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country cousins. And, further, he showed that the growth is more rapid in girls than in boys. And, probably, the effects of education are felt more keenly by girls than boys. And in connection with this, there is a further matter than preliminary education which is now looming up, dark and gruesome, on the social horizon, and which must not be shirked ; and that is the “higher education of women.” Girls of the lower class escape from the grasp of the school-mistress at the age of thirteen. Not so, however, the girls of a higher social stratum. High schools for girls are now in vogue. But they, again, are not an unalloyed good. The sterner stuff may shine at Girton and Newnham; but how about the frailer creatures 2 How come about those myriads of small slight, petite women, of emotional temperament and feeble digestive capacity, we encounter on all sides; and especially on fashionable promenades 2 They are dwarfed organisms—mediocrities in all measurements. They contrast with the stalwart “mothers of heroes” we still see in the country; those slim spinsters, whose doom it is to die unwed | They are the priestesses and patrons of the circulating library; and the modern novel; but these blighted women are but indifferent material for wife and mother. Town life is not a natural life. If it has certain advantages; it also has sundry drawbacks. The imperfect development of the digestive organs has far-reaching consequences, as we have just seen. Knowledge must precede conduct. The realisation of the fact that the digestive difficulties of town-dwellers lead them to adopt a dietary which is injurious in its after results, will cause them to correct it. Already, indeed, we see many blindly starting out on a new track in the spread of vegetarianism, along with the “Blue Ribbon.” In this action they have not waited for physiology to pronounce an authoritative opinion; but have acted on their own account, guided by some instinctive impulse. Modifications in our food-customs are required for town-dwellers. They should have food which will nourish them and sustain them, without any bad after effects; and which they can digest. Possibly too, before long it will be found that some modification of the existing scheme of education is desirable in the interest of the weaker children. Possibly, too, it may be found that little townmites expand when restored to the country, and can lead a more natural life than that to which, at present, they are condemned by the growth of large towns; which exercise such a malign influence upon those who dwell therein : and especially those who are born and reared in such towns.
J. MILNER FothERGILL. 173
THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL INDUSTRY.
THE labourer is worthy of his hire, but he cannot always get hired. The source of all wealth is the labour of man on the products of the earth, and, if it be true that wealth is the parent of power, the power and greatness of a country depend, in the main, upon the successful employment of labour. There are some considerations connected with this employment which, though they are not put forward as novel, may be profitably brought to notice. Employment is only another word for the opportunity of selling labour, and, without this opportunity, labour is either wasted on something that cannot be sold, or not exerted at all. When times are said to be bad, it is because employment is scarce, and the supply of labour exceeds the demand. These things, it will be said, are truisms, and so they are. If they are repeated here, it is only to serve as standing-ground for other considerations. Employment—the opportunity of exerting labour with remuneration—is the main factor in the production of individual and national wealth. It ever falls short of the demand for it, and is competed for by individuals and nations alike. Setting aside, for the moment, that comparatively small class who live upon their land or capital, we are all—or would be— workers; and the best proof of the high value set upon employment, or the opportunity of working, is the eagerness with which among all classes, it is sought. It is this insufficient supply and consequently high value of employment upon which I desire to fix attention. It is not enough that a man should be willing and competent for the work to which he would devote himself; what he further needs is the opportunity of doing this work, of exercising his industry, with profit. Here lies the great struggle of individual life. The workers are willing and many; but work is ofttimes scarce, and opportunities few. It is a matter of common experience that the openings of employment in the classes above the weekly wage-earners fall short of the demand for a vocation. Vacancies are filled with an eager rush. And so it comes that “employment,” the means of labouring with profit, is a thing which has a distinct value, and, like most other things of value, has a money representative, and is daily bought and sold. The good-will of a public-house, the custom of a shop, the business of a medical practitioner, and the like, are familiar examples; they are all the subjects of purchase and sale; and large sums of money daily change hands, not in remuneration for work done, or to be done, but solely that the workers may have the chance of doing it. Those who buy their way into an established business, and pay for a partner's share, act upon no other principle, and large as the sums thus invested often are, the purchaser finds his account in securing a field for his exertions, and a sale for the application of his capital, his knowledge, or skill. That labour, or rather the produce of labour, should have a money value, and a market, is natural and obvious; that the opportunity of labouring should be bought and sold is not so natural or obvious. But so it is; and in the communities where eager activity does most abound, the opportunity of applying it to a profit naturally commands the highest price. And in this species of traffic the parts of buyer and seller are in a manner inverted. In the sale of labour, the worker brings into existence a product of value which other people buy of him, or he receives pay for his work in the way of salary or wages.
