« НазадПродовжити »
misleading." But he seems to deny that land is applicable to some “other purpose ” (Mill) than that to which it is applied. “ wheat farming can scarcely be said to come into competition with sheep raising, nor can market gardening with dairy farming, wool-growing or cattle raising.'”
Upon the whole we are disposed to say of the author's own theories what he has said of Professor Böhm-Bawerk's: “ This entire discussion is not only without any real profit but is actually misleading.'
F. Y. EDGEWORTH.
La Prévoyance Sociale en Italie. By LÉOPOLD MABILLEAU,
CHARLES RAYNERI, and COUNT DE ROCQUIGNY. (Paris :
The book on Social Provident Institutions in Italy is the result of one of the inquiries instituted by the Paris Musée Social, whose founder, the Count de Chambrun, died a few weeks ago in Nice; its authors are perfectly qualified for their task, Mr. Mabilleau being the manager of the Musée, Mr. Rayneri the manager of the Popular Bank in Mentone, and Count de Rocquigny the head of the agricultural department of the Musée. The introduction by Mr. Mabilleau deals with what might be called the philosophy of the subject, but the inquiry itself was not extended beyond the northern provinces of the kingdom (Lombardy, Parma, and Bologna). The latter part is a detailed account of the working of the existing popular banks and saving banks, and gives a full sketch of the agricultural and trade unions, which have been powerfully at work to raise the economic condition of agriculture and the labouring classes in this region. It winds up by the conclusion that these anonymous accumulations of collective wealth reverting like a bounteous dew on the humbler classes, affords the securest means of defence against the social revolution, which threatens to overthrow the existing order of society.
Mr. Tessonneau's short sketch was written for the Petite Encyclopédie Sociale Economique et Financière; its scope is to deal summarily with the causes of production and consumption from (1) the individual, and (2) the social standpoint. The author considers that the circulation and even the distribution of wealth are intrinsically a branch of production, circulation being only a mode of creation and distribution a necessary consequence of the way in which production is carried on under certain circumstances.
The aim of Mr. Arendt, who as an engineer is a trained scientist, is to impress economic nomenclature and analysis with a higher degree of scientific preciseness than is, according to his opinion, usually the case, and thus to solve the contradictions, which have led one school to socialism and the other to unmitigated individualism. Such being his object, he of course has to criticise most of the accepted definitions and to point out their laxity before proposing his own. Many of his emendations are worth considering; still he himself sometimes falls short of the strict preciseness he endeavours to reach. Thus, when he defines economic labour, as productive and human labour, whether intellectual or physical, he leaves unsettled the question how to discriminate between productive and unproductive labour. It is no easy task to draw hard and fast lines of delimitation in mental and moral sciences.
Mr. Neymarck's Vocabulaire Manuel is really a handy dictionary of economic terminology and by no means a massive and ponderous Handwoerterbuch, such as are published on the other side of the Rhine. Of course the economic student will not meet in this small volume the mass of minutely detailed information which he expects to meet in the venerable German quartos alluded to; still he will find it a useful and most serviceable companion. Mr. Neymarck's short paragraphs are always substantial; very often the author recedes in the background and gives us pithy and well-chosen extracts from other writers, mainly French and English. To temper cum grano salis our laudatory appreciation of the Vocabulaire's solid merits, we venture to suggest that a less meagre sprinkling of German names in the index of authors quoted would be desirable.
Although Dr. Apostol is a Russian who wrote in German, it may be worth while to mention here the recently issued French translation of his book on the Artels, as many English readers are more conversant with the French than with the German language ; moreover in our occidental economic literatures, information on this highly interesting subject is only to be met in a very scanty way, or scattered about and mingled with other matter. In Russia the study of this, in its older and still surviving form, essentially Russian institution has been a labour of love. Dr. Apostol has carefully studied his predecessors as well as all available official publications ; he presents us with a connected historical narrative of the evolution of the Artels since the end of the Middle Ages and shows how in the present day they still cover the whole of the Russian territory. His last chapter is devoted to the attempt to introduce co-operative associations combined on strictly occidental patterns at the time of the emancipation from serfdom; no care having been taken to adapt these to surrounding circumstances, this introduction has resulted in a series of failures. But the old Artel founded on what Dr. Apostol calls its primitive communistic basis has held its ground, especially in rural regions; in fact, Dr. Apostol considers it as an organic form of association universally connected with a certain backward stage of civilisation.
La Participation aux Bénéfices. Par ÉMILE WAXWEILER.
(Paris : 'Arthur Rousseau.)
THE Musée Social, thanks to the generosity of its lamented founder, the Comte de Chambrun, organized in 1895 a competition on the subject named above-profit-sharing—for prizes to the amount of £1,000. Nearly a hundred essays were sent in; four were couronnés, while that of M. Waxweiler, Lecturer at the University of Brussels, was awarded first prize. This flattering distinction was no doubt due in part to the fact that amongst all the competitors M. Waxweiler showed himself the most sympathetic in regard to the share of profits. And it was both natural and legitimate that, in a competition intended to propagate the theory of profit-sharing, the judges should be more particularly disposed to reward the essay which best fulfilled this aim. Nevertheless, apart from the interest attached to a given tendency, the verdict will be ratified by all who give a high place to accuracy of information and precision in argument. Perhaps it will be less appreciated by those who assign greater importance to the art of composition and the charm of readableness. These readers will perhaps be bored by the author's minute analysis, as, for instance, by the enumeration of the twenty-nine objections that can be raised against profit-sharing, each one coupled with its refutation. The reader is apt to lose the thread among all these distinctions.
