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to the proposition that there is any necessity for expending such sums of money, or for undertaking to fortify our coast at all.

For my part I do not see how anyone who studies American industry and our international position can help feeling that we are already spending a larger proportion of our national income upon preparation for war than is justified by any dangers which actually threaten us.

Now I believe that if the students of economics would, acting together, that is, if this Association would persistently, in season and out of season, call attention to the danger of spending upon war an undue proportion or our national income, we should be able to affect very materially, in the course of years, the policy of the government on this point. This may serve as a mere illustration of the proposition that fundamental to any large consideration of practical economic problems and of the actual conduct of a national economy must be this question of how we propose to distribute our expenditure, for what purposes we intend to spend the national wealth which we have once created.

And as I believe that we have thus far spent entirely too much money in war and for war purposes, so I believe that we have spent far too little money for education. And it is this problem which I wish to present to your attention tonight.

The manner of the consumption of wealth has a great and fundamental effect upon the production of wealth and upon the possible increase in the production of wealth. That is, some forms of consumption are distinctive hindrances to the increase of wealth and no theory of production, no system of practical politics can be in any sense complete or satisfactory which does not bear this fact in mind.

So this evening I desire to discuss somewhat fully, from the standpoint of practical politics, the effect of a broad scheme of national education upon the increase of national wealth and what policy we ought to adopt in regard to it.

The subject of my remarks this evening is, the Economic Significance of a Comprehensive System of National Education.

I mean by system of national education in this title, a system of education so extensive in its scope as to reach every child, and for that matter every adult too, within the bounds of the United States or in the territory subject to its jurisdiction.

I mean by a comprehensive system of national education, a system which will excite and develop all sides of the child and

adult, which will call forth and train all the forms of talent and ability to be found in the children and adults of a great nation.

I mean by the economic significance of such system, the relation which it would bear to the production of national wealth.

I need not say that no system of national education, in the sense in which I use it here, has ever existed in the United States. There are thousands, nay one may say hundreds of thousands, of children within the United States and within the territory subject to its jurisdiction who have never been reached by systematic school education of any sort. There are thousands more children in the United States and in the territory subject to its jurisdiction who have never had the benefit of any schooling beyond a mere attempt to bring to them the opportunity to learn, in a feeble way, the elements of the three R's; and almost no attempt has been made to reach in any systematic way, for the purpose of developing all the talent within its children, the population of any single state of the American union. Nor has any attempt worth mention up to the present been made to strengthen and supplement such elementary education as is brought within the reach of the young children of the community by a system of encouraging and sustaining the further prosecution of the education of the schools, in later youth and earlier or later adult life.

All economists have recognized, though I think in a very inadequate way, the importance to the production of national wealth of the intelligence, knowledge, and skill of the laborer. It would be an observation that could scarcely escape the attention of any student of economy at any period of the world's history that the more intelligent and better trained the laborer may be, the more efficient would he be, other things being equal, as an instrument of production in the general scheme of national economy. But even these economic writers who have given most attention to this aspect and have dwelt upon it most fully, seem to me not to have realized the possibilities for the increase of national wealth which lie in the increased intelligence, education, and skill of the laborer. Very few of them have recognized the extent to which this intelligence, this education, and this skill may be increased by the conscious taking thought and conscious action of the community, directed toward this specific end. Still fewer of them have recognized that an educational system, in this large sense in which I have used it, may above all be an important factor in the development of that directing, managerial, initiating

talent which forms such an important element in the system of national production, and which distinguishes nations and races in quite as marked a way as the quality of the laborer himself.

I am aware that some authorities are inclined to deny that a nation may by conscious effort increase the number or the potency of these fundamental elements of national production. They are inclined to think that just as the coal, and natural gas, and gold and silver, and the possibly arable land are things given once for all, so national talent and national ability are, so to speak, fixed quantities. A nation cannot materially increase either their amount or their potency by any conscious effort looking toward their promotion.

Thus the great Bavarian economist and statistician, Wilhelm V. Hermann, one of the shrewdest of the German writers on economics, is very outspoken in his view that no nation can through its school system or its educational system really increase greatly the efficiency of its national industry. He says, "wie er geboren, so ist der Mench sein leben lang:" "As the child is born so the man remains as long as he lives:" though even he would allow, I presume, that if we could have caught his grandfather and trained him and also his father we might have improved the grandson.

