This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
... We get the idea that man does not adapt to environment, but adapts the environment to himself and his needs. But we attain no power over nature till we learn natural laws, to conform and adapt ourselves to them. And then we come to be as dependent upon our adaptations as the bear upon his coat of fur or the woodpecker upon his sharp beak. Our lordship over nature consists in the adroitness with which we learn and conform. ... - Keller, Societal Evolution, p. 22.
The toilsome process of finding by natural selection the industries suited to a locality, with the ruin of many individuals and the wasting of the country's resources after the manner of the pioneers, is now largely replaced by telic selection. The Geological Survey locates the mineral resources; the schools of mining tell how to work them. Agricultural experts analyze the soil; they study the climate and situation with reference to markets; they can decide before a furrow has been turned what crops will do best. These schools pay for themselves many times over. And still there is room for their usefulness to be multiplied many fold. The scientific knowledge regarding each neighborhood, whether urban or rural, should be reduced to teachable form, as far as possible, and put into the local schools.
Cities were formerly allowed to extend themselves hither and yon as natural selection dictated. But now that the interrelation of the different parts of a city has become so important, more attention is being given to the planning of new or growing communities. World-wide competition was enlisted for the planning of the new capital of Australia, and the first prize of $10,000 was won by an American who was then engaged to supervise the laying out of the ground.
. . . Noteworthy examples are the town of Pullman founded several years ago by the late George M. Pullman and now incorporated into Chicago, and the town of Gary near Chicago, founded to house hundreds of workers in the Steel Corporation's factories.
Another striking example of the industrial town is that of Corey, also a Steel Corporation city, near Birmingham, Ala. . . .
. . . The street plan is not the old gridiron, but a system of straight lines and easy curves guided by the topography. On the slopes, and throughout the town, trees have been left standing, and careful stipulation in all contracts safeguarded them during the construction period. Shrub planting has had much attention. The streets are wide, but the pavement is narrow on quiet residence streets, so that householders may have grass instead of unnecessary paving. Sewers, pavement, sidewalks, and all fundamental utilities were well provided before a house was built. - The New York Times, August 4, 1913.
The conservation of natural resources for future generations requires a policy of foresight. Private enterprise will do this in so far as saving for future use promises larger profits than present exploitation; it is the speculator versus the promoter. But, as has already been shown,1 the speculator's foresight reaches only a century or two into the future. Intelligent patriotism wants greatness that is enduring; seeing "a thousand years as one day," it can be made sensitive about wastefulness. Gifford Pinchot and Theodore Roosevelt may be most esteemed in future centuries for developing this kind of sensitiveness.
1 P. 290.
Systems of communication need telic selection to guide their growth and regulate their operation. Each system must cover its field completely in order to have the maximum of efficiency, and that means that it should have no competitor. Private enterprise will, in time and if left to itself, develop the mechanical facilities of communication in accordance with this principle in order to gain the maximum of profit. But that puts the entire community in the power of private interests. Accordingly, in well-developed countries, railroads, canals, telegraphs, and telephones are either operated by the state, as are the highways and the post office, or else they are closely regulated by it. Steamship lines are tending the same way, only a little tardily. There is a shipping trust in the International Mercantile Marine, which, however, was practically bankrupt when the war saved it by causing high rates for ocean transportation. As these lines are being written, Congress has just appropriated $50,000,000 to be used in establishing a merchant marine.