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O C I A L
LOUIS F. POST
AUTHOR OF "ethics OF DEMOCRACY,"
"ethical PRINCIPLES OF MAR-
RIAGE AND DIVORCE," ETC.
T. FISHER UNWIN
United States of America
rO^ LOFT IN JOHNSON
who also sat at the feet of Henry George
and learned of him.
Tiie intricate co-operative process of serving a
dinner; of street car service; of merchandiz-
ing; of house building; of professional service.
Mutuality of service and its indispensability.
Normal interchanges of service. Civilized life
a complex social organism vitalized by trade.
Simplicity of the science of the social organ-
ism. Money as a certificate of title to social
The Use of Money in Social Service ... 16
The money function a primary consideration.
Money subordinate to the services it exchanges.
Money as currency. Value. Statistics of Value.
The language of money. Clearing houses.
Comparison of details, regarding money, with
essential principles. Enumeration of prin-
The Abuse of Money in Social Service ... 46
Pathology and " healthology." Love of money
equivalent to love of dominion, which is love
of slavery. Hunger and Cold. Wishing for
money. Gold and silver coinage. Intrinsic
value. Greenbackism. Money a form of credit.
Pathological money standards. Interest. Loan
sharks. The essential principle of a loan. Un-
fair distribution of social service not neces-
sarily due to bad money systems.
Individual Self-Sebvice the Pbimabt Impulse
OF Social Sebvice 70
Why we swap social services. Charity. Hospi-
tality. Easy money. Progress and Poverty.
The key to the science of social service. Politi-
cal economy. The line of least resistance.
Marvelous invention. The baflBing problem of
our time. Co-operation in the business world.
The round-up of social service. The social
Demand and Supply 100
Buyers virtually make what they buy. " Giving
work." Demand for consumption determines
the direction in which labor will be expended
in producing supply. Service and commodities.
Artificial commodities — wealth. Producers of
wealth. Meaning of production and consump-
tion. Commodities in the market like water
in a reservoir. Mankind live from hand to
mouth. Wealth cannot be saved. Overproduc-
tion. Equilibrium of supply and demand.
Effective demand. Current demand satisfied
only from current production. Formulation
of the law of demand and supply.
The " tooth-and-claw " argument. "Jug-han-
dled " competition. Competition and co-opera-
tion convertible terms. Abolishing competition.
Pathology of competition. Competition the
natural regulator of the social service market.
Determined by the irksomeness of work.
Values. Land values. Natural function of
competition. Competition and monopoly anti-
thetical. The doctrine of "all the traflSc
The Mechanism of Social Service .... 149
Business. Usefulness and serviceableness.
General principles. Advances of wages. Em-
ployers and employes as partners. Business
Going " over to town to trade." The vast
field of trade. The social service of the world.
How farmers trade. Stores. Specialization
and generalization in storekeeping. Mutual ac-
cidents. " Surplus " service. Workers and
parasites. Definition of trade. Wholesale and
retail stores. Reservoir illustration. History
of storeketping. Cut-throat competition. Com-
petitive impulses. Free competition. Profits.
Newspaper illustration. " All the trafiic will
bear." Exploitation of labor. Fishing at
Green's pond. Monopoly. Co-operative in-
The Circles of Trade 18-4
Retail stores. Food, clothing, shelter, luxu-
ries, and personal services. Wholesale stores.
Factories. Original materials. Transporta-
tion. Accounts. Action and reaction of pro-
duction and consumption. Value. " Corners."
" Higgling." Market places, ancient and
modern. Monopoly versus competition. Busi-
Credits and Accounting 197
The mechanism of payments. Illustration of
the interlinked phenomena of barter. Value
measurements. Currency. Credits. Book-
keeping. Banks. Checks. Clearing Houses.
Brokerage in credits. Insurance of credits.
Illustration of the interlaced phenomena of
credit. Bills of exchange. International trade.
Balances of trade. Business is barter.
Debaxgements of the Mechanism of Social
The pathology of social service. Painful
social contrasts. Idlers and workers. Pur-
chasing power. Producers and consumers.
