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The Rural Science Series

Edited by L. H. Bailey

Rural Wealth and Welfare

Economic Principles Illustrated and Applied in Farm Life


Geo. T. Fairchild, LL.D.

New York

The MacMillan Company

London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd.



Introduction. General Welfare.
Part I. Productive Industries: Analysis of Aims, Forces, Means and
Chapter I. Aims Of Industry.
Chapter II. Forces In Production Of Wealth.
Chapter III. Labor Defined And Classified.
Chapter IV. Capital Defined And Classified.
Chapter V. Personal Attainments.
Chapter VI. Combination Of Forces For Individual Efficiency.
Chapter VII. Methods Of Association.
Chapter VIII. Exchange: Advantages, Limitations And Tendencies.
Chapter IX. Value The Basis Of Exchange.
Chapter X. Exchange—Its Machinery.
Chapter XI. Banks And Banking.
Chapter XII. Deferred Settlement And Credit Expansion.
Chapter XIII. Technical Division Of Labor.
Chapter XIV. Aggregation Of Industry.
Chapter XV. Special Incentives To Production.
Chapter XVI. Business Security.
Part II. Distribution of Wealth for Welfare.
Chapter XVII. General Principles Of Fair Distribution.
Chapter XVIII. Wages And Profits.
Chapter XIX. Conflict Between Wage-Earners And Profit-Makers.
Chapter XX. Proceeds Of Capital: Interest And Rent.
Chapter XXI. Principles Of Interest.
Chapter XXII. Principles Of Land Rent.
Part III. Consumption of Wealth.
Chapter XXIII. Wealth Used By Individuals.
Chapter XXIV. Prudent Consumption.
Chapter XXV. Imprudent Consumption.
Chapter XXVI. Social Organization For Consumption.
Chapter XXVII. Economic Functions Of Government.
Chapter XXVIII. Economic Machinery Of Government.


To The Thousands Of Students In Agricultural Colleges
With Whom I Have Studied Economic Questions
During The Past Thirty-Five Years

This little volume is thankfully dedicated

In Remembrance Of
Many Pleasant Hours

Geo. T. Fairchild


In giving these pages to the public I offer no apology for a restatement
of fundamental principles always requiring adjustment to new life and
circumstances; but economic literature has usually dealt too exclusively
with the phenomena of manufactures and commerce to gain the sympathy of
rural people. An experience of more than thirty years in handling such
subjects at the Michigan and Kansas Agricultural Colleges, together with
the expressed confidence of former pupils whose judgment I trust, has led
me into the effort to bring the subject home to farmers and farmers’
families in this elementary way.

I have carefully refrained from quotations, or even references to works
consulted, for the obvious reason that such formalities would distract the
attention of most readers from the direct, common-sense thinking desired,
and render the style of the book more complex. I hereby acknowledge my
debt to the leading writers of past and present upon most of the topics
treated, not excluding any school or party.

The statements of facts I have taken from best authorities, with care to
verify, if possible, by comparisons. Many data have been diligently
compiled and rearranged for more exact presentation of facts, and the
phenomena of prices of farm crops have been analyzed with especial care.
The necessities of the printed volume have to some extent obscured the
charts by reduction, but I trust they may be intelligible and interesting
to all students of agricultural interests.

No attempt has been made to argue or to expound difficulties beyond a
simple statement of principles involved, and the spirit of controversy has
been absent from my thoughts throughout. Whatever bias of opinion may
appear is without a tinge of bitterness toward those who may differ. I
trust that men of all views may recognize in these pages the wish of their
author to have only truth prevail.

In offering this volume to farmers I do not assume that all questions of
wealth and welfare can be settled by rule. I hope to point out the actual
trend of facts, the universal principles sustained by the facts, and means
of most ready adjustment to circumstances in the evolutions of trade and
manufacture. The business sense of farmers is appealed to for the sake of
their own welfare. Several important questions of rural welfare have been
touched only suggestively because the limits of the volume could not admit
of fuller treatment.

My gratitude is offered especially to Professor Liberty H. Bailey, of
Cornell University, to whose suggestion and patient attention the
existence of this volume is due.

