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have, so that the same number of acres with the labor of fewer men shall produce many times as much food.
"In the next few years I hope to produce fruits that will have the power to resist heat, cold, dampness, and the attacks of fungi and insect pests. I hope also to produce fruit without seeds, stones, spines, or thorns.
"The world needs, and we shall develop, better fiber plants; better coffee and tea plants; more productive spice shrubs; trees that will produce pure rubber in larger quantities and can be tapped as are maple trees. Now, in the tropical rubber forests, the gathering of the rubber means the destruction of the tree.
"We need, too, nuts which contain more oil, new and better dyewoods, plants that will produce starches in profitable quantities, and plants that will yield better perfumes than the synthetic perfumes now manufactured. We need trees exclusively for wood pulp, and other trees that will grow more rapidly than wild trees and produce larger quantities of timber.
"Every one of these developments, and thousands more, are within our reach. Man is just beginning to realize that he may some time control certain forces of nature and guide them to produce desired results with a rapidity and sureness hitherto undreamed of."
Luther Burbank's first important contribution was the Burbank potato. For this discovery he received $150, and with this modest capital and a supply of his famous tubers, he left his native state of Massachusetts for California. If he had been able to patent this improved potato and had received a royalty of one cent on each bushel that has been grown and sold, he would today be the world's richest
Burbank believes that the most important lesson he has learned in more than a half century of study of nature is that the laws applicable to the production of improved plant life may be
applied with equal success to the improvement of human beings.
"One law governs all; it governs the plants and it governs us," he said earnestly. "In human breeding, as in plant breeding, there is no satisfactory substitute for intelligent selection and crossing. Here in America, nature is forming a mighty combination of various races. If the right principles are followed, we may hope for a race far better and stronger than Americans of today; a magnificent race. But crossing, even when guided by intelligence, produces a myriad of inferior types while producing a few good types. Often, I have produced a million plant specimens to find one or two superlatively good-and then destroyed all the inferior specimens.
"Inferior human beings, of course, cannot be treated as if they were inferior plants. But if civilization is to endure, some way must be found to produce more of the fit, and fewer of the unfit. Like plant development, racial improvement is a matter of heredity, selection, proper crossing, and environment. We must begin with the child. To improve the race, the children of the race must be healthy. I could not work successfully with diseased plants that would spread disease among the other plants. Marriage of the physically, mentally and morally unfit should be prohibited, and that prohibition made absolute.
"For half a century there has been growing steadily in my mind the knowledge that in the development of the plant lies a great object lesson for human beings. This fact I consider my most valuable discovery. I have proved it many times, and I may state it in two sentences:
"First, that plants are pliable and amenable to the wishes of man, and that they may be bred and trained and developed just as animals may be bred and trained and improved. Second, that the human plant, the child, may be trained, developed and improved just as, under the hand of a skilled botanist, the best that is in each plant may be brought out."
Horse Bandits and Opium
Condensed from The Forum (April '26)
OST of the opium traffic in China is conducted by "Ma Fei," horse bandits, that powerful, well organized, ably directed band of outlaws in Manchuria, and unless we find the means to control these bandits, we cannot hope to suppress the traffic in narcotics.
Ma Fei includes men of all classes and conditions. There are common robbers as well as political exiles. There are soldiers out of pay, and aspirants for governmental positions. This turning of soldiers into bandits occurs quite frequently, as can be seen from the adage that "To maintain soldiers is to maintain robbers."
It may seem strange that aspirants for governmental positions should attempt to realize their ambition by entering the ranks of Ma Fei. But, as a little study of Who's Who in China will prove, the Chinese Government actually does give high positions to bandit leaders.
As there are many who conduct banditry as an avocation-tradesmen and farmers who participate in order to tide over hard times-it is impossible to determine the number of men who constitute Ma Fei. All we know is that Ma Fei consists of about 95 divisions, and that each of these divisions has one leader and from 40 to 1000 men.
Ma Fe are thoroughly acquainted with the land they work on, and move about with the stealth and swiftness of the fabled ghost riders. They are well supplied with firearms, from machine guns down to revolvers. But they are not well equipped with ammunition, and seldom waste it. Any one found wasting bullets is given three incense sticks; which means that he must stand guard until three incense sticks burn to ashes. Ransom
is sometimes demanded in terms of powder as well as of money.
Because terrorism is an effective weapon, Ma Fei are highly vindictive, punishing their enemies with unspeakable atrocities. It is not unusual for them to carry off the wife and children of their enemy, and sell them into slavery, or torture them to death, writing in the meantime to the enemy of the treatment his loved ones are receiving at their hands.
