« НазадПродовжити »
In view of such wide differences in the productive power of individuals, communities, and peoples, no attempt at a philosophy of wages can omit to inquire into the causes of the varying efficiency of labor. These causes I shall enumerate under six heads; but the possible effect of no one cause will be fully apprehended unless it be held constantly in mind that the value of the laborer's services to the employer is the net result of two elements, one positive, one negative, namely, work and waste; that in some degree waste, using the term in its broadest sense to express the breakage and the undue wear and tear of implements and machinery, the destruction or impairment of materials, the cost of supervision and oversight to keep men from idling or blundering, and, finally, the hinderance of many by the fault or failure of one,' is inseparable from work; and that, with the highly finished products of our modern industry, with its complicated and often delicate machinery, and its costly materials, themselves perhaps the result of many antecedent processes, it is frequently a question of
On this point of waste I select two illustrations. The first is taken from an address of George J. Holyoake, the historian of Co-operation:
“ It has been calculated that the working colliers at Whitwood and Methley could, by simply taking the trouble to get the coal in large lumps, and by reducing the proportions of slack, add to the colliery profits £1500 a year. If they would further take a little extra care below ground in keeping the best coal separate from the inferior, they could add another £1500 to the profits.” (Soc. Sc. Transactions, 1865, p. 482.) All this without diminishing their own earnings.
The second is the result of an experiment, noticed in the Statistical Journal (xxviii., pp. 32, 33), for the economy of coal in an engine-furnace, through giving the stokers a share in the money value of whatever saving might be effected. The result was to reduce the consumption of fuel, without loss of power, from 30 to 17.
? H. B. M. Consul Egerton, in his admirable report of 1873 (Textile Factories), notes the great irregularity of attendance at work in Rus. sia. “It is therefore essential to have a large staff of supernumeraries who have learnt their work, so as to be ready to supply the vacant places."-P. 112.
more or less waste whether work shall be worth having' or not.
The various causes which go to create differences in industrial efficiency may be grouped under six heads, as follows:
I. Peculiarities of stock and breeding.
III. Habits, voluntary or involuntary, respecting cleanliness of the person, and purity of air and water.
IV. The general intelligence of the laborer.
VI. Cheerfulness and hopefulness in labor, growing out of self-respect and social ambition, and the laborer's interest in the results of his work.
The first reason which we are called to recognize for the great differences in industrial efficiency which exist among men is found in peculiarities of stock and breeding. Of the causes which have produced such widely diverse types of manhood as the Esquimaux, the Hottentot, and the Bengalee at the one extreme, and the Frenchman, the Englishınan, and the American of to-day at the other,' it is not necessary to speak here at all. The effects of local climate and national food, continued through generations, upon the physical structure, have become so familiar to the public through the writings of geographers and ethnologists that they may fairly be assumed for our present purpose. The scope and power of these causes are far more likely to
1“ It may appear incredible,” remarks Mr. Carleton Tuffnell, the Poor-Law Commissioner, " that a great demand for labor may exist simultaneously with a multitude of people seeking employment and unable to find it. The real demand is not simply for labor, but trained labor, efficient labor, intelligent labor."
* M. Batbie states the results of certain experiments with the dynamometer by which it appears that while the figure 50 represents the sheer lifting-weight of a native of Van Diemen's Land, 71 represents that of an Anglo-Australian cultivator.-Nouveau cours de l'Économie politique, i. 70.
be magnified than disparaged by the scientific spirit of this age. But we have also to recognize large differences as existing between far advanced and highly civilized pea ples as to average height, strength, manual dexterity, accuracy of vision, health, and longevity.
Thus, for example, the mean height of the Belgian male was given by MM. Quetelet and Villermé, about 1836, as 5 feet 6 % inches; that of the Frenchman, as 5 feet 4 inches; that of the Englishman, 5 feet 94 inches. Such differences in stature exist as well between sections of the same country ; thus the Breton peasants are notably deficient even as measured by the low French standard ; while the proportion of “tall men” (i.e., 6 feet) examined for the British army was out of every 10,000 English, 104; out of every 10,000 Scotchmen, 194; out of every 10,000 Irishmen, 91.
