Unemployment and Hope

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Abstract

APPRECIATION by some of our leading men of science of the difficult problems raised by the increasing application of science to industry is to be welcomed, whether it be due to a less suppressed consciousness of guilt or to greater leisure; and the position calls not for less science but more, especially in the sociological sphere rather than in the physical. Progress in the social sciences has probably not kept pace with that in the physical, so that there is some uncertainty and bewilderment as to the best and wisest organisation and utilisation of the marvellous wealth and resources placed at our disposal by chemistry, physics, and engineering. A greater knowledge and more skilful use of the statistical method in economics and politics as exemplified in Sargant Florence's great work and others, together with more boldness in making social experiments, would greatly accelerate progress in the desired direction. Definite measurement and experimentation, and ultimately we shall hope, prediction also, are probably much more possible in the social sciences than is commonly supposed, and can alone justify the appellation of ‘scientific’. They should replace the vague evolutionary fatalism, by which things will eventually right themselves, and the unsubstantiated hypotheses which still cloud our horizon.

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