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trained officials for the collection of sanitary statistics for the decennial censuses. The desirability of maintaining constantly in its employ a body of men skilled in statistical matters, who may assist in the preparation of the census, is sufficiently obvious. As it now stands, each superintendent of the census has to depend upon a new set of men, entirely unskilled, and who are dismissed just as they are becoming sufficiently trained to render their services valuable. Statistics that are improperly collected and arranged are worse than useless, and the money spent in their compilation worse than thrown away.
The length of this paper does not permit, nor is this the place to give extended proofs of the expensiveness of disease, and the economy of introducing, even at great expense, the smallest of sanitary improvements. This is a fact that does not need demonstration. Take the single fact disclosed by a parliamentary commission, that over seven thousand of the present cases of blindness in the United Kingdom, have been caused by the neglect of the inflammation of the eyes of the new born, the cure for which is extremely simple. How much personal suffering, and public expense too, for the majority of the blind are dependent upon the public for their support, might have been saved had there been a wide diffusion of the means by which this evil could have been prevented.
Why then, is it that we are still without a national department of health? It is not because its activities would be of a socialistic nature, nor does it seem possible that the expense can be the objection, for even did we not possess abundant national resources, the false economy of the present condition is plain; nor, finally, does its establishment involve political issues. The difficulty seems to lie in a lack of the spirit of public duty and energy. The well-to-do control politics, and it is the well-to-do who are the ones least suffering from unsanitary conditions. It is the poor who would receive the greatest benefit from an intelligent and efficient administration of the sanitary laws, and it is the poor who are the most ignorant of this, and who possess the least political influence. If by any means the general government can assist in the betterment of the laboring population, without at the same time opening the door for the introduction of greater socialistic evils, it should be done. A national department of health, affords one such means. Says Sir John Simon, who has spent his lifetime in the promotion of sanitary progress in England: "It cannot be too loudly proclaimed that an efficient administration of the sanitary laws is among the best helps which can be given to the poorer classes of the population, and that authorities who negligently or corruptly fail of their duties in such administration are among the worst oppressors of the poor." The true progress of the nations must henceforth be
measured by the moral and material elevation of their working classes, and for the promotion of this end, the enactment of proper sanitary laws, and their efficient administration, can play no small part. W. W. WILLOUGHBY.
Washington, D. C.
A SUCCESSFUL SCHOOL SAVINGS BANK.
In connection with the comprehensive paper on "School Savings Banks,” in the ANNALS for July, 1892, it may be of interest to present a short account of some novel features found in the very successful bank operated by the public schools of Bloomington, Ind.
This bank was put into operation September 28, 1891, upon the general plan outlined in the above mentioned paper, with, however, a few slight deviations that render necessary a special system of books. Some of these have been copyrighted by the manager, Mr. C. M. Carpenter. Money is received on Mondays, both morning and afternoon. The pupil fills out a deposit check, which is filed by the teacher. The amount is credited upon the pupil's pass-book, which he retains, and also upon the teacher's ledger. The teacher then seals all the money in an envelope, with a statement of the amount on the outside. The manager goes to the various teachers and collects the envelopes, giving a receipt for the amount of each. He then takes the envelopes to the secretary of the Workmen's Building Loan-Fund and Savings Association, who counts the money in the manager's presence and places it among the funds of the association. If any pupil wishes to withdraw any of his money he writes a check for the amount, signed by his parent and by the teacher, who places it in the envelope with the deposits. When the secretary of the association finds these drafts he hands them to the manager, who countersigns them. The secretary pays the amount out of the deposits just received, placing the money for each teacher in a separate envelope. These envelopes the manager carries back, receiving from each teacher a receipt. Thus he does not touch the money at any point, the only possibility of fraud being his failure to give the secretary a receipt for money returned on drafts. This will be rectified.
The especially novel feature of this plan is the fact that the money is deposited with a building association, rather than a savings bank. Such a disposition of the funds was a necessity at the outset, there being no savings bank in Bloomington. But, as it turns out, it is the most fitting and feasible plan possible; fitting, because the two institutions are so similar in their nature and aims, and feasible because it helps the association, and at the same time compels the pupil to deal only with the teacher, thus retaining the bank as a constituent part
of the school. The manager asserts that this plan influences the pupil to continue a depositor in cases where, if he had to deal directly with a bank after reaching the sum of three dollars, he would soon discontinue depositing. The school bank is carrying 100 shares of running stock, for which it pays weekly $25. The balance of the deposits is then applied to the purchase of paid-up stock, bearing six per cent interest from date of deposit.
This plan involves another very novel feature in the working of the bank-namely, the fact that ten per cent interest per annum is paid depositors. Such a high rate of interest is rendered possible by the method of computation. No interest is paid except on even dollars, and deposits are not credited to the interest account except on the last Monday of each month. Taking this in connection with the fact that the building association gives interest at six per cent from date, it will readily be seen how those deposits that are on the interest account can receive a very high rate-a rate, moreover, that will be largely increased when the 100 shares of running stock mature. It should be mentioned in this connection that all blanks are provided by the school, and that no one receives any pay for work, so that the whole earnings go to the interest account.
