Puslapio vaizdai

According to the report of the Commis was false that they raturally could not sioner of Labor, there were in the United lend much weight to the truth. Some two States, from 1881 to 1886 inclusive, 3,902 thousand years later Kant, Fichte, Locke, strikes; the number of workmen originat and Wilhelm von Humboldt enunciated ing them was 1,020,156. Of the strikes, the same truth in little different words : about 464 per cent were successful, 131 “The safety (i. e. the end) of the State per cent were partinlly successful, while does not consist in the welfare or bappiness nearly 40 per cent failed. These facts not of the citizens, but in the agreement of the only show a great deal of discontent but Constitution with the principles of law.” imply a vast amount of organization on the (Kant). “The assurance of the rights of all part of laborers.

men is the only general will.” (Fichte.) Organizations are costly, and strikes, ". The maintenance of security against both even when successful, involve much loss external enemies and internal dissensions is to employee, as well as to employer. For the end of the State." (von Humboldt.) instance, suppose a strike to occur for an Political economists in the early part of the advance of five per cent in wages : if the present century developed the doctrine of strike lasts a month, the increase of wages laissez faire in reference to industry and must continue one and three fifths years to trade. But superstitions do not die easily, compensate the workmen for their loss. and the present trend of thought seems to Hence it is not strange that workinginen be toward a greater faith in state action. have been tempted to turn their political Just as men's faith in charms and amulets power to their industrial benefit. Other was not immediately destroyed by an exerclasses have made use of the Government cise of reason, but survives even now in the to obtain wealth; why should not they most highly civilized nations, so men's make use of it to obtain bigher wages and faith in their political fetich constantly reshorter hours? It is very likely that noth vives. What Lycophron, Locke, Kant, and ing will prevent them from trying. The others ignorantly asserted Herbert Spencer reason they have not tried more thus far has conclusively demonstrated ; and he is is, probably, that in England they have (lescribed in the Encyclopædia Britannica hardly had political power long enough to a vox clamantis in deserto. Faith in learn how to use it most effectually; while spells and charms is by no means harmless, in this country, the working classes, prop and faith in political fetiches is still less so. erly, or perhaps technically, so called, have When a whole people declares its faith in not been numerous till within the last the efficacy of state action to secure public gei.eration. Government has been a very health, morals, education, and material effective agent in robbing the many for the well-being, vox populi comes dangerously benefit of the few; whether it can be made near being vox diaboli. as effective in the reverse operation, we are Governments can play a very important likely to see tested within, perhaps, the part in the development of societies, as a present generation.

gardener can in the growing of plants It is not at all surprising that the work- namely, by securing favorable conditions. ing classes should see, or should think they But it is to be remembered tliat the governsee, in the ballot, a means for righting what ment is not external to the society ; and seem to them to be wrongs. Lycophron, then we do not know what conditions are the sophist, according to Aristotle, main favorable to the development of a society tained that the law " is a pledge to men of 80 well as we know what conduce to the mutual just dealing, but has no power to growth of plants. One condition in the make citizens good and just.” The sophists, former case we do know to be vital: that however, were so fond of maintaining what the society be free from the aggression of


its units upon another; and this condition organization of labor, which is itself the the government can assist to procure.

result of natural causes, may be a natural When it goes further than this it is, in its and potent element in the relation, but ignorance, far more likely to go wrong than there is no place here for goveryment. The right.

amount distributed as wages obviously But, as has been said, the almost uni cannot be greater than the total amount of versal opinion, not so much of the multi- goods produced. The amount produced tude as of those who attempt to instruct itdepends upon the co-operation of labor and is that the Government should go further capital upon the earnestness and skill of than this in nearly all directions. And so, those who manage the capital not less than after our working classes get thoroughly upon the earnestness and skill of those who organized, if they insist that the Govern- labor. It is possible that laborers, after ment see to it that every man who will, having perfected their organization, will may work, and that he shall receive a fair force the State to confiscate capital and day's wages for eight hours' work, he will administer it in the interest of the commube able to plead that his demand is directly nity," -- they will have the power, and it is in line with the teachings of our prophets not unlikely that they will exercise it. In and wise men, our economists and states that case the product would be distributed men. They are even now demanding it very differently; but would there be as the more advanced of them, but they are

much to distribute? There is every reason not yet sufficiently organized to make their to think that there would not. There is demand imperative.

every reason for asserting that the State

managers of capital would not exert any“What the public have now got to face thing like the ability and earnestness which squarely and deal with promptly is this:

the private managers now exert, and that Shall we best secure the well-being of the

the product would be much smaller. State by insisting that all who work shall obtain reasonable rates of pay for a reason

that probably the laborers would receive able amount of work, or is the proper even less than they receive at present. course that of ignoring the surroundings On the other hand, by trusting to their of the workers, leaving matters to right organizations, there is every reason for themselves? Pablic responsibility has long thinking that they will receive a larger and been recognized in this country, as witness the Factory Acts legislation, that has oper- larger share of the goods produced, and ated so beneficially.”

that the amount will be constantly increas

ing. A number of years ago, Mr. ThornIf the Factory Acts contribute to give ton estimated that English workmen were plausibility and force to this demand, it is receiving $25,000,000 more in wages than very doubtful whether their operation in its they would be getting if it had not bien totality will have been so beneficial. It is for their unions. They are likely to have very easy for governments to say to em the


of choice between the two methployers, “ masters give unto your workmen ods of furthering their interests, and if they that which is right"; but the command choose wrongly, the responsibility will lie must be made much more definite before it largely upon those who are engaged in can be enforced. There is a natural rela- bringing about the extension of State tion between labor and the reward of labor, action in so many other directions, and and this relation may be disturbed, but thus affording so many precedents for its cannot be permanently changed. The extension in this direction also.

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