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ing to contemplate, is still continued without rebuke of law. Surely, such facts as these are not consistent with the assumption that the comparative merits of a large number of occupations constituting a “competing group" are carefully and intelligently canvassed by parents, anxious for the highest ultimate good of their offspring, and willing and able to take advantage of opportunities afforded in branches of industry strange to them and perhaps prosecuted at a distance. So late as 1870, children were employed in the brickyards of England, under strange task. masters, at three and a half years of age. Account is given us, sickening in its details, of a boy weighing fifty-two pounds, carrying on his head a load of clay weighing forty-three pounds, seven miles a day, and walk ing another seven to the place where his burden was to be assumed. Perhaps his mother was eagerly “watching the prospects of industry in its several branches," with a view to selecting a thoroughly agreeable, remunerative, and at the same time improving occupation, where he could at once earn a handsome living and secure opportunities for the harmonious development of his physical, intellectual and spiritnal faculties, bnt I scarcely think it. John Allinsworth tells Mr. White, Asst. Commissioner, how he and his son, aged nine years, earn their daily bread. “Work in the furnace. Last Saturday morning we began at two. We had slept in the furnace, being strangers to the town. We live at Wadsley, four or five miles off. We have to be here by six A. M. It is a long way for the boy to come and go back each day, though I can manage it. I should like to get some place in the town for him to stay in."? Now there is a father who is looking ont for his son, according to Prof. Cairnes' assumption; yet Mr. Commissioner White would probably, from his large experience, give heavy odds that John Allinsworth’s little son, aged nine, will be found twenty years from this, if still alive, working in the furnace, perhaps sleeping in it, stunted and blighted, the father of a nine-years-old boy, for whom he too, “would like” to get a better place to work and sleep.
so young as to be worthless.”—Ibid. p. 97. “In Cambridgeshire, the children go out to work as young as six years old, many at seven o1 eight.”-Ibid, p. 95. cf. pp. 12, 15, note.
* Social Science Transactions, 1874, p. 4. * Report of 1865, p. 13.
I have not called up such pictures of human misery with the object of exciting compassion, much less with a view to obtain an advantage in controversy, but to show graphically the error of Prof. Cairnes' assumption that parents who are tied down hopelessly to an occupation which affords but the barest subsistence can freely dispose of their children to the best advantage among a large class of occupations. Especially when we consider that, in the development of modern industry, trades become highly localized, entire towns and cities being given up to a single branch of manufacture, shall we see the practical fallacy of this assumption. Even if we suppose the parent to be advised of better opportunities for employment opening in some trade prosecuted at a distance, and to be pecuniarily able to send his child thither and secure him a position, yet, years before the boy or girl would be fit to send away from home, the chance of earning a few pence in the mill where the parent works would almost irresistibly have drawn the child into the vortex.
May we not then question Prof. Cairnes' assumption that the children of the working classes constitute“ a disposable fund” to be distributed to the highest advantage of labor among those occupations which at the time are most remunerative? The truth is, that until you secure mobility to adult labor you will fail to find it in the rising genera tion, and that among an ignorant and degraded population four-fifths, perhaps nine-tenths, of all children, by what may be called a moral necessity, follow the occupations of
their parents, or those with whom their fortune bás placed them. The great exception is that which Prof. Fawcett has indicated," that of the children of agricultural laborers in the immediate vicinity of flourishing manufactories.
We have now reached a position where we can judge of the adequacy of the force which Prof. Cairnes invokes to secure to labor its needed mobility, and we must prononnce it wholly insufficient. Even were the whole mass of labor coming each year into market to be reckoned as " disposable” in the sense in which he uses the term, it would yet sometimes fall short of effecting that redistribution which is required by changes which, as we have seen not infrequently amonnt in a few years almost to a revoIntion of industry; but when we consider how partial and doubtful is the mobility thus claimed for the rising generation of laborers, we are constrained to say that unless more can be adduced than Prof. Cairnes has shown, the freedom of movement within industrial groups which he has claimed to be practically perfect, is in truth very inadequate to effect that object of supreme importance to labor—the free and quick resort to the best market.
But it may be asked, is not the ubiqnity of the “tramp” a proof that you have over-estimated the difficulty which besets the movement of labor? Is there not a large adult population which is constantly shifting its place, here to. day and there to-morrow? What more could you ask ?
I answer, there is no more virtue to relieve the pressure upon honest self-respecting labor in the forces which direct the movement of the “tramp," than there is of virtue to save men from drowning in the forces which bring a human body to the surface after a certain period of putrefaction. The body comes up, indeed, but only when
1" An agricultural laborer is not suddenly converted into a cotton weaver. Such a transition rarely takes place; but if there is a manu. factory close at hand many of the children of the agricultural laborers will be employed therein.”-Pol. Econ., p. 170.
swollen and discolored by the processes of corruption; and so the laborer, who has lost his hopefulness and selfrespect and become industrially degraded, whether by bad habits for which he is primarily in fault, or by the force of causes he had no strength to resist, wanders about the country begging his food and stealing his lodgings as he can; but his freedom, thus obtained by being loosed from all ties to social and domestic life, does not so much relieve labor as it cirses the whole community, rich and poor alike.
THE WAGES CLASS.
It has been said that, by most systematic writers on political economy, the wages class is taken as coincident with the labor class. In the opening chapter I briefly indicated five important classes thus brought together under a single title. In the present chapter it is proposed to show that of the five, but two can with any propriety be said to receive wages; and of these two, it is proposed, though not with the same degree of assurance, to exclude one, leaving but a single class as really the recipient of wages. It is hoped that, by strictly defining the wages class, and setting the other classes thus distinguished in their true relations to it, something may be added to the understanding of the law of wages.
To begin: The wages class includes only the employed. It is not necessary to spend time in proving that by etymology, at once, and popular usage, the word is restricted to the remuneration paid by one person to another. Those who give the word a wider significance in political economy are bound to justify themselves in doing so, by showing that something is gained, in clearness, thereby. But my reason for desiring to confine the word as has been proposed, in a treatise on wages, is better than a linguistic one. It is that the very object of the inquiry is to ascertain the laws which govern the condition of those persons who, having no command of the agencies and instrumentalities of production, are obliged to seek employ.