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countries and with our colonial possessions. No theory of exchanges has explained the causes of those periodical ebbs and flows in commerce and trade, and political economy is almost silent with regard to them.
The one impressive fact which the preceding sketch teaches is, that the recurrent fluctuations in trade are so regular as to become calculable. But the mere fact of being able to calculate their recurrence does not enable us to control them. Still, the foreknowledge, if wisely utilized, might mitigate some of the evils attendant upon them, and prevent some of the misery which invariably ensues. The fluctuations in trade, such as I have described, are bad in themselves and baneful in their operations and influence. We alternate between high-pressure speed and short time. In a period of even moderate prosperity the output is so increased that production outruns consumption. A portion of the extra profits, or accumulated capital as it is called, is employed in extending and developing rapid production; new mills are erected and fitted with improved machinery to be run at full speed on a spurt, and to slacken almost to silence when the temporary pressure is over. So great is the power of production in most of our staple industries, that with two or three months of high-pressure production, the machinery in full swing and all hands employed, our warehouses and storehouses are filled to overflowing.
Not content with working "full time,'' employers seek to enforce overtime, and the workpeople too readily fall in with the arrangement. The result is inevitable and disastrous, especially to the latter. An example of the pernicious effects of overtime is furnished by the return for which I moved in the House of Commons in the last Parliament. It appears that in March, 1886, the number of persons employed at the Government establishments at Woolwich and Enfield was 12,390. As there were rumors of a large reduction in the staff, and, in fact, many workmen had been discharged, I thought it would be useful if I could obtain a return of the number of hours worked overtime during the preceding two years. The return was granted. From it we learn
that systematic overtime was worked to the extent of 548,568 hours in 1884, in 1885 the total reached 4,832,950 hours, and in the two first months of 1886 no fewer than 601,139 hours of overtime were worked. The average hours so worked in 1885, and in the months of January and February, 1886, show the following result: the 7,760 men working overtime in 1885 each made a day and a half extra, so that every four men superseded one man to the extent of one full day per week. Similarly, in the first two months of 1886, the 6,267 men working overtime displaced one-fourth of that number, and thus kept them out of employment. Besides which 39,798 hours in 1885, and 44,296 hours in the two months of 1886, were worked in night shifts. This serious displacement" of labor was being carried on in Government departments at a time when the unemployed were clamoring for work and bread.
The trades employed in those two establishments consisted of engineers, fitters, forgers, smiths, boiler-makers, moulders, iron shipbuilders, wheelwrights, carpenters, joiners, masons, bricklayers, painters, laborers, men of other subsidiary trades, and boys, besides foremen, time-keepers, writers, and draughtsmen. The extent to which this pernicious system of systematic overtime is worked is immense, and it carries with it no corresponding advantages. The extra money earned by the men is usually squandered, for their overtaxed energies require stimulants to keep up the strain. And even at the best the money so earned only partially helps to regain the pawned goods put away during slackness of trade. Employers and employed, and society generally, should discourage this method of swelling the ranks of the unemployed, and of perpetuating a system the tendency of which is to produce fluctuations in industrial pursuits, and maximize the evils of which we complain.
If the trade of the country generally is, and has been, in the comparatively healthy condition represented in a previous portion of this paper, and more particularly in the former paper on depression in trade, how is it that we have heard so much of late about the unemployed"? I omit some reasons that
might be given, as not germane to the subject in hand, and ask, Can there be scarcity of employment with an increasing output and enlarged exports? The answer is, emphatically, Yes. The continual improvement in the producing power of machinery alone may suffice for a reason.
