Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/330
324 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
densed milk are probably not half what they are at the farms if farm products are added to census figures. When the agricultural reports are finally published and compared with the census figures it will become possible to reduce these factors to terms very closely approxi- mating the average per capita expenditures for consumption. The only item of necessary expenditure which exceeds liquors and tobacco is the expenditure upon animal food. The expenditure for beer is less than five cents a day per capita; how much is the cost of milk?
Item No. 6, Pig Iron. — The people of the United States are not only the largest producers but also the largest consumers of pig iron in the world; yet at 450 pounds per head, which is nearly double the domestic consumption of England, Belgium, France and Germany, who are our chief competitors, the average per capita product of pig iron at the works comes to only $4.50 per head. Prices are rising and consump- tion is increasing; by the time we have 80,000,000 people the average consumption will probably be "500 pounds per head if the works can supply it, which may then be computed at about five dollars per head for the average of forge iron, Bessemer metal, and of iron ore con- verted into open hearth steel, in their crude forms at the works ; making on 80,000,000 a consumption of $400,000,000 worth at the place of pro- duction. In order to carry this crude iron and steel into their finished forms through various transformations, it is probable that at the points of final consumption the products of iron and steel may be rated at about $12.50 per head, or on 80,000,000 population $1,000,000,000, a little more than half the price paid for liquors and tobacco. So much for some of the chief factors in production and consumption.
In this way I have given a preliminary study of the value of the annual product at its point of ultimate consumption or export. By making the study in smalls I have attempted to call your attention to the relative importance of several elements of subsistence. It will be several months before this study can be completed; suffice it that I have gone far enough to prove conclusively to my own mind that even on the return to normal prices, which may ensue if we have good crops this year before the population of the country reaches 80,000,000, the average of $225 per head or more will be proved, on which basis the annual product computed at that date and in that manner will be meas- ured by the sum of $18,000,000,000. It may then be possible to esti- mate the proportion which this product will bear to the capital of the nation, which will require a separation of the site value of land from the estimate of national wealth by which the public is deluded. What really constitutes national wealth is the use made of land and the im- provements placed upon it by human energy.
I may now give you some curious examples of how the income derived from the production, purchase and sale of these commodities