White man's increasing dependence on tropical products, of course, makes commerce in those things necessary. But the problem is far deeper than that - things made in the dense populations must be sold or it will be impossible to buy food. Trade, then, is a vital necessity without which higher races would decrease in numbers, and a condition of supersaturation would be impossible. The more we crowd together the more dependent we become upon trade. It is so vital that it has caused untold numbers of wars, and strange to say, it may eventually end all wars, for it is the tie binding together all races in that commensal relation which is to be the feature of the future. We are no longer "independent" of other "independent" peoples, but dependent upon them all, almost literally "eating from the same table".
Trade is governed by the same natural laws we have been discussing. It makes a new struggle, not one particle less severe or less brutal than any other struggle for existence. English goods must be sold, so must German and French, and so must American, and not one of these nations has gone deliberately into the world-expansion of trade without a vital necessity for it. It is said that trade follows the flag, but as a rule this is reversing the process. The merchants have led, and the natives follow.
But few people appreciate the import of this modern element of the struggle for existence, whereby urban populations are dependence upon commerce 313 very dense because they have engaged in making things to trade for food. The people must go where they can work best, and they can work most efficiently by division of labor in large masses, and we know how minutely subdivided are modern trades - one man doing but one little thing.
The overcrowding of men in all times has a curious effect in creating an intense antagonism to labor saving machinery. Inventors have been invariably looked upon as enemies, John Kay, for instance, who, about 1738, invented a great labor-saving device in cotton spinning, had to flee from England, and he died in poverty in an alien land. People presume that such an invention will deprive them of work, and so it does, at least a few, for a short time, but eventually its only effect is to enable others to do more work, make life easier and help along that ever increasing value - the price of a day's labor. Since the time when man found that he could get more meat by devoting himself to chipping flints and bartering them off to better hunters, the wage of labor has been constantly increasing, and now we can get more for a day's labor than ever before. Even a common laborer can buy a suit of clothes with a week's wages - 10,000 years ago the same amount of clothing cost months of labor. The term "labor-saving" is, then, a misnomer and should be abandoned, for the ultimate result is increase of product and increase of wages.
It is said that forty years ago it required four hours and thirty-four minutes' labor to make a bushel of corn; now it is forty-one minutes. The cost of this labor, then, was thirty-five and three-quarter cents (thirteen cents per minute), now it is ten and one-half cents (twenty-five cents per minute). That is, for a day's work the modern man compared to his grandfather makes nearly seven times as much food and is paid twice as much for doing it. In the same way a bushel of wheat in 1850 required three hours to make, but now only ten minutes, and the cost was | seventeen and three-quarter cents, now only three and one-third cents. Formerlv, the laborer received one-tenth of a cent per minute, but now it is one-third of a cent. The laborer has three times as much for his work and makes eighteen times as much goods. This can be followed into every line of work and the same results follow - more product per day and more pay per day but less pay per piece. The result is that fewer men are required on the farm, and though our farm products are tremendously increased in fifty years, wheat six to eight times, corn four, oats three, cotton five, and wool six, yet the rural population has only doubled. Men born on the farms must go to the city. They must engage in manufacturing, transportation and selling.