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houses: History, English, Romance, Germanic, Philosophy, Fine Arts, and Classics no gymnasium, stadium, coaches, tutors, readers, instructors, assistant professors. In each group only the professor and not more than the twelve who had been chosen to live with him for from six to eighteen months in the enjoyment of his speciality, the sharing of whatever might be gained from travel, research, and mutual stimulation. There were no entrance requirements, examinations, degrees. One could have a statement from the professor saying that he had been a resident of the house for such and such a time. Admission was controlled by the professor, who, on recommendation of any three members of the house, invited the prospect to spend a week in their fellowship. In this informal way the tastes and abilities of the candidate were ascertained, and the relationship continued or terminated accordingly.

There were no classes; but the honest quest of knowledge and improvement brought the house members to the professor for criticism, counsel, and encouragement. The initiative was wholly theirs, and the private interview was the high place, the holy ground of enlightenment. The evening mealwhich, with its general conversation, required about two hours- afforded always a happy opportunity for the exchange of ideas.

The parish house of the chapel provided a commons for the mingling of all the groups, for programmes put on by the several houses, and for formal discussions. No win-or-lose debates were

held; each speaker contended for the purpose of having his idea included in the formulation which, when drawn, should incorporate the valid points advanced and established by the various speakers. In the parish house was also a dining hall with capacity for one hundred and twenty guests. Here the associated houses gathered every Saturday night for dinner, and also on special occasions when some renowned scholar, statesman, author, or artist was guest of honor.

Whether a similar school for women existed in that idyllic country I did not ascertain; nor did I learn anything about endowment, per-capita cost, salaries, standardizing agencies, teaching methods, intelligence tests, ultimate aims of service to Church, State, or business; but as I came reluctantly awake I felt grateful to my colleagues who had driven me so far afield from the collegiate sausage machine, where the well-hashed ingredients are stuffed into casings all alike. And, what was better, although I had faltered and groped in the academic groves a long time and had had many sparkling ideals go sour and had often winced under the jibe of 'Professor,' and although I had slowly conceded the strategic value of the physical sciences and of the vast concerns of business, still, for the making of men who, turning this way or that, should attack the world's work with the grace and serenity of masters. and who should be neither slaves nor dupes, I found this dream school a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, leading toward the promised land.




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FOR the first time in history, bituminous coal finds itself a national issue. Suffering from nearly the same economic ills as agriculture, and nearly as prolonged, the industry has become an object of political concern. Impressed by its serious predicament, both major parties voiced in their platforms a consciousness, apprehensive though vague, of its import.

My purpose is not to prejudge the case. Within the necessary limits of a brief statement, I propose to touch upon a few salient points in this complex situation. Thereafter it is for the reader, if and when a legislative remedy is offered him, to assay the efficacy of its cure.

In the attempt at diagnosis, let us begin with the consumer of bituminous coal. What are his just demands on the industry? They are, I take it, essentially two: first, an adequate and continuous supply; second, a reasonable price. Has the coal consumer any present grievance on these two points? Personally, I think not.

For five years, at least, the industry has stood prepared, by actual demonstration, to supply two tons of coal for every one the consumer normally requires. During that period, with large numbers of mines either shut down from lack of orders or idle from other causes, it has not only met a high level of usual demand; in addition, on two occasions, it has also supplied, concurrently for months, large deficits caused

by the strikes of the anthracite miners at home and of the British miners in markets abroad.

But how about prices? Again it seems clear that the consumer has no grounds for complaint. Throughout these five years, the price level of the industry has been continuously falling. To-day it rests approximately on the basis of twelve years ago. During the current season, the consumers of bituminous coal will pay possibly a billion dollars less for their annual supply at the mines than they paid in 1920. (I say at the mines,' for the coal producer is not responsible for and derives no income from those changes in the consumer price due to freight rates.) At least one half of these huge savings has gone to increase the net income of more favored industries, the railroads and the power utilities, over whose own revenue rates the public stands guard. Indeed, the prices now realized by the producer are so low that the annual loss to the industry is estimated at sums reaching far into nine figures. As with supply, the consumer has no grievance over


If the consumers are not the victims in the present grief, we must needs look elsewhere. From the public point of view, assurance that all is well with one party, even though he be regarded as party of the first part, does not end the matter. When the country finds that a great basic industry, vital to all the rest, is desperately sick, it cannot remain unconcerned. The social and economic welfare of millions of its citizens

is involved. The fact that the injuries seem to be internal cannot lead to the curt and indifferent judgment: "They have made their bed; let them lie in it!'

