BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley


My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse


The Bhagavad Gita

Anonymous


Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman


Labour rewarded. The claims of labour and capital conciliated; or, How to secure to labour the whole product of its exertion ...

by William Thompson

Excerpt:

Thus, every step that one of these Trades-Manufactories, or Associations of Capitalist-Laborers, advances in the career of supplying, by the labor of co-associates, their own wants, a proportionate advance is made in securing to themselves the whole products of their labor. On every article thus supplied, they save the deductions of exchanges and all the charges of the ordinary mode of distribution by wholesale and retail dealing, and supply themselves at the first cost, much beneath what is now called the wholesale price. As more than half of the necessaries consumed, or the raw materials of them, grain, flax, wool, &c., are produced by labor applied to home-land, the grandest step by far of capitalist-laborers in securing to themselves the products of their labor, and averting the complicated evils of individual competition, is in the acquisition of as much of land as may be necessary for these purposes, with associates to work up the produce. At every step they find, that as they exclude the principle of competition and substitute the principle of co-operation; as they discard theexpensive service of mere capitalists, and possess and manage their own capital themselves; not only the capital requisite to supply one of their wants, but as many as possible of them, at the cost of labor; just in this proportion, by this process and no other, will they attain the command and the enjoyment of the whole products of their labor. By confining themselves ta the fabrication of any one article, as of a particular species of. silk or cotton stulfs, they would, even while flourishing, save no more out of the products of their labor than the rent and profits of the master-manufacturer, or capitalist in their particular line. To the enhanced, retail, competition, prices of all other articles, they would be still subjected. <

Should the members of one of these Trades-Manufactories, now converted into a Trade and Agricultural Association, but living in separate, detached, lodgings, perceive, as they advance, the increased benefits of Union, they would naturally propose to become insurers to each other, against some of the numerous casualties of life, such as fire, accident, disease, old age. To save the profits, the risks of failure of companies, or of non-renewal, the expenses legal and commercial, the forms, the delays, the anxieties, the dependence on insurance companies, would be a blessing of prime magnitude to the Associated: to be enfranchised from the degradingcharity of the poor's rates, would be no less a blessing. The expenses of all these casualties for all the members, might be made a regular charge on the common funds. What miseries and anxieties would thus be averted! What a host of the evils of individual competition would be thus avoided by cooperation, by mutual foresight, and mutual beneficence!

These objects accomplished, all personal wants and casualties provided against, the desire of mitigating or averting all the remaining avoidable evils of life would still proceed. The destitution ot orphan children after the death of parents of the Industrious Classes, the wretchedness and vice almost necessarily entailed upon them, would immediately attract the attention of the intelligent members of our Trade and Agricultural Association. They would include within the objects of their mutual insurance, the providing for the children of all who died with children unprovided for within their association, by educating them to the industrious habits of their parents: an object which may be accomplished 'without expense, as it is now an ascertained fact (in establishments near Antwerp and now proceeding near London) that children of both sexes, from 6 to 15 years of age, can by their own moderate labor, welldirected, agricultural and manufacturing, defray all the expenses of their own maintenance and education. How much would such an arrangement add to the habitual cheerfulness of the industrious classes! what aggravations of suffering would it save them under accident and disease! what happiness would it secure to the young! what good order, honesty, and peace to society at large!

These are amongst the beneficent objects which such Associations, manufacturing and agricultural, might insure to the Industrious Classes composing them. Thus only, by gradually lopping off the wide-spread evils of isolated exertion and individual competition, by saving the never-ending charges of intermediate agents, by consuming all necessary things at the cost of production, and all other things at wholesale prices, by improving and directing to the most useful purposes the skill of all, will the Industrious Classes make any real advances towards securing to themselves the whole products of their labor. The difference of the cost of production of agricultural produce on soils, worth cultivating by such Associations, but of different degrees of fertility, would be absolutely trivial, compared with, at least the quadrupling of the prices of all produce, [those original prices, under competition, depending on the cost of production on the worst soils cultivated,) which are now universally paid by the Industrious, as well as all other classes, on all that they consume. Other objects, such as the procuring of intellectual and social pleasures for the adults, - education, practical, intellectual, and social, at first cost, i. e. the cost of the labor, for all the children of all ages, of all the associates, the ownership of their own dwellings, and thus escaping the enormous deduction from the products of labor, frequently amounting to one fourth, under the name of houserent; all these and other objects woidd present themselves to such Associations of the industrious, as they proceeded in their efforts to secure to themselves the whole products of their labor.

But suppose that such manufacturing and agricultural Associations as those described, were gradually formed, enlarged in their objects, and improved, by means of Unions every* where diffused amongst the Industrious Classes; they would still feel enormous inconveniences from two leading circumstances, the distance of their dwellings from each other, and the distance of their agricultural from their manufacturing establishments. The losses from the expenses of carriage, of distribution, from the enormous waste of manure, from the want of superintendence, from waste of labor and time in passing from the one to the other, arising from the distance of the agricultural establishments from the manufacturing, are very apparent. The inconveniences in the way of meetings of the members for intellectual or social amusements, or for their common concerns, of sending the children to places of instruction, the great additional expense of hiring or building isolated dwellings, the want of economy and comfort in the management of isolated rooms and cooking establishments, every one of them keeping one adult human being an eternal drudge, the contamination of evil habits to adults as well as children, are a portion of the inconveniences arising from the distance of the dwellings of the members of such an Association from each other. The simple mode of remedying all these

inconveniences from the distance of houses and of manufacturing and agricultural concerns, would be to establish them all, dwellings, manufactures, and agricultural concerns, contiguous to each other. This, however, could not be done without great loss and inconvenience, after the separate unconnected establishments of manufactures, agriculture, and dwellings had bean, one by one, erected or hired. The evils of the misarrangsment, would seem to be counterbalanced by the evils of chaage. Foresight in the arrangement of a manufacturing and agricultural Association, would be then supremely desirable to those of the Industrious Classes who might wish by such means to secure to themselves the products oftheir kbor. No other means, but those of production from the raw material and of mutual supply, of accomplishing this great object, have yet by any human contrivance been pointed out. Almost the whole of the class of competitive political economists denounce as visionary the expectation that the Industrious, whom they term the Working or Labouring Classes, (as if they ought never to do or think of any thing else but working or laboring,) should ever enjoy the whole products of their labor, or that they should ever do more than partially ameliorate their present situation. f Now, supposing that by means of Unions through all trades and all species ot labor through every part of the country, such Associations manufacturing and agricultural as here described, were gradually formed, what would they ultimately become but Communities of Mutual Co-operation? What does every step of improvement in their progress accomplish, but remove some of the evils of isolated exertion and Individual Competition? If it be so desirable by means of Unions* of Insurances, of prudential checks as to increase of numbers, of Mechanics' Institutions, of a Fixed System of Currency, of Free Trade in all departments, of cheap and just judicial Establishments, of the abolition of Forcible Taxation, of real, unmixed, Representative Institutions, to root out gradually, in the course of centuries, for the whole people, the multifarious evils of Individual Competition, intermixed and supported as they are in every department by Force and Fraud; how much more desirable must it be to accomplish by for the greater part of all these objects, peaceably* at once? and to reduce to insignificance the pressure of those which will remain, and which must all ultimately vanish before the information and the influence of the Industrious Classes, thus become capitalist-laborers, and enjoying the whole products of their labor? ...>;;.. . :J ■....•■;■.* >


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