Poverty And Pauperism
( Originally Published 1915 )
WHILE the many social problems arising from the presence in society of abnormal or socially unadjusted classes, namely, the dependent, defective, and delinquent classes, cannot be discussed in this book adequately, yet they must be briefly noticed in order to correlate them with other social problems, and even more in order to call the attention of the student to the vast literature which exists concerning these problems.
Definitions of Poverty and Pauperism. Poverty is a relative term, difficult to define, but as generally employed in sociological writings at the present it means that economic and social state in which persons have not sufficient income to maintain health and physical efficiency. All who do not receive a sufficient income to maintain the minimum standard of living necessary for efficiency are known as the " poor," or are said to live below the poverty line.
Pauperism, on the other hand, is the state of legal dependence in which a person who is unable or unwilling to support himself receives relief from public sources. This is, however, legal pauperism. The word as popularly used has come to mean a degraded state of willing dependence. A pauper in this popular sense is a person unwilling to sup-port himself and who becomes a social parasite.
Poverty is closely related to dependence or pauperism, because it is frequently the anteroom, so to speak, to pauperism, although only a small proportion of those who live in poverty actually become dependent in any one year.
The Extent of Poverty and Pauperism in the United States. — The census reports showed that in the year 1904 there were about 500,000 dependents in institutions in the United States. While the number who received relief outside of institutions from public and private sources is not known, it is certain that it is many times the total of those in institutions. It is generally estimated that about five per cent of our population are recipients of some sort of charitable relief in a single year. In our large cities the number who receive relief from public and private sources, even in average years, is very much higher. In New York apparently the number who receive relief in an average year reaches fourteen per cent, while in Boston the number who receive relief has reached as high as twenty per cent in a single year. It seems probable, therefore, that taking the country as a whole nearly five per cent of our population have to have some sort of help every year. That would make the number who received relief in 1904 about 4,000,000, and probably this is not an excessive estimate. Upon the basis of these and other known facts Mr. Robert Hunter has estimated that the number of people in the United States living below the poverty line is about 10,000,000 in years of average prosperity. If negroes are included in this estimate of those below the poverty line, it is certainly not excessive. Probably 10,000,000, or fourteen percent of our population, understates rather than overstates the number of persons in the United States who live upon such a low standard that they fail to maintain physical and mental efficiency.
Moreover, investigations in the countries of Europe show that the estimate of fourteen per cent of our population living in poverty is far from excessive. Mr. Charles Booth, in his Life and Labor of the People of London, says that about thirty per cent of the population of London live below the poverty line, and Mr. B. S. Rowntree found in the English City of York about the same proportion. While poverty is more prevalent in the old world than in the United States, it would seem that in view of our large negro population it is evidently not excessive to estimate the proportion of our people living in poverty at about fifteen per cent.
Moreover, when we extend our view in history we find that poverty has been oftentimes in the past even much more prevalent than it is at present. This question of poverty is, in other words, a world-old question and is intimately bound up with the question of material civilization that is, man's conquest of nature and with social organization, the relations of men to one another. At certain times in history certain institutions like slavery have either obviated or concealed poverty, and particularly its extreme expressions, in dependence and legal pauperism. Nevertheless we can regard these questions of poverty and pauperism as practically existing in all civilizations and in all ages. This is not saying, however, that modern poverty and pauperism may not have certain peculiar foundations in modern social and industrial conditions. It is only saying that it is useless to search wholly for the causes of poverty in conditions that are peculiar to the modern world, because poverty and pauperism are not peculiarly modern problems.
