Page:Rise and Fall of Society.djvu/57

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Society Are People
 

contribution of each worker to the general fund of wealth tends to liquidate these surface dissimilarities. The rising wage level makes for a blending of cultural particularisms.

As soon as subsistence ceases to be a pressing problem, as evidenced by the bulging barn, an urgency arises for satisfactions that during the economy of scarcity were hardly dreams. The log cabin which was castle enough is now in dire need of curtains, furniture, pictures; a sense of dignity suggests a Sunday go-to-meeting suit of clothes; the barn that served as a place of worship must be supplanted with a fitting edifice; and every mother thinks of the world her son could conquer if the vistas of learning were opened for him. But the satisfaction of these new desires calls for specialized labor, for skills and knowledge which the self-sufficient jack-of-all-trades does not have. At this point in the growth of Society comes, either from within the group or from outside, one who because of his aptitude for the trade offers his services as a blacksmith. The need for such services suggests to him that the others will pay him at least as much as he can earn at the common extractive occupation. The profit motive — that is, the urge to satisfy desires with the least exertion — turns him into a specialist. But the profit motive works bilaterally. The farmer who patronizes the specialist does so because he can more profitably put in his time at farming than at blacksmithing. The relationship between buyer and seller rests on reciprocal gains.

The specialist does not appear until there is population enough to need him, and until that population has acquired an abundance. It is the stored-up labor in the barns, the capital, that suggests the possibility of hiring a tailor, a preacher, a teacher or pedlar, of getting rid of the do-it-yourself jobs which necessity forces on them, which they do

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