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Further, a lucky chance favoured the launching of the movement in Denmark. It was to defend Danish culture against Germanizing influences that the first High School was founded, and in the disasters of 1848 and 1864 the High School came to be regarded as an instrument of national regeneration. Thus from the outset it has had a peculiar popular appeal, which no similar movement is likely to have in England or Scotland.
On the other hand, adult education is in the air. No less than spring or winter, great spiritual and intellectual movements announce their advent before they come. And the signs of such a movement are unmistakable now. Such are the thorough educational methods created by the Workers' Educational Association; the evolution from it of the British Institute of Adult Education; the development of extra mural courses and departments by our universities; the growing literature of adult education, of which some specimens are given at the head of this article; the foundation of Guildhouses and Folkhouses, and of residential colleges where adults may pursue continuous study. Among the latter may be mentioned Fircroft (founded 1909) and Woodbrooke (1903), near Birmingham; Avoncroft (1925), near Evesham, providing liberal education for rural workers; the Working Women's College at Beckenham (1920). An interesting account of these and other allied agencies is given in the second volume of Mr. Yeaxlee's work on adult education. But, in spite of these efforts the soil is practically virgin. In these islands the importance and place of organized adult study in education is not yet understood. What forms it may take with us, it is impossible to say.
As usual in England, the trail is blazed by private enterprise. There is little sign at present that the Ministry of Education or the local education authorities realise its importance. Yet we may conceive some future Minister of Education with a new policy. He would secure secondary education for all able children and if they both needed the help and were really able, would pay not only their fees but maintenance grants. But he would not consider power to obtain a school certificate and to proceed to a pass university degree as real ability. The rest he would allow to leave school at 14; but he would try to ensure their attendance for four hours weekly at a continuation school till they were 18. (The complete cessation of formal education from 14 to 18 is a weakness in the Danish system.) And he would
devote every effort to encourage adult education. There would be no better way of extending it than by refusing a vote to anyone who had not either received secondary education to the age of 17 or attended a recognised adult school for at least six months after the age of 18. If it was said that we could not make such a demand on men who have their bread to earn, it could be answered that we might well exact in the interests of education a sacrifice which almost every foreign nation exacts in the interests of military service; and that we might exact it the more readily, because it would make our people more efficient bread-winners and better men. There is no other way by which we can secure an educated democracy; we shall not secure it by our present methods or by any practicable extension of them.
There is one great danger in the way. The interests of the children and the nation may be sacrificed to a well-meant but visionary attempt to obtain complete " equality of opportunity." A really able child of poor parents should indeed have the best opportunities we can give. But it is neither possible nor profitable for the nation to provide for every stupid or mediocre child the chances which it would have if it were born in a rich home. Such an attempt might be dictated by politics, which too often confuse the educational issue. Politics inserted the clause in the Education Act of 1918 under which elementary schools were forbidden to charge fees; and a useful type of school was blotted out and a relief to our finances gratuitously thrown away. Politics to-day may lead us to pursue the impracticable ideal of secondary education for all though the example of America might teach us that a highly developed system of secondary education need not mean an educated people. If, with our far smaller financial resources, we follow the same road, we may, after many years and at heavy cost, achieve a system of secondary education for all to the age of 16: a system which closely resembles a house without a roof. Meanwhile the vast mass of the population will continue in intellectual darkness. We shall do better if we learn a lesson from the Danes, who are not the worse democrats for having avoided the pedantry of democracy, and put our efforts and our money into developing adult education. Adult education is not inconsistent with secondary education for all; but it can give us what secondary education by itself will never give-an educated nation.
R. W. LIVINGSTONE
THE RESTRICTION OF RUBBER EXPORTS
'HE compulsory restriction by the Government of the rubber exports from Ceylon and Malaya under the Stevenson scheme affords an interesting example of the working of protection-not in the form of a tariff on imports, which, in the popular mind, is the synonym of protection, but in the far wider sense in which the term was understood by the founders of free trade, namely, as State interference with the natural growth of commerce and industry for the benefit of a particular section of the community. At the present time, such interference is the order of the day, but the protection of the rubber-planters has this special feature, that they have themselves persuaded the Government to set up machinery to limit their access to the consuming markets. This they have done to escape the consequences of their own rashness in sinking money in commercial undertakings without gauging the probable demand for their product, and because the reasonable course of a voluntary adjustment of the supply to the requirements of the moment had failed.