The Genesis of the Depressed Classes. — So complex a problem, it might be said at once, cannot manifestly have a simple explanation, yet this has been the mistake of many social thinkers of the past. They have sought some single simple explanation of human misery, and particularly in its form of economic distress or poverty. Malthus, as we have already seen, attributed all human misery to the fact that population tends to increase more rapidly than food supply, and that it is the pressure of population upon food which sufficiently explains poverty in human society. Karl Marx offered an equally sweeping explanation when he attributed all poverty to the fact that labor is not paid a sufficient wage; that the capitalist appropriates an unjust share of the product of labor, leaving to the laborer just enough to maintain existence and reproduce. Henry George in the same spirit, in his Progress and Poverty, attributed all poverty to one cause, — the landlord's appropriation of the unearned increment in land values. There is, of course, some truth in all of these sweeping generalizations, but it must be said that there is not sufficient in any of them to stand the test of concrete investigation; rather these men have made the mistake of attempting to explain a very complex social phenomenon in terms of a single set of causes, which, as we have already seen, has been the bane of social science in the past. Even the theory of evolution itself fails to explain, as ordinarily stated, the genesis of the depressed classes in human society. It may explain it in part, however. As we have already seen, biological variations are always found in individuals, making some naturally superior, some naturally inferior, and in the struggle for existence we know that the inferior are more liable to go down; they are less apt to maintain a place in society, and hence more readily fall into the depressed classes. Many well-endowed persons, however, also fall into the dependent classes through accidents and causes inherent in our social organization but in no way natural. Thus, owing to our industrial system and to our laws of property, inheritance, and the like, it often happens that a superior person through sickness or other accident gets caught in a mesh of causes which bring him down to the dependent classes, and on the other hand inferior individuals, through inheritance or " social pull," oftentimes enjoy a very large economic surplus all their lives. It may be admitted, however, that slight defects in personal character or ability enter into practically all cases of dependence. This is more apt to be the case also in a progressive society like our own, where rising standards of efficiency make the economic struggle more severe all the time. Formerly, for example, any employee could drink and retain his position, but now the drinker quickly loses his position in many industries and gives place to the sober man. Oftentimes, however, such defects that give rise to dependence are not inherent but are produced by social conditions themselves, like faulty education, bad surroundings, and the like. Through the improvement of social conditions, therefore, there is no doubt that much of the present poverty of the civilized world can be wiped out. This is not saying, however, that poverty and dependence will ever be wholly eliminated. Probably, no matter how ideal social conditions might be, even under the most just social organization, there would be some accidents and variations in individuals which would produce a condition of dependence. Moreover, the elimination of poverty and pauperism is not so simple as some suppose. It is not wholly a question of the improvement of social conditions; it also involves the control of physical heredity, because many of the principal defects that give rise to dependence are inherent in heredity. But man can control to some extent even the birth of the inferior or unfit classes. This may seem, however, so far in the future that it is idle to discuss it, although, as we shall see, society is undoubtedly taking steps to prevent the propagation of the unfit. In the meantime, however, so long as humanity progresses through natural selection we shall have poverty, to some extent at least, no matter how much industrial and social conditions may be improved. Yet without the control of physical heredity or the substitution of artificial for natural selection, poverty can be undoubtedly greatly lessened, and it is the rational aim of applied social science to discover how this may be done. It would seem that the existence of 10,000,000 persons in the United States living below the poverty line cannot be justified upon either moral or economic grounds; that it represents a great waste of human life and human resources, and that much of the social maladjustment which this poverty is an expression of might easily yield to wisely instituted remedial measures. If the social maladjustment which is undoubtedly the cause of the bulk of modern poverty were done away with, it is safe to say that it would be reduced to less than one third of its present dimensions.
The Concrete Causes of Poverty. — It is necessary to inquire somewhat more minutely into the concrete conditions, social and individual, which give rise to poverty and dependence. Manifestly the poor do not constitute any single class in society. All classes, in a sense, are represented among the poor, and the causes of poverty which are manifest will depend very greatly upon the class of the poor that is studied. If, for example, we should study the causes of dependence among defective classes, naturally personal defects of various sorts would be emphasized. Again, if we should study almshouse paupers, we should expect to find the causes of their dependence different from the causes of the temporary dependence of those who are dealt with outside of institutions and largely by private societies, especially the charity organization societies of large cities. It is especially, however, this latter class of temporary dependents that we are most interested in, because they show most clearly the forces operating to produce the various classes of permanent dependents.
