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that we have cured it through a Federal Reserve banking system. We know also that many of our industries are themselves finding methods for insuring more continuous operation of their plants during these ebbs and flows of demand. At the present moment a committee of important business men and economists, with the co-operation of the Department of Commerce, are engaged in a systematic study of this problem. An analysis of the business cycle quickly brings one to the separation of our production of consumable goods from the construction of our plant and equipment, that is, our houses, our public utilities, our public improvements, our public works. The ebb and flow of demand for consumable goods probably in the main may be uncontrollable. There is more hope that we could direct certain branches of our construction and equipment, such as public works, the greater utilities, in such a fashion that we could provide the finances and then delay construction until periods of depression, and thereby shift our labor from consumable goods to plant and equipment in these periods. It would clip the top from booms and the depression from slumps.
It has been calculated that we could secure a delay of such equipment to the amount of one-tenth during the period of normal business in the great utilities and construction works under the control of the government; that it would almost plane out the depression in employment. I am confident that there is a solution somewhere, and its working out will be one of the greatest blessings yet given to our economic system-both to the employer and the employee. And there is nothing that would contribute so much to the contentment and the advancement of our people as greater assurance to the individual of a reasonable economic security to remove the fear of total family disaster through the loss of a job to those who wish to work.
THE PLACE OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY IN ORGANIZED SOCIETY E. C. Lindeman, Director of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The attempt to define the place and function of the local community in modern society is, in part, an attempt to give reality to a unit of civilization which is larger than the family, or cluster of families usually called a neighborhood, and smaller than the state. There was little uncertainty regarding such units prior to the improved means of communication and the application of the machine to manufacturing processes. Athens, Miletus, Abdera, Cyrene, Antioch—these were local communities without doubt. They were local communities in the sense that the inhabitants lived under a common political dispensation, they secured their livelihood by means of a common economic system, and they produced a differentiated type of character and culture. The Greeks, of course, thought of the local community in terms of statehood and statecraft; to them Athens was more than a local unit of civilization-it was a city-state. In the mind of Plato,' a city-state might vary in size of population from 1,000 to slightly more than 5,000. His criterion for a good state was an area which might be "easily taken in at a glance." (Professor Gilbert Murray has translated this phrase to mean "capable of being comprehended as a unity." This is, obviously, a far more penetrating concept.)
The early Greeks approached the search for the community with much the same motives as prompt the social scientists of today. They sought to discover a unit of civilization in which human relations might proceed on the basis of common knowledge
H. G. Wells, The Outline of History.
and face-to-face social contacts. They believed that such units might be created de novo-by the sheer force of thought and design. Our problem is far different. The local units of the modern world were not created by design; they grew up as a result of physical and economic forces. Unhappily, they came into existence during a period which was dominated by a laissez faire theory of economic life, and a force theory of nationalistic life. We still have before us the problem of creating good human relations, and there are many of us who place our hopes for the future in small local units, but at this point we part from the early Greeks. Our local units already exist; our task is to guide their processes in order that they may become true communities.
It will be noted that the word "community" is not here used in its philosophic meaning of association, nor is the more recent sociologic interpretation of community as the constellation of social forces employed. We are dealing with a more definite and concrete concept, namely, the local community, which is generally understood to be a unit of civilization which is conscious of its political, economic, social, and cultural unity. In the United States a local community is a village, town, city, or an open country aggregate of families possessing an organized mode of acting together. A neighborhood is a subdivision of a community in which there may be greater cultural cohesion but less economic and political cohesion. It thus becomes obvious that there can be no real or important distinction between the neighborhood and the community in smaller villages and in rural communities. The neighborhood becomes significant in urban centers where particular social groups are stratified according to the region of their residence.
The fact that this conference has been asked to discuss the place of the local community in organized society is an indication that these units of civilization are pathological. The social scientist must perforce become diagnostician before he can presume to prescribe remedies. The subject under discussion divides itself naturally into: first, an analysis of the causes of the decline of the rôle of the local community; second, a summary of the more recent attempts to revive the local community and to give it reality; and third, some constructive suggestions to those who possess the social engineering type of mind. It will be appreciated at once that no adequate treatment can be given to any of these sections within the limitations of this brief discussion. At most, the speaker can only hope to throw some of the involved problems into relief, and to render the essential nature of the inquiry less vague.
