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It will be noticed that the advantages of increased load factor are not so marked in the case of the private plant as with the public supply undertaking. This is due to the latter requiring in any case to employ staff for a 24 hours' service per day, whatever the load factor may be, whereas the private plant requires only one shift, so long as the running can be confined to ordinary factory hours.

The advantages of gas plant compared with steam plant, particularly for high load factors, are :

(1) The thermal efficiency is approximately twice as high

as in a steam plant, consequently only about half the

coal is consumed for a given duty. (2) The incidental and stand-by losses of a gas producer

plant are less than in a steam plant. (3) The water consumption of a gas engine and a pro

ducer plant combined is far less than with steam

plant. (4) The repairs required by producers are less than the

repairs required by boilers. (5) The attendance required for a battery of producers is

less than for a battery of boilers doing the same duty

in H.P. hours. The disadvantages of producer gas plant are : (1) That-omitting types designed solely for the use of

anthracite or coke—the capital outlay is somewhat

higher than for steam plant of similar capacity. (2) When constructed for the use of bitumenous coal they

occupy more space than steam plants. (3) They are not so well understood by the average

attendant as the steam engines and boilers. There is little doubt that with the increasing demand for large gas engines and producers, their costs will in the near future be materially reduced, whilst the one other disadvantage of importance, namely, want of knowledge of gas plant on the part of attendants, will quickly pass away with their increasing use.

The losses through radiation and condensation of steam in long ranges of steam pipes is sometimes enormous. There are factories using a number of scattered steam engines consuming an average of 15 Ibs. of coal per B.H.P. hour, whereas there are no such losses from gas mains.

Just as it took ten years to establish the Parsons steam turbine, so may several years elapse before the use of producer gas for the development of power becomes general, but the author is convinced that the vastly superior thermal efficiency of the gas engine compared with the steam engine will certainly secure for it the most prominent place in the second stage of the “ Age of Mechanical Power "s—the stage of the Internal Combustion Engine.


Archæology, Education, Mental Science, Philology,

Political Economy, Sociology, and Statistics.

Section D




If the honour of being President of a Section entails the penalty of having to deliver an opening address, there is at least this compensation, that much greater latitude is usually allowed for the author of a presidential address than would be allowed to the reader of a paper dealing with any of the scientific subjects included in the scope of the section.

The reader of a scientific paper is expected to bring before you some new facts, some hitherto uncompiled statistics, some fresh theory to explain already recognised phenomena, to make, in fact, some addition to our scientific knowledge. A presidential address, on the other hand, does not necessitate the bringing forward of any new scientific observation, but is allowed by custom to deal in a much more loose and general way with the whole class of subjects comprised within the section, or with any particular subject at the reader's choice. Of the license so accorded I intend to avail myself to the full. I have no new facts to bring before you, I have no new interpretation of old facts to offer you, but there are, I think, certain aspects of well-known facts that are apt to escape our attention, and I am going to ask you to bear with me while I urge on you the importance of some of these.

I have taken as the title of my paper Economic Waste. There are doubtless many forms of economic waste, but the special one which I am going to talk about is the waste of human energy, of human force, the waste of productive power which is involved by our present industrial system, to say nothing of the misery that is entailed thereby. I have, as I told you, no statistics to lay before you, nor do I think they are needed. You all know, and are constantly being reminded by almost every newspaper you pick up, that a large number of people are always out of work--unemployed. The number varies according to the fluctuation of trade, but in greater or lesser number the unemployed are always there.

Now, no one would, I expect, deny that for the “out of work” himself this is an evil, but, looked at from the broader point of view, as it affects the community as a whole, the common weal, is it also an evil? To me, it seems quite clear that it is. If one-tenth, or even one-twentieth of your possible workers are unemployed, you are producing one-tenth or one-twentieth less of food or commodities than you could do if all were at work, while, seeing that those who are contributing nothing to the wealth of the community, nevertheless have to be fed and housed and clothed (however unsatisfactorily) either in workhouses or by public or private charity, the wealth of the rest of the community which is engaged in productive work is always being diminished by the maintenance of those who are bringing nothing to the common stock. That is, there is Economic Waste.

Were it possible to deal with the people who have no work to do, and whom nobody seems to want, in the same way that our Municipality deals with unnecessary dogs, and send them to the lethal chamber, society would at least be relieved of the cost of their keep, but no one has yet, I believe, been bold enough to suggest this remedy. Moreover, there would be this drawback, that when trade improves again and more labour is required, you would have no surplus supply to fall back upon. You might shut up your lethal chamber, reduce the cost of marriage licenses, and do all you could otherwise to increase population, but the crop of able-bodied workers would take so long to produce that by the time it was available the next swing of the pendulum in the industrial world would have taken place, and you would again have to fall back on the lethal chamber.

Is there no means by which the overplus of labour, which the industrial condition of the country does not at any given time require, can be usefully employed at something else till the next expansion of commerce causes it to be again demanded ?

If there be any such thing possible, three great ends would be attained.

Firstly, the community would be relieved of the cost of maintaining the unemployed.

Secondly, the workers so enlisted, in what I might call the industrial reserves, would be saved from the deterioration which seems inevitably to accompany idleness. Even machinery allowed to stand idle deteriorates ; how much more human beings kept in idleness deteriorate every thinking and seeing man must admit. Whether it is, in the words of Dr. Watts, that “ Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do,” or whether we look for an explanation to the ordinary nature of things and men, without calling in the aid of His Satanic Majesty, is not very important--the really important fact is that when we allow any of our workers to be for any length of time out of work we are allowing our labour to deteriorate, so that if we do later on find employment for them, the equivalent of work that they will do will be definitely less than if they had been all along in steady work; so that again there is Economic Waste.

Thirdly. Yet again, if the thousands or millions of persons at any given time unemploved, and so producing nothing could by any means be turned into producers of any things that the rest of the community (those in work) require, what an enormously increased effective demand there would be for the things already being produced. All these unemployed people want things ; the demand for the commodities others are producing is already there; give them

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