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example, that if workmen are allowed to recognition. It remains now to indicate sbare in the profits they will insist upon the way in which this experience from the seeing the books, and will distrust the re- past may be utilized for the future. To turns made by the masters. To this it is some the natural conclusion would be that answered that the accounts might be sub- a tree which has borne so little fruit for mitted to sworn accountants, whose deci- half a century might now be cut down and sion should be final. But, again, it is burned. To my mind, however, to conobjected that the rate of profit earned must tinue the simile, what the tree needs is a necessarily be made public, seeing that the liberal use of the pruning knife and the amount of bonus will depend upon it, and lopping off of a mass of luxuriant but unthus, if the rate is high, that competition fruitful foliage. might be increased, while, in case of bad In the first place, in the light of experitrade, it is feared that the non-payment of ence and in the present condition of ina bonus after a payment for some years dustry, it is ridiculous to suppose that might even lead to a partial loss of credit. profit-sharing" can be a substitute for Thus, whether profits were very high or trade unions. Any ordinary firm which very low it would not be to the advantage intends to give the system a fair trial of the firm that the fact should be known. should be prepared to leave the employés Again, it is said that in years of good trade absolutely free to take part in the meetings large profits might be earned for a time, and policy of the unions, just as it should which were in no way due to the extra ex. reserve to itself the right of joining comertions or carefulness of the inen (as in the binations of the masters. The reason for case of the Whitwood Collieries during the this course is obvious.
A bonus on wages, great inflation), and that these profits ought after the reserved profits have been allotted to be set against the exceptional losses of to the masters, is not an economic equiva depression, in which, although the work- alent for the abandonment by the men of men may not receive a bonus, they never their unions, which have so much influence sbare in the actual loss.
in determining the rates of wages and the The general result of all these objections conditions of employment. Again, the is that, rightly or wrongly, masters think unions are so strong in a great number of that under a system of profit-sharing their industries, that it would be extremely improfits would, in the long run, be less, and politic for a new and weakly institution to that they would also be hampered in the provoke their hostility. management of their business. Experience Secondly, it must be remembered that has shown that these fears are certainly the so-called share in the profits is simply exaggerated, and also that they are gener- an addition to and not a substitute for ally expressed by those who have never wages.
wages. Even if the system were adopted given the system a trial ; but at the same almost universally, the working-classes time they do much toward explaining the would still in the main depend upon the small amount of favor which the system ordinary rate of wages, which again is debas practically received from the great termined by the conditions of industrial mass of employers. When the other rea- demand and supply. All that trade unions sons already advanced are also taken into themselves can do is to see that the best account, it is not difficult to understand bargain is made which the conditions of the why profit-sharing has hitherto altogether market allow; and profit-sharing can do failed to realize the expectations formed of it by very good judges, and few would Profit-sharing as such furnishes no now be inclined to endorse the opinion of guarantee against instability of earnings Prof. Jevons * in 1870, that “the sharing and fluctuations in employment. sys. of profits is one of those apparently simple tem of division of the proceeds can be a inventions at the simplicity of which men guarantee that the proceeds will be forthwill wonder in an after-age.
coming. The greatest perseverance would The method of inquiry hitherto pursued be no remedy against over-production or in this paper has been, in the main, to the loss of a foreign market, or an enorconsider why this " apparently simple in- mous rise in the price of raw material, or vention" has met with so little practical the popular adoption of some substitute
for an old staple. But in the great mass *" Methods of Social Reform," p. 125.
of industries, fluctuations in wages and em
ployment are the most crying evils of the kind must be advantageous to all conday. In some businesses of a peculiar char- cerned.
cerned. The master obtains a share of the acter and with well-established custom these income in proportion to his wages of suevils are not felt, but the great industries perintendence, and the workmen obtain of a manufacturing country are not of this their bonus on wages. If this bonus is fortunate kind. Thus, profit-sharing at paid at considerable intervals, or is investthe best will not of itself be a sufficient ed in the form of shares, the compulsory remedy for some of the most serious evils saving thus effected is strictly analogous to affecting labor.
