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humanity which has not always learned that it was in need of bread. Professional economists, who pride themselves on their "science," have fallen into the same mode of thought. They are forever on the lookout for "solutions," unmindful of the fact that half the problems which they discuss have never been correctly stated. With them the question which any new work suggests is what does it propose, and forthwith they proceed to discuss conclusions with but too little regard for the processes by which they are reached. There are obvious reasons for such a tendency, and we are all of us only too prone to follow it. But in judging such a work as that under consideration it leaves us in the lurch.
Dr. Lindsay writes without tendencies; his effort is to give us an objective account of the movement of prices of the precious and other metals. In discussing the causes of such movement he presents his arguments in a manner which permits the reader to judge for himself. With a self-control, which excites our admiration, he resists the glittering temptation to wander far astray into the field of monetary controversy, with which his subject has such intimate relations.
What are the standards of criticism to be applied to such a work? It is obvious that we cannot quarrel with it for belonging to a different class from the majority of new works which come under our notice, but must consider whether it is good of its own class. We must ask ourselves (1) Does it cover all the ground which the subject demands? (2) Does it bring together new or hitherto inaccessible materials? (3) Does it group familiar and new material in such a way as to throw greater light upon the subject? These are the questions which properly apply to a work, which like Dr. Lindsay's, collects the material for a judgment, instead of itself pronouncing a conclusion. Judged by them Dr. Lindsay's work is a very satisfactory and creditable performance. The deliberate, painstaking and conscientious methods of German scholarship could have found no more accurate exponent than this American disciple.
After a brief discussion of the economic importance of price movements, the author proceeds to a discussion of the methods of price statistics. The problem which confronts him is the proper method of comparing the prices of a group of articles at different periods. In short he has in technical language the problem of a proper index number. A brief but lucid discussion of the practice and proposals of several writers leads to what seems to us an obvious conclusion that an average of indices in which each article has weight according to its consumption best accords with theoretical requirements.
At this point we seem to be deflected from the line of the argument. A new sub-division of the work treats of the production and
consumption of the metals. Gold and silver occupy a leading place, and the method follows the type familiar in the well-known works of Suess. The official publications of the United States Government lend a confirmation to what is in the main a skillful condensation of Suess' work. In regard to iron, steel, coal, copper and lead the same method is followed, and here the author has sifted and arranged a mass of evidence, which at the same time guarantees the correctness of his conclusions and bears most striking witness to his industry.
All this material is perhaps a necessary interruption of the price discussion. In a third division of the work we return to prices. For each of the metals the prices in London, Hamburg and New York are carefully collated and appropriate indices given. The American prices are derived from the Statistical Abstract, and are, I believe, for the first time in German economic literature brought into direct connection with those of Europe. In concluding this division of his work the author makes an important comparison by groups of four price series, Sauerbeck's and the Economist English prices, the Hamburg prices and the American prices. The comparison is made by the methods of simple and weighted average.
The fall in price is clearly proven. It may not have required the author's searching analysis to convince many of the fact, but the most unwilling could not resist the conclusion if he were to follow the exposition. We take it that the author is chiefly concerned in establishing the fact of lower prices by methods which no criticism could undermine, which no cavil could shake. Hence we have given to this feature of the work the leading place in our consideration.
But so minute an inquiry could not fail to point out some at least of the causes of the movement. The author goes no further than his material allows him. Changes in production and transportation are inadequate to explain the entire fall of price. It appears probable, therefore, that the standard of value is responsible for the change, but "the inference is not conclusive since we cannot know the number of possible causes, nor be certain that the standard of value is the sole cause."
The caution implied in the last quotation appears to us carried to an extreme. It does not prevent the author from briefly discussing proposed changes in the standard of value. Such are the tabular standard and international bimetallism. But with his consistent moderation he goes no further than to suggest that the solution will probably be found in international regulation of money matters though the details of such action cannot yet be determined.
ROLAND P. FALKNER.
Agricultural Insurance in Organic Connection with Savings Banks, Land Credit and the Commutation of Debts. By DR. P. MAYET (translated from the German by REV. ARTHUR LLOYD, M. A.). London: Swan, Sonnenschein & Co.
This work, by Dr. Paul Mayet, formerly professor at the University of Tübingen, is written, in the main, from the Japanese standpoint, as will be understood when it is premised that the author has for some years been in the service of the Government of Japan, in which capacity he has materially helped that country to adapt her ways to Western example.