Rubber is not a crop that can be quickly abandoned for another when markets are unfavourable. It takes five years before the trees begin to yield, and during that time money must be sunk in upkeep without any return. The outlay on a Malayan plantation before it reaches harvesting point is estimated at about £94 per acre. This " five-year cycle " was one of the distressed growers' principal arguments when they invoked help from the Government. It should have been in their minds during the rubber boom of 1910, when plantations were laid down recklessly without regard to future demand. Government control has now been in operation for more than four years, and before long the attempt to regulate the rubber supply by State interference may afford another instance of the soundness of the theory that meddling with the natural course of trade is always evil, and of the truth that men reap as they have sown.
The economic outlines of the rubber problem are not at all complicated. The production of the raw material offers no great technical difficulties. The latex, or mother-liquor of rubber, is
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prepared for the market by comparatively simple processes. The greater part of the world's rubber supply is plantation-grown within the corner of the British Empire known as Malaya. The next largest source of production at the present time is the Dutch East Indies; then follows Ceylon. Other tropical regions are not as yet of much account. Malaya, unfortunately, lives by rubber alone or almost so. Within the last fifteen years it has become, as nearly as any tropical place can be, a single-crop country. The business is carried on mainly by British capital. The principal market for raw rubber is, and always has been, London. Though the industrial uses of rubber are very numerous and increasing every year, there is at present only one really important outlet for the commodity, namely, the manufacture of motor-car tyres. This absorbs about 80 per cent. of the production. Another feature of primary economic importance is that the United States alone buys four-fifths of the world's rubber crop, chiefly, of course, for her automobile industry. We have thus one predominant producer-a British Colony and Dependencies; one predominant buyer-the United States; and one predominant user-the tyre industry. In the very simplicity of these conditions lies danger for the planters.
Another noteworthy feature of the industry is its newness. Until the middle of the last century, rubber was an article of small industrial importance, and for fifty years more it remained wholly a jungle-product, chiefly obtained from the forests of the Amazon. But the demand was growing, and years before the motor-car was thought of, many people realised that the reckless tapping of the wild trees would in time exhaust the natural supplies, and that there was a commercial future for scientific rubber growing. Ceylon was first thought of for the experiment. It was not long since the world's supply of quinine had been made safe by bringing cinchona seed from the Andean forests to the East Indies, and in 1876, at the instance of Sir Joseph Hooker of Kew, an English planter in Brazil, Mr. (now Sir Henry) Wickham, was commissioned to collect seeds of the Hevea and Castilloa trees, which yield most of the wild rubber, and get them shipped to England. The adventure might well have miscarried had the Brazilian authorities been alive to what was going on. Butfortune and the British Consul at Para assisting-70,000 seeds were got out of Brazil and brought to Kew. Only 2,800 germinated; but in due course most of these arrived safely at the
Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, in Ceylon, whence some of the seedlings were sent to Malaya. From these has sprung up an industry that now is worth about £100,000,000 a year.
The immediate cause of its success was the over-production of tea and coffee, which made planters welcome a new product yielding a handsome return. Not very long afterwards, in 1888, followed the introduction of the pneumatic tyre, and the popularisation of the motor-car. So long as the automobile was a luxury the world got on fairly well with its uncertain supply of wild Para rubber. Happily chance and business foresight worked in conjunction, and shortly after the motor-bus and the taxi-cab appeared in the London streets, in the year 1904, there was in sight an ample supply of cultivated rubber.
In 1901 the world's production of wild rubber was about 55,000 tons and only five tons of the plantation-grown commodity came on the London market. In 1910 there were 77,000 tons of wild rubber and 8,406 tons of plantation rubber. This was the year of the great boom, when rubber reached the highest price on record-12/9 per lb.-the average of the year being 8/9 per lb. The pioneer undertakings declared enormous dividends, new planting companies were launched by the score, with the inevitable sequel of over-production. The following table, taken from Mr. W. E. Maclaren's foreword to "Commercial Products of the Empire" (Benn, 1924) summarises the financial results of the three golden years of rubber-growing :
EARLY PROFITS OF BRITISH RUBBER PLANTING COMPANIES.
The average cost of production during the period covered by this table is given as 1/9 per lb. " all in.”
The war years, with their economic dislocation, may be passed over. Throughout them, and the short-lived boom that followed, rubber-planting prospered greatly. With an "all in" cost of production averaging about 11d., and selling prices fluctuating between 1/10 to 2/7 per lb., the oldest and best-managed plantations returned the nominal value of their shares from ten to twenty times over in dividends and bonuses.