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connection with each branch of the subject. Every section has three chapters devoted to it :-the first describing and criticising the policy and practice of Germany, the second those of Denmark, and the third giving the conclusions of the author, which are discussed at greater or less length according to their importance. Upon the chief subjects of controversy in Great Britain at the present time, such as free choice of doctor and payment by capitation fee or by visit, the experience of Germany and Denmark is most illuminating. Mention should also be made of the eleven interesting appendices which are by no means the least valuable part of the book.
Mr. Gibbon's conclusions must carry great weight. He is no blind partisan of insurance, and recognises to the full the undesirable results to which it may lead. Of these, deliberate malingering is by no means the worst; nor is it even, in Mr. Gibbon's view, a very considerable evil. Possibly he is too sanguine on this point; but he is probably right in regarding valetudinarianism as a more serious danger. This, he says, the very existence of insurance is likely to encourage by putting medical treatment and remedies within easy reach of the patients, unless the societies and the insurance authorities generally take definite steps for the education of insured persons, and not least in relation to the principles of every-day health and hygiene. For instance : “That insurance scheme which proposes simply to treat sickness is not likely to achieve very great benefit. Whatever success it may attain, it may, unless wise precautions are taken, sow almost as many, if not more, evils than it removes."
This is one of the reasons why the author proposes to combine insurance with payment by the individual person of part, though only a small part, of the cost of medical service and requirements. He regards this as one of the best guarantees against continual resort to drugs and the doctor, and a policy of this kind would do much to dispel one of the best-founded apprehensions of the profession. The proposal could, in his view, best be carried out by a system of deposit. For the organisation of the medical service he looks to the gradual growth, in other countries besides Germany and Denmark, of corporations of doctors which will deal for the profession as a whole with the societies, and within which free choice could be given to the insured persons. The general employment of full-time salaried officers is not recommended so far as sickness insurance is concerned, except as a protection against unreasonable demands. For many reasons it is preferred in the case of invalidity benefit. To a limited extent, however,
qualified practitioners outside the society might be given the right to treat insured persons. This system seems a very different one from that established in this country, but with good management the panels should in time develop into corporations of the kind proposed by Mr. Gibbon.
As regards remuneration, payment for the whole body of insured persons should be made by a fixed capitation fee, whilst that of the individual doctor should be according to services rendered—that is to say, the number of visits, consultations, operations, and so forth. Indeed, in Germany, where this system frequently prevails, the scale of charges is often fixed by an official tariff drawn up by the Government. The use of this method involves the existence of a corporation of doctors, to whom the total amount of the fees is paid over by the societies, and distributed among the various doctors according to work done. They themselves can be trusted to guard against the abuse of the method on the part of individuals. Space will not permit mention of the many other interesting proposals of the book. I need only add that the criticism throughout is keen and able, and, above all, fair; and probably the final form of any system of insurance will be not far different from that suggested by Mr. Gibbon.
N. B. DEARLE
Seasonal Trades. By various writers. Edited by SIDNEY WEBB
and ARNOLD FREEMAN. (London: Constable and Co. 1912. Pp. xi +410.)
THE various studies in this book were made in connection with Mr. Sidney Webb's seminar at the London School of Economics, and it is plain from the quality of the work that the members of the seminar profited much more from researching under direction than they would have done from attending many lectures.
In his introductory remarks Mr. Webb postulates “as an economic hypothesis to be tested ... that there is, in the United Kingdom of to-day, no seasonal slackness in the community as a whole.” The hypothesis is hardly borne out by the facts, though an enormous amount of seasonal unemployment cancels out theoretically, so to speak. It is questionable whether in a world broken up by climatic seasons the residuum would disappear even if all the facts could be taken into account. The truth of the proposition that at every time of the year there is employment for every efficient person at some wage is theoretically unassailable, of course; but this is quite another matter. However, from
the evidence brought forward in this book and elsewhere, it is evident that the actual residuum is immensely greater than the theoretical one; and this is a thing to be explained.
In order fully to grasp the problem of seasonal employment, it is needful to examine closely the elements of seasonality and their co-ordination, as well as the absence of their co-ordination, in the world's work. Inherent seasonality is extraordinarily common in work, and it has been rendered more common by specialisation. But the great mass of it, by a system of dovetailing, has been prevented from causing seasonal unemployment. In the light of experience it is arguable that it has been one of the tasks of industrial organisation to escape the losses caused by a system of periodic dismissal and re-employment of labour, and secure the economies of specialisation without increasing these losses. Organisation to this end has not, as a rule, failed where it is calculated to pay the organiser substantially; but it has failed where the gain is not individualised. Thus, within many industries we find dovetailing of seasonal tasks, but not as between different industries. So, to use a very technical example, the fitting together of periodic demands for labour inter-industrially (as it may be expressed in a word) is lacking just for the same reason that the equalising of marginal returns inter-industrially is lacking (that is, the equalising of collective marginal returns). There are no inter-industrial interests; all interests are intraindustrial. Consequently, the setting-up of an inter-industrial agency or authority (such as a labour exchange) is essential, if seasonal unemployment is to be minimised. It is not reasonable to expect labour, in a world in which it normally functions executively under direction, to evolve effective self-organisation as the regular thing. Moreover, it is to be added that, even intraindustrially, the dovetailing of seasonality is largely wanting in the case of low-grade labour for the same kind of reason, namely, that it pays the organiser inadequately.