There are two great classes of causes of poverty: objective causes, or causes outside of the individual, that is, in the environment; and subjective causes, or causes within the individual. We shall take up first the objective causes.
The Objective Causes of Poverty. The objective causes of poverty may be again divided into causes in the physical environment and causes in the social environment. The causes in the physical environment should not be over-looked, even though to a great extent they may not be amenable to social control. Much poverty in certain regions is caused simply by the unpropitious physical environment, such as unproductive soil, bad climate, and the like. Added to these unpropitious factors in the environment we have also great natural calamities, such as tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Every one is familiar with the great amount of misery which is caused, temporarily at least, by such calamities. Again, certain things in the organic environment, particularly in the way of disease-producing bacteria, are also productive of much poverty. Certain bacteria exist, we now know, plentifully in nature, such as the malaria germ, to which rightfully has been ascribed the physical degeneracy of people living in certain sections of the earth.
But the most important objective causes of poverty are undoubtedly those found in the social environment, — those which spring from certain social conditions or faults in social organization. Among these we may mention:
(1) Economic Causes. Defective industrial organization and economic evils of various sorts are thought by many persons to be the main productive causes of poverty and dependence in modern society, and there can be no doubt that a very large per cent of poverty may be traced directly to economic evils. This is shown by the fact that in the schedules of all charity organization societies " lack of employment " figures as the first or second most conspicuous cause of distress in the cases with which such societies deal. It is usually estimated that from twenty to forty per cent of all such cases of dependence may be attributed to lack of employment, not due to the employee. It is well known that in periods of industrial depression the number of applicants for aid in our large cities increases enormously, and local strikes and lockouts frequently have the same effect. Again, changes in methods of production through the introduction of new machinery frequently displace large numbers of workingmen, who, on account of age or other reasons, fail to get employment along new lines. Changes in trade brought about through changes in fashions have to some extent at least a similar effect. Again, fluctuations in the value of money may undoubtedly depress a debtor class to the point of dependence. Unwise methods of taxation, such as levying heavy taxes on the necessaries of life, produce a great deal of poverty and economic distress. Systems of land tenure such as prevail in England and even to some extent in the United States, may also be another economic cause of poverty. The free land which has up to the present time existed in this country has been a great aid against poverty. The employment of women and children in factories is another cause of poverty which needs to be mentioned under this head. As we have already seen, this breaks up the home, and in the case of the employment of children stops the development of the child. Still another economic cause of poverty is unhealthful and dangerous occupations. The disease begetting occupations in modern industry are very numerous, such as hat making, glass blowing, the grinding of tools, and the like — any work in which there is a great deal of dust. Among dangerous occupations must also be included those in which there are numerous accidents, such as mining and railway occupations. The accidents in mines and on railways in the United States each year cause as many deaths and serious injuries as have often resulted in many a petty war. Thus, on the railways of the United States in 1904 there was a total of 10,046 persons killed and 84,155 injured, about three fourths of those injured being employees, — one employee being killed in every three hundred and fifty-seven and one injured in every seventeen. While it is improbable that our great industries can be carried on without some sacrifice of health and life, it seems reasonable to believe that the number of those who are sacrificed at present is far greater than is necessary, and that reasonable precautions in industry might greatly increase the healthfulness of the occupations and diminish the number of accidents to employees.
On the whole, it is probable that these economic causes of poverty figure in from 50 to 80 per cent of all cases, not operating alone, to be sure, but often in connection with faults of character or physical or mental defects in the individual; for it is always to be remembered in discussing the causes of poverty that one never finds a case which can be fairly attributed to a single cause. The complexity of causes operating in the case of a single dependent family frequently makes it impossible for any one to say with certainty what is the chief and what are the contributing causes. Oftentimes what appears to be the chief cause, such as lack of employment, has back of it defects in individual character which are not apparent to the investigator. Researches along this line have shown that the number of cases of distress which may be attributed to lack of employment, for example, may be very greatly reduced when all individual defects are taken into consideration. This, however, is not an argument for regarding the economic causes of poverty as any less important than has been indicated.
