It has, by now, become a commonplace to assert that mankind starves in the midst of plenty. After long ages of poverty and inevitable scarcity we have created a new thing under the sun—the poverty of ill distributed abundance. This is the theme which has been proclaimed to us in the last few years with many variations and with much ingenuity and power. To comment upon it has become a kind of stock in trade for preacher and politician, even the most conservative of them.
What has not developed with anything like the rapidity which has marked a general agreement that poverty, insecurity, and exploitation, are not the judgment of God or nature upon us, but are our own creation, is an effective dynamic for changing a situation which is at once so absurd and so tragic. We seek easy cures partly because we have not realized how deep and extensive is our disease. During the years of depression we have talked of prosperity as if it were something to be recovered rather than something to be won. It has become the fashion in certain radical or revolutionary circles to discuss capitalism in terms of its foreordained disintegration rather than in terms of its tyranny and waste. This may be to the good. Nevertheless, the effect of such discussion tends a little to strengthen the popular belief that capitalism had a golden age here in America during the gambling orgy of the twenties and that to recover it would be about all that a reasonable man could ask. Mr. Hoover's administration went into office on the keynote of a hope to abolish poverty by natural processes of growth without any significant changes in the system. It ended in clouds and darkness with no other hope except that possibly the