Page images


inventive ingenuity which in many fields of industry has been the sole basis of our achievements. Her artisans have almost none of the delicate sense which makes the French handiwork superior to the obstructions of all tariff walls. But amidst this poverty of natural resources, and from among a people not signally gifted with inventive ability or artistic temperament, there has in a generation emerged an industrial nation which stands forth as a marvel of economic development.

I have had a somewhat unusual opportunity to study the underlying causes of the economic success of Germany, and I am firmly convinced that the explanation of that progress can be encompassed in a single word, the “schoolmaster." He is the great cornerstone of Germany's remarkable industrial success. From the economic point of view the school system of Germany stands unparalleled.

Japan and Russia. Similarly the relation of her school system to the remarkable development of Japan and her proved ability in the highly technical and complicated art of modern warfare is universally admitted. The defeated Kuropatkin states that the costly failures of Russia were due to the ignorance of her brave but untutored army and to the education of the Japanese. Writing of the causes of defeat, he said:

The noncommissioned officers in the Japanese army were much superior to ours, on account of the better education and greater intellectual development of the Japanese common people. The defects of our soldiers—both regulars and reservists—were the defects of the population as whole. The peasants were imperfectly developed intellectually, and they made soldiers who had the same failing. The intellectual backwardness of our soldiers was a great disadvantage to us, because war now requires far more intelligence and initiative, on the part of the soldier, than ever before. Our men fought heroically in compact masses, or in fairly close formation, but if deprived of their officers they were more likely to fall back than to advance, In the mass we had immense strength, but few of our soldiers were capable of fighting intelligently as individuals. In this respect the Japanese were much superior to us.

* Among many of the common soldiers whom we took as prisoners we found diaries which showed not only good education but knowledge of what was happening and intelligent comprehension of the military problems to be solved.

The United States and other countries.-The remarkable results in these instances can not be attributed to racial or climatic differences, for in like manner, in Denmark, in Scotland, in Switzerland, in Massachusetts, wherever there is adequate provision for education, there follow great industrial efficiency and national wealth.

On the other hand, in Spain, in Russia, in Turkey, in Mexico, wherever there is a lack of the necessary school system, there is the same story of poverty, revolution, and misery, regardless of race, climate, or abundance of natural resources. Even in the United States it has been shown that the earning capacities of the citizens of several States are in direct proportion to the efficiency of their school systems. Dr. Charles W. Dabney, who investigated this matter, found, for example, that the average schooling given in 1898–99 to

95620° -17-Bull. 22 -2


the citizens of Massachusetts was 7 years; to those of the United States as a whole, 4.4 years, while that of Tennessee was only 3 years. Corresponding to these figures, he found that the average daily production of the citizen of Massachusetts was 85 cents; that of the United States as a whole was 55 cents; while that of Tennessee was only 38 cents.

Mr. Dabney does not tell how he determined the productive capacity of the citizens of these States, but by taking the sum of the combined products of farms, factories, mines, and quarries, as given for each State in the 1910 report of the Census Bureau, and dividing by the population of the State, a very rough approximation of the average earning power of the inhabitants may be secured. When this is done, it shows a productive capacity for 1910 for Massachusetts of $166 per year; for the United States as a whole, of $332; and for Tennessee, of $174.

Massachusetts spent in 1898–99 on her schools $12,261,525 more than Tennessee, which spent only $1,628,313, or $1.62 per pupil, against $38.55 per pupil spent in Massachusetts. But Massachusetts showed a productive capacity of $144 more per year per inhabitant than did Tennessee, and $90 a year more than the average for the United States. In total, Massachusetts put about thirteen millions per year more than Tennessee into her schools and received nearly four hundred million dollars annually in increased earning capacity, in large measure produced by the education of its citizens. Similar studies made by the late l'nited States Commissioner of Education, William T. Harris, and Mr. Wadlin, former chief of the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed practically the same results.

It would, of course, be very unfair to attribute all this difference in productive capacity to differences in the educational systems of the several States. The large capital on hand, the great trading centers and the numerous factories already established in Massachusetts give that State an advantage. Furthermore, the effect of climate, and many other factors, must be considered before the exact share played by education could be determined. In this and in all other comparative studies of peoples, it must be recognized that absolutely accurate estimates of the part played by education in economic development are not possible. Yet the unbiased observer must recognize that education is a controlling factor when he sees that among all varieties of races, and accompanied by all kinds of conditions of climate, natural resources, geographical location, economic and social environment, in every case educated people produce much and amass wealth, while uneducated people under the same conditions produce little and save less.

1 World's Work, I, 587–88. Apr., 1901; and ".1 World Wide Law," the University of Tennessee Index, Ser. II, No. 10.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The figures are from "A World-Wide Law," by Charles W. Dabney, and are for 1899. The figures for 1909 show the same facts. Estimates based on the total productions recorded in the 1910 census reports show a per capita production for Massachusetts of $466, for Tennessee of $174, and for the United States as a whole $332.