Diversion of service. Mutual employment.
Checking of mutual employment. Business de-
pressions. Tax obstructions. Free trade. The
instruments of production — artificial and
natural. Opportunities for production. The
fundamental requisite of social service.
Analysis of the Instbuments of Social Sebvice 233
Production and distribution. Wages. Interest.
Rent. Insurance. Wages of superintendence.
Ability, The entrepreneur. Capital. Land.
Labor. Natural and artificial instruments of
production. Commodities. Diagrams of pro-
duction. Human activity utilizing natural
instruments, produces consumable objects in-
clusive of artificial instruments.
Abtificial Instbuments of Social Sebvice . . 250
Indispensability of artificial instruments.
Produced by current labor. Monopoly of
artificial instruments. Industrial classes.
Natubal Instruments of Social Sebvice and
Theib Capitalization 262
Monopoly of natural instruments. Meaning
and effect of capitalization. Value. From
Feudalism to Capitalism.
Capitalistic conditions under Feudalism. In-
dustrial history. Development of Feudalism
and its supersedure by Capitalism.
Its beginning. Its intensification. Its nature.
Its triumph over Feudalism. Its confusions.
Karl Marx and Henry George 295
The influence of capitalistic confusions.
From Primitive to Capitalistic Production 306
The most primitive forms. Persistence of the
essential principles into the most complex
forms. Bellamy's water tank illustration.
The Social Service Law of Equal Freedom . 317
Natural laws. Resume of preceding chapters.
Natural and artificial capital. Meaning of
the law of equal freedom. Unperverted
Application of the Law of Equal Freedom . 335
The co-operative commonwealth under unper-
verted capitalism. Evolutionary processes
versus conventional contrivances. The prin-
ciple of free contract. Socialism, artificial
Deference to custom. Taxation. The " single
tax." Socialization of natural capital and
individualization of artificial capital. Differ-
ential value of land. Natural socialism the
beneficent social climax.
Leaning back in oiir chairs at a cozy restaurant,
you and I, smoking it may be while we talk across
the table, our conversation possibly turns to the
dinner we have just had — not sensuously as with
gluttons, but reflectively as men interested in the
whys and the wherefores even of the commonplace.
A question has influenced the current of our
thoughts. How did we get this dinner? By what
magic was that variety of appetizing food laid be-
fore us at our pleasure and upon our request? Is
there in truth an Aladdin's lamp? Are there
omnipotent genii to work wonders at an Aladdin's
touch ? Let us recall the circumstances.
When we entered the restaurant, a neatly
dressed well mannered gentleman conducted us to
this table. He was none of your genii of a thou-
sand Arabian nights, but a man like ourselves.
He serves his fellow men, and they call him not
inaptly the 'Tiead waiter." Having seen us com-
fortably seated, the head waiter turned his atten-
tion elsewhere, leaving another neatly dressed and
well mannered gentleman — none of your mythical
genii either, but a fellow man whom they call a
"waiter" — to take our orders for food. The waiter
withdrew upon getting our orders, and presently
returned with a supply of crockery, silverware,
2 SOCIAL. SERVICE
napkins and other table furnishings. In due time
he brought us our food, course by course, then our
coffee, and finally the cigars we are smoking and
the little jar of matches with which we light
So much we saw. But there was more that we
did not notice, and vastly more that we could not
have seen had we tried — all a part of the neces-
sary process of serving our dinner. Neither the
waiter nor the head waiter was a magician who
could say "Let there be bread," and there is
bread; or "Let there be" this or that, and it
comes. Workers like themselves must have re-
sponded to their directions, whether we saw the
other workers or not. Though we did not see a
cook, there was a cook in the hot kitchen who
served us as truly as the waiter did, and without
whose aid the waiter could not have served us at
all. We did not see the furniture makers, nor the
silversmiths, nor the spinners and the weavers,
nor the makers of the lighting appliances, nor the
crockery makers, of whom the implements and
furnishings for our comfort in eating must have
been procured. Neither did we see the cigar mak-
ers nor the tobacco raisers whose product we are
now turning into fragrant smoke, nor the makers
of the matches we have burned, nor the decorators
who made these walls sightly, nor the builders
who erected the house in which we sit, nor the
printers and paper makers who supplied the bill
of fare. Yet all these craftsmen have in greater
or less degree made it possible for the waiter to
serve us as he has done. Each has been an opera-
tor in the process. Altogether, they have co-oper-
Even when all these co-operative craftsmen are
considered, the roll of co-operators to whom we are
indebted for this dinner is far from complete.
