The present century has been marked by a prodigious increase in wealth-producing power. . . .
At the beginning of this marvelous era it was natural to expect, and it was expected, that laborsaving inventions would lighten the toil and improve the conditions of the laborer; that the enormous increase in the power of producing wealth would make real poverty a thing of the past . . . .
Now, however, we are coming into collision with facts which there can be no mistaking. . . .
In the United States it is clear that squalor and misery, and the vices and crimes that spring from them, everywhere increase as the village grows to the city, and the march of development brings the advantages of the improved methods of production and exchange. . . .
This association of poverty with progress is the great enigma of our times . . . . It is the central fact from which spring industrial, social, and political difficulties that perplex the world, and with which statesmanship and philanthropy and education grapple in vain. It is the riddle which the Sphinx of Fate puts to our civilization and which not to answer is to be destroyed . . . .
|(Return to full frame: Progress and Poverty)|