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£ 145; average annual product of the whole
community, per adult male.
£ 305; average annual income of the com
paratively rich (including non-workers), per adult male.
£77; average annual income of the masses,
per adult male.
£1189; average annual income, per adult
male, of the gentry, about 222,000 families.
X.- THE CLASS War. Between the two classes there is perpetual strife. Disguise it as we may by feudal benevolence, or the kindly attempts of philanthropists, the material interests of the small nation privileged to exact rent for its monopolies, and of the great nation, thereby driven to receive only the remnant of the product, are permanently opposed, “ The more there is allotted to labor the less there will remain to be appropriated as rent” (Fawcett, “ Manual of Political Economy," p. 123).
It is therefore the enormous share which the possessors of the instruments of industry are able to take from the produce” (J. S. Mill, quoting Feugueray, "Principles of Political Economy," p. 477, popular edition of 1865), which is the primary cause of the small incomes of the comparatively poor. That neither class makes the best possible social use of its revenues, and that both waste much in extravagance and vice, is an apparently inevitable secondary result of the unequal division, which it intensifies and renders permanent; but it is a secondary result only, not the primary cause. Even if the whole “manual-labor class ” made the best possible use of the £ 38 per adult, which is their average income, it would still be impossible for them to live the cultured human life which the other classes demand for themselves as the minimum of the life worth living. It is practically inevitable that many of the poor, being debarred from this “Standard of Life," should endeavor to enjoy themselves in ways not permanently advantageous to themselves or to society.
The force by which this conflict of interest is maintained, without the conscious contrivance of either party, is competition, diverted, like other forces, from its legitimate social use. The legal disposers of the great natural monopolies are able, by means of legally licensed competition, to exact the full amount of their economic rents, and the political economists tell us that so long as these natural monopolies are left practically unrestrained in private hands, a thorough remedy is impossible.
In 1874, Professor Cairnes thought that some help might be found (at any rate, by the better paid laborers) by means of co-operation in production. He then wrote : “ If workmen do not rise from dependence upon capital by the path of co-operation, then they must remain in dependence upon capital ; the margin for the possible improvement of their lot is confined within narrow barriers which cannot be passed, and the problem of their elevation is hopeless. As a body they will not rise at all. A few, more energetic or more fortunate than the rest, will from time to time escape, as they do now, from the ranks of their fellows to the higher walks of industrial life, but the great majority will remain substantially where they are. The remuneration of labor, as such, skilled or unskilled, can never rise much above its present level" (Prof. J. E. Cairnes, "Some Leading Principles of Political Economy," p. 348 ; 1874).
Nineteen years have passed away since these words were written, and it must now be apparent, even to the most sanguine of individualists, that the chance of the great bulk of the laborers ever coming to work upon their own land and capital in associations for co-operative production, has become even less hopeful than it ever was; and Dr. J. K. Ingram tells us that modern economists, such as Professors T. E. Cliffe Leslie and F. A. Walker, regard the idea as "chimerical” (Article on “Political Economy" in Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. XIX., p. 382). Even so friendly an economist as Mr. Leonard Courtney agrees in this view. Yet this, according to authorities so eminent, is the only hope for the laborer under the present arrangements of society, or any other that the Professor could suggest.
XI.-SOME VICTIMS OF THE STRUGGLE. The statistics hitherto quoted have been mainly based on the assumption of reasonable regularity of employment. But of the great permanent army of the " unemployed " in London, some idea may be gained from the report of the Mansion House Relief Committee, which gave
the average daily number of them as 20,000 (“Report, 1888). The average number of persons in London whose home is the “common lodging-house " is over 30,000; over 1,100 are every night found in the “casual wards.”
As regards the four millions of persons in the metropolis, Mr. Charles Booth tells us that 37,610, or oʻ9 per cent., are in the lowest class (occasional laborers, loafers, and semi-criminals); 316,834, or 7:5 per cent., in the next (casual labor, hand-to-mouth existence, chronic want); 938,293, or 22*3 per cent., form "the poor," (including alike those whose earnings are small, because of irregularity of employment, and those whose work, though regular, is ill-paid). These classes, on or below the "poverty line of earnings not exceeding a guinea a week per family, number together 1,292,737, or 307 per cent. of the whole population. To these must be added, 99,830 inmates of workhouses, hospitals, prisons, industrial schools, etc., making altogether nearly 1,400,000 persons in this one city alone whose condition even the most optimistic social student can hardly deem satisfactory ("Labor and Life of the People," edited by Charles Booth, 1891. Vol. II., pp. 20-21).
