Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/20

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tion, if the expenditure for food and drink is unduly large, then either clothing or shelter must be restricted; a small part of the waste of food, on which half the income is spent, might, if saved, enable the family to double the expenditure for a dwelling-place. It follows that the most difficult question with which practical reformers are called upon to deal, viz., that of providing more ample and comfortable dwellings, may be solved by altering the conversion of the present product, even if that may not be increased, so that what is now in part wasted on food and drink may be spent for better shelter, and yet the family may be more fully nourished than at present. I do not claim absolute accuracy for the following proportion of expenses in workingmen's families, but I am quite sure they are near enough to the mark to serve as an example.

In a family of five adults, or of four adults and two children ten or under, making an average family of five persons, in which one half the income is spent for food and fuel, twenty-five cents a day per adult being spent for food, the corresponding average expenditure per adult:

For clothing will be 7 to 9 cents.
For liquor it may be 2 to 4 "
For sundries it will be about 5 "
And the remainder for rent or shelter, if no liquor is used 9 to 11 "
If liquor is used 1 to 9 "

Now, I think it is very safe to put the waste of food material at twenty per cent, or five cents a day; if this misspent force and one half the average cost of liquor, or two cents a day, could be converted into shelter that is to say, to providing a more ample dwelling by either buying or leasing it would suffice to enlarge the present quarters by one half to three fourths. Five cents a day per adult comes to $1,000,000,000 or more a year, counting two children of ten or under as equal to one adult. But the greater benefit which would come from a true art of preparing food would consist in the increase of the productive force of the community, so that the provision for dwelling might be increased both absolutely and relatively. I might add another treatise to this, on the waste of force in bad building and from the common practice of what I have named the art of combustible architecture; but time will not serve. Suffice it that the product of this nation is more than ample for the abundant subsistence, the adequate shelter, and the complete clothing of every family in it; yet we witness want in the midst of plenty, because we waste enough to support another nation at the standard of French economy and thrift, especially in the matter of food.

I may now venture to call your attention to some of the very subtile points which are brought out by the statistical investiga-