Work for the Workers:
Wealth to the NationBy Charles M. Dupuy.
Henry Carey Baird & Co.,. Philadelphia. Industrial Publishers, Booksellers, and Importers, 810 Walnut Street. 1876.
Philadelphia: Collins, Printer, 705 Jayne Street.
Work for the Workers: Wealth to the Nation.
The steady and profitable employment of the people should be the highest aim of government. Its encouragement to thrift and industry is all-important to social progress. Generally idleness is distasteful. Men like to be usefully and profitably employed. Organized for action, their highest pleasure is in activity. By wise legislation all the people should be encouraged to use their wasted faculties so as to become a hive of busy bodies—either of brain or hand.
Millions Lost by Idleness.
As it stands to-day, there is a sad lack of opportunity. With the exhaustless productiveness of the earth to mine, to cultivate, to explore, the channels of industry are everywhere blocked and gorged, and the hand of labor is palsied. The earth teems with raw material, awaiting the magic transformation of man's energies; but labor stands idle in the market-places, and capital lies piled up uselessly in banks. Millions of men are either in enforced idleness, or are unprofitably employed.
The waste of productive energy may be counted by the daily loss of millions of dollars, and yet all this is but an atom in comparison to the miseries of the people, the shipwreck of human life, and the general demoralization from enforced idleness.
Want of employment leads to discouragement, hopelessness, and despair. It overflows almshouses, charitable institutions, prison-houses, and penitentiaries. It degrades manhood. It ruins families. Misery, crime, and suicide follow in its wake. It supplies ready victims for the gallows.
Enough for all.
The world is neither over-populated, nor are its crude products all utilized. Properly organized there would be ample room for all—from the lowest to the highest,—without conflict, and without pressure. Mankind is paying a heavy penalty for his imperfect organization of society in the large loss of material prosperity that would otherwise be promoted.
Better food, clothing, shelter, recreation, and amusements are needed for the comfort of all. More farms should be cultivated, manufactures developed, railroads built, rivers and harbors improved, machinery originated and perfected.
Opportunities naturally exist for the energies of all, but man's selfishness, in establishing an excessive money value and interest, sanctioned for ages by law and usage, has wrought universal deprivation and suffering.
The impoverishment of the people through an inability to earn, has curtailed consumption and markets, while the ever-increasing productiveness of improved machinery constantly adds to the embarrassment. To-day, one man does what would have been the work of a hundred, fifty years ago. The steam-power of seven tons of coal is sufficient to make 33,000 miles of cotton thread in ten hours, while, without machinery, this would equal the hand-labor of 70,000 women! Consumption does not keep pace with the production by machinery. Markets become glutted. Unhealthy competition, struggling for life, establishes unprofitable prices. Then, the spindles, the workshops, the counting-houses are brought to a stand-still, and labor is left to wait as best it may, through idleness and distress, until consumption has overreached production, and new life is infused into a profitable industry.
These uneven pulsations of idleness follow in continuous succession. Now exhausted markets stimulate excessive production to supply urgent wants, and then the quick action of machinery paralyzes these markets. By further perfecting machinery, without enlarging markets to cause a more general consumption by the whole people, financial depressions will always be increasingly aggravated.
The Necessity is a Wider Consumption.
The real want is a wider range of consumption among the whole people everywhere, so as to open large markets, by the most active interchange of their diversified labor. Great broad channels of consumption are needed in which to pour exhaustless streams of production until all the people are supplied with the necessities and comforts of life.
Millions fully employed increase largely their purchasing ability, and in order to supply the moderate consumption of these, there is created wider and more stable markets than is furnished by the most wasteful extravagance of the few rich. Assume our 45,000,000 of population are comprised in nine million families, whose weekly earnings are each increased ten dollars. Here is annually four thousand five hundred millions of dollars of increased power to purchase the enlarged products of industry!
If man will continue to improve labor-saving machinery, he must find a way to dispose of its increased production, by a larger general consumption, or else stagnation and distress will be more and more frequent.
Universal Consumption not Extravagance.
Some believe a larger consumption by the people generally, is a dangerous encouragement to extravagance. They confound the enlarged necessities of a higher civilization with the recklessness of dissipation. They forget that increasing consumption is a token of progress, in favorable contrast with the simple wants of barbarism. The undeveloped virgin soil, the home of naked savages, is valueless, until the industry of civilization has given an impetus to production.