(2) Unsanitary conditions of living are frequent causes of poverty. Among these unsanitary conditions may be mentioned especially the housing of the poor. The housing of the poor in badly ventilated, poorly lighted, and unsanitary dwellings greatly increases sickness and death and undoubtedly contributes greatly to their economic depression. Thus in New York city in the first ward, where there is only one house on each lot, the death rate is 29 per 1000 of the population, but where rear tenements have been erected it is 62 per 1000 of the population. The importance of public sanitation, and especially of the prevention of over-crowding and the securing of properly lighted and ventilated dwellings for the people, is so great that we need not enlarge upon it.
(3) Defects in our educational system are certainly productive of poverty. Ignorant and illiterate persons are much more liable to become dependent. In particular the lack of industrial training in our public schools is a prolific cause of dependence in our complex industrial civilization.
(4) Defects in government, permitting corruption on the one hand, or failing to check economic or sanitary evils on the other hand, are manifest causes of poverty. Indeed, inasmuch as government exists to regulate the whole social order, wherever it fails to perform this work properly some economic distress must ensue.
(5) Corruption in social institutions and customs is certainly a cause of poverty: such, for example, is the custom of social drinking, and such also the unwise and indiscriminate charity which has so often existed in the past.
(6) Unrestricted immigration, especially in our Eastern states and cities, is, as we have already seen, a prolific cause of dependence.
The Subjective Causes of Poverty are the causes within the individual. Among these must be enumerated: (I) Physical and mental defects of all sorts, especially those arising from sickness and accidents. Sickness causing temporary or permanent disability figures in from 25 to 40 per cent of all cases applying for relief in our large cities. Probably it is the most common and most important single cause of poverty with which charity workers have to deal. Back of sickness, however, are often remote causes in the environment or in personal character. We have already spoken of accident as a cause of poverty in connection with dangerous occupations. It is only necessary to add that good authorities estimate that there are over 1,000,000 serious accidents in the United States every year, in order to see that disabilities resulting from accident are prolific as causes of poverty, especially in our large industrial centers. The physical and mental defects which manifest themselves in the defective classes proper, such as the feeble-minded, the insane, the epileptics, the deaf-mutes, and the blind, do not need to be dwelt upon as causes of dependence.
(2) Next after sickness in the list of subjective causes of poverty comes intemperance. While the effect of intemperance in producing poverty has often been exaggerated; there can be no doubt that intemperance is one of the most important causes with which we have to deal. Back of intemperance, of course, may often be again causes in the social environment, or other remote causes, but these do not detract from the fact that practically one fourth of all the cases of distress with which charity organization societies have to deal are attributable, more or less, to intemperance. The Committee of Fifty who investigated this subject found that, in thirty-three cities, out of thirty thousand cases dependence was due to personal intemperance in 18.46 per cent, and due to the intemperance of others in 9.36 per cent, making a total of 27.82 percent of cases in which intemperance can be traced as a cause of poverty. Other investigations conducted in American cities give substantially the same results, although certain other investigations in English cities give higher percentages. It is noteworthy also that in an investigation conducted by the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor 39 per cent of the cases of poverty were attributed directly or indirectly to drink. Again the Committee of Fifty found that in the case of alms house paupers a considerably higher per cent owed their condition to the influence of drink either directly or indirectly, the percentage being 41.55.
(3) Sexual vice is undoubtedly a prolific cause of poverty, although it is very hard to trace concretely in the study of specific cases. Dr. Dugdale, however, in his study of the Jukes family places sexual vice even ahead of intemperance as a cause of their degradation, and other similar studies of similar families have reached substantially the same results.
(4) Shiftlessness and laziness are frequently found in the lists of causes of dependence used by charity organization societies, from 10 to 15 per cent of the cases of distress being attributed more or less to these causes. It is now generally agreed, however, that in most cases these causes may be resolved into more remote causes, laziness being oftentimes attributable to a degenerate or at least undervitalized physical condition.