At the same time, the largest proportion of rejections for unsoundness was among the Irish, the least among the Scotch. MM. Quetelet and Villermé give the following determinations of mean weight for the same three countries :
? This statement is taken from Mr. Thornton “ On Labor," p. 16, n. Of the (very) “ tall men" (6 feet 3 inches) enlisted in the U. S. army, 1861-5, there were of each 100,000—of English birth, 103; of Scotch, 178;of Irish, 84 (Statistical Memoirs of the Sanitary Commission, p. 159); while of the “short men" (under 5 feet 1 inch) there were in 100,000
-of English, 690 ; of Scotch, 610; and of Irish, only 450, the proportional number of Germans in this class rising to 770, and of Frenchmen to 950. (Ibid., p. 177.) The mean height of the native soldiers was much reduced by the enlistment of large numbers of very young persons ; but if we take the soldiers from 35 years upwards, we find the natives of the United States surpassing in stature those of every other nationality. Thus the mean height of soldiers from New England was, in inches, 68.300; New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, 68.096 ; Ohio and Indiana, 68.980; Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois, 68.781 ; Kentucky and Tennessee, 69.274, etc. ; while the mean height of soldiers born in Canada was 67.300; England, 66.990 ; Scotland, 67.647 : Ireland, 67.090; France, Belgium, and Switzerland, 66.714; Germany, 66.718; Scandinavia, 67.299. (Ibid., pp. 104, 105.)
Lbs. avoirdupois. Belgian, male (Brussels and environs)...... 140.49 Frenchman (Paris and environs)........... 136.89 Englishman (Cambridge). ...............
There is reason to suspect that these are all pitched a little high. Among the sections of the American Union the difference in mean weight, as determined by measurements during the war, 1861–5, was very decided. Thus of men weighed in health, those from New-England averaged 140.05 lbs.; those from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, 141.39; those from Ohio and Indiana, 145.99 ; those from Kentucky and Tennessee, 150.58.'
Such and other physical differences on which it is not needful to dwell are due in part to the influences of local climate and national diet, but in part, also, to causes social and industrial.
Of social causes ample, in their aggregate effect, to produce much of the difference between the Englishman and the Frenchman of to-day, may be instanced the war system, by which, in France, the principle of natural selection has been violently reversed, and the men of superior size, strength, and courage have, generation after generation, been shut up in barracks or torn to pieces on the battle-field, while the feebler males have been left at home to propagate the stock. It is beyond question that not a little of the difference in industrial efficiency which makes a French navvy dear at 3 francs, while an English navvy is cheap at 58. 6d., is due to the wholesale operation of this cause among the French people during the eighty years since 1793, during which time the standard of the army has been reduced from 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 11 inch. During the same
· Statistical Memoirs U. S. Sanitary Commission, p. 403. As was remarked respecting mean height, the average of the native soldiers of the U. S. army was brought down by the great number of boys enListed.
period the French horse was steadily gaining in size and weight.
Among the industrial causes tending to create such differences in laboring power we may instance the employment of children of tender age at hard labor and under circumstances of exposure; and the employment of women, first, in work wholly unsuited to their sex, as formerly in England in mines, where they were even harnessed with cattle to loads of ore, and as now on the pit-banks and coke-hearths, and, secondly, at their ordinary work with too short an interval after childbearing.'
Looked at with no eye of charity, but with a strictly economical regard, such acts as these constitute a horrible waste of industrial force, both in the present and in their effects on the laboring power of the next generation.
At the meeting of the Social Science Association in 1870, Mr. George Smith presented a lump of clay weighing 43 lbs., which in a wet state he had taken, a few days before, off the head of a child 9 years of age, who had daily to walk 124 miles in a brickyard, half that distance with such a burden. “ The clay,” said Mr. Smith, “was taken from the child, and the calculations made by me, in the presence of both master and men. Two or three instances taken at random from the report of Mr. J. E. White, Assist
"Speaking alike of the weaving-sheds of the cotton districts and of the woollen districts, Dr. Bridges and Mr. Holmes, in their report to the Local Government Board, in 1873, say: “ The work is done in the great majority of cases by women; a considerable portion of these are married, and the practice of working until the last stage of pregnancy, and of returning to work within a month, sometimes within a fortnight, or even a week, of childbirth, is as common in the West Riding (of York) as in Lancashire." (Report, p. 33, cf. pp. 38, 39, 55.) An old factory surgeon says: “I regard the mother's return to the mill as almost a sentence of death to the child." It is also a fruitful source of per. manent injury to the mother herself.
• Transactions, p. 537.
• Fourth Report (1865) of the Children's Employment Commission of 1862.