Consumption stimulates industry, and he who is usefully busy cannot be very vicious. The brigands on the world's moral high-ways generally do not come from refined homes or trained industry. They are usually the fungous growth of idleness, entailed on society like some loathsome hereditary disease. A plague, or fever receives prompt attention to ensure abatement, while idleness, more hurtful, and yet remedial by legislation, for ages has been overlooked.
The Love of Power the Drawback.
The instinctive craving of humanity has always been for higher civilization, but the love of power has checked its progress. In all ages the sway of power over weakness has been supreme. Its reign, unlike that of kings, has been an unbroken dynasty from the beginning. No race or time is peculiarly responsible for its tyranny. It springs spontaneously in the breast of man. It is most often for power, that wealth is eagerly accumulated long after it has gratified all other desires.
Even the poor, without considering the chances against them, hope by a lucky turn of fortune, some day, themselves, to gratify this love for power, but like the prize in a lottery, this hope usually ends in disappointment. It is estimated that two-thirds of all the wealth of the country is already concentrated in the hands of three per cent, of the population; in view of this, sum up, if you please, the lucky chances within the grasp of the poor!
Labor watches with a jealous eye the growth of capital, the exponent of power, but capital is always on the alert to guard its interests. Each now recriminates the other, and both stand glaring and defiant, but. it may be the province of this generation to work these discordant elements into order and harmony.
Low Interest a Necessity.
The march of civilization demands that capital shall be afforded at a low cost to labor, so as to quicken industry in its largest production from the exhaustless bounty of the earth, for increasing civilization is dependent upon the activity of industry.
He who now invests and reinvests a moderate sum at 6 per cent, per annum interest, during the period of an ordinary life, generally aggregates larger and surer gains than the man who adds his own industry to a like sum for a similar period in the chances of business. This is too sadly the fruit of a general bitter experience to need proof. The deduction is that interest rules too high. It is discouraging to labor that loans, in the large average, realize better profit than the combined force of brain, hand, and capital. It is an encouragement to prey on labor, instead of practising it, and counts against production and civilization. High interest and usury lessen production and absorb the bread of industry.
Low interest fosters and widens industries. With their growth page break they are more and more interchanged. Active markets are created in new directions. The simple requirements of the rustic cabin change to aspirations for the refinements of civilization, and an increased impulse to industry is the premium paid for their attainment. Thus the dormant faculties are exercised; activity takes the place of sluggishness; consumption is increased, and production is enlarged. They stimulate each other, furnishing nourishment for growth, just as food vitalizes the blood and renews the life.
Labor must be Better Paid.
In order both to sell and to purchase with increased activity, human labor must be better paid. It is the only way to create large and stable markets. While human labor is better paid, automatic machine labor will cost less and less, as it is perfected by discovery and invention.
A hundred horse-power engine, under the direction of five or six men, with automatic machinery, may accomplish in one day the hand labor of five or six thousand, and although the wages, fuel, and other requirements may be largely increased, yet with all this increase averaged over the large production, as machinery is improved and perfected, its cost will be constantly diminished. In this way, while human labor will advance, machinery will nevertheless cheapen production.
It is true, invention will supplant human labor more and more, but still the constant expansion of consumption will give full scope to the faculties of man in newer and wider avenues. A large remuneration will increase his ability to purchase these cheapened products of machinery, and so the comforts, refinements, and embellishments of a higher civilization will be widely diffused, and down-trodden humanity will be more and more elevated.
Excessive Interest is Ruin to Industry.
Unjust laws for the undue increase of capital at the expense of labor, are charged with dwarfing the industries, through excessive interest, thereby retarding civilization. The draft of capital is too heavy. It concentrates wealth in few hands, and condemns the many to hopeless poverty.
Laws in all ages have not been made in the interest of a broad humanity, but to perpetuate wealth and power for the benefit of the few. Law allows an estate of six millions of dollars, in forty years 8page break
at six per cent., to be compounded to ninety-eight millions of dollars, while its possessor may live in idleness. Custom gives to the world's most useful workers of all kind, barely sufficient compensation for the most economical support of a family, while failing health or employment too often brings distress and dependence. Do laws and customs promote social progress, and general activity, which restrict the host of workers to the barest necessities of consumption, in order to build up a few towering fortunes?
The rental or mortgage of a store or farm, worth $10,000, at seven per cent, net, compounded for seventy years, will produce $1,270,000, equal to one hundred and twenty-seven stores. With all the investment of brain, toil, and capital, the uncertain chances of business in that period will, doubtless, bankrupt more than one occupant of that store, as statistics show about ninety-five per cent, of merchants fail.