Back of the cook are tradesmen who supply the
kitchen with cooking implements and food mate-
rials, and carriers who deliver them. Back of
these are wholesalers who have supplied the
tradesmen — all equipped with their respective
clerks and bookkeepers and other helpers or co-
operators. Back of these again are the builders of
their stores, the makers of their delivery wagons
that rattle through the streets, the builders of
railroads and cars, and the railroad men who op-
erate them. Still farther back in the order of
this simple dinner service are millers, butchers,
ranchers, farmers, cotton raisers and cotton pick-
ers, sailors, shipwrights, miners, lumbermen, cof-
fee producers, oyster dredgers, fishermen, plow-
men, hunters, dairymen — an infinite variety of pro-
ducers and traders, with commercial ramifications
extending all over the world. Get the picture
into your mind. Don't you see that we have bro-
ken into a labyrinth of social service so confusing
as to defy complete description in detail ?
That match, now, with which you have relighted
your cigar— look at it. It is only a little sliver
of wood charred at one end where a moment ago,
before you took it from its fellows in the jar, there
was a crust of sulphur and a hardened dab of
phosphorus — the simplest item of all the objects
that have contributed to our enjoyment at this
table to-night. Yet he would be a learned special-
ist of many specialties who could write the biog-
raphy of that match. Try it for yourself. The
waiter fetched it for you. It had been bought in
a package of the grocer up the street, and he had
sent the package here by one of the boys he hires.
Before that he himself had bought it in a larger
package of a wholesale merchant, who in turn had
bought it of the manufacturer, who had bought
the wood of lumbermen and the sulphur and the
phosphorus of an importer. The story thus far is
not difficult in its general outlines. Neither would
4 SOCIAL SERVICE
it be very difficult to trace the lumber back through
a saw mill to the chopper in the forest, the sulphur
to some gypsum bed perhaps, and the phosphorus
back through the fumes of deadly factories to
collections of old bones. But when your imagina-
tion turns to the collateral co-operators, you be-
gin to realize the meaning of infinite com-
plexity. For you must pick up the threads of
the story of the wood chopper's axe, and follow
them back from the axe in his hand to the forest
where the helve was cut and the mine whence the
ore was taken, through all the intervening chan-
nels of manufacture and sale not only of the axe
itself but of all the implements used in its mak-
ing and final delivery. Then you must repeat this
confusing process with the saw mill and its im-
plements and the implements with which they
were made; and after that, if your interest does
not flag, with all the deEcate machinery of the
match factory and the delicate machinery with
which that delicate machinery itself was made.
By this time you will have a liberal education in
the industrial arts, sufficient perhaps to give you
a hint of other and even more confusing labyrinths
to explore before you can definitely tell how that
little match got away from its native condition
and into your hands just as you needed a light
for your cigar.
If now you begin to realize the bewildering
complexity of the social process of merely provid-
ing the materials for the dinner we have had, turn
your attention to the service of marshaling and
adapting those materials so as to make a dinner
of them. Think of the function, for instance, of
the proprietor of this restaurant, our good friend
Joseph over there. Without his service all the
other service would have been useless to us. It
was his forethought and skill that bixiwight into
such correlation as exactly to meet our needs for
a dinner at a particular place and hour, the ser-
vices of the head waiter, of the waiter and the
cook, of the artisans who made the room comfort-
able and sightly, and of all the army of social ser-
vitors whose co-operative usefulness to us we have
been trying to realize and appreciate. But if we
really could comprehend, as neither you nor I nor
any one else can possibly do, the details of the
labyrinth of social service involved in supplying a
restaurant dinner, as simple t'von as ours has been,
we should still be only on the edge of understand-
ing the details of social service.