But, I believe that this is a mistaken view. I share the unconscious feeling which seems to animate the American people to an ever increasing extent that, by systematic effort, the latent national ability may be called forth and may be trained to such an extent as to make the result of such an educational system essentially different in quality and in kind, and not merely in quantity, from that which would be the outcome of letting things take care of themselves.

It seems quite probable that a people like that of the United States may, by systematic and persistent effort, develop to absolutely unheard of and undreamed of proportions, the ability of the nation in all the different directions in which human faculties may be exerted.

Every student of human civilization must be struck by two things: first, the large number of different elements which must conspire together at any one time in order to produce a great increase in national wealth; and, on the other hand, how few people after all in the history of the race have really contributed in any important way to working out the problems upon whose

solution the next great advance in civilization depended. No such production of national wealth as has occurred within the last generation could have taken place, of course, without the cooperation of countless influences reaching back in their development and origin into the remotest periods of the past. But very small is the number of men after all who have really contributed by their scientific discovery, or their inventive genius, in any important way to this progress. If we could multiply that small number by two, or three, or four, or five, or ten, or a hundredas might easily be done if we were to adopt a system of education which will discover, call forth, and train all the talent of the community to its highest efficiency-the progress of civilization would be correspondingly hastened. The human race has spent such a large part of its total wealth in war that we have little idea as to the enormous progress that might be achieved if the energy and attention of the race could be turned as fully and completely toward this problem of developing the race on the side of its industrial talents as it has been turned to the work of destruction.

This progress does not always seem rapid. The race, of course, must have time to develop, must have time to grow, in order to be capable of the intellectual effort, nay even of the prolonged physical effort, involved in the production of such enormous quantities of material wealth as have been produced within the last century. It is inconceivable that the African or the American Indian, as Columbus knew him, or generally speaking any barbarous peoples, should develop within a generation or even two generations those particular qualities to that particular extent which are necessary to develop and maintain a high degree of civilization. The mere qualities of endurance, or persistence, of imagination, necessary to enable the civilized man to continue at even the rudest of civilized occupations long enough to work out their natural results are lacking to the barbarian.


Now, of course, it is undoubtedly true that the possibilities of any system of education are strictly limited by these fundamental facts founded in the nature of individuals and of races. given the civilized white or yellow man as we know him today, as the result of countless generations of ever expanding civilizations, my proposition is that such a nation can, by a conscious effort, increase to a very great extent the production of national

wealth, by discovering, developing, and training the productive ability of its population.

The American people have been much concerned of late about the conservation of their natural resources, and they may well be thus exercised. Waste represents an absolute loss in the human economy. There is no doubt that we have permitted the national wealth of the country to be exploited in an uneconomical way in many directions, owing to the greed, or shortsightedness, or both, of private interests. This exploitation has steadily been accompanied at many points by waste. Waste is, economically speaking, a sin for which there is no pardon. Its penalty must be borne either by the people who are guilty of it, or by those who succeed them, and the American people has undoubtedly been wasteful in the exploitation of its natural resources. We have mined our coal oftentimes in such a way as to destroy forever the value of a large part of it. We have allowed our natural gas in great quantities to escape into the atmosphere or be burned as it came from the bowels of the earth, with no resulting economic gain. We have undoubtedly used at many points wasteful methods in the cutting off of our forests, and have failed to observe that the larger interest of the community as a whole demanded a greater care in the removal of our timber wealth.

But after all, the mere preservation of natural resources is not in any proper sense of that term a conservation of natural resources, that is, such a care of the natural resources as will work out the largest economic result. The American Indian had preserved the natural resources of the North American continent up to the coming of Christopher Columbus, and for anything that we can see would have preserved them for countless generations. The Mexican peon still preserves the natural resources of great stretches of the most fertile Mexican territory. The savages of Africa, and generally speaking of all countries, preserve the natural resources; but we can hardly speak of them as conserving them in any proper sense.

There will naturally be great differences of opinion as to whether any particular policy in exploiting the forests or the mines or the fields is, economically speaking, wasteful or not. That which seems to be wasteful at one time and under one set of conditions may be the height of economy under other conditions. The lavish use of natural resources may in some places be the condition of developing a civilization which may subsequently find it necessary

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