The combined capital of the Rothschilds, which has been mostly accumulated in the present century, is estimated to be $3,400,000,000, or nearly equal to the funded debt of England. Law allows this thrifty family to invest its immense wealth at high usury, in its bargains and loans, but at only six per cent, per annum they double it every twelve years! What is to become of producers all over the world if the accumulations of interest are not in some way legally lessened? Living, toiling men, by labor, by production, furnish the traffic for railroad dividends, for mortgage interest, and for all the sources of revenue of capitalists, which is being so rapidly compounded.
From the wisdom of a large experience in compounding money, Lord Bacon says: "Usury bringeth the treasure of a nation into a few hands, for the usurer being at certainties, and the other at uncertainties, at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box." "It beats down the price of land. It dulls and damps industries and new inventions. It is the canker and ruin of estates, which in time breed a public poverty."
Industry Accumulates only three per cent, per annum!
After supporting life, statistics show that, usually three per cent, is the highest annual increase of material wealth, and whatever interest capital receives above this sum tends to concentrate it to the prejudice of industry. Every one per cent, unjustly taken from labor, to add to capital, doubles the difference between them; that is, page break one per cent. goes to strengthen capital, and one per cent, to weaken production.
The enormous increase of money by additional percentage is rarely appreciated. One thousand dollars compounded for three hundred and sixty years, at one per cent., is $37,574, while at six per cent, it is $1,073,741,824. It is of historical record, that two hundred and fifty years ago the Dutch bought Manhattan Island of the Indians for $24. Had this small sum been compounded at seven per cent, per annum, it would now aggregate more than the present value of the city and county of New York. The whole wealth of the nation would be absorbed by the compounded accumulation of $100,000 at seven per cent, for three hundred and sixty years.
What patent of nobility does capital rightfully possess, that it should be allowed to concentrate its gains more rapidly than labor? Without labor can it build, sow, reap, mine, or take any part in the world's work? It is dead and valueless without labor, while labor performing all these offices, and vitalizing capital itself, is naturally its peer. Why then should lifeless capital, in few hands, hold millions in bondage!
Co-operation of all Labor Essential.
The industries which are every year more banding together, scarcely yet comprehend the magnitude of their mission. Employed and employer, array themselves in needless opposition, weakening the force of both, and diverting their common strength from the common enemy.
In the contests where the employers "lock out," or where combined labor asserts itself in "strikes," the true issue of the battle is not understood. Both "strikes" and "lock-outs," by lessening production, are enemies to civilization. Employers and employed should symphathize together more sincerely. With less distrust, they would comprehend that their real enemy is the unjust standard of money, which, through unfair interest, constantly swallows up the fruits of labor.
The employer is only the middleman between labor and capital, and the competition between all middlemen in the same industry, generally guarantees as fair an equivalent for labor as circumstances justify. All middlemen alike, those who buy, sell, or advance, are forced by competition to moderate profits for services, but all alike are victims to the demands of capital—in rents, in bank interest, in page break usury, which in the end is charged to producers. The difficulty is not with the excessive charge for services of middlemen, but in the absurd scarcity of money, which thereby keeps industry and production in the power of higher interest than it can earn.
As none can supply all his wants, taste, ability, and circumstances have diversified labor, so that whoever works with hand or brain must interchange his products with others. It is this high activity of diversified labor that creates prosperity.
Something, however, intervenes to prevent the free interchange of diversified labor, and that "something" is the unjust laws, governing money and its many substitutes. An unemployed shoemaker would willingly make shoes for the shoeless children of the weaver; and the weaver would gladly weave cloth for the ragged offspring of the shoemaker, but these imperious money laws say to both, and to all other producers, "You shall periodically remain idle, though your children shiver or starve."
Barter answered well enough the few wants of barbarism, but civilization energizes the faculties, and a larger volume of money becomes more and more an essential medium of exchange. The increasing productiveness of machinery can only be absorbed by the large profits of labor when stimulated by a freer supply of money and consequent reduction of interest.
Money, either in coin or paper, stamped by law, and backed by the whole wealth of the nation, by common consent is the acknowledged best exchange for labor. In Chili, at one time, pieces of stamped leather, largely issued by a citizen of acknowledged responsibility, successfully supplied the place of "reals." However well any individual or corporate representative may for a time supply a money deficiency, experience points to an interchangeable national currency, interconvertible with national bonds, at low interest, as the safest refuge of industry in the uncertain struggles of the nations for gold.
As the fullest activity of diversified labor is the most important of all national questions, and as its free interchange is governed by the volume of money, labor may rightfully demand a sufficiency for its exchanges. It is not so important that a few should enjoy excessive interest from its scarcity, as that the whole people shall have their faculties quickened into fullest life by its sufficiency.