Let us then, as we leave the restaurant, pursue
our thought, but with reference to other needs and
comforts than those of the table.
We are now on a street car. Here is a motor-
man who takes us to your home. Here are cars
that other men have built to enable him to do it.
These cars, like the match at the restaurant, have
their complex history, beginning in mine and for-
est — alike for materials for the cars and for the
tools, the machinery and the buildings necessary
for their construction, and the mechanism neces-
sary for propulsion — and ending as we find
them now, in carriages rolling along upon railed
pavements. Then there are the rails, the trolley
wire, the power houses, with a regiment of men to
maintain and operate the system so that a car
may be ready for us when we are ready to go
home. Again you are in a labyrinth of social
Behold the same bewildering complexity as we
stop to leave an order at the corner grocery near
your house. A clerk takes your order, a deliverer
will bring the goods to your door. But back of
the clerk is the grocer himself, who has stocked
the store, who thoughtfully keeps it stocked, and
who in other ways superintends its affairs, so that
you and your neighbors may have groceries of
6 SOCIAL SERVICE
your choice and at your convenience. But back
of grocer and grocer's assistants are wholesalers,
manufacturers, importers, transporters by land
and sea, exporters at scores of foreign seaports,
original producers in a thousand distant places —
all told, an army and a navy of workmen, clerks,
sailors, and helpers of every kind.
So it is with your clothing. Those shoes came
from a department store, as did your hat, your
underwear, your furnishings, and, since you are
not fastidious about wearing tailor-made cloth-
ing, as did also your coat, your trousers and your
waistcoat. Several clerks have helped you in
your purchases, and department store deliverers
have brought the goods to your house. Again
you are in a whirl of social service. For back
of the clerks and deliverers are managers and sub-
managers ; and back of them are transporters and
manufacturers and mechanical workmen, while
back of these are farmers and planters and herd-
ers and butchers and tanners, and so on and on in
an inlSnite complexity of wholesale stores and
their owners, of managers and clerks, of factories,
mines, forests, farms, ranches and railroads in our
own country, of factories, mines, forests, sheep-
folds, and railroads in other countries, of ships,
drays, warehouses and machines, with their mil-
lions upon millions of men, and even of women
and children, all co-operatively toiling to render
service, such service as you receive from the cloth-
ing you wear.
Are we now at your house? Did you ever ask
yourself where this house came from? Nature
provided the materials, it is true, but not in their
present convenient place and comfortable form.
Architects and builders with their various as-
sistants, reinforced by an army of lumbermen,
brickmakers, miners, transporters and traders in
confusing variety, made you this house. Not your
own house, do you say? You are only a tenant?
Very well; then an additional eo-operator, the
house owner, has served you by marshaling the
services of the builders to have the house ready
for your use at a time and in a place to suit your
As with this house that you are about to enter
and which you call your home, so with all the
houses of your neighbors. So with everything
any of us may use. Workers, workers, workers;
here, there, everywhere! Growing, constructing,
carrying — doing. It is quite impossible to de-
scribe, almost impossible to imagine in any de-
tail, the incessant work^ the continuous service,
the intricate co-operation that make it possible for
you and me to get as we want them a house to
live in, a ride on a street car, a choice of groceries,
a dinner at a restaurant, a cigar to smoke, even a
match to light it with. And minute as we have
tried to be, we have nevertheless overlooked the
bankers, who play an important part in all this
work, and we have made no account of lawyers,
doctors, teachers, actors, authors, clergymen,
journalists and hosts of other social servitors,
who in some way or other, directly or indirectly,
minister to our desires.