(5) Old age, which has not been rendered destitute by vice, drink, or other faults of character, is frequently in itself a cause of dependence. Old age seems to figure more largely as a cause of dependence in the European statistics than in American; nevertheless, even in America we frequently find old persons who have worked hard all their lives and yet come to poverty in their old age through no fault of their own. It is for this reason that many are urging old-age pensions as a means of preventing dependence among the aged.
(6) Neglect and desertion by relatives, or the disregard of family ties, in America at least, may be put down as one of the important causes of dependence. From five to ten per cent of all the cases of distress, for example, which charity organization societies in our large cities deal with are those of deserted wives. Again, it is particularly common in America for children to fail to support aged parents and even the desertion of children by parents is of frequent occurrence.
(7) Death of main support must also be mentioned as an important cause of dependence. Widows and their children always figure largely among those helped by charitable societies and institutions. Probably from 10 to 20 per cent of all cases dealt with by societies for relieving temporary distress are cases in which the death of the breadwinner has temporarily rendered the family dependent.
(8) Crime, dishonesty, ignorance, and the like are manifest frequent causes of dependence, and as such need no discussion.
We have enumerated in detail some of the more important objective and subjective causes of poverty and dependence in order that the student may see that such causes are very complex, and, as we have already said, there rarely exists a dependent family in which three or more of these causes are not found to be active. Certain questions arise from such a brief presentation as this which we may mention but cannot hope adequately to deal with. Such, for example, is the question whether the subjective causes of poverty can all be reduced to objective causes. In our opinion this can-not be done, because the subjective causes have their roots in biological and psychological conditions, which cannot be attributed directly to causes in the environment. No doubt, however, many of the subjective causes of poverty are characteristics which have been acquired by individuals from the influence of their environment. When we attribute a certain per cent of poverty to intemperance, for example, it is probable that that particular personal defect may be ascribed almost wholly to the environment. On the other hand, there are other personal defects, such as sickness, vice, and mental deficiency, that cannot always with certainty be traced to environmental factors. It is safest to conclude that while personality is built up largely out of social influences, society is, on the other hand, also rooted in human nature, so that both objective and subjective causes combine to produce practically all social phenomena, and especially the phenomena of poverty and dependence. It is unscientific, therefore, to disregard either the subjective or the objective causes of poverty.
Another question which is frequently raised in connection with poverty or dependence is, whether it is due to misconduct or misfortune. This question really has not much meaning in it when it is analyzed. As we have already seen in practically every case of poverty, personal defects and bad environment combine. Only a few of these personal defects, however, can by any proper use of language be regarded as misconduct. The great mass of poverty, therefore, seems attributable to misfortune rather than to misconduct, — using these words in their popular sense. But such a conclusion as this necessarily rests upon a some-what superficial examination of the causes of distress which does not enter into the remote springs of personal character and development. On the whole, it seems unwise to attempt to divide the poor into the " worthy." and " unworthy " poor, as has often been done, for no one can say who is the worthy and who is the unworthy in a moral sense. The only sense in which these words may be used scientifically in charitable work is to mean " needy " and " not needy."
Pauperism and Degeneracy. In order to see more clearly the biological roots of dependence we must notice briefly the relation of habitual pauperism to degeneracy. Studies like that made by Dr. Dugdale of the Jukes family show that unquestionably there is in many instances a close relation between habitual pauperism of various types and degeneracy. Out of 709 in the Jukes family studied by Dugdale 500 had been aided. Pauperism was 7i times as common among the Jukes as in the ordinary population. Along with the pauperism of the Jukes went prostitution, illegitimacy, crime, and physical disease and defects. Many other studies have shown the same intimate relation between physical degeneracy and habitual dependence or pauperism. There can be no doubt, therefore, that general physical degeneracy, or biological unfitness, is, as we have already asserted in the beginning, a conspicuous factor in the worst cases of chronic pauperism.