What, then, is the trouble with coal? I doubt if any other question about industry can be put in this country to which the reply will come back so readily, so tersely, so unvaryingly. Issuing alike from legislative halls, public platforms, editorial rooms, and the chummy conclaves of Pullman smokers, reiteration has made the verdict unanimous. The diagnosis has already been adopted by acclamation:

'Too many mines and too many miners!'

Each doctor to the dilemma, of course, states the case according to his own therapeutics. "Too many sidings and too many coal cars,' complain the railroads. "Too many coals and too many salesmen,' growls the buyer. "Too many wage cuts and too many idle days,' pleads the miner. "Too many expenses and too many price cutters,' moans the management. "Too many competitors and too many losses,' states the investor. "Too many risks and too many failures,' decides the banker. "Too many strikes and too many alibis,' says the public.

In brief, everything about coal is too much or too many. Nevertheless, beneath this apparent conflict of opinion lies an essential unity. It is excess. And the root of all the evils is the excess capacity for coal production. That much is clear. The real confusion begins when one poses the second query, short, simple, but full of high explosive for the unwary:

'How much is enough?'


Try to apply this test to some of the chief factors, and one is at once

bewildered by the labyrinth of chaotic corridors that is coal. Let us rush in, however, where angels might well fear to tread. For the moment let us assume a dictator appointed, and armed under the Constitution we know not how-with full power to straighten out this economic snarl. To decide where his Mussolinian methods should be applied, his tools at the start need be only a pencil and a pad of paper.

Our first problem is a relatively simple one, and simply arrived at: How much coal is enough? That is to say,

- looking only at total requirements, based on a normal cumulative average, -what is the annual output of bituminous coal that will meet the country's needs? This is well known to be something over 500,000,000 tons. If it be true, then, that present mines can produce twice this supply of coal, our dictator is next faced with the problem: How many mines are enough? And now he is fairly launched on his sea of troubles!

Far more light-heartedly than the dictator, we shall pass serenely by some stubborn facts. Coal is produced in more than half the states of the Union, and in several times that many separate districts. Between these districtseven among mines of the same district

exist wide variations in the coal, both in size of vein and in chemical analysis. While pigs may be pigs, coal is not just coal, for different uses in the same market require unlike fuels. Even similar coals for like purposes are restricted to different markets by an intricate structure of freight rates. Adjacent mines of nearly identical coal, reaching the same markets, contrast not merely as to management but in natural conditions. Mine capacity differs radically from factory capacity in many particulars. Among these are the process of growth and decline in underground development, unrestricted

by four walls; the daily struggle with nature as to gas, drainage, slate, and the like; an output dependent not merely upon these factors of physical extent and natural obstruction, but upon a constantly changing railroad system to move the product from vein to surface; a labor capacity affected not alone by mobility and numbers, as the factories are, but by shelter and supply, as an army in the field. And so on.

Any one of these details will provide an interesting afternoon for our dictator when he comes to the leisurely selection of enough mines, and no more. However, just as we have not questioned his legal powers to eliminate the surplus mines, so likewise we shall not doubt his ability to choose the fit for survival. We rest secure in the faith that his decision on all these points, affecting thousands of mines scattered from Pennsylvania to the Pacific, and from Michigan to Texas, will be somehow good. In the end, we shall have not "too many mines,' but just enough to produce our half-billion tons.

The next problem is to man the mines. Obviously the list of factors just cited will affect the decision as to the force at individual mines. We are now interested only in total man-power. Our dictator knows as who does not?

that we have 'too many miners.' How many are enough? According to the latest government reports, there were something over 590,000 men employed in the mining of bituminous coal. This is a marked reduction from the peak force in 1923, when the figure was 110,000 higher. It will, of course, not be difficult to decide, in theory, how many more men can be released.