that which has produced such good results Thirdly, there are other methods of ob- in the old co-operative societies. taining the social advantages connected The question has been treated on the with the most celebrated examples of whole from the business point of view, and profit-sharing. It is not every business profit-sharing has been considered mainly that could provide, like that of M. Godin, as increasing the efficiency of the producfor the education, amusement, and general tive agents ; but the more successful the comfort of its members, and the example system is as a method of business, so much in this country which comes the nearest to the more will it tend to bring about those it—Saltaire-does not, I believe, adopt the moral and social results for which in most profit-sharing principle. Supposing that quarters it is generally recommended. The profit-sharing were as widely spread as its constant effort to make the most of the most ardent supporters desire, it would concern, the creation of a keen esprit de probably not be an unmixed gain for the corps among the workers, the knowledge country at large if, for general social pur- that to a large extent the interests of masposes, every business establishment aimed ters and men are identical, the application at becoming self-sufficing and independent. of a share of the profits to social purposes,
When, however, all this pruning has the opportunity for the gradual accumulabeen accomplished, the stem and its main tion of capital out of extra earnings, and branches-the principle and its logical con- the consequent sense of independence—all sequences -are left intact. And that prin- these are factors which make for the moral ciple, as pointed out at the outset of this elevation both of masters and men, and article, is not a principle of charity or tend to diminish the friction between philanthropy, but essentially an economic classes. If profit-sharing is a business principle. In every business in which tiine- success, there is little doubt that the rest wages are paid there is always a great waste will follow. Even in private firms it is of time. Nor can this waste be considered those on the margin of bankruptcy, and as a pleasure to the workmen themselves. not those with exceptional profits, which Everyone knows that it is really much give labor the least reward for the hardest more pleasant to work with brisk, lively work. The best business for the master energy, and with interest, than to idle and is, as a rule, best also for the men. But dawdle, and be always looking at the clock if profit-sharing does not prove a good Again, if piece work is adopted, it is well method of business, it is vain to talk of known that quality is sacrificed to quanti- the social improvements which would folty, unless the supervision is stringent and low on its general adoption-for the simple effective.
reason that it will never be generally But so long as the time-worker is paid adopted. simply for time, and the piece-worker for An illustration may be taken from coquantity, there will be a loss in the value operation. The co-operative societies for of the output, a loss which is a gain to distributive purposes among the working nobody. Apart from this, there is a fur- classes have been a wonderful success. ther loss in the waste of material, careless- Great Britain they have a membership of ness in the use of machinery, and the like, about 900,000, and sell goods to the when the workers have no interest in the amount of nearly £33,000,000 per annum. general result. Accordingly it is quite The net profits are about £3,000,000. clear that in most businesses there is room Now, after making full allowance for the for extra earnings, and the best way to moral enthusiasm of the original founders, secure this end is to give a large share to and for the co-operative spirit of the presthose who by their efforts or care contrib- ent members, there can be little doubt that ute to the result. Profit-sharing of this this great success is in the main to be
ascribed to economic causes-e.g., better the permanent benefit of the workmen by
Could a more convincing proof be and again the principal causes of failure offered of the contention that however atare purely economic-e..., competition tractive may be the moral aspects of profitand inferior business capacity.
sharing it must, for practical purposes, be But the co-operative movement furnishes considered in the first place as a matter of a still more definite illustration of the po- business? It is too much to hope that the sition that profit-sharing must in the first ordinary capitalist will regard the question placc stand or fall on its economic merits. from a higher standpoint than the manAt the Co-operative Congress in 1888 * it agers of the co-operative distributing agenwas recommended that, “ by whomsoever cies which also take up production, enproductive enterprises are established-by couraged as they are by the public opinion either the wholesale or distributive socie- of the great body of co-operators. ties, or by organizations of the working- Profit-sharing is capable of a inuch wider men themselves—an alliance be formed on extension than it has yet attained, but the equitable conditions for the sharing of first condition of success is that the nature profits and risks between the worker, the of the economic principles on which it capitalist, and the consumer. A
copy of rests, as well as the industrial forces with this resolution was sent to the different so- which it must work, should be fully realcieties, and questions were put in a circular ized. as to their treatment of their workers. At the same time the stress laid on the “To this circular only 199 sent replies, of business side of the question in this paper which 138 said that they had no produc- must not be misunderstood. The ideal of tive works, wbile 61 gave replies more or profit-sharing is to make the best use not less full to the question : 'Does the so- only of the physical strength and the techciety admit the workers employed in it nical skill, but also of the moral energy of productively to any share in the profits of all the workers, the managers included ; its business?'” Five societies only replied and the principal obstacle in its path, as in the affirmative and 46 in the negative. f in every department of industrial progress, To the question : “ Would the society be lies in the fact, noticed at the outset, that disposed to enter into any plan by which the economic value of moral forces is conthe whole profits in production, or any, or stantly underrated.- Westminster Review. what part of them might be applied for
ABSOLUTE POLITICAL ETHICS.
