Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/81

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77
BUSINESS MAN AND HIGH-SCHOOL GRADUATE

utilization of what used to be called waste. The stream of trade flows so fast through a modern department store that the one cent profit here and the two cents profit there aggregate in the course of the year a huge amount of money. According to a recent article in the " World's Work," the beef barons actually lose on sirloin steaks and choice cuts of pork; where their profits are made is in converting every scrap of the animal's carcase into something that can be sold.

To keep the stream of business flowing through a great store, and to make it profitable to save every hair of every beast in the Chicago stockyards, however, there must be highly-developed organization, highly complicated machinery, and just as little as possible of that most expensive form of power, the human hand. Human hands are still wanted, and in proportionately greater numbers than ever before in history; but merely as servants to machines that multiply hundreds and thousands of times the initial force given by those hands. It is nonsense, however, to talk of this as slavery to machinery. On the con- trary, it is mastery of the forces of nature, an ever-increasing mastery, which is — so to speak — kicking the brute laborer, the pick and shovel man, up into the ranks of the machine-user, and is kicking the machine- user up into the ranks of the organizer, those ranks where brains are every day setting hundreds and thousands at new work, and every day bringing what used to be luxuries down to the horizon of the common- est man. The cost of living is high, not because of the scandalous lux- ury of the rich, but because of the commendable luxury of the poor. It is true that the desire for the good things of life is growing somewhat faster than the devices and economies of modern industry can bring those good things within reach ; but this is simply a question of gradual adjustment. And the fact that more men are every day wanting and demanding more things is one of the surest guarantees of a continued and genuine prosperity.

An inseparable accompaniment of machinery, however, is speed. Therefore the next notable characteristic of modern business is whirl- wind pace. Thirty years ago, even New York, Paris and London w-ere horse-car towns, with clerks nodding over pigskin ledgers, errand boys playing marbles in the roadway, with no telephone, no rapid transit in the modern sense, with scarcely any devices for making speed or saving time. To-day, even London, the archetype of conservatism, is a whirl- pool of motor-buses, speeding men and clamoring advertisements.

Consequently, not merely what the business man, but what modern business itself, demands of the high-school graduate is rational and orderly speed. In the high school, in the schools below, in that larger school, the community, and above all, in the boy's home, he must have been trained to " go the pace," not of dissipation, but of modern industry.

Since, however, no one can get speed, without a breakdown, out of a weak or badly-built engine, so one can not get efficiency from a half-