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laborer is underfed, in the sense that he must and will underwork.
To avoid multiplying titles, I will in this connection mention clothing as in most climates a condition of efficiency in production. A portion, in some countries a large portion, of the food taken into the stomach goes to support the necessary warmth of the body. Clothing goes to the same object. Within certain limits, it is a matter of indifference whether you keep up the temperature of the body by putting food into a man or clothing on to him. As Mr. Peshine Smith has said, “A sheet-iron jacket put around the boiler prevents the waste of heat in the one case, just as a woollen jacket about the body of the laborer does in the other.” Here, again, there is an economical maximum beyond which expenditure will not be justified by the return; but here, again, it can not be doubted that large classes of laborers suffer a great loss of industrial efficiency from the want of adequate clothing. Prof. Fawcett quotes the poor-law inspectors as stating that one fifth in number of the population are insufficiently clothed. Insufficiency of clothing means, of course, feebleness of working and excessive sickness and mortality.
But I may be here called to meet an objection to my statements under this head, based on the assumed sufficiency of the sense of self-interest in employers. How, it may be asked, do you account for the failure of employers to pay wages which will allow their laborers a more liberal sustenance, if indeed it is for their own advantage to do so?
In the first place, I challenge the assumption which underlies the orthodox doctrine of wages, namely, the sufficiency of the sense of self-interest. Mankind, always
Pol. Econ., p. 107.
less than wise, and too often foolish to the point of stupidity, on the one side, and of fanaticism, on the other, whether in government, in domestic life, in the care of their bodies, or in the care of their souls, do not suddenly become wise in industrial concerns. The argument for keeping a laborer well that he may work well applies with equal force to the maintenance of a slave. Yet we know, by a mass of revolting testimony, that in all countries avarice, the consuming lust of immediate gain, a passion which stands in the way of a true and enlarged view of self-interest and works unceasing despite to self-interest, has always' despoiled the slave of a part of the food and clothing necessary to his highest efficiency as a laborer. The same argument would apply with equal force to the care of livestock. Yet it is the hardest thing in the world to bring a body of farmers up to the conviction, and hold them there steadily, that it pays to feed cattle well and treat them well. England, what with unending fairs and premiums," with royal and noble patronage and ensample, and with a very limited proprietorship which it might be supposed could be more easily kept informed as to the real economy of agriculture—England, I say, has managed to create a public sentiment which keeps her farmers reasonably up to the standard in this matter of the care of stock ;
Where slaves were kept and worked only for purposes of guin. Where slavery was a political and social institution, as in the Middle States of the American Union, something of grace and kindliness might come to climb up about it.
? I have never chanced to hear of any premiums offered in Devon or Dorset for the fattest and sleekest, or the most manly and athletic “ team" of agricultural laborers, though there have been, all honor for it ! instances of prizes given for “ model cottages.” “ Comment ! Vos cultivateurs consacrent des sommes considérables pour couvrir leurs champs d'engrais, vos industriels ne négligent aucun soin, ne reculent devant aucune dépense pour assurer et faciliter le jeu de leurs machines ; et vous, vous négligez de cultiver votre champ le plus fertile, de graisser et de soigner votre machine la plus precieuse, votre machine mère, de laquelle toutes les autres dépendent, puisqu'elles en sont sorties."--Blanqui (aîné) Cours d'Economie Industrielle, ii. 352.
yet even in England the exceptions are not few; while, the world over, the rule is niggardliness of expenditure working deep and lasting prejudice to production.
I might thus abundantly shelter myself behind the analogous cases which have been cited, where true self-interest is most conspicuously sacrificed to greed.' But another reason appears in the case of the wage-laborer. It is that the employer has none of that security which the owner of stock or the master of slaves possesses, that what goes in food shall come back to him in work. A man buying an underfed slave or an underfed ox knows that when he has brought his property into good condition, the advantage will be his; but the free laborer when he waxes fat may, like Jeshurun, kick, and take himself off. There is no law yet which gives an employer compensation for “ unexhausted improvements” in the person of his laborer. The employer therefore takes his risk, in respect to all subsistence which goes to build up bone and sinew in his workmen, that the added laboring power may be sold to a neighbor or carried away bodily to Australia.
