Зображення сторінки

industry the range is even greater. Thus the mean mortality of iron-miners is 1.80 ; of coal-miners, 1.82; of tinminers, 1.99; of lead-miners, 2.50'; of copper-miners, 3.17.

But it is not alone by death that the laboring power is prematurely destroyed. The agricultural laborer of England, for example, who is long lived, often becomes crippled early by rheumatism due to exposure and privation. " Then he has to work for 4 shillings or 5 shillings per week, supplemented scantily from the rates, and at last to come, for the rest of his life, on the rates altogether. Such is, I will not call it the life, but the existence or vegetation, of the Devon peasant. He hardly can keep soul and body together.”

In the same country, Mr. Dudley Baxter states, there are 40,000 men out of less than 400,000 in the building trades who between 55 and 65 are considered as past hard work. In other trades, he says, a man is disabled at 55 or 50. A coal-backer is considered past work at 40.*

I can not better close this protracted chapter than with the following words taken from the address of Sir Stafford Northcote, as President of the British Social Science Association : “A man who earns a pound a week is not necessarily twice as well off as a man who earns 10 shillings.

the fine dust with which the air of the different workshops is charged, and which dust the finer it is the longer it floats in the atmosphere and the more dangerous it becomes.”—Ibid., p. 109.

1“ The diseases engendered by lead-mining may be stated as asthma and chronic bronchitis.”—Ibid., p. 103.

* The heat in copper-mines was found by Dr. Greenhow to be very much greater than in tin-mines. In one mine which he visited the temperature was 125o. “Steam was coming out of the shaft in volumes at the time of inspection."

• Letter of Canon Girdlestone to Mr. Heath, “ Peasantry of Eng. land," p. 100.

* National Income, pp. 41, 43.

You must take into account the amount of work which they respectively have to do for their money, the number of hours they are employed, the amount of strain upon the body and on the brain, the chance of accident, the general effect upon the health and upon the duration of life.”

* Transactions, 1869, p. 18.



ANOTHER distinction which needs to be strongly marked is that between Wages and the Cost of Labor.

In treating wages as high or low we occupy the laborer's point of view; in treating the cost of labor as high or low we occupy the point of view of the employer. Wages are high or low according to the abundance or scantiness of the necessaries, comforts, and luxuries of life which the laborer can command, without particular reference to the value of the service which he renders to the employer therefor. The cost of labor, on the other hand, iş high or low according as the employer gets an ample or a scanty return for what he pays the laborer, whether the same be expressed in money or in commodities for consumption, and this

without the least respect to the well-being of the laborer. · Now this distinction is not of importance merely because

such a distinction can be drawn, and the same object look: ed at from different points of view. Not only are the

points of view here diametrically opposed, but the objects contemplated are not necessarily the same, so that high wages do not imply a high cost of labor, or low wages a low cost of labor. A sufficient demonstration of this, for the present moment, is found in the well-known fact that employers usually take on their lowest-paid laborers last, and discharge them first. The explanation is found in the varying

EFFICIENCY OF LABOR. The extent to which this consideration is popularly neg. lected may be seen by recurring to any discussion of the question of “protection,” whether in the legislature or in the public press. A day's labor is almost universally taken as the unit of measure in determining the cost of similar products in different countries. In fact, “ a day's labor" conveys scarcely a more definite idea than the boy's comparison, “big as a piece of chalk,” or “ long as a string.” The mere announcement that a day's labor can be had in one country for 10 cents, in another for 50, while in a third it commands $1.50, conveys to the mind of one familiar with the statistics of industry not even an impression as to the comparative cost of labor in the several countries. Yet it has been held by a large party in the United States to be conclusive of the question of “protection,” that laborers in other countries are more scantily remunerated than in our own. The avowed object of protective tariffs here has been to keep wages from sinking to the level of Europe and Asia. The allusions to “pauper labor” which crowd the speeches of Clay, Stewart, and Kelley have significance only as it is assumed that a day's labor in one place is the economical equivalent of a day's labor anywhere, and that one man's labor is effective in the same degree as that of any other man.

It is, however, very far from the truth that a day's labor is always and everywhere the same thing. We can scarcely take the estimate adopted by Lord Mahon,' that

Masters “prefer those laborers who earn the most wages.”—Mr. Chadwick, Statistical Journal, xxv. 510.

Sir Joseph Whitworth, the great manufacturer of cannon, told Mr. Chadwick that "he could not afford to work his machines with a horse that cost less than £30."-Ibid.

* History of England, vii., pp. 229, 230.

an English wood-sawyer will perform as much work in the same time as thirty-two East-Indians, as giving the general ratio' between labor in the two countries; yet, on the other hand, the comparison is not absolutely an extreme one. The difference between an English woodsawyer, before a pile of hickory cordwood, and an effeminate EastIndian, accustomed to think it a day's job to saw off a few lengths of bamboo, is not so great as that which would exist between a Maine mast-man and a Bengalee at the foot of a 40-inch pine. The one would lay the monster low in half a day, the other might peck at it a week and scarcely get through the bark. In the contests of industry the civilized, organized, disciplined, and highly-equipped nations may safely entertain much the same contempt for barbarous antagonists as in the contests of war. “The wolf cares not how many the sheep be,” said one conqueror; “ The thicker the grass,” said another, “ the easier it is mown.” So vast are the differences in this matter of the efficiency of labor that it is difficult to write respecting them without producing the impression of a disposition to exaggerate, if the reader has not specially studied the conditions of production and is unacquainted with the statistics of industry. Yet in sober earnest we may borrow the language of Edmund Burke respecting the political adaptations of men, and say that, in industry as in government, men of different nationalities may be regarded as so many different kinds of animals.

The testimony to the varying efficiency of labor comes

'Prof. Senior, in his Lectures on Wages, stated the average annual wages of labor in Hindostan at from one pound to two pounds troy of silver against nine pounds to fifteen pounds troy in England. .... Mr. Finnie, who was engaged by the Madras Government as superintendent of the cotton experiment from 1845-9, says, "the interest of the money invested in the purchase of a laborer in America, added to the actual cost of his maintenance, would pay for nine able-bodied men in India.” Wheeler's Cotton Cultivation, p. 100.

« НазадПродовжити »