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lectures before the author's thought was sufficiently seasoned, and his conclusions had crystallized into clear form.
In the first chapter on the History of Municipal Organization in the United States, he traces the great changes which have taken place in the form of municipal government in this country, during the present century. Among these the most striking features have been the lessening of the powers of the municipal council, the increasing interference of the State legislature in municipal affairs, and the concentration of power and responsibility in the municipal executive. He then discusses the position of the city in our system of government, and emphasizes the fact, which has often been overlooked by some writers, that, while the city from one point of view is a business corporation for performing certain local functions, it is in a more important degree a governmental corporation, with important political functions to discharge as the agent of the State. If this double capacity of city government had been recognized and heeded in determining policies in the past, many failures in municipal administration might have been avoided. With regard to the proper sphere of municipal activity, the author thinks that the strict enumeration of power in municipal charters which prevails in this country has been much less advantageous for securing actual municipal home rule and preventing undue legislative interference than the general municipal corporation laws of continental Europe, which describe the powers of the city government in less detail.
The chapters on "The Relations of the City to the State," “Administrative Control in Europe,” and “Administrative Control in England," are most valuable, because they discuss a somewhat novel phase of the subject, and contain much information that will be new to the average reader. The plan of central control which he advocates is foreign to American practice in many ways, and is not likely to be incorporated into our statute books in a day, but we believe that the author is right in urging, that a wise, conservative and responsible administrative control by the central state government should be substituted for the reckless and irresponsible legislative control which has already done so much harm. In the chapters, “Universal Suffrage," "The City Council," and “The City Executive,” are discussed the problems of internal organization, which have been threshed over in magazine and newspaper articles during the last few years. He favors fewer elected officers and more appointed officials. He thinks that the
council should consist of one chamber containing two classes of members, some of whom are elected by a general ticket, and some on a division or ward ticket. In determining the powers of the city council, he would cast it in continental rather than the English mold. It should have the proper legislative powers and control of the city's purse, but the power of appointment and the responsibility of administration should rest with the executive, while the details of administration should be carried out under the direction of permanent subordinates.
Very little fault on the whole can be found with the matter of this book, but the nianner of it is open to serious criticism. Prof. Goodnow's literary style leaves much to be desired. It lacks grace, clearness and force. The sentences are much too long, involved and cumbered with qualifying clauses. In a number of instances a whole page is taken up with three sentences. It seems almost as if he had caught the infection from the writings of German authors. The practiced reader will find the book hard reading, and will sigh for an oasis of juicy epithet or crisp metaphor, to lighten the journey. The sentence on page 14, beginning "Starting with large local self-government” is one of many sentences which need the pruning knife and reconstruction. The paragraph structure is also faulty, and this the modern teachers rhetoric insist upon as a test of clearness. To make a digest of any of these chapters would be no easy task. He often lays down abstract principles or makes general statements, without giving concrete illustrations to clinch the thought in the mind of the reader. Proper mechanical contrivances, like sub-heads or marginal summaries, which are used so effectively by Dr. Shaw in his books to guide the reader, are all wanting
The fairness of this criticism will be seen by comparing Chap. VI, by Dr. Milo R. Maltbie, on the “Administrative Control in England” with the chapter immediately preceding it on “Administrative Control in Europe.” The technique illustrated in the one is quite superior to that of the other. The defects of style in this book are unfortunate not only from an artistic point of view, but also because they will lessen the number of the readers of the book very much. If the reforms urged in the book are to be brought about, it must be by convincing the average man, and the average man will not find the book interesting or easy to read. After reading this book, it seems a wise dictum that college lecturers should have had some experience in journalism. For the successful journalist must put
his thoughts in attractive form, or he is likely to find his occupation gone.
Dr. Wilcox's "The Study of City Government” is the first elementary outline of our city government of real value, which has been published in this country. It is modest in its purpose, as the author intends it to be simply an outline of the problems of municipal functions, control and organization. By use of it the student can get a clear knowledge of the scope and division of the subject, which he can follow up by more extensive study in a wider field. What should be the functions of the city government, how far should it be under the control of the State government, and how should the machinery of the city government be organized, are the three heads, according to the author's analysis, under which the subject is to be considered.
