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ous modes of possessing private property are objectionable if subjected to a severe investigation with regard to the behests of justice. Property in land must necessarily be limited to a certain number of proprietors, for its subdivision cannot be carried out beyond a degree which is the last limit to which agricultural holdings may be reduced without injuring a good mode of husbandry. These limits will always exclude a great number of people from becoming landholders; and the question arises, How will those so excluded find occupations that will offer to them equivalent advantages in respect of freedom, independence, health, and amount of labour required?
The possession of land, not only in large estates, but also in small holdings, gives to the possessor a monopoly that enables him to collect the fruits of the earth with comparative ease and little risk of danger and accidents, to perform his labour under the most healthy conditions, and often, if he is a peasant proprietor, without any arbitrary supervision or interference from the part of landlords, bailiffs, managers, masters, or foremen. It is in this respect that the small peasant proprietors of France, Belgium, and Germany are regarded with great envy by the working classes of other industrial occupations; for, comparing their own condition of life with that of the small landholder, they find that their labour is more monotonous, not offering that variety which the toiler of the field meets with in the change of the seasons and diversity of the crops he cultivates and the animals he rears. The mechanic or factory operative also finds that his work is more or less injurious to health, and that, consequently, he is not so longlived as the husbandman.
All the ingenuity of the author will be tasked in solving the question of the inequality in the distribution of labour, to which the private possession of land and its cultivation give rise. He has nothing to do with the breaking up of large landed estates, for these have been condemned by the ablest and most sagacious writers of political economy. He adopts without hesitation the radical idea of nationalizing the land; but having brought it into the possession of the nation, he has still the far greater difficulty to meet by solving the problem of equalizing agricultural and industrial labour so that the one shall not enjoy more advantages than the other,
Of all the various kinds of private property, none is more objectionable than the possession of houses and the exaction of rents from the tenants. The injustice perpetrated by this species of private property becomes the more revolting when rent is received for houses that have been built centuries ago. In comparison with landed property, house property is the more objectionable of the two; for the monopoly in land requires at least a considerable outlay of money in the shape of wages to agricultural labourers, and where the proprietor cultivates his own ground, for the purchase of agricultural implements, for keeping his team of horses or yoke of oxen in proper working order, and for repairing the premises and appurtenances of his farm homestead; whilst houses built long ago have had their original outlay for the building of the same repaid over and over again, and if substantially built, which is the case with almost all the older structures in English towns and villages, they require very little outlay for repairs. These advantages which house property enjoys in comparison to landed property, render its monopoly a more glaring infraction of justice.
Private property in mechanical appliances and machinery is likewise condemned by social reformers, because it enables the owner of them to realize great profits that ought to be shared with those who superintend and work his machines, set them in motion, clean them, and regulate their movements, and who under the name of operatives generally perform every kind of factory work. The fortunes realized from this kind of property are immense, but the condition of the factory workers has not materially improved since the time when these labour-saving machines and industrial appliances were invented and first introduced.
During the last quarter of a century the trade of the country has probably more than quadrupled. The exports during that period, consisting chiefly of the manufactured goods of this country, have advanced from £50,000,000 to £250,000,000, while the increase in our imports has been still greater. Yet, Mr. Fawcett has proved that while there has been this unprecedented accumulation of wealth, the remuneration of labour has in many instances scarcely advanced at all. It is fully established by Mr. Brassey's figures, obtained from
the books, not only of his own firm, but of other employers, that there must be many trades in which the workmen are worse off than they were at the period referred to. In the Canada Engineering Works at Birkenhead, where thirteen classes of workmen, such as fitters, turners, coppersmiths, etc., are employed, the men of six of those classes were receiving less wages in 1869 than in 1854; those of three classes were receiving the same wages; while those of four classes were receiving somewhat higher wages. In the Government dockyard at Sheerness, thirteen classes of workmen are employed. In three of these classes only was there any advance in wages between 1849 and 1859, and that advance was only sixpence a day. Between 1859 and 1869, there was no advance at all in any of the classes, but wages were absolutely stationary throughout the period.
Property in ships stands in the same position as house-property. They may have been built years past, and their original cost repaid long ago. As the service of this kind of property can only be made profitable by the superintendence of skilful ship-captains and able seamen, there is some reason for regarding its monopoly in a more lenient manner than that of house-property, provided that the lives of sailors were less exposed to loss by the shipwreck and foundering of unseaworthy vessels, which is always to be apprehended with those octagonarian hulks, whose cost of construction has long ago been refunded, and whose number is yet legion † in the British mercantile marine.
