Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/60

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

study of political economy or social sustenance must be, or should be, to promote the easy and ample sustenance of all, and not of some at the expense of others. Hence we desire that human helpfulness shall be not only effective but mutual. One-sided helpfulness is one of the chief evils for which we seek a remedy.

Yet we have to note carefully that the circumstance which makes our mutual help most effective may make it one-sided. We want a balance of mutual sustenance, while we help sustain one another, but we also want amplitude. We want each to have a fair share, but it may be that by some having more and some less than our estimate, or any estimate of a "fair" share, all will have a larger share. We should like it both fair and large. We can never have it either as fair or as large as we should like it. Some will always get more help than they give, and others give more than they get. And none will ever get as much as he wants.

We all agree that a proper balance of human helpfulness is desirable. We can not help agreeing that its amplitude is also desirable. The point whereon we may differ is the extent to which balance should be subordinated to amplitude, or amplitude to balance—that is, whether poverty with equality is better than wealth with inequality, the term "equality" signifying a share of sustenance to each in proportion to his services, be they much or little. So far as balance begets amplitude, we shall all agree theoretically, and be led by our greed to disagree practically. Each of us will always be so anxious to be sure of his share, that he will be willing to get a little more than his share.

And in this we shall always be subject to deception by appearances, as we are in all other matters. What seems to promise both abundance and equality may in practice work both impoverishment and inequality. Mastery of this deep and vital problem demands the exercise of every logical power at our command and the widest possible scope of vision.



THERE appeared in these pages not long since a valuable essay, by M. Daubrée, on the structure of meteorites, and a little later a very interesting paper by Professor Newton, of Yale College, in which the general question of the origin of meteors, meteorites, and comets was discussed, without any definite conclusion being indicated, except that there are objections against all the various opinions which have been expressed by Schiaparelli, Tschermak, Meunier, Daubrée, and others, respecting this very difficult subject. I should be glad if permission could be accorded to me to bring before the readers of a magazine, so high in scientific standing as "The Popular Science