Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/269

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259
THE SOCIAL PROBLEM

reaching middle age. The division into "classes and masses" is not of man's making; it is part of nature's economy. Men of all groups are born in all grades of society, among the rich as among the poor, and are found among the so-called educated as well as among the illiterate. A man's place depends on his natural endowments.

The vast majority of mankind consider little beyond the present; the inherent indolence can be overcome only by compulsion. The ordinary man finds that compulsion externally in the necessity of providing for immediate needs or against threatened disaster. He may have an indefinite longing for better things, but that incites him to no legitimate effort. The extraordinary man finds compulsion within; he looks far beyond the present, and desire for noteworthy reward impels him to extraordinary exertion. In practically all cases, self-interest is the compelling motive, as much to the man who demands only his daily bread as to the man who seeks an empire. Every advance in civilization, every improvement in the moral or physical condition of mankind in modern times has been due primarily to this self interest. The initiative has come from men of the highest class, who, in executing their plans have utilized men of the other classes and all have shared in the resulting advantage,

"Born leaders" become creators. Men speak of Sir Christopher Wren as the creator of St. Paul's Cathedral because that edifice existed full-formed in his mind before a stone had been quarried for the building. The great intellects, who planned the transcontinental railroads were as truly creators; they saw full-grown a mighty empire beyond the plains, which would come into being as the result of their work but which would be impossible without it. They made not only the railroads but also the empire—they created the values. And the story is the same in the development of every great industrial enterprise.

But without aid from men belonging to the second and third classes creators of values could do little. One may have abundant strength and abundant skill, but without a spade or its equivalent he can not cultivate the ground and he may starve. And just here is the prevalent confusion of ideas. Men fail to recognize the relative importance of director and directed. Some years ago, when the writer expressed admiration for the executive ability of a successful acquaintance he was surprised to learn that the compliments were undeserved. It appeared that the success was due wholly to the "O.P.W. racket," which, being interpreted, means other people's work. This successful man merely concocted business enterprises and assigned to each lieutenant a share in carrying out the plans. Further than that he did little, aside from giving occasional advice, until the time came for division of profits, when he received the largest share. Now, the men selected to look after details had become disgusted, were determined