BY HERBERT SPENCER.
Life in Fiji .at the time when Thomas have had unpleasant waking thoughts and Williams settled there must have been occasionally horrible dreams. A man who something worse than uncomfortable. had lost some fingers for breaches of cereOne of the people who passed near the mony, or had seen his neighbor killed by string of nine hundred stones with which a chief for behavior not sufficiently reRa Úndreundre recorded the number of spectful, and who remembered how King human victims he had devoured, must Tanoa cut off his cousin's arm, cooked it
See Report for 1889, p. 28, and Appendix and ate it in his presence, and then had VIII., p. 40.
him cut to pieces, must not unfrequently + The returns referred to were made by the have had " a bad quarter of an hour." distributive societies, and do not include those Nor could creeping sensations have failed occupied only with production. The figures to run through any women who heard Tui quoted in the Appendix (apparently later) are 264 replies-181 no productive works, 10 af. Thakan eulogizing his dead son for cruelfirmative, and 61 negative.
ty, and saying that “ he could kill his own
wives if they offended him, and eat them the man's wagons and take out the horses afterward." Happiness could not bave until payment had been made. Suppose been general in a society where there was the farm laborer or the artisan was cona liability to be one among the ten whose stantly in doubt whether, at the end of life-blood baptized the decks of a new the week, the wages agreed upon would canoe-a society in which the killing even be forthcoming, or whether he would get of unoffending persons was no crime but only half, or whether he would have to a glory ; and in which every one knew wait six inonths. Suppose that daily in that his neighbor's restless ambition was every shop there occurred scuffles between to be an acknowledged murderer. Still shopman and customer, the one to get the there must have been some moderation in money without giving the goods, and the murdering even in Fiji. Or must we other to get the goods without paying the hesitate to conclude that unlimited murder money. What in such case would happen would have caused extinction of the so- to the society? What would become of ciety!
its producing and distributing businesses ? The extent to which each man's
Is it a rash inference that industrial cosions among the Biluchis are endangered operation (of the voluntary kind at least) by the predatory instincts of his neigh- would cease ? bors, may be judged from the fact that “Why these absurd questions ?" asks
a small mud tower is erected in each the impatient reader. Surely every one field, where the possessor and his retainers knows that murder, assault, robbery, fraud, guard his produce.” If turbulent states breach of contract, etc., are at variance of society such as early histories tell of, do with social welfare and must be punished not show us so vividly how the babit of when committed.” My replies are several. appropriating one another's goods inter. In the first place, I am quite content to feres with social prosperity and individual have the questions called absurd ; because comfort, yet they do not leave us in doubt this implies a consciousness that the anrespecting these results. It is an inference swers are so self-evident that it is absurd which few will be hardy enough to dis- to assume the possibility of any other anpute, that in proportion as the time of My second reply is that I am not each man, instead of being occupied in desirous of pressing the question whether further production, is occupied in guard- we know these things, but of pressing the ing that which he has produced against question how we know these things. Can marauders, the total production must be we know them, and do we know them, by diminished and the sustentation of each contemplating the necessities of the case ? and all less satisfactorily achieved. And or must we have recourse to inductions it is a manifest corollary that if each based on careful observation and experipushes beyond a certain limit the practice ence" ? Before we make and enforce of trying to satisfy his needs by robbing laws against murder, ought we to inquire his neighbor, the society 'must dissolve into the social welfare and individual bapsolitary life will prove preferable.
