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Edward Isaacson.

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ALVMNW BOOK FYND




THE NEW MORALITY



THE NEW MORALITY



AN INTERPRETATION

OF PRESENT SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC
FORCES AND TENDENCIES



BY

EDWARD ISAACSON



NEW YORK

MOFFAT, YARD AND COMPANY
1913



Copyright, 1913, by
M OFF AT, YARD AND COMPANY

All Rights Reserved




PREFACE

HANSEN'S theory of the Bevolkerungsstrom > or
population current, is in sociology what the theory
of the circulation of the blood is in medicine. This
book owes much to him. My earlier data have
been drawn largely from American conditions; the
differences between them and those in Germany,
which Dr. Hansen knows best, led me to my first
new idea that the nearness or remoteness of the
Malthusian limit is the key to these differences in
conditions.

This brought me to the theoretical consideration
of a static condition, and the generalization of a
two-class system, which covers Hansen's three
classes in a different perspective, and seems the log-
ical extreme. This gives a long-needed division of
the troublesome question as to whether the family
or the individual is the unit of society. Provide
recognition for both, in distinct classes necessitated
by understood conditions, and the whole social
organism seems simplified.

As the book grew, it appeared that the keynote
to the forces and movements involved in the discus-
sion is not economic but pedagogical; it is what
Solomon and Socrates and Confucius have all told
us: that wisdom is better than riches. In other

vii

328346



viii PREFACE

words, what makes a fecund class is not the posses-
sion of land, but the intelligence which enables them
to get and hold control of the first condition of
existence food supply; and the permanence of
the land-holding class is due to the educative influ-
ence of their mode of life, which automatically
makes abler men of them than life in the cities does.
The same pedagogical key conditions which make
automatically one environment or mode of life con-
tribute more to intelligence and will-power than
another, appears in other lines of thought in the
book.

If I had had more time and opportunity, I should
have verified quantitatively many of the data which
I have used in a general way. It makes, however,
no difference with the main theses if the facts differ
by centuries or millions of square miles from the
estimates I have used, which are in all cases the best
accessible to me. The quantitative facts in many
cases are not known accurately to anyone. Many
of the straight lines in the diagrams are generaliza-
tions of curves which could be actually plotted if
statistics were available.

I have no desire to initiate any propaganda in
favor of the establishment of a system of society
different from the present one; I have simply taken
up what seems to be an actual tendency in the normal
course of evolution, and thought it out to the logical
extreme. It has thrown much light for me upon
many of the puzzling questions of the day, and I
hope it may do the same for others. If new argu-



PREFACE ix

ments can be drawn from the book in favor of such
recognized salutary measures as the " Back to the
land " movement and efforts for world peace, and
against over-hasty Socialism and indiscriminate
charity, I shall be glad to have contributed my mite
to the work of human progress.

E. I.



NOTE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION

This book is published in England with the title, "THE
MALTHUSIAN LIMIT: A THEORY OF A POS-
SIBLE STATIC CONDITION FOR THE HUMAN
RACE."

While that is clearly a logical title for the contents of the
book as a scientific thesis, it says nothing as to the practical
lessons to be drawn from it; it has therefore seemed to the
author and publishers that the American reader will get a
more definite idea of something of interest 'in the book under
the title chosen.



CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

PAGE

Rapid increase in the numbers of the human race; due to in-
creased facilities of transportation Possible full popula-
tion of the earth before A. D. 2200 Possible delay by
increased production of food, but Malthusian limit inevitable
in time Rapid occupation of new countries Problem of
static condition must be met ix

CHAPTER I
POPULAR OPINION OF CITY AND COUNTRY LIFE

City population recruited from the country Vices in cities;
soundness of country life basis of national prosperity Cit-
ies important for higher successes Fruition stage of so-
ciety; growth stage in country City has produced great
men, but generally of patrician stock Country bred on the
whole more successful 3