How is it possible to fix your attention at all,
even superficially, upon these facts of common
observation, without realizing, and in a startling
way if you have never thought of the matter be-
fore, that some people are incessantly serving
other people, and that everybody is somehow and
somewhere being all the time served by somebody
else? To the extent of our demands, at restau-
rants and hotels, upon street cars, at grocery
stores, at department stores, in housebuilding and
housekeeping, in clothes-making and clothes-sell-
ing, in sickness at the hospital or at home, and by
all manner of persons through all manner of
8 SOCIAL. SERVICE
trades and professions, from the first gasp of
breath at birth to the placing of a tombstone at
the last, we are in the midst of a whirl of social
service ; and, to thai extent, every person the wide
world over who helps immediately or remotely, in
great degree or in little degree, to satisfy our de-
mands at the time when and at the place where
we make them, is serving us. Though the details
of this service be so numerous and so bewildering
in their complexity as to defy statistical notation,
yet the great general fact is clear enough. The
coffee picker in Porto Eico, the tobacco stripper
in Cuba, the rancher in Texas, the butcher in
Packingtown, the farmer on Western prairie or in
Eastern valley, the baker around the comer, the
sailonnen, the railroad crews, the store elerks
whom we face across counters, the bankers and
their clerks who transfer credits, the builders of
houses, factories and machines, the army of work-
men of every grade from drudge to manager, serve
us as effectively as the genii of his lamp served
Aladdin, but in very truth instead of Oriental
Now what do we do for our fellows in return
for their service to us?
If we turn our thoughts from their serviceable
aetivities, inward upon our own activities, we
shall find that in some way we too (unless we are
idle pensioners upon our brethren, or industrious
only as parasites) are contributing our share to
the ceaseless interflow of social service.
As lawyer, doctor, actor, author, teacher, me-
chanic, farmer, or what you will, everybody who
pays his way is serving others even as they serve
him; and the reason that they serve him, unless
they act from coercion, personal affection, or pity,
is because he serves them. Social service is in its
last analysis an intricate interchange of individual
If all those who serve were to stop serving, all
who are served, even the richest, would be almost
instantly impoverished. Concrete accumulations
of past exchanges of service, such as houses, cloth-
ing, food supplies, and so on, would be of little
use were social service to cease. Though houses
would still exist they would answer for little more
than shelter and not long for that, and meanwhile
each of us would have to be his own housekeeper ;
though food were in the larder the supply would
be exhausted soon, and meanwhile each of us
would have to be his own cook. Interchanges of
service, when normal — that is, when free to flow
in accordance with the need for service and the
will to serve, — maintain an equilil)rium at which
the service that each renders to others is balanced
by the service that others render to him.
This balance is obvious enough when, for in-
stance. Farmer Doe does a day's work for Farmer
Roe at haying, in exchange for a day's work in
harvest. There is no complexity in such a ease. The
two farmers could easily keep the accounts. A
debit in Doe's books and a credit in Eoe's of one
day's work to Farmer Eoe at haying, is balanced
in both books by a cross credit and a cross debit
at harvest time. But if Doe's little boy should
swap an egg for a stick of candy at the store, or
Mrs. Doe trade butter for groceries, a great com-
plexity would be introduced. The army of candy
makers, beginning with sugar planters and run-
ning through the long list of workmen in refinery
and factory and railroading and ocean navigation,
and the armies of machinists and builders behind
them all — these have no debit and credit account
with Mr. Doe or any member of his family.
Neither have the army of grocery producers.
Perhaps none of them but the grocer ever heard
of him; nor did any of them work especially for
him or his wife or his little boy. They worked
10 SOCIAL SERVICE
for whomsoever there might be to want the final
consumable product of their work, though at the
end of a thousand manufacturing transmutations
and commercial exchanges. In our illustration it
would have been the Doe boy that happened to
want that particular stick of candy, and the Doe
family that happened to want those particular
groceries. But this would only have happened so.
The boy might have wanted other candy or the
family other groceries, made and transported in
part at least by other workmen. Yet the social
service of Farmer Doe is as truly balanced off
when the exchange is for candies or groceries at
the store as when it is for a day's work with a
neighbor. The difference is only a difference in
the extent and intricacy of interchange. In es-
sentials there is no difference.
It may have been tedious to you, my friend, to
thread your way through all this detail, and you
may have been a little bored with the '^damnable
iteration." But it will help you to generalize the