In the immense complexity and division of labor of modern corporations, among whom the struggle for existence is so keen, only those survive which have the most brains. Men with commodities for sale, always sell to the highest bidder, and the men with brains are invariably bought by those who pay the most. Private corporations pay men for what they are worth; hence, it happens that the brains of the country are flowing into the corporations. Is it any wonder they are successful? In 1906 there were in the employ of the Steel Corporation and its subsidiary companies approximately 1,750 men who received salaries in excess of $2,500 a year, divided as follows: Twelve with salaries of $20,000 and over, including the $100,000 salary of the president of the corporation itself; fifty from $10,000 to $20,000; 200 from $5,000 to $10,000; 1,500 from $2,500 to $5,000,* and yet there are Americans who think they can control this mass of brains. There are millions of voters who believe that any creature is fit to put in office at low salary to fight this combination - a fight of wits without wits, as foolish as a fight of rifles without rifles.
A recent article by the Rev. Thomas B. Gregory, mentions a young clergyman who left the ministry because the intellectual standard of theological students is to-day much lower than in former times. "In brain power, the graduates of the theological schools do not begin to compare with the students of the colleges of letters and sciences." The church will get the brains if it pays for them, but in the meantime its prestige is being constantly lowered through the mental inferiority of the priests. It so often happens that priestly ideas are wrong that there is a beginning distrust of clergymen, and indeed, it seems as though a candidate for elective office is occasionally helped by clerical opposition. In the 1908 elections some candidates violently opposed by the churches received the highest majorities.
* Walter Wellman, Review of Reviews, March, 1900.
The corporations are also more and more coming to the plan of life tenure of officials during good behavior and pension in old age - just the opposite of the unnatural and unscientific "turn-the-rascals-out" plan of our democratic political life. Nothing attracts good men so much as surety of employment and some comfort and support in old age. In spite of their large salaries we find as an actual fact, that all corporations have difficulty in filling the positions paying from $5,000 to $10,000 a year. Such brains are very scarce, as we can readily imagine when we remember that the average earning capacity of the human brain in the United States is less than $500, some say $400 or even $300. In India there are many millions of adults unable to earn ten dollars a year - some earn less than two cents a day. Instead, therefore, of taking any or every one for any public position, the higher positions should be exceedingly difficult to fill, and to attract the proper men requires salaries which now appear enormous to the small brained voter unable to earn more than $300 a year.
When we drop our ideas of democratic equality so useful 3,000 years ago, and acknowledge that some men are better than we, then we will compete with the trusts, by paying higher salaries and getting brains to work for us, instead of against us. We cannot do this until the brains of the country get the sovereignty back in their hands away from the negroes, Slavs, Asiatics and paupers. The men too stupid for the franchise, and who are now unable to make $300 a year, will not be a menace to government by the brainy, and there will be no demagogues to appeal to their stupid prejudices, for their opinions will be useless without a vote. They are ignored in the government of the big cities of Europe. Then there will be no cry of salary grabbing, when we pay $50,000 a year to put upon the bench a lawyer now working for a trust for $40,000. We will be well served, like the British who have the sense to pay enough wages to secure the best public servants. Luckily the movement to correct our faults is becoming popular.
The solidarity of the British Empire is in part due to the pension system, whereby every servant after twenty or thirty years of faithful work for the organism, can retire and be supported in comfort in his later non-productive years. In America we are drifting toward this natural British system. Every congress passes some law increasing pay and security in office, so as to attract the best to serve the organism - and as this is the natural law of organization, old-age pensions for civil servants must be granted.
The trend of events is illustrated by the success of the Galveston plan of municipal government. People have at last wakened to the fact that it is a business needing business men, and that neither the people nor then elected representatives have the ability to do this complicated social work. The city is now considered essentially a business corporation, run by a few commissioners as paid managers, and the commission is even given legislative powers by the stockholders - the people. It is the only feasible plan and it must come in all cities, and the greater the city the higher must be the salaries of the managers to get the best. Already the plan is proving successful beyond all expectation. It is very economical, and the cities are obtaining good streets and public service and lower taxes undreamed of in the old plan in which so many looked upon public office as a place to rob their employers. Des Moines, Leavenworth, Norfolk, also Haverhill, Mass., are all practicing this new plan. Self-government is sinunering down into the right of stockholders to select the best managers called governors. If New York City would elect for long terms three managers of proved executive ability and probity and pay salaries of $50,000, and arrange to have the commission's acts audited by courts whose judges were appointed for life, there would be a vastly improved state of affairs, and perhaps a yearly saving of the $25,000,000 now alleged to be wasted.
The payment of law-makers is a perfectly natural evolution from the time when the primitive Aryan practically fought his way to the folk-moot. Subsequently, only these ruling classes were elected to the Parliament, and of course, they served without pay. It was their life work and they were supported by estates given them for public service. In America where there were no governing classes, we were compelled to adopt the opposite plan of sending representatives who were really paid attorneys. Thus it happens that the Parliament is the English nation, while Congress "represents" the American. Whatever Parliament does, becomes part of the Constitution. The two types are changing to a common form. In addition, not only are an increasing number of members of Parliament receiving pay in some way, but we are sending an increasing number who have "estates" really granted them. England has a large class of hereditary public servants, trained from infancy in statecraft, and her main university is designed to give this training, but she is being represented by an increasing democratic element. America has no class trained in state-craft, and the universities are all designed to educate the democratic units for a selfish struggle for existence, but there is an increasing number of well-to-do young men who have taken up state-craft as a calling and not as a means of livelihood. Yet they all must be paid in one way or another for this tremendously valuable service.