Without trying to decipher all the calculations on the dictator's pad, we know he will take into consideration the following: full-time work, daily output per man, and an allowance

for absenteeism. All industry has to reckon somewhat with the latter item, but it is abnormally present in coal. From its involuntary aspect it must be noted that mining is a hazardous trade, with even a normal injury rate that accounts for a considerable decrease in force. Its voluntary phase is perhaps even more unusual. The miner is traditionally an independent artisan, seldom successfully ruled by the disciplined routine of his factory comrades. The fortnightly pay days in mining are notoriously accompanied by widespread lay-offs. If the miner chooses to take a week-end jaunt, he considers it no one's affair but his own. The coal not dug to-day will be mined some other time, and idle days will still intervene. It is the experience of most companies that the rate of voluntary absenteeism tends to rise with increased rate of operation. Consequently even a dictator may well pause to estimate conservatively his practical power to enforce a veto on 'the miner's freedom.'

In brief, my personal guess is that he will decide that a maximum of 440,000 miners is enough, and that consequently there are now about 150,000 'too many.' Happily, being assigned only to solve the problems of coal, it need not concern him what is to become of this tragic army of toilers. His is not the task to decide what communities are to receive them, or what industries - many of them also overequipped and likewise steadily reducing their labor force are to employ them. It is sufficient for him that they are numbered among the 'too many,' and that they must go somewhere.

At this point, however, it seems essential to interrupt the swift motion of the dictatorial pencil. Inclined, as we are, to have faith in his selection of both mines and miners, it is not agreeable to suggest any added problems, or to perplex him with any statistics other

than his own. Nevertheless, for his sake as well as ours, we submit the following. Granting that the owners of the 'too many mines' will submissively close their properties, and that the 'too many miners' will, with equal docility, transfer themselves from the partially employed to the unemployed, at this juncture there is another group with whom to reckon. They are the coal


Now do not misunderstand me. There are not too many consumers. Rather are there too few! The problem here is of different stuff. We do not have 'too many mines' merely because the owners of coal properties insist on staying in business at a loss or refuse to go into bankruptcy with good grace. We do not even have 'too many miners' merely because the employees insist on their freedom to work part time with decreasing income. A goodly number of both continue in part because the consumers' habits of buying create the fascinating mirage of an oasis of work in a desert of idleness.

Our dictator, for example, has no doubt planned on the eminently sound premise that his task is to ensure an adequate and uninterrupted supply of coal; to select for this purpose a minimum number of the best adapted and most efficient mines; to man them properly with a minimum force of employees to whom full-time work will be given. Quite clearly, however, this assumes an even, regular flow of coal from the mines to the consumer. Ah, there's the rub! There is so little of flowing regularity about coal consumption. As a matter of fact, our friend the consumer does not need, often will not use, sometimes cannot possibly store or receive, an even supply.

What are the facts? As I have remarked, it is not my wish to add perplexity by a maze of statistics. Some time ago, however, I made a foray into

this most baffling of all problems in coal production - its seasonal and cyclical variations in demand. The raw material from which my data were assembled for analysis is available in government reports to those with an urge for figures or a desire to check the findings. For the present purpose I ask you to accept a general summary.


Going back over a decade or more, and omitting certain months distorted by strikes or other causes, the average swing between spring and fall daily production is nearly one third. This tendency seems to be on the increase rather than otherwise. For example, the difference between April and November daily outputs for the period 1916-1923 was 23 per cent; for the years 19241926 it averaged 56 per cent. Throughout the entire period of twelve years, the absolute difference between the high and low months of the calendar year, regardless of season, was nearly 50 per cent. In other words, our dictatorial friend will early confront this knotty fact: within any typical calendar year if current consumer practice continues tice continueshe must be equipped in mines and in men to supply half as much coal again at some period as he does at others.

Nor is this all. Bituminous coal is chiefly used for industrial purposes for transportation and the production of power. In other words, it is inextricably bound to the ebb and flow of our industrial tide. As the cycles of general production come and go, in similar ratio will the needs of the coal market wax and wane. Let us pause to consider a few percentages again. In this case I shall confine myself to the recent period of 1921-1928.

In the month of April 1923, our dictator would have needed to have the mines

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