Causes of the decline of the rôle of the local community.-The decline of the rôle of the local community can be traced only by a consideration of some of the essential functions performed by community institutions and agencies. Politics, religion, economics, education, and social welfare constitute the particular functions and spheres of community action selected for the purposes of this discussion.
The adoption of the Constitution by the United States was by all odds the most formidable step ever taken by a new nation to deprive local communities of power. It was, of course, an attempt to define the sphere of the state in the political sense. Its early interpreters were undoubtedly influenced by the commercial interests of the nation in such manner as to produce interpretations which were destined to lead directly to increased national control. At the time, this was probably a wise course to follow, for the new nation needed all the economic support and coherence available. This Constitution created a judicial body, the Supreme Court, which still constitutes one of the most extraordinary features of government ever conceived. This is not the place
to mention the unique contribution which this body has made to political theory, excepting to note that this Court was soon to become a sort of exoteric power in the national life supervening all other powers. From the standpoint of jurisprudence, the Supreme Court was destined to be the cumulative repository of judicial powers continuously relinquished by local units.
The Jacksonian Democracy was, in part at least, an attempt to revive political control by the people. Its early emphasis was upon the local community which was to have been expected since it arose out of the pioneering atmosphere of the new West. When it acceded to power, its early implications were lost; the Jacksonian Democracy became the "reign of Andrew Jackson," and soon, powerful, national political parties arose to dominate the smaller local units. It was not long until the chief function of the local political party organization was to caucus for the election of a delegate who in turn caucused once more for another delegate, and so on until the impact of the local community was lost in the aspirations of the national party organization. Nationalism versus localism has been the perennial political problem of the United States. In European countries where this same problem was evident, the issue was evaded by the development of a policy of imperialism which made ready use of the nationalistic impulses. Fortunately for America, the internal problem was so intense that imperialism was a late evolution, unless the Indian Wars and the Mexican War are to be regarded as a part of imperial policy.
The force which ultimately was to disturb the equilibrium of the local community was, however, economic rather than political. In fact, it is an open question whether this nation could have become an enduring nation at all if inventions accelerating the modes of communication had not appeared when they did. When machines made it possible to produce volumes of goods which had to be sold outside the community, there arose a series of problems which made it necessary to shift certain powers from the community to the state and then to the nation. This shift of power became ultimately manifest in such governmental agencies as the Interstate Commerce Commission. In the intervening period of industrial development the United States simply followed in the footsteps of the British laissez faire school of economics. It was naively assumed that the manufacturer might go to the government to secure special privileges such as protective tariff but that the government had no jurisdiction over his business practices.
The application of machines to industry extracted from local community life a highly personal element. The corporation became an anonymous, depersonalized, dehumanized machine itself. Ruthless exploitation of both natural resources and human labor was thought to be less obnoxious because less recognized in personal form. Companies became corporations, corporations became trusts, and trusts became monopolies, and in each succeeding stage of industrial organization an integral portion of direct personal relationship was lost. When we speak of steel manufacturing now we use the term, "the steel industry," and when we wish to designate the manufacture of cloths we say, "the textile industry," implying in each case that there is an unseen cohesion of all the smaller plants of the local communities. The worker himself can give but one answer to his consequent loss of personality; he too follows the course of the politician and the industrial magnate by organizing trade unions on a national scale. A modern local trade union is significant today only because it is a part of a large state, regional or national union.
The history of the early Christian church is a story of local religious enthusiasms. Ephesus and Antioch were known as local communities in which there existed a church and an organized group of local residents who were devoted to the local autonomous group. Later there developed self-contained groups within the local communities— groups small enough to permit intense personal relationships which were carried even to the economic sphere of semi-communism.