III. Another reason for differences in industrial efficiency is found in differing habits, whether of choice or necessity in their origin, respecting cleanliness of the person and purity of air and water. The first great prison reformer shocked the civilized world with the revelations which he made of the abodes of the convict classes. Yet, a distinguished sanitarian, often quoted in these pages, has said : “More filth, worse physical suffering and moral disorder than Howard describes as affecting the prisoners, are to be found among the cellar population of the working people of Liverpool, Manchester, or Leeds, and in large portions of the metropolis.” “Out of a population of 85,000 householders,” says Prof. Gairdner, speaking of Glasgow, “30,000 or 35,000 belong to a class who are most dangerous in a sanitary point of view.” “Hovels, cellars, mere dark dens,” says Inglis, in describing the city homes of Ireland in 1834, “ damp, filthy, stagnant, unwholesome places, into which we should not in England put any domestic animal.” But even in England and to-day Canon Girdlestone says of the homes of the peasants of Devon : “The cottages as a rule, are not fit to house pigs in.” Of 309 cottages at Ramsbottom, near Bury,“one of the best districts in Lancashire," remarks Col. Sykes,' 137 had but one bedroom each, the aggregate occupants being 777 ; 172 had two bedrooms each, the aggregate occupants being 1223. Some of the families occupying a single bedroom consisted of from 8 to 13 individuals. At Bristol, out of 6000 families reported on, 556 occupied part of a room only; 2244 one room only; the average number of persons to a family being 3.46. “One third of the population of Scotland in 1861,” says Mr. Caird,“ lived in houses of one room only; another third in houses of two rooms only.” The subject is not a pleasant one to pursue, but as none holds more important relations to the philosophy of wages than the one now under consideration, I must ask my readers to endure the following descriptions of human habitations taken from the Poor-Law Report of 1842.
* Doubtlegg race-characteristics have very much to do with the ability to subordinate greed to real interests, and to take a large view of economy. We should expect to find the Teutonic peoples surpassing all others in this respect; the Slavonic peoples far to the rear, Mr. ('onsul Holmes, in his Report to the British Government on the Condition of the Industrial Classes of Bosnia in 1871. remarks that the Fastern Christians, like the Turks, “ look far more to cheapness than excellence in what they purchase, and good workmanship and consci. entious labor is neither appreciated nor desired " (p. 762). Mr. Consul Palgrave makes a similar remark respecting the Anatolians (p. 732). " The very appreciation of good work," writes Sir P. Francis from Turkey, " is, I believe, lost."-Report on the Condition of the Industrial Classes, 1872, p. 372.
· Edwin Chadwick. Poor-Law Report, 1842, p. 212.
“ Shepherd's Buildings consist of two rows of houses with a street seven yards wide between them ; each row consists of what are styled back and front houses ; that is, two houses placed back to back. There are no yards or out-conveniences; the privies are in the centre of each row, about a yard wide; over them there is part of a sleeping-room; there is no ventilation in the bedrooms. Each house contains two rooms, namely, a house-place and sleeping-room above; each room is about three yards wide and four long. In one of these houses there are nine persons belonging to one family, and the mother on the eve of her confinement. The cellars are let off as separate dwellings; these are dark, damp, and very low, not more than six feet between the ceiling and floor. The street between the two rows is seven yards wide, in the centre of which is the common gutter, or, more properly, sink, into which all sorts of refuse are thrown.”—Report, pp. 17, 18.
This is a description of the cottages of a manufacturing village. The same report gives an account of the homes of the peasantry of Durham,“ built of rubble or unhewn stone, loosely cemented.” “The chimneys have lost half their original height, and lean on the roof with fearful gravitation. The rafters are evidently rotten and displaced, and the thatch, yawning to admit the wind and wet in some parts, and in all parts utterly unfit for its original purpose of giving protection from the weather, looks more like the top of a dunghill than a cottage. Such is the exterior; and when the hind comes to take possession, he finds it no better than a shed. The wet, if it happens to rain, is making a puddle on the earth floor. .... They have no byre for their cows, nor sties for their pigs; no pumps or wells; nothing to promote cleanliness or comfort. The average size of these sheds is about 24 by 16. They are dark and unwholesome; the windows do not open, and many of them are not larger than 20 inches by 16; and into this place are crowded 8, 10, or even 12 persons." - Report, pp. 22, 23.