The author's division of the functions of the city into primary and secondary seems not wholly satisfactory and likely to stand the test of thorough analysis. It is more theoretical than practical. The primary functions he defines as "those whose direct and immediate purpose is to promote the general welfare.” The secondary functions are "those whose direct purpose is to furnish means for the fulfillment of the primary functions.” The author's style is clear and easy, and one reads on with ready interest and easy comprehension. He is acquainted with the best authorities on the subject, and has arranged his knowledge in an orderly sequence and development. The headings of paragraphs in fullfaced type and careful sub-division of paragraphs facilitate the task of the reader and make it an easy book to consult. It seems also to be accurate in its statements, although on page 130 Connecticut should be added to the list of States which impose an educational qualification for voters. Dr. Wilcox's work has been so well done in this book, elementary as it is, that we hope he will carry out the purpose, mentioned in the preface, of hereafter expanding it into a more comprehensive treatise.
GEORGE L. FOX. Yale University.
Researches into the Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth.
By Augustin Cournot, 1838. Translated by Nathaniel T. Bacon, with a Bibliography of Mathematical Economics by Irving Fisher. New York, Macmillan & Co., 1897—12mo, pp. ix, 209, I plate.
The latest volume in the Economic Classics series, edited by Prof. Ashley, is important alike in its position in the history of the science and the influences which it has had on later writers. Its appearance in this series is especially timely, as for a long time the work has been out of print, and but few libraries in this country possess a copy, so that to most economists it has been quite inaccessible.
Its author, Antoine Augustin Cournot, was eminent in mathematics, and interested as well in general philosophical subjects. He was practically the first to apply mathematics in Economics, and the very first to reach any degree of success, anticipating many of the more recent discoveries. Indeed Prof. F. Y. Edgeworth, in Pulgrave's Dictionary of Political Economy, says that “it is still the best statement in mathematical form of some of the highest generalizations in economic science." Yet at the time of its issue the book fell very flat. Cournot afterward rewrote it and tried to popularize it, but for many years it lay unheeded. Jevons was the first of English economists to rediscover it, and he at once placed it in the front rank.
Jevons says: "Cournot did not frame any ultimate theory of the ground and nature of utility and value, but, taking the palpable facts known concerning the relations of price, production and consumption of commodities, he investigated these relations analytically and diagraphically with a power and felicity which leaves little to be desired.”
We may follow Prof. Edgeworth in dividing the book into three parts: pure theory of price, abstract propositions on taxation, and miscellaneous applications of mathematical reasoning.
The first three chapters of the book take up preliminary notions of wealth and value, and miscellaneous matters. The theory of foreign exchange is analyzed in a very elaborate manner, giving a good example of care in the treatment of a system of equations. Great pains are taken to show that the problem is determinate, that there are no more (and no fewer) unknowns than equations connecting them. The problem is treated statically, employing the idea of economic equilibrium. At the close of the third chapter, as often, Cournot steps aside from his train of rigid reasoning and
offers opinions for which he might find it more difficult to bring proof. This he does later in the book, on the tariff question; and here, on the theory of bimetallism, he says: “It isin vain for governments to fix a legal ratio for the value of gold and that of silver (as in France); if the value of gold resulting from the conditions given [its price at some center, and the coefficients of exchange is greater, gold will command a premium with dealers in exchange and will thus recover its true commercial value."
But the chapter on the Law of Demand and those immediately after form the kernel of the book.
Cournot assumes that the demand, D, for each article is a function, F(A), of the price, p, of that article. This function he limits in properties according to what is already well known of it, i. e., that it is continuous, and tends to decrease with an increase of price, etc. Then for the total value of the quantity of an article sold annually we may write pF(p). The condition that this value may be a maximum is that its first derivative be zero, or the equation:
F() + pF'(P) = o. Evidently, then, a monopolist (Cournot instances the proprietor of a mineral spring, having no cost of production) will, in disposing of his product, so fix his price as to make pF(), the total annual value of his sales, a maximum. The appropriate value of p to this end he finds, of course, by empirical solution of the above equation. When the monopolist has costs of production to bear, they also must be reckoned with. Since, in general, the cost of production is a function of the amount produced or sold annually, it becomes indirectly a function of the price; so here again we may write an equation which, if satisfied, will determine the price at which the monopolist will have the maximum net receipts.
By considering the effect of changes in the cost of production of a monopoly article, Cournot arrives at remarkable conclusions. If the producer under the new conditions is able to produce as much as is necessary to secure him the maximum net returns theoretically possible, an increase in the cost of production augments the price of the commodity by an amount sometimes much more and sometimes much less than the increase in cost; and similarly, there is no equality between the reduction of cost and fall in the price of the commodity. This is of interest now in connection with the theory of railroad rates and other monopoly charges.
But if the producer cannot produce as much as shall bring him this maximum net return, then he will produce all he can and the price to the consumer will remain unaltered.