For this envisagement of the problem much evidence will be found in the book before us, and much other matter relevant to it. The trades examined are the tailoring trade in London, the trade of the waiter, the cycle industry, the gas industry, the London millinery trade, the skin and fur trades, the boot and shoe trade, and the building trade. The case of the waiter is admirably analysed by Mrs. Drake. It is shown that “in the hotel or restaurant open only for a few months in the year, the practice is for two or more separate establishments to be under the control of a single management," so that one fashionable season may be
dovetailed into another, since “the success of a fashionable hotel or restaurant is made or marred by the quality of the personnel (of the waiters), and in this way a permanent staff of waiters may be kept. In short, there is extensive and costly inter-industrial organisation for the purpose of dovetailing seasonality because it pays. As a result of this, and of the mobility of the migratory waiter, "the waiter who caters for the most seasonal class in many ways suffers least from seasonal causes.” Incidentally, it is interesting to learn that “tip” means T.I.P. (to improve promptness). The most complete study in the book is Mr. Popplewell's, which has, moreover, the merit (from the point of view of the realistic economist) of containing much valuable information about the economics of the gas industry apart from its seasonal features. As regards seasonality, the degree of which has declined owing to the productive use of gas, its cause, we learn, is that production and consumption must go hand in hand; and the latter, of course, is greatest in the winter. But yardmen are busiest in the summer; consequently, something has been done to cancel out seasonality by putting some retort-house operatives into the yard as spring comes on.
Another method of reducing the damage caused to the business by discontinuity of work is, it appears, to shorten the shift in retort-houses in the
This plan has been tried at some works with marked success. It is significant that, to a noticeable extent, the seasonal variation of employment in brick-making and gas-working, which were inversely related, got to be informally and loosely fitted together; but, with the transformation of brick-making into a machine industry, the jointing gave way. Consequently, most periodically employed gas-workers to-day have to fill in their time with casual jobs of the disorganised kind.
The fur trade, which appears to contain a large unsolved problem of seasonal unemployment, is another of the occupations treated in the book about which little information has been published elsewhere in an accessible form. Miss Bourat's monograph, which covers the ground to some extent historically, is, therefore, doubly welcome. Of the many notable points in other essays the limits of space prevent any discussion.
The detailed inquiries are introduced by Miss Poyntz in a lengthy essay on general lines. It is suggestive and thoughtful on the whole, and reveals acquaintance with the facts, but it occasionally irritates by undue depreciation of the classical economists and “orthodox” theory, and by bias. It is not sufficient, in noticing the Majority Report of the Poor Law Com
mission with regard to unemployment merely to repeat the Minority Report's pronouncement that it is “even more inadequate and reactionary than with regard to the Poor Law." Again, it seems to the reviewer as unfair to allege that "the Manchester School (which is taken to include Adam Smith and Ricardo) regards with blind optimism the sufferings of the victims of their (sic!) system," as it is incorrect to say that Marx's “idea of the importance of the reserves of labour as a source of unemployment, though much amplified and corrected since the time of Marx, still forms the keynote of the best analysis of the subject.” Miss Poyntz's failure to appreciate that correction has altered Marx's theory out of recognition becomes comprehensible when we find her attributing much unemployment to “the necessity (under the competitive system) for the maintenance of reserves to meet all fluctuations.” But we all have our obsessions.
S. J. CHAPMAN
Die Formen des wirtschaftlichen Kampfes. By G. SCHWITTAU.
(Berlin : Julius Springer. 1912. Pp. 190. Price 12 marks.)
SOME excellent work is, as we know, being done by Russian economists. The name of Turgan-Baranowski, for example, has long been associated with the theory of crises, and his are not the only researches that are of first-rate importance. The latest study that comes from Russia is true to the best traditions of scholarship in that country. It is from the pen of one of its younger scholars, Dr. Schwittau, who is a lecturer at the University of St. Petersburg. He has taken industrial conflicts as his theme, and the fullness of his treatment deserves the highest praise.
We like his methodology : the book has been carefully planned and as carefully executed. Industrial conflict at once raises the question, Conflicts between whom? Between social classes, must be the answer. But what constitutes a social class? The author goes very thoroughly into the subject, tracing the history of the concept as far as one can from the Physiocrats and Adam Smith to Seligman and Nicholson, and, of course, to Karl Marx. Incidentally, Dr. Schwittau calls attention to the difference in the standpoint of the Physiocrats and of Adam Smith in regard to social classes. The former divided society into groups from the point of view of production, while the English writer in his scheme based the analysis on distribution. Altogether this part of the volume shows a mastery of the subject, and should prove very useful as a summary of doctrine.