It is difficult to obtain reliable comparative statistics as to the relative output now and that of ten or fifteen years ago; but one or two examples will help to establish my case. The output of coal per miner in 1873 reached 250 tons per man, an amount never previously attained. In 1874 it was 235 tons, and in 1875 it was 245 tons per man. The output increased from that date until 1879, when the total output was 280 tons per man. The average for the five years ending 1879 was 269 tons per miner. The total output rose to 318 tons per man in 1883, the average for the five years ending 1884 being 311 tons per man, an increase of 42 gross tons of 21 cwt. per man per annum. The average output of pig-iron per furnace in 1870 was 173 tons, in 1875 it was 194 tons, in 1880 it was 263 tons, and in 1884 it was 261 tons per furnace, so that the number of furnaces in blast. is no longer any criterion as to the make of pig-iron or other material from iron or iron ores. Mr. Jeans estimated the output of iron ore in England at 559 tons per miner in 1881, and of coal in the same year as 349 tons per miner. In the preceding calculation the average is obtained by dividing the total output by the total number of hands employed, of all kinds, and not merely by the actual miners and others working with them.
The growth of the cotton industries in comparison with the number of persons employed will be made manifest by the following table :
Here then we have a total increase of 6,630,163 spindles and 120,279 looms, with only an increase of 53,982 employés, all told, since 1870, and of that number only 17,219 were males "of and above thirteen years of age. It would be interesting to know how many of these were above the age of twentyone years, but the factory inspectors' reports are silent upon this point. The number of spindles to each operative has gone on increasing from 63 in 1851 until they now number 83 per operative. A comparison of the number of spindles to each operative is given by Mr. Mulhall for various countries, thus: Great Britain 83, United States 66, Germany 46, France 24, Russia, Austria, and India 20 each, so that Great Britain shows better by 54 per cent. than the average of the seven countries compared. The woollen industries stand thus :
15,277 406,048 226,021 28,673
Of the total increase of persons employed, 16,854 were males of thirteen years of age and upward, or about onethird of the total; all the rest (or twothirds) were either women or children. The vast increase of productive power is manifest in both these branches of
the woollen trade, without a proportionate increase of persons employed compared with fifteen years previously. Hemp factories have increased from 35 in 1870 to 107 in 1885, looms from 107 to 779, spinning spindles from 27,960 to 38,586, doubling spindles from 4.351 to 7,909, persons employed from 3,150 to 9.946. In flax and shoddy there is little to detain us, as both industries have been undergoing changes during the last fifteen years.
In the jute trade the factories have increased from 63 in 1870 to 120 in 1885; spinning spindles from 109,000 to 253,179, doubling spindles from 6,156 to 11,024, looms from 4,330 to 12,083, persons employed from 17,570 to 41,674. Here again the increase in productive power is immensely in advance of the relative increase in the number of persons employed. No comparison can be instituted with respect to the hosiery, lace, elastic, and hair trades, as the returns are very incomplete. Silk shows a decrease of 5 factories, of 52,039 spinning and 15,654 doubling spindles, of 412 looms, and of 5,129 persons employed.
As the shipping trades more nearly concern the East-end of London than any of the other trades, they therefore should be cited as an example of increasing power with positively diminished employment. The effects, how ever, are not confined to any one port, all seaport towns being similarly affected. In the first place there is a decrease in the number of sailing vessels from 19,650 in 1871 to 13,775 in 1885. Decrease of tonnage, 1,023,995; decrease of persons employed, 50,067. Steam vessels, 1871, number 2,557; tonnage, 1,290,003; persons employed, 58,703. In 1885, number 5,016; tonnage, 3,889,600; persons employed, 107,813. Increase of steam vessels, 2,459; of tonnage, 2,599.597; of persons employed, 49, 110. That is, while the total number of persons engaged in seafaring is slightly less in 1885 than in 1871, the total tonnage of our mercantile marine has increased by 1,575,602. But it is manifest that in changing from sailing to steam ships our marine has increased its carrying power three times as rapidly as its tonnage, for increased speed involves increased carrying power. NEW SERIES.-VOL XLV., No. 6
Every kind of mechanical and laborsaving appliance is also employed about the docks for loading and unloading, so that here again scarcity of employment is one of the results of our increased prosperity, commercially speaking. Besides which a large number of our sailors are now foreigners, and foreigners also displace our dock-laborers in the matter of loading and unloading vessels.