The Influence of Heredity upon Pauperism. Similar studies to those already mentioned have shown that dependence is often times hereditary in families from generation to generation. This is doubtless based upon the inheritance of physical and mental defects. Indirectly, therefore, there is such a thing as hereditary pauperism. Now we know from the labors of Weismann that acquired characteristics are not inherited, but only congenital, or inborn characteristics. It is not the characteristics, in other words, which are acquired from the influence of environment that are transmitted to offspring, but the characteristics that arise through variations in the germ, caused by forces which are not yet well understood. Defects that are acquired by the individual in his lifetime, in other words, will not be transmitted; but the defects that arise through accident or other means in the germ are transmitted. This being so, it follows that acquired pauperism or dependence is not transmitted but only the pauperism which rests upon congenital defects. This is illustrated by the case of the deaf. Deaf-mutes are of two sorts: persons who are born deaf, or the congenital deaf-mutes, and persons who become deaf-mutes through diseases affecting the ear in early child-hood. These latter are styled adventitious deaf-mutes. Now when congenital deaf-mutes marry, they show a strong tendency to transmit their defect to offspring, but the children of adventitious deaf-mutes are always normal. Dr. Fay, in his investigations into the marriages of the deaf in the United States shows that only 0.3 per cent of the children born from the marriages of persons adventitiously deaf and having no deaf relatives are born deaf ; while on the other hand, 30.3 per cent of the children born from the marriages of persons congenitally deaf, both parents having deaf relatives, are born deaf. In other words, the number of deaf-mutes born where both parents are con-genitally deaf and have deaf relatives is one hundred times greater than where both parents are adventitiously deaf and have no deaf relatives. This is pretty conclusive proof that it is only the congenital defects which are transmissible, but these are so highly transmissible that they may express themselves in pauperism from generation to generation.
The marriage of all persons in whom there is an hereditary taint of feeble-mindedness, insanity, epilepsy, and the like ought, therefore, to be forbidden by law. But unless these defective classes were segregated in institutions, the only result of this might be to increase illegitimacy; therefore, any step in eradicating degeneracy and pauperism must look to the isolation and custodial care through life of the hopelessly defective classes. All this gives point to our conclusion that poverty and pauperism have roots which are quite independent of defects in economic conditions, and that, until heredity itself can be controlled, we cannot expect to eliminate poverty entirely.
Proposed Remedies for Poverty and Pauperism. — The scientific remedies for poverty and pauperism, that is, the scientific methods of dealing with the various dependent classes and of preventing their existence, now form the subject-matter of a great independent science, the science of philanthropy, which, as we have already seen, may be considered a branch of applied sociology. We have not room in this book to discuss adequately these remedies, but we may call the attention of the student again to the vast literature existing upon the subject, and may point out the trend of modern scientific philanthropy in developing scientific methods for removing the causes of dependence and of preventing the existence of the various dependent classes.
As we have already seen, poverty is an economic expression of biological or psychological defects of the individual on the one hand, and of a faulty social and industrial organization on the other hand. This implies that the remedies must be along the lines of the biological and psychological adjustment of the individual and of the correction of the faults in social organization.
Where biological defects of the individual are the cause of dependence, we have just implied that, unless these defects are relatively superficial, the scientific policy for treating these classes of defective individuals would be that of segregation in institutions. The feeble-minded, the chronic insane, the chronic epileptic, and other hopelessly defective persons, in other words, should be permanently kept in institutions where tender and humane care should be provided, but in such a way that they will not reproduce their kind and burden future generations. The policy of segregating the hopelessly defective is one of the most scientifically approved policies of modern philanthropy. In this way, to a certain extent, the reproduction of unfit elements in society might be lessened, and the spread of degeneracy checked. In the case of slightly defective adults, such as the congenitally deaf and the congenitally blind, it is difficult to say exactly what the policy should be. It would seem that many of these persons may be relatively adjusted to free social life, although if they marry and have offspring we know, if their defect is congenital, that a certain proportion of the offspring, according to Mendel's law, will inherit the defect.