Though the book originally appeared in Japanese, it is fortunate that it has been offered to English-speaking peoples in their own idiom, since the problems which it discusses are unhappily only too universal. In indicating the general scope of Dr. Mayet's work we can afford to ignore the specifically Japanese portions, only saying in passing, that the information, and especially the statistics, collected by the author, possess great value, alike for political economists and for those whose interest in agricultural questions is of a more practical kind. Investigating the condition of Japanese agriculture, Dr. Mayet found everywhere signs that the cultivators of the soil suffered in two ways-in the first place from insufficient protection, or rather no protection at all, from the destructive effects of natural forces, such as flood, storm, hail, frost, and the like, and then from the absence of machinery for the proper organization and distribution of capital. That debt was general and ruin common amongst the farmers followed almost as a matter of course. Accordingly, he proceeded to devise a scheme whereby these defects might be remedied. Though keeping in mind the fact that he was dealing with a country having its own peculiar conditions and traditions, he determined, as far as possible, to place his proposals on a universal basis, so that other lands might benefit by his studies. The scheme which he prepared embraced the three branches: (1) Agricultural Insurance of a very comprehensive kind; (2) Agricultural Savings Banks, and (3) a system of Land Credit. These three institutions he proposes to organize in such a way that they shall be mutually operative and mutually supporting. Insurance he divides into three kinds: crop insurance, cattle insurance and building insurance. Of saving institutions he also proposes three: (1) Parochial Postal Savings Banks; (2) Rural Savings Societies, and (3) Provincial Savings and Land Credit Institutes. As to agricultural credit, he would give Provincial Savings and Land Credit Banks the power to issue debentures under fixed conditions, and finally, in order to place the encumbered farmer on a firm foundation, and give him a fresh start, he proposes to liberate him from his creditors by the help
of Arbitration Boards, which shall determine his liabilities and help him to meet them. It will be seen that the underlying principle of this work is agricultural insurance and credit on a mutual and cooperative basis. The idea is a good one, though not indeed new, either in theory or practice. The chief merit of Dr. Mayet's book is that he theorizes with reference to a concrete case, which he has first thoroughly investigated and mastered. One is struck throughout the book by the readiness-perhaps natural enough-with which the author proposes to apply to Japan the methods and institutions common to Germany, even to the extent of favoring compulsion where the desired results are not otherwise to be attained. It might seem as though Dr. Mayet had been ignorant that other countries have dealt with the same problems, and have discovered and applied expedients of their own, for which a certain success can be claimed. This one-sidedness is the only complaint that we have to find with the contents of the book. For the rest, the work is that of a thoroughgoing and above all of a systematic scholar. On the whole, there is perhaps too much system. The tedious complexity of classification, dear to the heart of every German economist, is hardly helpful to readers. "Parts" and "chapters" are not sufficient, but we must have 'divisions" and "subdivisions" and "sections" endless. Not only so, but the book, though bearing London as its place of origin, bears evident signs of having been printed either in Germany or Holland, and the typographical result cannot be pleasing either to the American or the English eye and taste. WILLIAM HARBUTT DAWSON.
Socialism, its Growth and Outcome, by WILLIAM MORRIS and E.. BELFORT BAX. Pp. viii., 335. London: Swan, Sonnenchein & Co. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1893.
The book begins with a brief outline of universal history. The whole so presented and manipulated as to show the preparation for and certain triumph of socialism. The purpose of the book is not disguised though the intention of the writers is presumably to be true to facts. Nothing is harder, however, than for a propagandist to argue fairly from history, and our writers have by no means avoided the difficulty. The earlier chapters on ancient history are not clear. This is partly due to the extreme brevity required, and partly to the inherent difficulties of the subject. The conclusion, however, cannot be resisted that the writers are not sufficiently at home in this part of their subject. The note added at the close is an implied confession that they feel this part of their work to be unsatisfactory, but it does little to help it.
The history of the Middle Ages is suggestive, but strongly biased
by an evident and intelligible apologetic purpose. This is especially manifest in Chapter V,—the rough side of the Middle Ages. The advantages of the feudal system having been previously enumerated, an attempt is made in this chapter to prove that the disadvantages were apparent rather than real. While much of truth is stated, the unbiased reader can hardly rest satisfied with the conclusions offered. This glorification of feudalism preparatory to a condemnation of modern society smacks of pettifogging.
The great blemish of the book is the temper in which the writers approach recent history, and the existing social organization. That there is much of truth in this part of the work cannot be denied, but its force is weakened by the frequent epithets, the vein of vituperation, delicate though it be, which betrays at every page a hopeless alienation from the existing social system, a system which, after all, probably has as much in its favor as feudalism. Granting, as we freely do, that the present social equilibrium is unstable and transitional, it still remains true that it is a normal stage of evolution, and that it deserves sympathetic treatment rather than villification.
A brief sketch of the evolution of socialist theory follows, in which bias is again apparent. The perennial mistake is made of stating with approval Marx's theory of value, a mistake we call it because it is as demonstrably untenable as any economic theory ever presented, and still more because it is no way necessary to socialism, It is one of the anomalies of the evolution of socialism that the socialist movement with its vast propelling instinct so easily explained and so easily justified on ethical grounds, should have laid such feverish hold on the murky dialectic of Marx, and made it the centre of a "science," if not of a religion. The book closes with a suggestion of a constitution of socialistic society, which is modestly stated and interesting. The book is one more evidence of the reality and power of the forces behind the socialistic agitation, and of the incoherency of their present expression. H. H. POWERS.
Politische Geographie der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der natürlichen Bedingungen und wirthschaftlichen Verhältnisse. By Dr. FRIEDRICH RATZEL, Professor der Geographie an der Universität zu Leipzig. Zweite Auflage. Pp. 763. München: R. Oldenburg. 1893.
In Ratzel's "Political Geography of the United States" Germany has brought forth a book worthy to rank with Bryce's work as a