The ultimate fate of these victims it is not easy adequately to realise. Actual starvation is returned as the cause of death in but a few cases annually; but it is well-known that many thousands of deaths are directly due to long-continued under-feeding and exposure. Young children especially suffer.
The infantile death-rate at Bethnal Green is twice that of Belgravia. Holborn (151,835) and St. George's, Hanover Square (149,748), have almost equal populations ; yet in the former 1,614, in the latter only 1,007, children under five died in 1884* (RegistrarGeneral's Report, 1886, pp. 32, 126, C-4722).
In London one person in every five will die in the workhouse, hospital, or lunatic asylum. In 1891, out of 89,122 deaths in London, 51,171 being over 20, 13,244 were in workhouses, 8,054 in hospitals, and 405 in lunatic asylums, or altogether 21,703 in public institutions (Registrar-General's Report, 1891, C—6841, pp. 2, 72, and 94). Moreover, the percentage is increasing. In 1887 it was 20°7 of the total deaths; in 1888 it rose to 22.2, and in 1891 to 242. The increase was mainly in the deaths in workhouses and workhouse infirmaries. It is worth notice that a large number of those compelled in their old age to resort to the workhouse have made ineffectual efforts at thrifty provision for their declining years. In 1890-91, out of 175,852 inmates of workhouses (one-third being children, and another third women) no fewer than 14,808 have been members of benefit societies. In 4593 cases the society had broken up, usually from insolvency (House of Commons Return, 1891, Nos. 366 and 130—B). Considering that comparatively few of the inmates are children, it is probable that one in every three London adults will be driven into these refuges to die, and the proportion in the case of the "manual-labor class " must of course be still larger. And the number of persons who die while in receipt of out-door relief is not included in this calculation. As in 1891-2 the mean number of out-door paupers in the metropolis was 45,792 (C—6745, p. 380), and the average death-rate in London in 1891 was 20ʻi per 1,000, it may be assumed that at least 900 persons died while in receipt of out-door relief-often from its being insufficient.
Dr. Playfair says that 18 per cent. of the children of the upper class, 36 per cent. of those of the tradesmen class, and 55 per cent. of those of the workmen die before they reach five years of age (quoted at p. 133 of “ Dictionary of Statistics," by Mr. Mulhall, who, however, thinks it too high an estimate.'')
16,688 persons died by fatal accidents in 1891 (RegistrarGeneral's Report, C-6841, p. 193-197), 920 losing their lives in mines, 993 on railways, 220 in working machinery, 132 by lead poisoning, and 151 by falls from scaffolding, &c., in building operations (C-6770, p. 3; C—6841, pp. 193-198). These are the figures for England and Wales alone, and would be much increased by including the accidents in Scotland and Ireland.
The Board of Trade Report on “Railway Accidents” during the year 1891 shows that 549 railway servants were killed, and 3,161
* No figures for a comparison of this kind are given in the Registrar-General's Reports for years subsequent to 1884.
injured, by accidents on the lines, being about i in 695 and 1 in 12 I respectively, of the persons employed. (C—6770 pp. 2 and 19.)
" At present the average age at death among the nobility, gentry, and professional classes in England and Wales was 55 years; but among the artisan classes of Lambeth it only amounted to 29 years; and whilst the infantile death-rate among the well-to-do classes was such that only 8 children died in the first year of life out of 100 born, as many as 30 per cent. succumbed at that age among the children of the poor in some districts of our large cities. The only real causes of this enormous difference in the position of the rich and poor with respect to their chances of existence lay in the fact that at the bottom of society wages were so low that food and other requisites of health were obtained with too great difficulty” (Dr. C. R. Drysdale, “Report of Industrial Remuneration Conference," p. 130).