In the case of those individuals whose dependence is due to psychological defects, or defective character, it is evident that we have a different problem. Here, in general, the wise policy would seem to be, not to segregate, but to overcome the defective character. Psychological defects, we know, are much more frequently acquired than biological defects and much more easily remedied. The work of scientific philanthropy in dealing with this class of individuals must be, therefore, a work of remedying defects in individual character. This is, perhaps, best done through personal relations between the dependent person and those who may help him. Defective character is, on the whole, therefore, best remedied by such means as education, religious influences, friendly visiting, and the like. The class of dependents whose condition is due to defective character may be on the whole, therefore, best treated outside of institutions, and probably better through voluntary private charity than through public relief systems.
There remains another class 0f dependents whose condition is not due either to biological nor to psychological defects in themselves, but to faulty social and industrial conditions. For these, the best method of treatment consists in remedying the faulty conditions or in removing them, if possible, from them. This means that, in many cases, society must provide pensions, insurance against accident and sickness, legislation to check social abuses, and, above all, proper facilities for education. Here comes in the need of child-labor legislation, of better housing, of industrial insurance, of industrial education, and the like.
In the light of these principles, let us review very briefly the different methods of dealing with dependent classes at the present time.
Public and Private Outdoor Relief. By outdoor relief we mean relief given to the poor outside of an institution. Usually, outdoor relief refers simply to the public relief of dependents outside of institutions, but we shall use the phrase to cover both public and private relief. It is evident from what has already been said that the class of persons to whom this form of relief is appropriate are those in temporary distress, whose condition of dependence is not a permanent one and, therefore, usually those whose condition is due either to defective personal character or to faulty social organization. If the temporary dependence is due to defective personal character, it is evident that the aid may be so given, if given wisely, as to stimulate the overcoming of the moral defect. Hence the need of carefully planned measures of relief in all such cases. Hence, also, the need of the friendly visitor, who by personal contact with such a family will help them to become socially adjusted. If, on the other hand, the temporarily dependent person is simply a victim of circumstances, there is, then, also, the need of wise charity in order to overcome those adverse circumstances without impairing the character of the individual who is helped by destroying his self-respect and the like.
It is evident that the task of relieving temporarily dependent persons outside of institutions is a delicate and difficult one, and requires carefully trained workers to do it successfully. For this reason, many have argued that outdoor relief should not be undertaken by the state in any of its branches, such as the city or county. In general, it must be admitted that the private society is, in many cases, naturally better fitted to accomplish this delicate and difficult task of restoring the temporarily de-pendent person. But, on the other hand, it must be said that the whole matter is simply a question of administration. Private societies may be quite as lax and unscientific in their charity as the state, and it is conceivable that the state can develop a system of outdoor relief which will be administered by experts quite as carefully as any private organization could administer it. Indeed, this is what has been practically done in Germany under the Elberfeldt System, which is a state system for dispensing outdoor relief to the temporarily indigent. In the United States, however, this work of relieving the temporarily dependent in their own homes has been, in our large cities, undertaken with great success by the charity organization societies, which, in general, do the work with such thoroughness as to obviate the necessity for public outdoor relief in our large cities.
State Charitable Institutions. Indoor relief, or relief within institutions, for the permanently dependent classes is probably best undertaken by the state. Originally, the only institution of this sort was the almshouse or the poor house; but with the development of our complex civilization many of the permanently dependent have been provided for in other institutions than the almshouse, and it would seem that ultimately all the permanently dependent would be cared for in specialized state institutions. Thus, the permanently dependent, through various sorts of de fects, such as the feeble-minded, chronic epileptic, chronic insane, and the like, are properly cared for in institutions especially provided for the purpose by the state and manned by experts. Into the details of public care of the unfit and defective of various types it is not necessary to go further than to say that such public care should be of the most scientific character, and with the double aim of reclaiming all those that can be reclaimed, and of providing permanently tender and humane care for those who cannot be fitted for free social life. State institutions then, should be manned by experts, and their activities should be coordinated by some central board. In accordance with this principle, it would seem that the best state policy would be to provide expert commissions for the care of different classes, such as the insane, and the like, and a supervisory board to watch over the work of these commissions and the institutions.
