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PROHIBITION AND ECONOMICS
(Review of “This Economic World and Uoto It May Be Improvedby Thomas Nixon Carver, Professor of Political Economy, Harvard Univer sity, and Hugh W. Lester. Published by A. W. Shaw and Co., Chicago and New YorkJ ERNEST H. CIIERRINGTON, LL.D. Litt.D “The fight against alcoholism is the only great reform of the present day that is carried on by people who have nothing personal to gain from it. The only people who should, from their own personal Btandopint, be interested in it, that is, those who are addicted to drink, are al most unanimously fighting on the side of drink rather than against it. Nothing ex cept a general interest in the public good is adequately motivating the fight against drink. This is not exactly a materialistic end or aim.” Thus Thomas N. Carver, Professor of Political Economy at Harvard, and Hugh W. Lester in “This Economic World and How It May Be Improved,” one of the most interesting as well as one of the most significant recent books on econo mics. The co-authors are emphatic in their development of the argument that the United States is prosperous because it is not materialistic. They insist: “A somewhat sounder thesis would be that we are prospering precisely because our ideals are not materialistic, that all these tilings are being added unto us because we are seeking first the sound principles of jus tice and the sound ideals of individual behavior which are of the very essence of the Kingdom of God, and that no nation could help prospering if it pursued these principles and ideals wholeheart edly.” Our national Ideal, in their view, is ex pressed in the constitutional purpose “to promote the general welfare” or, as they rephrase it: “Whatever our purposes as individuals may be, one of our great na tional purposes has been to give every man a fair chance, to free him from all handicaps, and to provide for everyone an open road to talent. This in itself re sults in a great release of human energy.” It is interesting to note the way they sweep away the personal liberty camou flage, so frequently used by the enemies of prohibition. One quotation will be suffici ent to show the attitude of Messrs. Car ver and Lester on this point: “It is some times considered a paradox to say that some limitation upon the freedom of the individual may be necessary for a larger freedom; but it is no paradox at all. Thousands of good illustrations of this may be found. One will be sufficient. The traffic policeman at a crowded corner oc casionally restricts the freedom of an in dividual driver, but if he justifies his ex istence and regulates wisely, there is more actual freedom of movement on the part of all drivers.” Both the necessity for prohibition and its comparative success in spite of weak nesses in enforcement which the authors frankly recognize, are very vividly set forth with special attention paid to labor’s gain from prohibition. One might quote: •‘Next to killing, stealing, and lying, drunk enness is the greatest factor in the waste of man power in modern civilization, es pecially in northern latitudes. The evi dence is overwhelming that, for the coun try as a whole, drunkenness and other by products of alcoholism have greatly de creased since prohibition. There are, it is true, some thickly populated areas in Which prohibition has not been very well enforced. Nevertheless, it is probably more than a coincidence that the most striking evidences of the diffusion of pros perity, especially among the ■working classes, synchronizes with the period of national prohibition, though the restric tion of immigration came about the same time. These two laws are probably the best laws ever enacted in this country in the interest of the laboring classes. How ever, not only is prohibition poorly en forced, but the restriction of immigration Is only partial. ... If prohibition could be reasonably well enforced—that is, as well enforced as other laws, such as those against highway robbery (which is no* saying much)—and if the American con tinent could be put on the quota basis tinder our immigration law, there is not much reason to doubt that wages would advance still more rapidly and savings and investments expand at a hitherto un heard-of-rate." Or this: “As shown in other chapters, there are sound and logical reasons why the restriction of im migration should have been expected to raise wages and why prohibition should result in greater general prosperity.” or again: "The most direct and deadly thrust at labor is made by those who are work ing to increase the supplies of manual labor, first, by attacking our immigration law, second, by attacking our system of public education, third, by attacking pro hibition, fourth, by advocating large fami lies among the poor, thus assuring a plentiful supply not only of cannon fod der but of cheap labor as