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applications of the principle of averaging risks or “insurance.” The only nation which has thus far developed a system as comprehensive as social need and as our present social science justify is Germany; and any discussion which ignores that splendid system must be regarded as tardy and provincial. No doubt each country must construct its own system, but any legislature which neglects German experience and success falls short of the best wisdom.
Sickness being one of the chief causes of dependence, all recent improvements in hygiene and sanitary science, with their practical applications in municipalities, must be counted among the direct means of preventing pauperism. The contest with tuberculosis is a familiar and happy illustration of labors in this field.12
6. Philanthropy would still have a large and even higher mission if the commonwealth could by a stroke abolish pauperism in all its present forms. Philanthropy will never become obsolete, but will merely move up to higher levels. There will always be superior and inferior; stronger men in advance, feebler men in the rear; but all will be members of the same community, knit by economic, political, and moral ties into one organization. Already the condition of social dependents is far higher than it was a century ago. Where actual misery and depravity have been abolished — if that time ever comes — there will still be work for the most successful on behalf of those less gifted. Much of our charitable work is already on this level. In rural communities the desperate and tragical struggle with shameless pauperism is often absent; there are no “poor,” none dependent on public or private relief; yet in many villages the higher charity has a very earnest mission. There are still spiritual and intellectual dwarfs to be stimulated; gossip dissipates; low vice lurks in unsuspected places; and those who lag in the rear hinder the march of the most advanced.
The philanthropic measures which have been developed in presence of pathological phenomena have reacted upon normal activities. Thus, for example, the methods of studying and training the feeble-minded and the juvenile offenders, and the vacation schools for summer vagrants among children, have made substantial and appreciated contributions to the science of education.
12 Other illustrations are given by Dr. E. Münsterberg in his paper published in this number of the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF Sociology.
Crises in commerce and industry are felt to be pathological; but a scientific study of crises reveals the principles which should regulate ordinary business in such a way as to avoid widespread financial ruin, as rules and laws controlling the issue of currency, the straining of credit, and the fluctuations in the production of commodities.
The labors of the philanthropist awaken and sustain those social habits of thought and sympathy which elevate and ennoble family life, refine customs, and inform legislation with a universal moral aim. Mediæval charity was full of blunders, but its failures are our warnings, and its spirit of devotion inspires us through the literary monuments of its typical heroes. In a similar way
the institutions and laws which public and private charity are now constructing will shine over the waste of years a veritable pharos for the centuries to come.
CHARLES RICHMOND HENDERSON. THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.
THE PROBLEM OF POVERTY.
POVERTY means a condition where there is lack of the necessaries of life. The preservation of the life of the body is a necessity, and the man who does not possess the means necessary to such preservation is poor. Whether it be directly through starvation, or indirectly through sickness brought on by insufficient nourishment, poverty must necessarily lead to the extinction of the physical life. The individual's instinctive love of life will not allow him to submit to this result without resistance, and so in one way or another, according to the circumstances in which he lives, he struggles against it. He will either heg the means of subsistence from his fellows, or, if this fails, he will resort to fraud or force in his efforts to obtain it. This means that he will strive to escape want by secret or forcible appropriation of the necessary means of subsistence. But so far as begging and force fail, whether it be because his fellow-men are also poor, or because they take sufficient precautions to protect themselves against fraud and force, so far the condition of poverty continues to exist, and that consequence of physical degeneration makes its appearance which penetrates the whole being through disease, through moral neglect, and through embitterment of soul. Where wider circles of population fall into this condition we speak of collective poverty, in contrast to individual poverty.
There is this great difference between poverty and all other human conditions, that the man who suffers from it has at his disposal no means of resistance out of his own power; that here there is no service rendered which furnishes a claim for a counter
a service, as is the case in all other human relations. Hence when help is rendered to the poor, be it by the individual or by society in its various forms, the question is always of a service without return. For this reason, therefore, such service cannot without further ceremony be left to the general principles governing economics and equity which otherwise regulate the relation between service and counter-service. There are many other points
of view on which the necessity of helping the poor is based. They may be briefly classified as “philanthropic” and “police.” The spectacle of a human being suffering from want is so affecting that it calls out the feeling of sympathy which impels his fellowmen to help. From the standpoint of the police, however, the impulse evoked is almost the direct opposite — that of selfprotection.
When an indigent, through need of the necessary means of subsistence, resorts to fraud or force, he can do this only through a breach of the law. Society, which imposes a penalty on such a breach of its laws, must guard against allowing such law-breaking, committed through the force of a natural instinct, to have the appearance of being justifiable. Means must be taken to anticipate such an instinctive action by voluntarily supplying the poor man with the means of satisfying his natural wants. The history of poverty furnishes numerous proofs of the fact that the instinct of self-preservation is under all circumstances stronger than the fear of penalty. The whole of the measures by means of which it is sought to alleviate the many and varied conditions of poverty, we designate “poor-relief.” No civilized state is without such measures, although in various countries they have undergone a very different development. Their foundation is laid by a feeling of fellowship, which at first centers in the church parish and is directly shown by the members of the parish toward one another. Hence the custom passes over, as a religious exercise, to the church itself, which comes to recognize a definite religious duty toward the poor. It also grows up out of that feeling of fellowship which neighbors have, manifests itself in the mutual help of those bound together by a common occupation or calling into orders of knighthood, religious orders, merchant and trade guilds, unions, brotherhoods, and associations, and finds its final comprehensive expression in the recognition of the duty of poor-relief through political organizations, church, province, state. Yet its actual development assumes very different forms. In the Latin countries the exercise of poor-relief and charity continues to center really in the church. In the Teutonic countries, on the other hand, it develops from an ecclesiastical to an ecclesiasticocivil, and then gradually to a completely civil, poor-relief. In keeping with this development, the ecclesiastical poor-relief in the Teutonic countries remains still in a mere modest, supplementary position, closely confined within the limits of those bound together by a common creed. The opposite is the case in the Latin countries. Here charity, which is administered through churches, monasteries, religious orders, and charitable endowments, is supplemented by state and parish measures. The traces of this historical development are to be found in numerous half-way forms. For example, even in the England of today the public poor-relief is administered by unions which correspond to the several church parishes. In the French burcaux de bienfaisance and in the Italian congregazione di carità the interest of the community at large finds expression in the fact that the mayor is the chairman of these associations.
To these public and semi-public forms of poor-relief there is added an immense number of private charities, which either pursue precisely the same object as the former, or else supplement them in some way or other. Their promoters are either single individuals or societies and associations. Above all things, the standpoint of humanity is predominant among them, although this takes different forms of expression at different periods. The simple command to love one's neighbor, which makes it a duty to help one's suffering fellow-beings, expresses itself in almsgiving and penitential offerings in the mediæval church, where the spiritual welfare of the giver is the idea in the foreground, rather than the need of the receiver. The charitable foundations of the cities that grew up after the Reformation are the expression of a powerful sense of citizenship, which feels itself able to do more for its impoverished members than afford them mere sustenance. The period of rationalism which set in about the middle of the eighteenth century transformed the Christian idea of love of one's neighbor into that of pure humanity. And still today impulses to relieve suffering are produced by motives of the most various kinds. The means to this end are pouring in today as they have never done before. The applied methods of relief, especially where sickness and infirmity are concerned, have