CHAPTER II
ADVANTAGES OF COUNTRY LIFE: THE YEOMAN

Yeoman taken as the best type of country life Farm work
done by farmer and sons, household work by wife and
daughters Sound physical condition the result Surround-
ings less favorable to disease than in cities Mental quali-
ties; habits of observation; manual training Moral quali-
ties: training of the will by steady application School
opportunities of country children fit them for city as well
as country life; those of city children do not fit them for
country life and they have nothing which does; therefore
they cannot succeed in country City-bred persons seldom

go to country to earn their living 6

V



vi CONTENTS

CHAPTER III
CITY CONDITIONS; THE PATRICIAN

FACE

Country bred persons lack knowledge of city conditions at
first; advantages which country children have can be ob-
tained by city children, but at great relative expense City
persons having had such advantages often better adapted to
success in cities, but not for propagation of the race
Inherited wealth necessary to keep a city family at a high
standard Patrician class recognized very generally by so-
city in history, because it has turned out able men; "noblesse
oblige " If wealth fails, family must die out or fall into a
lower class n

CHAPTER IV
THE PROLETARIAN

Expenses of living greater in the city than in the country
impossible for lower classes to bring up children success-
fully in city; proper opportunities for work and play lack-
ing; work which children must do, if any, not suitable for
them Impossible for such children to become farmers;
they must remain in city, and steadily deteriorate in suc-
cessive generations 15

CHAPTER V
THE MOVEMENT FROM COUNTRY TO CITY

Difficulty in defining types: differences in farming popula-
tion ; landed aristocracy compared with yeoman ; higher and
lower classes in cities Tendency to increased costliness
of standards of living "Race suicide" in patrician class
"Three generations from shirt-sleeves to shirt-sleeves";
different meaning of the two sets of shirt-sleeves Elimina-
tion of the unfit in proletarian class "The submerged
tenth" Summing up: i. Country tends to produce more
capable men, except in the patrician class. 2. Expense of
bringing up children much less in country than in city.
3. Country bred people can succeed in city; city bred peo-
ple cannot succeed in country Current of population under



CONTENTS vii

PAGE

theoretical, simple conditions Actual conditions more com-
plex, but the law still obtains 17

CHAPTER VI
SURPLUS CLASS

Law of Malthus broadly founded on facts Surplus class al-
ways in existence, even in a stationary population Fecund
class related to society as members of family; surplus class
as individuals only Rights and duties of the two classes
accordingly different Old moral codes designed for the
fecund class only Surplus can be governed by such codes
if not too numerous If surplus is in considerable numbers
old code works badly; such conditions in great cities at
present; such cities a new social phenomenon Diseases,
wars, and famines less fatal than formerly Improved
agriculture employs a smaller proportion of people Sur-
plus class likely to increase in future Surplus class more
mobile than formerly, while agricultural class must be
stable ; difference thereby accentuated Necessary to con-
sider carefully problems of surplus class Old morality
founded on unlimited expansion of population If limit
of subsistence is approached, elimination of surplus takes
place; how shall this be done with least waste and suffer-
ing 23

CHAPTER VII
THEORETICAL STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Economy of the bee-hive: populated from the minimum num-
ber of individuals; surplus of the weaker sex eliminated;
surplus of the stronger sex made neutral and performs all
the duties except those of the queen-bee If human society
were organized on analogous principle, 10 per cent, of the
women, and less than i per cent, of the men, could keep
up the numbers of the race With family conditions as at
present, one-third or less of the population will keep up
the numbers Importance of problem of the surplus
Analogy of the forest Possibilities of regulation ... 27



viii CONTENTS

CHAPTER VIII
THEORY OF THE FECUND CLASS

PAGE

Rights and duties of members of the class Majority of the
product of the class in men goes to the surplus All indi-
viduals in any way inferior should be placed in the surplus
at once Hopeless individuals eliminated or unsexed
Mental and moral qualities for members of the dass
Integer vitae the ideal; no vices permissible Conditions
for the production of best human stock Diversified farm-
ing best; wholesale work of any kind detrimental; factory
life worst of all Industrial production not a disadvantage
if done under proper conditions Too sparse a population
disadvantageous; grouping of dwellings advisable Gives
better opportunities for cooperation and social intercourse
Number of families to be kept invariable Cities would
have a purely adult population; no proletariate, and no pa-
trician class unless special provision is made; such special
provision would require some of the industrial work to be
done by the fecund class; patricians brought up among the
professional classes in the country, etc. Difficulty of ad-
justing wages to family demands obviated if the fecund
class have a monopoly of food supplies 33

