Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/479

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STATE INTERVENTION IN SOCIAL ECONOMY.

tions occur. In all other mining distinctly profitable objects are sought, and purposes are carried out beneficial generally to mankind. This remark would apply to gold mines, to coal mines, to tin, copper, and lead mines; but at the De Beers mine all the wonderful arrangements I have described above are put in force in order to extract from the depths of the ground, solely for the wealthy classes, a tiny crystal to be used for the gratification of female vanity in imitation of a lust for personal adornment essentially barbaric if not altogether savage.

 

STATE INTERVENTION IN SOCIAL ECONOMY.
By M. ANATOLE LEROY BEAULIEU.

THE Church has now a social doctrine which some Catholics assume to impose on the faith as a teaching of infallible authority. The papacy, turning toward the democracy, has presented a programme of social reform;[1] and in the face of the courtiers and of the people has declared to the age that the first article of the social reform must be a moral reform. This is a hard word to many ears, and the wise men of the world hearing it shake their heads and pass on. "Is that all you have to tell us?" the children of the age seem to say; "we have other things to do than stop to hear your wise advice. The time for these moral lessons has passed. Our progressive age wants something newer and more substantial, which it will hardly go for to Rome." Pope Leo XIII seems to have anticipated these sarcastic reflections, and his language is in marked distinction from that of his predecessors, by his not talking of religion and morals alone. He knows that this is not enough for the unbelieving masses; and after having reminded us that God alone can save us, he does not refuse to consider the means proposed by the wisdom or imagination of men for the pacification of contemporary society; and he examines these means with a kindly and patient solicitude, not as & mystic bent on exposing their vanity, but as a practical man anxious to find early solutions, and sincerely desiring to ameliorate the material position of the working classes.

Two ways to this result are open to our society: one by the intervention of the state, the other by special associations. Leo XIII has examined them both very carefully; and we purpose to see what he thinks of the first, the broadest one, on which the masses would cast themselves as if by instinct. Is the Church in favor of the intervention of the state or against it? The ma-


  1. In the Labor Encyclical.