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increase in the number of houses worth more than 801. a year has been so small that, whilst the average increase of houses of all kinds has been approximately 20 per square mile, there has hardly been so much as an average increase of one in the case of houses of this more expensive class. We may, indeed, for the purpose of the present argument, suppose that the number of these has not increased at all; for even in that case, though the number of such houses per square mile would have been stationary, there would have been a constant increase in the number of houses of lower values; and each of the occupants of these would have been so many new spectators of the few larger houses, and have daily been made aware by their eyesight that the occupants of them were richer than themselves. Thus, though the actual proportion of the relatively rich to the poor and the relatively poor would have been decreasing, the contrast between riches and poverty would have been constantly brought home to a greater number of people. Hence, by a natural and very intelligible process, an illusion would have been created of a kind precisely opposite to that of the facts which created it. The proportion borne by wealth to poverty, though actually growing less and less, would have had the false appearance of increasing, simply because there would have been more witnesses of the difference between the two. If one man eating twice as much as is good for him is watched by a hundred people who cannot secure enough, the volume of envy which he excites is twice as great as that which would be excited if the spectacle were watched by fifty only; but the proportion of food represented by the one big dinner to the aggregate of food represented by fifty small ones, is twice the proportion borne by it to the aggregate of a hundred small ones. If the Bishop of Birming
. ham has a shilling, whilst eleven other men have sixpence, the Bishop might be regarded as robbing them each of a halfpenny; but if, whilst the Bishop has a shilling, there are twenty-three men with only sixpence, the number of contrasts between him and the rest is doubled, though the maximum of which he could be regarded as robbing each of them would be in this case no more than a farthing.
Hence we see that, though contrary to the cant assertion of the Socialist that the masses of the population are constantly becoming poorer, that their unrest is by this time a simple 'appeal for life' (whilst the relative riches of the rich are as constantly becoming greater), the income of the poor is really the relatively increasing quantity, and that of the rich is a relatively, though not an absolutely, decreasing one-we see, I say, that, though in point of fact the Socialists are diametrically wrong, there is much in the aspect of things which suggests to the imagination
-much, indeed, which almost convinces the senses-that they are right. Thus a kind of unrest is produced similar in kind to that which would result on board a ship, sound in every particular, if the passengers were persuaded by some mischiefmaker with a smattering of nautical terms that every time she plunged into a hollow of the waves she was sinking.
Modern unrest has, therefore, three causes which, though totally distinct from that which Socialists are accustomed to assign to it, are actual and not fancied causes, and which are, in respect of their magnitude, peculiar to the modern world.
Let us briefly go over them again, and ask what are the results to which they point in the future and in what directions we may reasonably look for a remedy.
Let us start with reconsidering the last of them-namely, that which is purely economic and relates to the physical conditions of the poorer sections of the community-especially those who live by manual labour. That there exists in this country, despite the general spread of well-being, a population precariously nourished and inadequately housed, which, small as it may be in proportion to the present population as a whole, yet equals in number the entire population of England at the time of the Norman Conquest, may unhappily be accepted as true; and that such poverty, if it can never be entirely removed, may yet be reduced to relatively negligible dimensions, must be one of the chief hopes and objects of every sagacious statesman. It is, however, very doubtful whether the utmost progress possible in this direction would even modify the sort of labour unrest which is characteristic of the present time.
The grounds on which this assertion is made are not far to seek. One is the well-known fact which is exemplified by all classes alike-namely, that after the fundamental needs of the human body are satisfied and have been supplemented by the provision of such secondary requisites as are practically made necessaries by the habits of whatever class may be in question, each further addition of wealth, as soon as the recipients are habituated to it, ceases to be felt as any addition at all. Those
who were contented before are not thankful now. Those who were discontented before are just as discontented still. What makes discontent-apart from actual privation or the anxiety which comes from the fear of it-is not what people have got, but a comparison of what they have got with that which they have been stimulated into thinking that they can get and ought
The truth of these observations is illustrated in the most vivid way by the events of the present day. There is, no doubt, an unrest which, in the language of the Bishop of Birmingham, is really ‘an appeal for life, but that such is not the kind of unrest which is typically prominent to-day is shown by the fact that the most determined, the most bitter, and the most highly organised of recent strikes is that which has occurred amongst workers who belong to the best-paid, not the worst-paid, section of their class. One of the best-educated of the Parliamentary leaders of the Labour Party boasted, some years ago, in an article in this Review, that the main supporters of his party were not the population of the slums but the better-paid and more skilful of the artisans. The coal-miners, who must be included under this general description, earn incomes which vary considerably according to the capacities of the individual; but however moderate may be the individual earnings of some of them, the most prominent leaders, and the most obstinate supporters of the recent coal-strike, comprised men who, together with their families, enjoyed household incomes far larger than those of many of the Bishop of Birmingham's own clergy. Amongst the most ardent of the recent strikers in the West of Scotland were two Poles (brothers), who admitted that their joint annual earnings were certainly not less than 4001. In one of the South Wales collieries, out of twenty men, taken in the order of their places, it was ascertained that all but three were earning more than 1001. a year, and that more than half were earning from 1201. to 2201. Would the Bishop contend that amongst such men as these labour unrest' was 'in its last analysis an appeal for life'? But we need not confine ourselves to comparing the earnings of such men with those of the clergy. Let us compare them with the maximum which could possibly be earned by anybody if the entire income of the nation were divided equally amongst all. Sanguine statisticians, whose estimate we need not dispute here, say that if all the wealth of the country were thus equally divided, there would be an income of 2001, a year for each family of five persons, of whom, on an average, two and a half would be earners. With regard, then, to the majority of those lately on strike, it is evident that their household incomes (even if we take the earners per fam