George T. Fairchild.

March 1, 1900.


_Elements of welfare._—The welfare of communities, like that of
individuals, is made up of health, wealth, wisdom and virtue. If we can
say of any human being that lie is healthy, wealthy, wise and good, we are
sure of his satisfaction so far as it depends upon self. When a community
is made up of individuals kept in health and strength from birth to old
age, sustained with accumulated treasures, wise enough to use both
strength and wealth to advantage, and upright, just and kind in all human
relations, our ideals of welfare are met.

These are four different kinds of welfare, each of which is essential, and
only confusion of thought follows any attempt to treat them all as wealth,
however they may be intermingled and exchanged. Health is essential in
gaining a full measure of wealth and wisdom, and perhaps in maintaining
genuine character; but a healthy life gives no assurance of complete
welfare. The facts concerning health in a community make a distinct
subject of study for promotion of welfare, and we call it public hygiene.
The science of education deals with ways and means of securing public
wisdom. The science of government includes all facts relative to public
virtue. So the facts by which we know the nature and uses of accumulated
wealth in any community make a distinct study under the name economic
science; it deals with certain definite groups of facts. To call
everything good “wealth” and everything evil “ilth” adds nothing but
confusion to our thoughts.

_Mutual welfare._—Every human being in society is directly interested in
the study of wealth as related to his own and his neighbors’ welfare. No
one can understand his relations to those about him in the family, the
neighborhood, his country and the world without some understanding of the
sources and uses of wealth all about him. His very industry gains its
reward by certain means in society depending upon economic principles. His
motives for accumulating wealth have a distinct place. His uses of
accumulated wealth are a part of the general facts which make wealth
desirable. So the study of wealth in society must be everybody’s study, if
each wishes to do best for himself or for his neighbors. In such study of
welfare every one finds his interests completely blended with the
interests of others. His existence is part of a larger existence called
society, from which he receives himself in large measure and most of his
satisfaction; to which he contributes in like measure a portion of its
essential character and future existence.

The old idea that one gives up freedom of self for the advantages given by
society has no foundation in fact, because we are born into our place in
society without power to escape its advantages, disadvantages or
responsibilities. The maxim “Each for all and all for each” is thoroughly
grounded in the constitution of man; his needs and abilities enforce
society and insist upon community of interests. Even personal wealth
confers little welfare outside of its relations to other human beings. The
whole progress of the human race tends toward acceptance of the clear
vision of Tennyson, where

“All men find their good in all men’s good,
And all men join in noble brotherhood.”

Each stage in the progress of the conquest of nature to meet human wants,
from the gathering of wild fruits, through hunting and fishing,
domestication of animals, herding, and tillage of permanent fields, to the
manufacture of universal comforts and tools, and to general commerce, has
made more important the welfare of neighbors. Even the wars of our century
are waged in the name of and for the sake of humanity. The study of
individual welfare involves the public welfare. Welfare of a class is
dependent upon the welfare of all classes. Wealth of individuals is
genuine wealth in connection only with the wealth of the world. Welfare
without wealth would imply the annihilation of space, of time, and of all
forces acting in opposition to wishes.

_Wealth in farming._—The subject of the following pages is wealth, how it
is accumulated, how distributed to individual control and how finally
consumed for the welfare of all concerned. But special reference is made
to the sources of wealth as a means of welfare in rural life, and to the
bearing of definite economic principles upon farming, especially in these
United States of America. Farming is, and must always remain, a chief
factor in both wealth and welfare, and its relations to the industry of
the world grow more important to every farmer as the world comes nearer to
him. We cannot now live in such isolation as our fathers loved. The
markets of the world and the methods of other farmers all over the world
affect the daily life of every tiller of the soil today. Commerce in the
products of farm and household reaches every interest, when the ordinary
mail sack goes round the world in less time than it took our immediate
ancestors to go as pioneers from Massachusetts to Ohio. It seems possible
to show from the experiences of farm life the essential principles of
wealth-making and wealth-handling, including the tendencies under a
world-wide commerce.

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