We can surmise the extent of the power wielded by Ma Fei from the fact that the Government often offers high positions to some of them. Another proof of their power is the existence of the system of burglar insurance which is conducted, not against Ma Fei, but in cooperation with them. The express company where the insurance is sold, insures the safe transportation of luggage on the strength of the pact it has made with the bandits.
Like other bandits, Ma Fei rob, kidnap, and blackmail. But in most cases they indulge in these pursuits in order to earn the cost of opium production. That is why they are comparatively inactive-that is, inactive as robbers-during the opium season between June and August. During this period they are too busy with the care of the great secret gardens to waylay travelers, or kidnap them for ransom. They hide themselves in the forests of the northwestern part of Kirin province, and grow the "dream flowers," or protect those who grow them.
This care of the great secret gardens is an ideal occupation for Ma Fei. In the first place, the dream flowers do not require much care, needing but to be thinned and seeded occasionally. In the second place,
they bring enormous profit, which amounts to about $200 per capita-a profit which it takes an average farmer in China about four years to earn.
Opium is manufactured from the sap extracted from the capsule of white poppies. The capsule is cut near the stem, at first lightly, then deeply. The sap which flows from the cut is gathered, boiled down, bottled, and buried in the ground. It is really better to sun-dry the sap than to boil it, forthen the product will be pink in color instead of brown, and have a much better flavor. But Ma Fei do not like to risk discovery.
In addition to the actual profit on the crop, Ma Fei collect a fee for protecting the growers. The average fee is from $40 to $70 worth of opium for each "One Hand Knife." The term One Hand Knife means two men, because of the fact that in harvesting opium two men work side by side, one knifing the capsules and the other collecting the sap. As there are vast numbers of growers working under their protection, this fee amounts to thousands of dollars. The yearly output of opium in Manchuria is about 50,000 pounds, and nine-tenths of this opium is produced by, or under the protection of Ma Fei.
Opium manufacture is therefore an ideal occupation for Ma Fei, and the bandits will not give it up while there is breath left in them. That is why experts on the opium situation agree on the point that Ma Fei must be Exterminated before the opium traffic can be suppressed.
Yes, Ma Fei must be exterminated, but how? No one is able to answer this question with certainty. Of course we can say many things,-that the Chinese Government should open a direct attack upon Ma Fei and not stop until the last member of the organization is brought to justice; that the Government should stabilize itself so that there will be more national unity; that the soldiers should be paid regularly so that they will not be tempted into bribery; that the police system
should be reenforced; that the Government should find some profitable form of livelihood for the people in Man. churia, and thereby keep them from the lure of opium money. But no one knows how effective and feasible these
There is, however, one thing we can do, one long, fundamental course we can take. We can help the Chinese to have more constructive patriotism, and less hero worship. The Chinese are great hero worshippers. They are always waiting for some such superman as Chang Liang, Con Ming, or Tseng Con Ming to appear and lead them into fame and fortune. And one of the easiest ways to become a hero in their eyes is to collect a number of men and defy the Government. Fundamentally China is a democratic country, and the people have the right to banish any ruler who has proved himself unworthy of his position as the Son of Heaven. In the last 2000 years China has been governed by many dynasties succeeding one another, not through inheritance, but by the right of conquest, and whenever a new dynasty came into power certain subjects of the former dynasty have shown their courage and loyalty by turning themselves into bandits and defying the new Government. These subjects have performed many remarkable feats, and the memory of their heroic deeds is treasured and glorified in the literature of the country.
It is this tendency to idolize the anti-governmental heroes that must be toned down. It is a slow, laborious task, requiring years and years of effort; but it must be done if we would free China from the grip of bandits. In this respect I am glad that America is spreading Christianity in that country, and at the same time educating Chinese students in accordance with Western ideals. Many wonders are being worked by sons of the dragon who have been educated in America. May this work of christianizing and westernizing the Chinese continue, and drive from its throne the power behind the opium traffic.
The Unions Lose San Francisco
Condensed from The American Mercury (April '26)
David Warren Ryder
TOT until the triumphant campaign of 1876 in San Francisco was trade unionism an active, go-getting, bellicose force in America. It was the brilliant effectiveness, political and otherwise, of Dennis Kearney's Workingmen's Party that gave unionism in the Middle West and East the encouragement it then SO desperately needed, and prepared the way for that gigantic organization, the American Federation of Labor.
