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Wise Use of Income

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WISE USE OF INCOME The first essential to a normal standard of living is an adequate and regular income, earned prefer ably by the male head of the family, without as sistance from his wife ordinarily, never with the aid of children; earned without exhausting the worker's strength prematurely or exposing him to unnecessary dangers from accident and disease.

The second essential is that this adequate income shall be adequately used, and for this the house wife has normally the main responsibility. To woman, by an evolutionary process, has fallen the task of directing how the wealth brought into the house shall be used, whether much or little shall be made of it, what values shall be added to it. The woman at the head of a household is as truly an entrepreneur, if we may drop into the terminology of economics, as her husband at the head of a fac tory; she is as truly a producer of wealth when she broils a chop or washes the dishes, thereby increas ing the utility of those commodities, as is her son when he helps build a bridge or repairs a drain-pipe or blacks some one's boots. Of still greater im portance is the contribution she can make by de termining a wiser consumption of wealth, not only by choosing more intelligently each separate article of food and clothing and furniture, but also by bringing about such a relation among all the dif ferent material elements of the home that the result is a harmonious unit instead of a haphazard assem blage of necessities of life. The person who ar

ranges and groups commodities in such a way that their combined utility is greater than the sum of their separate utilities performs an economic ser vice which is of equal importance, at least, with that performed by the one whom we call technically a producer. Browning seems to think that it is only in music that this principle applies. The rapt com poser, thrilled by his own conceptions, his ability to make something wonderful out of sounds mean ingless in themselves, taken separately, cries: And I know not if, save in this, such gift be allowed to man, That out of three sounds he frame, not a fourth sound, but a star.

Every housewife does things quite as wonderful. Improvements in consumption which bring about greater harmony of combinations, and conse quently actually create a sort of surplus value, hold the greatest immediate possibilities for advancing the general prosperity. In other words, and to be concrete, household management deserves and will repay, even from the point of view of the national welfare, the application of the best brains and the best-educated brains of the land.