Dependent Children. The care of dependent children is manifestly one of the most important forms of remedial philanthropic work, for it is manifest that the dependent child will make a dependent adult unless proper measures are taken to secure his adjustment to the social life. The dependent child is rarely biologically defective. The problem is, usually, in his case, the development of character under proper social conditions. For this reason, both the state and private societies have claimed the field of care of dependent children. While private societies have accomplished in this respect some of the most notable work, it would seem, however, that the work is one which properly belongs to the state in its capacity of legal guardian of all dependent children. The state, through a properly organized system of child helping, could conceivably guarantee that every neglected and dependent child should have normal opportunities to become adjusted to the social life. The system in the state of Michigan, with its Public School for Dependent Children at Coldwater, and its plan of placing these children, after a few months, in good nomes, is a system which cannot receive too high commendation. In general, it is practically agreed by experts that the dependent child cannot be well adjusted to the social life by being reared in an institution, but that the better plan is to find suitable homes in which these children can be placed and reared under state supervision. In this way, practically every dependent child can be guaranteed a good chance in life. In the United States, private societies called " Childrens' Home Societies " are also doing this work with great success.
Public and Private Charity. As has already been indicated, the ordinary line to be observed between private charity and public relief is that to private charity should be given the more delicate and difficult tasks, such as readjusting the temporarily dependent persons, the care of, in some cases, dependent children and the like, while to public charity should be given the cases which need permanent relief in institutions. This is only a conventional line, however, between private charity and public relief. As has already been pointed out, the state can conceivably, also, undertake the more delicate and difficult tasks of charitable aid, and probably it should do so as rapidly as it demonstrates its fitness to undertake this work, as the state, when once it has achieved certain standards, is a more certain and reliable agency than private institutions or societies. But there is in philanthropic work, a large place for the private society or institution. There will probably always be debatable cases which may better be looked after by private agencies than by public. There is, therefore, in every well-developed community, room for both public and private agencies, although there should be close cooperation where both exist one with the other. The church, through all its history, has undertaken philanthropic work with notable success, and it would be regrettable if the philanthropic activities of the church were to cease at this time, when they are needed as never before, in spite of the large development of public philanthropy. Church charity should, however, be made as scientific as any other form of charity, and should be carefully coordinated with the work of the state and other secular agencies. Among the secular agencies we have already mentioned the charity organization society as typifying in many ways the highest type of philanthropic activity of the present. It would seem that this society, organizing as it does all the philanthropic forces and agencies of the community, could scarcely be displaced by state activity; and that there would remain to this society, as well as many other private philanthropic societies, a very large field of activity in the future. State activity in the field of charity is, therefore, to be encouraged, but it must not be supposed that such activity can take the place of private charity.
Preventive Agencies. A very large task for both private societies and the state is to be found in the field of prevention. This field is so broad, however, that we cannot attempt to even mention the many different movements alone which characterize our present social development. Such are the movements for better housing, for better sanitation, for purer food, for juster economic conditions, for the prevention of disease, and the like. The main thing to be said with respect to these movements is that they need to be guided by the larger social view, they need synthesis in order that they may work toward a common goal, and in harmony, also, with the activities of the state. In the field of prevention the state has much to do, especially in forwarding education along lines of social need and in creating juster economic conditions.
We may, perhaps, sum up this chapter by saying that it is evident that the cure of poverty is not to be sought merely in certain economic rearrangements, but in scientific control of the whole life process of human society. This means that, in order to get rid of poverty, the defects in education, in government, in religion and morality, in philanthropy, and even in physical heredity, must be got rid of. Of course, this can only be done when there is a scientific understanding of the conditions necessary for normal human social life. What some of these requirements for a normal life are will be seen in a subsequent chapter, and it is only necessary to say in conclusion that the wisest measures for removing pauperism will be directed toward the prevention of its causes rather than toward the reclaiming of those who have already been caught in its meshes.