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which will be created by their growth logically become more exacting, so that the possibilities within the application of such principles are therefore not ideal, but practical in their nature. And these potentialities in the near future will enhance the value of the services of trained statisticians.
The consular and diplomatic service, as well as other fields of government administration, come under this same necessity. The utilization of the consular service for original investigations creates in itself a wide reaching statistical force, and one which should be competent to exercise its statistical functions. with all the accuracy that belongs to science. So government should supplement college training with practical administrative instruction, acquired through positive service in its own departments.
This appeal that statistical science be taught in our colleges comes to the Economic Association more forcibly than to any other. The beginning which has been made in this direction in this country is honorable indeed. Shall it be supplemented in the great universities, and leading colleges of America ? Do not think for a moment that if the teaching of statistical science be incorporated in our college courses the country will be flooded with a body of statisticians. There is enough work for every man who understands statistical science. He need not be employed by government. The most brilliant achieve. ments of the European statisticians have been secured in a private or semi-official way.
The demand will equal the supply, and the demand of the public for statistical knowledge grows more and more positive, and the supply should equal the demand.
General Walker in a letter in 1874 said: 6. The country is hungry for information : everything of a statistical character, or even of a statistical appearance, is taken up with an eagerness that is almost pathetic; the community have not yet learned to be half skeptical and critical enough in respect to such statements.' He can add, Statistics are now taken up with an eagerness that is serious.
“Know thyself” applies to nations as well as to men; and that nation which neglects to study its own conditions, or fears to study its own conditions in the most searching and critical manner, must fall into retrogression. If there is an evil, let the statistician search it out; by searching it out and carefully analyzing statistics, he may be able to solve the problem. If there is a condition that is wrong, let the statistician bring his figures to bear upon it, only be sure that the statistician employed cares more for the truth than he does for sustaining any preconceived idea of what the solution should be. A statistician should not be an advocate, for he cannot work scientifically if he is working to an end. He must be ready to accept the results of his study, whether they suit his doctrine or not. The colleges in this connection have an important duty to perform, for they can aid in ridding the public of the statistical mechanic, the man who builds tables to order to prove a desired result. These men have lowered the standard of statistical science by the empirical use of its forces.
The statistician writes history. He writes it in the most concrete form in which history can be written, for he shows on tablets all that makes up the Commonwealth ; the population with its varied
composition; the manifold activities which move it to advancement; the industries, the wealth, the means for learning and culture, the evils that exist, the prosperity that attends, and all the vast proportions of the comely structure we call State. Statistical science does not use the perishable methods which convey to posterity as much of the vanity of the people, as of the reality which makes the Commonwealth of to day, but the picture is set in cold, enduring, Arabic characters, which will survive through the centuries, unchanged and unchangeable by time, by accident, or by decay. It uses symbols which have unlocked to us the growth of the periods which make up our past—they are the fitting and never changing symbols by which to tell the story of our present state, that when the age we live in becomes the past of successive generations of men, the story and the picture shall be found to exist in all the just proportions in which it was set, with no glowing sentences to charm the actual, and install in its place the ideal; with no fading colors to deceive and lead to imaginative reproduction, but symbols set in dies as unvarying and as truthful in the future as in the past. The statistician chooses a quiet and may be an unlovely setting, but he knows it will endure through all time.
The Sociological Character of Political Economy.
BY FRANKLIN H. GIDDINGS.
Paper read at the second annual meeting of the American Economic Associa
tion, in Boston, May 23, 1887.
The aim of this paper is to set forth, briefly, a conception of Political Economy as a •science of organic phenomena.
This conception is not opposed to that view which discloses the logical character of economic science, nor to that view which discloses its historical character. If valid, it should combine those two views into a scientific unity.
Neither does this conception remove the old landmarks by which the domain of Political Economy has been so long, and, on the whole, so satisfactorily defined. It does not attempt to make economic science co-extensive with the science of society, much less with the science of man. The phenomena of wealth are its subject matter. So far as it brings within the economist's consideration facts and principles that have been neglected or purposely excluded hitherto, it is because there seems to be reason for thinking that their exclusion limits or vitiates our knowledge of the production and distribution of wealth. These facts and principles belong all to one class. They are all involved in the reactions of wealth-production and distribution upon human nature and social organization. But according to the conception here set forth, these reactions are not to be studied by the economist for their own intrinsic interest, as they are studied by the psychologist and sociologist, nor as subjects for approval or condemnation, as by the moralist, but because, having once taken place, they become; from that moment, antecedents of the further production and distribution of wealth.
Modern sociology differs from the older philosophy of history in the specific meaning it attaches to the proposition that the social aggregate is organic. When the biologist affirms that such or such an aggregate of units is an organism he not only means that it is composed of mutually dependent parts that are mutually helpful, he means specifically and chiefly that the habitual activities of every part mould and differentiate its structure, and that structure, in its turn, gives direction to activity. The boy who has worked daily from early childhood in needle-making becomes at sixteen a marvel of nervous and muscular coördinations adjusted to that particular work. But at thirty he can learn no new dexterity. His physical and mental structure have lost plasticity and all his activities have become well-nigh automatic. In every organism, then, the essential fact to be noted is the reciprocal determination of structure and function. Activity modifies structure and structure gives direction to activity.
In the social organism one part of this process is seen in the evolution of institutions through the habitual activities of the people. Institutions are, in fact, nothing more nor less than certain forms of concerted conduct become habitual and authorita·tively sanctioned. And every kind of social activity