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Entered as second-class matter October 8, 1909, at the Post Office at New York, N. Y.,
under the Act of Congress of March 3, 1879.

Copyright 1912, by The Editorial Review Co.

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HE EDITORIAL REVIEW is

high-class journal of original thought and the medium for the selection and presentation of dominant editorials of

the daily press, thus denoting the

views of different sections of the country.

It appeals to those who desire information on questions of high particular and general import. It is a class publication for those who wish to keep pace with every important movement in current general history

VOL. VI.

MAY, 1912

No. 5

THE COST OF LIVING PROBLEM.

THE high cost of living is the question of the hour. It is one that is engaging the serious thought in all civilized countries of those who directly or indirectly are charged with governmental administration.

The United States has taken an important step in an endeavor to arrive at a scientific basis for determining the fluctuations in values of foodstuffs and wages, by making an investigation of the whole subject by an international commission.

The. statistics and data upon which a reliable opinion might be based afford at present no working economic rule whereby the price movements throughout the world may be gauged. Different methods of calculation and statistical indices are employed in different countries and the standards of living vary considerably. This variation makes comparison very difficult and does not enable us to explain the fluctuations in the purchasing power of the monetary unit with any degree of accuracy.

Such a world-inquiry as has been instituted will investigate all phases of the problem and collate reliable and comparative figures and information on conditions that should make it possible to come to definite conclusions as to their causes and the remedies that may meet them with at least partial adequacy. The great nations are now so interdependent and inter-related that a kind of coöperative standardization might result from this inquiry, and a union might take place for the regulation of prices and wage remuneration in a way similar to that of the Latin Union, having for its object the securing of uniformity in currency.

Not only is there today an academic interest in this problem, but a real and vital one on the part of publicists, social reformers, and the people-the consumers-particularly the wageearners, upon whom presses most heavily the enhanced cost of living.

The present conditions may in part be explained by the forsaking of certain fundamental principles on which society is based. History shows us the lesson, writ large in the annals of a progressing civilization, that human beings have the elemental right to life and happiness. "The greatest happiness of the Copyright, 1912, by The Editorial Review

greatest number" can be attained only when conditions that have to do with the nourishment and environment of the people are made conformable to the standards of living that represent the average needs and aspirations of the community.

Today there is unrest all over the world that is, we believe, the result of the play of forces brought about by competition having overstepped the bounds and having become monopolistic in character, restrainful of legitimate trade and commercial progress.

The monopolies favored by circumstances and uncertainty in legal restrictions, have coiled like a boa-constrictor around the agencies for purveying and supplying the necessaries of life. As a consequence prices have soared out of all proportion to the increase in wages and income, and the monetary unit has decreased in its purchasing power. In some quarters the great increase in the production of gold is held responsible for the diminishing capacity for the monetary unit to purchase goods.

It is high time that a careful and scientific investigation were made to see how far staple industries have raised prices, and to determine the disproportion in the increase of production and the values obtained as compared with previous periods.

The principal factors that make up this problem and that require elucidation by such a commission are the enhanced cost of living and the wage ratio compared with, say, a decade since; the effect of large combinations of capital on present prices; the operation of increased taxation caused by huge armaments, governmental extravagance, Federal, State and Municipal; and individual blame-worthiness, if such there be, owing to the adoption of standards of living based upon a fictitious instead of a real prosperity.

The problem is international, nonpartisan, and its solution is so vital to everyday living, to social safety, and to the progress of civilization, that no undue delay should occur to investigate it along the broadest lines of humanitarianism and the brotherhood of men.

Much is anticipated from the inquiry. The report and the recommendations of the commission will be eagerly looked forward to as a means of meeting the ominous undercurrent of discontent that is manifesting itself in socialism and labor troubles in many countries where, in the light of our achievements in the mastery of the material world contentment should obtain,

THE EDITOR.

The American Wool Manufacture, by Winthrop L. Marvin, lucidly and in trenchant language presents the problem of wool production and manufacture, in which our Eastern and Western States are alike interested. Schedule K of the Tariff is still, as it has been for forty years, the keystone of the protective system around which controversy has raged, often with much acerbity. Mr. Marvin states and examines in detail the main arguments of freetraders respecting the wool schedule, and by reference to the report of the United States Tariff Board, he answers the charge that excessive rates of duty result in extortionate prices to the general consumer. That body, composed of Republicans and Democrats, protectionists and anti-protectionists, has collected data and statistics of great comparative value. Upon these can be based the conclusion that, while the duty on woolen goods can safely be lowered, the assertion that the public has been mulcted on the materials forming the clothing of the masses, "by the full amount of duty," is absolutely incorrect. The report throws most interesting side lights upon the relation of wages to the cost of production, and demonstrates that high wages and low labor may often go together. This is especially true in the case of manufacturing processes where high speed automatic machinery is used. The Tariff Board has found that the woolen manufacture is peculiar, in that the machinery can not be driven faster in the United States than in Europe, because very high speed leads to deterioration in the product. Hence anomalies have arisen in regard to wages and cost of production here and abroad. Mr. Marvin. shows that there is no Woolen Trust and that competition gives rise to the prices even more than tariff duties. He concludes with a protest against the Tariff Reduction Bill in the present session of Congress, which he characterizes as a "tariff destruction bill" that would bring about disastrous results similar to those which followed the Gorman-Wilson law of 1894.

The Lesson of the Titanic, by Lewis Nixon, is a timely article on the steamship disaster that has recently stunned the whole world. Mr. Nixon, who is a recognized naval expert, outlines some of the needed safeguards that will probably be adopted in the near future. Among these will doubtless be an international patrol of caution by wireless telegraphy; the equipment

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