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and conditions hard. Women there are regularly employed on the night shift, and in one establishment the British delegation found a night shift of 62 hours a week. In America generally, it is not usual for what is known in this country as a night shift bonus to be paid, and additional payment is not general for overtime work.
There is fear that the business prosperity of the last two years is based upon an unsound foundation. The slackening of trade in 1924 led to a quick and wide extension of the credit system of purchase. Business men adopted it to overcome a temporary difficulty, and were rewarded by a sharp turn in trade at the close of 1924, and by two subsequent years of good trade. But the credit system has been extended to such a great variety of purchases, and used by such a large proportion of the people, that it may easily prove a Frankenstein and devour the prosperity of the country in a year of depression. Salvation may, however, come from two quarters. Thrift is being deliberately fostered by banks and other agencies extending opportunities for what the Secretary of the Treasury calls "intelligent saving." Further, the credit agencies are in many instances encouraging individuals who have completed their credit payments, say, for a motor-car, to continue depositing at a regular rate so as to be able to replace their car with a new one at cash price.
Nor are all trade unions as co-operative as Mr. William Green would have them be. The building trade are monopolists, as in Great Britain, and plasterers hold building contractors to ransom very much as they do in this country. The real estate agent (who has coined for himself the designation" realtor ") and the building craftsmen have made rents the one item in the family expenditure which has risen sharply. There is just a possibility that the building boom will burst and that rents and building costs will drop. The American miners, too, very closely resemble their British confrères, in that they lack negotiating sense and tend to associate a strike with each discussion of a wage agreement. A touch of comedy in the trade union situation was provided a year or so ago when the late President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, presumably in his capacity as head of that union's National Bank of Cleveland, acquired a coal mine, which was run as a non-union mine!
Liquor prohibition is admittedly a problem of much difficulty.
Judged purely on its economic side, in the opinion of supporters and opponents alike with whom one talked in widely separated parts of the country, it has contributed somewhat to the increased spending power and, therefore, to the prosperity of recent years. M. Siegfried, whose chapter on the subject lacks nothing either of scientific candour or of logical analysis, concludes that the eighteenth amendment has made its contribution to the high standard of living of the American workman, and is of opinion that the leaders of industry, who realise that this added purchasing power is equal to several millions of dollars a year, will never voluntarily accept a return to the old ways. But the lawlessness and corruption which have followed in its train are grave evils, a fact widely appreciated. The solution of this problem is admittedly the right and responsibility of the American people themselves.
The careful British investigator of American conditions must necessarily admit the dissimilarity of conditions, but not the impossibility of learning from American experience. It is sound economics to assert that high earnings are the basis for good trade, and that higher earning power in Great Britain would increase home demand and to that extent diminish our reliance upon foreign trade. But higher earnings are not, what many trade unionists assume them to be, the reluctant gift of an employer who has drawn them from a "pool" of profits. They must be created by higher production, which American experience has demonstrated to be possible through better organization, increased mechanical equipment and a greater degree of co-operation between management and labour. British industry needs to develop a type of management that will be ingenious and alert in matters of organization, and also just and sympathetic towards employees. The replacement of antiquated methods and processes of manufacture by others which, because of the better use of machinery, will produce more goods at a much reduced cost, is the second step towards a new industrial future for Great Britain. The third and final step is that British workers, accepting the lessons of American experience in respect of wages and labour cost, shall develop the latent spirit of co-operation and, helping to lower costs, shall take higher earnings as their rightful reward.
CLARENCE H. NORTHCOTT
DOLES IN ANCIENT ROME*
HE feeling with which we regard the system of State doles is bound to vary very much with the angle from which we view it. We cannot look at the immediate present with the detachment of an ideal judge. It may be of some interest, then, to consider how problems in many ways similar to our own were dealt with in the greatest of ancient States. We may be better able, at this interval of time, to diagnose the maladies, the painful symptoms of which the dole is designed to allay; better able, too, to gauge the value of such palliatives and to search for the radical cures which might take away the need for them.
Although, in Rome, the problem only reached an acute stage in the age of the Gracchi, we shall understand it better if we look back a little into the character of Roman society. The Roman citizen of the good old days, which were not entirely mythical, was more conscious of duties towards the State than of rights in relation to it. He was constantly liable to military service and, if he asked for anything in return, it was on a very modest scale : some share in the public land, some part in the active exercise of citizenship, some protection against the stern laws of debt. Rome, like most ancient cities, had from an early date to make some provision for the supply of corn, the main necessary of life, for its urban dwellers; special magistrates, the ædiles, were appointed to make the required arrangements. But there was no question in early days of free distributions, even if, under particularly favourable circumstances, corn might be put on the market at cheap rates.
