Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

de Rothschild proposition for the purchase of silver bullion, required the United States to purchase more than all Europe combined. If the price of silver reached a certain height, it was agreed that European purchases should cease, while American purchases continued. Only in the proposition of international bimetallism would the distribution of burdens be equal. But, as we have said, the necessity for international bimetallism was contested. By some, at least, its adequacy was drawn into question.

"Thirdly, the proposals were inadequate. If we accept as true the statement of evils to be remedied, then, only thoroughgoing legislation could be effective. The plan for withdrawing gold coin and small notes, relieves only a trifling amount of gold and makes place for only a small quantity of silver. The plan of making gold a distinctively international, instead of a national currency, goes to pieces on the objection that a currency can be international only by virtue of its being national. The plan of Mr. de Rothschild was not sufficiently elaborated. Its main idea was to find, for five years at least, an opening for the current silver production. But it was not measured with care to this end, and it was felt that the experience of the United States, under the law of 1890, would be repeated on a large scale. It was felt that as an upshot of the matter the nations of Europe would be loaded down with an unnecessary amount of silver.

"Any measure, to be really effective, must be so comprehensive as to approach international bimetallism. The bimetallists saw this and hence favored compromise measures. But no comprehensive measure was really any stronger than bimetallism. If adopted, it would have been dictated by the same motives which led to the unrestricted use of both metals. But those motives did not find general acceptance. Hence the failure of the conference, despite the earnest efforts to find a middle way.

"The alternative for an international monetary conference is clear, it is inaction or an international bimetallic proposal.

The first has been the fate of all efforts heretofore. Is any other result possible? Undoubtedly, international bimetallism may ultimately triumph, but we may be sure of this, that it will not have any prospect of success until Europe calls the conference and makes proposals to the United States. We need not give up hope in this matter, but, after all our unsuccessful efforts, it is clear that the initiative belongs elsewhere. That the initiative will be taken up by Europe, we have every reason to hope, and it may not be many years before an international conference is held in which the fruits of our past labors shall be reaped.

"For the present we have adopted a waiting policy. Let us hope that we shall not have too long to wait, and that the relief may come before, through our impatience, we have hurried into surprising and radical experiments."

In the discussion which followed Dr. Rowe did not share the hope of an international agreement expressed by the speaker. He believed that the strain upon gold would be relieved by minor measures tending to increase the use of silver as money in various nations. Several such measures which had been proposed in Europe gave promise of such a result.

Dr. Emory R. Johnson spoke of the currency needs of the United States. He felt that the United States should solve unaided the problem of a proper circulation. An ideal currency would be one which would combine the features of safety, stability and elasticity. Whatever might be the forms which it might eventually assume, certain steps of the process, such as the withdrawal of the greenback circulation, were obvious at the present time.

Mr. W. H. Harned and Professor Simon N. Patten also discussed the address.

In a brief reply Professor Falkner said, "that while he might perhaps agree with the gentlemen who had spoken, he had felt it necessary to confine his discussion of the subject to what seemed possible by international action only, and the

basis and limitations of such international regulation of the currency question."

TWENTY-FIRST SESSION.

The Twenty-first Scientific Session of the Academy was held in Philadelphia on Wednesday, December 20, 1893, at the New Century Club, at 8 p. m.

The secretary announced that the following papers had been submitted to the Academy since the last session:

196. BY CHESTER F. RALSTON, Oberlin, O.: Should the Legislation Regarding an Inebriate Criminal be Revised?

197. By DR. LEO S. ROWE, Philadelphia: Reform of University Instruction in Political and Social Science in Belgium.

198. By HUBERT VALLEROUX, Paris: Les Syndicats professionnels en France.

199. BY JEROME DOWD, of Trinity College, N. C.: Trusts.

200. By PROFESSOR GEORGE H. HAYNES, of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Representation and Suffrage in Massachusetts.

201. By DR. J. E. GRANRUD, Northfield, Minn.: Five Years of Alexander Hamilton's Public Life.

Dr. Leo S. Rowe then addressed the Academy upon "Some Factors of Municipal Efficiency."

The first portion of the speaker's remarks was devoted to a comparison of the views of De Tocqueville and Bryce on American political institutions. It is interesting to note the great difference in their final judgment of local government in the United States. We pass, here, from De Tocqueville's effusive admiration to Bryce's conclusion that "the government of cities is the one conspicuous failure in the United States," The causes of this change of opinion are to be found in the new conditions of city life which have been developed since the '30's. The problem of city government, which has so rapidly grown in importance, must be met on the basis of our own peculiar conditions. In turning to foreign cities, therefore, it is to see what they are actually accomplishing rather than to set up any specific organization modeled upon them; to examine into the principles,

which are the ultimate causes of efficiency, rather than to select this or that municipal institution for imitation.

With these restrictive conditions in mind we must, nevertheless, recognize a very close analogy in the nature of the problems great cities have to deal with, and that the possibilities of profiting by each other's experience deserve to be more generally emphasized. Taking Berlin as the best example of a well-governed city, Dr. Rowe went on to show the rapid growth of the Prussian capital, and the very striking analogies to the great American municipalities which it presents.

The financial system of Berlin was then examined, the highly developed form of income tax receiving special attention. Of interest, in this connection, is the relation between the revenue from taxes and that from other sources; especially the profits from such city enterprises as water, gas, markets and slaughter-houses. The former, which is entirely a system of direct taxation, furnishes $9,000,000, or less than fifty per cent; the latter $3,500,000, or nineteen per cent of the total income of the city.

After a summary consideration of the general financial condition of the city the main portion of the subject was reached, viz.: the analysis of the main causes of efficiency of the various municipal departments. No one particular service, but the entire range of municipal action was made to show that the explanation of the fact that the citizens of Berlin are receiving from their city administration a quantum of necessaries, comforts and luxuries far greater than in any of the other great cities of the world, was to be found in the simple fact that the people of Berlin have realized the true nature of municipal problems and the part municipal action must play in the daily life of the citizen. They fully appreciate that inefficient service means the impaired health and happiness of the whole community, and the destruction of a whole mass of those social pleasures characteristic of German life. Each citizen feels, therefore, a strong personal

interest in municipal affairs, and when brought face to face with the difficult problems, which confront every municipality, it was looked upon as a matter of course that these should be met on business principles, combined with the very best scientific and technical knowledge. To illustrate this the main branches of the city administration were closely examined. Berlin is, beyond all doubt, the most uniformly clean of the great cities. The fact that a far greater proportion of the average German's daily life is spent outside the home than is the case with the American, causes him to look upon the public highways from a standpoint differing materially from that of the American public: Filthy streets would make life absolutely intolerable to a very large class of the citizens. It is not surprising, therefore, that the problem of street cleaning was very soon recognized to be one of those requiring the skillful management of a thoroughly trained expert who was to make this particular service his life-study. The result has been that in the course of years a system of street-cleaning has been developed which stands unrivaled in the history of modern municipalities. And all this at the relatively low cost of $450,000, or less than three cents per head. The keen interest shown by the great mass of the population in this, as in every one of the municipal departments, is not only the primary cause of this business-like way of grappling with municipal problems, but contributes directly to the efficiency of the service. The director of the department finds the active co-operation of the citizens in furnishing positive information as to the needs of different localities and unsparing criticism in case of any shortcomings, one of his greatest aids.

The examination of the water, gas and drainage systems of Berlin shows conclusively that the city possessed but very few physical advantages to aid it in the task. Few cities. have had such enormous obstacles to overcome in order to obtain an abundant supply of pure water and a system of:

« AnteriorContinuar »