In San Francisco unionism grew like a weed, and a decade after the campaign saw almost every skilled trade unionized. Not a hammer was lifted, a brick laid, or a pipe fitted without the sanction of the unions. Let an employer discharge a drunken or incompetent workman without the union's consent and he found himself facing a strike, compelled to reinstate the discharged workman, and pay him and his fellows for the time they were out. Here are some rules that were rigidly enforced in the building industry alone:
The roofers' union would not allow an asphalt heater to commence work before eight o'clock; the rest of the crew had to loaf half an hour while the asphalt was heating.
The bricklayers' union limited the number of bricks a member was allowed to lay in a day, and prohibited apprentices for many years.
No plumber was allowed to bend a pipe to fit into an offset, but was required to use more fittings instead, to cause more work.
Detailed reports had to be made. Men who did more work than the standard set by the union were disciplined for their efficiency.
No employer was allowed to stay on a plumbing job more than two hours a day.
The plasterers' union demanded double time for Saturday morning, and strictly prohibited labor-saving devices.
That was the Golden Age of unions, and their power in industry was matched by their power in politics. Not until 1912 was their political power finally shattered. When their downfall came at last, it was a debacle indeed. To-day, though they still exsist on paper, they are wholly impotent. It was the old, old story of what happened to the calf when it got too much rope. For years the unions had their own way. grew in size and strength, seized more and more power. During the
war there was not even a show of opposition to them. What they asked for they got, and they asked for plenty. Finally in December, 1920, there came the show-down.
The public was showing, by an increasing reluctance to build at ali, that it was tired of being made the goat. The unions made new wage demands. The contractors not only refused to acquiesce, but countered with a proposal for decreases in certain crafts. After several weeks of bickering the entire dispute was submitted to a wage arbitration board, both sides agreeing in writing to abide by its findings. That award reduced wages in seventeen of the fifty-two building trades crafts by 71⁄2 per cent. The unions refused to accept the award, and on May 9th the whole building trades group struck, tying up the whole city.
Up to this time the community at large had taken no more than a perfunctory interest in the matter. Now it became a community catastrophe: something had to be done. A group of business and professional men met and decided to try the open shop-in other words, to tackle the unions head on, and try to dispose
of them. This obviously meant a bitter fight and money was necessary. The group called in the financial leaders of the city, and in less than two hours had pledges of nearly two million dollars. Then they sent for the contractors, who were weeping and moaning, and got their promise that if the open shop scheme were adopted, they-the contractors-would not switch back as soon as the immediate emergency was over and the unions offered to call off the strike.
With these preparations made, the open shop was announced to take effect in the building trades on July 1st, and an organization known as the Industrial Association was formed to take charge of enforcing it. Workers were recruited throughout the country to replace those on strike. At the same time a public announcement was made that there was no desire and would be no attempt to destroy the unions, and inviting the strikers to return to work with the assurance that there would be no discrimination against them, but with the proviso that they must not refuse to work with non-union men. Many returned; and to replace those who did not, men were rapidly brought in from outside, and by the middle of August the building industry was operating at 60 or 70 per cent of its normal strength. Then the strikers, seeing their jobs going to outsiders, voted in defiance of their leaders to return to work as individuals under the open shop.
By the end of the year, the fight
craft was back in the saddle, and all the old union rules and regulations restored, decided instantly on a plan to hold the wobbling contractors in line. There was established the permit system, under which no plumbing contractor who would not agree to conduct his job as an open shop could get a permit to buy plumbing materials. The dealers agreed to require such permits before making sales. The contractor was not compelled to employ even 50 per cent of union men. A crew of ten union men and two non-union men was satisfactory.
Since the termination of the plumbers' and plasterers' strikes (early in 1923) there has not been a job or jurisdictional strike in the building trades of San Francisco. (There were more than 40 in the three years immediately prior to the adoption of the open shop.)
The unions, of course, continue to exist in San Francisco. Their more optimistic leaders even claim a greater union membership than ever before. But the unions have been deprived of their old despotic control over industry. From 80 to 90 per cent of the manual labor of San Francisco is now done under open shop conditions.
What has been the effect of all this? During the first year of the open shop, building construction jumped nearly 100 per cent and has been increasing constantly since. Through the abolition of restrictions on output and efficiency, costs to the employer have been cut appreciably. As for the employes, union and nonunion: work has never so steady nor more plentiful; there have been no decreases in wages, and several increases. The average union man has ceased to be a two-fisted battler, ready to strike at the drop of a hat, and has become a property-owning, tax-paying, respectable citizen. The old gaudy days are gone. The walking delegate walks softly, and his old roar is heard no more.