CHAPTER IX
ECONOMICAL STATUS OF THE SURPLUS CLASS

With room for expansion, surplus is inconspicuous among
fecund class, and must be governed by economic and moral
code of that class, which holds that it is normal for all to
have children Pressure of population leads to lower wages
and increase of celibacy Individuals of the surplus must
be treated as human beings with full rights and duties, not
as derelicts Must give their best work to society, and are
entitled to all legitimate enjoyments Better compensation
for intellectual work is reasonable But little needed by
each individual to cover what it is economy for him to
provide for himself Ostentatious wealth a social aim
which would disappear Most of the necessities, and many
luxuries, best provided on a wholesale plan, as in the family



CONTENTS be

PAGE

hotel, etc. City to be much more specialized to a center
of business than at present Provision for old age or sick-
ness 42

CHAPTER X
THE MORAL STATUS OF THE SURPLUS

Three sets of motives for moral choices: (i) Inherited in-
stincts; (2) Early habits and teachings; (3) Intelligent rea-
soning First two only transmissible te surplus; therefore
overwhelming tendency to subject all to moral code of
fecund class Different standard, however, necessary for
surplus, because their rights and duties are different
Physical vigor less important for surplus Surplus freer
to sacrifice self for general good Higher altruistic ideals
possible for surplus Organization under such ideals fa-
miliar in history: Roman Catholic Church Incentives:
work can be done of too high a character to be rewarded in
material equivalents Family ties of all sorts except parent-
age can be strong Esprit de corps Rights of surplus
Vice and crime defined Waste of money and minor per-
sonal vices of surplus would be crimes if practiced by fecund
class: Use of alcohol as illustration Control of sex re-
lations most important matter in the whole situation Sex-
ual appetite a normal one and its use not a vice Its con-
sequences very important, and safeguarding of children
most important interest of humanity Ideal of morality
for fecund class in this respect not practicable for sur-
plus General continence cannot be enforced Prostitu-
tion only expedient Surgical means repugnant and of
questionable efficacy Childless marriage only solution;
but to be moral, women must earn their living .... 48

CHAPTER XI
RELATION OF WOMEN TO THE QUESTION

Parenthood makes more difference in the life of a woman than
of a man Four types of women from the " sexuo-eco-
nomic" point of view. (A) Mater famtlias. (B) eralpa.
(C) Unmarried member of family. (D) Self-supporting



x CONTENTS

PAGE

woman. In ideal two-class system A and D are normal and
permanent, B non-existent, C transient and unimportant In
present order A only recognized as normal and permanent
Two propositions as basis for present ethics: (i) Fecundity
desirable for all. (2) Mating always followed by off-
spring This ideal suitable only for new country Safe-
guarding of family all-important Man recognized as
head of family; society deals with family through him
only This forces all women to type B, before they can
reach type A; type B moral under this condition; otherwise
B is immoral under all circumstances With pressure of
population all influences tend to make B permanent B has
no useful occupation ; Game of " Social Duties " Type D
competes with heads of families for means of livelihood and
reduces share of each family, which is the unit of the fecund
class; therefore D is immoral when the fecund is the only
class; therefore, opposed by old morality D becomes, when
there is a surplus, in some cases the highest moral type,
but has to overcome inertia of old code of morals Eco-
nomic objections first overcome Difficulty of overcoming
opposition of conventional morals to new .forms of sex re-
lation Menage libre (type BD) frequent result AD
only permanent composite type which is moral un^Jer two-
class system Most plans of reformers attempt to establish
some form of this type; not approved by the common sense
of the race "Women's rights" for the surplus class: (i)
To marry and earn her own living; (2) More liberal di-
vorce laws for her than for the fecund class; (3) Equal
compensation with men for the same work 57

CHAPTER XII
THE PRACTICAL WORKING OUT OF THE THEORY

Two-class plan in line with usual process of evolution
Static condition requires uniform density of the world's
population Ideal condition probably with less than all
that could possibly be fed Fecund class to be engaged in
agriculture Best place for them middle region of drain-
age basin Cities much smaller than now City dwellers
to live in large general homes, giving greatly increased