In the more essentially domestic trades, such as tailoring, shoemaking, and the like, sewing machines, and cutting machines, enable a dozen workers to complete from one-half to twothirds more than that number did formerly. There is scarcely an industry in which the relative production, per person employed, is not greater than it was only fifteen years ago. In all the mechanical trades the amount of work done per man is greater, in consequence of the improved appliances which are brought to bear wherever practicable. Thus labor tends to become more scarce while the population increases.
One of the aspects of this augmented speed of production is that there is little room for the older hands. Young, strong men are required, and those who have grown gray in years and ripe in experience have to give place to younger and less experienced men. It is inexpressibly sad to see competent men, for the crime of having a few gray hairs on their heads, thus displaced. Of course the younger men must have their chance, but the sadness of the fact remains, nevertheless. In proportion as laborsaving appliances increase the productive power of individual hands, so employment tends to become scarcer.
Other points deserve notice. There are two factors which affect manufactures at home, the one, scarcity of employment, discussed in the preceding. pages, the other, a contraction of the means of purchasing commodities on the part of any large section of the people. The diminution of profits and of rents have told with bitter effect upon some kinds of manufactures, especially upon those more or less regarded in the light of articles of luxury. Artistic tastes will not be gratified when a man's means can barely secure the necessaries of life. We have heard a good deal lately about the necessity for retrench
ment, and the ill effects thereof, from the rich and comparatively well-to-do classes. And many point to the empty mansions and the slackness in artistic trades as evidence of the disastrous results of lessened profits. There can be no doubt as to the diminished profits, or as to certain ill effects that have followed them. But the very people who complain of these things suggest as a remedy lower wages for the working people. This means lessening their power of consumption by diminishing their means of purchase. How it is possible to increase production, and therewith employment, by decreasing consumption, is quite beyond my comprehension. In my humble judgment it must have the contrary effect. If the contraction of the means of the richer classes-comparatively few in numberis disastrous to industry, what must the result be when the purchasing power of the masses of the population is reduced? It seems clear to me that in proportion to the numbers whose means are curtailed, so must be diminished the demand for commodities, and consequently for the labor necessary for their production. I hold the opinion that the average wages of our working people are too low, and that further reductions can only intensify our commercial difficulties. What are the average wages of our teeming millions of workers? Of course we have no absolutely reliable data by which to obtain so useful a piece of information. The condition. The condition of the people is not yet regarded as of supreme importance, but it will be presently. Meanwhile we have to depend upon speculative statistics for the information. Mr. J. S. Jeans, in his valuable paper On the Comparative Efficiency and Earnings of Labor at Home and Abroad," read before the Statistical Society in December, 1884, gives a very lucid table of all the chief industries. From this we learn that for 12,677,794 persons employed the average wage amounted to 18s. 4d. per week. this computation general laborers are not included. Eighteen shillings and fourpence per week! What can be spared out of this for cottons, woollens, furniture, boots and shoes, and the like? Even if we add on an average 4s. or 4S. 6d. for the earnings of women and chil
dren, enough to make the earnings 22s. ΟΙ 23s. per week, what does it all amount to? The marvel is that the workmen do so much with their wages, not that they do so little, seeing that one-sixth of their weekly wage is absorbed in rent and taxes alone.
But even if we take the better-paid trades, such as the engineers, what do we find? Their wages are given at 225. per week on the average. I have before me a comparative table, prepared by the secretary of the "Friendly Society of Ironfounders of England, Ireland, and Wales," giving a variety of interesting information extending over thirty years. In this trade, which in past years enjoyed exceptional immunity from labor disputes, the average wages during the ten years ended 1884 was £1 6s. 6d. per week, a rise of 3d. per week compared with 1865-74. There are few trades which can show such a record. Out of this the members-some 12,000 in number-pay from Is. to Is. 3d. per week to the society, and no fewer than 1,776 of the total number were on the average unemployed during the whole decade (1875-84). Besides, from 1855 to 1864 the proportion of unemployed was 12.6, from 1865 to 1874 the ratio was 12.2, from 1875 to 1884 the ratio was 14.8, of the total number of members. What margin is there, even here, for purchasing manufactured commodities, except those absolutely needed, from week to week? It is all very well to talk of the current wages,'' but the real test is the average for the year.