Stagnations more and more Frequent.
The periodical prostrations to industry during the present century have become more and more frequent. The evil increases like the startling compounded accumulations of capital. Immediately before the late civil war, the country was on the verge of a profound stagnation, which was only averted by the immense requirements and the wasteful necessities of war.
We fail to realize that the market outlets of peaceful civilization, should be in as full activity, as when forced by the necessities of war. Until this lesson is learned, these periodical prostrations will be more and more frequent. The few rich neither need nor can they consume the immense productions of machinery. Is machinery a curse? Shall it be stopped, and the mass of people starve in listless idleness, while the few are exhausting these over-stocked markets? The world will not retrograde. Rather in some way enlarge consumption among the whole people, and so promote general activity, comfort, and civilization. This can only be done by enlarging the volume of money, thereby reducing interest, increasing consumption, and infusing life into all useful occupations. A contracted volume of currency, governing high interest, is death to industry!
The People Asleep.
The people are as a great giant asleep, whose thews and sinews are bound with fragile wisps of straw. Once aroused from slumber to a conscious sense of bondage, and the fetters will be rent into a thousand fragments. When they generally comprehend the integrity of their cause, myriads of tongues will proclaim the grievous oppressions so long patiently endured. Then the ballot will commence its perfect work, and numbers, majorities, and votes will demand that interest on capital shall be more justly proportioned to the gains of labor.
By the unjust standard of money, the profits of labor are so absorbed by capital as to produce a suffering that humanitarians cannot avert or relieve. They in vain strive to rear a firm superstructure on a defective foundation. Their earnest efforts are baffled, and end only in temporary and hurtful expedients. Such is the balefulness of the money standard, that the appeals of Christianity for eighteen hundred years, however deeply they may page break have furrowed the seed, have not as yet brought a large harvest of fellowship.
This is a question for the intelligent, earnest action of the people, but a more profound knowledge must first prevail—not of books—of science—of literature, but of the effect of a few simple laws within the comprehension of the most unlettered. No constitutional objections have force, for the people may change the constitution.
When that time arrives, true men everywhere, regardless of party, will unite to overthrow selfishness. Then, the thin gossamer which has so long united man's honest efforts to the unjust interest of capital, will be brushed away as a web, and for all time, the value of brain, hand, and sinew will rank superior to past accumulations.
Nations and Railroads : English Vassals.
England banks on the credulity of the world. Producing comparatively little herself, through an artful system of finance, she draws tribute from all other nations. Although despairing of ever paying the principal of her debt, and still constantly adding to it, she supplies a few rich subjects with her credit at about three per cent., which in turn is accepted by nations, railroads, and individual borrowers at extortionate rates, and so they, or rather producers, to whom all interest in the end is charged, and paid by labor, are kept in a perpetual money bondage.
Low interest quotations are a farce to ninety-nine in one hundred borrowers. A favored few rich, in every country, pocket all the advantages of low interest, to lend at higher to the useful who do the world's work.
How a few English exact money allegiance has been strikingly illustrated. One hundred families possessing $250,000 each, re-move to an island, leaving their wealth behind them to be loaned and compounded at 6 per cent, per annum for 150 years. In that time, by the tabular increase, they will have grown to 1454 families. Each family may always draw $3000 per annum for support, and yet at the end of the 150 years, each will be entitled to $51,672,455! So do lenders in England, on a large scale, gather up the wealth of the world!
How English Interest discriminates against America.
The advantage to English shipping by low interest is illustrated as follows by Hon. Alex. Campbell: Twelve Englishmen and page break twelve Americans, each borrow in their respective countries, six millions of dollars, to start a line of twenty-four steamers between New York and Liverpool. The English borrow, in their own country, at 4 per cent., while the American capital costs 10 per cent, at home. The line averages only 7 per cent, profit.
In eighteen years, the English profits may buy up all the American ships, and have a profit beside of $117,723, while the Americans lose their ships, and owe $6,337,151! So much for the difference between 4 and 7 per cent., favoring the English, and the loss between 7 and 10 per cent, prejudicing the Americans!
Is it not time that America should break lose from unfair English rivalry, by allowing her citizens, through cheap capital, to enjoy equal advantages not only in the carrying-trade but in all other competing industries?
The Gains of Capital deplored by many.
