail in the industrial history of Germany and England, for which latter the author has depended largely on Ashley, Cunningham and Webb. He then takes up in turn the various wage theories, and inquires into their teaching in reference to wage regulation. This is found to differ considerably in the individualistic, the catholic-social, the socialistic, and the ethico-social schools, into which he groups the various writers. Under the last he considers von Thünen and Rodbertus, the latter's views, with their insistence on ideal justice and recognition of the solidarity of the interests of society and of the working classes, meeting with the author's warm approval. But through all the theories there runs a common note-the recognition of the ethical justness of the wage-earners' claims. In this theoretical part of the essay the characterization of the catholic writers and their attitude toward the wage question is the best and the most original portion of the book.
After a detailed account of the actual development and status of wage policy in England, especially the methods of the trades unions, and a shorter description of the regulations in other countries—two pages being given to the United States—the author turns to a consideration of the best methods of state regulation of wages. He first establishes the need of such regulation by a series of arguments which we may reduce to the following somewhat elliptical syllogism: Freedom of contract is at the basis of our present system of distribution; wages as they exist to-day are undoubtedly too low; therefore, this method must be corrected and a living wage secured for the workingman by means of state interference. The only really vital question is, how can this best be done.
Such methods as profit-sharing, a sliding scale, etc., are dismissed by the author as insufficient and of limited application only. In general a larger share in industry may be secured to the worker either through the intervention of the state, by direct employment or by law; or, without such intervention, through the collective bargaining of the two parties, or less frequently through the voluntary recognition of the laborers' claims by the employer. If possible, wages should be fixed by means of collective bargaining, but a bargain so made should be enforced by law. When this method is not followed then a minimum wage should be adopted, which may be based on a fair prevailing rate or the rate recognized by the trades unions. Such a minimum need not be uniform for a large district, indeed should not be, but should recognize geographical and other differences. The objections to such a system are finally noted, but dismissed as irrelevant or insufficient.
Probably Dr. Zwiedeneck-Südenhorst has made out as strong a case as is possible for his position, but many readers will be inclined to deny his premises, and many more bis conclusions. Where his arguments are drawn from history, the feeling is strong that he has so interpreted the facts as to substantiate his theory. In the main, however, the basis of the claim is ethical; the right of the laborer to a larger share in the social income is assumed almost without argument, and the greater part of the book is devoted to the question how this may be secured for him. The reliance upon legislation to secure the desired end is doubtless characteristic of the German attitude toward social and industrial questions, but does not commend itself in the same degree to American students. Then, too, however pessimistic one may be with regard to our economic history in the past, certain recent tendencies may justify us in being somewhat more optimistic with regard to the future. The increasing resort to “collective bargaining,” even on a national scale (as in the metal trades) and a growing feeling of responsibility on the part of the employers (evidenced even in the recent coal strike), seem to indicate that a resort to such drastic measures as Dr. Zwiedeneck-Südenborst proposes is as needless as undesirable. The book is valuable, however, as being the fairest and most complete presentation of this question which we have had.
ERNEST L. BOGART. Oberlin College.