well. Many of these attacks are camouflaged under various other names. In reality, they are all aimed to make things easier for the employing classes by supplying them with increasing quantities of low-wage labor. “Certain self-appointed spokesmen of labor are attacking the prohibition law. When men sober up, begin to work stead ily, and save and invest a little money, they become more independent, more in clined to pick and choose their jobs. As Mr. Cannon has ironically expressed it, ‘Prohibition has withdrawn from the eco nomic field that last hope of the over burdened American housekeeper, the faithful charwoman, sole support of a drunken husband. A gentleman in Spokane once gave a unique argument against prohibition. In the old days, said he, when the lumberjack came into town after several months in the woods, with a few hundred dollars in his pockets, it took him only a short time to blow in his money. Then as soon as he sobered up, he was compelled to go back to work. Un der prohibition it took him months where it formerly took him weeks to get rid of his money, and until he did, he would not go back to work.” This is not intended to suggest that Messrs. Carver and Lester wrote a book about prohibition. They did not. What they did was to write one of the most pel lucid studies of our economic world. In doing that, they necessarily were com pelled to recognize one of the most potent factors in our economic life today, Prohi bition. Not only the economist or the student of the current business trend in America, but all those who are concerned about social movements in general and about prohibition in particular will find this book one of the most interesting, readable, as well as significant volumes on the 1828 book shelf. HOTELS OBSERVING LAW Hotel Pennsylvania Daily Reports Attitude of Hotels of New York on Liquor Law Observance The following article is taken from the Hotel Pennsylvania Daily of New York City, under date of April 9, 1928, and is not only illuminating but encouraging. “In a conference held in New York City lately the hotels w'ere asked by the pro hibition authorities how much they were troubled with the liquor situation. “The unanimous reply was ‘none.’ “That meant it was no trouble to fire anyone who had anything to do with handling liquor in the hotels. Immediate discharge for the first offense has been the rule ever since the prohibition law went into effect. “Naturally there have been cases where the rule had to be brought into effect, and employees have been discharged. Some have proved that liquor they have handled was the property of the guests, and they would have had to be discourteous to re fuse. It therefore devolves upon the guest not to ask any employe of Hotel Pennsyl vania to have anything to do with illegal beverages of any sort either in the dining rooms or any other part of the hotel. It will mean dismissal as soon as they are caught, and caught they most assuredly will be." An Associated Press dispatch carrying a Beattie dateline of May 15, says that offi cials of various government departments have assembled at Seattle to formulate a plan of co-ordination against rum run ning and narcotic smuggling on the Pacific coast. NEWS IS IN BAD Its Policy Aimed at Hypocrisy Rather Than at Violation of the Dry Law The Washington News belonging to the Scripps-Howard chain of papers, is in bad with the newspapers generally. The News announced a couple of months ago that it intended to show up the hypocrisy of members of Congress who vote dry and then get drunk. It announced with much ado that from that time on it would publish the names of those Congressmen who voted for dry measures, but who drank to the extent that it interfered with their duties as Congressmen. Its threat was made against those who became intoxicated and vote dry. The Neivs did not have any fault to find with those Congressmen who became intoxicated but voted wet. This attitude of the News was generally condemned, as its policy was aimed at hypocrisy and not at drunkenness. As several newspapers pointed out. drunken ness on the part of any member of Con gress should be condemned, be that mem ber wet or dry. The American Issue urged the News to make public the name of any Congress man who appeared on the floor in an in toxicated condition, but at the same time we expressed the doubt that the News would ever print the name of a transgres sor, as under prohibition, it is doubtful if any Congressman, wet or dry, is to be seen on the floor in an intoxicated condition. The Neivs, like the other Scripps-How ard papers, are boosters of A1 Smith, and would have their readers believe prohibi tion is far from being successful. The News has not printed the name of an in ebriated Congressman, either wet or dry. The News was engaging in newspaper bunk and nothing more. OUT OF PRACTICE ©O^G-or AMERICANS vmtlNd GERMAN/ An Associated Press