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business of dealing in these luxuries due to the increase in the earnings of that class, which constitutes the great bulk of consumers.
Our present excess profits tax is not based upon war profits at all. It is a straddle between two theories and is therefore extremely unjust in its application. Moreover, I question the expediency of any tax of this kind during the
On the other hand, we have no tax whatever on the extravagances of the rich. It would seem natural that the first and heaviest taxes should be levied upon extra houses, automobiles, servants and all food, drink, and clothing which is non-essential.
President Wilson has said that no man should profit out of the war. The statement is admirable and economically sound. He has done much through certain channels to prevent profiteering. But the principal check still lies ready to hand and largely unused. It is the economic force of taxation. Labor has profiteered to an extraordinary degree, and this has doubtless been one of the main factors in holding back our war programme. It is a sign of the times and was, perhaps, to be expected. But labor is gradually becoming educated to the meaning of war, and it is only natural that it should be the last portion of the people to grasp the economic principles involved.
In the first year of the war we planned and expected to spend about eighteen billion dollars. Up to June 30, 1918, we had actually expended twelve billion dollars. The money would have been available, but, as I have said, money will not win the war. It was the services and goods, which will win the war, that were not forthcoming. This failure to fulfill our aims has prolonged the war. And we shall surely continue to fall short until the people understand that financing war is not a banker's problem but a problem in human labor and self-denial to be worked out by the entire citizenship.
THE REVOLUTION IN FARMING
By E. G. NOURSE
AMERICAN agriculture in the nineteenth century ran
and . A landed domain of imperial extent and fabulous richness was opened up; fields, flocks, and families expanded astonishingly; our exports rose to dizzy heights; and the home market sweat with its abundance. But in spite of all this pioneer exuberance, this rude plenty, these outer trappings of success, we had not really established a sound and suitable type of agriculture upon a permanent foundation. We had performed an amazing “stunt,” but had not, by any means, caught the stride of settled farming industry. The country went through an orgy of exploitation such as a new land may indulge in only once, and it was destined to come to a swift end. The bubble burst in the late 'eighties; and in the early 'nineties a profound agrarian depression gripped the land. Many of its after-effects are still with us. Faced with a rural exodus, depleted fertility, diminished exports, a rocketing cost of living, and the imperative necessities of war, we are now being brought to realize that American agriculture must be thoroughly reorganized upon the basis of modern industrial efficiency.
The vastness of that task is enough to stagger. For thousands of years the art of the husbandman has been to join hard labor to nature's whimsical activities, and to thank God at harvest time that the result was not more meagre. He has taken for himself such a living as he could get along with, and traded off such surplus as he could spare. He has been a man of slender learning and few social contacts. Now we propose within one generation to make him
heir to all the complex knowledge that the world holds, and to demand in return that he fill the very large place marked out for him in our high-pressure industrialized régime. There must be no more placid following of nature's pacethe farmer must learn to know her hidden forces and how to turn them to the service of mankind. He must seize control and drive at the modern world's top speed.
To those who first cast about for means to set for the farmer a faster pace than had been demanded of him, it seemed that the new-born “scientific agriculture” would meet the need. They entertained a simple faith that their neat little systems of soil chemistry and evolutionary biology would “turn the trick.” They also expected that the further development of power machinery would help on the mere mechanical side of the problem.
But it did not take many years to show that the introduction of new methods calls for a change in personnel and organization, in fact, a thorough recasting of the whole business of farming. At first the effort was made to have every farmer acquire the new knowledge and secure the new equipment for putting it into operation. But before agricultural colleges and experiment stations had been established a generation, they had amassed a store of learning such that no man could hope to master it all, or even that part which might be serviceable in the particular line of production in which he was engaged. And the scientist continued to threaten the world with yet more. For, said he, we are only now getting down to the really important inner secrets of production. This experience has made it very clear that, if we are to get the benefit of research, if we are to take full advantage of science as the handmaiden of agriculture not less than of other lines of human effort, we must devise a new type of organization which shall permit of dividing up the total work of agriculture, not on the geographic basis of one hundred and sixty acres of land, but upon the basis of individual expertness. We must have workers specially
trained in different phases of what has now become a highly complex profession.
Likewise, the improved methods evolved by diligent investigators demanded new equipment-larger and more varied implements; commercial fertilizers; drainage and irrigation works; silos, pedigreed seeds, and dynamite. Inventors and manufacturers at once showed themselves prompt and assiduous in furnishing aids to the farmer's endeavor. Indeed, their zeal was almost disconcerting. Just as the new learning got beyond the reach of a single man's mind, so the new machinery quickly got beyond the reach of the individual wallet. In a word, modern agriculture has become not merely scientific; it has become also capitalistic. And it is painfully evident that the old farm economy makes scant provision for the mustering of capital.
Like every other modern industry, agriculture also tends more and more to become highly commercialized. The present-day farmer, if he seeks to get maximum results, must draw his materials from distant sources of supply and sell his products in every market where dollars and the desire for his wares can be found. Not infrequently he must change his line of production and turn to satisfying a distant demand that formerly he knew not of. And for the purposes of a commercialized agriculture, he needs both mercantile and financial agencies of a high order.
This three-fold character of the new agriculture-scientific, capitalistic, commercial—has rendered the simple technical and business methods of the past obsolete. In so far as they have been adhered to, the power of agriculture to play its part has been abridged, and its opportunities to prosper from that service have been not less curtailed. While, on the one hand, the world has clamored for more of all the products of the farm, and while, on the other hand, the farmer's production and income have been cramped severely, he has been unable to avail himself of these new means of economic grace because his whole system has been
organized upon the family-farm pattern of more primitive times. The farmer has been a belated survival of seventeenth-century modes of life in the midst of twentiethcentury needs and opportunities.
We must not suppose that the remedy is to be found in swift industrialization upon the steel-mill or automobilefactory order. Yet the essential features of economic organization which have brought efficiency into industrial pursuits must be incorporated into agriculture or else it must remain the slow and backward brother in the family group of our economic life. This we do not believe will be the
In fact, all around us are evidences that the needful readjustments are going forward. Not so fast as we should like, perhaps; not after the most efficacious pattern always; but with a speed and thoroughness which guarantee that the changes wrought in the course of this generation will be nothing less than revolutionary.
To understand the nature of our agrarian revolution, we should bear in mind that agriculture has been going through the same transition as that which came earlier to other callings—to trade, manufactures, and transportation. In order to meet the needs of a new technique, they have organized large-scale business units, as a means of securing operative, commercial, and financial efficiency. Industrialized manufacturing reduces the size of the task of each worker to the minimum requirement possible, so as to secure the maximum of manual dexterity. It groups workers in crews of such size as to give the greatest efficiency with equipment most suitable to the task in hand. It gives superintendence over to the charge of persons both chosen and trained with special reference to executive fitness. Technical details, such as the selection, installation, and adjustment of machines or the selection of raw materials, are entrusted only to engineers, master mechanics, or testing laboratories, while commercial functions are similarly segregated for expert handling. Since buyers must “bear” and sellers must “bull” the