piness in places where murder prevails, A deceased friend of mine, narrating and observe whether or not the welfare incidents in his life, told me that as a and happiness are greater in places where young man he sought to establish himself murder is rare ! Shall robbery be allowed in Spain as a commission agent; and that, to go on until, by collecting and tabulatfailing by expostulation or other means to ing the effects in countries where thieves obtain payment from one who had ordered predominate and in countries where thieves goods through him, he, as a last resource, are but few, we are shown by induction went to the man's house and presented that prosperity is greater when each man himself before him pistol in hand-a pro- allowed to retain that which he has earned ? ceeding which had the desired effect : the And is it needful to prove by accumulated account was settled. Suppose now that evidence that breaches of contract impede everywhere contracts had thus to be en- production and exchange, and those beneforced by more or less strenuous measures. fits to each and all which mutual depen. Suppose that a coal-mine proprietor in dence achieves ? In the third place, these Derbysbire, having sent a train load to a instances of actions which, pushed to exLondon coal-merchant, had commonly to tremes, cause social dissolution, and which, send a posse of colliers up to town, to stop in smaller degrees, hinder social co-opera.
tion and its benefits, I give for the pur- other, his implied belief that they might pose of asking what is their common trait. come to have a little respect for one anIn each of such actions we see aggression other's lives, condemned as utterly without
-a carrying on of Jife in a way which justification in experience, would be condirectly interferes with the carrying on of sidered as fit only for a wild speculator. another's life. The relation between Facts furnished by every-day observation effort and consequent benefit in one man, make it clear to the Biluchi, keeping watch is either destroyed altogether or partially in his mud-tower, that possession of propbroken by the doings of another man. If erty can be maintained only by force ; it be admitted that life can be maintained and it is most likely to bim scarcely cononly by certain activities (the internal ones ceivable that there exist limits which, if being universal, and the external ones be- mutually recognized, may exclude aggres. ing universal for all but parasites and the sions, and make it needless to mount guard immature), it must be admitted that when over fields : only an absurd idealist (suplike-natured beings are associated, the re- posing such a thing known to him) would quired activities must be mutually limited ; suggest the possibility. And so even of and that the highest life can result only our own ancestors in feudal times, it may when the associated beings are so consti- be concluded that, constantly going about tuted as severally to keep within the im- armed and often taking refuge in strong. plied limits. The restrictions stated thus holds, the thought of a peaceful social generally, may obviously be developed into state would have seemed ridiculous ; and special restrictions referring to this or that the belief that there might be a recognized kind of conduct. These, then, I hold are equality among men's claims to pursue the à priori truths which admit of being known objects of life, and a consequent desistance by contemplation of the conditionsmax- from aggressions, would have been scarceiomatic truths which bear to ethics a rela- ly conceivable. But now that an orderly tion analogous to that which the mathe- social state has been maintained for genmatical axioms bear to the exact sciences. erations-now that in daily intercourse
I do not mean that these axiomatic men rarely use violence, commonly pay truths are cognizable by all.
what they owe, and in most cases respect prehension of them, as for the apprehen- the claims of the weak as well as those of sion of simpler axioms, a certain mental the strong-now that they are brought up growth and a certain mental discipline are with the idea that all men are equal before necded. In the Treatise on Natural the law, and daily see judicial decisions Philosophy by Professors Thomson and turning upon the question whether one Tait, it is remarked that“ physical axions citizen has or has not infringed upon the are axiomatic to those only who have equal rights of another; there exist in the sufficient knowledge of the action of phys- general mind materials for forming the ical causes to enable them to see at once conception of a régime in which men's actheir necessary truth.” Doubtless a fact tivities are mutually limited, and in which and a significant fact. A plough-boy can- maintenance of harmony depends on renot form a conception of the axiom that spect for the limits. There has arisen an action and reaction are equal and opposite. ability to see that mutual limitations are In the first place, he lacks a sufficiently necessitated when lives are carried ou in generalized idea of action-bas not united proximity ; and to see that there necesinto one conception pushing and pulling, sarily emerge definite sets of restraints apthe blow of a fist, the recoil of a gun, and plying to definite classes of actions. And tbe attraction of a planet. Still less has it has become manifest to some, though he any generalized idea of reaction. And not it seems to many, that there results an even had he these two ideas, it is probable à priori system of absolute political ethics that, defective in power of representation -a system under which men of like naas be is, he would fail to recognize the tures, severally so constituted as spontanecessary equality. Similarly with these neously to refrain from trespassing, may à priori ethical truths. If a speculative work together without friction, and with member of that Fijian slave-tribe who re- the greatest advantage to each and all. garded themselves as food for the chiefs But men are not wholly like-natured had suggested that there might come a and are unlikely to become so. place where men would not eat one an- they so constituted that each is solicitous
For the ap