CONTENTS xi

PAGE

economy in providing for them Social ostentation ef
women of type B eliminated Social life in the co-operative
home; simple, but not ascetic Small cities at centers of
industry Possible industrial army, with promotion to set-
tled life in cities Much of present transportation of goods
rendered unnecessary by static condition Commuters un-
known Work of fecund class primarily production of new
members of society Reasons for preferring agricultural
life for this purpose Agricultural land analogous to brood
comb of beehive Regular succession of children in each
family Location of schools and other educational institu-
tions Large amount of leisure from mechanical work un-
der system Higher occupations: reading, social inter-
course, travel Plan in its entirety impossible without
radical changes Value of discussion 72

CHAPTER XIII
DAS EWIG-WEIBLICHE

Basis of theory resumed; its advantages Surplus class never
recognized by law or custom; helpfulness of discussion of
such a distinction Woman question ; elimination of type
B great gain - Divorce question ; strict rules for A, freer
for D Present troubles largely due to B Domestic
service; for A done by C, for D by others of same class
Most of domestic servants at present part of social game
of B Dress; present custom suitable for A, unsuitable
for D 89

CHAPTER XIV
THE WAGES QUESTION

Elements of production: land, capital, management, labor

Combinations of functions; yeoman exercises all four
Competition In new countries no monopoly of land
Competitive system good in such condition Basis of wages

with increased population land ownership becomes mo-
nopoly Change of meaning of capital: newer meaning,
ownership of means of production and a right to a share
of product without effort on part of capitalists Illustra-



xii CONTENTS

PAGE

tion of conditions by hypothetical small party on limited
land area Static condition necessitates new theory of
wages: share in general product rather than equivalent for
work done Share of family necessarily greater than of
individual By making clear distinction between classes
this can be intelligently adjusted . 95

CHAPTER XV

LAND TENURES, CAPITALISM AND PROPERTY
IN GENERAL

Land tenures Value of land depends upon opportunity for
production Ownership of real estate dangerous monopoly
only when land is too valuable for agriculture Fecund
class can have private ownership of farm land, other land
and means of production, worked by the surplus class, held
by public ownership Modern capitalism essentially share-
holding in general resources of society; does not need per-
sonal ability Modern manager important; always be-
longs to capitalist class Graphic representation of indus-
trial changes Currents of population . v no

CHAPTER XVI
SOCIALISM

Graphic representation of outcome of present conditions: capi-
talism increases; employee class kept at minimum living
wage; as pressure increases margin of comfort decreases,
until all are in equal want, and return to savagery inevita-
ble unless numbers are intelligently reduced Socialist
ideal Socialism belongs to modern industrial class; in-
stance from "Looking Backward" Socialists desire better
opportunities for family life Results would be rapid in-
crease in numbers without increase in intelligence Final
catastrophe of capitalist system would come still more
rapidly Capitalism conserves resources and teaches neces-
sity of restricting numbers Illustration by hypothetical
mill stream and adjoining country Explanation of So-
cialism: represents industrialism carried to the extreme.



CONTENTS xiii

PAGE

Socialists are those who should belong to surplus class in
static condition . 126

CHAPTER XVII
ANARCHISM AND THEORIES OF GOVERNMENT

Anarchist's ultimate ideal same as that of Socialist Group
action always necessary Usual procedure Public busi-
ness tends to build up a ruling class War and religion
give opportunities for usurpation of power Business func-
tions of government require general intelligence Dangers
of government obviated by static conditions on two-class
basis Suffrage questions f 138

CHAPTER XVIII
LOGICAL OUTCOME OF THE THEORY IN PRACTICE

Assume theory in practice Objections to capitalism Futil-
ity of Socialist programme for solution Solution by two-
class theory Graphic representation of tendency Theo-
retical ideal reached without distress 146

CHAPTER XIX

DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW COUNTRY ON
THE TWO-CLASS BASIS

Study of resources Establishment of breeding-place and of
cities Control of commerce Precautions against capi-
talism; new countries at present show dangers of system

Undesirable laborers 152

CHAPTER XX
OVERPOPULATED COUNTRIES

Quantitative study of resources "Back to the Land" Mis-
conceptions of the meaning of the phrase Must mean back
to the yeomanry, not for individuals, but for the race
Elimination of the proletarian Troubles with Mrs. Grundy
and the clergy Important task of medical profession
Patrician class Measures for making most of it in transi-



xiv CONTENTS

PAGE

tion period Dangers of palliative measures for poor of
cities Tendencies towards Socialism wholesome if affect-
ing only surplus class 156

