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obliged to be at an expense for clerks and porters far exceeding what would be required were the trade of the day somewhat more concentrated. Some curious results of observations concerning the average number of customers in shops in London, are given in Mr. Head's paper before the Social Science Association, which may be summarized as follows:
1st observation: time, 4 to 6 o'clock P. M.; in 88 shops there were 76 persons = .86 persons to a shop.
2d observation : time, 11 A. M. to 1 P. M. ; 54 persons in the same 88 shops –61 persons to a shop.
3d observation : time, 2 to 4 P.M. ; 114 persons - 1.3 persons to a shop.
Average of the three observations: .92 persons to a shop.
Now coöperators can effect a great saving in this respect. Being sure of their custom, they can control it, and concentrate it into a few hours of the day, or perhaps of the evening wholly.
Fourth : a saving, of vast moment, in the abolition of the credit system, involving as that does the keeping of books, the rendering of accounts, and much solicitation of payment, and, secondly, a very considerable percentage of loss by bad debts.
Fifth : security, so far as possible with human agencies, against the frauds in weight and measure and in the adulteration of goods, which are perpetrated extensively under the system of retail trade, the poorest customers being generally those who suffer most.
The difficulties of consumptive are fewer and less severe than those of productive coöperation. To handle and sell goods is a much less serious business than to produce them. When once marketed, the contingencies of production are past, the quality of the goods is already deter
* Transactions, 1872, pp. 449-50.
mined, and in the great majority of cases, 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 coöperation. 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. “Coöperation,” says Mr. Holyoake, the hịstorian 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 wben 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 coöperators. There are no places so likely as London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Sheffield. Yet coöperators in some of these places make no more progress than a society of Naggletons. In Sheffield the socialists have tried coöperation; the Methodists have tried it; the Catholics have tried it; but neither Owen, Wesley, nor the Pope have any success in that robust town, whero mechanics have more advantages, independence, and means, and as much intelligence as in any town in England.” 1 We may fairly presume that the case is not alto
· 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 in. difference or intrigue, would probably explain most of the failures of coöperative trading, where the principle of cash payments has been strictly adhered to, and where the enterprises have been confined to the supply of the coöperators with the simple necessaries and comforts of life, without venturing into lines where fashion and taste predominate. The latest statistics attainable show 746 coöperative societies existing in England and Wales. The total share capital reaches £2,784,000. The money taken for goods sold during the year was £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, while announcing the comparative failure of coöperative 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. In Germany, Belgium, and Italy, the movement for consumptive coöperation is in full present vigor. Even in little Denmark, where but one industrial coöperative society exists, 37
cooperative establishments are reported for the sale of articles of domestie consumption. In Aastria, account is given” 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
• Report of Mr. Strachy, 1870, p. 512. • Report of Mr. Lytton, 1870, p. 564.
'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 sooperation.
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 wages question is the question of employment. 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 opportunity 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 has not been