Other concrete illustrations of this fact are at hand. For example, Mullhall” gives the annual earning capacity of the inhabitants of several European countries as follows:

Nations with efficient educational

systems. England

£36 France

31 Germany

Nations with inadequate educational

systems. Spain

£16 Greece

13 Russia



The effect of education upon the accumulation of wealth is equally notable. The figures given by Mullhall for the total wealth per inhabitant of these several European nations are:

Nations with efficient educational

systems. England

£302 France

252 Germany


Nations with inadequate educational

systems. Spain

£135 Greece

101 Russia


Similarly, in America, Massachusetts, with slightly smaller population than Texas, has $4,956,000,000 of accumulated wealth to $2,836,000,000 possessed by Texas. That this is not altogether due to the fact that Massachusetts is a much older State than Texas is shown by the fact that Wisconsin, a comparatively new State, with only about two-thirds the population of Texas, has an equal amount of wealth; and California, a newer State, with only two-thirds the population, has $4,115,000,000 of wealth. All three of these richer States for years spent two or three times as much per child on education as Texas spent.

The relation of productive power to education is shown by the enormously increased rate of production that has come about everywhere since education became more generally diffused. The total wealth accumulated in America from 1492 to 1860, a period of 368 years, was $514 per capita. From then till 1904, a period of only 14 years, this increased to $1,318 per capita, or an addition in 44 years of $802 per capita. Since that time the increase has been even more striking. This increase is partly due to increased valuations or the smaller purchasing power of the dollar; to the use of accumulated capital, and to many other things; but after due allowance is made for all these the conclusion is inevitable that the education of the Nation is largely responsible for vastly increasing the productive power of its citizens. The productive power of illiterate countries is not increasing at such rates.

1 Industries and Wealth of Nations, pp. 391 and 393, published in 1896.

2 All figures are from the Special Report of the Census Office on Wealth, Debt and Taxation, 1907, p. 37.

a Figures from the Special Report of the Census Bureau on Wealth, Debt, and Taxation, 1907, p. 9.

[ocr errors]

Why educated nations produce more.—That there must be this intimate relation between education and earning power is obvious as soon as consideration is given to the demands of the processes of modern industry. The Asiatic farmer, with his stick plow, makes 6 cents a day, and the illiterate Russian peasant with his primitive implements and methods earns 14 cents, while the American farmer earns many times these sums because his improved methods and implements, made possible by education, have increased his efficiency. The illiterate race is necessarily restricted to the bullock and the stick plow, while the educated nation mines and smelts ores, manufactures the reaper and the traction engine, fertilizes the soil, rotates crops, breeds better stock and better seeds by scientific methods, rises superior to flood, drought, and disease, and multiplies efficiency a hundredfold.

Natural resources worthless without education. Even a bounteous harvest in a fertile section would avail little for an illiterate people who could not build the engines or boats to transport it, or understand the processes necessary for its preservation against a future day of want. Without the knowledge of chemistry and metallurgy, rich mineral deposits are but so much worthless rock. Without tools and machinery and educated skill to turn them into houses, furniture, and implements for man, vast timber resources are but so many trees cumbering the soil; without educated brain and skilled hands the fertile soil, timbered land, water power, and mineral deposit must forever lie idle or be ignorantly squandered.

Comparison of illiterate and educated workers.-Horace Mann vividly pictures the power of education in his statement about the savage and transportation. Modifying his statement, it can be said: The savage can fasten only a dozen pounds on his back and swim the river. When he is educated enough to make an axe, fell a tree, and build a raft, he can carry many times a dozen pounds. As soon as he learns to rip logs into boards and build a boat, he multiplies his power a hundredfold; and when to this he adds mathematics, chemistry, physics, and other modern sciences he can produce the monster steel leviathans that defy wind, storm, and distance, and bear to the uttermost parts of the earth burdens a million fold greater than the uneducated savage could carry across the narrow river.

1 Report on taxation, Proceedings and Addresses, Nat. Educ. Assoc., July, 1903, pp. 27-28:

* In India only 5 per cent can read and write, and there the men receive for farm work, in the Madras district, 6 to 8 cents a day; women, 4 to 6 cents; children, 3 to 5, the laborers boarding themselves ” (pp. 6 and 16).

“ If Asia had a Panama Canal to dig, she would dig it with picks, hoes, and spades, and tote out the earth in buckets. Nothing but human bone and sinew would be employed, and the men would be paid little, because without tools and knowledge they must always earn little. But America puts brains, science, steam, electricity, machinery into her Big Ditch-tools and knowledge, in other words, and she pays good wages because a man thus equipped does the work of 10 men whose only force is the force of muscle."“Asia's Greatest Lesson for the South," Clarence H. Poe, pp. 10-11.

« PreviousContinue »