Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/375

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
361
FALLACIES IN THE TRADES-UNIONS ARGUMENT.

The annual preventable loss to the farmers of the United States of over $500,000,000 must serve to emphasize the advantages that may be derived from the thorough and systematic study of the economics of agriculture, and the pressing need of the increase and wider diffusion of knowledge in the domain of applied science. With clear and well-defined notions of the scope and essential factors of the required work, including an extended and accurate knowledge of science in its several departments, and an intimate acquaintance with the details of farm practice, a well-planned system of experiments, conducted with reasonable persistence and skill, can not fail to give results of great practical value to every farmer.

 

FALLACIES IN THE TRADES-UNIONS ARGUMENT.
By J. B. MANN.

THE errors which prevail in relation to certain foundation principles of the labor movement seem to justify an attempt to illustrate the subject, in a more commonplace way than is customary, by citations of such familiar incidents as meet the ordinary experience and thought of men in the common walks of life. The labor question is like any other, in respect to its dependence upon laws which can not be repealed by man or overthrown by organizations of classes or individuals. Everything in the world is subject to laws of its kind, from which there is no escape, whatever we may wish or attempt. Labor is no exception, and we must, therefore, ascertain what the laws pertaining to labor are, and then conduct the discussion in the light of them.

At the beginning, the most obvious thing concerning labor is, that it is a commodity. It is a thing bought and sold, and is of little value except under that condition. There is no such thing as society where labor is not bought, sold, or exchanged, and we can not conceive of a civilization which does not make labor a commodity and treat it as such.

The reason why another condition of things does not exist is, that natural law comes in and will not permit it. Man has need of very many things but he has time to acquire the skill to make only a few of them. He can learn and become expert in only one or two trades, and unless he is expert his trade will be of little use. The carpenter who builds but one house in his lifetime can not be much of an expert, especially if he has to raise his corn and potatoes, make his clothes, his tools, his household utensils, and whatever else is required while he is building the house. It would take a single man so long to learn the trades necessary to supply him-