There are also evidences that the spontaneous birth of congregations of the pioneer days of American history were motivated largely by their internal group cohesions. But, all of this is now changed. The modern church is a gigantic organization with national and international machinery. Ecclesiasticism is the symbol of vast powers vested in authoritative bodies. The church has thus far failed to develop a social theory sufficiently rational to hold local groups together. When the local priest or pastor becomes too familiarly known to his constituency to command complete authority, and when the local group itself fails to establish social norms of authority within itself, the church turns to some more distant symbol or seat of power; hence bishops, assemblies, councils, presbyters, synods, and that numerous array of church officials and institutions which stands guard and exercises power over the local congregation. Ecclesiasticism coupled with dogmatism-the twin inhibitors of religious freedom and progress have gradually tended to diminish the rule of the local religious bodies. What is, of course, far more serious is the fact that the modern machinery of the church, based upon higher and ever higher seats of power, has brought about a spirit of ecclesiastical competition which has well-nigh submerged the real purposes of religion. A few of the denominations have fought desperately to avoid this danger, but it is a curious phenomenon that these denominations have not been able to withstand the current philosophy with any marked degree of success. The denominations with the most powerful overhead machinery are the ones which prosper most-in so far as numbers are concerned; this is to be expected, since it is these bodies which function most adequately in harmony with the other forces which have led toward centralization.
The administration of modern colleges and universities approximates more and more the organization of corporations and other forms of business. The president need no longer be an educator or a person interested primarily in the affairs of the intellect, but he must by all means be a business administrator. The early ideals of the medieval university in which students and faculty took part in administration would be regarded as an impossible monstrosity today.
Public school systems tend to become standardized in architecture, in curricula, in textbooks, in the type of teachers employed, and, one must agree, in their products. Everything must give way to the "system," and in the end the public school becomes an institution whose discipline preserves the stereotypes of its age. The increasing need in such a system is not for original teachers but for additional supervisors to keep the system geared up to certain standards insisted upon at a state capital or at the national capital. The whole structure is based upon a philosophy of force, and consequently, it is not surprising to find that the suspicions, animosities, jealousies, and political maneuverings of the administrations are emulated by faculties and students. Education comes to be a struggle for power and not for light. If students partake of such educational fare with the motive of securing something which will in turn enable them to secure something for nothing through a privileged position of power, one need not be surprised.
In the days before charity became organized, its ministrations were almost entirely local. Was it not natural that a given community should develop its own means for meeting the needs of its unfortunate members? And was it not also natural that the relationship between the giver and the needy should be a highly personal relationship in which both shared the good? The indigenous character of early charity dispensations in this country may still be discerned; there are still in existence a number of such organizations which have successfully evaded all attempts at standardization and nationalization, but they are considered freakish remnants of a by-gone age.
Charity is now one of the most highly organized forms of modern institutional life. The process has gone so far that it almost appears to be inverted; local organizations seem to exist only because there is a national organization which must be kept alive. Standardization and professionalization have gone on apace, and this audience need not be reminded that each additional piece of social machinery for doing good has resulted in a distinct spiritual loss. In fact, the ruthless exploitation of programs of social amelioration by national and state agencies has already reached the stage which makes it essential that these agencies organize co-ordinating bodies for the purpose of preventing some of them from doing evil in their zest to do good.
This hasty and inadequate review is but a reminder of tendencies and movements in modern life with which you are thoroughly familiar. It is important to note, however, that many people who have been caught in the machinery of centralization have never thought seriously about the causes or the consequences of their own participation. For the purposes of this discussion, it becomes significant to note that the underlying philosophy of the tendencies mentioned above is one of force, of power, of imperialism. How far may this tendency proceed? To many it appears that it has already reached its calamitous end. Whether or not force was the essential and inevitable driving idea of the past, it becomes increasingly evident that force can help us no more. It seems safe to go even farther and to state that civilization itself must decay if force is to be continuously used.
Of this we may be sure, namely, that there are millions of people in the modern world who have lost faith in the old order and who are earnestly searching for a new way of life. There are two distinctive groups among these constructive but discontented idealists: one seeks its pathway toward the new light by means of international organization, and one points to the resurrection of the autonomy and the social responsibility of local community units. If there were time it would not be difficult to indicate that these two ideas are not antithetical, but are in reality parts of the same process. This paper must confine itself to the task of pointing out some of the significant movements leading toward community consciousness, responsibility and action.
Evidences of the revival of responsibility by local community units.-Self-determination is simply another mode of saying that small states must not be "bullied" by large states. The counterpart of this international tendency may be found in the sphere of local units; home rule is also another means of saying that local communities, municipalities, have problems which they should be permitted to decide for themselves. The home-rule movement in the United States is a distinct reaction against external authority. Its full implications have not yet been appreciated, nor has the movement itself proceeded with the rate of progress which was anticipated a decade or two ago. But, anyone who has any contact with municipal affairs knows that the concept of home rule as one means of placing responsibility nearer the people concerned, is a living issue.