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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/308

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294
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

children; and is also tending in a marked degree to do away with the heretofore general practice of suspending labor on Sundays.[1]

To meet this condition or tendency of affairs, two lines of policy have commended themselves to the governments of many countries—especially in Continental Europe—as remedial and easy of execution, namely; to seek to diversify and increase the home demand for the products of domestic industry on the one hand, and to obtain new and larger markets in foreign countries for their surplus productions on the other. And the first of these results it has been sought to accomplish by restricting or prohibiting, through import (tariff) duties, the importation and competitive sale in their respective markets of the surplus products of other nations; and the second, by offering bounties on exports, or on the construction and multiplied use of vessels for employment in foreign commerce. In the pressing necessity for finding new and (if possible) exclusive markets for increasing machinery products, and for commodities whose production has been artificially stimulated, is undoubtedly also to be found the clue to the policy which within recent years has mainly prompted Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain to seek to obtain new territorial possessions in Eastern and Central Africa, Southeastern Asia, and in New Guinea and other islands of Polynesia.

The commercial policy of Russia under such circumstances must,

  1. The results of an extensive inquiry recently instituted by the British Government in respect to Sunday labor in Germany (and comprising with the evidence taken three large volumes) shows, that in Westphalia, Rhineland, Würtemberg, Baden, Alsace, and Brunswick Sunday work is only enforced where necessary. Different reports come, however, from Saxony, one stating that "Sunday labor has become usual in most factories and workshops solely under the stress of competition, so that the hours of divine service are now alone excluded, and these only from absolute necessity." Another report says, that Sunday labor has become "a principle with many employers," while in a number of cases the journeyman or operative seeking an engagement must bind himself to work on Sunday, and "if the workman refused to work on Sunday, reprisals on the part of the employer would be the inevitable result, and this is so, even in spite of the legal restriction of work on Sundays and festivals." "On the whole," says the "London Economist," "the evidence" (presented in the published report of the Government inquiry) "is unfavorable to the principle of Sunday labor, though it is largely carried on—in all probability more so than is admitted, for in innumerable cases it is admitted that it is hard to get at the real state of affairs. Nevertheless, there is general disinclination against putting the principle of no Sunday work into practice where the objectionable system has obtained a footing. On the part of large industrial concerns, it is said that want of continuity would often be a cause of serious loss, while without Sunday labor repairs could never be carried out, even night-work being no adequate substitute. The number of associations which recommend the absolute prohibition of Sunday labor is small in proportion to those which advocate partial prohibition. The question of Sunday labor is one of considerable interest for England, for it is unquestionable that, among the causes of Germany's ability to compete with England as a mercantile and industrial country, the fact that here more hours are worked for less money is not the least important. The prohibition of Sunday labor would, of course, mean increased cost of production; and every increase in the cost of production will render it more difficult for Germany to outrival older manufacturing countries in the markets of the world."