The cleansing of property incomes, therefore, is a first obligation of the institution of property as a whole. The compensation principle throws the cost of the cleansing upon the whole mass, since, in the last analysis, any considerable burden of taxation will distribute itself over the mass. The principle is therefore consonant with justice. What is not less important, the principle, systematically developed, would go far toward freeing the legislature from the graceless function of arbitrating between selfish interests, and the administration from the necessity of putting down powerful interests outlawed by legislative act. It would give us a State working smoothly, and therefore an efficient instrument for social ends. Most important of all, it would promote that security of economic interests which is essential to social progress.
There is a persistent question regarding the distribution of property which is of peculiar interest in the season of automobile tours and summer hotels. Most thinking people acknowledge a good deal of perplexity over this question, while on most parallel ones they are generally cock-sure—on whichever is the side of their personal interests. But in this question the bias of personal interest is not very large, and therefore it may be considered with more chance of agreement than can the larger questions of the same class which parade under various disguises.
The little question is that of tipping. After we have squeezed out of it such antitoxic serum as we can, we will briefly indicate the application of it to larger questions.
Tipping is plainly a survival of the feudal relation, long before the humbler men had risen from the condition of status to that of contract, when fixed pay in the ordinary sense was unknown, and where the relation between servant and master was one of ostensible voluntary service and voluntary support, was for life, and in its best aspect was a relation of mutual dependence and kindness. Then the spasmodic payment was, as tips are now, essential to the upper man’s dignity, and very especially to the dignity of his visitor. This feudal relation survives in England today to such an extent that poor men refrain from visiting their rich relations because of the tips. In the great country-houses the tips are expected to be in gold, at least so I was told some years ago. And in England and out of it, Don Cesar’s bestowal of his last shilling on the man who had served him, still thrills the audience, at least the tipped portion of it.
Europe being on the whole less removed from feudal institutions than we are, tipping is not only more firmly established there, but more systematized. It is more nearly the rule that servants’ places in hotels are paid for, and they are apt to be dependent entirely upon tips. The greater wealth of America, on the other hand, and the extravagance of the nouveaux riches, has led in some institutions to more extravagant tipping than is dreamed of in Europe, and consequently has scattered through the community a number of servants from Europe who, when here, receive with gratitude from a foreigner, a tip which they would scorn from an American.