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Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Industrial Reconstruction

INDUSTRIAL RECONSTRUCTION. Reconstruction has been spoken of as that period of change from an equilibrium of effective war to an equilibrium of effective peace. Reconstruction could take the form of a slow evolution, a panic, or even a revolution. The United States, of all the great nations engaged in the World War, is the only one which has not a government reconstruction commission, the duties of which are the establishment of a policy, industrial, commercial, and political, for the trying after-war times, although the plans for such a commission had been made by members of the Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense and were about to be put in operation when the sudden cessation of hostilities directed all government energies to other channels.

Because of increased output during the war, the change back to normal production in most factories has been accomplished under difficulties. In the absence of any government agency for this work, various private organizations have given thought to the problems, among them being the Chamber of Commerce of the United States and the National Municipal League. The one outstanding feature is the universal recommendation of the maintenance of the increased co-operation between capital and labor.

Among the plans of other countries, the reconstruction demands of the British Labor Party are most interesting, the features of their program being minimum wage, plans for the prevention of unemployment, democratic control of industry, improved housing facilities for workmen, and a marked increase in the age limit of compulsory education.