The one notorious example of an attempt to curry favour by supplying corn free, that of Spurius Mælius, is now generally rejected as unhistorical. In any case, the tradition utterly condemns the practice: Mælius was accused of affecting the throne
*There is no one modern book dealing in convenient form with the whole of this subject. The material will, of course, be found under the appropriate headings in the great Dictionaries of Classical Antiquities. A special debt is due from the present writer to articles by Professor Rostovtzeff of Yale University.
and was held to have been justly slain. There was, however, one feature in Roman social life, favourable to the growth of the system of doles. The great Roman families formed close corporations in the State, each with its body of clients, who lent their support to their patron and expected from him material as well as moral help. Men were thus accustomed to the idea that the poor citizen might be unable to maintain a complete economic independence: the day might come when a party in the State would attempt to create a body of public clients, whose political support might be bought for material advantages. The chief check on such an abuse lay in the fact that the assemblies of the sovereign people were long under the virtual control of the senate; and that body was far-sighted and patriotic enough to stand out against the bribery of the voter. When Gaius Flaminius, one of the first great leaders of the democratic party, carried a proposal for the distribution of public land before the people themselves, in defiance of the senate, his action was generally condemned as alien to the spirit, if not to the letter, of the constitution. And so, for a long time, the old morality held its ground. Occasional presents of corn or oil might be made to the poorer citizens by private benefactors; but the State itself did not compete in such bidding for popularity. Only in the army did the practice of giving a donative after victory-partly justified by the low rate of pay-pave the way for a laxer code.
The two Gracchi, Tiberius and Gaius, provide one of the most difficult problems of Roman history. Tiberius was an idealist of lofty character and unselfish aims; Gaius, his younger brother, displayed amazing political insight and ability, but without his brother's singleness of purpose. And yet, in the opinion of many excellent judges, no two men did more than these two brothers to wreck the Roman Republic. Italy was then beginning to be a country of large landowners, who tended to prefer pasturage to agriculture, and the main object of Tiberius was to recover the land for the small farmer and so to arrest the decline of a class that had been the backbone of the Republic. He was brought into violent collision with vested interests and was betrayed into an abuse of his powers as tribune. Riots ensued, in the course of which he lost his life. But the commission which he had set up to recover land from unauthorized private possession went on working after his death and, ten years later, his work was taken
up by his brother. Gaius, however, had seen enough to convince him that an attack on privilege in one particular stronghold was foredoomed to failure. He committed himself instead to an attack on the central position of the senate, setting up against it the assembly of the people in their tribes to be convened by the tribune of the plebs. By a series of bribes and concessions he attempted to weld all enemies of the existing order into one organized opposition. In particular he made a bid for the support of the poor of Rome by inaugurating a State provision of corn at rates well below those of the open market. These State doles of corn were bound to work in the opposite direction to his brother's land legislation. Tiberius had tried to solve the question of unemployment in Rome by getting the small man back on to the land. Gaius actually added one lure the more to draw men to Rome; while the creation of an artificial cheapness in the corn market was the last thing to raise the prospects of Italian agriculture.
The features of the age on which we have to concentrate our attention are the depopulation of rural Italy, the growth of a class of indigent poor in Rome, and the two attempts made to deal with the problem—that of Tiberius Gracchus, trying to revive Italian farming, and that of Gaius, virtually despairing of a cure and aiming at making the evil conditions tolerable and turning them to his political advantage. In justice to the memory of Tiberius it must be said that his gallant attempt produced a certain limited improvement and that, if more was not accomplished, the fault lay largely with the privileged classes, which had no heart to deal radically with the evil and thwarted him at every turn. Before, however, we trace the unhappy sequel, we shall do well to ask how the economic problem had arisen and why it became acute at this precise moment.
The ruin of Italian agriculture obviously dates from the second Punic war, when large parts of the country were for years exposed to the ravages of war and the cultivators were called away from their farms to serve in the ranks. A long course of convalescence and careful nursing was clearly necessary to ensure recovery; and, in fact, Italy, after the defeat of Hannibal, enjoyed a long rest from home wars and a number of colonies were planted. What was done, however, was on altogether too small a scale, the more so as several new and unfavourable factors now entered into VOL. 246. NO. 501.