Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 81

The Cost of Living

The Cost of Living.

I contended that the Act had not appreciably increased the workers' cost of living. This view has been considerably canvassed. It is very important to decide whether the operation of the Act is merely to increase the nominal wage, leaving the real wage stationary—or, in other words, to take away the benefits it confers as higher wages by causing a corresponding increase of prices. If this is truly its operation, I admit that the; Act as it stands, is of no value to workers as an instrument for getting for them a better real wage. Hence it is essential to decide this question. Now, first let me emphasise an important point. My proposition was that the Act had not caused an increase of the cost of living of the workers—that is of the wage-earning class which it was passed to protect or deal with. I am not concerned just now with the effect the Act had upon the cost of living of the wealthier classes. It is quite demonstrable, I think, that it may—and probably does—affect the cost of living of the wealthier sections of the community, while it does not appreciably affect the cost of living of the worker. This may be recognised if we remember that a man with a wife and a family on 50s a week must spend it almost wholly on, the necessaries of life, while a man with £50 per week spends only a very small; proportion of his income upon necesaries. And if necessaries escape the, influence of the wage increases of the Arbitration Court, and other commodities do not, mv distinction would be largely established.