Let it not be supposed that I wish only to provoke demands for higher wages. There is a craving, too, on the part of workmen for more leisure, which deserves to be gratified. In any case, if circumstances justify a rise in wages, the men are justified in taking the value in coin or in time, as suits them best, with due consideration for the other interests involved.
A reduction of working hours does not necessarily imply a proportionate diminution of the labor actually performed. The longer hours worked on the Continent do not give an equal value, in actual performance, to the shorter hours worked by Englishmen in any branch of trade. This fact is established beyond dispute. It is, moreover,
(2.) The necessity for cheapened production, in order to compete with the foreigner, has developed labor-saving appliances, which tend to further displace manual labor in most manufacturing industries.
fallacious to suppose that by reducing crease in the number of persons emthe hours from nine to eight employed, and that the proportion of perployment will be found for one-eighth sons employed to the aggregate output or one-ninth more persons. Speedier has declined in a most marked degree means of production will be found, and since 1870. more work will be done per hour as soon as the energies of the men are taxed for a shorter time per day. Nevertheless, a larger number will share in the aggregate employment than at present, and a refusal to work overtime, unless on emergency, will help to swell the number of extra hands which will be able to find work. In a community, as in a family, all should have a share. This does not mean that the share should in all respects be equal; equality of share can only result from equality of conditions, acquirements, energy, skill, perseverance, sobriety, and other qualities, natural and acquired. A share is one thing, an equal share is another; the former is rightful, the latter is impossible.
At the same time there are in nations, as in families, the seeds of decay when one portion feasts to satiety while another portion droops and dies of hunger. No universal panacea can be found to cure all the evils, social and otherwise, which inflict suffering upon humanity. The man who thinks that he holds such a recipe is a quack, whether he believes in his own wonderful discovery or not. The evils are the result of many and diversified causes, and the remedies therefore must be such as are adapted to each case.
The conclusions to be drawn from the preceding pages are :
(1.) That with an increased output there has not been a proportionate in
(3.) It appears that overtime is worked to a much greater extent than is generally supposed, and more than the exigencies of trade, manufacturing industry, and commerce really require, and overtime-work aggravates the scarcity of employment.
(4.) That the means of the masses of the working people are such that their purchasing powers are too limited to give that healthy tone to trade which it would have were they enabled to consume more largely the manufactured articles which they are perpetually engaged in producing, more with the view of supplying other markets than for home consumption.
(5.) The most important fact, perhaps, which has been established in the preceding pages is that the fluctuations in trade are recurrent; that they reappear periodically with almost as much regularity as the seasons. It would seem, therefore, that they are calculable, if not determinate, and consequently the distress which accompanies depression can be and ought to be provided for in some way-individually, or by state aid, or by local effort, or by all combined.Fortnightly Review.
THE PERMANENCE OF NATIONAL CHARACTER. EVERYBODY Who looks at politics from either the historic or the philosophical point of view, is asking just now whether it is possible that a grave change has passed over the English national character. The people have seemed for some time so irresolute, so devoid of self-confidence, so timid in decision, so incompetent to state in what morality they believe, so reluctant to inflict suffering, and above all, so ineffective in ac
tion, that the question is not unreasonable, and the usual answer is obviously insufficient. The people, it is customary to say, have not changed, but the depositaries of power have. The country is now governed by the proletariat, and it is foolish to expect from a proletariat the qualities displayed either by a middle class or by an aristocracy. The Ten-pounders were not sentimental, but the Householders are. That answer