to be not more than two) were, at the time of the strike, from 20 to 100 per cent. more than could possibly fall to their share were the lot of all households equal. If the action of such men in striking was simply ‘an appeal for life'-if it means that they cannot live in any true sense of the word unless their present earnings are increased-it is impossible for the nation as a whole so to live at all; for not all that can be produced by all the muscle
and all the brains of the population can produce enough to provide each individual household with what the Bishop would apparently regard as the minimum of proper human subsistence. We need merely go back to the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria, and the moral of the case will become more apparent still. If the maximum average income theoretically possible for each family to-day would be insufficient in the case of any family to satisfy the appeal for life' (and this must be so if colliers earning more than that maximum are' appealing for life' still), what must have been the position of the population only two generations ago? All the productive forces existing in this country would not have sufficed, under any conceivable scheme of distribution, to have lifted it half-way towards the level at which the kind of life begins which alone, according to the Bishop, is fit for a human being. Whatever hardship may have been caused during quite recent years by a' rise in the cost of certain articles of general consumption, real wages to-day are at least 75 per cent. greater than they were at the time of the opening of the first Great Exhibition, yet labour unrest,' according to the Bishop's own admission, is to-day more acute than it was then. The gains of the masses during the intervening sixty years have been greater than any that can be looked for at the present moment, even if in businesses such as mining the entire value of the products were divided amongst the manual workers. What reason, then, is there for expecting that the kind of unrest which a gain of 75 per cent. has merely had the effect of developing, would be checked or converted into contentment by a gain of 10 per cent., or even of 15 or 20 per cent. ?
As soon as the primary needs of life are satisfied, together with the secondary needs which habit and custom have rendered primary, what causes unrest, in respect of economic conditions, is not (let me repeat) the limitations of what men have, but the relation of these to the amount of what they imagine that they ought to have, and may practically secure.
And here we are brought back again to the question of education. Labour unrest, in its distinctively contemporary sense, having its origin mainly in the ranks of the most prosperous, not of the poorest workers, has its origin not in the wants of the body but in exaggerated expectations of the mind-in the development of ideals which, whatever may be their character otherwise, have no correct relation to the facts and possibilities of life. They are due, on the one hand, to purely illusory conceptions of the amount of wealth produced or producible in any given country; and on the other—and this is the more important cause of the two-to wholly illusory conceptions of the part played by the labour of the average man in the productive process
of to-day. An interesting illustration of this latter fact occurs in an article lately published in the Morning Post on the Labour College at Earl's Court. This article contains a quotation from a statement made by one of the students, who was apparently there equipping himself for the business of an active agitator. The employing classes, he said, whatever may be their brains and abilities, 'can do nothing for us which we cannot do for ourselves,' meaning by 'ourselves' the mass of average workers whose livelihood at present comes to them in the form of wages. This idea is the natural result of general education on a class to which it is still novel. It is a kind of idea like that produced in a boy who, placed for the first time on the back of an ambling donkey, at once imagines that he could sit a galloping race horse.
Of all writers from whom one might think he would be unlikely to derive any light on social and educational problems, amongst the least likely is perhaps the poet Keats. And yet in his preface to one of the later editions of Endymion he makes the following observations, which are most pertinent to the present matter :
'The imagination of a boy,' he says, 'is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, and the ambitions thicksighted. Thence proceeds melancholia, and all the thousand bitters.'
Such is very much the condition of those sections of the wage-earning population amongst which, in its acuter forms, the unrest' of to-day is most noticeable. The question, then, arises-what kind of cure for this malady may be looked for in the future? That an actual augmentation of wages may form a part of our future history, just as it has formed a feature of our past for a period of more than a century, and that ameliorations in conditions of housing may take place likewise, the importance of which would be even greater, are results to which we may look forward with confidence if the vitality and efficiency of our present system is maintained. But, as I have said before, and as I remark once again, such improvements, in themselves, would do nothing to allay the spirit of contemporary unrest : nor would they even tend to do so. The real remedy is to be looked for partly in some modifications of our present educational methods; but still more in the fact that the multitude, in proportion as they become accustomed to education and fail to derive from it any of the thrills of novelty, will discover how little it can do to alter their relations to the permanent facts of life. Their present illusions as to its enlargement of their own powers, and as to the claims and expectations which have