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mined, and in the great majority of eases, only moderate care is Required to prevent deterioration. Then again, the profits of retail trade are relatively higher, for the capital and skill required, than the profits of manufacture; and hence there is more to be gained by total or even a partial success. Finally and chiefly, the destination of the goods is already practically provided for; the members are certain to take off what is bought, if only ordinary discretion is used; waste and loss are therefore reduced to the minimum.
There are, therefore, powerful reasons, in the nature of the case, for the success of consumptive cooperation. The facts bear out the prognostication, although even this form of association has had many disappointments and often come to grief, not always from causes easily to be determined. "Cooperation," says Mr. Holyoake, the historian of the movement in England, "is the most unaccountable thing that is found amongst the working classes. Nobody can tell under what conditions it will arise. Why it flourishes when it does, and why it does not flourish when it should, are alike inexplicable. Why should it succeed in Rochdale, Blaydon, and Sowerby Bridge, and never take root in Birmingham, Sheffield, or Glasgow? There is no place in Great Britain so unlikely as Sowerby Bridge to produce cooperators. There are no places so likely as London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Sheffield. Yet cooperators in some of these places make no more progress than a society of Naggletons. In Sheffield the socialists have tried cooperation; the Methodists have tried it; the Catholics have tried it; but neither Owen, Wesley, nor the Pope have any success in that robust town, where mechanics have more advantages, independence, and means, and as much intelligence as in any town in England." x We may fairly presume that the case is not alto
1 Soc. Science Transactions, 1864, p. 6-8.
gether so mysterious as Mr. Holyoake would make it out to be. Lack of interest in the result, and consequent lack of the patience, pains, and self-denial necessary to achieve success, and unfortunate choice of managers, through indifference or intrigue, would probably explain most of the failures of cooperative trading, where the principle of cash payments has been strictly adhered to, and where the enterprises have been confined to the supply of the cooperators with the simple necessaries and comforts of life, without venturing into lines where fashion and taste predominate. The latest statistics attainable show 746 cooperative societies existing in England and Wales. The total share capital reaches £2,784,000. The money taken for goods sold during the year wTas £11,379,000. The largest of all these societies is the "Civil Service Supply Association," which musters 4,500 associates, and which in the six months ending February .28,1874, took in, from sales, £819,428.
It is to be noted that these "stores" do not try to undersell the retail shops, but sell their goods at ordinary prices, and divide all profits, after a reasonable addition to the "reserve," annually or semi-annually, among their stockholders. The sums thus coming once or twice a year to a workman are likely to be so considerable as strongly to suggest the savings bank.
In France, M. Ducarre's report, wThile announcing the comparative failure of cooperative societies of production, states that those devoted to the supply of articles for consumption, have at once had a much wider trial and achieved a much larger degree of success.1 In Germany, Belgium, and Italy, the movement for consumptive cooperation is in full present vigor.2 Even in little Denmark, where but one industrial cooperative society exists, 37
1 P. 265.
9 McDonnell's Survey of Pol. Econ., pp. 224-5.
cooperative establishments are reported* for the sale of articles of domestic consumption. In Austria, account is given2 of 237 cooperative store-unions. In the United States, consumptive cooperation has been widely established in connection with the "Granger" movement, and also, more on its own merits, through the organization known as the " Sovereigns of Industry." 3 ■ •—-—i ■ CHAPTER. XVI.
1 Report of Mr. Strachy, 1870, p. 512.
2 Report of Mr. Lytton, 1870, p. 564.
3 I am disappointed to find so little precise statistical information in Mr. Chamberlain's work on the Sovereigns of Industry. Figures of arithmetic are more needed than figures of speech, in discussions of cooperation.
THE TRUE WAGES QUESTION.
If the three great classes which together make up modern industrial society, in its highest development, have been justly delineated, it will be seen how inaccurate is that statement of the wages question which makes it identical with the labor question. The true wageg^ question is the gjie^oiLjQf_^mp1oyment. Hence the popular phrase, "the contest of labor and capital," becomes at once revealed as a misnomer. The true controversy is not between the laborer and the capitalist, but between the laborer and his employer, to whom laborer and capitalist alike are compelled to resort for the opportuiiity to produce wealth and to derive an income.
In the highly-complicated organization of modern industry, the employer, the entrepreneur, stands between the capitalist and the laborer, makes his terms with each, and directs the courses and methods of industry with almost unquestioned authority. To laborer and to capitalist alike he guarantees a reward at fixed rates, taking for himself whatever his skill, enterprise, and good fortune shall secure. How completely the laborer accepts this situation of affairs we see in the fewness of the attempts to establish productive co-operation, as shown in the preceding chapter. But the laborer does not accept the situation more utterly, more passively, than does the capitalist. Quite as closely does the man of wealth who lias not been trained to business, respect his own limitations; quite as little is he disposed to venture for himself.
We have a striking exemplification of this impotence of the capitalist, as capitalist, in the experience of the United States during the past three years. What have the capitalists done, what can the capitalists do, to help themselves in the event of a withdrawal of the business class? They have done nothing, certainly, in. the present crisis: they can do nothing important, of themselves. They can lower their terms and offer their capital at diminished rates, affording enterprise thus a wider margin for profits; but if enterprise finds this inducement insufficient, the capitalist has nothing to do. The money lies in bank; the shops and stores are tenantless.
Does the capitalist, discontented with the inadequacy of his remuneration when he has for months received but two or three per cent per annum upon his money, set up business in order to employ his own capital and make a better interest for himself ?. I trow not. The very fact tliat the veteran professional conductors of business have withdrawn from production, or have greatly curtailed their operations, is a sufficient advertisement to him that it is no time for outsiders to push into the field. He knows that, in the best of seasons, a single venture into an industry of which he has had no personal experience, or even into one from which he has retired, but so long ago as to have become rusty in its methods, unfamiliar with its latest machinery, and strange to the personnel of the trade, might well cost him a year's interest on his fortune; while an attempt to carry on production, merely for the sake of employing his capital, in a time when the masters of the business shrink from the prospect of disaster, would, most likely, cost him the bulk of the capital itself. It is not in such a time, if ever, that the outside capitalist ventures into the field of industry. Even less than the laborer, who may be goaded by the stings of personal want, is he likely to step forward to take the place from which the