The manager's report, covering the period since the organization up to January, 1893, shows the following figures: Of the 1100 pupils, 650 are depositors, or 59 per cent. Total amount collected for the 69 weeks of operation, $3254.61; average weekly deposits, $47.17; total amount withdrawn, $953.34; average weekly draft, $13.81; average savings, $33.36; amount due depositors, $2301.27. Since September 5, 1892, the average deposit has been $58.21; average draft, $17.77; savings, $40.44. This shows an average deposit of 6 cents for each pupil depositing.
The plan of having all accounts kept by the school increases, of course, the work for the teachers. Besides the time consumed during the session the teacher must take time for posting. Then once a month there is the transferring of deposits to the interest account, and once in six months the computation of interest, which requires several hours.
It is, of course, too early to draw any definite conclusions as to the effects upon the pupils, but it may be taken for what it is worth that confectioners report a perceptible and continued fall in the sales of candy and chewing gum since the organization.
One thing would seem to need watching. The rule is that there shall be no deposit larger than a dollar without special permission of the manager. But in practice, although many requests have been refused, deposits of five dollars have not been uncommon. One boy of 14 deposited in one month between $60 and $70, claiming to have earned it. One girl deposited sums of $5, $10, and even $15, until
about $100 had been deposited, and then ceased altogether. most extreme case was where a girl deposited $100 at one time-a present from her father with the understanding that she was to save it. Such things as these indicate that parents are taking advantage of the high interest paid and are depositing for investment. Though this does not directly injure any one, yet it compels the teachers to keep books for people better off than they, and has likewise a tendency to discourage those who can not deposit such heavy sums. With the onedollar limit more strictly adhered to this would be an exceedingly successful school savings bank. W. F. HARDING.
BULLION NOTES AND AN ELASTIC CURRENCY.
In the April number of The Forum Mr. José F. de Navarro proposes, instead of the present system of silver certificates and treasury notes redeemable in silver dollars, to substitute a system of bullion notes redeemable in silver bullion at the gold price of silver on the day of payment. This is essentially the plan submitted to Congress in 1889 by Secretary Windom, who proposed to restrict the issue of these bullion notes to the yearly commercial value of the product of the American mines. This would have resulted in an annual increase of the currency of about $55,000,000 (57,600,040 in 1891). All the advantages of the plan as claimed by Mr. de Navarro may be readily conceded. It would check at once the scare about the loss of our gold. In fact, with such a system of currency, the United States could dispense with gold altogether. This is a contingency, however, which neither Secretary Windom nor Mr. de Navarro seems to have considered safe or allowable. Yet further consideration will show that, having adopted the system of bullion notes, every dollar of gold now on hand might be exported to Europe, and every new ounce from the mines might follow it, yet every dollar of American currency would be as good as a gold dollar. Should all the gold leave the country in this way, cablegram reports from London every day would give the gold price of silver, just as the Director of the Mint to-day receives 'prices to guide him in the purchase of bullion under the act of 1890. Every bullion note presented to the Treasury would be redeemed in silver bullion at the world's gold price of silver on that day, and would, therefore, be equal to a redemption in gold on the markets of the world.
If these principles be true, may not the United States go further and adopt a scientifically elastic system of currency, based on bullion notes?
The distinguished Swiss professor of political economy, Léon Walras, of Lausanne, some years ago proposed a plan for an elastic currency, and substantially the same plan has been advocated by President E. Benjamin Andrews, of Brown University, one of the American delegates
to the recent Brussels Conference. The plan as outlined by President Andrews is as follows:* The establishment of gold as the universal unit of value; then (1) "the critical ascertainment of the course of prices; (2) the use of some full legal tender money, like silver, represented by certificates; and (3) the injection of a portion of this into circulation or the withdrawal of a portion therefrom, according as prices had fallen or risen."
"The course of prices should be determined daily by a commission through telegraphic reports from the greater markets, stress being laid on the following conditions: Commodities must be taken from each of the two great classes, those subject and those not subject to the law of diminishing returns, as far as possible in the proportion which each bears to the total consumption. . . . Those articles must be chosen which are the least subject to accidental and artificial fluctuations. . . . The greater the number of staples the better. . . . As a rule prices are to be registered in all the major markets of the country or countries whose prices are in question. In not a few cases, as wheat and standard silver, London prices would serve as well for other countries as for Great Britian. . . . The fifth special condition is that of quantity co-efficients—an arrangement whereby the figures for each commodity are made to enter into the grand total a number of times in proportion to the quantity of it consumed.”
Having in this way found average prices by an index number or otherwise, "if the amount at any addition is greater than at the last, general prices have risen: money has grown cheaper, has lost in purchasing power; too much of it is in circulation; some must be withdrawn. If, on the contrary, the amount is less than at the last summation, prices have fallen; money has grown dearer, has gained in value; too little of it is in circulation, and more must be set free or coined to redress the balance. In a word, inflate or contract, rarefy or condense, so as to keep the footing of your great price list perpetually the same." There is one insuperable objection to this scheme, namely, the proposal to make the subsidiary money a token money, presumably like our standard silver dollar. This objection would show itself both when prices are rising and when they are falling. If prices were rising the government could contract the currency only by issuing bonds redeemable in silver certificates. It could not sell the silver for the certificates. On the other hand, if world-prices showed a continued tendency to fall, the government, by its constant injection of these depreciated coins, would eventually drive all the gold from the country and prices would be based on the depreciated silver. Consequently, since falling prices *"An Honest Dollar," p. 36, Publications of American Economic Association. Vol. IV., No. 6.