But in the purchase of employment it is not the person who
benefits by the work done, but the worker, who buys and pays; he
pays that he may be allowed to work, and thus get something to sell. Among the classes that live by buying and selling, this.
chance or opportunity of exerting their skill and labour goes by the name of “custom " or “good-will” if it derive its value from a locality or a fixed abode. Now, what is custom ? If a consumer requires an article of any, no matter what, sort, he is (if in a populous neighbourhood) surrounded by perhaps fifty or five hundred people, all willing and all capable of supplying it, and thereby earning the profit which is the natural reward of the
capital, labour, and skill employed in that trade. The consumer
in giving his “custom " to any one of them confers a recognized benefit upon him ; and yet he gives him nothing but the opportunity of exercising his calling, of working, and thereby gaining the price of his work. What an impalpable thing, then, it is 1 He who gives it parts with nothing which is of intrinsic value to him; he who receives it has still to supply the skill, labour, and capital for which his pay or profit is no more than a remuneration, and yet it is the subject of the most active competition, and is sought with a zeal that never fails. Among those who live by buying and selling, we know how keen the struggle is. Some seek it by the exertion of superior skill or taste in the selection of stock, or adroitness in the management of business; others by the temptation of low prices, or varied facilities and attractions addressed to the world of buyers; others, again, by the never-failing stimulus of advertisement. The money spent on advertisement is enormous; but, great as it is, it is less in value than the “custom’ which it purchases. If the classes above those that work for weekly wages thus struggle for employment, and are willing even to pay largely for it, to the wage-earner it is not only a want but an absolute need, though it is rarely or never the subject of a purchase or price. In truth it would hardly be so in most cases, for the wage-earner is commonly hired by the week, the artizan even by the hour, and their continuous employment cannot be guaranteed, depending as it does upon the quality of the work done, and the shifting needs of the business or undertaking in hand. Where so little certainty for continuous employment can be guaranteed there is little to sell, little worth the worker's while to buy, even had he the means, which, with those living by weekly wages, will not often be the case. From these reflections upon the high value of employment to the individual, I turn to the national results which must inevitably attend its scarcity or abundance. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to form a reliable guess as to the amount of loss at times involved in enforced idleness or only partial employment, or the aggregate value of the labouring power which in the course of a year is thus rendered fruitless to the community. How many in all the higher ranks of workers are there who could not, and would not, get through a much greater amount of work than they actually do if they had the chance 2 Among the more educated and intellectual classes of workers how many are there who can say that their hands are full and would refuse more business if they had the offer of it 2 The lawyer, the doctor, the stockbroker, the banker, the engineer, the surveyor, the architect, and then the whole army of those that buy and sell ; where is there an occupation, or calling, to be found in which the individual (with rare exceptions) does not strive for more business, more work, and consequently more pay, more means of enjoyment to the individual, and in every individual case a greater addition to the national wealth 2 Is it not the fact that employment, the opportunity for skilled exertion, and the wealth thereby obtained, ever falls short of the demand for it 2 Among the educated classes, as generation succeeds generation, is not the profitable occupation of the young as they rise into manhood the object of intense anxiety to the old? A start in life, an opening in business, how vehemently sought ! how sharply contested sometimes how lavishly bought ! And yet what is it, this opening, this start in life? It is not a thing of substance in itself, it is not wealth. Everything that is to be got from it has to be afterwards worked for, and the actual receipts of the worker are nothing but the market price of the work he has done. Employment which costs the giver of it nothing, and brings nothing to the employed beyond the pay which is due to him for such work as he may do, how comes it that it should be sharply contested ? There can be but one reason, because the supply of it falls short of the demand. But this, it may be said, only postpones the question in place of answering it; for why is it that the supply so falls short 2 I will not pursue this question. I have gone far enough if I have fixed attention upon the following truths: that employment is the one great object of a ceaseless struggle among individuals in all ranks and classes; and that it ever falls short of the desire and demand for it. What is true of individuals is equally true of individuals grouped together, of communities, of nations. Each nation desires employment for its own population, and competes for it. To secure it, therefore, for his own people, is the object of every statesman worthy of the name; to disregard it is to neglect his country's best interests. Looked at, then, in a national point of view the employment of the population takes the first place, or ought to do so, among the considerations which determine the action of the State in all matters relating to trade Or COInnerCe. It will bear a closer investigation. If labour is the source of all wealth, a day of enforced idleness is a day's pay or wage lost— irretrievably lost. The working power was there, the means of exerting it absent; the value of the day's labour has as surely passed away beyond recall from the community as the day itself. A wage-earner out of work, a factory hand working half time, a shop with a shrinking custom, every day that passes over their heads is a day of lost opportunity, of lost or diminished wealth, something to be deducted from the possible earnings of the nation. The causes of shrinkage in the demand for the productions of industry are many and various; some that we are able at times to recognize, and others that elude our keenest search, and comparatively little can be done, perhaps, at periods of great depression, by laws or special contrivances to affect the result. But whatever the causes which determine the supply of employment, the paramount value of it is a fact that emerges from all thoughtful contemplation of the sources of national wealth.