One great cause of the short and miserable lives of the poor is the insanitary condition of their slums in which many of them are compelled to dwell. The strongest testimony to the evil effects of such surroundings comes from the insurance companies. The industrial friendly societies have in each large town their "proscribed streets.” The Liverpool Victoria Legal Friendly Society proscribes, for Liverpool alone, on account of their insanitary character, 167
streets wherein no members of the society may be entered (Circular of the 13th October, 1886). Yet these unhealthy streets are not too bad to be the only homes of thousands of the poorer citizens of that commercial centre.
We clog our public poor relief with irksome and degrading conditions, so that the honest poor often die lingering deaths rather than accept it; yet the paupers in actual receipt of public relief on one day number nearly a million :
England and Wales, 1st January, 1892 754,485 cost £8,643,318 Scotland, 14th January, 1892
87,362 2880,458 Ireland, 8th January, 1892....... 103,839 » £ 1,041,980
£10,565,756 (Report of Local Government Board, England and Wales ; Report of Board for Supervision of Poor, Scotland ; Report of Local Government Board, Ireland, and Statistical Abstract, 1892, C-6718.
But the relief is not usually given permanently; to obtain the number of different individuals who receive relief during a year, we must multiply the daily number by 2-3. (This is the latest computation given in Mr. Charles Booth's paper before the Statistical Society, December, 1891. See also his "Pauperism, a Picture; and the Endowment of Old Age, an Argument." Mr. Mulhall,Dictionary of Statistics," p. 346, stated three, and Mr. Dudley Baxter's.“ National Income," p. 87, gave 33.) This gives a pauper class during any one year of about 2,200,000 persons, or i in 12 of the manual-labor class. In some rural districts every aged laborer is a pauper.
The maintenance of these paupers costs £ 10,565,756 per annum. But in addition to this public expenditure, the various charitable societies spend £ 10,040,000 annually (Mr. Mulhall, “ Dictionary of Statistics,' p. 78), and the charity of individuals is known to be
enormous. The numbers of the destitute class must therefore be largely increased. Mr. R. Giffen talks of the class of five millions "whose existence is a stain on our civilization” (“Essays in Finance," Vol. II., p. 350). It is the lot of at least one of five of the manuallabor-class-of 16 in every 100 of the whole population to belong to this class.
To me, at least, it would be enough to condemn modern society as hardly an advance on slavery or serfdom, if the permanent condition of industry were to be that which we behold, that 90 per cent. of the actual producers of wealth have no home that they can call their own beyond the end of the week; have no bit of soil, or so much as a room that belongs to them; have nothing of value of any kind except as much old furniture as will go in a cart; have the precarious chance of weekly wages which barely suffice to keep them in health; are housed for the most part in places that no man thinks fit for his horse; are separated by so narrow a margin from destitution, that a
onth of bad trade, sickness, or unexpected loss brings them face to face with hunger and pauperism.
This is the normal state of the
average workman in town or country" (Mr. Frederic Harrison, p. 429, “Report of Industrial Remuneration Conference," 1886). The normal state of the "average workman" is the average normal state of four out of five of the whole population (Prof. Leone Levi, Times, 13th January, 1885).
XII.—THE EVIL AND THE REMEDY. “The deepest root of the evils and iniquities which fill the industrial world is not competition, but the subjection of labor to capital, and the enormous share which the possessors of the instruments of industry are able to take from the produce" (J. S. Mill quoting Feugueray, “Principles of Political Economy," p. 477, edition of 1865).
“We have been suffering for a century from an acute outbreak of individualism, unchecked by the old restraints, and invested with almost a religious sanction by a certain soul-less school of writers ” (Prof. H. S. Foxwell, University College, London, p. 249 of essay in The Claims of Labor," 1886).
" It is, indeed, certain that industrial society will not permanently remain without a systematic organisation. The mere conflict of private interests will never produce a well-ordered commonwealth of labor" (article on " Political Economy" in Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. XIX., 1886, p. 382, since published as the “ History of Political Economy," by J. K. Ingram, LL.D., Trinity College, Dublin).
Socialists affirm that the evil can never be remedied until the two nations are united by the restitution to public purposes of rent and interest of every kind, and by the growth of social sympathy promoted by the accompanying cessation of class distinctions. It will be seen by the above quotations that this position is based on the facts of the case as ascertained and declared by the recognised authorities in statistics, and is in entire harmony with the doctrines of Political Economy.
G. STANDRING, Printer, 7 & 9 Finsbury Street, London, E.C.