Property in shares and funds, or derived from the interest
* During the year 1873-74, the following wrecks of old vessels are reported by the official wreck register :-302 wrecks to ships from 30 to 50 years old, 41 between 50 and 60 years old, 13 from 60 to 70, 6 from 70 to 80, 5 from 80 to 90, 2 from 90 to 100, and 2 upwards of 100.
The secretary to Lloyds told a friend of mine that he had not known a single ship broken up fairly by the owners for thirty years. The ship passes from one hand to another, until at last it falls into the hands of some needy speculator, who sends her to sea charged with precious life. 2,654 ships have gone off their class and forfeited their position. What is the consequence of this sort of thing? Why, that continually hundreds of brave men are sent to death, and their wives are made widows, and their children are made orphans, so that a few speculative scoundrels, in whose hearts there is neither the love of God nor the fear of God, may
on money lent, is of all the modes of acquiring wealth the most objectionable; because the amount of labour required from the investor in funds and shares, and from the money-lender in managing this kind of property, is generally reduced to the minimum; consisting, in the first instance, in signing an application formula for shares, giving an order to a stockbroker for a purchase of public funds, or, in the next, advertising that one has money to lend on interest, with or without personal security, but preferable on secure mortgage. Having gone through these preliminary operations, he settles down and quietly watches in his arm-chair the advent of the dates when dividends and interest fall due, and very often appears under the denomination of "the sleeping partner,"--which the commercial and industrial vocabularly would do well to apply to all shareholders, money lenders, possessors of public funds, annuitants, and others, living from the proceeds of capital without performing a single day's work of either a mental or manual kind.
The possessors of money enjoy in this respect a great advantage over the possessors of landed property; for whilst the landlord cannot by any possible means get compound interest out of land, the money-holder can, by the geometrical power of interest on interest, double his accumulations every fourteen years; and if he can secure his ten per cent. (and great numbers of them can do this), he doubles his money every seven years. By the growth of capital on compound interest, one thousand pounds will become sixty-four thousand pounds in a life-time. So powerful is the action of interest of money, that it threatens to put a great number of money lords into the ranks of the aristocracy. The banker Glyn, created Lord Wolverton, is a case in point. In fact, if the laws of primogeniture and entail were abrogated to-morrow, we should soon have a banker or a Jew or a bill discounter in every old hall in England.
make unhallowed gains. There are ship-owners in this country of ours that never either built a ship or bought a new one, but are simply what are called "ship knackers."-Mr. Plimsoll's speech in Parliament, July 22nd, 1875.
CHAPTER IX.-TRADE, WHOLESALE AND RETAIL.
THE work performed in the wholesale and retail trade must be separated into two sections-representing, respectively, that of the merchants and master shopkeepers, and that required of the clerks and shopmen employed by the former-in order to arrive at the true appreciation of its relative social position when compared with other branches of labour.
1. The Merchant.
The labour of the wholesale merchant very rarely entails. upon him any bodily exertion, any exposure to danger upon the highways of the ocean, or in the shafts and levels of mines; for these have to be chanced and braved by the sailor and the miner, whilst the wholesale coal, wine, or tea-merchant is comfortably sitting in a well-sheltered, snug office. The risks and anxieties connected with his commercial operations may be great, but so are also his hopes and his joy in success.
His clerks very often share the same comforts, and, although under-paid, they enjoy the advantage that their work is not connected with any apparent danger to life and limb; yet it is to be regretted that their sedentary occupation is not likely to be conducive to health.
The labour of warehousemen, porters, carmen, draymen, meters, and others employed in wholesale houses, is often very heavy, and not unfrequently connected with bodily hardships, injury, and accidents.
The author emphatically protests against these inequalities in the distribution of labour,* and will be greatly pleased if the remedies he proposes for their removal meet with approbation from the disinterested and enlightened section of the people.
* "The Scriptures represent to us a spiritual deliverance of an invisibly separated people, from spiritual bondage; their establishment in the spiritual land of Christian joy and people; and their being led away out of this land into a spiritual captivity in a great spiritual Babylon, the mother of abominations, and in all active transactions especially delightful to 'merchants '-persons engaged, that is to say, in obtaining profits by exchange instead of labour."-JOHN RUSKIN.