The evils to society by the unjust gains of capital over labor, are deplored by many conscientious men, charged with the responsibility of wealth. Such men would gladly join hands to promote a well-digested, practical, scheme to remedy the difficulty, for they realize that large accumulations often bode evil to the possessor, by hardening the finer feelings in selfishness, or encouraging idleness, dissipation, and waste.
A modification of law, neither agrarian nor prematurely disturbing the relations of life—working gradually and effectively—encouraging industry by its high rewards—and discouraging dependence on the interest of capital by its low remuneration, would be thankfully accepted by such men as a universal blessing.
Consumption, how created and supplied.
By simply allowing labor the unrestricted use of money to accomplish its exchanges, a universal stimulus will be infused, both to create and to market the product of man's energies. This free supply will cheapen interest, and low interest, by adding to the profits of producers, will lessen that of capital, thereby encouraging the activity of production.
This needed encouragement will cause more acres to be tilled, more metals mined and fashioned, more goods manufactured—in short, will absorb man's wasted faculties in producing wealth and prosperity. Millions of idle people will then be able to earn the page break means to purchase the products, both of machinery and human labor, and generally to supply the increasing necessities of civilization.
This vast stimulus to increased production from the earth, some may call inflation; but an inflation which fosters industry, and creates universal happiness and comfort, by utilizing more largely the crude wealth of the earth, is just the kind of inflation the country requires.
Capital should be the tool of handicraft, not its master. Its value should no longer be gauged by laws which hamper the growth of industry. New wants suggested by discovery and invention beckon us onward to higher civilization, and the circulating medium should no longer be arbitrarily determined by quack theories, but be clothed with an expansive power proportionate to the industrial exigencies of the people, and at interest rates that shall not paralyze national growth!
France and the United States compared.
France, with industries compacted over not one-twentieth the area of this country, uses $48 per capita in making exchanges; and her amazing recuperation after devastating and almost annihilating wars proves the efficacy of her system. Our industries widely scattered over a vast territory occasion such delay in exchanges as to show the need of a large volume, yet the currency is less than $20 per capita. While it is admitted to be a superabundance for the present stagnation, it is sadly deficient for a safe basis of enlarged production.
If, to vitalize our wasted faculties, and infuse new life into industries now stagnated by the absorptions of capital, it should require $100 currency per capita, why should not the people accord their heartiest support?
Fill up from your own observation, and in your own way, the full outline and coloring of the following picture. Life is a fierce battle scene. On one side are arrayed the self-satisfied few; behind the battlements of dead capital, shielded under the law and prestige of centuries, dwarfing the industries through excessive rates of interest. On the other side are the myriad hosts of life, wearily struggling to use their energies for material happiness. Look, as they march along, their ranks are filled with bondmen, goaded by the unjust standard of money, to a hopeless poverty, which excessive toil fails to relieve. See weary bodies cruelly lashed by dire want to super- page break human exertions and premature graves! Stalwart men and women with God-given faculties, willing to work, but in hopelessness and despair, a burden and cost to society. Now we see them reluctantly brooding over temptation, and then yielding to wretchedness and crime! The whole world is filled with helpless victims to the unfair power of money—what a spectacle it presents!
It settles the Grandest Problem of Life.
An enlargement of the currency, important as its bearings may be on public finances, is far more important in the tone it will give to morality, through the industry of the people. Employment for idle millions increases vastly the purchasing power of the products of industry, and the activity of labor will soon add from soil and mine—the fountain of all wealth—thousands of millions of real prosperity, far in excess and out-balancing the entire value of the national debt.
Its Benefits summed up.
An enlargement of the currency, by cheapening interest, will encourage the activity of labor. A general ability to earn freely will encourage life, by making it easier, and lessening its hardships. Its reasonable requirements will then be met with greater facility. The over-reaching and sharp contentions for mere existence will no longer be necessary. The hungry will be fed, and the naked clothed. Over-powering temptations to crime will be withdrawn. The dignity of manhood, through labor, will be asserted, and the able and willing, be relieved from the degradation of dependence. Humanity will be preserved from despair and ruin, to usefulness and honor, while integrity, which has been fast waning in the land, with the concentrations of wealth and poverty, will be promoted in private relations and public trusts, with the large and general growth of human happiness.
Then, banishing petty prejudice and narrow selfishness, by encouraging the utmost use of the wasted faculties, through wise monetary laws, let the clarion watchword of the nineteenth century be "the greatest good to the greatest number," and the marching hosts will repeat the cry, until at last disenthralled and redeemed humanity will fulfil the crowning glory of creation.
Charles M. Dupuy.Philadelphia, 4102 Spruce Street.