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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/312

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

modern labor organizations—"Trades Unions," "Knights of Labor," and the like—have come to resemble and be assimilated to the ancient "guilds;" with this marked difference, that in the old craft-guilds, the masters or employers of labor remained in and participated in the organization; but in the modern organizations of labor, the masters or employers are especially excluded.

In Germany the extensive intervention of the state in industrial and social matters has come to be, in recent years, a fundamental policy of the Government; and is resulting in a series of experiments for controlling or even entirely absorbing great industries—as sugar and distilled spirits—and for promoting the economical and moral prosperity of the people—as schemes for compulsory insurance of life and against accidents—which have hitherto had no precedents in the legislation of any country. At the same time, in all these movements the Government makes no secret of its desire in fostering the interests of the people to at the same time augment their ability to pay taxes.

In the United States, the recent action of the French Government, in providing that nothing shall be bought for public use which is not of domestic production, and which the outside world has regarded as a policy unworthy of an enlightened nation, has had its counterpart and precedent in the previous legislation of quite a number of the States; with this exception, that in France the discrimination is made against foreigners only, while in the United States the discrimination is made against their own countrymen living in different political divisions of the country. Nothing, moreover, can probably be found in Europe to parallel the recent legislation of one of the leading States of the Northwest (Minnesota), and a large part of which was the work of a single legislative session (limited to sixty days) in 1885, and which has thus been described by a recent writer:[1] Prominent in importance were statutes providing for the weighing, handling, and inspection of grain; the construction and location of grain-warehouses, the providing of cars and side-tracks by railroads, and the regulation of rates of transportation. Next, was legislation respecting State loans of "seed grain" to farmers whose crops had been ruined by grasshoppers; for the subsidizing of State fairs from the State treasury; for enabling farmers to avoid the payment of a portion of their debts; for protecting butter-makers from the competition of artificial products, such as "butterine"; for regulating the details of the cattle-industry, to the extent of registering and giving State protection to brands and other modes of identification, and of stamping out contagious diseases with small courtesy to the rights and wishes of individual owners; and for regulating the lumber business to such an extent, that not a log can float down a stream to the saw-mill for which it is destined without official cognizance. One State board regulates the practice of medicine and the admission of new

  1. "The American State and the American Man," Albert Shaw, "Contemporary Review," May, 1887.