CHAPTER XXI
UNIVERSAL CONSIDERATIONS

Humanity progresses by consciousness of larger and larger
group interests, through the necessity for defense against ag-
gression from other groups Arbitration and tribunals
Organization gives greater individual freedom within group
Graphic representation of different forms of government
and group action Dynamic majority Practical but legally
unrecognized forms of authority Constitutional govern-
ment impossible without general literacy Necessity of
united action against something outside of group only mo-
tive for altruism Danger of overpopulation gives such a
motive for whole race Changes in belief necessary Num-
bers no longer important 167

CHAPTER XXII
A BASIS FOR UNIVERSAL ORGANIZATION

World peace Necessity for each country to feed itself
Industrial warfare; its waste to be prevented Commerce
no longer an advantage, but for the whole race a waste
Its advantages not economic, but pedagogical Ideal of
static condition division of earth's surface among small unit
groups, each based on proper number of fecund families
Exchange of intelligence among such groups Advantages
for free individual development 176

CHAPTER XXIII
CLIMATE AND RACE

Northern nations most enterprising Analysis of influence of
climate Zone best suited for man; corresponds to yeoman
class in single country All people in this zone capable of
high civilization Zone divided among four races; Ger-
manic, Latin, Slav, Mongolian Four divisions: Western



CONTENTS xv

PAGE

Europe, China, Russia, North America These four groups
dominate entire earth Problems of each group China
and Russia independent of other groups North America
and Europe allied Western Europe should adopt static
condition and give up local rivalries Motives Navy
question Possible international navy Advantages of such
a plan Tariff wars 182

CHAPTER XXIV
PRACTICAL MEASURES FOR INTERNATIONALISM

Europe now at zenith of influence; other groups bound to
outstrip it Difficulties in relation to the tropics Ideal con-
ditions equitable trade and not domination Europe alone
now dynamic majority in all world questions, but cannot
maintain position For its interest to use influence in favor
of world peace Modern possibilities for spread of informa-
tion International commissions Possibility of permanent
international assembly Its possible functions and meth-
ods Questions for its consideration Significance of uni-
versal calendar Necessity for conservatism in action . . 194



INTRODUCTION

THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR THE
HUMAN RACE

ACCORDING to Mulhall, the population of the
earth at the time of the Roman Empire was 54,-
000,000, and by the I5th century the population of
Europe had reached about the same figure. In the
year 1800, the population of Europe was about
170,000,000, and in 1900 their descendants, at
home and in America and elsewhere, numbered
over 500,000,000. No country of which we have
reliable statistics at different times shows an actual
falling off, except from emigration, unless it is from
temporary causes like a great war or pestilence.
Where emigration has kept down the numbers at
home, of course the emigrants have increased in
still greater numbers, as for instance the Irish in
America. There are no statistics available for the
Oriental nations which date back far enough to give
an equally good impression as to their increase in
population; but since Japan and India have had
regular enumerations, there appears an increase
comparable with that of Europe.

A study of the relative rates of increase for
periods of twenty-five years shows a very great

xi



xii INTRODUCTION

acceleration in the last period. This is easily ac-
counted for by a law which is a commonplace in all
systems of political economy. It is well known that
the increase of population is rapid in proportion to
the abundance and accessibility of food supply.
Practically there has been for the whole human race
a tremendous change in this respect by the improve-
ments in transportation of the last fifty years. On
the one hand, surplus population can be moved from
the crowded countries to new land where they can
find food more than sufficient for their needs; on
the other hand, countries populated beyond where
their home supply can feed them can import the sur-
plus food of the new agricultural countries, paying
for it with the product of other activities. This is
a condition that never existed before the modern
application of steam to transportation. The pres-
ent England and Belgium would have been impossi-
ble a century ago.

How long can this movement continue? It has
been the fashion, for a generation of political econo-


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Online LibraryEdward IsaacsonThe new morality; an interpretation of present social and economic forces and tendencies → online text (page 1 of 13)