X-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune

X-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune

"Between The Rivers"

by: Helen Campbell | publication date: December 26, 1886 | Publication: The New York Tribune | pages: 13

The professional political economist of the old school, the school to which all but a handful belong, takes refuge in the census returns as the one reply to any arraignment of the present. Blind as a bat to any figures save his own, he answers all complaint with the formula: "In 1860 the property of this country, equally divided, would have given every man, woman, and child $514 each. In 1870 the share would have been $624; in 1880, $814. In 1886 returns are not in, but $900 and more would be the division per capita. What madness to talk of suffering when this flood of wealth pours through the land. Admitting that the lowest class suffer, it is chiefly crime, drunkenness, etc., that bring suffering. The majority are perfectly comfortable."

Having read this statement in many letters and heard it in interviews as well, it seems plain that the conviction embodied in both has fastened itself upon that portion of the public whose thinking is done for them, and who range themselves by choice with that order who would not be convinced "even though one rose from the dead." "The majority are perfectly comfortable." Let us see how comfortable.

Campbell questions the assertion that even New York's poorest have enough money to meet their basic needs.