M. Waxweiler has been careful to keep closely to the limits of his subject. In the first place, and to our thinking advisedly, he discards. all that concerns métayage, that agricultural contract which, as much from its origin as by its aim, is outside the industrial contract known as profit-sharing. He discards also, and this we regret, certain very ancient forms of profit-sharing, notably those in use from time immemorial amongst the fishermen of certain maritime regions. He further discards all the modifications of wage-contract, such as sliding. scales, premiums, &c., and, finally, all those additional supplementary wages which are not distributed individually to the labourers, but are set apart by the masters for the collective benefit, such as superannuation funds, the building of workmen's dwellings, technical schools, &c.
The ground thus cleared, there remains the contract for sharing properly so called, which the author thus defines : A special system of payment (of labour) in which the price of labour varies with the rate of profits. This definition adapts itself well enough to what is called “ Profit-sharing,” but by no means to what is called “Co-partnership.'
As a matter of fact M. Waxweiler does not allude to this; and, I believe, the word is not to be found throughout the entire work. He makes some allusion (p. 48) to that combination by which the wageearner becomes a shareholder, and, by small degrees, a co-proprietor in the enterprise, but he does not appear to think that, for the majority of those who believe in profit-sharing, co-partnership is the topmost grade in the sharing and the end that one should always have in view. This is in M, Waxweiler's book a great omission which will above all disagreeably affect his English readers. It is true that in France we are less preoccupied with this side of the question, notwithstanding that it is precisely in our country that the most famous example is to be found-I mean the Familistère at Guise.
M. Waxweiler skilfully defends profit-sharing against the numerous objections with which practical men and orthodox economists have overwhelmed it, and especially against the most serious attack, that on which M. Paul Leroy-Beaulieu, for example, most strongly insists, namely, that the labourer has no part in the profits because the profits are not created by the workers, but solely by the master, He replies that in all industrial enterprise it is impossible to determine who is the originator of profits, nor even whether there is a single person who can lay claim to any individual right as originator whatever. Long ago, for that matter, Stanley Jevons compared industrial enterprise to the witches' cauldron in Macbeth, in which everything was boiled hotch-potch. In fact, more often it is not the head of the enterprise, the manager, who gets the profits, but the speculator, that is to say, the share holding capitalist. Therefore, why among all the associates should the manual worker be the only one who is unable to claim any rights in the general proceeds of the enterprise ? Another objection, more serious, because it is practical and not theoretical, is that the results afforded by the sharing of profits have hitherto been singularly meagre. According to the figures cited and borrowed from Mr. Schloss's inquiry (Report on Profit-sharing, 1896), out of 83 enterprises where profit-sharing had been adopted, the general average of the distributed portion only represented 4:4 per cent. of the wages. However, according to the Labour Gazette, the average has risen in the last few years to nearly 5 per cent. It is, therefore, less than the distributive societies can procure. Is this enough to alter the feeling of the wageearner, institute the reign of social peace in the factory, augment the productivity of labour and other benefits that optimists expect of the participation system? It is doubtful. Fortunately, it does not do, in iny opinion, to attach great importance to averages. Averages are but formed by summing both the successes and the failures. When we wish to judge of the future of a new institution we should take into account only those experiments which have succeeded. Now we know of a dozen who have distributed to their workers, under the name of a share of profits, supplementary payment varying from 10 to 13 per cent. on their wages. At the Godin Familistère it amounted to 18 per cent.; in the Maison Leclaire to 21 per cent. These are admirable results.
In fine, the author has faith in the future of profit-sharing. And the ground for this confidence is that it appears to him to remedy in a happy manner the vices of the wage-system, and consequently to harmonise with the general tendency of industrial evolution. In effect the wage-system has this double vice. First, that of making of the worker a mere commodity, the price of which is determined solely by the law of supply and demand ; secondly, to make the worker pay too heavy a premium on security against the industrial risks that his master undertakes. Profit-sharing, in transforming the wage-contract into a quasi-contract of partnership, corrects this twin defect.
One of the most interesting and novel chapters in the book is that devoted to State intervention. The State may intervene either : a by imposing profit-sharing in certain cases, as in the contracts for public works, or in the charter of incorporation of certain societies (for example, in France a Bill which has not yet become law, imposes it upon co-operative societies in favour of their employés); or (b) by making it a rule with its own employés ; or (c) simply by inserting in the general law a model form of contract for profit-sharing like the contract of community of goods in marriage in the code Napoléon), notwithstanding for the contracting parties the liberty to disregard it if they so desire. The author does not show himself favourable to any of these forms of State intervention.
We regret that he has not treated of the question, so warmly discussed in England, of profit-sharing for the employés of distributive societies and of the Co-operative Wholesale Societies, more especially as they bring into play highly important principles for the understanding of the subject.
There will be found in an appendix the rules governing the organisation of profit-sharing in twenty or so of the most interesting establishments.
The Shifting and Incidence of Taxation. By Professor EDWIN
R. A. SELIGMAN. Second Edition, revised and enlarged. (New York: The Macmillan Co. 1899.)
The appearance of a second edition of Professor Seligman's elaborate study of the most difficult problem in taxation, shows that there is a real revival of interest in the theoretical side of public finance, and that the minutest critical and historical inquiries will find attentive readers. As the work in its earlier form was reviewed in this JOURNAL (January, 1893), our task must now be limited to stating the changes and expansions that further reflection and the comments of other workers in the same field have produced.
First of all, the greater space allotted to the earlier writers may be noted. Instead of a single chapter, a whole Book is devoted to tracing