dispatch carrying a Heidelberg dateline says: Fritz Gabler, proprietor of one of the largest hotels in this ancient uni versity town, says that 90 per cent of the Americans visiting Heidelberg are teetotalers. “People who spread the report that Americans traveling thru Europe lap all the liquor they can, are either misinformed or mendacious," he said. “Fully 90 per cent of my American guests drink water, lemon ade or orangeade only.” Apparently this interesting item escaped the notice of the editorial writers of our wet newspapers. However, one of the car toonists of the Columbus Dispatch thought It worthy of his attention, and put his idea of it into the picture reproduced above. He made a most effective comment, put ting it into the mouth of the little fellow In the black coat who represents the Amer ican tourist, “I am out of practice.” That tells the story. Here is a denial of the charge that as much beer is consumed in this country as there was in the days of the saloons and breweries. Out of practice and out of the habit, is the experience of hundreds of thousands of erstwhile drink ers in our country. America has always repudiated nulll fters. America believes in law and order, '—“—-—7 DR. GRENFELL PRAISES DRY LAW Noted Labrador Missionary Says He Saw More Drunks in Short Stay in Canadian Cities Than in Six Months in U. S. The Christian Science Monitor quotes Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell, founder of the Grenfell Missions in Labrador, as de claring that in his opinion prohibition in the United States is a tremendous suc cess, despite the fact that “nine-tenths of the general newspaper accounts be litt ling prohibition are great ly exaggerated and entirely unreliable and valueless for those who are looking for facts.” Dr. Grenfell emphasized the preponder ance of sentiment in favor of proliibltion which he found during his travels in the United States, and declared that any at tempt to modify the dry law by intro ducing the licensing system would be “a backward step." He said: “I saw more intoxication and more of the ill results of Intoxication during the short time I was in Wimiipeg, Montreal and Toronto recently than I have seen in this country in six months. During the past two years I have lectured in every state of the Union, and I believe that the sentiment for prohibition in this country is very strong and that reports of dis regard of the law are exaggerated. “In Dallas. Texas, I met something like 10.000 superintendents of public schools, and the large majority of them are strongly in favor of prohibition. 1 have seen tens of thousands of American chil dren, especially In the west, who have never seen liquor used as a beverage, and a young generation is growing up that wont want it, “At a luncheon I attended In Chicago the president of the crime commission, a criminal lawyer of forty years experience and who has known Chicago from his boyhood, declared that he did not hesitate to say that so far as Clvlcago Is concerned prohibition is the best thing that has hap pened in the past quarter of a century. He knows from actual evidence and ex perience with crime what he Is talking about. ” CITY OFFICIALS INDICTED The mayor of Jacksonville, Fla., hts predecessor, the police and fire chiefs, and other municipal officials were among 16 men indicted May 17 by a federal grand jury on liquor charges. These city officials issued a categorical denial of guilt. BEER IS NOT A FOOD Is beer a food? It was so advertised In the old llquoi days when the brewers were boosting the sale of their product. “Beer is a food," “beer is liquid bread,” were statements frequently seen and heard, and some be lieved them. But men who analyzed beer knew bet ter. For years, Prof. George O. Higley has been professor of chemistry at Ohio Wes leyan University, at Delaware. He made a chemical analysis of one of the “good” beers made in Columbus. He compared beer with milk as a food product. At that time milk was cheap and sold at eight cents a quart. The milk contained 11.64 per cent of food substances, of which 3.72 per cent is building tissue and the rest furnishes heat and energy. The milk contained no poison. A quart of beer, according to Prof. Higley, contained 3.75 per cent food sub stances, mainly sugar, which does not build tissues, and also contained 3.92 per cent alcohol, which poisons the drinker. The beer cost ten cents a quart. Instead of being a liquid food, beer is a liquid poison. Roscoe C. Edlund, of New York, direc tor of the Cleanliness Institute, declared before the National Conference of Social Work in Memphis, Tenn., that business and industry throughout the United States are spending approximately $300,000,000 annually on welfare and educational ac tivity. Tins means a million dollars for every working day. Some wise man has said that no party will do right if you give it your vote when It does wrong.