388 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY.
of the great commercial clubs of the country Mr. William Whit- man, of Boston, voiced a certain feeling of his peers. Mr. C. D. Wright had suggested that in the future employers would be held responsible before the law and at the bar of public opinion for strikes ; and that it would be held to be the duty of employers during prosperous times to set aside a fund for the payment of wages in times of adversity. Mr. Whitman declared both propositions to be monstrous, and asked of the gentlemen present: "What do you think of them? Will they increase or diminish your burdens ? Can you successfully prosecute your business under them ? Do you think that this new philanthropo- ethico-econoniic management will attract the investment of capital ?"
The particular propositions of Mr. Wright may be dropped out of this discussion. They are of interest here only because they drew the fire and showed the attitude of a typical business man toward theoretical students of society. Indeed the speaker himself turns from propositions to personalities. "Who are the men engaged in promulgating these so-called reforms, ostensibly for the benefit of workingmen ? Are they not for the most part theorists with unbalanced minds, who have adopted unsound principles and are pushing them to the extreme ? Are they not men without the knowledge and experience necessary to deal successfully with men or affairs ? Why should men of affairs permit them, undisputed, unanswered, unchallenged, to arrogate to themselves the right to teach the world how we shall conduct our business ?"
This speaker gives his reason for thinking that business men carry in their own bosoms and interests the guarantees of social welfare: "The purposes of business, the sense of respon- sibility to others, the danger of personal loss and possible fail- ure, and the hope of reward are the surest guarantees for the conduct of affairs in the mutual interests of employer and employed."
It must be admitted that this rigorous protest against impertinent and ignorant intrusion of dilettanti upon the pre-